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Who are you?

Who are you?

How would you answer this question?

For many years whenever someone asked me this, I would begin by listing my hobbies or things I liked.

“I’m Libby. I like coffee and hiking.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love crystals, and watching anime.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love exploring abandoned buildings and reading.”

It wasn’t until a friend told me, “That’s great! Though, all you told me was what you liked.”

Now, in the moment I probably looked at this friend like, “Man, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed”, and I probably also rolled my eyes in annoyance.

Looking back, this friend is right.

How, many times as Christians do we tell people, “Your sin and past mistakes don’t define you”, while simultaneously defining ourselves by our hobbies or clothes.

You see, we are still allowing ourselves to be defined by something. Whether that’s grades, fashion, our job, or a relationship.

As people we are constantly learning and growing, and thus our hobbies, fashion taste, and worldview are constantly changing.

While these things do have the power to describe us and provide people with the insight as to who we are, they don’t define us.

Who are you when nobody is around? Who are you underneath your hobbies and labels?

If you don’t know you who are or what you value in life, or even where your worth comes from, you will constantly be searching for your identity in hobbies, interests and even people and allowing those things to define you.

Know who you are underneath the labels.

Who are you?

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We’re all “Works in Progress”

“I can’t wait until I lose this weight, I’ll be beautiful.”

“I’ll stop working as much, and spend more time with my family once I get this promotion”

“I need to study until I get accepted into Harvard, then I’ll hang out with my friends”

“I can’t stop! I need this to be absolutely perfect!”

We’ve all said something similar. We promise to love ourselves more once we aren’t a “work in progress”.

I used to. I told myself once I lost such and such weight, I would be beautiful. Guys were constantly shaming me and abusing me and making me feel less than perfect because I wasn’t their definition of “beautiful”. I’ve learned to love myself through the works in progress in my life.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to love the version of ourselves that’s still a work-in progress.

It’s easier for us to see the negative in ourselves and we have a habit of beating ourselves up. I’ve been there.

Without realizing, we are all actually works in progress. There’s always something to learn from and improve on. We aren’t perfect.

 

Love yourself where you are, friend.
There’s always something that we can improve on and always something to learn from.  If you’re waiting until you aren’t a “work in progress”, you’ll be waiting a lifetime to love yourself.

 

 

– Elizabeth Louise

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How to Fight Temptation

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We all deal with different kinds of temptations.
Often I get messages from people saying, “I’m dealing with temptation, and I can’t seem to overcome it. I keep falling backwards and falling into sin”.

First, let me just say that you aren’t alone. We all go through temptation and deal with it. But, the good news is that you already have victory over your temptation. You are free in Christ and covered by the blood of Christ.

A few months ago I devised my own system on “How to Fight Temptation” in three steps. It’s a system I like to call “ILL“.

First, you need to Identify the problem.
What is it that is causing you to stumble?
If it’s alcohol that is causing you to stumble, perhaps you may need to do eat out for awhile at restaurants or bars where there is alcohol, or perhaps you might be scrolling through Facebook and see a post from friends drinking a beer or two, that might be the time for you to get off Facebook and turn off your phone and get into the word. Or perhaps you may just need to limit the amount of alcohol you have and when you have it.
If it’s lust you’re struggling with or struggling with sexual desires or impulses, maybe perhaps when you see those Twitter accounts with the “sexual gifs” and videos, that might be the time for you for exit out of Twitter or even turn the phone off and get into the Word. You may even decide that deleting your Twitter account might be helpful if you’re really struggling.

Whatever it is, identify it so that you can better help yourself and take the steps to become more aware of what’s causing you to stumble. If you don’t know what you are struggling with, you won’t know how to protect yourself from falling into that temptation.

Secondly, Lean on Christ.
You have already been freed.
You are covered by the blood of Christ and in Him you can claim victory because Jesus already overcame when He overcame death on the cross.
In life you are going to face all sorts of temptations, and we have to rely on Him.
We have to rely on His strength and not ours.

And last but not least, Leave Me Alone Satan.
God allows us to deal with temptation so that we may learn to overcome and master them instead of becoming slaves to our temptations.
As I said before, we all get tempted.
Even Jesus was tempted, only when He was being tempted instead of giving in  He resisted the devil and threw truth at the devil.
In Matthew 4:10 it says, Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Jesus threw truth at Satan and told him to leave.
When you are being tempted, surround yourself with God’s truth.
Surround yourself in His word.
James 4:7 tells us, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

When we resist the devil, He will flee.

 

Friends, you are a child of God.
You have victory over your temptations because Jesus bought that victory when He overcame death on the cross.
Claim that victory in Christ.

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That “No” may be a blessing in disguise.

We’ve all been there.
We’ve prayed and prayed only to end up receiving a “No” from God.

I don’t know about you guys, but often when I’ve gotten a “No” from God I’ve ended up feeling disappointed, hurt and devastated.
Sometimes I’ve actually even questioned God and asked Him, “Why God? Why?”

I mean, we pour our hearts out to God about a want or need in our life, only to receive a “No”.
We pour our hearts out to God about a situation or circumstance in our lives that we want resolved, only to receive a “No”.
We pour our hearts out to God about a job interview we may have just had only to have it fall through and receive a “No, that’s not the job for you”.

What we fail to realize is that every, “No” isn’t meant to be devastating or hurtful. Yes, it absolutely sucks when something we’ve been praying for doesn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.
In every “No” there is a hidden blessing from God.

When I prayed to God about mending a friendship with a friend and He said, “No” I learned that some friendships aren’t mean’t to be fixed. Some people are in our lives for only a season, others for a lifetime.

When I was applying to jobs and kept getting turned down over and over, even after praying frequently to God I learned to turn to God and ask Him for direction in my life. I learned to lean on Him and His understanding for my life.

When I was completely stressed out and trying to figure out how I was going to afford to pay to go on a mission trip to India for the summer, and it fell through I learned that while it is important to go out into the world and lead people to Christ, there are people in your hometowns, cities, and even states who need Jesus just as much.

You see, inside every “No” I learned to cling to God more and lean on His understanding and not my own.
I learned that I hold but only a fragment of the puzzle of my life while God sees the whole puzzle of my life completed in all it’s beauty and chaos.

When you receive a “No” from God, don’t view it as a punishment or even a bad thing.
Keep trusting Him and know that He has great things in store for your life.

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So, you’re stuck in a period of waiting?

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Sometimes following God requires periods of waiting.

For anyone waiting can be a struggle. Especially if you’re waiting for an answer to a prayer and you expect God to answer automatically; like a Genie in a bottle.
Maybe you’ve been through periods of waiting that last anywhere from a day to a week. Or maybe you’ve dealt with longer periods of waiting such as two weeks to two months. Maybe it’s been years of waiting and you’re still waiting.

I don’t know about you guys but I’m sometimes really awful at waiting. Heck, sometimes waiting in the line at the grocery store especially when it’s longer than usual is a struggle for me.

How many of you suck at waiting, too?

Before I begin I’m going to state something: God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not here to grant you every wish and desire for your life.

Sometimes in life we have to wait and waiting requires a great deal of patience.
Periods of waiting require holding steadfast to God and being open & available to God’s will.

After talking to God, we often have this idea that he’s going to answer our prayers right away, or at least hopefully within a few days. When God doesn’t answer our prayers right away we get frustrated and feel like He’s ignoring us. Continue to cling and hold steadfast to God during this time of waiting. Talk to Him, draw near to Him, and actively find ways to grow and serve God during this time.

Another helpful thing during periods of waiting is to make yourself available. How many times have you prayed for God to use you and then complained about what He wants to use you for? How many times have you asked God for a job and then when the opportunity came, you made no effort to get it? Believe and know that God is continually working on your behalf even during periods of waiting.

Sometimes maybe what you prayed about or what you want isn’t what God has in mind for your life. Be open and available to God saying, “No” or even to Him saying, “No, not  right now”.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times where I’ve been in periods of waiting and after awhile I’ve gotten so frustrated that I’ve either stopped clinging close to God because I’ve felt like He has totally abandoned me and forgotten me, and because of that I’ve stopped being open to His will and what His plans are for my life.

Whether the period of waiting you are in is only for a few days, weeks, months, or even years keep holding to God and allowing yourself to be open and available to His will for your life.

 

 

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//What people don’t want you to know\\ Be authentic 

Scrolling through Instagram, scrolling past the usual coffee photos or photos of that friend you haven’t seen since 10th grade eating a fancy dessert, or maybe a photo of a college friend getting engaged.

Facebook isn’t that far off, what with all the posts about people getting promotions or engaged or even expecting a baby.

Sometimes you might think everyone seems to have a perfect life.

So, what’s the truth?

The truth is: nobody has a perfect life. Nobody.

You can post as many photos that have been perfectly edited, you can post the most positive statuses and tweets. 

It still won’t change the fact that none of us are perfect.
We are all imperfect and flawed.
We all have something we’re dealing with.
There are moments where we all just feel like wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt and drinking hot tea. Or maybe we just want to unwind with a bath and a good book.

Heck, I get that way.

I still get zits and use toothpaste on them.
Most days I don’t wear matching socks.
I’m probably the most organized disirganized person-ever(I have a system to my disprganization).
When I watch tv I have to have something to drink or nibble on.
I strongly hate mushrooms.
If I could, I would wear flip flops all year.

It’s okay to be real and not try to act like everything is perfect.
We don’t live in a fairytale guys.
It’s okay to put a photo of yourself up that isn’t staged.
It’s okay to admit you’ve just had a crappy day.
It’s okay to admit you don’t understand something.
It’s okay to ask for help.
It’s okay to be different.
It’s okay to be authentic.
It’s okay to be you.

It’s okay if your path in life looks a little different than someone else’s. God is writing your story, trust Him and His plans for your life.

In a world where too many people try to be someone they aren’t, be yourself.

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3 Truths about God

Christmas season is in full swing.
Truth be told it probably began weeks before Thanksgiving, what with the all too familiar commercialism of Christmas.
Stores began putting out Christmas decorations and toys, Starbucks released their annual red cups, radio stations started playing Christmas songs, and even before we had a moment to digest our Thanksgiving meals people were lining up for Black Friday deals.

But, what if money is tight?
What if you just lost your job?
What if you are struggling to buy all those extravagant gifts your relatives have on their lists?
What if you are struggling to find joy?
What if you are struggling to see God?
What if you are completely stressed out?

You aren’t alone.


So many people feel this way.
So many people are left burdened and stressed by the commercialization of Christmas.

Truth be told I’m one of these people. I feel so overwhelmed by the season already. I’m already thinking of how I’m going to buy all those gifts for loved ones, and coming to the realization that it won’t be possible.

Today I want to remind you of 3 simple truths.

  1. God is Immanuel : Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive  and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).God is with us, never forsakes us, never leaves us, and understands us. Whatever you may be going through know that God sees you, understands and is with you through it all.
  2. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” : Isaiah 9:6 says “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Man! What a verse! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Through the blood of Jesus we are able to be reconciled with God and with one another. Through Jesus we are able to find peace.
  3. God is “I am”: In Exodus 3:14 God it states, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” God claimed the title of I AM and in that moment He took away the ability to be boxed or defined, as well as defining all the things He was. How often are we defining ourselves or others by human standards? When you begin to struggle with trusting God, remember all the things He is. Remember not to box Him in with human definition.

God is not boxed in by human definition.

Sometimes we are so blinded by our own definitions we fail to see HOW God will work in a situation or in our daily lives.

We fail to remember just WHO God is. We fail to remember all He is and has done.

If you just lost your job……..God is with you.

If you’re struggling to find peace with someone from your past……… God is not only with you, but is for reconciliation.
If you can’t afford fancy Christmas gifts……Know that Jesus is the greatest gift of all(I know that sounds cheesy). It’s not the price of gifts or the size. Give from the heart.

Whatever you’re going through friends, you aren’t alone.

God sees you and is with you.
God provides peace when Satan tries to flood you with fear and doubt.
God is not limited to human 
definition, He is not defined or boxed in by our labels.
He surpasses all human understanding.

 

Keep trusting.
Keep looking to God.
Keep asking God questions even when you don’t understand or feel like giving up.