Fab Friday Faves

Hi friends! We all like to find new things and what better way to share some favorites of the week than on the blog. Think of this as a time of us sitting at my table and sharing a cup of coffee or tea or whatever and the things we like. Like a “date”. 

I went to Mexico Beach this week for a short getaway with my sis and niece and her kids. While I was there my sister cooked the BEST LASAGNA EVER. Seriously. That’s even the name for it. It’s The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. I may have eaten like 4 helpings. Carbs don’t count at the beach. Here’s the recipe !

I’ve also really started enjoying something that I never enjoyed before. Something that I had to leave the class because I didn’t want my laughter to disrupt the others. I love Yoga now! I also love Pilates. And if you want a real kick butt workout then you combine the two and you have the Beachbody PiYo workout. Loving all of the Beachbody workout dvds. Some more than others. But yoga has been good for my lower back pain.

As far as pain goes, essential oils are a go to for me. Lavender for burns (as my daughter said the other day “you burn yourself every time you cook”). Tea tree for lice prevention because we are heading out of the country on a mission trip and want to prevent lice. Going to put it in our shampoo and also on our heads. Deep Relief rollerball oil for the tension in my neck and headaches. 

Found a new favorite lipstick too! Always pays to ask someone if you like something they are wearing. It’s a Bare Minerals plumping lipgloss in the color Spark Plug. And I picked up another great color too. Lipstick and mascara (LimeLight’s mascara is my favorite) are a necessity for me.

Looking forward to listening to a brand new podcast this weekend. Jen Hatmaker’s For The Love podcast is ready and waiting for me. It makes a world of difference when you fill your soul with good things instead of negativity. I also started a chapter of Proverbs a day again. Tomorrow will be Proverbs 15. 

Until Next Time.

Happy Weekend. Happy Friday.

Heather Dawkins

Make Clear The Way

photo: heatherdawkins.com

Fear of failure. Fear of not being good at it. Fear that you won’t be noticed or make a difference. Fear.

It can paralyze you. It makes you ineffective. It stops you from doing the things that your soul craves. 

Fear tells you that you won’t do good enough. Fear tells you that somebody else would do it much better, so why try.
Fear of not measuring up and failing has stopped me many many times. It’s kept me complacent… Or not complacent but feeling like there’s nothing I can do that would be successful. So why try that thing that’s been burning in my soul? Why move forward with the thing that I know I could do but fear I would fail at?
Oh I’m so very thankful that my daughters are brave. That they try new things without a second thought of failure. I’ve always let them try. I’ve always told them that they won’t know until they try and that if they fail then it’s ok! At least they tried and God has something else in store for them.
Why is it that I can give advice that’s true but I can’t take that same advice myself? 
It’s frustrating at best. That “want” to do something but then FEAR of Failure says: “nah, you better not.” 
I know that my God can do immeasurably more than I could ask or think.
I know that I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I know that the same power that conquered the grave LIVES in me!
Yet, I don’t always apply that knowledge. I just pass it out to others. Wanting to help them not be like me. 
I have dreams. Spoken and unspoken. Life is passing me by. I’m not making some of those dreams a reality. AND I COULD! I can.
I get a little brave. A little bold. Then….. Fear pops up and I say, “nah… I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”
And fear for me is not like a scared of the dark fear. It’s more like a feeling that makes me stay COMPLACENT. 
I am working on it. Asking God to make me brave. Asking God to make clear the way in which I should go. 
If you are like me, I pray that this post shows you that you aren’t alone. Because it’s easy and habitual to put on a BRAVE face. To seem content and as if you are truly living out your calling.

 But are you? Or do you know that you have more to give and more to offer and like me, you keep stuffing it back in a drawer? 

Psalm 34:4 ~ I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

He is always faithful. Prayer is the answer for sure. Constant prayer.

2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

He makes clear the way. We may not really be listening and hearing him. It’s when I turn down the volume in my head and tune in to His voice instead that the fears and doubt subside. When I stop making it about me and rest in the truth that all of my strength and anything good in me comes from Him and Him alone. 

With Love,

Be Fearless In The Pursuit Of What Sets Your Soul On Fire.


If You Didn’t Come Back

My mind is in overdrive. And when that happens, I write. 

Spencer and I met 10 others from Redland after lunch at a home where one of the tornadoes touched down. Utter destruction. We were literally picking up the pieces of their home. Pieces of their life. Metal, wood, shingles. All around them. Mattress up in a tree. Debris all in the tree lines of surrounding fields. Piles upon piles being made. This family survived. I couldn’t believe it after seeing what used to be their home. 

Strewn everywhere were pieces of life. Just heartbreaking. Thought provoking.

 Then we met them and their neighbors and family to help them unload the personal belongings that survived the horrific tornado. How does an ink pen survive? And a note perfectly folded and dry? Yet, metal is twisted and wood is ripped in pieces. 

The father saw it coming and covered his family and they survived. I can’t even fathom the fear. Was there even time for fear? The freight train sound. And in a matter of minutes how things can change.


 I can’t help but see the correlation between this father and THE FATHER. 




 I stood staring at the belongings that survived and the toys in the field and the pieces of house in the trees. I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. 

Destruction. People working like ants. Busy. With a purpose. 

They were so thankful for the help. But really, we were just being the hands and feet of Jesus. Life on mission. That’s our heart. That’s the heart of my church, Redland Baptist. Where the pastor serves in the trenches with you. Where the members just jump in and get their hands dirty ( personally my favorite type of mission work). And I’m seeing that it’s the heart of so many in our community. It’s a beautiful thing. 

The last items that I carried inside were an ink pen and 2 Christmas ornaments. An ink pen. It mattered. There were pillows that looked perfect that remained untouched by the tornado. Photographs untouched. I don’t know what all they lost (and I’m not minimizing the “things”), but I do know this…they still have each other and you could see the thankfulness in their eyes. There are many who can’t say that.

The home across the road was completely twisted and torn. And this was just 2 of the MANY homes that were destroyed. 
So many lives were lost this weekend.
 In a matter of minutes worlds were changed.

 As we were hunkering down after receiving Code Red Tornado warnings (and we were fine.. just a precaution) in our downstairs laundry room, waiting for round 2 of the storm, I left to run upstairs for something. I looked at my girls and said “if something happens to me and I don’t come back, I’m in heaven. Don’t worry about me because I’ll be just fine.” I meant it. 

That’s it.

 A matter of seconds can change your world. 




Do you know where you’d be if you didn’t come back?

 We aren’t guaranteed the next second. 



Missions is A Beautiful Thing. Knowing your future is secure is even more beautiful. 



In Christ Alone,

Heather 


I want to say thank you to the first responders, law enforcement, medical teams, linemen, and the communities and anyone who have been the hands and feet. You are appreciated. I am thankful for you. You choose to love your neighbor as yourself and it doesn’t go unnoticed, even if it feels like it does at times. It’s been a blessing watching so many people love on our sister counties. I got choked up a few times just seeing and hearing about the kindness extended to those hurting around us. 


“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:28 NLT


“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Prayer Is A Beautiful Thing

Simple Truths

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    Colossians 4:2 ~ Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

   Why is it, that we tend to look at prayer as a last resort? Oh…come on..don’t tell me you always think “let me pray first.” We like to think of ourselves this way. We like for others to think of us in this way. BUT..let us be real..TRANSPARENT..for just a minute.

   I pray all day long.

   BUT…

   There are times when my prayers reflect my wants…not necessarily my “trusting” and “thanking” HIM.

   Sometimes, my prayers are selfish.

   Sometimes, my prayers are not first.

   Sometimes….I freak out and THEN…I pray. Or, I get down and blah…and THEN, I remember..to pray.

   Anybody else do this? Or, is it just me?

   I have come a LONG way. I am so thankful that I am NOT who…

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Time To Focus

Writers block is real. I’ve been suffering from it for months now. Or so I thought. Truth is, I’ve just not taken the time to sit and write. 

I haven’t been able to FOCUS. That’s all I can attribute it to. I haven’t even been able to finish reading a book. It’s like a million tabs are open at one time. 

I went with my family to Fripp Island, SC for a few days after Christmas. I was forced to slow down and do nothing for a change. The ocean is my happy place. It always amazes me. The sounds and smells and the mysterious nature of it. I was able to dabble with another love, photography. I was able to crochet a little. I read a little of a book. I actually focused on some things that I loved. It took being intentional and being still. 

Each year at about this time for the past several years I’ve prayed about and waited for my One Word of the year. I knew my word on December 30, 2016. Without a doubt, my word for this year is FOCUS.

I need to focus on GOD. I need to focus on using the gifts HE has given me to further His kingdom. I need to make sure that I focus on things above. Then there are other things that I need to focus on. My husband. Fitness. Family. Missions. The little things. Seemingly ordinary things. The list goes on and on. 

I can overwhelm myself if I try to focus on more than one thing at a time. 
Is that even possible? Focusing on multiple things at once. No. It’s not. When you are shooting your camera and you center the subject and blur out the background, one thing is in focus. Am I right? What we focus on receives the most attention. And we can’t give our full attention to more than one thing at a time. 

Catching my drift yet?

What a word! FOCUS. It’s going to prove to be interesting. Especially for someone like myself with millions of browser tabs open at once. 

God sure knows what he’s doing. I do believe this is one way that he will get me back to my writing again. I’m looking forward to what God will do with this One Word that HE has given me for 2017.
fo·cus

ˈfōkəs/

noun

the center of interest or activity.

synonyms: center, focal point, central point, center of attention, hub, pivot, nucleus, heart, core, cornerstone, linchpin, cynosure”schools are a focus of community life”

an act of concentrating interest or activity on something.

synonyms: emphasis, accent, priority, attention, concentration 

verb
(of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.

 adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument).

  synonyms:

 bring into focus

pay particular attention to.

 concentrate.

 synonyms: concentrate on, center on, zero in on, zoom in on.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬



“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


Until Next Time, 

Heather 

THE THING ABOUT GRIEF

The thing about grief is that while you are suffocating, the rest of the world seems to be going on without you. But that’s just it. The rest of the world, the people you see smiling and laughing, they may be grieving as well.

The thing about grief is that you can feel so lonely in your grief at times. Leaving a hole. And yes, God fills that hole, if you let him, but you still hurt deeply.

The thing about grief is that you are forever changed. Seeing things in a completely different way than before. You truly get the brevity of life. That person that I was on April 1st, 2014 at 5 am (pre phone call that my Daddy was having a heart attack) is different from the person I became that night on the same day. And I’m forever changed. More serious and more intentional about every aspect of life.

If you’ve lost a loved one you know. The thing about grief is that it’s different for everyone. It’s a personal thing. Words don’t heal.. But love sure helps.

The thing about grief is that there really is no getting over it. No time limit. No easy 1 2 3 fix for it. You live. You have a good day. You have a bad day. You suck it up and you keep moving forward. Because every single one of us will experience grief. It’s part of living in this temporary home.

And I realize that the tears are a gift. The memories are a gift. Even grief is a gift.

The ache in the heart…that physical pain.. it just means that you are holding them really close to your heart. What better place to keep them until you meet again.
The thing about grief… It can hit you anywhere and at anytime. Like walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, or during a worship service. And you can’t control it anymore than you can control the wind. It’s like a catch in your throat and it hits you like a punch to the gut. That’s grief.

It’s different for everyone. No two people can or should grieve the same. You grieve when you’ve had a personal relationship with someone or something. There is no way that you could have the same exact relationship with someone as I do or vice versa. It’s personal. That’s the thing about grief.

The joy I feel comes from God and God alone. The peace is a direct result in resting in the arms of my Savior. Reality is that at times I feel alone in my utter sadness. Alone in my remembering. Like being in a crowded room but still feeling alone. But God. He is my strong tower and refuge and deliverer. And I know I’m not alone. You aren’t alone. 

The thing about grief is… Everyone has been there and if you haven’t yet, you will. We can’t expect the world to stop. It just won’t. And it shouldn’t. I look back and recognize the change in the “before” me and the maturity and the living life to the fullest attitude in the “after” me. Because that’s what a deep loss will do to a soul.

Loss changes you. But sorrow really does produce a better you if you let it. It makes you look at the simplest of things in much deeper ways. It changes you.

Life on earth really is but a moment. A brief moment in time. The best gift that you can give the ones left behind is a legacy of love. Not just any legacy of love, but one of loving God most. 

We shouldn’t compare how one person grieves to how another might. There should be no judgement in grief. And let me make something clear. You can experience grief even if the object of your grief is not dead. There are so many types of grief. Because everyone is unique, and every circumstance is unique, every loss will be unique as well.

And just because you may be a “veteran griever” (yes, I made that term up), doesn’t mean that you are exempt from grieving. It doesn’t mean that you even know how to grieve. 

Time does not heal all wounds. Only God can do that. Even when the wounds scab over and the new skin covers it, doesn’t the skin look different? It’s ok. It’s supposed to. That scar becomes beautiful when we let the light of Christ shine through. Even if it is only a little light at a time. 

Those broken places can be mended. The mending occurs when we let God fill up the cracks and the deep cuts. Maybe our scars are there for a purpose. Maybe they can be seen as beautiful. Like a mosaic that’s pieced together. When we let His light shine through. When we let HIM do the mending.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” ~‭‭Psalms‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭
Until Next Time,

Heather

LETTER TO TEENS and Everyone Else Too

Letter To Teens and anyone who has ever been one or ever will be :
Let me preface this with mentioning a few important facts about myself. 
1- I am not a teen.

2- I once was a teen.

3- I have 2 teens.

4- The above 3 facts still don’t make me an expert.
Here’s what I know. 

I know that tomorrow’s not promised. I know that most of the time a rainbow comes out after the rain. I know that laughter is contagious. I know that a smile can change the course of a day. I know that what seems to be the worst thing in the world never usually is. I know that the “friends” aka bffs or bffl’s or tft’s that as teens we think are really for real and will last forever as in best friends forever, friends forever, best friends for life.. Seldom last forever. Some do and they are far very far and few… very few in between. I know that heartbreak feels like it’s the end of the world but I know that it’s not! 

How do I know?
Because I’ve been there and done that. Like most of you.

And what I want you to know.. Dear precious one, is that when (not if) your heart gets broken into pieces because someone cut you loose… That it is ok to hurt but remember that you aren’t alone in your hurt and most of us have been there in that same place of hurt. And that the hurt is only temporary and it’s not what defines you or your life. 
Find someone that will listen and guide you wisely and hold that head high and learn from this place of hurt. Learn what you don’t want to repeat and I promise if you let it, the hurt you feel will teach you many things. One of which is to show kindness towards others. Another is that it will make you stronger. Our trials can actually strengthen us if we let them.

Dear one, know this, whatever you are going through is not going to last forever. It may feel like it is. But listen to me. The embarrassment, the mistake, the breakup, the broken places… They are part of your story. The story that one day you’ll share with someone else. But you have to learn from it first, before you can share what you learned. 
Another thing. People really do care and we don’t think that you are strange or weird or crazy teens. Because most of us think we are still teens until we look in the mirror and hear the words “yes mam” or “yes sir” or try to get down on the dance floor with you and realize that we can’t get back up. I mean, talk about confusing. 

Us adults, with teens, and we can’t quite figure out how we got old enough and how you got old enough as well.
Give us some grace. We will give you grace as well.
We ask multiple times these words: “how was your day?” And guess what? It’s because we really do want to know. Because even though you are a teen and some of you are 18, we still think of you as our BABIES. Because to us, you are. I mean, we know you have to grow up and we respect that, but man it’s hard. One day a tiny bundle in our arms, one day crawling, the next day walking, then it’s running and then it’s driving. It’s crazy man. We can’t grasp it sometimes and so we fail. Or we cling too tight. Or we may even embarrass you. But gosh do we love you.
Teens… It’s a hard and confusing time for you. You have one foot in childhood and one foot dabbling in the confusing adult world. Because it’s thrown at you so very early now. It’s not your fault. We allow it. We even encourage it with words like “grow up”. Or “quit acting so childish”. Then we confuse you with treating you like our baby. Oh man oh man.. Grace. We need it. Because we sure aren’t perfect. 


So here’s what I want you all to know. A few really important things. Listen up. Take notes. Highlight them. Or whatever you do with notes on your phones. 


* You are never too far gone.


* Somebody does care.


* Tomorrow isn’t promised.


* Don’t take everything so seriously.


* Laugh at yourself.


* Just laugh.


* Forgive quickly even without an apology.


* Apologize. Even when it’s hard. Even though you may feel justified. 


* Smile at someone every single day.




* If you see someone who looks lonely, speak to or smile at them because I promise you that it makes a difference.


* Talk to your family. Talk, don’t just text. Actually speak to each other. 


* Give your parents (whoever is raising you) grace. Respect them. You may be in their shoes one day. 


* Remember what it was like to be a teen. (Adults) Grace.




* Forgive yourself. 


* Set goals and don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a long time to meet them.


* Don’t make a quick and permanent decision based on a temporary problem.


* Know who you are and Know for sure Whose you are. {see below for more info}


* Hold on to this truth: People will hurt you and let you down but there is ONE who never will and that ONE is Jesus.




I know this. I’ve experienced this. This is truth. Jesus has never ever let me down. He HAS lifted me up when I was down. He has forgiven me when I’ve failed him (over and over). And He never leaves or forsakes those who are HIS. 


So dear one reading this, I pray that you know that you didn’t happen upon this message by accident. It was written for you. Because God loves you so much. He sees your pain. He sees your hurts. He loves you so much. You are not too far gone. You aren’t too “bad” or sinful. Because all of us have sinned and fallen short. But God. You aren’t alone and you aren’t an accident. God made you on purpose and for a purpose. It’s time to start walking in that freedom.

Until Next Time,

Shine On!
Heather 
  

⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ {see below for more}

So I ask you this one last question. Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? He’s the best friend you’ll ever have. Through every and any trial you’ll ever face, He will be there. There is victory in Him. He is the King of kings and The Lord of lords, The Prince of Peace and The Almighty God. 
{There’s not a special prayer you HAVE to recite.. There’s not a written message you have to say. You just have to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. You admit you are a sinner (and we all are) in need of a Savior (Jesus) and believe that Jesus is the One and only Son of God and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Savior… We can’t earn salvation or we’d never make it to Heaven. But our faith is proven by our obedience to God and the works that we in turn do are done to point to God and bring glory to Him alone.}

* VERSES *


“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Heart For Missions

She watched and listened from afar. Her young but wise soul taking in every ounce of their conversation. Her eyes were open and ears tuned in and most importantly, her heart was moved.

The young man of about 16 or 17 was aggravated with his father. The father said to not get pizza rolls because that wouldn’t fill him up. The young man was frustrated with the situation. The father said that they had a 15$ budget and 5$ was for gas.
She listened and her heart and soul was moved. The Holy Spirit tugging ever so gently. Tug. Tug.

She listened to the language that was spoken out of heartache and lack. She didn’t judge. Her eyes saw. Her heart and soul saw and felt.

I was nowhere around. In a different area of the Dollar Tree store that we were in. My youngest was in a world of her own. Well. Not her own. She was in the world of a homeless father and son.
She gave the father 5$ of her own money. She listened to his story. A story of a wife of 26 years leaving them and that they needed help and were homeless. A state that so many of our own American people are in.




“John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” ~Luke‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

Something that we share is a heart for missions. That’s my family. That’s our heart. Where we feel joy and alive is when we are serving Jesus by loving on the hurting, the homeless, the person in need.
She gave him her own money. He said thank you so much. And she didn’t just walk away. She saw him. She treated him like the person he is. Because Jesus loves each one of us the same. No more and no less.

“He doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor. He made them all.”‭‭ ~ Job‬ ‭34:19‬ ‭NLT

“The rich and poor have this in common: The LORD made them both.” ~‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

My youngest daughter didn’t stop there. As she was walking away she TOLD the father this: “I love you and Jesus loves you too and I’m going to be praying for you.”



A day later she shared this story with me. With pained eyes and I could feel the hurt that she felt for him. That missionary heart. That heart for others. That Jesus shining heart.


“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” ~Hebrews‬ ‭13:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬


I hugged her and I told her how proud I was of her. That I knew the pain she felt. Because I pray for Nya in New Orleans still. And I told her that I understood that feeling of wishing you could do more and that she could definitely pray for him still. Because prayer isn’t just something little that you can do as an afterthought. Prayer is the most important thing.

I’m so thankful for my children and husband and their hearts for missions. I’ve never felt more alive than when serving together on missions. That’s what life is about.

 

“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”‭‭ ~ James‬ ‭2:26‬ ‭NLT

Until Next Time,

Heather

The Comparison Trap

  

 The Comparison Trap is just that… A trap. A trap that leads to feelings of worthlessness, envy, bitterness, and discontentment. It steals our joy.

“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” ~
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Comparing themselves to each other… Hmmm. Sound familiar?
How often do we find ourselves in this comparison trap?

We compare hairstyles. We compare relationships. We compare outfits. We compare how “busy” we are.(and that’s another message for another day). We compare occupations. We compare houses. We compare waist sizes. We compare cars. We compare how educated we assume someone else to be. We compare compare compare.
Then we feel worthless because we assume that we aren’t as good as… 

Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Did you get what was at the end of the passage of scripture?

“How Ignorant!”
(You know, the opposite of wise.)



The only thing we should compare ourselves to is Jesus! He is the standard of which we should measure ourselves to. Not each other. 
Comparison causes assumptions and assumptions are usually wrong anyways. Am I right?
You’ll miss the blessings and beauty in “today” if you are wasting it comparing yourself to others.
The question we need to be asking ourselves is “Am I measuring up to the standards God has for me?” And “Am I representing Christ well?” Not… “Am I as good at ____ as ____ is?”
Every minute.. Every hour that we are given is to be used to bring glory to God. That’s our job .. If you will.. As Christians. And if we are wasting away our minutes comparing ourselves to others then we aren’t focusing on bringing glory to God.. Because we are focused on me, myself, and I… The wrong trinity. 
It’s a daily.. Minute by minute choice. Choose to focus on God or focus on me.. Me… Me.. Or even on what ____ has that we think we need too.
Hey. I’m guilty. I’m not pointing fingers. I’m guilty. It’s thrown in our faces even more so because of social media and all the “perfect photos” Nobody posts the real ones or they rarely do… You know.. The ones where you were all just rolling your eyes at each other or saying through clenched teeth “I said SMILE dadgummit!” 

Guilty.
Comparing ourselves to other people is just plain silly. You never know what’s behind a smile. You don’t know the pain that another woman may mask with a smile. You don’t know the hurt that she may hide really well. That “perfect” person (you assume) is a person. Not Jesus. Some people hide their pain really well. Others wear their emotions on their sleeves.. Nobody has it all together and nobody is perfect.

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



Everybody… Everybody… Has struggles. I think you’d all agree. So why waste our time trying to and wishing to be like other imperfect people?
The only ONE we should try to be like is Jesus Christ.
Think about it like this…. 

If you see an iceberg, you only see about 10% of it. The other 90% is below the surface. 
Same with us.

The thing is… If we are so busy comparing and assuming, then loving each other is more than likely going to be way down low on our lists. And if you are a child of God.. An authentic follower of Christ, you are called to LOVE. And love deeply.

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” ~1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Deep means… Deep. Not surface. Not fake. But deep. Real. Invested. Deep love is not easy. It takes work. And it’s only possible because of The Holy Spirit that indwells believers.

Because let’s be real… My love for others can sometimes be based on my emotions at the time. What about yours? 

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” ~‭‭John‬ ‭15:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Who else besides me is so thankful that God’s love is not based on emotions?? In fact HE loves you no more today than he loved you yesterday and he will not love you any more tomorrow than HE does right now. It says in the bible “how wide how deep is his love for us” and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever. 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~ Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬


His love never changes!!!! 
So… If you are a Christian then you are supposed to be aiming to be like Christ. Not like the woman or man next to you no matter how fabulous she/he  is. She’s not Jesus. He’s not Jesus. You are not Jesus. Aren’t you so glad??!! 

Let’s all commit to saying no to comparison. Comparison leads to envy and bitterness and let’s face it.. That’s no good.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” ~Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Let’s commit to building one another up instead. To throw out assumptions (like so and so has it all together).. Because she doesn’t. None of us do. That’s why we need Jesus. And we do need him. Every second of every day. He is love, truth, joy, peace, life.. He is the only ONE that we should aim to please and bring glory to. HE is the only one who will never let us down.

And I’m so THANKFUL that He loves me all the time. Even when I’m not very loveable. His love for me and for you is just the most beautiful thing. It’s GRACE. It’s amazing. I don’t deserve it. But it’s mine. His love… And that’s how we are called to live. A life that reflects that love. Not a life wasted on envy or assumptions that accompany comparison. 

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” ~Ephesians‬ ‭4:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sometimes as women, we have a hard time letting down our walls and allowing ourselves to be loved. It has to stop. We have to stop comparing ourselves and thinking that everyone else must be thinking something “bad” about “me”. 

It’s a TRAP. A trap that the enemy,Satan, wants us to be in. Because we can’t possibly love each other if we don’t even love ourselves. God loves you. Don’t forget that. He made you for a purpose and on purpose. You were not an accident. He made you and he doesn’t make junk. 
We need each other. We do. 

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” ~Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬



Maybe just maybe if we stopped assuming and stopped comparing ..and take off the masks (masks of perfection) .. We would see that we aren’t so different from one another.

Rest in that love that Our Heavenly Father so freely gives. He loves you so much. So much that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. That’s love. That’s ours. If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior then you don’t have to do this life alone and you don’t have to rely on your own strength to do anything.

Focus on reflecting Jesus to this world that so desperately needs him and his love.. Don’t fall into the trap that will cloud your ability to shine. 

So… Remember the part of 2 Corinthians 10:12 where it says that they were comparing themselves to each other and how ignorant that was…

Remember that it’s a trap. A trap that keeps you in bondage. And you aren’t called to live in bondage. You are a child of The Most High. You are redeemed and you are set free… To walk in abundant life.. To break the chains that hold you back. To turn and go towards living a life that brings glory to God. A life that SHINES Jesus in everything. Walk in that freedom. With his help you can. Only with his help is it possible. And when those thoughts pop up that cause us to fall into that trap, take them captive. (See 2 Corinthians 10:5)

It’s time to do business. It’s time to check ourselves. Are you sick of feeling weighed down by these feelings of “I’m not as good as”? Do you need to stop focusing on others and start focusing on Jesus? Are you harboring feelings of bitterness or envy or jealousy or resentment? Do you need to let it go? Do you need to ask God to forgive you for anything that’s causing a wall of separation between you and Him? Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? If not I’m available to walk you through it. If you do know him, is it time to start walking in freedom and stop measuring yourself up to other people?  It is time. 

I leave you with this last little excerpt about Comparison that I found. It’s written by Joyce Meyers (YouVersion Devotional)


Comparison says to God, “I want to limit your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.” But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring. 




Blessings.. Shine On,

Heather 

 

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