Why The Christian Life is A Lot like Play-Doh

The Christian Life is A Lot like Play-Doh

Last summer, I was at one of my best friends’ house, talking with her mom and though I don’t remember what about, I do remember saying “But I don’t like change!”

To which she replied, “Oh honey. the Christian walk is all about change. Changing from a lifestyle of sin to one that follows after Christ; Changing from living in the flesh to living in Christ!”

I’ll admit, at first, her response didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t want to be “put in my place”. 

It wasn’t really until the last couple of years since graduating high school that I’ve had to deal with change.

I’ve lived in the same house my entire life. Went to the same church, same school, same…EVERYTHING! 

Change? Yeah…not really something I experienced.

I’m a planner. I’ve planned everything from my future college, future wedding, future family, future home, vacations… I. Like. Plans.

They make me feel safe, comfortable and like there’s a measure of continuity. 

Most of all, I really don’t like when my plans are changed-even if it’s just going to Starbucks…don’t mess with my plans! They’re my plans and I want it.

And then I realized that that is just the problem…

They’re my plans and the things want and then I don’t leave any room for Christ and his plan and the things he wants for my life.

 ” “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ” Isaiah 55:8-9 (Emphasis Added)

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Have you ever heard the saying “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken/bent out of shape?”

It may not be from the Bible, but it is so true!

The Christian walk is a lot like play-doh. When it’s soft, it’s mold-able; the creator can make it into what they see fit. But, if it dries out, it gets hard and the creator can’t do anything with it.

The Christian walk

When we resist change, our hearts harden like dried out play-doh and God can’t mold us into his image. But, when we are flexible, God can mold our hearts and use us to further his kingdom!

No, change isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it means stepping out into the unknown. But, it also means having the opportunity to trust Christ and that what he’s doing and his plans are greater than ours. And this, in turn, will lead to a deeper more intimate relationship with him!

Have you been rejecting the change that God has been trying to make in your life?

Take a minute and pray that God will soften your heart and help you trust him that these changes-whether big or small-are in your best interest!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

The Girl in the Front Church Pew: Accepting the Lie of Mandatory Perfection

The Girl in the Front Church Pew

The girl in the front church pew. She’s happy and kind. She is always perfectly put together and she has it all together…

Al least, that’s what everybody seems to think.

She’s that girl who came from a good, strong, steady Christian home. At church almost every Sunday. Participates in extracurricular church activities. Lends a helping hand when she’s asked. 

Congregants look at her and think that her life is without hurt. Kids at school think of her as the “goody-goody church girl” who doesn’t like to have any “real fun”.

Yet, she’s breaking on the inside. Her heart feels like a cracked window; a hundred little shards falling out one by one. 

Putting on a mask so that she doesn’t “let anybody down”. 

When people ask her “how are you?” she smiles and says “I’m doing so good” in the most chipper voice she can muster, all the while she just wants to scream and claw at something. Yet, she keeps things upbeat and lighthearted because she doesn’t want to bring someone else down with her troubles.

The girl in the front church pew…

I’m that girl…rather…I was that girl.

I was the girl who used to think that I had to cover up when I was hurting because people expected me to be happy; to always have a smile on my face. 

I had myself convinced that people only wanted anything to do with me when I was hurting; that they didn’t care about me the rest of the time, so why do that to myself.

I have seen several girls who grew up in church go through the same thing. We let the lies of the enemy convince us that we have to be happy. That we’ll let everyone down if we let them see that we are going through a rough time. 

There was a period for about two years that I wouldn’t let myself cry in front of people because that showed weakness. I didn’t want others to see the pain that I was hiding. It also didn’t help that I was told that crying in front of others was purely selfishness and a means to gather attention to myself.

Some of you may know from my social media sites, that I was at a ladies retreat this past weekend, and the topic above is one of the areas where God was doing some major healing in.

I’ll be honest, I had myself completely convinced that no one cared unless I was visibly going through something. That they wouldn’t take time for me unless they knew I was hurting. So, I started closing myself off to people, as I decided that if they didn’t truly care about me-or take time for me- at my highest like they did at my lowest, then they didn’t deserve to know the details of my life… 

It wasn’t until this past weekend, that I realized I wasn’t closing them off because I thought they didn’t deserve to know my life, I closed them off because I didn’t want to feel the hurt and pain of rejection again.

I want to talk to you ladies who have lived a similar life as the image of the ‘Church Girl who sits in the Front Pew’ that I wrote at the beginning of the article.

 

You are loved and people do care about you. You don’t need to put on a mask of happiness in order to make sure you live up to the standard that you think people have for you. and take it from someone who has lived through this, most of the time it is only what you think they think. 

It’s all a lie from the devil. Plain and Simple.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The enemy wants to alienate you (us) from our church family. Without that support and fellowship, we’ll close ourselves off and could end up falling so deep in believing the enemy’s lies that we start to walk away from the church altogether-as is what started happening to me. 

I left my home church and started trying other churches, and started to feel like I could start sharing stuff again; my life, my testimony some of my struggles and eventually, I ended up going back to my home church, and that’s when I started thinking that I had to keep this happy attitude. That people expected me to have a happy smile on my face, so, that’s what I did-even if I was feeling totally miserable.

What I’m trying to say, is that I believed so many different lies. Lies that I had to do this or else that would happen. That this is what people thought-or didn’t.

Ladies, it can be so easy to let ourselves get lost in believing these lies. 

I know…I know

One of the definitions I found for “to know” is: “to have developed a relationship with…through meeting and spending time…” 

I developed a relationship with these lies. I held them close and used them as my proverbial safety covering. I met with them and let them convince me of their so-called “truth”. Shielding myself with them. The lies of having to present an air of happiness became an exhausting chore, yet whenever the exhaustion would hit, my “friend” the lie would come calling and remind me why I was doing it.

 

I want you to know, you aren’t alone. I know what you are experiencing. I also want you to know, that these things you believe are so far from the truth. People care about you, and while I might not know you personally, care about you!

Seriously, I want to encourage you, if you ever need to talk, you can always contact me.

You can get a hold of me through Facebook or through e-mailing me at unfadingbeauty77@gmail.com. And if I can’t help, I’d be more than happy to try to help you find someone who can.

XoXo,

~Kristen~

Does Your Social Media Testify that You’re Set Apart for God?

Does Your Social Media Testify that God Had Set Apart-

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It has helped my keep in touch with far off family and friends, but it is also one of the biggest anxiety makers as well.

Recently, I’ve been noticing something that has, to be quite frank, disturbed me.

And, unfortunately, it’s something I’ve witnessed countless numbers of times over the last coupe of years. You see, I watch as people profess to being a Christian and then turn around and quite willingly cuss-some even cuss in the same post as they profess Christ’s goodness, or writing (more like bragging, actually) about how they got (or are currently) incredibly drunk.

Before you start indignantly saying, “Um…except nobody’s perfect,” hear me out.

I’m not talking about new Christians who are still in the early stages of learning these things, I’m talking about people who, for many years, have been professing to be a set apart young person.

I believe that one of the biggest difficulties of modern society is that, in an effort to try to stay relevant, we are forgetting that God has called us to live set apart. To live, speak and act different from the rest of the world.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

While it is important to stay up-to-date so you can relate to people, it’s also necessary to remember that if you act so much like non-Christians, it’s inevitable that eventually, people will end up looking at how you’re acting and start to question and think “why do I need to “get saved” if they act the same way I do now?”

Here’s a bit about what the Bible says:

“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Ephesians 4:17-24 (NLT) (Emphasis Added)

It burdens my heart to watch young people say one thing and then act the other. How are you speaking? Are the words you’re using-and the topics speaking of-going to bring honor and glory to God and be a testament that he has transformed you and set you apart, or are they going to confuse people who see you write one thing one moment, but then say or be something completely the next?

“You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.” Leviticus 20:26

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

Let me present this thought to you; Speaking encouragement isn’t just about speaking kind words to uplift someone. Speaking encouragement is also about speaking in such a manner that it encourages unbelievers to desire to know what it is that makes you want to speak in such a pure way.

Speaking encouragement

I want to challenge you to take a few minutes and prayerfully go through your social media-whether it be  Facebook, Instagram, a Blog you have, Twitter, Tumblr, Snap Chat…etc… and let God convict you of the things that could be/are causing harm to your testament of Faith and belief in Christ; the things (words, statements, actions…etc) that make people wonder if what you say about believing in Jesus is really real.

No, people aren’t perfect, but, as Christians, we need to let God transform us. We need to heed his word so that when we testify about our faith, people won’t question it.

So, let God transform you from the inside out. Remember, that is where Unfading Beauty originates in our spirit, heart and mind. For, what is in the heart, will flow out into every aspect of our lives-so let Christ and his word be what you are putting into your heart, it’s the best thing that a person could ever do-for them self, for others and most importantly, so that the Glory of God will be seen in and through you!

XoXo

~Kristen~

Healed Hearts,Whole Minds, Sacred Scars: Living Life After Depression

My battle with depression isn’t something I talk a lot about. Why? I think there are several reasons for it. First, I’ve always wanted to have the appearance of a strong, confident woman. Second, I didn’t want people to go out of their way to see how I was doing when they wouldn’t normally do so. Thirdly, I just didn’t want to be “that” girl. And by that, I mean, I didn’t want to be the girl everyone thought was faking it for attention.

But, depression is a very real thing. And, I think it’s something that needs to be talked about more often in church circles.

Healed Hearts,Whole Minds,Sacred Scars-Living Life After Depression

I started battling with depression when I was in 7th grade. It started out with being very, very hurt by a boy I liked, and then having all 180 kids in school find out about the little candy gift bag I made up for him after Halloween.

The hardest part was this boy told me he really liked me too, and led me on for months before this took place. Then, something flipped, and he showed me his true colors (which, in hindsight, I should have seen before hand).

Then, all through junior and senior high school, I was severely bullied. My allergies made it super easy, as all the kids had to do was bring said allergens around me, and it would make me have severe reactions-in fact, I actually ended up in the hospital several times, and came pretty close to dying on one extremely severe occasion.

Because of this, I had to start homeschooling; something that was completely new to me.

Being a people person, I had a really hard time adjusting to things. I rarely got to see any of my friends, and I became very angry, bitter and depressed towards the people who had forced me to choose between life and public schooling. and even though I did get to go back to public school to graduate in the same school my dad and brother’s graduated in, I still struggled with this depression that would occasionally hang over me.

That summer, I went to my last year of summer camp as a camper, and I had a friend come up to me during chapel and she told me something that I knocked me off my socks. She said “This depression. This weariness. It’s gone. It’s done with. It’s no longer who or what you are,”

It may seem pretty mundane, but the thing is, I had never told her about my struggle with depression. Ever.

I believe that moment started me upon a path to healing. There have still been moments of severe depression-these last couple of weeks was one of them.

Then, last night, I just got so fed up with the heaviness that I cried out to God. I told him “Lord, please take the heaviness, the depression, the weariness, the anxiety, the fatigue and the hurt. I can’t handle it anymore. PLEASE BREAK THESE CHAINS OFF OF ME!” 

That’s when I felt led to a chapter in the Psalms and my eyes fell on one particular verse:

“But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked”

Psalm 129:4

In that moment, a wave of peace washed over me and a weight was lifted off of me and I felt lighter than I have in a very long time.

Ladies, I want you to know something; Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s not something to hold in-that only makes it worse (I’ve done it many, many times and it was probably the worst thing I could have done!) and if you need to talk to someone about it, find a good Christian confidant-whether it be a friend, pastor or maybe even a Christian counselor.

Maybe you’re in the spot I was where I thought I was going to have to go on antidepressants because of how bad it is. Sometimes, they’re necessary. Having to go on some kind of medicine for something, doesn’t make you “weak”. In act, in my books, if you’re strong enough to say “I need this” (with your doctor’s approval of course) then you are, in fact, quite strong as many have a hard time admitting they need help through medicine, as it’s often thought that, if you’re on medicine, then you mustn’t have enough faith that God will heal you. I say phooey! God gave the brains to the people who created the medicine for a reason. Sometimes there’s a miraculous, divine healing that takes place, and sometimes, the healing takes place through the medicine the doctor’s have given you.

And the best news of all is God can heal you of it! Sometimes, the healing isn’t all instantaneous. It’s been a two-year healing process for me-and I’m sure there’s still more healing to do before I’m fully healed of it.

But, when you are healed, leave it nailed to the cross. Don’t you dare pick it back up. When it creeps up on you whispering “remember me?” in your ear, you must say “No. I have been healed of this, through the blood of Jesus I have been cleansed and set free!”

There will always be memories. But those memories won’t define you. There may be scars, but let God use those scars as proof of his healing power! I call them ‘sacred scars’. Let them be a sign that you may have been knocked down, you may have struggled, but with God’s help, you got right back up and kept running the race!

Here are a few Bible Verses that have helped me during my battle with depression:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

““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 hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ”” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Lean on Jesus. Give all your anxiety, worry and hurts to him. Let him give you the strength you need. Seek his healing. Seek his face. and Praise him, no matter what the outcome may be!

XoXo,

~Kristen~