My Christian books and devotionals kept me from growing closer to Jesus

 

 

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Sometimes I wonder what I would do without my planner and to-do lists. They keep me on track and remind me of the many responsibilities I am tasked with. For those that know me, know how important my relationship with Christ is. I’m always looking for new ways I can grow closer to Him and strengthen my relationship with Him. But I think I hit the point where I let my good intentions weaken rather than strengthen our relationship. I looked at my to-do list and felt so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed to the point where in fear of not being able to complete something fully, perfectly, I just chose not to do anything. Here is what my list looked like:

  • Finish reading the book of Isaiah
  • Finish reading The Lipstick Gospel
  • Do my Soul Script sessions
  • Finish my Lent Study from She Reads Truth
  • Finish Risen Christ Study from She Reads Truth
  • Journal
  • Listen to sermons

On top of that this was my list to start:

  • IF Gathering- Knowing Jesus
  • Write the Word
  • Wholeheartedly
  • Girl Defined
  • Redeeming Love and Hosea study

Studies on the way:

  •  IF Gathering- Redeemed

And my list to buy:

  • The Devo Company devotional
  • Rose and Thorns
  • Cultivate What Matters
  • She Reads Truth Bible
  • Seamless
  • An Unexplainable Life

Whoa. Are you exhausted yet? Because I am! When did my relationship with Christ become just a thing to check off of my to do list? I know it’s important to be intentional and make sure Christ stays number one in my life but do I really need to be reminded?

Finish, finish, finish. Do, do, do. When did those words replace my vocabulary of love, enjoy, renew? How would you feel if your significant other, an important relationship in your life, had to pencil you in? I’d feel like a burden and the last thing I would want God to feel like is some burden in my life. God is my life. It’s important to not let our quiet times with the Lord slip through the cracks with the worries and stresses of the day. But let’s not be so hard on ourselves that we forget to enjoy our one true love.

This past weekend I just wanted to enjoy Jesus. Spend time with Him. Love Him. Not something to check off my list because I’m some good Christian. But something to renew my faith, ignite my hope, and remind me of who I really am- daughter of the King, loved beyond comprehension, and blessed beyond measure.

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photo credit: mortsan Essay Writing… via photopin (license)

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Beauty from ashes: my first year celebrating lent and what I’m doing

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I’ve never celebrated lent before. Growing up Baptist, I always assumed it was a Catholic thing because we never talked about it. I remember one time telling a girl that she had something on her face (I thought I was being nice and looking out for her) and she quickly told me it was ashes for Ash Wednesday. Whoops. I’ve never been too good about that. All I really knew was that people gave up something prior to Easter and then went on with their normal lives afterwards. I didn’t see much of a change; I didn’t see much of an impact. Sometimes I actually felt like it was kind of depressing. Several people this year have told me that instead of giving up something for lent, they’ve decided to add something positive instead. I thought that was pretty cool.
I recently joined an online women’s devotional community called shereadstruth.com Wow! It has been such a blessing in my life. I just finished their Esther study and today begins their lent study. In addition to the online community of wonderful ladies doing it, I have some personal friends doing the study with me. I am really excited about growing closer to God. It’s always funny to me when people think being a Christian is boring. My life has been anything but boring and I always look forward to what God has in store for me next. He makes me so happy:)
For those that don’t know, lent starts approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday and lasts for 40 days. Actually it’s 47 days because they don’t count Sundays. The 40 days symbolize the 40 days of fasting Jesus did in the wilderness before He began His public ministry. I think what is important to note about that time is that it was just Him and God- and that’s what I’m hoping for my 40 days to entail. I’m just trying to rid myself of distractions that tend to limit my time with Christ. As the study stated this morning, lent is like a pause button. A time to stop and reflect on who we are and what we are doing. Life has a funny way of keeping us busy for the sake of just keeping us busy. But what are we really doing with our lives? We came from dust and to dust we will return.
So what am I giving up? I think we all know what distracts us most so it will be different for all of us. For me, I decided to give up dating and secular music. Dating in the sense that I’m not going to really worry about going out or engaging with men. It’s not that I go out with guys a lot now but they do take up a lot of my free time- either through my actions, communications, or thoughts. Instead of worrying about those relationships, I am going to focus on my relationship with God. Instead of talking with guys, I’m going to focus on spending more time with Jesus. This will be more of a mind and heart issue. I want to be very intentional. In regards to secular music, I often listen to it when I am driving and I just want to be more aware during this time. It’s a lot of quiet time I have. And I’d rather spent it with God honestly. In silence. Listening to worship music. Or listening to podcasts. Praying. We often use the excuse that we don’t have enough time for this or that but the truth is, we all get the same 24 hours in a day. We just need to learn how to use that time more wisely.
I think it’s important to note what this time before Easter is about and what it can do for your life. It’s not about giving up something just to give it up. It’s not about adding something to your life so you can feel like a better person. It’s not that giving up dating or secular music will automatically make me closer to God but the purposeful and intentional acts will serve as a constant reminder of what matters most in my life. For me, it will be a time to really dwell on what Jesus Christ did for us. To remember our sin and our humanity- to remember my desperate need for Jesus. I think we take Him for granted sometimes. But I just want to focus on my love and all His goodness. Not that I don’t already but I want to give Him extra time and how wonderful is it that so many others are doing it too. I’d love for all of us to support one another as we venture into falling more in love with the man who died for us. What a wonderful honor. I’d love to know what you are giving up and please feel free to follow my daily updates on instagram @thevirginheartbreakerKeep me near the cross Lord, that I may never forget the love you have poured out for me.
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