A Life Unfiltered

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Filters. We all use them. I use them. Apps have made it very easy for us to show a perfected image of ourselves to the world. Now I’m not opposed to filters on pictures to enhance and smooth one bit, but the problem comes when we try to use them in real life to make our lives look perfect in our interaction with others. I have NO desire to give the illusion of perfection in my real life.  I have always been a truth seeker and I prefer what is real to a facade any day.  It’s hard for me to relate to a facade and I can’t keep one up in myself.  I’ve also come to realize most people are not like me.

We all have those rooms we toss clutter into when company is expected (ok I do tidy up people…I live unfiltered, not unclean). We try to clean up the areas that will be seen by others. The question is why? I believe the answer is found in us believing we will somehow be unacceptable if our flaws are seen by others. Nobody wants to open themselves up to criticism or judgement. I can honestly say that I love when my tried and true friends come over and I don’t feel I have to thoroughly clean before they come. I know that my house and whether or not I’m wearing make up will NOT effect their love for me.

Whose love are we afraid of losing if we are seen, truly seen… strangers? friends? family? the church? God?

First of all God loves you no matter what so you don’t have to worry about losing His love….ever. You can make decisions that cause a distance on your end but it’s as simple as an “I’m sorry” and resuming relationship with Him. It is only through His unconditional love for you that you will be able to love yourself and others.

Friends, if they are true friends shouldn’t mind seeing the real you. In fact, they should celebrate you in your transparency and vulnerability. My closest friends are the people who have seen me at my worst and I’ve seen them at their worst and we have loved each other through it. I have had people tell me that they were jealous of my friendships because I take friendship very seriously. Honesty, transparency and vulnerability are all hallmarks of my forever friends. They could not care less whether my house is clean or I’m wearing sweats when they come over because they care more about my heart. We have been through wars together and survived and we celebrate our victories with joyful celebration.

Family, now sometimes this one is the hardest. Family see you at your worst but sometimes don’t have the grace that your friends have for you. Unfortunately these are where some of the deepest wounds are acquired, within the walls of your own home. This is why knowing where you stand with God is vitally important. Knowing that He sees you and loves you unfiltered gives you the ability to reflect His grace back at the ungraceful in your family. The beauty that is you does not cease to exist just because some people can’t see it.

Stangers, really? Now these are the people who will many times prefer the filtered version of you. It doesn’t require any investment on their part. It’s as easy as liking your pic on Facebook. Strangers don’t know how to handle flaws because many times they are scared to death of people seeing their own. The interesting thing is that when you dare to expose what you think are flaws, you become more accessible and relatable to many others. Look at what happened with the “Me Too” movement. Being real is so much more attractive than being perfect.

Church….another place which likes the christian filtered version of you. As long as you play the part and answer with the right answers you can slide by most of the time. Shouldn’t this be one of the safest places to be real? We can’t handle the truth of the pain that truly resides in peoples lives so we are more comfortable not asking and not sharing.

Maybe it’s more about making a good impression on people when you first meet them. I understand this, but you must have those people in your life that you can move past first impression relating with and move into doing life with them. That’s when it’s time to stop being polite and start getting real (anyone else remember Real World on MTV in the 90’s?). Only really real, not fake real. The stuff that comes from heartbreak and loss as well as hopes and dreams. Maybe it’s time for us to stop being religious and start getting real.

Now just because I live unfiltered does that mean I share the contents of my heart with just anyone? of course not.  Wisdom will tell you to what degree of detail you can share with whoever you encounter. It is vital that we all find those super safe people and places where we can be 100% honest about what’s really going on in our world.

We had a group that would meet at our house a couple years back and it was church for many who would come. This was a group in age from 17-35 and we would make meals together, worship together and share our struggles with each other in all honesty….it was beautiful.  This was a group that loved Jesus passionately. Many times prophecy would break out that dropped people on their faces in His presence. It gave me a glimpse of what the church is missing in their desire to maintain their religious comfort zones. My hearts desire is for church to truly become a safe place to come, be unfiltered, and still be accepted and loved.

So do what you want with your pics on social media but please don’t filter your real life. Find people and places where it’s ok to be real…the real you…unfiltered and still totally loved and accepted. They exist, I promise. It’s worth seeking to find your home. When you crack the facade of perfection you invite the light of love to come flooding into the darkness. Your heart will feel a hug that melts the ice that the illusion of perfection brought with it.

You are beautiful and worthy of love. You are seen, heard, and have great value. That is the truth of the matter. Don’t let anyone convince you to silence truth with a filtered response of ….I’m ok. Ask God to lead you to people who will be true friends for you so your heart can begin to blossom and come alive to who you were created to be all along.

You cannot have deep meaningful relationships living a filtered life so dare to remove the filter and let love in.

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The Rising Resistance

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The things coming against you are making you stronger whether you realize it or not. Much like David had no clue that killing the lion and bear were part of his training and was building his strength and confidence in who God was to him and through him.

God is raising a people who are resistant to the enemy’s taunts and very aware of the snares laid in their path. They have been trained in the wilderness and much like David it has brought much confidence in the faithfulness of God and in His mighty power in their lives. They will not be flattered, distracted, or enticed by what is shiny. They know without a doubt that not all that glitters is gold. They have had much exposure to “fools gold” through their lifetime. They will not be enticed by the spotlight or fame, in fact, they will resist that too.

They have found the power in intimacy and when they flow and move it is straight out of the Fathers heart. This empowers them to not fall for a counterfeit. They are entwined with the Genuine.

These resisters have been exposed to much on their journey and they have fought many battles that they wish they could have avoided. It has all been strategic. We needed training as to what deserves our attention and what is merely an illusion and meant to distract us. They have learned to fight with the weapon of the Word as a sword and wield it skillfully. They have learned kingdom ways and developed kingdom character.

When a drill instructor is screaming horrible things in the military recruits face the recruit eventually learn to not react at all …no matter what. They are taught to handle stressful situations with a complete calm assurance. They are being taught resistance and endurance. We are being taught the same thing in this season. When the enemy is shouting in our faces we need to know when to address it and when to simply rest in the truth of Who we carry on the inside of us.

When people like nurses and doctors work in germ filled environments they end up resistant to the germs after awhile. When we get immunizations we are exposed to the very thing we are wanting to avoid. We end up resistant to the disease.

God is using it ALL. What you believe is evil and most definitely not of Him might just be your lion or bear building your strength and resistance.

**Remember…. Romans 8:28- He works ALL things together for our good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Genesis 50:20- What the enemy meant for evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people.

The Fire in You

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Some people will keep themselves away from getting too close to you solely due to the Fire you carry. They are both intrigued and terrified by it at the same time. They want to be close enough to stay warm and comfortable, but not too close to be challenged and changed.

Those reasons they stay away are rooted in wounds from the past. Truth is that if they allowed themselves to be honest and vulnerable, and to draw near…if they dared to wholeheartedly jump into that Fire themselves… they would NOT get burned…they would IGNITE!

Stay in the fire until it accomplishes what it’s meant to. Abiding is key. You in Him, Him in you. Then you take the Fire with you everywhere you go to IGNITE others who dare to draw near!!!

The Show Must Go On

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Yes, I’ve seen The Greatest Showman four times….so far. Don’t “movie shame” me people.  It’s probably my favorite movie of all time.  It’s a story about PT Barnum and his circus. It’s a great movie with God’s character and desires woven through the whole thing. Some things that stuck out to me I’m going to bring to the surface in this article.

PT is very much a dreamer and dreams of the impossible which I absolutely believe we could benefit by doing more often. I believe the One who created this wonderful world we live in has to be quite the Dreamer Himself, don’t you think? PT lives in a world without limits. He steadily turns what would look like defeat into opportunities used for his advantage and blessing. He does not leave room for discouragement in his life. He turns his critics words into cheers to rally him onward. We all need a little more of that kind of tenacity don’t we? I believe that PT’s character in this movie represented the Father’s heart quite well throughout the whole movie. The only way it didn’t was that PT was a bit of a exaggerator and left out facts when it came what he felt he had to do and say to see his dream come alive. God never lies or exaggerates.

What I absolutely love is the way he gathers the unlikely and those who are hidden due to the physical “defects” they were born with. PT sees these things as what makes them unique and what makes each of them beautiful. He saw them as something to celebrate and spotlight. Oh, how that carries the Father’s heart to see every one of our faces and hear every one of our voices. This group came out of the shadows and formed a family who learned to celebrate themselves and each other. I think we need more celebrating of our differences in our cities, towns, and churches.

The high class people of the city (the religious/pharisees) as well as some of the common townspeople (the world) wanted the circus out of their town and called the people in the show “freaks”.  They were both condescending and heartless. Meanwhile the people involved in the circus were filled with joy, acceptance, and a sense of family for the first time in their lives.

My favorite scene in the whole movie is where PT is trying to convince a young socialite, Philip, to join his team.  This is not an easy task as Philip is quite comfortable with his high class but boring life and thinks it would cost him too much as far as his reputation is concerned. They are sitting in a bar and I can almost hear the whole conversation going down as being between the Holy Spirit and someone stuck in religiosity. They are taking shots (new wine) and singing and dancing the whole time. I love hearing PT offering Philip that he will have joy and laughter and will find a life worth living if he accepts his offer. He takes PT up on his offer and never looks back.

Through the movie PT is accused of selling that which is fake because of his reputation for exaggerating the facts to get more people in to the shows. So PT goes on a search for something he thinks is real and starts to pursue the high class life with it’s priorities that Philip had just left without regret, only to find that what was real was right in front of him the whole time. The things the world was rejecting as “fake” was real the whole time. The fruit was real. It was the laughter and joy and an abundance of love in this family of “outcasts” that was real and lasting.

I believe the church that God is building looks a bit more like that circus than the angry judgmental villagers who were picketing outside the building. I believe God truly likes how He made us with our quirks and oddities, I believe we make Him smile when He looks at us. I believe if we would be more honest about ourselves we would find we all have those areas we have tried to hide. What happens if we create a safe place for people to dare to be honest about those things? What if we truly reached out in love to those branded unlovable? I believe it would be wonderful. I believe it would be spectacular. I believe we would end up seeing God as the GREATEST SHOWMAN OF ALL TIME!  I believe that’s His heart. I believe He would do amazing things… in fact…I BELIEVE HE WILL!

When you are walking hand in hand with the Greatest Showman of ALL TIME, He’s gonna show you things. It will be magnificent!

 

 

Time to Rest in Peace

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The thing I’ve seen cause the biggest faith crisis in people’s lives are in people who are still debating the goodness of God. They tend to believe that if they are happy then God is good and if they aren’t, God is bad, or distracted, or just simply doesn’t care. I have found that these are the same people, who when they walk away from God, it’s because they prayed for something and it didn’t happen. In may cases they thought He had told them how something would play out and it didn’t happen in that exact way.

I can’t tell you how many young adults I’ve run across who thought that God told them to marry a certain person and it didn’t happen and in most cases, it’s a really good thing it didn’t happen. Our own desires are really good at masquerading as God’s voice.

It’s actually kind of a flip on the Adam and Eve story in the bible where satan came and questioned “did God really say?” only this question is “Didn’t God tell you it would go differently?” BOTH questions are meant to make us question God’s goodness and whether His intentions for us are for good. They are devised to cause distance to form between us and God.

The truth is that God is a good father who will not allow things to happen that will ruin us if we are surrendered to Him…no matter how badly we want them. He sees the big picture that we simply cannot see with our human eyes. He is very much a father who will risk hurting your arm to yank you off the road so you don’t get hit by a car. We are very much like children wanting to play in the road sometimes. We need someone looking out for us who will see the big picture and not just the ball we are chasing after. Trust that when He says no there is good reason for it.

He will also allow things in our lives that will build our character and make us stronger. These things are usually situations we would walk away from if we could. They are the situations where we can’t see any way to do it or get through it without leaning on His strength. If we naively try to do it in our own strength chances are we will fail and then blame God for not making it a success. That’s another point for the enemy. Father God will carry you through things you never thought you would survive. Trust that He will carry you where your own strength can’t take you.

I sense He is wanting to settle this question in many right here and right now in many people’s lives. Is God good? Can He be trusted? Who is alive? Is it you, or Christ in you? Have you FULLY surrendered your life to His care? Have you died to self (your ways of thinking and feeling)? We are to have His eyes, His ears, His thoughts, His emotions, His heart, and His will for our life. Whose glory are you after… yours? or His? He wants you dead, for your own goodso He can live in and through you. He knows when you die you will REST IN HIS PEACE, His plans, His way. His dreams become our dreams. Don’t worry, His dreams for us far exceed anything we could want for ourselves.

He is looking for a resolve that says ….I’m sorry Father God for holding back areas of my life from you. I’m giving you all of me today...no matter what comes, I’m Yours and You are good and You love me more than I can understand. I lay my life down and say it’s Yours. ALL of it.  I trust You in the unanswered questions, and with all the things I don’t understand, with all my loved ones who are going on journeys I don’t understand. I believe that You work all things together for my good and I trust You with all my heart. Today I choose to rest in Your peace…in Jesus’s name.

Galatians 2:19-20-  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 

Isaiah 26:3- You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Thank Me

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I heard the Lord say “thank Me” as soon as I woke up. So I said “Thank You… Is this for something specific Lord?” and He said “you have no idea what I am about to bless you with.” I definitely sensed it was said in an expectant parent “I know something you don’t know” kind of way.

Get excited even when you see no reason to be! Even when your heart is breaking! Even in the midst of the “why’s?” of this life. He is still Lord, He is still the Victor on the throne, and He is still working ALL things together for our good!

 He is actively putting things in place in order to bless all His kids. It’s what He does! Even when we can’t see what He’s doing. Thank Him today for who He is and for what you can’t see!

Trust Him, thank Him, and praise Him in the in-between moments. He is great and worthy to be praised! There is so much more is going on than we can imagine!

Like a Rushing Mighty Wind You Shall Dance

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 “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven , as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting…” Acts 2:2

This is what I heard in my spirit when I saw what my husband had given me for Christmas. It was a purple WIND DANCER! For those of you who don’t know what these are, they are like wind socks, with a face and arms,  that are usually placed in front of stores or car dealerships to draw attention to the business. My husband knows that no matter what kind of mood I’m in I will always giggle at the sight of these WIND DANCERS and their wild and crazy dancing. I knew as soon as I opened it that there was also a prophetic word that the Lord wanted me to unpack for 2018.

The most monumental things about the way WIND DANCER’S function is that they are compelled and propelled by the mighty rushing wind blowing through them. This is NOT a gentle breeze blowing through them but a force strong enough to make them able to stand and dance in even the coldest and darkest conditions. They are not effected by the external environment one bit. The winds can blow all around them and they will still dance! When pressure comes against them in any form, they bounce back to a standing position! This is the same for us! We need to be so full of the Holy Spirit that we are not effected by the environment around us. When the winds of opposition come we will dance because the force of the wind within us is greater than the wind that is coming against us. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

There is coming a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit that will be like nothing before. The force of this wind will be powerful, vibrant, and able to push us past things that have hindered us in the past. The things we have battled in the past will be blown away by His glory! Insecurity and the fear of man cannot last in this glory!!!

It is vital in 2018 that we stay plugged into His heart. If we are not plugged in, we are nothing more than a pile of fabric on the floor. Resist the urge to puff yourself up in these unplugged moments with hot air (you will exhaust yourself) and get yourself plugged back into your Power source!

It is so easy in times of trouble to shut down and refuse to move in order to protect yourself. This is not a year to react in this manner. We cannot dance if we refuse to be moved. We cannot dance if we aren’t pliable in His hands. 2018 is a year to think, feel and function differently. He is filling you with a wind that you have never felt before!

I heard three words….

* Engage- this is NOT a year of passivity or apathy. This is a year of ALL IN! He is calling you off the benches and back in the game. He is calling your name!!! Plug back in to His heart and be FILLED with what will MOVE you into all the things He has for you in 2018!

* Expand- You will definitely be stretched as He expands His spirit within you. It was no coincidence that my wind dancer is purple. Purple is the color of royalty. This is a year to get full revelation on your identity as a son or daughter and learn to walk in it. Stay flexible in His hands so you can stretch! You will not be able to stay in your comfort zone as you begin to feel afresh what He is putting within you. There will be new ideas and new vision birthed by His heart! You will not have to strive in man made effort because the force of the wind will compel you to CREATE! The places you were fearful to go in the past, you will go boldly into fueled by His spirit!

* Express- The whole point of being filled with this mighty wind is to release it into the world. There will be people who wonder how you can be dancing through the storms of life and you will tell them. There are people who need Who you carry! They need Jesus! You carry His glory carrying wind with you wherever you go! There are people waiting to be healed, delivered, encouraged, blessed, loved, by the Holy God living in and through you!  For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring. Acts 17:28


 

One thing about doors. We have heard much about them in the last year. What I sense the Lord showing me is that many people have feared the very doors He is bringing into their lives to bless them, but they are suspicious about them. He showed me that the door is never the problem, in many cases it’s a swinging door and its the force that opens the door that is the issue. An example is the door of BELIEF. It will either be opened by the force of FAITH within you pushing against it or by the spirit of fear pushing you backward. I see many WIND DANCERS dancing through doors empowered by His glory wind this year! Those areas that intimidated you in the past will not exist in 2018 as you yield to the fresh filling of His WIND!!

As you dance walls will come down, healing will happen, deliverance will happen, peace will be ushered in, etc. He is making you a Holy Spirit force to be reckoned with! Make sure He gets ALL the glory!! Remember Engage, Expand, Express!