How to Trust God When It Is Hard

trusting God blogThe wind gently pushed back her auburn hair as she gazed out over the Texas hill country. She felt deep longing well up inside her-a desire to run, to be free, to see the world, to get away from the monotony of her 9-5.

She just wanted to go.

Frustration ebbed at her core- why hadn’t God revealed His plan for her? Shouldn’t she know what she wants to do with her life? At 24, shouldn’t she know her calling?

Deep inside all of us, we have a need to impact others-to make a difference. We all want to matter. Sometimes it is so frustrating to not know God’s plan for our lives. Trusting Him can be difficult. Handing control over to Him can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. I mean we’re Americans, right? That means we fix our problems. So completely relinquishing that power and control to the Lord can feel impossible. Last year I remember not knowing at all what God’s plan held in store for me. I remember praying everyday that He would reveal His will for my life. I’ve come up with a few tips and things to remember as you are soul-searching and asking God for guidance.

  1. If God is your #1, You Cannot Lose

If the Lord is at the root of your being-your guiding force in your life, you cannot lose. Remember Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Who can stand against the Creator of the Universe? Oh yeah and don’t forget-He is your Father.
God is for you.
He loves you, He is fighting for you.

Psalm 18:32-33 says,
“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”
God enables you.
He allows you to stand before His presence in confidence. Keep the Lord where He belongs-as the ruler of your life and you cannot lose.

2. Wait on the Lord

Today I was reading my Bible and I stumbled upon Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Sometimes God wants us to wait.
With our society, that probably doesn’t sit too well. I mean we live for instant gratification-we can see what all our friends are doing instantly on SnapChat, if we want food, we just drive through Chick Fil A. So God telling us to wait seems contrary to what is ingrained within us. But through waiting God is perfecting us-He is building trust within us and building our patience. When we wait on the Lord and seek Him that is making us grow increasingly more Christlike. And that is the ultimate goal- to resemble our Lord more and more as each day passes.

3. Pray

If you are frustrated-tell that to God. He wants to hear about your sadness and annoyances. He wants to know.
He wants to know everything.
Remember Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” We have a God who is alive and active, He wants to hear your prayers. In Philippians 4:7 God reminds us,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Talk to God.
If you don’t have time-make time. Lately I have been setting five alarms and getting up extra early because it is literally the only time of the day I can find for the Lord. You always make time for the things that matter to you.

Waiting on the Lord and wanting him to reveal His plan for your life is difficult. It takes trusting in the Lord and allowing him to work in His own timing. Focusing your heart on Him through prayer and making sure that He is Lord of your life is the best way to let him open your heart and reveal to you what His plan for you is. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Trust in Him and lean into His perfect strength, because when we are weak, He is strong.

-Rach

Is Drinking Affecting your Walk with God?

drinking blogThe words hit her full in the face.
“You’re not fun anymore.”
She was always the life of the party.
If there was a dare, she’d do it. Kesha was her spirit animal. Crazy Beautiful Life was her life compressed into a song.
So having one of her best friends tell her she was no longer fun because she chose God instead of partying made an impact.

It hurt.
I am not going to tell you drinking is wrong. It isn’t wrong when it’s done in moderation. But when you abuse it, it takes you away from the Lord. You do things when you drink that you would never do sober. It can destroy friendships. Most importantly in Galatians 5:21, drunkenness is described as a “work of the flesh.” As followers of Christ we are called to reflect Him and to run to Him with all our strength. If alcohol is doing the following things in your life, it might be time to put it away for good.

1. It takes you away from the Lord

Everything we do should spur us closer to Christ.

Everything.

Our God wants us to surrender everything to Him. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
In all your ways.
Remember our purpose here on earth is to bring glory to Him, so we need to allow Him to permeate every aspect of our lives. If going out is making you grow farther away from the Lord, it is time to stop.

2. It is hurting your friendships

You don’t act like yourself when you drink too much, you can make bad decisions. If you have chosen to surround yourself with godly friends who love you and your drinking is hurting those friendships, you should probably revaluate. Ask your friends if you act like yourself when you drink or if you do or say hurtful things that you normally wouldn’t. See what their input is. Tell them to be completely honest with you and then be prepared for an honest answer.

3. Your friends and family tell you it is an issue

If your family and friends have told you it’s issue, you need to stop. Confronting a family member or friend about a drinking problem is scary, so if they have taken the initiative to tell you about the problem, you should consider what they have to say.

4. You are being convicted

If you wake up after a night of going out and you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach that you have sinned, pay attention. That is the Holy Spirit doing His job. He is convicting you. He is calling you to repent. Remember that repent means to turn away. That means RUN. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine […] but be filled with the Spirit.” Getting drunk is a sin, even if you do it alone. God calls us to be filled with His spirit and if we are drunk we are not giving a good reflection of our Savior. Remember you might be the only Christian someone ever meets.

Making the decision to not drink might make you unpopular. You might lose friends. But consider this, if they will drop you because you are trying to walk closer to the Lord-were they ever really friends to begin with? Also, you can be fun and not drink. It is possible and it’s liberating. Once you free yourself up from alcohol, you have real, genuine conversations with people. You will see your friendships are based on more than just standing around at bars. You will be more active and see more beauty in God’s creation. God does not call everyone to give up drinking. But if you see evidence in your life that drinking is taking you away from having a more intimate relationship with the Lord- it is worth giving up.

-Rach

Why You Should Stop Letting Social Media Control Your Life

social media blogThe two friends analyzed the picture, brows furrowed in concentration.
“But do you think it’s Instagram worthy?” asked the taller of the two. Her small, brunette friend grabbed her iPhone and held it close to her eyes, scrutinizing every detail.
“Yeah, for sure. Your hair looks awesome. Plus that app we found to add makeup makes your skin flawless, you will definitely get at least 100 likes.”
Triumphant, the willowy blonde hit share.
The next hour was marred with compulsive glances at her phone. She bit her lip, she had only gotten 24 likes and it had been up for 45 minutes: an awful like-to-minute ratio. She turned to her friend, “Should I take it down? I’ve barely even gotten any likes. How many people have already seen it? Do you think people will notice if I take it down at this point?”
Her friend fell silent, a sympathetic look crossing her face.

We have have the need to feel loved, to feel accepted. Deep within our souls, we long for validation. We want to be liked. That longing is normal. Who doesn’t want to feel loved or cared about? The rise of social media has made of all highly aware of just of how popular we are among our peers. The number of likes you get on a picture, the number of followers you have on Instagram, or the number of views you get on your snap story has enabled us to quantitatively determine our popularity.
I know I’ve struggled with this.
The scenario I described above is pretty much a conversation I’ve had with my friends countless times. It’s only been over the past year that I’ve realized that the number of likes I get or the number of followers I have does not determine my worth. In fact, it has zero correlation with my worth.

My worth is found in Christ.
Your worth is found in Christ.
He never changes.
He never gives up on you.

Isn’t that truth so much better than finding your value in the hands of your peers? Whose whims change on a daily basis?

We all have that need to be accepted. The need is rooted deep within us. It stems for our need for Christ. Our souls long for completion through an intimate relationship with Him. It’s not really the number of likes you get that you want. What you truly want is to be accepted and loved unconditionally. That type of love and acceptance can only come from having a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, who loves you regardless of your Instagram following. Whenever I struggle with my identity I always recall 1 John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” And that is what we are!
We are children of God. Just let that sink in for a second.
When you walk around with that kind of power at the forefront of your mind, does it really matter how many people have viewed your snap story?
Jesus Christ died for you.
When you are armed with that truth, who cares if you get 15 likes or 1500?

Social Media can be a really good thing. It’s fun to share exciting things happening in your life with your friends. But it can be a bad thing when it controls what you do or when you compulsively check to phone to monitor the number of likes you receive. I challenge you to examine your relationship with social media. Does it dictate what you do? Do you find your identity with who likes your picture? Or how many likes you get?

Instead of being focused on your social media accounts, dig into the word of God, grow into your identity as the daughter of the Most High. Spend time praying and drawing near to Him. He promises, “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Find a good book that challenges and grows you as a Christian. Understand that your worth stems from Him and Him alone.

-Rach

5 Ways to Overcome Guilt

blog about guilt

I don’t know about you guys, but I am a wallower. Whenever I make a mistake, I will beat myself up for hours or even days. Conviction hits me hard. It’s really probably one of my most annoying qualities. All my friends have told me to never, ever wake them up before 9 am. Whenever I am feeling guilty of something, I always have to confess in the early hours of the morning. The Holy Spirit convicts us after we have sinned and that is a good thing: it keeps us in check and makes us continue to walk with God when we’ve strayed. But here’s the thing: we don’t have to feel guilty after we have repented. I want to share some truth with you that I need constant reminding of also.

1. You are set free in Christ

Jesus’ blood has covered you. You are set free from the bondage of sin. You don’t have to continue berating yourself after you have confessed and repented of your sin. Let it go and focus on how you can live your life to honor God instead of analyzing your past mistakes. Dwelling on your past mistakes doesn’t do you any good. Once you repent, keep your eyes focused onward and upward. Don’t live in the guilt and shame of your past mistakes, Christ has covered you.

2. Remember that God Uses Sinners

Whenever I open up Psalms, I thank God that He used David. If you are not familiar with his story, David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) who messed up royally. He committed adultery and then murdered to cover up his sin. I know God used someone like David on purpose: to show us that God can use anyone. God uses sinners and even sinners like David can still have a heart after God.

3. We’re only Human

One thing to remember is that we’re all on this life journey together. No matter how godly or perfect someone may seem, everyone messes up. Everyone has fallen short of God’s grace. There is nothing we can ever do to deserve it. We will make mistakes, even if we are trying with everything we have to walk with the Lord. We are imperfect people.

4. Learn From Your Mistakes

It’s important to recognize when you’ve messed up and make changes. I know in college, I made the same mistakes over and over again. I kept on messing up and then running to God because I felt convicted. That’s not the way we are meant to operate and it won’t bring you joy. Once you’ve made a mistake, put up barriers to help you not make that same mistake. Ask a trusted friend who loves the Lord to hold you accountable or stop hanging out with people who encourage you to make that mistake. Let your conviction teach you to not make the same mistakes time after time.

5. Guilt Isn’t Always Healthy

There is a natural conviction that you should feel after you have stepped outside of God’s will. That guilt brings you back to Him and makes you change. But if you have confessed and repented from your sin, then the enemy might be using your guilt as a weapon. I know when I have really messed up, little thoughts creep into my mind and tell me that I am not worthy of God’s love or make me doubt my calling. These are lies. God can handle any sin you throw His way. It doesn’t matter how huge it is. He can handle it. Recognize these lies from the enemy and remind yourself of Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Whenever you feel guilt about a past sin, remember that you are forgiven.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. The Holy Spirit will use conviction bring us back to Him. But once you have confessed and repented, don’t continue beating yourself up over a past sin you can’t change. Instead, look to the future. See how God can use those past mistakes to bring him glory. You are not tethered to that sin anymore because you are set free in Christ. His blood has completely redeemed you! I am unbelievably thankful for that freedom we have in Christ.

-Rach

5 Ways to Deal with Jealousy

JEALOUSY BLOGWe all know the girl: the girl who seems to glide through life effortlessly. Her laugh draws others in. She’s the one all the guys want to date and all the girls want to be her best friend. Everything just seems to be handed to her without any effort on her part. It’s annoying when she wins prom queen and gets a full ride to college all in one week. As you watch her charmed life unfold, it’s easy for jealousy for sneak it’s way into your mind and heart. It’s easy for the enemy to begin to embed seeds of doubt into your heart as you begin to want what she has. I’ve found some really helpful tips to battle the green monster of jealousy over the years and wanted to share them with you.

1. Know Who You Are

This is the best way to battle jealousy. When you know that you are so secure in your identity as a daughter of the Most High, everything else fades into the background. Walk in the power and the strength that you are His daughter, embrace your identity as a princess and you will stop worrying about how perfect everyone else’s live may seem. Seek God every day. Make him your focus and your priority; jealousy will fade.

2. Focus on Loving Her

As Christians we are called to be lights to those around us. That means loving others even when it is hard. Instead of seeing other’s successes in a negative way, celebrate with her! Be genuinely happy when something goes well for your friend. Show her Christ’s love. Put your energy into finding ways to love her rather than tear her down.

3. Stop Thinking of Yourself

It’s really hard not to be self-centered. But sometimes we need to be told that we are not the center of the universe. Whenever we get feelings of jealousy, its because we are focusing too much on ourselves. Sometimes we need to step back and ask God to help us not look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). We should be exhibiting humility to those around us. The Bible actually tells us to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). When we keep this mentality, it keeps jealousy at bay and helps us rejoice when others succeed.

4. Do Not Gossip

It’s so easy to pick apart tiny flaws people have when we want to feel better about ourselves. It’s easy to scrutinize a picture and talk about how she edited it and she’s not that pretty in real life. I know I am guilty of this. Whenever you feel the urge to tear someone down by gossiping, remember who you are representing.
You are representing Jesus.
Jesus loves you and He loves her.
Don’t tear down someone else to make yourself feel better. Besides talking bad about someone else only makes you look insecure and it doesn’t make you any better!

What is beautiful is being confident enough to acknowledge someone else’s intellect, talent, or beauty and knowing that it doesn’t threaten yours at all.

5. Jealousy and Friendship Can’t Co-Exist

There’s nothing that kills a friendship more than jealousy. You shouldn’t compete with your friends. Instead you should encourage and lift each other up. You should allow and encourage each other to be the best versions of yourselves. Proverbs 17:17 says a friend loves at all times. Keep that mind. Focus on loving your friends and bringing out their best.

Jealousy is something all girls have to battle. We all struggle with it. Whenever you feel it sneaking up on you remember these five tips and most importantly, remember who you are. Remember that you have been called to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. And remember that you are always representing Christ.

Radically,
Rachel

Discovering Your Purpose

discovering your purpose copy

I had a conversation about a year ago with a friend about what our calling in life was. Both of us were completely bewildered and at a loss about what direction we should go next. The prospect of choosing a career after graduation is a daunting task. It’s terrifying to abandon your “kid” years and jump head first into adulthood. After graduating from Baylor I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I had a job lined up as an IT consultant in Dallas. But if you have ever had a conversation with me, you would know computers are not my thing. I barely passed MIS. But it seemed like a good company with an awesome salary, so I took the job. God threw me for a loop when He closed the door to that position once I had already moved to Dallas. And it was during that time of change when I discovered that God was calling me into this ministry. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you are trying to figure out your purpose and God is revealing His calling for you.

1. He is in Control

No matter how hard we try, how much we study, or how brilliant we are; the bottom line is that God is in control.
He can give you anything and He can take anything away.
His love for you is immeasurable and unfathomable.
Whenever I need a little reminder about my worth in Christ, I remember Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Our God does not forget His children.
He is an active God and is concerned with even the minute, trivial problems that plague us daily.

He is always in control.

2. Keep Christ at Your Core

Whenever you are looking into choosing your major, your future career, or your next leadership position at school, consider how your relationship with God will play into that role. Your relationship with the Lord needs to permeate every aspect of your life. Your love for Him and your relationship should be your distinguishing characteristic. Whenever I meet someone truly on fire for the Lord, their enthusiasm is contagious. They inspire others everywhere they go.

You keep your heart centered on Christ in three ways: 1) praying and spending time in His Word 2) hearing the word of God taught and 3) discussing your promises and how He is impacting your life. I encourage you to find some good friends who love the Lord for the last one. You really need a strong godly support group.

3. Play Your Strengths

I feel like this one is self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. We are all gifted in different ways. For example, I have a friend who is a brilliant doctor. He is incredible at his work, but whenever he has to speak in front of people he completely clams up. God has blessed all of us with different skills. Think about what you are good at and play to those strengths. If you are a writer, go into journalism, if you are an eloquent speaker-be a motivational speaker. Don’t try to do something you’re not naturally gifted at. Think about what comes easily and what you love doing. Pursue that.

4. Point Others to God

Our purpose here on earth is not self-glorification or satisfying ourselves. It is not to get a massive paycheck at the end of every month. Our goal on earth is to try to live our lives worthy of the calling we have received for the glory of the Lord. My favorite verse that highlights this is Galatians 2:20, “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.”

BOOM.
We have died with Christ.

Our old selves are dead and gone.

Our lives are not actually our own, but are the Lord’s. It’s our jobs as Christians to spend our lives in joyful surrender to Him.

Whenever you are entering this type of season of change into your life-it is essential to pray. Seek God wholeheartedly. Ask Him to be straight with you. Whenever I pray, I ask God to slam doors in my face-otherwise I am so stubborn and stupid I’ll continue to try to beat those doors down. I ask God to only open the doors that He wants me to walk through. Whatever you decide to do, keep your purpose at the forefront of your mind: to live a life worthy of your calling as a daughter of Christ and to show others His immeasurable love.

Radically,
Rachel

Why Our Actions Matter

actions matterLast week I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and something she said really stuck with me. We were having a discussion about why it’s important to serve and her response was that what we do doesn’t matter, all that matters is what we think. I strongly disagree. What we do here on earth does matter. We can’t walk around with well-meaning intentions and expect it to make any difference if we fail to act on them. The Christian walk is about having faith rooted in Christ and a deep, passionate love for Him. The things we do are an extension of that love we have for our creator. Don’t mistake me: we are not saved by works, but by faith (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is a free gift from God and we can do nothing to ever deserve that gift. However, our actions and our decisions do matter here on Earth and here is why.

1. Our Actions Mark Us as Believers

1 John 2:5-6 states, “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love, is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” Our goal as Christians to grow increasingly more and more Christlike. That is literally what I pray every morning: that God would strip away my selfish desires and that He would make me reflect His love and His goodness through my actions. We’re not perfect, we’re still sinful humans and we will mess up, but we ought to be striving towards Christ.

2. It Completes Our Faith

James 2:14 states, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James goes on to answer his question by saying, “In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Action is a natural reaction to the faith we have. It follows the faith. True faith naturally produces good deeds, it points to the Father. When someone is truly saved, it is inevitable that action is to ensue.

3. God Tells Us That Our Actions Matter

James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Don’t just sit passively at Church and absorb information only to leave and live your life opposite of what God commands. Go out there and obey the word of God. Sometimes it is really hard to obey. Sometimes stealing something when no one is looking might seem harmless and save you some money, but obeying God is what is really important. Think about how much your character costs.

4. We are Fighting a Real Battle

At my church, The Austin Stone, we are going through the topic of spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:11-12 states, “Put on the full armor or God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world […] put on the full armor of God.” Paul uses the metaphor of armor for a purpose: we are at war. The devil is described as “prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We should have a sense of urgency in our walk with the Lord and we should be aware of how satan tries to deceive us. We need to remember that we may be the only Christian someone comes into contact in their entire life and it’s important to live our lives to honor and glorify the Lord through our actions. We need to show others through our interactions, our sacrificial love, and our testimonies the love of Christ that surpasses understanding.

What we do does matter. We cannot be saved by works alone, but rather our works are an extension of our faith. It is impossible to have true faith without seeing action. They complete each other! I encourage you to live your life radically and purposefully for him.

-Rachel

Let Go and Let God

shutterstock_250812124 for websiteLately I have been struggling with giving complete control over to the Lord. Mainly this issue has been coming up because I am having trouble trusting Him wholeheartedly. I still try to control things that should be held in His hands. I feel like we all wrestle with the issue of relinquishing control. America has always told us that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” (Eleanor Roosevelt). And while that is an admirable sentiment and it does ring with some truth, we need to remember that as Christians, our job on earth is to tell others about Christ and to be lights to the world. Our goal is not our self-glorification. We are only visitors here and our true home is in heaven. The Bible describes our time on earth as a “like a breath; [our] days are like a fleeting shadow” (Psalm 144:4). So how do we live our lives to honor and glorify God? How do we keep perspective when the world is pulling us in a different direction?

Go All In

This is a scary thing to do. My generation is especially terrified of commitment. We never want to label anything. Half the time we date we don’t even know whether we’re “official” because we don’t want to put labels on anything. We take pride in the fact that we don’t fit into stereotypes and we can’t generalize ourselves with a single word. But in the Christian walk, we need to commit 100%. 1 John 1:6-7 says,

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.”

We have to go all in.

We can’t live our lives going to church on Sundays but living in debauchery Thursday night- Saturday night. The Christian walk is about having a love affair with the creator of the Universe. It’s an “all consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24). He must pervade every aspect of our lives. You shouldn’t live your life with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God. You have to go all in.

What does going all in mean?

Going all in spiritually means making God your priority. It means waking up earlier than you normally would to pray, read your Bible, and center your heart around God. It means changing your habits so that they honor God. Philippians 4:8 says,

“Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I’ve had to change many habits because of that verse. It means seeing ways that you can serve others around you to show them the love of Christ. You can serve others through your church, school, or another avenue. Throughout my sophomore year of college I tutored a little girl named Chloe every Wednesday and saw firsthand how Christ used my influence to help her realize her worth in Him.

 You are not alone

Jumping head first into your walk with God does not mean you are alone. It may seem like you are alone when you are trying to walk a different direction than all your friends. But God is with you. In fact, God gives you the strength to walk with Him. Furthermore, without His help, we would not be capable. John 15:4 says,

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

You must lean into God as you walk. You have to rely on Him to get anything done as a Christian. God promises to give you strength as you realize that in your weakness, His strength is perfected (2 Corinthians 12:9).

It is ok to be weak.

It is ok to be vulnerable.

That is how God wants us. He wants us to realize how much we need Him and how apart from Him we can do nothing. John Piper explains, “Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that he will provide the help we need.” We need to pray. We need to cry out to God. Having Christ in our heart means that we can approach God with boldness and confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Having Christ dwell in our hearts has instilled a power and strength within us that only comes from the Lord.

I encourage you to jump headfirst into your walk with the Lord. Relinquish control and power. Give it to the Lord. Allow Him to shape and mold your life into His perfect plan. See what He uses to create beauty and further His kingdom. Lean into His word and approach His throne with confidence through prayer and petition. Find ways to serve those around you and minister to them. Allow His spirit to shine through you and your interactions with those around you. We have been set free as daughters of the King and it’s time we started living like that.

Radically,
Rachel

Making Time for God

shutterstock_208020445 copyLately I have been ridiculously busy. So busy that I have been subsisting primarily off caffeine and protein bars. I’ve been running from commitment to commitment trying to fulfill all my responsibilities. Sometimes it’s difficult to find time to spend alone with the Lord. In a world where your attention is being pulled ten different directions, you may find yourself asking the question: why read the Bible? Why spend time reading a 2,000 year old book? Here are three reasons why reading the Bible is essential for the growing Christian.

Why Read the Bible?

1. Its Powerful

Spending time in God’s word is essential for a Christian to grow in her walk. Hebrews 4:12 explains, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
God’s word has to capacity to break down even the hardest heart. God can penetrate even the most rebellious spirit with His powerful word.

2. It makes you more Christ-like

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Studying God’s word guides us as Christians. It is the roadmap that God has given us. Glean wisdom from the word of God and use it to examine your heart and your life. Use it to see how your life and your love for the Lord matches up.

3. God commands us to

As if the top two reasons are not enough to convince you to read the Bible, God tells us to read His word. Matthew 4:4 says, “But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” The scripture is our spiritual food. We need it as Christians to survive. It’s necessary for our growth to treat God’s word as sustenance and to partake it in daily. Psalm 1:1-2 states, “Blessed is the one […] whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” As Christians, we need to study God’s word daily in order to grow.
Making time for the Lord can be difficult. Here are some tips that I’ve found useful with my crazy schedule and centering my life around the Lord. Sometimes we need to find time, even when it feels like we have no time to spare.

Find Time for God

The adage stands true: you make time for what you care about. If your boyfriend texted you, you would probably answer relatively fast because you care about him. You would make time to answer that text. The same goes for God. Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would. Make coffee, sit at your dinner table, and take the time to center your heart around the Lord. Spend time in prayer, reading your devotional, and reading directly out of the Bible. I’ve been having my quiet time during my break at work. I bring my prayer journal, Bible, and book I’m reading (currently it’s The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler) and spend that hour with God. Plus it’s a great witnessing tool to read your Bible in public. I work on South Congress in Austin, so a girl reading her bible actually really stands out. I’ve gotten to share my faith with several people as a result. It is essential to make time for God.Your crazy busy schedule is not going to slow down, you just have to prioritize that God is #1.

Protect Your Time

I find myself surrounded with so many distractions. I have this compulsive need to check my phone every few minutes and right as I’m writing this my dog is barking at me wanting attention. I encourage you to protect your time with the Lord. Whenever I have my quiet time, I turn my phone on silent and flip it over so I can’t see it. I lock my door so no one can interrupt my time with the Lord. And I give Gizmo a treat so he will pipe down. It’s ok to be selfish with your time with God. It actually is essential to protect it. Don’t feel bad about not answering a text for 30 minutes because you were praying. It’s alright.

As Christians, we must have Christ as our priority. He needs to be number one in everything we do. That means that everything else: social commitments, sports, work, even school, falls beneath Him. He needs to rule in your heart as Lord. That means putting aside time to grow closer to Him and to allow Him to reveal more of Himself to you. Spending more time with The Lord is an investment worth making.

Radically,

Rachel

Why Pretty Isn’t Everything

why pretty isnt everythingWhat I’m about to say may sound crazy. It goes against everything society tells us, as women, have to be. The media tells us we have to be beautiful, thin, or flawless. Magazines airbrush already gorgeous supermodels into oblivion to create this facade of how “women” ought to look. Kate Moss’ infamous quote, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” is plastered on the backs of 12 year old’s iPhone cases. This is wrong. Here is my argument:

Appearances are not everything.

Lately I’ve been thinking about this significantly. It’s probably because I heard a second grader say that she was fat. That’s heartbreaking. And that exhumes a massive flaw in our culture that needs to be set right by scripture and God’s Truth.

The other day I read 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

That verse got me to thinking. God describes our bodies as “jars of clay” and the gifting of the gospel to us as “treasure.” The gift of the gospel and God’s word has far more worth and weight than our outward appearance. Cultivating godly characteristics through the Word of God like a servant’s heart, humility, generosity, compassion, and thoughtfulness hold more weight than a perfect exterior. Focusing on imitating Christ through our love for Him and for others is when we find contentment. No amount of physical perfection can ever eclipse that intimacy with our creator.

Don’t get me wrong, I like makeup. Apart from having a level 65 mage on World of Warcraft and spending most of my childhood Saturdays at Pokemon trading conferences (yeah, it was a thing), I am probably the girliest girl you will ever meet. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with wanting to be beautiful or wear make-up. I think that’s natural. But there is a balance to be struck. I’ve made this rule for myself: the amount of time I spend getting ready in the morning is the amount of time I spend that day with the Lord. If I spend 30 minutes putting on makeup or doing my hair, I spend that time or more with the Lord. It is crucial to keep perspective. Keep your eyes focused upward and outward: focused on God and focused on others. Philippians 2:3 commands, “in humility value others above yourselves.” Talk about a reality check. It’s our jobs as Christians to be focused on others, not worrying about our appearance all the time.

Furthermore, God commands us to be focused on things that are eternal rather than temporary. 2 Corinthians 4:18 commands, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Set your eyes on the things of God. Looks will inevitably fade. But a beautiful soul and a servant’s heart is something that God values immensely. Character is more valuable than a beautiful face, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10). Verse 30 sums it up perfectly, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Not focusing on your outer appearance is empowering. Focusing on serving others and living your life sacrificially as Christ empowers your soul. It strengthens you because Christ is working through you. His strength becomes yours.
Live your life by walking intimately with the Lord. Make time for Him in your busy schedule. Instead of worrying about what the scale says or how you look, take that time to examine your heart. See how you are walking with the Lord. Critically ask yourself how you have been striving to lead others to your creator. I encourage you to focus your attention on the things of God rather than things that are temporary and fleeting. Remember, God’s focus is on our hearts, where lasting beauty resides.

-Rach