When You Feel Like an Unredeemable Shipwreck

by Grace 12. April 2018 21:14

Today has been one of those days. 

Those days where I feel horrible... Like an unredeemable shipwreck... Like the sinner I am. When my heart is heavy with guilt and shame.

And you know what? I bet you've had those days too. Days when you can barely live with your own self. Those are long, hard days. 

Recently, I've been kind of wondering about those kinds of days. Those days when the weight of my own darkness is on my shoulders. What those mean, and what I should do in those times. I've been learning a few things and I thought I'd share them with you all. I certainly don't have an exhaustive list of what you need to do -- just what I've learned. But I hope it helps all the same.

I've found that these are the times to examine yourself by the scriptures. And I've found that these are times that we have to be deathly honest with ourselves to pursue the truth. And it's important to pray during this process and have a Bible handy (I have one on the desk with me right now!)

Get ready for a bit of intense cross examinations and multiple choice tests!!! ;)

 

Why do I feel this way? What is the cause, and who's fault is it?

Because it's somebody's fault. Believe me. Thoughts have three sources: God, the Devil, and yourself. And being that God died to take your sins away and bear that burden and grant you release, (as far as I can tell) we're left with two options...

The key here is to ask yourself why you think you're such a bad person. We'll deal with whether you are or not in a minute (by the way, it's not a flattering answer), but for now, we'll deal with why you think what you think.

 

-Devil’s attacks vs. Sin in our lives

This is a tricky question that takes a lot of processing and scripture reading to answer. Now, undoubtedly, either way you're under attack by the devil, whether you're dealing with current sin in your life or he's searching out your insecurities. Right now we're just dealing with what route he's going through.

Ask yourself. Why do you think you are a bad person? Is it because you're thinking of all of the mistakes you've made? Maybe you've received a lot of correction recently from a parent (be honest teens, we're not as grown-up as we like to think, and sometimes we... *gasp* get in some trouble...). Maybe you did something really not-so-great (please excuse my attempts not to use stronger language there) and you can't get over it. Maybe you have some habits that you think are just rather odd or gross. Maybe you feel like you just mess things up all the time and get in the way all the time. Maybe you're frustrated that your lack of confidence gets in the way of being a better friend or a better coworker. Maybe you've made someone mad recently. I could (obviously - just proved it) go on and on and on with the list.

These could very possibly attacks from the devil, but it could also very possibly be... something worse. Perhaps you've got something in your life that you really need to deal with. Something in your heart. Let's cross examine ourselves to see what it could possibly be that is troubling us.

Feelings or Knowledge?

Think for a moment. What's bothering you? Is it just the feeling of guilt and shame? Or is it a knowledge of something in your life that disturbs you? If you just feel like you're a miserable failure and an all around bad person, it could be an attack from the devil on you and your identity in Christ. If you can lay a finger on something a little more tangible (we're not talking about an action/thought difference, we're talking about vague/specific difference), it's time to take things to the next step.

Sin or Strangeness?

Now that you've perhaps identified the thing that's bothering you, hold it in light of the scriptures. Do you feel prone to making really foolish mistakes? Look at the scriptures. Is that a sin? No. (Thank God!) Is feeling dirty, tired, and stressed a sin? Look at the scriptures. No, it isn't. Do you feel like a highly unproductive person? Look at the scriptures. Is a lack of productivity a sin? Yes. God calls us to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-16). The lazy man is repeatedly scorned throughout the book of Proverbs. Diligence is a highlighted virtue in the scriptures. Now, as for being down-to-earth serious with ourselves... Call everything what it is. If you look for "exceedingly tired all the time" in the Bible, you're not going to find it. But is it really just that you're tired all the time? Or is that maybe... laziness??? And that works the other way around too. Don't slide something under the title of sin because you feel horrible. It'll just make things more confusing. Examine things in the light of the Bible. Don't nitpick and misinterpret God's Word to get the results you want, expect, or feel you deserve.

 

Past or Present?


Okay, so maybe you've narrowed it down to a sin that's bothering you. Think about this sin. Is it something that is currently part of your life? Or is it in the past? And when I say in the past, I don't mean last decade. I mean last year. Last hour. Last minute. Maybe even just a few seconds ago. Think about it. If it's an action, look to see if you've been doing it consistently recently. No? That's past. Have you apologized to those you've possibly hurt? It's past. Was it a heedless accident? It's past. Have you prayed about it? It's past. You need to let go. What we're dealing with is chronic sin. We're always going to be struggling with sin. We're going to do wrong things, repent, ask forgiveness, move on. What we're specifically looking for right now though is those ugly little creatures that continuously and persistently pop their heads into our lives. Wrong thoughts are often chronic sin (not always, but often). Remember to make sure they're wrong thoughts and not attacks from the devil. Thoughts about who you are are often just the devil trying to get you down because who you are is identified by Christ as a believer. But other thoughts that don't follow the guidelines of Phillipians 4:8 are often sin.

Let's look at some things you should not do when you're dealing with the devil attacking you with insecurities in your life or using your sin to discourage you.

-Don't flatter yourself. You aren't a good person. You ARE a very bad person. Telling yourself that you're not as bad as you think is just a way of running away from the problem and trying to cover it up, and if it makes you feel better, it probably just puffed up your ego (P.S. Not a good thing).

-Don't try to 'wait it out'. If you're dealing with something, deal with it! Don't let it sit and soak in you and drain you. From personal experience, if it does 'go away', it'll come up again later in full strength.

Okay, now the things that we should do.

-Pray and read your Bible!

Pretty obvious. If it isn't, that's very possibly your problem.

-Pray and study those scriptures some more!

-Talk to someone about it!

If I'm having a seriously rough time over something, I talk to my Mom or my sister about it. They always have lots to share, and it's easier for them to see what might be going on from the outside looking in.

-Remember who you are in Christ.

If you're struggling with attacks from Satan, remember that God has washed your sins away. He took them to the cross, and they didn't last any longer than that. They're gone. Don't let them trouble you anymore. Lay them down. Jesus' sacrifice was and is sufficient. To doubt that those sins are gone, to feel that you still bear the guilt of them, is to doubt the grace and power of God to take those sins away!

-"Go and sin no more."

God has commanded us to sin no more! We are to be following in His footsteps. Are you struggling with chronic sin? Do you consistently deal with anger? Pride? Lust? Some other sin? Tell someone and ask them to pray for you and help keep you accountable. And then replace those bad thoughts with something pure and holy. Replace those wrong actions with their opposites. Jealous? Thank God for the success of the person you're envious of and pray for those who aren't as fortunate in life as yourself. Lazy? Find something useful to do! Selfish? Think of unique ways to be generous! 

-Search for things that heighten your feelings of discouragement.

Here's a list of things that cause us to be unnecessarily discouraged:

1) Lack of sleep

If you're over tired, you're going to struggle with stress.

2) Neglecting Bible reading/prayer

No-brainer! God is our Sustainer. He is the center of our lives as Christians. He's the one who took away our guilt. If we're forgetting him, we're gonna feel down.

3) Not keeping up with health

I struggle with chronic heartburn and I have a sensitive stomach. If I eat something that bothers it, it'll throw me fully off balance. This is an area that I really need to work on. If I neglect to take my vitamins, I run the risk of becoming deficient in certain things and that will throw me off.

4) Stress

Brothers and sisters, lay those burdens down! Cast your cares upon the Lord. Take heed for nothing. God has everything under control. Just let go and let God.

 

 

Okay, I hope that was of some help! Like I mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of all of the solutions. There are things that I certainly haven't addressed. This isn't a fix-it-all formula to be sure. It's just me sharing from my heart and my experiences on a bad day. ;) If you have anything to add, if there's anything on your heart, or if there's anything I can pray for you about, comment and let me know! (Or use the contact form if it's something personal. ;) Here's some random resources and verses that I thought of or looked at while I was writing this (this list is by no means exhaustive either!). Not everything is necessarily even related to the whole general topic... Sorry if I list a resource down there and you don't know why I did! Hahaha!

By the way, I commend you if you made it to the bottom of this post!

2 Corinthians 10:5

Phillipians 4:8

Eccl. 9:10

Prov. 6:11

Eph. 5:15-16

Acts 17:11

II Corinthians 13:5

Looking Higher, Reaching Farther

I Stand Redeemed - Legacy Five

As Many Times - Kingdom Heirs

Big Enough - Clark Family

Now let's hear from you!

Was this helpful to you at all? Did it make sense? Have you been dealing with feelings of guilt and shame recently? Remember, these are great times to grow in Christ! Do you have any thoughts to add? Is there something that you disagree with? Is there something I can pray about for you?

 

 

 

 

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Lord I'll Be what You Want Me to Be

by Grace 7. April 2018 19:55

Hey everyone!

Here's a song that I've written a while ago, but it means a lot to me still. It's one of my favorites that I've written. Some of you that know me might have heard me mention it before -- I am currently working on an arrangement of it with piano, cello, and violin.

Let me know what you think! 

Lord, I'll be what You Want Me to be

Chorus:

Lord I'll be what you want me to be tho' the way seems foggy and unclear

Lord I'll do what you want me to do I will cling to You and never fear

For you're holding my hand

Lord I'll be what you want me to be

 

Verse 1:

I'm tired of fearing, and not believing in Your Sovereignty and grace

I'm growing weary of not trusting You to carry me through everything I face

I'll not be standing idle longer while I hear you calling after me

I'll follow You,

Lord I'll be what You want me to be

 

 

Verse 2:

I'll take a breath, and hold Your hand while You lead me down this path I do not know

I will follow Your direction even when Your plan to me you do not show

I am trusting in your promise that You'll always do what You know's best for me

I'll cling to You,

Lord I'll be what You want me to be.

 

To be honest, I made that second verse just now... I started putting it up here and I thought, "This needs a second verse!" And that was easy for me to do because I've been learning to release my desires to God and be what He wants me to be. 

But that's a story for some other time. ;)

Now let's hear from you!

Did you like the song? Do you have any ideas of how I can significantly shorten the title??? That's one thing I have trouble with... Titling songs. My titles are always WAY too long. Y'all have probably noticed that though.

 

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Series/Put on the Armor of God

by Grace 2. March 2018 14:16

Hey everyone!

I know I posted just yesterday but I wanted to just pop in and tell you all about this since I'll be pretty busy over the next few days.
I decided I'll just go back and forth every week between the two series. I technically had a tie between the two and I believe everyone said that they'd be interested in both.

I'd love to hear everyone's feedback throughout both of these series... Whether it's a quick note that you're still enjoying the series or you have a lot to add, and whether it's in agreement or something that you disagreed with. And I know I've said in the past that I love long comments, but I really do enjoy hearing from all of you whether you have lots to say or its a simple encouragement. I'm humbled that y'all would take the time to read my posts at all, let alone take the time to comment on them or rate them!

And also, I don't want you all to think that I've got this all together. Oh no. I certainly don't! The main reason that I chose these topics is because they're things that I too still struggle with. I still get angry at my siblings or lose my patience with them. Sometimes I treat my parents disrespectfully. I forget where my I'm supposed to get my identity and turn to the world to define who I am (that was part of my inspiration for my song Looking Farther, Reaching Higher). I'm a real human being -- sinner just like you all and I'm still learning about all of these things too!

I think I'll try to post a part to one of these series every Wednesday... We'll see what day it ends up on though. ;)

Since I'm here, I thought I'd share this song I wrote in 2014 with you. I think you all will be able to guess the passage that inspired this one. ;)

And, just in case, I want to apologize if you see the word 'armor' written as 'armour'... I have a tendency to write in the old English way sometimes... Armour, honour, neighbour, and all of the other words that Noah Webster shortened to be convenient (I think that was him). I think I got all of them changed, but just in case... ;)

 

Put on the Armor of God

Chorus:

We are to put on the armor of God to protect us from the foe,

As we take our pilgrimage in this wicked world be-low,

Some say they don't need it; they wear the world's armor instead

But then Satan overcomes them, and they go to the Land of the Dead

Oh! Weak sinner, put on the Armor of God!

 

Verse 1:

Gird your loins with the Lord's holy truth

Wear the breastplate of righteousness,

To protect against Satan's dangerous darts

Full of lies and evilness

Let your feet the preparation

Of the gospel of peace be shod

Oh feeble sinner, Put on the Armor of God!
 

Verse 2:

Take the helmet of Salvation

Don't let Satan your mind deceive,

Take the shield of faith for your defense

If you truly do believe,

And when you’re in holy war,

And in battle grounds you trod,

For the fight use the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God!

 

Now let's hear from you!

Did you like the song? Which series are you most looking forward to? A big THANKS to ALL of you who take the time to read my blog, rate my posts, or comment! You'll never know how much you're all appreciated.

 

 

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Short Semi-Breakish Sort of Thing

by Grace 30. January 2018 10:37

Hey everyone!

I just thought I'd pop in and say that I might not be here much again until sometime after the 18th of February. *Sniffs*

It's not that I thought I needed an internet break (although I could probably use one sometime or another) and it's not that I've run out of inspiration (I've got at least three posts in mind that I need to do - one of which is the rest of the Q + As which WOULD have already been posted if my computer hadn't suffered from momentary insaness and deleted half of the stuff I'd had on it. I can't sue it, unfortunately, because it was insane - it didn't destroy my work on purpose. Oh well). In short, I didn't want to take a break.

Why then, you may ask? Why have I decided to put my blog on the back burner for a while? Well, I've just suddenly gotten very busy.

With what?

Midterms.

And I'm more scared than last time. I'm not near as prepared as last time and don't have as much time to prepare, and I made a few mistakes, and these are going to be some hard tests. And it's not like God said not to worry...

Oh wait. He did. Never mind.

So I'm not going to! (Well, I'm trying...)

That doesn't mean that I'm not going to work hard. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to start studying early in the morning and keep going until late at night. It doesn't mean I'm not going to turn down multiple opportunities to do things that are 'more fun'. It doesn't mean it's not going to take an extra dash of courage and determination and lots of God's grace to make this happen.

In short, it doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

It just means that I have all of God's grace that I could want and that His grace is MORE than sufficient for me. 

What about you?

Alright, things that'll happen before I see you next:

I'll be 18!!! February 8th will mark my movement from infant to major (law terms... another word for 'minor' is infant. Haha, sorry to all of my friends and readers who are younger than 18! You're technically still infants.)

I'll be halfway done with my paralegal program. OH MY! Crazy!

My little brother Jacob will be 14. (No way. Jacob, I know you're reading this - you used to be the cutest, chubbiest little guy the world has ever seen. Whatever made you decide to change that!? Just teasing. Besides, you ARE still an infant. Hahaha! Get that??? ;)

I will have *hopefully* put in around 100 hours of school (preferably BEFORE testing :/ ).

Now, I've been talking like I'll be gone for weeks (which I might) but I most likely pop in again sometimes regardless of my busyness, and I'll keep an eye out for comments too. And if any of you feel the need to keep in touch with me during this time of gone-ness, there's the contact form somewhere on here. ;) As you can tell, I really don't want to be gone!!!

In the meantime, here's a song for you to enjoy and the lyrics to this song are coming from the bottom of my heart ;) I only like songs in this style as long as they're done just right; very little beat, no weirdness, and good, strong lyrics are the only way that this kind of tune is going to take off for me. But the Kingdom Heirs nailed it.

And the words are super good. Here y'all go.

Kingdom Heirs - Pray For Me

 

Now let's hear from you!

Will you all miss me? (I'll miss you all *sniff*) What are some things that will be happening for you during my break? What are some of your favorite verses when dealing with stress and anxiety? How many of you all are infants???? (No, just kidding! Honestly!) Did you all like the song?

 

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Reflections on My Day - Do Looks Truly Matter?

by Grace 9. January 2018 20:41

It happened again.

Somebody told me I look nice today.

For years, just about wherever I've gone I've always been told that I was pretty. I've heard it from old and young, boys, girls, family, and friends - "You're so pretty!" "I love your hair!" "You have such a pretty smile!" "You're so thin!" "Your eyes are so blue - are those contacts???"

It's not necessarily a bad thing. I love hearing my Grandma, my mom, or my dad tell me things like that. And I like hearing my family and friends tell me I did a good job with my hair or things along those lines. But sometimes, I actually rather dislike it.

Some of you may be asking why on earth, but maybe some of you understand. For those of you who don't, let me explain.

I've often wondered when people have told me I'm pretty, "Why does it matter?" I haven't done anything to look the way I do. I've never tried losing weight - I still remember feeling thrilled whenever I gained more weight when I was younger. I didn't do anything to get blue eyes. We're still not even precisely sure where I got them from. I didn't give myself long, dark brown hair that went from waves towards the top and curls at the bottom. It was just there. I haven't done anything to get the face I have - I've never even worn makeup before. It's a gift from God, to be sure, I didn't do anything to get my looks and can't really do a substantial amount to make it any better - so what's the use in complementing my looks because they line up with the world's standards of pretty? I mean, it's not an evil thing, but it can be useless and oftentimes excessive.

And I know that it can be discouraging to me because I daily strive to be more like Jesus and more focused on Him - I try to be a better sister, more humble, more diligent, more patient, more graceful, more enduring, and many other things. And after working so hard, the only encouragement I get is, "Your eyes are so pretty!" Perhaps I was grumpy when my sibling did something annoying, but at least I have pretty eyes, right??? Again, it's not necesarily a bad thing for people to tell me my eyes are pretty, but I tend forget their comment pretty quickly. It doesn't mean much to me anymore.

The things that really stick to me are things like when a lady at the school walked by and said, "doing a good job, as always!" or when she said "as always, wearing a smile!" Or when my sisters say they love having an older sister. Or when my friend and coworker tells me I'm her 'Saving Grace' because I gave her an umbrella and an extra coat while we were working in the cold and rain. Or when somebody at the fair comes by after I've dealt with a tough visitor and tells me that I'm doing a great job and to keep wearing a smile. Or when my parents tell me they're proud of me for paying for college by myself. That's what matters most to me in my life. Our looks don't matter - God looks at and cares about the inside of us, not the outside. And He doesn't flatter us about our blue eyes and big smiles. He's more pleased when He sees a faithful heart, and we should be too.

And you know what? Most people who are praised for their looks probably already know. Before you told them that they had beautiful hair, an slender waistline, or a handsome face, they'd been told a million times - perhaps they begin to act like me sometimes, wearing sunglasses and a hat when I work at the fair so that people take me a little more seriously. Or they feel vain and proud for something that was a gift, not their own doing. There are some people who need to be told that they're beautiful - that God made them the way they are and they're precious to Him.

But the people who are beautiful in the World's standard don't need to hear it.

It'll bounce off of them, or they'll feel vain, or perhaps, like me, they'll simply ponder why it matters. If anything, some of us just need to be reminded that it's the heart that matters and not our appearance.

My looks aren't a talent. They're a gift. And, although I'm not mad when people tell me I'm pretty, I'd rather hear their encouragement or even their criticism - what I could be doing better in my Christian walk.

Next time you think to tell someone that they're pretty or handsome, stop to think if you have some encouragement for them or if there's a way to compliment their behavior.

And next time you're told that you look nice, tell them that it's a gift from God and that they look beautiful too.

 

Now let's hear from you!

Do YOU ever feel this way? Have you ever wondered why it mattered? What are some of your suggestions on things you can encourage friends in instead of telling them that they're pretty?

 

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Finals Exams/Fear and Anxiety

by Grace 13. November 2017 21:35

Hey everyone!

I'm starting my quarter finals test tomorrow (for those of you who don't know, I'm a student of Oak Brook College of Law (OBCL.edu)). My quarter finals exams will consist of four 2-hour exams, two tomorrow, one on Wednesday, and one on Thursday. And for the record, one of my greatest fears is timed tests.

But I thought I'd just hop up here and let y'all know that even when we're facing our worst fears, we can lean on Jesus and HE can relieve us of our fears.

In reality, having fear is a sign of lack of trust. Let's say you went to the doctors and they said that you had a disease and that they would need to operate on you for you to get better. But you cry, "No way! That's just plain CREEPY! You're not cutting into me! That's terrifying! I don't care if you drug me to sleep first! I'm afraid!" The doctor shakes his head and says, "you don't trust me, do you? Well, if this is the way it's going to be, you're just going to have to deal with this issue that's cutting away at you."

Folks, anxiety is a sign that we're not trusting God enough, and as a result, that fear will be used by the devil to cut away at our souls. And I can attest to that; I'm still scared to death. But when I pray about it, the Great Physician begins His operation I start to feel better. However, if I don't let go, the pain of fear drains me so that I'm not as efficient for the purpose God has created me for.

Now, fear is something that takes time to rid yourself of. In fact, we cannot be fully immune to the temptations (yes, temptation -- a lack of trust in God is a SIN) of fearing and not trusting God until we get to heaven and are fully sanctified in His presence. But it's something to work on, and letting go of your fears and leaving all in God's care is glorifying to Him.

So for all of you who are like me, shaking in your shoes and wondering what to do and how to do and where to do and what to do and then realizing your muddled brain is going in circles, cast your cares upon the Lord and put your best effort in for the glory of God. Give Him your all.

Eccl. 9:10

Blessings and Prayers for you all!

 

Now let's hear from you!

What struggles and challenges have you been facing that cause you to fear? What are some of the Bible verses you refer to when you're fearful, stressed, and anxious? What is your reaction when frightening things come up - praying or panic?

For those of you who haven't seen yet, check out my new 'About' page on the sidebar!

 

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