Do It Scared

Whenever I am afraid,

I will trust in You.

(Psalm 56:3 NKJV)


I remember my first roller coaster.

It was a warm, summer afternoon at a small, amusement park outside of town.

Among the day campers, families, and tired employees, there it was–

One of the two only rollercoasters in the entire kiddy park. Tracks shaped into small hills, slight turns, and barely-there dips. A train shaped like a friendly, green dragon that glided through it all.

I started to cry.

I was tall enough to ride the coaster, but young enough to be terrified of it.

Moments later, I was sitting next to Dad, strapped in–about to take it head on. Needless to say, I wasn’t ready. When the ride started, I cried so much that the operator stopped it so I could get off.

Years later, roller coasters became one of my favorite thrills. I don’t remember the time I tried a roller coaster for the second time, but at some point I made up my mind to face the fear–again. And as a result, I found something I love to do till this day.

My most precious experiences in life began with feelings of fear. Getting my first summer job. Taking a driver’s test to get my license. Moving out of state for college. Launching a public blog. Becoming a leader in a college ministry. Pursuing a career after college. The list goes on. Although I might have began these situations afraid, they pushed me towards major growth, deepened my relationship with God, helped me discover interests I love, and introduced me to people I would have never met.

Do you stop at the point of fear when an unfamiliar situation arises? Or do you rise to the occasion?

Continue reading “Do It Scared”

Day 3: I can offer you more | Love Letters

More: to a greater extent.

“Maybe this is as good as it gets.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that? That you have no choice but to stay where you are, because it will only get worse from here?

You might feel you must stay within a bad relationship, because there’s no one else for you. Or, you feel you have to hang out with toxic friends, because otherwise you’d be alone. Maybe you feel you need to sacrifice your health to get perfect grades, because you’re convinced you’ll fail if you don’t. You feel you have to perform perfectly at work, or else you won’t be valued.

Whatever the case is, you feel as though if you don’t hold onto something, you have nothing.

Any of these things–relationships, grades, or careers–can disappear at any moment. And you probably know this, which is why you feel the need to maintain them constantly.

These are all things you can enjoy, if they are good things. But when you find your entire worth in them, you’re going to find yourself empty.

You were not made to find your security in temporary things. God has more for you than that. He provides more, or to a greater extent. But how do we get to this “more”?

Understanding God’s love for you is the first step. His love for you is unchanging, and it lasts forever. When you secure yourself in God–a sure and permanent thing–you’re able to make better use of non-permanent things in life.

You won’t put pressure on others to reassure you. You won’t feel defeated over your mistakes. You’ll be able to walk away from negative people and situations, because you know your worth is not in them. You’ll be able to enjoy your blessings–knowing your worth is not in them, either.

Your value is not based on what you have or don’t have. God sees your value. He created you with value.

God can do more for you than what you can do for yourself.  What you see with your own eyes is the surface. When you commit your life to Him, you’ll find that good moments in life can get better. And better.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV)

Love Letter 3

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 2

Read Day 4

 

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Introducing: Love Letters

Do you know your love language? You know, the way you really receive love?

If you’re keen on receiving gifts, and someone brings you flowers, your heart might soar for a while. Or if words of affirmation are your thing, and your friend compliments your new haircut, you might be feeling fly for the next few hours.

In other words, every one of us has a unique way we recognize we’re loved by someone else.

So, when someone communicates this exact way, we feel supported, cared for, and cherished.

However, when someone doesn’t communicate the way we’d like, we can feel forgotten, overlooked, and invisible. Even though it’s not true.

It’s often a matter of someone knowing us well. Ever see a funny joke, and think–wow, so-and-so would die if they saw this!–to yourself? It’s probably because you know that person very well. The better you know people individually, the more you know what they appreciate. But even if we know each other well, we don’t always do the best job of showing our love to each other–or knowing how to.

There is Someone who knows you quite well, better than you can ever know yourself. We may not always feel loved by others, but no matter how many failed or broken attempts at love you’ve witnessed in your life, God cannot fail you in His love.

God loves you. Like actually loves you, and He wants you to recognize His love for you. He knows you inside and out, and He knows what you need. He knows your love language…your deepest needs–even the ones you haven’t uttered.

So, why don’t we always feel this love? It could be a matter of not knowing who He is.

For the next 14 days, I want to challenge you with this: what would happen if every day, you took time out to understand God? To learn how God views you? To learn His love for you? His purpose for you?

How could your life change?

That’s where these Love Letters come in. For the next 14 days, the LizMargaret blog will share a statement from God’s Word itself (not my words) about who God says you are. The Bible, His Word, is His love letter to you.

You deserve love. I know that experiencing true love can change the course of your life. I invite you to join me for the next two weeks to take a closer look at God’s true love for you.

Starting tomorrow (Valentine’s day!), we’re going to embark on a daily journey of truth, discovery, and transformation.

Subscribe to lizmargaret.com to get a Love Letter delivered to you every day for the rest of February!

I look forward to walking along this journey with you!

Read Day 1

 

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How To Be A Better Friend | Video

What makes a good friend? What’s the purpose of friendship? What kind of friend are YOU? All these seemingly simple questions require us to look deeper at the people we surround ourselves with and the person we’re becoming. Today, I talk about friendship and God’s purpose behind it.

Click below to watch the video!

 

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Beyond the Flesh: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

(Romans 12:16-18 NKJV)


How would you evaluate your interactions with others? shaking-hands_black-and-white

Sin often gets between our relationships, because Satan wants us to live contrary to the way God has called us to live. He wants us to be angry, unforgiving, jealous, and judgmental. Many of these emotions emerge as part of our sinful nature, especially when we face difficult situations, but these reactions are traps that cause destruction, brokenness, and distraction.

Even if we don’t react outwardly in negative ways, our inner heart is still visible to God:

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10 KJV).

…And somehow, what’s inside will come out in public. Numbers 32:23 says, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (NKJV).

Of course, God doesn’t leave us hopelessly stuck in our weaknesses–He provides a solution. I love looking at the Fruit of the Spirit, because it sets standards for our character that we should follow:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV).

The Lord wants us to grow and be transformed–to do away with the wrong things we might say or think (see Colossians 3:8). Practicing the Fruit of the Spirit can transform who we are and how we treat others.

It’s important to see the reality behind our human struggles. Ephesians makes it clear that these fleshly battles are spiritual ones underneath:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

There is an invisible battle around us in which the enemy is trying to tear people apart, stealing lives that have potential to glorify God. However, we can choose forgiveness and a Christ-like mindset. When we reject our sinful ways, we are fighting the enemy, opening eyes to Christ, and winning lives for the Kingdom–and it’s all possible through Him.

When we respond in fear of people or focus on the wrongs they’ve done, we can be wasting precious time. Dwelling in the past is a time-waster, a joy-killer. There’s a reason that God values relationships, families, and friendships. There’s great power in just two or three people coming together for Christ (see Matthew 18:20). The more godly connections, the more He shines.

Satan tries to manipulate relationships, because he knows he is no match for the body of Christ. I believe he tries to distract us from our mission and purpose on this earth with these earthly battles. Losing sleep over people is not part of God’s plan. Separation and pain caused by grudges, bitterness and anger are not part of God’s plan. Fallouts and unnecessary disagreements are not part of God’s plan.

The devil is your enemy, not people. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (KJV).

Although situations can come into our lives without our control, without being our fault, we must remember that God restores. He has the power to replace what has been taken unjustly, and He has the power to provide better things from what has gone away. Don’t allow the enemy to lock you in the past, but also don’t allow him to control your actions in the future.

We have authority in Christ! Guard your heart, and respond with maturity and Christ in mind when it comes to personal conflicts. God has something greater for us to do than be distracted by Satan’s schemes.


Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

(Proverbs 4:23 KJV)

Baby Clothes & Growing Pains

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

(Ephesians 4:14-15 NIV)


Growing in faith is like growing out of your baby clothes. baby-clothes-white-short-sleeve-background-42489266

There are things you think you need forever, or things God even provides when you need them, that will no longer fit you as you grow. When you mature in Christ, God leads you on a different path than you were on before.

Conviction kicks in. When you abandon the things that hinder your relationship with Christ or cause you to sin, your desire for them lessens. The music you once listened to no longer appeals to you. Or maybe, the movies you once watched no longer seem OK. You stop enjoying the things that never brought glory to God in the first place. Then, suddenly, the friends you have don’t fit. It’s like you don’t have anything in common anymore. You don’t do the same things they do anymore. It feels strange. You’re not able to get past “hello” with those you could once talk to for hours.

And you wonder why.

These were your baby clothes–and you’ve grown! Your baby clothes were comfortable, one-size-fits-all, but God is putting you on a unique path. Not everything will fit you anymore. It will be a lonely path, because it’s a path that is made for you alone. Believe it or not, there are others who are following God, too, on their own unique paths. Nevertheless, you will be placed in situations where you are the only one following the Lord, looking for Him. But remember, the God you’ve trusted all along has not abandoned you on this path.

As you keep walking with Him, you’ll find how limited your baby clothes were. They begin to be restricting, because they are too small. You’ll find new clothes. You’ll find that God has more variety for you. Clothes come in different shapes, sizes, cuts, and fabrics. He knows your style. He knows who will fit in your life, and He will guide you to those relationships. He knows your future spouse, and He will supply that in His time. He knows the career you need, and He will arrange that for you. He knows which city, state, or country you need to be in, and He will get you there.

Your job is to walk behind Him on this path, because you don’t know what’s up ahead. If you walk in front of God, you’ll most likely veer off, trying on clothes that don’t belong to you.  It might be scary to leave them behind, but these things which are no longer for you will only toss you too and fro and bring confusion.

Your job is to not turn back to your baby clothes. They’re not for you anymore. In fact, if you look at them, they’re too tiny for you now. If you even tried to put them on, you’d rip them.

However, you’ve changed, and it’s beautiful. You’ve followed God, and you’ve transformed. If you ask God for direction, He will give it to you. And it will hurt at times. Many times. These are growing pains. You’ll have to turn away from the things you love. But if they’re not God-approved, they were never for you in the first place. If you try to keep fitting into old, ill-fitting clothes without God, you’ll have to keep mending the rips on your own.

This is the good news: Even if you veer off onto your own path, His path for you still remains. It’s waiting for you, so come back.

If you say God is Lord of your life, let Him be Lord.

Ask Him to lead you. Ask Him for the eyes to see what He wants in your life. Ask Him for the strength to respond to His calling.

If God leads you to abandon something, trust Him. He has variety for you. He has plans for you that are way bigger than your baby clothes.


You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)