When You Are Down

So, we know I battle with feelings of inadequacy and go through waves of depression. One of the things I have found that helps me is to save the positive and affirming things that can lift me up. It could be a verse, a picture, a note, any number of things.

As I found a LOT of people battle with insecurity, our team decided to do something about it. First we became the team that encourages. We found that 8 out of 10 people enjoy being encourage and it’s lightens their day. When we have seen their responses, it then cause us to feel joyful.

Next, we all have “Happy Boxes” that we keep near our desks. Whenever someone leaves a quick note, sends a letter, emails a thank you, we put it in our Happy Box. When we are feeling a bit blue or feel like we aren’t making a difference, or not being used, or not effective…I could go on and on…we open our “Happy Box” and remember that God has us right where we are for a reason. We might not see it at the moment, but we have been loved, effective, used, etc…20160224_101933

If you don’t have one, start today. If you don’t feel like you are encouraged much, look harder. Save birthday and holiday cards. Even if the relationship has gone sour, you can remember better times. Save encouraging posts, verses, pictures. If someone says something positive about you on Social Media, copy and paste then print it and add it to your collection.

Most importantly, remember that you are never alone. That you are loved by the Most High. You are His son/daughter who He cherishes.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~ Augustine

God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.  ~ Rick Warren

God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.  ~ Jerry Bridges

One of the greatest evidences of God’s love to those that love him is, to send them afflictions, with grace to bear them.  ~ John Wesley

 

Ephesians 3:14-21

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

What I learned today…We all need a little pick me up every now and then. I am so thankful for all the notes left on my desk and encouraging emails. They bring me more joy than the writers will ever know.

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Armor on Or Off?

I learned a great lesson today.

Fairly consistently, I am telling people to Armor Up. There are a couple references to why I say that, but the one I am thinking of when I say it 99% of the time is from…

Ephesians 6:13-17 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

When it feels like you are being “hit from all sides” remember this verse. When you feel a bad day starting, remember this verse. Imagine putting each of these items of armor on. Visualize it!

Back to what I learned today. Though I am always saying armor up, I never thought about having to take the armor OFF. Sometimes we can use armor as a shield or wall. We can hide in it.

If you have a Bible, grab it and turn to 2 Kings 5. It’s in the Old Testament, which is the first book in the Bible. Don’t worry if you have to look in the Table of Contents, we all have to start somewhere!

Now there is a LOT of juicy stuff to talk about in this chapter but we are concentrating on Naaman. He was a super star as a commander of an army. Everyone thought he was amazing. What they didn’t know, was that he hid having leprosy. Back then leprosy was a sign of being unclean or sinful. He had to hide it under his armor. When it came to the point of starting to be able to show, A servant girl told him she knew of someone that could help him.  She sent him to Elisha a profit (this is the abbreviated version). Elisha didn’t even come to the door, he sent another servant to tell Naaman to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan.

This enraged Naaman. How dare a servant be sent to talk to him. Like he’d ever do something like go exposed himself, and the leprosy he carried, in front of all at the river! IF the request was to do something great and noble, that would be easy, but to bare himself and show his “sin”?! That was a LOT.

He ended up trusting the advice, and being completely healed. How? It took him having to do something uncomfortable and scary in order to be cured. The prophets, who were directed by God told him he would have to do something difficult to reap a great reward, he did it. As a commander, he went down to the water….TOOK OFF HIS ARMOR for all to see, and continued to follow the direction of washing away the disease.

If God asked you to bare your sins for all, so you could be healed, could you? Would you do something hard, if it meant growing with Him?

What if that means daring to be a little more authentic with the people around you? What if it means forgiving someone who has hurt you? What if it means seeking help for alcohol? Drugs? Co-dependence? What if it means you let someone know you battle depression? Porn? What if it means letting someone know you need financial direction? When If it means asking for help with your marriage?

Can you trust God to help you, when you take off your armor?

What I learned today…God wants the absolute best for us. Sometimes that means taking us through challenging times…to get us to the place He wants us to be. We need to trust Him and pray for discernment (fancy word for insight or understanding), strength and direction.

 

 

Soft vs Sassy

When I first gave my life to Christ, I watched those at the church a LOT.
After I closed my business and became a stay at home mom, I thought I needed to become a quiet, soft, demure women to truly be a woman of God.

I tried and tried. I failed and failed.

Finally at one point, someone in my Small Group (people I meet with once a week to study the Bible, hold each other accountable, share life with, etc…) said, “Julie, why in the world are you not talking more? It feels like you are holding back”.

I was shocked and replied, “Aren’t I suppose to be submissive?”

Now, please don’t judge me, it is how I truly felt. I thought that good Christian women were the “bakers and meal prep” team. Needless to say, I feel like I was failing at all of it so was making a horrible Christian!

He said, “God made you sassy, be SASSY”.

Now he was being kind as up to my choice to give my life to Jesus, I had been a raging, conniving ____ (rhymes with witch).

Now someone was telling me I could still be strong? It was AWESOME. I felt like I had a huge weight taken off my shoulders!

I had to remember, that regardless of peoples thoughts and opinions, I need to remember what the BIBLE says. Who the Bible says I am.

Here is what I learned…Be strong in who God made you to be. Don’t listen to what others say about you, don’t listen to self doubt, only listen to his word.

 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10