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. 

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.

We’re all “Works in Progress”

“I can’t wait until I lose this weight, I’ll be beautiful.”

“I’ll stop working as much, and spend more time with my family once I get this promotion”

“I need to study until I get accepted into Harvard, then I’ll hang out with my friends”

“I can’t stop! I need this to be absolutely perfect!”

We’ve all said something similar. We promise to love ourselves more once we aren’t a “work in progress”.

I used to. I told myself once I lost such and such weight, I would be beautiful. Guys were constantly shaming me and abusing me and making me feel less than perfect because I wasn’t their definition of “beautiful”. I’ve learned to love myself through the works in progress in my life.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to love the version of ourselves that’s still a work-in progress.

It’s easier for us to see the negative in ourselves and we have a habit of beating ourselves up. I’ve been there.

Without realizing, we are all actually works in progress. There’s always something to learn from and improve on. We aren’t perfect.

 

Love yourself where you are, friend.
There’s always something that we can improve on and always something to learn from.  If you’re waiting until you aren’t a “work in progress”, you’ll be waiting a lifetime to love yourself.

 

 

– Elizabeth Louise

How to Fight Temptation

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We all deal with different kinds of temptations.
Often I get messages from people saying, “I’m dealing with temptation, and I can’t seem to overcome it. I keep falling backwards and falling into sin”.

First, let me just say that you aren’t alone. We all go through temptation and deal with it. But, the good news is that you already have victory over your temptation. You are free in Christ and covered by the blood of Christ.

A few months ago I devised my own system on “How to Fight Temptation” in three steps. It’s a system I like to call “ILL“.

First, you need to Identify the problem.
What is it that is causing you to stumble?
If it’s alcohol that is causing you to stumble, perhaps you may need to do eat out for awhile at restaurants or bars where there is alcohol, or perhaps you might be scrolling through Facebook and see a post from friends drinking a beer or two, that might be the time for you to get off Facebook and turn off your phone and get into the word. Or perhaps you may just need to limit the amount of alcohol you have and when you have it.
If it’s lust you’re struggling with or struggling with sexual desires or impulses, maybe perhaps when you see those Twitter accounts with the “sexual gifs” and videos, that might be the time for you for exit out of Twitter or even turn the phone off and get into the Word. You may even decide that deleting your Twitter account might be helpful if you’re really struggling.

Whatever it is, identify it so that you can better help yourself and take the steps to become more aware of what’s causing you to stumble. If you don’t know what you are struggling with, you won’t know how to protect yourself from falling into that temptation.

Secondly, Lean on Christ.
You have already been freed.
You are covered by the blood of Christ and in Him you can claim victory because Jesus already overcame when He overcame death on the cross.
In life you are going to face all sorts of temptations, and we have to rely on Him.
We have to rely on His strength and not ours.

And last but not least, Leave Me Alone Satan.
God allows us to deal with temptation so that we may learn to overcome and master them instead of becoming slaves to our temptations.
As I said before, we all get tempted.
Even Jesus was tempted, only when He was being tempted instead of giving in  He resisted the devil and threw truth at the devil.
In Matthew 4:10 it says, Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Jesus threw truth at Satan and told him to leave.
When you are being tempted, surround yourself with God’s truth.
Surround yourself in His word.
James 4:7 tells us, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

When we resist the devil, He will flee.

 

Friends, you are a child of God.
You have victory over your temptations because Jesus bought that victory when He overcame death on the cross.
Claim that victory in Christ.

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.

 

 

Who would you be?

Hey you,

Close your eyes gently.
inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth.
Do this a couple times.

WHO would you be….

Without the weight of legalism and religion weighing you down?
If you didn’t have to run and hide?
If you embraced the freedom you had?
If you were more certain about your identity in Christ?
If you saw the beauty that God sees in you.
If you knew your worth and believed it.
If you knew that God has already reserved a space for you at the table.
If you knew there was no judgement.
If you knew how much God loves you.
If you didn’t let the weight of all the hate and anger in the world in.

BE THAT PERSON. ❤️❤️❤️

Purity is way more than abstinence.

Hey friends!

Today I’m going to be tackling the topic of purity. It’s a topic that holds a lot of meaning to me, and it’s been on my mind for awhile. Hang tight with me as I dive in and tackle this topic.

Purity-Rings

 

The Christian church today has capitalized off of this whole idea that purity has to do with abstinence. You must buy this book, buy this purity ring, attend this conference, etc. I can’t tell you the amount of friends that I’ve had that have bought the purity rings, and devotional books dedicated to the topic of abstinence. For years even I thought that in order for me to be sexually pure, or abstain from sex until marriage that it was “required” that I wear one of these. “If I don’t wear a purity ring, how will people know I’m striving to live a life devoted to purity?” I would often think to myself……

We’ve turned purity into a checklist that we need to follow.

We’ve gone and told young girls and boys that in order to stay “pure” they must abstain from sex. We’ve gone and told them that their “reward” for being “sexually clean” is to find that perfect spouse that God has planned out for them. Because of this way of thinking, we have men and women out there who remain sexually pure because they think that in doing so they are going to be rewarded one day with a spouse.

I’ve sat with many women who through tears and sobbing have asked me, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not married yet?”. And honestly, at some point or another I’ve been one of those women who have cried and sobbed my heart out on some other persons shoulder, asking the same old question. “I’m waiting, I’m trying to do everything right. How come nothing’s going right? Where’s my reward?”.

What are we supposed to say to these people who have been sexually pure for their whole lives and watched friends and family who have only been pure for a few days, weeks, months or years and are already getting married?

………hold on here for a second………

I think we may be missing something…
What about Jesus Christ?

I can be as “sexually pure” as I want, and practice abstinence until marriage and buy the purity ring and follow all the correct steps, but at the same time, I can be so dirt stained from my sin unless I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and been transformed and renewed by the gospel. 

All abstinence is is a habit that we have simply attached to mean purity.
Purity is a lifestyle.
It is living our lives in such a way that God originally had planned out for us.

Don’t get me wrong guys……
We are absolutely called to sexual abstinence, but that’s not what defines our purity.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and allow the gospel to transform and renew us, we allow God to create in us a pure heart and cleanse us.

Let’s stop telling people that purity is the key to marriage and start telling them that it’s a lifestyle.
Let’s stop telling people that being, “sexually clean” is the answer to purity and let’s start pointing people to Jesus as an example of what purity looks like.

 

 

 

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Shhh! Don’t say the “S” word

submission.

This word carries a lot of baggage with it.
often the weight of the word makes it scary and seem like it’s towering over us ready to pounce

as a teenager when I first started attending youth groups and Bible studies within the church, I would often hear that women were to submit themselves to men.

and honestly? It made me shiver. More so because of the context of how I was viewing submission.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary submission can be defined as:

  1. To yield oneself to the authority or will of another.
  2. To permit oneself to be subjected to something 

When you are submitting yourself to another person you are basically allowing them to have authority over you.

For the longest time I viewed submission as letting men control me or I saw it as giving up my voice and making myself weak. how wrong I was.

 Nonetheless it’s scary, right? To give someone that much power in your life….

Let’s look at Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Notice that last part friend, “as you do to the Lord“.

We are to submit ourselves to our husbands as we do to the Lord. We submit ourselves to God’s will daily. We ask Him to have His will be done in our lives. 

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 

Yes, we are called to submit to our husbands out of love and respect for them, but husbands are called to love their wives as Christ does. 

Submission is not a reason to allow someone to ever abuse you or hurt you. Submission doesn’t mean you are any less valued or treasured. 

For the longest time I was really scared and I didn’t like the thought of having to submit myself to men. It made me feel inferior or like I had no worth. So dear friend, I understand if you are struggling with that.

My prayer for you is that you see submission not in negative light but as something that you do out of love and respect for that person. I pray that most of all we learn to submit ourselves to Christ daily so that His will may be done in our lives.

-Elizabeth Louise 

In Jesus we have a safe place

whether you are feeling alone, scared, struggling to find worth, hopeless and worn out, dealing with depression or anxiety.

I want to remind you. Jesus is for you.

He is standing on the sideline even when you’ve given up. He is your biggest fan encouraging you to not give up. He is your biggest fan even when you make mistakes. 

there will be times when you face trials and moments that will try and tear you down. there will be people that you come across that will be against you.

Jesus is with us through it all. Never leaving our side even when we leave His

Continue to look to Jesus for direction and comfort. In Jesus we will always find a safe place. In Jesus we find hope for our weary souls. In Jesus there is peace. In Jesus, all of our fears are washed away.

The next time you become overwhelmed by guilt, fear, hopelessness, worry, and  loneliness, etc 

breathe.

and remember these truths. Remember to cling to Jesus.