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Sin Did it, Not Me

I’ve never related to an older man from 2000 years ago until today. Sometimes reading the Word and the people in it start to become more like characters in a story rather than people who lived and breathed thousands of years ago.

I admit I am guilty of this. I think many of us are. We assume these people don’t understand what’s going on in our lives. They couldn’t possibly know. So, what could anyone have to say that would be relevant now?

Romans 7 & 8 – Paul speaking (NIV)

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do [I do]. (7:16)

Do you ever catch yourself believing that these men and women, especially Paul and the disciples, did a lot of good and led perfect, Godly lives? You might be thinking, I could never live as they do.

Paul proves us wrong. He is transparent, honest, and completely accurate about how we live our lives here on Earth. He fails on a daily basis. This is not for anyone to feel better about themselves or to compare their spiritual walk as better or worse. It is for all lovers of God who think they are not enough, or that they are alone in this challenging life.

He goes on to say “it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is the sin living in me.”

Nothing good comes from sin.

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

When was the last time you heard someone in church say this to you? When was the last time you heard a fellow Christian admit to this? I believe Paul – from 2,000 years ago- is more relatable than many of the people around us today that we call Christians, including ourselves.

Paul writes about his failures, his inability to overcome sin completely on his own, he is open and truthful about how he lives.

You know that one thing you just can’t give up? Whether that’s an addiction to gossiping, lying, drugs, sex, or pornography and anything else that might come to mind, Paul struggled with something similar too. Just because he was a large part of history doesn’t mean he didn’t have flaws.

Failure is nothing new, neither is sinning.

Living in the 21st century does not make us special. There is nothing happening today that surprises God or that hasn’t happened in the past. It may look slightly different, but 2,000 years ago the people had to deal with murder, prostitution, gossip, terrorists, suffering, lust, lying and more. They might have different names, and we might have more resources to prove and show these things happening, but they occurred nonetheless.

Paul continues:

“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. In my inner being, I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body.”

Wow. Once again Paul is speaking for all of us. Making known the evil of the world and the evil inside of him despite his greatest attempts and desires to do good.

The enemy does not take days off.

Fortunately, neither does God. 

However, Paul describes himself as a prisoner of the law of sin.

More truth. Ever feel like you just cannot get beyond those cold, metal bars of that thing in your life that continues to push you back into the cell? Paul felt this too.

Do you ever feel like you’re the worst person out there? Or in your family, friend group or relationship? Maybe you have felt like you’re the worst of the worst and there is nothing good left in you.

“What a wretched man I am!”  translated to today: I suck, I’m not good enough, I’m hopeless, worthless and I can’t do anything right.

Paul felt this too. He then cries out and asks, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

Who will get me out of this mess? Can anyone understand what I’m going through, how low I have gone? Is there anyone who will accept me in the state that I am? Surely there is nobody who can love this.

Paul felt this too, long before you did. However, he acknowledges his sins but he doesn’t allow his feelings to take over, he does the only thing he knows how to do.

“Thanks be to God!… Therefore there is NO condemnation… because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

He offers a solution. He offers hope and peace through God. You might fail each day, each moment, as Paul did, as we all do, but there is still hope.

God will pick up his weapons and fight for you. Despite your many flaws and wrongdoings, he will still fight for you. From the first day you cried out his name, you have had the Spirit of God in you, and that can overcome the death of sin each time.

I encourage you to continue to read Romans and I truly hope these passages impact you as they have me. I fail each and every day and many times I become discouraged and hopeless but these verses have changed my perspective on it all. I hope they will do the same for you. Let me know your thoughts!

 

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)

 

 

It’s Hard to Feel Pretty

Spilled milkI had the opportunity to guest post for The Spilled Milk Club this week on a topic that is so real and important to acknowledge today. The topic of comparison and body image and how media has changed it is all involved in my blog post here!

I am so thankful for the opportunity The Spilled Milk Club has given me to share this story and to God for the ability to write and hopefully, reach others who feel the same.

 

 

John Mayer and Good Friends

I have decided that I want to go to more concerts. Other than small, Christian gatherings I hadn’t been to any until this past September.

I have listened to John Mayer’s music for years now. Turning it on, reminiscing on the good old days, crying when he sings his heart out about love in so many different ways.

Concerts do something to you. In a world where so many live through the screen of their phones, through other people, live concerts give you something so much more.

They give you a sense of belonging. In the midst of thousands of people, you can feel a sense of unity, of peace, and love. Everyone is there for this person or this band. It’s one small thing you have in common with all of these people you might never have been in the same space with otherwise.

Time stopped for a while as we sat anticipating his arrival, as we sang to his beautifully, carefully crafted songs, and as we waited for the encore.

Looking back, it’s one of my most favorite memories. Getting to spend moments like this with friends is something I know is good for the soul. I left content, but I also left wishing I could live inside these songs forever.

So, here’s to attending more concerts where real people meet for real entertainment despite our differences. Here’s to good music and good friends.

**ALSO, thank you to John Mayer for coming back and writing fantastic songs once again. And for giving your best at the final destination in Indiana… you’re an inspiration and I hope my words can some day have as much as an impact as yours have.

The Comparison Game

I’m here, climbing these steps in the gym. Kind of wishing I hadn’t set myself up at such a high speed. I’m already tired. I’m trying to act like I’m not actually dying, huffing and puffing up these steps. 

I come here to feel good. To release stress. But I find myself even more stressed. I look to the person to my right. She’s going faster, she’s been here for 20 minutes, I’ve been here for four and I’m exhausted.

She’s got a bigger butt, leaner legs, probably a thigh gap too. Probably because she’s more determined. She’s better at this kind of thing. I’m not as good.

I go straight to the leg machines. If I have a nicer butt, toner legs people will notice. And sometimes they do. But then I wonder if that’s the attention I should be looking for.

Then it switches:

That girl, she’s wearing those leggings… but should she? Should I? That girl should probably do more squats. Oh, she gained some weight, or she lost a lot of weight. She used to work out all the time. Well, at least I’m ahead of her. But she, she works out every day. I need to stop being lazy.

When did other women become my enemy? Something to degrade to make me feel upgraded? An enemy I have created myself, in my mind. 

When did I become my worst enemy?

When did something in my mind go off and say that I can belittle myself? Or others for that matter.

How did I get to a place where I lose confidence because I lack self-love. 

I tell myself I do it to feel good. Exercise, eat healthily.  But as I roam around the gym I realize my mind may not be in the same place as my heart.

These two thoughts come to mind:

  • Real, authentic self-love is hard. Be humble they say. Don’t be prideful. She’s too confident. Don’t overdo it. Don’t be too much. Oh, and don’t be too little either. 
  • Yet, be confident, be proud of your accomplishments, show people what you’re made of.

How is anyone supposed to live with these expectations? Is there even middle ground here? How can I balance these feelings?

These are all words I typed on my phone as I moved around the gym to different machines and places that would make me feel different feelings and emotions. I had to ask myself why I think such detrimental thoughts and why I hadn’t noticed it before.

I feel ashamed for the way I look and feel about myself, but more so about how I look and feel about others. It’s all a subconscious thing until now. This conversation had gone on in my head for so long, I didn’t realize its effect.

So, what now? I don’t know. It’s a constant struggle to show myself and others respect inside of my mind. Because those thoughts count too. Thinking of them in the first place is what leads to saying them out loud.

So I have done the only thing I know how to do right now. I know I want to take steps to eliminate these negative, demeaning thoughts.

1.) Pray for positive thoughts

2.) Find an accountability partner

3.) Stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones ASAP.

4.) Remind myself we are ALL human. We’re all made in the image of God and judging ourselves and each other isn’t even our job.

5.) We should be loving on ourselves and each other, not degrading. Whether it’s only in the space of our minds or not.

6.) Get over yourself. (What I have to say to myself because I’m not the only person in the room.)

Writing this, let alone publishing it, has been hard. I was so hesitant to hit the publish button because it could mean shattering some views other people have of me. But, if it means being honest and real so that more people- women specifically- can talk about this comfortably, then it’s worth it.

As you can see I’m not perfect. I don’t have this all figured out. But, I do want to make a change. I want girls and women to feel confident going into the gym or anywhere. I want them to feel good about themselves and others. So, I hope this is a step toward that.

And know that no matter the size on your tag, the size of your butt, whether you wear leggings or not, how much time you spend in the gym, or how many green things you eat, God loves you all the same. And He is the only one who can authentically, unconditionally, portray that kind of love. But, we can learn from Him and hope to love each other and ourselves like that.

Have you ever felt these feelings? Let me know your thoughts!

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)

Real Estate Isn’t the Only Real Investment

I had a teacher in high school who continually drilled me with the idea that going to a community college is the best choice. You should never pay more for a private school, a state school etc. He argued you get the same experience and credits from a community college.

He talked to us about budgeting and saving money- something I believe I do well. He told us the only investment we should make, the only thing in this life we should take loans out for is real estate.

I am here to share with you that I disagree. Strongly.

 

 

Buying a house vs. picking a college:

When looking for a house you must consider all aspects: location, environment, commute, community, price, value and so on.

-You look for something that you can stay in and grow in. Whether that is for four years or forty

–You are looking for something that you can rely on, a place you can call home. A community that will welcome and invite you.

-You are looking for relationships to bloom, people to know and to know you.

College isn’t much different.

-You take your time carefully choosing a place where you can grow, meet people, learn, and find community.

-You look at the price, you look at the location, the community. You prepare for a place that will be your home for the next four or more years.

During these four years, it’s more than just a loan, a big number on your screen or money coming out of your account. It’s time spent growing, changing, learning, loving.

It’s a time that will prepare you for more than a job. It helps prepare you for life. Life isn’t only about your job, your house or money. It’s about you and the people and things you love and that is always worth investing in.

Whether you choose to go to a community college, a state college a private college or any other form of education, know that it is an investment in yourself and in your life. Yes, budget, save money, work hard,  but the majority of people buying the home they love, had to take some time paying it off. They do this because they see it as an investment… and you should too.

So, to all of you wondering which college to choose, stressing about the price, understand this: College, if treated right, is an INVESTMENT. This money you are putting into school is an investment in yourself. Something that will stick with you for years and years after you’ve left.

Are you struggling to figure this out? You’re not alone! Have any questions? I have gone three years in the place that I see as an investment. One that I will work hard for and try my best to not take for granted.  How are you feeling about your decision?

 

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)