What It Means to Be Loved By God

I’ve been quiet in this space lately. Work has been consuming. Any spare time I have I devote to writing other things and writing here gets pushed farther and farther down the priority list. I don’t like it, but it’s the season I’m in right now.

I listened to a song the other day that stopped me in my tracks. It stopped me so hard and rattled me so deep, it got me to finally sit down here and write. Because I want you to hear it too. It’s called “Love You More” and it’s by one of my forever favorites, Nichole Nordeman. This song speaks the truth about God’s love for us better than any song I’ve ever heard.

After listening to this, all the things I’ve been shuffling and trying to keep together and stay in front of and on top of and be on time with, all of my work and my deadlines and my emails, they all sort of tumbled to the side and made way for this one truth: God loves me. Not only does He love me, but, as the song says, He’s “been loving me since time began.”

It reminds me of Psalm 139. “My frame was not hidden from you
 when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;
 all the days ordained for me were written in your book
 before one of them came to be” (vv 15-16).

Not only does God love us, He loves us deeply and knows us fully.

And I wonder, how many of us operate and live our lives under the assurance of this truth? And if we don’t, and I am among the ones who don’t, how could things be different if we did? What would life look like? What would it feel like to take each step knowing that God loves us so deeply, and there is no such thing as a limit to that love, and we have not strayed too far this time because he gives second chances, third chances, fourth chances…

What would it feel like to live this way?

This question stopped me in my fast-moving tracks. I looked at the balls I was balancing and I realized living under the promise of God’s love would probably look like letting some of those balls drop to the floor. It would look like putting everything down because there is absolutely nothing greater or more important than the knowledge of God’s love. Receiving it has to be the first move of our day because without it, life is up to us. Without it, we do run out of chances. When we  don’t believe, at our core, that God loves us deeply, we walk around life afraid, regretful, uncertain, and suspicious and untrusting of our God.

His love—the kind that wove us together in the depths of the earth—protects us as much as it propels us. It shifts our priorities. It takes away the fear that we’re doing it wrong or that we will do it wrong. It allows us to trust in the goodness of God.

Take a minute today and ask yourself if you believe God loves you. Do you truly believe it? No matter what you have going on today, the answer to that question is really the only thing that matters.

 

(Yes, I wrote down all the lyrics for you because they are SO GOOD. Read them. Sit in them. Believe them.)

Love You More by Nichole Nordeman

You said go and sin no more

though my eyes could not meet yours

I started running the third time the rooster crowed

You threw a party just for me though I squandered everything

I was blinded in the middle of the road

I climbed up a tree to see you

Swallowed by the see to flee you

Sold you for a little silver and kiss

Killed a man to love his woman

Burned a bridge back to your garden

Hung beside you while you took your final breath

 

You’ve been loving me since time began

You’re behind my every second chance

 

I love you

I’m trying to love you more

I’m ready

Please help me

love you more

 

I keep thinking there’s a limit

I’m sure I must be getting near it

I’ve used up every pardon and regret

But you promise there is freedom

Gathered up my broken pieces

Scattered them as far as east is from the west

 

You’ve been loving me since time began

You’re behind my every second chance

 

I love you

I’m trying to love you

I’m ready

Please help me

love you more

 

For all the sand that fills the hour glass

Every breath between my first and last

I love you

I’m trying to love you more

I’m ready please help me love you more

Who Is God to You, Really?

Who Is God to You Really?We all paint pictures of God. Over the years, we gather some information here, some scripture there, some thoughts from a pastor here and, subconsciously, we put them together and piece them in such a way that they make up our God. Our own little personal mosaics of who God is, to us.

As we live, this mosaic changes. I lived a few years with a nice, pretty picture of a young God who was my friend. Then, it was the old man – grandfather – Santa Clause hybrid God. And most popular these days, a more stern God who is disappointed with my sin and behavior when it’s not just right.

Of course, I have days where my mosaic of God reflects love and deep, deep care, but this is a picture I’m only now learning to paint. And still, it is only a picture.

The point is, we can’t help but create God into something tangible because the only thing we understand as people, mortal people, are tangible things. Trees, mountains, dogs, etc. But confining God to a picture is dangerous. It’s dangerous to us and it’s dangerous to those around us.

Take a moment now and picture “your” God. What does he look like? If he were a painting, what form would he take? If he were a mosaic, what pieces is he made up of? And, this is important, where did those pieces come from?

Do you have the picture in your head? Good. Now I need you to do something else.

Take that picture and tear it up. Then, take the torn-up pieces and set them on fire. Then, gather the ashes into a bucket and explode it into a million billion little tiny microscopic bits.

If we want to understand who he is and how that plays into who we are and how we live, we have to be willing to let go of our paintings and our mosaics. We have to be willing to be wrong.

Over the past year this question has been on my lips, “Who are you, God, really?” It’s a question that comes from the suspicion that I have created God to be someone he is not. Whenever we feel like we have an omnipotent being figured out, that’s when we should question ourselves, back away slowly, (maybe repent…), and begin to ask God, Who are you, really?

Are you actually mad at me? Are you really watching my every move, waiting for me to mess up? Are you as distant as you feel, meaning I can operate how I please? Are you really just a nice dad who wants me to have what I want? Are you condemning others but elevating me?

When we live and breathe under our paintings of God, depending on what that painting looks like, we grow accustomed to feeling shame, or paralyzed in our decisions, or we experience the type of freedom that is really bondage. And then we begin to reflect that kind of God to others.

We glorify a Santa Clause God or a BFF God or a cruel teacher God. I wouldn’t feel inclined to worship any of those, would you?

This scripture is becoming more and more true for me these days: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away…  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10,12).

God knows us fully. We are pretty easy to understand. And, he made us. He, however, is not as easy to understand. Once you think you have him all figured out, he blows your mind with something that shatters the image of him you painted.

I don’t want to confine God to a painting anymore. Instead, I want to just keep asking, Who are you, really? And keep asking it and keep asking it and keep asking. I think the more we do and the more we genuinely seek an answer, the more glimpses we will receive of truth. And the more glimpses we receive of truth, the more beautiful God will become.

The Opposite of Fear Is Not Courage

The Opposite of Fear Is Not Courage

A few months ago I had a week full of fear related to my work. I felt overwhelmed, andthe thoughts running through my head looked something like this:

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“This is too much.”

“I need to just find another job.”

“I’m not going to be able to fulfill everyone’s expectations.”

You may recognize this pattern of negative self-talk. Rapid-fire statements rooted in a place of fear. Each one you listen to and believe hits you a little harder and if you’re not careful, you will one day find yourself leveled by your own thoughts, flattened by your own fears.

I think our reaction when we feel afraid about something happening in our lives is to look for courage. We listen to familiar messages about inner strength and digging deep down to find it. Fighting through and being stronger than you think.

But what about those times when you do dig deep down searching for inner strength and courage within yourself and you come up empty handed? What do you do then when your knees are still shaking, what’s in front of you remains daunting and you determine that your inner strength must be so inner at this point that is un-findable?

I am beginning to wonder if courage is the appropriate response to fear.

One morning as I sat on my couch allowing the negative and fearful thoughts to play in my head I noticed a quality of these thoughts I hadn’t seen before: They were ungrateful. Not only were they negative, untrue and made me afraid, but they lacked gratitude.

Which got me thinking, what if I combated this season of fear by being grateful, rather than courageous?

So I tried it out and began to argue fear with thankfulness.

For example, I was worried about an upcoming conference call. It was with people in my field who were much more seasoned and smarter than I and I was afraid I would say something stupid or they would be able to see how ill-equipped I felt.

But before the call, as soon as I caught myself feeling afraid, I stopped and said thank you. “Thank you, God, for the opportunity to speak with people who are more knowledgeable than I am. Thank you for this chance to learn and grow. Thank you that I even get to do this as my job every day.”

The gratitude didn’t say I was courageous. The gratitude didn’t say I was stronger than I thought I was or more capable than I knew. No, gratitude simply put me in my place as a human and put God in his place as God.

When we are grateful in the midst of difficulty or fear, we are forced to take a posture of humility before our God. Nothing like saying thank you can do this to us.

When our fear comes from a place of insecurity in ourselves or uncertainty about the future, courage may not be the answer for us, but gratitude shifts things into perspective. The blur of scary and fearful focuses into a more accurate picture in which God is big and we are small and this is exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Deciphering God’s Will (+ a Book Giveaway)

The Grand Paradox

THE WINNERS ARE:

Mikki Jacobs

Pedre Decupe

Alayne

Kim k

Congratulations! You will each receive one copy of The Grand Paradox. Please send me your mailing address using the contact page. 

In my former life as a book publicist, I got to know a man named Ken Wytsma. Ken is an author, a pastor, a husband, a father or four girls and he founded a rather large annual gathering called The Justice Conference.

One week in the cold of February, Ken and I traveled to Pittsburg, where he had some media lined up for his first book Pursuing Justice. My job was to drive us around and make sure we were on time and Ken was prepared. This is always the job of a book publicist when traveling with an author.

I am not so great at directions and was nervous to be driving around Ken Wytsma because he is kind of a big deal. Because of this, I got lost going to almost every destination we needed to get to over the course of two days. We spent more time in that rented SUV driving through mysterious roads in the snow than we did doing interviews or being indoors.

At some point Ken took over the GPS, which really hurt my publicist pride, and we started arriving at our destinations much more quickly.

Even though Pittsburg was kind of a fail logistically, it did give me an opportunity to get to know this author/pastor/conference leader man, and I’m so glad it did.

Ken truly lives out his life message: that justice is central to the gospel, and in order for us to know God’s heart, we must seek justice for all of His people.

Right before I left my publishing job last fall, I got a sneak peek at the manuscript for Ken’s new book The Grand Paradox. I read 20 pages and wanted more. The book finally released a few weeks ago, and I was not disappointed by the other 180 or so pages.

If I had to pick a favorite part about The Grand Paradox, it would be the way Ken talks about the will of God for our lives.

As a millennial, I am obsessed with God’s will for my life. As Ken points out, this type of fixation popular in current Christian culture is not helpful. Not to us as individuals and not to God’s big, overarching will for humanity.

“We all like to think God’s will for our individual lives is to write us into the story as the central character,” writes Ken (p. 82). Yep, I like to think that most days. That God is going to do HUGE things through ME.

Ken goes on: “Instead of asking what God’s will is for my life, I should be asking how I can serve God’s will with my life….God doesn’t promise that all will play the central character. What God does promise, however, is that He will love all, lead all, meet us all, and provide guidance and wisdom needed through the Holy Spirit to find, rest in, and follow His leading in our lives” (p.85).

I am incredibly guilty of trying to decipher God’s perfect will for me, my exact next steps to take. This has paralyzed me in decisions and caused great guilt and fear that I made, or will make, a wrong move. God has been gently freeing me of this mindset lately and reading Ken’s book came at the perfect time to affirm the truth that discerning God’s will does not have to be a hard and scary thing. In fact, if it feels that way, I’m probably trying to make myself the central character. I’m probably thinking that I’m a way bigger deal than I actually am.

Ken ends this chapter with a beautiful and simple thought: “What is God’s will for your life? Simple. It is that you live out His will for the world. That you bring goodness, truth, and beauty to the world. Christianity doesn’t serve me; I serve the cause of Christ.”

I’m doing something today that I’ve never done before, a giveaway! I have four copies of The Grand Paradox to give away to four lucky recipients. Leave a comment below and consider yourself entered into the drawing. On Thursday, March 12, exactly one week from today, I will collect all commenters’ names and select the four winners. I’ll then announce the winners via my Twitter and Instagram accounts. So follow @AndreaLucado and/or @AndreaLucado to find out if you won!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

The Journey Was His Idea

The Journey Was His Idea

We all know the story about Jesus calming the wind and the waves, right? (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus was on a boat with his disciples and then a storm came. The disciples freaked out because they were afraid the boat would capsize, and they would drown. They woke up Jesus because, yes, he had been sleeping, and Jesus told the wind and the waves to stop. “And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”

Seriously, that story never gets old for me. But the other day, I was reading it and noticed the beginning for the first time. I should know better. The beginnings of stories are so important! But, I had never noticed the first verse of this one. Mark 4:35 says that after preaching by the sea of Tiberius, Jesus told his followers, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Of the sea, that is. And by boat, of course.

So, let’s get this straight. Whose idea was it to cross the sea? The sea that would, in a few hours, be hit by a storm that made the disciples fear for their lives? It was Jesus’. The journey was his idea.

I think we all know what a “storm” feels like to us. Maybe you’re in one right now. Life feels out of control as usual, but in the storm, you are more acutely aware of your inability to control it. That’s what storms are for me–challenging times when none of my efforts to fix, work, perfect, smile, try harder, master, get over it or get through it are working. I’m just here, in a boat, shaking Jesus to wake up and help me.

But if it was Jesus’ idea to cross the lake, he made the decision knowing there would be a storm. It’s not like Jesus said, “Ok, guys, let’s go!” and then a few hours later he was like, “Oh, whoa, sorry guys. I’m God in flesh, but I had no idea this storm was coming.” No. Just like he knew it was time for us to cross the sea; he knew a storm would meet us somewhere in the middle, and he planned on being there in it. Not disappearing for a moment and then coming back when things calmed down, but sticking around during the most scary part and eventually (it doesn’t always happen right away) calming everyone and every wave down.

He is in it. With you. The journey was his idea, so we can be confident that we didn’t do something wrong to deserve the storm, and we can be confident that this storm will not be the one that finally, officially does us in for good. If God said go, and we went, He is with us. The storm will subside, and his presence will sustain us.

Do You Want to Know God, Or His Game?

Are You Getting to Know God, Or His Game?

{This is a big question that requires much more than a blog post. Here today, I will simply examine one molecule on one piece of ice that sits at the tip top of the iceberg. A question like this deserves a book, of which I’m sure there are many.}

I’ve caught myself asking “Why?” a lot lately. After a decision here, a decision there, an event here and a disappointment there, my knee-jerk reaction has been to look toward the sky and ask God, “Why?” Why did this happen? Why do I feel this way? Why couldn’t this have worked out? Or, why did this person do this or that? It’s endless and relentless and I’m surprised God hasn’t put some sort of divine muzzle on me already. But I guess that’s not really how God works.

Instead, He is gentle with us. He sees us (as a friend’s blog reminded me recently). He loves us. He cares for us. At least, these are the things I tell other people. These are things I write on my blog and make readers think I understand and know with everything in me. But the truth is, I think I often doubt God’s love and His ways more than I care to admit, even to myself. You see, in all of this recent asking of “Why?”, I’ve realized that my chief goal has not been to understand God; it has been to understand what God is up to, to understand His game, as if He has a game, and He is playing it.

Deep down I think weird and dark things like this: If I can know why something happened, then I can know what God is up to. And if I know what God is up to, then I can know what’s coming next. And that means, I can predict what leads God to do or allow certain things in my life. And then, jackpot! I can decipher what I need to do in order to get what I want from God.

If you are so pure-of-heart, and this isn’t resonating with you yet, then think of it this way. When you are in a relationship with someone, in order to feel close to them and to grow to love them, you must get to know them. In order to get to know them, you spend time with them. You ask them questions. You allow them to get to know you, too. What you do not do is camp out behind a tree and watch them from a distance through a set of binoculars calculating their every move.

-Susan buys coke from soda machine

-Susan opens can of coke

-Susan takes two sips of coke

-Susan says “hello” to coworker who passes by

What have you learned about Susan from your little detective work? Susan was thirsty or tired or bored and so she drank a coke. What have you learned about her character? Do you feel closer to her now that you learned that she drank a coke this afternoon? Are you now on a path to a loving relationship? NO. Why? Because you were simply interested in her behavior, rather than who she was. In order to love someone, you must want to know who that someone is, aside from his or her behavior.

Sometimes when I’m being a whiny, why-asker, what I’m actually doing is watching God  from behind a tree with my binoculars. I’m not actually interested in getting to know who He is; I’m more interested in knowing what He’s going to do next, and what that means for me and my life and the things I want.

I think I would stomp my foot and demand “Why?!” less often if I trusted who God was. I’m never going to fully know why anyways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Not until I am an immortal being who lives above and outside of time and can see from beginning to end. Not until then, which will be never. So while I’m here, maybe it’s more worth my time to get to know the immortal being who lives above and outside of time. To get to know and trust Him and to just finally put the binoculars down. He may already be much closer than I think.

My Big Plan To Reduce Stress in 2015

My Big Plan to Reduce Stress in 2015

I’ve been a little stressed lately. I know because my body tells me:

-I have a consistent and annoying pulse in my right eye.

-According to my dentist, I tense my jaw at night and need to purchase a mouth guard asap (sexy).

– During a massage–the second massage I’ve ever had in my life—the masseuse told me I have some of the most tense muscles she has ever felt. I told her about my mouth guard, and she told me, “That’s great, but you should really just fix your problems.”

Point is, I’m stressed, and you probably are too. Maybe more than I am, maybe less, but I’ve noticed a theme since entering adulthood about seven years ago: it’s stressful. As my dentist explained to me while examining my disintegrating jaw, our bodies cope with stress in different ways as we age. As children, we cry. As teens, we break out. As adults, we grind our teeth, tense our jaws or do one of the numerous things I’ve heard about and/or experienced first-hand: back pain, shoulder pain, insomnia, eye pulse. Oh, the eye pulse!

I would love to do what my masseuse so lovingly suggested and just “fix my problems,” but sometimes when you’re anxious, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact problem, or problems. And pinpointing the problem can cause even more stress when you’re not sure what it is. This got me thinking that maybe fixing my problems, even when I know what they are, may not be the long-term solution to stress.

What is stress at its core? Feeling worried about things that aren’t going your way, or didn’t go your way, or might not go your way. It’s discontentment. It’s distrust. It’s completely natural and human and ok and simply needs to be embraced at times, but I also believe those living the Christian life can fight stress, at least a little bit, and I think it’s worth a try.

Someone left this verse in the comments of my last post, and I think it’s a wonderful response to the definition of stress I made up: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

After reading this verse, I worried (of course). “I have a hard time trusting God,” I thought. “This is exactly why I’m stressed, so will I never be in ‘perfect peace’?!” Then I calmed down and realized the verse actually tells me how to trust God. If our minds are stayed on him because we trust him, then the reverse is true: We trust him because our minds are stayed on him.

Phew! So, maybe if I keep my mind “stayed” by reminding myself daily of who God is and what he has done for me, I will remember how to trust him, and as I remember to trust, the trust will deepen, and as the trust deepens, I will be brought closer to perfect peace and farther from stress and anxiety.

It’s a theory, but I’m going to put it into practice this year. How? Each day, I will try my hardest to start my morning by writing down five things I am thankful for and five things I know to be true about God’s character.

It’s simple. It’s small. It’s quick. But I think it could be huge. Because the power of gratitude and truth in the face of stress and anxiety cannot be underestimated.

The goal is not to be 100% stress-free. That’s lofty and doomed to make me feel like a failure. Instead, I will take baby steps and hope for a little less stress, a less anxiety, a little less fear. A little more trust, a little more surrender, a little more love. Baby-stepping toward God and away from anxiety, one piece of gratitude and one piece of truth at a time.

Are You Overthinking It? The Dangers of Introspection

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I’ve written about this tendency of mine before—to daydream, to overthink, to create scenarios in my head and then have a difficult time returning to reality. I’m one of those people who’s been journaling since age eight and will disappear from time to time to sit on a beach, climb a tree or ride a bike simply to get away and think.

I am of the overanalyzing persuasion. It’s something I’ve grown to accept about myself, but it’s also something I’m learning to watch about myself. I think it’s important for we over-analyticals to be aware of when it’s time to JUST STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.

Now that I’m a writer by trade and work from home, my job is to think. This is great, and this is dangerous. Since I no longer work in the 8-to-5, fast-paced corporate environment, I have time and space to really flesh out my thoughts. Any problem, obstacle or doubt that’s arisen in the last few months has received extra attention. I’ve thought about it, run through various scenarios a million times. I’ve journaled and talked to myself about it. And now look, here I am analyzing my over-analyzing.

Through all of this, I’ve realized something. My tendency to overthink is really an attempt to control things in my life I can’t control. Think about it. How often to do you overthink circumstances that are beyond your control? For me, it’s the past and the future that I obsess over–as if thinking about them enough will change my past and make certain events occur in my future. It’s ridiculous. It’s a joke. But it’s what I do.

Being introspective is a good gift, but when your thoughts become a desire or attempt to control the person, place or thing you’re thinking about, it’s gone too far. That’s when we are not just thinking, but overthinking.

Something I know to be true but often disregard is that I rarely find peace in trying to control my life through my imagination. In fact, the opposite happens. When I get lost too deep in thought, I come out of it more anxious and confused than I was before I entered it. So nowadays, when my thinking becomes overthinking, I try to focus on what is true. Because that’s what the Bible says to do: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble…whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely…meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8).

Whatever things are true.

The true things for me right now are simple and basic: God is good. God is faithful. God is sovereign.

Even though I wish I could, I’ve learned I cannot think my life into being better or different than it is, and I cannot think my problems into being fixed. I can, however, force (and it does take an act of force) myself to meditate on what is true. Eventually the truth that God is good overcomes whatever lie or uncertainty had been occupying my brain, and very slowly but very surely, I am more at peace. The fog caused by the anxiety clears, and a path toward hope becomes visible.

2015: No More Clean Slates

No More Clean Slates

The phrase “a clean slate” is kicked around a lot this time of year. People are encouraging others and themselves to forget the heartache or mistakes or tragedies of last year and begin anew.

A clean slate. It sounds so crisp. So freeing. So beautiful. So…clean.

But I’m beginning to wonder, is a clean slate actually possible? And even if it were, is it desirable? To start anew and forget last year, as if it never happened?

I walk into 2015 dragging a heavy, messy, embarrassingly dirty slate behind me, and I think I’ve been under-appreciating it.

Maybe you have been too. Think about it. On your messy slate from 2014 are all kinds of things, right? That time you lost it in the office and yelled at your boss. That time you sent a not-so-gracious email to someone and immediately regretted it. The relationship you held onto for far too long. This person you hurt. That person who hurt you. Too many drinks. Not enough exercise. Lying, cheating, stealing. Sin.

Maybe this year’s slate is a little better than the last year’s, or maybe it’s astronomically worse. Either way, here’s my challenge for you: Don’t start with a clean slate in 2015. Don’t disregard your year’s failures and chalk it up as a mistake. It wasn’t.

I’ve been writing a lot lately since it’s my job now. There are pages and pages of things I’ve written that turned out to be terrible. They’re rambly and stupid and don’t make any sense. They’re too personal for anyone else to relate to, and when I read back over them, it is clear they are crap. No other word will suffice. But, but, they weren’t wasted words. Not a one of them. Why? Because I had to write the crap first to get to the good stuff. Real writers have known that for ages, and I am just now learning this truth and seeing its value. After pages and pages of long and boring stories with no point, inevitably, I would start to write a page, or just a paragraph or just a sentence that was good, or at least decent and had some type of meaning and would maybe actually help the reader rather than confuse her. When this happened—and I wish it happened more often—I would stop and say, “Oh! Oh! This is going somewhere. This is what I was getting at.”

That’s how it is with our lives when we consider them through this annual, calendar-focused lens that we like so much (rather than viewing it as the long, extended journey that it is). The gross stuff, the things we messed up, the people we refused to forgive and the jobs we quit but shouldn’t have—all that stuff is getting us somewhere. All of it is on purpose. Your 2014—no matter how terrible—was not a mistake. I can promise you that. God did not forget to pluck you off the earth for a year, planning to put you back in 2015, because he knew how awful these twelve months would be. You, for whatever reason, were meant to live the year in the way that you lived it.

Not beginning the year with a clean slate is not the same as dwelling on the past; it’s an acceptance of it. It’s understanding the value in not discarding the past year altogether because all the mess-ups and less-desirable things were getting you somewhere, to that good sentence. You just had to write all the crappy sentences first.

In 2015, I will be made up of richer stuff because of the crap I pulled (and wrote) in 2014. I learned things the hard way. I cried. I felt that refining fire we always sing about, and I was reminded that God is near. That He is always, always near and He is ok with my messy, dirty, tattered, disgusting slate and that means I can be too. It’s getting me to the good stuff.

He Fights for You

He Fights for You

Have you ever learned something about God for the first time and then suddenly, that same lesson is everywhere? It’s like God is saying, “You’re going to really learn this.” Lately, the scripture “The Lord will fight for you” is everywhere for me. It’s all over the Old Testament (like Ex. 14:14 and Deut. 1:30) in stories I’ve read a million times. God keeps telling his people that, that He will fight for them. It’s a beautiful promise and important for us to remember.

This Sunday at my church here in Nashville, we sang the song Open Up Our Eyes, and wouldn’t you know? The lyrics to the bridge are this:

Our God is fighting for us always

Our God is fighting for us all

Our God is fighting for us always

We are not alone, we are not alone

Those words pierced me deeply because they revealed the truth beneath the truth: If God is fighting for us, we are not alone.

The lie that we are alone is easy to believe. It’s the first lie to seep in during a hard time and it can take root and wreak havoc. That we are alone in our struggles. That we are alone when we feel sad. That we are alone when we physically are alone, sitting in our living room wondering why life feels hard and when it will start to feel easy again.

I’m in a weird season right now. I quit my job a few months ago and now I’m living the dream of working from home and being a writer. Except, right now, it doesn’t feel like a dream. In fact, it has at times felt like the opposite. I have felt alone trying to write decent words in my living room. I have felt like my writing is bad and going nowhere and the worst part, I have felt like no one will know if it goes nowhere except for me, because I have felt alone in my work. Writing is not really a team effort. At some point it is, sure. You need editors and stuff like that. But until you get to that point, you have to be by yourself and just do the work, and when it’s cloudy out and cold and the sun sets at 4:15 p.m., well, I have needed the reminder that God is fighting for me more than ever.

He’s fighting for me today and He’s fighting for you, too. I know He is even if you don’t feel like He is. His work is often subtle and behind the scenes but just like Moses promised the Israelites before they crossed the Red Sea, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Ex. 14:14).