The #1 Reason We Should Love Those Who Hurt Us

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 No comments

I was talking to a friend recently who was expressing frustration toward someone who had hurt them deeply. The hurt had seeped even further down and turned to bitterness, as hurt so often does. The loved-one who caused the hurt now seemed more like an enemy to my friend. And if I'm being completely real, I don't blame my friend for being angry, hurt, or frustrated. I don't even blame her for seeing them as an enemy. But as I lay in bed days later, I started thinking about her situation again. I started thinking about how often love ends up feeling like a burden. In those moments, and it feels unreasonable that we should be called to love those who hurt us.

I genuinely hurt for my friend. I want to be able to fix it for them, and make the deep-rooted pain go away. But I realized something as I continued to think about her situation: she needs to remember the truth about love.

How do you love someone who has hurt you? And why is it important? #love #Christianity #faith

The Truth About Love

As much as we would like to think otherwise, when people hurt us, we are still commanded to love them. We must realize that whether they are close friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances, Jesus calls His people to live in a counter-cultural way. He calls us to love those who persecute us and pray for those who have wounded us.

Love is not supposed to be a burden. It's easy to understand why it feels that way sometimes. Love can be the hardest thing to practice when someone ignores us, slanders us, or deceives us. But friends, if you claim the name of Christ, you are called to a higher way of living. You are called to a life that proclaims the name of Jesus instead of proclaiming your bitterness.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. #faith #Christianity

Love Is A Mission Field

I know this can be so incredibly hard, but in my opinion, this is the most important reason to love those who have hurt us. Love really is a mission field. That friend who spread rumors about you? Love them. That co-worker that said nasty things to you? Love them. That parent who treated you like you were unworthy of their love? Love them. That spouse who ignores you, makes you feel alone, and doesn't help you around the house? Love them.
You have a divine opportunity to show the love of Jesus to people who totally don't get it. You have the privilege of loving them in a way that they don't expect or deserve to be loved.

And why is it a privilege? Because Jesus already gave you and me that same love. He swooped in and loved us abundantly before we knew we needed it, and before we wanted it. He gave himself up in complete sacrifice while we were still scorning him. Trust me: Jesus can relate to your hurt. Jesus has been hurt just as badly by you (and me), as we've ever been hurt in our entire life. And guess what! He loved us anyway, as a sign of his goodness and salvation.

And aren't we called to live like Christ? Aren't we called to love our enemies as Jesus loved us? And isn't loving people who have hurt us one of the most grand testimonies we could ever display for the saving grace of Jesus?

Friend, if you have been hurt and your hurt has turned to bitterness, you are not alone. But you cannot hold on to that bitterness. Not only will it eat you alive, but it will also prevent you from doing exactly what you've been called to do: sharing Jesus with others. So whether you've been hurt by a spouse, a friend, a family member, or someone else entirely, stop thinking of yourself as a victim and start thinking of yourself as a missionary. That's what you are, and the greatest example of that mission is a love that runs deeper than your hurt.

*NOTE: This is not in any way a call to ignore sin. You can (and should) address destructive habits in relationships (i.e. porn or infidelity in marriage, gossip and slander in friendships and family, etc.). But it is entirely possible to release grudges and love people deeply in action and in word while still addressing those sins. Your attitude and actions towards them can shower the love of Christ without ignoring deeper problems.
And also, please know that if you are being abused, you are not called to stay in that situation. Get help. Don't continue being abused for the sake of "love". In those cases, love means getting yourself safe, and hopefully getting some help for the other person.

When someone hurts us, we have the opportunity to love them in order to show the love of Christ to them. Love is a mission field. | #love #faith #Christianity

3 Truths You Need to Know About Mental Illness

Friday, April 6, 2018 No comments

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Everything in this post is my opinion, and comes from my own experience. If you have any questions or concerns about your mental health, consult a doctor. While my advice may be beneficial, it is NOT to replace professional help.

Hi. My name is Kristin and I struggle with depression, anxiety, and a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Most days, mental illness does not rule my life. Most of the time, I function normally and am a pretty happy-camper. But there are moments where that isn't true. And there have been times in my life of prolonged, intense struggle with my illnesses.

Though mental illness is a giant pain in the tush, I really do believe that a benefit to struggling in this area is that I can try to help bridge the gap between those who struggle with mental health and those who do not.

There are so many facets that go into the human brain, and so many reasons that people may struggle. But I also know that it is very hard for well-meaning friends and family to know how to help their loved-ones who struggle mentally and emotionally. They want to, but the "how" seems so unclear.

So today, I'm laying out 3 truths that people need to know about mental illness. Whether you struggle yourself or know someone who does, this post is for you.

3 Truths You Should Know About Mental Illness and Mental Health | #faith #Christianity #mentalhealth #mentalillness

Each Person's Struggle Is Different

If you were to put 5 people in the same room who were all diagnosed with anxiety and depression, not one of those cases would be the same. Yes, they would all have the same general diagnosis, and they may even be on the same medications, but at their core, they are all struggling in different ways. One person's condition may stem from a childhood trauma, while another person may have no "real reason" for the struggle other than a chemical imbalance. 

Even when two people have a similar root cause (i.e. childhood trauma), each individual person is still going to vary in their triggers, their personalities, and the way they handle their tougher days with depression and anxiety.

The moral of the story? Be sensitive and give grace to those who struggle with mental illness, and try to learn what helps each individual most on their journey.

Most People Don't Want To Misuse Their Illness

I think that most people have met someone who uses mental illness as a crutch, as an excuse to treat others poorly, or both. Those people are incredibly frustrating not only because they are just hard to deal with in general, but also because they give people with mental illness a bad name.

Not everyone you meet with a mental illness wants to take advantage of you. In fact, most people want to live normal lives, with as little disturbance from their illness as possible. 

And though I can only speak for myself, I would want my friends to tell me if I were driving them crazy or making them feel as if I were allowing my struggle with anxiety to exploit their kindness or take advantage of them. I would want them to gently show me the error of my ways, and ask that I work on improving. My hope is that other people with anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. would desire the same from their friends.

We Can't Always Explain Or Control Our Feelings

Sometimes, I will wake up anxious for absolutely no reason. And a lot of the time, that unexplained anxiety will linger on for the rest of the day. Sometimes, I can do things to beat it- or at least take my mind off of it. But there are also times that I will be in a cloud of anxiety that I did not ask for or want.

In these moments, I am still responsible for my actons. I am still responsible for how I treat people and for the decisions I make. I would never claim otherwise. However, something that I would like for people to understand is that you can't always just snap your fingers and change the way you feel, or the emotions you are struggling with.

You can absolutely work to improve your thoughts and outlook, but if you don't even know why you are feeling a certain way, you can't just snap your fingers and make your emotions change. And in the same way, you can't always explain how you are feeling.

That being the case, it's really easy for those of us with mental illness to hide away because we are scared that people just won't understand. But it's really important for people with mental illness not to retreat and hide, just as it is important for those who don't struggle with it to keep pursuing their loved ones, even when they don't fully understand what they are going through.

3 Things You Should Know About Mental Illness | Giving grace to others | #mentalillness #mentalhealth #faith


Mental illness is a tricky thing. It's something that some people take advantage of. Some people use their own illness for manipulative purposes and, unfortunately, this fact makes mental illness harder to address and explain to others. Furthermore, this can sometimes serve to invalidate the struggles of those who genuinely seek to live normal lives and be a blessing to the world around them.

But despite the fact that this subject is so tricky, I would like to encourage all of you to seek to help, encourage, and understand each other. For those of you who struggle with mental illness: strive to take care of yourself. Do your part in healing or managing your symptoms. Remember that your loved ones are doing their best to understand, and give them grace when they fail or struggle to know what to do.

And to those who don't struggle with mental illness, remember not to lump everyone with mental illnesses into the same category. Remember that most people aren't trying to milk their struggles for all they're worth, nor do they want to burden you. But also know that if they are being a consistent burden (and you know them well enough), it's okay to gently address the matter. It's okay to tell your friend how you are feeling too. I can't promise how they will respond, but if they are a person who doesn't want to take advantage of others, I'm prone to think they will receive the criticism and strive to do better.

So friends, give each other grace. Wherever you find yourself, treat others with love, patience, and kindness. That will go a long way.

3 Things You Should Know About Mental Health (that a lot of people don't talk about). | Mental illness doesn't need to be taboo. | #faith #mentalhealth

How Should Christians Handle Their Anger? Lessons Learned from the Furious Christian

Friday, March 30, 2018 No comments

Have you ever been so angry that you couldn't see straight? Have you ever been so furious about an issue that, even after years have passed, you still find yourself shaking and grinding your teeth every time you think about it? Whether someone has wronged you, wronged a loved one, or wronged an entire people group, anger is incredibly hard to overcome.

I've definitely been there. And honestly, forgiveness can end up being a lifelong process in some cases. But there are lessons to be learned when we are angry, and there are certainly both right ways and wrong ways to handle it. Want to know more about what made me a furious Christian and how I ended up handling it? Keep reading.

The Backstory

In the Fall of 2013, my Nana- a true Proverbs 31 woman- had a terrible stroke. She couldn't talk, her entire right side was paralyzed, she couldn't eat, and she couldn't even swallow. We thought we had lost her; I have never been so scared. It was so hard to watch her struggle, in pain, and miserable.

She was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. The doctors were eventually able to remove the feeding tube, and by the grace and healing of God, Nana started to improve.

Now, several years after that stroke, Nana is doing so much better. She can walk short distances with a walker, she can eat a normal meal, she has some movement back on her right side, and she can speak, though it is still hard to understand her sometimes. I am so proud of her. She has worked so hard and as God has been healing, she has also been doing what she can to improve.

But, I realized something recently... I am very angry. Not at God. Not at Nana. Not at her circumstances (well, maybe a little)...but really, I am angry at the church she attended. Not just angry- I'm furious.

How should Christians handle their anger? What lessons can we learn when we are furious? #faith #anger #forgiveness

Why I'm Furious

My Nana was a member of her church for 20 years. She was an integral part of the church and did all she could to help. But when Nana had her stroke, even though there are a couple hundred people who attend this certain church, I can count on my hands how many people have called, visited, or sent a card to her in the last four years.

What exactly is the church for, if not to worship God and be the hands and feet of Christ? We are called to help the hurting, and show compassion to the broken-hearted. But they are sure to have their dinners, their "ladies night out", their youth group outings, and their movie nights, but they can't go visit or check on a woman who nearly died and now has to sit in a wheel-chair all day? Apparently, that's too hard for them and that's not okay. That is not godly. That is not what church is for.

Forgiveness Is Hard

I am so furious I cannot see straight. Every time I think about it I shake, my blood pressure rises, and I grind my teeth. But, I must forgive. God calls me to forgive and I cannot live my life embittered because of this. After-all, my Nana has already forgiven. She has let it go. So why shouldn't I?

Christ died on the cross and forgave me for all of my wrong doings- all of my impure thoughts, my selfish desires, my ungodly intentions. There are hundreds of things I could repent for every single day of my life, because I am a broken human being. So I have no right to condemn people for not being perfect- for letting someone slip through the cracks.
I forgive. I will let go with God's help and continue to forgive with God's help. 

What We Can Learn

But the story doesn't end there. I really believe that this can also serve as a lesson for the church. Be aware of your actions. I have all ideas that none of those church members meant to ignore my Nana's pain. They never once intended to hurt her; but they did. So, this is a moment that we as Christians, and as a body of believers, can look at what we are doing: Are we so focused on our fellowship and church events that we forget to help the needy and reach out to the hurting? Is there someone we are letting slip through the cracks who needs love, and who needs to see that people care? Let's not just be aware; let's fix it! 

I really mean that. I know for a fact that there are people in my life who I have unintentionally hurt. I know that there are people who have felt abandoned by me. I have made the same mistake my Nana's church made, and I want to use my anger towards her situation to make me better at caring for those who are hurting.

And this is also a lesson for people to forgive. I can be angry all I want to, but then I am in sin but becoming bitter and obsessed with that anger. I am not sinning any less than the people I am angry at if I refuse to forgive. It's simply a different kind of sin. So let go. Forgive.

A Very Important Note

No one is perfect. No church is perfect. And honestly, I feel confident that many of the people in that church are terrific people. I know some of them personally and they are people that I love and admire. They are people who go to great lengths to serve the Lord and glorify Him. They aren't bad people. They simply missed the mark on this one.

Some people will read this and think "see, that is why I don't go to church"...but that isn't right either. We don't need to end church. We need to reform it. We need to recognize the flaws and correct them. So don't just reject church as bad and stop going. God called us to fellowship in a body of believers, even though he knew how broken and sinful we all are. He gave this command for our own good. We need each other. So we cannot use our hurt as an excuse to reject the organized church; instead, we need to be willing to examine ourselves and ask the tough questions: what can I do better? What/who am I over-looking? Who am I not forgiving? Who is hurting right in front of my eyes? And after we ask those questions, the next question to follow should be, "God, how can I help? What can I do? Lord, show me!".

These are the lessons I've learned from being a furious Christian. Now it's time to forgive. It's time to let go. It's time to examine. And it's time to correct what's broken.

There are many lessons we can learn from our anger if we just take the time to reflect. #Faith #Christianity #Anger

The Importance of Easter in the Christian Faith

Friday, March 23, 2018 No comments

The Christian faith is centered around the things that are celebrated at Easter: Jesus came. Jesus Died. Jesus defeated death. Jesus Rose from the Dead. And Jesus promises to come back for His people. Easter is a time of celebrating the truths that we hold dear to our hearts, and focusing on His promises of eternal life to us. The tenants of Easter are the crux of the Christian faith.

Unfortunately though, we often get side-tracked on Easter just as we do on Christmas. Between the gift-guides for age-appropriate Easter baskets, egg-dying or egg-filling (or both), and all the candy, it's easy to see why Jesus isn't always center-stage even when we intend Him to be.

I don't think Easter egg hunts or Easter baskets are bad in and of themselves. I grew up with these things and there are a lot of great memories I hold because of it. But I do think that it's important that we examine ourselves and our families and make sure we are doing everything in our power to put Jesus first. Maybe that means saving the Easter baskets until the very end of the day (or giving them the night before). Maybe that means reading the story of Jesus' death and resurrection every day of the week leading up to Easter. Or maybe that means you actually do skip the treats and hunts if you are finding it impossible to keep your family's priorities straight.

Jesus comes first. We must do everything we can to celebrate Him above all else. Not because gifts and activities are bad, but because the importance of Easter in the Christian faith is too big to skim over- it's too big to let other things take it's place.

Easter is central in the Christian faith. But what's really so important about Easter? Shouldn't we be celebrating Jesus everyday? Find out why the tenants of Easter are the crux of the Christian faith. #faith #Christianity #Easter

The True Meaning of Easter

Jesus, the Son of the Creator of the universe, was betrayed by one of His own, delivered into the hands of angry men, and was hung by nails onto a wooden cross. He hung there until He died. He was mocked, ridiculed, and questioned. His God-hood was doubted. "If you are really the Son of God, then get down from that cross", they jeered at Him (Matt. 27:40). And He could have. He had the power to. But you see, if Jesus had removed Himself from the Cross (something I'm sure He would have loved to do), we would not have hope.

The whole point of Jesus being on this earth was to be our sacrifice. To be our High Priest. In the Old Testament, God's people made animal sacrifices to God in repentance for their sins,since death was the punishment for sin. But God knew that we needed and sacrifice that was more effective and permanent. He knew we needed someone completely perfect and innocent to take our place as a holy sacrifice.

Because of Jesus' sacrifice, God now looks at us as holy children. The death Jesus suffered was accepted as the punishment that we deserved. Now, when God looks upon us (if we believe in Jesus for what He did for us), He doesn't see our wrong-doing, our selfish hearts, or our impure intentions. Instead, He sees the righteousness of Christ reflecting off of us. And God is pleased by it all.

But Easter is not just about Christ's death; it's also about His resurrection. If Christ had died, but wasn't powerful enough to overcome death and hell (the punishment for sin), we would still have no hope. Death had to be defeated. This doesn't mean that people won't die physically, it means people don't have to die spiritually. Hell was defeated. Jesus, when He rose from the dead, gained victory over eternal punishment. Jesus overcame death and rose back to heaven to be with God the Father. Now we have victory through Him! Praise be to God!

So When You Celebrate Easter...

It's okay to hide eggs and give your kids candy, and it's okay to have a big family lunch. What's not okay, is for those things to be the focus. If all your kids know about Easter is candy, bunnies, and eggs, there's a problem. If you are more excited about Easter lunch than your salvation, there's a problem. Jesus should be front and center. Do whatever you can to make Him such.

Enjoy your Easter, enjoy your family, but most of all, praise Jesus and give Him glory in all you do! Thank God for giving His son, and share this gift with everyone you know- not just on Easter Sunday, but everyday for the rest of your lives!

Want to read the whole gospel story? Check out John chapters 19 & 20

Why It Matters That Jesus Is Eternal

Monday, March 19, 2018 No comments

"The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:23-25 (ESV)

Have you ever thought about the ever-lasting nature of Jesus? Have you ever wondered if it matters that Jesus will live forever? Honestly, I hadn't thought too much about it. I mean, I knew that Jesus had to rise from the dead and defeat death, but I've never pondered whether or not it mattered that He will never die now that He has defeated death. I mean, couldn't God the Father live on and that be enough?

The short answer is no, that wouldn't be enough. Jesus is God. And God cannot be eternally destroyed.

Furthermore, according to Hebrews 7, Jesus' immortality is a huge factor in our salvation and in our ability to come to God with confidence. I'm sure if someone had asked me if it mattered that Jesus is eternal, I probably would have said "yes". But until Bible study this week, I wouldn't have been able to tell them why I thought that.

Thankfully though, this passage taught me the "why" I didn't know before, and hopefully it will encourage you too!

Does it matter that Jesus is eternal? As our High Priest and our Intercessor, it does. Here's why... | #faith #Christianity #eternity

Jesus' Divinity Prevails

Jesus is both 100% human and 100% God. Since he was human, he went through the same tests, trials, and experiences that we go through today. But since He is also fully God (and is connected to God the Father in a way that is inseparable), He couldn't be obliterated. Yes, He certainly died on the cross, but after defeating death there by rising again, He will now never die again. He won. His divinity prevailed and always will prevail. After all, a god who is destructible isn't much of a god at all.

We Need a Constant Intercessor

If we get really honest with ourselves, we will find that we don't just sin occasionally- we sin constantly. Even the "best" Christians have daily struggles with something. Whether it be pride, selfishness, impure motives, jealously, or whatever else you can think of, every Christian struggles with one thing or another. We all suffer from the frailness of humanity.

But Jesus, the only human to never sin, came in and changed everything. And because He is our ever-lasting High Priest, He intercedes for us forever. Whereas in the Old Testament, the human high priests would eventually die of old age, and would have to be replaced by someone else, we never have to worry about who will help us next time, because we know it will always be Jesus.

We don't have to worry about whether or not the new priest is going to do a good job. We don't have to worry about how long the new priest might live. Our High Priest is the exalted Son of God, and He lives on forever.

His eternal nature (along with the promise that He made to us) ensures that He will be our constant intercessor, so that we can always approach God with confidence.

We Want Him "In Office"

In politics, it isn't always a good thing to have no term limits, because if someone gets into office who is terrible at their job, but they keep getting voted back in because of their connections, it can cause a lot of issues. Thankfully though, since Jesus is both God and eternal, we can rest assured that not only will Jesus be our intercessor forever, but that He will do the job perfectly.

Jesus being a priest was never something I really reflected on until starting this Bible study. Savior? Yes. Lord? Yes. Lion and Lamb? Yes. But I am discovering that His priesthood is actually incredibly important as well. Without it, there would be a component missing that was prophesied about long before Jesus came to earth. And without Jesus' eternal nature, His priesthood wouldn't last. But God had already thought that one through, and He made sure that we had exactly what we needed. He gave us an eternal intercessor who will never leave His office.

Question: Have you ever thought about the importance of Jesus' eternal nature? What does this change (if anything) about your view of Jesus? 

This post is part of the Blogging Through The Bible Linkup, hosted by Ally of The Speckled Goat. To read more posts in this link-up, or to learn how to join in yourself, visit The Speckled Goat.

Jesus is eternal- meaning He will live forever. This truth has a big impact on our salvation and our ability to trust Jesus completely. Find out why by reading the full post. | #faith #Christianity

5 Ways to Fight Loneliness As An Extrovert

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 No comments

I am a person who needs a lot of down-time. I've always been pretty low-energy, and having time to rest and lounge has always been critical to my sanity. However, having said that, I'm still definitely an extrovert overall. I need interaction with humans on a weekly basis (ones with the ability to have a conversation, unlike the infant I care for). When I don't stay connected with people, I become extremely lonely and struggle more with depression. But ever since we moved to Charlotte two and a half years ago, loneliness has been a pretty big part of my life, and something I have had to work hard to fight against.

The hubby and I have completely different work schedules, which means that we are rarely home at the same times. I have struggled to make many friends, which has been sort of a blow to the ego since I am usually a social butterfly. And then even the awesome friends that I have made are super busy too, so I don't really get to see them either. It's not anyone's fault; it's just part of adulting. But honestly, knowing that fact didn't change my outlook.

I've spent more time than I care to admit pouting that I'm lonely and that "no one wants to spend time with me". But that got me nowhere, because I was pouting over something that wasn't even true, and spending more time thinking about my loneliness than I was trying to change my situation.

God has provided me with more opportunities to be surrounded by godly friends lately, and I am very thankful for that. But if I get real with myself, some of the opportunities were already there, and I was just choosing to stay in my funk instead of paying attention to ways to fight the loneliness. Because there are always going to be ways to fight it, and there will also always be opportunities to choose to pout about how our "extroverted needs" aren't being met. We need to choose wisely and make sure we are doing our part in fighting our struggles.
So today, join me as I explore 5 ways that extroverts can fight loneliness.

5 Ways to Fight Loneliness as an Extrovert | #Loneliness #Extrovert #Faith

Be Open to Multiple Friendships

When I meet someone who I feel that I could be really good friends with, I'm pretty good about pursuing community with them. I invite them places, ask them how they are doing, and just stay in contact. But sometimes, I end up pursuing a friendship with that one person, without realizing that I could actually be pursuing several friendships at once.

That one friend can't go to lunch? Then why not see if someone else you'd like to get to know better can go instead. Your closest friend had to cancel plans? Then try asking the new woman at work if she'd like to grab coffee with you. There's no reason to ignore opportunities for friendship (and for encouraging others) simply because your plans with someone else didn't pan out.

Don't Assume It's About You

I've experienced a lot of cancelled plans in the last couple of years. I've had multiple people just forget that we had plans or double-book themselves and have to cancel on me because of it. And truthfully, it makes me feel like a loser, and like I'm easily forgotten. And while it's true that sometimes people just aren't going to like me or jive with me, I also know that I tend to assume the worst when people don't end up hanging out with me.

But guess what: life isn't all about Kristin Cook. Nor is it all about you. People have lots going on in their lives, just like I have plenty going on in mine. Cancelled or forgotten plans could be caused by so many different factors.

So if you are like me, remember that just because someone can't hang out with you doesn't mean they don't like you. They may be struggling emotionally, going through hard family times, not feeling well, or are so tired they can't see straight. Give grace to them and know that they probably had a good reason for cancelling on you. Most of the time, it's probably not about us- we just make it into that with our worrying.

Join a Bible Study (or Two)

The best thing I've done since moving to Charlotte is that I joined a women's Bible study at my husband's seminary. It has been both spiritually and relationally enriching. I have found myself less lonely during the time I've been attending and I have met some genuinely amazing women through it.

Then on top of that, we have also been trying to become a little more involved with our community group from church, and that has been an encouragement too.

Obviously, not all Bible studies are the same, and you do have to be wise in what you choose, since some are far more focused on Jesus than others. However, getting involved in a Bible study has not only been feeding my need for diving into God's word more, but it has also brought me the community and interaction that my extroverted heart has been longing for.

Click here to watch the Hebrews Bible study I attend. It's truly fantastic!

Welcome People Into Your Home

Some people don't really have the ability to invite you over to their home, nor do they have the budget to go out and do something. That means that the only other location is at your house. But most people feel impolite inviting themselves over to someone's home, so they just don't initiate any sort of interaction.

That means that the ball is in your court. Invite people to your home. Let them know that they are welcomed and loved. And don't fall into the trap of believing that your house has to look perfect before someone can come over. Hospitality isn't about your house looking like the picture-perfect Joanna Gaines home. It's about kindness, serving others, welcoming others into your space, and loving them well.

Be Joyful and Patient In Dry Seasons

Sometimes, we need to be lonely. Sometimes, God allows us to feel alone so that we will realize that He knows what it's like to feel lonely AND that HE is enough to break through the loneliness we are feeling. It's very unlikely that the loneliness will last forever, but we do still need to accept that God really is enough- even for the extrovert.

At the end of the day, we have to trust Him and His timing, knowing that He will bring people into our lives that He knows we need. He created us for community, and He will typically provide that for us in his perfect timing. But we were also made for Him, and He is always there. Only He can fill the loneliness in our hearts, and He will do so as we seek Him.

In short, fighting loneliness as an extrovert (or for anyone, really), is about being proactive. Self-pity and pouting don't work. Waiting for everyone to come to you is silly and unrealistic. Trust God and be patient in your dry and lonely seasons, while still looking for opportunities to be proactive.

Have you gone through times of loneliness? How did you shake it off? Or are you still trying to figure out how to fight it? Comment below. And remember, you are loved!

Beat the blues, Fight Loneliness, Extrovert | #faith #loneliness #extrovert

3 Ways to Live a Life Defined By God's Promises

Friday, March 9, 2018 No comments

When I read the Bible, there are some things that stick out to me as "the big topics" and then other details that I skip right over because they seem insignificant. But sometimes the small things can speak to us more than we expected, and that's exactly what happened to me when a sweet friend pointed out a verse about God's promises that I would have just skipped right over; a verse that tells us more about what should define us as believers.

Growing up, I was always taught that God's promises were for me and for all his children. I was taught to take hold of the promises for myself. I was taught to remember those promises when times were tough. And all of this was true, and I'm thankful that I was taught that concept. But what I didn't ever realize, was that as a Christian, I was also someone who possessed a treasure that needed to be tended to. I didn't understand that what defined me more than anything was the fact that I possessed these promises- that they were mine.

Honestly, Hebrews 7 (the chapter we were studying together) isn't about Abraham or being a "keeper of the promises". The chapter is actually about a priest in the Old Testament that pointed to Jesus in the New Testament. And while that's all very interesting, like I said, this is more about a very minor detail that a friend pointed out to me. It's a side point. But I think it's one that needs highlighting.

In Hebrews 7:6, the author mentions Abraham and names him "the one who had the promises". Easy to skip over, right? I certainly would have. But my friend pointed out to me that this descriptor of Abraham was such a special one. Abraham was many things. He was a Hebrew, he was the father of many nations. He was a husband, a dad, a leader, and a very important figure to the Jewish people. But the author (and more importantly, God) chose to label Abraham as "the one who had the promises". In other words, he was the keeper of God's promises. He possessed them. They were his. He was defined by God and the promises that God had made to him. 

That got me thinking: what do people know me by? How would people describe me? Sure, I'm a woman. I'm a wife. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister, niece, cousin, friend, and dog-mom. But none of those things matter nearly as much as the truth that I have a special treasure that I can share with the world. And at the end of the day, I want people to know me as a faithful keeper of God's promises more than anything else. 

My friend and I were so struck by this! Would people ever look at our lives and define us as "those who hold God's promises"? Are we faithful keepers of the promise? Do we live them out in our daily lives? Plus, what does it even mean to be a keeper of God's promises, and how can we succeed at doing that? Keep reading to find out.

Do you live as one who possesses the promises of God? Did you know that even Abraham was described and defined by the promises of God that he had in his life? Find out more at The Peculiar Treasure! #Biblestudy #faith #Christianity

Stay Familiar with Them

In order to live a life in which we are defined by the promises of God, we need to familiarize ourselves with God's truths: His saving grace, His commandments, His Protection, and His gifts. He promises us so many things in His word, but if we don't even know what His word says about us and about what He promises us, then how can we live our lives in light of those promises?

Staying in God's word and increasing our biblical knowledge is critical to living a life in which we can truly say that we have been faithful "keepers of the promises".

Live It Out

What do people see when they look at our lives? Do they see love, joy, peace, patience, and self-control? Or do they see frown lines, worry, anger, and lots of stress? We all go through hard things, but we can always choose to live with joy and gladness because of the promise of salvation and love we have received from God.

Of course it won't be easy. But friends, a faithful keeper of the promises trusts God even when things are hard. Abraham, as "the one who had the promises", was not perfect. He struggled with sin and he made mistakes. But he persevered, held on to what he knew to be true, and lived out the truths of God despite life's uncertainty.

Share with Others

Being a keeper of the promises or "the one who has the promises" means that we have a hope that should not be kept to ourselves. Part of possessing the promises of God and living a life defined by those promises means sharing them with others. We have something special- incredible, really- and our heart should be that others become "keepers of the promises" too. We should want everyone we know to live a life defined by God's promises and to join us as "the one's who have the promises". To accomplish this, we need to share what we've been given. We can't be stingy, nor should we want to be.

Just like Abraham possessed God's promises in the Old Testament, I am a keeper of God's promises. All of us who are in Christ are "the ones who have the promises". Know them, grab onto them, live them out, and share them with others.

This post is part of the Blogging Through the Bible series and linkup, which you can find over at The Speckled Goat. I love being a part of this and would encourage you to check it out!