Browsing Tag

learned

making choices like Jesus would

in faith

Thanksgiving week this year was full. Full of family, laughter, conversations, shooting guns, being outside, delicious food, a few tears, lots of grace.

I was driving out to my parents’ house asking Father for help. God, please give me wisdom and discernment in my choices. Bless our families with good quality time and rich conversation. Be honored by our words and actions and thoughts. In His goodness, He gave me a visual.

Two sisters, different personalities. Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while busy bee Martha is frazzled and distracted.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” v. 41-42

The greatest possession is close fellowship with the Lord as our ‘portion’ in life, says the ESV Study Bible. “It will not be taken away from her” — neither now to help Martha in the kitchen, nor for all eternity.

And Father said, stay at my feet, stay close, rest and trust Me. 

Instead of feeling like my mind is distracted and frazzled and busy like Martha, trying to please everyone and make the perfect choice.

Jesus was a man who lived on this earth. He walked, talked, overcame, felt physical needs, spent time with other humans. He valued close fellowship with his Father.

“Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God—on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know him as he is, is to come home. To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.”

To experience him and learn about him and know him is transformative.

God is cultivating in me a longing to know Jesus like I know my best friend or my husband.

To wonder about him when doing mundane tasks. To imitate how he speaks to both friends and strangers. To prioritize life as he prioritized life. To learn how he responds well in tricky situations. To love him by my service. To listen to him. To learn his mannerisms and tendencies. To know his heart.

I’m reading a book by John Eldredge called Beautiful Outlaw, about Jesus and his personality. All the quotes in this post are found in the book. It’s an interesting read.

He woos, he confronts, he delivers, he heals, he shoots straight, and then he uses intrigue. He lives out before them the most compelling view of God, shows them an incredibly attractive holiness while shattering the religious glaze.

I’m learning it this way… Holy Spirit is God in us; He is companion, wisdom, comfort, guide, and more. Jesus is our example for life; He lived a life that pleased God. Jesus is our brother to learn from. God is Father; He is creator, judge, powerful.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality. Your humanity, and your life. This is the reason he came. Anything else is religion.

I sometimes underestimate the power of knowing Jesus as if he was a physical person in my life today. I sometimes underestimate the stories of the Bible.. passages that tell of his expressions, his words, his way of being, his view of the world.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality.

Forgive me, Father. Thank you, for sending Jesus to live perfectly and die sacrificially.

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.

Where I Am Right Now With Jesus

in faith

Where I Am Right Now With Jesus | heartnatured

God is calling me to taste and treasure Him. Not writings about Him, not service for Him, but Him as a person. Him as my Savior, Father, Lord, and Friend.

Growing up in church (a gift from God), I was continually shown and taught God’s Word, His way of life. I fear that thus far in my life, I continue to shovel more and more words and media about God in, but not letting it take root. Not that resources are bad for us, they can certainly be used for study and growth and encouragement. But I have gotten to a place where I neglect the Person for knowledge about the Person. Does that make sense?

I feel God calling me to a new, fresh, intimate place with Him.

Communing with Him, sitting with Him, abiding in Him. As opposed to reading articles and books about Him, listening to more and more things, filling up my empty space with knowledge and distraction.

What does this look like? I think it looks like less media intake, and more meditating and prayer; making space in my soul for clarity and Holy Spirit-refreshment; and experiencing God as a real, living, active (and best) relationship in my life. 

A small example, I grew up in a tv-watching family. Not a bad thing, but it’s a default for me when I’m cleaning or alone at home to put on a show or movie. So on a Sunday afternoon, my tendency is to binge watch a show for a few hours, thinking it’s restful for me, as opposed to taking a nap. Watching all that tv only fills my mind with thoughts of those characters and plot lines, when a nap to relax my mind for a few hours would’ve been much more beneficial in preparation for the work week ahead.

I don’t know about you, but I only have so much capacity to take things in before I feel numb, stretched thin, and jumbled. The less distracting, mind-numbing, not actually beneficial to my life things… the more room God has space to fill.

Read more…

Your Body Matters

in wellness

heartnatured.comRemember my thought spill from a couple of weeks ago? If not, feel free to read it here. Let’s also go ahead and be upfront about the fact that I overthink things. But God is good.

Even though that post ends with a more positive, seemingly triumphant mantra, not much changed. But, God in His goodness, is making things new.

One day, recently, I tearfully confessed to J a realization:

I believed being fit was a necessary standard to meet if I wanted to please God — being the right amount of pounds for my height, being able to run or bike many miles, the discipline to dedicate 30+ minutes a day to exercise (because this is what culture deems good enough).

Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, exercise is a great way to deepen enjoyment of life and to take care of our bodies, but it’s not a prerequisite for love, from God or people.

And I don’t even think it pleases God if you’re miserable with yourself, working for the glory of you or using exercise to avoid something difficult or uncomfortable. There is not right or wrong size of a person, but there is a point that for you is unhealthy and unhelpful to your life.

Being fit, or the number on the scale as a result of exercise, doesn’t equate godliness (1 Timothy 4:8). If it did, what would that mean for those who can’t exercise, for those bound to a sick or aging body? That doesn’t make sense.

I don’t think exercise is a prerequisite for a full life in Christ — it’s more a bonus of this temporary home. 

 


 

Shauna Niequist, in her latest book Present Over Perfect, makes this declaration:

This is the promise I make to my God: I will never again be so careless, so cavalier with the body and soul you’ve given me. They are the only things in all the world that have been entrusted entirely to me, and I stewarded them poorly, worshiping for a time at the altars of productivity, capability, busyness, distraction. This body and soul will become again what God intended them to be: living sacrifices, offered only to him. I will spend my life on meaning, on connection, on love, on freedom. I will not waste one more day trapped in comparison, competition, proving, and earning. That’s the currency of a culture that has nothing to offer me.

Talking about Romans 12:1-2, John Piper says, “You belong to God soul and body, or you don’t belong to him at all. Your body matters.” To me, this screams freedom.

God cares about my body, He created it uniquely to house my heart, soul, and mind, and to make His beauty visible. To make His love tangible for people. He doesn’t shine through my muscles, curves, or how much space I take up, but through the way I act.

John Piper challenges me again,

“Let every act of your living body be a demonstration that God is your treasure. Let every act of your living body show that Christ is more precious to you than anything else. Let every act of your living body be a death to all that dishonors Christ.”

This releases fitness and body image from being an arena to compare or compete or prove, to a place of fun and freedom, a living and active sacrifice!

 


 

After this beautiful realization, I asked God, now that I have a better perspective on exercise, why should I spend the time sweating and challenging myself in this way?

This was the answer: For my husband, for our home, for our future. 

  • For my husband, because while I believe he will always think of me as beautiful, it doesn’t hurt for me to offer a little help. So I’ll take care of myself with activities I enjoy and beneficial foods, to help continually enjoy each other.
  • For our home, to energetically clean our home, keep up with the dishes and laundry, keep our herbs and plants from dying. To happily make it a hospitable and safe place to host loved ones, to use it as a resource to be generous. In my experience, strength and energy help in these areas.
  • For our future, taking care of my body because it will eventually be a home for a tiny human one day. I want to give them their best chance also, and it’s up to me because they will be growing inside of my body. The body I can choose to not care about, to treat poorly, or the body I can strengthen and enjoy.

All of that to say, if you’ve come at a crossroads with your body, or your exercise, or if you want to pick up activity for the first time, ask God to give you your own personal reasons and joy in it. Yours will look different than mine, and mine will look different than someone else’s.

It’s good, and I hope God continues to get the glory from our bodies.

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