Physical Boundaries: How Far Is Too Far?

Just how “chill” are we allowed to get while we’re Netflix’in? How far is too far when it comes to “doing stuff” with your boyfriend? This is a question I hear a lot and one I used to ask myself all the time.

I get it. I’ve been there. It’s tough. I’ve catapulted myself over any and all lines. I’ve also been in relationships where sexual purity was a priority, so I’ve fought from that end too.

Jesus clearly tells us not to have sex before marriage. Outside of that, if we take it down to the very literal details, He does not explicitly define a physical line that marks “too far.” But that does not give us an excuse to do whatever we want. He does talk to us about our thoughts. He also tells us how we are supposed to use our bodies, and what a healthy relationship should look like. When you piece it all together, the right choices are not so hazy after all.

So…what is the answer? Let’s back up.

First, the obvious command: 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says “For this is the will of God…that you abstain from sexual immorality.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 takes it a step further and tells us to run away from it. It also lets us know that sexual sin is actually self-harm.

Our thoughts: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8. Let’s be honest, there is very little that can be done physically while still thinking thoughts that are lovely and pure.

Our bodies: In 1 Corinthians 6 we are told to honor God with our bodies. Why? We aren’t the first ones to ask. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (v. 19-20). I don’t know about you, but the idea of doing anything sexual gets less appealing when I think of Jesus living inside of me. Or even being there, for that matter. *cringe*

Healthy relationships: God is the creator of love, and He tells us that love does not pursue sin or delight in wrong (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

So back to the original question. Where is the line? 

Plot twist: that is actually the wrong question. Jesus isn’t about the line. When He calls us to follow Him, He draws us away from the line in general.

When He calls us to follow Him, He draws us away from the line in general

The line is no longer what is important; loving Jesus and following Him is most important. So the question needs to be “How close can we get to Jesus?”

So the question needs to be “How close can we get to Jesus?”

The good news is that we can get as close to Him as we want to. The closer we get, the closer we want to be. But the world we live in doesn’t make it easy, and that’s why it’s super important to be in relationships that lead you towards Jesus instead of towards sin. That’s what our next devo is about. Love y’all!

“But you are a man [or woman] of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

UP NEXT: Physical Boundaries Part 2: If I’m In Love, It Doesn’t Matter As Much. Right?

 

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The Struggle To Trust

(Note: see end of devo for the verses that I mention throughout )

T-R-U-S-T.

Five letters that used to send me running for the hills.

You know those football games where one team just gets trampled? That’s how my experience with trust was for a long time. I seemed to lose every game. As the defeats piled up I started to have a hopeless perception of trust. Was it even a real thing? It looked like it in other people’s relationships, but I didn’t really know. It didn’t matter anyways because it clearly wasn’t something I was capable of having.

For years I tried to find it. I tried to create it. I desperately wanted to fix the broken trust I carried around. But I couldn’t. Each time I walked away with cuts from more pieces of my heart that had shattered.

Over time I learned that trust is a choice, not just a feeling. So I tried to make that choice, thinking if I gave it to people they would be inspired to return it. But it was more like bracing myself for the inevitable collision between my heart and destruction. Trusting another person felt a bit like catapulting myself off of a cliff while rock climbing. I was unsure if the person at the bottom had the rope as tightly as they needed to in order to hold me. I hoped something had not come along to distract them from the fact that they were holding my life in their hands. I prayed they wouldn’t get tired of holding me, or think I was too heavy. I hoped they didn’t drop me, and let me shatter. Again. Unfortunately, by that point I was so insecure that I tried to trust anyone who would listen to me spill my baggage.

People told me that my trust needed to be in God instead of in people. But some of the biggest blows I received came during seasons of life when I was trying to pursue a relationship with God. Why did I get tackled if I was trying to do the right thing? I tried to color-code “Christians” and “non-Christians” so I knew who to trust, but some of the people who hurt me the most claimed to be followers of Jesus.

“How in the world am I supposed to put trust in that?”

But that was the problem.

I was trusting in and for the wrong things.

I wasn’t trusting God. Instead of giving God my heart to heal and hold, I continued to hand people all of it’s broken pieces. Deep down the familiarity of getting hurt again seemed more comfortable than the risk of trusting Him.

So my biggest struggle deep down has actually been whether or not it is safe to trust God.

For years I had confused painful blows as coming from God instead of people. This led me to cower at the idea of His protection.

I didn’t trust God not to let me get hurt. I didn’t trust Him to protect me.

But I was missing another crucial truth:

Trusting God is not the same as trusting that I won’t get hurt.

God does not promise life will be easy. He warns us of the opposite (1 John 16:33). The guarantee He does offer us is that even if we find ourselves in the worst-case-scenario, facing our biggest fears, we can be OK in Him. We may get knocked down, but we won’t stay there. He is stronger.

2 OF THE BIGGEST FEARS I HAVE FACED WHEN IT COMES TO TRUST 

(and some truth to make them shut up):

1. Everyone I ever love and anyone who claims to love me is going to hurt me.

Because we are all sinful by nature, at some point we will all let each other down, and it hurts. If we base our security on the hope that someone won’t sin in a way that hurt us, we are setting ourselves up for more hurt. If someone places that kind of hope in you or I, will they not also have the wind knocked out of them? (Psalm 146:3, Isaiah 22:2)

Only Jesus can sustain the weight of our fragile hearts.

2. OK, so people are going to let me down, I can get through that as long as it’s not something that hits me in “that” area of life. Anything but that wound. It has been reopened so many times.

Sometimes we get hit where we are the weakest. Old wounds are reopened, and that can be excruciating. But, although our human pain tolerance isn’t enough for those types of hurts, it doesn’t mean we can’t get through them.

We have a Savior that stood in front of us to take the nails and lashes that should have been ours to suffer. He is more than capable and willing to stand in front of us now, today, and receive the brunt of life’s blows.

We do need to be careful about who we trust, but at the end of the day our saving grace is that God will always be able to handle whatever happens. He is the only perfectly safe place.

Bible Verses:

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” Psalm 146:3

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 1 John 16:33

“Don’t put your trust in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils.” Isaiah 22:2

Does God REALLY Know You?

Do you ever wonder about the dynamic between you and God? Like, what is really there. How does He really feel about you, and why? It’s easy to get caught up in the verses and stories, which are great, but when is the last time you really stopped to think about what would fill the air if it were just you and God in a room? Just the two of you.

If you could pause life and have nothing but truth in your head, Psalm 139 tells you what you would see, think and feel about God.

“O  lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me…”  Psalm 139

He loves you so. freaking. much.

When You Feel Crushed By Labels

Would you agree that we are all imperfect? 

So if that’s the case, it also means our thoughts are imperfect, right? 

If our thoughts are imperfect, then other people’s are too, which means other people’s thoughts and opinions about us are imperfect. 

That means the things we often feel crushed and labeled by suddenly lose the power to define us.  

Logically, imperfect people cannot define someone’s worth because their perception is just that – imperfect.

More importantly, someone’s imperfect thoughts about us cannot go up against our worth that was decided a long time ago by a perfect God. In the battle of which one actually defines us, God’s opinion always wins.

Someone’s imperfect thoughts about us cannot go up against our worth that was decided a long time ago by a perfect God.

It doesn’t usually feel that way though, which is why it’s important to know these truths so we can use them in the moments when feelings want to take over.

Most of the time, the negative things people say to or about us cut pretty deep and depending on what is said, can trigger our deepest insecurities. We also fear that these negative opinions or words will spread and other people will begin to think or say the same things. No one likes to feel that way and it is a struggle for all of us.

However, because we were created by someone who does not make mistakes, we don’t have to be defined by someone else’s imperfect vision.

Because we were created by someone who does not make mistakes, we don’t have to be defined by someone else’s imperfect vision.

Picture standing in front of a wall with someone wearing glasses that have a big crack down one lens. They tell you there is a crack in the wall, when there clearly is not. Do they see a crack? Yes. But is there really a crack? No. It’s a flawed perception that they have, and that is all. They may go and tell people there’s a big crack in the wall, but over time when people stop by to see the wall for themselves, they realize that there is no crack after all.

God says you are beautiful.

God says you are forgiven

God says you are not less than _____ just because she _____

God says your mistakes do not define you

God says you are worthy, chosen, and unconditionally loved

We have to fight the tendency to allow other people to define us.

Is it possible that we have more control over what, and who, we let bring us down than we think we do?  Romans 8:11 says that if you are a believer “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” THE SAME SPIRIT THAT BROUGHT JESUS BACK TO LIFE. If the power that defeated death is inside of you, I’m pretty sure it can also defeat the insecurity pushed on us by someone else.

When we choose to shut down the lies we can regain the confidence that comes with not having those mean words as our label.

You see, we get it all wrong when we think that this world gets the last say and God is just something to make us feel better sometimes. God has always been, is, and always will be the one who trumps everything at the end of the day. Instead of seeing other people’s opinions of us as the truth, what if we chose to believe the that God’s words are the truth and other people’s opinions are merely trying to attack it?

God is reality is truth that goes deeper than our present circumstances, looks and feelings to create the ultimate definition.

Even if you don’t believe it, it’s still true.

What would life look like if we really did let Him set the standards? If we allowed His definition of who we are in Him to be what we confidently walk in?

Is something that gives more confidence really worth turning down?

Michael Kors vs. Forever21

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” Psalm 31:25

There’s that verse again. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Walking around with a strength and dignity that are so real it’s like you’re wearing them. Laughing at the future and anything that tries to scare you or shake your confidence. We may try to do that and think it’s convincing, but get real.

It just so happens that is exactly what God wants for us AND what He offers us.

The problem is we would rather look to things in this world for security, so instead we walk around wearing brightly colored insecurity pants or pink camouflage overcompensation dresses (get it…pink camo is like the opposite of camo because it draws more attention than anything…so it’s pretending it’s something it’s not…and it’s ugly).

So basically we need to change where we shop. We are stuck in Forever21 while Michael Kors is chillin in the closet.

We try on and buy 50 outfits only to get tired of them after wearing them once, rip them, or my favorite – get home and realize they actually look horrible in normal lighting. Sometimes I convince myself something looks good because I want it to look and feel good…but the love handles don’t lie like my brain does. Shoot.

So there we are, empty wallet because we spent so much money, pissed because we feel ten lbs heavier than we did when we left for the mall, while the unopened gift boxes sit there. We have no idea what is really in them because we have not opened them. We choose not to open them because we don’t want to be disappointed and it can’t be anything more than what we have tried on already, or so we think.

Pause:

  1. Why would we turn down free clothes? Who cares where they are from?
  2. If we never even take the time to unwrap the boxes, we will never know what was really inside. What if they really ARE better than anything we have tried on ourselves?
  3. GIFTS ARE FREE

Now let’s rewind for a minute and pretend I told you what was in the gift boxes and you still refused to open them. Michael Kors sounds nice, sure, but it’s probably not REALLY in there and even if it was, you would have to take off the outfit you finally put together after hours of trying things on (even though you know the second you sit down the wrong way that lace is toast). It took you so long to get something to look even halfway decent, you don’t want to take it off and start over.

Oh. Okay then. Sucks to suck (that is probably what I would say or maybe I would slap you idk).

This is basically what we do with God. He HAS TOLD US what He can give us, what He wants to give us, and we still won’t even take the time to open the gift. He offers a security beyond anything we can find here on earth and a confidence that cannot be shaken but we refuse to try it on.

He is patient, and He loves us, so it is never too late to accept the gifts. We have to unwrap them though, which means actually taking the time to explore who He is, read the Bible, make an effort to get to know Him. When we do, we find out it wasn’t really that much of an effort after all, and certainly not one that equals the gifts we receive.

Aren’t you tired of feeling like your pants are see-thru? I know I am. Deuces Forever21 (jk I will never stop shopping there I am broke and they have the best crop tops)

By the way, let me assure you that if the day comes when I give you something Michael Kors and you turn it down, I will not ask you twice – I will keep it for myself. Thankfully, God is not like that 🙂

How To Fight Insecurity

Insecurity rears it’s ugly head everywhere it can. At a party. A friends house. The beach. Even a drive thru for crying out loud. And when it does show up it brings it’s trail of destruction.

It makes us look stupid. He won’t answer me. Why do I keep texting him? Everyone knows. I look pathetic.

It makes us do things we don’t want to do. I knew he would stop talking to me if I gave him what he wanted. I can’t believe I did that.

It turns us into liars. . I don’t even remember what version of the story I told her.

It keeps us from accepting compliments and then uses those compliments immediately afterwards to point out our flaws instead. She said I look skinny but she doesn’t know it’s really just the jeans because I am actually fatter than I have ever been.

It puts us in places that feel so miserable we can’t think straight enough to make a good decision. Everyone knows he rejected me so I have to get with someone else. I have to make someone else like me.

It puts us under constant pressure to be wanted in whatever way we can. If I show my body off enough I’ll get his attention. If my personality can’t make him want me, maybe this will.

Like when making out with that other guy just to make him jealous backfires and he won’t talk to you anymore. When the story you told her doesn’t match up with the story you told your other friend and they talk about it. When she finds out you have been texting him just because you couldn’t say no to his attention and your friendship is ruined.

It’s overcompensating. It’s misunderstanding. It’s desperately trying to be the person we think everyone else wants us to be. It’s that feeling you get when you just know you’ve done it again. The pit in your stomach. The burning of your cheeks. Wondering how you’re going to face everyone at lunch because insecurity ran you headfirst into a 5 car pile-up. Again.

And insecurity sits there, watching and laughing as we fall flat on our faces. Over, and over, and over again.

We all know exactly how this goes. Acting out of insecurity never ends up fulfilling the need that led us to follow it in the first place. It usually does the opposite. So why do we let it rule our lives? The truth is that this battle is not one we are able to win alone. Thankfully we don’t have to. God wants us to kick insecurity in the teeth and He is capable of doing it. If we let Him help, that little monster doesn’t stand a chance.

What if we took a stand against it? Right now. What if we decided to fight back and refused to let things be taken from us so easily. What if we called out insecurity for being the real idiot because it’s the one throwing lies, tying our shoelaces together and making us feel crazy.

Scratch the “what if”. Let’s just do it.

I have found that having a strategy is the best way to fight against something like insecurity. In order to make a strategy, we first have to take a close look at exactly what we are fighting against. A great way to do this that has helped me is to start by asking two questions:

  • What am I afraid of losing? When it comes to insecurity, in those moments when I feel the most insecure, what is it that I am REALLY afraid of losing? Is it the approval of others? Is it the feeling of being wanted?
  • What are my insecurity triggers? When I think about what happens right before those moments hit me or the situations I am in that make me feel the most insecure, I can identify many things that trigger it. There are a few major things that show up regularly, like being around a boy who has rejected me. Or being around the girl he rejected me for. Heaven forbid both at the same time. When I am around people whose approval I really want. When I compare myself to my friends , strangers, or really anyone that I’m afraid other people might be comparing me to. People who have been talking badly about me or someone who doesn’t like me. Let’s be honest, even the mere presence of guys can invite insecurity in sometimes.

Answering these is a great first step to fighting this battle of insecurity (we will talk about next steps in devotionals to come). Know this: God’s desire for us is that we live and walk in security, with confidence that can’t be shaken and a self-worth that laughs back in insecurities face.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

Your Identity Has To Come From Somewhere

Your identity comes from somewhere

We all have an identity defined. It’s impossible not to. So, if it’s there, it has to come from somewhere.

Where do you get yours?

Boyfriend? Grades? How many people like you? I have tried to get mine from just about everything over the years.

  • How hot guys thought I was
  • If “he” wanted to talk to me
  • If “he wanted to talk to me instead of HER
  • Body/weight. If I weighed ___ then I felt super confident, hot, great about myself. If I weighed __ above that, I felt disgusting, ugly, didn’t want to go anywhere.

I learned the hard way (many times) that identity anywhere other than God is not the kind of identity that can give us a confidence that stays. There is one place in particular I have gone over and over and over again trying to seek identity that has always failed me, so I want to zoom in on it for a minute.

Our identity cannot come from a guy

It doesn’t matter if he is the perfect boyfriend or the worst cheater in the world. Unless his name is Jesus and He died on a cross and came back to life to save you, he is not capable of handling the weight of a girl’s identity in a fallen world.

Guys were not made to define us, so they can’t, and that’s why we see it being the cause of so much hurt and drama. As girls it’s so easy to seek self-worth in guys, but when that breaks in whatever way it inevitably does we break too, because

Whatever we give permission to make us we also give permission to break us

And if we give the permission to break us to something that’s already broken (a guy)…yeah.

When we try to find our identity in a guy (or guys) we will 1) exhaust them 2) constantly be insecure 3) both, because it will never be enough.

As humans, we are only capable of seeing so much about each other. We see the outside and we observe parts of the inside of the people we are close to but what we see is very limited.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Because God sees straight through us to our hearts, He is the one who holds the solutions to all of the things that break it, hurt it, trip it up, make it feel insecure. And let’s be honest here…when something hurts you, like REALLY hurts you, is it your outside appearance that suffers the most or your heart? So then how does it make sense to lean on someone who either only sees the outside or part of the inside?

No one knows us better than God. No one CAN know us better than God. Do we really want to put our value and worth in someone or something that can’t see the deepest parts of us?

Identity that comes from the one who KNOWS YOU is the only identity that actually makes any sense at all.

I Can’t Walk Away

Note: Even if you aren’t dealing with this situation right now, I can 99.9% guarantee you or one of your best friends (or both) will at some point.

First, know that this is not a “back in the day” message. Yes I experienced it back in the day but I have experienced it many times since (more than I hope any of you have to) and in fact, I am fighting through it right now. Y’all probably know I recently went through a breakup after dating someone for about a year, but what y’all don’t know is this breakup is different than any other breakup I’ve ever had (and there have been a lot of them, lol).

Let’s just say in the past I’ve never done well with breakups. Most of them have been…extremely dramatic and even more painful. I’m talking cry until you throw up – refuse to eat or be a real human for a month – call him one million times – drive to his house when he won’t answer kind of bad. And the him not answering phase was usually expected because I could never truly walk away for good…unless I could land in the arms of some new guy.

Y’all, we can’t afford to let guys take and take and take and take from our hearts anymore. Our self-worth and identity is already challenged to a ridiculous extent on a daily basis because of the society we live in. We have to guard our hearts against anyone who makes it even harder.

The mind game: thinking that earning this one person’s approval, affection or attention is the standard for feeling better about ourselves. But it’s not – and while we scramble trying be good enough, our heart is leaking self-image and confidence. Before we know it, we’re worse off than we were before, and much quicker to jump into the next “challenge” in the form of a guy who does not pursue us the way we deserve to be pursued.

Truth we don’t want to hear:

Pretending something isn’t what it is won’t keep you from getting hurt.

Maybe you can relate to what it feels like to love and lose, then love and lose some more until you really can’t tell the difference between the two. Maybe you’ve felt like I did when I pretended I wasn’t in a bad situation because  I didn’t want to face the overwhelming mess of pieces my heart had become...alone.

The good news is that we don’t actually have to face things alone. I know because when I reached the point where I literally could not do it anymore, God was the only one who could help me. And He did. What I want y’all to hear is that it’s NOT necessary to get to that point!

The temporary pain of losing something that is hurting you is better than having to face the time and additional pain it takes to overcome all of the damage down the road.

It’s like cleaning your room. You know you eventually have to clean it but you don’t want to so you let the mess pile up for weeks, making the task of cleaning it way worse when you finally have to.

It’s not an easy thing. I won’t pretend that dealing with it right now is a breeze – it sucks. But although I still wrestle with moments of feeling lonely, insecure and missing someone being there, I have been amazed at how much God has protected my heart. Before I broke up with him I remember driving down the road sobbing my eyes out telling God

I feel like you’re telling me to break up with him. If you want me to walk away, I know you promise it’s for my good, but I don’t feel like I can believe that right now. If you want me to and if you really do have my best interest at heart, I NEED you to change my heart. You have to change it to give me the courage to walk away because otherwise I can’t do this. It feels impossible and I don’t even want to. Please make me brave enough to do it and then please protect my heart from what is normally hurts like hell.

I’ve heard the verse But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) many times but right now I am living it and you can too. I would not be OK if it weren’t for God completely protecting my heart and keeping me strong. Praying this for each of you, whether it’s applicable now or later.

PS – remember I would not be able to say this stuff if it were not part of my REAL life.

Love y’all.

What’s In Your Purse?

She’s walking through the mall with her arms full of stuff. So full it looks like she might drop it all any minute now. You take a closer look at what she’s carrying and see there’s a brush, a tiny mirror, a wallet, pens, mini hairspray, tissues, coins, keys, bobby pins, and many other items that we typically carry in a purse. Then you notice something even stranger. She is also carrying a purse – an empty purse. What in the world? She must have seen you staring because all of a sudden she beelines in your direction. As she approaches you she asks for your advice…she tells you she can’t carry everything (oh really, I didn’t notice). She complains that things keep dropping and says she is just at the end of her rope.

“What do I do?!”

“Well…” you try not to sound condescending…”why don’t you put your stuff in your purse?”

“My purse? That PURSE is the biggest hassle out of all of these things. In fact, I’m glad you pointed it out, it’s got to go. If I get rid of the biggest burden everything else will be more manageable.”

She angrily throws the purse to the ground and stomps off as nail polish and lipstick fall at her feet.

I don’t know about you but if this happened to me I would get a good laugh as she stormed away (and hope the nail polish she left behind was a cute color).

But do you know that we do this all the time with God?

When we try to take on life’s problems alone instead of letting God help us, we do exactly what this girl was doing with the contents of her purse. We fall into the trap of thinking we can handle things better than God can. One by one we take our problems, situations, struggles and we stack them up in our arms. God is right there, wanting so badly to help us, but we keep piling it on ourselves.

The more we empty our purse and fill our arms up instead, the more of a hassle the purse seems to be.

When we move away from God and try to handle life in our own the same scenario happens. We stop going to Him for help, we stop trusting Him with things we don’t want to lose. We stop talking to Him, reading our Bible, looking for Him in life. Before long our relationship with God feels like the burden, when really it’s the burden of life without him that breaks us.

God doesn’t want to take up more room in our lives to inconvenience us, he wants to do the opposite. He wants to carry us and our problems through life so the burdens are bearable and we don’t have to handle them alone.

Life is never going to be problem-free. If you are anything like me, there’s always something else I can jam into my purse and it tends to quickly become a jumbled mess of things. But even if they seem tangled up, the things I need are there, all in one place, held together for me instead of falling through my arms.

Let’s not try to ease the load by getting rid of the very thing that is capable of holding it for us.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke* upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

*Yoke: what goes over an animal’s neck/shoulders when they pull a plow or a cart  

When You’re Stuck In A Burning Building

Picture this:

You are in a burning building. A firefighter comes in and hands you an oxygen mask. You can take it or choose not to, it clearly doesn’t change whether or not you are in the fire. It does however, give you a fighting chance. Without air you are doomed either way but if you have something life-giving that can sustain you as you maneuver your way through the burning building, well, hello?

But the building IS burning so if I don’t breathe the smoke I’m just ignoring something that is real.

If I use a mask I am basically just taking the easy way out and not facing the hurt.

But no, I can’t, nobody else is using the mask so they will think that I am weird.

… really? 

Hold that thought.

In today’s society it is so hard to feel like we are good enough.

Whether it’s our bodies, our clothes, our grades, our boyfriends, the list goes on – this world is quick to define us based off of different things every day. The standards we hold ourselves to are not even consistent; what is “great” is always changing. It leaves us in an exhausting cycle of broken self-esteem.

We can’t possibly be “good enough” for every standard, but we are trained to think we have to, and that leads to a constant identity crisis.

Here’s the thing, your identity and worth were established long ago when Jesus died on the cross. So were mine. That cannot be undone, regardless of whether you believe it or not. You didn’t earn it, and you can’t lose it. You can only choose whether or not to believe it.

If you were the only person on this earth, Jesus would still have died on the cross for you. There is no one that can possibly level with that kind of value. There is no one who can begin to validate their right to define someone else against that. The life of a perfect man was voluntarily given so that you could be free from sin. His death broke the chains that our world wants us to remain living in.

We don’t have to live in them. Our identity is already decided and is not able to be changed – Jesus can’t be less or more dead than he was. He can’t come back to life anymore than He did. There is nothing that can change it.

One of the hard arguments we tend to give is “but the reality is that ___ is what people think is good enough”.

So when (not if, but when) you are not enough for something or someone in this world, what does it mean? Why choose to accept God’s definition of you instead of someone else’s?

Our culture is a burning building. The flames and smoke are the rejection, the hurt, the people who cause both. God hands us an oxygen mask – a way to survive instead of suffocating.

At this point, putting on the mask will not only allow you to fight through what wants to destroy you, it also enables you to help others who don’t have the gift of an oxygen mask.

Personally, I prefer the ability to breathe. 

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH