how the Psalms help me picture God

in faith

heartnatured.com

Lately my spiritual growth has been marked by the words, “taste and see.” Meditation, prayer, quiet are examples of practicalities.

I’m a creative individual, a visual person, you might say. In this fresh season of learning and change, the taste part has been easier than the see part.

So what did I do? I asked God to help me see. I was even super specific, Lord, give my heart’s eye an image. 

I don’t need to literally and physically see Him with my eyes, that won’t happen in this life, we live by faith not by sight, but maybe to taste and see Him is to dwell on the beautiful, marvelous person of God. 

I didn’t “get” anything supernatural, but the next day I was prompted to read through Psalms to see how God is personified with human characteristics, or even specific details of His being.

So I read, flipping page after page, jotting down verses here and there. I’d like to share some of them with you, in case your heart ever longs to see God, and struggles a little like I did.

  • He is a shield around me. Psalm 3:3
  • He lifts my head, like a Father would a child. Psalm 3:3
  • He holds my hand. Psalm 73:23
  • His dwelling place is lovely. Psalm 84:1
  • He is robed in majesty and strength. Psalm 93:1
  • He is my safe place. Psalm 4:8
  • His voice is powerful, full of majesty. Psalm 29:4
  • His face shines. Psalm 67:12
  • He is a hiding place. Psalm 32:7
  • He shouts deliverance over me. Psalm 32:7
  • He looks down and sees me. Psalm 33:13, 18
  • In His light, do I see light. Psalm 36:9
  • His hands support me. Psalm 18:35
  • The heavens declare His glory; the sky proclaims His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
  • He is my friend. Psalm 25:14
  • He is beautiful. Psalm 27:4
  • He is my helper, the upholder of my life. Psalm 54:4
  • He is a Rock. Psalm 62:2, 6
  • His right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8
  • His house is good, His temple is holy. Psalm 65:4
  • He listens to my prayers. Psalm 66:19
  • He hides me in the shadow of His wings. Psalm 17:8
  • He lightens my darkness. Psalm 18:28
  • His way is perfect. Psalm 18:30
  • He is glorious. Psalm 29:1-4
  • The heavens are the work of His fingers. Psalm 8:3
  • He sits enthroned forever. Psalm 9:7
  • He is king. Psalm 10:16
  • His words are pure. Psalm 12:6
  • He covers himself with light as with a garment. Psalm 104:2

I bolded some of my favorites.

Are you experiencing anything new or fresh about God lately? I would love to hear about it.

photo via unsplash

14 things I don’t do

in lifestyle

14 things I don't do | heartnatured.com

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” Shauna Niequist

From the minute I read this line in one of Shauna’s books, it stuck with me. As I get older, I realize how important it is to prioritize, to be intentional with my time.

It’s okay to say No, to not do things just because someone else does them. They are living a completely different life than you. Say No and feel okay with it!

Here are some things I don’t do:

  1. I don’t wash my hair everyday. It’s curly, which means it doesn’t get oily, therefore I can go about 2-3 days without washing it and it still look okay. This saves me at least 20-30 minutes some days. Plus I’m good with a ponytail.
  2. I don’t deep clean until things are noticeably dirty. Other than sweeping the kitchen and keeping the sinks/toilets clean, the gap between deep cleanings is large.
  3. I don’t comment about public events on social media. I’m passionate, but I’m not one to air out all my thoughts on the internet.
  4. I don’t purchase gift bags for every present I give. The bag you open is usually recycled from a past birthday or Christmas. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you!
  5. I don’t go to everything I’m invited to. Sometimes it’s because we’re tired or busy, other times it’s because I simply don’t want to. #honestytime
  6. I don’t iron. Ever. I hold shirts and dresses up to my sister and ask “Would I have to iron this?” If the answer is yes, the shirt goes back on the rack.
  7. I don’t Snapchat. I don’t check-in when I arrive somewhere. I don’t play trendy iPhone games. It’s just not me. But no judgment.
  8. I don’t wash my jeans until I’ve worn them for about a week. I don’t even wash workout clothes after each use. Especially if it’s yoga or a walk, I’m re-wearing that tank top and sports bra again.
  9. I don’t watch live tv. We have an antenna, and we watch television via Netflix and Amazon Prime when we want to watch.
  10. I don’t balance my checkbook.
  11. I don’t drink soda. Never have, probably never will. Carbonation is not for me.
  12. I don’t do yard work. That may change if we ever get a garden or flowers that I enjoy, but I’m happy keeping the inside of our home happy and clean. J handles the outside.
  13. I don’t leave the house without a watch. I usually only take it off to shower, and feel disconnected without one.
  14. I don’t go out after 9pm. At a certain point in the evening, I’m not leaving the house. I’ll stay out late if I’m already out, but besides that, you can find me at home.

A handful of Nos which lead to some sweet Yeses: 

Quality time with my husband. Hosting friends and family. A more generous life. Set aside time for reading, prayer, writing, or creating. Making our home a warm and peaceful place. Laughter and grace when things don’t pan out perfectly. Letter writing to friends. Focus on people instead of objects. Margin for rest. Daily exercise.

What do you say No to that makes space for a good yes?

What I’m Listening To | No. 3

in inspiration

Craig Groeschel’s Leadership Podcast

This is a new one for me, but it was a suggestion by a trusted friend so I’m giving it a shot. It’s interesting, and pretty inspiring!

The Very Next Thing – Casting Crowns latest album

I discovered this yesterday, but the music is upbeat and the lyrics uplifting. It’s a nice work mix.

Ask Pastor John audio clips

Here, people write or email in with questions, and Pastor John Piper answers them. Audio clips are 8-15 minutes long, and quite insightful.

What I'm Listening To | heartnatured.com

what I would tell 16 year old me

in inspiration

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I’m a big fan of Timehop. Since photography is one of my favorite pastimes, I enjoy walking down memory lane. Yesterday an album came up from 9 years ago, the year I turned 16.

A lot of life has happened since I was 16. I have lived a blessed life, not without difficult circumstances and loss, but blessed all the same. Still, life is unpredictable, mean girls exist, disappointments and joys and big decisions come in waves, and change happens frequently.

If I could talk to 16 year old Chelsea about a few things, they would be these:

Embrace the curls.

I know straightening your hair seems fun and easy, but deep down you only do it because you think you’re prettier that way. Rock your curls, sister! You are uniquely you, and those curls will become a true part of you one day.

Be okay with not being everyone’s best friend.

It seems wonderful, but it ends up being pretty exhausting. Find that handful of sweet, God-loving, weird, lasting girlfriends, and stick close. God is not expecting you to be all things for all people. Love well and be a safe place for those you encounter. And trust God to be what everyone needs, not you.  Nonbiological sisters of mine, you know who you are… and I’m immensely grateful for you.

Being a perfectionist is a not a negative, but being a people-pleaser is.

Girl, you spend too much emotional and mental energy living without boundaries. Beware of falling into a snare of fearing man instead of the Lord, of walking around anxious because you might disappoint someone, or not look great in their eyes. Jesus is the person you focus on making great; you cheer and support others in their gifts. You are not defined by the opinions of others, how others react to you, your successes or failures, or even your feelings. Find your specific passions, give God all the glory, and pursue them with that perfectionist DNA.

Live from your identity in Christ, not from your image.

Tie your confidence and anchor your identity to an unchanging, undeniably good, powerful, beautiful, and living God. Your image, your physical appearance, your features — all called good by the most important person in the world. Your image will change, it will fade, but your identity in God can take you to new heights of love and abundant life. Your heart, mind, and soul make you special, new in Christ they make you strong and beautiful — not how much you exercise or how fashionable you are or how your makeup is done. It’s too easy to get caught in that trap, so girlfriend, run the other way and run hard.

Keep wearing those Converses instead of heels.

A time for heels will come, and you will grow to enjoy it, but embrace that well-worn blue jeans and Chucks look you have going. Wear those brightly colored tights and braids and your favorite jeans 4 days out of the week. Life is too short to stifle the way you express yourself for the sake of cool or popular. Styles change too often to keep up with it all. Find a style that fits you, that you feel pretty in, and rock it.

Mean girls will always exist. Remember who you are and Whose you are; rise above.

I would love to hold your shoulders, look you in the eye and say, that girl is insecure, that’s why she’s treating you this way. She is unhappy, and is taking it out on you. It has nothing to do with you. Do your best to be kind, so she never has any ammo against you, and ignore. Keep in mind the people who love you, who support and believe in you, and keep doing your thing. She will eventually see that you are not to be trifled with, and she’ll move on.

A relationship with God will be the greatest adventure of your life.

I feel like I’m experiencing this in new ways all the time, but the delight in knowing God will change your life. He is the coolest adventure, greatest treasure, highest joy, best friend, sweetest love. You seek him, you are active at church, you read your Bible, and I get teary-eyed to think of the grace in those choices. He is with you, in the seemingly mundane, and in the difficult times. Keep living for God, keep shining bright, keep loving people well. The lines will fall in pleasant places, and it only gets better.

There are many many other things, now being 24, but you enjoy your life, girl. Soak it all up, savor it. Because it’s good.

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