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So Much More Than Words 

  • Writer's pictureckstubbswrites

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. I know that I’m not alone in this. I think deep down, we all ruminate over what the future holds for us at the end of the year. Many of us sit and write new year's resolutions. We plan out how we want the new year to look and carefully curate strategies that will make these resolutions a reality. I love that on the brink of the new year we reflect and commit to making changes in our lives for the better. Truthfully though, my prayer at the end of this year is not to achieve my usual list of resolutions, but for the Lord to direct me where He wants me to go. As a recent graduate, I have been wrestling with feeling uncertain about what to do next. If you’ve ever been a student, then you can probably relate. After the excitement of graduation has worn off, you’re faced with the reality of the future. You begin to wonder where to go next, what to do, where to apply. In fact, you don’t even need to be a graduate to understand what this feeling is like.

A few hours ago, I was spending time with God, speaking to Him about my future, yet again. I sat down and thought deeply about what He might do next in my life. I wondered where He wanted me to go and what He wanted me to do. I wondered which way He would lead me to go next. I also wondered how He would do it. In the midst of wondering, I felt myself becoming anxious. I had never quite walked through a season in my life where I didn’t know what was next, until now. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became, until I heard the Holy Spirit speak quietly to my heart: “God knows the way”. As soon as I heard it, a feeling of relief swept over me. A feeling of peace enveloped me. In the moment, I realized that I don’t have to know everything because God knows the way. I don’t have to know what God is going to do next, nor do I need to know how He will do it. I can trust that He will guide me along the best pathway for my life, like the psalmist says in Psalm 32:8 (NLT). I can trust that God will not only guide me on the best pathway for my life, but He will counsel me along this path as I walk. I recognized at that moment that I don’t have to spend my days, or the end of this year worrying or wondering which way to go in 2022, because God already knows the way and He will lead me.

If you’ve found yourself feeling anxious about your future, or what is next for you in 2022, I want to remind you that God has a plan for your life—a good one (Jeremiah 29:11) and He knows the way. He knows where you are going even if you don’t and He knows how to get you there on time. Trust Him today as we move forward into 2022. Believe that you are not walking alone and that the creator of the universe is leading you exactly where He wants you to go.

Remember, as you walk into 2022: God knows the way.

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  • Writer's pictureckstubbswrites

It’s easy to forget God’s promises when you’re walking through a hard season. It’s like you know what God’s word says about your situation, but when you’re facing it, those promises are really difficult to hold on to, most times. This is especially true when it seems as though the hard thing that you are walking through is not getting easier, but even more difficult. What do you do when you find yourself in this place? How do you cope with the difficulty that a hard season brings? What do you do when it’s proving a challenge to hold on to God’s word? These are the questions I have been pondering for the past few weeks. As I thought about them again tonight, I felt God speak to my heart: hold on to My promises. This is the answer to every question I had been pondering for weeks. I realized that we must choose to hold on to God’s promises in the midst of difficulty. We must choose to cling to them and believe them no matter what our situation looks like.

When the waters are raging around you, and what you see looks nothing like what God promises, you must choose to believe what God said. You must choose to hold on to His promises. The thing is, this is much easier said than done. I can tell you this because I am living it out in real time. Right now, I am walking through a season that is challenging. I find myself drifting between hope and despair. Joy and sorrow. Strength and weakness. Mourning and dancing. Most days, I find myself pouring out my heart to God, asking Him why it seems as though He is silent while I am walking through such a difficult time. I’m sure many of you know and understand this feeling deeply. It’s hard to choose to believe God’s promises when you’re experiencing pain. It’s hard to choose to believe God’s promises when you’re experiencing deep despair and heartache. It’s hard to choose to believe God’s promises when you’ve been praying for Him to intervene, yet He hasn’t. This is the reality of life most times. However, what I am slowly learning is that when God says we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), He means it. We must choose to have faith in His promises, even when we cannot see what is up ahead. We must make the decision to believe that what God says is true, even when what we see looks nothing like what He said. In the midst of this challenging season, God is maturing me. This hard thing that I am experiencing is allowing me to grow deep roots in Him. It is allowing me to develop intimacy with Him. It is teaching me more about His character. It is revealing whether or not I truly trust in Him. It is teaching me to trust Him more. This season is difficult, yes, but it is accomplishing more in me than I could have ever imagined. It is making me steadfast, teaching me to hold on to God’s word no matter what.

If you’re walking through a tough season right now and it’s difficult to see past your situation, I encourage you to hold on to God’s promises. Believe them, no matter how the situation looks right now. I know how you feel. I understand how hard it is for you right now. Trust me, I do. But, let’s choose to believe in our God. Let’s choose to cling to His promises with desperation. In the face of your giant, choose to hold on to the word of God. Choose to believe what He said. He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).

Hold on to His promise.

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  • Writer's pictureckstubbswrites

Let’s talk about beauty.

If you live in the world today and are exposed to any sort of social media, then you’re probably aware of what the world’s beauty standards are. Whenever I happen to scroll on social media platforms, I’m always in awe of how perfect everyone seems. Perfect skin. Perfect bodies. Perfect teeth. Perfectly microbladed eyebrows. I’ve found that the more you expose yourself to these images of “perfection”, the easier it is to believe that it is truly real. As I scrolled on Instagram one night, I came across a page that was centered around skin—acne prone skin specifically. I was instantly fascinated because I have struggled with acne for a very long time, and it has been an insecurity that has kept me in bondage for many years. I sat in awe as I scrolled through hundreds of photos of a young woman openly embracing and flaunting her acne prone skin. The more photos that I saw of this young woman openly sharing and celebrating her skin, I began to think about how difficult it would have been for me to do the same—especially on those days when my skin was at its worst. I would have never had the confidence or the courage to post a photo of my unfiltered skin. Never. Instead, I would make it my business to edit my blemishes, or to not post a photo at all. When I finally logged off of Instagram, I thought a lot about why it is that I felt the need to hide my blemishes with a filter. Why couldn’t I be confident like the young lady I just saw? I thought about how many times in my life I hid behind a filter. The more I thought about it, I realized that I was projecting to the world a false perception of who I am.

How many times do we do this as women, and even men? We filter our insecurities, and make it seem as though we are blemish-free, when we’re truly not. At this point, I’m not simply speaking about skin anymore. Many of us filter our bodies. If we take a photo, we will refuse to post it until our shapes resemble a coke bottle. Many of us even filter our personalities. We hide parts of ourselves that we believe the other person will not like, instead of being who we truly are. We lie. We pretend. We put on masks. Oftentimes, we do this so much that we cannot decipher in ourselves what is real and what is not. The more I thought about my own experiences, the more I realized that I don’t want to live my life projecting a false version of myself to the world for the sake of seeming “perfect” or “put together” because in reality, none of us are. Truthfully, trying to seem perfect to the world is tiring, and ultimately, it is pointless because none of us are perfect, no matter how much energy we expend trying to be. As I spend time with Jesus, asking Him to help me love all of myself, I am realizing that I don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I read passages of scripture like Psalm 139 and I am reminded of how valuable I am and how loved I am. God loves all of me, imperfections and all, therefore, I can learn to love all of me as well, imperfections and all. I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. I don’t have to be perfect to be desirable. I don’t have to have the perfect skin, or the perfect body.

I think the most beautiful thing a person can be is themselves, and I am grateful that God is teaching me just that. He is teaching me to live an unfiltered life—to be vulnerable when necessary so that others can be free. To walk outside without makeup on those days when my skin has a mind of its own. To share with people that I trust my struggles, so that they can pray with me and walk alongside me as I grow and heal. To show the world that our imperfections do not define us, and even with them, we are still valuable and beautiful.

In a world where filters are the norm, let’s seek to live an unfiltered life. Let us embrace our imperfections and allow the Lord to help us heal in areas where we need the healing. An unfiltered life is real life. I think it is about time that we get back to living real lives.

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