by Kasia Kedzia
When someone I love and trust calls me I usually respond. However, when I feel like the one I love has not heard me I can easily desire to tune them out and take things into my own hands; listen to my own voice. I have found a lot of peace over the past few weeks when I have held to the truth: the God I love, the creator of the Universe, is not only the God that sees me; he is also a God that hears me. I returned to Hagar’s story for this reminder.
Genesis 16:11b […] for the Lord has heard of your misery […]
When Hagar first ran into trouble and fled, ( Click for more )
There are times I can feel like I’m the supporting character in someone else’s story. Usually, I recognize that I am the heroine in my own story but there are those rare occasions where I lose sight of this. We all have personal goals: fitness, career, relationships. In all these realms of my life, reaching or exceeding my goals helps me to feel in control and like a winner. However, when I miss the target or things are not going according to plan I can feel like the number two, or worse, some number that’s in the thousands. I can feel like I’m in line for ( Click for more )
A lot of our battles take place in the mind. I have moments when I let my thoughts run away from me. Negative thinking can really bind and restrict me – it’s faithless. Whether it’s believing I can push my body harder in the gym or adequately conduct a professional training, I am faced with a choice. I make choices every day to give up or do things that may be beyond me. It is a risk.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ( Click for more )
There is always that one thing each of us has that is the most difficult for us to completely surrender to God, that one thing that can potentially pull us away from God. We want X and we don’t see the results coming fast enough in attaining X, so we hit the gas pedal and try to accelerate the progress. We take matters in to our own hands and exchange God’s promises for our own plan. ‘X’ marks the spot and it is up to each of us to truly know what our X is. It can be that next step in our career, a relationship, family, owning property/possessions, our physical ( Click for more )
I recently asked myself, “Whose time and attention am I vying for most?” I am this imperfect, fragile, broken person who so often finds herself wanting acceptance, approval, or love from other imperfect, fragile, broken people. I do this while the creator of the universe longs for me to find acceptance, healing and restoration in him. As I look around I see it everywhere: wives looking for it in their husbands, mothers looking for it in their kids, singles looking for it in relationships, employees looking for it from employers. We crave companionship, acceptance and status ( Click for more )
Feeling shame or inadequacy can be hard. Often in those moments I try to cover my own shame. I run to things that I think can make me feel better. I look to certain people for approval; I try to conjure up tangible proof that despite my inadequacies and imperfections I am still lovable. When I do this I miss the point and a very big point at that.
Ps34:4-5 (NIV) I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This past week a good friend brought some things to my attention ( Click for more )
I am not careful enough with my words and what I say. I can interpret what people say by placing emphasis on certain words that were not emphasized, or add/take away from what was said. Thus, I am working on being a better listener and someone who seeks to understand before I jump in with solutions. My words, what I say, should be deliberate and accurate, often they are not. More often than not I find myself having to back track and take back or clarify what I’ve said or heard because of my lack of deliberateness. Sometimes this is harmless, we all exaggerate or embellish from ( Click for more )
I am a glory thief. As I read through the book of Genesis and the creation story this point resounds in my head. Over the past few weeks I have become more aware of the ways in which I try to claim for myself those characteristics of God that are his and his alone. Yes, there are characteristics of God that we are called to imitate, the communicable attributes that he shares with us: love, kindness, compassion, etc. However, there are characteristics of God (incommunicable attributes) that are only his and I will never be able to attain them. These characteristics are laid out in ( Click for more )
When things get really hard or uncomfortable in life, or when I make poor decisions, there are two words that bring me great comfort: me too! However, there are two things that must happen in order for me to hear these words or be able to say them to someone else. The first is that I must experience the very circumstances that can lead to those words being spoken. The second, I must be willing to be gut level honest and open, volunteer my thoughts and actions.
Ecc1:9 (NIV) “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the ( Click for more )
As far back as I can remember God has called me to trust him more. Over the years I have fought to trust more, but in many instances relied on zeal without knowledge rather than godly wisdom.
According to Wikipedia, Wisdom is the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results. It is the ability to optimally (effectively and efficiently) apply perceptions and knowledge and so produce the desired results. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action.
About a year ago something in me broke. I allowed ( Click for more )
Waiting for anything can be challenging but waiting patiently can up the scale of difficulty. I have found that I am more apt to wait if I know what’s coming. If I know I will receive a package on a Tuesday I am happy to wait till Tuesday. However, if Tuesday passes and the package has not arrived I can work myself into a panic in under 60 seconds. Learning patience is learning trust. When I am forced to wait and not act I am forced to pray; to listen and not take control. I am forced to sit on my hands so that they are not elbow deep in something else when God wants to place ( Click for more )
While listening to a lesson online I heard an interesting term, “practical atheist.” An atheist is someone who does not believe in God, while a practical atheist is someone who claims there is a God but does not live like they believe it.
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
We have all had our practical atheist moments, I know I have. It’s the moments when I let my fears win out over patient obedience or when I am surprised when God does something incredible. I have had multiple ( Click for more )
I love people dearly but I’m not always great at communicating my love. Concern tends to come out as criticism; my own fears sometimes prevent me from expressing affection and well, I think you get the picture. However, I have these rare moments when I open my mouth and God speaks. I know it’s him because the words come from a deep-rooted place and are beyond what I could think to speak. In these rare moments I listen and am in awe of the ability of a creator that uses each of us. To love the way Jesus loved people is uncomfortable and takes great courage. In those moments ( Click for more )
For many people temptation comes in times of trials. For me however, temptation seems to be like that big yellow speed bump in a large parking lot, if you look straight ahead you can’t miss it, but if you’re walking with your head in the clouds you will end up eating pavement. I had a bit of a pavement eating moment this week.
James 1:13-14When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desires, he is dragged away and enticed.
As I’ve ( Click for more )
“The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” - Unknown author
My love for God grows as I get to know him better, as I open up to him more and share experiences with him. However, I also see myself more clearly in very unexpected ways. Christianity, I have learned, is not about self-discovery. It’s about God discovery. When I learn about God I cannot help but see myself in relation to him.
I was recently able to face people from my professional and personal past who I felt treated me very unfairly. Now I stood on higher ground. I had changed and ( Click for more )
I have recently returned from an amazing adventure. An adventure that taught and challenged me in new ways. The challenge: Love deeper, give more.
John 13:12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked.
A team of volunteers and I spent a day at a program site, painting a day care center, and building a shed at the bottom of a mountain made entirely of garbage. The smell wafting from the mountain was something I could never get used to. It was like sitting inside ( Click for more )
I am about to embark on a new adventure. It’s a trip I have been planning for months. It has been thought through and well planned. Yet the closer the time drew to my departure the more anxious I became. When I first made the decision to take this trip it was for all the right reasons; to help, to serve, to learn, to give back. Now I was finding myself focusing on the heat, the bugs, and the uncomfortable conditions. Alarms began to go off in my head wondering if I could rise above my circumstances, rely on God in the situation and conduct myself accordingly. In the past when ( Click for more )
As I grew up I learned to work hard and through that work ethic I accomplished many things. Over the years I fell in love with the things that I was able to accomplish. Even as I learned that I am saved by God’s grace I allowed my accomplishments to give me a false sense of security thus exposing my tendency toward legalism. For years, in my service in ministry, I fell into the trap of doing things that made me feel good about my own righteousness by loving what I could accomplish. Often, this attitude led to self-righteousness and ultimately, when I faltered or failed it ( Click for more )
Failure in the face of progress is like a big slap in the face. You think you are doing so well and then, wham! As I’ve been growing in compassion for others, trying to be more considerate and more vulnerable I have also been cut a lot deeper when hurt. I guess it comes with the territory but it definitely does not feel good. It hurts even more when not everyone seems to see my progress. I recently discovered I have hurt some people in my life with the things I say. I don’t know who they are, but it pains me to know that my actions have hurt them. Now lets face it, we ( Click for more )
As I was reading a Christian book on the bus the woman next to me began to ask me for directions. Initially I kept my answer short, put my headphones back on and stuck my nose back in the book. A few seconds later something inside me moved. It was my conscience poking me and yelling, “What type of Christian are you? Speak to the woman, you can see she’s nervous!” I turned my ipod off and spoke to her. She was in the area looking at apartments as she had just moved in from out of state. Through the conversation I also began to share my faith with her. We exchanged ( Click for more )
Every morning I wake up and set my priorities for the day. Sometimes these priorities are based on what happens, but on any given day I might have to re-prioritize. I prioritize what I will allow to occupy my thoughts, thus influencing resulting actions or inaction. My priorities are driven by what I want most. Sometimes what I want most and where I choose to place my treasure is at odds with what I believe; it’s at odds with my faith and my God. I try to rationalize this, thinking, “I’m a good person and I believe in God BUT I just want “x.” If I have ( Click for more )
I am learning how to love people outside of my comfort zone. The more I have been learning and relearning about God’s love and character the more it has awakened a desire in me to have a deeper concern for others. However, the desire to have a deeper concern doesn’t always translate easily into action.
It’s easy for me to love the people I already love. That is, those who are already near and dear to my heart- I will do almost anything for them. If they are late (a huge pet peeve of mine) I don’t mind it as much, or if they lend out a book I lent them ( Click for more )
It takes great humility and vulnerability to get out of my own way and just obey. Day in and day out I have watched God answer prayers, specific prayers, some within hours of me writing them out, and yet I can still wake up on some mornings fearful, doubting or anxious. I can feel inadequate because I lack perfection the way I think it should look. Yet, God doesn’t expect perfection from me. He expects me to be humble enough to admit my weaknesses and committed enough to press through difficult or uncertain times. He guides me past my doubt and fear when I allow Him to.
Philippians ( Click for more )
I can be so nearsighted when it comes to God’s plan. I can let what’s right in front of me distract me from the bigger vision God has in mind. The second I receive any sort of answer to even a part of a prayer I can quickly think I know the direction God is taking me; I know the rest so I can take it from here. In the past I have quickly taken control at the slightest inkling of what seemed like “a sign.” I am now learning to be a bit more patient and as C.S Lewis wrote, “to look beyond.” The only way to do this is to let God really lead me through ( Click for more )
I am a woman on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don’t deny Christ’s presence in me. I have been more fervent in this pursuit as of late because I see that people don’t care to meet my Jesus until they meet the reality of Jesus in my life. On this particular part of my journey this has meant me learning to really listen to God and do what He says. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been striving to do what God wants me to for years but in the past few weeks I have experienced God in an entirely new way, a more faithful way, a more mature way; ( Click for more )
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