How to Deal with Bullies

Dealingwithbullies.PNGDear My Heavenly Father,
I am broken. Sadness consumes me. I feel completely alone. No one will look me in the eye. I sit at a lunch table and everyone leaves. Girls I’ve been friends with since third grade. I am an outcast. Lord, I don’t understand. I don’t understand why I have this label. I’m depressed. Everything that once gave me happiness I just don’t have the energy for anymore. I feel worthless. Lord, why am I being treated like this? Why am I shut out of every relationship I once had. Why do boys feel like they can treat me however they want? Why do the girls go along with it? Are they afraid that they will be next? Father, rescue me. Empower me. I want to feel your love. I want to feel accepted. I need you.

Love,
Your daughter

Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever been been to feel as though you are worthless or undeserving of love? Middle school, high school, and college are all difficult years, there is no getting around it. Throughout middle school and high school I was bullied. I remember feeling alone, isolated, even worthless. Those years were tough. One thing I wish someone would’ve told me was my identity. I wish so badly someone would’ve explained to me how precious I was and how much God loved me. If you have gone through something similar or are going through it now, I want you to hold fast to these truths about who you are.

1.Your Identity is in Christ

This is who you are. This is your defining characteristic. This is the only thing that truly matters. You have been saved by the blood of Christ and no one can take that identity from you. No matter how hard they try. No matter how they treat you or make you feel. Romans 8:37-39 are my favorite verses, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

NOTHING can separate us from His perfect love.

2. You are Beautiful

I want you to know that. You are beautiful. You are beautiful because God created you. You are God’s beautiful and perfect creation. David explains in Psalm 139, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
You are God’s best creation.
Describing a woman of high character Proverbs 31 states that “she is far more precious than jewels.” Your worth and beauty is found in the one who saves you. Your hope rests in Him.

3. God Approves of You

I struggle with wanting people to like me. Throughout middle school and high school, I just wanted to be liked. I tried and clearly failed (lol). I wish someone would have reminded me that God approved of me. God loved me so much that He sent His son to die for me. God loves you so much He sent His son to die for you and poured his righteous wrath out on His son so that He could be reconciled with you.

God loves you.

He approves of you.

He heard the lies those boys said about you, he saw the way those girls rejected you, and He wants you to know that His opinion is the only one that matters. His love is redeeming and powerful. He rescues his children from death.

4. Boys Do Not Define You

I think this is always going to be a struggle for women. It is so easy to caught up in relationships or in that desire to find “the one.” But Christ should be your #1 and not guys. As women, we live in this society where we all want to look a certain way for validation, to feel accepted and attractive. Before you get into any relationship, I want you to understand your relationship with the Lord. I want you to understand just how amazing, beautiful, loved, and cherished you are. I want you to understand that this because I want you to walk away the first time he calls you an unkind name or yells at you. The first time he is talking to other girls behind your back.

If you understand your value, your beauty, your worth, you won’t settle for guys who treat you less than a daughter of the King.

If you are dealing with bullies or being rejected, hold fast to these truths. Abide in God and go to school everyday armed with the knowledge of who you are and how precious and beautiful you are. Walk in the power and knowledge that God approves of you and you do not need to approval of man. You have been accepted.

-Rach

What It Looks Like to Follow God

FullSizeRender-3Have you ever wondered what it looks like to follow God? I mean really follow God. Like passionately love and pursue Him with every fiber of your being, to have tears run down your face at church because your heart is so full of thankfulness for the grace He lavished upon us. To fully comprehend and be astounded that we get to call ourselves daughters of the Creator of the Universe. To sit outside and marvel at His creation: at the mountains, the ocean, the flowers, and the sunset. And finally to answer His call to live your life worthy of the calling you have received. You might ask yourself, what is this calling? You might wonder now that you have accepted Christ as Lord of your life, what is next? What does God want me to do now? I have some pointers that will practically help you follow God in every aspect of your life. Truly following all of these points will be challenging; I never said it would be easy. But it will be worth it.

1. Embrace Your Identity

You are His beloved daughter. Although God doesn’t need you, He wants you. And He wants you passionately. So passionately He poured out His wrath on His only Son in order to have intimacy with you once more. He wants to know you. He wants to know how awful school is, how that girl called you out in front of everybody, how that guy broke your heart, how your mom is critical of your appearance, He wants to now everything. Our God is an active, living, and involved Father. He is a Father. And He fiercely loves you. He is always with you. Psalm 139: 7-10 reminds us,
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Our God is a loving father who loves and pursues you because He wants to know you.

2. Kill Sin at All Costs

We all have different sin issues that plague our lives and wage war on our spiritual walk with our Father. Whenever I see a sin issue keeping me from walking closer to the Lord I remember Matthew 5:29,

“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.”

Metaphorically if something is causing you to sin, get rid of it. Just eliminate it from your life. Ask your godly friends to hold you accountable and to help you battle that sin issue. Our God is completely loving, but He is also completely just. He has to punish sin (which is why He had to sacrifice His son to return unity with us). He is an all-powerful, all-knowing God. He is power. He is strength. He isn’t a God to play around with. Flee from temptation.

3. Draw Near to God

The Bible promises in James 4:8, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” How do you draw near to God? You draw close to God through prayer (journaling works best for me), worship, reading His Word, and through community. I’ve found that the stronger community of believers you have the stronger your walk with the Lord will be. God made us to be in community with others-we were never meant to be solitary creatures all on our own. A solid group of believers will lift you closer to the Lord. Another way to grow closer to the Lord is worship. Worship brings us closer to our Creator. Ephesians 5:19 says,

“speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God.”

Lastly, reading the Word of God brings you closer to Him. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tell us,

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Reading the Word reveals God to us and prepares us for the work He has for us.

If you have ever longed for a passionate, radical, life-changing relationship in the Lord, the bottom line is to seek and love him. Seek Him with all your heart. Love Him above all else. Talk to Him continually throughout your day, keeping him at the forefront of your mind. Don’t compromise. Fight sin with every fiber of your being. Decide that your love for Him is more important than anything else.

How to Use Sin to Draw You Closer to God

FullSizeRender-2Have you ever done something wrong and felt so awful and convicted that you thought you were beyond the salvation of Christ? Have you ever done something and then the next few days had a horrible feeling in your stomach and felt so disgusted about it that you felt like you could get sick at any second? If you’ve ever felt this way, I have some great news for you. You are free from sin through Christ.
Any sin.
Every sin.
All sin.
Once you have realized your brokenness and accepted God’s gift of salvation through His Son, you are set free from all condemnation.
This is liberating.
This is exciting.
This is life changing.

But that feeling of the weight of your sin still won’t go away. You still feel convicted. I am going to go through some helpful pointers to remind you of your identity and some truths that should never be forgotten.

  1. A Christian’s Life Is Not Marked by Sinlessness, but by Repentance

Being a Christian does not magically mean you will never sin again. 1 John:8-9 states, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to forgive us from all unrighteousness.”

In fact the closer you get to the Lord, the more aware of your sin you will be. That means God will shed the light on sins that you used to think may not have mattered as much. Martin Luther said it best, “All of life is repentance.” As a Christian, you will mess up. And you will mess up bad. But the difference is having a repentant heart. That means turning away from the sin and looking to the cross.

2. Your Sin is a Catalyst for Worshipping Jesus

So you messed up again. You did that thing you PROMISED yourself you would never do again. You got convicted, prayed, and repented of the sin. Now what? Now you praise God for His unending mercy and grace for covering that sin by sending His perfect Son to die for you. Your sin reveals how much you desperately need God and revives a thankfulness within you to praise His Name all the more. Jesus is our advocate. He fights for us. 1 John 2:1-2 states, “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” He loves us.

3. Your Faith is Strong because of Who You Trust In

Your faith is rooted in the everlasting, all-powerful, all knowing God. That is where your faith gets its strength. It doesn’t get it from you being able to “be good” or follow every rule perfectly. If it was dependent upon that, you would fail. But no, your faith is derived from GOD. That is where it’s strength is from, not you. So you don’t have to fear because His love never fails (Psalm 136:1).

4. There is Hope

There will be a time when we are reunited with our Lord. At that time, all our sinfulness will be stripped away and we will be in perfect union with Him once more. Revelation 22:5 states, “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and the Lamb of God will be in it and the servants will worship Him. […] And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

We live in a broken world. We are sinful people who will mess up over and over again. But the mark of a believer is one who repents and is reminded of God’s salvation through His Son and praises the Lord through that trial. Whenever you sin, praise God for His unending and overflowing mercy that covers your life.

-Rachel

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

3 Ways to Overcome a Break Up

3 Ways to overcome a breakepDo we ever actually break up with people? After a breakup, we remain Facebook friends, Snapchat buddies, and Instagram followers; but the position changes. You go from once knowing every intimate hope and dream of another person to suddenly watching their lives through a frosted glass. The conversations stop and you go from being someone’s main confidant to an outsider. Someone who isn’t welcome anymore. This transition can be devastating, life-changing, and confusing. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense to be best friends with someone, then the next day you don’t matter. Having gone through some gnarly break-ups, I want to share with you how I have not only survived them, but grown through the miserable process. God CAN and WILL use break-ups to grow you and teach you how to be more Christlike; you just have to be willing to allow Him.

1. God is your Refuge

I wish I could show you my prayers from a break-up I went through a while ago. I remember praying the same prayer over and over again from Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
I literally prayed this nonstop.
I prayed this in the car, I prayed this in the morning, I prayed this on my pink moped driving to class.
This prayer sustained me.
This prayer comforted me.
Take refuge in your Father during this time. He is the only one who can make you get through this. Alcohol won’t help. Going out won’t help. Those things numb you.
God saves you.
He rescues you.

2. Singleness Can Be a Blessing

So many girls want a relationship so badly. We want to share our feelings, passions, and love with another person. God made humans to be relational. That’s a natural, God-inspired desire. It’s not bad, unless it consumes you and comes before God. Also, relationships don’t have to be romantic. You can grow spiritually through friendships. God uses different seasons in our lives to stretch and grow us. Over the past 6 months, I have grown more spiritually than I ever have before. And I know a large reason is because I have been single. For once, I haven’t had a man competing for my attention with the Lord.
Singleness can be huge blessing.
Accept that season in your life and see what God does with it. He has a plan we can’t always comprehend. But remember, God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according His purpose (Romans 8:28).

3. Don’t Contact Him

After a break-up, you need time to recover. I know it is so tempting to call/text/tweet/instagram/snapchat/viber (WHATEVER) him. Just don’t do it. Once you break-up, let it sit. Go be with friends who love you and will encourage you to seek the Lord’s face during this time. Seek God’s presence, don’t run to another guy either. You need to be okay with yourself without a man. I know it’s hard to not contact him-he was your best friend right? You are used to sharing your feelings with him. It seems natural. But remember, he is not that person to you anymore. The relationship has changed and the sooner you understand that, the better. Contacting him will not do you any good, it’ll end up hurting you more. If he refuses to stop contacting you, after you’ve told him multiple times to stop, then block him. If you ended it with him and he can’t respect your decision-that significantly shows how much he respects you. A guy must respect that you have choice in the relationship.

Break-ups suck. They can be some of the most awful, heart-breaking, and devastating times of your life. Whenever you go through a breakup, remember to seek God as your refuge. Pray that prayer from Psalm 18:2 all the time. Write it out and put it on your mirror and memorize it. Lean into God’s Truth that you are His daughter and He loves you immeasurably and walk with that confidence and knowledge at the forefront your mind. Remember, God’s love defines you, not a guy’s affection.
You are a daughter of the Creator of the Universe.
That’s who you are.
That is power.
God is watching out for you. He has the perfect man chosen for you who will love you and help you walk closer to the Lord. God closes doors for a reason, and it is always because there is a better one He is wanting you to walk through once you are ready. Allow Him to work in your heart and make you into the woman that He has empowered and called you to be-with or without a man.

-Rachel

5 Dating Non-negotiables

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Dating is the training ground for marriage. I didn’t realize that until after I was done with college. Throughout college I dated just for fun and didn’t look for the qualities that were necessary for a godly mate. Now that I am on the other side of college, I have begun to see the characteristics that are absolutely critical to have in a boyfriend. These qualities are rooted in scripture and some in common sense. Whenever you are dating someone, you should be a detective. Analyze how he interacts with others, what he believes, how he spend his money, and where he spends his time. Try to be analytical, don’t be swayed by his deep blue eyes or his elegantly disheveled hair. Look into his heart. These are the non-negotiable qualities a guy should posses if you are considering a dating relationship. We all have other qualities we want in a guy, but these are character traits a man really needs to possess if you’re considering a dating relationship.

1. He Loves the Lord More than He Loves You

As women, we often want to feel like the most important person/thing in our boyfriend’s life. That isn’t healthy. Christ needs to be the most important. Then you second. If the guy knows how to love Christ wholeheartedly, then he can love you correctly. A man who loves the Lord will be more committed to your relationship because he is committed to God first. That means he will take his promises seriously because God tells him to. God commands in Exodus 20:3 to have no other gods before Him, this includes YOU.

 

2. He is Kind to His Family

See how he interacts with his close friends and family. Is he kind to them? Does he have good relationship with them? See especially how he interacts with his mom. If he is kind and gentle with her, even when she’s annoying, then it’s a really good indicator of how he will treat you in the future.

3. He is Gentle

A real man is gentle. He is kind to those in positions lower than his own. He is kind to animals. He is gentle when he speaks to you, even when he is angry. A man should never yell at you. Instead, when they are upset, they should come to you in gentleness and love. Gentleness is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it oftentimes gets overlooked.

4. He Makes you Grow Closer to the Lord

The purpose of a relationship actually isn’t to make each other happy, that is just a great benefit. But the purpose of a relationship, dating or friendship, is to run after Christ together. To make each other increasingly more Christlike. The man you’re considering ought to not only be pursuing time with you, but pursuing your heart for the Lord. This means asking what you are reading in the Word, asking how he can pray for you, and praying with you. He needs to be able to lead you spiritually.

5. He Serves Others and Tithes

The absolute best indicators of where a person’s heart is, is where they spend their time and money. A person can have the best intentions and a great philosophy on life, but if they don’t act on those good ideas-what’s the point? If a guy consistently serves others in some way-that is a great sign. Also, if a guy tithes, he loves the Lord. Tithing is hard to do. People don’t want to give up their hard-earned cash. So if a guy gives his 10%, he probably loves God.

Girls, don’t settle for less than God’s best. I know it can seem like a guy who loves God and is fun doesn’t exist, but he does. Remember Luke 12:7,
“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.”

Pray and trust that God will provide for you. He knows every minute, tiny details of your life.

Sometimes God’s timing is very different than our own. He is omnipotent and sees the big picture. We can only see what is before us. The best thing to do, is run after God. Run after God as hard as you can. Seek complete closeness and intimacy with Him. Become the woman that God has called and empowered you to be. God should be your first love, not your boyfriend or even your husband. Come to God in prayer and trust him wholeheartedly. He always comes through.

-Rachel

5 Ways to Overcome Guilt

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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

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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

Girl’s Guide to Dating

Dating BlogI am just going to come out and say it: dating in the 21st century sucks. With all the games we play, technology we utilize, and insanely busy schedules, traditional dating has gone the way of the clog. Meaning it is completely out of vogue. Now tack on being a Christian girl wanting to date a man after God’s own heart and the results are dismal.

It seems like mission impossible.

Over the years, I have compiled some good, godly dating advice and personal experiences that I feel God has called me to share with you guys. Being a twenty something Christian girl in the dating world is difficult, but when your perspective is properly focused and you go into a new relationship with a clear mind, armed with scripture, it makes the whole process 100x easier.

1.Keep your perspective

I say this a lot. And is it numero uno on this list because it is that important. Keep your eyes focused on God. Keep Him as Lord of your life. As women it is so easy to get wrapped up in a new relationship. It’s easy to get swept away in the romance of it all and that can be a good thing. Don’t feel bad for getting butterflies and getting excited when you see him. That is normal! But make sure that he doesn’t take the place that was meant for Christ. Christ can only fill that longing and make you complete. No guy can even come close to filling that place. When you put that type of unnatural pressure and expectation on a relationship, it will end up hurting both people involved and making you extremely let down. Matthew 6:33 states,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Keep Christ as your #1.

2. To Attract the Best, You Need To Be Your Best

In order to snag the godly guy, you have to be a godly woman. A man who loves God is going to be attracted to a woman who loves the Lord and that is evident through how she treats others, how she serves others, and how she carries herself. I know this should go without saying, but go to church. Get involved. Serve the Lord because you want to become more Christlike. A servant’s heart is one of the most attractive characteristics a person can possess. If you want a man after God’s own heart, you need to be a woman who loves the Lord.

3. Know You Can’t Change a Man

I know women love projects. We love crafting and decorating our tiny apartments. And that is awesome, but do not make a man into your next project. I know we all have had that thought, “he will change for me!” But do not fall into that deception. Yes, people can change, but it’s not your job to fix someone. That is the Lord’s work and when you put that kind of burden on yourself it really is not good. Don’t get into a new relationship wanting to change someone. You can grow closer to God together. But if you enter into a new relationship with the idea that you will evangelize him and lead him to Christ, just don’t. You can point him to God as a friend. You do not want to fall in love with someone who doesn’t have a relationship with the Lord.

4. Have Friends Who Keep You Accountable

You need to have godly friends: friends who you can share your struggles and temptations with. Friends who will make sure you don’t spend the night at his house and friends who are in fight for purity with you. It’s a tough battle and you can not do it alone. As humans, we are made for companionship. You need friends who encourage you and tell you lovingly when you are in the wrong. This is absolutely critical. Proverbs 27:17 speaks to this truth, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We need friends who will make us better and hold us accountable!

Dating is hard. Dating godly is even harder. Whenever you start a new relationship, keep your heart and your eyes transfixed on the Lord. Go into that new relationship with your priorities in check and with a clear mind centered on the Lord. Have a strong group of godly girlfriends who do life with you and help each other’s walk with the Lord. The most important thing to remember when dating is knowing who and what defines you: your relationship with the Lord. And always keeping that identity at the forefront of your mind.

Radically,

Rachel