Combat Complacency.

I was reading in Haggai the other day and it is the absolute perfect example of complacency. If you don’t know what complacency is, it’s defined as “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.” This can be dangerous in the life of a Christ follower.

Haggai 1:5-9 says “Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”

The Jews never had enough because they didn’t place their satisfaction in the Lord. Rather, they placed it in themselves and in their circumstance. Their priorities were completely misplaced.

It goes on to say in verse 9 “You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.

The Jews spent all of their time and resources rebuilding their own fancy houses while the temple still lays in ruins from its destruction from 70 years ago. So Haggai asks the Jews “are your own houses really of more importance than your allegiance to God?” and gets their priorities in check. So, naturally, they stop building their own houses and begin rebuilding the temple but only do it halfheartedly. It is nothing compared to the glory of the temple that Solomon built 500 years earlier. Haggai’s challenge to the Jews is that it is only by true repentance and covenant faithfulness that their building efforts will result in God bringing His Kingdom and blessing.

Last night, I was at the junior youth group that I lead at and one of the middle schoolers said oh so wisely “when they look for more, they end up having less” during his prayer about people who complain and I was in shock that this is something that a middle schooler comprehends whereas most adults don’t. It was a beautiful reminder that the more you look for satisfaction outside of Jesus, the less you will find.

Someone else last night said “you will always hate your life if you’re the center of it rather than God” and I felt that so deeply. There have been oh so many times in my life—and I’m sure yours too—where I’ve placed myself at the center of my life and after the temporary pleasures and satisfactions and pleasures faded, I began to slowly despise myself. We are not meant to be the center of our own lives so when we place ourselves there, nothing but destruction can come out of it.

But take heart; there is good news. The Lord goes on to say in Haggai 2:5-9 “My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this temple with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this temple (the one that the Jews rebuilt) shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”

Amidst the Jews’ complacency, the Lord still said “My Spirit remains in your midst.” and that is such a beautiful depiction of the God we get to serve. Even amidst the dissatisfaction in Him and even amidst the complacency, His Spirit remains in our midst. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

Rest knowing that even when you’re dissatisfied in Him, He remains satisfied with you. Combat the complacency in your life with desperation for Him and Him alone. Put yourself and your own comforts aside and fully embrace all of who He is and all of who He made you to be. You cannot grow where you’re complacent.

Keep your desperation for the Lord growing. Keep fanning the flame of the fire for Him that is within you. Seek the desire that He has given you to draw near to Him more and more.

If you’re content with where you are in your relationship with the Lord, you’re in a dangerous place. You should always be longing for more of Him. If you’re not, pray that He would give you a deeper desperation for Him. Don’t let a single spark for Him dull within you.

“The soul of the sluggard (complacent) craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” / Proverbs 13:4

So, my question for you is, are you going to crave and get nothing, or are you going to be diligent and be richly supplied? I hope that you’ll choose the latter.

 

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10 Practical Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship With the Lord

Pursuing the Lord is hardly ever easy. It’s most times uncomfortable and inconvenient but He never promised that it’d be easy, He just promised that it’d be worth it.

“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” / Matthew 24:13

GotQuestions says it perfectly: “Through the Holy Spirit, believers receive encouragement, strength to persevere, and reminders of their adoption into the family of God. We know that our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed” (Romans 8:18).”

So, I’m going to give 10 practical steps to strengthen your relationship with the Lord.

1. Listen to worship music.
I made this one number one because it’s huge for me. I love worship music so. freaking. much. It helps me more than anything to be able to participate in the presence of the Lord. Worship music helps me feel connected with the Spirit on a new level. I’m so passionate about worship music and firmly believe that every believer should listen to it! I have a worship playlist that you can listen to here.

2. Pray the second you wake up.
When I wake up, I love to say “Thank You Lord for another day! I will rejoice and be glad in it.” and it shifts my entire morning. There was a time in my life where I listened to one worship song before I got out of bed and I cannot even tell you how huge of a difference it made in my day! I need to start doing it again because I felt so connected with the Lord when I did that. Or read a chapter (or simply even a verse) of the Bible before you get out of bed! Here’s my challenge to you: do this every day for a week straight and see how huge of a difference it makes. I promise you that you’ll feel so much closer to the Lord!

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
We are called into community. We absolutely cannot walk in our relationship with the Lord alone; it’s crucial as followers of Christ to be surrounded by other believers and be constantly edifying one another and holding one another accountable. This is more than church on Sunday. This is frequent and consistent time with other believers who are exhorting you.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” / Hebrews 10:25

4. Be active in His presence DAILY.
You are never outside of God’s presence. He is pursuing you with everything and He’s expecting you to do the same with Him.  His desire is to fill you; if you’re not letting Him, you will feel dry and distant from Him. When you intentionally step into God’s presence, there’s no way you’re going to leave that presence behind.

Worship daily.
The one thing the enemy wants to take in the midst of the attack is your praise; if you lose your praise, you lose the battle.

Dig into the Word daily.
We don’t read the Word of God so that we can know the Word of God, we read the Word of God so we can know the God of the Word.

Pray daily.
Being in communication with Him is one of the most crucial aspects of your relationship with Him; if there’s a lack of communication, you will begin to feel distant from Him. Nothing is greater than to have the opportunity to be in direct communication with the King of the universe; take full advantage of that.

Don’t let yourself go a day without doing these things. If you don’t have enough time in your day to invest into the King of the universe, you need to begin prioritizing. He is the most worthy of our time and remember: He created time so not having enough time in the day to invest in Him is no excuse.

5. Treat others well.
I don’t know about you, but when I uplift others and love them with a Christ-like love, I feel divinely connected to the Lord. He sees our love for one another and rewards it. The Lord’s greatest command to us is to love our neighbor as ourselves. In the midst of the most agonizing pain from the betrayal of Judas, Jesus still said “I’m your friend.” If Jesus loved people through their brokenness and imperfections, we can too.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” / John 15:12-13

6. Journal.
If you don’t already journal, do it. Journaling is so important because if we don’t write down what the Lord speaks, it’s much easier to forget it. And if you’re like me, sometimes words flow much more smoothly when they’re written down rather than spoken out loud! Plus, you’re able to use your creativity (even if you don’t feel like you have any).

7. Be quick to say “yes” to Him.
A lot of times during the day, God will ask us to do small things such as smile at a stranger or pay it forward at Starbucks. These small yes’s are crucial to the Lord. He doesn’t ask anything more of us than our obedience and sometimes it’s such simple obedience that we tend to complicate. 

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” / Luke 16:10

8. Bring your struggles into the light.
What you keep in the darkness stays in the darkness. Nothing’s going to change in your relationship with the Lord if you don’t expose what’s in the dark and let Him free you. When we try to face our battles alone, our relationship with the Lord becomes strained. He has called us to walk with others. He has placed people in your life to pray for you, to encourage you, and to hold you accountable. God sees all, so rather than trying to hide something in the dark, expose it and allow Him to free you from it.

9. Be thankful.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m thankful to the Lord for the small things as much as I am the big, His joy is so evident upon my life and I feel divinely connected with Him. If we’re constantly complaining and seeing the pessimistic side of things, our relationship with the Lord will naturally become strained. Before I come to the Lord in prayer for my requests, I always thank Him for who He is first. Being thankful to the Lord will strengthen your relationship with Him in ways you didn’t even know were possible.

10. Memorize scripture.
Memorizing scripture is so crucial in our walk with the Lord because there will be times where you need to be quickly reminded of scripture, especially when going through hardships. Being able to tackle a lie that the enemy places in our minds with scripture makes such a beautiful difference in our walk with the Lord! When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He combated him with scripture that He memorized. We should do this too!

Ultimately, when you draw near to Him, He draws near to you. Be active, be consistent, and be intentional. As Kari Jobe says “The more I seek you, the more I find you / the more I find you, the more I love you.” Seek Him more and more and you’ll find Him more and more. Remember: all relationships require two-sided effort; the one with the Lord is no different.

 

 

 

 

Blogging Tips & Tricks

So a lot of you have been asking me for a while now what some tips and tricks for blogging are, so I figured I’d just write a blog for you with a few tips that have been of fundamental use in my personal blog. I hope you find these helpful in expanding your own blog!

1. Your title is everything.
Try to come up with something unique, creative and that will draw in readers. An easy way you can do this is by asking yourself “if I were the reader, would this title draw me in?” I like to title my blogs before I write them so the blog stays on topic of the title, but sometimes I think of a better title while I’m writing and that’s totally okay!

2. Keep the featured image interesting and professional looking.
When I first started my blog, I used all of my own photos for my featured images but I just couldn’t keep up so I began snagging photos from Pinterest or Unsplash and it created such a clean and professional look! Make sure not to use over-edited photos, as this is something I see frequently (and ugh, it really makes me cringe). Try to stay away from using photos taken with a phone (I mean, unless it’s a newer gen iPhone because ya know, amazing cameras).

3. Add in a few stand-out quotes here and there.
If you’ve noticed, I do this for every single one of my blogs. I put in tons of short-enough-for-twitter quotes that my readers can quote and post themselves. I make sure that these are the ones which stand out the most in the blog because when they have that extra little spark, it’ll draw in more readers (especially when others quote it).

4. Try to keep it as short as possible.
Ha, if you’re an active reader of my blog, you already know that this is a hard one for me. I always have so much to say but readers tend to lose interest and focus if the blog is too long. If it’s on the longer side, make sure it’s either super interesting or super helpful!

5. Make sure your website is clean, simplistic and never cluttered.
Your website design is everything. If it’s too cluttered and inconsistent, the level of interest will skyrocket down. Less is more. Make sure to keep it as clean, organized and professional looking as possible! Choose a theme that fits your style and stick with it! It can be overwhelming to a viewer to see too many colors, too many photos, too many menus, etc.

6. Try to write about topics that are helpful to others.
If your blog is only about you, your stats won’t end up very high. Write about topics that can help others and that others can relate to! Be creative with this and remember, your blog isn’t about you, it’s about your readers.

7. When you promote a blog, add something more interesting than “new blog post!”
This will spike people’s interests and make them want to read your blog. Rather than promoting it by a simple “new blog!” say something interesting about it! Take a quote from it, explain why you wrote it, etc. Get creative with your promos!

8. Post at night.
Not a ton of people are too deeply invested in social media throughout the day because usually they’re at work or in class just quickly scrolling through. At night, most people are just chilling at home bored anyway, so posting at night will help you get more viewers! I get the most views on my blog around 9pm-12am.

9. Add interesting information about yourself!
Let your readers get to know a little bit about you in your about page! It makes your blog feel much more personal and intimate.

10. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but consistency is key.
Keep your blog alive and active! Try to set a goal for yourself for how many times you want to post on your blog a month and try your hardest to reach that goal! You will get writers block sometimes and that’s okay. Don’t try to force words, let them come naturally. So don’t beat yourself up if you miss a goal, but try to make an attainable one!

And last but not least,

11. Who cares how many readers you have? Just keep writing.
I get that it’s hard to get a lot of views if you don’t have a big follower count on social media, but the more consistently you write, the more readers you will get. Don’t let not getting “enough views” stop you from writing what’s on your heart! You never know who’s reading. Do it for the one, not the 99.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t He leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” / Luke 15:4

Blogging is hard because sometimes I think a blog is going to do really well but it ends up not doing well at all, but I have to remind myself that if even a single person benefited from it, the entire blog was worth it. Don’t let the views (or lack thereof) discourage you. Keep being consistent, you truly never know who’s benefiting from your words.

I hope these tips and tricks were as useful to you as that have been for me and will help you grow your blog even more! I can’t wait to see the way some of you put these tips and tricks into use!

Protecting Our Minds: What’s Okay For A Christ Follower & What Isn’t?

Disclaimer: as you read this blog, know that I will say things that you don’t agree with, things that may convict you, or things that may strike a nerve. This is a very sensitive topic, but it is absolutely crucial.
Please don’t just skim this blog post. Read it intently. Pay attention to it. Pray about it. I promise you, it’s necessary.

So if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen a link that I shared about a fourteen year old girl who took her own life after binge-watching the show “13 Reasons Why.” I said “This show is absolutely unnatural, harmful, and ultimately destructive. We cannot as humans watch suicides, deaths, rapes, etc. and not be affected by it in some form. Sadly, the form for 14 year old Anna Bright was suicide after binge-watching this show.” which struck a nerve in some (or a lot of) people.

The Facebook post really convicted my heart as to what we’re “just getting away with” in mainstream media. In one of my responses to a Christian who condones the show, I said “Any person, especially a Christ follower, should never support this show. It is pure evil, completely destructive, and a scheme of the enemy. We as followers of Jesus have no business filling our minds and eyes with violent rape, suicide, the profanity, and everything else that goes along with this show. It is absolutely unGodly and a tool of the enemy. We are called to a higher standard than to support, condone, and tolerate such evil. We MUST stop tolerating evil but rather rebuke it.”

This is how the enemy works: he’s sly. He’s sneaky. He’ll make things that are nothing short of pure evil seem okay because “it’s educational” or whatever the circumstance. So what’s the stopping point? When should we stop listening to a certain type of genre or watching a certain type of movie?

The Bible says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Ask yourself, is that TV show good, acceptable, and perfect in God’s eyes? Is that song good, acceptable, and perfect in God’s eyes? Is that Instagram account you’re following good, acceptable, and perfect in God’s eyes?

Bible.org says “We must fix our eyes on Jesus. The word “fix” means to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. It essentially means to be single-minded. A person who has a fixed look on Christ is seeking to know and please Christ in everything he does. We must have an unwavering focus on Christ in order to grow in our sanctification.”

We have been given the mind of Christ; it’s our responsibility to treat it as such. We need to take care of and protect the minds we have been given. There have been multiple times where I’ve watched a show or listened to a song that completely goes against the character of God that did something in me to make me bitter, angry, or just momentarily led my mind completely astray from Christ and I know I’m not the only one. We have to be so cautious with what we allow in.

Ephesians 4:22-24 says “Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” 

Let me just repeat that last part for you. “Created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Let me just say this: a righteous person doesn’t tolerate evil, even in the smallest forms. A holy person does not condone something that is glorifying to the devil rather than to God just because it is pleasing to the eyes or ears.

Just as a disclaimer: everybody has their own convictions. Someone may feel completely convicted watching a movie that has a short sex scene whereas another person may not feel convicted in the slightest by it. But just because you’re not convicted by it doesn’t mean you should condone it. Take these convictions (or lack thereof) up in prayer. We should always desire to have convictions because that means the Lord is working in our heart to want only things of Him and not things of the world. To live by His Spirit and not by our flesh is to live the way He intends for us to live.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. / 1 John 2:15-16

Evil comes in small forms just as much as it comes in the big. We must absolutely stop treating the “small evil” as insignificant. We have to stop saying “it’s just one sex scene” or “it’s just one cuss word” and seeing it how it really is: the enemy’s slyness to convince us that it’s okay when it’s not. To have the mind of Christ is to be utterly intolerant to the slightest acts of the enemy, even when those around us are tolerant of it. He doesn’t always attack in huge ways; most times it’s just one click on the wrong website, one scene in a movie that portrays violent rape, one song that talks about sex. It starts small, which means that we must be actively seeking discernment in all things.

This may be the most important thing I’ve said thus far: don’t ignore or belittle your convictions. Sometimes the Lord allows our convictions to be small and other times He convicts our hearts to the point where we absolutely cannot ignore it. Don’t belittle the small ones. Pay attention to them because they’re just as important as the big ones.

If you’re seeking to have the mind of Christ, here are a few pointers from me to you:
Pray for discernment.
Know your own personal boundaries.
Know your convictions and pray for more.
Seek to satisfy the Lord rather than your flesh.

Always remember: if it doesn’t bring life, it brings death. There is absolutely no middle ground and we must stop treating it like there is. If it doesn’t draw you closer to God, it’s drawing you away from Him.

Hebrews 9:14 says “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

(Another) disclaimer: This blog is not coming from a judgmental standpoint. It’s not to tell you to never listen to a song that has a cuss word or watch a movie that has a sex scene. If you’re convicted, then great, listen to that conviction. If you’re not, then that’s fine, just make sure you’re guarding your mind and treating it as the mind of Christ. Ask yourself “Would I be watching this if Jesus were sitting next to me?” “Would I be saying this if Jesus were sitting next to me?” or “Would I be listening to this if Jesus were sitting next to me?” because reality check: He is.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. / Romans 8:5

Live in accordance with the Spirit, not in accordance with flesh.

What it Means to Have a Child-like Faith

So if you’ve kept up with my Instagram story at all in the past 24 hours, you already know that the fish I had since the beginning of summer died yesterday morning. I was actually pretty bummed because he was so cool and I may have accidentally killed it (but we don’t have to talk about that). So I went later in the day to get a new one at Walmart and I saw the two cutest fish ever and got them both, a black guppy and a white guppy. A few hours later, I came back into my room and the black one was dead and I got super sad because I literally just got him, so I figured I’d just keep the white one but when I woke up this morning, he was also dead 😦 so I went to Walmart, got a refund, and got a new Betta at PetSmart. I brought him home, cleaned the tank, put him in it and without thinking, I genuinely prayed to the Lord that this one would live (he’s super cool and I don’t want to have to flush 4 fish within a 2 day time span haha).

So I went to chapel later in the day and during it, I started thinking about the fish (don’t laugh, I have ADD haha) and just prayed once again that this one would live. At the time, this didn’t seem like an odd thing to pray for because I was genuinely concerned about my new fish and the Lord stopped me and said “Nadia, this is the child-like faith I called you to have.” Okay but whoa. To pray for a fish that, in reality, the Lord doesn’t even care about… That is a childlike faith—that we trust Him in the small things just as much as we trust Him in the big—no less, no more. To have a child-like faith is to have big faith.

The beautiful thing is that the Lord cares so much about things that are significant to us, even if they can’t get any more insignificant to Him. He cares so deeply about us that He chooses to care deeply about the things that are important to us—even a pet fish.

Someone once said “God seeks a childlike submissiveness and meekness, a gleeful childlike heart… and a childlike faith.” When you tell a child they can be a superhero, they believe with all their heart that they can be a superhero. When the Lord tells us we can tell the enemy to flee and he will flee, let’s believe that when we tell the enemy to flee, he will flee. When God tells us to do something, let’s do it without a second thought. Without a “what if.” A single act of simple obedience can change the world.

Children are so full of trust and humbleness which is something that the Lord desires for us in our adulthood. To trust Him so much with a measly fish—He delights so much in that. That is the type of faith He wants us to have all the time; despite what our circumstance may look like. Simple trust.

The more time a child spends with its parent, the more they’ll mimic them in the things they do and say and they’ll slowly begin to take on their qualities—this is the same with us and God; the more time we spend with Him, the more we become like Him.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3 “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

A child is innocent.
A child is trusting.
A child believes without complication.
A child has not had time to allow the preconceived notions of the world to form his decision-making process.
A child receives with joy, forgetting herself with light-hearted abandonment.
A child is humble.
A child is content in the little things.
A child has the faith to move mountains.
A child is awed by majestic splendor.
A child takes to heart God’s Word in all its simplicity.

Be these things.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. / Mark 11:24

Identity Crisis.

Identity.

This is a word that I’ve feared for a long time and something that the Lord has been so graciously been walking me through for awhile now. For as long as I can remember, it’s been my fleshly tendency to ignore it and continue to place my identity in fleeting things and things that aren’t of Him.

My entire life thus far, I’ve firmly placed my identity in other people and who they say I am. It’s left me feeling unworthy. Unwanted. Unseen. Unheard. If you’ve ever been in the same boat as me, I’m sure you know the feeling. It’s immensely painful. Last night, I posted this Instagram post:

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This was after two instances back-to-back where the people around me failed to love me. It crushed me simply because in that moment, I placed my identity in what they thought of me rather than what God thinks of me. He was graciously quick to remind me that He is well pleased with me and He delights magnificently in me despite what others may think or say.

The way that I lived my teenage years was searching desperately for people and things to fill the void that I had in my heart. I placed my identity in what others thought of me; I was convinced that was others thought of me must have been who I am. Hint: that was a lie.

The more I place my identity first and foremost in God, the more I feel cherished. The more I feel magnificently delighted in. The more I feel loved. The more I feel seen and heard. The more I placed my identity first and foremost in God, the less I feel unwanted. The less I feel undesired. The less I feel unimportant.

If you struggle with an identity crisis as I do, let me tell you something: your identity first and foremost is a son or daughter of the living God. He’s asking you the same thing He asked me last night, “son, daughter, why am I not enough?”

When you don’t feel delighted in by those around you, rest perfectly in the fact that you are so delighted in by the King of the universe. The same God who created the galaxies and the stars and flowers and every living, breathing, beautiful thing delights in you as if you’re His only creation. There are eight billion people alive and He loves you as if you’re the only one; that is the God that your identity is placed in. Now that is something that we can rejoice about.

My identity used to be in:
Others.
Self harm.
Depression.

My identity is now in:
Jesus.
The love He has for me.
His unfleeting joy.

1 Corinthians 6:9-20 says “… do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I love this verse for 3 reasons. One, because it declares that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, meaning that He dwells within us. Temples in the Bible were designed carefully, beautifully, and artistically, which is a the epitome of His creation of us.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” / Psalm 139:14

Second, this verse states that we are bought with a price, the price being Jesus’ own life as a ransom. John Piper beautifully states “The greatest news in all the world is that the Son of God has paid the price of my condemnation. The gospel of Jesus Christ, that God offers to everyone who will believe, is that the death of Jesus, his Son, is the payment for our sin and our guilt and our condemnation.” That right there is our identity. The third reason I love that verse is because it commands us to glorify God in our bodies. This doesn’t mean simply outwardly, but inwardly. This means to glorify Him in our minds, thoughts, hearts, and physical bodies. When we place our full identity in Him, we begin to naturally glorify Him in all of who we are.

“Christian self-hood is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves. It’s defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship he creates with us and the destiny he appoints for us. God made us who we are so we could make known who he is. Our identity is for the sake of making known his identity.”

When our identities are placed in God, they can never be shaken. You are who He says you are and that alone is enough. So, who does God say you are? Tackle the lies that the enemy says you are with the triumphant truth of God. He is your creator meaning that He knows you best meaning that His opinion of you is the only one that matters. Once you fully embrace the identity of your Creator (God), you are then able to embrace the identity of His creation (you). How are you embracing His identity and in turn embracing your own?

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” / Isaiah 49:16

 

Stillness Amidst Singleness

Everybody seems to love to talk about preparing our hearts for future relationships and marriage, but it seems as if nobody wants to talk about how to prepare our hearts for singleness, so I decided to (trust me, I’m a pro. Single for essentially my entire life and counting).

Not to put it bluntly (but to also kinda put it bluntly), singleness can suck. Real bad. It can get lonely. It can make us feel unwanted. Unloved. Having someone simply makes us feel good. It’s a temporary solution to our loneliness. It makes us feel wanted. If you’ve ever been in anything close to a relationship before, you know the exact feeling I’m talking about. It’s a feeling that we all desire to have. We all want to be wanted. (Important PSA and a truth that I continuously need to speak over myself: just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’re not wanted. You’re wanted by the King of Kings. There’s nothing greater than that).

In this generation, we’ve made a habit of wasting our singleness by wishing it doesn’t exist. We’ve spent too much time praying for a future spouse and not enough time praying for the Lord to fully satisfy us in who He is. We’ve spent too much time wasting our breath saying “I’m ready for someone to love” and not enough time saying “Lord, help me to love You more.” There seems to be this pressure on singles that we need to have somebody as if we don’t already (His name is Jesus).

When we begin to treat our singleness as a gift rather than a curse, we’ll begin to see it as a gift. We’ll begin to learn things about ourselves that we didn’t even know we needed to learn. We’ll begin to allow the Lord to satisfy us in ways that we didn’t even know we needed to be satisfied in. We’ll begin to love the Lord in radical ways that we didn’t even realize we could love Him in. We’ll begin to accept love from Him and from others that we didn’t even know we needed to accept love in.

Who you are in your single life is what you’ll bring into marriage. If you battle with depression, you’ll battle with it in your marriage. If you battle with porn, you’ll battle with it in your marriage. I promise you, your future spouse cannot heal these areas of your life. They may be able to provide a temporary fix, but full healing will not take place simply from marriage. By believing that marriage is the answer to your porn addiction or your depression, you’re putting your (future) spouse in the place of God. They may be able to walk with you in your journey of healing, but they can never be your healer.

Just a PSA: if you’re lonely in your singleness, you’ll be lonely in your marriage. Don’t allow the enemy tell you that your loneliness is a result of your singleness. Say it with me again: don’t allow the enemy tell you that your loneliness is a result of your singleness. This is probably the most cliche thing I’ll ever say, but until you find full satisfaction in Christ and all of who He is, you will never find full satisfaction in another human. The best way to prepare your heart for singleness is to fully embrace all that He has to offer you in this season. You’ll never get it back. You’ll never be able to pursue God at this magnitude of your life again. Until He is enough for you, no other person will ever be.

In this season of singleness, God wants you to learn the depth of intimacy with Him. This is the season I’ve found myself in; the Lord has been radically filling me with all of who He is because I’m at a point in my life where I fully desire nothing and no one but Him. I find myself so often on my face begging for more of Him. It’s beautiful. It’s life-changing. It’s a season I’ll never forget. Just Him and I. Me and Him. Nothing else. No one else.

I’ve said this in previous blog posts and I’ll say it again: we’re ready for marriage when we cannot possibly be holier without a spouse. Holiness isn’t something that should be rushed. Continuously ask the Lord to reveal areas of your life that He wants you to be holier in!


I’m going to give you 3 crucial but practical ways to prepare your heart for singleness. Do with them what you wish. Take them or leave them (but I strongly encourage you to take them).

1. Be prepared for the lonely nights. 

Even if you find yourself fully content in your singleness, lonely nights will come. I promise. If I ever find myself in a state of loneliness, instead of dwelling alone in my room, I’ll go out in public (usually to a coffee shop or Target haha) or spend time with a friend because it’s much easier to be lonely when you’re physically alone.

2. Be in constant awareness of your thoughts.

This one is so (so so so) important. Make sure you’re always discerning if your thoughts are from the Lord or if they’re from the enemy. If they’re from the Lord, embrace them. If they’re from the enemy, rebuke them. If you’re left feeling unwanted, undesired, or unloved, rebuke that. That is so far from the truth! But if you’re left feeling satisfied and full, embrace that and ask the Lord for more!

3. Make sure you’re seeking satisfaction and attention from nothing and no one but Christ alone.

I talked about this a tad earlier but if you find yourself constantly doing things to get the attention of the opposite sex, sorry to break it to ya, you’re seeking satisfaction from man and not from God. This one is an easy one for me. It’s so easy for me to desire attention and satisfaction from a man rather than from God and I’ll constantly find myself doing things to get his attention rather than His (thank the Lord that He usually convicts me before I actually do them). Satisfaction from flesh is so temporary. Please understand this. No amount of temporary satisfaction comes close to being comparable to the eternal satisfaction the Lord has in store for you.


In conclusion, singleness is hard. Singleness sucks at times. But singleness is also one of the most beautiful seasons you’ll get the privilege of having. I, for one, can’t wait to continue on my journey in singleness because I can’t wait to continue love the Lord with all I am before loving someone else. He gets me. All of me. All of my attention. All of my affection. All of who I am. And at this point of my life, I wouldn’t want it any other way. But, I also can’t wait to have someone someday to walk alongside me and chase after God in full with me. Just because I embrace my singleness doesn’t mean I’m closed off to marriage (trust me, I’ve tried to be).

If you’re single, have so much hope! Even if you’re one of the few He has called to a lifetime of singleness, take so much joy. You get to find satisfaction in only Him forever! That’s so beautiful. But if you’re the one who’s single for just a season whether long or short and marriage is in your future, remember to have eyes on the now, not just on what’s ahead. Focus on where God has you now and what He’s speaking to you now. Don’t miss out on what the Lord has for you right now because you’re too focused on what He has for you in the future.

Proverbs 19:20-21 says “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Take this and run with it. His purpose prevails. Always.