Simplifying Christianity

We humans tend to complicate every aspect of our lives, especially God.  We want the best worship experience and an emotional message on Sundays.  We overthink God by our works.  All our lives most of us are told that you must be in church and studies to have God in our lives, which in fact, is not true.  Hear me out, I am not saying that church is not important.  I am saying God is more than a church service and group studies.  He is simply about relationship.  He does not want us so busy trying to figure out who He is that we have no time to personally have a relationship with Him.

For the last year, I have been going to one church to another trying to find the perfect setting — is the worship spiritual enough or is the message convicting to bring me to the altar.  I was looking for emotion rather than God Himself.  I was so insecure that I needed to be convicted to speak to God for forgiveness.  And when restlessness and discontentment came over me, I moved on to another church.  Through all the confusion, I caused more chaos in my life.  I caused more disappointment of what the church should be — to my preference.

A few months ago, I decided to temporarily stop attending church and have church at home.  Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night I would listen to a podcast from my iPad and worship God in my own living room. I spent daily in prayer.  In just a month, God showed Himself to me with simplicity and love.  It is not required to do works to find God’s love; He is love, and He only desires relationship with me.  When I complicated God, I was miserable.  The standards I put on myself only made me feel more inadequate.  It was only when I simplified the way I approached God is when I found the true God.  A God who is not demanding but unconditionally loving.  A God who is all comfort not judgmental.  A God who makes me whole when I feel incomplete.  God is complex in so many ways, but when it comes to a relationship with Him, it’s simple: Love God with all her heart and live a life abundantly in His love.  Love God and be a Disciple.  Simple as that.

We need to stop representing a demanding God who is false and scary.  We need to start showing others that God is all about the heart.  He is all about love.  We do not need an emotional message on Sunday to convict us of our sin, but a message of truth.  We do not need to a worship service to sound like a professional concert, but to worship God in purity.  We don’t need an in-depth message every week to tell us who God is; we need to experience God ourselves through group Bible Studies and an individual prayer life.  If we want a relationship with God, we need to pursue Him at church, at home, in our workplace, and with our family and friends.  God is everywhere!

When you seek God in simplicity, you will find His joy and His peace.  When you pursue Him with all your heart, you will find the true God that you have been looking for.  It starts with you — not the church or others — YOU!

After The Rain…

Rain….

It’s necessary for growth.

It allows the old to pass away, and the new to come.

There is beauty where it once was dead.

Life is all about going through a storm so we can see the rainbow on the other side.  Imagine yourself in a garden with plants wilted and weeds grown up in the beds.  The caretaker failed to remove the weeds and water the garden.  It is overgrown and little by little the plants die away.  What once was a beautiful garden turned into shriveled brown leaves falling lifeless to the ground with no hope for renewal.

The only way to grow is to work through the weeds in our lives and to remove what hinders us from God.  As we toil through the soil to determine what to remove and what to keep, we dig up the truths of our lives.  When we reach the root and see it had potential for growth, we just sit there quietly in defeat and wonder why we did not see the potential sooner.  Why didn’t we just go through the painful process of pulling the weeds so we could see our potential?  Why didn’t we water the plants to see them grow and bloom into something beautiful?  Instead of facing the storm and waiting for growth, we ran in fear because of the unknown.  We missed seeing the rainbow, because we never walked through the rain.

Ten years ago I ran from a difficult situation.  I never properly allowed God to heal my heart, and I still struggle today with those insecurities and emotions from my past.  The weeds in my life became overgrown and never tended to in a decade.  New life was never planted.  I tried to bury my past by laying more soil on top of the hurt–the root of the problem.  Recently, I have had to remove the soil to get to the root.  I had to expose the most shameful part of my life to eventually find healing through God.  I am currently vulnerable and transparent for all to see.

As the plant grows bigger and stronger, the root spans in all directions as it goes deeper into the soil.  Imagine the root being every situation you have not dealt with in your life.  It has twists and turns.  The root intertwines with each other. It becomes so powerful that you cannot uproot the plant without force.  It is embedded so deep that it is a struggle to rip it out of the ground.  Life is painful when we grab something by it’s roots and force it to the surface.  But there is good news — when we finally deal with the root of our problems and let the root of destruction die, we will see new growth happening in our lives.  We blossom into something beautiful.

We allow God to mend our hearts as he continues to water the new seeds in our lives.  As the seeds grow in the soil, God enriches it with nutrients.  He sprinkles miracle grow over the plant for a better chance at life.  He brings the rain so we can stand strong and tall.  We have to endure heartache through the rain so we can become a beautiful flower for all to see.  Our roots have to be strong and healthy so we can withstand the winds.  And, after the rain, there is a rainbow full of promises.  The promises of another day.  The promises for what’s to come.

A rainbow represents new life.
It represents a hopeful future.
It represents a testimony of what was.
It represents the new you!

If you want a renewal in your life, uproot what you have not dealt with and find your rainbow.  If you want a life full of promises, remove the weeds.  If you want to see growth in your life, be consumed in God’s enrichment.

Lacking Nothing

As we begin a new year, we look back on what we accomplished in the previous year.  We go down our bucket list and realize that we did not accomplish everything that we hoped we would.  We beat ourselves up for what we lacked rather than what we accomplished.  The truth is, what we accomplish on earth will one day fade away.  It is not permanent.  Yes, we have desires and goals that were not met and will carry over into the new year, but it is not worth stressing over, because God already knows our needs and wants.  We lack nothing in Him.  Let me say that again: We lack nothing in Him.  God is our everything!

I recently heard a song called, My Everything, by Gateway Worship.  It is a beautiful song that captures who God is in our lives.  The lyrics are a love song to God.  When you hear this song sung over you, you cannot help but fall to your knees and praise God in full surrender.  The chorus says that,

You’re more than just a song
You’re more than just a whim
You’re more than just a passing fantasy
You’re My Every Way
You’re My Everything

Take a few minutes to read these lyrics slowly aloud.  God is more than just rescuing us from our troubles.  He is more than granting our every wish.  He wants a relationship with us, no matter what is happening in our lives.  As the song continues, it declares that,

I want to be with You
I need to be with You
I long to be with You, precious King
So with every day, Lord, in every way
You’re My Everything

This song cries out to God for an intimate relationship with Him.  The lyrics express the wants and needs to be with God.  We feel the yearning and passion as we read these words above.  In this song, we are saying, “You are My number one in my life.  God, You are important to me, and I want to experience You completely.”

In another song called, “So Will I (100 Billion X), written by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin, it declares everything God created by speaking it into existence.  The lyrics begin with,

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praise so will I

In this song, we proclaim who God is by His creation.  We are His creation, and because He created us, we lack nothing.  We may be waiting for a prayer to be answered, but, in Him, we lack nothing.  God provides our every need.  If He can speak anything into existence, then He is choosing to wait for His perfect timing to answer our prayer.  In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it states that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  BUT, “do not grow weary” while waiting, because “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

Year 2017 may not have brought you everything you wanted and desired, but, remember what you accomplished and praise God for your successes.  I encourage you to never get discouraged while waiting, because God is preparing you for what’s to come.  In Year 2018, continue to believe in miracles.  Never lose the desire to dream big!

 

The Bride of Christ

Today, I will be talking to the single women who are longing for their soul mate.

Imagine setting the date for your wedding.  You are in anticipation as you make arrangements and plan for the perfect day.  The cake and food has to be prepared, several dress fittings, guest lists, and all the other details required to make your wedding day special.  This is the moment you have been waiting for all your life.  It has finally come!

Now, imagine it looking a little different.  Instead of man standing there, God is standing as your groom.  In Isaiah 54:5 it states God is your husband: “for your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Close your eyes and visualize you walking down the aisle with your hair down and full of curls, make up is perfect, and wearing a beautiful white gown.  Your emotions are everywhere, because you are walking into the unknown, but, at the same time, you are filled with excitement.  You can barely hold back the tears with every step you take towards your Heavenly Father.  It is a magical moment as you walk closer to God and take His hand in marriage.  You give Him your all, and you allow Him to have control of every aspect of your life.

Just like any marriage, there are things that will be asked of you.  God is asking you today if He has made you single the rest of your life and just be with Him, can you accept His offer?  Do you trust Him enough to be His bride?  Is He enough in your life to feel complete?  Can you give up your own desires to be with Him, and Him alone?  Do you feel worthy enough to be His bride?

Since I am currently single, God has been asking me the same tough questions.  Is He enough in my life that I will give Him my all?  My desires, my heart, my love, and my worship!  Will I accept His offer no matter what my future holds?  Am I ready to walk down the aisle and take God’s hand in matrimony with these terms?  I am praying God’s will be done in my life no matter the outcome.  I am praying that He will always be my husband, my first love!

I am reminded of a song by King and Country called, “Priceless.”  The chorus is powerful.  God is saying to you today:

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Irreplaceable
Unmistakable,
Incomparible
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you!

God sees you whole!  He sees you dressed in purity and righteousness!   He sees you as PRICELESS!  He sees you “more than all the money or the diamonds and pearls [because] this is who you are” (“Priceless” lyrics).

As you walk down the aisle to become the Bride of Christ, remind yourself you have worth in Him, not in man.  Being single is not a curse but a blessing.  You are never alone when God is in your life.  He sees you, and He says you are beautiful in His sight!

Singleness Is Not A Curse

ENCOURAGEMENT

This week God has put on my heart to encourages those in their mid-20’s and 30’s, who are single, to not give up or be discouraged.  While you are single, it is important to remember that it does not make you incomplete as a person.  It is not a label placed on you by others. It is not something to be ashamed of.  Singleness means you are strong enough to stand on your own and be confident in who you are.

Singleness does NOT mean you are not pretty enough, smart enough, or skinny enough to date, be engaged, or married.  Your worth comes from God. He gives you the courage to patiently wait for your godly man. I encourage you to marry someone who loves God more than he loves you. The wait will be worth it, no matter your age.

PERSONAL STORY

I am about 35 years of age and never been married.  Most relationships I have left me heartbroken and worthless.  I have been engaged twice and, before the wedding day, the relationship fell apart.  I have been told by many that being a Christian does not mean you have to marry a Christian.  Out of desperation, I have tried to date non-Christians and ended up not working out because of different beliefs.  I struggle with commitment in relationships.  I struggle with finding an authentic Christian guy who loves God more than me.  I have dated Christian men who just follow what I do, and he never becomes the Christian leader that he needs to be.

I have always had an insecurity that I was not good enough or pretty enough to find a guy who will love me for who I am.  I have been told while in engagement, “Why am I even marrying you?!”  I have had guys tell me, “Why can’t you be who I want you to be” or “I’m not worth the wait”.  Those words that were spoken over me hurt me deeply and have cursed any relationship that was good in my life.

There came a time when I realized those words have no meaning in my life.  The only words I need to hear are from my heavenly Father.  He knows my true identity.  He knows who I will marry.  And, one day, broken and alone, I put my trust in God and never looked back.  My life is whole in Christ.  I do not need a man to tell me how beautiful I am, or how smart I am to feel complete.  God speaks those words over me every day.  I am content being single until the right Christian guy comes my way!

POEM

While I was organizing my desk at home a few weeks ago, I found a poem that encouraged me, and would like to share it with you.  It is called, “On His Plan For Your Mate”.  If you need to find contentment today, find contentment with God.  He knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11).  I encourage you to walk in His promises and trust in God’s timing.

ON HIS PLAN FOR YOUR MATE

Everyone longs to give himself or herself completely to someone.
To have a deep and soul relationship with another, to be loved
thoroughly and exclusively.  But God says to the Christian – no,
not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with being loved
by Me alone.  I love you, My Child, and until you discover that
only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not be
capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for
you.  You can never be united with another until you are united
with me – exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any
other desires and longings.  I want you to stop planning, stop
wishing, and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan
existing – one that you cannot even imagine.  I want you to have
the best.  Please allow Me to bring it to you – just keep watching
Me, expecting the greatest thing – keep experiencing that
satisfaction of knowing of knowing that I am.  Keep learning
and listening to the things I tell you…you must wait.

Don’t be anxious.  Don’t worry.  Don’t look around at the things
others have, or things that I have given them.  Don’t look at the
things you think you want, just keep looking at Me, or you will
miss what I want to show you.  And, then when you are ready,
I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than anyone
could ever dream.  I am working, even this very minute, to have
both you and the one I have for you, ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me, and the life
I have prepared for you will not be able to experience the love
that exemplifies your relationship with Me…
and this is perfect love.

And, dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love;
I want you to see in Me, in the flesh, a picture of your relationship
with Me.  To enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting
union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with
Myself.  Know that I love you utterly.
Believe and be satisfied.
I am God Almighty.

Below is a link to the poem, if you would like a printable version:
Poem for Single Christians

Women’s Insecurities – Week Three

We all face rejection in our day-to-day life.  Some are more deeply rooted than others, but all rejection hurts.  Rejection causes many insecurities that last within in us for years.  It causes trust issues with ourselves and others.  It causes us to overreact in situations when someone or something triggers our insecurities.  Lysa TerKeurst says it best in her book, Uninvited, by stating, “If we react with more emotion than is appropriate for an isolated incident, it’s probably not so isolated.  The escalated emotion of this situation is probably an indication of painful ties to the past.”

There is a character in the Bible who had deeply rooted issues that started with rejection.  David, even though he became the King of Israel, had insecurities by how his father treated him.  When David was young, he was rejected by his father by not being included in the most important day of their families lives.  While David was tending the sheep, a prophet named Samuel arrived at their home to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be king.  Jesse had eight sons, including David.  Jesse presented seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel did not choose any of them.  Samuel asked if “these were all the sons [Jesse] had” and Jesse responded by saying, “there is still the youngest” which was referring to David (1 Samuel 16:11).  Immediately when Samuel saw David, he anointed him as the Lord said to do.  He “took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers” (1 Samuel 16:13).  This rejection continued to haunt David for many years to come.  We will see this in chapter 25 in 1 Samuel.

In chapter 25, David was rejected by Nabal and reacted irrationally over the situation.  David sent ten servants to Carmel to ask Nabal to prepare a meal in honor of his name (1 Samuel 25:5-8).  Nabal reacted by saying, “Who is this David?  Who is this son of Jesse?…Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered…and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (1 Samuel 25:10-11).  When the men told David what Nabal said, David threatened to kill Nabal and all the men in the household (1 Samuel 25:12-17).  David overreacted and was about to do something that would not only harm himself emotionally but kill innocent people.  His anger did not stem from this single incident alone.  Nabal reopened a wound from David’s childhood when his father rejected him from the family’s anointing (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  The grudge was so deep that David was willing to kill to make someone pay for his hurt.  Nabal’s wife saved her husband and household by preparing the meal for David and making him feel welcome.

David felt like he belonged for the first time since his father’s rejection.  His father “inflicted a mark on his heart that read, ‘you don’t belong'” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  David achieved remarkable things in his lifetime, but “no amount of outside achievement fixes inside hurts” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  “Those hurts have to be soothed by replacing the lies with truth” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  Nabal’s wife reassured David that he was important, valuable, and secure.  She asked him to forgive her husband of his actions and that he is secure in the Lord.  She reminded David about his achievements and success.

This is a powerful story of rejection turning into a place of belonging.  At some point in our lives, we can all relate to David’s insecurities.  His fear of never belonging.  David allowed his past to work against him.  When we hold onto our past hurts, it causes us to hold a grudge against someone or something.  We tend to overreact when a wound is reopened, and, as a result, we hurt others because of our insecurities.  “Let your past rejection experiences work for you instead of against you” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).

APPLICATION

What kind of rejections have you bottled up inside that continue to haunt you on a daily basis?  What causes you to react irrationally when someone or something triggers the insecurities in your life?  Rejection reminds us that we don’t belong.  It is a lie from the devil that tells us we are not good enough or smart enough.  The truth is, we belong to God.  We have always belonged to God, because He created us.  We are His children!  He is our Truth!

So…what do you need to hear today to belong?  Do you need to hear that you have worth? Or valued? Or Important? Or loved?  What is it?!  David almost killed innocent people because of past rejection.  Rejection is powerful and destructible.  It not only ruins our lives but those around us.  I pray you find time with God this week to ask for His healing touch on the things that have hurt you in the past or even current issues.  I pray you find your security in Christ and not of this world.  And, finally, I pray you let go of the hurtful situations that hinder you each and every day and surrender it to God.

 

“Just Be Held”

Casting Crowns wrote a song in 2014 called, “Just Be Held.”  During this Christmas season, this song reminds me about how the world brings chaos and disappointment into our lives. Many people lost loved ones this year, and the memory of them not being here for the holidays causes sadness.  For others, Christmas did not turn out the way they planned it, and they are dealing with depression and disappointment.  Some will put on a fake smile and make the best of the holidays even if they have lost the Christmas cheer.  This song, “Just Be Held” brings comfort to those who are sad, depressed, and disappointed.  It reminds us that no matter what we are going through, we are held by our Heavenly Father.

In the beginning of the song it talks about how we are expected to “hold it all together [because] everyone needs you strong.”  In times of sorrow or trouble, people expect us to be strong for the whole family during the holidays.  The truth is, God does not expect that from us.  He sees your hurt and realizes you are barely holding on.   You are on the verge of your breaking point.  God sees that and wants you to be held by Him.

The chorus tells us to stop fighting in our flesh, surrender to God, and lay our burdens down at Jesus’ feet.  Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to give our burdens to God and rest in Him.  When we hold on to our hurt, regret, and shame, we exhaust ourselves and become weak in the Spirit.  We begin to feel alone and think we are falling apart.  We feel like we are too far gone to  find peace again.  We feel like we are in a war that will never end.  That is when we get on our knees and call out Jesus’ name, because God is “on the throne” and He will hold us in the midst of our life’s storms.  He tells us to stop holding on and to trust Him in His arms.

The song continues to encourage us to not focus on our circumstances and to focus on the cross.  Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us that God “will never leave [us] nor forsake [us].”  The cross represents God’s love for us.  He cares about our every need (Philippians 4:19).  God wipes away our tears and turns our circumstances into something beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3).  He turns the ashes into beauty.

Next week as we come together with family and friends, let this song be a reminder that God wants to hold us in His arms through the hurt, the sadness, and the regret of what this season has brought into our lives.  His love overwhelms you with His peace.  Remember, to be held by our Heavenly Father is the most precious place to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Help Others and Yourself Through Hurtful Situations

HOW TO RESPOND TO SOMEONE WHO IS HURTING

When people are hurting we sometimes overuse Christian statements to make them feel better.  We tend to say, “God has your back”, “Keep your chin up”, “You are blessed”, and so forth.  At times, these statements are appropriate.  But, other times, these statements do not help those who are hurting.  They are just words with no emotion and meaning.

We need to remember to listen instead of trying to give advice all the time.  We need to listen to the person’s words, and why he or she feels that way.  We do not need to make others feel that their feelings do not matter.  Sometimes all they need is a hug, a prayer, and a friend to talk to in a time of need.

“IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY”

In a previous church I attended, the motto was, “it’s okay not to be okay.”  It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to be upset.  It’s okay to ask why.  Sometimes it just does not make sense, and we want answers.  We want the chaos to stop.  We want to silence our thoughts.  We are overwhelmed and want to run the other direction.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FINDING HOPE THROUGH THE TEARS

The truth is, we cannot stay in that state for a long period of time.  We have to continue to lean on God for comfort and peace.  We have to continue believing in hope.  We have to constantly pray, through the tears, that God has a plan for our lives.  And then one day, you realize you do not hurt as much as you used to.  You are not thinking about the situation as much.  God is at work in your life to heal your pain and loss.

APPLICATION AND PRAYER

If you are going through a difficult time, I encourage you talk to someone about it.  Find someone who you trust and who will listen to you.  I pray that you find God’s peace in your circumstances.  I encourage you to cry in God’s arms and allow Him to carry you through this hardship.  And, always remember, “it’s okay not to be okay.”

Facing Challenges

We all face challenges in life.  It could be mental, emotional, or physical.  Hardship sometimes causes us to have unhealthy emotions.  When we face challenges in our lives, the devil tries to convince us that it is impossible to overcome it.  We begin to doubt ourselves and feel defeated.  Satan wants us to lose the power and authority we have with God.  But the Lord wants us to feel empowered to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.  In Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.'”  We are not alone in our battles!  God is with us every step of the way.

The decisions we make during hardships are crucial.  Our choices determine our future.  Our emotions can get in the way of making good decisions.  We can easily become impatient and angry.  We have to learn how to control our emotions to have a clear mind.  We must always be in prayer with every step we take to be an overcomer through Christ.  When we feel overwhelmed with our emotions, we need to “cast all [our] anxiety on [God]” (1 Peter 5:7).  We need to go to God in prayer so He can remind us He has already given us peace.  We just need to declare His peace over our lives!  In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” 

Philippians 4:13 is a powerful Scripture that is well known and often misunderstood.  It states, “I can do all this through Him [, God,] who gives me strength.”  We cannot be overcomers through our own strength.  The only way we can overcome obstacles is through God.  We cannot do it alone!  We need God!

When we face challenges, God promises us rewards.  James 1:12 tells us “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  The Bible says “that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).  We not only get rewarded, but we build our character through hardship.  We grow in our faith and learn who we are as an individual.

The Bible promises us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  I encourage you to persevere “so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).  I pray you stay strong in your faith.  Do not let the devil get you down.  God is on your side and will always be there for you!

Declaration: You are a conqueror through Christ!

 

 

The Marathon Runner

A life with Christ is a journey full of twists and turns that is exhilarating and full of surprises. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a journey is “an act or instance of traveling from one place to another.” Our walk with Christ is much like a marathon runner.  A runner has to train vigorously to build endurance for the race.  We prepare our journey with God as we make strides towards knowing Him on a deeper level.

Along the journey, we may encounter setbacks. In those moments, we have to step back and assess the situation.  We have to learn how to work through it before moving forward.  This is what I call a bump in the road.  The “bump in the road” is our struggles and challenges we face during our journey.  God never promised it would be easy, but He did promise He would be with us through the difficult times.  The Bible states for us to “be strong and courageous” and that God “never leave[s] [us] nor forsake [us]” (Deuteronomy 31:6). This Scripture brings comfort in knowing that God is always with us.

Picture yourself at the starting line of a race pumped with excitement and anticipation. You are stretching and bouncing side-to-side, impatiently waiting for the race to begin.  The months of training prepared you mentally and physically.  You make goals to finish the race in a certain amount of time, and you strive to achieve them.  A runner may not foresee obstacles during his journey.  The weather conditions may not be what he or she expected.  Rain or other harsh conditions may slow him or her down, and it takes longer to reach the finish line.

We face many obstacles. No matter how long God prepared us for the journey, we still have conflict.  Satan is real, and He will, with his best efforts, try to make you feel defeated.  He does not want you to succeed, but God does.  It is in the journey that you find strength in Christ to move forward.  It is in journey that you find out who you are through Christ.

Joyce Meyer says “we need to enjoy the journey and not be so focused on our destination that we miss everything else.” Sometimes the journey takes longer than we expect due to complications or waiting for answers.  Just like life goals, getting to know God on a higher level will take preparation, patience, and dedication to reach new levels with Him.  As Christians, God has expectations for us to meet, and, by conquering them, we learn to trust and know Him on a deeper level.