Devotional Thursdays-Simple Facts

Simple Facts

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I grew up in a lutheran household. This is a technicality. We went to church sometimes, I think. I remember I was told that I was lutheran. I don’t remember God really being talked about in my house. I did have a huge banner in my room that my mom had made at my baby baptism. It had a huge cross on it and said “I have called you Ashleigh Louise”. (I had no idea what it meant, I just knew it had something to do with God.)

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Adjusting to Change

There are thousands upon thousands of popular quotes regarding change. A lot of people try to convince everybody else that change is good. Then there are those that resist change like the plague. I fall in the middle that leans towards the resist side. I resist change because change makes me worry. Last week I wrote a devotional about worry and the number one thing that makes me worry is change. Sometimes, I believe those who resist change, are those who are content and see no reason that the change is necessary. I’m very content in my life, even in the storms. In fact, I feel like the crazier my life is or the more stressful my life is, the more at peace I am. However, this could be a conditioned response because I worry like nobody’s business when things are calm and good and normal seeming. I’m not used to calm, good and normal. 

Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by change. Divorce, terminal illness, moving, new schools, old schools, summer school, new friends, old friends, am I painting a good picture? What’s crazy to me is how I went through all that change growing up, with a constant revolving door of new information daily, and yet today, I fight against it. Today, I struggle with the adjustment. Perhaps, as a kid, I already knew there was nothing I could do so I just rolled with it. As an adult, I thought I can change all the things and if I was just ___ enough, I could change the outcome. A lot of lessons I’ve learned as an adult is from the mistakes of the adults around me growing up. Perhaps I viewed their mistakes harshly because I thought they could control all the things that were happening. They were adults! How could they not have control over the things that were happening? Now that I’m an adult, I’ve learned just how little adults have control over. I’ve learned that you make mistakes regardless of your control level or even knowledge level. The best I can do is make the best decisions with the information I know and pray that God will cover the rest. I’m sure the adults in my life were trying their best too.

That doesn’t make change any easier. I can go with the flow when I need to, but if I see change on the horizon, I’m instantly questioning why it needs to happen. Change forces me out of my comfort zone. Change takes away the control I think I have and that is probably why I resist it the most. Even though I know I have no control I have this illusion that I do. At least, I have a handle on things and things are going smoothly. Why do we need to change it up? I don’t need it to change.

I’ve said this before somewhere, but change is where you grow. Growing is a good thing, regardless of what anybody says. You don’t want to always be the same person forever, do you? I don’t. If someone came up to me today and said I was the exact same person I was when I was sixteen, I’d probably be slightly offended. Maybe even a little hurt. That would mean all the growth and work I’ve done over the past decade have done nothing and I don’t want to be the person that goes through something and doesn’t learn something from it. I don’t need to revisit the same lesson multiple times. I’m trying to nail the lesson the first time, you know?

So how do we adjust to change? How do we accept it and just allow the change to happen? For me, anytime I see change on the horizon, I start praying. I ask God for guidance and I ask for a willing heart to go with the flow. That is actually something I pray daily. I ask for guidance and the wisdom to know what I’m supposed to do when I need to do it. (Sometimes, I get really attached to my plans and still try to make every single thing happen the way I plan it.) When change is coming though, I know it is because God is allowing it. I have the freedom to trust is something bigger than myself and someone who sees the WHOLE picture. I only see the small amount of change coming and it terrifies me. God, however, sees how the change will effect me and how it will be good. God sees the endgame and the entire picture. God even sees the next round of change to bring you to the next step. 

A pastor I know once said that when you are living for God, you will live out your purpose. Every single change is helping me live my purpose. That is how I adjust to change.

What about you? How do you handle change? 

& Jesus

Long ago, on one of my previous blogs I wrote a blog post I titled “& Jesus”. I was planning on reposting it here today because I feel like it is a relevant reminder.

My life looks different than when I first wrote that post. A lot different. The past year has been one full of change, more change than I could have ever anticipated, expected or wished for. While I talked about change in the first edition of this post, it was nothing compared to what this past year has been like. In all this change, I have forgotten the most important thing I should be focused on. The one who controls it all- Jesus. In all this change, I am processing, worried about more change and wondering what is going to happen next. “This has changed and this has changed and this has changed” and I am waiting for the next “And”

I am not going to repost the original blog post, there is too much I would need to change so I am rewriting it and modifying it. The message stays the same though. Instead of worrying about what the next change might be, what the next “and” might be, I need to be focusing on Jesus- who I trust in all this change. If change is happening then God is allowing it. Change is good, as much as I want to fight against it sometimes, change is growth.

Viewing life in the view of “ands” and worried about what “and” might happen next isn’t the way to live life. Life isn’t one long run-on sentence. There has to be a period somewhere. That’s where I need to decide that end, and it ends with “and Jesus.” A and B and C and D and Jesus. This sentence ender stops my worry. It reminds me that in all this change, while it is surprising to me, it isn’t a surprise to God. If I trust God, then I need to trust in his plan. It’s so simple when I write it out and when I say it. Just trust. God hasn’t let me down before, He isn’t going to start now. This simple sentence, the trust, looks and feels so different when played out. The actions are not easy. The feelings are not easy. The actions are not simple. I wish they were, but they are not. So I need the reminder. I need to end my sentences with “and Jesus” to remind me to shift my focus and to remember what God has already done. I’ve already said it, God hasn’t let me down before. God isn’t the in the business of let downs. God’s plan is the plan I want in my life because I know His plan is what is best for me. I want the best.

I am so serious about this reminder that I even titled my book “& Jesus”. It is a journaling devotional that I hope encourages people to journal more. To use journaling as a way to talk to God. Journaling has been so helpful for me. I use journaling to talk to God, to lay out my hopes and dreams and seek guidance. It’s where I put action to the & Jesus sentence ender and include Him in my life. Journaling is where “& Jesus” lives.