Surviving the Ups and Downs of FRIENDS

Here’s a question for you that could literally change your life….

W H A T S   Y O U R   C E N T R E ?

Hobbies

 

The key to surviving friendships, is not making friends your centre.

Why? Because friends are imperfect, unstable, and human. They will disappoint you. Some will turn on you. Some will stab you in the back. Some will move away.

And if you’ve made them your centre, your entire world will feel as if it’s falling apart. Your centre is what’s most important to you, and what’s most important to you becomes the pair of glasses through which you view the world. If friends are your centre, your emotional life will hinge on how many friends you have and how they’ve treated you lately and the things they say to you. You’ll surrender to whatever they want…

That is why Jesus HAS to be your centre. His Word has to be the lens in how you view life. Because then when a friend does stab you in the back or moves away…your entire world won’t fall apart because it was never built on that person, it’s built on Christ…whose never going anywhere.

So here’s some survival tips on the ups and downs in friendships:

lifesaver1.  Everybody’s trying to figure themselves out. Just like you, your friends are searching for their purpose and who they are. This means “trying on” new personalities, clothing styles, attitudes and maybe even changing friend groups. It also means making a lot of mistakes in the process. Unfortunately, you and others can get hurt in the journey. So be quick to forgive, and see their heart behind their confusing sometimes hurtful actions. Most of the time, they probably don’t mean to hurt you, it was a bi-product of them going through something. Try to see where they’re at and understand their story, it helps to forgive and even brings on some compassion.

lifesaver2. Alpha, Beta and Gamma. There was an article written in the newspaper in the US about a new kind of group of people in high school. There are the classics still; the Alphas and the Beta’s. The Alpha’s are the Queen Bees who “run the world,” commonly known as the popular girls. The Beta’s are the “Wannabees” who basically suck up to the Alpha to have an “in” on the little clique. But then there are the Gamma’s. They’re the girls most comfortable in their skin, not mean, very smart, and who think popularity is overrated. They don’t long to be invited to parties because they’re too busy writing articles in their school newspaper, or surfing or super active in church. They think having to wear certain clothes for people to like them or acting a certain way to fit in is degrading. Gamma’s are often made fun of, but they have independence and self-confidence so they don’t care. They have strong values and stick to them. Be a Gamma in the crowd. Be a Gamma in your friend group. Because a Gamma is who the world is going to look up too. 

lifesaver3. Squash Gossip. Gossip betrays friends, in fact not just betrays but destroys. You could have spent 3 years of high school building up your reputation as a good and honest person, but the second you gossip all that trust you built over 3 years is gone within 3 seconds. And it will probably take another 3 years to get that trust back. How do you squash gossip? If you hear something about yourself, go to that person directly and talk with them. If you have an issue with someone, go to that person directly. That’s what the Bible says. Posting things about someone on social media is not Biblical. That’s not how Jesus tells us to deal with conflict. If that person will not speak with you one on one, bring along a trusted friend. If they still won’t speak with you, bring it to the teachers or principles. We need to be God honouring in dealing with conflict. And remember, character will always shine through. If someone is posting things about you on social media, people will stop and think “that doesn’t sound like her.”

lifesaver4. You can have tons of friends, but be careful who pours into you. In high school I had a big group of friends. I got along with many different friend groups. BUT, I had a small circle of people who I allowed to pour into me, and those were my Christian friends. We all need to be friends with non-Christians, if we’re not…how are we supposed to tell them about Jesus? People won’t listen to strangers! But while we’re building relationships with non-Christians, we have to be careful that their lack of values and worldview doesn’t spill into us. That’s why we need a core. That’s why we NEED Christian friends. The kind of people who hold you accountable when you’re doing dumb things. People who encourage you and build you up. People to speak truth over your life and remind you who you are in Christ. It’s not a bad thing to have a lot of friends. It only becomes a problem if you’re allowing all those friends to speak into you and give advice that goes against what Jesus says.

 

This article is from “The Top 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make”

 

 

 

You Can Fly

“Mama, I just want to fly. I am GOING TO fly!”

These are the words of my three-year-old, as he jumped off of our ottoman towards me, where I was sitting on the couch about 4 feet away. He jumped without hesitation, without fear. He just knew his mama would catch him. He didn’t have a care in the world, he just knew he wanted to fly. So, he did. He flew.

So many times throughout my life, I have wanted to fly—to boldly chase after the dreams God placed in my heart, without restraints. As I’d start take off, I’d come to a sudden holt. A quick stop right before pursing my calling. “What if I fall?” I often wondered. “What if I’m not fast enough, good enough, talented enough, equipped enough? What if I say the wrong thing? What if other people make fun of me, what if they don’t understand?” As these words fogged my mind, I began to feel my feet slide through the dirt beneath me, almost swallowing them up like quick sand.

And isn’t that exactly where the enemy wants us? Stuck in the same place—defeated, scared, lonely, and ultimately, questioning whether or not God will carry us through. So, there I stood—with the glimmer of glory ahead of me, while my feet were stuck in the miry clay. How do we get to the other side of fear? How do we slip out of the quick sand, how do we learn to fly?

My friend, I am so glad you asked! There is only one way to fight against fear, and that is with faith. My son, Finch, didn’t think once about what would happen if I didn’t catch him. That wasn’t even a thought in his mind. Of course I would catch him, I always have. He has faith in his mama, because he knows I have always been there for him, he never wonders if I always will be.

And how much more can we trust our heavenly father! Has he ever failed you? I can answer that for you—no, he hasn’t, and no, he never will. It’s not in his nature, it’s not who he is. He will always come through to do what is best for us. He will always catch you. You just have to jump.

So, let’s do it. Let’s fly together. Let’s do what the world says is impossible—because with God, there’s no such thing. When the enemy says you’ll never move forward in life, remind him of who is carrying you. You’re no longer stuck in that slimy pit. You have been raised up, seated next to the father. He’s the one guiding your steps, don’t let the enemy keep you from walking in the way God has called you. You weren’t created for quick sand, to stay in one place forever.

 

You, my sweet brothers and sisters, you were created to fly. Take the leap. God’s got your back.

 

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

Juli Wilson

Does God Want You To Be Successful?

Does God want you to be successful?

The short answer is: YES!

But in a culture where success is relative and often tied to fleeting accomplishments, defining what success looks like in the Kingdom can sometimes be difficult.

God absolutely wants you to have an abundant, passionate, flourishing, and successful life. But He’s not measuring your success by whether or not you get that big promotion, if your children graduate college with honours, how many followers you have on Instagram, or by the size of your bank account.

God defines success by the fruit that we bear and by our obedience to His purpose for our lives. Joshua 1:8 tells us, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Finding success God’s way is a journey we will be on our whole lives, not a destination we will someday reach. But how can we know that we’re on the right path?

  • Assess Your Time. If we want to be successful, we have to make the most of our time by being intentional about how we spend it. Spend your time on things that will honor God, further the Gospel, and benefit others.
  • Evaluate Your Perspective. While we’re being obedient in the day-to-day of our lives, we must also stay focused on God’s larger purposes for our lives and for His Kingdom. A long-term, eternal perspective will help us stay on the right track of Godly success.
  • Check Your Commitment Level. We won’t ever experience the full success God has for us if our commitment to His purpose wavers. He has never promised that this life will be easy, only that He will be faithful. Lean on His promises to help you stay committed through even the most difficult seasons.

I’m cheering you on this week as you pursue Godly success in your life!

Love you

Never A Miss

Sometimes God calls us to places and people and circumstances that make us feel like we’re missing out. Missing out on friends, adventures, relationships, dreams….

 

But when God calls you to it…. it’s never a miss. 

 

Maybe you’ve moved away to do schooling having to leave everything and everyone you love behind. As you scroll through Instagram (the worst!) you see pictures from back home that make you feel left out and forgotten. 

Maybe you’re spending the night at home working on getting your grades up to get into college instead of out with friends. 

Maybe everyone around you is in solid careers and you’re working a less than ideal job.

Maybe you’re a Mom and right now while service is going on you’re feeding you’re precious babe out in the lobby.

I see you all. And I totally feel ya! Pretty sure all of us have felt FOMO before (fear of missing out). And to be honest… it stinks! It’s a mix of anxiousness, frustration, sadness …  and you begin to build up a story in your head that something SO awesome is going on without you and it will be talked about for ages and ages making it totally legendary and you missed it. 

But know that God has called you to the place you’re in that may be a million miles away. He’s called you to your position at work. He’s called you to be a Mom.

And when we’re working in our calling, it’s never a miss! You’re EXACTLY where He wants you. And God is going to pour His blessings and favour over your life as you obey.

The only way it will be a miss is if you spend all your time upset about missing out, that you miss out on the moments right in front of you. So soak it in! You’re not missing a thing when you’re in God’s plans for you.

And within every situation, God has MULTIPLE purposes He’s working out! So don’t miss out!

Be encouraged my dear friend,

Pastor Natasha

How To Be Positive Even When You DONT WANT TOO!

If there’s one thing that I am a stickler about in our office, it’s positivity. I want a team who looks at the glass as half full.

Choosing a positive outlook is vital to fulfilling your destiny. Just look at the twelve spies who went to explore the Promised Land. Twelve men were sent on a mission to take hold of what God had already promised to give them. All twelve of the men saw the same thing, but chose to take very different outlooks on what they saw.

Ten returned to their leader, Moses, with a negative report. They saw the challenges they would need to overcome to possess the Promised Land and were defeated by them. The two remaining men saw the very same challenges and chose to declare that their God was bigger. They chose to take a positive outlook.

Even still, the people listened to the overwhelming negative report, decided it was not safe to enter the Promised Land, and as a result, an entire generation was kept from their destiny.

An entire generation. Can you imagine that? Choosing to maintain a positive perspective impacts more than just you – it impacts those who come after you. So how can you choose a positive outlook in your life, even when things may be challenging?

  • Focus on the Long Game. The road to your destiny will have challenging days, even challenging seasons. Reminding yourself every day of the bigger purpose God has called you to will keep you from getting stuck in those challenging moments.
  • Keep Your Heart in Check. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Choosing a positive outlook starts in your heart.
  • Remember God Is Faithful. When we take our eyes off of His promises, we can easily get off track and be overwhelmed by the challenges around us. Fill your heart and mind with His faithfulness to fuel a positive outlook.

 

– Propel Women Magazine

 

Do You Know How to Bounce Back?

Giving up is the quickest way to guarantee you will stop short of your purpose.

And yet, so many of us are tempted to give up everyday. We’re faced with hard decisions, plans that don’t go our way, or pressure that just feels like too much, and we’re ready to tap out. We lack the resilience required to do the hard things.

Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, adapt, and grow in the face of pressure. It’s developing a bounce-back spirit. And it’s vital on your journey to fulfilling your purpose.

So how can you develop a bounce-back spirit? It starts in your mind.

  • Embrace Change. If we’re really honest, even those of us who get bored easily don’t really love change – not in the big things, at least. But in order to develop resilience we need to begin seeing change as a catalyst for new opportunities and growth, rather than as a setback.
  • Remain Un-Offendable. Oftentimes the things that get us down have nothing to do with the circumstances in our lives, and have everything to do with the people we’re doing life with. Offense is one of your greatest enemies on the road to your destiny. Refusing to give offense a foothold in your life is a key step in developing resilience. 
  • Know What You Can Control. Usually, living in the center of God’s will is equally exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. Keep in mind Jesus’ encouragement to His disciples in Luke 21:14, when He was warning them about tough times ahead. He said, “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Know what elements you can control and which you can’t, so that when your plans go awry and hard times come, you’re not thrown off course. Resilience requires trusting Him to handle the rest.

I’m cheering you on as you cultivate your bounce-back spirit this week.

Written by Christine Caine, Propel Women

What Are You Listening Too?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

“God, my hope and my strength. My ability to move and breathe. My peace. My way. My life. You are my wisdom and my direction. You are my joy and the source of all my strength. You satisfy my soul. I love you Jesus. Thank you for how you love me.”

I wrote these words in my journal, when I quite honestly didn’t feel any of these things.  I felt like I had lost hope and had no strength.  And from that place, I didn’t want to move and I even felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Peace felt a million miles away, and finding it felt impossible. My joy wasn’t there because I wasn’t setting my heart on WHO joy is, and therefore, my soul continued to be in want and unsatisfied.  I had forgotten that the whole reason I’m able to love HIM, is because He FIRST loved me.

But one day, instead of opening my journal and writing out all my feelings and emotions and blah, blah, blah… I decided I would change it up a bit, and began to write the opposite of what I was feeling.  I chose to believe that even though I didn’t see or feel it yet, HE was my hope and my strength. He is my ability to move and breathe. He is my peace, and he never leaves…so peace hadn’t left me. The joy of Him is my strength, so If I set my heart on who He was, I would be filled with the strength that I needed.  I reminded myself that more than anything, I’M LOVED BY HIM. Whenever I was believing lies or had a negative thought or emotion, I covered it with His truth and with His love.

THIS is TRUTH.

1 John 3:1 Says,

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God.”

I want you take note of the word “bestowed” here… Bestow means to present as a gift, to give, or to put on.  That means that whether I realize it or not, as a child of God my Father has given me His love as a gift. He has placed His love upon me.  I can never change this truth, it’s truth whether I believe and receive it for myself or not.

If you’re anything like me, you can have a tendency to overthink things, and replay situations in your head over and over again. This can be a very bad thing, or it can be a very good thing.  It all depends on what I’m focusing on, thinking about and replaying.  Are the thoughts in my head truth? Are they bringing me life and peace? Or, are they lies—bringing me discouragement and confusion?

TRUTH says, “Where the spirit of The Lord is, there is FREEDOM” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

If you’ve felt discouraged lately, or even have a sense of disappointment, I want to encourage you to take some time and ask yourself what it is lately that you’ve been focusing on and replaying in your head.  My mom always says, “What is it you’re listening to?”  Meaning, are you listening to His voice of truth, peace and life, or are you listening to thoughts of disappointment, fear, and ultimately, death. We live in a world where we’re CONSTANTLY being faced with things that could seem true, but are not true.  So, we have to CONSTANTLY cover ourselves with what we KNOW is true, and that is only found in His word.

I want to encourage you to make covering yourself with truth a part of your daily routine.  Sometimes, it’s something as simple as getting ready in the morning and as you’re getting dressed or putting on your makeup, just thanking him for how He loves you. When you set your mind on His truth, it will not only begin to change your feelings and emotions, but it will change your relationships and your whole perspective on life.  You will begin to see Him in everything and every moment.

Laney Redmon, Live Original

Embrace Discomfort

Today’s Devo is from “Propel Women” Magazine and written by Christine Caine


When I injured my knee in a skiing accident a few years ago, the doctor told me that I could recover fully or partially, quickly or slowly. It was entirely up to me. The degree to which I was willing to endure the pain of recovery was the degree to which my knee would heal.

I think that same principle applies to most areas of our lives. The degree to which we are willing to endure discomfort is the degree to which we will find healing, experience success, and fulfill the purpose God has for us.

Oftentimes we focus so much on the hard things we have to do that we lose sight of what we want to experience on the other side of the discomfort. As a result, we stop short of realizing our full potential.

One of the best habits you can cultivate is to shift your perspective on enduring the discomfort of change and growth by replacing one phrase. If you replace the phrase “have to” with the phrase “want to,” you will experience less resistance and greater breakthrough.

Instead of “I have to exercise.” Say, “I want to be healthy in all areas of my life.”

Instead of “I have to make a budget.” Say, “I want to be equipped to live generously.”

Instead of “I have to cook dinner…again.” Say, “I want to serve those I love well.”

Instead of “I have to make a hard decision.” Say, “I want to develop my courage and wisdom.”

Instead of “I have to study.” Say, “I want to be a good steward of the skills God has given me.”

Embracing discomfort is never easy, but a change of perspective going in can help you develop the grit you need to push through.

Remember God’s promise in James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” There is purpose in the hard things!

What “have to” will you change into a “want to” in your life this week?

Are You Ready for Heaven?

Matthew 25

25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

I cannot get this story out of my head. God has really been showing me lately how to prepare for Heaven and what it looks like and what it requires. 

SO …. back in the day engagements were weird. So glad things have changed! Basically as soon as you got engaged, the dude took off and you wouldn’t know when he was coming back. But as soon as he did come back, it was wedding time! STRESSFUL!

stressed

Because of the whole no phone thing, the bride would have to wake up everyday and get ready as if it were the day of her wedding because who knew when Mr. Prince Charming would walk through the doors. And it wasn’t just the bride who had to be ready, her bridesmaids had better get their game face on too. They had to look good and stand outside every night with oil lamps to make a path for the Groom so he knew where to find his bride.

Now, in this story, I totally feel the 5 “foolish” girls. I mean, that’s a lot of work! We all know how long it takes to do your hair, let alone wedding hair. Same with makeup. Same with taking a shower! And then to always have oil on hand. That’s a lot to do everyday.

And I never quite related to this story until recently…

When you hit that 38 week mark in your pregnancy, any day is the day that you could have a child (by the time this post goes out, I will have a child). And there’s things you want in place. You want to make sure you have groceries, you want to make sure the house is clean, your hospital bag has to tag along with you everywhere you go, your phone needs to be charged, AND you want to look good. Go ahead and judge me, but I want my hair and makeup decent for those labour and delivery pictures. So literally every day I shower and do my hair and do my makeup and tidy the house and make sure there are groceries and make sure youth stuff is totally ready to go.

Not going to lie, this past week has been super mundane. It’s getting boring. It feels like I’m doing things that are insignificant. It’s getting frustrating because it’s like man that was a lot of work and he’s still not here! So I feel ya “5 foolish bridesmaids!!!” No judgement here from me!

But it’s been a good life lesson. Here’s what I’m learning about preparing for Heaven:

ONE

It can be mundane; meaning ordinary or common. The sermons on prepping for Heaven are so flashy and so motivating and so in your face and so …. “sparkly.” As in, the preacher makes it seem like preparing for Heaven and getting ready is very adventurous and spectacular and looks like you’re chillin in an orphanage rescuing babies or you are standing on a hill top and preaching the Gospel. For some, yeah that’s the picture (but it’s not as glamorous as it looks), but for most of us, it’s everyday life like going to school and sports and doctors appointments and errands.

It’s finding the miracles in the mundane of our schedule. It’s reading our Bible everyday even when it’s boring and you feel like you’re getting nothing. It’s honouring your parents, it’s bringing cookies to your new neighbours, it’s being consistent in your area of serving at church. It’s what happens behind closed doors. The worship by your bedside. The conversations in the school hallways.

Prepping for Heaven is sort of in a way prepping for a kid or a wedding (if you’re from Bible days). It’s waking up and getting yourself ready; not so much physically ready although staying healthy is part of it, but it’s putting on the armour of God and clothing ourselves in what is good and right and just and fair and holy. And it may feel like you are doing things that are insignificant because it’s not in the spot light or paying well (or at all), or no one sees it… but in light of eternity it’s huge. God works in the mundane.

TWO

It’s an E V E R Y   D A Y  type of thing. It can’t happen once a week, it can’t happen once a month. You won’t be ready! Remember the story in Exodus when God miraculously provided manna for the starving, homeless Israelites? And remember the rule God gave them? They can only eat what He provides THAT day. It doesn’t work to store the manna and eat it the next day.

The one devo you did last month, isn’t still sustaining you.

Every. Single. Day. Prepare yourselves for Jesus to come. Do you know him? Are you responding to the call He gave you to tell the world about Jesus? Are you living as an example to the world of what it looks like to live for Christ? Are you being obedient?

If Jesus came right now, what is one regret you would have?

That may be a good place to start in prepping for Heaven!

Pastor Natasha