Peace, Be Still

If you want to hear the heart of God, silence is key. 

If you want the Spirit of God to fill you, be still.

Sometimes silence is the only gift we can bring before Christ. Sometimes our silence may be the only gift we have to bring. Yet, our silence can often be the best gift we can give to others, and to God. 

We can occupy a space in our silence before God which is not a defended territory. Our words defend us against any chance of allowing Him space to speak to us in our brokenness. 

If we’re not careful, our words and outside noise can put barriers around our souls. Our silence removes the barriers and allows the Holy Spirit to reach into our souls and speak. Sometimes, He doesn’t even have to speak. Sometimes, just existing together in silence is all you need. 

When life gets caught up in the chaos, remember the words of Christ: “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39, ESV). Take a moment to pause and listen to this song, then allow the space for peace to truly be still.

Embrace the Imperfections

This life can be challenging. We can get dragged down by the affairs of the world that surround us each and every day. We get pressure from all sides to perform in a certain way. We can get so caught up in the expectations of others, especially those expectations we put on ourselves. When we get so caught up in those expectations we tend to strive for perfection. But let’s just be honest for a second – we are setting ourselves up to fail when we do this. Perfection is out of reach for us. We are imperfect creatures.

We are imperfect creatures created by a perfect Creator. He did not create us to be perfect. However, He did create us to serve Him – to love Him – to love others as He loves us – to illuminate every dark place the light of His truth.

Our desire for perfection is a pride issue. We need to set aside our pride and stop striving for an unreachable goal of perfection. God will not love us any less if we allow ourselves to embrace our imperfections. His thoughts towards us never change. He is never caught off guard.

Give yourself permission to be less than perfect.

Give yourself permission to fail.

The Bible is full people who failed:

Adam and Eve failed at following God’s simple instruction.

Sarah failed in her faith in God’s ability to give her a child despite her age.

Moses failed to believe God could use him to deliver His people.

The Israelites failed to trust God to deliver them out of the wilderness despite the circumstances.

David failed to keep from falling into the desires of his flesh.

Zechariah failed to believe God’s power to continue his family line. 

Peter failed to trust Jesus when he was called out upon the waters.

Peter failed to own up to knowing Jesus.

Despite the failings of these individuals, there are remembered as pillars of the faith. Their failures were not their defining moment. Their failures did not end them. They picked themselves up, got over their embarrassment, and continued on to fulfill God’s purpose for their life. 

Adam and Eve were the beginning of humanity.

Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

Moses led the Israelites out of captivity.

The Israelites eventually made it into the Promise Land.

David was a man after God’s heart.

Zechariah confirmed the naming of his son, John the Baptist.

Peter successfully answered Jesus’ question “Who do YOU say that I Am?”

If you weren’t afraid to fail, what would you do?

What would you accomplish if you let go of the fear that is crippling you?

What dreams would you make a reality if you weren’t afraid of a little failure?

What has God placed in your soul? 

What lives will be changed in His name through you?

What will you accomplish through Him, not because of your perfections, but because of your imperfections? 

Embrace being less than perfect and see where God leads you.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
(John 12:14, NIV)

Look to Christ

“Think about what Christ did for you.  You hated him, and he died for you. 
I know you’re hurt. But you ask how can you serve someone who has hurt you? 
Look to Christ. 
Look to the One who poured out His very own blood for you.”

Christ did not call us to love those who only love or treat us well. He called us to love everyone. Unconditionally. Without question. Without expectations of reciprocation. To love as He loves. 

We are to be the Imago Dei (Image of God) which means our lives and actions must mimic His. Christ loved those who mistreated Him. He performed the ultimate act of selfless and unconditional love when He gave up His life on the cross. There was no pretense in that moment. 

He died for you knowing that you may never love Him in return.

You may feel hurt, lonely, or betrayed, but know that the One who created you knows exactly how you feel. He beared the ultimate betrayal and hurt humanly possible. When you feel alone – He is there. When you have been betrayed – Turn to Him. When there is hurt in your life – Know He is there to comfort you. 

Christ did not hold a grudge against those who did Him wrong. He turned around and did the unthinkable. He loved them. He served them. He forgave them. 

We, in turn, must follow His example. Love those who do not love us. Serve those who do not serve us. We must forgive those who wrong us. We must continue on this path of becoming more like Him, no matter how difficult it may be.

In All Things Give Thanks

Just as the natural world has seasons, so do we as human beings. There are different times of our lives that each serve a particular purpose. In the church world, you will often hear people talk about the “season” their in. We talk about it so much it’s almost become yet another cliche. 

In his poem, “Flower Chorus,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The promises of God are buried underground like the dead flowers of winter that blossom in spring.”

This quote reminds me of the seasons of a person’s life. It is sometimes necessary for God to hide us away to protect us. In 1 Samuel 23, we see where God hide David away in the caves of the wilderness. He did not hide him out of spite, but for his own protection. If David had been out in the open, he would have been captured and killed. We see many times throughout David’s life where he was hidden away for protection. 

However, David did not spend his entire life hidden away. He was brought up out of the wilderness to rule God’s people. 

If you’re in a waiting season, don’t rush. 

If you’re in a season of being hidden, appreciate it. 

If you’re in a season of growth, accept the challenges. 

If you’re in a season of loneliness, realize God is always with you. 

If you’re in a season of prosperity, don’t take it for granted. 

If you’re in a season of fulfillment, don’t forget to honor God.

In ALL things, praise and thank the Lord. 

Let It Go

“Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let them know.” – Elsa from the ever popular Frozen

In honor of everyone’s favorite ice queen returning to the big screen this weekend, let’s talk about vulnerability. If you’re anything like me, you were completely and totally obsessed with Frozen when it first released. Plus, as a former Disney Cast Member, I think I have a valid excuse, haha. 

The quote by Elsa perfectly describes the attitude leaders tend to have about letting people into the personal aspects of their life. It can be so easy to just build up the wall to the point where you don’t have to be personally involved.

Easiness = Cowardliness

During my undergrad, I took Student Leadership Development classes by one of the most amazing, leadership professors I’ve ever encountered, Dr. Mike Hayes. I was pushed beyond what I could have imagined. A continuous theme of the class was opening up and being vulnerable. We examined leaders across history who were both vulnerable and put up a facade. 

As leaders it can be so easy to put up a facade as if everything is perfect and nothing is going wrong so that we can help those around us who are truly in need. Leaders tend to not want to be thought of as just like everyone else. Because honestly, who wants to be helped by someone who is broken and doesn’t have everything together??? (In case you didn’t catch that… TOTAL SARCASM). We need leaders who are willing to get raw, honest, and down in the dirt with those around them. 

Too often, we can get so caught up in helping others fix their problems that we neglect to inwardly reflect on what is going on inside of ourselves. The people in our lives will respect us and benefit even more so if we finally come to the realization that in order for us to be fully effective, we must tear the wall down and be vulnerable. Sharing with others opens you up to a point of vulnerability and they begin to see your heart and passions.

Openness = Vulnerability

Vulnerability = Possible Pain

It takes a lot of self-confidence and self-awareness to look inwards. Once you take a look at yourself, you will be able to help those in your care more effectively. The process may be painful and tedious, but the end results will leave you more fulfilled and satisfied. 

This quote perfectly sums it all up, “You never truly understand someone until you see them as a whole. When people inevitably open up completely, you start seeing every shade of them. Not the curated version that is feasible to uphold for an hour, for a lunch date, for a night out, but who they are at 2 a.m. on a particularly rough night or the way they get sick to their stomach when they’re really stressed out, vantage points usually reserved for their bedrooms back home.” It is easy to hide when kept at a distance, but once you become intimate and personal there is nowhere to hide, you must become raw and exposed – REAL.

You never know, the thing you try to hide the most might just be the thing that will help someone else overcome their toughest hurdle, or allow them to finally let go of the chains binding them and run fully into His arms. Your story and struggles may be the example someone needs to continue pushing on. There is no gain in placing yourself on a pedestal above the world. Be careful who you allow into your heart, soul, and mind. There must be a method to the madness. Allowing everyone into the intimate areas of your life can be just as harmful as putting up walls. Choose wisely and use discernment in all things, but learn to let people in to the real you. 

Never let the fear of rejection and vulnerability keep you from fulfilling the call God has place on your life. In the words of the ice queen herself, let it go.