Lost or Found?

At some point, we all go through stages of being lost.

Whether it’s being lost because the GPS has no idea what it’s talking about…

Being lost in the woods and can’t seem to find any familiar land markings..

Being lost in our relationships and can’t figure people out and which way is right anymore..

Being lost emotionally and just can’t control our feelings, outbursts, or emotions..

Being lost physically and just can’t figure out what works to get our body where we desire health-wise or weight-wise…

Maybe its spiritually and we are completely lost on where we are with God, maybe never even came to the place where we truly know God or have just lost site of Him…

Maybe we are lost in life itself and became Southbound when we need to go North and we have no idea how to turn around..

Good News: You are not alone! We have all been lost in all of those at some point in our lives or maybe all at the same time and everything is so foggy, we are just stuck and afraid to take a step in any direction in fear that a cliff is right there. Don’t feel separated from everyone as though no one could possibly help. Don’t remain in that uncertainty. I am going to go back to my younger years when I would watch The Land Before Time movies (the fact that I still watch them with my boys makes no difference). If you have ever seen them then you may know what I am referring to. In the 4th one, The Journey Through the Mists, Little Foot goes to the Valley of Mists to find a certain flower to save Grandpa who has become sick. The journey is very dangerous and not suitable for children on there own. His friends of course want to go with him so they embark on this journey together. At one point, the mist is so thick that if you get separated from each other, you may remain lost forever. Sarah, one of the friends(the stubborn one btw), gets separated and they can hear her but can’t see her till the mist lifts a little and see that she is on a rock in the middle of a fast-flowing river. (How she got there, who knows. But sometimes looking at it, we ask ourselves, “How did I get so far?”)While they try to get to her, she is scared and unsure what will happen. She doesn’t have anywhere to go and the water is rushing all around and everything seems hopeless. When all seemed lost and hopeless, she felt alone and afraid, her friends were working the whole time to rescue her, to reach out and give her a hand. (To know what happens next, watch the movie, I don’t have time to write it all down, SORRY!)

My point of all this is that…you may have felt lost at some point and have a testimony of people that helped you find your way or maybe God was the one who provided the dry ground to walk on to freedom and clarity. Maybe you are feeling lost right now at this moment and have no clue what step to take first and which direction is the right one because the mist is so thick. My goal is drill it so hard in your mind that you are not alone..even if you feel you have no one here on earth to rescue you, you have a Father, a Friend, a Rescuer in Heaven above waiting for you to take His hand. I can guarantee you that if you bring God into it, He will bring you out. I can also guarantee that you have people all around working hard to get to you and rescue you. Maybe the mist has blinded your vision of help but people are out there trying whether in prayers, in thoughts, in tears, or in actions. It is happening all around! Open yourself to it and don’t let pride stand in the way.

I am going to have a moment of complete honesty because I believe in speaking the truth even when it hurts. If you feel you don’t need help because you can do it on your own, let me ask you this, who is responsible for you being lost?

If you answered anyone but yourself, take it back and face the truth that you are responsible. Yes, others may have played a part of influence or temptation to lead you where you are but we are always in control of who we follow.

I have been lost in all the above…I have been reluctant to help and thought I knew what I was doing and could handle it. I couldn’t…and you are no different. God put us here with the ability to rely on something greater. Not to walk this life alone but to walk it with Him and with others. I still hate asking for help for fear it will make me appear weak, but asking for help is a humble decision and only makes you stronger because in the moment you say “HELP!”, you overcome the flesh to walk alone and APPEAR strong and instead…you actually become strong! What is that verse…Pride always comes before the fall….

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.   – Proverbs 16:18

Don’t test this one out and just take God’s word for it. It will save you so much time.

The Found part you have to discover on your own. I can tell you though that once truly found..you will know and will never go back to Lost because you now know both places and can see clearly that being found may be harder and less traveled but always worth it. When found, God will be more real, your emotions will feel more in control and balance, you health will be stronger because you found the light(just as plants need sunlight, we need the same warmth), the GPS will be more bearable because when technology fails, friends will be there to direct us, we will have more relationships and healthy ones, being lost in the woods will be an exciting journey admiring God’s creation and enjoying the peace and quiet because we know that we have to find a road eventually. The road of life…well…it never gets easier but gets much more exciting and fun and you will never be more excited to keep heading as far North as you can. 😉 It becomes about others, laughter, joy, peace, and most importantly God!

If you are lost…call out! Someone will answer. Most importantly…TRUST!

If you have been lost and are already found…enjoy it, take it in, never fall to the thought you can do it alone. Most importantly…HELP OTHERS BE FOUND! Sounds exciting right? I thought you might think so too.

I love you!

Found in Christ,

Jessica

Can We Compartmentalize?

As you may know by now from past blogs, my husband and I attend Church of the Highlands here in Birmingham, Alabama. We feel extremely blessed to be under such great leadership and learning so much more in just the past few months than we have in all of our lives. I decided a few weeks ago to go back and watch all the sermons they have available from the past and work my way forward. It has been great for me to have the daily dose of truth from God. As I have learned over the past few years, adults learn and absorb better in small doses over time. I am currently watching the series Pastor Chris did in 2005 titled Highlands Apprentice. I just finished watching Part 2- The Titanic Mistake. I always encourage when I reference or write about something that I learned from someone else to research it, watch it, or whatever when possible. So I highly encourage you click on the link and watch this sermon for yourself. I write what touched me personally and only hope to pass the message along.

What Pastor Chris was mainly hitting on was living a life of integrity, what that means for a christian, and how to live it out. First you must know the definition of integrity.

Integrity- quality or state of being complete or undivided. 

What spoke to me most was when he used the Titanic as an example of what can happen when we lack integrity. He said that when building the Titanic, they used a new idea that if they compartmentalized sections of the ship to where if they hit an iceberg, they could close that section off and keep the ship from sinking. As we know from research, history, but mostly the movie. HA! Yes, that is the main reason I know about Titanic. Obviously, the ship lies at the bottom of the Atlantic so the plan didn’t turn out as they hoped and over 1,000 lives were lost.

His point was that in our lives, we try to compartmentalize certain aspects of our lives and expect it not to affect any of the others. This is an extremely false belief. Using integrity means being the same everywhere we go. Our morals, beliefs, actions, and words to be the same at work, home, church, watching sports, and the list can go on. We have to remain true to our beliefs at all times to be a light and example to those around.

The Lord detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. – Proverbs 11:20

Three areas integrity matters:

1) Integrity matters to God

2) Integrity matters to others

3) Integrity matters to you

Integrity is making right decisions even when it is the hardest and maybe even when no one else around you is . It has been proven that you will live longer, be healthier, and have less stress when you make right choices. The biggest misguided belief and sometimes the most aggravating is when people think they can make their own decisions and live their life how they wish and it not affect anyone else because it’s their life. The truth is, every decision we make whether good or bad effects those closest to us first but even affects those whom we don’t know. For example, politicians, church leaders, government, managers, CEO’s, and so on affect our lives correct? Some people would say that it makes sense for them to have integrity because everyone knows them , they make the big decisions that affects everybody in the country or whatever. Each of our decisions matter just as much. As a parent,it affects our kids. As a manager, it affects those you lead. As a daughter or son, it affects your parents. As a sister or brother, it affects your siblings. It affects the decisions, mindset, and beliefs of those that surround you.

Some think we can compartmentalize different areas such as finances, relationships, faith, and fitness. We can not separate these. Think of it like you are an artist getting ready to paint a picture and you are putting the different color paints on your palette(yes I had to look this word up). In any great painting, the artist uses his brush to create a masterpiece of colors running together just right to make the image he/she desired. In your life, you are the painting and the colors are the areas I named above. Everything affects the others that creates the life(masterpiece or disaster) you created by the choices you make. In other words, if your finances are in a mess, your relationships, faith and fitness will struggle.

An evil life is a hard life. – Chris Hodges

Mark Twain said, ” The benefit of a person with integrity is that they don’t have to have a long memory.” The Bible says in Proverbs 10:9, “The man of integrity walks securely but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

One great thing about Pastor Chris is that he doesn’t just teach about what we need to do to be happier, but also how to apply it to have success and backs everything by the word. So here is his three How’s to live a life of integrity.

1) Always speak truth- your mouth shows what is in your heart. Proverbs 4:24

2) Always Stand for what is right- your actions- match your lifestyle with your beliefs

3) Always Stay Clean- accountability- Philippians 2:15

As with any principle or truth we should live by to be happier and more fulfilled, we can’t just read about it or listen to it, we have to live it out every day. Many say I have tried to do good and make better decisions but I just haven’t had any success in it. “Why isn’t it working for me?”

Here is the best part and the greatest news…it is through the power of God inside of you that gives you the ability to live these truths out. Never forget that you are not perfect nor does God expect you to be…He just wants you to believe in Him and His strength to help you through and it will be easier to make the right choices even when the wrong one seems easier at the time. The verse Pastor Chris gave to close it out is found in 2 Peter and the answer of how to overcome.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 

My hope is that each of you will live with integrity, you won’t compartmentalize, and you will make choices that benefit you as well as those around you for the good according to what God’s word says. In order for us to make a difference, we must first be different.

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 2 Corinthians 6:3

I love you all and hope your integrity will be greater than those of this world.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10

With love, Jessica