Where do you find your worth?

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Worth is a hard one because as much as you can speak about it we all have different cultures and backgrounds. Worth looks different to us all. One underlining factor that follows with worth is that of dissatisfaction. A lot of us put our worth in academic achievement, money, jobs, beauty or people. When we fail to meet up to a standard we feel unfulfilled, useless and so many other negative emotions.

It is hard to see someone mentally beating themselves up because they have not met a standard, they or someone else has set for them. Life has turned into this massive competition where you must come up on top to have value. In perspective, it can be harsh and sad way to view live, it is so pressurising to always have to keep pushing yourself to meet a certain standard.

It is certainly important to work hard in life, but you should work hard at what you actually love to do. Sometimes the pressures we have come straight from home, your family may want you to pursue a certain career path because that is how you will earn money and be successful. I am not going to pretend I know what that feels like, but I do have sympathy for you. If you go against what your family want, then you feel you are dishonouring them. On the other hand, to pursue what they want can make you feel resentment and dissatisfaction.

Your worth and value is so important, and it should be vital that we all learn to put it in the right places. I used to put a lot of my worth in my weight, my academic achievement (which sucked because academia was never for me) and in how people viewed me. Honestly, it left me empty and unfulfilled. I would be so negative about myself that I was a stupid, fat and a loser. Which are just fantastic qualities to think about yourself! The world we live in, is so easy to give you a negative frame of mind because of its ideals on how to be truly successful and find your happiness. These ideals keep changing, they are so temporary and fleeting. It is not surprising that we have such a rise in anxiety and depression.

The one place that I truly find my worth is in my faith. For me, that is the truth that no one can take away for me. It is in the absolute truth that I get to believe if I want to. My faith tells me I am loved, I am accepted, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The most beautiful and sacrificial act that took place was Jesus dying on a cross for the whole of humanity so that we would know how loved we are. John3:16 is probably one of the most churned out Bible verses but I pray that its truth would not be lost on any of us.

’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. For God did  not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.’

God honestly loves you so much for who you are.

All these things that you put your worth in are so fleeting. I truly believe that we were never meant to be shackled to money, jobs and people. If you are always left feeling dissatisfied at the end of the day, then you are not living with the purpose you were meant to. Pursue what you love, you do not have to be the best at it but if you are continuously giving it your all and finding enjoyment from it then that is living, that is where true worth comes from.

Some of you may not believe the same things I do, that is your own personal journey. I do believe that my faith enables me to step back from all the pressures that the world gives and enables me to pursue the things that I am doing. Sure, the journey is not plain sailing but by God’s grace everything falls into place in its time. Knowing that I am loved for who I am helps me to live with the freedom that I do not have to be accepted by everyone but if I am considerate and loving that is all that is important. I could not care if I do not look cool or fit in, I have spent many years being a people pleaser and it never gave any true fulfilment.

I really hope and pray that you would evaluate where you put your worth. That you would always pursue your passions. It may mean having to work jobs you are not always so fond of to have financial backing but if you constantly keep pursuing your passion for art, caring for people/animals, being a comedian, musician, writer, etc, that will fill you with your purpose and worth. Never give up on what you truly want to do, your worth should not be determined by your failures to get there. Worth should be determined on your constant pursuit of doing what you love and living in the freedom to do that.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Whether you believe in God or do not know that you have unique gifts and talents, that only you can give to the world. Do not let other people squash those down. Only you can do you, that is something that you need to remind yourself daily. Don’t live in other peoples’ shadows, you are too unique to do that. Learn to develop the skills and passions that you have, offer those to the world. It is a better perspective to have than chasing after meaningless gains, money can never buy happiness so make sure you pursue what truly does give you worth and happiness.

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Not Settling

I wanted to look at faith and how we have to keep motivated in pressing on and not settling. When we settle we become demotivated and when we become demotivated our faith takes a backseat. It is so important to remember that faith is not about staying in the same place, but it is about a constant progression in accordance with the will of God. Having an active faith is so important, not only for us as an individual but also for those around us too. Sometimes we get so lost in our own problems that we can forget about living with the purpose we have been designed with and I speak from experience because this has been my reality, especially, over the last few weeks. As I am moving away from that now I wanted to write what I have learnt from that time and provide encouragement too.

Since the beginning of January due to the way my job worked out I am not able to go to church in the morning.  The area in which I live there are very few churches that do an evening service.  I really had some guilt because I really need my job, but I felt awful that I could not make it to church so this played on my mind a lot of the time. Not being able to go to church for me is like missing out on all the great family gatherings because my home church has a small congregation so we all know each other, and we grow together. It kind of put me in a hard place and I became quite demotivated, I would read my Bible, but I would do it as a habit instead of really wanting to learn from it. All those truths that I believed over my life through my faith became fractured.  This all began because I wasn’t in a good head space to begin with and instead of asking for help, I just dwelled in all my misery and self-doubt and the guilt of not being at church.

This isn’t the way that we are meant to live in the freedom and grace of God. I was so soaked in my own misery and goodness knows what else, that I had stopped living with a purpose. I basically went to work and then when I was not at work I felt useless because I did not know what to do with my time. I lost perspective on what I wanted to do with my life and believed that I would never feel equipped to live out my purpose. Last week I was writing a post to put up on my blog and I am so thankful I didn’t because it would have been a very depressing and unmotivating post to read. I am all for being real about life’s struggles but, not when it can affect the mindset of others. It made me dwell on how far I had moved away from what I inspired to do. My main aim is to encourage and motivate people and enable people’s inner beauty to flourish. Having been knocked down so many times over the past year I listened to the ‘truths’ of the backbiters and people who were not even friends and allowed that to become my reality. Instead of listening to those who loved me and who constantly encouraged me to be the best I could be.

A few nights ago, I was just living so much in my own mind and I was truly miserable I was sat in the living room with my mum and suddenly just blurted out, ‘Mum I need you to pray for me’. These are one of the moments that I truly see how loving and gracious God is, I was so torn up inside and God used that opportunity to remind me of his truths and his purpose for my life. The prayer that my mum prayed over me was as if God was speaking directly too me, I hadn’t even explained fully what was going on in my head before the prayer had begun. It brought a lot of peace to my life and reminded me how much God is control. God loves me, and he loves you so much and to see you suffer was never in his will or purpose.  There is this song on Steffany Gretzinger’s Blackout album called ‘Save me’, it is an incredibly powerful song that fits right into this situation.

‘It all starts with breathing you in,

Breathing you in deeply

I’ve been drowning under my skin

No one but you can save me……

You’re my hero, you always pick me up

Before I self-destruct.’

 

It was in that moment that I needed to be picked up so that I could press forward otherwise there was nowhere else for me to really go. This week I have been facing the things that bring me anxiety and worry and putting my faith into action in those areas. I remember talking to someone a few years ago when my life had hit quite a hard patch and they reminded me not to lock God out of areas of your life. You do that because they are not the pretty aspects of your life, they are some of the darkest places of you. That is exactly how God wants you to come, there is no pretence, he just wants you and all that you are. That is what makes your relationship with Jesus so beautiful, he died for all of us and still he chooses to love us.  Romans 8 has continuously came up in different readings I have been doing so I think that someone wants me to take a hint, but they are such beautiful words of truth.

Romans 8:1-2 ‘ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’

Take some time to meditate on the power and truth of these words. If you are feeling condemned over your past, that is not of Jesus at all. Jesus died to give you freedom and that can only be gained through his redemption and grace. It is through Jesus that we have life and that is such a blessing and a truth that each of us should hold over our lives.

We all find our purpose through doing different things because thankfully God has made us all unique so that we could all be lights in different areas of life and the world. One passion I have is reading, I have read continuously since I got my first pair of glasses at four. I have a bookstagram account where I interact with people who have the same passion. While a lot of the books I read are YA contemporary, I also use it to review and talk about the books I have read that have helped me with my faith too. I also love to write although my grammar is not always put together, I try to write my blog to talk about faith and finding beauty and acceptance from within. This is one place that I am truthful about my struggles, if it can help people. I have also learnt with work that it is a place in which I can serve. Working in retail is always interesting especially with who comes through the door. One thing that I try to do is make sure each customer I serve I treat them with respect and kindness, even when they can be a bit hard to deal with. I know how much I am loved and if I can spread that love to others then that gives me joy.

Sometimes I can make my life so complicated, the things that I can fill my head with that are supposed to give me purpose are so meaningless. For example, I started going to the gym about a month ago and I was fixated on was how many calories I could burn, which has been something I have been doing for years. I was fixated with calories and if I did not meet that goal then I felt inadequate and a whole load of other words. Coming into this week I have really began praying over how I view exercise and how I view myself. One of the key truths that I needed to be reminded of is that my worth is not in calories and what is more important is making my body strong and healthy. At the gym, now, I try to focus on pushing myself on doing weights and when I do cardio it is not about how fast I can go to burn calories but rather stepping it up a level so I can see how long I can go on a new setting. Demi Lovato puts it best in a quote where she states ‘don’t train to be skinny, train to be badass.’ Look after your body and just love it for what it is, that is something I am having to learn to do everyday but self-love is never easy when you live in the society that we live in today.

I truly believe that God never wanted us to live a complicated life, the things that we have allowed to fill our lives including the opinions of other people have tarnished a life that was meant to be beautiful and simple. It also stops us from living with the purpose that we were intended to, I never feel more alive than when I am loving God and through his love being able to love other people. Even if I do not have all the riches but I can live with this purpose each day, then I truly believe that I will be fulfilled. Everything else is so fleeting but love is the one thing that remains. 1 Corinthians 13:13 ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ Life does get messy because in reality the world is a pretty dark place but where you can spread love and light, that is so important.

The mind is such powerful instrument, so much goes on up there. We must learn as individuals to control our thought spirals. It is not an easy thing to do but with time and with help there is always hope. Over the past few days prayer and talking has already began to help me deal with my mind and my thoughts. I have also learnt to breathe a little more and not always to run to social media, because some of the things on there, really are not helpful.

You are so loved and such a strong individual. I pray that whatever is overcoming you now, that you would be able to find help and peace. God Bless. xx

Battling with fear!

One aspect of my life that I have been challenged on this week is my tendency to worry and be fearful. Fear is something I have allowed to become a dominant feature of who I am and to be honest it has been eye opener to realise how constricting and lifeless it has made me. I am in no way saying that I have overcome fear, but I am learning of how to deal with it. For this blog I wanted to share some wise lessons that I have learnt, this has been partly through reading Sadie Robertson’s ‘Live Fearless’, I hope and pray that if you are being overshadowed be fear that you can find hope and life too.

I believe that I am not on my own when I say that I allow fear to control me. Even the fear of speaking to people is something that I battle with daily, worrying that I will get my words all mixed up or that no one will be interested in what I have to say. I fear that I am incapable of doing my job and I also fear about how I look. One of the reasons that I fear so much is because I do not fit into society’s mould. There is this line from a Fall Out Boy song that states ‘I’ve became such a strange shape from trying to fit in.’ Isn’t this so true? Some of us have done reckless things to just try and fit in. We are also the generation which has the term ‘FOMO’, due to everything being published on social media, these days if you are not at the latest party,etc then you have not made the cut. There is this overwhelming pressure of fear that does resonate with us all in one way or another. It is how we choose to face it which is most important.

For me, battling with fear led me to coming back to the roots of my faith. One question that has challenged me is where I put my trust, do I put it in people or do I put it in God? Truthfully, I think so often I put my trust and my hope in people and that is where the fear comes from. At the end of the day, people are just people and they have their own weaknesses too. They cannot be the be all and end all because then I will always be disappointed. I understand some people who are reading this may not have a faith, I accept that we are all on our own journeys. I do find a lot of peace when I trust God with my life, when I soak in God’s truth and allow that to guide me. I can look to the world for truth, but its truth keeps changing. When I take the time to quiet my mind, read God’s word and have some time of prayer that is where the healing begins. There was one passage that resonated with truth for me this week and it is found in Isaiah 41:13 ‘For I am the Lord you God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you’. It just reminded me that when I feel alone, and I believe I am battling life alone, that is not the truth. God makes a steadfast promise that I will be helped. I know that promise cannot be broken, that gives me faith that even in the hardest battles I face there will always be hope. Although a lot of life can make me fearful, I no longer have to let that fear overcome me. It is putting into action, having faith over fear.

Lessons that I have learnt….

  • Stop worrying about always making people happy. My goodness, up to a couple of months ago I had massive issue of being a people pleaser. I wanted people to be happy and a lot of the time I would give a lot of my time and energy. Then when they were not happy, I feared that I had done something wrong. One key lesson that I have learnt is that some people will never be satisfied and there are people who choose to be miserable or bad tempered. It is about doing what I can to help people but also remembering that I am not responsible for people’s happiness and neither are you. If someone is persistently taking advantage of you then it is time to reassess what is going on there and how much you can help.

 

  • Life is like a dot to dot and we never see the full picture until the end. This is a topic that Sadie highlights in one of her books and I think it is a beautiful way to view life. There are these events that we must go through to make us who we are, they all add up to tell our story. One point that Sadie emphasised that not all the dots will be the same, in reference to the events we will face in life. She makes the point that some of them will be a lot bigger and some of them a lot darker. That once we face that event head on, that is the only way we can move forward. From a faith perspective it is such a beautiful image of how God connects all these dots to make this beautiful masterpiece of who we are meant to be, that is only if we allow God to do that.

 

  • That sometimes we need to ‘be like Plankton’. This sounds so odd, but this lesson taught me so much. Plankton are microscopic, but they have this big role to play as they provide oxygen for over half of the world. They also make this journey from the darkest depth of the ocean, travelling vertically up until they reach the top for the light. Sadie used this as a metaphor to represent our purpose here on earth. Referring to the light as the word and truth of God which we need to seek daily. As we are nourished by that we can nourish others who are still living in the darkness. We have travelled out of the darkness to get to the light, we take that light with us so that others can travel out of the darkness too. God has purpose for each one of us, we will all share that light differently as we work in the field that God has provided us with.

 

  • Learning not to focus on the negative thoughts in my head. I am a very negative thinker and while I may be very optimistic on the outside when it comes to just me and my thoughts I often think the worse. I am learning that this is not a healthy way to be, Sadie refers to this idea of ‘The crazy train’ which I think I am onboard most of the time. It is this idea that one negative thought leads to another negative thought and so on, then you have this train going full speed in goodness knows what direction. It drives you crazy all these ideas that have harboured all in your mind and some of them may not actually have any reality. There was a Bible passage to focus on when your mind was beginning to go full steam ahead on the crazy train, Philippians 4:8 ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’ Choosing to focus on the truth rather than ideas that I may have that someone may think about me or that something has gone wrong. Until I can deal with the situation, there is no point driving myself crazy thinking about the outcome.

 

I really hope and pray that you too will go on your own journey of dealing with the fear in your life. It is not that life will not be frightening/ worrying but it is choosing not to let that overcome you. You have so much purpose, I pray that you would not allow fear to limit you from what you dream and desire to do. Keep your eyes focused on God, keep seeking the light and truth of Jesus. Allow the truth to nurture you so that you can bless others too. Choose not to live in fear, this is a daily choice which is not always easy but if fear wins it will only ever cripple you. Fear is always going to be there, it does not have to determine your life if you choose to face it head on.

Hebrews 13:6 ’So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper: I will not be afraid what can mere mortals do to me?”

May you have a blessed week, full of love and strength.

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When life hits a rut!

 

Recently my life has hit a bit of a rut. Not that, that is bad at all; it is just different and not as exciting as it used to be. It is that time in my life where I need to find my feet again. Having come out of university into an unpredictable world it can be hard to understand where I actually fit in.  I work but I am not doing a job that I am incredibly passionate about, it is enjoyable but that is about it. I struggle with knowing what to do with my free time, should it always be productive and what do I actually enjoy doing?  I am not keen on where I am living either. I loved where I lived for university there was plenty to do and also a lot of open countryside as well. Whereas,  being back at home as much as I enjoy it, the surroundings are a bleak concrete jungle which can so easily suck the life out of you.  I am not the best person with change, especially when plans fall through on what I believed I would be doing. The changes that have happened over the past few months have been for the best but sometimes it can be hard to understand why they had to happen this way. Focusing a lot on the ‘why’ has led to the spark and excitement, I use to have about life, changing. This is something I want to change.

One other aspect of my life, that has dimmed, has definitely been my faith. I still have a relatively strong faith and I love having it. I do miss being part of a church, where I can play an active role of serving but also be encouraged by others too. Over the last year my perspective on the church has really changed, there has been a lot of bad that has come from it.  I do have to remind myself, that there are people in the church who want to actively love and care for people and that should not be overshadowed by those who use the church for their own means and ends. It has been easy for me to drift away from the church but I know that it will be hard to keep my faith going without the support of others. One benefit has been social media, finding videos and Instagram posts has been one way I have been encouraged and been able to encourage others too.

This is the time in my life when I need to start growing into the person that I want to be. I am quite a shy person, I find it hard to begin conversations and just be confident it what I have to say. I am more than happy to let other people do the talking for me. I know that I need to step up; if I want to make something of myself then I need to be more confident and independent. I am also someone that can easily give up on me but again, if I live continuously in that manner then I will never get anywhere. It is making small changes to conquer these things, which have begun to give more purpose in life.

Where is the hope, when life hits a rut?

For me I struggled with finding purpose. It was only a few days ago that I decided to begin reading Ecclesiastes in the Bible, which began to help me with my frame of mind. Chapter Three begins ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.’ This just helped to put into perspective that like every season, life does have its ups and downs. I am not especially fond of the season I am in at the moment, I know there are lessons to learn from it and that it will not last forever.

I have learnt that when life hits a rut, it pushes me to do more. I do not want to be that person who gives up and accepts that this is the only circumstance I will live. There are so many wise women and men in the world today, who use their lives to inspire people, to push the boundaries on what they have been told they can achieve. If you want to pursue something and have been told that you would never be able to do that, at least try, do not just accept peoples word as truth. A lot of the time in school I was put down as dumb because I was not academically strong, one of my biggest dreams was to get to university and to get a degree. I pushed myself and had many failures but with the support of my family and friends around me, I still carried on. I did get my degree too. I may not be the most academic or the most articulate but I know if I had accepted people’s opinions as gospel, I would have never got my degree. There is so much that needs to be done in the world today, so many people who need help and care. It is important that we look out for each other.

This season has also allowed me to focus a bit more on myself. Instead of running to other people’s beck and call, I chose to focus on if that person was actually benefiting my life. It is fine to help people but if they only ever leave you feeling drained and belittled then it is time to step away from that relationship/friendship. That is what I chose to do. I have also began to focus on what I want to do with my life not on what I think people want me to be doing. Which is something I am still working on but I chose to get up each day with purpose and intent.

Life is not smooth and sometimes it can be daunting. We have to choose where we want to put our perspective. In gratitude your perspective changes, the circumstance may not but with a thankful heart for the good things change will begin to happen. I have hope and trust that even in the hardest day there is always purpose. That even in the low periods, laughter can always be found. That beauty can be found in the smallest things too which is awesome.

Ecclesiastes ‘I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from the beginning to end’.