Clarity: It's All About the Relationship

So this is how it all happened: I was listening to a sermon by Judah Smith. By now, I'm pretty sure we've all come to the realization that I enjoy listening to Judah! (Go Church Home!) I had finished a two-hour workout, dinner with my best friend, and a lady chat, when I was heading home, and God said, listen to some sermons young lady. You know me, I said, "Aye Captain (cue SpongeBob)."

I had yet finished the sermon when I kept hearing the phrase, "die to self," in my mind repeatedly. (I think a part of it is because I know that showers are holy places and Holy Spirit speaks in the shower (and everywhere else. Okay, I'm confusing us, let me get back to this post.) I started asking, what does that mean? Where does it come from? Why do we say that as believers so often, and what does God mean by it? How do we do it? Is it something for just our relationship with Christ, or does it integrate into all of our relationships? How do we know we're doing it?

My question for myself (hopefully we all ask ourselves this) moving forward is: how am I loving my brother or sister in this? How am I dying to myself, choosing God's ways through what the Holy Spirit is telling me in this situation? Does Scripture match up with what I believe the Holy Spirit is guiding me to?

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Freedom and Honesty: Defeating Guilt

Healing comes through confession. Healing can only progress, take form, and mature in its healthiest way when we eliminate guilt and replace it with love, compassion, understanding, support, and authenticity. Guilt dies when there is authenticity. Sin dies in the presence of truth.

Previously, I shared that to begin healing, we must recognize that there is healing to be done due to the hurt that exists: acceptance of the pain's existence. Today, I want to tackle what we do once we've accepted that we need healing.

How do we handle guilt?

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Kintsugi: Where Faith and Healing Meet

“No. No more. I cannot do this anymore. Why am I investing time in this? This tree isn't bearing any fruit. This is not the tree God has for me…at least not now. I need to focus on me. I need to prioritize myself. It's time to put my self-care, self-love, and inner spiritual relationship first.”

To heal, I have come to know, is to allow what has changed from what it was at its original creation, to return and be made whole again. […] Once you know, the question is, do you allow the injury to continue (if it's a cut, will we enable the blood to keep seeping out of your skin) or do you accept that there is hurt so that you may begin healing? Ask yourself, how important is it for you to grow and heal? That is where your answer will come from.

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Does Self-Love Fit in With Christianity?

In an age of everyone prioritizing themselves and preaching self-love left and right, where does the word of God fit in?

Honestly, at what point does God say, "love yourself! Make yourself a priority. Work on you and your goals?"

He doesn't. Though I don't believe God is against the mentality behind what it means to live a life filled with self-love.

“To me, self-love is accepting that putting your needs first is a priority. This doesn’t mean you’re selfish; it means that you care enough about yourself to take your mental and physical health into account. This will allow you to take better care for the people around you. No one can perform self-love for you, so it’s important to be your own best friend.” (Taylor, 24)

People do not seek counseling help unless they have a desire to be better off than they are. This desire to be happier is what Jesus meant by self-love. Therefore, self-love, so defined, is the foundation, not the aim, of counseling; indeed, it is the foundation of all human life. For without it[,] there is no motivation, and without motivation[,] there is no action, and if we do not act[,] we die.

- John Piper

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God Doesn’t Owe You Anything

When we sat down recently, he brought something to my attention regarding his personal life. I'm not going to share it all with you guys because it's his business, not mine; it's not my story to tell. However, we ultimately got on the subject of DEATH.

I sat there conflicted and confused. I wondered, "where do we get off getting mad at God?

It's as if we almost want God to follow our plan (nope, something we do). We want God to follow our blueprint for our lives like, "hey Lord, here is the life I want, the way I want it, how I want it, and when I want it. Make it happen." It's fascinating when I ponder on this because I thought we got the message before. You don't guide God. God guides you. To follow Christ doesn't work our way. You and I are submitting ourselves to the plan of God and his glorification, not our intentions. We will get glorified through him, but we don't get to tell God, "hey, this is my life. Do it this way, and I will know that you are a great God because you did this my way."

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