First Things

“Lord, please make me more aware of my sin”.

I prayed this prayer back in 2007. I was a relatively new Christian, and still learning what it meant to be a disciple. I wanted to know God deeply, but always felt like I didn’t. So I asked for advice, and somewhere along the way I was told that if I wanted to be amazed by God, and feel how loved I am, I needed to be more aware of my depravity. Understanding the depths of my depravity would help me to see just how great a cost Jesus had to pay in order to save me, and this, the thought was, would lead to me knowing his love more.

Now, almost 10 years later, I do feel that I have a better understanding of my sin. I see how prone I am to wander. I see that even the good things I do are often tainted by selfish ambition. I am constantly questioning my motives, and my actions. I know that emotions are not trustworthy, so I tend to be quite cautious about becoming emotional, especially when it comes to God. Being introspective like this helps me to get at my own heart issues, and not have an unhealthy confidence in myself.

Despite having a better understanding of my sin, I cannot say that I am blown away by the grace of God; at least, not in a way that transforms me. I do understand intellectually how sinful I am, and how amazing God’s grace is, but most days this does not impact me the way that I know it should. So much of what I know does not make it’s way into my heart. I know this because we act out of what is in our hearts, and what comes out of me is often ugly.

This past weekend we had a church retreat, and the topic of the retreat was, “The Bible: Learn it, Love it, Live it”. Our speakers reminded us that God is central, we are not. They reminded us that we must focus on God for the sake of knowing him better, and praying that he will show us his glory. The fruit will come, when we focus on the vine. I have been so focused on the fruit of the Spirit, and all the ways that I don’t exhibit it, that I have lost sight of Jesus. Instead of being enamoured with the beauty of Christ, I have become enamoured with myself and my own failings.  Christ has become a means to an end, rather than the end itself.

I do still believe that part of being amazed by the grace of God is knowing how sinful I am. But it does not begin by looking at myself, but at Christ. I think I prayed the wrong prayer back in 2007. The prayer should have been “God, show me how amazing you are!” as I looked for him in his Word. Instead, I said “show me how sinful I am” and started looking inward. It was a self centred approach, so no wonder I could not see the glory of God. I was too busy looking at myself!

There is no power found in focusing on self, and understanding self better. When I focus on myself, and not God, I become bigger than God in my mind. When I am big, and God is small, I will not depend on him for change. Instead, I will turn to behaviour modification; I will attempt to be my own saviour. Essentially, I will become a legalist. I have been doing this for so long; creating new rules for myself to follow in an attempt to “better myself”. It’s so easy to do this, all the while tricking myself into thinking I am doing it for God. The more messed up I see that I am, the more rules I heap on myself, and it just gets heavier and heavier and heavier. Lately it feels like I am wobbling under the weight of it all. I am weary.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The law is heavy, and for some reason, even though I intellectually understand the Gospel, I keep trying to live under the law. I could write another blog trying to explain why that is. However, something that is starting to solidify for me is that I don’t always need to understand why. More than I need to be aware of my sin, I need to be aware of who He is. More than I need to focus on secondary things like the fruit of the Spirit, I need to focus on the Primary thing, God Himself, and his Gospel. I could spend the next ten years trying to figure out why I don’t turn to God, or I could simply turn to God. I don’t need to take a break from getting to know God so I can better understand myself. What a worthless way to spend my time! Knowing God for the sake of knowing God is where the focus needs to be. Everything else is secondary.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

Leaving Jesus In the Bedroom

Have you been doing your devotions? That’s a pretty common Christian question. As if that is the answer to all your problems. Do that, and you will have a good relationship with God. You will be able to get through your day.

Well, what happens when that isn’t enough to get you through the day? I’ve found that it isn’t.

I do my “devotions” in my room in the morning. I ask God to be with me throughout the day. I tell him that I need him, and ask him to help me surrender my time. I ask him to help me not to get angry or impatient with my children or husband. It is something that I hope to continue doing every morning.

But then I leave my bedroom and step out into my life. Into crackers squished into the carpet, full diapers, needy children, dirty dishes, sticky floors, piles of laundry, dinkies, tantrums and complicated relationships. Often, it feels like I left Jesus there in the bedroom, and as the day goes on, it’s as if we had never talked at all. Where is he in all of the mundane struggles of life?

We all know the “right” answer. Why, Amanda, he’s right there with you, of course! 

That’s nice, but how does that make a difference in the moment? How do I know it? What does it look like, really, for God to be there with me during the entire day? Knowing it on an intellectual level is not enough.

I have been forced to ask this lately because, honestly, I am struggling with patience. As in, I have none. Recently, I put my hairdryer through the wall in my bedroom. I meant just to hit the floor, but I hit the wall, and now there is a hole in the gyprock. We rent. Not sure how I am going to explain that one. But maybe I’ll just let my 3 year old explain. He had no problem telling the cashier at Walmart that “Mommy put the hairdryer in the wall”. Hashtag Mom of the year!

Galatians 5: 22-23 says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Putting my hairdryer through the wall pretty much took out all of those! That is impressive, if you ask me. But, in all seriousness, this passage has always been a bit of a discouragement to me. I look at this list, and it doesn’t describe me. And when I try to be what it says, I fall short. Every single time. It feels impossible.

Maybe that’s because it is.

The words “of the Spirit” are key in this passage. I don’t produce these qualities in myself, He does. How? In John 15:5-8 He says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Do I remain in Jesus after I spend a few minutes with him first thing in the morning? No. Somehow, I figuratively leave him in the bedroom. Or at least, I act as if he didn’t come with me. Abiding in Jesus is not a matter of spending a few minutes with him in the morning when things are quiet, though that is good. Abiding in him is staying connected to him throughout the day, keeping an ongoing dialogue with him, being aware of my need for him moment by moment, submitting my anxieties to him, and living in constant dependance on him. All of this takes intentionality and humility, and that is hard.

But at the same time, isn’t it beautiful that God has made it so that we glorify him most, the closer we are to him? We cannot bear fruit apart from being in constant close relationship with him. The fruit, be it patience, or love or whatever the particular issue might be, though important, is not the point. It’s being close to him. Admitting our neediness can seem scary, but when we realize that doing that brings us close to the only one who can fill us up, and that he wants to be close to us, it isn’t so scary after all.

So, I am learning that Jesus is with me moment by moment. He is there ready and willing to fill me. I am learning that life is his school. In the messy moments, I have a choice. It’s not my way or his way, per se. It’s not one set of morality for another. It’s my way, or dependence. Every obstacle is an opportunity to grow closer to him, and to be taught by him. This gives him the most glory, because His power is made perfect in my weakness, and it also is the only thing that can fulfill me. The more I admit I need him, the more of him I get. And he is all I really need.

This is what God is teaching me. And I am learning, but very slowly. In this process God is showing me my pride, which is strong and ugly. But thankfully, God is stronger than my pride, and when I admit to him that I am powerless to change, and tell him that I need him, he is faithful. Even when I have to do it multiple times an hour. In fact, especially when I go to him multiple times an hour. He never tires of us coming to him. He never expects us to “get it together” – he knows that we are dust, and he is compassionate toward us (Psalm 103: 13,14). What brings him the most glory is when we constantly go to him, broken. It’s when we stop going to him because we think we are fine that we are in trouble.

So, what about you? Do you know you need him? Do you feel your need for him as you go to your place of work, in the complicated family relationships, when you are betrayed by someone you love, or just in the mundane of every day life? If you don’t, then ask him to break you. Ask him to show you your need. It’s the best thing you could ever do.

If you do know, then what is stopping you from going to your Father? Do you know he delights in you and sings over you (Zephania 3:17)? He is compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love (See Psalm 103). He has given you everything you need to live the life he has called you to live (2 Peter 1:3). He has promised to give you everything you need, when you seek his Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). He has promised to produce the fruit you want to see in your life when you abide in him (John 15:5-8). First and foremost, your Father wants an intimate relationship with you. God Almighty wants an intimate relationship with you! That is amazing news!

Thankfully Jesus doesn’t just stay in the bedroom, but he comes with me. He goes with you too. Let’s stop striving in our own strength, and go to him moment by moment. He is right there. And he has promised to give us rest.

Living Intentionally

I am learning something quite profound lately, and I thought I’d share it with the world. It’s the secret to a good life. Are you ready? Here it is:

If you want to live a good life, you need to be intentional about it.

That’s it. Simple I know, but, as our pastor so often says: it doesn’t have to be complicated to be profound.  

Want to get into shape? You need to be intentional about fitting exercise into your schedule.

Want to eat healthier and lose weight? You need to be intentional about planning your meals, so you don’t always reach for the unhealthy stuff.

Want to have a healthy relationship with your spouse? You need to be intentional about setting aside time to spend together, and “date”.

Want to have a clean house? You need to have a plan for how and when you are going to do your chores.

You get the point.

I have been thinking about the subject of intentionality as it relates to all areas of life, but it’s spring cleaning time, so the issue of an organized home has been on my mind specifically. If the house is in chaos, this affects the people in the house, their relationships with each other, and this trickles out into other areas of their lives. The home is so important! A desire for my home to be a place of rest, and not stress, for myself and my family, is what is motivating me to be more intentional about how I organize my time.

I don’t know about you, but I am not the kind of person who has to be busy, so I procrastinate, and everything piles up or doesn’t get done. As a result, I am always feeling like I need to catch up. This negatively affects my relationship with the kids because I feel like I don’t have time to play with them. My husband comes home to a cranky wife who just throws children at him, and is snappy. The laundry is piled up and never gets put away. The kitchen is perpetually sticky. Because I am always feeling busy and rushed, I don’t feel like I have time to exercise. All of this weighs on me and makes me feel like a failure, and the cycle continues.

The only way for me to have a life that is sane, is by putting myself on a schedule, and having clear goals. I need a plan. And even though I hate the thought of it, when I make a realistic plan and stick to it, I am always WAY happier. And so is everyone else in my house.

The Plan

I was on a bit of a routine for a while, but when baby number two came along it all went to pot. This week I finally sat down and created a document on my computer which roughly outlines what my days will look like, and updated my weekly chore schedule. This took a bit of time and effort, but now it is done and I won’t have to do it again. Doing this forced me to think through my priorities, and have clarity about how I am going spend my time – roughly when I’ll do the chores, when I’ll play with the kids, when I’ll have time to myself, and when I’ll exercise. It’s not a rigid schedule, just a flexible routine.

Each day I do one or two chores, which I try to get done in the morning. This makes things more manageable, and gives me more free time during the day. For example, on Mondays I dust. On Tuesdays I vacuum, and sanitize the sinks, etc. I have also decided to do laundry every day, so that it doesn’t pile up. I put a load of laundry in first thing in the morning. The amount of time I spend doing laundry now is way less! It’s folded and put away in 5 minutes.

With regards to meal planning, I sit down one day early in the week and plan out what we are going to eat, and make a grocery list based on the menu. My husband will do one grocery run early on and get everything that we need for the week. This takes sitting down for just half an hour to come up with a menu and grocery list, which is not a lot of time if you consider the amount of time you could spend every day trying to figure out what to have for supper. As a result of this planning, we don’t buy extra things that we don’t need, which means less food goes to waste, and we don’t ever have to wonder what we are having for supper. It also saves money!

So that is a bit of what my plan looks like, and I have to say that this week has been going very well. My house is super clean, and I am a lot less stressed! Setting goals or routines can seem intimidating at first, but once you do it, it just becomes part of your life. It makes the days more orderly, and less stressful. It frees up time for the more important things, and makes that time more relaxing because there isn’t an underlying feeling of guilt or anxiety that comes from knowing there is work to be done.

All of our lives look different – some of us are stay at home moms, some of us work full time outside the house, some are students, some work from home. All of these things are going to affect how we prioritize, and what our routine looks like. But being intentional is beneficial no matter who you are or what your situation is; it will just look a bit different for everyone. If you are struggling, I highly recommend you take the time to think through your priorities, and how you can better organize your time. This simple task can be life changing, believe it or not!

“It’s sad if people think that’s (homemaking) a dull existance, [but] you can’t just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It’s the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don’t want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn’t it?”
– Audrey Hepburn

Food for thought: What are some areas in your life where you need to be more intentional? Home life? Family life? Health? Take the time to set some goals! 

In Light of Easter: On Why I Am So Into Jesus.

Amanda, I think it is fine that you are into religion and things, but I think there is a such thing as being too into it. 

Someone close to me once said this. I don’t remember what I said at the time, but I thought that in light of Easter, I would share a little bit about why I am so “religious”.

I think I would start by saying that contrary to what the above person thought, it’s not really religion that I am into. In fact, I don’t really like religion much. Some of you are thinking: This from a girl who quotes Bible verses on her Facebook page on a regular basis??? Yes. Let me explain.

Religion is about rules; it holds up a standard of morality that we are supposed to live up to. When we live up to this morality, we are good. When we don’t, we are bad. This kind of thinking leads to one of two places. Either we become self-righteous and look down on other people because they are not as good as us, or we despair, because we fail to live up to the standard and end up feeling terrible about ourselves.

Basically, religion is about human beings earning their way to some kind of eternal reward. The way we earn it is by good works. It’s a very heavy burden to carry.

So, if you were to ask me if I am religious, I think I would honestly say no. At least, not if that is what you mean by religion.

OK, so if you are not into religion, what exactly are you into?

The answer is simple: Jesus. And Jesus and religion are not the same. In fact, Jesus didn’t get along with religious people very well. It was the religious people of the time who sought to kill him. Most of Jesus’ followers were people who the religious people would not associate with. They were outcasts and criminals.

My life changed when I found out that I did not need to earn my way to God. In fact, I can’t earn my way to God. All of my efforts would be futile. The gap between me and the divine is far too big. The life altering truth is this:We could never reach him, and so he reached out to us. He came down to our level. This changes everything.

God didn’t come for good people; in fact, the Bible says that there are no good people because all of us fall short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:10-18). God is perfect, and we are not. To be imperfect means we are flawed. Ultimately it means we love other things more than God. Our priorities are all messed up. This is what the Bible means by the word “sinful”. Because we are sinful, we do sinful things. This is what separates us from God, making it impossible for us to enter his presence. So, God did two things: first, instead of telling us we need to earn our way, He sent Jesus who lived up to God’s perfect standard on our behalf. He did it for us! Secondly, Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. He lovingly endured the punishment for our sin so that we would not have to.  

Easter Sunday is coming up. It is the day that Christians gather together and celebrate the fact that on the third day, Jesus walked out of the tomb alive. He lives! The Good News is that if we trust in his perfect life and sacrifice, rather than our own efforts, we too will live. So, rather than carrying the burden of trying to earn God’s favour, I can live each day knowing that Jesus earned it. And through Jesus, I am free to come into God’s presence. I can approach him daily, moment by moment, and know that he listens.

It is not about religion. It’s about a relationship with God. It’s about love. God displayed amazing love when he sent his Son for us. That love, when you really get it, changes you forever. It is what changed me, and continues to transform my life. A desire to earn God’s love could never motivate me; it would only crush me.

I don’t remember what I said that day when my friend told me I was too into religion. But what I would say today is that I am not into religion, I am into Jesus. And there is no such thing as being too into Jesus, because if he is who he said he was, being half hearted about him simply isn’t an option.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

– 1 John 4:10

Food for thought/resources:

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then Christianity is a lie. Here are a couple articles that talk about the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus:

Here is Bono, from the band, U2, talking about what he thinks about Jesus:

Helpful book: The Reason for God, Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller.

And finally, here is a blog post by one of my favourite authors, Ann Voskamp. She is writing from the point of view of Mary, Jesus’ mother:

Living Water

Not too long ago, we lost our water for an afternoon. We were getting ready to have a crowd over for supper, and we had been preparing things all afternoon. We had used a bunch of bowls and knives etc to prepare, and the time had come to get those dishes out of the way to make the kitchen look presentable and get the finishing touches done on dinner. But the water was gone. We couldn’t run the dishwasher. We couldn’t wash anything by hand. There were a few vegetables we needed to clean, but couldn’t. It was a big pain.

On another occasion, I was about to get in the shower and noticed the water wouldn’t come on. I was also trying to do a load of laundry. I found out that the city had turned off our water supply because they were working on some pipes. I was frustrated because I couldn’t get ready for the day, and was behind on my house work.

It’s amazing how much we miss water when it is gone, but how much we take it for granted when it is running. I give my kids a drink of whenever they need one. Bathe them. Wash their hands many times throughout the day. Fill up the kettle numerous times a day. Put in laundry. Run the dishwasher. Get a drink for myself. Take a shower. I do all of these things without even the slightest thought to how precious water is. Until it is gone. Then I feel irritated.

And then I think of the 750 million people around the world without clean water and I am ashamed at my first world problems…

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When there is no clean water, mothers are forced to give their children dirty water to drink, in hopes that it will help and not hurt.

Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under five in the world. Around 1.5 million deaths a year, nearly one in five, are caused by diarrhea, which kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.

3.4 million people die every year of water related illness (that’s like the entire population of Los Angeles, CA).

65% of people living in rural india do not have access to a toilet, and as a result they have no choice but to defecate out in the open which only worsens the water problem.

Globally, women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.This is equivalent to building 28 Empire State Buildings each day. Often the water they get is contaminated with waterbourne illnesses, and can even cause death to their families, but they have no other option.

We hear these things all the time. General numbers. Statistics. It’s hard for us to realize that these numbers and facts represent real people just like you and me who really are suffering right now. Real mothers whose children are looking to them for something to drink, and they have nothing to offer them. Real mothers who hold their crying sick children and have no way to help them. These people have no choice but to suffer, or watch their children suffer, often die, simply because they do not have a simple thing that we take for granted every single day.

If you are like me, these facts can be paralyzing. The need in the world is so overwhelming and it is easier to turn a blind eye…because really, what can we do for all of these people?

We can do more than we think.


March 22 is World Water Day. A day to raise awareness about this global issue. Organizations like Gospel for Asia, have solutions to this problem, but they need our help. GFA digs wells, installs water filters, and builds outdoor toilets in order to combat the water problem. We are some of the most materially blessed people in the world. We may not be able to go physically dig the wells,  or install filters, but we can GIVE so that others can. Every little bit helps.

Gospel for Asia helps all people – no matter who they are or what they believe. However, some people are choosing to follow after Jesus as a result of the kindness they receive through these programs. So, not only are you offering them physical water, you are offering them the one who gives Living Water. Jesus says to the woman at the well: Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13,14). And that is the greatest gift of all! 

We may not know on this side of Heaven the impact we can have on others, but THIS is what I believe the Bible is saying when it talks about storing up treasures in Heaven. Investing in human beings for the sake of Jesus is something that will last into eternity.

Click here to find out more about how you can help.

Click here to read a story about how digging a Jesus Well affected this family, and their village.


Live Like You Are Loved. Because You Are.

Sometimes it feels like in order for something to matter, it has to be recognized by other people. The more people recognize it, the more important it is. If no one knows, then it seems like maybe it doesn’t matter.

Perhaps this is because when people recognize it they acknowledge our talents and abilities, and praise us for it, and this makes us feel like we matter. And so if no one sees it or recognizes it, we can feel insignificant or unappreciated.

This is particularly true in Christian ministry. It is tempting, when thinking of ways to serve others, to think that our ministry only matters if a lot of people know about it. For this reason, we can find ourselves thinking that because our ministry is small, or secret, or isn’t one of the “official” ones being announced every Sunday morning, then it doesn’t matter. We can compare ourselves to the people who stand out with the more public or flashy ministries, and feel insignificant. The whole Christian celebrity phenomenon doesn’t help this.

There are so many things I’d like to do. So many ways I’d like to help. And often it feels like in order for any of it to make a difference, it has to be an official ministry that is recognized by lots of people. But I think God is asking me, “Amanda, can you just be faithful with the small things? Can you be satisfied knowing that I see you, even if no one else does?

To have the praise and approval of people is meaningless – and honestly, are any of us humble enough to handle it? But to have the praise and approval of God far outweighs any compliment or pat on the back we can get from people. And here is the thing: He already approves. And nothing we do can change that.

But where are we looking for significance? It’s the age old question, isn’t it? It’s that thing in us that seeks to be significant because of something in us. Just like Eve sought significance apart from God. Just like the people built cities to “make a name for themselves“. There is a thing in us that wants to matter, but we want the credit for it. We want the glory.

How freeing it would be if we stopped striving after things that we already have in Christ. Significance. Worth. Approval. If we would just quit trying to take the credit, and be content to let him have all of it. We would love others so much better – It wouldn’t matter how many read the blog, or come to the study, or compliment the food – we would just be content to serve knowing that we are showing others a tiny glimpse of His great love.

Let’s stop striving, and just live like we are loved. Because we are.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

– Zephaniah 3:17

A New Year, A New Perspective

Happy New Year! It’s 2015! Can you believe it? Where did the year go?

I love the beginning of a New Year. There is something refreshing about taking down the Christmas decorations, cleaning the house, and settling back into a normal routine. I feel a kind of anticipation for the year ahead, and often spend time thinking about things I want to work on in my life. It seems like a good time to consider the year past, learn from it, and start new.

That is where resolutions come in. They can be fun, but honestly, this year I decided not to make any. It’s just silliness, at least when you are me. My resolutions, I have come to realize, are pretty self focused. They are all about ME. How I can improve. How I can change. And why? So I can feel like I am more awesome than I really am. I think at the root, at least for me, there is a lot of pride. I just want to approve of myself more. I place my worth in my ability to do a certain thing (or not do a certain thing), but then when I fail I feel terrible about myself, which reinforces the idea that I can’t really change.

So this year, I am just going to admit it. I can’t change. I have no willpower. I just eat all the cakes and all the chocolate and all the carbs. I just do. I can’t say no. It’s not possible. If there is a chocolate in front of my face, I will eat it. Oh, and I can’t discipline myself in any other area either, by the way. I worry worry worry all the time, and I just can’t focus on prayer. I procrastinate with housework. Every day I say I will do better tomorrow, but I don’t. I am not one of those people who has the willpower to change my habits. I just can’t do it. I can’t change, and so I am not going to make any resolutions because I will fail.

That is how I feel.

And honestly, there is truth to it. Every time I depend on myself in order to change, I fail. And I have believed for a long time that I literally can’t change as a result of this. But I am forgetting something.

The whole point is that I can’t change. I am powerless, but God is able. That is the Gospel. I was powerless in my sin to change, but Jesus came to save me from that powerlessness. He lived that life that I can’t live, and died the death I should have died. THEN he overcame sin and death, and by his power in me, I will too.

What would happen if we applied the Gospel to our “resolutions”?

First of all, I think we would throw half of them out the window.

But as for the ones that in and of themselves are actually good and honouring to God, I think we would see a lot more progress. I think we would end up a lot closer to Jesus. And I think we would see him work in us.

The sins that I need to overcome? There’s a long list, but a few in particular that I have been wanting to change? Gluttony. Worry. Apathy (to God’s Word). Just to name a few.

So my resolution is really to live like I believe God exists. That Jesus really did die for my sin. That Jesus really does live in me. I am just going to stop believing the lie that I can’t change, because Jesus lives in me and will empower me to do the things he has commanded me to do. He will not command me to do anything that he will not help me to accomplish.

I can decide not to overeat (I have been doing it since the 7th!)

I can decide to turn my worries into prayers.

I can decide to read the Word of God every day, and pray hard that he will give me a love for his Word (even the Old Testament ..God help me).

Ultimately, in 2015, I just want to fix my eyes on Jesus, not on myself. I want to stop believing lies. I want to be the person God has created me to be because that is what will give him the most glory, and bring me the most fulfilment. Fixing my eyes on myself will only lead to pride or discouragement, but when I fix my eyes on Jesus I can get over myself and get on with the work he has for me to do.

And here is the thing. I am going to fail. But WHEN I do, I can stop wallowing and just lay that failure down at the feet of Jesus, and start again. Because that is the Good News. He died for our failures. I don’t need to carry the guilt. And I won’t.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3