Don’t give up.

I’m trying my best to be honest with myself and everyone else in this post.

I haven’t been posting at all lately because I haven’t been able to fully accept what’s been going on with me. I don’t know where I picked up the bad habit of hiding certain feelings and being painfully direct with others…

Let’s just say my husband is great. (Thank ya, Jesus!)

As of late, I have been in some hardcore battles. Some of it is circumstantial. Most of it is mental. It is like everything I’ve learned about God’s nature and how to deal with life goes completely out the window just long enough for me to have a mini breakdown.

Does anyone else experience this???

Anyway.

Yes, I had a small breakdown this week. Not at the “I need to go to the hospital” point. But I was overwhelmed, tired, and hurting in so many ways. I just had to take some time to cry.

There have been so many words spoken over my life and confirmation that I am where I am supposed to be. But I keep having this nagging feeling that I am not doing enough and that I’m letting people down. I thought I had defeated this junk in my life but it has been coming back with a vengeance.

I don’t want to say that I’ve been depressed, because I have been there and this doesn’t feel quite like that. I do think that this has to do with some level of perfectionism in me that I did not realize was there.

I mean, I knew it was there. But not in this way.

When I’m already going through something like this on the inside of myself, adding external problems to the mix does not make it any better. It makes me feel totally out of control. This terrifies that perfectionist side of me.

I’ve actually gotten to the point where I don’t even like it when people pray or prophesy good things over me because right after they do I’m thrown into the completely opposite situation from what they prayed. It makes me feel like I did something wrong. Then I feel like I’m wearing these thoughts and feelings on my sleeve for everyone to see (which usually isn’t true).

This is probably God building my character and teaching me something. But right now all I feel is pain when it happens. That is my fault for not looking at it right. Because of course I appreciate the words and prayers!

The difference between this time and last time is that I can feel the peace of the Holy Spirit trying to shine through this. In the past, I couldn’t see anything God was doing so I would just sink deeper and deeper. Although my flesh wants to sink this time, I feel God catching me. It hurts, but I can see that it will not last forever.

That is how it works after all. We aren’t supposed to fully know the “who, what, when, where, how” of things while it is happening. If we knew all that up front then we wouldn’t learn whatever it is we need to learn.

The pain is real y’all.

But I’m keeping my eyes on the promises. Some of these promises are so close. I just know it.

I’m not giving up this time. There is too much to lose by giving up and too much to gain by keeping on!

God is still doing so many good things. My prayer today is that my focus does not get shifted from what is most important!

 

Jeremiah 29:10-14 NLT

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

 

 

 

Katelyn

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Connections

There is a longing within me for closeness. For more of a connection in some way.

I can’t live without quality time with people. It’s my “love language”. I love deep conversations and one-on-one time.

That being said, I have been in thought about mentorship.

I’ve never had a mentor. Maybe I’ve had opportunities to have this and missed it. I don’t know. But I never felt like God said “that is the one you learn from” about any woman in my life up to this point. I’ve never had someone express to me that they wanted to be that to me either.

Our church is great about mentorship. People, young and old, all have these connections. Someone they pour into, and someone who pours into them. My whole life I’ve felt like I’ve been pouring out of myself and not filling back up all the way. I want this to change for me.

I mostly just have a few friends and many aquaintances. I am not the type of girl who meets someone and within one month I’m best friends with them. All of the people I consider to be close friends have been in my life for at least 12 years, and I’m on 24. I’m beginning to see how much of an onion I am. It apparently takes me forever to open up. I thought I was more of an open book than that.

Man… these realizations have been hitting me hard this week.

Something happened yesterday that triggered an extreme emotional response in me. I won’t go into detail about it. But I felt inadequate, selfish, and afraid as a result of it. And it wasn’t really even about me AT ALL. Then I got furious with myself for feeling all of that because there was no bad intent amongst the people involved.

I was seeing how those ugly feelings were hiding deep in my heart, and in one split second it all came rushing out in waves of pain.

I was upset for hours after. So much that I was mid-conversation with someone about something totally different and good and I would just start to cry. I felt like I was about to break.

Through this, God revealed to me how much of my value I am still hanging on the way I am connected to people and if they need me or not. There’s a fear there that if they don’t need me then they must not want me either.

I think that is why having a mentor is such a beautiful thing. This person accepts the challenge of loving you, teaching you, and wading through all your junk, just to help you get healing and grow into a better person. They need nothing back from you except for you to be receptive to what they say.

Wow.

My prayer today is that God will show me who I should give my time to, and that the fear of not being needed will fall off of me. I want to have connections with purpose and love at the core.

 

 

Katelyn

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Losing control is a good thing…

I’m sitting here alone on a Friday night, with the exception of my dogs being by my side.

I’ve been sick all week with a cold. Because of this, I couldn’t join my husband at the fellowship hangout our young adults group is having tonight. I don’t like to go out while dealing with that groggy feeling medicine gives me, or spreading my sick germs all around to the church.

I also don’t like missing out on spending time with my friends. But this time alone helps me think.

There are those times in life when everything is going so fast and I forget to slow down for a moment and talk to God. I think about Him in everything I do, but I don’t always talk TO Him.

And really there is so much to talk to Him about. As much as I know He is not the one who made me sick this week, I do believe He is using it to encourage me stop and appreciate what I have and what He is doing in me.

He has been teaching me to loosen my grip and let go of my need to feel in control of everything. So many things were out of my control all the way up through my teen years. The beginning of my college years and my relationship with my husband revealed this problem. I’ve been reflecting on how much this still affects me. I’ve been set up in a situation by God where I have to let go of the steering wheel and realize I won’t get to God’s destination for me with my own hands because I don’t even know where I’m going most of the time.

Even something as small as being stuck at home tonight makes me feel out of control. I want to feel better. I don’t want to miss out. I don’t want people to judge me for not being there (which wouldn’t happen anyway because they are all so nice). Instead of resting in the joy of the Lord I end up focusing on what I can’t control.

This happens every single time anything happens in my life. I over-analyze things and criticize myself and try to fix whatever I can about the situation. It never works though.

I know this, but I keep doing it. I definitely understand what Paul meant when he said, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15 NLT).

I am going to do my best to let God fully take over in this area of my life. I’m tired of laying it down at His feet and then picking it back up again. I am determined to do better in this. I want to do it for myself and my husband, but also for the sake of whatever it is God wants me to do in my life since I can’t get there on my own. The Lord knows my husband has put up with me through it all. I love him for it! God gave me a good man and I want to be more trusting of them both.

 

Feel free to ask me questions about my testimony, marriage, church life, etc. I may address it in my next post!

 

 

Katelyn

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Truth and Compassion

You know those days when the second you wake up it’s like everything wants to go wrong?

Well, today has been one of those days for me. It’s been a day that has made me question everything I thought God told me to do for the past 5 years.

When I have a bad day or something goes wrong in my life, the first thing I do is second guess myself. I question if I really heard God on what led me to make certain decisions. It doesn’t help that there are people around me who become the voice of these doubts I have about myself. They question me on my decisions and tell me I was wrong in what I did with this or that – things that are petty and small, but feel so huge when someone throws it up in my face.

This is an area of insecurity for me. Probably one of the largest areas I struggle in. When I am 100% sure of something, I don’t have any problems. But if I have even a tiny bit of doubt inside of me, something small can set off feelings that I am not good enough or smart enough or close enough to God to make the right decision or have the right opinion.

Today, it was indicated to me in so many words that I am seen as lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, and disrespectful.

This hit a nerve, and it hurt. Because that used to be me. God changed me and is still changing me. But when I am in the middle of doing everything I can to better myself, it is not the time to imply that I haven’t made any progress.

But anyway…

God was taking me through this pain and talking me down. I was toggling between anger and sadness (which really are the same thing, but that is a whole sermon and we aren’t going there today), neither of which I express well. I just get chatty and confused. I try to take it straight to God now so I don’t confuse or overwhelm anyone else.

Then it hit me how much this one moment on this one day was affecting me.

Was I really letting this one situation take over every other thing God had planned for me today?

I wanted to turn my thoughts around. I started thinking about how awful it must be to go through something like this without God there to reveal truth. And how it is usually those people who are hurting so bad that they feel the need to make someone else feel bad, too. Misery loves company.

I remember a time in my life when my pain got pushed onto others. I was mean. I didn’t feel bad about it because all I thought about was myself and how things affected me, and how much I hurt. I’ve come to the conclusion that I did this because my emotional needs weren’t being met by people or by the empty hole in my heart where God should’ve been. So I spent all my energy trying to meet those needs myself. Which sadly turned into some weird form of bullying for a season.

As I reflected on this, I started to feel so bad for these people. They are in pain. Pain that I can’t fix. Only God can heal it. I’ve tried to show them who God is and they haven’t received it yet. But I can’t let them take me down with them. I must love them where they are at. I’ll keep boundaries in place, but I can still love them without letting them affect me so negatively.

Thankfully, this day is turning around. Not because of me or anyone else. It’s because I went to God. When we don’t go to God with our wounds, they won’t heal. No lie in your heart can be fully uprooted unless you have a truth to plant in its place. Always seek truth.

 

 

Katelyn

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Are we fighting the right battle?

My husband and I have these deep conversations. He is very analytical about life and that causes him to have some interesting thoughts. It is one of the things I love most about him because it provokes me to look at life from another angle.

We can be sitting outside on the porch swing after dinner and I will ask him a question about his thoughts on something. He will look away for a moment, then he will say, “Let’s go for a drive.” We’ll hop in the car, go to Sonic, and drive around and talk for an hour. These have come to be some of my favorite times with him.

ANYWAY…

That is what happened last night. It began with me asking him about what his personal goals are for the next year, seeing as we just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and are transitioning into a new season of our life together in many ways. This conversation went off on a rabbit trail, as it usually does, and we got on the topic of fighting spiritual battles.

We, along with many others in the church, have been taught to fight these long and hard spiritual battles against Satan. We are taught about the armor of God and how prayer is a weapon, and on and on. After all, the Bible says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NKJV)

That is all true.

But then this thought occurred to me…

What if the battle we are fighting is more about submitting to God than resisting the devil?

Just hear me out.

The emphasis has always been on resisting the devil, which is 100% important. But we’ve turned RESISTING the devil into FIGHTING the devil, as if we can do that on our own or something. We’ve created a battle out of something that is really supposed to be the application of our authority given to us by the Holy Spirit.

You see, I’ve discovered that I am my own worst enemy. God has delivered me from so much bondage. That is why I get upset when I feel like I still struggle with some of my same old habits of thinking.

That is exactly my problem though. It is all in my head. I know what it is like to truly be a slave to something that isn’t of God. But being a slave to sin and being tempted by sin are not the same thing. My mind has these conditioned responses to situations that I learned when I was still in bondage. Even though I am free from that prison, my thoughts do not yet know how to operate fully outside of it. I can’t blame it all on Satan.

It is the process of submitting my thoughts to God that is the most difficult battle. The battle against my own flesh.

One battle against my flesh that I deal with is deciding to read God’s Word every day.

If I read my Bible when I wake up in the morning, I have the most productive and joyful day, even when bad things happen. My mind has been renewed and I feel strong spiritually.

On days that I don’t read the Bible, there is a significant difference. When I am faced with a challenge, which is most days lately, I struggle to see my life the way God sees it. I give in to my insecurities and I withdraw into myself. I begin to feel afraid.

The hardest part is fully submitting ourselves to God. Submitting to Him is what gives us His armor and authority to resist the devil. Until we understand that step of telling our flesh “NO” and telling God “YES”, we will be fighting a losing battle that shouldn’t have been a fight at all.

There are a lot of Christians who don’t realize they do this, but they are trying to fight Satan so they can get closer to God. It is so backwards. And we keep doing it.

The Bible does not say Satan separates us from God. It says our sins separate us from God:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

Isaiah 59:2

Satan was defeated at the cross. Not by us, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We must repent and make our flesh submit to the champion of the battle to also be champions. We cannot “fight” Satan with our own strength. But we can resist him with submission to God and the renewing of our minds. This is what makes him FLEE! He just runs away because he knows God is in charge!

If we can get this right, more people would become free and stay free.
 

 

 

Katelyn

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Seeing what we can’t see.

It is easy to talk about trusting God when you feel like you’ve been provided for. It’s those times when provision feels so far away that tests faith.

I’m not going to lie… I have felt so discouraged lately. I know what God told me, but learning to trust Him has been one of the hardest lessons of my life.

God gave my husband and I the option to go down a specific path that would lead to His promises. We chose that path with hopes and dreams in our pockets. Somewhere along the way, things got really difficult, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. We’ve battled with giving in to other options that weren’t what God placed in front of us, all because we were scared that God wouldn’t come through to provide for our needs. It has been a struggle to have faith in God’s promises when our circumstance looks completely different than what we expected being four years down this road.

I think that is the point though.

Every time we wanted to give up God would speak something into our lives and it would lift us up again, just long enough to make it to the next time. Then He would be there again, with love and patience, nudging us back in the right direction.

He has been teaching us to see what we can’t see.

Faith is having absolutely no options on the table and still choosing to believe God meant what He said.

We are finally beginning to see the fruit of this. My husband got a job today that could be a turning point for us. It’s not about the money, but rather how it will prepare us for what God has promised. All to God’s glory!

I am amazed at how even when we drag our feet and lose faith at times, God is still there to pick us up, guide us, and show us what He can do!

 

 
Katelyn

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Learning from others’ mistakes

Negative life experiences can either motivate a person to move on to better things or completely deflate them and make them lose hope.

There have been some things happening to the people around me recently and it has caused me to reflect on this in my own life.

My entire life, I saw both sides of this coin very clearly. I grew up in a family where many of the people were defeated by life and by their personal failures. Addictions, adultery, divorce, anger, self-hatred, jealousy… the list goes on. It wasn’t that they couldn’t get back on their feet. They just didn’t know how to and were often too prideful to make deep and lasting changes. This led to others either harshly criticizing them or enabling them, or both. (Self-pity and condemnation are ugly. People need Love, not rejection or enabling.)

The flip side was that I went to a private Christian school where I was surrounded by peers who came from somewhat wealthy families with the appearance of success and happiness.

I struggled with this divide. I was encouraged to work hard in school, go to college, and get a stable and well-paying job, because then my life would be better. I wouldn’t have to struggle like so many did before me. I looked around me and saw that those whose families did exactly that had success in their jobs but they still had many of the same personal failures and problems as those who didn’t have financial success. Those children did not have it easy. Many of them were already making bad decisions for their lives even with silver spoons in their mouths. And the others lacked compassion for those who made the bad decisions, and often ostracized them.

Even as a child I could see something wasn’t right with this picture. For a long time, this actually made me very angry. I got tired of people telling me how to succeed and what would make me (them) happy and what I was “supposed to do” in my decision making. I was also told to shut up when I voiced my disagreement about the enabling of a people who had addictions because “they can’t help it”. I have had to watch people slowly kill themselves because they are being enabled. From where I’m standing, this is assisted suicide.

To sum it up, people wanted me to be successful, but I wasn’t allowed to entertain the things I truly loved and was good at. They wanted me to shun those I disagreed with – unless the person was a loved one. Then I was supposed to keep quiet and enable their bad behavior or else I wasn’t considered compassionate enough. I was expected to spend most of my time around those who were making bad decisions, but I was also expected to be perfect or get criticized if I wasn’t.

And all the while, people put the standard of a life lived for Christ on me, without being an example of that to me.

Everything I experienced was contradicting. No one around me could even see that they weren’t living anything what they told me to do. I remember thinking that they needed to practice what they preached. It was a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do”. Which I strongly disagree with.

I’ve been looking back at this lately and I can see now that this really sparked something in me. I believe God showed me this early on so that when I gained a better relationship with Him, like I have now, He could remove the anger and I could make more solid and Spirit-led decisions for my life and try to be a better example to others.

I have continually seen people I love destroy their lives over bad decisions that should have been obvious to even a young believer in Christ. I see families that make the same mistakes generation after generation and no one wants to talk about it.

I have prayed that God would cut off the root of this in my life and that my husband and I can be Christ-like examples to our future children. I don’t harbor resentment for what I’ve been through. But I think it is extremely important to learn from where we come from through the lens of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve decided that I will be successful, but not in the way others expect me to be. I will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and do my best to have compassion for those who don’t know how to do that yet. I want to voice less criticism and talk more about Jesus. I want to encourage others to do the things God has placed in their spirit and not lean on the definitions of success in this world. I want to be the kind of person I needed someone to be for me back then. I know I can’t always get it right. But if I don’t try then I’ll never know what kind of life God has for me.

 

 

Katelyn

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