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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Be Brave

Every year I try to pick a word or a phrase that is my theme for the year. This year my phrase is "Be Brave!". And, as He always does, God has continued to make this a thread through my life this year. I attended a writer's retreat in February and as a gift, I received a necklace that says those exact words- Be Brave. I wear it around my neck almost everyday and it serves as a reminder of what God has called me to this year.

God has taught me a ton over the past few months about bravery and courage through the stories of heroes in the Bible, heroes in church history and real life heroes that I encounter on a daily basis. Last night I was struck that maybe what I've been learning should become a post series on my blog. So, over the next few weeks to months, I will be exploring this topic of bravery with God.

We all need to be braver in our daily lives. Some of us need to be brave as we parent, some of us need to be brave as we fight for our marriage, some of us need to be brave as we step out in a new career or as we fight to save our current one, some of us need to be brave as we care for aging parents, some of us need to be brave as we serve in our churches, in our communities and in our schools and some of us live on the other side of the world and need to be brave because our life is at risk as we worship Jesus.

Wherever you are in life, I'm pretty positive God is calling you to be brave in some way. My prayer is that as God is teaching me how to be brave; I could in turn encourage you as you fight the good fight courageously day in and day out.

Join me on this journey to becoming braver Christ followers!


"Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!" Psalm 31:24 (ESV)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hi, I'm Rebecca and I'm a Perfectionist

One of the things I've done as I've been working on my writing, is try to learn more about how my personality affects my writing. I've done a lot of research in this area but the one thing that has helped me the most is to learn my Enneagram type. (To take the test for yourself, visit http://www.exploreyourtype.com/details.)

So, I'm an Enneagram Type 1. Type 1 is called The Perfectionist. Those of you who know me well are probably not shocked by this revelation at all. :) I wasn't actually shocked by my type, but I when I started to read about Type 1s, I couldn't help but think, "Get out of my brain writer of these descriptions. You know me too well and it makes me uncomfortable!" It's always fun to find out your strengths, it's not so fun to learn how your weaknesses affect your work and others around you. And, giving that I'm a perfectionist, it's even harder to admit that I'm not actually perfect.

The wonderful aspects of being a perfectionist is that perfectionists are responsible, improvement-oriented and self-controlled. But, negatively we can be critical, resentful and self-judging. The biggest ouch is having to admit that down in my core I struggle with the incorrect belief that I have to be good and right to be deemed worthy.

In some ways I already knew this about myself as much of the book I am writing is about this struggle, but as I dig deeper into this aspect of my personality I continue to be struck by the fact that this is an ongoing struggle. It doesn't only affect my relationships with others, or my writing, but it also affects my relationship with God.

Mentally, I know that my relationship with God is only dependent on His love for me and His grace that covers all. But, in my heart, I constantly believe the lie that I am not worthy of His love unless I do XYZ. When I look in the mirror, I often only see the failures and if I don't, on a daily basis, preach to my own soul that I am worth it, that I am loved and that I don't have to strive to measure up to be wanted by God; I will get stuck on the hamster wheel of constant striving. And, man does that wheel get exhausting.

Actually, I should probably get Psalm 139 tattooed on my forehead (not really, but metaphorically).

Psalm 139:13-16

[13] For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
[14] I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
[15] My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
[16] Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (ESV)

They say that the first step to healing is admission. So, here goes- Hi, I'm Rebecca and I'm a Perfectionist.




Some days you're tired of trying to measure up
You see a girl whose not enough
When you look in the mirror
Some nights all you wanna do is hide
'Cause every time you look inside
You're face to face with failure
But you are loved, oh,
Not because of what you've done, no,
Even when your heart has run the other way
Nothing's gonna change His love
And you are wanted
Not because you are perfect
I know that you don't think you're worth that kind of grace
But look into His face you'll know
That you are loved, oh

Read more:  Ellie Holcomb - You Are Loved Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Calm Before The Storm



My family has spent the past week on the gulf coast of Florida for Spring Break. Every year God speaks to me through my time at the ocean. This year we've experienced a series of storms with calm days preceding and following the stormy days. Oftentimes our walk with God is similar to this pattern. God uses the calm to prepare us before the storms of life inevitably shake us. He also uses the calm after the storm to remind us that He is in control and He alone can calm the raging seas. But, God is not only with us in the calm, He is also with us in the storm. The calm days just serve as a reminder that He is there and that He is in control even while the storms rage.

"On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)