Saturday for the Soul

It's Saturday y'all!

Hopefully that means you get to drink coffee and enjoy a slow morning with something or someone you love. I'm cleaning house and working on a macrame wall hanging today. Pictures to come later. 

It seems the summer days are already fading, I feel school in the air and I suddenly want to do all-the-projects. I know... it's not even fall yet, but you get me, yeah? The urge to clean and organize for a new season? If it's hit you too, you'll love this $10 off at Grove Collaborative, my all time favorite store for home products. Discount Mrs. Meyers products? Yes. Please.  SHOP HERE

cleaning.jpg

a few more goodies:

My friend Abby talks about quieting fear to create space for faith. http://bit.ly/2uHGxeQ

Love these thoughts from the Art of Simple on why you're having food cravings. http://bit.ly/2ujreq8

 

That's a wrap for now! Do you have a  favorite Saturday tradition? Share below if you like! 

Saturday For the soul

 

Little bits of beauty from around the internet to invite you into the present, into rest, into who you are.

Permission to speak. Permission to bloom. Permission to love. Enjoy your Saturday! 

For When you doubt that you're loved.

I immediately knew I was going to be teaching when I saw the text. No one was lined up to teach our young adults group on Sunday evening, and I was sent a text if I had any ideas on who to ask, but I knew it was meant for me. "Okay God, I responded in my head, what do you want me to share?" 

This is what I hear: 

"I want you to tell them how good I am. I want you to tell them how kind I am, I want you tell them how much I love them. (I open up a journal at this point to start writing it down, because I realize it's going to be more than I can hold in my head.) Tell them that when they are full of LOVE, enamored with who I AM, fear falls away, insecurities are gone, eyes are opened, and walls are broken down. Tell them my LOVE is continuously washing over them and the more they are filled with love the less room there is for anything else. Tell them my love is perfect. My love is whole. My love is enough. It's complete and lacking nothing. And my love, it's in them. It's in you.
When we are in love, WE are complete, lacking nothing."

Insert tiny moment of panic. This is what I'm struggling to learn myself, how can I teach on it? I think back to something a leader once told me, how you often get more out of teaching than being taught. And I remember that I can be honest with where I'm at, that I don't have to be all perfect, and that we are ALL always learning how to better live perfectly aligned with love. So I text back with, "I have something to share, so I can if that sounds good." 

As I started prepping, I thought about how easy it is to have a skewed perspective of God's love. How if we aren't grounded and rooted in love, every circumstance can change our perspective. I thought about how I spent years thinking I had to earn God's love, and how I still lean that direction on the hard days. Thinking that if I just get this ONE THING right, then I'll be loved, but I had no idea what the "one thing" was. The stakes were always higher. The "one thing" didn't give the results I wanted so then it would move to something bigger. It was a constant place of striving and perfectionism and shame. And then I discovered true, unconditional LOVE, the love of a savior on a cross, and it turned my world upside down. In the good kind of way. 

There are two ways to live: we can live from love, or we can live for love. I found that the difference between the two is life changing in all-the-ways. 

Living FOR love looks a lot like this: 

  • Stress and Anxiety - you believe that you have to get everything right.
  • Fear - you believe that God might not come through for you.
  • Pride - you care more what people think than what God thinks, you think you have to be approved of or impress people to be loved.
  • Expectations - you're looking for a certain response from people. 

Living FROM love looks like this: 

  • Peace - worry and anxiety are given to God.
  • Security - there's no fear of abandonment or rejection. 
  • Trust - there's no doubt that God won't show up for you. 
  • Humility - there is no pride or people pleasing present.
  • Service - you give with no expectations attached.
  • Grace - there's no pressure to be perfect. 

When we struggle to believe that we truly are loved, this is when it's difficult to live without everything going awry. Living loved is the place God wants to bring us to. This is who he is. God is not a cruel, overbearing boss looking over our shoulder waiting for us to make a mistake. He is love. Perfect, whole, complete, beautiful, love. And he's invited us into that love. 

God is confident that his love is enough for us. He is confident that we have what it takes. He is confident in himself, in the systems he has in place. He's confident in his love for us and he's confident in the ability he has given us to see his love and receive his love. 

I found myself meditating over these scriptures, tears streaming over my cheeks, as God came with his love and reminded me, reminded my heart, how he really sees me. I found his love showing up where I'd doubted, the fears subsiding, and my soul encouraged as love made itself known. 

 

If you're struggling to receive love or feel loved today, these verses (the Message version) are some great reminders that you are so very loved. xo

 

Jer. 31:3 God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!"

John 15:9-10 I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done - kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.

Zeph. 3:17 Your God is present among you, a strong warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. 

Romans 8:35-39 None of this fazes us because Jesus love us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. 

Malachi 3:17-18 God said, "they're mine, all mine. They'll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you'll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn't, between serving God and not serving him."

Eph. 2:7-9 Now God has us were he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing.

Gal. 5:22-23 What happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to direct our energy wisely. 

On My Nightstand This Winter

I have this habit of keeping stacks and stacks of books on my nightstand. And next to it. And in my living room. Eek... there's usually at least one in my kitchen too.

I sort of love this habit because there's always something good to read when I'm in the mood to cozy up with a book. Sometimes it gets overwhelming though, because there are far too many options. I feel a little behind, like, am I way too late to be reading this now? Has everyone else already been there, done that? Is there still room for this? So I returned a few to the library, put some back on the bookshelf, and narrowed down my list.  

Here's what I'm planning to read this winter: 

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

I have loved all of Shauna's books. Shauna has captured my attention in ways that no other author has. She's one of my favorites, my go to when I need some soul food. I can't wait. 

Wild & Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan

The way they describe it: A Hope-Filled Anthem for the Woman Who Feels She is Both Too Much and Never Enough. 

I feel both of those things on a regular basis, so this will probably be good for my heart. 

Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy

Christie invites you into the heartache and joy of small beginnings and the wonder of a God who would make his home with us. [From the back of the book.]

I discovered this one through a blog, and I'm all about coming "home" right now. 

Breathing Eden by Jennifer J. Camp

I bought this for myself for Christmas. Yup, I even wrapped it and put it under the tree. Don't judge! I know these stories of encouragement and God's perspective will be a gift as I enter into a new year. 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

One of my best friends recommended this one to me. Just yes. Here's to hoping it helps me overcome my fear of putting my art out into the world. 

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp

I'm still waiting to get this one, but I know that I know that I know it will be incredible. Ann challenges me to love and live a full life no matter what work of hers I'm reading. I always feel closer to Jesus after spending time in her words. That is a forever win. 

No More Faking Fine by Esther Fleece

I just started this one and she's got my full attention. I relate on so many levels and her heart challenges me. Thank you Esther for being real and authentic and drawing us to grieve in healthy ways. 

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

I'm in the middle of this one and I just connect with her. She gets me! Every few sentences I'm all Yes! Me too! I understand! She's real and raw and tells it how it is. I'm looking forward to curling up tonight with a cup of tea to see how it all turns out. 

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth

This one I just finished last month, but I'm including it because it's amazing. I was going through a pretty rough season in my battle with depression when this book showed up. I couldn't put it down. I felt like I was right there with Edie, joining in her story of pain and loss and love. I cried, laughed, felt a lot, and was left encouraged. We're probably soul sisters.

 

Are you reading any of these right now? What's on your winter reading list? I'd love to hear.

Know Your Value.

"Understand your full value. When you do that, you are honoring God."

I read this little phrase in a Twitter post and something broke within me. Like I took to heart what those words meant for the first time. It was one of those sobbing-on-the-floor in repentance because you see how good God is kind of revelations.

Don’t you just hate those moments? I mean, love them? Ouch.

Understand your full VALUE.

People are always telling me that God has big things for me, that I have this calling on my life. It’s been a thing since I was little. I embraced it at one point but believed that I had to DO something to make myself valuable. When I couldn’t do that I started responding to these comments in a less-than-receiving way.

The past couple of years I’ve battled with crippling depression and feeling worthless and undeserving of life. I felt like I failed to live up to who I am supposed to be and how could God ever make anything good out of my messes?

I stopped believing that I had value at all. I walked right into the I’m-not-special, I just want to be normal, why do I have to be so different, way of living. I didn’t WANT to live in my value anymore, I didn’t want that responsibility, that pressure, to be something that I felt I couldn’t be.

And today, well it’s just another “normal” morning sipping coffee, and my heart shifts. God comes and reveals and corrects and reminds me who I am in that firm yet gentle love. Oh, how it’s hard when my eyes are opened to something that I don’t really want to see. Yet I know it’s good. I know it’s truth. I know it’s God.

Who am I to say that I’m not valuable?

I don’t have the right to choose that. I don’t get to say I’m worthless and choose to not engage in who I am.

God doesn’t ask us to give ourselves value. That pressure was never supposed to be there. Our value is already given to us. I can’t change who I am. I can’t change my value. I can only choose whether to embrace that or to walk away. It's so freeing to realize that I don’t have to or get to create the value of my life. I only have to be willing to engage in the fullness of the value I already have.