Striving Vs. Surrendering


Transformation happens on the other side of surrender.

In the last seven months, I have moved away from friends and family and anything that I might consider my “comfort zone” in order to have a job that I love. While there have been so many blessings and wonderful things throughout this season, there have also been some really hard times and tough lessons that I have had to learn.

There were many times (and to be honest, still are) that I found myself striving to find my place. I often feel as if I am constantly trying to prove myself and explain myself. It is hard being in a place where there are so many people who don’t know you. In my flesh I would find myself STRIVING to make friends as fast as possible, to make a good impression at work, and to fit into a new environment with new rules. Striving can be EXHAUSTING! One thing I really feel like the Lord has been teaching me is how to surrender all of my circumstances to Him.

I think one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn (and still am learning) is the difference between STRIVING and SURRENDER.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God…”

Psalm 37:7 says, “Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…”

TO STRIVE: 1. To exert much effort or energy; endeavor. 2. To struggle or fight forcefully; contend: strive against injustice.

TO SURRENDER: 1. Agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc. because you know that you will not win or succeed. 2.Give the control or use of (something) to someone else.

As a “Type A” personality, I am naturally driven, competitive, and strong-willed. (I can already picture my mom laughing and nodding her head as she reads this). Because of my personality, I typically want to do things my way and I don’t want other people telling me what to do. However, when I surrender to the Lord and place myself under His guidance, my life and heart can be transformed into being more like Him.

2 Timothy 2:24 says, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient…”

Whenever we encounter difficulties in life, the temptation to strive and lean on our own understanding is often very strong. However, I think it is so vital that we act opposite of our nature and how we feel, and release whatever circumstance we are facing into the hands of the Lord. Then take a step back and rely on Him to guide us in the resolution of the matter. It requires a great deal of patience and complete surrender to the Lord. SURRENDER — So hard to do! But when we do it, there is freedom! God shows up and provides exactly what we need. As a follower of Christ, I am giving up my own will and surrendering my thoughts, ideas, and actions to the will of the Father. It’s a “dying to self” to allow Christ to live through me. My prayer for myself and for you is that we would not live a life of striving, but one of SURRENDER!



Steadfast Love

5309728979_5feb5b24b0_b“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Lately I find myself wondering what would happen in our lives if we really lived in the absolute assurance of God’s love. As Christians we know He loves us. We go to church, we quote scripture, we volunteer at church camp, etc. Yes, God loves us.

I’m not really talking about knowing God loves us. I’m talking about living as if we really believe it.

What if we started walking confidently in the certainty of God’s love even when our feelings beg us not to?

There should be no question mark when it comes to God’s love for us. We should be looking at our lives and processing our circumstances through the absolute truth and assurance of God’s love.

Recently I have been reflecting on my life and there have been so many times where I felt that the mountains were shaken and the hills were removed. In those times it is so easy to start doubting God’s love for me.

Last week I was driving and I began crying out to the Lord and asking Him to show me His love for me. I had come to a place where my heart had started to doubt. It was a perfect sunny day, and out of nowhere there was a strike of lightening and a rainbow went over the road I was driving on. When I passed under the rainbow it started to rain, and once I made it to the other side, it stopped. I couldn’t help but cry as I realized the significance of that moment. I cried out to the Lord in my time of doubt and in a stormy season of my life, and he sent me a rainbow to cover me. He reminded me that no matter what I go through, He is there by my side covering me, and loving me through it.

If there is one thing that God has been teaching me, it is that I have to stop filtering my circumstances through the messy places of my heart, and instead filter them through His love.

When I fail to process things through God’s love I find myself asking questions like, “If God really loves me then why would He allow this to happen?”  

BUT, when I process things through His love, I can remind myself that God loves me so much that I have to trust Him when He allows things to happen.

It’s okay to feel hurt, or upset, or sad when hard circumstances come our way. But instead of letting these feelings trigger doubt of God’s love for us, we should instead let them cause us to look for God’s protection, peace, and comfort.

I know that it might be a lot easier said than done, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Jesus loves us so much and longs for us to let Him in to the deepest, darkest, messiest places of our hearts. He created us to find contentment and comfort in His love.

My prayer for anyone needing comfort today, is that you will cling to the absolute assurance of God’s love for you.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed yet God’s unfailing love for you will not be shaken.

He is right there beside you at this very moment, full of love that will not be shaken. So thank Him, trust Him, and find a peace that can only come from knowing Him.

Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, Oh Lord, endures forever.”

Trusting in God’s Sovereignty


TRUST— a simple word that holds so much value.

For me, trust has never been something that has come easily. Growing up, I found it difficult to trust friends after I had been hurt by them, throughout high school and college relationships were difficult for me because they required “trust.” How could I trust people that had continuously let me down? I came to the realization that my trust needed to reside in Christ alone. He was the one who had never and would never fail me.

Even though I had my faith and trust in God to rely on in those hard times, it hasn’t always been so easy. Since graduating from college, my life has been full of ups and downs and endless unknowns. I am the type of person who always likes to have a plan and the fact that absolutely nothing about my life is planned right now, caused me to become fearful, anxious, and in all honesty a little resentful that God wasn’t showing me where my life was headed.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I wasn’t trusting God with my future. Rather than waiting on Him to reveal His plans to me, I began to take things into my own hands and take full control of my circumstances. This not only caused me pain and suffering, but it caused it for those who love me as well.

The other day I was reading the story of Ruth, and God revealed to me how absolutely vital it is to trust Him with every aspect of my life.

Ruth, a non-Israelite, married a man who after about ten years of marriage died and left Ruth childless. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, did not have any other sons available for Ruth to marry (as was the tradition), so Naomi insisted Ruth return to her home of Moab so that she could find a husband.

 Ruth was firm that she would stay with Naomi, and she let Naomi know that Naomi’s God, the God of the Bible was her God also.

“But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (1:16).

Without the prospect of a good future and also bearing disgrace upon her because she would not have children, Ruth trusted God with her future, being a faithful friend to her mother-in-law.

 Naomi did not give up on the prospect of a husband for Ruth. When Ruth made the decision to stay with Naomi, Naomi had Ruth meet up with a relative of the family, Boaz. Through receiving food from Boaz, Ruth was able to introduce herself to him and he found out about what she had done for Naomi. Through the promptings of Naomi, Ruth let Boaz know that she was willing to be married to him and the romance flourished.

Boaz did marry Ruth and in only the way God can orchestrate situations, Ruth, a non-Jew, became part of the lineage of Jesus’ blood line as Ruth was the great grandmother of King David.

Ruth chose to follow the standards and principles God had set up to bless His people. Even when her future had no chance, she still chose to follow and trust the leading of God in her life. Following and trusting God often doesn’t turn out the exact way we want it to, but by following God, we are invited to receive His blessings and what He knows is best for us.

Which led me to ask myself, “Would you rather follow yourself who knows basically nothing about the future or would you rather follow and trust God who knows all things?”

Reading the story of Ruth caused me to see how good God is in all things. He is always faithful to us, we just have to trust Him. Not only does He reign in all the affairs of men, and not only is His providence sometimes hard, but in all His works His purposes are for the good and happiness of His people. Who would have imagined that in the worst of all times—the period of the judges—God was quietly moving in the tragedies of a single family to prepare the way for the greatest king of Israel? But not only that, He was working to fill Naomi, Ruth,  Boaz and their friends with great joy.

I learned that if I trust the sovereign goodness and mercy of God to pursue me all the days of my life, then I am free like Ruth.  When you believe in the sovereignty of God and that He loves to work mightily for those who trust Him, it gives a freedom and joy that can’t be shaken by hard times.

 I hope that if you’re reading this, that you will take the time to read the story of Ruth. Ask God to reveal to you areas in your life that you are not trusting Him, and allow Him to give you the peace and freedom that comes from following His plan.


To Be Loved


Rejection– its a word we’ve all heard, and even felt sometimes. I know I have. We’ve all experienced rejection in one way or another; whether it be in our friendships, our relationships, or maybe even when circumstances didn’t go quite the way we wanted them too.

Rejection is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. From being the last one picked to be on a team during recess in elementary school, to dealing with bullies in high school, to feeling rejected when a relationship ended. There are so many times when I have let the opinions and words of other people determine my self-worth.

I think that it is instinctive for us as humans, to let our self-worth go down the drain when someone rejects us. For instance, being in a relationship with someone can affirm your self-worth in so many ways. That person can make you feel like you are loved, valued, and cared for. But when that person rejects you, its as if everything is reversed. All of a sudden we feel as if we aren’t pretty enough, or smart enough. We convince ourselves that something must be wrong with us.

This is what rejection does– it makes us question our worth. We look for assurance in other people. We thrive off of affirming words. We ask ourselves if we are loved, or if we are wanted, but we are looking for acceptance in the wrong places! The only person who is capable of answering those questions is CHRIST! And the best part is, He already did! We can rest in the truth that we are loved, valued and delighted in by the KING OF KINGS! How incredible is that?!

Feeling unwanted can deliver a sting like nothing else can. Rejection pierces through all hope and causes us to ask ourselves questions such as, “Why does no one want me?” But as followers of Christ we have to remember that these are LIES. Satan wants nothing more than to creep into our minds and control our thoughts.

I am incredibly thankful that I serve a God who understands rejection better than anyone. He was maligned by religious leaders, and misunderstood by many. He was despised and rejected, yet He forever waits for me with open arms. People rejected God, but that doesn’t change the fact that He is still God. Opinions cannot override the truth! It hurts God to be rejected, but that doesn’t change who He is. Just like the thoughts and opinions of other people don’t change who we are. How lucky are we that we get to find our self-worth in Christ? We can find security in the truth that we are loved by HIM!

I hope that these words can serve as an encouragement to you today. If you are in a place where you are feeling unworthy or unloved, rest in the fact that you are so loved by a King who died to save YOU! Find your identity and your worth in Him and His words alone. You are ENOUGH!

My Delight is in You, Lord


Here I am, open arms
Draw me close to Your heart
You’re my life, You’re my refuge
My delight, my delight is in You

These words have been on my heart consistently for the past couple of weeks. Lately the question on my mind has been, where do I find my joy? What do I delight in? It is so easy to find my joy in the things of this world. The problem with this is that those things are temporary, and Christ is eternal.

How often do we find our delight and our happiness in things that we have here on earth?

I know how easy it can be to get caught up in how wonderful life is– especially when everything is going the way you want it to. But what about when things don’t go your way? What about the times when difficult circumstances consume you? If you find your joy in things of this world, you will always be disappointed, and you will always end up feeling defeated. Joy that is of this world is fleeting, but joy in Christ is forever.

I am learning to find my joy in Christ alone. He is teaching me to delight in Him. It is absolutely incredible to me how much my perspective has changed by simply making Him the reason for my joy. As I have written before, I am someone who likes control. I still struggle when things in my life don’t turn out the way that I want them to– especially when I have no control over the outcome. I am a problem solver, and when I see no solution I begin to feel defeated. It was in the midst of feeling defeated, that God revealed to me that I was finding my joy in the wrong places. I was letting my circumstances dictate whether I was happy or not. I am realizing that happiness isn’t always a feeling, sometimes its a choice. I CHOOSE JOY.

My delight is in Christ. The author and perfecter of my faith. The God whose power is made perfect in my weakness. The one who owes me NOTHING, but still covers me in endless grace. My delight is in Him, and my joy comes from HIM. His love has ravished my heart and taken me over.

If you are in a place where you have lost your joy, my prayer for you is that you will desire to know His heart. His love for you is unfathomable, and it is unfailing. Set your heart upon His word, and let Him be the peace for your restless soul. Take delight in Him. He will never fail you.

My delight is in You, Lord
You’re the treasure I have found
You’re the rock where I stand
I will not be moved
All my life is in Your hands

Be Still, My Child


All to Thee, my precious Savior, I surrender all.

What significance these words hold. How often do I truly surrender every circumstance in my life to my creator? Not as often as I should, I can tell you that. BUT– I am learning. I am learning to trust in His promises, in His plan, in His timing.

As this past semester has come to an end, and I reflect on the past few months, I see a very consistent theme in my life. I have noticed that the older I get, the more decisions I have to make. With these decisions, I have encountered numerous days where I simply was at a loss of which direction to go. Whenever I would have a day like this the four same words would always work their way into the front of my mind:

Be still, my child.

I often become so busy searching for answers from God and trying to control every circumstance in my life that I forget to simply be still and rest in God’s presence. The act of surrender is something that I have always found myself struggling with. It is so easy for me to come to a place where I surrender a situation to Christ, but a few days later find myself trying to control the outcome on my own once again. I have come to the realization that surrender isn’t a one time thing. It is something that I must do daily–sometimes more than once.

In this world, self-sufficiency is often seen as maturity, but I am learning to rejoice in my insufficiency, knowing that Christ’s power is made perfect in my weakness. I am so very thankful for the time I have been given to have a break from my busy routine, and simply be still. By taking time to be still in God’s presence, I am overwhelmed by the amount of strength He has given me. I am reminded that His plan is always so much greater than my own, and that I cannot live by my strength alone.

It is so easy to become overwhelmed and consumed by the business of life. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to take a step back, and take time to simply be still in God’s presence. Surrender every circumstance to him, and thank Him for the cross. And remember, it’s okay to be insufficient. In our weakness, HE is made strong.

Faithful are You, Father

The past year has been one that has challenged me in ways I never imagined. I have felt ultimate joy and I have felt deep sorrow. Throughout a series of difficult circumstances, God has not only taught me how to trust Him completely, but He as also taught me that He is always faithful to provide.

As I reflect back upon the past year, I think of all the times I didn’t trust God with the worries of my heart.

So often I let my emotions control my decisions, and I let my fear control my faith. 

I started to become more aware of this problem, and it started weighing me down. I have always been someone who likes control, and the thought of handing over the steering wheel of my life to someone else made me incredibly uncomfortable. But are we really trusting God with the circumstances in our lives if we are trying to control them on our own, and we don’t surrender them to Him?

Last May God kept reminding me of the story of Abraham and Isaac. I have heard this story plenty of times, but as I read it this time, it had a whole new meaning to me. I was amazed at the amount faith that Abraham had when God told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham didn’t question God, but simply obeyed Him.

In Genesis 22:8, Abraham is talking to Isaac and he says, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering my son.” What a statement of ULTIMATE FAITH! Abraham didn’t “hope” that God would provide a lamb for the burnt offering, he KNEW. He didn’t doubt God at all. The best part is, God DID provide. Towards the end of the story in verse 14 it says, “So Abraham called the name of that place, The Lord will Provide; as it is said to this day, On the mount of The Lord it shall be provided.”

As I was reading this, I thought to myself, Wow! Lord, give me a deeply rooted faith like Abraham. I never want to doubt You.

We need to trust that He will provide in every season of our lives. We CANNOT let fear control our faith. As I became more aware of this truth, my thought process began to change. I was no longer concerned with the weight of my circumstances, but instead I was overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness.

Though the journey has not been easy, it has been so rewarding. I feel as if I have never experienced God’s faithfulness and provision the way that I have within the past six months. The sad part about that is, God has ALWAYS been faithful, I just didn’t take the time to pay attention. It is amazing what a difference it makes when we surrender our circumstances to Christ and trust that He will provide. He is faithful to fulfill every promise.

I don’t know where you are in life, or what you are going through, but I hope that this can be an encouragement to you. Trust in God’s faithfulness. We serve a God who provides in every season, and who loves us with an unconditional love. He is ready to take full control of your circumstances if you will simply surrender them to Him. I really encourage you to read Genesis 22. I promise that it will change your perspective of faith. HE IS FAITHFUL TO PROVIDE.