New Year, New Perspective

Happy New Year! It’s been a while since we have been here, as far as blogs go, we’ve missed you and are so glad to be back. Our goal is to always encourage, inspire, and uplift the reader with the words spoken here. In a world that is full of chaos and disorder, this felt like the right time to post again. 

I think we can all agree that last year was a life reset button. We were forced to spend time with and get to know ourselves whether we wanted to or not. We also got to see and know the world we live in more clearly than ever. Many things were brought to the surface and, let’s face it, they were pretty ugly.

So, I want to speak about perspective in this post because I understand that many of our perspectives were probably ruined over the past year. Maybe you view the world through a narrower or pessimistic lens at this point. Or maybe you have no interest in changing your perspective on the world because you feel like it’s a lost cause. Maybe you feel no matter what the only one who can fix it is God. (Which is true for the record.) However, there are things we can do to contribute to fixing it as well.

If we all believed that our lives had no impact on the world around us we would live in some kind of weird utopia. The world is full of successful people and people with platforms who believed and continue to believe they can make an impact, and so they have. Why should you be any different? You don’t need a label next to your name to be somebody. You are already somebody and you do impact the people and environment around you whether you know it or not.

With that being said, now that we acknowledge we are impactful people, I want to encourage you to shift your perspective. Not only about the world around you but about yourself as well. 

Choose to shift your mindset to positive in all areas. If our perspective remains hopeful, pure, true, good, and faith driven we can change the entire world with just that alone. Do not underestimate the power of a good attitude. It changes the atmosphere, makes everyone’s day better (including your own), and spreads hope to those needing it. Shift your perspective. Choose to focus on the good. Do not waste your days getting swallowed up in the chaos of the world. Be the difference and walk forward into an unknown future with hope and joy, confident in Who holds it.

-Olivia

Philippians‬ ‭4:6-9‬ ‭NLT

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
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Hope for the Hopeless

Hope is seemingly something that the world is lacking majorly right now considering the circumstances. Sickness and disease is running our lives in some way, shape or form even if we are not among those who are sick. The numbers keep growing and so do the amount of deaths. It is easy to become focused on the statistics and to allow fear, doubt, worry, stress, frustration, anger, and whatever else to overtake us. I have found myself constantly battling these feelings and emotions. I think I have cried more over the past month than in my entire lifetime honestly. It’s not easy right now. Regardless, I feel the urge to speak a message of hope. I know that a day is coming, sooner than we think, where all of this sickness and disease will be put to an end and life will feel normal again.

The awesome thing about hope is that our hope is not found in the things of this world. It does not depend on our circumstances or what is going on around us. Instead, our hope is found in a person. Our hope is found in Jesus, who over two thousand years ago entered this world not to just live in it but to save it. Jesus is not just some historical bible character who came and went. He is life and the reason we breathe. He came to this earth as a savior to rescue us from sin and death, and he still does the exact same thing today. Without him we would be absolutely nothing.

Savior. That word is really resonating with me right now. Jesus SAVES. He was our savior then and he is still our savior now. Our hope was in him then and it still remains in him now. We can have hope and faith in him because we know that the major battle is already won, because that is what he did by dying on the cross and overcoming the grave, and the victory is ours because it was his first. With Jesus living inside of us we can know that evil cannot and will not win Every earthly thing must bow at the name of Jesus. When we can fully understand the power that is in the name of Jesus we will be able to see just how untouchable and powerful we now are. It’s because of that name and because Jesus is living inside of you. If you have no idea what I am talking about and have not made Jesus your Lord and Savior, but the idea of living a torment and worry free life sounds great to you, please reach out for clarity. That is what he has made available to us along with so many more good things.

All of this to say, during this time especially, put your hope in something that is eternal. Put your hope in something that is pure, good, true, holy, life giving, and so much more. Put your hope in Jesus Christ who already won the battle by dying and overcoming death for YOU, and who would do it all over again even if it was just for you because he loves you that much. Be encouraged by God’s word, promises, and truths and dwell on those. There will be a day soon where the bad news and statistics will be no more and we will see the light again… but I encourage you, choose to see it now. Choose to see the good now. Choose to see and represent Jesus now when the world needs him most. God’s people are literally crying out for Him, and this is our chance as believers in Christ to rise up and provide the hope that the world is searching for. It is already instilled in us because that is what the gospel brings. That is what we live out as Christ followers, so let’s rise to the occasion. There is still hope, joy, peace, rest, good news, and a promised future ahead of us. Choose hope. Keep your faith.

Quarantined

It’s been something like a week since we have all been instructed to remain quarantined and not leave the house, so here I am writing to you from the comfort of my bed while trying to make the best of this time at home. However, I am not going to lie or sugar coat the topic, it is extremely difficult to be an adult during this time. I would much rather be a child who has no idea what in the world is going on right now, but is just enjoying the company of their loved ones at home. But, unfortunately this is not what we as adults and teenagers are experiencing right now. Instead, we are experiencing fear, anxiety, worry, panic, uncertainty, etc. Our lives have been completely turned upside down by this virus that is attacking our country, along with many others.  Every day is a battle against ourselves, and the enemy, to not allow fear and uncertainty to drive us to a mental breakdown. The world is hurting, and I am hurting for it. 

I wrote a blog earlier in the year about this being a “fearless 2020”, funny because it is turning out to be the exact opposite. But, it is also funny how God works because I believe that he prompted me to write that so that we would be equipped for what was heading our way. I do not want to neglect the reality of fear because it is real and we are all dealing with it to some extent. It is the enemy’s greatest weapon against us, and right now he is thriving on it. I am battling every single day to keep my mental state healthy and at ease during this time, and applying all of the tools that I have explained to you previously. Nevertheless, I am also with you in knowing that it is not easy right now. It is not easy to have hope because the world is looking pretty hopeless right now. Literally everything is cancelled, and not just this month but for multiple months to come as well. Let’s be real 2020 is looking like a complete bust right now. However, here’s what I do know… 

First and foremost, Romans 8:28 tells us that God works all things together for our good. That message alone is full of hope! Secondly, 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. With that being said, if we know that the things of God bring power, love and peace of mind we know that a fearful mind is not of God and we can use the power that he has given us to overcome it. Fight fear from a place of victory because that is what you have! You have the victory already over fear because of what Jesus did on the cross over 2,000 years ago. The very same power that Jesus had and still has you have living inside of you. Do not allow fear to control and overtake you. You are still very much so alive in Christ and your life is worth living to the fullest. We don’t have time to waste days living in fear. Lastly, not last of all because I could go on and on but for the sake of you not reading a complete novel at the moment, the classic Jeremiah 29:11. This tells us that God knows the plans that he has for us, and those include both hope and a future. This scripture gives us hope for the future! The good news about viruses is that they only last for a season. This is just a season of difficulty. It is not our new norm. God is still going to do amazing things with your life and the plans that he has for you will be fulfilled. You are not hopeless. Life is not hopeless. We are not all going to die.

So here is my charge to you as we fight this season of difficultly together. Fight from a place of victory. Stay in communication with others. Talk about your feelings, you are not alone. Do not be overcome with fear. Speak out loud against fear/anxiety/worry/panic attacks or whatever else it is that the enemy is trying to attack you with. These are all just attacks from the enemy who is going to milk every negative or uncertain thought to overcome you with fear, because that’s how he works. Be wise. Stay mentally and physically healthy. Wash your hands. Take your vitamins. Don’t touch your face. Cover your mouth. We have the power here not only to stop the spread of this virus, but also to show the world hope and a future by showing them Jesus. Be the difference by not caving into fear and by encouraging and uplifting others…but from a distance 😉 I believe that a true awakening is coming and that God WILL use this all for good. As a matter of fact, he already is. Stay tuned!

Where Passion Lives

Live where passion lives. What are the things that you are passionate about in life? Think about it. What is it that makes you feel good and most like yourself in life? For me it is writing, along with people, music, singing, serving/helping others, church, and a few others. However, above anything else my passion in life is pursuing Jesus. With that being said, I have found that if I am ever lacking passion and motivation in my walk with him, I begin to lack passion in every other area as well. I want to highlight this fact because I think it might be the answer to many of the questions that people might be having regarding this topic. 

 

When it comes to passion, there are going to be some times where we feel it more evidently than others. My feeling of passion wavers often, but that does not mean that I all of a sudden lose my passion as a whole. My heart and intentions still stay the same, but lets be honest, life gets in the way sometimes. We get busy and we forget to pursue the things that we are passionate about. So, this is where I raise my overall question. Where does your passion live? My passion lives with Jesus, and I think for any Christ follower this would be the obvious answer. I am first passionate about Jesus because he is the most trusting, consistent, and promising thing in life. There are so many reasons to love and worship him, and a relationship with him is not everboring or uneventful. There is always more to know and experience when it comes to Jesus. Life with him is actually pretty adventurous and fun. Jesus loves to have fun and experience with us the things that we love to do and are passionate about. In fact, I believe that he is the one who gave us these passions. We all have gifts, talents, and abilities that are God given and different from one another’s. That is one of the most beautiful things about this life that we live. We all have different things that we are good at. 

 

My passions are not the same as yours, but they come from the same place. Because of this fact I think that we can all hold each other accountable when it comes to passion. If you consider yourself to be a Christ follower chances are, as I previously stated, your number one answer is going to be the same as mine. You are passionate about Jesus. With this passion for Jesus first, everything else that you are passionate about then stems from there. Another thing that I have recognized is that if I am lacking passion and motivation in pursuing Jesus I lack passion and motivation in every other area as well. So, if you are currently stuck or even find yourself stuck in a rut I encourage you to first and foremost examine your passion and relationship with Jesus. When I am thriving in my relationship with Jesus I feel great. I feel inspired and passionate, not only about him but about everything that I am passionate about and put my mind to. It also causes me to feel more hopeful, joyful, and full of life. This is the type of life we were created for. 

 

A lack of passion can leave one feeling hopeless, doubtful, purposeless, depressed, etc. This is not a good place to be. Living here can also cause you to feel and believe that you are stuck in a certain situation. But let me be the first to tell you, if you haven’t heard it already, you are not stuck. You are not hopeless, You have things that you are passionate about and good at. You just need to figure out where those passions live. Once you can wrap your mind around the God part of this I think that you will be able to recognize things for what they truly are, and live a more passionate and inspired lifestyle. Life pursuing Jesus, in relationship with him, and surrendered to him will bring out the very best parts of you. Don’t believe me? Try it. Live where passion lives.

Worry Free

It’s much easier to say, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be okay!” when it’s not about you. I can’t be the only one who sometimes has more faith in other people’s situations than my own.

When I’m going through a tough life change it feels like a puncture wound in my universe that somehow creates a black hole vortex that wants to suck all of the other solidified parts of my life with it. Feels like my life is going to crumble and my foundation is going the drift away like sand beneath me.

It’s hard not to worry about things like money, relationships, wellbeing and such such. When one thing goes wrong sometimes it feels like it’s all going to fail.

There’s a bit in Matthew that echoes in my ears over and over…

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”

It’s the only thing that brings me back into my true reality that everything will work itself out regardless.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version (NIV)

Our God is bigger than our big problems.

Even if I can’t find the level of worry free that looks like me frolicking through meadows of wildflowers with not a care in the world….

…. I hope I can completely find that quiet confidence of David. That same confidence that took down a Goliath-sized problem with a simple sling shot. That is my prayer for all of us this year. To find a new level of calmness, bravery, and quiet confidence that God is bigger than our big problems.

A Fearless 2020

 

Fearless is the word that I received for 2020. Throughout my life fear has been the biggest battle for me to overcome. Even when the biggest part of my battle was over, it still was not completely over. I realized that fear was always going to be a constant battle because fear is the number one thing that the enemy tries to use against us to keep us from our calling in life. There is always going to be some type of fear in our lives that we are going to have to face and overcome. However, it was not until very recently that a different perspective on fear changed my entire way of thinking about the topic as a whole. 

We do not have to deal with fear in our lives. Why? Because God says we don’t. When I realized that fear is not the issue, but rather that love is the issue in relation to fear, my whole world changed. Once I was able to realize the amount of love that God really has for me I felt sorry and convicted that I even allowed one single fearful thought to rule my mind.  

2 Timothy 1:7 is a scripture that I have stood on since I was ten. It states that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. Deuteronomy 31:6 is also very encouraging, as it reminds us not to be afraid or terrified because God goes with us wherever we go and he will never leave or forsake us. This scripture is important to me as well because it serves as a reminder that even in the middle of my biggest battles with fear God was right there. The only reason why I was not instantly healed of fear in my life was because I did not recognize that he was there. You see, God wants to take your fears and battles no matter what they are but he won’t unless we give them to him to take care of. 

Therefore, be aware this year. Do not allow yourself to cave into fear because the God of this universe, who created and knows you better than you know yourself, is with you. He will not leave you, he will not pass you by, he will not ignore you, rather, he will be there with arms of love waiting to wrap you up in his presence and take whatever is not meant to be there. So let’s say no to fear and the plans of the enemy. Show him who is really in control of your life, because it is most definitely not supposed to be him. We are so much greater because greater is HE who lives in us than he who is in this world (1 John 4:4). Take up your authority and kick fear to the curb. You’ve got this…because God’s got you.

Olivia

Wednesday Wisdom: When Tragedy Strikes

What is your response? Is it anger? Sadness? Denial? Do you often question or blame God in response to the event? I think we have all experienced these emotions and responses. It is natural to feel this way and to question why terrible things happen, to innocent people especially. But I want to remind you that in the middle of a tragedy God still reigns, and his identity is still the same. God is a good God despite the tragic situation. And the awesome thing about our God is that He knows how to make good out of something that the enemy intended for evil. We live in an imperfect world where heart ache and unexpected tragedies may occur, unfortunately that’s just part of this life, but God aches with us when these types of events happen. God’s desire is for all of his children to be happy, healthy and prosperous he doesn’t want them to suffer or die early or whatever the situation may be…he wants us healthy and whole. So when tragedy strikes do not question God’s motives or identity he is still good despite the event and he will turn it around for good if an unfortunate event does occur. The world we live in is just imperfect and broken. It’s a sad reality but this is what we have to live with for the time being. Don’t get me wrong feel, mourn, do what you have to do to healthily cope through a situation, but know that joy comes in the morning and God will make something good out of the bad. Not just sometimes but every time because that’s not only what He does, but that’s who He is.

Olivia

Wednesday Wisdom

slow down time // ever feel like you’re racing against the clock? so many days life feels like a race against time. it is so easy to lose focus and start running this race to get things done, and still enjoy life at the same time. recently though, my perspective on this topic has changed. it was said in a message at church the other day that jesus lived his life at 3mph, because this is the speed in which one can move and still be present with what is going on around them. it is a loving and non-hurried speed. in that he still got done what he needed to and he was able to actually live well at the same time. i don’t know about you, but i want to live like jesus, honestly because i’m tired and i don’t want to live my life in hyper speed. i don’t want to be so time conscious because it makes life less enjoyable, and that’s not the life we were intended to live. so here’s to slowing down time. let’s do it in the way we walk, talk, love, and spend time with others, ourselves, and God. #slowdowntime #wednesdaywisdom

Come As You Are

 

When thinking about the Christian faith, it is easy to have thoughts cross your mind that might tell you that you are under qualified to live this life. Those are simply lies from the enemy. I have previously mentioned in others blogs, probably numerous times, that the enemy has a main task in life and that is to steal, kill, and destroy. In other words, he will do whatever it takes to keep you from your purpose. The enemy so badly wants to distract you so that he can cause you to believe that you are not worthy enough to live life as a Christ follower. He also wants to convince you that you aren’t worthy of the blessings that come along with being in relationship with Christ. But I feel compelled to tell you that not only are you simply just worthy of living this life, but you are more than worthy and more than enough to live it. 

 

God knows that you are human. That is not just some surprising fact. He made you, therefore he knows you. Furthermore, being that we are human there is grace for our mistakes. Grace and the power of his love show us that we are worthy. He knows that we are not perfect, and that we are never going to be. He isn’t looking for perfection. He is looking for willingness. God is looking for hearts that are willing to be used and led by him. He is looking for selfless surrender. All he needs is your “yes” in order for him to do what he wants to do in your life. God is a gentleman. He is not going to force relationship with him on you. He wants you to come as you are. Broken, bruised, hurting, struggling, whatever it is, and let his love be what transforms you. He can and he will make you new. He just needs your “yes.” God does not tell us “change who you are first then come to me,” no, he says “come to me and let my love be what changes you.” 

 

With that being said, will you join me in saying yes to God? Will you stop being so hard on yourself and just allow him to use you? If you mess up, confess it and start over. Your mistakes are wiped away as soon as you ask for forgiveness. Say yes to God continually and watch what he does in and through you. I promise you that life with God is so much better than anything else that this world has to offer. You want to see him move? Say yes. You want to see miracles? Say yes. You want to see others come to know him like you do? Say yes. You want to see a better world? Say yes. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Come as you are and give God your yes. That’s all he needs to do a work in you. Choose life. Choose Jesus. Choose God. Keep. Saying. YES.

Olivia

Why live different?

 

At this point, if you have been following my blog posts you have noticed the obvious fact that much of what I talk about is spiritual and has to do with God. Maybe that encourages you, or maybe that annoys you in all honesty sometimes. However, I will never apologize, feel bad, or change what I talk about or the way that I choose to live my life because of the opinions of others’. I live my life completely sold out for Jesus Christ, and I forever will, let me tell you why…

 

I do not have this super extravagant coming to Jesus story where I was not a Christian most of my life and somehow met God along the way. I was raised in a Christian home and grew up in the church. This, however, does not mean that God has not done some extravagant things in my life. You see, because of what God has done for me, and because of the life that I have literally only because of what Jesus did on the cross for me (and you), I cannot live my life any other way than completely sold out for Him. I seriously cannot picture it another way. I owe God my life for this very reason, and it’s not because I feel forced or obligated to live my life this way, it’s because I know that all God desires in return from me for all of that is a relationship with me. Therefore, my goal in life is to help others so that they may (hopefully!) be able to experience God the way that I have throughout my life, and still do, because it just keeps getting better! Life with God is the biggest and greatest adventure that you could allow yourself to go on. I have had so many testimonies in my life that were only possible because of God from the time I was born. From being miraculously healed after an injury that was going to make me go potentially blind in my right eye at the age of two, and from being healed from fear, anxiety, depression, and other physical issues throughout my life as well… and not to mention the testimonies that I have been a vessel for God to move through to bring healing to other people’s lives. These are some of the exciting things I am talking about when I mention being on this great adventure with God! 

 

Moreover, I know that God is good and that his word is true, not only because that is what the bible says, but because of the works that He has done in me and that I have seen Him time after time do in general and for others. If you haven’t seen or been apart of something like this in life, I encourage you to dig deeper. Go further in your relationship with God, and seek intimacy with Him because He isn’t withholding Himself from you. God is simply waiting for you to genuinely want to pursue a relationship with Him so that He may have your personal permission to do what it is that He wants to do in and through you. 

 

Live different in this world that we live in by choosing God daily, because if you do the more you get to know God the more you will become like Him. The more we are able to accurately represent God and show others who He is in His true nature the better we can spread the gospel and make disciples out of His people. Making disciples of all nations is not just some ancient commandment that God gave His people back in biblical times, it is one of the most important commandments we have been given that was intended for all time periods because peoples lives are honestly at risk here. Sin does, in fact, kill people. Yes, sin leads to death you read me right! People are dying on our behalf when we fail to speak up and talk to others about God. This is why I am trying to stress the importance of choosing to live life differently from the rest of the world. 

 

I want to strongly encourage you at this time to take this message and do some serious soul searching. If you do find yourself struggling to live different in the world, because let’s face it we all have and will at some point, think about the reasons that I have listed as to why it is important. People’s lives are at risk, and you may be the only example of who Jesus is to someone. Do not take that fact lightly. Let’s think a little less about ourselves and more about how we can be walking examples of who God truly is. Walk in love and choose God daily. Watch as your life gets radically changed by Him in the best way possible. He’s waiting to use you. 

-Olivia