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)
It brings such a mix of emotions between the people who hear those words. Some are filled with joy and gratitude for the strong men in their lives who make them proud as their hero. Some are filled with hurt and loss for the men in their lives who weren't what they needed them to be.
I'm not here to talk about what fathers could do better or about why the role of a father is important.
Nope, instead I'm here to tell you about the Father who changed my life.
This is my Father's Day story from someone who grew up without an earthly dad.
I was five years old when He became real to me. I was eleven years old when I experienced His voice in the most true way I ever had. I was fourteen years old when I experienced His unconditional love and grace, even when I turned away. And now I'm twenty years old and I look back at these specific moments, but I also look back and see every moment, every year, in between and how faithful He was.
He was there with me when I took my first steps. He was there when I memorized my first Bible verse. He cheered when I wrote "the end" on my very first book. He smiled when I recited His words onstage in front of hundreds of people. And all along the journey of my life He has wooed me and drawn me closer to His heart. He has spoken truth, love, and light into my life since before I gave my first cry. He has protected, He has guided, He has held me every moment I have walked.
And because He didn't want eternity without me, He died to keep me.
So He did for you too.
You see, the same Father who has given me such an amazing story to celebrate today, has given it to you too! Whether you have an earthly father or not, your Heavenly Father is calling to you.
He wants to be your perfect Father. He wants you to be His child. His masterpiece.
He wants you. He loves you. He adores you. You are His. And whatever pain your past might hold from a father, He has something new to say to you:
"A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation." (Psalm 68:5)
"But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)
He is our Father. He created us to be His children. With a love greater than any love on earth, He has loved you. With a song sweeter than any heard on earth, He has sung over you. With a joy greater than any known on earth, He has rejoiced over you.
So whatever Father's Day means to you right now, know this...you have the greatest Father ever. And He is crazy about you. You are His girl. Rejoice.
Happy Father's Day, Heavenly Father. You are my Rock, my Protector, my Joy, my Sanctuary...my Hero. Thank You for making me Your little girl. Thank You for being Mine. What a wonderful Father You are. I love You, Daddy... ♥
*throws some confetti and offers you a cupcake*
Friend, come on in and enter this little party, I'm so glad you're here! You see, today I am celebrating the 2nd anniversary--"blog-versary"--of my blog, Worth it All.
Although I did not create a Weebly blog account and set up this blog until June 11, 2015, this blog began in my heart years before that.
I don't remember exactly when I first had the idea, but when I was about thirteen and fourteen I really started aching to share my words with the world. At that point I'd been writing for several years and I was finally beginning to see that writing was what God had in mind for my life. I understood that He created me to speak to His people through the written word. It started like a spark in my heart, yearning to let other people read what I wrote, aching to inspire my generation with the truth of who God is and what He wants to do in their lives. That spark turned into a blaze that I couldn't ignore.
So June 11, 2015 I began this adventure of blogging.
Around this time I was releasing my first book, "I Dare You: Finding Your Passion and Lighting Your World," which would officially release a couple weeks later.
I fell in love with blogging over the last two years. I fell in love with being able to pour my heart into something that God would use to touch readers' lives.
So as I celebrate the 2nd blog-versary of this writing nook God gave to me, I have to first give Him the credit.
You see, it's so easy to get caught up in our accomplishments or in our dreams and think they happened because we wanted them to or we worked really hard. But the truth that I've learned over the last two years?
Every dream or accomplishment that comes true for us is because of God.
He is the reason I stand here today. He is the reason I picked up my pen and started writing. He is the reason I ached to inspire my generation. He is the reason I published four books. He is the reason I have my own magazine ministry that over 100 girls and women receive.
I look at these things and I am at a loss for words.
I am humbled that God would give me this platform to make a difference. I am honored that He would choose me to speak these words. Jesus, I'm overwhelmed. Thank You.
Don't look to me. Look to Him.
With that being said, I owe YOU a thank you too and I would love to sit down and have a cupcake with you for real if I could. Thank you for faithfully reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for giving me a chance. Thank you for letting my blog be a part of your life. Thank you. I couldn't be here without your support.
Finally, I want to end with one last thought.
I'm just a girl from the state of PA. I'm just a twenty-year-old who dreamed of changing her world.
But when you let God take control of your life and your dreams, they become His. Then it is no longer just a dream. Then you are no longer just a girl. They are His.
You are His.
And when something is His, He makes it amazing.
So you want to change the world?
Then what are you waiting for?
To God be the glory forever. Romans 11:36. ♥