The Twenty #6 – The Day I Knew God Was Real

God has always been a part of my life. I’ve attended a worship service most Sundays of my 25 and a half years. There have been plenty of other aspects of faith that I have doubted, but the existence of God hasn’t been one of them…yet.

Growing up in the church didn’t necessarily mean that I always had a relationship with God though. And relationship, for me, is what makes God real.

It’s not the big things in my life that convince me that God is real.
It’s the little things.
It’s the fact that He’s in the smallest of details.
It’s the beauty of paradox that always surprises me.
It’s the incredible way that He weaves together experiences and conversations in writing our stories

I can honestly say that God has never felt more real than He does right now in this season. And I’d say that’s become increasingly more true each day since I moved to Nashville. God is more tangible to me than ever. I feel like I can literally see Him at work in my life and the lives of those around me. In my church. In the Church. In the world.

Layers of life experiences merging together, long forgotten threads reemerging to grace the fabric with their brilliant colors, surreal conversations…it all leaves me believing that the Spirit is moving and working, that God is real and He is orchestrating something big on the horizon.

When did you knew God was real? How does He continue to remind you of that?

The Fear of Success

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. ”  – Marianne Williamson

I become more convinced every day that in general that statement is true. We seem to be more afraid of success than we are of failure. We think it’s failure we are afraid of but only because it’s easier to admit. After all, people expect you to be afraid of failure, but being afraid of success seems kind of ridiculous.

I have to count myself guilty of fearing success. In an effort to be as humble as possible…to not do anything that may be mistaken as pride…to guard against ego, I stay as far away from my own success as possible. I will work to help others succeed all day long, but myself? Not so much.

With success comes accountability. With success comes the risk of bigger failures. With success comes the risk of losing control. With success comes responsibility.

But, with success also comes an opportunity for God to be glorified. I’m grateful for the voices of wisdom in my life who’ve pointed out to me that failing to act because I fear success is wasting my gifts. It’s saying to God, “sorry, I just don’t think you’re big enough to keep my heart from pride, to keep my ego in check.”

But the truth is, Christ lives in me. And through Him I can do all things. And that includes being successful without becoming prideful. So, I’m resolved to tackle my fear of succeeding. Will you join me?

Throwback Sundays…He’s Got This

When I stop and look at a sunset or up at the night sky it still amazes me that the God who created all of that…the Creator of the universe knows me by name…love me.

I wrote this post probably more for myself than anyone because I had to remind myself everyday that He had and still has it all under control. But, I promise, He’s got this!

The Twenty #5 – The Single Event that Transformed Me the Most

When I think about that question several different events come to mind…each that transformed a different part of me. But, if I have to pick just one event from my long life of 25 years I would have to say my move to Nashville. Getting diagnosed with a serious muscle disease my junior year of college comes in a very close second though.

I realize it sounds slightly cliche but I truly feel that moving to Nashville wasn’t just starting a new chapter in life, it was starting a whole new volume in the series. It was a culmination of lessons and a beginning of others all at the same time.

Honestly, even now as I write this I don’t feel like I quite have the words to sum it up. It was the first time I really felt like I was living by faith. It was the first time I truly experienced the unexplainable peace and joy that comes with walking in obedience to God’s calling.

But when I really stop and think about it, I’m not sure it transformed me as much as it returned me to who I really was…the me that had gotten lost…the me that I had surrendered to the pressures of the world.

Whether it was a transformation or returning to or somewhere in between, all that matters is I am a different person than I was a year ago. I approach life with a different attitude and perspective. When I try to wrap my mind around the goodness and greatness of God in a moment it completely overwhelms me. I know without a doubt that I am living the life He has for me in this season. And it’s beautiful.

Digging In

Community is a funny thing. We can be dropped right in the middle of it and still not feel like we have it. We can be surrounded by people who love and encourage us yet still feel lonely. A crowded loneliness of sorts.

When I moved to Nashville God dropped me right in the middle of a lively, Biblical, loving, supporting, challenging community. I jumped in and loved the time I spent with people here. But, there was still something missing…I still felt that crowded loneliness quite often though I did a pretty good job of hiding it…even from myself.

But, something changed after I went home for Christmas. I came back ready to dig in. And it has made all the difference. God puts promises within our grasp but we have to reach out and take hold of them. He gives us the freedom to refuse them.

Choosing to dig means being vulnerable…being the one to pick up the phone and extend an invitation…being honest…sharing from the heart…not holding back. Sure, it’s risky. I could get hurt. People could let me down…in fact they probably will because we all do. But, my relationships are richer and more life-giving than they ever have been. Surrendering fear and risking allows me to run full force into the community God has put in front of me. And there is indescribable beauty and joy in that.

What areas of your life do you need to do some digging into in?