by Kasia Kedzia
On any given day I can decide to look at the world and at myself from the vantage point of my past, how I grew up, how others view me. I can be negative and discontent about different aspects of my life. Today it could be my job, tomorrow a relationship. In contrast I can decide to view the world and myself in light of God’s love for me. When I chose to see and accept God’s love not just as a grandiose concept for all man kind but specifically, personally, and intimately for myself it enables me to see that the negativity and discontentment are signs of my pride. The humble ( Click for more )
Often times in a given situation we know what the right thing to do is and we do it, but the question is why. I recently began to recognize the difference between doing the right thing because I intellectually know it is the right thing to do versus doing the right thing out of a deep desire to please and know God. When I do the right thing based on my own knowledge it doesn’t last. I can do and say the right thing for a while but inevitably, when I rely on my own strength to fight, I will buckle. Although this is a lesson I feel like I have been learning and putting into practice ( Click for more )
Mastering one’s emotions rather than being controlled by them is by definition self-control. I have not always practiced self-control, in fact in the past I have either completely let my emotions control me or stuffed them and pretended they were not there until they blew up in my face. Neither of these actions were very effective or helpful. Recently, I have accepted and acknowledged my emotions: good and bad. I have been able to acknowledge what I feel but not give into it. I have been able to do this because of a deeper understanding of the ‘why’. 2 Peter ( Click for more )
Someone once said, “God will never give me more than I can handle- sometimes I wish he didn’t have so much trust in me.” This statement resonated with me this week as I applied lessons recently learned to face some people and situations from my past; to face past hopes and rejections. When applying these lessons to new circumstances I was excited and triumphant, but when having to apply them to address past circumstances I was terrified. I obeyed God and was able to do the right thing. However, it was in the aftermath of the events that I was tested to see if I ( Click for more )
To trust means to rely on and be confident in. When I trust in myself I leave room in my life for rejection, which leads me to feel insecure and results in pride. I have had an interesting spiritual journey over the past few months. The more I have allowed God to thaw-out my heart and revitalize my faith the more I have been humbled before Him. I am learning that when my security comes from God it breeds humility in me. I no longer feel the need to work my accomplishments into conversations because I don’t need them as a security blanket. I don’t worry as much about my ( Click for more )
We need tension to stretch and grow. However, how I respond and engage that tension is very important. To learn from the experiences I am faced with I must be willing to go through it completely. This includes acknowledging the emotions the experience invokes. As I juggled multiple changes in my life my first response was one of optimism. However, as time went on I encountered the pressure of not dealing with the things I was feeling. Optimisms and gratitude are important, keeping things in perspective is important, but acknowledging what I feel through it all is crucial. 2 Chronicles ( Click for more )
I find it ironic how simple and yet profound the concept of receiving is. I ‘get’ things all the time but getting and receiving are not the same thing. I may get a friend request from someone on facebook but I must choose to receive it. I may be dying of thirst and ask for a glass of water, but once I get it I would look stupid if I didn’t drink it. I must receive it. In this same way God has forgiven me and lavishes me with love, grace, and mercy. But it is up to me to receive all these from Him each day. John1:12 (NIV) Yet to all who received him, to those ( Click for more )
I have a strong sense of justice. It is this sense that fuels my passion for development work and for people in general. However, desiring justice for others and for myself can be a tricky thing. Desire for justice can often blind you. In the past when I have been hurt and felt that there was some injustice done to me or someone I cared about I had trouble forgiving. I didn’t recognize my unforgiveness but it was there. In recent months I have been able to see how a deeper trust in God can enable me to truly forgive and even understand forgiveness on a deeper level. Over the ( Click for more )
What I believe in my heart about myself deeply influences how I act. It’s kind of ironic because on a given day I can believe I am not worthy of love and act suspiciously towards anyone who tries to show me love while on another occasion I can, in my pride, think of myself higher than I ought; trusting in my own strength. No matter the cause - under- or overvaluing my worth, the effect is the same: lack of reliance and trust in God.
I have been doing some internal renovating, lifting up some of the floorboards in my heart. This has led me to rediscover some bitter sweet ( Click for more )
After a hard year filled with significant work and relationship challenges all I really looked forward to was a new year that would be different. So my first prayer of the year was for a year filled with some happy and easy things, some rewards right here on earth and some earthly comforts. How ironic that as soon as I finished praying those words I was led to passages of scripture that addressed how necessary trials were in the process of change and how sometimes we are called to prepare (preparation takes work) before we can receive His blessings. I of course did not appreciate ( Click for more )
There are parts of my character that for the longest time I thought would change just because. I thought the longer I was a Christian certain behavior or attitudes would just kind of sink in eventually. That other’s positives would rub off on me.
Colossians 3:1 (NIV) Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Nelson’s Commentary references the Greek verb set emphasizing an ongoing decision. It means that as a Christian I must continually discipline myself to focus on eternal ( Click for more )
I am trying to learn the art of pausing. The opportunity to practice the art of pausing presents itself in that split second moment between a given action towards me and my reaction. It’s part of the internal battle to be holy and reverent. In the past few years I have been losing this battle tragically, but for the most part because I was not fighting.
Rom7:14 (The Message) I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself--after all, I've spent ( Click for more )
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day..."Does it happen all at once or bit by bit?" [...] "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people ( Click for more )
Anger can sometimes be a byproduct of fear. When I get hostile towards people, situations, and God, more often than not it is rooted in a deeper fear. While listening to a recent lesson it really dawned on me: “As I get ready to leave my job and continue to search for new opportunities I literally do not know where in the world I will end up.” This scares me. I want God to give me answers now. I am excited for the prospect of what is to come but I am also fearful of the unknown. One fear unfortunately exposes many more. In my attempt to control these fears or try to ignore ( Click for more )
My thinking can be really off sometimes. I have these days where I am literally fighting my own thoughts. I have to train my mind to think spiritually. This statement looks so simple and to the point on paper but in practice it is ridiculously hard! I’ve been praying very specific and bold prayers over the past few months. I prayed through major fear and eeked out the words, but recently I began to get discouraged as I did not see anything happening. I began to rely on self as the urge to take control was overwhelming. Sometimes thoughts cannot be controlled, but what influences ( Click for more )
Sometimes I have these moments when things just click into place in my mind. Seeds that were planted years ago finally sprouted, pushing through to the surface. I have always loved people deeply, at times, with all of my heart. As a result I would take on their hurts and pains as though they were my own. I would try to fix them if they were broken and comfort them if they were hurt. To my shame, I would pride myself at being the one that was able to get “close enough” to do this. As the closest friend, I was “special”. However, I would also feel great pain ( Click for more )
There are things I struggle with ever day. In each day I am faced with decisions to respond in a given way to a given situation. Sometimes the time frame for the decision seems to be only a split-second-window-of-opportunity to react. At other times I can contemplate my response for hours and still make the wrong choice. Whatever the case, I am left to choose how I will react. No one else chooses for me. I make the choices. This puts a lot of pressure on me, but it’s good pressure - to be accountable to God and myself. When I made poor choices I reaped what I sowed and I had ( Click for more )
I’m at my launching point. The launching point is that moment when I must start acting on my goals. I have set some lofty goals for the next few months. I enrolled in a couple of different classes to help me grow in a couple of different areas of my life. I have decided to pursue my dream career. I decided to put my heart out there again and let go of past hurts. I have done all my goal setting and now I am left to act. This is the point where fear sets in - fear of failure and feeling overwhelmed.
Although I felt really excited about my new goals I quickly let myself ( Click for more )
I learned a new word recently. The word is hedonistic. It refers to people who are pleasure seekers and pain avoiders. I thought about all the little ways I can be hedonistic and how this correlates in my walk with God. There have been times in my life where I have sought out pleasure specifically to avoid pain. Most commonly this exhibits itself in the form of a pint of chocolate ice cream and a chick flick, but not always. Sometimes it’s a bit more serious than that. There have been times when in seeking what I thought would bring me pleasure I have only brought more pain ( Click for more )
When asked to help in a variety of circumstances recently, I found myself seriously pausing before responding. The pauses were those of hesitation. I honestly did not want to do whatever was being asked of me. They were all small tasks, but I found myself flashing back to my childhood and felt the same inner resistance that swept hot over my face and stuck in my throat when I was asked to do something I did not want to do. However, I am not a kid anymore and in each instance the feeling passed after a few seconds and I did the right thing. But after a few of these incidents I realized ( Click for more )
I got sick a few weeks back--I got hit hard. I was sicker than I can remember being in a long time. I was unable to breathe or focus. I felt attacked physically. My difficulty breathing made it hard to sleep. After a few days I was exhausted in ways I did not think were possible and I felt hopeless about things in my life that just a few days prior I had felt so hopeful and faithful about. During this time it was hard for me to focus long enough to really go before God in prayer or read his word.
Lam3:40 (NIV) Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. ( Click for more )
It is so easy for me to get consumed by my thoughts or the situations in my life. I saw how I can do this when I allowed some of my insecurities to keep me up at night last week. I was preparing to leave for a weekend away and found myself consumed with the most ridiculous thoughts and hypothetical situations. Even silly details such as if the clothing I was taking was going to be appropriate. I know this is a ridiculous thing to lose sleep over but it just goes to show how the most mundane things if not handed over to God can really drive me bonkers and keep me from functioning ( Click for more )
Sometimes my dreams seem really far away. I know, that sounds like a cheesy line from a pop song, but it is also how I can feel. Waiting may be an important part of the process, but it is always the most torturous part for me. Sometimes the combination of waiting and feeling like I am wandering aimlessly can make me question my dreams. I start to think that maybe the things that I want for my future are wrong and not meant for me. I start to doubt.
Exodus 6:7 (NLT) I will make you my own special people, and I will be your God. And you will know that I am the LORD your God who ( Click for more )
It is never a matter of if I will struggle, but rather a question of when. When I do, the challenge then becomes whether it will drive me to God or to what I know - my self-reliance. When I have faced challenges lately I run to God instead of defaulting to my own mechanisms. I finally realized these challenges God has allowed in my life are to show me where my heart is in my relationship with Him.
James 1:2-4 (The Message) 2Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the ( Click for more )
When I want recognition at work from my team, or when I simply feel dissatisfied for no identifiable reason at all, I have to pause and ask myself who’s interest am I really considering - mine or others?
Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit […] look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others…
It is a lot easier to do the things I don’t want to do or that are hard for me to do when I consider others over my selfish ambitions. This past week was really hard for me to not throw myself a ( Click for more )
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