good enough?

good enough?

Satan tells you that you’re good enough.

God tells you that you aren’t.

I’m gonna be honest and personal right now. okay. A huge sin that I’ve recently been struggling with is acting like I’m a good person. That isn’t exactly something you can wrap your head around… because I’m supposed to be a good person right so is there actually anything wrong with this?

YES. SO MUCH IS WRONG WITH THIS.

I act like I am a good person. I talk like I’m a good person person. And eventually I begin to believe that I am a good person. But I am definitely not good. Really, I’m just decent at building my image in front of others. I put on a “good” mask, but it just covers up the ugly underside. When I start to believe that I’m a good person I elevate my own pride, suppressing all humility. I start to deny my desperate need for my Savior. When I put myself on display instead of displaying myself as a masterpiece of His glory, I diminish the power of the cross.

Satan feeds us this lie that we are good enough. He feeds our pride, saying we got this on our own. Jesus? Who needs Jesus? That whole cross thing was a “just in case” measure. But hey don’t worry! YOU ARE GOOD. lies. There are no “just in cases.” Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No one is righteous, not even one. There are no exceptions. No one is good enough. I need Jesus in the same depth as you. He who sins once is just as in need of a Savior and he who sins with every breath.

The truth is–how I think of myself doesn’t change the fact that I still need a Savior. Its just a mindset. When my mindset is “I got this,” i’m constantly going 300 mph trying to prove that I can do it, when in fact, I cannot. But when I know that “I don’t got this,” I can find rest. I can lay in peace knowing that I can’t do it, but He so can. I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to pretend that I am perfect either. I can and will do my best, but where I fall short I won’t act like I haven’t. I know God’s grace like I know a loyal friend. It’s constant, always there even when I am not.

God will never tell us that we are good. He instead tells us that we are not good enough. No matter how hard we tried, how “good” we appeared to everyone else, we could never ever be good enough. He says you HAVE fallen short, but Jesus hasn’t. He says I KNOW you aren’t good enough, but I love you anyway. I love you so much that you don’t have to believe that you are good enough. You can rest in the fact that Jesus already was. God sees righteousness in you not because of how good you are or how good you seem. He sees righteousness in you because you simply have faith in Him. Its not about you–it never was. satan can’t tell you that anymore.

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we are now

we are now

I get so caught up in whats to come. And to an extent, we all do. I think that this world is so caught up in what we can do LATER, but what about now?? Why does no one seem to care about right now? No matter what stage of life we’re at, for some reason we still all say next time. We all say some day down the road. We’re blinded to the now by looking towards the future like we can figure out what it holds.

Acts 1:7 says “It is not for you to know the times or dates that the Father has set by His own authority.” Accept that. God set out our appointed times in history, and He has yet to reveal them to us for a reason. Acts 17:27 says its because He wants us to seek Him out through the chaos of our thoughts and reach out and find Him. This makes me grin. I don’t know how you can read that verse and not be 20x happier than you were before. It so reveals His character, His goodness towards us. Basically, God doesn’t just plainly give us all the answers, because He wants us to come to Him and ask. He wants to be close to us, and He wants that communion. How can we be angry at God for not revealing what we want Him to, when all He really wants is to be near us and to walk with us, knowing we are fully relying on Him and not just checking out. If we knew all there was to know, all that God has in store for us, in our minds He would become useless to us. And nothing can take His authority away. Not our doubt, not our desire, or lack of desire, nothing. He never falls off of His throne.

We can’t focus on whats to come or we will miss what is now. Trust that God has your future set out, and every single detail is hand-crafted by Him with YOU in mind. Trust that He won’t let you miss it or let it pass you by. God WILL reveal what He has. He won’t “forget” to show you where you will be going or what you will be doing. He won’t take off without you, He will show you when your appointed time in history comes. Be okay with saying “yes. I say yes to whatever you want me to do, even if I don’t know what that is yet.” If that is the attitude of your heart then you won’t get so caught up in details of what is to come. Its okay!! Because although I don’t know, I know the one who does.

Just be present. Don’t miss what He has for you now. Don’t forget that God brought you HERE NOW for a reason too. God isn’t just a ‘God of the future’ and we aren’t just ‘kingdom workers in the future,’ He is God of all the times, and we are called to work for Him in all times too. We aren’t called to a certain place or time, we are called to a lifestyle– which can be carried out anywhere, anytime. There is too much at stake to be lost in an unknown future. Don’t consume yourself with trying to know. Rest in the fact that you don’t. And HE does.

“I thank you and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, You have made known to me what we have asked of You.”

–Daniel 2:23–

he is more

he is more

Does God ever wreck you? Sometimes He just comes in and makes His presence so known to you and it’s so undeniable and real that it moves you to tears. Well honestly, that hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I’m a real emotional person in the day to day stuff, like I laugh and cry a lot, but when it comes to my walk with God, for some reason I seem to be made of steel.

This week was monumental in my walk with the Lord. I spent a lot of intentional time with God and each time I sat down to talk with Him, He moved me to tears. Honestly, there was not a single time that I prayed or opened my bible and still had dry eyes. Such a serious answer to prayer. God is softening my heart to His presence and character, and making himself so much more real to me.

I think I was so emotionless before because I was trying to live for Him without Him. Its all about true communion, and true communion isn’t ignoring God in your walk with Him, thinking you’ve got this. You can do all the things, but if you’re not doing them WITH Him, then you’re going to be left feeling empty and stone cold, like me. Its not about religion, but relationship. Relationship with the Father is liberating, but we still cling to the safety of the chains of religion. Be engaged with the Lord. If it feels like you’re talking or praying to a brick wall, its probably because you’re imagining Him like a brick wall, you’re not acknowledging all that He is. You are not praying to a silent God, but to the King of Kings, who is active and LOUD. Don’t settle in thinking that His voice isn’t something that is accessible to you. He speaks and moves in different ways, but if you are expectant instead of doubtful, I promise your heart will flip open. If you recognize that the God that you have access to is more than you think He is, your heart becomes receptive.

I’ve been in this season of confusion for a while now. I thought I had my life set out and all my plans were rock solid and all of sudden I’m not so sure. God has been revealing to me that my plans were made out of selfish intentions and were made without truly listening to Him. This week God has softened my heart to be able to listen to Him with an open and ready heart, rather than a heart that just has selective hearing. There is still so much I don’t know, so much uncertainty in my future, but now I’m okay with that. God is revealing it bit by bit, and at first I was frustrated because He wouldn’t give me very much, but now I can see that He’s revealing what I need.

For the first time, I listened to God and not to respond, not just because I wanted answers, but to actually listen to hear Him. I acknowledged that God is more than just an ear to hear my prayers. I came before Him, recognizing Him as Psalm 96 says I should. (btw go read psalm 96 and just declare that THAT is who you are speaking to when you say “Dear God”) He is more than a brick wall behind the scenes. He is alive, He is listening, and He is acting. We just have to realize that He is so much more than we think He is or could ever even imagine Him to be, and we have to listen to THAT God, not the lacking image of God we have in our heads. He is never limited to our doubtful minds. He is boundless, regardless of what we think of Him. But when we think of Him as more, He becomes more to us.

you need god

There is a deeper problem. We mask it and cover it up and claim there is nothing wrong. We try so hard to prove to other people that we’re just naturally the best version possible of ourselves and soon we actually begin to believe it. The deal is that we’re not. I’m sorry, but by yourself you are NOT the best you you can be. You are lacking in something greater, you are lacking in eternal value. We all come before God in need of Him and we all come equally as ugly, but equally as loved. We come the same– dead in our sin, in need of a King that is fully capable of raising us to back life. in NEED. 

I’ve got this soiled mindset that I have it all under control. I always put up a front, and I never come before God in a vulnerable and broken way and just ASK for Him. Instead I come before Him with a false humility. I come as if my Savior is just a luxury and not a necessity. As if He simply makes things better and not that He actually makes all things. I am stubborn in thinking that Jesus won’t want me if I come blemished. Each morning I wake up and put on this spiritual makeup to mask the fact that I’m not even close to a perfect follower of Jesus, to cover up the fact that actually can’t get anywhere on my own and I truly do need a Savior.

Recently I’ve been feeling convicted of “faking it.” I’ve been relating a lot to the Pharisees lately, which sounds kinda bad, but honestly its true. Not in the sense that I outright deny Jesus and oppose His work, but internally that’s my case. I deny that I need Him. I desire this control over my life and I think that I can DIY my walk with Lord. I know how to act, how to pray, how to behave as a follower of Christ, I know how to play the part but in some ways my heart has become so passive. My heart gets bored and disengaged so easily and its become okay with being unchallenged, so that’s what I’ve settled for. I’ve settled for a fake relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Luke 11:39 says, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” Jesus sees straight through the clean exterior. I’ve always scoffed at the Pharisees, and now I realize that they somewhat mirror my life. They have it all right externally, but they won’t allow their hearts to fall in love. They lack love, therefore they lack everything. I always want to polish myself up before presenting myself to God. DUMB. Accept your flaws and ask Jesus to be present in them just pretending they aren’t there. Rest in the fact that Jesus doesn’t just allow the strays to enter into His presence. He doesn’t just accept them, He doesn’t just talk with them He dines with them. He loves us right where we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there.

Here I am to say that there is not one person who is outside the grasp of God. There isn’t a single thing you could do that would make Him desire you less. He gives you grace and don’t let satan tell you that you don’t need it. Don’t let him tell you that you are enough on your own, let God tell you that you can’t do it on your own and let Him walk with you, singing over you the whole way. Exalt Him, and humble yourself. GO BEFORE GOD AS A SINNER AND NOT AS A SELF RIGHTEOUS FAKER. He knows that you need Him, but sometimes it’s just harder to convince ourselves of that.

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Matthew 12:23

i’m baaaack!!

OH HEY!!!!! its been a while, but I’ll make it up to ya with some goooood stuff tonight!! Friends are so important. So let’s talk about them. 

So much in our lives is determined by the people around us, whether we like to admit it or not. I’m not talking about whether or not you care what people think about you, but rather how you act because of the people around you. There’s so much riding on your community, who you choose to surround yourself with. This summer I worked at Camp Rivercrest, and God taught me so much about myself and Him, but one of the biggest things I learned was what true community is. As a semi-baby Christian, I came into this summer pretty unconfident. I was doubtful of God’s ability to work through me, I was doubtful of my own ability to work for Him. When I first started I looked around at my co-workers and I felt so inadequate. So many of them have a biblical education, they can pull verses out of anywhere for any situation, and they were just all around “better than I was.” But leaning further into this group of people, I figured out that yes, they may be TECHNICALLY further along in their walk with Christ than I am, but God looks at the state of our hearts, not our heads. Just because I had been loving Jesus for less time, doesn’t mean that I love Him any less than they do. And the best part about realizing all of this was that these friends didn’t make me feel inadequate. They pushed me deeper without even realizing it. They drove me to desire more knowledge to go along with my passion for Jesus, and they showed me what a genuine community looked like.

Community is selfless. This world is so selfish, and trust me when I say, even one selfless act radiates so much light in such a dark space. The other people I worked with dealt with hard stuff too, and I know it, but day in and day out I was still encouraged by their selflessness. Everyday I was sought out and prayed over and listened to, and everyday I felt more and more loved. Being there when its NOT convenient, when its hard and you’re tired and you’ve got so much else on your plate is so unlike this world, and sets you apart and labels you as part of God’s team.

Community is intentional. Summer camp is hard work. Its CONSTANT all day all night and its draining. And selflessness doesn’t come naturally. It’s easy to be lazy and just say its not my problem, but its compassionate to walk up to a hurting friend and ask and listen, even when its the last thing you want to do. You can’t just live life and take it as it comes. Its so much more than that! Its seeking people out, seeking opportunities out. Its about desiring selflessness and taking it upon yourself to do something active. God meets us where WE are, can’t we do the same for others?

Community is regardless. Man, the people I worked with saw me at my very very best and my very very worst, and still loved me either way. They saw me when I was jumping around in worship, laughing in the pool with my campers, or praying over them as they accepted Jesus for the first time. But they also saw me when I stayed up all night with a sick girl, when I had to have some of the toughest conversations, or when I was just so discouraged by the walls some girls put up. They see it all, and they still loved regardless. They didn’t passively love either, they put love into action. They laughed with me, cried with me, prayed with me, helped me when I was stressed and lost in the chaos. They calmed me down when I needed it, and they accepted my authentic, crazy, energetic and insane personality without hesitation. Community isn’t about what’s convenient for you, its not only in the good times, its about deciding that you’re going to act in love today no matter what the situation is.

Community is acceptance. I loved the group of people I worked with this summer because we were all so different. You look at us and say “oh? you guys are camp staff…?” We’re all a bunch of misfits but our staff was absolutely hand-made by God. Each person has their quirks, and I think that true community is not only about seeing them and accepting them, but also thanking God for creating them, and thanking the person for not covering them up. I used to hide myself so well behind a “man-made Abby” someone that God would no longer recognize. I was scared to be authentic, but in a community that loves genuinely, its so easy to be authentic and it brings so much joy to see other people’s authenticity surface and to see the way that God so intricately wove them. When you make friends who not only don’t judge your true self, but encourage your true self, you’ll never go back. Its FUN. It brings pure JOY. It draws other people to you as well, regardless of your quirks and flaws. People like real.

So really I wanna thank ALL my friends (not just my camp friends) for being the best of the best. For loving me when I don’t deserve to be loved. For praying for me. For being an example for me. For radiating the character of Christ so beautifully. For basically everything. I’m so amazed at God’s goodness, and not just eternally, but in the present also. He’s blessed me BIG TIME in this life He gave me. 

“to suffer with”

“to suffer with”

Dry seasons. WHY GOD?!!!???! No but seriously. I’m definitely in a dry season of life right now, and at first I wondered why God has me here. In 9 days I leave to spend 2 months working at my favorite place on earth… CAMP! And I expect God to do big things in me this summer, but ever since I got back from school I’ve been in this awkward in-between stage. I’ve been overwhelmed and lacking in motivation, which is a very nasty combination. But God is still faithful and still knows how to speak to me even through the dryness. So God is teaching me about compassion through this season of life, preparing me for whats to come this summer. He’s been giving me a little sneak peek at what’s to come in my next season.

I’ve always used the word “compassionate” to describe myself, but I realize now that I didn’t even know what it actually meant. Compassion doesn’t mean sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, but compassion is doing something about it. It’s nothing you can do with your mind, or even your heart. Knowing the truth and being able to act on it are two totally different things. Compassion is an action out of plain and simple love. Just because I have a soft heart doesn’t make me a compassionate person. The word “compassion” in Greek is oikteírō, and that means “to respond with deep sensitivity.” I’ve never recognized the “to respond” part before. God doesn’t call me to dangle my feet over the edge, but to dive in headfirst. God shows compassion to us, not to make us feel good, but so that we can pour it back out to those in need. Jesus Christ, and all he did is our ultimate example. But look deeper than just His mighty actions, look at the intentions behind them.

Compassion doesn’t come naturally. We were born with sin and each day we wake up with sin in our hearts. I don’t want to be the person that I wake up as, I have to ask God to come into my heart and take over instead. Compassion takes persistence and constant prayer. Compassion is unique and scandalous in our world today, and its easily noticed. Be the one that stands out, not the one who just notices that one that stands out.

Compassion is bold.

Be compassionate as Christ was. Do you know that Jesus doesn’t love people because he thinks that if he loves them enough they just might love Him back?? God loves without expecting anything to come from it. Compassion is loving when you aren’t loved back. Its doing something for someone that you know fully well wouldn’t do the same for you. So many Christians say “I have to love this person because they might see the love of God through me.” I think that its great when non-Christians decide that they see God through someone enough to pursue it themselves. But I also think that that’s not how Jesus would have loved. He loves us ALL just as we are, and even if we never come to see that, He still does. People aren’t a project. People are an opportunity to love. Compassion is a decision and its committed and the only intention it has it to love purely.

Compassion isn’t “depending,” its “regardless.”

1 Thess. 5:11-14 is exactly what being compassionate looks like– “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

Compassion is tender, compassion is genuine, compassion is eager, compassion is spontaneous, compassion is pure, compassion is simple, compassion is CHRIST. There are so many opportunities to show compassion every day. Listening well. Paying it forward. Giving advice. Stopping for the man with the homeless sign. Being real and vulnerable with people. Speaking kind-hearted words. Smiling. Praying. Loving. Its not about getting more opportunities but about changing your attitude towards them. The opportunites are actually endless because YOU CAN CREATE THEM WHEN THEY ARENT THERE. Its all in the perspective. When you don’t see opportunities to be compassionate, its because you aren’t looking hard enough. Seek out a chance to be scandalously genuine in such a fake world.

…and God gave me all this in a DRY season 😉

desperately in love

desperately in love

This is my fourth draft of this blog post. I usually don’t struggle too much with coming up stuff to write about, because I just take things I am learning about, feeling convicted of, or dealing with myself and turn it into a post. But its been a weird week and I haven’t been in the Word very much or really spending any time with God at all. So I sat down to write my post and I didn’t have anything to say. I pulled up a podcast and listened to it, thinking maybe I could use this idea and turn it into a post, so I pulled out my laptop and started typing. I got maybe 2 paragraphs in, and I couldn’t write anything else. And the same exact thing happened 2 more times.

At that point, I had spent about 3 hours trying to figure out what to do and I couldn’t take it anymore and I just broke down before God. Between sobs I asked Him why I couldn’t do this, why it was suddenly so hard. Asking God is always better than trying to keep going on your own. Sometimes He answers immediately, and sometimes He lets you learn a little more before. Today He must have thought, “she’s been going at this for way too long, I’ll just cue her in,” because almost immediately He gave me answers.

Recently I’ve been really convicted of basically playing the part of a godly woman without actually being one. I’m too concerned with if people are thinking, “wow, this girl is on fire for the Lord,” rather than just being a girl who is on fire for the Lord. I’m doing the right things, but for the wrong audience. So when I came before God asking Him about this post, He told me that I was doing the same thing here as I was in other areas of my walk with Him. I want people to think I’m wise, and I want people to think I have unique interpretations, and I’ve gotten so caught up in what they are thinking that I forget the purpose. I’ve been glorifying myself through all of this, but God deserves the glory because these are not my words, they are His. I just get to be His vessel. I just take pieces of my walk with God and share them with whoever reads this. It’s one of the beautiful things that I get to do for His Kingdom, but through this I boast in myself, rather than in Him. I’m selfishly taking all the praise and not giving any of it to the One who really deserves it all.

Vulnerability with God is a good thing, and something I personally lack. I like to pretend like I already know everything, but its just hurting me, because I’m not allowing myself to be taught. This is GOD we’re talking about. Be real with Him. Be real with yourself. Be teachable. If you aren’t taught, you can’t teach, and if you can’t teach anyone you can’t make disciples and that’s the Great Commission. This is why we live. If I don’t ever come before God desperately in need of a Savior, then I will never fully receive all that I can have from Him. We need to know that without His power, we cannot go on.

In the past 3 tries for this post, I tried taking something that had no connection to me and turning it into something that sounds passionate and wise. But instead it came out forced and it wasn’t personalized, it wasn’t my own. I was aiming to please the wrong audience. A message born in the mind, will only reach minds, but a message born in the heart reaches other hearts. I was just trying to write something I thought the world wanted to hear, not something from my own heart. But I don’t care if no one thinks my writing is good, because its not about what they think. Not at all. Its about bringing all the praise and glory to Him and how He can work through me. And that’s what I’m doing now.

This is such a breakthrough for me. I came before God desperately and asked for help with something I’ve been ignoring for far too long. I realized it was time to stop aiming to pleas people and start aiming for the heart of God. This sin has been binding me, but love sets me free. There is no chain that love can’t break. We influence people by the way we love them and the way we love God– and loving isn’t just saying the right words and doing the right things. We don’t follow rules, we follow our savior. A pure, joyful, and genuine heart is evident. We don’t have to work at it or try harder, we just let go and love.

Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you.

Psalm 31:17