Who am I?
It’s the age-old question that everyone has asked themselves at some point in their lives. Perhaps we don’t always question it out loud. But in our hearts? Yes, our hearts can echo this question loudly.
I understand, because sometimes I wonder about my identity too.
Finding the truth about who you are in the midst of a culture that daily tries to tell you who they think you are, is a lot more complicated than it may seem. The world says that our identity is based off of what we’ve done or what has been done to us.
Did someone profess to love us and then break our heart? Then, we must be unlovable. Did we make a bad decision and it changed everything? Then, we are guilty. Have we been ignored or treated like we have no value? Then, surely we are worthless. These labels placed on us by others—and also by ourselves—begin to shape how we view our identity.
But if these things don’t define us, then what does? And if the world can’t tell us who we really are, then who can?
When we become children of God, by accepting His free gift of salvation, everything changes. Now our identity is shaped entirely by the One who created us, according to His grace.
Happy Monday, friends!
Today, I have a very special post for you. My dear friend, Olivia Bell has been so kind as to allow me to use her most recent article titled, "Dreams," as a guest post here on the blog. I was very touched by her words, and believe you will be too. I would love if you'd take a moment just to comment at the bottom and thank Olivia for sharing her heart with us today! :)
One more quick note: Olivia founded her own e-magazine for young ladies (as you'll read in the article), and if you would like to sign up to receive it, just please simply fill out the contact form below and I'll pass that on to her. :) You'll love the magazine, trust me!
(Olivia is also a columnist in my monthly e-magazine, The King's Princess, and if you want to subscribe to that, please click here.)
So without further ado, here is Olivia Bell's article...
We all have dreams that we hold onto tightly inside our hearts, dreams we cherish and think about every single day. I want to talk about those dreams because I am just like you; I had dreams in my heart that I wanted to make happen. But there was one little problem, or more like a big problem.
I thought I should wait.
I thought of my dreams; starting my own business, beginning a magazine to encourage and inspire Christian girls, and write my first Christian fiction novel. As I thought of these around the ages of 15 and 16, I thought, “I can’t do them now, I have to do school. I think I’ll just wait and do them once I graduate…” And so I didn’t make my dreams happen, I put them on the back burner with the thought of “someday” I’d make them happen. Now that I look back on it, why did I think that? Life is a gift, each day we have we cannot take for granted because we are never guaranteed a tomorrow. But still I waited.
Then something a friend said changed my whole outlook on my dreams.
She said something along the lines of, “Why waste your entire life thinking that ‘someday I will chase that dream of mine, someday I will do what I’ve always wanted to and feel called to do’, all the while wasting the years of your life until one day ‘someday’ is too late.” I felt as if she were speaking right to me in that article and it really hit home for me. She also mentioned that our youth is a gift; these years will not last forever. Look at David; he killed a giant with three stones in his youth!
So, one day I decided something. I wasn’t going to wait until I finished school; I wasn’t going to wait until ‘someday’ to make my dreams come true. With the Lord, I was going to make my dreams come true right here and now and stop wasting my life waiting for that ‘someday’.
I started out on the journey of following the dreams that the Lord had laid on my heart. The Lord opened a door for me to start my own craft business called, “Olivia Rose Originals ~ A Beautifully Handmade Crafts Company”. I was thrilled to be able to share my creations with others and to see them enjoy the things I had made.
Then along came another dream.
After contributing to numerous Christian magazines over the years, I had cultivated my love of writing. I found that expressing my heart and thoughts on paper (or computer screen) was how I was best able to convey my messages. I loved the Christian magazines I read and contributed to, and in my heart a small dream was forming like a tiny flower bud in spring before it burst into a beautiful bloom.
I wanted to start my own magazine.
This dream came along probably about a year ago and I decided on the name of “Sisters of Salvation” for my magazine. I do not remember exactly what happened, but I think the same old familiar excuse arose not shortly after. I decided to wait until I finished school. But, even though I was putting off my dream, I think it was the Lord’s way of saying, “Not yet, wait for My perfect timing.” It wasn’t until May of this year when my mom mentioned that I should start my own magazine (she now says she always knew as I wrote all the articles for other magazines that I would start my own someday) that I felt the Lord saying it was the right time to start the magazine. And now look where He has taken me! When I was just starting to bring together my ideas and plan how I would distribute this magazine, I never knew that in just 2 issues I would have such an amazing team of columnists and photographers, along with a large group of subscribers in such a short period of time. “Christ’s Light Magazine ~Shining Bright in a Dark World” was born. The journey that the Lord has taken me on with this magazine has been such a wonderful one and hearing from my readers that they have been encouraged and inspired by it really makes my day every single time. I am so glad I followed the dream the Lord gave me of starting a magazine, because this magazine really is not mine at all. Jesus made it happen and it is His for Him to use for His ultimate glory and honor.
I had one more dream though. A dream of being published.
I have been writing a continual Christian fiction story for the magazine, “The King’s Princess” for around a year and a half now. I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast and that I am now on part 12 of the story that Lord placed on my heart to share. From the beginning of that story I had dreamed of one day combining and lengthening each part to form a novel, and it wasn’t until recently that I was inspired to put this dream into action by that same dear friend with the same words she had spoken before. Why was I waiting until I finished school? This friend is my role model, an author who writes books that touch my heart and soul in many more ways than one; she is the one who inspires me time and time again. I thought of her, having published her very first book at the age of 18, and I thought, “Why can I not do that? She didn’t keep her dreams bundled up until the day she finished school; she stepped out with Jesus and made her dream happen.” I knew in my heart Jesus wanted me to write a book, and my dear friend was just the right person to inspire me to make it happen. I am now in the process of lengthening and combining each part of my story into a Christian fiction novel that I am hoping and praying every day to be able to self-publish when it is finished. The Lord is making my dreams come true, and He used that dear friend to be His messenger to inspire me to step out and make them happen. I am forever grateful and thankful to Him for making my dreams come true and for bringing that friend into my life in the fall of 2015. She is my dearest friend and constant encouragement, she has never let adversity in her own life pull her down and crush her dreams. She has overcome a lot of things in her life, very hard things, things that would crush me, and how she has every single time trusted the Lord and overcome them has been the biggest inspiration to me. I look up to her, she is my source of inspiration and encouragement, she will never know how much she has affected my life and inspired me to dream with Jesus. My dear friend, you know who you are, I thank you for being you, the one and only you that the Lord brought into my life to inspire me to do big things for Him. I love you.
And now I am following Jesus on my biggest dream of all. A dream of becoming a missionary to the African country of Uganda. I know in my heart that the Lord has called me to be a missionary there, and I pray every single day about it. That same friend knows in her heart that the Lord has called her to Uganda as well, she has known from a very young age where as I have only known I am called there for about a year or so now. What are the “odds” that I would have just happened to find a friend who shares the same calling as I do? There are no “odds”; it was the Lord at work in my life working out His master plan. I pray, pray, and pray some more that soon my friend and I will be able to go and serve together in the beautiful country of Uganda. I know the Lord has big plans for us, but you know something else?
He has big plans for you, too.
So take those dreams you are holding in your heart that you know are from the Lord, take them and with Jesus make them happen! Don’t waste your life waiting for that ‘someday’, do it now—today. The Lord is only waiting for you to step out; will you take His hand and let Him lead you on that incredible journey?
Olivia Bell is The King’s Princess magazine columnist for the “Story Nook”, writing a continuation to her on-going book each month. She also has her own column entitled, “Serving the Lord from Craft Room to Kitchen” where monthly she shares a how-to craft tutorial from her own studio or a delicious recipe straight from her kitchen. She frequently publishes articles according to the magazine’s monthly theme, or to what the Lord is leading her to write.
Olivia is a young lady in her teens, residing in the Pacific North West. Some of her many interests include: reading God’s Word, reading and writing articles for Christian magazines, making creations for her small craft business, baking and cooking treats, photographing nature, writing letters to her many pen-pals and publishing her own, free bi-monthly Christian magazine for girls titled “Christ’s Light Magazine ~ Shining Bright In A Dark World”. To subscribe, please contact her below. She aspires to acclaim Christ’s glory and honor through everything she set’s her pen to.
This has always been one of my favorite words.
I would scribble it down on paper, using it to try out new letter art. Or I would buy notebooks and wall art that read that word. It was always just a pretty expression, a beautiful string of four letters. But there was also something special about them. I knew they were meant to always help me remember: Hope is my anchor.
Yet there are times now when I look at this word and I wonder how. I wonder why.
How can you have hope when everything is crashing around you?
Why should you hold onto hope when you don’t get what you prayed for?
I don’t understand. I don’t know how I can hold onto hope when things turn upside down.
I look around at a suffering world—a world where things most certainly aren’t as I think they should be—and I ask God why. Why so much pain?
My heart aches inside as I scroll through pictures of the destruction in Texas from the recent Hurricane Harvey. I feel heavy as I look through death tolls and areas of flooding. How can we have hope in this? I question.
I flip through the TV channels and watch as everyone talks anxiously about the hurricane getting ready to hit Florida in only a few short hours. I know people who have to evacuate and might lose their homes. I watch the TV screen as people rush to the stores to get supplies and try desperately to prepare for a storm that they can’t control. Can they find hope here?
My faith feels so small when looking at these things. These storms I can’t stop from killing innocent lives and destroying homes. What’s Your plan here, God? I want to ask.
Maybe…maybe that’s it.
We want to know His whole plan because clearly things aren’t going according to ours and we need an explanation. If He would only tell us why, we believe we will then understand. But how? For: “’My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
His ways, His thoughts, His plans…they’re all so much higher than my own. He can see the whole, grand tapestry when I can only see a small, simple piece of it.
Okay, yes, He has a plan, but…
There’s always that “but” because we so desperately want an answer when faced with such unimaginable grief.
After all: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
One of the most commonly quoted verses in the Bible. God’s plans for us include good. They include hope. But how in all of this?
I still don’t understand. And then I look at Isaiah 43:2 and it tells me, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Quickly reading it, my first thought is, “Great, so God’s telling us that those bad things won’t come near us and we won’t have to deal with them, so…why are we?”
But no. I read it again.
That’s not what He’s saying at all.
He says…when you pass through the waters…when you walk through the fire.
What? Where is the hope in this passage? What hope can all of the victims of these massive hurricanes hold onto?
And that’s when I see it.
The hope--the promise—it’s right there. It’s right there, shining beautiful in the midst of the pain…
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
There it is.
I catch my breath as it hits me. Our hope is not that bad things will not happen. Our hope is not that we will be spared from the waters or the fire—all those things that threaten to break us inside. No.
Our hope is so much greater. Our hope is that even in the bad things happening around us, He is with us. Our hope is that He will never leave us. Our hope is that God has a good, good plan for our lives and, even when we don’t understand, nothing in this world can destroy that plan. This takes my breath away. The hope God is giving us has nothing to do with outside circumstances—things that change like the tides.
The hope God is giving to us is a steadfast hope. Some of the definitions or synonyms for steadfast are: firm and unwavering, reliable, constant, steady.
This hope does not change because our God, the author of our true hope and faith, does not change. (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 12:2) He is our Hope!
And that’s when we know.
Whatever comes our way, whatever struggle or pain lies ahead, we know we will be okay. We will come out unbroken because our God stands with us. He is working good in our story—even in the pain—and even if we don’t understand the purpose until heaven.
If you are a victim of Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma, my heart aches for you. I can’t possibly understand what you’re going through, but I hope to encourage you by pointing you to the One who does understand. He understands every bit of your pain and looking at your pain, He weeps with you (John 11:33-35).
When you walk through the water or through the fire, take heart. He is with you. He will never let you go.
Hold onto your Hope, beloved.
*Florida, my prayers are with you tonight. God, give you strength. ♥
By far the best decision I ever made in my teenage years was to spend time in the Word of God.
I grew up in a Christian home, by the grace of God, and my mother always made Bible time a first priority in our household. Being homeschooled, Bible lessons were the first task of every day.
However, I believe that it is necessary and extremely vital to every young person's life to learn how to develop good Bible study habits on their own. It's important to create a quiet time between just you and God to actually study His Word and learn more about Him.
You can never expect to grow in a relationship, unless you invest in that relationship. If you don't invest in your relationship with God, you will not grow to be more like Him.
With that being said, the question remains: How do you study the Bible on your own? What does true Bible study mean? And where can you get tools to study on your own?
To help answer these questions, I've put together a small list of tools to help you.
1. Blue Letter Bible. If you get nothing else out of this post, at least notice this. Check out Blue Letter Bible. Like seriously, just do it. I discovered Blue Letter Bible my last year participating in the National Bible Bee (more about that later), and it is incredible. Although I used it for my study during the competition, I have continued to use BLB since in my own study, especially since I downloaded their app on my iPhone. BLB has access to so many different resources, Greek/Hebrew words and definitions, commentaries, etc. Check them out.
2. Bible Study Tools. This website resource is a great help because it has devotionals, blogs, reading plans, study tools. You name it and you can probably find it on Bible Study Tools! I use this resource a lot when studying topics for my books/articles.
3. Sermon Audio. Sermons are a great way to enhance your Bible study and help with your comprehension of what you're learning. I use Sermon Audio a lot, because you can search on the website whatever topic you're studying and it will bring up every sermon they have on that topic. Super easy to use and super fun too!
4. Commentaries. Very similar to sermons, but commentaries are more for those who prefer to read instead of listen. I love commentaries and my favorites are from Warren Wiersbe and John MacArthur. You can check out your local Christian bookstore or search online to find their commentaries.
5. YouVersion Bible app. I love this app! If you have a smart phone or other electronic device and want a great Bible app, download YouVersion. You can read the Bible in your version preference and even highlight your favorite parts. They have a "verse of the day," and you can make picture art with the verses too. My favorite part about the app however are their reading plans from some of the most popular Christian authors today.
6. Get connected. This may not necessarily be an exact resource, but it is a tool that you need in your spiritual walk and as you grow in your Bible study. In order to succeed in your resolve to develop daily spiritual disciplines, you are going to need to be connected with others seeking the same goals. Join a Bible study from your church, get your friends together for ice cream and Bible discussion, join an online Bible study community. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you get connected with others so you have that accountability to keep pressing on.
7. The National Bible Bee. Of course, you knew it was coming. Could you really get through a post on Bible study from Isabella Morganthal and not hear about this? ;) Participating in the Bible Bee was not only influential, but also monumental in my walk with God during my teenage years. If you are between the ages of 7-18, get involved with the Bible Bee next summer and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.
I stared at the email and felt my stomach drop.
Not again...I blinked back tears as I sank into the pillows on my bed. I had tried so hard, only to fail. Again.
I had just received a rejection email from a popular online blog/forum where I had submitted an article in hopes of getting published and growing my platform. It was my seventh rejection between a few different online platforms, and the rejection stung.
I've tried so hard. What am I doing wrong? I wondered to myself. In frustration, I sighed and whispered aloud, "Maybe you're just not meant for this after all."
But the truth is that, what I saw as a failure and rejection, is actually God's preparation for what comes next in my life.
And you too, friend.
That dream you think is a failure, and you're too afraid to try it again because you don't want to fail twice? Or that rejection you thought would shatter your heart if you were faced with it again? They are merely God's way of preparing you for whatever wonderful thing He has coming next. And trust me, it's going to be wonderful.
I know it can be easy to want to give up. I know it can be easy to just walk away from your dream or your calling. But here are three reasons why you absolutely can't do that...
1) Your breakthrough is coming. It's been said that Thomas Edison failed around 1,000 times before his invention of the light bulb worked. Can you imagine what would've happened if he would've given up after 100 or 700 or even 1,000 times right before it succeeded? He never knew what would happen with his next attempt. Maybe he would fail again, or maybe it would be the time he would succeed. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty glad he never gave up. Same with you. You have no way of knowing if your next attempt at that dream, or that plan, or that calling, is going to be the time you succeed. So you can't give up now. Your breakthrough will come. You just have to hold on long enough to reach it. Maybe it won't look the same as you planned. Maybe the success will be completely different from how you dreamed. But God does have a plan more perfect than you could ever imagine. So keep fighting for it.
2) Failure makes us appreciate success that much more. Earlier this summer, I was having some health issues and we wondered if it was related to a food allergy. Because of this I went on a gluten and dairy free diet for two weeks. During this time, I could not eat any of my favorite foods (which all happen to include cheese or bread. Pizza anyone?), and instead I had to learn to eat foods I wasn't really thrilled about. But you know what? At the end of the two weeks, when I was able to go off of the diet and eat my favorite foods again, that pizza never tasted so good. So it is with your failure and your success. If all you did was succeed and achieve every goal you ever set, you would not appreciate it nearly as much as if you fought for that success. Perseverance in the face of failure is so hard, but the best part? When that dream or that plan finally comes true, your celebration is going to be sweeter than anything you've ever imagined.
3) Someone is counting on you to fulfill your calling. If God has placed a dream or calling in your heart, I can guarantee you that He did not place it there by accident. I can guarantee you that God did not just give you a calling or vision for some random reason. He knows what He is doing in our lives. He knows what He's doing in your life. If you face rejection or failure with the dream or vision He has given you, please don't give up. Someone in this world is counting on you to do exactly as God has called you to. Someone out there needs to hear what you have to say. Someone out there needs to receive the encouragement you have to offer. Someone out there needs to be reminded that they matter and maybe you will be the only person to remind them. So when you're ready to give up? Think about that someone. And then keep pressing on. In spite of the failure. In spite of the fear. In spite of the hurt. In spite of the rejection. Keep going.
Don't you dare quit now.
I'm cheering you on.
Today I have a super exciting, special announcement for all the girls following my blog!
*Tosses around some confetti and hands you a cupcake*
First of all, if you've never heard of Morning Glory Ministries and their blog, please go check them out now! Second of all, Morning Glory is getting ready to release their first ever devotional e-book, "30 Days of Surrender" releasing on AUGUST 21, 2017!! Whoo-hoo! I'm so excited about this release because I had the honor of being a part of this project and contributing to the devotional!
30 Days of Surrender is a daily devotional e-book created for teen girls to encourage them to surrender every area of their lives to Jesus. Each day the writer of that day's devotional talks about an area of your life to give over and surrender.
Being a part of this devotional project really touched my life, by working in my heart through the writing I contributed to the project. I'm so excited, I can't wait for release day, and I hope you will join us on this 30 day surrendering adventure by buying 30 Days of Surrender when it releases on August 21!!
To get you even more excited for the release day, today I have a special interview with the founder of Morning Glory Ministries and the mastermind behind this project, Anastasis Faith. :)
Bella: Welcome to my blog, Anna! I’m so excited to have you join us today. To start off this little interview, please share with us just a little bit more about yourself, so readers can get to know you better!
Anastasis: Thanks so much for having me, Bella! My goal is to seek to know my Savior. Because of that, I am passionate about encouraging girls to pursue Jesus with their whole heart. A promise in Scripture that gives me so much hope is Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” What a joy to know that God promises to be found by those who seek Him.
Bella: Please, share with us a little bit more about your ministry, Morning Glory. Why did you start it?
Anastasis: I believe I was nine when I decided I wanted to do teen girl discipleship. ;) Obviously I was too young, but God grew me through those years until I started the Daily Devotional three and a half years ago. It grew exponentially from there, leading to the start of the blog about two years ago. I started it because I wanted a platform through which I could encourage teen and tween girls with my writing.
Bella: That's wonderful! When did you first get the idea to begin the 30 Days of Surrender E-book project? What has been the most important thing you have learned through the process of leading this project?
Anastasis: Last Christmas I was brainstorming ideas for an ebook. That one popped into my head. I emailed my friends to see if they were interested in collaborating. No one seemed interested. Then I re-emailed over spring break and since then God has been working miracles to bring this to fruition! The biggest thing I have learned—shocker—is the importance of surrender. When things were moving slow with this project, when this summer turned out to be INSANE, when I was working full time, God taught me surrender. I wanted this project to launch. I wanted to have time to work on all these things. Often, after long days at work, energy was my biggest prayer! God has been teaching me most about surrendering my plans and my time. My original hope was for a June 1 launch. That sounds hilarious now. But God has taught me so much. What a ride it has been!
Bella: What is the most important thing that you want readers to take away from this daily devotional?
Anastasis: My biggest prayer is that readers will learn to trust and obey. That’s what I’m learning. Humanity’s biggest problem is chronic unbelief. We do not believe who God says He is. If we truly believed that He is who He says He is, our lives would look very, very different. Surrendering is about trusting that God is who He says He is and then obeying, despite our ideas of what is best.
Bella: That is so powerful! Thank you so much for sharing. Now, what is your favorite Bible verse and why?
Anastasis: Jeremiah 29:13 is one, as aforementioned. Also is Philippians 1:6, which promises that God will finish what He started in me. I need that promise so often! :) And finally Psalm 119:10, “With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments.” That last verse is my daily prayer. Jeremiah 29:13 is my daily promise. And Philippians 1:6 is my daily hope.
Bella: To end, please share with us links to connect with you on social media, as well as a link to your website, and where readers can purchase the 30 Days of Surrender e-book when it releases. :)
Anastasis: Definitely! Thank you so much for interviewing me!
My website is MorningGloryPursuingJesus.blogspot.com and 30 Days of Surrender will be available there.
My Instagram is @AnastasisFaith. Thank you!
Bella: Thanks so much for joining us today, Anna! I can’t wait to see what God does with this special project. ♥
Don't forget to purchase your own e-book copy of 30 Days of Surrender on August 21!!
Growing up, I went through so many phases of different things that I wanted to be when I "was older."
A professional ice skater. Thankfully, I realized I was too clumsy for that.
Show jumper on my own horse in the Olympics. I held onto this one a bit longer, but this too I eventually let go of when my horse obsession faded, and God placed a special calling on my life.
A lawyer. Nah, too much college.
A chef. That is until I realized I not only can't cook, but I also strongly dislike it.
So many different ideas, goals, and ambitions.
But the one thing I've always wanted to be in the depths of my heart that has never changed?
I decided that from the moment I held a pen and discovered that I could use it to create stories and worlds that were my own. I knew it from the moment my creativity first got the best of me and I ached to develop characters that only my mind could see. I understood it more clearly from the first time my fingers touched my shiny new keyboard of my first laptop.
From the time I was eight years old, I knew God made me to write.
Of course, I've been writing pretty much since I could hold a pen. But when I was eight? Well, everything changed.
A simple creative writing assignment for homeschool turned into a story that I couldn't get enough of. I had to write more, I had to tell more about the life of this girl I had created on my own. Would anyone read it? Probably not. But did I care? Nope. All I cared about was writing.
Soon enough, however, I ached for others to read my writing. I dreamed of the day I could write and hundreds of people would read it. I dreamed of the day I could type out a blog post and get a response. I dreamed of the day people would hold my words in printed form, the way I held and cherished others books. I dreamed of the day when my writing would not only impact other's lives, but inspire them too.
And if you would've told my young self that I would be standing here today, I might not have believed you.
Writing has been my life and my dream for so many years, that it has become a part of me. Writing is no longer something that I do. But being a writer is who I am.
I'll be the first to tell you...although it is the love of my life, writing is far from easy.
Writing is hard. Writing is messy. Writing is frustrating. And sometimes writing makes me want to give up.
For anyone who thinks that writing is a simple, easy, or small task, you are wrong. To think that writing is an easy job is to be severely misled. Writing is the hardest job that I've ever had.
Yet I would never trade writing for any other job in the world.
With that being said, this is for you...the writer. These are my words to remind you why what you are writing is so very, very important.
You see, maybe you feel like giving up. Maybe you feel like your writing isn't important because you honestly aren't reaching that many people. Maybe you assume you could never make money off of your writing, so you should pursue something else instead. Maybe you think your writing doesn't really matter in the end.
And you, my friend, would be wrong.
Writing is going to take everything you have. But it's going to be worth it.
Yeah, maybe not many people do read what you write. But you know what? Write anyway. You have no idea the impact you could make on the person who does read what you share.
Your writing is important, because writing is a gift from God.
God is the Master Storyteller. He has written the greatest Story of all time throughout history and He made you a part of that story. He is the King of creativity. If God has given you the gift and the calling to write, you must realize the importance of this calling. Every word you right has the possibility of changing someone's life. Sometimes you may hear about the impact your words made, but often you won't.
Your writing is important, because it is your responsibility to give back to God what He has given to you.
He has given you this gift. He has given you this calling. Using your writing for anything less than His glory would be a shame.
Your writing is important, because you have something to say.
The burning message in your heart that you want others to hear? That matters. The words you ache for others to read? They matter. Don't let anyone--especially yourself--tell you otherwise.
I'm telling you right now...what you have to say is important.
So go out and say it.
So maybe today held some things you weren't expecting?
Or maybe everything changed so suddenly you were left wondering how 24 hours could change so much. And maybe you feel so exhausted you don't know what to do next.
Yeah, bravery takes a lot of strength.
It's hard. Being brave, being full of courage, is just downright hard. And some days?
Well, some days we just don't have the strength to face it all.
Because sometimes the scariest thought of all is stepping into what's unknown.
Embracing the unknown moments of tomorrow seems scary enough, but embracing the unknown moments of next month or next year? Nope, no thank you. That takes too much brave.
Sweet soul reading these words right now, I didn't break into your Wednesday evening to tell you a list of ways to step up and do the right thing even when you're scared. I didn't write this post to show you all the ways you could be brave but aren't.
I wrote this as a reminder.
A reminder that brave is your middle name.
Because no matter what you may feel about who you are, it can never change or take away the truth about Whose you are. And the One to whom you belong? Well, I can promise you that He's big enough for any scary moment that tomorrow or your next moment holds.
So yeah that scary step you're not sure you should take? That courage you're not sure you can muster up to step into the unknown?
Take a deep breath and this, this is what I want you to always remember.
You are brave because He is brave in you. And with your God you can scale any wall of fear in your path (Psalm 18:29), and with your God you can defeat any Goliath standing in your way (1 Samuel 17:45-46).
You are brave. You are strong. He has given you just enough courage for this moment.
You got this.
But you can't give up, okay?
God's warriors don't quit and they don't give up. They keep going--they keep on being brave--even when it's hard.
It'll all be worth it in the end.
Let Him be the brave inside of you today, dear brave you.
*I'm linking up with Holley Gerth in her blog linkup this week, and you can check out her lovely post by clicking the button below and also view the other encouraging posts linked as well!*
Hello, lovely followers!
Soooo, as you may have noticed my blog has had quite a bit of revamping done. ;) What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new format and look! If you get the chance there's a short survey below. :)
With that being said, I wanted to do a little bit of celebrating on the blog today (we've got a new look and everything, so why not celebrate the blog altogether?)! Did you know that as of today I've published 119 posts since June 11, 2015?! Wow! Praise God! ♥ And thank you, my faithful readers, for continuing to support me and encourage me all this time. I appreciate you!
So without further ado, here are my top favorite posts from the last two years! :) I hope you enjoy them too. Feel free to comment below and let me know YOUR favorite post I've done! I love hearing from you.
They got it, but I didn't.
I didn't mention who or what, but I bet a name and situation came to your mind when you read that sentence.
You see, we can all view life kind of like a competition.
They get the promotion first, so we put them down to heal our disappointment. They are prettier than we are, so we feel the need to make ourselves look better. They have the talent we want, so we criticize to make ourselves feel better.
We think that we have to compete in life to get what we want, and if they get it first, then we lost. And that can leave us feeling a whole lot of broken inside.
Girls, it's easy for us to do this, isn't it? It's easy for us to compete and strive for a level of perfection that we will never achieve. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect face, the perfect husband, the perfect dream. But when she gets it first? Look out.
Instead of continuing after what God has set before us, we get distracted by all the things that glitter. All the things the world says we must compete for.
But you know what, beautiful soul?
Life is not a competition.
And you are not competing against anyone.
You're not competing against your neighbor, your best friend, or the pretty girl you run into at the grocery store. Do you want to know why?
Well, let me share with you three areas we tend to compete in the most...
1) Pain is not a competition. Every single person you have ever met has faced some form of pain in their life. I know that you, reading this right now, have faced pain. Because sin is in this world, there will always be pain. There is no way to avoid it. Jesus never promised us a life with no pain. He only promised that through the pain, He would walk with us. But you know how it feels when you feel a little bit guilty over your pain? Maybe you think your story isn't as difficult as someone else. Maybe you think your pain isn't as deep as what that other girl has faced. So you feel guilty about your pain because you're constantly comparing it to others. You don't share your pain then, so it stays bottled up inside where it can never be healed fully. Or maybe you're on the other side of this. You've faced unimaginable pain and it has made you bitter. Pain has a way of doing that to a person when it is not taken to your Healer (Psalm 147:3). Through your glasses of bitterness, you hear the stories of others and you wonder how they have any reason to be complaining when you have suffered so much worse. Whatever side of this you are on, please hear me out. Pain is real. Pain is meant to be fully felt, so it can then be fully healed. If you continue to compare your pain to someone else, you will not heal. He wants you healed, sweet friend. Your Jesus wants to reach in and heal the deep and wounded places of your heart. And you know what else? He wants to use your pain as a testimony to help others through their pain too. So share your pain, share your story, be real. But don't let pain become a comparison game and a competition.
2) Beauty is not a competition. Has the world ever made you feel inadequate? This world has a way of deceiving girls into believing that their bodies and their faces have to be perfect. They give us this standard to live up to that we could never possibly achieve. This causes us to look to one another and compare. Why can't I be as pretty as her? I need to workout more so that I can look like she does. Why does she have to post all those flawless selfies? We fume on the inside over their beauty because we've convinced ourselves that we just don't measure up. We tell ourselves that our hair is too thick, our nose is too big, or we have too many freckles. On and on the list goes as we stand in front of the mirror and criticize every part of ourselves until we have nothing left. And when we have nothing left, we criticize them too. We criticize the girls we feel we are competing against to be the most beautiful. Lovely ladies, may I just take her chin in my hands for a moment and assure you of something? You are absolutely, amazingly, stunningly gorgeous. Because the God who made you? He shines within you, and He made you beautiful. "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:13-14) You are beautiful, just as your sister in Christ next door or down the street is beautiful. Nothing can take away your beauty, because your beauty does not just come from what you look like on the outside. Your beauty comes from within.
3) Success is not a competition. Maybe this one is the toughest of all, right? Maybe this one is where it stings most. Because when she gets the promotion, the husband, or the dream you've been praying for, it all can seem just a little unfair. After all, we prayed for those things and instead she got them! We feel that her success or her answered prayers are a threat to our own. But the honest truth? Your success is not measured by their's, nor does your success depend on their failure. Here's the thing: we were meant to live in community. So all of this striving, this competing, this comparing, that we do every day to each other...none of it is how we were meant to live. Because the beautiful thing is that God has a perfect and good plan for your life that is so much better than anything you could imagine. So He doesn't want you to compete with someone else for the live He has for you. He is asking you to live out the story He is writing in your life that is so unique to you, it's crazy beautiful! And what He really wants is for all of us to join hands and walk together. To wave the white flags, stop the striving, and just celebrate life together. When she is in pain, to cry with her. When you think she looks more beautiful, to tell her what you love about how she looks today. When she gets the promotion or the dream, to celebrate and have a cupcake in her honor. Because the exciting part? Your celebration is coming too. And it's going to be greater than you ever imagined.
Let's stop competing, and let's join hands as we walk life together, shall we? ♥
Ah, where do I even begin with this book?
Today I'm going to be sharing with you my brief review of my dear friend Livy Jarmusch's brand new novel, "The Coronation."
First of all, if you love fiction and whimsical tales of adventure, suspense, and royalty, then you are going to love this book hands down. And even if you don't like those things? Read The Coronation anyway, because afterwards you will like them!
When I was younger I used to read fiction all the time. I even wrote fiction all the time. However, as I got older, I drifted more towards non-fiction books, writing and reading them. Maybe it's because I just don't have a whole lot of time for reading anymore. Either way, I find it harder to find fiction books now that keep my attention and I don't read it a whole lot.
Well, not with The Coronation.
I was a part of a group of girls who got to be one of the firsts to read the novel and give my input. From the first chapter I was hooked. Literally, I could not stop reading. I would stay up until 12:30-1:30am just to finish another chapter, and then I would get up early to read again! :)
I was captivated by the tale of this royal family and the lovely fictional world of Tarsurella. I loved every single character and thoroughly enjoyed the way Livy went back and forth between the views of each of the characters. It brought a fresh, new dimension to the novel and really brought each character to life. Princess Hope was probably my favorite of the royal family characters (but how can you really choose?!), but Vanessa was probably my favorite character overall. A spunky, passionate, young woman who is visiting Tarsurella, Vanessa is the greatest addition to this book, in my opinion. I related to Vanessa so much anyway just because everything about her personality reminded me of myself!
From suspense, adventure, romance (done very tastefully), humor, and inspiration, this novel really does have it all. So many times I felt like I was actually a part of the story. Livy just captures you into everything about the world of Tarsurella. And maybe what I loved most was the way Livy shared her faith throughout the entire story. If you are tired of wasting your time reading meaningless novels just for fun, and you want to read a novel that is thrilling, inspiring, and encouraging, you'll want The Coronation. Livy shared so many incredible lessons throughout the book. Lessons on forgiveness, trust, guarding your heart, and so much more! I am completely obsessed with this novel! ;)
Okay, with that I'm going to end so I don't continue until I give away all the spoilers! Just get the book for yourself. I know you will love it! Check it out on Livy's blog: www.livylynnblog.com. Or purchase it directly here:
Have fun stepping into the whimsical fictional world of Tarsurella! ♥
Writing has been my life, my love, and my voice since I was a little girl. I couldn't imagine my life without being a writer.
Looking back on the past decade of my writing journey, I have learned so much. God has taken me so far and He has given me so many wonderful people to inspire me and help me in my journey. Nothing in life is meant to be done alone; we were created for community. Because of that I believe strongly in my heart that I want to give back to other young writers the encouragement and advice given to me over my journey as a young writer.
So when my dear friend, Livy Jarmusch, asked me to write a blog post sharing my writing tips, I was so excited! This post is a part of the blog tour for Livy's brand NEW book that just released, "The Coronation"! If you haven't already, go check it out at her blog: www.livylynnblog.com. :)
And now, without further ado, here are my top ten writing tips for young writers...
1) Read. Yes, indeed, this is very, very important. I've been reading even longer than I've been writing, pretty much as long as I can remember. But reading and writing go hand in hand. Reading great books teaches you how to write great books. Reading is a way of inspiring your writer's heart. So if you have a day of no inspiration, or a day flooded with writer's block, just sit down and pick up a book to read. Read, read, read. Some great authors who have inspired and influenced me are: Ann Voskamp, Leslie Ludy, Lysa Terkeurst, and Bob Goff.
2) Just write something. It can be so easy to get distracted from our writing or feel that we need to be perfect to write. So we spend hours outlining our book, planning our characters, or constructing the plot. And while those are good things, sometimes we let them get in the way of just writing. The thing that makes you a writer is writing, so you should do it every day! Be consistent with your writing. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be on paper. Set aside a specific amount of time each day that you want to work on your writing, and write even if you don't think it's any good!
3) Get connected with other writers. As I said earlier, we aren't meant to do things alone. God created us for community! He wants us to encourage and help each other. Create a writing group with other young writers from your church or school. Join a writing community on Facebook. If you're a blogger, network with other bloggers. Help each other out! When you're a part of a community, you can gain advice and encouragement from more experienced writers. And you even have the opportunity to give back advice and encouragement to writers who aren't as experienced as you are.
4) Do it afraid. Okay, so, something you may or may not know about me is that I am honestly terrified of sharing my writing with others. Yep, it's the truth. Writing is my life and what I know I was created to do. But sometimes our greatest joy and our greatest fear collide to help us discover our greatest calling. That's writing for me. You too? Then, sweet soul, pull up a chair and listen close. If God has called you to write, you are meant to do this. He has given you a pen for a reason. If you let fear stop you from this adventure, you will miss out on so much. It may be scary to show others your writing. It may be scary not knowing what they will think. Be brave. Be brave and share your words anyway. It's going to turn out amazing. ♥
5) Write for Jesus. With all of my heart I believe that if you are not writing for Jesus and His glory, you are writing in vain. He has given us specific talents and gifts to bring Him the honor and glory He deserves. If we write to gain glory for ourselves or to bring attention to ourselves, we are missing out on the most important part of writing. With every word you type, use it to speak the love and truth of Jesus. Let Him be the reason you write.
6) Separate editing from writing. Ouch. This one hits home for me. Here's the thing: I am a perfectionist in my writing. Which means that if I don't think something sounds perfect, I sometimes don't write it. Being a writing perfectionist is tough and it is enough to stop some writers from even writing at all. You see, writing is messy and imperfect...and so beautiful. Words don't change and touch lives because they're perfect, but because they're perfectly flawed. As a reader we aren't looking for something perfect, because sometimes we just want something to assure us that you don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. So when you're writing, don't edit. Just write your words. Let them flow. Don't stop because the words don't sound perfect. There is a time and a place for editing. There is a time to strive for excellence in your writing. But that is after you've already written. Edit later.
7) Find your unique writing style. There are so many different things you could write! Do you prefer creating stories and developing characters? Would you rather write your heart out in an article or a devotional? Do you like creating beautiful sentences through poetry? Whatever it is that you love to write the most, write that. And write lots of it. But what scares you the most to write? Because I want you to write that too. You might not discover your unique writing style or writing calling until you've written what scares you the most. I grew up writing stories. Creating fiction novels was my thing. But when God called me to step out into the scary world of writing non-fiction and articles, it was hard! Yet it was there that I discovered the type of writing I love best. So write lots of different things! And in the process you will figure out exactly what you were meant to write.
8) Start a blog. If you are serious about your writing and growing your writing platform, I encourage you to start a blog. My blog has been a source of so much joy and growth for me in my writing. I wouldn't be where I'm at today in my writing without having started this blog. It was essential for me, as well as a dream come true. Having a blog not only gives you the opportunity to have your writing read by others, but it allows you to grow and develop as a writer. And your blog could be about whatever you want! Maybe you enjoy cooking and you want to have a blog dedicated to cooking. Or maybe you love stories so your blog could include short stories you write each month! You might love writing articles like me, and dedicate your blog to sharing God's truth and love with others. Let your blog reflect who you are and who God has called you to be as a writer.
9) Don't live for compliments. Another ouch for me. Because I'm afraid of what people will think of my writing, sometimes I live for their compliments of what I wrote. Hearing that other people loved what I wrote, makes me love it. If they don't love it, then I don't. And here's why that is wrong: Because not everyone is going to love your writing. Your writing is not going to be for everyone. I've heard it said before that if you live for compliments, you will die from rejection. Decide in your heart that you are writing for Jesus. Live for His applause. And love what you wrote. Your opinion honestly is what matters most. If you love what you wrote, it doesn't matter who else does. Now, the other side of this is that it's totally okay to accept constructive criticism! If you can't accept advice and criticism as a writer, you are not going to grow. It may not always be easy to hear, but you should always listen to advice with an open mind. You can't listen to everyone's advice of course, but you should be willing to learn and grow.
10) Pray. The first thing I do when I sit at my laptop to write, is pray, "Father, write through me today." You'll do your best writing, when you first give it to Him. Develop a team of dedicated prayer warriors who would love to pray over you and your writing project. Cover your writing in prayer and let God do the hard work. :)
Keep writing, dear writer. The path ahead may not always be easy, but it is always worth it.
If you are interested in advice or encouragement as a writer, I'd love to talk to you and share with you, just fill out the contact form here on my blog! I've also written a guide just for writers that can be found at my website: www.isabellamorganthal.weebly.com
Life goes by at the speed of light.
Our schedules are filled to the brim and we're constantly in a rush to do the next thing, to check the next task off our to-do list, to accomplish our next goal.
Surely I'm not the only one.
And if we're honest about it?
It really wears us out, doesn't it? We get so tired of constantly going and pushing forward. We are running on empty and don't know how to get filled again, because we never slow down. We leave ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained.
Maybe because we were never meant to do this ourselves?
The to-do lists, the goals, the dreams, the responsibilities, the work, the requirements. All of it. Maybe we weren't meant to do it on our own after all. Maybe the reason we feel empty and like we have nothing left to give is because we've been doing it all in our own strength, only to realize that we aren't as strong enough for it as we thought.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
You know what happens when we take everything on ourselves and we constantly give out without taking the time necessary to breathe in His rest? We burn out. We run on empty. We give up.
When we don't take the time to rest in Him, we are putting unnecessary stress on ourselves.
Here's a truth for your soul tonight...you don't have to do it all. Because your worth is not measured by how much you do but by Whose you are.
Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42? In this story, Jesus visits the house of His friends, Mary and Martha. Mary chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus and rest in His presence and learn from Him. Martha however is so busy making sure everything is perfect. She's so distracted trying to serve Jesus that she misses out on getting to be with Him.
And that's what we do too, isn't it?
We serve Jesus. We check everything off on our spiritual to-do lists. We pour ourselves out until we're empty and then we keep going until we burn out and give up.
And we miss getting to sit at His feet.
We miss getting to be with Him, getting to enjoy His presence. We miss getting to rest in Him and be loved by Him.
In her frustration, Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her. We do that sometimes too, right? We tell Jesus, "Well if my family would help more with these responsibilities, I wouldn't have as much to do." Or, "Why are so many people in my church leaving me to lead this ministry alone? It's not fair!" We sound like Martha: "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." Ouch. She even told Jesus what to do.
But you know what Jesus says?
He doesn't tell her to keep serving. He doesn't tell her to do more. He doesn't tell Mary to help her.
He says so lovingly, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Mary chose the best thing. She chose Jesus.
Next time life overwhelms you and your to-do list is off the charts, take a step back, even if only for a few minutes a day. When you feel that burn-out starting to hit and you've got nothing left to give, sit down at His feet.
Come to Him. Rest in Him. Let Him fill you.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Good morning, dear readers! Sooo, I have a *very* exciting post for y'all today! *throws confetti*
On July 6, 2017 my dear friend Livy Jarmusch is releasing her brand NEW novel, "The Coronation." I am so thrilled about this book which makes me super thrilled to get to talk about it! I had the honor of reading one of the first editions of "The Coronation," and was totally captured by the story. I'm so happy to be a part of Livy's blog tour for her novel today!
Anyway, before I ramble too much in my excitement (because I'll be posting my review of the novel on July 15th!), I'll just invite you into the blog today to read an exciting interview with Miss Vanessa Bennett! Vanessa is probably one of my favorite characters from "The Coronation" (it's so hard to pick!), because she is so much like me personally! :)
So without further ado, I present to you a fun interview with Vanessa as we talk about her passions and the beautiful country of Tarsurella!
(Note: Vanessa is a fictional character, for anyone who may be confused by this. Livy and I simply created this interview as a fun way for you, as the readers, to learn more about Vanessa's character and get excited for the book release :) Prince Addison and the Royal Family and Tarsurella are fictional as well and do not represent real people or places!)
Bella: First of all, welcome to my blog, Vanessa! It is super, super fun to have you joining us today and I can’t wait to chat more about your adventure in Tarsurella! To start off, we’d love for you to share just a little bit more about yourself!
Vanessa: Aw, thank you Bella! I am so excited to be here! Yes, my time in Tarsurella was pretty crazy! It was my first time ever being out of the United States, so that was really special to me.
Okay so a little bit about myself? I grew up in New York, upstate. I’m not a fan of the snow. I love working hard and the feeling that comes when you’ve accomplished an amazing task or checked something off your bucket list. I just graduated High School and am currently taking a ‘gap year’ while I figure out what in the world I want to do with my life. (Ha! Good luck, right?)
My parents describe me as “passionate” although I think my personality can be a lot for people to handle at times! I just can’t stand to see innocent souls suffering. I have a huge desire to help the homeless and anyone who is hurting. I also adore animals and desire to see freedom and protection for whales, baby turtles, and other endangered species around the world. Sometimes I can come across as intense or overbearing, but I just have such a strong desire to see the wrongs made right, and justice served!
Bella: That's awesome, Vanessa! What do you love most about Tarsurella?
Vanessa: I’m a huge history buff, so seeing the Palace was amazing. It’s just incredible to think that ancient royals used to walk those very same halls. The Tarsurellian Palace is truly the most impressive and awe-invoking building I’ve ever seen. I think it’s really cool how they’ve been able to preserve the centuries-old rooms and historical artifacts, yet still add on some stylish tourist elements throughout the years. I absolutely drooled over the Queen’s Royal Library! If you’ve never been to Tarsurella you HAVE to go, simply for the sight of that library. Oh my goodness, it was like heaven!
Bella: That definitely sounds like heaven! I mean a castle and a library? I'd be in love! So what made you change your mind to stay in Tarsurella a bit longer and meet Prince Addison?
Vanessa: Meeting Prince Addison was actually a bit of a mistake. It wasn’t like I went on vacation with any intention of meeting the Royal Family. (I mean seriously, it wasn’t anywhere on my radar!) But Miss. Deborah, one of the sweet secretaries who works at the palace, struck up a conversation with me and ended up inviting me to a meeting with him and several other girls my age. Which was crazy! I mean, it’s not every day you stumble into a meeting with the Prince of Tarsurella!
Bella: What was your first impression of the royal family, and most specifically, Addison?
Vanessa: The thing about first impressions, is that there is always room for a second impression. And the Lord knows I needed a second impression of Prince Addison! Um, yeah. Before going to Tarsurella, I kind of despised Addison, his family, and their whole uppity monarchy thing. (Yikes, I’d better be careful what I say. The media can take a phrase like that and blast it all over the internet, completely out of context! I adore the Royal Family now, so please realize that this was all past tense. ;)) But my second impression of Prince Addison (once we actually met) revealed his true, kind nature, and inspiring Godly character. He truly does have a heart to serve the less fortunate, and use his Crown for good. I admire him and his heart for others. If anyone’s going to rock this whole monarchy thing, it will definitely be him!
Bella: Why does it matter to you so much to make a difference for the homeless in Tarsurella?
Vanessa: As I mentioned earlier, if I see someone hurting, I can’t help but do something about it. My heart breaks for those who are in pain, and I can’t go to sleep at night and rest in peace, unless I know that I did something to help those who need it the most. I have a great hatred for apathy, and I believe it has gripped the hearts of far too many in this generation. So many young people are throwing their God-given talents and potential to make a difference, out the window, or burying them in the dirt, refusing to make any kind of change or positive impact. But we have been called to so much more! I truly, truly believe that one person can make massive waves, even in their smallest most loving contribution to those who are ‘down and out’. My Mom always said, “One person can’t change the world. But, you can change the world for one person.”
Bella: I love that! If you could go back and relive one memory from your time in Tarsurella, what would it be?
Vanessa: It would most definitely be The Coronation Ball. ;)
Bella: And how about just for fun, what is your favorite room in the castle?
Vanessa: The Queen’s Library, hands down!
Bella: How do you think your decision to first visit Tarsurella has effected the rest of your life?
Vanessa: Wow. That’s a pretty loaded question! I think that at this point, I’m not even fully aware of all the deep ways that trip has changed me. It gave me a fresh and new perspective on life. In all honesty, it was exactly what I needed. I don’t think a girl can go to Europe and experience such amazing (and sometimes frightful) adventures, and not be completely changed! Not only has my perspective of The Royal Family and their sweet little country changed, but my entire outlook on life, love, and hope has been transformed as well.
Bella: Ending with one last fun question, what is your absolute favorite dessert that you would eat every day if you could?
Vanessa: Oh! SUCH a good question! I typically try to eat pretty healthy (emphasis on the “try”!) but if I’m in the mood to splurge, I would totally go for lemon cookies! Or lemon meringue pie! Of course I love chocolate just as much as any other girl, but I have a true weakness for anything lemon flavored. I love that perfect combination of sweet and sour!
Bella: I'd have to agree with you there! Well, thank you for joining us today, Vanessa! It's been a pleasure! ♥
If you loved this interview, you'll LOVE "The Coronation"! Keep up with Livy at her blog and Instagram for more details when "The Coronation" releases on July 6th! You don't want to miss it!!
We've all been there.
We've all had what the world has affectionately called a "crush." Girls, you know what I'm talking about. It's so easy for us to find a "cute" guy and start liking him. You start to feel butterflies in your stomach whenever he enters the room and you stumble over your words when you talk to him. And if the guy who has our eye starts showing us attention, then we're sure he must be "the one."
The thing is, feeling attraction for a guy or having a "crush" on him, is perfectly normal.
But we all know that normal things can be taken too far too.
So here are four signs that your crush has become an idol, and the ways you can put Jesus back on the throne of your heart:
1) He consumes all your waking thoughts. Yep, we know what this is like, don't we? A guy walks into our lives who shows us attention or who looks cute and suddenly he is all that we can think about. When this happens our family and friends have a hard time getting our attention, and we are often found staring out the window lost in thought. We allow everything to remind us of our crush and we listen to love songs that make us think even more about him. Girls, come on, you know you've done it too. But when we allow someone to control all of our thoughts, we are allowing them to have too much of our heart. Sweet one, your heart is special and priceless. A guy doesn't deserve part of it unless he is who God has for you. You know what else happens when we let a guy become all that we think about? We lose our focus on Jesus. When you're only thinking about that "special person" you don't have time to focus on your true Lover. You might be looking at me right now thinking, "I understand that, but it's so hard! I can't help it. I don't want to think about him, but I just do." And yep, I get that. But you are still in control of your mind and your thoughts. It is hard, you're right. But guarding our hearts and minds was never a guarantee to be easy. When thoughts of this boy start to consume your mind, determine in your heart to think of something else. You could decide that every time a thought of Him enters your mind, you could pray for his future wife, whoever that may be. Or you could pray for your future husband, whoever he may be. Maybe next time a thought of him enters your mind, you could call your best friend and just talk. Whatever it takes, get your thoughts on something else!
2) You start planning your wedding with him. Writing this makes me laugh, cause I know how easy it is for us to get to this point. Girls, we can sometimes be super dramatic (or wait, is that just me?), and if a guy starts talking to us, we can start planning how many bridesmaids we'll have at our wedding. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to think about your future wedding (I mean, come on, what girl doesn't have a someday wedding board on Pinterest? Just me again? Okay...). What I'm talking about here is when you start planning your wedding to a specific guy. Unless that guy has put a ring on your finger, he is not yours and you are not his. But I do know a truth for you: if God wills for you to get married, He does have the right guy for you picked out somewhere. And don't worry, when that right guy puts a ring on your finger, you'll have plenty of time to start wedding planning.
3) You compromise to get his attention. This one might be the most dangerous yet. When we start compromising our principles to get the attention of a young man, we are putting ourselves in a very dangerous position. Maybe you start dressing differently to catch his eye or you start doing things you know you shouldn't do to get him to like you. Whatever it is that you're compromising in, you are worth more than that. If you have to compromise to get his attention, he is not worthy of you and he is not who God has in mind for you. I can promise you that. So you stand your ground, you beautiful girl, and you wait for the one God has for you. Stand with Jesus.
4) You grow apart from Jesus because of him. Let's face it, if any guy in your life pulls you farther from Jesus instead of closer to Him, then this guy needs to go. I'm serious about that. If he is not making you fall deeper in love with Jesus, then he is not worthy of having you fall in love with him. If this is happening, I'm asking you to please cut him out of your life immediately. Your relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in your life. He is your true Love, He is your true Prince, and He is your Hero. No other relationship can perfectly satisfy you the way Jesus can. So please, if your crush starts causing you to grow away from Jesus, come running back. Run back to the arms of Jesus. It'll be the best choice you'll make.
Girls, you are a priceless treasure. You deserve the best and that's what God has in store for your future. Don't rush your story. Don't settle for less. Please. Yes, crushes are normal and you're going to have them because you're human and God created these emotions you're feeling. But when those feelings turn someone into an idol in your life, please evaluate your heart. Ask God to search your heart and keep it true to Him.
Fall in love with Jesus first, beautiful one. And when you do, everything else will fall into place.
"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23)
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.