46 things I’ve learned from 2013

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  1. Give things time.
  2. Even when you want to- don’t burn bridges. Take the higher road.
  3. Everyone must give account of their actions someday to God.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Just because things don’t go the way you’ve planned doesn’t mean you get to skip out on your calling. It hasn’t changed, and neither has God.
  6. Write everything down. Everything.
  7. You need soul-rest. Get alone, sit and have a hot drink with Jesus.
  8. God is always a step ahead of you. Because he transcends time he’s behind you, with you, and taking care of the future.
  9. Take a bath, hippie! {no seriously… it’s therapeutic.}
  10. Don’t write people off. Even though it’s hard. If you don’t make friends with messy sinners… you’ll never have any friends.
  11. Prayer is important- but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. It’s useless if you don’t read God’s love letter- the Bible.
  12. “They can’t drive you crazy if they don’t have a key.”
  13. Life’s not controllable. As soon as you realize this the easier it gets.
  14. God’s not silent, we just don’t listen.
  15. The only person you can “fix” is you.
  16. Don’t see yourself through anyone’s eyes but Your Savior’s. Any negative voices are not from Him. He corrects, but never puts down. His yoke is easy, his burden light.
  17. God promised in this life we’d have trials, and that does mean people will not treat you well. Pray before you react. Grace will flow out of you.
  18. Grace is a gift, not a cop-out.
  19. Even the people who’ve wronged you are more similar to you than you realize. Give them grace, because you mess up, too.
  20. Take it one step at a time.
  21. Being a good critic doesn’t mean you have to be critical.
  22. Sometime try looking at your behaviors through the eyes of who you live with. It’s eye-opening.
  23. In the midst of painful times don’t forget to laugh and have a good time with your loved ones, because this life is short. Even if it hurts, laugh.
  24. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not ready to work for God. He’s given you every tool in your toolbox and equipped you already. Just look, it’s there.
  25. We’re more selfish than we even realize.
  26. Stress kills. The word of God breathes new life.
  27. Dare to ask God not for prosperity but just your daily bread. If He blesses you with more- give it all away.
  28. Everything we have is just borrowed from God anyway.
  29. Wisdom is to be sought after- but don’t ever think your ‘lil train has arrived at Saint-Wise-Station. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8.
  30. Find the little things you enjoy, and make room for those things.
  31. Even if your job’s your calling… don’t let it become your everything because eventually it will disappoint and drain you. The only One who should be your life = Jesus.
  32. Sometimes being an adult means you just plain won’t get your way.
  33. Learn to take compliments. Just say “thank you”. It’s not prideful, it’s true!
  34. There is nothing new under the sun.
  35. You can’t take a clean house or empty sink into Heaven with you.
  36. You don’t have to prove yourself. God says you are worth dying for.
  37. Comparison is the thief of joy.
  38. You may be right, but are you righteous? {Tweet this!}
  39. In a culture that hates silence (Introverts are “diagnosed” and dead-air is avoided at all costs): dare to sit quietly. It’s prized by God.
  40. Opinions are everywhere, there is only one that matters. Don’t forget to ask Him what He thinks.
  41. Wear out your Bible. Cover to cover and over and over again. You’re going to meet the one who wrote it someday.
  42. Get a hobby. Seriously. You know who didn’t have a hobby? Kim Jong-il.
  43. Sometimes even after immense healing and progress…. tiny words still hurt your feelings, anxiety ravishes your mind, & depression can still seep through the cracks. Don’t give up. There is a war in the Spiritual realm- but we’ve read the last Chapter of the book and we know who wins.
  44. The best gift is your time. For God your Savior, but also for your loved ones.
  45. Speakers, leaders, pastors and worship pastors are just people. Don’t ever take their word for it. Read, read, read God’s word. Drink it in.
  46. For now we see through a glass dimly… but someday we will meet Him face-to-face.

Missing Out

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You know, sometimes we have been attending worship services for so long, we forget what worshiping God means.

Let’s think outside what we have assumed (that worship time means singing songs), because in that small mindset, we are missing out.

*I used to miss out. I was really cynical about worship music, and would pick and choose what I liked and didn’t like. I was missing out. I didn’t understand the purpose of corporate worship. I can’t tell you with words strong enough the change it made in my relationship with God when I started really worshiping God. I started worshiping not just when my preferences were met – but all the time. I set aside that Sunday morning corporate time as just for Him. I’m still learning this as we speak.

If we don’t get this- we have poverty of spirit- our relationship with God suffers. We miss:

1. Closeness with God. He demands our worship. It starts as early as Exodus when Moses was used by God to deliver Israel from Pharaoh’s rule, God said in His word that they worshiped in a huge party, my version said the word “a festival” of praise.

2. Joy– God says in the Bible that our joy is fulfilled through worshiping Him.

Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 63:3, “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”

3. Edifying of the believers. Edify means to instruct and improve. How can our faith in our God be nourished if we just sing songs?

Colossians 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

1 Corinthians 5:4, “So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present.”

The challenge: focus in on what it is God desires from you today. Just thank Him in any posture or any words that best fit your relationship with Him. Ask Him to cloud out distractions and ask God to speak tenderly to your heart what it is He desires out of your worship. 

You are loving, You are wise
There is nothing in my life You cannot revive
You are loving, You are wise
There is nothing too hard for our God

God, are you listening?

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I’ve been asking a lot of questions to God lately, writing them in my prayer journal.

One night before I had to lead worship, I was feeling like a piece of crap. Really. Like I couldn’t do anything right, like no one liked me, alone.

The worst part is I was listening to so many other voices that were putting Brittany down that I mistook them for God not listening. I was angry with Him. I begged and pleaded with Him, “Why don’t you speak to me like others? Why can’t I hear you? Why don’t I have what others have?” That night, I cried for a while and finally fell asleep (my husband didn’t know what to do with me). I felt rested when I awoke, but I remembered hearing whispering all night long. Almost like the Holy Spirit (or at first I mistook Him for my subconscious) was whispering all night that I am loved, and special, and cut out to do this. That I do have what it takes. I sat up and started crying and shaking because I felt the presence of God- for real.

And then, of course I was all, “Oh I’m SO SORRY God! No, like REALLY! How messed up am I? How are you even using me. You are so wonderful, and big, and strong.”

I needed major encouragement this week, especially yesterday. I’m still so out of my element in the Texas culture, and the area, the roads, the style of everything that happens here in oil country. I prayed and asked for comfort. Simple.

I kind of doubted and also forgot. I doubted myself majorly as I prepared this week. I doubted myself as I was about to lead. And I just had to say, “God, I know you made me right. I know you made me for this. I know you look upon whatever skills I do posses and think they’re beautiful. It’s just not sinking in to my heart. Please, please– help me.”

And the most wonderful thing happened. God used several different individuals throughout the day to let me know how they worshiped, what they felt, how it spoke to them. The message was cut out for me about growing where you are planted (you ever have one of those days where you’re convinced the preacher’s a prophet who God sent specifically for you?). Then the missionary’s wife seemed to have this God-connection to my spirit and she kept walking around chatting with others and then looking me in the eye and saying, “Sweetie you are great. Be braver. You have a gift. God is using you. And it will only keep getting better, He will keep using you.” I struggled that day, “God, I know I’m supposed to be here but it’s hard. How do I grow where I am planted?”

We need to understand that the Kingdom of Heaven’s work that is being done here on earth doesn’t look like the American dream where if you don’t have a slew of “successful” experiences on your resume, God can use you. God uses the weak to not only lead the strong— but to blow their expectations out of the water and to use that weak one as an example of how truly big God is.

God listens to us all the time. Don’t let your prayer life be like that person who never shuts up about themselves. Tell God some things about how great He is. Recount out loud or in writing all the things He’s done for you.

Most importantly, I’m learning to wait for His response- patiently. I/we are quick to tell God he doesn’t answer when we’re not really listening.

Ask him to do whatever it takes to wake you up to this reality. It’s scary yet awesome what His response is.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-7

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:19-21