His Grace Is Sufficient For You

Identity: the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. – Oxford English Dictionary

As we get older, we identify ourselves in so many ways. For example, we state:

  • “I do _____ for a living”
  • “I attend ________ University”
  • “I am _________’s partner/spouse”
  • “I am apart of _____________ club/church/neighborhood”

For anyone starting out in a new transition of life, it’s easy to feel that you are insufficient in where you are. You also may feel lost at what steps need to be taken to get from where you are to where you want to be.

In starting a new school, changing to a new major, working at a new job, getting into a new relationship, or even in moving to a new city, there are many areas of each where you will not have all the knowledge you need to succeed at first. You must learn as you go and run the race of endurance.

Growth is such an important factor in transition seasons, but our growth can begin to turn into doubt and lack of motivation when we let the devil feed our minds. One of the easiest ways to sink into the self-doubt when it comes to feeling insufficient or less than is comparison. When we take our gaze off our identity and purpose and start to focus more on someone else’s abilities and achievements, we fall into this mindset of thinking that we lack capability to achieve any of our dreams or goals.

During my first semester of social work classes after changing my major, I really struggled with a few of the main core classes for my major. Everything about social work was new to me. Going from engineering, where you focus on math and science to then social work, where your main focuses are writing papers and learning theories, it was a major shift in my academic learning.

Of course, I did enjoy what I was learning. I felt I was where I needed to be because of my passions and interests. But my grades really began to discourage me when I received papers and tests back that did not meet up to my expectations or pressures of myself. I also compared my grades to others around me. I wondered, “How do they already know so much more about this topic than I do when we just started this new class a week ago?” I remember that I begin questioning my decision of changing my career path. And I also began questioning God. I didn’t understand why God would put this career path on my heart when I was not excelling at it.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

I read this verse again the other day when I was hit back with that feeling of insufficiency again. What Paul is stating here is that we will go through times of uncertainty, of challenges, and times where we feel that we lack the capability, capacity, or strength to do something. We will get into those moments of self-doubt or comparison where we believe that we are not equip or called to a task. Or that someone else is better equipped or called to do the job instead. However, in those moments, inside of walking away, giving up, or moving on, we need to continue to press forward because when God is with us, He is going to provide all the necessities for us to be sufficient.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

On our own, we are insufficient. Everything we are, all the gifts and wisdom we have received, it has all come from God. Without Him, we are only going to be as capable of doing something as we see fit to do it. However, when we are obedient and choose to walk in life with God’s power and strength right beside us, He is going to lead us to do some amazing things for His kingdom.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

When we gaze our eyes on Jesus and the path set before us, we are less likely to fall into self-doubt and discouragement with contentment. I think it is important to seek counsel from others who have gone through similar seasons like the ones you are going through. However, keep in mind that the people around you may not be in the same stage of growth as you are. Depending on the life experiences that people have walked through, God has uniquely provided various wisdom and knowledge to each person, in order that we may help one another and build one another up. That’s one of the wonderful gifts of community.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” – Mark 13:31

At the end of the day, others will notice that we do have many labels in which we can identify as. Although others may see parts of our lives on the outsides with these labels, that does not mean they truly know our whole story. Thankfully, we have a Creator that fully knows each of us and loves us unconditionally. Unlike all the other labels or identities we may go by, the most important identity we have is being a follower of Christ because that identity lasts forever.

With love,

Claire

Made To Love

Our lives are kind of like books. You don’t ever know what the endings going to look like, until you get to the last page. The story can be full of lots of good guys and bad ones. The main difference between our lives and books is that you can’t just jump to the end of the story before you get to chapter 2. You can’t read the last page to see how it all ends. You have to keep on reading the whole way through and no skipping.

When I became interested in social work, I was so amazed at how diverse all of creation is. Everyone is uniquely made. We have various jobs, different lifestyles, and a wide range of purposes to do on this earth. I think when you’re trying to figure out what you want your career life to look like in the future during your high school or college years, you can get weighed down by certain expectations that you put on yourself. You can feel lost in the process of it all, especially when you can’t see the full picture, yet.

But at the end of the day, I think love is the center of all of our purposes and stories. We were created in the image of God, and loving God and others is what we were created to do. God created Adam and Eve to have a relationship each with God and relationships with each other. We were created to be loved by our Creator, to love our Creator, and to love the rest of His creation.

Loving others, realistically, might look different in everyday life, for every single person. Teachers can love their students by educating them and supporting them. Doctors can show love by helping people get better and stay healthy. Musicians create songs about love and entertain in order for others to feel connected to the music and lyrics. Love is at the center, even if it isn’t completely noticeable at first.

While I have been in Ghana, I’ve learned that many people here want to go live in another place, like the United Kingdom or the United States. And while I will never understand the types of lives these people have grown up to live in full depth, I do know that in my life, it is better to focus on the things you have instead of the things you don’t.

While some things might be better in other places as far as materialistic things, no one place is perfect. Brokenness is everywhere. All of your problems won’t go away by moving to another place on the earth or having specific things.

Ever since sin came into the world, broken relationships have existed, causing corruption, violence, and disappointment all over the world. Temptation leads people to sin, and no one is perfect. We all have flaws, except for the One who fully knows us and deeply loves us. But despite the flaws that we have and the brokenness that we walk through, every single person should have the opportunity to live a life of understanding how they were made.

The mission really is to help people learn more about who God created them to be. That they are not only created in the image of God, but they have been given certain talents and abilities to make decisions and positively influence the world around them.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

I know that I can’t fix everything that’s wrong with the world. I know after I die, there will still be sin and brokenness on this earth because that’s the world we live in. But our lives on this earth are temporary. In Christ, we have been given a better country that is coming after this earth passes away. Our eternal home.

But according to His promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. – 2 Peter 3:13-14

During my lifetime, I do not know what all the future holds, but I do know who holds that future. I do not know what each day will look like, but I do know how to live those days. I know that I can help people learn about the One who created them and learn how to have a relationship with Him. I can also learn and grow with those who already know Him. I can walk through this lifetime with them, so that we can live pleasing and glorifying lives for Our Creator. I know that I always have the opportunity to love, and that is the greatest thing I really can do in my life.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love never ends. Everything will eventually pass away from this world, but love will remain. I can also continue to seek Heaven and help others do the same. I can help others focus on what they do have and not get dragged down by the brokenness in this world.

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. – Hebrews 13:14

As long as we love others, in whatever way that looks like, we are doing what we were created to do. You can love others anywhere and anytime.

There will always be some unknowns in the world. How long do you have to live? When will Christ return? We don’t have all the answers. But we are able to live the kind of life that when you see Christ, you know that you devoted this life to Him and to loving others around you, no matter how different those other people are from you.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. – Colossians 3:2-4

I’m trying to get better at living with the intention of loving those around me as best as I can. I’m hoping to start being more of a sister to everyone around me, not just the people that I get along with or the people that are similar to me. I’m not perfect and I won’t always do the right thing. I’m sure life will continue to throw some more twists and turns at me, but I know that no matter what this lifetime holds, there is a far greater life to come.

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: SELF-CONTROL

Hi friends! Today we are wrapping up our Fruit of the Spirit blog series with self-control. I am excited to share this blog post with you and even more excited for what is to come in the future 🙂 alrighty, let’s jump in.

WHAT IS SELF-CONTROL:

There is not a very clear definition for the meaning of self-control in the Bible, but in Proverbs 25:28, we are given a picture of what life looks like without self-control.

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. – Proverbs 25:28

When I think of this verse, I picture this image of people easily coming into a city, offering their opinions of how things should change within the city, and not many people are there to defend it. For us, I think realistically that can look like Satan entering our minds and twisting our emotions for us to act in the way Satan wants us to. Self-control for me is being intentional and mindful about your decisions, your words, and your actions.

GOOD INTENTIONS, BAD DECISIONS:

Growing up, I had this motto (and I still use it), “always do the right thing”. Over the years, I have been able to acknowledge that just because I have good intentions going into a situation does not mean that I am not sinning.

So picture this: I go to school. My friend, Sally Sue, comes up to me. She starts being really mean, calling me a bunch of bad names, and just tears me down. Say this just really upsets me. I go to the bathroom, I’m really emotional, and my friend Alice comes in. She asks what’s going on, is everything okay. In my mind, I’m thinking “okay Claire, tell Alice what’s going on because once you get it off your chest, you’re gonna be able to go back out and love on people and not let this ruin your day”.

So I tell Alice what happened. BUT I talk about the situation with my opinion, my feelings, and my emotions. Technically, this makes me feel better and I can calm down, but by calling Sally Sue rude and mean, I just gossiped about her to a friend. Who then might say what I said to someone else. See where I’m going?

I think in life we can be so focused on what’s in front of us, but forget to check our blind spot. When you’re in a car, if you are only focused on the road in front of you and don’t check your blind spot, you might hit a car when changing lanes. Your intentions were good because you were focusing on the road in front of you, trying to pay attention and not cause a wreck. But you forgot to check the blind spot.

We can have great intentions on making good decisions, but if we don’t check if our decisions are aligning with God’s word, then we can still fall into sin.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. – Proverbs 16:2-4

The way we see it might look pure to us, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a sin.

LEARN TO USE CONTROL:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14

I think an important reason to study God’s word is to learn wisdom from Him. He wants us to live a holy and upright life. He wants us to understand what breaks His heart. By studying and memorizing scripture, we are able to be equipped with the word and take it with us in life.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

If you go into a battle without a weapon and say “I don’t need it, I’m gonna win the war without it”, you might lose the war because you weren’t prepared and equipped for the battle. God wants us to use His word as our sword for battle. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus fought back with scripture. It’s important to take the time to memorize and understand the power of God’s word.

I want to challenge you today by memorizing one of the verses mentioned in this blog post. Remember, self-control is about controlling our desires, our feelings, and our emotions, which can easily be tempted by Satan. I hope this week you are able to look at your blind spot in situations and use God’s word to help you make your decisions.

With love,

Claire

Fruit of the Spirit: FAITHFULNESS

WHAT IS FAITHFULNESS:

Faithfulness means to be full of faith. It is a way in which we can show God our trust, loyalty, and obedience to Him. In Hebrews chapter 11, the author talks much about what faith is and reminds us of many people in the Bible who walked with faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3

We cannot always see how God’s plans are going to come to us or how they will play out. We cannot always see that God is working for us, even when it feels like everything is going wrong. However, by having faith, we can trust and have confidence that God is working all things out for our good. He is trying to teach us, guide us, and fulfill His plans through us.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. – Hebrews 11:6-7

When God told Noah to build an ark because the Lord was going to flood the earth, he did. Even though Noah could not see the future that God had in store, he still trusted and obeyed God. He did exactly what was told of him.

HOW IS GOD FAITHFUL:

I think God is faithful in an abundance of ways to us. A lot of the time, God is faithful to you and others around you in different ways and circumstances. Maybe, you prayed for your purpose to be shown to you, and God fulfilled it and rewarded you with a job. Maybe you dealt with some difficult circumstances in life or got your heartbroken. God might have shown His faithfulness to you by offering you time to heal and giving you friends and family members to help you get through those times.

His faithfulness might be shown to us in different ways, but overall, God is faithful. We all are unified by many faithful actions God has already done as well. A major example is that God was faithful by sending His Son to sacrifice Himself and die so that we may have eternal life with Him.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17

The Lord promised that a Messiah would eventually come to save God’s people long ago. Eventually, Jesus was born and shed His blood for our sins, so that we may live and walk with Him. God wanted you to be apart of His kingdom, so He fulfilled that promise He made long ago and made a way for that to happen.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

WALK BY FAITH:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:5-8

I can’t give you one simple and easy answer to the question of how to live by faith. But I can tell you that a life with faith means walking, trusting, obeying, and approaching God with confidence in who He says He is and what He says He will do.

Walking by faith is not just about believing in God though. It says in the book of James that even the demons believed. A life full of faith calls for us to not only believe in God but to live out our lives faithfully, by our actions and our words.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:18-26

Set your heart and mind on God’s word, His character, and His love. Remind yourself of the moments in your life where God showed His faithfulness to you. Reflect on how Jesus obeyed and walked by faith in His Father. Learn from those in the Bible, like Noah, Abraham, and Rahab, who have each shown us their faith. Allow this to not only let you see God’s promises become fulfilled but also let your mind and heart be reminded that we can walk by faith as well.

With love,

Claire