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I'm not sure exactly when I discovered this Scripture. I do know it was after college and I was somewhere in my twenties. I'm sure I was wondering why I hadn't met "Mr. Right" yet, and why I was still floundering over where my Prince Charming was, and what my dream career was, and what was my great purpose in life. There had to be more than the lies that the world was trying to feed me. Deep down I knew there had to be more.
Then I found this Scripture.
I don't remember the day, or even the year. But I do remember that once I found this verse, I knew it was mine. I claimed this beautiful Scripture as my life's verse on that day and I have held tightly to it for the almost twenty years after. Because even though God blessed me with my Mr. Right, and then showered me with tremendous love by giving me three crazy amazing little babies, there are still so many days where doubt threatens. Where fear threatens. And I find daily comfort in remembering the promise that my Father covered me with.
And I have hope.
Hope that He holds my future.
Hope that He is good. And His plans for me are good.
Hope for my future. A future that may not be perfect here on earth, but will be oh so precious, and so beautiful, and so perfect in heaven. THAT is my future. THAT is my hope.
I claimed this Scripture for my life almost two decades ago. And when my little girl was born, I gave it to her as her life's verse. My greatest prayer for her is that she will know through any storm, through any struggle, that her hope need never come from a man, or from friends, or from any talent that she may or may not possess. As a woman, I know for certain that she will doubt herself, she will question why she was made with her hair, her eye color, her body shape, her skills. The world will tell her that she is not strong enough, smart enough, sexy enough, feminine enough, skinny enough, tall enough. The "not enoughs" are endless.
But perhaps she can rest in this verse, as I have all these years, and know that she can have hope. Every day.
There is HOPE. Because He knows us. And He has plans for us. And they are good.
What about you? Are you resting in HOPE today? Or are you struggling with the lies and the doubts that the world is trying to bury you with? Have you placed your hope in the One who holds your future? There is no better place to be.
Share your hopes with us today in the comments below. Or maybe share your doubts or your fears. I would so very much love to pray for you, that HOPE would overwhelm you.
The message is always the same. Do whatever you need to do to get ahead. It's not what you know, it's who you know. What can YOU do for ME?
The world will tell you over and over again that it's really all about you. Your success, your happiness, your plans, your dreams. And the people in your life are there for you, to help you get where you want to be, or even to step on while you're on the way up.
If we are willing to admit it, I think we've all believed these lies at least once in our lives. I hate to admit that I've believed these lies much more than once. And every time I fall prey to these lies, every time I get fixated on myself and focus on how others need to help me, I fall into a pit. A pit of self-pity (because no one can ever really do enough for me, what a pity), a pit of anger and sin (why isn't anyone helping me???), and a pit of loneliness (because no one wants to be friends with someone that selfish).
The message is always the same, the road down to that pit always seems the same, and yet the faithful rescue of the God who loves me- that is always the same too. He is forever rescuing me from myself and reminding me of the beauty of His word, of His truth, of His perspective.
Because it's NOT all about me.
It's all about Him. And it's all about others.
Real joy comes not from having others help you succeed, but in building others up. Real freedom comes from serving. Whether it be our family, or our precious friends, or a stranger- or maybe even (gulp!) that one person you are struggling the most to live with- we are called, not to build ourselves up, but to build them up.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)
You want real success? Real joy? Real LIFE? Stop self-building. Start building up others.
Who in your life has been building you up? Comment here and thank them with words. Then thank them by paying it forward. We can all build!
It happens almost every morning. I wake early, while the house is still quiet, grab a cup of coffee and sit down at the table with my Bible and journal. I bow my head in prayer and then it comes. The waves of doubts and fears, followed closely by a waterfall of tears.
I can't do this. I'm not smart enough to be the teacher they expect me to be. I'll never be able to make it as a photographer in our new city. How are my kids going to find new friends? What if they struggle at their new schools? I'm not the mom they deserve. I can't speak eloquently enough to teach, to lead, to write a blog. I'm never going to lose the weight I need to. What if my husband doesn't think I'm pretty anymore? I'm not good enough. The list is endless.
The doubts and fears threaten to overcome me. And then He whispers those same precious words to me.
It's all you need.
It's ok to be weak. My power is made perfect in weakness.
I savor this truth. Because I've been on the other side of it.
Not too long ago, I lived my life in total confidence. I was filled with pride and saw that everything I was doing, I was doing well. I had it going on. I was on top of my world. And there was no room up top for both me and God. So I became my god.
Thankfully, God, in His beautiful love and grace, did nto let me stay in that place. He let me fall from that mountain top, into the pit of my sin and pride, so that He could gently and wonderfully lift me up to Himself again. This is the picture of grace. To be in a place so undeserving of God's love and favor, and to experience it in a way you could never have imagined.
And so in those quiet mornings, when I've overwhelmed with doubts, when my fears are exposed, and all I see are my shortcomings, I thank God. I thank Him because my weaknesses allow me to see His power. They open my eyes to the REAL God. They keep me from taking that dangerous trip up that mountain of pride and selfishness, a place I hope never to visit again.
My weaknesses have become something I can gladly boast about. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
What about you? Are you struggling under the weight of fear or doubt this morning? Are you feeling weak? Or are you finding comfort in experiencing God's grace?
Comment below and share how God is using your weakness today.