Step Back

It is the week before dead week, which basically means that life is literally hell at the moment (yes, I know I am dramatic). I am in the final stretch of my sophomore year of college, which basically for me means tears, three group project presentations, the last bit of homework, working my butt off to pick up my grades, studying, living in Gaylord, lots of coffee and a whole whole whole lot of stress (oh and did I mention tears?).

I literally feel like I am at my breaking point. I am almost halfway done with my college years, but the end seems so far away. Do not get me wrong, I love the University of Oklahoma and I absolutely love my major, but college is hard. I am using every last ounce of my energy, yet it still does not seem like it is enough.

After an hour of laying in my bed crying and ranting to my best friend on FaceTime, I had to pull myself together to go to my favorite study spot to get some work done. On the way there, I decided to FaceTime my Nana so I could see my two sweet baby cousins to help me cheer up a little bit. That was exactly what I needed.

My little princess Blakelee was snoozing, but luckily my sweet Kaden was awake. He usually is not the type to pay attention to me when I FaceTime (he is only four), but today it was like he knew exactly what I needed. In the sweetest little voice, I hear, “RaRa will you come to my house and play with me today please?” Oh, sweet boy if I was not two hours away I would be there in a heartbeat. I got to the library, so I had to say goodbye, and Kaden kissed the screen to tell me bye. Isn’t that just the sweetest?

That got me thinking, wow I am seriously so blessed. I have a family that loves me more than anything, I have friends that care about me, and most importantly, I have a God that is always on my side. What more could I ask for?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6: 25-27

Sometimes you just have to step back and look at the bigger picture. Worrying will literally do nothing for anyone.Yes, I am stressed, but it is not worth it to literally make myself sick about it. I had to step back and realize that there is more to life than stressing about every little thing at school because I am a perfectionist. School and my education are very important to me and they are things I care about, but why let that stress consume me? I get up every day because of God and what He did for me and continues to do for me, nothing else. So that is the only thing I should let consume me.

When life gets overwhelming, step back and remember who you belong to. You belong to God, the creator of heaven and earth, me and you. Step back and think about all of the blessings God has placed in your life. I promise you that God is bigger than that feeling of anxiety and stress. Lean on Him to get you through it.

Live Intentionally

When it comes to reading scripture, I feel like we tend to just skim over certain verses. If you grew up in the church, you have probably seen every verse over a million times, so you just kind of tune most of it out. But if we do that, we might miss out on some of the secret treasures God wants us to know.

Clear your mind, and act like this is the first time you are reading this verse:

“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature. So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the Earth.’ God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: ‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for the fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.'” Genesis 1:26-28 MSG

Let that sink in. If you are like me, you probably get really tired of reading Genesis over and over again (I am just being honest). I read that verse in my quiet time this morning and I did not think anything of it. But then, God challenged me to reread it and really let it sink in. I knew He was trying to tell me something, but what was that something?

God placed a burden on us. Yes, a burden. A beautiful burden. He gave us a huge responsibility: He created us in His image. Our Creator created you and me in His image.

That comes with some responsibility. We cannot just live our lives and fumble our way through. We have to live intentionally.

We are responsible for the Earth and everything on it. What exactly does that mean? Well, because we are created in God’s image, it is our job to show God’s endless love to everyone else.

Pause for a second. It is not our job to save people, God has got that covered. It is our job to plant a little seed in everyone we encounter. You might not see the fruit of that seed in the moment, but I promise you will when you finally make it to the golden gates of Heaven.

So how do we live intentionally? We live a life that glorifies God in everything we say and do. This is a beautiful burden that God has placed upon us. He expects us to be a light even in the darkest of places. He expects us to step out of our comfort zones. He expects us to pray for those who persecute us. He expects us to invite people to church. He expects us to tell people about Jesus. He expects us to glorify Him forever and always.

I promise you, this is no easy task. We will have to put ourselves in uncomfortable positions. We will have to face rejection. We will mess up. We will probably even cry. But you know what? It will be so worth it in the end when we join our Father in Heaven. I do not know about you, but I want to see the whole world around God’s table when we have a big feast. If we do not live intentionally, how will that happen?

The challenge I have for myself and you today, is to live intentionally. Live how God created you and me: in His image.

Keep Going

Did you just get a bad grade on a test? Did you get in a fight with your parents? Are you unsure of what you want for your future? Did you just suffer from the loss of someone you loved? Are you in the middle of a storm? Did you just go through a bad break up? Do you feel alone?

Keep going…Just keep going.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

I am going to be brutally honest with you. There are times in life when I just want to give up. The things in my life start piling up and pushing me down until I have no motivation to fight anymore. It has hit me even harder during this last semester of my sophomore year of college. I am halfway through my time as an undergraduate, I am searching for a summer internship, I am extremely single, I have a problem with taking on all of the burdens of those around me, I always stress about my future and I could keep going on, but I think you get the point. There is a lot on my mind, and sometimes I just get so overwhelmed that I do not think I will ever make it through college alive.

But I have to keep going. 

Life gets hard. Sometimes we face an abundant number of trials that make us want to give up. We feel like there is absolutely no way out. Life makes us feel stuck and low. Our head fills with doubt and discouragement.

We have to keep going.

Luckily, no matter where we are in life or what we are doing, God is always right there by our side. You might not feel like He is with you, but He always is. He is always ready to comfort you, all you have to do is call out to Him, our comforter.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

God wants to comfort you. He wants to love you and protect you. God wants to remind you how valuable and special you are to Him. He wants you to turn to him through prayer or His word when you are at your lowest of lows and highest of highs. God wants you to trust that He is going to make something beautiful out of whatever situation you are going through at the moment. Everything has a purpose, and He will always get you through it.

Satan is going to hit you when you are at your lowest of lows. When life gets hard, He is going to make you feel insignificant, worthless, unlovable and undesirable. Satan will make you feel like you are alone and that you will never make it through. He will try to convince you to stop and give up. Satan wants to fill your head with lies and make you turn to the things of this world for comfort instead of our Heavenly Father.

Keep going.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

There is so much more to this life than our sufferings. We were put on this Earth to bring glory to God in everything we do and say. We are meant to be a light that shows the power and beauty of God’s perfect love to those around us. Our struggles and hardships will all be worth it when we get to spend an eternity in heaven with our creator. Look ahead to that glorious day.

And keep going.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3