Fail-proof DIY Craft

When making a DIY craft, there are two essential things you must look at before deciding if the craft is actually something you can follow through with, unless of course you are already Martha Stewart or you have a massive craft bin that fits most Pinterest crafts already.

These two areas include “Need” and “Do”. The need part includes what ingredients or materials you will need. 

And of course the ever-present “do”. This is obviously the steps that are required to create the end product or result– the masterpiece. 

It’s funny how often the craft section is often the inspiration for the humor section, ya know, the ones that go a little something like this:

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Looks just like the Cookie Monster, yeah?

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Perfection.

See what I mean?

But still! it’s fun! And exciting! And inspiring! And it feels GOOD to just do something instead of “pinning” everything. Ya feel me?!

Anywho, it made me realize that when we look at life, our “to-do lists” are often created and inspired by one ultimate to-do list:

Need: more…perfection…everything

Do: My dream in life.

Aka we need to become our “perfect selves” in order to do what we were created to do! We MUST have our perfect lives in order to be what God, intended!

RIGHT?

Yep.

(Insert whichever E-card of your choice here: preferably one insinuating stupidity/ridiculousness).

That is SO wrong.

But I think it…you think it…we all do.

The world wants us to think that! The advertisers LIVE off (literally) us thinking that we need that “next best thing” to fulfill our lives and pursue our dreams.

Because THEN, then we will have made it and we can begin!

But you know who enjoys it most? Satan.

Not trying to over-spiritualize this very simple principle or make it something it is not.

What I am trying to say is this: In order to create this masterpiece of a life, you have all that you need.

Your Pinterest craft isn’t missing ingredients or materials; nor is it missing a skill-set that you lack.

It’s missing you. 

Let me re-create your Pinterest craft of the day/week/year- you ready?

NEED: JESUS & YOUR WILLINGNESS.

DO: WHAT HE ASKS OF YOU.

It will be nothing short of extraordinary and it is fail-proof. Trust me.

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Burnt Macaroni vs. Linguini

I saw a new show for the first time the other day called, “The Worst Cooks in America.”  Also, I realize it first aired in 2010, but apparently I missed the memo.

It is literally a show composed of the sixteen worst cooks in America , in which they partake in an eight-week culinary boot camp to earn a cash prize of $25,000.

These terrible cooks are placed on a team with a world-renowned chef and learn the art of cooking to the best of their ability.

It was HILARIOUS.

Each of them had to make one specific dish that they felt was their best dish and make it to the best of their ability.

One chick made “granola fruit mash-up”.

One guy almost threw up after eating his own food.

Needless to say, if you haven’t seen the show, or at least the first episode, it’s worth watching.

But on a side note, this got me thinking.

What if everyone did this with their weaknesses?

What if we stopped taking things so personally and saw our weaknesses as an area in which we could learn from someone who knew this was their strength?

Because the fact of the matter is: We ALL have weaknesses.

Some things just simply do NOT click with some people.

We are always told to focus on our strengths and our gifts and I am in total agreement of that.

BUT I do not think that means we should avoid the things that challenge us. Or put us in a position to learn from someone else who better understands.

Like these cooks- they were hilarious! And obviously by signing up for this show, they were allowing themselves to laugh at their inabilities and work on improving themselves.

Simple logic tells you that if you continually avoid something rather than confront it, it will remain the way it was before.

Your weakness will remain your weakness.

But if you decide to work on that, while yes, it may always be a “weakness”, but you have tried. And chances are, you will improve.

Determination to improve a weakness may actually end up being a strength!

What’s the worst that can happen? Seriously!

Don’t take yourself too seriously- laugh at your burnt macaroni and cheese and keep on moving.

Just like exercise, the less you strengthen a muscle, the weaker it becomes.

The same goes with life.

So let’s agree to talk about our weaknesses and work to learn from those around us!

Some may end up with burnt macaroni. 

Some may end up with linguini.

What is one person’s burnt macaroni is another’s linguini, and vice versa!

BUT we can all boil water. So, let’s start there! 

And if you burn the macaroni? Just Kraft it up again 🙂

Just Get on the Bull!

Some things in life just plain out aren’t fun to do.

Duh. I can think of like 70 things off the top of my mind that I’ve had to do in the past that could not be described “fun”, no matter how you spelled it out.

However, I would venture to say that it’s not always our situation that handicaps us, but rather our fear of tackling the situation at hand.

We spend so much time thinking about what might happen with a situation or circumstance that we become absolutely terrified to deal with it head on.

I’m AWFUL at this.

My mind starts going, and throughout the day, I will give it a little “negative snack” per say and think a few thoughts that certainly don’t encourage me to do what I need to do.

Once my mind grabs hold of those, it just begins to feast on the “what-ifs” that could happen and the reality of the difficulty of my situation.

However, if I would have just entered the situation with my head up high, it might have been difficult but it surely wouldn’t have been so painful!

We often TALK about how much something hurts that even if our pain was relieved, we wouldn’t even know it because we are so busy talking!

Life is not always fun.  That. Is. A. fact.

Sometimes we have to confront people who’ve hurt us.

Sometimes we have to deal with the consequences of making a bad decision.

Sometimes we have to face our fears.

And sometimes we just have to deal with our present circumstances which often don’t seem fair or deserved.

But what I’ve realized is, the more you talk and the less that you do, the more that you dread and it just consumes you!

I just rhymed 🙂

Truly though- I think we need a kick in the knees sometimes and a realization that despite the upcoming waves, we have one direction we must travel in: FORWARD!

Just get on the bull!

It might be a wild ride and not the most preferable situation but by tackling it and not running away, you are acting on the faith that Jesus is bigger than your present circumstances and He is in control of your safety.

No matter how many times you feel like you’re about to get bucked off, HOLD ON!

So, my friend, stop merely LOOKING and dreading having to ride that “bull” in your life.

Button up your wranglers and put your game face on, it’s go time!

Liftin’ Big, Sweatin’ Small.

You know what phrase I used to hate hearing?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Because people always say it to you when it’s not them directly in the situation and of course it’s easy not to sweat something when you aren’t feeling the heat of it!

But to you at that time? It’s a BIG deal!

Whether it is a relationship that failed and someone tells you, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. In a month, you will be so glad this happened.”

Or whether it is a job that didn’t work out, and someone says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff- God has something better in store for you.”

Or maybe it’s a person who was spreading untruths about you and you’re scared people will believe them, so someone reminds you, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Who cares? She is jealous!”

Whatever it is, at the time, it is NOT small.

I think it should be changed to this: “I know it is easy to sweat the “small stuff” because in your life, this seems really big right now. But just remember that this life is SO temporary and we have a God who is way bigger than anything or anyone you face. So do your best to give it to Him and trust Him enough with it to fully let it go.”

Maybe that’s a little bit longer of a response but I know I’d prefer it.

A lot of times, I think we are able to let go of situations not because they automatically fix themselves, but because we realize that compared to our God, our troubles are small.

We remember who we are dealing with and who is in control.

We change our perspective and therefore , our ability to sweat drastically reduces!

Remember this: The battle often changes when you realize who you is leading you.

Heavy liftin’ in your life today? Don’t sweat it!

You were made to lift the heavy weights my friend!

Don’t make sense.

Don’t make sense. I realize that title seems a little…odd maybe?

Let me explain.

In our world today, Christians spend an average of ten minutes reading the Bible yet they spend an average of four hours watching TV.

We could name off every girl on season 17 of the Bachelor yet we can’t name off Jesus’ 12 disciples. Or at least 6 of them.

We memorize song lyrics yet we treat memorizing one Bible verse like….an Emily Dickinson novel.

We spend time designing additions to our home when millions of our brothers and sisters have absolutely no source of shelter.

We fight over our preference of food and not getting what we “like” when billions of people are starving to death.

I say these things not because I am exempt, but rather because we ALL are guilty!

I would venture to say that many of us who claim to know this person called Jesus, the One whom transforms lives, yet we live in the SAME way, and often more self-righteous than we did before we met Jesus.

When those who do not know Jesus look at our lives, at our decisions, at our daily actions- THEY MAKE SENSE!

We spend our money how they do.

We gossip as they do.

We love, with circumstances, as they do.

We forgive, depending upon the person and the situation, as they do.

We live comfortably as they do.

We socialize with those in our circle, as they do.

We give what we want to, what we can afford to while still getting what we want, as they do.

Why aren’t we any different?

Look- I am certainly not trying to make it like “they do this” and “we do this” because essentially, we were ALL made by the same God!

However, it is absolutely crazy that those who know Jesus act the same as those who don’t- OFTEN WORSE!

That quote that says – “You might be the only Jesus some people see”- that isn’t a threat.

That is the reality of our present day!

Think about this: If you were to talk about this organization that was so awesome and giving and has taught you so much about life YET you didn’t give any more of your money than you did before, you were stingy with your time and your life didn’t reflect this learned knowledge- wouldn’t it reflect on that organization?

 I think sometimes we don’t realize the responsibility and duty that is ours as believers.

We aren’t called to be the light in the dark places if it is convenient. We are called to be the light because we know the Light and He helped us.

We are called to make disciples of all nations, not simply those that are near, have perfect sanitary conditions or healthy circumstances. ALL nations.

Why? Because we have been discipled by the greatest servant of all.

I guess what I am saying is- If your life makes sense to those who do not know Jesus, you are doing something wrong.

You must love those who hurt you.

You must forgive those who’ve wronged you, over and over.

You must trust in His provision, no matter what the world says will be taken from you.

When you start to not make sense to them, they wonder what it is about you that’s different- what gives YOU that JOY?

Why are you always at peace?

Then they’ll realize…it’s Jesus.

Don’t make sense.

When you know Jesus, it makes sense to not make sense here. Get it?

The Real Deal.

You know when you see an advertisement for a product and it looks like it’s the greatest invention ever?

Maybe it’s your magic pill to lose that weight or a pancake maker that makes perfect circular pancakes (yeah right.)

Well I was thinking and I believe a lot of us aren’t much different in our spiritual lives.
 
We advertise that we are giving and steadfast and that we love Jesus with everything we have! 
 
Yet if someone peeled back the layers, they would see that our advertisement was much better than the real deal.
 
We give to the point that we can still buy everything we want.
 
We love Jesus to the point that it’s convenient; so we receive salvation.
 
We forgive others as long as they DIdnt do something absolutely horrible to us, ya know, as long as it doesn’t require real forgiveness.
 
We attend church so that we don’t feel guilty on Sunday night.
 
But when it really comes down to it, our advertised Christianity wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
 
God very clearly says in the Bible that He will spit out those that are lukewarm. He wold rather us be simply hot or cold.
 
Either we obey because we love Him or we refuse him and and do not know Him. 
 
There is no middle ground.
 
That doesn’t mean that His grace isn’t sufficient in your weakness or that your mistakes make you unable to be a Christian. That’s silly. None of us would qualify if perfection was the standards for our entrance into Heaven.
 
However, I think God is really asking us to stop advertising what doesn’t exist. Stop giving if it is out of guilt and stop claiming to follow him when your life speaks completely different.
 
If I were perfect and holy, all-knowing and gracious, and maker of the heavens and the earth, I certainly would be tired of pancake makers that didn’t work.
 
What does your advertisement say about who you are?
 
And what’s the real deal?
 
Don’t be lukewarm or put On a facade. It may fool others here now but when it comes down to it, God is NO fool.
 

Don’t follow your heart. Follow His.

If you look on Pinterest, you will see a million different signs that read, “Follow your heart.” Or “Go with your gut”.

Both of which I have pinned…and for a long time, were words of advice I fed my own mind.

But,  as I have been going through the decision making process for some things in my life lately, I have realized how terrible of advice this is.

Follow my heart? My heart is incredibly selfish, deceitful and concerned with status and reputation. My heart often doubts and worries about things that are outside my control. My heart is guided by fear, not love.

I must not follow my heart.

But His. My father’s Heart. The heart that my heart was created to pursue.

His heart covers mine with grace, fills all the gaps of doubt that consume mine, showers me with truth and provides guidance that shows me where to go.

It is when I deny my own self and follow Him that I know I am on the right path.

So while I may be off on this notion, I would venture to say that when our “gut” leads us in the right direction, it was actually our spirit doing the talking.

When we are in step with our daddy’s steps, our deceitful heart holds less power because the light of absolute truth has already intervened.

So, let me re-phrase it and say: “Don’t follow your heart, follow His.”

Or “Don’t go with your gut,  seek the one who made your guts.”…just kidding…but seriously.

I am so thankful for a God that takes the time to provide provision, guidance and confirmation with each decision that we make, for if we were left to our own heart’s decision making abilities, we would be in a world of hurt.

Seek His truth- it always has the answers and it will NEVER lead you astray.

Don’t follow your heart- follow His!

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” -1 Corinthians 3:18

Happy Valentine’s Day- Soak up His love!

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! 🙂

With this day being all about “love”, I feel like people tend to avoid it. They dread it. Hate it. (Girls buy buckets of ice cream and a red box because they don’t get flowers…just sayin’).

But let me say this in the least cheesy way possible: Everyone should love Valentine’s Day because we all are loved immeasurably more than we deserve by the very person that created love: Jesus.

I love flowers, but it’s not about those.

I am currently eating a M’M, but it’s not about the chocolate. Or the fruit bouquets. Or the jewelry.

Maybe today, you need to put away the Ben & Jerry’s and leave your pity party, because if you didn’t notice, you’re the only one there!

Take this Valentine’s Day to remind yourself of how incredibly LOVED you are!!! No one can say “Well I don’t fit into this”, because we were all made by Him, for Him and are loved unconditionally by Him.

I certainly am not knocking celebrating this day with your loved ones, as that is wonderful to do, but I am saying that we must realize, especially today, why we are able to love in the first place.

Jesus.

Valentine’s Day should turn into “I can Love because My Daddy does”….seriously.

Today is a positive day, an EXCITING day- a day that can be a reminder of the extravagant and radical way that He loves His children.

Happy V Day to all of my deeply loved, highly favored, grace-covered, immeasurably provided for, beautiful and strong brothers and sisters!

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” –Romans 8:37-38

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” -1 John 4:7

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” –Proverbs 10:12

Let it change the way you live.

Life is short.

That’s a familiar phrase, right?

Well, I just started reading a book called “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan and he says something in there that has completely stuck with me since I read it:

“You could be the next person in your family to die. I could be the next person in my church to die. We have to realize it. We have to believe it enough that it changes how we live.”

Wow.

We have to believe it enough that is changes how we LIVE.

Not just how we talk.

Not just the day that we read this in a book.

But how we live, every single day of our lives.

I’m going to be honest, I think I have heard that phrase and accepted that as truth for as long as I can remember.

I am eventually going to die. Well, okay, I know that.

But has it changed how I have lived?

I would venture to say no in many areas.

I often let worry permeate my being and disturb my peace.  I let people control my emotions and steal my joy. I let situations get the best of me and confuse my direction.

I get so lost in all of it and I forget that it is all so silly. So temporary. So unnecessary. And so deeply insignificant.

Friends, if you KNEW that you could die tomorrow, would you live differently today?

I would guess that we would all say YES. Without a shadow of a doubt.

I think we accept this as a half-truth, like we know that it’s a fact of life that eventually our lives will come to an end but we live, day to day, as if we will live forever. I know I do.

I think the Lord is yearning for us to see this whole truth: WE AREN’T IN CONTROL! And in fact, tomorrow could very well be our last day!

We must live in a way that shows that we know this is a temporary place, and how long our stay here is, well that is to be determined.

I think there is great relief and release when we start living this way.

It certainly doesn’t mean we become apathetic, but we don’t sweat the small stuff as much.

We aren’t as afraid of our reputation here because we know hearing the Lord say “Well done, my good and faithful servant” is FAR more satisfying than any accolades we could receive here!

Our status on this Earth is defined by man and man knows nothing! Knowing the Lord intimately is worth more than gold.

Let this change the way that you live.

Let me say this again: Let this change the way that you live. Today. And the next day. And the next.

Let it be your norm to live radically.

We can’t afford to get comfortable in the uncertainties and temporary prizes of this world when we are guaranteed to gain the ultimate crown upstairs.

LIVE IT UP!  It is time.

You could die tomorrow is not a truth that is meant to scare you out of living, but rather a truth that is meant to prepare you to already be living!

Let’s get going.

Jump off the Gossip Train!

Want to know something that I have noticed lately more than ever? Gossip is often times 90% of people’s conversations.

It’s the normal go to topic: other people’s mess-ups. Duh!

If you are at the lunch table and you’re not chiming in on what Sally is saying about Susie, you’re weird.

Or if you’d rather talk about what God did this past weekend in your life rather than what Johnny did this past weekend, you’re crazy.

And what is up with this sub-tweeting thing? Since when did it make more sense to indirectly call someone out on a national social media network rather than just confront them about it in person if it mattered so much to you?

Believe me, I am certainly not trying to throw stones in this area, I just feel like it needs to be brought to the light and people need to really start thinking about how their words make others feel.   

Why has it become normal? Really, ask yourself that question- why?

Since when was it more entertaining to bring others down and talk about their mistakes or shortcomings rather than encourage them in their strengths and remind them of their value?

Every television show is centered around DRAMA. The conversations include other people and so…the drama continues.

I think we’ve convinced ourselves that this is just the way it is.

But the deal is: That’s not the way it is supposed to be.

We were made to ENCOURAGE and build eachother up.

We were made to be in community with one another.

We were made to rejoice in the success and achievements of one another.

We were made to pray for one another.

We were made to be strong when others are weak.

We are made to speak truth into the lives of others.

We are made to be one FAMILY.

And the truth is, if we did spend our time being eachother’s cheerleaders instead of bullies, our own success would come much easier.

Just remember, that when you speak negatively about someone, it says far more about YOU than it does about them.

So, be aware of it today. You have no excuse.

Do not choose to “blend in” and just go along with the conversation. God gave you a tongue so that you could use it to glorify Him and speak life.

Where you at?

Seriously, trust me. If you do have the courage to stand up for others and refuse to ride the gossip train anymore, you will be an example to other people; an example that they need to see.

Encourage those around you, my friend!

GOSSIP? Ain’t nobody got time for that!