The Spirituality of God

As I’ve started working out on a regular basis, it has reminded me of God’s Spirit. I feel more in tune with God as I’m focusing on my breathing and specific muscle movement. Because there are so many spirits out there, I believe that most Christians have shied away from the spirituality of God. While there are demonic spirits that we should be careful not to entertain, we can also trust the Spirit of God to guide us, comfort us, encourage us, and strengthen us.

God isn’t just spiritual. Christianity isn’t just spirituality. As a matter of fact, in the Christian faith, we believe in the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17). Each of the above mentioned are equal in power, essence, and authority.

For most of us, the Person of the Trinity that is most relatable to us is the Son, Christ Jesus. This obviously makes sense, because Jesus came to Earth and walked among us. Humans have physically seen Jesus with their own eyes. They have heard Him speak, and He has humbled Himself to understand our weaknesses and struggles. Of course, His ultimate sacrifice and resurrection have also caused us to cling to Him for our salvation.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus and God the Father in Spirit form. As I explained before, He is the third “Part” of the Trinity, but He is not like God or a form of God. He is God. Before Jesus was crucified, He explained to His disciples that it was better for Him to leave than for Him to stay on the Earth: “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7, NIV). Forty days after Jesus ascended to Heaven, the promised Holy Spirit came to the world through tongues of fire (see Acts 1). Ever since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has lived in and among those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, for the glory of God the Father.

In addition to God being Spirit, we are also spiritual beings. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16, NIV, emphasis added). God communicates to us (generally) through the Holy Spirit. If we are not filled with God’s Spirit, we can become spiritually dry. This can cause anxiety, depression, addiction, loneliness, and stress in our lives.

How do we know it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to us and not our flesh, or another spirit? God does not lie, and God does not contradict Himself. If the words you hear do not line up with God’s Word, you may be hearing something different. It will take time to learn how to hear God’s voice (whether audibly or in your heart), but if you read God’s Word, His voice will become more clear to you.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us to keep in step with the Spirit (5:16-26). In light of this, how can we be more in tune with the Spirit of God? Here are some ways that help me to feel God’s presence on a regular basis:

  • prayer
  • meditation (of Scripture or a prayer)
  • silence
  • contemplative prayer (intently focusing on a phrase or Scripture)
  • dancing/creative movement
  • exercise
  • stretching
  • spending time outside
  • creativity (writing, drawing, painting, singing)
  • worship music

For more information about these topics, check out Francis Chan’s Forgotten God and Craig Groeschel’s message series called The Ghost.

Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash


Choose Your Battles

Since I’ve had to go through some tough love recently, I have some tough love for you, friend:

If you can’t control your anxiety, your anxiety will control you.

In 2014, a dear friend of mine prayed for me and encouraged me with this word: You’re stronger than you think. I have never forgotten that, because it was something I didn’t believe. I think that I’m weak because I have anxiety. But that’s a lie. Anxiety does not have power over me. I am stronger than my fear by the grace of God.

When facing my fears, I choose my battles. There are some fights I’m not willing to engage in, where I let anxiety be my excuse, but there are some fights where I take out my biggest weapon and attack it head-on.

One of those fears is being on stage, being the center of attention. My best friend just got married this weekend. I was so incredibly happy for her, and I was blessed to be one of her bridesmaids. However, I couldn’t shake the fear of standing on the steps at the front of the church, where anyone could be looking at me. Leading up to the wedding, I realized that this fear was totally selfish. This was my friend’s day, not mine. Not a single eye was looking at me during the ceremony, and that’s the way it should be. Instead of letting the fear stop me from enjoying the ceremony, I filled my mind with the reminder that I was doing this for her, and for her and her husband’s commitment to God. By standing up there, I wasn’t just facing my fear; I was displaying to her and to everyone else that I supported her union to her husband and that I believed that God is at the center of their marriage. That is something worth fighting for.

Another one of those fears is flying. My fear if flying is debilitating. Most people get scared going through security, but I’m scared once the cabin door is shut and we have no way out until we land on the other side (even just writing that made it difficult to breathe!). On the flight, I shake uncontrollably, my muscles tense up, and I usually end up crying. Like, ugly crying. However, I love to travel. I want to see the world with my husband and my family. My husband’s family also lives in another state, and we have to fly to see them. When my grandfather was alive, he made a vow that he would never fly because it scared him too much. I cannot and will not do that. So I do whatever it takes to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare myself for the flight. I remind myself that whatever is waiting on the other side of the plane is worth the panic attacks.

Some anxiety is not worth fighting. I don’t go on roller coasters because the five seconds of thrill I’d feel conquering my fear is not worth day-long stress I would feel leading up to the experience. I don’t go on high ropes courses or go bungee jumping or sky diving because I’m afraid of heights; I have given up on the desire to add those things to my bucket list.

When you’re panicking, ask yourself: If I fight my fear, will it be worth it? My criterion for choosing my battle is: Will conquering my fear help me and my loved ones? Choosing to fight against my fear of being on stage helped me to celebrate with my friend and to show my support for her. Choosing to fight against my fear of flying helps me to enjoy God’s creation and to spend time with my loved ones. Although it may take time to fully overcome my fear, chopping away at the wall of fear a little bit at a time will eventually make the wall crumble.

You are indeed stronger than you think. God has great plans for you, and He will give you strength to fight each battle that comes your way. Today, try to conquer fear a little bit at a time. If you need help, reach out to a friend. I’m always here if you need prayer or encouragement!

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Photo by Henry Hustava on Unsplash


Write Down to Calm Down

It’s no coincidence that I have anxiety and I love to write. When I’m anxious, I could spend hours writing in my journal, processing my thoughts, making sense of the world around me. I can articulate my emotions and better communicate them to people when I write. As a result, I’m able to maintain my anxiety. I’ve noticed that when I don’t make time to journal, I’m more restless and I’m not as in tune with my emotions.

Truthfully, I haven’t journaled in the past couple of days, so I’m finding it hard to sit still as I’m typing this. My mind is also swimming with ideas to a point where I don’t know what’s going on up there. So maybe this advice is just as important for me in this moment as it is for you.

Make Time to Write
The #1 response I hear to why people don’t journal is, “I don’t have time.” The truth is: We don’t have time for everything. Life is busy, but I believe it’s because we want to be at all places at all times, but we can’t. God gave us twenty-four hours in a day, no more and no less. If journaling is something you want to try, you should make it a priority to carve any amount of time out for your day.

Think about the things that consume your time. You say you don’t have time, but you unwind by watching Netflix or scrolling any one of your social media sites. You make time to spectate other people’s lives, and yet you don’t make time to process your own. If you want a better life, make time to assess where you are now and make measurable goals of where you want to be later. Journaling is the perfect first step for that.

Face Your Fear of Yourself
Before I had a dishwasher, I used to dread washing the dishes. Days would go by and my dishes would pile up. At the end of the week, I wouldn’t want to know what disgusting crusts and smells would arise when I would finally turn on the hot water and start rinsing off my old plates. Although the process was nauseating and painful (I would often burn my hands in the hot water), I would get through washing the dishes and would have sparkling clean dishes.

Similarly, I don’t want to journal when I know I’ll be confronted with my depression or anxiety. I have this fear that I’ll process my feelings for hours only to find out that I’m overreacting and that, overall, I’m a mess. I’m comforted by the fact that God doesn’t look at me that way. God does not despise my broken and contrite heart. He accepts me with my mess, and He helps me sort through the murky waters of my emotions.

If you are afraid of what you will find when you journal, start by affirming yourself with Scripture. God has a lot of great things to say about you in His word. Psalm 139 has been my anthem lately as I’ve struggled with truly feeling beautiful in God’s eyes. God had me in mind before I was even born, and He crafted me to beautifully reflect His glory. Knowing this, I feel less disgusting as I search the depths of my heart.

Journaling Prompts
Pinterest has plenty of prompts to help you start your journaling journey. I’ve taken a few and created my own list. Keep in mind that I assume you’re journaling in the morning when you first wake up, because that’s when I normally do so. If you journal at night before bed, replace “yesterday” with “today,” and “today” with “tomorrow.” Let me know which prompt resonated most with you, and which one you want to try! I think I’m going to try a few of these!

  1. Where did you see God show up in your life yesterday? How are you expecting Him to meet you today?
  2. What success happened yesterday that you would want to achieve again today?
  3. What makes you feel most loved? When was that need met/not met recently?
  4. If you knew God would give you whatever you requested, what would you pray? (Forget what you’re not “allowed” to pray for, like a million dollars or for your ex-boyfriend to break up with his girlfriend. This is your journal, and if the desire of your heart is to win a million dollars or to see your ex-boyfriend suffer, God wants you to be honest with Him. I’m not saying He’ll answer your prayer, but He will give you clarity in how to align your desires with His will).
  5. Write a letter to your past self (at any age, or at a point during a traumatic experience in your life).

Your turn:
-If you’ve never tried journaling, what is stopping you from trying? Is it intimidating or boring?
-What prompts would you try from this list?
-What prompts would you add?

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Do it Scared

I am excited to announce that I am now a freelance writer and editor! This dream was birthed in me at the young age of six, when I realized I could write books for kids who loved reading, just like me. Thank you to the people in college who told me I should major in English (I didn’t listen), and to my family and friends for supporting me in this transition. While I will be writing several books and waiting for them to be selected for publication, I will also be offering writing and editing services to those who want to make their writing dreams a reality.

Although this has been a dream of mine, I woke up this morning with a sense of fear. What if I put myself out there and nobody bites? What if people don’t like me? What if they find out that I’m not perfect? The good-girl Christian in me says, “God has a plan! It’ll all work out in the end! Don’t be afraid!” We tend to be scared of being scared, so we put a spiritual band-aid on our fear and call it a day. However, I’m still afraid! I’ve never done this before. Fear is a natural response to the unknown.

To help me launch my career, my husband bought me a copy of the book Business Boutique by Christy Wright, a professional who helps women start their own businesses doing what they love. In one of the beginning chapters of the book, she wrote about fear in starting your own business. Fear is normal, and everyone experiences fear at one point or another. Her solution? “We just do it scared” (15).

As I re-read through Chapter 2, “Fear is Normal,” Wright only mentions that phrase a few times. However, after reading all 19 chapters of her book, I can clearly remember that phrase as my takeaway. If we only did things when we weren’t afraid, we would miss out on a lot of life. I’m actually more afraid of settling than neglecting my dreams. What is more fearful to you, being stuck in a job that isn’t your passion for the rest of your life, or taking a leap of faith and risking it all to pursue your dreams? Doesn’t the latter option sound like a movie?

A few people in my audience struggle with anxiety like me. I used to get scared just going out to eat with friends. You may get scared going to parties or traveling or visiting certain places or even not having plans. Going on retreats as a teenager, the staff members would tell us to aim for our yellow zone. The green zone is our comfort zone, and the red zone is our debilitating fear. While high ropes courses might be easy as pie for you, they make me nauseous and dizzy; I literally can’t move when I get to a certain height. Doing something in your yellow zone is doing something that stretches you just enough not to break you.

If you feel God calling you to do something in your red zone, which is quite possible, have grace with yourself to take baby steps there. If you are scared of publishing a book about your traumatic past, start off small by sharing your story with a trusted friend or a small group of people. No matter what you do, don’t let fear keep you from doing what you love and what you feel God is calling you to do.

Here are some quotes that I found when searching the phrase “Do it scared.” May they inspire you to pursue your passion, even if you have to do it scared:

“If you’re afraid, don’t do it. If you’re doing it, don’t be afraid!”-Genghis Khan

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

“What you feel doesn’t matter in the end; it’s what you do that makes you brave.” – Andre Agassi

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the absence of self.” – Erwin McManus

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”-Marianne Williamson

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Your Spouse’s Spiritual Journey

I have to make a confession that I cringe every time I hear the term “unequally yoked.”  The Bible is clear against marrying unbelievers.  However, we have also swung to the other side of the pendulum, where people expect their potential partners to know the Bible inside and out and to actually be flawless.  Women want men who are going to be the spiritual leaders of the household, and what that actually means is that they want their men to be responsible for the women’s relationships with God.  I’m here to share that my husband and I weren’t “equally yoked” in that sense of the word when we first started dating.

You see, when I first met my husband, he wasn’t what I would call “more spiritual” than I am.  He didn’t know the Bible as well as I did.  He didn’t even know his testimony!  Over time, I thought that I had made a mistake and was wondering what to do about the situation.

However, after spending more time with him, I realized that he had such great faith.  He served faithfully in the choir.  He made the decision himself to be baptized.  He prayed with me and helped me in ways that I couldn’t help myself grow closer to the Lord.  He served as a leader in the College Ministry.  Love exuded from his spirit as he served and interacted with others.  It was like he had the faith, but he didn’t have the resources to express his faith until recently.  Since I’ve been with my husband, I have watched him grow in ways that have just been beautiful and miraculous.  I’ve seen God answer our prayers together, as well as our prayers separately.

I would have never been involved in God’s miracles if I had believed that we were unequally yoked.

Instead of expecting your husband to be the spiritual leader, I first want to challenge you to think of what that really looks like.  What if you are equally yoked?  What if you expect your husband/future husband to read the Bible every day, and you haven’t touched yours in months?  Before playing the blame game, I want you to take the focus off of the other person and put it right back on yourself.  Just as it says in Luke 6:37, the judgment that you use to judge others will be used to judge you in the same measure.  Make sure that you are right with the Lord before you accuse your current or potential spouse of being spiritually weak.

Second, I want you to understand that spiritually mature looks different for everyone.  I mean, there are some people that you know are not quite right, and that’s because the Holy Spirit is telling you to stay away.  You must see evidence of the fruit that God has produced in their lives, especially through love.  My husband has always been incredibly generous, which demonstrates humility and kindness, and that’s how I see his spiritual maturity.  A spiritually mature person doesn’t have to be a pastor.  A spiritually mature person doesn’t have to lead worship every Sunday.  A spiritually mature person doesn’t even have to talk all that much.  We all have different spiritual gifts, and while some are amazing prayer warriors, and some are wonderful teachers, and some are songwriters for the Lord, there are some who have gifts that aren’t as noticeable.

For those who are married and are waiting for their spouses to spiritually “grow up,” I challenge you to look at your own heart.  Where are you lacking in your faith?  What are some ways where you can grow in your walk with the Lord?  Are you really spiritually mature?  Because if we’re honest, we are never fully matured.  We still have much to learn.  So learn to appreciate the growth that you see in your spouse, and use your faith to pray that he/she grows to be the person that God created him/her to be.

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