encouragement

Because You Need A Pep Talk

*** I wrote this almost a year ago, but I figured the beginning of a new year was a good time to repost. What better way to start off than with a pep talk? I hope you find this encouraging. Happy 2016!*** 

It had been a hard week...a week full of lies to myself and a hurting heart. I turned my music up, sang truths to my heart, and prayed that God would give me rest ... "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Two nights before God planted that verse in my mind knowing I would need it. I prayed, He answered, and that night I decided I needed to give myself a pep talk. Too often we're hesitant to see our worth as God sees us and to remind ourselves of who we truly are in Christ. We might do this for a number of reasons...sometimes because we desire humility. Sometimes because we simply don't believe there's anything good to list. Sometimes we struggle to see ourselves as He sees us because somehow we find pain, loneliness, and sadness a thing too easy to dwell in, as if it's almost comfortable in some way. Thus, pep talks are few and far between, but we all need them. You need them

Here's a pep talk for your Monday, your Tuesday, your Wednesday, and...well, every day of your life because nothing on this list will ever change.

You are beautiful... You don't need your girlfriends or some guy to tell you this. Stop listening to society broadcasting lies that say you aren't and choose to listen to Christ.  You wouldn't follow every single fashion choice, hair cut, or makeup routine declared beautiful so why let society define you at all? Society does a horrible job of defining beauty...you are so much better than anything they could ever say about you...bad or good.

You are loved ...so, so much. It doesn't matter the number of people that tell you this or even the degree to which they mean it... God loves you bigger and better. There's no doubt about it, so don't listen to anyone or anything try to tell you otherwise. "...that you, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge..." (Ephesians 3:17-19).

You are forgiven... You sins are nailed to the cross by the One who gave his life for you (Colossians 2:14).

You have guts... Let's face it, life is hard. But hey, life is really, really, really good too. I have no clue what you may be going through, but I know God promises strength. Trust Him in that. He's never failed, and He won't start now...or ever.

You are blessed... If you're able to read this you have greater advantages than the majority of the world. Your life is amazing. Never forget that.

You are not boring... Sometimes your interests and passions are different than those of your friends and you may feel like you're boring or weird, but God has given you your passions for a reason. Dream big, do big. Also, sometimes it's hard to hold true to your convictions when everyone else around you seems to be doing the opposite. Never be ashamed of convictions. It doesn't mean you're a better person, but it doesn't mean you're boring or naive either. God has made you the person you are for a reason and there will be people who respect that. When you struggle with this just read Galatians 1:10.

You are God's child... He chose you (Ephesians 1:4). He prays for you (Romans 8:26). He holds you (Isaiah 41:10). He rejoices over you (Zephaniah 3:17).

You are known... From your waking thought, the tears streaming as you're driving down the highway, your laughter, your steady breathing at night, your sparkling eyes, your make-up free face, your tomorrow... Jesus knows it all and gave His all because even while fully knowing you... He loves you.

You are valuable... You are a treasure. You are more valuable than a diamond in the rough... you are priceless. Nothing, I repeat, nothing can destroy your worth. God says you are His (1 Peter 2:9-10). You are forgiven. You were died for. You were wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Nothing can change that. God said, and it is so.

You were created... There is no accident in the fact that you were born. Before anyone even knew to think of you, God did. He planned you. He loved you before time, loves you in this moment, and will love you all of eternity. Just think, after all this time you finally get to love Him back. --This is actually a great song that you should listen to, here--

Today is a new day. Crush the lies of the Destroyer.

Dwell in truth.

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Prayer: Least Important to Most Important (Part 3)

There was once a woman, a widow. She pleaded with the judge in her area to please, free her from her adversary. He refused, but this woman was persistent. The persistent widow. She came to the judge over and over and over until finally, he helped her.

And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
— Luke 18:1

There's not much else I can add. Jesus told this parable as an encouragement to never give up hope. The judge the widow went to was not a God-fearing man and Jesus adds after, "And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily" (Luke 18:7). God used this story as an encouragement to me in a time of my life when I wanted something. It seemed as if God was opening a door for my family and I was very eager and excited to walk through it so at this time I kept the persistent widow in mind. God answered quickly and closed the door, but He prepared me for it and now years later I see why and am thankful He closed it. Whether God says yes, no, or maybe, He proves over and over that His timing is perfect. So don't lose heart, because He will answer. Another similar story is the one of Jacob wrestling with God. As he was wrestling Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me" (Genesis 32:26). This is another verse I've clung to at times of persistent prayer. I'll write the reference on my wrist as a reminder to not give up praying.

So today remember this: stay persistent, don't lose heart, and cling to the hope God promises.

 

Prayer: Least Important to Most Important (Part 2)

Welcome back to part 2 in this series! If you missed Part One from last week, you can read it here. I'm doing a series of about three posts in which I'll be sharing some thoughts and verses that will hopefully help you take prayer from being one of the least important things in your life, to one of the most important. 

One of the things that has helped me in praying is to write them down. I know, it seems too complicated and like it takes up too much time, but I've learned that it is the best way for me to present my words/thoughts to God. Today I want to share with you three reasons why this works (for me at least).

 

1. Focusing

So many times it's easy to get distracted during a prayer. Unless we praying aloud (and sometimes even then), our minds can wander to other things and suddenly we realize we're no longer even praying so we jump back to God like, "Hey! Sorry! Where was I?" Then of course, there's falling asleep. We wake back up and...whoops. We're busy people with a long list of to do's, so we already feel like we don't have an abundant amount of time to spend during our quiet time, so sometimes when our mind wanders or we fall back asleep, we feel like failures and just rush through the rest of our requests to make sure we get everything in and just be done with it. So writing down our prayers is helpful in keeping our mind focused. 

 

2. Time

 I also find that I typically spend more time in prayer this by writing them down (I know, one of your reasons for not praying in the first place). But instead of a quick little prayer, I usually surprise myself by pouring out my heart to God in more ways than I anticipated because as I write the words continually flow. I think sometimes we don't realize how much we desperately need to pour out our hearts to God. It's hard to get started writing, but it typically ends up becoming something I enjoy and suddenly time doesn't matter (because let's be real, God always allows us enough time to spend with Him...it depends on whether or not we choose to take it that makes the difference). 

 

3. God-Centered

Usually in writing down my prayers they become less me-centered and more God-centered. I'm more likely to write down a prayer that lines up with God's will than write a little pity-party for myself. It's easier to write down praises to God and thank Him for who He is and what He's done in my life than it is to write down my silly wants and complaints. Of course God wants us to share anything and everything with Him, but sometimes we focus too much on ourselves and not enough on Him, so writing down can help us focus more in that area of our prayers.

 

4. Prayers to Praises

Writing down prayers also gives us the ability to look back and see how God has answered them. Sometimes we forget we even ask God for things, so when He answers we forget to thank Him. Writing them down we're able to look back and be encouraged at how God is working in our lives and we can turn the prayers into praises. 

I hope you'll take the time to give this a try and see how differently it can impact your prayer life!