Insecurity Has A Voice| By Jasmine Beard

Insecurity is like a sneaky snake. It presents itself at the least opportune times and masks itself behind pride, cynicalness, and busyness. If we are not careful, we will miss it and mistake it for something else.

Insecurity is the uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.

Insecurity is lurking behind your critical comments of your sister’s new business, best friend’s husband, and maybe of people placed in authority in your life.

I once read a quote that says, “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” 

Insecurity always has something to say whether it be about others or ourselves.

One place in my life that insecurity rears its ugly head is in my relationships or in relationships I want to pursue.

I will think to myself, “she doesn’t want to be my friend. I’m not cool enough. I’m not spiritual enough” and so on and so forth! 

We have all been there. We say phrases like these to ourselves:

“I am not enough.”

“I am not pretty enough.”

“She is prettier than me.”

“I am not smart enough.”

“I am too prideful.”

“I can’t wear that.”

“He’s too good for me.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have been on the phone with a friend and he or she is going on and on about something they feel inferior doing or about something or someone they don’t feel good enough for.

But today I want to tell you, whatever your “not enough” is, you must recognize that you are the voice of your insecurity. You are the voice that is stopping you.

Your voice is the reason you have not taken that business venture, called that person to build a friendship, or become the woman God has called you to be. 

Moses is a person in the Bible that I identify with so much. I have had many conversations with the Lord that have mirrored the insecurities, fears and concerns that Moses had.

Exodus 4:8-12 (NLT) gives a great example of these conversations. Maybe you can relate, it reads:

8 The Lord said to Moses, “If they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign.

9 And if they don’t believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, the water from the Nile will turn to blood on the ground.”

10 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”

11 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 

12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

Even with God giving Moses instruction and telling him that He was with him, Moses still doubted. He still felt inferior despite the security God gave him. He spoke insecure words about himself and neglected all confidence and strength that dwells inside of The One who called him.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

The Bible says, God’s strength is made PERFECT in our weakness. It says “PERFECT” my friend, not “just okay” or “not enough”, but perfection.

Sometimes our insecurities are true about us, but our insecurities are never true of God. He uses the weak to do mighty. He uses little to make much.

Stop the self-hatred and self-ridicule and choose today to listen to what God says about you. Let that be the voice that pushes you towards your destiny.

Do not go one more day being the voice that ridicules and criticizes. Choose to listen to the voice of God and let His confidence be your guide in all that you do.

A Different Kind of Confidence| By Sarah Koay

From a young age, I have been quite an introvert. I am quite shy with strangers, but the one thing that I always had with me was my self-confidence.

There are many things that I knew and experienced earlier than my friends that I wish I never knew so early in my life, and I ended up having severe depression and anxiety because of this. However, my confidence was never lost. Somehow, it was still with me even through those years of being mentally unstable.

Now I am free from depression and anxiety (Praise God for his gracious love!), and I am no longer all that shy or as introverted as I used to be. In fact, I am starting to feel more like an extrovert. However, I soon realized that I am losing my confidence.

What is confidence?

Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

The world tells us to place our confidence in ourselves and our ability to accomplish our goals and realize our dreams. Rich people are often confident in their wealth. The powerful are often confident in their strength and position, the talented often in their talents. But what if we do not have all these?

Confidence is also the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.

However, we are not called to place our confidence in any of those whether we have someone or something that we can rely on or not. We are called to place our confidence in God. It does not mean that we should not have self-confidence.

However, know where your confidence comes from. For the definition that best fits the word, confidence is the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.

If our confidence comes from us or our abilities alone, we will lose it when we face challenges or when someone better comes along. So be confident in God and the identity that He (not you or anyone else) has given you.

“You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise You because of the wonderful way You created me. Everything You do is marvelous! Of this, I have no doubt.” Psalms 139:13-14 (CEV)

“For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26 (NKJV)

We know that this is the truth, and we can rely on it because our God does not lie (Num 23:19), and He definitely won’t fail (Jos 21:45; Isa 55:11).

I have yet to find full confidence, but one thing I do know is that the confidence that I have right now is totally different from the one I had in the past. The amount of confidence I used to have cannot even be compared to the quality of confidence I have right now in Christ. 

Have I Not Sent You?| By Emily Lawson

It has been a rough month. The unexpected has caught my family off guard, while the expected has fallen through. When I thought I knew the path, God once again showed me I did not, but that did not give me the answer of where it actually was going either. 

And that is hard. 

It is hard to hope and to be let down. It is hard to think you are right to then find out you are not. And truly, it makes you want to hide – to hide from the world, hide from God, hide from the work He has put in front of you. 

However, hiding also makes you feel unworthy of the good things He has already given.

Why do I deserve to serve Him when I let my own disappointment get in the way? 

Then, Judges 6:12-14 (KJV) truly taught me a hard lesson.

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” 

Here Gideon is called a “Mighty Man of Valour” by an angel that appeared to him, but we also see here that Gideon is still human. He has the human weakness of asking for clarification, wanting to understand more, and questioning himself.

No, these things are definitely not what we want to do when God is calling us to action, but how many times have I felt not good enough because I had let Him down?

How many times have I said, I am not the one for that job,and I just did not get up and go? I asked questions and did not just go for it, so now, it is not for me?

Jonah RAN AWAY from God’s call. He fled! And what did God do? He taught him a lesson inside the belly of a whale, then spit him out right where he needed to be to complete the task God asked him to do from the beginning!

Just because we have side stepped, or been afraid, does not mean that God does not want us anymore.

Verse 14 says, “Have not I sent thee?”

God chose you because He has a plan for your life.

God chose you because, little do you know, you ARE capable. You may not feel it or see it, but God KNOWS. 

God knows what you need to turn away from. He knows the things to let in to help you grow a little stronger and to make you lean into Him a little more. 

He does not call the qualified! God qualifies those He calls.

Follow Emily’s Instagram @the_modest_wife and/or email her at modest.wife@gmail.com.

Work Unto The Lord| By T’eoria Murray

Daydreaming is a pastime most of us fall into, some more than others.

I happen to be a recovering daydreamer with a little bit of a hopeless-romantic thrown in. As a teenager, I would romanticize every aspect of my life, reliving my day in the evenings with the added bells and whistles that I thought should accompany my day-to-day life, like it was a Hallmark movie.

So you can imagine when I signed up for my first overseas mission at age 18, I had some pretty dreamy thoughts about how it would unfold. I had seen the videos of kids my age handing bowls of food to emaciated children and bringing bins of clothes to families in need. I saw collages of evangelistic meetings and people clothed in white walking to the waterside in droves to be baptized, all while soft music played in the background. 

Through all the months of preparation, I envisioned my face in the scenes from the videos. While we raised funds for travel and supplies, printed Bible study lessons, learned hymns and other spiritual songs in the native language, and practiced skits for children’s programs, I dreamed and imagined what it would be like.

Finally, the day came for us to begin our travels. With 20 other young people, I donned my oversized backpack and began the 19 hours of air travel that would take us to our destination. We met with other youth from the local branch of the organization we volunteered with and split into villages across the country. Thus, began a radical transformation of my idea of mission.

What struck me first was the sense of isolation.The area we served in was rural, with no access to electricity or running water, much less telephones. While we had been prepared for this, the reality of it was daunting. Speaking little of the local language compounded the situation, and the food felt as strange on my tongue as the language did. 

The days were long and hard. We would rise hours before the sun to pray and worship before making breakfast on an open fire. We walked for hours in the African sun to get to know the people and offer Bible studies. Of course, I was mostly a spectator here as my partner was from the region and would lead the study in their native dialect. It took all my effort just to stay awake! 

Then, we would walk back to our compound, make lunch, and prepare for our afternoon children’s program and evening evangelistic meetings. After the meetings, we would assess the day’s events and practice for the next day’s programs. By the time I was lying in my sleeping bag at night, it would be after 11 PM, and we would be up again in 5 hours. 

Just one week into this six-week adventure, I was thoroughly exhausted and more than a little disillusioned. 

How could I make a difference in this world where I did not seem to belong? 

How could I get past the drudgery of the necessary hard work to be a part of God’s plan here?

As I cried out to God in my prayer journal one night, I felt a familiar verse press its way into my spirit.

“Not unto us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1 (NLT)

I realized that no matter how I tried to deceive myself leading up to this, I had been largely motivated by pride. I wanted recognition and praise for my efforts. However, there was no room for ego here. There were real needs to be met, and if any glory was to be given, it had to be for God and not myself.

I decided to pour myself into whatever task needed doing. Whether I was washing dishes or leading out in a children’s program, walking long distances over dried river beds or taking part in a Bible study, I tried to do it as unto the Lord and to learn something in the process. I gave up on my glamorous filtered ideas of the mission field and accepted the realistic beauty of giving even when it is hard.

At the end of it all, we did have the grand baptism and the people clothed in white robes singing as we walked to the river. It was made even more powerful because of the struggle that led up to the blessings – the backbreaking work of sowing if you’re going to reap. 

Have you ever felt certain that God called you to perform a specific task or go to a certain place, but the reality was not what you envisioned?

Maybe you are learning the lesson that a calling does not negate hard work, or that glamour is not promised as part of the package. If this is your experience, ask God to open your eyes to His purposes in this season and the beauty of serving Him, even in the mundane things. 

For most of our lives are not about serving God on the mountains when we are exhilarated, or the valleys when we may feel desolate, but in the inglorious ordinary plains of everyday life. 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)

God Is Moving| By Zuzana Niedelova

How many times have you prayed for a situation to change? I know I have frequently, and chances are you have too. We are called to pray and have faith that God will move. However, what if He is already on the move and working, but we just cannot see it?

In the story of Elisha, the king of Aram was at war with Israel. Elisha was a man of God, and He was making the Arameans’ plans known to Elisha in order to warn the Israelite king. As a response and defense, the king of Aram sent an army with horses and chariots to capture Elisha. 

This was not a few people; we are talking about hundreds of soldiers who surrounded the city overnight and took Israelites by surprise with no army ready to fight back. When Elisha’s servant asked what they should do, Elisha was not overwhelmed by what seemed a hopeless situation. He knew his God, and I can imagine what happened next surprised his servant once again.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet [Elisha] answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord , so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:16-17 (NIV)

It is always good to pray for everything that is going on around us, to pray for God to intervene, to glorify Himself through it. But, it is equally important to remember that our God is always far ahead of us and what we can see. Elisha knew his heart was in the right place and he could rely on his Lord in any circumstance. He knew that God had already known what was about to happen, and He was working towards their victory. Unfortunately for Elisha’s servant, God was working in the spiritual reality which had not yet been manifested in the physical world. That is why he had no idea there was nothing to be concerned about.

I find myself so often to be like the servant – worrying about what I need to do to win the battles and being blind to see that God is already fighting and winning them for me. However, we do not have to be blind, and we do not have to forget that our God is greater than anyone and anything in this world. 

Let us make this the time when we punch the doubts and ignorance in the face and start trusting that God is working even when we cannot see it. He will move in such powerful ways that we cannot comprehend because those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Who cares if we can see it or not? I am convinced that praying for God to open our eyes to the spiritual reality of His works will bring an abundance of joy and freedom into our lives in the situations we face every day.

Just remember, He is on your side, and He is already working with a greater power than you could ever imagine. Allow Him to take over and to show you that He is fighting for you with a whole army here and now. Also, know that our God is the God who overcomes.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Walking With Child Like Faith| By Bethany Anding

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. Homes were flooded, and trees were knocked down on lawns.

This was a rough time for me, not because of the disaster taking place in New Orleans, but the disaster taking place in my family. My parents were separated. I did not really understand what was going on. I just knew it was bad. I knew deep down that things were going to get better; I just was not sure when.

Christmas of 2005 – I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad called my mom saying he wanted to see us for Christmas, and that he would cover her airfare. So, we packed up and went back home to New Orleans for the holidays. I remember my dad giving me a big hug Christmas night. As I was hugging him, I could feel his throat tighten up because he was crying, due to losing me and my mom. This was the moment that I knew in my heart of hearts that my dad genuinely loved us.

After Christmas, I stayed with my dad, and my mom went back to North Carolina. A few days after my mom left, my dad told me to get in the car because he had a “big, big Christmas present” waiting for me. Trustfully, I got in the car, and we drove to the airport.  

“Why are we at the airport?” I asked my dad.“You’ll see!’ He responded.

So, we got out and waited inside the airport until I saw my mom coming up the escalator with all her bags. I knew at that moment that all my prayers about my parents reconciling had been answered. I was ecstatic and on the verge of crying.

The point of me telling this story was to show an example of child like faith. Children believe what they are told. Sometimes it is good while other times, not so much. Regardless, as people grow, they begin to build walls in their hearts, blocking things the Holy Spirit may have for us, because it may seem “illogical” or “unreasonable”. 

Now the obvious question would be “Where do the walls come from?” 

Well, when we are hurt by others, the devil likes to put thoughts in our minds such as “they just want to hurt you, you should never talk to them again!”

If one chooses to believe the lie, they build an imaginary wall in their mind. Eventually, as the process repeats itself, these walls turn into a prison that holds the person who built it captive.  Not only does it trap them, it locks people out who want to love and minister to them. It also prevents God from doing a work in them. It blocks the wounded person from receiving healing from God that they need.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting arguments that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)

This means that we must shut down the lies of the enemy by fighting with the weapons of our warfare (meaning the sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and so on). I believe it is very important to hold up the shield of faith when the enemy tries to argue that God is wrong, or that He does not love everyone unconditionally, that some are loved, and some are not. The enemy wants everyone to believe that because one is going through a rough situation, they are no longer worthy to be in the presence of God. 

This is where practicing faith comes in.  When people choose to not look at their circumstances, and choose to believe the promises of God, that is when the walls come down.

When the walls that were created from a place of hurt come down, the hardened heart created long ago by the enemy can then be healed by God. Once the wounds are healed, a pure heart of flesh remains, where there was once a heart of stone.

I will conclude with a word that was given to me in a rough season. I went up for an altar call one day, and a pastor came up to me and told me he saw me in a field of flowers as a little girl in a white dress. I was holding hands with Jesus and dancing with Him in the field. He confirmed something in me that I was questioning. He proceeded to tell me that I was not a reject or an outcast, that I was God’s girl. That day a healing took place in me. Strongholds were broken, and I caught a glimpse of that childlike faith I had lost sight of so long ago. It was almost as if God took all my broken pieces and put me back together the way I am supposed to be. When I am in a rough season and questioning my faith, I always look back to that day. The day God restored me.

His Daughter| By Gabby Jones

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 (NIV)

When things have been taken from you, and you lose yourself, what do you do? Who do you turn to? Who do you become?

Many of us go through seasons that rock us to our core. When we lose someone or something, we forget how we operated before tragedy struck. Who we are can get so wrapped up into a person or idea that once they are gone, we become different people to compensate for the pain.

We are not meant to operate like this. When we come to the end of ourselves, that is where God begins. 

Growing up, I never had any major identity issues. Usually my identity was based on the group of friends I hung around at that time, but it rarely changed until I got saved. When God stole my heart, my identity was in Him, and it was simple; I was His daughter. Anything I did or said after that usually reflected the fact that I was the precious daughter of the most High. Once I planted my roots in that identity, God began overflowing my life with unique gifts and seasons.

After years of operating and training in the gifts God had given me, I started to lose that simple ‘daughter’ handle and picked up other identities that were given to me by friends, mentors, and pastors. These other identities were never negative, but they piled up and gave me the sense that if I did not continue to be the person I was to everyone, then who was I? God was still using me and training me, but I became so wrapped up in the idea that I was doing all of this work for people, that I forgot that it was being done for God. 

During the season that I was depressed, I still pushed myself to continue to be there for people and do many things, but I became exhausted. Month by month, I stopped serving in different areas and ultimately stopped leading at my church’s college ministry. I stopped using the gifts God gave me, and I let the sun set on the things I used to do for people, myself, and God.

Now that I am no longer depressed, I am still in a season where even thinking about doing the things I used to do for people makes me completely exhausted. I do miss how outgoing and extremely loving I used to be, but now I feel like people need to take a ticket just to hang out with me. 

Lately, I have not been embracing the woman I am now, but I am steadily trying to cling onto everything I was a few years ago. I recently spoke to one of my mentors, and she opened my eyes to realize that I do not remember who I was before all of the gifts, the tasks, and the positions I was put in.

Before God placed me in those different seasons, I was first and foremost HIS daughter. When I sit and worship, pray, or simply wake up in the morning, I am His daughter first before any other label.

After this stunning realization, I began to ask God to strip away any and everything from me that was not of Him, everything I tried to hold on to, and everything that tried to hold on to me. I wanted it to be just me and Him; Father and daughter; back to the beginning.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4‭-‬5 (NIV)

This is not a one-time prayer, and you have to face it everyday.

Before you go out into the world today, tomorrow, and every day, pray for God to remind you that you are His before you are anyone else’s.

The title of being HIS child will triumph over any president, king, or CEO. Whatever season you are in, cling to the hope that God does not just see you as you are. He sees you as His precious child, and there is nothing you can do or will be that will change His mind otherwise. 

You are His child.

I am His daughter.

Overcoming Insecurities| By Christina DePino

Insecure

adjective 

1. not firmly fixed; liable to give way or break.

2. (of a person) not confident or assured; uncertain and anxious.

No one likes to admit to feeling insecure. But for many of us, it is a daily struggle. 

Social Media is probably one of the biggest contributors to these feelings of inadequacy. We see the seemingly perfect lives portrayed on our screens and begin to wonder where we went wrong. 

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick 

Recently, there has been a movement for transparency on social media. It has become trendy for social influencers to show the un-edited sides of their lives.This movement is meant to promote self-love and acceptance. It encourages everyone to feel confident that their best is good enough.

While this movement is certainly a step in the right direction, the reality is that our best is not good enough. (Romans 7:18) However, the good news of the gospel is that we do not have to be good enough because it is not about works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) 

The battle we are fighting was already won, through the work done by Jesus on the cross. The only thing left for us to do is to accept the gift of freedom that we have been given. (Acts 13:39, Romans 3:24-26, Romans 6:23) 

When we come to the realization that our works are not good enough, we stop trying to earn our way. We learn to rely on God. That sure takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? We don’t have to struggle with anxiety, depression or insecurity. All we have to do is hand it over to God.

So you may be saying “That’s great and all, but how do we go from knowing this, to actually putting it into practice?”

For many of us, our insecurities began because of something that someone said to us. It may have been an off-handed comment or intentional verbal abuse, but those words have no real power over us until we begin to dwell on them. 

The things we say to ourselves hold more power than anything that anyone else could ever speak over us.

So what do you do when you feel that you are not good enough? 

Overcoming insecurities is about simply speaking God’s truth over our lives. We have to start replacing these negative self-thoughts with truth from God’s word. 

LIE: I am unlovable. 

TRUTH: I am exceedingly loved: Romans 5:8, John 3:16-17

LIE: I have made too many mistakes in the past, there is no hope for me. 

TRUTH: I am free from condemnation: Romans 8:1

LIE: I’m stupid / I’m not smart enough. 

TRUTH: I have the mind of Christ: 1 Cor. 2:16, Phil 2:5

LIE: I am all alone.

TRUTH: The maker of the universe has chosen me to be his friend: John 15:15 

The key to overcoming insecurity is simply this: Are you going to believe God when He tells you who you are?

I love the new song “I Am Who You Say” by Hillsong Worship. The chorus is right in line with what we are talking about here, and I love singing this song as a reminder of who God says I am.  

Chorus: “I am chosen not forsaken, I am who you say I am.”

I created the below graphic as a daily reminder. If you’re reading this on your phone, take a screenshot and pull it out whenever you need a reminder.

A Healthy Spiritual Appetite| T’eoria Murray

Have you ever found it difficult to maintain a healthy diet? If so, welcome to the club! I have been a member since elementary school, and junk food was a pleasure I never denied myself. 

French fries? Yes please. Chicken nuggets? Yes, everyday! Chips, cookies, ice cream, cake? Of course, all of the above! 

The more I indulged in these treats, the less appealing healthier foods looked. After eating a double cheeseburger, salad tasted like notebook paper in comparison. When I was 16, I realized I was not happy with my health. 

Wanting to make a change,  I switched over to a vegetarian diet and cut back on processed food. Those first three months were so hard! I would watch my family eat all the things I loved and feel my mouth watering. However, I resisted, until eventually the foods I had desired most held no appeal to me at all. 

When I went to college and new friends noticed my dietary preferences, there would always be a surprised silence followed by statements of incredulity. “What? You mean you don’t eat ____? I could never…”

Some of them would jokingly try to tempt me with their meals, but I would laugh it off. I could not be tempted with things I did not want. 

This same principle holds true in my walk with God. The more I consume worldly things, the more I desire them. I can never watch just one episode of a Netflix show I like, even if that is my intention when I start. Before I know it, I am six episodes in and cannot seem to stop myself. Themes of dishonesty, sexual sin, unbelief, and violence are threaded through every plot, but it’s just so entertaining!

I think to myself, I have to see how it ends. I’ll just finish this season. Actually, the series is not that long so once I make it to the end my curiosity will be satisfied. 

But there is always another show or movie that everyone is talking about. What about that popular music artist? The lyrics are offensive, but the tune is just so catchy and the artists are so talented. I do not believe what they are saying, but what harm does it do? 

“And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from one degree of glory to even more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

We are changed by what we behold. Just as we become more like Christ by spending time with Him, our minds are changed by the television we watch, the music we listen to, the things we observe on the internet. Every day we are flooded with images that promote a secular worldview. Even when we do not actively seek them out, we can become saturated with them if we are not intentional about setting our eyes on Christ. Just like an unhealthy diet, we develop a taste for it. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, spiritual things become less palatable. It becomes harder to focus on prayer and Bible study, to exert the mental effort required to explore the deep truths of God. If this has been your experience, you know how frustrating it can be. God wants to renew our minds. Today, you can begin the journey to a healthier Christian walk. Like the transformation of our physical health, it’s a gradual process and requires committed effort.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:7.8 (NLT)

A good rule of thumb is to evaluate any form of recreation with thoughtful questions. What will this prompt me to think about? To what does it steer my affections? Can I maintain an awareness of God’s presence in the midst of it? As Christians who are set apart for Christ, the ungodly things common in our culture should never feel comfortable to us. Impurity should not entertain us but disturb us. Consider prayerfully evaluating your media intake to see if there is anything polluting your relationship with Christ. The Lord wants us to be pure in every aspect of our lives – the entertainment we consume, the words we speak, the places we go, even our very thoughts. Then we will be able to say like the psalmist David,

“I will set no worthless or wicked thing before my eyes. I hate the practice of those who fall away from the right path. It will not grasp hold of me. A perverse heart shall depart from me. I will not tolerate evil.”  Psalms 101:3-4 (AMP)

God honors the desire to be more like Him and will help us to love the things that He loves and hate the things He hates, until following His will becomes our first instinct. May we present ourselves to Him today and everyday willing to lay at His feet everything that separates us from Him, until we are holy as He is holy.

Not Dressed to Impress| By Tori Savoy

Do you ever notice that anytime you step out in public looking disheveled, you will run into every single person you know? It seems to almost be a proven fact – at least that is what I am going with.

During one of my frequent trips to Target, I thought I saw an old friend in the parking lot as I began to walk inside. 

Before I could make out whether or not it was her, I quickly diverted eye contact by pulling out my phone so that I would not be noticed. My hair was dirty and a little wild. My face did not have a lick of makeup. And of course, I was several pounds heavier than the last time I had seen this person.

On top of my appearance, I was having a rough day that had me in not the best attitude. I was not in a place to “perform” and could not avoid coming across as the awkward person I am deep down. 

Instant regret hit me once I made it inside the store. I am unsure if it was even her walking through the parking lot, but I possibly missed out on seeing a friend I would have loved to catch up with because I was so worried about how I was not looking or feeling my best. 

How many times have I missed wonderful encounters with God because I was not “dressed to impress”? 

When I am on a spiritual high and feel as if I fit the makeup of an “ideal Christian”, I will talk to God in a confident way.

On the other hand, when I do not have things together the way I think I should, I tend to talk to Him less. If my attitudes and actions are not exactly perfect, I want to pull out my phone and ignore God. 

“Maybe I will talk with Him tomorrow when I am feeling more spiritually sound,” I basically convince myself.

However, He just wants me to come to Him as I am. We do not have to perform in front of God or put on the appearance of perfection to come before His presence. He wants the raw, naked side of our soul. 

I have probably had so many missed opportunities in His presence because of my tendency to perform and dress up for Him. 

Sure, I have a duty as a Christian to live a holy life, but I do need to be polished before entering His presence. My prayers do not need to be embellished with intelligent words. I do not need to mask my true feelings. I do not need to accomplish a certain number of good deeds before I am worthy of speaking to HIm.  I just need to come as I am so that He can meet me there. 

“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37 (NIV)

Don’t miss out on all the new things God wants to share with you just because you do not feel put together enough. There is no shame in the presence of our Father. Our brokenness is where His power and presence will shine through the brightest.

“God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us.” -C.S. Lewis