Day 11: I created you with purpose | Love Letters

Pur·pose: The reason for which something is done or created; the reason for which something exists.

Here’s another lesson I learned while taking fine arts courses. Art supplies are expensive. Their quality affects the price, but they also get costly because you have to buy so many of them.

You don’t just need paper. You need the right kinds of paper. One drawing pad for charcoal drawings, another for ink. The list of materials for an average class is extensive, but it’s for a reason. From pencils to brushes, every item–although different–serves a unique purpose. What I can do with one tool, I cannot do with another. Working on one piece might require using several materials that have various effects.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, giving our heart to God, we can tap into our very own unique purpose.

We are freed from sin, forgiven by God, and reconciled to our Father, able to live fully in His love. Once dead in the weight of our sins, we are alive in Christ:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV).

We are made new, given a new life and a new attitude. God has prepared assignments for you that only you can do: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

We discover our true purpose, or the reason we exist–to love God not just with our mouths but in all that we do. Good works don’t save us, but they prove whether or not we truly love God and belong to Him. James 2:17 states that “faith without works is dead.” You can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

When it came to buying art supplies for class, quality was essential. If I bought new paints that claimed to be of a certain quality, I expected them to be of that certain quality. If they didn’t do what they advertised, I couldn’t even use them!

As believers, we have a common responsibility to show others Christ. To show everyone His love and how He deeply cares for this world. Though we have a common goal, we can live it out in different ways. You might live out this responsibility through your career, a talent or skill you have, the words you say, the hospitality to show, etc.

It’s God’s will for everyone to have an opportunity to know Him, to have access to His freedom and eternal life in Him.

Can you imagine the major losses if we don’t live up to this responsibility?

There are consequences for not walking in your purpose. You have a story that nobody else can tell. Your life is a story that someone needs to hear. Others are counting on you to be served, to hear how God has changed your life, to be encouraged, to know Him for themselves.

God created you with intention. He knows the impact you can have on this world. He knows your personality, your patterns, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You’re not an accident. You are loved and made to be on this earth intentionally.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re not made to live out someone else’s purpose; you’re made to live out your own. So, be encouraged.

God has a job for you to do, and His love means He’ll help you accomplish this job. Whoever you are–a student, an employee, an entrepreneur, a friend, a sibling, a daughter–simply a living and breathing human being, you have opportunities to influence other people for good.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV)

Love Letter 11

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

Read Day 10

Read Day 12

 

To receive inspiring content on faith and lifestyle, follow LM on social media!

YouTube: LizMargaret

Facebook: Lizmargaretblog

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_lizmargaret/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_lizmargaret

Tumblr: http://lizmargaret.tumblr.com/

Advertisements

The Happy Grad

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

(Psalm 1:3 KJV)


Grab a pen and paper. If you could have anything right now to make yourself happier, what would it be? List everything down that comes to mind.

What’s in your heart?

A few months ago before college graduation, I did this. It was the middle of spring semester, and it wasn’t the easiest senior spring. Some of my friends had one or two classes, and I had a full course load. Other friends had job offers since October, and I had no options in sight. I knew exactly what I needed to be happier: to graduate on the Dean’s List, a full-time offer for my dream job, etc. Basically, I would have LOVED a detailed road map of my future.

Graduation Cap_Edit

I didn’t get it, though. Instead I had to wait and take one day at a time. Ultimately, I wanted to be happy. I was totally content, but I wanted to know that when I walked across that stage in May, I would be taken care of.

Months later, I can tell you that God did give me the desires of my heart. I graduated summa cum laude, I got my dream opportunity. I can also tell you this doesn’t make me happy at the end of the day. The road to these things was unimaginable. But what makes me happy was that I chose to honor God when I didn’t understand.

Continue reading “The Happy Grad”

3 Ways My Faith Has Changed Since College

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

(Psalm 105:4-5 KJV)


Recently, I started my final year in college.

As the day I returned to campus approached, I found myself reflecting on my past three years as a student. I’m definitely a changed person. I’ve stepped into my skin, gotten acquainted with myself, and I’ve stepped out and explored areas outside my comfort zone.

Picture_20160825_005913446The changes I’ve been through have been essential, even though many were the result of difficult times–yet I’m grateful, because I’ve come out stronger as a follower of Christ.

Whether you’re starting college, finishing college, somewhere in between, or nowhere there at all, you should strive to grow in your faith. Here are three areas of my faith that have changed since I’ve become a college student:

1. My alone time became my quiet time.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart (Psalm 119:2).   

One thing about college that quickly became clear is that people are everywhere. This might sound obvious, but I really mean everywhere. My first lecture had 700 students (of course, class size depends on the size of your school). When I started college, I loved interacting with many people on a daily basis, but when I finally had time to myself, I just wanted to kick back and relax. When I became busier, down time became shorter, and I felt I had no time for God. I attended church, Bible studies, and prayer groups, but my personal time with God was virtually nonexistent. I’d go weeks without even talking to Him, until I realized how much I needed Him. When things became stressful and I needed direction, I turned to God, and He happily welcomed me back. Reopening dialogue with the Lord made me realize how much I had missed out all along.

An intimate relationship with God sets your life on the right path. Your perspective is directed, your attitude corrected. Spending time with God better equips you for the day ahead. Through prayer and Bible study, you hear God’s voice, His secrets, and He’s able to reveal His plan for your life. I missed out on several days of this, wishing I had direction in various scenarios–yet the One who had all the answers was right there!

Since then, I’ve learned to make God a priority throughout my day. If I’m walking to class, have a morning alone to myself, or have time between classes, I communicate with God and meditate on His Word, instead of being idle. It’s fine to relax and enjoy your favorite hobbies in your free time, but if these things take precedent over your relationship with God, you’re missing out on crucial moments with Him.

2. I learned to value community more.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Though I love my alone time, I love being around others as well. However, when I first started college, I didn’t realize how valuable and essential a Christian community was for my walk with the Lord. I grew up in church and accepted Christ at a young age, but I never had many Christian friends, because there weren’t many believers my age around me. I entered college ready to find them.

It took time, but when I built relationship with other believers who shared my values, I noticed how impactful these friendships were in my life. I have had the most challenging and encouraging conversations with other Christians. When I felt discouraged, it was amazing to know there were others who could pray for me–and I could do the same for them. I’ve grown as a leader in my Christian fellowship because of these relationships. God has given me a heart to know others and care for them.

I value all solid friendships–with believers and non-believers–but as a Christian in college (or anywhere, really), it’s vital to have people around you who share the same beliefs and can push you forward. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Those you spend time with will rub off on you, so if you want to grow in Christ, stay connected to those who want to do the same–whether it’s on campus, at church, or another Christian community.

If you’re having trouble finding these people, bring it up to the Lord, and be patient. When opportunities to build relationships emerge, be a friend, and be consistent. God will provide the company you need in your life.

3. God’s power became more evident to me.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust (Psalm 91:2).

In high school, I often noticed that after I prayed, I wouldn’t always have peace. I’d ask God to help me not to worry, yet I still found myself worrying. I didn’t realize at the time, but I had little faith when it came to prayer. I doubted whether whatever I prayed about would come to pass. Ultimately, I was doubting God. Even when He was answering prayers, I wasn’t able to see His blessings, because my perspective was wrong.

I also failed to realize that answered prayers didn’t have to manifest the way I wanted them to. Nevertheless, I only wanted my way–not God’s way.

However, in college, my mindset changed. I learned to surrender large and small requests to God. When I was a freshman, I had lunch with a dear friend who was a junior and a fellow believer. I told her about all the assignments I had coming up–particularly a paper due soon that I hadn’t started. She had a simple response to my workload: “Don’t worry. Trust God. Everything will get done.” It was a simple answer, yet it inspired me to change my entire mindset.

I started seeing my assignments in this way–that as long as I put in the necessary effort, the work will get done. Not only that, but God was with me wherever I went–in and out of class, even if I had forgotten.

Over time, I saw God in every detail of my life as I continually pushed to have this mindset. All my successes and failures could and would be used for His plan for my life as I walked with Him. As I grew in my relationship with God, spent time with Him, and spoke about Him with others, I realized He was everywhere. I prayed and left things up to Him. Even if I didn’t know how to surrender, I asked Him to help me do so.

Through faith, I now pray and leave things up to God–and praise Him through it. When my prayers aren’t answered as I think they should be, they are answered nonetheless–only His solution is better–whether I realize it now or a year from now.

 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

Transitional periods in our lives can be fruitful experiences. I cannot express the gratitude I have for not just the good times but the hard ones that God has allowed over these past three years in college. We can use trials and triumphs to grow in our relationship with Christ–or let this relationship crumble. I’ve realized for myself that it’s up to us to make this choice. God will not force us to choose Him, but if we do choose Him, He will help us through it all. Please, make it easier and follow Him. There’s no better way to transition into a new season than with the God who brought you there. And if you didn’t get a great start, walking with Him will get you a strong finish.

For my final year of college, I’m excited to take the lessons I’ve learned with me, and I’m ready to learn new ones. I’m ready for the challenges, the blessings, knowing that I get to experience them with my heavenly Father by my side.


“…Look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Give It Up” for 2015

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. (Proverbs 26:11 NLT)


As winter break comes to a close, I’ve found myself worried when I think about spring semester.

For me and other college students, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by upcoming classes/workload, applying to internships, and other future-related things. On top of that, it’s easy to compare our successes with others, who seem to have it “better” than we do. These two habits are quite addicting but are such a destructive combination — they set a negative attitude that can last for hours of our day to weeks, months, and even years. We can chain ourselves in a prison through our thoughts alone without even realizing it.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Proverbs 26:11 (above) in my Bible reading, and it stuck in my mind.

There’s so much depth in comparing “foolishness” to “vomit.” Vomit is unpleasant and putrid. It’s something that was once in you, but has been purged. It’s no longer a part of you–in fact, it’s so vile that you shouldn’t even want a part of it. It makes no sense to even think about wanting it back.

Our “foolishness” (aka sin) is something vile and putrid as well. We should want no part in it. Unfortunately, because we are sinful in nature, we are drawn to these sinful “pleasures.” The funny thing is, they are actually harmful to us and have no value. They steal our relationship with Christ.

When I finished reading this verse, I asked myself: What is something in my life that I keep returning to even though it harms me?

The first thing that stuck out to me was fear. I have a habit of letting fear seep into my thoughts. I never even thought to consider fear as the same “foolishness” described in this verse, but I soon realized how necessary it was to do so.

God promises us countless times in His Word to trust Him, and that He will never leave us. I read online that the phrase “Fear not” is stated 365 times in the Bible! And yet, despite these promises, I continue to fear when stresses come my way. If God Himself wants me to know that I have no reason to be afraid, then it’s foolish–simply useless–for me to continue.

Of course, it’s hard not to fear when we don’t know the future–when we’re faced with obstacles that seem IMPOSSIBLE to overcome. Like any other harmful habit we indulge in, fear steals our hope and faith in Christ, and it blinds us to what He is doing and going to do in our lives.

Nevertheless, when we choose to walk away from our “vomit”–whether it is fear, temptation, etc.–we are choosing to embrace a beautiful, fulfilling life. God loves us, and He wants us to live our lives fully in peace in whatever state we are in (see Philippians 4:11.)

So, for 2015, I’m choosing to give up fear.

What are you planning to give up for the New Year?