Be Still

I think a lot of us probably struggle with contentment in some areas of our lives. We always want more than what we already have. We want to have all these things that we think will make us happy: good grades, a fancy car, a fancy house, a perfect partner, etc.

But God has us where we are for a purpose and a plan. He wants us to be content with where we are and just be still.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

See, this verse can sometimes be taken in the context of “oh, I just need to wait on God and not do anything.” But when we aren’t growing closer to God, we are moving farther away. We live in a broken sinful world, and even if we aren’t intentionally thinking about it, the more we stray away from God, the more we are moving closer to sin.

To be still means to make the most of where you are, whether that’s physically where you are located in the world, or just the people you hang around with.

Think about Paul. When he was sitting in prison for two years, he wrote the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He was stuck in a jail cell, yet he made the most of his time by writing these books that give us so much wisdom of how to live a Christ-like life.

It’s easy for us to fall into issues with contentment. I mean we are human and we’ve lived in this world for so long now, a world that tells us that we need all the new and best things to be happy. However, Solomon would totally disagree with that. King Solomon was a man that had everything he ever wanted, but he still was not completely satisfied by any of it. It still wasn’t enough for him.

So what is enough for us? Does the cycle of wanting more and more ever come to an end?

We have to realize that Christ is our completer, and no one else is. But when it comes to contentment, we normally are wanting things to temporarily feel us up. We are like Solomon, wanting all the things this earth can give us, yet when we have them, we still aren’t full.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:2

However, we also have to be mindful of Christ and where he fits on our priority list. As much as I wish that Christ was at the top of my priority list, I prioritize my time with friends and school much more than I do spending time with Christ. However, even spending all that time with friends and trying to do incredible in my classes are just temporary things that will make me feel great. But I’ll always want more.

Jesus completes us. These other things are great and all but they are just temporary things at the end of the day. What matters is how we spend our time on this Earth because our time here is just a tiny dot on a line that goes on forever. It’s important to make the most of it by being intentional with others and having a kingdom mindset in whatever situation you are in. And sharing that wisdom with friends, family, and strangers.

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16

It’s not an overnight ordeal, but I believe we can eventually come to the point where we are so content in our relationship with Christ and His plan for us, that no earthly things will matter to us as much as He does.

I pray whatever you are facing today that God will give you a sense of peace and strength to help you through this season of life. Be still and know that our God is powerful and faithful.

With love,

Claire

He Understands Your Loneliness.

Loneliness. I think we all go through those phases of loneliness. Feeling stuck. Feeling different. Feeling alone.

The thing about loneliness is that it can be haunting even when you’re not physically alone. Maybe you feel it at work, in class, in your city, in your friend group, or your family. Even when it might not look lonely on the outside, you can still feel it.

To be honest, I haven’t figured out the key to curing the feeling  of loneliness. I think it can creep up at any point if we let it. There are definitely times where things are going great for us, or where other uneasy feelings might be found. However, loneliness is just like fear or stress. It can still sneak in if we leave the door open.

But I can tell you a few things about loneliness:

1. Jesus experienced loneliness. Jesus was a perfect human being without sin. He was different from everyone else around Him. He lived in a sinful world surrounded by sinful people, including His family and close friends. Growing up, He was very different from the other kids. He probably wasn’t the cool kid everyone wanted to hang out with either. Not to mention, His siblings probably weren’t too fond of His good deeds all the time either.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. – Isaiah 53:3

2. Jesus understands our loneliness. When Jesus was on Earth, no one else around was like Him. For Jesus, the only person He knew that He could always turn to was His Father. However, when He was paying for our sin on the cross, He felt forsaken by the last person He turned to for help. He felt all alone.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15

3. You are not alone. Even Jesus, who was/is the most perfect human being to ever live, felt what you feel. You are not the only one who is struggling with this. I can bet you thousands of other people on this Earth are feeling that same uneasy weight on their shoulders too. We don’t like to show our loneliness. It’s something we hide, so we don’t seem bothered or hurt. But just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. – 2 Timothy 4:16-18

You don’t have to hide that loneliness. Talk to a friend or a family member about it. Talk to God about it. Hand it over to Him and let Him help you.

There will come a day when loneliness won’t even be on your mind anymore. It will be something that you’ll look back on and say “I remember when I felt that and now it doesn’t bother me anymore”.

With Love,

Claire

Be a Blessing

Hey friend. Man, Jesus is so good. I can’t even begin to describe how I have been feeling over the past year. There have been some ups and some downs, but it has been such a year of spiritual growth for me. I know it has been a while since I have written on this blog, but I really missed these personal posts.

Something God has taught me over the year, to live by and to understand fully, is the phrase “through faith”. He has really taught me how to live through faith and faith alone.

In the Bible, there are some verses that say “through faith” such as:

So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith. – Galatians 3:26

In Him and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2

These verses really hit home for me. They basically say that without faith, we would not be able to have a relationship with God that we do today. See, the Lord wants our relationship with Him to grow stronger over time.

However, life can get a little messy here and there.

We have things that come and go, ups and downs, hills and valleys, etc. But, through all of it, we have to have faith that God is who He says He is and loves us unconditionally. By having this faith and assurance, He gives us hope, peace, love, joy, and so many blessings.

However, it doesn’t just stop with the blessings He gives to us. Not only does He want to bless you in life, but He wants you to be a blessing to all of those around you. He wants you to show the love of Christ to your friends, family, strangers, classmates, co-workers, etc.

We are called to love one another and I think we forget how impacting we can be on someone with our actions and our words. Just saying a nice comment to someone can make their day better. Being a blessing to another person is a remarkable habit to get into.

Think about Jesus and the life He lived. He was such a blessing to all of those around Him. Not only did He heal the sick and feed the hungry, but He was also encouraging, kind, and loving to those around Him. And get this, He was a human just like you. No, we aren’t perfect people like Jesus was, but we do have the power to encourage others and love those next to us.

So my hope for you this week is to get into the habit of being a blessing to someone. Send an encouraging text to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Pray for your friend that you haven’t seen in a while. Tell your parents you love them. Inspire someone new. Ask the person in the coffee shop next to you, if they have any prayer requests. Be a blessing to those around you, my friend. It makes life so much better.

With love,

Claire

The Comparison Game

Remember when you were 5 years old and you just did things like make a sandcastle or ride a bike, not because you had an audience looking at you, but just because you wanted to enjoy it? It was only 15 years since I was five. However, the world seems very different then it was back then. Today, I think people forget to just do things because they want to.

We tend to post a picture in order to get a bunch of likes or comments, instead of because we actually love that picture, or we loved the memory. People try to be friends with others only to increase their popularity ratings or following count, instead of because they really do like those people. Some people just want to be in the cool crowd and fit in because they want to make themselves look better, instead of them actually just being in it because they want to or because they love the people they are with. Some just date in order to make someone jealous or because they feel rushed into settling down instead of them actually just being like “wow I really love this person with my whole heart”.

I think today we are so caught up in entertaining our audience around us. We do things because we feel that those people around us need to know that we are “cool” or “popular” or “a good person” or “pretty”. But what if no one was watching? Would you send that text to that girl in tears? Would you share that picture of you helping at a food pantry?

See, we get so caught up in being OF the world, instead of just IN the world. I mean look at Jesus Christ. He had 12 disciples. He was the Messiah. God could have given Him a million friends, yet Jesus only had a few. He picked quality over quantity. When Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. He didn’t tell the people to go tell everyone that Jesus Christ did this and He’s this amazing guy. Yet, the people did anyway, not because they had to, but because they wanted to praise this amazing person that saved them.

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” – Mark 1:40-44

The only person we need to try to get approval of each day is God. He created this world for you and He wants you to enjoy it, not because you have to, but because you want to. He wants you to enjoy the little things and the big things that are all around you. He wants you to spend your days filling yourself up with Him instead of filling it up with the world and it’s approval. He doesn’t want you to play the comparison game.

He wants you to be still and grow with Him first before anyone else. So grow, explore. and strive to be your best self everyday with Jesus by your side.

Love always,

Claire

 

Don’t Worry, Instead Worship

Something that I have learned about music, is that everyone in the entire world loves some genre of it. Whether it’s latin, country, pop, rock and roll, christian, or any other type, music has this ability to open up our soul and make us want to dance around the room.

Recently, I went to a Christian concert, and it’s SO incredible to see the sight around the room. People are clapping, dancing, raising their hands, and just all around worshiping. It’s a sight that I’m sure will be found in Heaven.

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100:1-5

The speaker, at the concert, said something, and I freakin’ love it now. He said, “Don’t worry, worship”. He said that we are all going through our own lives, some of us may be carrying some battle with us, but for us to be truly thankful, we need to praise God for the things we have received, and also, the things that have not yet been received.
Oooh that just stuck with me. I have always thought about thanksgiving meaning to being thankful for what you have. But, it is ALSO for the things we do not yet have, the things to come.
It’s so easy for us, as human beings, to be so caught up and worried about the things to come. It’s easy for us to have those freak out moments. But we have to walk by faith and praise God for everything that has and is to come (aka, don’t worry, but instead worship).
For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Sheep do not have very good eyesight. They basically have to rely on their shepherd to move by listening to his voice. The shepherd protects the sheep and watches the sheep to make sure no harm comes to them. The shepherd guides the sheep throughout their life and he cares so much for his sheep.
You see, God is our shepherd, and we are His sheep. He cares for us. He provides for us. He watches us and protects us. He leads us and He guides us.
He wants to reach us and for us, to reach Him. We may not know what the future holds, but God wants to walk by our side and lead us the whole way through. If we seek Him, praise Him, worship Him, pray to Him, we can follow His voice through it all.
So next time, you’re worried or stressed, remember this. Don’t worry, instead worship. The Lord is going to lead you and have your back through it all.
Love always,
Claire

Freedom Can Be Found

There is a woman that we don’t know her name, or how old she is, or if she has any family, but we do know about her lifestyle. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years straight. She could never get better and only got worse. She probably didn’t smell that great and couldn’t go out in public that much, not to mention that she was probably an outcast in her society. Men probably didn’t want to marry “a girl like that”. And women probably were mean to her or just felt bad for her. Can you image how much shame she felt?

Some of us may can relate to the feelings that she had. Maybe, you’re seen as an outcast too or just don’t measure up to other’s expectations. Maybe, your life is filled with shame, guilt, depression, doubt, anxiety, etc. But God tells us that we are made in the image of Him.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

He doesn’t want us to be covered in any of these things. He wants you to find freedom. And this woman, who was suffering, found her freedom in Jesus Christ.

When this woman hears about Jesus and that he is in her village, she has to go see Him. She’s thinking “if I just go see Him, He will heal me”. And this is what happens:

So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” – Mark 5:24-34

I love how it says that she fell AT HIS FEET. In order for us to find our freedom, we have to move towards Jesus. We have to dive into His word and pray to Him.

This woman probably felt so terrified to go see Jesus, because of the social exposure, but she had so much faith that she left to go find Jesus. She knew that God wanted better things for her life. She didn’t want to go throughout the rest of her life living in this kind of condition. She wanted to be free of her suffering.

Maybe, right now, you are in a season of suffering or struggle. Things just aren’t looking up at all and you’re caught right in the middle of a storm. Jesus can give you freedom. You can find it. It won’t be an overnight thing, but freedom can be found in Him. However, it requires work and you have to move TOWARDS Him, not away. Anything is possible with Christ.

Love always,

Claire

Search for Significance

“I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem, I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom, and also knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” – Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

Solomon was the richest and highest person in all of Jerusalem during the time period that he lived in. Other people envied him for all the fame and wealth that he had. The man had everything he wanted, but it was all still so meaningless to him. Maybe, on the outside, he looked like he was living the best life, but Solomon wasn’t satisfied.

Sometimes, I feel like I fit in with the “other people” category in this story. I want things that other people have such as grades or fame. Maybe, you can relate. But we have to remember that even when we have those things, we still won’t be satisfied. Solomon had all he wanted and still wasn’t satisfied because the only thing that can satisfy us is Christ.

Jesus is the only one who can fulfill us. It’s pointless to try and find that fulfillment in other things. Jesus knows that we are hungry and He tells us that HE is the solution.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

Jesus sees that we are hungry. He knows that our desires are real and wants the absolute best for you. He wants you to spend your life well, but sometimes, this causes us to settle for less. Sometimes, we are searching for all the wrong things, like Solomon. We want the fame and the wealth, but Solomon knew it was all meaningless.

The Bible tells us that the only thing that will satisfy you is Christ. If we fulfill our lives with things or activities that don’t put Jesus first, then we will never be satisfied. You won’t be pleased and you will have lost more than you actually gained in those things.

Jesus came to give you life and He won’t stop looking for you until you are for Him. He is the bread of life that was broken for you. You don’t need to have this constant search for significance because it is found in the one that has saved you.

Love always,

Claire