From Pain to Progress

September 15th, 2014 made me a bit of a basket case. I’ve been in several wrecks in my life (most of which were not my fault) but never expected that the wreck that day would lead to so much pain thereafter. For the first few weeks, I just suspected the soreness would wear off with time. Rest. Ice. Repeat. However once I hit the three-month mark, my condition was given a name and the term “chronic” set in. I went from never having back pain in my life to “Chronic Bilateral L4/L5 Spondylolysis, partial Spondylolisthesis, two disc bulges, muscle spasms, and sciatica“. Surely I couldn’t have a chronic condition at 20 years of age. This is supposed to be the peak of my life. I’m supposed to be full of life, unstoppable.

For those who know me, you know I’m stubborn. Probably one of the most stubborn people you’ve met. Rest is not a part of my vocabulary and I never say no to a task. In my mind, nothing is too big for me to tackle. No matter how many other things I have on my plate. I remember during my senior year, I spent part of my senior banquet sitting in the news room editing a video for the senior class. In high school I tackled sports, editing the news during after-school hours, and up to 6 hours of homework a night after I arrived home from swim meets and tennis matches before hitting the pillows. In college I work anywhere from 20-40 hours a week on top of being a full-time student all while I handle other tasks asked of me. I also take time to come home quite often to fellowship with my church and to spend time with my family. I always reassure myself I’m coming home for a break but we all know that’s impossible.

My entire life, I’ve taken the reigns. I haven’t let my grip fall in the slightest. Well that is until shortly after my wreck last year. A few weeks into the so-called “recovery” process, I still tried to give as much time to my studies, work, and other duties as I had previously. The week of my wreck, I missed an entire week of work/pay and that was inconceivable in my mind. I wanted to attend work mind my doctors better judgment. I did not have time to “rest”, let alone attend all of the doctors and therapy appointments that were to be scheduled. I mean a month of the chiropractor and then 5 ½ months of therapy? A 20-year-old does not have time for that kind of commitment. For a while, I just endured the pain and kept on. One thing I have mastered throughout my life is pain tolerance. When another’s pain level might be a 10 and on their way to the hospital, I just grit my teeth, take a deep breath, and push through. One week this spring I did not even realize that I had strep because I was in bed with consistent back spasms for an entire week, on and off every few minutes. I would endure the spasm episodes every day and remind myself that they would end. Or so I hoped.

For the first few months, I blamed God. I turned my back on Him as I imagined He had turned His back on me. He let this happen, I thought. I remember pausing for a moment of reflection about three months in and realized that I had not once truly thanked God for allowing me to survive the wreck, for giving me perfect reaction time and reflexes that even the doctors could not comprehend given the time frame of the wreck. It made me reevaluate my relationship with Him. How am I to blame Him for this? I quickly had to learn the hard way that my life is not my own. I cannot control every outcome as I desire. He allowed this to happen and used it for a greater good. That being that I would have to learn to trust Him on days when I could not even trust my own body to do what it was supposed to do. I hated myself most days in that I could not function as I previously could. I had to learn that there is good in rest even when I did not want to attend a therapy appointment or sleep longer than my usual 5 hours a night.

When your body can’t function as it’s supposed to, it’s utterly exhausting and devastating. For example, before my accident I stressed the importance to set goals for my health and to exercise almost, if not daily. I had gained enough upper body and abdominal strength that I could hold a 6 ½ minute plank and this was a goal I was quite proud to achieve. The first day of rehab, my therapist had one plank on my agenda. Within the first second of trying to plank, I immediately fell. I had no lower back strength left whatsoever and the task seemed impossible. It’s quite humiliating and intimidating to know that you are in rehab with mostly older people and you can’t hold a simple exercise for longer than a second.

Well today marks a year since my accident. Through the tons of insurance annoyances, daily medications, exhausting therapy, and days and nights spent relying on an ice pack and heating pad, my pain level is a 1. That seemed inconceivable even just a month ago. My physiatrist and I decided the next step was facet joint injections and after two rounds, the second worked within days. Now I can’t be sure that they will last for long. But I have faith that through whatever I might face in the future, I have a God who is willing to take control. I’m not promised a pain-free/struggle-free life. No in this life I will face troubles, and mine are minimal compared to some of the pains my acquaintances may face in life. But it sure does feel great to put my faith in something greater than myself. Someone that will not fail me. Someone that has promised me a greater future no matter what this world throws at me. In that, I can find rest.

Romans 8:18  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”.

All of the other struggles and trials I had previously faced in my life, I could control. I could decide to turn them around. The fear brought on by an uncontrollable body was more than I thought I could handle. But it honestly was the perfect battle for God to use to make me seek Him. Think back on the trials that God has allowed you to go through but has in return made you stronger and more refined in the long run. Thank Him first and battle with Him. You can’t do it alone. He is the only one that can turn pain into progress.

Advertisements

Life Inside The Bubble

I recently heard someone say that the humans in the Bible were not very refined. Well, it’s the truth. Followers of Christ can’t claim perfection. I’ve had to remind myself of this concept over and over. But isn’t it refreshing to know our biblical examples didn’t prove to have it all together?

As most of you know, I attend Liberty University. The stereotype of the “Christian bubble” is ever-present. Apparently because I attend a Christian school, some believers and non believers determine I should exhibit perfection.

I had a friend last year that felt so out-of-place in the Liberty bubble. Quite frankly, in my opinion she was supporting the wrong mindset of the University. Knowing that she had faults within herself, she failed to see that those around her were struggling just as much as she was. Christians sometimes feel they must create a façade. I too find myself in this quandary quite often.

I discover myself expiring on the inside spiritually as I feel I have yet again disappointed God and myself. There’s such a strong drive today for Christians and our society to have it all together. That one misstep will bring your perceived liberating future to an end.

I’ve grown up in church all of my life. My mother was always an organist/pianist. There wasn’t an opportunity to miss a Sunday unless I was “deathly ill”. As I look back on my early biblical classes and teachings, I recall the love and forgiveness of Christ being the most discussed topics. Being that love and forgiveness were so eulogized, how is it that I always felt I had to lead a life of inerrancy?

With my mother positioned as staff of the church, I sensed I was only applauded for my appearance and that people were looking for my flaws. It became taxing to look like I had it together. I was one of the main leaders in my youth group. I sang, played instruments, led Bible studies and VBS, etc. I didn’t feel it an option to fall apart.

If I’m honest, I rarely ever paid attention to the sermons growing up in church. I always felt they focused on the same topics: love, forgiveness, and repentance. Where was the rest of the application? No one talked about his or her problems, the real life issues.

This is where I’ve noticed the sickness of advertised Christianity. A sermon is just another sermon. A song, a song. A prayer, a prayer. The Word is being spoken to us over and over but we aren’t listening. I recently shared a devotion with an assisted living home and it was refreshing to discuss the topic of love and Truth with those who encompass much more wisdom than I. However even through the discussion, I could still see how hard it was for some of them to express love towards others. They all grew up with some form of hatred or disgust towards a race or sinful lifestyle. It was the norm. Too often I find the same within the views of my University. People think that a Christian education cannot expose us to the true political, social, and economic matters of the world. They believe religion blinds us.

In my eyes, I conform to the bubble on occasion. I live life protected and conceal life issues. Then there are days when I know life will only grow more complex after graduation. This is where I feel Liberty does an excellent job in preparing students for both sides of the spectrum. Classroom views aren’t projected as one-sided. Professors discuss all opinions and allow the students to decide for themselves which interpretations they will uphold.

There are still failings however. How can I be so sure that we as Christians have failed as a body? Because personally most of the things I have struggled with throughout my life, I would never disclose with fellow Christians because of the fear of harsh judgment. I have felt my shame even greater in church before as it seemed that I was being judged for how well I could keep it together.

A church is to be a hospital for the broken but the majority of the time, we fail to see that those winning the “Christian facade award” can sometimes be the ones who need a loving touch or compliment the most. It is good to teach the Word but Christ calls us to live out our faith. To be His hands and feet. To love as He does. We should suffer with and encourage one another.

One Body with Many Members (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves  or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

See some of us have the greatest and worst talent, to hide any and all undesirable actions and emotions. When under a spotlight, we push them away and deem ourselves the wearisome “fine”. While living in the bubble can feel safe at times, it is far from reality.

These days, my prayer is that we exhibit the Christ-like characteristics such as love and forgiveness in order to bring people out of the bubble. To take the shame out of transparency. To kill the fear of disclosing your greatest weaknesses. To end the skepticism of entering a church no matter the walks of life. Jesus walked with them all. He had no hesitations. It’s time we step outside and relate with others. Who knows, maybe your closest friend shares the same struggle with you and is looking for someone to open up to. Burst the bubble.

Why Satan Chose Me

            Whoa. Bet you’ve never seen an article title that dramatic before, or at least from a Christian!

            Well in a way, I feel as though Satan chose me. He chose to attempt to steal, kill, and destroy me. Because I am God’s. He used to be God’s. Satan is a fallen angel. As possibly the chief archangel of worship, he decided that He could no longer stand the power of God. He wanted people to choose him, but instead he had to choose targets. In order to create some form of revenge he targeted Christians. From then on, he would try his best to convert God’s children with any trial, temptation, and threat that he could ponder. 

            In my opinion, the most frightening aspect of this force against us is that Satan knows our weaknesses. Whether that is having fits of rage, overindulging in food, lusting after others, participating in inappropriate online chat groups, spending too much time at work away from family, loathing in self-pity…the list goes on and on. Everyone has weakness. Everyone. Including every Christian. Christians must be especially careful in this area because things that negatively tempt or intrigue us before living a lifestyle with Christ will be sure to follow afterwards if we don’t guard our hearts.

            In my own life, I have sadly fallen to some of the worldly sin patterns after receiving Christ because I failed to find my pleasure in Him alone. I looked to the ways of the world for comfort rather than my Savior. We can’t use the excuse that “Satan is doing this to me”, although that is a good one, but rather that we simply must not want Christ enough. It sounds harsh but I have come to find that when I am in the pit of despair because of my sin, it is only because I am either too lazy or ignorant to ask Him to help. To reach down and pick me up. I have the will to change my own attitude rather than let my emotions and circumstances control me.

            As sad as it sounds, some of us just haven’t been hurt enough by the world yet that we have come to the final decision in life. I choose Him or I choose Satan. The response to the First is the only response with life. Life in general. That does not just entail earthly life but eternal life. I have had countless friends and relatives go through periods of their life where quite frankly they acted as though Christ were no longer a part of their walk. I have done the same. Satan chose them but the saddest moment is to see them fall for him. It is quite possibly one of the most hopeless moments one can have in their life.

            Over a year ago, one of my Sunday school teachers made a reference to Satan and his previous position in heaven. He mentioned the three archangels and their jobs and described how Lucifer (Satan) was quite possibly the chief archangel of worship. One of the main things that God expects of His children and longs for is worship. We are to worship Him. Ever think that maybe that’s because of Satan’s fall? That we are to take His place in heaven by worshipping Him on earth? Maybe so. But if this is correct, are you worshipping the God that created and spoke life into you or the one that will destroy you? 

John 4:23 says “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

            Satan chose me because I chose to be his opponent and with that decision, I will give it all that I have. Imagine a game of dodge ball in the end. Whose team will you be picked for?

Image

God’s Grace Is Satisfying

            Wow. I can’t even believe that I am a student at Liberty University. As a senior in high school, this opportunity never seemed possible. I haven’t written in a while and I can tell that has done more damage than I thought. Not being able to express my thoughts on paper has left them locked away to only do more harm than good. I am writing to clarify a prayerful solution to a problem that has plagued me for a while now. 

            Romans 5:12 says “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. We were all born into sin. At times, I wonder if myself more so than others however I know that is only Satan’s way of destroying my self-image. Early on in high school, I developed a pretty good sense of my sinful nature and wrongdoings however reflecting over my spiritual wellbeing now, I realize that I have dropped the most important mindset. Realizing the weight of my sin.

            I heard a preacher recently say that when we have two options…the one from God and the one from Satan…we are making a choice. That choice is to choose to worship and exalt God and let Him have authority in our lives or to give that power and right to Satan. Right? I am pretty sure that I despise that word in its context now. I have been giving Satan rights in my life. I have taken away God’s ownership and given it to my adversary. But why?

            I have forgotten the weight. That agonizing feeling that I get when I sin. I haven’t felt it in a while. I have lost a lot of necessary conviction lately that I realize now that I have needed in order to have control over my fleshly sins. That control that God has desired. 

            Recently, I decided to pray a prayer that quite frankly I was afraid to pray. Fearing God has been a constant reoccurring theme for me lately. It seems to come up in my devotions, sermons at church, and conversations among others. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction”. What did I pray? I prayed that I would feel the overwhelming weight of my sinful nature. I was not asking God to help me feel sorry for myself. I was asking God to physically and emotionally make me feel the destruction that I had done and was doing to Him and myself.

            I felt it. It was honestly more than I could have imagined. I felt the hold that Satan had over my life. I could feel him controlling my thoughts, actions, and words. I felt the absence of God. It was honestly the most terrifying thing. I could not physically breathe comfortably without asking God to clear my thinking and to let me feel His grace without shame. I felt like Paul in Romans, ‘wretched’. 

            Shame is one of the most deceiving and plausible things that Satan could fill our hearts and minds with, however when God allows us to feel it when we are seeking Him, it is breathtaking at how we feel as though we have lost Him in our most desperate moments of life.

            Since praying this prayer, I have been studying intensely living a life of grace vs. living a life of ignorance. God has instilled a passion for studying the topic of living a righteous life through His Word. Asking God to make me feel the weight of my sin was so disturbing that it makes me at least think twice before allowing Satan to have rights in my life. 

            Now do not think of me as faultless in any way, I have still fallen a slave to my flesh which the book of Romans deems ‘sin’. However, I do know what Satan is capable of. He does have power, but we were given the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Life is worth fighting the battle of sin knowing that we will have an eternity of freedom in the end. Satan’s schemes are within a time limit that does not even begin to compare to our future as Christians. 

            Romans 8:37 says “we are more than conquerors”. As conquerors we go into battle desiring to win. Being more than conquerors means that we go into battle knowing that we have already won. 

            This past week in my Bible class, we were talking about the importance of names. When I was younger, I never felt that my name fit me. I knew that Anna meant grace but all I could say was that I was not a very graceful person. In further study, I have realized the impact of ‘grace’ for myself and that is the grace and favor that God has placed on my life. Elizabeth means God is satisfying and I do believe that even through the valleys, one of the most import themes of my Christian life has been that God’s grace is satisfying, and forever will be!

Screw-up

             “Screw-up” or “Screwed up”. They’re terms that we give a negative connotation. When someone forgets to set their alarm clock, go to a ballgame, or make it to a meeting on time, they might just say they’ve “screwed up”. However, lately, I’ve switched the words around to consider myself a “screw-up”. Yesterday morning, I slapped myself in the face and asked what I was doing with my time. I recently pondered the fact that I thought my summer would not be as stressful as the period of my senior year and that was clearly not the case. I’ve never felt more stressed, with college expenses to fret about, a summer job tugging at my hours, the search for a college job, and the constant fear of losing what I’ve lived 18 years for…friends, family, a home church and youth group, and the acquaintances and routines I’ve grown accustomed to over time.

            However, today is the first day I’m being transparent to all about the mask that I’ve been hiding behind for the past 5 years. I’ve always tried to be the leader. One whom people could always count on to set an example or take the reigns when needed. People have relied on me for numerous jobs/tasks through the years and many of them always leave me with final remarks such as “You are a true leader”, “I can see God working through you”, “You are a prime example of a child of God”. Wow, I’ve never felt so ashamed to admit that no I’m not, although I am working to be such. God’s still got me under construction.

            Numerous times, I’ve told people I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the people God has placed in my path through the past 5 years. And to be honest, that’s being transparent with few details. I’ve been plagued by the mindset lately of how can I be a leader when I’m not honest with those around me? A true leader’s transparent, right? Well I know on Sunday mornings, I would hope my preachers honest with the congregation or during class that a teacher is speaking the truth.

            Yesterday, I made a painful comparison. I had a conversation with Christ aloud for the first time in a while, and realized that I missed the old me. I missed the one that loved Christ more than anything, practiced what I preached, and was the encourager, not the one needing it. I missed the girl that didn’t let one stumbling block knock me off the right path, the prayer warrior. Where did she go?

            As Beth Moore’s testimony is presented, we don’t always have to list our struggles aloud; however not acknowledging them is only denying ourselves freedom. Over the past 5 years, I have faced delusional thoughts, self-hatred, and several painful dependences. Alone. When I say alone, I know that God was with me the whole time. I mean alone as in keeping everything to myself and not allowing anyone in. And over the past few months, I’ve been struggling more than ever. Facing a struggle isn’t easy but once faced, there is a road to healing. That road is Christ. It truly is one step at a time. You’ll never reach the end/freedom of your issues without taking the correct steps to learn what does and does not work to remaining in constant freedom in the end.

            Accountability has been the biggest asset to me over the past few months. It’s so freeing to find someone that you can trust to listen and tell you what you need to hear rather than what you prefer to hear. Yesterday morning after I made the comparison to my past self, I realized how deep I was. I needed help. I quickly texted my accountability partner and we took the step necessary in helping me on my way to recovery from a certain struggle. Without that step, I would be wallowing in self-pity.

            Some of you will read this as skeptics. You’ll probably sit there and try to figure out what my struggles are. You’ll want to make assumptions and act astonished that I struggle with something. Gasp. However, yes, even Christians struggle with something. YOU DO AS WELL. We all face something that could potentially consume/control us if we let it. That is the work of Satan we must be aware of. He will take something amusing or intriguing to us and pull us inch by inch into his immoral plans.

            The encouragement I want to leave you with is that we all face a giant in our lives. But can we trust that God will fight our battles for us? No, this doesn’t mean we won’t still face tough encounters. But if we never admit that we will struggle and let that one fault rule out the potential freedom in our lives, we are living in an hourglass. Our time will run out before we know it and our purpose in life will remain unfinished.

            I will “screw up” on occasions. I will make bad choices and be forced to reap consequences and learn from them. However, I can continue to grow stronger. Instead of staying so busy on a stressed, worldly schedule, I can focus on facing my own struggles and fixing myself so that I will be ready for the work God has laid before me. So as a child of God, don’t consider His creation a “screw-up”, remind yourself that you’re simply saved by grace.

           Isaiah 53:6 says:

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and            the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Beauty of Amazing Grace

If there is anything that I am 100% positive of in this world, it is that I could have never made it to age 18, to being a senior in high school, or to continue joy and freedom as I know it had it not been for my savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Wow I have lived a life like a roller coaster. I cannot name the innumerous ups and downs of this journey that God has set before me.

I was sitting in a funeral a few weeks ago and the final hymn sung was “Amazing Grace”. What a song! For most, the lyrics are sung out of monotonous memory but for those that truly have meaning and intent behind the words that are breathed from their lips, they find a purpose, a promise, and a plan.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” I was saved by amazing grace. And I often wonder how so many can be oblivious to such grace. If I were on the same path that I have been aboard for the last five years, but without my salvation, I would no longer be here today. I could have never made it through so many of my struggles without the amazing grace that this song speaks of.

Just as the song says, the hour I first believed in my Lord and Savior was the greatest hour of my life. Grace appeared and I no longer had to live in fear of eternity. I no longer had to fear that I would face my struggles alone. Faith would forever be my new foundation. And with my newfound grace, I could feel free from bondage.

In today’s society, many become overloaded with stress, business, anxiety, or depression, all due to the way they allow their daily struggles to affect them. We all struggle. And many of us reprimand ourselves in the aftermath of our struggles. Have we forgotten that we are human? The solution is much simpler than we can fathom. When we are saved by the grace of God through faith, we can become new. All we must do is give our mess to God. We must remember in this journey to be in the world and not of the world.

Perhaps your problem is stressing to find time to spend with your family, disagreement with a boss, work overload, substance addiction, peer pressure, financial hindrances, loss, feeling alone in a marriage, inadequate personal time with God, or a dispute with a friend or loved one. How many times do we allow the negative after-effects of these situations to overrule our conscience and consume us?

I recently heard the testimony of a few friends whom each shared personal stories with me. However they each seemed to have a dominant stance when discussing their addictions and falls in the faith. They each fell to fleshly desires and quickly found themselves being of the world. Satan is strong and he knows he has power. Don’t forget that! He will do whatever he can to kill, steal, and destroy.

These few friends said their struggles each came on the same way. Satan drew them in with small circumstances soon after causing them to fall into the pits he had purposely dug. Satan has thrown numerous negative influences into our everyday lives, whether at school, work, in the home, local businesses and advertising, and don’t let us forget that he even tries it in churches. The biggest mistake is underestimating the power that Satan has. But we can also remember that our God is greater and our God is stronger.

By this amazing grace that we find through Christ, we can become new. We can overcome anything no matter the circumstances. If you place your faith in Him, there should never be a doubt in your mind that our Savior deals the final deck of cards and desires your share in His kingdom. So the final question is do you know and believe in His amazing grace?

Here are a few verses to ponder:

John 1:14 says:
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Romans 5:1-2 says:
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Acts 20:24 says:

24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

I Told God No? But Wait…it’s Not About Me?

Seriously? Ask yourself how many times you have told God “no” in the past. Maybe He asked you to do something that didn’t seem like the easiest task and there was a way out of it or He gave you more than one choice and you took the harder route in efforts of not facing your greatest fear.

A few months ago…I faced a huge fear. I initially thought I would never be able to accomplish the task but with the help of a few newfound friends and my accountability partners, I was able to conquer that fear.

The problem however seemed to be what God would place in the path that lay ahead. My initial questions to God were “where do you want me to attend college?” and “how will I pay for it?” His response however was delayed with a series of tasks that He wished for me to perform first.

My biggest problem has been shutting my pride off and letting go! It’s tough when you must lay everything aside and face your greatest fear in order to hear what God has to say to you. Sometimes I’ve wondered if He was still listening but indeed, He never fails to remain right by our sides!

However most of us fall after accomplishing the first step in a series of goals He creates for our path. We think that after crossing the finish line of step 1, that we deserve an answer right away or that facing our fears is over. But what we don’t realize is that some might have one step whereas another has thirty.

We must learn to allow God to use us in whatever way necessary. Think of what you have asked of God lately or perhaps you are waiting on guidance in a particular area. Have you even taken the first step? Or are you still letting your fear control you?

Well today is a big day for me as I take on a vocal audition at the University that I would like to attend in the fall. All month, I have been waiting for this one moment to show off my talent. But wait. My talent? That sounds self-conceited in a way…doesn’t it?

Throughout the past two weeks I have been forcing myself to shatter my wall of pride. It has been my top priority so to speak. There has always been a part of me that felt I could not share my real personality with others in fear that it might harm my reputation, but more and more everyday I find myself learning that it is okay to allow for others to know your true self in terms that it might help them as well. This principle has taught me that it is NOT all about me.

We all have a purpose and for all things in life, there is a purpose as well. When preparing for this audition, I realized that it’s not my talent. I am just simply blessed with the ability to sing (*and project my voice if I might add* haha). Without the amazing touch of grace from God, my talents would be rendered useless.

Romans 12:6-8 says:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Allowing my pride to take over in this moment is out of the question. Also I have seen what self-conceit can do to one’s conscience over the past few months. I have noticed it more by means of online content, throughout the community, and even within myself. See what most of us don’t take the time to remember is that we were put here on earth for a purpose. God made each and every one of us different and He is the one that breathed us into existence. We would not be here were it not for Him.

Proberbs 19:21 says:
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Whenever I find myself hiding behind my misery called pride, I try to refocus that this is His life to do with as He pleases. Yes we serve an Almighty God that gives us the ability of choice, but we also must respect that He is the utmost being that provides life.

When I am faced with temptation or a prideful stance, I have learned to take a step back and admit that this is His life. I am but only one of His many works and when we learn to do His will, He will use us for His greater plan.

So yes this audition tomorrow is a part of His plan for me, no matter the outcome of decision. But it is also one of the many works that He has planned for this life in which I have the honor of living. Everyday, He is molding me into a new being. I am growing stronger after every passing moment and the accountability that I have set in place to keep growing, and me balanced is greater now than ever before!

So when will you learn that it’s not about you in general? When will you see what all God has in store for your purpose here on earth? When will you know with assurance that one day you will stand before our awesome savior and hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant!”? When. You. Make. It. All. About. Him.