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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

My heart is racing already this week. I am filled with wonder and excitement as I head down to the ATL fora conference called Catalyst. I can’t help but wonder what new things my heart will learn and know. I wonder what “aha” moments I will have as words of wisdom are met with understanding in me.

Last year at Catalyst, I was overwhelmed with awe at spending time singing, dreaming, and learning along side 13,000 other incredible people. I love learning with others. I love sitting next to people who have a passion to be better at leadership, as well as, who they are. I love joining 13,000 people in sitting at the feet of so many great speakers. God speaks, that’s for sure.

I feel like I am in a very different place in life going into this year’s conference. My heart is thinking and dreaming in different ways. I know this year Catalyst will mean so many great new things for my heart. This year I am looking for God in different ways and in different conversations. This year my heart is expectant for the unexpected.

The extrovert in me can’t get to Catalyst fast enough. My heart comes alive in a crowd. I love me some crowds. I feel most at home with crowds. I have been lacking that for some time. I feel an exhale coming on. I am giddy over the new people I will be around and meet. I am very excited for some huggin! I am hopeful for the confirmation and redirection of my heart as she is being spurred on.

This year, I have different risks to take, hopes to hope, dreams to dream, and questions to ask. I am in need of courage to do them all. God is all about the bigger than me. That is where I will fix my eyes and see what he has for me.

Would love to connect if you will be there!!

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There is just something to hope. She gets me every time. Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but hope experienced enables momentum and joy.

Today I experienced some needed hope. Today, I experienced that kind of hope that gets your heart pumping with, “are you kidding me!?” kind of flavor. It was honey to my soul.

As these hopes unfolded, I was reminded that I do not want a life that I can just manage. I want to always look for the impossible. I want to think big or go home kinda thoughts.

Dreams are powerful. Faith is even more illogical.

My friend prayed Ephesians 3:20-21 for me today. I got a glimpse!

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, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Why am I even surprised that God shows up? Why do I even get all “OOOOOH!” when he shows up in ways that are natural to him, and out of my league for me?

God is big. God desires us to just ask for the big. Be direct. Be specific. Be real with him. I am all about that right now.

Dream big or go home!

What are you dreaming about?

How have you seen him show up lately?

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I have referenced before that trust is hard for me. I am pretty skeptic when it comes to taking a step in faith. My first instinct is to protect myself. My logic assesses the situation and then weighs the trust level. This mentality makes faith hard for me. It would technically be called “controlled faith.

The gospel of John is my go-to book in the bible. When I want to read about Jesus, it is John’s perspective that I run too. When I want to read about God’s love, John is where I start. When I just want to be reminded of a man who believed and understood that God loved him, John is my boy.

I am always drawn to the faith of the first twelve disciples. I love reading about their questions, skepticism, and remarks, when they were first introduced to Jesus. I also like watching their responses shift to being blown away by Jesus.

Lately, I have been stuck on Nathaniel. Nathaniel was the brother of Philip. Nathaniel was a skeptic. His response to his brother’s claim of finding the Messiah reminds me of what I might have said. Nathaniel’s response was one of question and maybe of self protection.

What draws me into this story is how quickly the shift in trust and belief happens. Jesus takes Nathaniel’s skepticism head on. Jesus calls out Nathaniel in personality and truth. Jesus describes Nathaniel as, “one without deceit.” Nathaniel, I’m sure taken aback, responds with confusion. Jesus simply states, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.

It took one way of being known by Jesus. One thing shifted the faith of Nathaniel. Skeptisim melts to embrace. Protection changes to trust.

It took something tangible for Nathaniel to believe. Mind you it was not something big, but something. It took a fig tree kind of faith for Nathaniel to believe.

I started reading on and in the proceeding two chapters there are numerous stories of people believing after witnessing a miracle. People would also demand a miraculous sign before they would believe what Jesus was saying.

I had to ask myself, do I have fig tree faith? Do I only let down the walls of self-protection if I see something tangible regarding God? Do I settle for fig tree faith when God is telling me, “you will see greater things than these?

I want to believe in the God of “greater things.” I know my trust comes with proof. Where is the faith in that? Honestly, there is no faith. Faith happens when we are waiting in hope in the unseen. Faith believes in the not yet and hopes in the dream of some day. God is known in those places. Faith is the place of “greater things.

Are you settling for fig tree faith?

How are you hoping in the unknown?

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Lately I have been brewing over the word intimacy. This is a very intimidating word for me. In all honesty, intimacy scares me a lot. At the same time, I crave to know intimacy in very real ways. We all do. We are made in the image of a God who is perfect intimacy. We were created in his image to know and experience that kind of being known.

It makes me sad how often intimacy is only associated with sex. There is so much more to being known, and experiencing true intimacy,  outside of sex. Sex is one way of knowing someone deeply, but not the only way. I hope intimacy happens in a marriage relationship way before sex. Intimacy can be experienced in any relationship.

I wrestle with this word a lot. I cringe over being known in an intimate way. There is such risk in being known. My fears related with intimacy have to do with rejection. The more I am known, the more risk there is for  someone to walk away with my heart in hand. It takes me a long time to trust someone else with my heart. I am slow to let someone really know me. I feel the anxiety level rise in me as the level of intimacy grows deeper.

Intimacy is so bittersweet. I want to be known and loved in a deep way. I crave that from the Lord. He desires that level of intimacy with me. God desperately wants to have an intimate relationship with us.

I also desire to love deeply. I love loving other people. I love knowing people. I love the depth of another’s heart and passions. I love knowing what brings someone joy as well as what breaks their heart.

I have been thinking a lot this week about the intimacy I experience in my close friendships. I value the mutual level of being known that we share. I value knowing the little things that make up my friends. I love knowing what faces they make before crying. I am grateful for the many conversations we have that never require words. I love knowing what brings out their passions. I love knowing what down time looks like for each of them. I value knowing the intricate ways of how each of them feels loved and celebrated. I laugh at how much we talk alike.

Just as much I love knowing my friends, I value how much they know me. I love when they know the times I need to vent vs. wanting feedback. I love being cared for in a way that is only by being known. I love that they can honestly say they believe in me because they know my heart and passion. I am deeply grateful for these friends.

On the bittersweet side of this grateful coin, I have deep-seated fears that make intimacy messy for me. There is no hiding my fears as the intimacy levels in my relationship grow deeper. Intimacy requires my trust. Trust is a conscious effort for me, even with those close friends. Intimacy unveils my unedited heart rather than my rehearsed heart. Makes for a messy me. What makes a close friend close is their response of love and engagement on those messy levels of me. Intimacy becomes intimacy when the response is deeper love and not rejection. Do we always respond out of love, no. But intimacy works it out and stays engaged. That is terrifying to me.

There is a verse I love in scripture that captures God’s desire for intimacy with me. Psalm 25 states, “the Lord confides in those who fear him.” Confiding is an intimacy vocab word for me. I don’t confide in someone unless I trust them. I do not make my heart known unless there is a shared depth of understanding present. God wants to confide in us. God desires such an intimate relationship with us that confiding is a known level of communicating. I know I can tell when someone has an intimate relationship with the Lord. Come to think of it, I also can tell when someone has an intimate relationship with someone else.

Intimacy is being known and knowing another deeply. We are created with the desire for intimacy. I value intimacy very much. My hope is that others will see that in me, not just with others but with God as well.

What are your thoughts about intimacy?

Do you have intimate relationships in your life?

How are you known?

How do you know others?

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Hope is one of those things that can over joy the heart or make it sick. Hope feels like both the long anticipated climb to the top of a hill on a roller coaster, and the adrenaline of the drop down. Hope is anticipated. Hope is hoped for.

There is hope in the seen and the unseen. To hope could look like:  good grades, promotions, restoration, something new, success, dreams fulfilled, community, good days, or maybe that your alarm will go off. Maybe you hope for security and safety.

Hope has been on my heart this week. I find myself saying, “I hope” a lot. I am even saying it more talking with other people. I really do hope for many different things for people.

I spent some time reading about hope. It comes down to the truth that hope is nothing without Christ. He is our hope. Hope is believing in something only he can do. Hope depends on everything that is outside our own abilities. Our hope is to be in Christ. Hoping for good things is not bad, but setting your heart of hoping in God is what makes hope become hope.

Hope is the foundation of faith. Faith “is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

God is the only sure thing that can be hoped in. Is it hard to hope? Heck yes! Scripture also says to defer yourself hope will “make your heart sick.” Settling for a life without hope is dangerous to the soul. Hope brings life. Hope keeps the pulse of life going.

My heart needs some hope in the unwavering. There is so much freedom waiting for me if I would just risk to place all my hope eggs in his basket.

Hope takes faith. Faith takes hope.

The promise is awesome. Hope in him “will not disappoint.” How many things do you hope for/in right now that carry this promise?

What are you hopeful for?

What does it look like to hope for you?

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It’s Thursday and and I feel like my heart has gone through so many ups and downs this week. It has been rough exposing my unedited thoughts and heart for all to see. It has been hard to sit in the uncomfortable feeling of choosing vulnerability. I am not a fan of feeling out of control, but who is?

It has been a hard journey in confronting the weight of my fears. However, in the midst of those heavy places, I have heard his gentle whisper repeating, “faithful.” This is a word I crave to wash over my wounded heart. My fears are founded on experiencing the opposite.

The word “unfaithful” is often used in association with relationships and marital affairs. I wish different for so many people who have experienced the depth of this word. I wish I could change the wounds inflicted by this word. Unfortunately, our world exemplifies this word too often. The power of unfaithfulness is most deeply experienced within relationships.

Unfaithfulness is also known as being faithless. Faithless is becoming the new normal of our culture. Faithless can be defined as lacking consistentancy or loyalty. We lack the value of being true to our word. It is nearly impossible to place your trust in a faithless people.

A long time ago I made a decision to place my faith in God. I am realizing just how faithless I am/have been. The story of Hosea is one of the most hopeful stories for me. God called a man named Hosea to take on a prostitute as his wife. God wanted to use a human illustration of redemption as a result of our unfaithfulness to him. So Hosea married Gomer, (I might’ve gone with my middle name if I were Gomer, but that’s just me.) With in this extreme love story, Hosea fought for Gomer’s heart the way God stands in the gap for ours every day.

I am too much like Gomer. I am a person who has a hard time believing that love is for me. I have battles raging in my heart as I try and pry off my fingers of control. I am great at being faithful to me. In those times, I turn my back on God. I am faithless when I dismiss love and crowm myself unworthy. I choose unfaithfulness when I head down the road of self-sufficiency. I challenge God’s motives for my life. Sometimes I wait to see how long he will stay.

How much? How long Lord? He stretches out his arms and says, “eternity.

I change, he does not. I walk away, and he pursues. I tantrum, he waits. I identify myself with being worthless, but he hung on a cross to crown me as worth dying for. To the faithful, and faithless, he shows himself faithful. I exhale in that.

As the mess of me surfaces and fights, I hope to know faith more than I ever have before. I desire to be a faithful person. I want my character to be associated with faithfulness. I value so much when people consider me trustworthy. I am learning that God is also saying, “I, too, desire to be those things for you.”

Faithfulness is worth fighting for, because that is how God fights for us.

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It is so hard to be in a place of wanting. Wanting for me looks like being in a different place of life, doing something different, restless, craving good and deep relationships, and just wanting some peace. Wanting is also the place where I have the most potential to experience failing. Wanting is not a bad thing. These wantings are filled with dreams and hopes for a life I desire. However, I can battle with forcing these wantings to happen outside of the timing and desires of God. It’s in those times I wander out on my own, that I experience failure.

I love relationships. I love people and experiencing life with others. I love doing life with people. I value friendship more than anything else in my life. I am wired to be an extravert. The more people the better. I love new people, random encounters with people, and long lasting good friendships. I have a big smile on my face just thinking about that.

As much as I value people, I know that I have a tendency to put relationship in the place of God. I can coast on the great feelings of friendship instead just giving gratitude to the one who gave me the friends. I am so aware that my closer friendships can tell tales of a lot of failure for me.

Failure comes with red flags. When I find myself wandering off the road of what God desires for my friendships red flags surface. The red flags of potential failure in friendships can look like: placing to much weight on my friends words rather than the Lords truth, caring more about what my friends think rather than what scripture says, seeking out approval and identity from others rather than the truth in him that never changes.

Experiencing encouragement from friends is awesome. Being built up from your relationships are a breath of fresh air. But once I cross over to depending on my friendships to full fill me or satisfy me, delight turns to demand. Relationships will fail under those circumstances. I will always fail to be someone else’s all in all. Others will fail me when I put them in the place where God should be.

Failure is a gift from God. Failure is a reminder of a need for redirection. Failure is not meant to get you down or to make you feel like you are worthless. Failing is the nudge from the one who cares about your heart enough to redirect you.

I am learning to appreciate the nudge from him. I am learning to say, “oh, that didn’t work for a reason, I need some redirection.

What are your red flags that might mean redirection?

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