Archive for 1 Samuel

Embracing Humility pt 2

-Always remember that there is a HUGE gap between being the best and being my best. Between being the most excellent and reaching my potential and defining my own level of excellence. I know it’s hard because I’m prone to low self-esteem and to feeling second best. Or third. Or fourth. But God gave me each and every talent that I have today. He did not accidently give me too much or too little. He knew exactly what he was doing and made me uniquely, to live out a very specific purpose he has for my life. I don’t have to be the best singer, and I know that’s hard to hear when I’m so easy to criticize myself. But I just have to be my own pursonal best, doing what I can do, and then letting go and letting God take care of the rest. I don’t have to be the smartest, most talented, most charming, most anything. I just have to love God with everything in me and realize he made me with certain strengths and weaknesses, and I need to embrace them. Improve where I can, but let go of what I cannot control.

-Don’t fret so much that I don’t have a boyfriend. Don’t fret that I’ve made a promise to God that I won’t have sex until marriage. It is something difficult to achieve but I find strength on the day to day basis dealing with this, when I have faith in Christ. I know it hurts really bad to be alone. But don’t be angry at God and understand that he sees the painful things you go through, he sees when the depression sets in and when I feel dead to myself and to the world, he sees each and every tear that I cry. He sees how I ask for his help time and time again and don’t see the immediate effects and how I get so frustrated and start to break down. Christ said that he has overcome the world. That means he has overcome every bad feeling, every thought, every fear, every ache, every pain. That doesn’t mean we will cease to feel these things but it really does mean that we can trust that he has the strength to help us overcome our constant, irritating probllems. He has not given up on me. He never will.

-Stop worrying that some people don’t see the love in me, that some don’t see how much I have truly invested in Christ Jesus. Just realize that he does; he sees every time I struggle for him, every time I fight for him, every time I give to him, every time I am living for him, every time I’m dying for him or breaking for him. The world doesn’t have to see, because he does, and he certainly will not let such love go unacknowledged.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t look at how handsome Eliab is or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7

It’s certainly difficult to embrace humility in some of the more painful areas of our lives, and these are a handful of mine. But you can see through my experiences that good starts to come out of it by doing so. Trust, just trust. Do the very best that you can, and once you have done that, realize that that is all you can do. Then just let go and let God.

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Depression part 1- Difficulties in Life are Not Always our Fault

I struggle with depression a lot. I become really withdrawn and closed off from the world. But still, I find hope in God. When the world is grey through my eyes, he is a ray of sunshine that comes through; when there are clouds, he is my silver lining.

I have to admit that even with Jesus, life beats me down and breaks me. I am thrown in all kinds of situations where I am pushed to give up hope. But even with the sadness, I try to carry myself in a spirit of hope and joy.

Jesus lived this way. I can imagine that it was incredibly difficult to face a world of persecution and hate, by those who are closest to you. Hard to deal with having your life threatened over and over, for what you believe in. But he had a hope about him; a strength and love in him that helped him persevere when times got difficult. Where does one gain such internal strength to face each and every day, despite opposition? That strength comes from the love of God.

“But, Lord, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage.” Psalm 3:3

“He protects those who are loyal to him, but evil people will be silenced in darkness. Power is not the key to success.” 1 Samuel 2:9

“The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.” Zephaniah 3:17

When we trust in God and hold tight to our faith, he is our protection and strength. That doesn’t mean life won’t get difficult, it doesn’t meant that we won’t get confused or not understand some of the odd things he does, or doesn’t do. But in trusting in him, we begin to stop trusting in the world. This means that when there is chaos in the world, we still have a sense of purpose and mission and hope in life.

I struggle with loneliness, with severe OCD, with lust, with anger and bitterness, and all of these things cause me depression. When I feel ignored and empty, I get severely depressed. At extreme points, I will think about suicide a little. But a hope for something better never fails to push such horrible thoughts away. The love in my heart reminds me that I am living for something bigger and far more wonderful than myself, and I realize that I truly have no right to take my own life away.

I am teaching myself to deal with this as I am trying to teach you to deal with it. I have to remind myself that sometimes, there are circumstances in this life that I cannot control, that are out of my hands, and I have to tell myself not to blame myself.

When something bad happens to my family, I may beat myself up about it, and I shouldn’t. When someone makes life really difficult for me or I feel like I never get anything I want, I am tempted to say that it’s because I’m not good enough, I must have did something bad and God is punishing me for it, he hates me, and so forth. But bad things don’t always happen and make us depressed necessarily because we did anything wrong.

Take Job in the bible, for example. He was a faithful man of God, and he walked with God. His life reflected his faith, and it pleased God. But Satan went to God and said that the only reason Job was faithful was because God had blessed him. If God took away these blessings, Job wouldn’t be faithful to him anymore. So the Lord let Satan take control of him, he let him do anything he wanted with him. He just said that he could not kill Job himself. So Satan destroyed his family, his children, his animals, basically his whole life. And Job and his friends tried to figure out why he was going through such hell. His friends had decided that Job must have done something wrong, and so he was being punished for it.

But that was not the case at all! Job had actually been faithful to God, so this brings me to this point: suffering = God is mad at you is not always true. Sometimes, we do suffer because we sin, but not always. The story of Job also brings me to another point: Job had not done anything wrong, it was some circumstance completely out of his control that brought him such suffering. Again, it’s not always our fault. We should never beat ourselves up for things that are not even our fault.

Sometimes God puts us through trials and difficulties to test us and see how faithful we are; sometimes he does it to get our attention and allow us to come to the conclusion that life is much too difficult to handle by ourselves. He may give us a hard time so that we give up on trusting ourselves and instead, put our trust fully in Christ, who knows how to take complete care of us.

The weight of depression on my shoulders is lifted a little when I realize that it does not always mean that I am guilty of anything. It’s important to realize this so that we can realize that God still loves us and that we are his children. He does want what is best for us, despite what he might put us through. If you always think you get depressed because you are guilty, you fall into a hopeless situation where you may give up on God because you think he does not love you anymore. He always, always, always loves us. Always.

Anger and Bitterness part 4- How to Cope Con’t.

This is a continuation of my last post, about how to cope with being bitter with God. I am challenging myself to get over my bitterness and frustration, that I’ve carried around for a little while. My world is not going perfect, and God is just letting me struggle. But struggle is not a grounds forgiving up on faith. These are more ways to cope with being angry with the Lord, and I hope you can successfully apply them to your life. =]

5. Get out there and help someone. I know when I feel bad, but when I go out there and help someone, it makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I am useful again, if I had been feeling pretty useless before. Even if I am upset with God, if I see someone struggling with an issue with faith that I know how to resolve, it always makes me feel awesome inside to see their faith grow stronger and see the hope restored to their eyes- and then I feel like I have more hope for myself. As the saying goes, “when we help others, we help ourselves.”

6. Exercise! Exercise gets your endorphins pumping, which give you that rush of energy and those ‘feel good’ emotions. I remember at one point in my life, I kept crying on the daily basis. But the night when I really started exercising, I didn’t feel like crying that night. Exercise can release stress, erase feelings of confusion, worry, and anxiety. A lot of people don’t know these kinds of effects of exercise. But exercise really has helped me get over being bitter with the Lord. I channel all of my frustration into my workouts, and over time and over a consistent amount of exercise, I feel much, much better. Break out the treadmill and weights!

7. Do things you love. I do this a lot. In a sense, I sort of distract myself from the problem. When you think about a problem to much- how God seems to have let you down, how he wasn’t there for you, how he let someone break your heart- when you dwell too much, anger and frustration just builds. I know this from much, much experience! LOL, It’s so true. So instead of keeping my head in negative thoughts, I boost my spirits by doing things I love- drawing, writing poetry, singing, making music, reading, playing games, etc. I am not saying that you avoid the problem all together and never deal with it, but I am saying just don’t obsess over it too much. Take a break from the anger and pain, and do something fun. Go hang out. Enjoy yourself. The time I was most angry at God, I had no idea how I would get out of all the negative feelings that I felt. I felt like I would always feel broken and be angry. Since I didn’t really know how to fix the problems, I started doing things that I loved, that would take my mind out of the war of negativity, and over a period of time, that anger gradually went away. I was happier because of the things I did, and it diffused my frustration with God.

8. Humble yourself. Often times, we are selfish and we feel like God owes us something. He doesn’t owe us anything, when he has already giving us everything through his wonderful son, Jesus Christ. Jesus rescued us from our afflictions, and we truly have no right to complain; we should be thankful and praise him for his love. But since we are human and imperfect, we will result to complaining. In the Bible, God’s chosen people, Israel, complained along their journey with God. It’s not right, but it’s something we do. But you have to start realizing that we live this life to glorify God and do the things that he wants, not the other way around. Yes, he loves us, and he will bless us, but it doesn’t mean that life will always be easy. It doesn’t mean that we won’t ever get uncomfortable. Realize why you are so bitter and frustrated with God: where does it seem that he has let you down? And open your eyes to the fact that we obey him, he does not obey us. He will take care of us in his own time. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around that: ‘in his own time.’ That means whenever he is ready. Not when we are ready, but when he is. Humble yourself and realize that you are so small compared to God. Yes, he will take care of you, but only at the right time.

9. Worship God! Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. Ok, I know this sounds strange. If you are angry at God, why on earth would you bother praising him and worshipping him? Well, I know this from experience. When I am upset with him, sometimes, I can’t bother to try to fix the problem, because it’s too much of a challenge for me. But I love music. So one day, I really wanted to play piano, and there is this nice worship song I wanted to work on, even though I was mad at God. I started playing and singing, and I was having such a good time, I deliberately started singing to God and worshipping him. The joy from playing helped me to worship easily and joyfully. It made me happy with him, the more I fell in love with the music and the more the meaning of the words soaked deep into my brain and my heart. When I tithe, I feel like I am making a difference to someone, so I worship him when I tithe. Through various forms of worship, I feel how much I care about God, and I realize how much he cares about me. Set yourself free in some worship.

10. Another thing I do is actively and sincerely apologize. Lately, my heart has been broken. Romance and friendships have been a little haywire for me, and so sometimes, I blow up at God. I blame him, and say he is a horrible father. This is all in a moment of passionate, painful, anger. But after I have calmed down some, I go back and genuinely apologize. It has to be sincere, truly coming from your heart, or it won’t matter to him; it will only be fake, otherwise. You have to mean it, and he will definitely forgive you. To me, it’s like when I have a bad day. Someone comes in and tries to comfort me, or even people not involved at all, and I may blow up at them because my day already sucks, even though it’s not their fault. That’s how I may accidentally treat God sometimes, because I am, so to speak, ‘having a bad day’. I am frustrated with the world. So like a friend who really feels bad for blowing up at innocent people, I apologize to God because I honestly don’t want to hurt him.

As long as you are seeking to improve, seeking God’s heart despite your hardships, God will always return to you. He will not leave you forever, even though you may feel utterly forsaken in the moment. When I feel utterly forsaken, I have to continually remind myself that he will return and that he truly does love me. A willing heart will always go far, no matter how much you mess up with God. He sees that desire to change, and he is willing to help. God looks at the heart, though man looks at the outside of a person.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t look at how handsome Eliab is or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7

The Most Healing Words

I have this book called GOD’S PROMISES for every day, and I was just reading it. All it really is is bible verses selected for different phases of life. When I read bible verses, whenever I am in pain or feel like I am losing faith in God, the verses help make me feel loved and keep me from getting discouraged. They make me feel safe like Jesus will protect me.

Sometimes we all forget how healing these words can be. This is one thing that is so attractive and genuine about Christianity. You can read a bible verse a thousand times, and each time, discover something new about it, look at it in a different way, it can radically change you and help you grow each time. It never gets old. It’s because God’s word is overwhelmingly filled with his love. Each time I read, I feel his love reach my heart and kiss it. It teaches me discipline and patience and integrity. It teaches me to have grace and mercy because Jesus had grace and mercy towards me. It teaches me humility and strength, and fills me with the richest kind of wisdom. I directly feel God’s love for me when I read.

When I feel broken and torn up inside- when I feel misused, his words truly heal my broken heart and bandages my wounds. It pours peace and hope into all my internal cuts and bruises. It takes the very sting out of the pain the world has caused me.

It is my closest, most sacred and important friend because the word is God-inspired. It’s God’s words, wrote down by man. I watch myself heal from the most pain I have ever been in my life- and that anyone could call that fake by calling Christianity fake- is someone who obviously has never experienced the peace is brings. It challenges and comforts you all in one. People who don’t believe, such as atheists, travel in this world feeling alone. When life knocks them down, they don’t know the eternal peace God has given us so that we have grace in all situations we are in, bad or good. They have not experienced the strength and mercy of the Lord. That is one hell of a dangerous place to be: travelling the world, alone in your heart.

I have decided to write some powerful verses from the book, GOD’S PROMISES for every day, here:

Because of his love, God has already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace. Ephesians 1:5-7

But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done. 1 John 1:9

Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want. Depend on the Lord; trust him, and he will take care of you. Psalm 37:4-5

Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

For his own sake, the Lord won’t leave his people. Instead, he was pleased to make you his own people. 1 Samuel 12:22

I will not leave you alone like orphans; I will come back to you. John 14:18

So faith comes from hearing the Good News, and people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ. Romans 10:17

Every time I hear stuff from the bible, every time I read it, it resonates in my heart in a new way. It’s hard to explain. It’s like God’s voice speaking to me and loves echoes throughout my soul. Spend some time studying the word. Get closer to God doing so. You learn about him, and how to live an upright life. The bible is strength and protection and hope. It builds bridges where there are no bridges; builds bridges where the heart is broken.

It is the foundation of good living. It is so firm and it gives you something firm to stand up, something to hold on to. It teaches you and shows you how to be disciplined. It is mighty and challenges you to constantly change for the better.

These are the most healing words. Words written down by men, inspired by God himself. Read it, be blown over in the love of it all, and learn the true nature and character of God’s heart. It’s one of the best ways to get close to him. And also, pray. 🙂