Seek Opinions

Not many things Christians say upset me more than this: “I don’t care what others think of me.”

Really? You don’t? You don’t care if others see you as a follower of Christ? You don’t care if others see you as just another claimed Christian who lives religiously but not differently? You don’t care if your actions make others stop and think about what they are doing? You don’t care if you simply keep your relationship with Christ hidden and continue to live in sync with the crowd?

I’m aware that many people who say this are referring to not letting worldly opinions affect their words or actions. Don’t count me out; I get stuck in this boat sometimes, too. We don’t want to have to worry about what our peers think of us. We want to be able to live a happy, joyful life, while blocking out all negativity.

But you know what? Blocking out those who think poorly of us is not solving any problems. Declaring that we are independent and “don’t care what others think of us” is not okay. We need to be constantly monitoring our thoughts, words, and actions. We need to become aware of how our lives are affecting the lives of others. If we have been saying things that are offending someone, it is imperative for us to recognize the pain or confusion we may be causing.

There is a distinct difference between caring how others see you, and letting the opinions of others keep you from living how you know God intended for you to live. There is a difference between welcoming people’s views on how they see you, and allowing those views to paralyze you and send you into silence.

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”       – Ephesians 4:1-3

So, among believers and nonbelievers alike, we must be aware of how our lives reflect that of Jesus Christ. We need to change if we are disrupting the unity of the Body. We must be gentle with those who don’t believe in the Lord, and we need to care about their opinions. It is totally necessary for us to be open to turn our lives inside out if that is what it takes to live a life worthy of our calling. It’s time we take a stand and seek the thoughts of us that come from non-believers. It’s time we make an effort to understand how they see us so that we can then welcome God to do miraculous works in those areas of our lives that need to change in order to bring glory to Him and obtain new brothers and sisters in Christ.

Whatever you do, do not become numb to the fact that there are always people watching you. There are always people looking at you as a Christ follower, and what they see is how they view the Ruler of the Heavens. Do not fall into the trap of saying you don’t care what others think of you. As children of God, we need to care. And our lives need to reflect that.

Follow the Irrational

  People tell me I’m crazy. They think I’m insane. Why? Because I believe in the impossible. I believe in walking away from my current life to complete tasks that have never been done. I am a daughter of the King, and He hasn’t called me to follow the paths others have taken. He hasn’t asked me to do possible things. He’s called me to follow the paths full of impossibility and struggles that scare many away. But what people don’t understand is that being “crazy” and “insane” is so much fun. The joy of completely relying on God’s miraculous power covers any and all issues that may arise. The intimacy with Him that emerges from believing in what the world considers to be impossible has no explanation.

What is impossible, anyways? Nothing is impossible. It says so multiple times in the Bible. Our teachers told us that growing up. We’ve heard it reiterated from the mouths of pastors, parents, and peers alike. We say we believe it- that nothing is impossible with God. We even whisper it to our Father in the quiet of the night. We get excited that He is going to move. We dream about the things that will be accomplished in the world, simply because nothing is impossible.

But what is a dream without reality? What is a thought without action? And what is belief without trust?

It’s meaningless. Dreams wouldn’t make sense knowing that reality won’t allow it to happen. Thoughts would be pointless if actions couldn’t be taken. And beliefs wouldn’t exist if you didn’t trust they were true.

So who is really the crazy one here? The one who believes in the impossible? The one who runs towards our God in heaven and is willing to look absolutely ridiculous in the world’s eyes? The one who turns his back on rationality so the face of God is more clear? Or is it the one who dreams and doesn’t work to make it a reality? The one who thinks up marvelous plans, only to let fear and rationality get it the way? The one who claims to believe but doesn’t actually trust in the Creator of the universe?

Rationality often comes from fear. I believe in the impossible, and sometimes that means saying goodbye to rational thinking. No, don’t forget about it completely; it’s also sometimes important to think logically about things. But Spirit-led thoughts are far greater than man-led thoughts. If you must choose, choose the impossible. Choose the irrational. Choose the miraculous. Choose God.

Follow it, Change it, Love all You Can

  We are confined only by the walls we build ourselves, so why would we ever build any? Why would we even begin to believe it’s a good idea to limit what God does through us? We say we need to believe in ourselves. We say we need to reach for the stars.

Someone please tell me why on earth we don’t live that out. If you have a dream, follow it. If you want to change the world, change it. If you want to let people know they are loved, then love all you can.

Each and every one of us builds up a set of blockades that only distracts us from becoming who God wants us to be and finishing what He wants us to accomplish: We don’t have enough intelligence, we need more money, no one supports our decisions, it’s too dangerous… The list goes on and on. And until we realize that – until we allow our Father to crash down those walls and remove those thoughts from our worldly-focused brains – we will never see what we hope and pray for. We will never see our  Father’s dreams come to life.

I’m begging you to stop using all you have to hold your walls in place. Abandon your life to live for Him and His Kingdom, and I promise the moment you do just that, He will show you His strength. God will be your intelligence, God will provide you with money, God will be all the support you need, and God will protect you from the danger.

There is absolutely no reason for you to limit yourself and stop God’s dream for your life. Fall to your knees in obedience, lift your hands in praise, and walk into any and all situations with confidence that the Lord will be your strength. There is no need to build you own walls in attempt to protect yourself. 

I know it’s cliché, but let go and let God.

Move Every Mountain

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

-Matthew 17:20

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that many of us who call ourselves Christians don’t actually put our faith in God. It’s easy to say we do during the easy days, but when He asks us to do something hard or out of our comfort zones, we automatically think ‘No, I won’t even try that, because it’s not possible for me to do.’

Uhm hello, I’m going to be very blunt here. Why even ask God to guide you if you aren’t willing to get messy? Why tell Him you’re ready to be used, if you aren’t fully and recklessly abandoning everything you have for Him and His will? If we continue to tell God we won’t do hard things because we aren’t cut out for the job, or because we are afraid, or because someone else can do it better, nothing will ever change.

If you aren’t the answer to your own prayer, you’re the answer to someone else’s prayer. You are the one God will use to do something huge, if you let Him. Don’t buy into the lie that you aren’t a world changer.

Not only do we have to be willing to allow God to use us, but when He tells us where to go and what to do, we need to know that the Holy Spirit dwelling within us is ready to work and change lives.

He WILL use us to heal the sick. Blind eyes WILL be opened, the lame WILL walk, and the dead WILL be raised in the name of Jesus Christ. We will see God give hope to the hopeless and rest to the weary. Every single chain will be broken in His presence.

I hope you believe that. And if you do believe it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO.

“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 14:12

So tell me, what is there to be afraid of? If you want to see miracles happen, look to the Miracle Worker. He will perform miracles through you. It doesn’t matter if you’re in school, working at a factory, running your own business, or traveling the world. God is ready to use you. Go to Him, ask to be used, have faith He will give you a journey, and follow that journey as you trust He will give you the power you need to fulfill it.

A Little Deeper

     I think ’embrace’ needs to be a more common theme in our lives. Embrace your testimony, because God wants to use it to change others’ lives. Use your strengths, because He gave you those to further His Kingdom. Notice your weaknesses, for He wants to grow and strengthen you through them. Seek God’s great love; He desires to share it with you. Smile at your failures in view of the fact that He has something much more extravagant in store than your own success. Don’t be afraid of being broken, because that’s when He gets to build you back up into who He created you to be. But most of all, embrace the fact that He can change you. He will blow your mind. He will show you that what you believed to be your weakness is actually your strength. He will change your passions into what He’s passionate about. He will shake your world if you let Him. So embrace His presence and His voice. Lean in and listen closely to what He has to say. Draw near to Him, for He has drawn near to you. Let Him show you who you actually are, and be open to the move of the Holy Spirit. Go deeper in your relationship with Him. Simply embrace your Father.

Quit Being a Catalyst

photoI don’t know what it is about our society that makes us want to rush our lives, but we do. Think about it. Every time you see a high school (especially junior or senior) or college student, what is first thing you ask them? Yeah, you ask them how they are doing, but I’m talking about immediately after that. It’s a question all students feel like they need an answer to: “Do you know what you are going to do when you graduate?” Don’t pretend you haven’t asked at least one person that dreadful question; I know you have. I’ve done it too. Why is it so dreadful, you ask? Well, because it makes students nervous. And this doesn’t only happen to students. Questions about our futures come up all the time. It forces us to think about what’s going to happen to us in a few years. These questions ultimately make us Christians desire to make our own plans, and make them soon. But that’s not what God desires for us. He wants us to follow Him; to trust Him with our futures. Now, tell me, how can we fully put our trust in God and plan our own lives at the same time? The answer is simple: We can’t. It is not humanly possible to do both at the same time. This is because God loves surprising His children. When we plan our whole lives out, or even just a portion of our lives, we are limiting His ability to throw surprises at us. We tell Him “I’ve got this, I know where you want me to go.” We stop listening for His voice to lead us, and we start becoming numb to it. Then we wonder why we can’t hear it. We get angry that He isn’t making Himself known to us. It creates an ongoing circle of feeling lost.

This happens when we plan even one day ahead. That may sound ridiculous to you, but it’s not. It’s the truth. I’m not saying that we have to sit at home all day every day and wait for God to tell us to get up and do something. I’m saying that while we make plans to hang out with our friends on the weekend and go to dinner with our cousins one evening, we need to be aware that God may have something totally different in store for us. If He asks you to cancel plans you have and points to someone he wants you to have a conversation with instead, do it. We need to be seeking Him and His plan daily. And we, as the Body of Christ, need to be supportive of our friends who may cancel on us due to this happening. Because it will happen. It happens all the time; a lot of us just don’t notice because we don’t want to have to leave our friends. Come on, guys. It’s time to step up and obey God. Stop telling Him no. How do you plan on following His plan for your life if you can’t follow His plan for your day? Focus on the present. Stop being a catalyst in your own and other peoples’ lives. Make God the center of your life. He’s got you. He can see where you’re headed. You may think you can see it, but can you really?

Stop planning for yourself, and start living for God.