This I Believe

Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”

I still remember the sinking feeling I had in my chest as I stared at the 70 something mark on my world government and religions test in 9th grade. Despite knowing full well that I had not put in the effort necessary to get a good grade on that test, I was still shocked. However, more than anything, I was determined to never do so poorly on anything again. This has been the story of my life over the past several years, especially since being in college. The drive to succeed and do my best has become engrained into my deepest being.

And this is where I found myself at the start of this semester. Despite occasionally having to deal with some anxiety, I felt as if I was on top of everything. I prided myself in my good grades- not necessarily because they made me feel smart, but because they were visible proof of the hard work I put into everything. Perhaps more than that, however, I was driven to not let others down. I defined myself as a faithful, dependable person, and the idea of ever not being my best for anyone sickened me. Aside from this, I truly wanted to help people, so I delved deep into committing to finding as many ways as I could to serve on campus and even off when I had the free time. Through all of this, I took comfort in the feeling that every hour spent early in the morning studying and every busy weekend meant that I was being the best that I could be. Colossians 3:23. But is this what God was really asking from me?

And then I lost it- or at least that’s what it felt like. It began when I started having a hard time concentrating in class because my mind was so consumed with worry. Several particularly hard weeks left me exhausted and physically sick as it became even more difficult for me to concentrate on my homework. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I started waking up in the morning with anxiety like I had never experienced before. Over the course of several weeks, my developing anxiety turned into despair and I found myself unable to control the amount of times in a day when I would just break down in tears. I was overwhelmed and confused. I felt as if I had become everything I never wanted to be- I felt lazy, unmotivated, undependable, and hopeless. I felt like I was a failure- not just to myself, but to others. I didn’t know how to process and to explain to others what was going on in my head, and I hated myself for it.

Currently, I am still working through my emotions. I suppose there are a lot of lessons that I have learned and am learning through this experience. Slowly I am learning that it is ok to fail sometimes, and it is ok to not understand everything that is going on.  But the thing that has stuck out to me the most during this time is the grace God has given me through the support of other people. When I was at my worst, and barely able to function, I was overwhelmed with the amount of patience and mercy my parents, my professors, and my friends showed me. I may never understand-or feel worthy- of it. But this I believe: like Paul declared in his letter to the Corinthians, God’s grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in my weakness. I’ve been forced to realize that my efforts and my striving will ultimately get me nowhere if I’m not doing it for God. And by doing it for God, I don’t mean relentlessly striving to please everyone and be perfect every hour of the day, but rather, to humbly accept my weaknesses and accept that God’s power and grace can only truly be revealed when I surrender everything to Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”


Who are You?


“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” –Romans 8:17

             I decided to write this post about a question that’s been on my mind a lot lately: Who am I? Sometimes I struggle to answer this question because I find it hard to categorize myself into one type of person. Quite obviously I am a white American female, however, that’s not the point. Upon mentally answering the question of who I am in my head, I realized that I define myself as a lot of different things. First, I’m a Christian. I always have been and that’s usually the first thing that comes to mind when I try to figure out what makes me who I am. Then it gets a little blurry. I’m not an athlete, musician, nerd, geek, performer, cook, or any typical categorical stereotype, despite the fact that I enjoy elements of all the aforementioned identities.

However, I have come to realize that I tend to define myself by my performance and achievements. While I am not a performer in one sense of the word, I am very much so in the sense that my happiness often times depends on how well I succeed at a given task. It’s often a grade on a test, a score on an assignment, participation in a group, or a number of other achievement based things. This realization isn’t new; I’ve always been aware of this tendency to some degree or another. But a few weeks ago I realized that my source of joy for that day was the fact that I had done well on a test.

If I had scored one point lower, I would have been devastated.

And I had a real problem with that.

So over the past few weeks I decided to think about how Jesus lived when He was on the earth. Like me (and all of us), Jesus was also many things. He was a carpenter, a Jew, a friend, a teacher, and a son to earthly parents. He had quite the list of achievements too—just look at a few of the miracles He performed. But Jesus didn’t define himself by any of these things. His identity was found in the fact that He was the Son of God. Everything He did was based off this one personal definition. It radically changed the way He lived and treated people.

Well, none of us are sons of God in the sense that Jesus was. But according to Romans 8:17, we, as Christians who share in the sufferings and glory of Christ, are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Another verse that I often turn to when thinking of this subject is Colossians 3:23, which reminds us that we are to work at everything as if unto the Lord, and not to men. Daily I am learning what it means to be a follower of Christ, and daily I am learning to define myself, not by who I am, but by Whose I am.

It’s not that achievements or trying to do things well are bad. In fact, I think that if we desire to live our life for God we should aim to live it well. After all, I’m fairly certain Jesus didn’t run a shoddy ministry when He was on the earth (although it was far from glorious at times. That’s another topic though). It’s just that, in the end, the only thing that really matters is if we knew Jesus and lived our life for Him. In Romans 6:16 it says (and elsewhere throughout the Bible) that, “when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves that to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.”

Again, not that achievements or [insert any other God-given talent or gift here] are bad. But whatever we choose to define us ends up becoming our master. When we place, in this case, achievements over God, instead of glorifying Him, they begin to define our worth. Instead of using an academic, musical, sports related, or other gift to point others to Christ and inspire others to grow and find freedom, we let the fruit of our labor, whether it be a fine line between an A or B on a test, a perfectly performed composition, or a winning game tell us whether we are worthy or not. When we become slaves to these material things, not only do they have the power to influence our feelings about ourselves, but they also have the power to influence how we treat others, as we begin to compare ourselves to and look down on those who do not perform as well as us, and become jealous of those who do better. It’s a painful cycle that leaves many people feeling empty and far from good enough.

But when we choose to be a slave to righteousness, the picture drastically changes. Suddenly our talents are not burdensome. Our performance does not define us. A score on a test does not haunt us in our beds at night. When we choose to be defined as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, the very purpose of our life is transformed. When we live for Him, we also live to help others. And we can use our talents to help us do that.

They just don’t define us anymore.


The Power of Surrender

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. –Matthew 16:25

First of all, I’ve been meaning to write on here again for quite some time now, but, as it turns out, college has taken up a lot of my time and I’m just now getting around to writing. *sigh*

But nevertheless, I’ve felt compelled to share about a powerful yet sometimes neglected truth I have been learning (often the hard way). It’s an underlying theme all throughout the Bible and Jesus’ teachings, yet I’ve found is far too easily forgotten or, quite simply, ignored. It is, however, essential to living, if we so choose to live out life to the full capacity God has given us.

It is the power of surrender.

In a world full of self-help books and motivational speakers (and preachers) which seek to show us how we can “become our best self,” we often forget our desperate need for Jesus. The truth is, we’re all broken, and no matter how hard we try to fix ourselves, it’s just not going to work. Maybe for a while, yes. But in order to find a lasting freedom in our lives, we have to give ourselves up entirely to Jesus.

How do I know this? Well, I can point to scripture that shows this (I’ll get to that later). But I also know this from the reality of what has happened in my life. You see, from the time I was about 14 years old, I’ve always, from a subjective Christian standpoint, had a “good relationship with the Lord.” I’ve prayed, read the Bible, gone to church, and done all the “Christian” things. But these things, although beneficial (and necessary) for my walk with the Lord, really got me nowhere until I decided to fully give myself up to Him.

And honestly, some of the darkest times in my life have been when I haven’t fully surrendered myself to Jesus. Most of the time, the things I chose to “handle on my own” have been good things, per say, like a close friendship, relationship, or my achievements. Other times, I have chosen to hold back things I knew were in direct opposition to His plan, like a secret sin or unhealthy lifestyle. Either way, every time I have chosen to hide something from God (which really isn’t possible, but I sometimes liked to imagine it was), or hold back something from Him that I wanted to handle myself, I have ended up stressed out, anxious, and generally just plain miserable (even if I denied the fact that I was miserable!).

I have found that freedom comes in surrender to Jesus Christ. And by surrender, I mean giving Him my every selfish desire, my every hope, my every plan, and letting Him radically change me. It’s not easy to do, after all, it’s not human nature to give up what we think we can control. But you see, God does want us to have a rich, impactful, fulfilling life. He desires for us to know Him intimately and to feel fulfilled even when the going gets tough. But we can’t experience that until we completely surrender ourselves to Him.

In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Now that’s some radical truth. I think many of us have been so busy trying to “save our lives” that we’ve lost them in the process.

True living comes from surrendering ourselves to Him. It’s a daily choice, but it’s one of the greatest choices we could ever make. It’s not worth the struggle to fight life’s challenges or even control God’s blessings on our own. One of the best things about Jesus is that He wants to have a relationship with you. So give yourself to Him.  Lose your life for Him a little. I think you’ll find it one of the most freeing things you’ll ever do.


Most people who have known me for a decent length of time know that I have always strongly disliked writing. When I was in middle school and even throughout high school, I dreaded even the shortest writing assignments. Even the most subjectively interesting topics were not enough to excite me to sit down and write for any extended period of time.

However, over the course of my first semester at college and this past year, I have found elements of this daunting art that I actually thoroughly enjoy. Yes, I said the word. I actually enjoy writing, or rather, I enjoy the effect that writing has. I love the skill of reflection, and that writing gives me the ability to process life’s experiences. And I love that writing has power. It has the power to inspire, transform, and even change the lives of those who read it.

All this being said, this brings me to the reason I decided to start this blog. Because trust me, despite my newfound appreciation for the art, I am still not a writer at heart and would much rather find some other way to (hopefully) inspire people than sit down and write.

I am writing this blog because I believe in truth. While the principle of truth is powerful enough, I would like to take my statement further and say that not only do I believe in absolute truth, but I believe in biblical truth. You see, while the idea of “believing the Bible” or “believing in Jesus” is indeed simple and perhaps dull at first thought, the truth is incredibly powerful. The Bible is God’s word, God’s plan, and God’s revelation through and through. It is His message to reach out to us, if we so choose to read and study it. Furthermore, it documents the life of Jesus, who is the manifestation of the purest, truest love and righteous judgement at the same time.

In the end, having experienced these qualities of God, Jesus, and the Bible firsthand in my studies, life experiences, and relationship with Him, I have decided I simply cannot keep from sharing it. I have to share the truth. Not just because I believe it is absolute, but mostly because of what Jesus said in John 8:31-32. In talking to the Jews who believed in Him, he challenged them to hold to His teaching, and in that, they will know the truth, and the truth will set them free.

Now, I’m not saying I’m a biblical scholar or theologian or have even been to Bible school. I’m not perfect and I certainly don’t have “all the answers.” I’m just a follower of Jesus who has dedicated her life to Christ and wants other people to experience the freedom that comes from knowing Christ and His truth. It may not be the freedom that is often portrayed, and I can guarantee you that this Biblical truth can be very challenging at times. But in the end, it is the most incredible feeling, or dare I say lifestyle, that one can ever experience here on earth.

Truth matters. Jesus wants to reveal it to us if we seek Him. All it takes is a heart truly open to hearing His Word.

That’s all for now, though. More to come in following posts.