So Much More Than Words 

  • ckstubbswrites

2020 has been a tough year for many of us. We’ve all experienced a fair share of challenges in our lives this year. Now that it’s December, I’ve been reflecting a lot about the past year and everything that came my way. To tell you the truth, I sometimes waver between being grateful to God that I am still standing, and feeling disappointed and sad about the struggles that I had to face this year. Can any of you relate?

I feel like this year has brought so many subtle blessings to my life. I have had a lot more time to spend with Jesus and family. I was able to work on a lot of new projects that I wouldn’t have had the time to work on. I feel like this year, I’ve finally learned what it truly means to walk by faith and choose the right perspective no matter how I feel. On the other hand, I’ve had to deal with unexpected health concerns, looming deadlines, fears about my future, the loss of loved ones and many other difficult situations. When I woke up this morning, I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world. It was just one of those days when I found myself focusing more on the challenging moments of 2020 rather than those subtle blessings I just mentioned. I found myself focusing on what wasn’t right and what I didn’t have. The more that I thought about these things, the more discouraged I felt.

When I finally came to my senses, I realized that what I needed to do was get into the word of God. I had learned this year that the only place that I could find perspective about my life and my journey is in God’s word, so that’s what I did. I read a few verses that brought me the encouragement that I desperately needed, but it wasn’t until I read Isaiah 26:3 that I knew God was trying to get my attention. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” When I read the verse, I felt my eyes tear up, because I felt God reminding me that what I needed to do was focus on Him. Instead of focusing on what didn’t go right this year, or the challenges that I had to endure, I must instead focus on Him. The peace and contentment that I needed would only come if my mind was fixed on Him and not the problems of 2020. After a few minutes of meditating on that verse and letting the tears of disappointment and frustration flow, I wiped my eyes and asked God to help me to keep my mind fixed on Him, so that I could experience the peace that only He could give me.

Have you found yourself focusing more on the difficulties of this year? Are you waking up in the morning and allowing discouragement and disappointment to greet you at your bedside, or are you making the decision to focus on Jesus in the midst of the difficulties? My sister constantly tells me that what we focus on is what’s magnified. If we’re constantly focused on the bad things, then they will only have more power over us and this gives way to fear, discouragement, etc. Yet, if we choose to focus on Jesus, we’re constantly aware that He is truly in control and that as His children, He will always work things together for our good because we love Him (Romans 8:28).

I encourage you today to fix your mind on Jesus, because the mind stayed on Him will be in perfect peace. This isn’t always easy to do, especially when the circumstances around you are literally screaming at you to worry and fret; however, God helps us when we ask Him. Let us ask Him for the help that we need today to keep our minds stayed on Him.

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  • ckstubbswrites

I have always been an introvert. For as long as I can remember, I enjoyed being alone; I enjoy spending time in my own company. I never minded being around other people, but I found that I could recharge and refuel whenever I was alone. Since I always enjoyed being alone, I developed the mindset that I didn’t truly need anybody else to be happy. Of course, I knew that I needed God and my family, but I never felt like I needed other people around me. I was content with just God and my family members. Although I had friends, it was always difficult for me to really open up to them about things in my life. As I grew in my relationship with God however, He has taught me about the importance of community--finding people that can do life with me. People that I can trust, rely on, confide in, and be myself around. Honestly, for the past three years, I feel like I have not only grown to appreciate community in my own life, but I’ve now realized that I can’t fully thrive without it.

Recently, Matthew 18:20 (NIV) has been on my heart. It reads, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." When God highlighted this verse to me, I thought about how important it is for us to gather together as believers. However, the more that I meditated on this verse, God helped me to think about it in relation to friendship and community. He kept reminding me of it over and over until I realized that He was trying to get me to understand the importance of “two”--the importance of not being alone in life. There is power in numbers. The verse says that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is in the midst! Community is essential. Forging genuine and lasting friendships is essential. Asking God to send genuine people in our lives to walk this journey with us is so important. I know this because there were many moments when I found myself in isolation. These were some of the darkest moments in my life. In these moments, I felt like I could overcome alone, but God showed me that I needed people to help me through it. Truthfully, I had to let go of my pride, and be willing to be transparent and let others that I trusted in.

I listened to a sermon a while back, and the speaker said something profound. He stated that the enemy wants us to remain in isolation because he knows that this is where he can do the most damage. When we are alone and isolated, we are prone to temptation and prone to believing the lies of the enemy. Yet, when we have people that we can confide in and rely on, it is easy for us to share our hearts and let them know the things we struggle with. We need each other. I never felt like I needed other people, but now, I realize that I do more than ever. Genesis 2:18 says that it is not good for man to be alone. We were meant for relationships. We were meant to forge friendships that can stand the test of time. We were meant to be there for one another.

If you find yourself feeling isolated, ask God to send people your way. People who can walk with you through life and encourage you. He will do it. If you want, you can even reach out to me. You are not alone, and you were never meant to live this life alone. We need each other. We need sisters and brothers that can pray with us, listen to us vent, pray for us, and just be there for us in this life.

We cannot do life alone, no matter how much we say that we can. We need each other.

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  • ckstubbswrites

Life is what you make it.

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. From the lockdowns, to the quarantines, to the loss of life, setbacks and delays, 2020 will definitely receive its own chapter in history books to come. Since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, it has been easy for me to focus on everything that is wrong in the world. I focused so much on the loss and the delays and the setbacks, that I frequently found myself battling discouragement and anxiety. Finding joy was very hard, and I would honestly spend many days, wallowing in self-pity, moping around the house. However, after spending time with God, He helped me to realize that moping, and falling into discouragement was only causing me more harm than good. He reminded me that my joy and my peace comes from Him.

Even though I knew that my joy and peace comes from God, a few days ago, I found myself falling back into that same discouraging place. I was sitting on my bed, thinking about every hard thing that I had been facing, when the Holy Spirit reminded me of a simple truth: “Life is what you make it.” When the thought came to my mind, I began to think about what it really meant for my life. After I reflected on it some more and asked God, in that moment, I realized that it is up to me to decide how I want to live my life everyday. I can choose to wake up each day focusing on the bad, and walking around in self-pity, or, I can choose to wake up each day with gratitude, focusing on the good in my life. God reminded me that I can make it my goal each day to pinpoint everything that is wrong in the world, or, I can fix my eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2) and remember that He is still in control. Life is really what you make it.

After I had that revelation, I can say with all honesty, that I have never been happier. I have never felt more joy and peace this year than I do right now. This is because I’ve realized that I had to make a choice. Either I would continue walking through life being discouraged and bitter about what was wrong or what didn’t happen, or, I can see life for all of the beautiful possibilities that it holds. I went for a boat ride earlier today and ended up smiling the entire time. In the moment, I kept remembering that life is what I make it, so I took in everything around me. The water, the sky, the salty air, and even the people. I refused to take anything for granted, and I had so much fun. It’s amazing how much your life can change when you make the decision to choose joy. When I wake up in the morning now, I smile when I see the sunlight. When I go for a drive, I roll the windows down and allow the fresh breeze to cool my skin. When I look up at the sky, I smile at the clouds, because I’ve realized that life is what I make it. I’ve chosen to abandon the lie that I am destined to live a life of discouragement and constant disappointment. God has helped me to realize that life is what I make it, and guess what?

I choose to make it a joyful one. I pray that you do the same. Remember this truth as you go about your day: Life is what you make it.

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© 2021 by Christna K. Writes