The Urgency of Loving Your City

The Urgency of Loving Your City

I have moved around a lot and have honestly loved every place we’ve moved. Now, moving is a strange thing. Because you basically start all over. You know nobody and no one knows you. It’s both beautiful and terrible at the same time.

This last move has been so different though. I moved from a bigger city to a small town. I moved from a college town with huge schools and many options to a town with one high school and about three places to eat.

And I LOVE it. I have never loved a city so much. I have learned about fellowship and community and have so many great memories here.

It took awhile to get to this place. At first, I hated not being able to just go get Chick-fil-A whenever I wanted. I missed my friends (and I still do). I missed my school and my church and all of the good things I would miss out on.

I, so desperately, wanted to just stay home with the only people who knew me (my family) and just wallow in my depression. Moving is hard.

But I had to make the decision to like it here, I had to get up, I had to get involved, and I’m so glad I did.

The moment I started getting intentional with this city and starting seeing these relationships as ones that will last a lifetime and not ones that will just fill a blank space until I moved back to my real home, that’s when I started to love this place with all of who I am.

I’m telling you guys all of this because I need to get a point across. God places people in cities for a reason. It’s not a coincidence that you’re in the city you are in. You work where you work for a reason.

The cities we are in are not here to please us and make our lives easy peasy… We are in those cities to love the people and make their lives easier.

We can’t take this lightly. I’m thankful that the Lord has given me an urgency with this. Because I don’t know how much time I have left in this city. College is coming faster each day and I will eventually be forced to leave (which will be good because I’ll go to another city and love all of the evil out of it).

So I’m living life with a ticking clock, we all are. The time you have in your city is limited… so love it up!

Take the time to pray for your city and to pray for change in the hearts of the people around you (including yourself because we all can use some serious heart change).

I’ll be doing the exact same thing for my city.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster   

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We All Have Lots to Learn

We All Have Lots to Learn

I have just started an internship with some amazing people at my church and am doing exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life (Ministry through writing and worship). It has been so amazing and I have already learned so much. I have become aware of the unique gifts and passions the Lord has given me as well as all the growing room.

Now, when I say the term “growing room” I mean lots and lots of growing room. It has been brought to my attention that I don’t know as much about the Bible as I thought I did. I seriously struggle with the timeline of events and recalling all the names and stories of the many men and women of the Bible.

I have felt this way for awhile and have just put off really figuring it all out. But as I have been writing and putting things together for my internship, many difficult topics have come up and I’ve had to really define and research what the Bible says.

For instance, I’m writing an Advent devotional and needed to clarify what it means to have God and then to experience Jesus. Because they are the same person, except not, but kinda, but totally different (see what I mean… ugh the struggle.) So I am dedicating

So I am done procrastinating. If I want to do ministry and to do it well, I need to dig deep into my Bible and start truly understand the books instead of just going verse by verse. I crave the deeper understand of how each book ties together and how to effectively share that with others.

So now what…

Many of you guys know that when New Year’s rolls around, I always name the upcoming year (2016 was my “Kicking Fear’s Butt” year and 2017 is my “Do It” year)  

So, following the theme of this year, I’m finally going to do it. I’m going to dedicate (how ever long it may take) to diving into the details of the Bible. I’ll be making maps and timelines and probably writing papers about topics and biblical truths that are difficult to understand.

I’ll finally crack open my “Basic Theology” book that has only been used to balance my book shelf (I know, embarrassing).

I have so much to learn, and sometimes it can seem daunting how much I need to learn. But the great thing is that every ounce of my being wants to do this and wants to learn more about the God I’ve dedicated my life to.

I want to be able to quote scripture before I complain. I want to go straight to the stories of the Bible for hope before I go somewhere else.

So yeah, I’ve got lots to learn. But I also have lots and lots of support through all of this. And so do all of you. If you ever need reminded of that or challenged… you know where you can find me. 😀

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

We All Need Encouragment

We All Need Encouragment

2017-2018 is my “Do It year” and that means that these past few months i’ve been doing a lot of things that challenge me and cause me to depend fully on the Lord. It’s been awesome but sometimes it’s really REALLY hard.
The Lord has taught me so much already about challenging myself and being brave, but he’s also taught me about how to treat others and how important encouragement is. Because when someone pushes themselves out of their comfort zone.. It will take lots of encouragement to keep them from running back into their cozy hole.

Encouragement is so important. The really talented and confident people of this world have a community of encouragers and are part of a community that encourages others.
With all the challenges and growing things I’ve done this year, I have experienced first hand what a little encouragement can do to a person. SO I want to take this little corner of the internet to challenge you to encourage those around you.
Even in the super small stuff. It doesn’t matter if a friend doesn’t do well on a test or thinks they made a fool of themselves onstage. As friends we must be there for people and as Christians we have to be Jesus to those around us.
This week I was in tears because I needed some reassurance that the things I was doing in my life were good and having an effect on people. I feel so selfish in saying that I just needed some verbal encouragement.
But so many of my friends reached out to me and helped me get my mojo back. Through those tears and that discouraging season, I learned that I never want anyone to cry because they needed encouragement. I don’t want to withhold my love and encouragement until it’s too late.
Because we are people and people need other people to come alongside of them and remind them that they are awesome and special and so so so loved.
So here’s the deal… send one text, one email, and one letter (to different people or the same person) that tells them how great they are. Tell them the effect they’ve had on your life and how you see Christ in them.
And I’m here for you guys as well. If you ever need encouragement or a friend… just shoot me an email.
I seriously love you all and am praying for you!

XOXO, The Christian Prepster 

When Fear Takes Over

When Fear Takes Over

I have always struggled with fear and truthfully thought I had it all under control. But then it came for a long extended visit, without my approval. It came in a totally new form than I’ve ever seen before.

I used to be fearful of situations and anxious about plans and how things will get done. But this uninvited friend has started making its way into my relationships. I have started allowing myself to run down the “What If” path. What if they get hurt, what if I hurt them, what if they hurt me. What if they realize they don’t want my friends anymore, what if they stop caring. What if I mess up and lose them.

I hate this. Because I will talk myself into a hole and bury myself in my own imagination. I have cried the most I have ever cried this year and I think it’s because I am letting fear play a major role in my relationships.

And I’d love to sit here and say that I know how to kick fear from your life but I have no idea, obviously, or else wouldn’t be struggling so much.

But I do want to tell you that the scenarios you think up in your head hold no weight. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you’re not worth friendship. Don’t allow yourself to run full speed down the “what if” path because it only leads to emotional, physical, and spiritual destruction. It not only affects you, it also affects the people in this relationship with you.

People can tell when you don’t trust them and when you’re putting the relationship on eggshells and tip- toeing around all the time.

I want to be vulnerable and to allow people to get into God-glorifying friendships and relationships with me. So fear needs to mosey on outta here. I have no clue if any of you are seeing this in your own lives but I hope this post can meet you wherever you are. Because no matter what struggle you’re facing right now, you’re not alone.

Fear needs no place in our lives. As Christ followers we have hope… we don’t need fear. I know it’s hard and I know it will take all we have some days. But I’m doing it too, I’m struggling and finding a way out of this trap.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

 

Working Out for the Right Reasons

Working Out for the Right Reasons

When I was in elementary school I would work out all the time. I know that sounds super odd because no ten-year-old needs to work out but I just loved the feeling and loved pushing myself.

But then I got to middle school and started working out because I thought I needed it. I needed that extra strength and endurance to win the boys vs. girls daily freeze tag game during recess (Of course). Now I’m totally for wanting to improve yourself and meet the athletic goals you have, but sometimes I find myself working out for the wrong reasons.

I recently read a blog post that mentioned our bodies as a temple and not idols. This was super convicting to me because being healthy is good and encouraged but I never thought you could be idolizing fitness and idolizing yourself.

Now, I by no means have this “not idolizing yourself” thing down, but I am committed to working on it because I don’t want to worship anything except for Jesus Christ.

Working out is a wonderful thing but I just want to make sure we are all doing it for the right, God-glorifying, reasons.

IDENTIFY YOUR WHY//

Before you start working out, just take 5 minutes (maybe even less) to identify why you are working out. That could look like a time of reflection on how God has created you and thanking him for making you just the way you are and for giving you the ability to work out and improve yourself. Or this could be a time when you get refocused and remind yourself that you are awesome just the way you are. God made you beautifully and working out should be a way of worshiping the Lord instead of trying to fix problems you don’t like about yourself.

Give Yourself Grace//

I think another thing to keep in mind when working out is that you are perfect, I’m not perfect, nobody is perfect. The super fit people on Instagram, aren’t perfect either. So why beat yourself up about it?

We’ve all heard the popular saying,

“Comparison is the theief of joy”

It’s so true when dealing with fitness. So let’s just stop allowing it to enter into our lives. The comparison trap is a consciousious choice and every time to allow comparison to happen, we hand over our joy into Satan’s hands.

Find Ways to Worship//

I mentioned this in my last work out post but I want to elaborate on it a little more. I think working out is a gift and a perfect way to glorify God. I love incorporating prayer into my workouts. When I run, I love just looking around and mentally thanking the Lord for his beautiful creation and asking for endurance to run the race he has laid out before me and in my Christian life.

Also when I;m doing exercises and reps of drills, I love listening to Christian workout music. Spotify has a great playlist and I encourage you to make your own as well. These songs help keep my mind and heart focused on Christ and to work out for the glory of God and not myself.

These things may not be easy at first but I know that God will give us strength as we strive to glorify God through our workouts. So keep going and keep pushing yourself both spiritually and physically!

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

Leadership Conference Reflection

Leadership Conference Reflection

I recently went to a leadership conference for the very first time. I have never been encouraged and inspired as much as I was those two days. I left with a notebook full of plans, one-liners, as well as a reignited heart for leadership.

I was able to hear from some of the most loving and impactful Christian leaders and want to share with you some of my personal highlights.

“Respect everyone always.” – Bill Hybels

Kinda sounds elementary but boy does it have a punch. Immediately when I heard this I thought… “Wait, everyone… and always?” Ohhh I don’t do that all the time.  Over the course of the whole conference, this statement had a lot of emphasis. I think the key to being a great leader in our world today is just in caring and loving the people we are leading. You don’t have to be the best speaker or a millionaire to lead. It’s all about love.

“When you’re offered a seat on a rocket, you don’t ask what seat, you just jump on.” – Sheryl Sanberg

I love this one because I think it applies to so many different areas of our lives. For example, When God is at work, I don’t need to be concerned with whether or not I have a big role or how this will affect me. I just need to hop in and enjoy the ride.

“Friends show up for friends… you don’t have to be someone’s best friend from the first grade to show up for them.”- Sheryl Sandberg

If I had to choose one takeaway from this conference, this would be it by far. I have always struggled with loving people like crazy (what God calls us to do) if I am not someone’s bestie. But that line made me realize that I am just making up excuses. I need to be there for people no matter what. Who cares if I only know their name… how do you become close to someone if you aren’t there for them?

I have so much more amazing takeaways that I’m sure will find their way into my future blog posts. But for those of you in a leadership position of any kind,

My challenge to you is to love and love like crazy. You lead out of brokenness and what would you lose from being open and letting people know that their brokenness is welcome?

I love you guys and I pray for you daily! Keep up the great work!

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

Coffee Date No.1

Coffee Date No.1

I am a huge fan of coffee dates. It combines two of my most favorite things… coffee and great conversation. I have been brainstorming the idea of capturing that feeling and somehow making it come through my blog posts… and I think I have finally got it.

So welcome… I want these “Coffee Date Posts” to invite you to brew your favorite cup of coffee (in your favorite mug of course) and just chat.

I’ll share my heart with you and I want to hear yours as well. I want us to get really honest and raw about life. That means talking about the messy, pretty, and everything in between.

So if you have something on your heart you need to talk about… I am always here for you. I know what it is like to have a community of believer’s supporting you. I would be happy to join your community if you ever need some encouragement.

Coffee Date No.1:

Life is going faster than I think it ever has before. I know that sounds really weird and dumb but it’s so true. I feel like I am growing up and actually doing like… adult things. It’s insane.

I love looking back on the stages of my life and seeing how much has changed and what has stayed the same. For instance,

When I was really young, my parents owned a gym and I was super into gymnastics and cheerleading… that has ended and all I can do now is a few flips and a pretty decent toe-touch.

Then I started dancing. And “obsessed” is an understatement for how much time I spent dancing. I think I got a little carried away with it. I spent all of my free time (as a 12-year-old) taking ballet classes or choreographing dances in my bed room. I LOVED to dance. Although I still find it super fun and a cool way to exercise, the love and obsession have worn off. I’m left with about 10 DVD recordings of my recitals, a whole bunch of worn out Pointe Shoes, and some amazing friendships.

But the crazy things about life is that each stage of my life was impactful. I wouldn’t go back and tell my 12-year-old self to spend less time dancing. Every hour spent dancing had something to do with who I am today.

There have only been a few things that have always, no matter what stage I am in, been consistent. The biggest one is… you guessed it,

Jesus Christ

Jesus has been playing the King role in my life since day one. I have never gone a day without being fully known and completely loved by him. He has never given me the mediocre … I have only received the very best from him.

On the days when I was sad and couldn’t find the strength to hold back my tears…. God was present.

On the days when everything was looking bright… God was present.

On the days when I failed… God was present.

And on the days to come when I forget all he has done for me… God will be present and will remind me of all he has done for his precious little girl.

I hope you are able to see how constant He has been in your life. He is always at work in you… even if it seems like a dull time. He is working on you, guaranteed.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster