Can’t be the girl I used to be

Someone on a podcast I listen to said the above phrase and it really resonated with me. I have desperately been trying to go back to the girl I used to be. Back to a time when I was carefree and wasn’t worrying and second guessing all the time. I don’t need to be that girl anymore though. I can be better than her, different than her. 2.0 in fact. I don’t have to go back to where I used to be, to be happy or content. I need to own the space I am currently in and be ok.

Are you content? Are you happy with the space you are in currently? I’m trying. I really am trying. I want to not only be content but be able to celebrate others. I’m working on that too. Those people that I was worried about seeing a few weeks ago, maybe last month. I saw them a few weeks ago and it was good. Nobody asked where I had been or what I was doing. So progress has been made on the celebrating others piece.

Being content, that is giving me more trouble. I used to think that I didn’t want to be too happy because I didn’t want God to think I was satisfied with my situation. Sounds silly when I say it out loud. God knows how I feel. He knows everything about me. He knows me better than I know myself.

I heard a sermon a few weeks ago from Jeremiah 29. It was when God told the Jews they were going to be under captivity of the Babylonians for 70 years. He told them to get comfortable, they were going to be there for a while. In the face of these circumstances he also told them that he knew the plans he had for them, for them to prosper.

I knew God was talking to me when I heard this. He wants me to be comfortable in this current space I am in. First I heard this sermon then I got this scripture during my quiet time.

But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.

Romans 9:31 NLT

Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.

Romans 9:32 NLT

This was me 100% I didn’t think I was trying to earn a blessing but I certainly was doing everything that I could control. Trust is the opposite of control. I believe this is true because if I have to be in control it means I don’t trust the person that is supposed to be guiding me. I say God is the guiding force in my life but then I pray and try to help him along or devise my own plan. Nonsense!

God doesn’t need me to do anything but trust him. That’s the hardest thing to do. You want me to volunteer 10x a month, feed the poor, give to charity, read my bible, do a 100 blog posts I got you. You want me to trust you… well I have some questions.

Help me in my unbelief. I know God can do anything but his timing never seems to align with mine. That’s ok. Trust requires the most work of all and it can’t be quantified. Trust is hard but remembering all God has done for me makes it easier. Everyday when I wake up I thank God for the things he is doing to build that great wall of trust. It helps me calm down when I am anxious about a situation, I remind myself of all the things he has done for me.

Image result for be grateful

Big or small, he has never let me down. I greatly appreciate that. I have walked away from God a 1000x but he has never walked away from me.

Inefficient

Inefficient-not achieving maximum productivity; wasting or failing to make the best use of time or resources.

Often times I think about the dreams and goals that I have and want to accomplish and I feel  inefficient. I certainly don’t feel like I am making the best use of my time or resources. I have two degrees that I do not really use and I’m starting to to get the itch that I want to do something else. Am I qualified?  Sometimes I think so, but other days not so much. I am debating on if I want to get an Ed.d, which is a doctorate in education because that is what I have been doing for the last 10+ years but I don’t know. I know to make any real money or move up, a terminal degree would be nice but I want a job that is bigger than money. Do I want to do something totally different? I didn’t get into my field to make a lot of money but I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to put all the financial heavy lifting to my husband. I have two degrees, I want to pull my own weight.

When I got my master’s there wasn’t a lot of asking God or contemplating. I did a little research, asked the higher ups around me and did it. I want to put a little more thought and time into my choice this time around. I don’t think having more formal education is what makes feel inefficient. I have to remind myself that his grace is sufficient. He is strong when I am weak.

his-grace-is-sufficient-erica-hanel

I probably feel this way because what I really want to do I have no formal training at all. I want to be a writer. I want to write books that will be read all over the world and be referenced for years to come. I can’t really imagine that happening in my wildest dreams. Why not? I haven’t even tried yet and I am already talking myself out of it. Nobody can make me feel inefficient but me. I know it won’t be easy but if I take one step, God will take two. I was not made to be inefficient or mediocre. I was created for his purpose. There is something inside of me that is waiting to be revealed and the only person that can stop me from reaching my full potential is me.

 

 

Condemnation vs. Conviction

Discerning the difference between conviction of the Holy Spirit and Condemnation from the Enemy

-conviction is from the Holy Spirit, prompting us to confess and be restored by fellowship with God. It is to draw us closer to God.

-condemenation is from Satan. Purpose is to keep us away from God by making us feel guilty.

-once you confess you are immediately forgiven, anything after that is guilt from Satan

-if you feel like hiding from God and doubting his love that is Satan, Closer that is God

-the enemy; speaks in half truths, pushes, agitates, emphasizes, do, do, do encourages willingness against Gods ways, encourages complaining, tells us we are inadequate

-Holy Spirit: about whole truth, wants us to be anxious for nothing, emphasizes be,be,be, unites people, emphasizes Gods will empowers us, encourages contentment

-Holy Spirit is specific-fix this me thing and you will be free. He commands you to take a specific action to make a choice of your will.

-The enemy wants us to focus on our feelings. Feelings are false! Speaks half truths. Set your mind on interests above God.

-Holy Spirit speaks facts and truth about you and God. Set your mind on God’s interests.

condemnation-conviction

http://www.tonycooke.org/articles-by-others/condemnation-conviction/

Disclaimer:

(This list is complied research from a bunch of different websites. At the time, I didn’t need to know the source because it was for my personal use. Now I’m sharing with you, I need to give credit because I didn’t know most of this stuff until I looked it up.)

https://marriagemissions.com/discerning-the-difference-between-the-conviction-of-the-holy-spirit-and-condemnation-of-the-enemy/

http://shieldoffaith62.blogspot.com/p/conviction-or-condemnationknowing.html

Often times I wonder if God is convicting me about something or is it the devil trying to make me feel bad. I discovered a few things. Conviction will make you feel bad, but not in a despair, can’ t face the day feel bad, just disappointed in yourself. That’s you grieving the Holy Spirit but it isn’t condemnation. Many times I have confessed things to God but still felt terrible about them, that isn’t God. He doesn’t want us to feel bad when He corrects us, he just wants us to do better.

offers hope

I wrote the words above a long time ago, 3 years ago in my journal when I was doing research on conviction vs condemnation. One thing I never paid attention to in my research is specific. As I was researching to write this post, I finally noticed specific. One blogger talked about God telling her she needed to apologize to someone and it just kept coming up in her mind over and over again. That makes sense. Specific is probably the most important thing that I could take away from my research. If you can’t put your finger on why you feel bad, that probably is not from God. God is not a God of confusion. If he wants you to something the direction is always clear. Even if the direction is to take one step at a time. He won’t just leave you hanging.

In my bible reading everyday I have discovered that Jesus didn’t come to judge us or condemn us but help us. He doesn’t want you to feel bad about something because you are not always going to change something if you are made to feel bad about it. You will just avoid it.

john317 coffee cup

I have only scratched the surface of this topic. It is definitely something I want to dive into more. You should too. There is a ton of research out there about this topic. Do you feel like you are being convicted about anything? What changes are you feeling prompted to make? Take some time to pray and make sure its from God and not anywhere else.

Greater expectations

I was at leadership meeting at church and the guy leading the class asked us what God is working on in us. One person said self forgiveness. He said he felt like he was putting expectations on himself that God had not put on him. I have been thinking about that statement all week.

This week was rough. I just have a lot of things going on right now and I felt like I was doing a disservice to God but I couldn’t put my finger on why. It lead me to do a lot of research on condemnation vs conviction, which I will post about next week. I still didn’t feel like I had the answer though. I have been pretty diligent. Usually when I feel this way, I fall into a Netflix of Hulu binge but this time I didn’t. I’m still reading everyday, through the bible in a year plan on YouVerse bible app and having my quiet time. So I asked God, what do you want me to do? What do you expect of me? Just a few days ago.

He gave me the answer today. In Deuteronomy, God says all he wants you do is fear him and do what pleases him. That’s it. Sounds pretty simple. In a way yes, but in a way no. I have been doing a lot of research on what pleases God for quite sometime. There are a lot of things in the bible about what doesn’t please God but I feel like there is less emphasis on what does please him.

deutloveGod

I think that is because God doesn’t want us to work ourselves to death in trying to please him. Loving him with all your heart, soul and strength is not an easy task. This is why he gives us grace. Grace to mess up, grace to mistakes. He sees our hearts and our intentions.

what-is-grace

He just wants us to do the best we can. I lose sight of this because I have placed expectations on myself that God never did. I never noticed I did that before. I have been trying to grow so fast. I want to be as close to perfect as possible, which really isn’t humble. I want God to know I’m paying attention, that I’m not just being a reader of the word but a doer of the word. James 1:22-24.

Are you being too hard on yourself? Try not to be. Don’t run from God when you feel this way, run towards him. He will always give you answers and typically sooner than you think.

WWJD

Being the bigger person is hard. I guess that’s why its called bigger person in the first place. The bible says, die to self. That doesn’t mean when its convenient or when you want to, or only when the person is being reasonable. Its never convenient to put your own needs to the side especially when someone is being a jerk. Titus 2:12 says instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live sensibly and godly in the present age. Cussing somebody out or snapping back at them when they say something reckless to us or deciding to not talk to a person because they work our nerves, is not godly. We know this, but sometimes we need a reminder. I know I do. My friend told me to cuss them out and pray for forgiveness later, but that isn’t godly either. I often have to stop and think, what would Jesus do?

Its hard to think of what would Jesus do when the people around you aren’t thinking or acting like Jesus.  I’m always try to weigh out my options and rationalize the situation for my ungodly response. I know God also wants us to be genuine in our dealings. Do I do the right thing because its the right thing? Do I not do it because I truly don’t want to? I really don’t know. I can see both sides. Usually I push myself to do the right thing even when I don’t want to because I don’t want to disappoint God. I want him to feel like I am acting out the things that I read in his word. When you know better you do better.

I know you are thinking that there were times when Jesus would get mad, he even flipped tables in the temples court, (Matthew 21:12) but it was godly anger, not anger based in the flesh. I read this blog post at challies.com that talks about righteous anger. Ephesians says get angry but do not let it cause you to sin. What?! How are we supposed do that? What does that even mean? Righteous anger means you are mad about someone actually sinning not about someone making you angry personally.

I heard a girl on a podcast I listen to say that when someone doesn’t treat us in the way we should be treated that it is an opportunity to come to God and pray for that person. The person doesn’t realize what they are doing or the impact of their words and actions. I will talk more about praying for you enemies in a later post, but I will say it does work. I have to remind myself even when its hard that its important to extend a little grace. Its not up to us to decide when we want to be godly or loving to someone. Its easy to love someone when they are treating you right but the life we are called to isn’t always going to be easy. I will tell you it won’t always be like this. There is something to be said about doing the right thing when everyone and everything is screaming at you to do the opposite. I sleep better knowing I made the right decision.

We all fall short, everyday, but the more you do the right thing when you don’t want too, the easier it will become to continue to do the right thing when the choice comes to you again. What would Jesus do? He would extend grace, he would pray for the person, he would correct them in love. He would turn the other cheek every single time, even if he did not want to. The next time you don’t want to be the bigger person, stop and ask yourself, what would Jesus do. Hopefully, that will change your response. If not, you know you can always ask for forgiveness later.

For more information:

https://www.challies.com/christian-living/3-marks-of-righteous-anger/

Scriptures reference:

Titus 2:12

Ephesians 4:26

Matthew 18:22

Matthew 5:44