One Step Forward, Two Leaps Back

We are forever fighting a battle between right versus wrong, good versus evil. All choices we make, big and small, have the capability of impacting ourselves and others for better or worse. For the most part we know right from wrong. As adults we aren’t naive. However our sinful nature quickly convinces us that wrong is right, and right is wrong. In moments of weakness and lack of accountability, we give into sinful desires—only to find they didn’t satisfy and often added insult to injury in the process. Thus begins the cycle where we forget grace and jump right back into works or “law.” We convince ourselves we will “do better” and “try harder”, only to find ourselves sinning once more.

Paul understood this so very well. I find Romans chapter 7 such a comfort as I questioned my salvation at times because I couldn’t get a grip on my sin. I knew what was right, but I couldn’t do it. If I was a true Christian, shouldn’t I be able to get it together?!

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:18-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Paul acknowledged he understood right from wrong, yet still found himself battling the same sin. He recognized the war against his sinful nature. Even Paul’s good intentions weren’t enough.

“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Even those who love the Lord with all their hearts are going to struggle with sin. You may get up every day, read your Bible, pray, listen to worship music, serve God in countless ways, and yet STILL battle habitual patterns of sin you hate.

Please don’t feel as if God loves you less.

Please don’t call yourself a failure.

Please don’t give up.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Even though it may seem like you’re in a constant war (because you are), you are more than a conqueror already through Christ. Your mistakes have been paid for. They don’t shock God. Keep looking, running, and stumbling to the cross. You’ll never lose.

Much love,

Ashley

Stop Trying To Figure It All Out!

Today is one of those days where I really need to write for myself.

Around noon, my phone started blowing up. I had a friend wanting to solidify dinner plans for next week, my mother was checking up on me, my sons daycare provider and I were discussing him coming on a more regular basis to supplement preschool, I realized I had missed calls to return, and soon felt like I had lost control of my day. Not to mention my two year old son had been throwing fits from the moment he had woken up. My husband walked through the door following a rather difficult day at work, and before he could get his boots off I started firing off questions at him, because my anxiety was through the roof. I needed everything figured out IMMEDIATELY. He got frustrated. I got frustrated. The conversation didn’t end well, and I left for work slamming the door shut in his face.

All because I was convinced I needed to have everything in order straight away. What would have happened if I left my husband a note? Kissed him on the cheek and said, “I love you, let’s talk later”, instead?”

I struggle with control. I want my hours, days, weeks, months, and YEARS mapped out ahead of me. I crave predictability. But the truth is, I can’t control every detail. I can’t control other people. I’m not in charge of the fact that 4 people decided to text/call me all at once. What I need to realize is that I don’t need to be on their timeline—and chances are they don’t expect me to be either. I put too much pressure on myself, and I transfer those emotional burdens onto my loved ones.

In the end, the things I was so worried about controlling weren’t worth the angst.

“We make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

There’s peace in handing things yet undetermined over to God. I’m a major work in progress, but I do know for certain that I’ve never felt better worrying, obsessing, or controlling. It’s my default, and I’ve got a lot of re-programming to do, but one day I’ll be able to stop the habit before I start.

“You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:68‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I know I’d rather follow the ways of the Lord. Sometimes we have to mess up a lot before we learn. Thankfully we have a God who is patient, merciful, loving, kind, and gracious. He NEVER expects us to have it all figured out!

Much love,

Ashley

Hope For All

I’m writing this post from my bubble bath, because yesterday’s topic was on self care and, I figured I should probably practice what I preach. Fingers crossed I don’t drop my phone.

Today I want to talk about hope. Hope fuels us so that we can overcome adversity. But where do you find hope? We live in a world of quick solutions. If you have the money, you can fix the problem…supposedly. But what happens when illness strikes? Natural disaster? Death? Relationships fail? Where do you turn? You can seek support, medicine, education, insurance, etc. but when those things just aren’t enough—then what?

I’ve heard it said once, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” That’s an encouraging and empowering statement. The only problem with it, is that I’m human and I fail.

I like this a lot better:

“But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭18:27‬ ‭ESV

Here’s the thing, I don’t want it to be “up to me.” That’s a lot of pressure. However, God plus me? Yes. I’ve faced a lot of heartache in my 27 years of life. I’ve tried solving my problems on my own. Mind you, I’m a determined and resourceful individual. I don’t lack ambition, and I’m not lazy. But life is exhausting. I’ve learned the hard way to hope in something beyond myself.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Several things happen when you put your Hope in God versus in yourself:

  1. You experience joy. Joy is not dependent on circumstances.
  2. Your weights are lifted. The pressure is removed from you to fix your problems alone.
  3. You lower your expectations of others.
  4. You learn to trust God, thus deepening your relationship with Him.
  5. You experience peace.
  6. You gain the ability to refocus on the what matters most.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This hope we have is alive! Do not leave it behind and go through life thinking you have to do it alone. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and at work in you.

Much love!

Ashley