God’s Will and Human Anxiety

I surrendered my heart to Christ in March/April of my senior year of High School. Since then I have been made into a completely different person, and God still continues to work in me.  God genuinely has shown me so much over the past few months and I have not even scratched the surface of all the things I need to learn.

One of my biggest struggles my entire life has been my anxiety. There have been so many years of my life that I spent completely imprisoned by it. I had anxiety about everything. Money, friends, family, my worth…my mind was a constant source of worry. This did not only hurt my emotional and social states, but also my physical. I have health problems to this day that doctors attributed to my anxiety.

I am not saying this to say that I have completely overcome my anxiety. I haven’t. I am getting there though. Before I would have anxiety attacks so often, I couldn’t sleep, it was a mess. Now they are a rare occurrence that I can overcome with the help of Jesus and a few bible verses. But, that is not the reason I chose to disclose any of this information. I want to talk about how easily the enemy can take that anxiety and use it to his advantage.

When I first began this journey with God I noticed something very strange. See, I was SO worried about His will. I HAD to do His will. His will was not a source of comfort, but of more anxiety. Spoiler alert; That is not what God intends for us. I searched for His will so hard for so long. If I didn’t have the answers I was run with fear. What if I am out of God’s plan? What if God isn’t speaking to me because I am doing something wrong? Then, if He finally gave me an answer and I didn’t like it, I would get anxiety about that too.

I am in no way saying that we should not search for God’s will. We should. I am merely addressing an issue that I truly believe more people have had. Recently, God made something very clear to me. “Danielle, my will is perfect but it won’t always keep you from pain.” Well, yeah. I know that, God. But, I didn’t. After a long journey of God trying to get this through my head I finally understood where all of my anxiety about His plan came from. Where did it come from? Oh, that’s simple. It came from my anxiety.

Yes, I understand what I just said. My anxiety came from my anxiety. Let me explain, see, I did not want God’s will because I loved Him. I did not want it because I wanted to glorify and honor Him. I wanted it so that I could avoid PAIN. So that I wouldn’t have anything to be anxious about. This, in itself, became a major source of anxiety. The problem with this is that, as He said, His will does not always keep us from pain. We will all face trials. My head knew that. My heart did not.

In Romans 10:9 the bible says that “if you declare with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” I think that sometimes you can know something in your head and not actually believe it in your heart. I have noticed many instances like that with myself. For example, I can tell myself that I am worth it but if I do not genuinely believe that I will continue to act out in insecurity. Your actions show your heart.

“I just don’t want to get hurt”. I can not express how many times those words left my lips during prayer. I was using God’s will as a desperate attempt to keep myself from getting hurt. Even though the bible says that we will all face trials, my heart expected a painless life for following Jesus. I expected a reward, as if I deserved one, as if Jesus didn’t already die on the cross so that I COULD follow God’s will.

God has been drilling one thing into my mind recently. It is not about me. In fact, I even wrote a post a while back with that very title. I loved it, but it was one of those things that felt unfinished every single time I began to work on it so I never posted it. I finally understand why. That message was for me. God was trying to tell me that I am not meant to follow His will for myself, as much as He loves me, but for Him. That, my friends, is what I am now working on.

 

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When You Question Your Beauty

Very recently I have struggled with comparing myself to other women. It was something I thought I had conquered long ago, but something about constantly being around half-dressed college girls changed that. She’s skinnier than me. She’s curvier than me. Her skin is better than mine. The list just continues on.

Well, a few days ago I dyed my hair back to it’s natural color. I have naturally very dark brown hair but I have had it blonde for years. I kind of panicked, “What if I looked better blonde?” I asked myself. As I stared at myself in the mirror, picking out all of the things I didn’t like about myself, God interrupted me; “Danielle,” He said “Why do you think you can make yourself better than I already have?”. I instantly stopped. I’ve spent my entire life trying to change things about myself when the creator of the entire universe already made me the way He wanted to.

Women and men are going off and getting surgeries to make themselves look “better”. They change every aspect of what God made and it’s devastating. Let me just be straight up here; beauty standards are a lie. I have begun to see all of the lies we believe in our culture (I have more coming on this) and beauty is a big one. We think we have a right to call something ugly, to critique ourselves because the media has this unattainable idea of beauty.

People watch porn and get these ideas in their head of how not only themselves, but how their partners should look. It’s so dangerous. Photo’s are so edited that half the time we wouldn’t even recognize the person if we met them in real life. We have been brainwashed. Yes, it is true that some people fit societies molds better than others, but we should be much more worried about what is happening inside of us. A pretty face can’t fix an ugly inside.

Building onto that, some of y’all have believed this lie for so long that you’re bringing other people down. You tear people down to make yourself feel better, then they start believing the lie too. Stop being part of the problem. Speak truth over that lie, break the chain.

I am not telling you to not dye your hair or to not do your makeup. I am not telling you to be unhealthy because your weight doesn’t matter (health is still very important). What I am saying is that we need to break free from this idea that God hasn’t made us perfectly. Honey, He made your nose. He made your thighs. He formed you in His own image. Stop stressing, you’re beautiful. Anyone who disagrees can take that up with the God of the universe, your creator.

P.S. If a you’re with someone who only cares about looks, you should run. Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the lord should be praised. Provers 31:30

How I Realized I Didn’t Trust God

After I got saved I noticed something interesting; life got a little harder. My choices were suddenly a little more complicated. It was as if things were being thrown at me right and left, directly aimed at my weakest points. Throughout every trial during this beginning period one thing was constantly being thrown in my face; trust. One would think that after seeing the same thing over and over it would click, but that’s not always the case.

Everywhere I looked I found messages of trust, of faith, and anything regarding that. I even had people sending me verses of trust. But, I trusted God. I knew what He could do. I did not need these silly messages; I already had trust mastered! Or so I thought.

During a moment of peace in my life God broke through. I had a long day, not a bad one, just a long one. I was in a ton of physical pain so I had chosen to go take some Advil, Tylenol, or whatever I had that could relieve the ache. I went to open my medicine cabinet and God spoke. It was so powerful that it stopped me right where I was, cabinet door half open, I was frozen in place. “I can take care of it” He said, “Don’t take the medication”. Now this was a small thing. God was merely telling me He could take care of the pain instead of me taking the pills. But I stayed frozen. First, I questioned if it was God. I came to the conclusion that it was. Nevertheless, I stayed still for just a few more moments. Than, without too much doubt, I grabbed the bottle and took the pills.

As I walked back to my room I realized the situation was very odd. Why would God do that? What was that about? Then, just a few minutes later, I got my answer; “You don’t trust me as much as you think you do. You wouldn’t even trust me to take away the pain.” Whoa. That hit me hard. I didn’t trust God, not even in the slightest way. Soon after, I was tested again.

During this test I realized something; I had been consistently going through the same test over and over, just in different ways. I always felt the same. I always acted the same. The situations were even oddly similar. So, I looked up, and decided to trust. I decided to not throw in my faith just because life gets hard. I stopped yelling at God. I stopped getting angry. I just sit, I wait, and I see it ending differently. I see myself acting differently. It is not ending as it always does. Not that the ending will be what I want it to be, but this time, it’s ending the way it’s supposed to.

But, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I have to make the choice every second. Anxiety seems to attack, so I have to stop. I have to tell myself not to fight. He is in control. Eventually, I have to accept that. Wrestling with God doesn’t get us anywhere. Once we give into His will and realize His plan is right, than things will begin to work accordingly.

Religion or Jesus?

Often times when people think of Christians they think of negative traits such as hypocrisy and pushiness. Why is that? Why is it that the religion that’s basis is a grand act of love considered so…hateful? The answer is overwhelmingly simple: We are too religious.

Yes, you read that correctly. Our religion is too religious. See, the problem is not that we follow Jesus more than we should, that is not at all a possibility. The real issue is the fact that a majority of us are not creating any sort of relationship with the Lord, but a relationship with the religion. That doesn’t make sense, does it? How can someone form a bond with a mere idea? This is where the main point comes in: It’s not possible.

As Christians, our main purpose is to show the world Christ’s love. The love of a LIVING God. The cool thing about a living God is that it is completely possible to follow Him. But, how can one follow a religion? It does not give you strength, it does not keep you safe, it is not there at 3 in the morning when your heart is broken and you have no one else to turn to; that’s not religion. That’s Jesus. See, we are trying to convince a world to do the impossible and they know it! They know it is impossible because we ourselves can not even do it. No one can have a relationship with an idea, a law, a way of life.

In Mark chapter seven we see the Pharisees confront Jesus about why his disciples were eating with unwashed hands. Now, at this time the washing of their hands was a tradition that the Jews considered very important. Jesus immediately refers to them as hypocrites, and verse 9 says this: “He also said to them, ‘You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition!'”. The Pharisees were so concerned about tradition and the “show” of it all that they forgot to truly follow the Father, and as a result began following the religion. Religion can change and be whatever you want it to be, but God can not. In following religion, you are basically following yourself. The Pharisees were not pursuing God’s desires, they were pursing their own desires: the main one being self-glorification.

Does that sound familiar? If not, let me make it simple: We are the Pharisees in this situation! We go to church, but we don’t read the bible on our own. We pray in public, but never in private (unless, of course, we need something). We don’t try to really know Jesus. We preach the law but never actually attempt to follow it ourselves because we don’t have the desire or the strength to. We aren’t following Jesus, we are following religion because we want people to SEE us.. We want people to SEE what we are doing and PRAISE us. But that’s not where praise belongs, no, praise belongs to God and God alone. Religion doesn’t save you, the Savior saves you.

So, to close, I challenge you to make an effort to genuinely begin a personal relationship with the Lord if you haven’t already. Spend time with him in private. Look for his guidance and his wisdom, not the world’s. That’s where joy, peace, hope, and LOVE come from. That’s what Christianity is meant to be about.