Being Used By God.

We’re in a sermon series at church called “Mercy Rising” and each week I feel more and more like this is all directed at me. Today we the topic was “The Kind of Person God Uses.” A few things stuck out to me so I figured why not blog about it?

2 Corinthians 4:5- “Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as Lord. We are merely your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

We went over the 5 secrets to being used by God:

  1. I keep it real.
  2. I remember it’s not about me.
  3. I use my pain to help others.
  4. I stay focused on eternity.
  5. I realize my ministry is a gift motivated by God’s mercy.

The one that really hit me is number 3, I use my pain to help others. “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” 

I have struggled with so many different things in my past. I have let past mistakes take hold of me so much where I had this voice in the back of my head keep saying “You’re not good enough. Remember what you did.” Finally over the last year I have moved on from that. I’m not 100%, but I have definitely made improvement. Everyone has a past. It doesn’t define you. It’s your story. God knows the plans for you. He knew every decision we would make even before we were born. Why wouldn’t I trust Him?

Pain. The pain of my past. The pain of loss. The pain of guilt. Even the pain of dealing with heavy anxiety. All of this pain can be used to help others. You don’t have to be perfect to be used by God. But you do have to be authentic. My past does not define me. It has led me to exactly where I am today. For that, I’m thankful.

I have prayed so much, “God, please use me. Take me deeper than I can even imagine.” One of the things I heard today was “If we want to be used by Jesus, it needs to be all about Jesus.” That slapped me right in the face. Here I am saying “God please use me” but the unsaid part is “..but use me from my comfort zone. I don’t want to do anything too crazy.” Shame on me. Life begins outside of your comfort zone.

This is just what is on my heart today. If anything, this is something I will go back and read down the road.

Until next time…

Got Me Feeling Emotions..

I’m sitting here getting ready for bed and in the last 15 minutes I have gone through so many different emotions. Fear. Hurt. Sadness. Happiness. Joy. Excitement. Pain. Regret. Love.

I know I’m not alone in this. But while sitting here, I replay my day. This leads to a wandering mind. This leads me down paths I hadn’t planned to revisit. This leads me down shadows that I thought light had already cast out.

Fear. -A wandering mind leads me to the fear of the unknown. Fear of not knowing if there is a tomorrow. Fear of simply not knowing.

Hurt. -My thoughts lead me to past decisions. I remind myself that I don’t live in my past and that it is just that, my past. I still wonder what would life be like if I had the chance to have the talk I wanted to have or if I had made a different decision.

Sadness.

Happiness.

Joy. -This is brought on by the hope of tomorrow.

Excitement. -Knowing whether my tomorrow is on this side of eternity or the other, there’s peace.

Pain. -This one is easy. I still feel pain that is brought on by death.

Regret. -This is something I am working on letting go of. Easier said than done.

Love. -There is a God who loves me and who wraps me in His arms. He gives me peace in the storm and calms my fears. I don’t reach out for Him as much as I should. (not doing so brings the above emotions). He has put people in my life who also show me I’m loved.

Notes To Self

  1. You are NOT your family.
  2. Your past does NOT define you.
  3. You get to choose your own adventures.
  4. You are in control of your happiness.
  5. Follow your gut.

Being lost somewhere in between a teenager and a successful adult can be terrifying. Realizing that you can actually survive without the people you thought you couldn’t live without is extremely eye opening. Feeling alone in a room full of people who love you is beyond frustrating.

Life is weird, man! Super weird! Whoever came up with the phrase “this rollercoaster we call life” is genius. I daily feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I question purpose. I feel like I should be doing so much more. I sit at home alone and just think “Well, now what..?!” and then I just get mad at myself.

So let’s revisit this list..

  1. You are NOT your family. – This doesn’t mean you were raised wrong or that you hate your family. This just means that while your siblings have their own families and your parents are having this new “empty-nesters” lifestyle, you’re just kind of like, “What the hell should I be doing??” Get out there and take advantage of life! Go for a walk. Go explore the city. Don’t feel bad for doing things that you like or having your own opinions or beliefs! This is YOUR life and it’s really just now beginning. Choose happiness.
  2. Your past does NOT define you. – Everyone has a past. It got you to where you are today. Stop living life like you’re stuck there. Every day is a new opportunity to do something exciting. So you have a story.. So does everyone else on the planet. Stop playing victim to yourself. Get up, brush yourself off, and life your life before you waste it away by living in your past.
  3. You get to choose your own adventures. – You’re now at the point where you realize you don’t need permission to go out and do things. If you want to take a random road trip, do it. If you want to get a tattoo, do it. If you want to go for a walk at 2am, do it. This is YOUR life. YOU get to choose the adventures you go on. That’s the amazing part.
  4. You are in control of your happiness. – You are in control of your life. Stop waiting for happiness to come to you. Go out there and find it. Go out there and make it your own. You only get one life, don’t waste it.
  5. Follow your gut. – Your parents raised you right. You know what’s good and what’s bad. That being said, follow your gut. Do what makes you happy. If you feel that uncertainty inside you, trust it. If you feel like something isn’t right, trust it. Live your life but don’t be stupid.

Sometimes you need to start typing out your thoughts and then you end up making a list for yourself. Maybe I’m not the only one who needs to hear this.

Until next time…

 

Dear Life-

Lately I find myself not quite sure where you’re taking me. Most days I’m happy. Some I’m not. Anxiety has calmed down in the last 6 weeks. Some nights it’s impossible to sleep. There’s peace as well as fear in the unknown. Taking each day as a new adventure is something I strive to do. Most days I fail. Most days I enjoy being alone. Some days I hate it. 

You truly discover yourself when you live on your own. Most days I’m strong. Others I’m not. I’ve definitely discovered my strengths and weaknesses. 

This is just a bunch of ramblings. I’m hoping to get out of my head so I can take advantage of life. Currently I’m very blessed. But then there’s the times where I’m stuck in my head and think about everything that’s out of place. 

I find peace in my “thinking spot”. I sit here and look at the city in front of me. I think about the days in front of me. All the while I’m thinking about reasons I can’t do this or that. 

I am my biggest weakness. One day I’ll stop holding myself back. 

The Reality Of Moving Out

So it finally happened.. You’ve been waiting for this moment for a few years now. You’ve done it. Congratulations, you moved out of mom and dad’s house!

You now get the live the life! You get to stay out however late you want. You can have ice-cream for breakfast, Doritos for dinner, and you can even go get a pizza at 2am if you feel like it. You finally made it!

The reality is.. You’ll cry yourself to sleep the first night. By day three you might finally be able to sleep through the whole night. You’ll wake up at every creek and crack that your new place has. The first thunderstorm you’ll wish you could hear your mom check in on you to make sure you’re still asleep. You’ll be desperate to see your parents all while trying not to be at their place every night. You’ll find yourself pulling your phone out to “check in” with mom and dad and let them know when you’ll be home.

You’ll call mom every day at least twice a day for the first week or so. You’ll also feel guilty when you realized it’s been two days since you talked to her. You go back to your parents house and finally understand what your “smell” is that your friends have been trying to tell you about your whole life. (cinnamon and vanilla). You’ll find yourself sitting in your new living room in silence just thinking “now what do I do?” You’ll look at the clock and realize you haven’t eaten all day. You’ll feel exhausted and realize it’s only 9pm.

All of this will happen.. But it’s okay. This is part of life. This is your new life. Growing up is terrifying and you’re not sure what to expect. The life you’ve known is now just memories. This is your time to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. Every decision is yours. Go out and explore. See parts of your city that you never knew existed. Go on an adventure. Go for a jog.. Just kidding, don’t be silly. 🙂

By week two you’ll realize just how short life really is and how fast it goes. Don’t waste it by sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll have difficult days, that’s okay. Just don’t let every day be a difficult day.  You only get one life. Make it memorable. Go out and live.

 

2016

What. A. Year.

At the beginning of 2016 I tweeted “I hope you find what you’re looking for in 2016”- I kept this in the back of my mind throughout the year. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I knew I would know the second it happened.

2016 was full of love and full of pain.

I fell in love with people. I fell in love with life. I discovered that you are NOT your family. After struggling for the past few years, I finally broke away from the pain of my past. I found friends. I also found that these friends can be closer than your family. I found that family isn’t always blood. I found that anxiety is a common struggle and that opening up about it can help more than you realize.

During all of this- I also found loss. I found pain. I found hurt in the middle of happiness. 2016 brought the hardest loss I’ve ever had to deal with. A friend. A coworker. Jeffrey Martin taught me a lot. He taught me more than what I realized. He taught me to love life. He taught me to live in the moment and fully embrace every opportunity I have. He taught me that life is too short for regrets. I miss that guy. I miss our talks. I miss that smile and his goofy laugh. There isn’t a time limit on grieving, but I know if he saw me sitting here  crying about him every day he’d kick my butt.

 

What happened?

I have the greatest friends in the world. The found a new church that I absolutely love. I saw Adele.. FREAKING ADELE! I truly love my job. I discovered that its okay to say no. People are going to have their opinions, you just have to understand that other peoples opinions don’t define you.

Oh yeah.. I MOVED! I’m officially out on my own and I must say it’s AMAZING! (more to come)

 

This year was full of ups and downs. But honestly, the negative parts just opened my eyes. If anything, 2016 made me realize that when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.

 

I have never been more excited about a new year than I am about 2017. Let’s see what happens.. 🙂

Until next time, my friends.