Wednesday, May 23, 2018

You are Stronger Than You Think You Are!

          I recently had the privilege of listening to Robert Mandu preach this past Sunday. Apparently what he preached on has stirred a lot in my heart. If you haven't heard of him, I suggest listening to one of his messages you can find on YouTube. He is real, honest, and not afraid to say it how it is. He has a gift of preaching and sharing God's Word. This past Sunday he spoke on how a person cannot be content when they are constantly comparing themselves to another person. He went on to say that we lose sight of the Lord and His plan for OUR lives when we are consistently comparing ourselves.
          Often, I find myself in this boat of comparison. How about you? Do you find yourself scrolling through socialMEdia looking at what everyone else has in the world and all the while compare yourself to them? Do you try to make the most perfect picture so that you can get the most likes, comments, and shares. Is that what this life is all about? Have we all become so caught up in what other people think of us? We hide behind masks of "everything is great" and "nothing is wrong." I too play this game. Do not think I am above this or never fall into this trap of the comparison game. Nor do I believe that what everyone portrays is fake. I am just saying be careful not to compare your life to someone else. What if instead of comparing we are encouraging? What if instead of making others feel bad for what they are doing, we see the beauty in the struggles? Why is it so hard to be real? We live in a world of fear. Fear of what people think of us. Fear that people will judge us. Fear that we will not measure up to some standard we have given ourselves or others have given to us. When will it stop?
          If you are constantly comparing yourself to others, it takes so much of your energy: emotionally, physically, and mentally. I all too often forget that God has created me for a specific purpose in this world. He has equipped me with everything I need in order to accomplish the plan for my life. He did the same for each one of you. We are all called to love God and love others, but we also called to our own individual purpose. You may not know what yours is and that is okay. You may not even think that you have one, but you do. The issue is we are looking at other people rather than keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord. If we took our eyes off each other, we might be able to focus on what the Lord has set before each of us. But how do you do that when there is pressure all around you? Hebrews 12:1-3- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for US, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." We do not lose heart. We meditate on His Word, spend time with the Lord in prayer, and we throw off what hinders us.
          Robert Mandu also discusses the importance of being able to have Confidence Under Pressure C.U.P. in another message he gives. He goes on to say that pressure can come in many forms. There is pressure in meeting expectations, not only from others, but trying to meet your own expectations. There is pressure to perform, have the perfect marriage, and be the friend that everyone wants. However, we can look at pressure in a negative way. This is where I kind of got slapped in the face. The pressure I have either put myself under, by others, or have been feeling throughout this grieving process is not just to torture me. It does not have to control me and the pressure ultimately does not have to control you. It has been building me up for the Lord's purpose. In my mind I feel that is so incredibly selfish of the Lord to just use me. BUT then I am disappointing in myself because I am reminded of the prayer Kyle and I prayed each night. "Lord may your will be done in our lives, WHATEVER YOUR WILL. We love and trust you." We clearly asked the Lord to use us, shape us, and mold us to be more like Him, whatever the cost.
          I still don`t understand why Kyle, and my friends had to die that day in December. I do not understand why I could not get married, start a family, be with my adventure partner, Kyle. I do NOT get it, but I know it has already helped me empathize with women who are currently going through loss and grief. It has help me connect with women who have already gone through the initial grieving process and something similar to what I have gone through. God's purpose is bigger than my narrow perspective. I may never see the "WHY" but I have already seen some ways the Lord has used me throughout this tragedy and pain I have and continue to experience. My best friend recently said, "You are the most alive when you are connecting/helping other women who are going through something similar to what you have gone through." She is right because after Kyle died, I lost a lot of joy and zest for life I once had. I want that back. I want to find the deep down joy I once possessed. I want to stop living in a world of comparing myself to where everyone else is at. I want to live out the purpose the Lord has for me. I want to love others and love them well. However, I can't do it by myself and neither can you. It is only by the strength of the Lord and through His continual grace each and every day.
          I see now that the Lord has brought me to a place where I feel challenged to slow down and just spend time with Him. The Lord has brought people in and out of my life where they have been able to help me slow down and just focus. I have never been in this place before of unknown and uncertainty in reguards to what is next for me to do, but if there is one thing I know about God, He will be right there with me every step of the way. I know He will direct my steps if I allow Him to. I just need to get out of His way. I am glad that nothing stops Him from coming after me. I am thankful I am always pursued, always loved, always known, and always fought for. I am still in my right mind, breathing, working out, writing, standing, praising God, and I AM STILL HERE. That alone is the strength of the Lord. What has He given you strength to do my friends? I hope you can take a moment to just thank Him for where He has brought you and how far you have come already. You are stronger thank you think you are.

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