Category Archives: Worry

A Bad Day Wrong…

BadDay

↑ See the picture?  Ever had one of those kind of days?

How do you handle things when something goes wrong?  Does it depend on the day?  The situation?  Who’s with you?  Or do you carry a similar response in any situation?

I ask because as Christians, we are often put into a category, one where standards are higher, room for failure is minimal and everything we do and say is used for or against us.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, the only perfect person to ever walk the earth was Jesus Christ himself.  Even he dealt with problems, hurt and pain.

Do you feel like you are truly able to express things when you are having a bad day?  Or do you feel you have to push your feelings aside and wear the “happy mask”?

I am fully aware that tomorrow might be better but I think sometimes, we try to help one another by saying things like, “Give it to God” or “In God’s time”.  While we mean well, these don’t actually address the issue.  Sometimes, we can go a bit further directing someone to a verse that fits the subject, a prayer or both.  These may very well be just what we need and often times, soaking in God’s word has been the pill that fixed my problem at the moment.

But…

Other times, I just want someone to hear what’s on my heart.  I want someone willing to let me say it, even if it means I say it over and over until I’ve completely forgotten what I was saying.  Sometimes it feels like what I need is just to have my feelings validated, to hear “That really stinks and I’m sorry you feel that way” or “Yes, I’d be upset too!” or maybe even “Sure, you have ever right to be angry!”

More often than not, I think we just don’t know how to respond so we fall on easy phrases.  We depend on familiar words and overused lines.

Would it be so bad to dig deeper into each others heart and soul?  Aren’t we worth the effort?  The extra time?

Instead of saying, “tomorrow is a new day!”, why not validate each other by saying…

“Tell me more.”

“What’s really bothering you?”

“How are you feeling about that?”

“What do you want?”

I’m sure I’ve been the girl who’s used those common phrases but the thing is, I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to be her because I know how it feels to stuff all the feelings down, to feel like it would be wrong to dredge up things, to feel anything, to express any anger or sadness.

I’m also the Christian that others look to for guidance, for hope, for something more so I’m already worried about the things I say and do and how they affect those around me.  I’m already stuffing away some thoughts and feelings because I don’t want to offend or hurt someone else or because I know I should set a good example.

So today, I leave you with this…

We are all broken people.  We all have things that bother us.  We all have bad days.  We all need someone, even if we don’t want to admit it.   Sometimes, I just want to hear that it’s okay, to feel justified in my feelings.  Sometimes I just need reassurance. Sometimes I just want to let my defenses down enough to cry, which is a really big struggle for me.

Being head over heels for Jesus Christ doesn’t make me perfect like him.  It just makes me a girl who knows the standard Christian answers, who knows that God is the almighty and that yes, with him, I can get through anything, but also, a girl with real feelings, who might just need to borrow and ear or a shoulder sometime!

How about you?

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Security in Christ…

Sometimes our security is shaken.  
We are left feeling uneasy, vulnerable, scared, worried, violated.

Today I seek reassurance that says…

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Psalm 9:9

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:2
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.  Psalms 27:4-5

Yes, the LORD is my rock, my fortress.  Even when I feel insecure in my earthly home, He is my fortress.  In Him, I take refuge.  He shields me from the pain of worldly actions, violations.  

I have to remember, we are safe.

While my family and I celebrated our freedoms, others took advantage of their freedoms and broke into our home.  They stole things that we have worked hard for.  Things we’ve sacrificed for.  Things we dreamed of.  Things we’ve waited years to get.  They damaged our beautiful home that we bought just 8 short months ago.  

Most of all, they stole our sense of security.  While we did have an alarm and it did activate and the police did come, the crooks had long enough to take a few of our valuables and do some damage.  It was enough to cause us to lose that safe feeling.  It was enough to rattle our nerves.  

It was enough to shake us but they will not break us.

God has promised me…

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.  Psalm 37:39

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.  Proverbs 14:32

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

So today, as we continue to celebrate the freedoms we have in this country, I also mourn.  I mourn for the security that was stolen from my family.  I mourn for the loss of worldly things that we treasured but most of all…
I mourn for the lost souls who have such a crappy life they felt they needed to steal some of our joy.  I can only imagine how their lives are that they had to stoop to this level.  I pray that as they grabbed the laptop from my desk which was sitting right beside of my open Bible, they glanced at the pages.  I pray they saw some of the verses hanging on my walls in front of them.  I pray that when they dig through the life I had on my laptop, they see the images from this blog, the Bible studies I worked hard to prepare, the many moments I captured on camera, the joyous music of a glorious God, that they are overcome with heaviness, guilt and shame.  Perhaps my life can bring change to theirs.  I pray that God touches their hearts, that they find peace in their lives to live better ways, not destroying the lives of those around them.  

Even though the very human part of me will still feel anger, hurt and fear, the wisdom of my soul is at peace knowing that I am well.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Keep on reading…

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So this was a verse I heard over and over this morning at church.  It was the verse we focused on in the 2nd grade Sunday School room as we talked about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was one of the verses preached by a missionary who visited our church today.  As he read John 3:16 and talked about what a beautiful verse it is, he also mentioned how we tend to stop there but when we read further, we learn more.

So, reading on, John 17-18 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only son.”

As usual, I had to scroll down the page of my NIV Life Application Study Bible and read the notes.  I love trying to learn what I can from the verses but most of the time, it takes me reading the notes to really understand what the verses are saying.  With that said, I *adore* my Bible and couldn’t live without it.  I definitely recommend it to anyone searching for a new Bible :)

The notes go on to say in verse 18 that when Jesus talks about unbelievers, he means those who reject or ignore him completely, not those who have momentary doubts.

I am thankful for that little addition.  Many times, I have worried that my doubts are unforgivable or unacceptable.  Based on the above statements, I am reassured that my doubts just show I am human.  I know as I learn more and grow in my faith, my doubts will lessen.  That statement also makes me sad for those who reject Jesus.  I know there were times in my life when I turned away from God, when I sought bad things, whether it was in spite or to punish myself, either way, I see now how much it damaged my life and how much I have grown putting my faith and trust in God.

Diving further into these verses, in John 3:19-21, Jesus says, “This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, sot that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

You hear John 3:16 all the time.  It’s one of the first verses I remember memorizing.  It’s printed on shirts.  It’s displayed on automobiles.  It’s in commercials.  It’s probably one of the most well known verse of the Bible.  I admit, before today, I had never read past John 3:16.  I never knew I needed to, but today, it was exactly what I needed to read! 

John 3:19-21 spoke to me in several ways.  In my Bible notes, it says, “Many people don’t want their lives exposed to God’s light because they are afraid of what will be revealed.  They don’t want to be changed.  Don’t be surprised when these same people are threatened by your desire to obey God and do what is right, because they are afraid that the light in you may expose some of the darkness in their lives.  Rather than giving in to discouragement, keep praying that they will come to see how much better it is to live in light than in darkness.”  Further on in my notes, it says this about verse 25, “Some people look for points of disagreement so they can sow seeds of discord, discontent, and doubt.”

Having come out of the darkness and into the light, I strongly believe that it is so much better to be open about all those ugly secrets than to carry them around.  I have been in positions where I made decisions that were right but was condemned and criticized for my decisions.  That left me with doubt – did I really do the right thing or were these people right to criticize me?  Reading John has eased that doubt.  I know right from wrong and when others have issues with me making the right choices, it’s simply that – their issue, not mine.  

I was consumed by the darkness and I have hidden for many years, the dark, ugly secrets of my past.  I believed that was all that was possible in my life…that I would forever be burdened by shame and guilt, I would always live with fear and worry, I would stay consumed with memories and nightmares of a tragic life.  I don’t know the exact moment all of that changed, but at some point, I gave up – I turned it all over to God and he freed me from my chains.  I give him all the glory because without him, I wouldn’t be here.  The only way I can comprehend my existence today is to believe that God does have a purpose for me.  When I read the notes above about the darkness, I am reminded of all the years I spent in the dark and how that is a place I wouldn’t wish on anyone – a place I pray I never have to visit again and yet it’s a place I don’t want to forget.  I want to remember where I came from so that somehow, someway, God can use my pain to help others who are where I was.  Forgetting or denying where I’ve been would give me nothing to show how God has worked in my life, but being open about those years, admitting my guilt, my faults, my shortcomings, my choices, my suffering – all of that and showing where I am now – that is proof of God’s grace, His redemption, His love!

I am thankful today that this missionary pointed out for us to read further – past the pretty verses we tend to memorize and get the whole story.  It was a gentle reminder to me to keep going, to really soak in His words and apply them to my life.  He speaks right to the things we need to hear – but we have to be open to hearing what He has to say.  I am amazed daily at the way He answers the questions in my life!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Relying on God…

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Today, as I read a devotion from Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart, I’m drawn to the verse above and her version of it – “Instead of giving in to the whispers of worry spoken by our enemy, let’s listen to God’s promise of peace”.

It’s so easy for us to get dragged down by worry and doubt.  Satan creeps in, dose by dose, fueling the worries.  He finds his way in through the tiniest openings – into our hearts, into our minds, into our souls.  We have to work and fight really hard to keep him out.

How do we overcome these strongholds of doubt and worry?  How do we fight back against our enemies?  How do we move forward in good, Godly ways, without compromising our beliefs, our hearts and our minds.  How do we keep from sinking into the pit of despair brought on by Satan’s attack with worry?

We turn to God!  

Psalm 46:1 tells us, God is our refuge and strength,  an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 91:2 says, I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

And in Psalm 18:2 we read,  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

The LORD is…

My REFUGE
My STRENGTH
My ROCK
My FORTRESS
My DELIVERER
My SHIELD
My SALVATION
My STRONGHOLD

Satan certainly doesn’t make things easy.  I have my moments when things happen and I just want to shout how absurd things are or share my hurt feelings or point out others faults.  I have done those things in the past and it didn’t help the situation at all – in fact, I think my quick mouth often made situations worse.  I have learned and am still learning to be careful with my words and my thoughts.  I have to constantly remind myself that God is bigger than every situation that I face and that He is in control.  I am reminded through His word to pray continually.  And so I do, for all those hurting and struggling, for those affected by disease, distress, depression, for those wandering and lost,  and for myself, to continue to walk in His guidance, step by step, seeking Him, loving Him and leaning on His word, His truth, and not relying on the world.

Does that mean Satan won’t still attack me?  Of course not!  The closer I get to God, the more Satan wants to jump in my life.  I have a choice to make – I can either let Satan win or I can follow my heart and my beliefs and live for God because God has loved me, has forgiven me, has carried me and has promised me truths.  Satan cannot compete with my God – my God is so much bigger!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Lessons Learned…

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

I am not at all without sin.  In fact, I have had so much sin in my life that for most of it, I felt absolutely unworthy of any love from God.  I turned away from Him in shame.  I withheld prayers because I felt dirty.  I cried out to God in anger because I was angry with myself, for my own bad choices.  I blamed God for all the wrong in my life.  I spent years miserable, soaking in my own world of self pity.

I thank God every day now that HE has brought me out of my own world of darkness and into His light – He has forgiven me.  I thank Him for the beauty he puts before my eyes each and every day – beauty that for years, I couldn’t see.  I thank Him for the man He placed in my heart to love me and to share my life with.  I thank Him for the children whom He entrusts me with each day – even when they turn the house upside down, through the temper tantrums, the crumbs, the runny noses, the dirty diapers.

I thank Him for making the most unimaginable sacrifice anyone could make – saving me by allowing His own son, a man who did nothing wrong…ever, to suffer in tremendous pain, hanging on two slabs of wood, with metal shoved in his wrists, blood dripping from his brows, crying out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

How could I not be thankful?  How did I go through so many years with anger and darkness in my heart, missing out on all the glorious things surrounding me?  How did I not wake up with His songs in my head and His words in my heart?  How did I survive and why did Jesus have to die?

I have spent the past year doing some deep thinking and lots of growing.  In that time, I have had to make some hard decisions.  I have had to step out of my comfort zone and follow God’s lead.  It’s a choice that took me too long to make but I am glad I did.  In doing that, I have met new people, grown closer to my heavenly father and learned new things about myself.  I am learning to trust myself.  I have learned that in all this life, the ones God places in your life, to love and to take care of are most important.  I have learned that living in His word, reading my Bible as much as possible and drowning myself in His glory is all I need to get me through each day.

I have learned that my life is headed in a direction I never imagined was possible.  I have dreams of all the ways God can use me.  I never thought God would use me – why would He? 

I was broken.
I was damaged.
I was dirty.
I was angry.
I was depressed.
I was suicidal.
I was lonely.
I was afraid.
I was worried.
I was ashamed.
I was sad.

All that time, I failed to add one thing to that list, the ONE thing that mattered…

I was HIS!  I was His daughter.  I was His creation.  I was His glory, His name, His word, His testimony …

I AM!  I am God’s princess – and I can glorify Him with my actions, my words, my story, my life.  I can choose to continue to grow and move forward, even when it means letting go.  I can choose to walk next to Him, trusting Him, even when my feelings are hesitant.  He has proven to me that I am worthy and that I am His!

I am thankful for He is what I need and He is my rock.  I have spent most of my life trying to fit in.  I’ve tried to fit into places that I was never going to fit in.  I was really just fooling myself, trying to believe that I had to be here or there or I had to do this or that.  I made bad choices and tried to impress the wrong people.  I lived an ungodly life.  I allowed myself to be hurt, putting myself in places and situations that I knew were wrong.  I turned my back on God and lived my life the way I wanted to.  I failed to let Him guide me.  I failed to let Him lead me.

I am following Him.
He is leading me.
I am thankful.
I am His.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  Psalm 23:2-6

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Are you consumed?

Are you consumed?

With worry, fear, guilt, questions, doubt, anger?

How do we manage to get through each day when there is sadness, pain, heartache, disappointment, loss – all around us?  How do we go on living when we feel so overwhelmed by all the suffering we are facing or those around us face?

Recently, I see it more and more.  I don’t know if it comes with age or what but I notice now more than ever, all the suffering around us.  I have dear friends who’s lives have been turned upside down by disease.  Other friends have faced questionable times with their children facing surgeries and the unknown.  Friends who have lost loved ones – spouses, parents and even their own precious children.  Each day, I frequent a number of Caring Bridge sites where many families have already lost their children or are praying for just one more day.

And yet, here I am.  I must make it through the day.  I must go on living even though so many around me are stuck in a moment or are dying.  I still manage to find joy in my day – even with all the darkness and sadness that surrounds me.

How do I do it?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  Matthew 6:27

I didn’t always.  There was a point where it really got to me.  It brought me down.  I was living, but I was dead inside.  I went through the motions of each day but I wasn’t really living.  I missed out on so much and wasted so much time because I was consumed.

Consumed by a past that I couldn’t get away from…
Consumed by regret…
Consumed by doubt…
Consumed by shame & guilt…
Consumed by fear…
Consumed by worry…
Consumed by anger…

I had all these things standing in the way of the One thing I needed to be consumed by … God!

Today, I can make it through the day, even knowing my friends are suffering and facing uncertain times – I can do it because my faith is stronger now than it has ever been.  I can do it because I know God is on my side.  I can do it because I know He is walking with me, holding my hand and guiding me through each day.  I can do it because I know He loves me.  I can do it because as a Christian woman, I am blessed with the knowledge that today is not the end – that our life here on earth is not the end – that it is only the beginning!  I can do it because I know that tomorrow, He will hold me in His arms and welcome me into a place of beauty and grace, a place with no more suffering, a place of joy and happiness where my past cannot follow me, where I won’t feel ashamed and dirty, where all the unknowns of this world will finally be answered.

I can honestly say that without God as my forefront, I wasn’t living.  I was here in the flesh but my heart wasn’t in it.  I was ready to check out of this life.  Each day was a burden.  Every action seemed daunting.  Every choice seemed to have devastating results.  Life was dark and gloomy.  The biggest difference between then and now is that now, I am walking with God instead of against Him – so in my mind, He has to be almighty – there just isn’t any other explanation for the changes in my own life.

I am promised a tomorrow and so are you!  As Christians, we tend to get a lot of flack from around the world.  People think we’re crazy or that they don’t need that “junk”.  I use to think that same way.  I’m here now and living proof that God can and does work in our lives – but we have to choose to let Him.

Will you continue to be consumed with all the daily heartaches or will you choose to hand those over to God – who can handle anything – and become consumed by Him?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Philippians 4:6

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:6

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com