Categories
recovery spirituality

We know we found the way when we taste divine peace

This Sunday, January 5th, I will be 6 years old.

It’s been six years since I cried for help and the One who made me answered me. I shared about my conversion in the post God healed overnight what therapy couldn’t heal in years.

It all sounds wonderful, but after we are born into eternity, we still need to follow a guide. Six months into my conversion, I was so misguided. Instead of focusing on the powerful Word that had healed me overnight, I followed all sorts of spiritual paths.

These spiritual paths presented themselves through people who were even more misguided than I was. I wasn’t peaceful and neither were they, in spite of appearances. Truth is we never know what peace really is like until we taste it.

This peace doesn’t come out of our own efforts, so meditation or rituals are simply bandaids. There is only one way to feel the inexplicable peace that the sovereign of all life can give us.

I hadn’t found the way, so I continued to walk multiple paths thinking that was a wise idea. And it was only when I turned back from this “world of possibilities” and went back to the Word that I found the peace I had been looking for.

Genuine peace is a gift from God. We receive it when we accept his calling, believe in him and follow his guidance.

And this is where many of us stumble.

We are not called to tell others how to live their lives. That would be a violation of the freedom that our sovereign Lord has granted us. Even when we talk about how we choose to live, we should be mindful that we are not boasting about it or making it sound as though we are an example for others. We are not.

Jesus is the example. He is our way, our truth and our life.

I pray that we continue to walk humbly as we follow Jesus. May he give us understanding to steer clear from telling others how to live, and instead welcome, encourage and love one another.

Categories
love recovery

Are we being kind or just sugar-coating the bad stuff?

I believe anything is possible with love as our sole master in life. But I also believe we need to face what’s in front of us instead of finding a way around it and acting as if it didn’t affect us.

When we don’t like, don’t want or don’t agree with something that’s happening to us or around us, we should act truthfully and with love. If we sugar-coat it to make it seem as though we are peaceful about it, when in fact we are not, we are essentially lying and misleading others.

After my conversion, I found myself taking on far more than I could take and not taking a stand for fear of being unkind. At the time I thought I was being good to others, when in reality I was being pathologically good.

To be good, I mean genuinely good, we must set boundaries that align with our spiritual values. When we don’t, we end up throwing our pearls to pigs, who will trample them, then turn and attack us.

In life, we need to know where we stand and take that stand. So when we say yes to something or to someone, we should wholeheartedly mean yes, and when we say no, we should wholeheartedly mean no.

We are not called to be who we are not. Or to fake it until we make it. The world around us might be satisfied with that, but that’s not the standard that we have come to know as we live under grace and divine love.

Whether we speak with kind or assertive words, we should always act lovingly and truthfully to build relationships with gracious truth and not with illusions.

Categories
faith love

Why gender is irrelevant to God

I know it is important that we feel comfortable in our own skin. But only love provides that comfort. When we are filled with love, we transcend the body and live peacefully in the spirit.

We, believers, know that this world is full of struggles, so we don’t wrestle with it. Being accepted, liked or even respected aren’t our battles. Our only battle is with evil trying to keep us enslaved to the deadly systems of this world.

We know that the one who has loved us from the beginning was neither accepted, liked or respected in this world. So why would we?

God invites us to live in spirit and truth. He doesn’t care whether our bodies or genetics spell male, female or anything else in between this world fights for.

We can start living an eternal life – in the spirit – while still in this temporary body. But instead a lot of us are attached to the body.

And make no mistake, friend: this attachment is not just random. This focus on the body takes away the focus from the spirit and is just another way evil finds to keep us trapped in its many cycles of self-destruction.

The good news is that instead of wrestling with our bodies, we can choose to thrive in the peace that only the reality of God’s love gives us.

All we have to do is accept his love.

When we are filled with his love, we are able to love ourselves for who we are as a path towards who we were always meant to be.

Our imperfect bodies might not be able to reflect our spiritual perfection, but we can live a fulfilling life regardless. We just need to choose love as our master instead of idolizing gender.

Categories
love recovery

What makes our decisions good?

When you wake up everyday, what is the real reason why you get up? What’s the driving force? While we don’t have one clear answer for these questions, our relationship with God is marginal.

Yet it should be central, because here in this world everything and everyone passes. Only God’s love is life and eternal.

Following Jesus is the perfect refuge from the struggles of this world and he welcomes us to do that. But beyond that, following Jesus is what gives us life, sharing God’s divine nature, allowing us to experience all things in this world from eternity and through love.

Jesus isn’t an app to open and close whenever we need it, or leave running in the background. He isn’t an add-on to our family and friends to fill in voids. He is our all. We exist because we were created through him.

When we live this life without Jesus as our all, we die bit by bit, piece by piece, as everything around us perishes. But when we make ourselves a home for Jesus, no matter what happens around us, we live on – in spirit. Eternally.

How can Jesus be our all? It takes transcendence. It takes willingness to do God’s will, and the confidence that there is nothing good outside of God’s will, because God is all light, all good, all love. A higher love. The only true love.

And what is God’s will? That we love him by loving one another. This way we can be one with God, who is love. Are you willing to do God’s will?

Categories
god love

Why our intentions can build and destroy at the same time

Acts of kindness have a genuine impact on the needy, but the intention is what will either build or destroy the people behind them. And that’s why it is important to know why.

God has called us to do his will with joy. If our intention is not out of love for one another, which is how God wants us to show our love for him, then there is no truth in it. This means that even when our acts of kindness build other people, they will do absolutely nothing good to us if the intention isn’t right.

There are a few common motivators for acts of kindness in the world, with pity, guilt and loneliness ranking high among them. But we’re not called to give because we feel bad for what others don’t have. And we are definitely not called to give as a way to boost our character.

We’re called, first and foremost, to love. Giving comes naturally when we love one another. And when we give with joy, out of love, we build each other. Only with God operating in us can we do what is genuinely good: his will.

Categories
love

Only Love makes us perfect in our imperfection

I remember watching this Lisa Nichols video last year and feeling so deeply touched by her heartfelt speech. The key message in the video is to remind ourselves that we are enough, in spite of all the people that we come across in our lives that try to tell us otherwise.

Yet being enough is not a question that God ever had about any of us. We are definitely not enough, or else we would not need his grace, mercy and love.

We are only enough with God’s love.

On our own, we are not enough and should not aspire to be. It is only in God, through his love, that we become an expression of not just enough, but of perfection. God’s plan isn’t to rise us up to enough. That’s not enough for him!

This world can play tricks like this on us. And, yes, I still love Lisa’s heartfelt speech, but only if I consider it in the limited context of this world. We should certainly not listen to anyone trying to devalue us.

But as far as being enough goes, I would much rather not be enough by the standards of this world, which means so little, and happily count that as loss.

It is our humility of not being enough for this world that brings us closer to God, who fills us up with riches that enough could never account for.

Categories
faith love

Take what was once used for evil and use it for doing good

There’s nothing more powerful than the idea that even what was once used for evil can become a way for us to do good. We just don’t always realize how this power operates in us, transforming us into who we were always meant to be.

How do we know that everything that we don’t like about us and think shouldn’t be there isn’t exactly how things have to be? It might just be that what we use it for now is simply not what it was meant to be.

One of the most impressive displays of God’s power in my life is my writing. I used to write novels when I was an atheist. They were dark, bitter, arrogant and a perfect reflection of who I was and my lack of spiritual foundation.

Then after my conversion, I completely stopped writing. I just couldn’t write about those things anymore. Darkness lost its grip on me.

It took me years to realize that the gift I have for writing was always meant to be used as an expression of God’s love. I absolutely thrive at seeking the most loving and inspiring ways of wording a message.

When we accept God’s love in our lives, he brings back to surface the person buried underneath all the darkness of this world. He frees us so we can finally become ourselves as perfect expressions of his divinity.

All we have to do is want it. He does all the heavy lifting for us.

Categories
god love

No one can take life from us

Suicide might not be an option for you, and it also isn’t for me. But it was an option on 13 Reasons Why, and it is an option in this fallen world for those of us who are crushed by loveless interactions and missing the life only God gives.

There are certain things that the vast majority of people don’t understand. One of them is the fact that some of us are extremely sensitive. Seeing the world for what it really is feels like a massive burden.

The reason why I am grateful for 13 Reasons Why is the fact it shows that burden. I remember when I was an atheist. Although not a school girl like Hannah, everyone got to me. I was so acutely aware of the world.

I was also deeply aware of myself and how my actions impacted others. And, contrary to what a lot of people like to believe, not everyone who feels this way has a mental illness or a low self-esteem. I didn’t.

At the time I used to go to psychologists and they were all puzzled too, because I had good self-esteem and no mental illness, anxiety or depression.

And the saddest part about this series is the response coming from viewers who judge Hannah. Yes, she was pointing the finger at others who hurt her, but it isn’t any better to point the finger at her for committing suicide.

She felt wronged the whole time and that was bound to crush her to death. It almost crushed me several years ago. And I am writing this because God’s love reached me just as it is reaching people like Hannah to lift that burden and save us from that deadly darkness where we can no longer see.

A God who is merciful with murderers who repent will also be merciful with a crushed human. If we think someone who couldn’t take this world anymore went to hell, I would be far more concerned about our merciless judgment.

None of us can know who goes where. Ever!

We are called to love one another, and we always can, because God’s love makes it possible. We are called to love all the Hannahs of this world and be willing to be the best that we can be for them and for all others around us.

Categories
faith love

A life too good for worldly words

I always hesitate to call myself a Christian. The first followers of Jesus, who is God incarnated, were coming from religious backgrounds and pagan practices. They were later referred to as “the way”, but Jesus himself didn’t give any names to anything. So why should we?

Being a follower of Jesus is about being freed by God’s love, a love that we are blessed with through God’s grace. Paul himself a religious man converted to believer describes the fruit of this spirit perfectly in Galatians 5:22-23:

When Jesus came, there was already an ongoing situation with religion and religious people that was not surprising back then – and it isn’t surprising now.

If we come off as stiff, judgmental, hypocritical and legalist, that might still make us Christians, but certainly doesn’t make us Jesus followers. Christian world leaders using their religion to justify violence and discrimination is just one of many red flags rightfully attached to Christianity.

Our attitude toward others ultimately depends on how much of a ‘fight’ we put up with the worst in ourselves. In other words, the evil that inhabits us is always there, but if we choose to live under God’s grace and not under the law or religion, we will make it – because the righteous will live by faith.

Categories
god love

What’s the best that we can be?

It is not easy to relate to God. And he gets that. So he came here as a human and made it possible for us to relate to him. Having lived as a man, all human and all God, he was also able to relate to us.

Because God doesn’t exist, he is, we need to look at Jesus to see him.

Jesus is fully human, because he fulfills everything that we are meant to be. And he is fully God, teaching us that he is the source of all good, life and love.

Jesus is God in relatable form teaching us that he isn’t a message to learn from a book, but a path to walk that leads to becoming like him.

All we have to do is want it.