When God’s forgiven you, but you can’t forgive yourself…

beach wedding locationsSo, you’ve confessed, repented, completed the 12 steps, apologized, denied, bargained, accepted, etc. etc. etc. You’ve read the self help books, talked to your pastor, counselor, and those that you trust. You’ve memorized the scriptures, the mantras, and every positive affirmation your brain could possibly absorb. You know that God’s word says He has forgiven you of all that you turn over to Him, the problem is that you just can’t forgive one person… yourself.

Maybe its because you still feel the guilt of that baggage weighing so heavily on your heart, no matter how much you try to smile and convince yourself and others that you’ve “moved on”. Maybe its because you can’t let go of the shame that still creeps its way into your mind, keeping you up when the world has long fallen asleep. Or maybe its that deep down, you feel you don’t deserve forgiveness. You know what is true in your head, but you just don’t feel it in your heart.

So… now what? What do you do when you feel like no matter what, you’ll never be able to forgive yourself for that moment, that season, that person, that mistake? To this, I have to ask one simple, yet profound question: Do you really believe God is who He says He is? If we don’t, then that unforgiveness you’re harboring over your own heart makes perfect sense. If the God of the universe isn’t really who He says He is, then of course your sins can’t be magically “cleansed” and your heart “made new”. If the God who formed you in your mother’s womb isn’t really who He says He is, then obviously He can’t truly “save us from all uncleanness”, or “redeem us from every lawless deed” or give us the gift of grace for absolutely no other reason other than His love for us. But, if He is… if He really is the same God that would use a doubter, a liar, a cheater, a MURDERER to show His glory, His grace, and His love for us, then surely, in the midst of your brokenness, He can use YOU.

And if the Lord over all of heaven and earth, really has called YOU according to His divine purpose, for reasons beyond what our eyes can see, and if He really knows you in the deepest parts of your soul, sees your guilt, shame, anger, unforgiveness, and loves you regardless.. Than who are we to hold our opinions of ourselves above Gods calling over our lives? We can’t be aligned in His will while simultaneously saying “Well God I know what you said, but I don’t deserve to be forgiven”. Of course you don’t! None of us do. And thats what makes God… well, GOD.

So the next time you’re questioning why you can’t forgive yourself, I urge you to dig deeper into the root of that burden, and ask, “Who is my God, and do I believe He is who He says He is?”, and not just memorize fluffy scriptures and positive quotes, but truly get to know Him. Get to know Him as the loving Father and friend that He is, from the inside out, and I promise, as He shatters every false perception you’ve held onto about yourself, you will slowly, but surely, find forgiveness.

 

All my love,

J

When is it going to be MY time? The one piece of advice I wish someone would have told me.

 

When is it going to be my time? What I wish someone would have told me.When is it going to be my time? 

I asked when I was little girl, and wanted to be moved up to the competitive gymnastics team like everyone else. I asked when I was in middle school, and everyone else was allowed to wear makeup but me. I asked when I graduated college, and everyone seemed to be getting their dream jobs, or traveling the world, but me. I asked when I saw life unfolding for my friends with new families, babies, homes, and careers. I asked when I saw worship leaders pouring their hearts out on stage, before the door was opened for me. God, when is it going to be MY time?

Have you ever felt like that? Usually the answers to these types of questions sound something like, “Be patient, it will be your time someday”, or, “Good things come to those who wait”. True and true. But there’s one truth that I wish I could’ve grasped onto much sooner. Something that now resonates with me, and has completely changed my life. Something I want to share with you.

Your time is NOW. You just need to answer this….for what? It’s not that you just need to wait and look forward to “your time” and all of the things you long for; you need to understand that HERE and NOW, there is purpose. It IS your time. It just might not be for what your eyes are fixated on. Maybe right now is a season of preparation. I think back now, what if my gymnastics coaches had decided to let me compete when I wanted to? I probably would have gone out on to perform, and soon realized that I wasn’t at all ready. I likely would have ended up embarrassed, or  worse, extremely injured. See, it was my time to practice, to train, to strengthen my skill set. And had it not been for the coaches that redirected my mindset to laying that solid foundation first, I might have wallowed in disappointment and frustration rather than working as hard as I could to prepare to compete.

Could you imagine a pilot being entrusted to transport hundreds of people to a location, without having the proper training first? Or receiving that dream job when you weren’t yet ready for the responsibilities of it, and then losing it? Or God bringing your future husband into your life and you missing it because you were on Tinder swiping right at every decent looking picture you saw (also I just had to Google if swiping right was good or bad – I’m out of touch, whatever… you get it).

It’s exciting to think about the future, to think about our destiny, about where we will be in 5 years, or how our life will end up panning out, don’t get me wrong. But next time you start to ask, “When is it going to be my time?”, try changing that question to, “What can I do with the time I have RIGHT now? What is it my time to learn, to achieve, or to grow from?” Because when it comes down to it, all we really have is right here, right now. And you won’t get this time back.

 What do people really get for all their hard work?  I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.  Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

Ecclesiates 3:9-12

With the Father’s love,

J

3 Pieces of Advice for the One who feels “Stuck”

3 Pieces of Advice for the One who feels “Stuck”

Maybe you’ve heard the Napoleon Hill quote that says, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”. And while that quote rings true, it doesn’t take away from the fact that sometimes, the struggle can start to feel more like a complete standstill. Like you’re watching everyone around you blossom, but you’re still trying to find out where you’re meant to be planted. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to feel stuck in a world that doesn’t stop moving for anyone (whether that be in a job, a relationship, or just a general feeling of lack of purpose).

The question then, is “What do I do about it?” – “How do I move forward when I have no idea which direction to step in?” and while I’ll never claim to have all of the answers, I will always share my truth with you, because sometimes, our journeys aren’t as different as they seem.

3 Pieces of Advice for the One who feels “Stuck”

1) Ask yourself what your biggest motivator is (and be honest with yourself).

Why do I say that? Because first and foremost, if you struggle with feeling stuck in any season in your life, you probably struggle with your WHY. Let me break it down a little bit. WHY are you doing what you’re doing in life right now? WHY are you pursuing that degree? WHY are you working in that career field? WHY are you in that relationship? And WHAT motivates you to keep pushing forward? When your “why” is surface level (i.e. money, your parents, job security) then your satisfaction will always be temporary. There’s a reason that the Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as though you are working for the Lord, not for people” (Colossians 3:23). We were not out here to chase money, people, and worldly “success” and if you think you were, you’ll always be searching for something “more” to achieve happiness. Check the root of your desires.

2) Stop allowing fear to control your every move.

Sadly, we live in a world where many people are driven by fear, and they don’t even know it.

Why are you still in that relationship?

“Well, I’m scared of being alone”

“I’m scared I’ll never find anyone like them” etc.

Why are you still at that job you hate?

“I’m scared I won’t find something else that pays as well”

“It’s secure and chasing my dreams is way too risky”

Why are you going into debt pursuing a career you don’t even know you’ve been called to do (or worse, when you know you’ve been called to do something else)?

“Well my parents said I had to or I’d be on my own”

“Everyone else was going to school and I didn’t know what else to do”

I could go on and on. We SETTLE because it’s comfortable. Because it doesn’t take thinking outside of the box. Because it’s easier to follow the crowd than it is to step out in faith and surrender control to God. Until you stop allowing fear to control you, you’ll always feel stuck.

3) Stop running to people for direction, and get before the feet of Jesus.

THIS. THIS. THIS. Every time I’ve talked to someone whose come to me about feeling stuck, I’ve asked them, “Have you talked to God about it?”…. insert eye roll responses. But honestly, people will ask any and everyone for advice (and let’s just be honest, some of you are asking people who are not at ALL qualified to help you with godly direction), but you haven’t once started seeking the Lord to ask Him for direction. You’ll run to Facebook, your best friend, your mama, and whoever else, but when it comes to Jesus… nothing. I feel so strongly about this one because I WAS GUILTY of this for so long. And when I finally decided to give up on people-help and give my anxieties to the Lord asking Him to guide me, doors began to open left and right (the best part being I know that HE opened them, and I didn’t have to force it). His ways are higher, and His plans are ALWAYS better than what we could imagine (Isaiah 55).

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I think in this life, we all experience the feeling of being stuck at one point another, but it’s what we do with those feelings that ultimately determine how long we stay there. You can either choose to submit those feelings to God, or dwell on them and seek to fill your voids in other ways. You can either claim that being stuck is what you have to deal with, or speak back and claim that you may have been stuck but you WILL NOT stay there. It’s not an overnight process, it’s the choices you make every day. The thoughts, the words, the actions that you have control of, every day. You don’t have to have all of the answers right now – in fact, you never will. And that’s okay. But you do have to learn to trust in the One who does. And when you do, I promise you, you won’t feel stuck for long.