Falling Out of Love

by Breezy Peterson

I think we can all admit that at some point (maybe even now) we have had a soft spot for some thing in our lives. I’m talking about an object that holds significant meaning, like a special sweatshirt or stuffed animal, a book, or a pair of shoes. It may not even look like something of value to an outsider. It may look like a ratty t-shirt to someone else, but to you, that shirt is priceless!

As Christians, we know that we are storing up treasures in Heaven (Matt. 6:20), not on earth, but we still have human tendencies. One of the strongest impulses we have is to attach our heart-strings to the substantial things around us.

It’s not just things, though. It most certainly can be music or movies or locations, but most especially, we attach ourselves to people. We all have our squad, our tribe, our families, our PEOPLE. We love our people, and in most cases, our people love us.

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Think of Jonathon and David (1 Sam. 18). Jonathon put everything he had on the line out of love for David. Think of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16). Ruth left all that she had behind to follow Naomi, out of love, into a foreign land.  Think of Paul and Timothy (2 Tim. 1). They were such dear friends that they came to regard one another as true family, united in faith and love.

Think ultimately of Jesus Christ, the best and truest friend of sinners, who extends His hand to us though we could never be deserving of His compassion.

As much as we anchor our heart-strings to people and places and things, our passions can shift dramatically. Have you ever wondered why something or someone you loved was perfectly wonderful one day, and completely inadequate the next? Have you taken the time to pray about it and thoughtfully consider why?

We’ve all done it, cast some thing or some one aside because those heart-strings we had so happily entangled with it were cut. Sometimes it happens quickly, and other times it’s a slow severing of tiny threads that fray and eventually break. Somehow, we’ve all lost our love for some thing or some one, but I’m thinking it’s really not that mysterious at all.

What happened was this: we stopped seeing what was once beloved through our own eyes, and started seeing it through someone else’s. We allowed the judgement of others to color our vision and alter our perception.

I’m experiencing this very phenomenon as I type. Our family is in the process of putting our house up for sale, and almost overnight, my home became far less appealing to me. I started seeing my house through someone else’s gaze—specifically, our realtor’s. He came to our home to help us draft a list of things we ought to do to make our house more appealing to prospective buyers. As I looked at all of the repairs and cleaning and work that has to be done, I felt my spirit sink. All I can think about our home is…

It’s not big enough.

It’s not clean enough.

It’s not new enough.

It’s not special enough.

It’s just…not enough.

A few weeks ago, before I wanted to move into town and out of our home, I loved our house just the way it was. Sure, the floor vents needed to be cleaned. And the kitchen needed some TLC. And the paint could use some sprucing up. But it was all part of the charm. Our home looks lived in. It IS lived in! Very quickly, however, those feelings changed. I stopped seeing all of the memories we have made and started seeing all the imperfections that we have tolerated. 

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“No, I really love the sweater, Grandma.”

How often do we look at what God has given us and give it a negative label? Even as young children we were taught to accept gifts graciously (even if it was another awful itchy sweater from Grandma Gertrude) and admonished when we complained about the presents we received. As we get older, how do we remember these lessons of our youth, especially when it comes to our dearest companions, and even, to ourselves?

When the Lord knit us together, He gave each of us a gift. God fashioned for every human being a unique physical form, a body for life on earth, that we get to use and enjoy and discipline and mold until its time for us to leave it. Do you remember the moment you fell out of love with your own body? When the hair on your arms or the freckles on your face just weren’t good enough anymore? I can almost guarantee you that up until a certain point, you were oblivious to what you now consider flaws in your physical body.

We all lose that sweet, child-like naivety when we accept societal standards of beauty, when we change our lens. If you need proof of this, consider the average second grader. It’s hard to find a 7 year old who wants to look good in her skinny jeans or be ready for bathing suit season. The reason why is simple: she hasn’t learned to see herself through some one else’s eyes. She still surveys the world, and herself in it, with the optimistic outlook of a child who hasn’t learned to be critical and unkind to herself. When we accept a worldly lens in substitute for a Godly perspective, we set ourselves up for unimaginable pain and disappointment. 

Nothing we have loved or ever will love will be good enough if we are using a flawed perspective. It’s the interposition of Jesus, it’s Him coming into our lives and transforming us, that makes anything and everything beautiful, complete, and pleasing to God.

If you’ve recently lost your love for some one or your own self, spend some time in prayer over those things. This is not a call to idolatry; we must not inalterably love the world or the things of it, but I believe that God gave us affectionate natures for a reason. He gave us friendship and family as a shadow of the Kingdom yet to come, and to help us understand our places in it. We care for the things that matter to us, and I believe that is by design. Did God remove a passion you had been cultivating because He has greater plans for you? Or did you abandon a friendship or a positive body-image because you started looking at things through someone else’s eyes?

Let the Lord search your heart, and with Him, see the world (and yourself in it) through His eyes.

Purpose | Post 3 | The Final Post

Thanks for joining me for the final post in my Purpose series. The last benefit of purpose-driven living, according to Warren, is:

5. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity.

Eternity…do you know how long that it? It’s FOREVER. We spend so much time worrying about the now and tomorrow…and getting involved with as much as we can and accomplishing as many things as possible. We want to leave an imprint in this world…but most of the time, the focus of that imprint is in the wrong place. We want to be remembered for our time here and for the things that we did here, after we are gone…but really, we should be preparing NOW for LATER. Rick Warren states in his book What On Earth Am I Here For? that “living to create an earthly legacy is a shortsighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.”

Wow. Read that again…”You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.” I remember having a conversation with Mrs. Courtney at this year’s ModFem retreat about this very subject. I have never really thought about it the way that she described. She told me that we were made for eternity. Our bodies here on earth are just dust, and will age and fade away, but our spirits were made for so much more that anything this world can offer. We were made to last forever! I don’t know about you, but the things and ways of this world make that difficult for me to grasp. I have often thought of what things would be like here after I leave this world—will I be missed? Will my family be ready to move on without me? Will my kids have a firm foundation to build upon without me here? I can rest my thoughts because I know that it is all in God’s hands. He will take care of my children…because they are his children too! We ALL are his children, and he wants so much more for us that just the things of this pathetic world. He has gone to prepare a place for us, and place far more amazing than anything we could ever imagine. And I know that if I can live a life of purpose, the purpose that He has intended for me, that I will be able to join Him in that amazing place called heaven.

How do we get ready for that day?
Warren says that “one day you will stand before God, and He will do  an audit of your life, a final exam, before you enter eternity. The Bible says, “Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgement seat of God….Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.” (Romans 14:10b, 12 NLT) Fortunately, God wants us to pass this test, so he has given us the questions in advance. From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask us two crucial questions: 

1. What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ? The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him? Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

2. What did you do with what I gave you?  What did you do with your life–all the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships, and resources God gave you? Did you spend them on yourself, or did you use them for the purposes God made you for?” 

There now, you know the questions for your final exam…how you choose to live your life affects how you will answer those questions once your judgement day comes. Judgement day sounds kinda harsh, doesn’t it? Even though that pretty much sums up what it will be, you can think of it as your Orientation Day, if you will. You know, like the day you spend at a new school or college, looking around, getting to see how things will be? Well, your judgement day is kinda like that, except you will be held accountable for the way you lived on earth. The only way you can move on and “get in” to those pearly gates is if you have earned it. No top college will accept a high school drop out…you have to earn your place to get into the best of the best.

So, ask yourself, do you know your purpose? If so, live toward the goals of fulfilling that purpose so that you can spend eternity with our Savior! If you do not know what your purpose is or have feelings of uncertainty, contact me. I would love to chat with you or direct you to someone who can help meet your needs. But I will tell you this, your purpose is always FOR GOD. If your life isn’t being lived in a manner that would please God, then you are on the wrong path.

Grace and Peace to you!
Megan

The Purpose series has utilized the text by Rick Warren, What On Earth Am I Here For? (also known as The Purpose Driven Life). If you have not read this book, I strongly encourage you to get a copy. It is so relevant to our lives and where we stand…get a physical copy so that you can make notes and underline all of the nuggets of truth between those covers!

Purpose | Post 2

…to continue with the previous post which explores our purpose, with references from Rick Warren’s book What on Earth Am I Here For?, I would like to cover the following:

3. Knowing your purpose focuses your life.

4. Knowing your purpose motivates your life.

When we know our purpose, we can center our focus and place our concentration on goals to reach our purpose. Warren says “you become effective by being selective.” Love that little nugget there…I am all about effectiveness and efficiency, probably too much. I love it when I can get a task done in a timely manner or by using an efficient method of doing it. It’s like a little achievement…trophy worthy? No. But it makes me feel good:)
As humans, we love to try new things and if things get tough we often prefer to change directions. According to Warren, “there is nothing quite as potent as a focused life, one lived on purpose. The men and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused.”

Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.” Ephesians 5:17 (MSG)

If you want your life to make a difference, focus it! Get a grasp on your purpose! A very important note that Warren makes is “never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what’s the point?” In the words of Paul: “Let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.” -Phillipians 3:15 (MSG)
FOCUS.

Knowing your purpose motivates your life. I am one of those people who requires motivation for many things…like working out. I don’t wake up in the morning and crave jumping around in my living room so I can get all sweaty. Eww. No, I’m one of those people who needs a coach and an accountability partner and a motivation group. But once I get that little boost of motivation, I’m ready to get crankin! I workout, and I get energized and ready to take on my day! I love my workouts, but that energy doesn’t last forever. I have to do it all over again the next day to get rejuvenated. According to Warren, “nothing energizes like a clear purpose.” Once we know our purpose, it produces PASSION. And that passion will drive us on to fulfill our purpose in Christ.
Get motivated!

Stay tuned for the final post on Purpose.

Megan

Purpose | Post 1

What are you here for? What am I here for? Do we have a purpose? Of course, we do!! I know that as a teenager, that purpose can be vague at times, and even unimaginable. We often feel insignificant in this world full of people with so many beliefs, ideas, and opinions.

I’ve been reading What On Earth Am I Here For? (the revised version of The Purpose Driven Life) by Rick Warren. It’s such a great read if you can snag a copy…yes, get it in print so you can make notes and underline all the good nuggets within those pages:) Rick discusses 5 great benefits to living a purpose-driven life.

1. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life.

2. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life.

3. Knowing your purpose focuses your life.

4. Knowing your purpose motivates your life.

5. Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity.

I won’t discuss them all in this post, but I do want to cover the first 2. We all live our lives for something, for some it’s more apparent than others. According  to Mark, “we were made to have meaning…when life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it, nothing is bearable.” Have you ever set a goal? And working toward that goal gave you a drive, right? You have your eyes set on the prize and you just won’t stop til you’ve crossed the finish line.

“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” -Rick Warren

Hope is crucial for us all…without hope, there is no moving on, looking up, or pressing forward. It is essential. I’m sure we have all felt hopeless at some time or another. In Christ, there is no hopelessness. Trust in him and know that he put you here for a purpose much greater than anything on this earth. Warren states “wonderful changes are going to happen in your life as you begin to live it on purpose.”

One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Jeremiah 29:11. “”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”” What a great thought…

Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. When you know what your purpose is, it affects all other aspects/decisions/choices in your life. You aren’t going to participate in things that are meaningless to you or pointless toward your purpose. Would an Olympic swimmer spend a few hours each day training on the tennis court? Doubtful. Would a wedding planner choose to order roses despite the fact that their client requested daisies? Of course not! We will live our lives toward our purpose…our focus should be on that and not on the numerous distractions in this world.

Warren said something that I absolutely loved, so simple yet so overlooked sometimes. “It is impossible to do everything people want you to do. You have just enough time to do God’s will. If you can’t get it all done, it means that you’re trying to do more than God intended for you to do (or possibly, that you’re watching too much television).” When you live for your purpose (God’s purpose for you), the rest falls into place. So simple. Simpler lifestyle…simpler schedule…simpler everything. Room to breathe. Sigh. I’m feeling better already!

I don’t know about you, but my schedule is pretty intense sometimes. I get burnt out, stressed, etc. I have to remind myself to “stop and smell the roses.”

My challenge for us is to sit down and think about what the driving force of your life is right now. Now ask yourself, what do I want it to be?

Some of you may be familiar with this song, but listen and watch anyways. Read the lyrics as he sings…such a great lyric.

Be sure to check back for the next Purpose post…

-Megan

Good Grief

Psalms 77:2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

Dealing with grief can make or break a person. I’m sure you’ve heard “everyone deals with grief in their own way.” And that may be the case, but it’s important to not be destructive during those “dealings.” So how do we have “good” grief?

Today I lost a really good friend, Teresa. She was THE most positive person that I have ever known. She has been battling cancer for over 5 years, but not once was she ever negative. She was so vibrant and full of life, even in her weaker moments. Teresa was a huge inspiration. I take comfort in knowing that she is now with Jesus and living a much better life that she ever would have had here on Earth. She is the winner here, not us.

Psalms 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Sure, I have moments of selfishness, when I think to myself:
-why now?
-all she wanted to do was go home, why couldn’t she just have that one last wish??
-we had plans…

But then I remember, it’s not about ME. It’s about Jesus. And praise God that Teresa suffers no more. Praise the Lord that she doesn’t have to be subjected to the evils of this world as we do. She is so much better off than the rest of us. I know that Teresa is resting in an abundance of peace. We need not fear for her, for she is just fine in the arms of Jesus. We need to fear for us, for if your time were to come tomorrow, would you be in the arms of Jesus??

Teresa lived her life to the fullest…does that mean that she traveled all over the world, met famous people, etc? No. It means that she was happy no matter where she was, made friends with anyone she came across, and could delight in the simple things of life. When I found out this morning of her passing, I was ok. I can’t say that I had fully prepared myself for it, as I don’t think anyone really can. I kept busy this morning, trying not to dwell on it, knowing that it hadn’t really hit me yet. This afternoon, however, was full of tears as I remembered the good times, looked at pictures, and just thought about how hard this is for her family.

So how do you deal with grief? My suggestions for “good” grief:

1. Try to remember the good times instead of dwelling on the times to be missed.

2. Don’t shut your family and friends out, instead seek comfort in their presence. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pour your heart out, although that can sometimes help.

3. Seek comfort in Jesus. Read his Word, talk to him, pray for the others who are grieving with you.

4. Use the bad for good. Find some good that has come or can come from the situation.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Teresa may not be here physically, but her spirit is really being shown through all of those who are remembering her life. She is sitting on my desk right now…beside me, in a frame that she painted for me:) We are laughing and goofing off…cause that’s what we did together.

This is from 2012:

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This is a photo I shot of her in June 2013:

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Teresa, I will miss you…and always think of you when I’m location scouting for photo sessions–you were always so good at that! And when I’m eating mexican food:)

See you soon, sweet girl!
Megan

ModFem 2015 Recap

This year’s ModFem was really special for me, as it was my first year as a speaker. The past 2 years, I was a small group leader. While that was rewarding, I felt truly blessed by this year’s movement. I feel like the girls were receptive to the information shared with them. I had the pleasure of conferencing one-on-one with a few of the girls and I would like to share a couple of things:

1. God is your King. You are his Princess. Do not let anyone treat you as anything less. You do not answer to ANY boy on this planet.

2. Confidence does not equal sexy. You can be a strong, confident lady without immodesty.

3. Dress to meet Jesus!

Here are a few photos from the event, including the closing ceremony–a fashion show, starring the girls!

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There was lots of fun to be had by all, even during the self-defense course! I hope to see everyone again next year, and bring a friend!

Love in Christ,
Megan