It’s not about you!

I’m not an angry honker, in fact, if you ever see me driving and I honk it’s because it’s a happy honk as if my car is saying Hi to you! The other day I passed a friend of mine and after the fact realized I wanted to honk at her, well she had already passed by but I went ahead and let out a honk! The guy in front of me, however, wasn’t so excited about it. He began to shake his fists at me and got very frustrated and all I could think of was, sir this isn’t even about you. As silly as this sounds, these things happen to us often. I had a moment the other day when I got frustrated with someone because they didn’t respond how I thought they would have. I went before the Lord about it and He immediately said to me, Crystal, it’s not about you. When we take everything so personal we are giving the power we need for today away. We only have so much emotional energy and we are giving that away to things that don’t even matter. Nothing people do or say is actually about you, it’s really just about them. We make everything about ourselves so much and then in turn get so frustrated by someone else’s actions. When I find myself in these situations I remind myself these things, how much of this (whatever happened) is about them? There are people that demand perfection. People that are critical about most things are because they are the worst or struggling at that particular problem. What do I know to be true? We can’t meditate on things that were said about us or a situation, we have to get down to the truth of who we know ourselves to be. The reality is most of us don’t know our worth and who we are in Christ so we let the criticism of others hurt us deeply. You have to stop molding yourself into what everyone else wants you to be. Only God can do that!  If we are walking in God’s love and image, He will help you see the good in everything because love believes the best! Friend, if everybody did not love and approve of Jesus then everyone isn’t going to love and approve of you, and that’s okay! XO

Bad Day

We all have bad days! There are times where we feel like we are on top of a mountain and then times where we start to question everything we are doing. The good news is you’re not alone, we all go through both of these seasons throughout our lifetime. I want to tell you today that if it were easy everyone would be doing it! This is something I have to remind myself of often. I start to feel overwhelmed and compare how everyone else is succeeding and killing it in life yet I’m over here and can’t get it together. But the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is perseverance. The Bible tells us in Luke 21:19, “By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.” You see, we have to have the mindset that no matter what comes our way, we are going to stay with what God has told us to do and not give up just because we have a bad day or two. Again in Galatians 6:9 we see, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” I love this because God has great things in store for you but the times you are tested the most is when everything seems like it’s going opposite of that plan. We can’t get tired of doing what is good! Statistically 90% of people who try something for the first time fail, 10% will try again. Of that 10%, 90% will succeed. Maybe you aren’t where you thought you would be by now, but will you try again? Your disappointments will either define you or refine you. I believe when we are having a bad day we are focusing on these things:

  • Our fears. Any area that you are fearful in is because you question if you are truly loved in that area. What area of your life are you comparing with someone else to see if you are successful? Remind yourself that you can fully trust God in every area. 
  • Our fatigue. Fatigue will make the smallest things seem so large. Sometimes we just need to be still and rest to get over a bad day. You don’t need to do more to get ahead, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a day off. When is the last time you actually shut down, stopped, and rested? Remind yourself God loves you for who you are and not what you do.
  • Our feelings. I believe that we choose our thoughts, our thoughts produce our feelings, and our feelings shape our perspective. Too often, we let our feelings make the final decision of what we do. I love in 2 Corinthians 10:5 where the Bible tells us, “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.” We see here that we have to take our thoughts captive, we can’t suppress them and they won’t just go away. It’s time to question your feelings and see where those feelings are truly coming from. Once you do that then you can get to the root of it and find freedom of why you keep feeling that way. Ask yourself, is this feeling helping you be your best self? Remind yourself, you are (fill in the blank)- I am a good mother, I am a good daughter, I am a good friend, or whatever it is you are feeling negative about. 

Friend I want to tell you that no matter if you are on a mountain top or in the valley, God loves you! He is proud of you and loves you right where you are. Keep pushing forward to the path set before you. XO 

Follower or Fan?

I remember playing the game Simon Says as a kid. The part that always got me is when someone called out a command but didn’t say “Simon Says”. I think often when it comes to following we Jesus we treat it like a game of Simon Says. We treat it as if I could (fill in the blank) then I will follow Jesus. The blank is different for everyone. What is interesting is you see the exact opposite happening throughout the Bible in Jesus’ lifetime. He found people just as they were and He called them to Him. Matthew 9:9-13 the Bible tells us, As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” What I love about this is that Jesus called the people who were not culturally acceptable. Being a sinner doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. It’s not about getting your life together before having a relationship with Jesus, it’s about coming to Jesus and letting Him get your life together. Honestly if we had our lives together, we wouldn’t need Jesus. The very fact that you are making mistakes is what qualifies us for God’s grace. His grace isn’t there when you reach a place of perfection, it’s there for us in the journey! He didn’t come for the healthy but for the sick. God is simply looking for a relationship with you and you alone, just as you are! The world may say you aren’t accepted as you are but that’s just a game of Simon Says. In God, everyone is accepted just as they are! The only people offended by this was the religious crowd as seen in the scripture above. I’ve found in my life, our attitude about who is accepted tells us whether we are a follower or fan of Jesus. Fans come and go according to how it works out on their behalf but followers will last forever. 

Friend, Jesus loves you between the gap of who you are and who you are called to be. Don’t wait around until everything lines up, be a follower not a fan! XO

Feeling stressed?

I’m just so stressed out! I can find myself saying this too often, as I’m sure most of us can. I read a survey recently that said 80% of moms feel an unbearable amount of stress on their lives and 70% of Americans say that they are sleep deprived. When we live in a state of being overwhelmed and stressed out every day we don’t realize how much it’s costing our joy, our peace, time with our families, and so on. If we actually take a step back and ask ourselves, why are we so busy we may realize we are actually putting the stress on ourselves. There are many factors to being “busy” but I feel like these 4 are the ones we find ourselves being trapped in the most: 

  • We believe more is better. We keep packing our schedules with more and more because if we don’t have something going on every single minute of every single day then we aren’t productive. The purpose of time management isn’t for you to put more into your schedule, it’s for you to be able to do more of the things you love! 
  • For social pressure. Everyone expects you to be busy. In fact, when you ask someone how are you doing their first response most of the time is “just been busy”. Our society tells us in order to be better at something we must be busier.
  • We want everything right now. We live in a drive through world where if we can’t have it right now it’s not good enough. The average American spends 117% of their income monthly, no wonder we are so stressed! We don’t have the time or money to live the life expected and we are spending more than is coming in, in order to keep up. 
  • Our worth comes from our schedule. If your schedule validates you, you don’t know how to sit and just be quiet. We fill our time with social media, appointments, Netflix, games, kids schedules, and so much more instead of just sitting and being with our own thoughts. 

God calls us to live a peaceful life, not a stressful one. The only way to do this is by starting to live with what does matter rather than more of what doesn’t matter. If you don’t put your priorities on your schedule then you will be living someone else’s. Friend, don’t get busy with everything in life that you stop living on purpose. Live on purpose for what God has called you and only you to do! XO 

Overcoming Fear

More people don’t accomplish what is in their heart because of fear than because of failure. I read a book a while ago that surveyed people who were in nursing homes on hospice and they were asked “what is your biggest regret in life?” Every one of them said, “I wish I would have taken more risks.” What stood out to me the most about this is that not one of them talked about their failures. So many of us have big dreams in our heart and so many things we want to accomplish in our lives but we let fear rob us of them. It’s fear to put yourself out on social media, it’s fear to put your product for sale, it’s fear to step out and do the business. The reality to this is fear will never go away! Fear is a feeling and bravery is an action, it’s what you do with fear. In my own life I’ve found these things to help me overcome fear:

Action |  Fear avoids action, it will find every possible way and explanation for you not to take action. We make reasons and excuses for everything we want to do instead of taking action. 

Truth |  When we are full of fear, we start to make up ridiculous things in our minds. We start to feed ourselves with our emotions and it continues to grow. It takes you so far from the truth that it paralyzes you from even going after what you want to do. When you know the truth, fear can’t dominate.

Community |  Fear wants to keep you isolated and alone, it doesn’t want you to open up and talk about it. There is no trust without vulnerability and there is no vulnerability without trust! 

Hope |  Fear is belief in the worst case scenario. It always avoids hope and hope restores us! Hope is an expectation that something good is going to happen. Fear is belief in the enemies plan for your life where hope is belief that God can turn your situation around.

Prayer | When we pray our spirit is lifted and we are reminded of how big our God is and how small our problems are. When you feel like praying the least, pray the most! 

Friend, what fear is holding you back from all that God has for you? Everything you want is on the other side of obedience! XO