Sunday, July 22, 2012

Living in freedom!

Proverbs 29:25 - "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety"

This scripture is hard to swallow when you have a tendency to be a people pleaser. As far back as I can remember I was always a people pleaser. I can't stand the idea of someone being mad or upset with me. I have always wanted to be loved and accepted by everyone. I guess due to my early childhood and past - rejection became my biggest fear!!! My entire life I have lived in fear of being rejected by those I loved & wanted to love me. This caused me to bend over backwards to do any and everything to be accepted and loved. Not only did this set me up for poor choices, but left me empty from it not working. I was always striving to be the best so that I could be loved & accepted and finding that it was never enough. Hating myself for making poor choices but not seeing another way to be loved and accepted so continuing on that path.

See the world was telling me be like this, look like this, act like this, do this and do that and you will be loved & accepted more. I spent way  too many years trying all of that to only be left empty and hating myself. Always feeling empty and lonely. Oh but I put on a good face, because who could love and accept me if I didn't. All those years led to my adulthood of trying to be good enough, attractive enough, perfect enough and again rejection. But this time I had found the Lord, so why was this still so hard? Wasn't this suppose to be easy now? NO, it wasn't! I still had not let it sink in and learn that I am NOT to live for the approval of people. I am to live for the Lord and His approval. I have to be honest and tell you that I struggled with this for years as a Christian.

Those ways of thinking were so engraved in my thinking that I didn't allow God to get in there and change them. Having a tender heart has made it even more difficult for me to not take things so personal & hurt me so deeply. But over the last few years God has brought me so far from where I used to be. He has allowed me to experience rejection at the deepest levels, levels I never dreamed I would ever experience! But through them all He has been my strength and my guide to heal, teach and redirect my thinking according to His word. He has taught me so much about myself and showed me just how much He loves me. He has shown me that He will NEVER leave or reject me while I am living for Him and striving to become more like Him.

As His word says - "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety" This is so true. See I no longer base my life on whether I feel loved and accepted by others - because at the end of the day I am not accountable to them - but I am to God. I can not control what others say, think or do - they are accountable  for that. I no longer make choices based on what I think others want me to say or do so they will love me, accept me or chose me. Over 2000 years ago there was a man who chose me first because He loved me so much and He is STILL choosing me first everyday!!!

Mark 8:34-37 he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

See my selfish way was to seek human approval & acceptance and it kept me chained for years and could have cost me my soul! What good would it do me to have the entire world love & accept me if it would cost me my soul? Oh my when I look at it that way it seems so crazy - but that is what I was doing, loosing my soul for human love and acceptance! Nothing is more important than my soul and yours! What are you gaining in the world that could cost you your soul?

I still have my tender heart and I am thankful for that - see I think it is a heart like Jesus' and it allows me to love people the way I do. I am fully aware that when I love the way I do that I will be hurt more deeply than most - but God has shown me that He gets hurt the same way by us daily too. So it has helped me to make choices I know are pleasing to Him because the last thing I want to do is hurt Him like that. He has given me freedom from losing my soul and shown me how special and precious I am to Him. And I hear Him say everyday, "Sherri, I choose YOU FIRST"  - what music to my ears!

I know that He is for me!!! 

So thankful that He reminds me daily who I am to Him! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fully Equipped

What comes to your mind when I say fully equipped? A car or a house that has everything? See there are cars that have stuff and then there are cars that are fully equipped - not lacking in anything, they have every extra feature imaginable. The same goes for houses, you have houses with the minimum things and no extra room or things and then there are those homes that have it all, not lacking in one extra available. 

We know that in this journey we have to take classes and go back to school for 30 hours each. We have been trying to check on classes and schooling and it has been making my head spin! I never cared for school in the first place and I just keep thinking I have to go back to class and study and learn at my age!!! I have been fretting about all aspects of it - when, how much will it cost, how will we both do it, can we both do it at the same time, and will we both be good students and pass! Trying to look at our schedules - the class schedules and try and coordinate who will take what classes on what nights so that one of us will be home with Ashtyn at night. I was honestly feeling so NOT ready for this, wondering how will this all work out and how will I do all this???? So after reaching a high frustration level and thinking whatever - I will deal with this later. I got in God's word and He spoke volumes to me real quick!! 

"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand so that we might walk in them." Ephesians 2:10 NKJV

"We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" Ephesians 2:10 NLT 

He has written a script we are to follow. He doesn't want us to come up with our own, write new lines, or change His script to suit our agendas. He wants us to recognize & trust His plans are best. He formed our plans and paths before we were born, even before time began. He already has a plan for our careers, finances, families and ministry - and His plans should ALWAYS take precedence over our own! When OUR desires take precedence, there will always be consequences to our own desires and choices. Not because God is mean or bad, but because when we decide to follow our own path and not stay on His, we are then in our own power and strength and not His. We have a choice to either spend our time discovering and aligning ourselves with His purposes for our lives or doing what we want while asking God to bless it. I don't know about you, but I can look back over my life and see where I plowed ahead with my own purposes & agendas hoping God wold give them His seal of approval. But as I look back at all those times - I see He didn't. I just paid the price of my choices to seek my own desires and agendas instead of walking in His. Are you plowing ahead now with your own agenda, hoping that God will bless it?

"that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:17

In this verse it tells us that God re-created us "fully equipped" in Christ to handle what God's will requires & to do His good works. Since we are to participate in works that have been prepared beforehand, we can't accomplish them in our own power!! God created us anew to walk in His divine purposes! So all this school stuff is fine, because it is His plan for me and I can walk in His ways knowing that I will be fully equipped to do His good works. See I am one of those fully equipped cars or houses that has everything it needs! Wow! So I don't have to worry about will I pass or how will we do all this while we are working, support raising and still serving while we are waiting. Because this is part of His plan and the path that He has for us, we will accomplish it in His power alone!!! So I clearly heard the Lord speaking to my heart not to worry with whether I thought I could do it, or how, when or even why. I have been created anew to handle all the schooling ahead because it was in His plan before time and I am walking in it with confidence now that I I have been reminded by God that I am fully equipped to walk in His path.

Update on Vision Trip fund raising

We now have enough money to order our first set of tickets we are at 44% of having it all raised. To God be the glory!!! We are very thankful for all of you that have been praying, donating and buying stuff. We are so grateful for all of you, thanks again. 

God gently reminded me that the more I seek Him, the more I find Him. And when I find Him, I find answers to all my questions and concerns. And the more peace I have about the days ahead. 

Nothing pleases God more than when we ask for what He wants to give. When we spend time with Him and allow His priorities, passions, and purposes to motivate us, we will then ask for things that are closest to His heart - Bruce Wilkinson