Wretches or Royals?

According to the Word, we are called chosen, royal, holy, His own, and worthy of proclaiming His excellencies. We’ve been called out of darkness, into His marvelous light.

God calls us His children. He’s very much associated with us. He’s crazy about us. He came up with the idea of us!

Why, then, do we approach Him and tell Him that we’re junk?
What do you think it makes Him feel when His kids think they’re worthless, lost, ugly, idiots, poor, and miserable?

He says “no no no no no honey, you’re not! You’re wonderful!”
I have to believe that He’s right. I have to believe it.

He tosses you the keys of His Kingdom. He trusts you. He takes you back. He isn’t even mad, much less surprised. He knew and knows ahead when you’ll stumble along the way. He chooses you. He loves you without condition.

Even if.

Even when.

Even then.

Even more.

And THAT kind of love is the stuff that changes us. That’s the kind of love that makes us fall in love. It’s the stuff that rewires the heart, somehow. The things you thought you’d always be plagued with might even go away in that love, because it’s a love that loves you through it and in it. Unconditional.

Stop thinking that humility means worthlessness. That’s false.
Stop thinking that having a past or a struggle makes you a lower-class child of God. That’s false.
Stop thinking that you can’t trust yourself. That’s false.
Stop thinking that you’re destined to fail. That’s false.

You can make great decisions. The Holy Spirit instructs your heart. You have a great compass. You’re not lost. You’re not broken beyond repair. He is right with you. And He’s singing about you being wonderful and worthy and how much He trusts you.

Line up with His song. Let Him tend to the conditional stuff. Let Him affirm the unconditional stuff.

If you’ve fallen down, congratulations.  You’re alive! Scraped up your heart? Kudos. You’re very alive. If you’ve made a mistake before, okay, join the club! You can taste the sweetness of grace and forgiveness. You get to accept the thing we sing about and get in His arms.

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Living is the most dangerous thing you can ever, ever do. Without grace, living is absolutely lethal, because you will make mistakes. You may someday say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. If you can’t forgive yourself, darling, how will you survive?

Stop tearing yourself apart. Stop agreeing with the lies that say you’re weak when the strength of God is even now rising up inside you. His grace is sufficient to cover you, to make you royal and holy. Indeed, you already are.

Ask yourself why you would doubt your worth. Ask the Lord to reveal the lies along the way that shaped your way of thinking. Ask Him if His grace is enough for you.

That last one is just so you can hear His yes.
Yes, love, yes.

A Dreamer’s Manifesto

To you who identify yourselves with the title dreamer and who have before you a vision: YEAH!!!

I am a dreamer, but I rarely admitted this to myself. You wanna know why? So called “dreamers” have awful reputations among the people who are working and sweating. They are thought to be those who doodle genius stuff on the corners of journals, who muse at million-dollar ideas, find ways to absolutely change the world, but then simply yawn, sit on their hands, look out the window, change their minds, and don’t chase the thing. I hate this… so much. I used to roll my eyes when I’d hear someone call themselves a dreamer, because to me, dreamers weren’t doers. Dreamers never woke up.

But here’s my revelation: I changed my mind about the meaning of the word.

People might think they’re dreamers, but if they haven’t gotten off of their gluteus, guess what: they’re not real dreamers. Counting them as such is the reason for this terrible reputation. Maybe they can ‘raise awareness’ to someone else’s dream and change their profile picture for 23 hours, but don’t get mixed up, because they are slowly carrying their dreams to their graves. Their hearts are cold. We pray for their new hearts.

You are a dreamer, and let me tell you what being a dreamer means:

Dreamer, you believe in your dreams with courageous and faithful actions.

You have seen the end from the beginning and therefore you know how to work backwards to the baby step of the start. You are not afraid to fail, because the worst that could happen is the world remain the way it is.

6You have moved forward from wandering in the Desert of Who Am I? and have begun to claim your promises.

Dreamer, you realize that you only have so much time on earth, so you squander less of it with pointless rubbish.

You begin to anticipate the hand-off of your dreams to the next generation, because your dreams are so real that they must must must continue.

You love hard and surround yourself with people who are passionate to make a difference.

You know that the Lord rewards you by the intention of your heart, not the reaction of the world. You listen for heaven’s roaring applause when the world is cricket-quiet.

You know that you can only harvest after a long season of sowing. Sowing doesn’t look like winning, but it is. Oh, how it is.

You don’t let discouragement settle into your bones. When you feel it creeping up, you raise up your warriors and shake it off, shake it off.

Dreamer, you introduce God’s innovations into reality, and you realize it’s a holy calling. Whoa.

You let yourself REST and you know that there are seasons that look really backwards and outwardly unproductive, and that’s okay, because you know the progress happening on the inside.

You have decided that you can bring forth however much God says you can bring forth. You gave up on logic a long, long time ago, because all logic does is tell you there’s a limit. You don’t have a limit. You have a God.

Dreamer, you know who your Papa is, and that adds a strut to your walk. You own the place.

You buy into a process, and you know that some things take time and some things can be miraculously sped up. You rely on trust that God will finish what He started. You know God lives outside of time, and so you faithfully step into an eternity mindset.

You know that God wants your dream more than you do. But God wants YOU much more than He wants the dream. It’s always about love.

You know that God would love you just the same even if you completely halted. Which only makes you love God more, and joyfully go after your vision.

You know that it all started with a whisper, a teeny tiny whisper within, about greatness.

You stopped and asked Jesus about it. He said that you could be the one who brings fresh greatness into reality. You could be the one who sees on earth as it is in heaven, in your own way. You could be a dreamer who wakes up. And you don’t take your greatness to the grave. You can look at anything great and realize whoever did it started out as an infant. They had no extra time or strength or wisdom that you can’t tap into. You have the love and favor of the King of Kings. This race is yours. On your marks, baby.

Ready.
Set.
Go.

DATING NON-NEGOTIABLES

Okay… yes.

Another one. Eat your heart out, people sick of dating blogs.

WHAT ARE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES?

Red flags? No nos? Turn offs? Yes. Those.

Some of you think you know what you’re looking for, what you want in a husband or a boyfriend, or the future father of your children, but when a guy comes around and starts flirting with you, you act STUPID.

{there is grace for you, this is a hug}

BUT SERIOUSLY.

You might have no idea what you want {or what you don’t want}, so you end up entertaining the idea of being with someone who violates your {possibly nonexistent} non-negotiables. You flirt back. You string him along. You might actually date. You might even start to get attached, and override all of your panic alerts inside going “no no no no no no” just because of the attention? Fear? Confusion?

That’s okay in middle school, when Bobby gives you his puddin’ cups at lunch, and for the love of God, you love the puddin’ cups so much {not Bobby} and that’s a tough call. Honestly, puddin’ is delicious. This might still be a tough call… anyway…

NOT OKAY WHEN YOU’RE A GROWN UP.

It is not okay to wager hurting someone in order to get attention.
It is not okay to flirt with people in order to get attention.
It is not okay to go on multiple dates with people you do not like in order to get attention.

It’s mean, and mean girls lose respect. Respect is hard to get back.

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{there is grace for you, and this is another hug}

So, let’s think of what it is that we don’t like. Dig deep, friends.

This is for you, ladies. Maybe you should know a few things that make you cringe a little or shake your head, so you don’t string a guy along or date someone you don’t even like.

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Here are my most honest, ridiculous maybe and vulnerable red flags:
I am not too picky and my specificity will be a big relief for my man, thank you.
:: & don’t judge my very specific and accurate red flags, because these things do not work for me::

1) Holy Spirit shy {weird is good, actually}
2) Easily intimidated/small dreaming {yes, I do divorce ministry, that’s hard}
3) Has soul ties {you be talkin bout her, shutty}
4) Unsettled, not ready {babies shouldn’t be scary}
5) Fake laughs {80% of my jokes are just sad, so I know}
6) Can’t just “be” and do nothing with me {comfort factor}
7) Irresponsible spender {hello fights about money}
8) Sends me messages at ungodly hours {hey shady}
9) Reminds me of an ex {yeah no, that’s unfortunate}
10) Doesn’t affirm me verbally {gotta hear it, often}
11) Imperative verbs without saying please {rude, no}
12) Hides me from his family and best friends {not okay, I’m awesome}
13) Makes me feel uneasy or weird {best friend comfort level}
14) No rhythm/non-musical {I’m Latina…}
15) Non-dancer {I’m Latina…}
16) Non-fun-haver {if you just know me, you’ll know}
17) PDA hater/non-kisser {it’s my love language!}
18) Manboy {can’t cook/clean/buy grown-up clothes… that’s a baby}
19) Funky teeth {if I’m gonna tell my kids to brush, daddy’s gotta}
20) Doesn’t joke back {banter banter banter}
21) Jury is still out on certain tank tops {wife beaters sometimes weird me out mostly bc of #22}
22) Chest hair {excessive, bear status… personal preference}
23) Doesn’t have a Twitter account {subtweeting about each other…}*
24) If there are a lot of red flags, about family or friends, or emotional maturity {obvi}
25) Mean to strangers/servers {just makes me cringe and want to apologize}

*#23 Twitter is not a deal breaker.

There you have it, folks.
Non-negotiables.
Write them down or something. Have some.
It’ll make a lot of sense if you can say “well I don’t like him because ___________” and then be a big girl and say “Hey Guy, thank you for being so kind to me, but I don’t see you as more than a friend.” and you don’t have to explain anything else. You just have to be honest.

Honest SOONER than later.
And you stop texting.
You stop hanging out by yourselves.
You don’t manipulate them or do anything that would be considered manipulation.

Please trust that Jesus made you to be who you are.
The guy you marry should sharpen you into a better, truer version of who you are, and you should sharpen him.
You don’t have to marry, much less somebody you don’t like.
You don’t have to date someone more than a couple of times to realize that you aren’t feelin it.
Don’t keep dating in hopes that you’ll eventually like them.
That’s a terrible idea.
That’s not nice, and it puts a stumbling block in your ministry.

If you don’t know what you want, at least know what you don’t want and save time, hearts, and money.

{{Oh please leave comments. What are your non-negotiables?}}