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

Surrender it All| By Bethany Anding

“Then he walked a short distance away, and overcome with grief, he threw himself face down on the ground and prayed, ’My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to strengthen him.” Matthew 26:39 (TPT)

This scripture has great significance because it shows that even though He did not want to, Jesus still surrendered to God and His will. 

I used to struggle in the area of surrender because my circumstances may not have been perfect, and I wanted to take control. I would always wind up letting my emotions take over, which lead to bad decisions and eventually to condemnation from the enemy. It was a vicious cycle. I was a woman with one foot in the world and one in the church.

Eventually, I knew something had to give. One day, I was scrolling through YouTube, and I found this song that caught my eye. Something told me to click on it so I decided to give it a listen. The second verse really grabbed a hold of me.

 It said: “I confess I still get scared sometimes, but perfect love comes rushing in. And all the lies that screamed inside go silent the moment you begin.”

Then I wondered to myself, “I don’t understand. When fear gets a hold of me, all that comes in is more fear. How do I get the lies to go silent?” 

The next lyrics were “I’m letting go.”

That was the sign I needed at that exact moment. That was the answer. I needed to let go of my problems. I needed to surrender my life to Jesus. I needed to give my whole heart, all my desires, all my wants and needs, all of it. 

So in that moment, I lifted my hands with tears rolling down my cheeks as I cried out to God. I told Him I was sorry that I had not done this sooner, and that I was making a decision from there on out that I was surrendering my whole life to Him.

Some wonder why they should surrender. Some believe they are doing everything right. They go to church on Sunday then go home and live life how they want, not surrendered. Some are happy and content on the outside, but on the inside, they suffer with torment from the enemy.

“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.” Romans 12:1 (TPT)

The Bible tells us to surrender ourselves as living sacrifices for that is what genuine, real worship is. Surrender is not easy. In fact, it may be pretty hard sometimes. It may be hard to give up some things in life. I recently surrendered something to God that was very hard, but now that I have done it, I am a much happier person. One thing about surrender is that it lifts a huge burden off of our backs.

“So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you.” James 4:7 (TPT)

I would like to conclude with this thought: Let’s say I have a half-filled bottle of coke, but I want water. What do I have to do before I fill the bottle with water? If I leave the coke in the bottle, and pour water in it, it will just be a nasty mess, right? We first have to get rid of the coke, so when the water goes in, it will be pure and will taste good and refreshing. 

In order to receive the fullness of God, we must first surrender our worldly desires, so when we do receive the fullness of God, that is all we are consumed with. The enemy gets a “no vacancy” sign, and there is no room for him to torment us.