The Gospel is the Answer to Addiction

I first truly encountered Jesus in 2012.

Before I encountered Jesus, my life was ruled by fear and anxiety.
I thought I wasn’t “good enough”. I was afraid to try in school out of fear of rejection if I did try. I was a listener and a follower. I drank too much. I started doing drugs. I came close to having to go to juvie.

I was going to church. I was involved in youth group.
Yet, I was living for myself.

In 2012, I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with my church. It was then where I finally realized that I had been enslaved by drugs, alcohol, and sex. I was a prisoner to these things.

It wasn’t until Jesus when I was finally set free.

Here’s the thing though.

So many people are still enslaved to their addictions. They’ve tried admitting they need help. They’ve tried going to support groups. They’ve been in and out of treatment facilities, only to end up relapsing.

They want to be set free of the addictions that are holding them down.

It took me years to finally be set free of my addictions – especially drugs. I didn’t realize how dependent and enslaved I had been.

To treat addictions, you have to go beyond the surface level recovery and behavioral modification programs.

Those are just temporary solutions.

You need to offer the addict hope, joy, and forgiveness.

You need to present them with the Gospel.

The Gospel offers up complete and absolute acceptance.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute forgiveness.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute grace and mercy.

The Gospel provides us with hope and joy that can only be found in Christ.

The Gospel presents us with the unconditional love of Christ.

Accepting Jesus and asking Him into your life isn’t a one time thing after a really emotional worship song at Bible camp. It’s a lifelong relationship with Christ, where you understand your need for Jesus. Where you have been forgiven no matter how badly you’ve messed up, how far you’ve run, or what you’ve said. The guilt, shame, fear, doubt and anger that you carry around, you can let go and drop that at the cross. In Jesus, you are filled with His peace, His joy, and His love.

In Jesus you are forgiven and set free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh great, I’m over thinking again.

In the past I’ve written several blog posts about Dyspraxia. At age 26, I found out that I had Dyspraxia, aka, Developmental Coordination Disorder. DCD is defined as a lifelong neurological disorder, which may be genetic. Dyspraxia primarily affects motor function; a persons ability to speak, eat and move. Roughly between 2 and 10 percent of the population has dyspraxia. In the United States Dyspraxia is severely under-diagnosed or in a lot of cases misdiagnosed with ADHD, Autism, etc.

Often times one of the hardest things for me is thinking quickly off the spot. For instance, if I’m at a party or with a group of people and we get into a heated topic, holding it doesn’t help.

For instance, in high school and college I remember during every discussion where the class was forced to go around and say something one by one, I would zone out and stress because I was already trying to form what I wanted to say when it got to my turn, so I wouldn’t be paying attention to what my classmates were saying.

For someone without Dyspraxia, they might find it easy to plan and organize their thoughts. But, for someone with Dyspraxia, they might find it strangely difficult to organize and plan their thoughts out.

Often times what may end up happening is that what they were thinking and wanted to say, didn’t come out the way they wanted it to.

This often leads to stressing and overthinking.

For me, I find it easier to socialize with smaller groups of people rather than larger groups. In larger groups, I tend to get nervous and overthink more about what to say, so I often come across as the shy or quiet one. In smaller groups, I tend to find that it’s easier to be myself.

However, these days everyone overthinks, gets stressed and has anxiety. We get a speeding ticket, and we get worried and anxiety attacks. We spill a drink, and get upset and stressed that the stain will never come out. We get worried that we might bump into something or someone. There’s always something that you’ll be stressed or worried about.

Just be yourself.

What helps is to put yourself in situations that you feel the most comfortable in. This way, you can practice and not feel as much pressure. Another helpful thing is getting involved in activities and hobbies that you feel comfortable with. Meeting like minded people can help relax you and make you feel a little bit more at ease.

Another outlet may be writing. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to write my thoughts out rather than speak them at times.

As a Christian something that I keep in the back of my mind is, Matthew 6:25-34. Particularly, Matthew 6:26-27 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

What can you gain from stressing?
At some point you just have to realize that you can’t control everything. You don’t have all the answers. Just be yourself and know where your worth comes from.

God is control. 

You don’t need to buy God’s love.

By now you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal. Earlier in the week several people were charged with bribery in order to get their children into elite colleges like Yale University, and the University of Southern California and several others.

Such bribes included paying money to forge SAT and ACT scores and paying others to take them and paying coaches large sums of money in order to tell the college office that their kid was an athlete – when they weren’t.

It’s not really a surprise to me. I sort of figured this sort of thing happened all the time in Hollywood anyway.

In general, people think they can throw money at a problem and it’ll go away. People think that they can buy their way into things. Because as much as we want to admit, money factors into a lot of things. Having money is a necessity in life.

I digress.

There is one thing that you can’t buy.

God’s love. 

Ephesians 2:8-8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

No matter what we do.
No matter how we act.
No matter what we say.
No matter how many times we attend Sunday services.
No matter how many times we’ve volunteered and donated to charity.

We can’t earn our salvation.
We can’t buy our way into Heaven.

It is by the grace of God that we have been forgiven.
Salvation is a gift from God – freely given to us by the grace of God.

Why try to earn something when it’s already been given to you freely? 

We think we have to earn God’s love because we are flawed and we fall short of the glory of God daily.

We mess up and think that we need to earn back God’s love.

Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.

You don’t ever have to earn God’s love because it’s already been given to you freely. No matter how many times you’ve messed up, and no matter how many times you’re going to mess up again.

God’s love is unconditional and never changing.

Peeling That Band-Aid Off

You fall down and scrape your knee or elbow and end up with a wound.

What do you do next?

Disinfect the wound and slap a band-aid over it to prevent anymore dirt from getting inside.

When people or situations hurt you and leave you feeling wounded, how do you respond?

How do you let go? How do you forgive those who have hurt you?

Do you just slap a band – aid over the wound and call it a day?

Or do you actually clean out the wound so that you can truly start the healing process?

In past I’ve always just sort of taken the, “slap a band – aid over it” approach. When my ex-boyfriend cheated, I forgave him and slapped a band – aid over the wound. When a friend hurt me, I forgave and slapped a band – aid over the wound.

I always knew that I needed to forgive like God forgives us.

I slapped band – aids over my wounds and never truly allowed healing to begin. Over the years these wounds would fester and eat away at me and consume me.

In order to heal wounds we need to peel that band – aid back and allow it to breathe.

It’s okay to acknowledge the hurt you were left with. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge that pain and to understand that we’re all sinners in need of grace.

Ignoring the wound that’s there doesn’t help. It’ll only grow and fester.

Whatever wounds you currently have, peel that band – aid back and allow healing to happen.

Living with My Dyspraxia: Kitchen Struggles

I currently work at a coffee roasting company as one of their cooks. It’s an interesting job and I get to make delicious food such as

However, I also have dyspraxia. Dyspraxia, otherwise known as, DCD, Developmental Coordination Disorder affects between 2-10% of the population. It is under diagnosed in the United States and can affect a persons motor skills, ability to sequence and hand-eye coordination, etc.

Living with dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in day to day living. What may seem like a simple task to someone without dyspraxia, may seem like a mountain of a task to someone with dyspraxia.

For instance, when cooking I get easily tired and get easily frustrated. Often because of this, it’s hard to motivate myself.

When I cook, I have this tendency to want to do everything at once. I have difficulty knowing what comes first or even how to keep things in the correct sequence.

Another thing I struggle with is grip and cutting. Even something as simple as just holding the whisk when I whisk eggs isn’t easy for me. I struggle with the hand coordination that is required to whisk eggs. Luckily one of my coworkers taught me a little hack to help me whisk the eggs.

The best advice I can give you on working in the kitchen and cooking with dyspraxia is to practice and take your time. It helps to know your weakness and to find constructive ways to deal with them.

For instance, what helps me is when I have recipes to follow exactly, and timers. Without timers, I’d forget all time. I will also scribble notes down to myself all the time to remind myself to get tasks done or if I’m out of an ingredient.

Who are you?

Who are you?

How would you answer this question?

For many years whenever someone asked me this, I would begin by listing my hobbies or things I liked.

“I’m Libby. I like coffee and hiking.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love crystals, and watching anime.”

OR

“I’m Libby. I love exploring abandoned buildings and reading.”

It wasn’t until a friend told me, “That’s great! Though, all you told me was what you liked.”

Now, in the moment I probably looked at this friend like, “Man, you woke up on the wrong side of the bed”, and I probably also rolled my eyes in annoyance.

Looking back, this friend is right.

How, many times as Christians do we tell people, “Your sin and past mistakes don’t define you”, while simultaneously defining ourselves by our hobbies or clothes.

You see, we are still allowing ourselves to be defined by something. Whether that’s grades, fashion, our job, or a relationship.

As people we are constantly learning and growing, and thus our hobbies, fashion taste, and worldview are constantly changing.

While these things do have the power to describe us and provide people with the insight as to who we are, they don’t define us.

Who are you when nobody is around? Who are you underneath your hobbies and labels?

If you don’t know you who are or what you value in life, or even where your worth comes from, you will constantly be searching for your identity in hobbies, interests and even people and allowing those things to define you.

Know who you are underneath the labels.

Who are you?

A Letter to Those Hurt by Christians

To all those who have been hurt  by Christians,

I get why you don’t want to believe in God.
I get why you stopped believing in God.
I get why you may be weary to enter a church building.
I get why you may be weary to approach Christians.
I get it.
I really do.
I was there.

You’ve seen Christians on street corners who are screaming their heads off about people going to hell.
You’ve seen Christians turn a blind eye and “okay” some sins while calling out others for other sins.
You’ve seen Christians not even bothering to pray for others in their time of need.
You’ve seen Christians in church sit there texting and talking all throughout the sermon.
You’ve seen Christians in church act like a clique, not even bothering to greet the new people.
You’ve had Christians treat you and your salvation just like another, number to them that they will soon forget about.

I get it.
I’ve seen it all too.
For awhile it even made me want to leave the church, and I did for some time.

Here’s the thing though:
Christians aren’t Christ.

we are all sinners – in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. 

Christians mess up.
We aren’t perfect.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they may be reflecting Christ.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they won’t be reflecting Christ.

Are you following Christ or Christians?

We go on Twitter and see people tweeting great and inspirational tweets about Christ.
We go on Instagram and see people posting cool photos with the newest filters about an inspirational Bible story and something they’ve learned that day.
We see Christians outside of church and see them smoking, or drinking or cursing and think, “That must be okay”.

We start to compare ourselves to other christians and want to be, just like them. Forgetting though that they too are – sinners. Imperfect. We all fall short of the glory of God.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry if you’ve been deeply hurt by a Christian.
I’m sorry if you’ve seen Christian after Christian be a bad witness.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt unwelcome in a church.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a Christian.
I’m sorry.

God isn’t us though.
God doesn’t play favorites.
God doesn’t misrepresent himself.
God doesn’t mess up.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
God doesn’t say the wrong thing.
God never leaves or forsakes you.
God will never hurt you.
God will never be too busy to listen to your fears, hurts, cries, joy,etc.

How Are You Using Your Words?

Words.

Sometimes we forget just how much power and weight the words we speak aloud hold.

We get into arguments, and say the wrong thing with our words.
We use our words to spread gossip about people.
We use our words to pray for others.
We use our words to thank family or friends.
We use our words to express love.
We use our words to comfort someone in a time of need.
We use our words to tell jokes to provide others with laughter.
We use our words to lie – whether it’s a “little” lie or a “big” lie.

Yes, the words we speak hold extreme power – the power of life and death.

The power of build up or tear down.
The power to bring together or to separate.
The power to provide peace or stress.

The Bible tells us in Genesis that God used HIS words to speak creation into existence. He used HIS words to speak life into this world. Meanwhile, Satan used his words to speak lies and death into existence.

Sometimes when we get frustrated, angry, or upset it’s easy for us to say the wrong thing.
Sometimes when we find ourselves in trouble or in the wrong place at the wrong time, we may use our words to try to lie to get out of trouble.
Sometimes when we hear news that we know may not be true but sounds juicy, we use those words for gossip.

 

How are you using your words?
Are you using your words to build up and encourage others? Or to tear down and discourage others?
Are your words full of life or death?

Be careful with the words you speak, they hold such enormous weight.
If you are ever upset, angry, or frustrated it’s okay to take a deep breath, or maybe even walk away from the situation or take awhile to answer that text.

 

 

So, you’re stuck in a period of waiting?

WaitingonGod

 

Sometimes following God requires periods of waiting.

For anyone waiting can be a struggle. Especially if you’re waiting for an answer to a prayer and you expect God to answer automatically; like a Genie in a bottle.
Maybe you’ve been through periods of waiting that last anywhere from a day to a week. Or maybe you’ve dealt with longer periods of waiting such as two weeks to two months. Maybe it’s been years of waiting and you’re still waiting.

I don’t know about you guys but I’m sometimes really awful at waiting. Heck, sometimes waiting in the line at the grocery store especially when it’s longer than usual is a struggle for me.

How many of you suck at waiting, too?

Before I begin I’m going to state something: God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not here to grant you every wish and desire for your life.

Sometimes in life we have to wait and waiting requires a great deal of patience.
Periods of waiting require holding steadfast to God and being open & available to God’s will.

After talking to God, we often have this idea that he’s going to answer our prayers right away, or at least hopefully within a few days. When God doesn’t answer our prayers right away we get frustrated and feel like He’s ignoring us. Continue to cling and hold steadfast to God during this time of waiting. Talk to Him, draw near to Him, and actively find ways to grow and serve God during this time.

Another helpful thing during periods of waiting is to make yourself available. How many times have you prayed for God to use you and then complained about what He wants to use you for? How many times have you asked God for a job and then when the opportunity came, you made no effort to get it? Believe and know that God is continually working on your behalf even during periods of waiting.

Sometimes maybe what you prayed about or what you want isn’t what God has in mind for your life. Be open and available to God saying, “No” or even to Him saying, “No, not  right now”.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times where I’ve been in periods of waiting and after awhile I’ve gotten so frustrated that I’ve either stopped clinging close to God because I’ve felt like He has totally abandoned me and forgotten me, and because of that I’ve stopped being open to His will and what His plans are for my life.

Whether the period of waiting you are in is only for a few days, weeks, months, or even years keep holding to God and allowing yourself to be open and available to His will for your life.

 

 

Women’s bodies are not objects.

modesty.

let’s focus on this word.

Christian culture likes to throw around this word when it comes to the topic of purity. especially when it comes to women. It seems that women are given a higher standard when it comes to modesty.

girls and guys are split up in youth groups to discuss purity. girls are often encouraged to dress more appropriately and modestly while guys on the other hand are encouraged to behave like gentlemen. sayings like “modesty is hottest” or “modesty is the best policy” are thrown around while  the War on Yoga Pants rages on. girls are told they can’t wear a certain t-shirt because it shows too much skin or cleavage.

women are made to feel ashamed of their bodies and are seen as objects.
from what swim suits we can or cannot wear.
to being repulsed to seeing a woman breastfeed.
to being told what we can or cannot wear because our bodies will be a “temptation” to men.
to not being taken seriously after being sexually assaulted or raped and being told, “Well, how did you dress?”

We are basically told that we need to fix ourselves to  accommodate men and their needs.

lets get something out of the way

Modesty is subjective and situational.
It has absolutely everything to do with YOU and YOUR intentions and absolutely nothing to do with anyone else’s sin or temptations.

What one guy may find attractive and tempting, another guy may not.
One guy may be attracted to stomach showing, while another guy might be attracted to fingers or toes, while the third guy may be attracted to cleavage.

Going deeper on this topic, each country and culture has it’s own set of rules on what modesty looks like. If you visit the Middle East, women might be found wearing burkas and that is what “modest” looks like to them, but men still get turned on from women in burkas. Whereas, if you go to the beach you will most likely wear a swim suit, or a short sun dress.  In that context it is appropriate and modest to wear, but if you were to attend church in your two piece swim suit or a short sun dress, you would find that your clothing choice is now probably not the most modest.
Another example would be, what you would find modest and appropriate to wear to a wedding, might not be so modest and appropriate at a funeral.

What might be accepted as modest in one country, culture and/or situation may be found to be frowned upon in another.

We need to stop putting so much pressure on women to be modest and instead we need to start talking to men about how they need to be able to treat women with value and respect, and not objectify them based on what they may be wearing.

 

IMG_0531

 

To the girl that may be struggling with loving herself,
you are more than just your body.
You are a beautiful daughter of God.

You have been given immense worth.

To the girl who may have been raped or sexually assaulted,
It isn’t your fault.
It didn’t happen because of what you were wearing. 
You are strong, and you are a survivor.

My hope and prayer for you wonderful ladies is that you love yourself and your bodies.
Love who God has created you to be.
Bask and rejoice in His wonderful love daily.