my strength comes from HIM

for i can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

I really like when I can see scripture active in my life. This is a common verse, I’ve prayed on it many times, asking for strength for anything from writing it on top of a statistics exam, going on a big interview or even just getting out of bed some days, but tonight, I found new peace and meaning in these words.

Things have been less than pleasant lately. Work is hard and exhausting. School sucks. Everyone is stressed and miserable, and I don’t know how to help. I was curled up on my couch tonight, watching an awful Lifetime movie thinking about all of this when I realized, that despite how dreadful things have been, I’m actually pretty okay.

It was about this time a year ago that my eating disorder really started to take over. I was struggling with life; stressed beyond belief and feeling like I had no control over anything. You could say it started out innocently enough, I was “too busy” to eat. I was “so stressed” I never had an appetite. While these things might have been true at first, they definitely became my excuse. My eating disorder became my only coping mechanism. I felt like the only thing I could control was what I did with my body. I felt like I could prove to the world that I was capable of handling everything, and so strong I could do it all without food. Woof. The interesting thing is that I am easily more stressed today than I was a year ago. And I’m in recovery. Doing well. Not relying on starving myself and overexercising as my only coping mechanism. Why? What changed?

I can say I have changed. That I’m stronger now and I have learned better ways to manage my stress. Or I could credit my community. I have a few strong, encouraging relationships today that I did not have a year ago. They provide a sense of support and love that I have never experienced before. I could say I don’t have time to deal with an eating disorder. That I need the strength and energy that only food can provide. I could say all of those things and they would all be true, but the real reason I’m doing okay is missing from that list.

I am healthy and coping with my stress because I have put my trust in the Lord. I give my anxiety to Him every single day, and I (do my best) to trust Him. Yeah, I believed in God a year ago, but I was lacking a real relationship with Him. I prayed every once in a while, but my prayers were awkward and scripted. I didn’t have a close, personal relationship with the Lord, where I could just chat with Him about life and my stress and struggles. I couldn’t see the beauty in things the way I do know, because I didn’t truly trust Him.

Today, I’m almost always in casual conversation with the Lord. I do my best to live my life in a way that truly glorifies Him. I see the Lord at work in my life in beautiful ways, and I trust that He has big plans for me. I am stronger today than I ever have been because I know He lives in me. I truly believe I can do anything, because the Lord is on my side.

Here’s the thing you guys. The Lord loves us something fierce. More than we will ever be able to comprehend. He wants us to succeed. We just have to trust Him and let our strength come from Him.

for God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

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stand strong and be courageous, for HE will not forsake you.

I could gush about God for days, you guys. He’s the coolest. I’m constantly amazed at the incredible ways He moves in my life.

Last week I was struggling with really trusting the Lord. A lot of my prayers were focused on guidance and strength to not only seek the Lord with all that I am, but also to truly trust His will.

Some days I’m all about His will. I mean, I always am, but some days it’s definitely easier than others. Some days, I’m like “Yes! God has a plan for me, and it’s the greatest thing ever, and I know I’m here for a reason!”. Other days, not so much. On those days it’s more like, “Alright God, I know you have me here for a reason, I’m just not super sure what that is at this exact moment. I’m doing my best to trust you, but it’s a struggle right now.”.

My struggle to really trust God’s plan for me often presents itself in the form of discontentment with where I am in life. I get frustrated about my job or the town I live in. Sometimes I get on these kicks where I think I know more than I do, and so I try to figure out how to do more because I feel like where I’m at just isn’t enough.

Woof.

I get so frustrated with myself when this happens. For real though. The Lord has blessed me in so many ways, from my community and relationships to the opportunity to pursue higher education. Yet, sometimes I still feel like it’s not enough. Sometimes I get so bogged down with my job and grad school and life in general, that I feel like there has got to be something better for me. Let me tell ya, that’s a pretty sucky feeling.

Church on Sunday, though. Man. I felt like all of my prayers were answered. The message was incredibly convicting and encouraging. It was all about the book of Joshua, which, I wasn’t super familiar with. The sermon was about being courageous and really letting go and trusting the Lord. Joshua goes through some pretty crazy things, and the Lord needs Joshua to truly trust Him. The Lord knows this isn’t easy. He knows we question, and sometimes need reassurance. In the first 9 verses of the book of Joshua the Lord commands Joshua to trust Him, saying “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9) threw times. Three times in nine short verses! The last time the Lord shares this commandment, he adds “…do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).

How can we be afraid if God is with us?

Having faith takes courage, you guys. I feel like that’s not something that’s ever talked about or allowed. It seems like faith and trusting the Lord is always presented as this super easy thing that is just a given. Sometimes it is easy, but sometimes it really isn’t. And that’s ok! The Lord works best in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He wants our vulnerability and our fears, so that our strength can truly come from Him.

Here’s the thing, you guys. God is so good. Stand strong and be courageous. He is always with us. Even in grad school. Even on Mondays.