Life is filled with unexpected moments. No matter who we are, our plans falter, our dreams change and some goals seem unachievable. It is in these unexpected moments that we can discover grace and compassion. Can you imagine what would happen if we were to face every time we got off track due to the unexpected with grace and compassion for ourselves; recognizing that we are actually in the exact timing and exact placement God wants us in.
God is the one who orchestrates our lives, He is the one who placed us on the path, and what is unexpected for me is no surprise to Him. That is right God planned for every moment that seems unexpected to us. This takes the pressure off us! We are exactly where God planned for us to be. Hard to wrap your head around, but freeing if we embrace it!
God has planned for our unexpected. When we feel like we have failed cling to the fact that this is part of the path you are following, the journey you are on. God knew this would happen and has meticulously planned for it. We need to have compassion towards ourselves and not get discouraged, but pick ourselves up and continue on.
This brings a new perspective to James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. Great joy because God has already accounted for it and you are exactly where you need to be. Great joy because it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate God's grace for ourselves. Great joy because God will give us everything we need to endure through it and come out the other side.
Do not let go of your goals, your plans, your dreams. Instead be open to the fact that they may not happen in your time table, or in the way that you had planned; rest in the knowledge that it is all happening in God's time table and in the way that he has planned. It is so reassuring knowing that the living God of the universe and beyond has everything under control, even my unexpected moments!
I was looking outside at the falling snow and was thinking about how it looks like everything is new, everything looks different with the snow. This is true in our lives as well. When we make a change it affects our lives. Each change is almost like a clean slate, a fresh start.
I have made a lot of changes in my life in the last few months. I have seen the positive ripples as it starts to hit additional areas of my life and soon the landscape of my life looks different. I now look forward to the future instead of dreading it. I now anticipate the opportunities that arise each day instead of missing these opportunities altogether. Is my life perfect, NO. Each day is better than the last though.
My husband was confused last night when he asked me if I liked my birthday and my answer was it had been the best one yet. He started thinking back and I reminded him of all the wonderful things that happened yesterday. As I shared, I saw a knowing look cross his face, I think he came to the understanding before I did. This was the best birthday because I was free!!! Free from the belief that I was my weight, free from loving the weight! Free to love me, for exactly who I am!
This is my snow covered world, a world in which I am free. All my life I felt like I was a captive to the weight and had no idea how to get free. I am so thankful for this new landscape, so thankful for those who speak truth into our lives at just the right times, so thankful to God for answering my prayer for freedom!
Yesterday, I had an epiphany! I was working on my health challenge and in the notes for the day it said "You do not need to LOVE the weight, just learn to accept it so you can move forward." I will explain why this hit me so hard, however in order for me to do that I need to go to the beginning.
Ever since I was a baby I was always chubby. I have always been overweight, even at my healthiest I was still overweight according to the book the doctor's and school nurses always showed me. It was so engrained in me that every time I looked in the mirror, I only saw the weight, I never saw me. I am a pretty awesome person, my friends would be quick to confirm this, but I only saw the weight. I avoided photos, being on video and as time went by I became more and more comfortable with being behind the scenes to the point where that was the only place I felt safe. (Yes, I am being very open, honest and vulnerable...please be kind in the comments).
This was true until I read those words yesterday. It hit me like a ton of bricks! I did not have to love the weight. I was not my weight. All my life I had been striving to love myself, and in the midst of this I thought I couldn't love myself without loving the weight too. By realizing I no longer had to love the weight I was free! Free to love me! Not my weight, but me! They were no longer the same thing for me. It shattered the lie I believed all my life that I was my weight! I am able to look into the mirror and see me. What an amazing breakthrough for me! I am so thankful that my sister asked me if I would join her in this challenge because it has truly changed me forever!
What do you see when you look in the mirror. Do you see a label or do you see who you really are? The amazing person that God created you to be. If you have held onto a label and made it your identity, it may be time to realize you are not the label, you are you. Do not waste the time and effort loving the label, accept it and move on. Love yourself instead, it will serve you much better in your life. I know this from experience!
It is hard to live in freedom. There are always people in your life telling you how you should be doing things. Listening to these voices, it may be easy to lose yourself to the expectations of others. People we know and love may not even realize they are putting these expectations on us. They may have ideas of how you should act or what you should say and after awhile you begin to start second guessing yourself. This has happened to me.
God created you just the way you are for a purpose. Every time you try to please another person and change yourself, we are losing a bit more of the freedom, to be who God created you to be. Living in freedom the way that God has called you to is difficult. This means that pleasing God is more important than pleasing people.
We have all tried to please another person, whether it be a teacher, a parent, a coach, a trainer, a boss, a friend. We all want others to like us and we alter ourselves to make those people pleased with us. When I was younger, I had quite the sense of humor, now the only time I seem to crack jokes is when I am around people I know accept me truly for who I am and not who they want me to be.
My encouragement today is this. Be who God created you to be! On the other side of the coin also be the person who accepts people for who they are and journey with them, not trying to change them, but loving them for exactly who they were created to be. You may just be surprised at the hidden gems that people only reveal in the presence of complete acceptance.
The last few weeks have been hard, but in a good way. God has been gently guiding me to this place where I finally feel like I can start experiencing His fullness in my life. So many people in our world are struggling and they bury it so no one else can see into their shattered worlds. We become shattered when we believe lies, when we allow those lies to become our identity verses who God created us to be. God made us unique and special.
Psalm 139:13-18 states "For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was being formed in secret, And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were appointed for me, When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape]. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast the sum of them! If I could count them they would outnumber the sand. When I awake I am still with you." AMP
God's love for us is so amazing and so complete, we do not need to hold onto the lies that we are not good enough, that we are not worthy of God's love or forgiveness, that we are not worthy of love, that if we do enough then maybe we can earn back His grace. These are all lies!!!!! The truth is that the only thing that makes us worthy is God, He sent His son to die on the cross so that we are covered by GRACE!!! When God sees us, He sees us as His children that He designed for a special purpose. He does not see the sin and the lies. We need to let go of shame and guilt, we need to confess and we need to repent (this means to ask for forgiveness and not turn back to the things we are asking Him to forgive). Then we need to forgive ourselves and anyone else we are holding back forgiveness for. This process is hard. It breaks us out of the stagnant lives we are in and brings us back to the vibrant life God designed for us.
John 10:10 sums it up quite well. "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]." AMP
God wants us to live lives that are filled with joy, peace and love! He wants us to make the most of every moment and live out this adventure with Him. Those of you who are reading this who feel cocooned in lies or sin or anything else that would hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest, then it may be time to shatter the chains that are holding you back and allow God bring you back into His fullness! Bring you back into enjoying life until it overflows!!!
Join me on my journey through life's joys and difficulties.