I realize now that the further I step away from the safety of the boat, the fewer people will be walking with me.
That is not a judgment of them or their faith, Peter was the one who walked on the water, but the others 11 still had faith. It is a realization that it is not anyone else's job but my own to build and maintain my faith.
I have to be ok when others drop off or I will allow a crack for bitterness and resentment to seep into while I am not looking. I have to remain open when coming to the end or another person's energy, time, money, attention, or support. It is grace for their day that is renewed every morning, not mine. I am receiving from them out of the goodness of their heart, not the certainty or my entitlement. They owe me nothing. Relationships built on this misunderstanding are doomed to fail.
I have to be strong enough to walk alone but still be able to acknowledge my weakness and accept help. Not depending on that help, mind you, but greeting it with a sense of gratitude and, simultaneously, an understanding that all things shall pass.
So I walk alone fixing my eyes on God and blissfully bringing in and releasing those who will be a part of this story.
This walk is mine. But I am happy to greet you and good with saying goodbye.
Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. - Psalms 51:10
Teach us how to stand on your promises and your truth as we move through this world. Show us how to be unwavering and unapologetically devoted to you. Clean our hearts of guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, helplessness, and lack. No more will we serve those masters.
You are our sovereign God.
Renew the fervor we had for you.
Show us how to enter your presence and consecrate our work, our goals, our daily ins, and outs. Show us how to have a passion for you as our friend and our father.
I used to put all of my trust in myself. I thought no one else was worthy of my trust, so that was my best bet. When I would put my trust in others, they would betray it. When I put my trust in things, a hurricane swept them away. When I put my trust in money, I lost my job and went broke. Each one of those moments not only stripped my ability to trust in those things they also chipped away at my ability to trust in God.
How could a loving God let all of these tragic things (and many more) happen to me?
As the years of heartbreaks and disappointment piled up, I began to let bitterness and resentment build up.
I began to believe in, hope in, take refuge in, and run to me and only me while shutting any and everyone else out. I built so many walls. My heart looked like a labyrinth, complete with trapped doors and false entries meant to keep any intruder who had made their way in at bay.
I felt alone, so I made myself alone.
I began using my anger over the pain as the ultimate justification for my own selfish actions. Everything was seen through my eyes. Everything needed to be my way. All things needed to be controlled by me.
If it wasn't about me. I wasn't about it. And my reasoning was, "No one ever cared about me, so why should I care about them."
Then I crashed head first into God's love.
His real love. The love that had no beginning and no end. The love that stays even when you walk away. The love that is beyond anything a person is capable of bestowing.
In the face of the intimate knowledge of God, all I could do was fall on my knees and let go. I spent so much time focused on what had happened to me, holding tight to the anger, that I had blocked his sweet spirit from my life. In order to receive him, I had to let go of the past. And, over the course of a year, I did. Apology or no, every person was added to a list of the forgiven and their offense was thrown into the sea of forgetfulness.
What I didn't expect was the harsh reality that awaited me on the other side of healing. Once I had set my pain loose and allowed forgiveness to rush in, all that was left was the damage I had caused myself and others. I was a hurt person who hurt people. It was time for my apology tour.
The final lesson I learned was that I can't be trusted.
That "trust my gut" life I lived was gone. I have lost all confidence in me, Cherise. All of it is now in the God that saved me from me.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
We all know what we are supposed to do. We get what the preacher was talking about last Sunday. So why is it that come Wednesday morning we relapse, procrastinate, follow distractions, or turn away from God all while this Sunday's sermon still echoes in our minds?
No, seriously, I want to know why.
The only thing that gives me peace when dealing with this constant issue is that Paul, arguably the most prolific evangelist in history, dealt with it too. (Not so much a misery loves company thing, more an at least I am not crazy vibe.)
I want to be more dedicated to the Word, to my work, to my craft, even to this platform, yet I allow stuff to get in my way. I speak of how important these things are to me, then hit "Continue Playing" on the Netflix cue. I know what I should do, but I don't do. Just like Paul.
But, just like Paul, God does not hold our disobedience against us. Yes, he may have a #smh moment while watching us flounder. But, He is ready willing and able to administer another dose of grace.
If our story has already been written, then God knew you would do the things you did before you did them. He saw it coming and allotted for the time spent astray. You aren't late. You haven't missed out. The future is still there waiting. Your time is still yours for the taking.
Let's all strengthen our resolve to do the thing. Whatever it is that you are feeling the nudge to do. Don't think about it, pray about it, or analyze it. Just go. If the Holy Spirit is tapping on your shoulder - turn around and listen up.
Stop reading this and go!
I am here for you, and I always will be. You are never alone. You will never be without me.
I am not like a man. My love comes with no expiration. I know nothing of the world. All I know is love.
Your brother tells me of your sorrows. He describes the sting of disappointment, the weight of loneliness, the pressure of fear, and the all-consuming ache of a broken heart. He tells me so I can understand you better. He is my translator. I love you so much that I sent him.
All I ask in return is your love. Just love me. But remember, even if you do not love me, I will love you. Always. I am here for you.
The spirit-led creative life is one designed for all but accessed by few. I believe we can use our art to build a bridge between heaven and Earth. The only problem is that things block our path. Past pain, current fears, doubt, comparison, loneliness, scarcity mentality, poor habits, and idols all steal our ability to commune with God through our creative nature. He is waiting on the other side of our roadblock with an infinities worth of wisdom and love. But, it is up to us to get over the hump - to get over ourselves.
Do the creative and spiritual work. Let the flow flow. Open your heart. Allow vulnerability to rule the day. Turn off doubt. Turn on joy. Whether it be with a brush, a pen, a mic, a spray can, or a computer mouse, swim in your creative self. No toe dippers allowed. Bathe in His gift to you until your toes prune. You will be swimming in a river of knowledge so deep you can't see the bottom.
Don't be afraid.
Confidently loose sight of the shore.
The still small voice is ready to fill your mind.
The Holy Spirit's urging will nudge you in the right direction.
All who swam before you left behind stories as guides and their testimonies as encouragement.
Featuring Pastor Richie & Hevyn Allen, Hope City Worship
Worship is not about singing a song, it's about reaching out to God, connecting with the words, and then connecting that to the people. It's not just making a joyful noise, it's feeling the joy.
— Hevyn Allen
Anytime I'm leading worship, I've always seen my role to be a bridge. A conduit from God to the congregation. And it reminds me to make sure that the conduit is clean because whatever flows through picks up what is in the conduit.
— Richie Allen
Featuring Cory Wheeler, Wife, Mom & Creative Spirit
When we are pursuing our dreams, we can get caught up in the lights of the world. And sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to be able to take a step back and say, “What do I need to do to find true happiness?”
— Cory Wheeler
Featuring Denzel Johnson, Stage & Screen Actor
You're not in competition with anyone. It's just you. You bring something so unique to the role that maybe the next guy didn't.
— Denzel Johnson
I hear my call. I understand that there is a great plan for my life. I want to execute now, have answers now, get your reward now. But, I am being asked to wait. For how long, I don't know.
I expected to be afraid of the leap, but it is the standing still that has caused so much panic. While others seem to speed by, I progress at a snail's pace, or, even worse, not at all. Doubt begins its steady creep into my mind and fears of insignificance attempt to make themselves comfortable.
What if I am not called?
What if this is a mistake?
Am I not good enough?
Did God forget about me?
Are they right?
Have I failed before I started?
Dear God, I come to you with the sword of truth ready to slay the spirit of doubt. When you declare a promise, you come through. You are not a man like me. I lie. You speak life. I can hold fast to your word when the anxieties of the wait rise up.
You have not forgotten me. You are just allowing the fullness of your work to be finished.
I pray James 1:2-4, when I lose patience.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
I pray Hebrews 10:35-36 when my confidence wains.
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord.
Remember the great reward it brings you!
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will.
Then you will receive all that he has promised.
I pray Isaiah 58:11, when I feel like I can't go another step.
The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
And, I pray Psalms 119:114-117, when the attacks come.
You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.
Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
I pray these scriptures so that I may feel peace as I stand.
The wait is as important as the push. Send your angels to watch over my heart, so I do not lose hope. Send your holy spirit to whisper words of encouragement, so I do not get weary. Send your living word to impart wisdom, so I don't stray.
This too shall pass. The answers will come. The path will be made clear. Until then, I will seek you and wait.
Featuring Samantha Royer, Marketing Strategist
Walk by faith and not by sight. So even though you can't see it, you still have to actually walk. It doesn't say sit in faith or think about it in faith. Do the one thing that you can do today, and don't overthink it. — Samantha Royer
Featuring Ashley Penny, Marketing Strategist & Founder of TravelherCo
Christians need to step up! We need to be out there doing the things God has called us to do, and we don't need to be afraid of stepping out and talking about our faith...
Featuring Ashley Lewis, Singer & Writer
If you allow them to be, your rock-bottom moments can really be a garden for many things to grow.
Holy Spirit, please locate the origin of my feeling(s)/thought(s) of (insert the negative feeling or thought that you want to resolve).
Take each and every level, layer, area and aspect of my being to this origin. Analyze and resolve it perfectly, with Your truth.
Come through all generations of time & eternity, healing every incident and its appendages based on the origin.
Do it according to Your will, God, until I'm at the present, filled with light and truth, Your peace and love, forgiveness of myself for my incorrect perceptions, forgiveness of every person, place, circumstance, and events which contributed to these feeling(s)/thought(s).
With total forgiveness and unconditional love, I allow every physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual problem, and inappropriate behavior based on the negative origin recorded in my DNA, to transform.
I choose to be (insert a description of your new vision of self).
I choose to feel (insert a description of how you want to feel about yourself and your life).
I am (insert a description of who you know God has made you to be).
It is done. It is healed. It is accomplished now!
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for coming to my aid and helping me attain the full measure of my creation. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I love and praise You, God, from whom all blessings, healing, health, and wholeness flow.
This prayer originally appeared in the mobile app Healing Feelings.
Featuring: Cherise and Keith Luter
Love is what God wants from me, from all of us, and faith isn’t based on righteous certainty. It’s based on knowing nothing, and being okay with the vulnerable space that places us in.
It is that space that connects us all.
See the original article, What Being a Christian Means to Me: Don’t Worry About the Rules; Just Love on my blog. The link to Huffington Post Religion is there too.