Minimalism

I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism lately, and how it can contribute to a more fulfilling life. I see freedom in owning less. By owning less, I can have more time for the things that really matter to me in life. In fact, I am shifting this blog’s focus to a minimalist/financial freedom perspective, because that’s how strongly I feel about it.

I have not always been a minimalist, and I am not fully there, but I see the value in only having the things you need in life. The more things you have, the more energy you have to put forth to take care of and/or maintain those things. Even something as small as household decorations need to be dusted regularly. So, the more items you possess, the more cleaning you will inevitably have to do.

I used to save every little thing I bought/received. For instance, I love signing up for “freebies” online, which are basically free samples or even a free full-size product of anything from food to beauty products. It didn’t matter what the freebie was, if it was free, I had to have it. I accumulated so many free lotions, perfumes, protein bars, etc., over the years, that I didn’t know what to do with them. Every so often, I would pull out my freebie stash and look through it, only to put it away again.

It wasn’t too long ago that I finally realized how silly it was to save up all those freebies, especially the ones I would never use. I threw away a bunch of them not too long ago. I stopped signing up for freebies that I knew I wouldn’t use or didn’t know anyone who would use them. I now only sign up for freebies that I know I will probably use. For example, now that I am getting older (I will be 30 in May), I find myself actually using those anti-aging freebies, so that is one freebie category I will definitely still request.

Back to the main topic of minimalism though: I think it is something you can apply to your whole life. How many things do we buy, covet, and go into debt for? Is it really worth it? I remember one time in my early 20’s, I just had to have this “cool” sweatshirt from a popular store in the mall. It was $70, which to me has always been a ridiculous price for a sweatshirt. I mean, it’s not even a coat. Nevertheless, I was at that stage in my life where brand popularity sold me. I bought the sweatshirt, and I wore it a handful of times before getting tired of it.

Thankfully, brand popularity does not have as strong of a hold on me as it once did. If I like something, it is usually because I genuinely like it, not because it has a brand label slapped across the front of it. Ironically, I keep reading reviews about certain brands from people saying the quality of the clothing has declined. I have noticed clothing getting thinner myself over the years. It seems brands are nonchalantly lowering the quality of the clothing in the name of money, while keeping prices the same. They know people will buy their products because of the brand name, even if the quality has gone down.

I can tell you from experience that things do not equal happiness. If you spend your life trying to fill it with things, you will always be searching for the next thing. Your happiness must come from within, and for me it comes from knowing that God loves me and cares about me out of billions of people. He cares about you too, you just have to believe it.

Moreover, I believe Jesus would be against materialism, and for minimalism if He were alive in today’s times. You never read about Jesus’s cool new American Eagle robes or Nike sandals. His main priority was telling people about the Gospel, not impressing people with popular items.

I’d just like to note that I am not against owning things you want. I think if you want stuff, and you work for it, you should be able to have said things. I like electronics myself, and my husband loves audio equipment. The point is, you do not need to have a bunch of things to be happy.

Want to learn more about how to live a minimalist lifestyle as a Christian? Stay tuned to future posts on minimalism.

Anomaly

Here is another poem I recently wrote. This isn’t my best work, but I thought I would share it anyway. It kinda has a minimalism theme, but the underlying theme is rejecting the world’s way and following God’s way.

Welcome to the anomalous truth:
Where the first come last and the last come first
The winners lose and the losers win
The rat race ends and your life begins

The temporal things become nonsense
You’re living for more by living with less
No longer burdened by worldly stress
Your heart and soul finally at rest

You live by a faith that carries you
Knowing that God sees you through and through
You have a sense of peace you never knew
Completely loved by the God of truth

The world sees your life and laughs at it
Not knowing that theirs is counterfeit
They can’t take their treasures to the grave,
Or see that they’re really Satan’s slaves

The truth of life is a strange one indeed
When you realize the only thing you need
Costs nothing and everything at once
The good/evil battle has been won

© Walking Out Our Faith 2018. All rights reserved.

Before The Fall

The Lord gave me another poem this morning! This poem is called “Before The Fall.”

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

Thought this life was for my own
I lived it up, I should have known
Having fun has its drawbacks-
fall too hard, you won’t come back

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

Think you’re wise, then think again:
intellect is not a trend
Some things you can’t learn in school,
being wise ain’t being cool

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

Tried to fit in with the crowd
Thought happiness was a crown
I was so eager to fit in,
and my life was full of sin

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

Tried to fill the void with things,
never feeling anything
Can’t buy happiness with cash,
or a peace that really lasts

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

Nothing in this life is free,
you will learn eventually
Even your soul has a cost-
has yours already been bought?

There is one thing that is free,
and He wants you on your knees:
Repent of all your evil deeds,
and He will truly set you free.

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

There’s two paths, and you must choose
You have everything to lose,
you have everything to gain,
save yourself from endless pain.

Give your life before the fall
You wanna live? Then lose it all
Throw away your selfish pride
To really live, the self must die

I could write these words all day-
would it matter anyway?
Do these words fall on deaf ears?
God is calling, can’t you hear?

©Walking Out Our Faith 2018. All Rights Reserved. This content may not be reproduced or copied without permission from the website author. Please feel free to share this poem, however please make sure you credit Walking Out Our Faith.

New Poem!

Hey guys! I know it’s been awhile since I last wrote a post, and quite honestly I have been lacking in inspiration. I got some today when God “gave” me this poem to share with you. I actually wrote it with the intention of having it sung, but alas, I have no singing talent. I hope you enjoy it!

Don’t You Run

I know that you feel shot down,
defeated, emptied, and beaten
Your faith feels like it’s leavin’
but you just keep on believin’

Know that there must be a reason
for the hard times you’ve been given
You’ve been fighting for a season-
can you hear the battle cry?

This hasn’t been for nothing
gotta be living for something
The focus has been narrow-
gotta see beyond the clouds

I know it’s hard to stay the path
But just look to the cross
don’t you ever look back

There’s a God who cares
yes, He’s always there
Don’t you run,
don’t you run away

When you’re weak
He’ll be strong
You just keep pressing on
Don’t you run,
don’t you run away

He lives inside of
everyone who calls on His Son
He’ll never leave you
Trust in the love
from the God up above

There’s a God who cares
and He’ll always be there
Don’t you run,
don’t you run away

He is calling you home
know you’re never alone
Don’t you run,
don’t you run away

There’s a God who cares
yes, He’s always there
Don’t you run,
don’t you run away

©Walking Out Our Faith 2018. All Rights Reserved. This content may not be reproduced or copied without permission from the website author. Please feel free to share this poem, however please make sure you credit Walking Out Our Faith.

Your Identity

Depending on your age, you may have any number of roles: you may be a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a student, an employee, a manager, etc. These are all identities that we have in life.

When there is a problem in any of your life roles, you may feel like you are not good enough. For instance, if you are going to college and your grades slip, you might feel like a failure as a student. If you’ve ever lost a job, you probably felt like a failure in the work world.

Lately, I have been feeling like a failure for a number of reasons. For one, I lost my job a few months ago. Another reason I felt like a failure is because I was mean to my mom awhile ago, something which I have since been forgiven for from both her and God. I’ve even felt like a failure as a Christian, because almost every time I tell myself I’m going to sit down and read some of the Bible, I usually don’t read it.

Just when I was fed up with feeling the weight of failure in my life, I asked God to speak to me. To my surprise, He answered me shortly after my plea to hear His voice. God very clearly spoke these words to my heart: You are a child of God, and that’s the only identity that truly matters. God is so good, and though we don’t always hear His voice, He knew that I needed to hear Him in that moment. It was exactly what I needed to hear!

You are a child of God, and that’s the only identity that truly matters.

I searched the Bible for a verse that corroborates with the words God gave me, and this is what I found:

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” -Galatians 3:26-27 (KJV).

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” -Romans 8:16 (WEB)

“I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters” -2 Corinthians 6:18 (WEB)

It does not matter if you “fail” in any of your roles in life. You are, and always will be, a child of God. Nothing will ever take that role from you! So, even if you lose your job or you get a failing grade or whatever the case may be, you will never lose your identity in Christ. Isn’t that the most important identity that we have?

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” -Galatians 3:26 (KJV)

God also promises us that “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28 (WEB) Regardless of your life role ‘failures’, you can rest knowing that God has everything under control. You simply have to trust Him.

Don’t Believe The Lies

I don’t know if this is the case with every Christian or not, but it seems like the more I read my Bible and follow God, the more the devil tries to attack me. It’s when I’m failing that, ironically, he lets up on his attacks.

I’m going to be thirty next year, and I just feel like it’s ridiculous that the devil won’t let up on his attacks as I get older. Honestly, it gets tiring at times. I know why some people end up backsliding, and that includes me in the past as well. It’s literally exhausting dealing with the attacks of the enemy.

The way the enemy attacks me is through lies. I’ve always felt like I wasn’t good enough in life, mainly due to our society’s perception of what beauty is, and also because of rude comments people have made about me. My mom has always told me I’m beautiful and intelligent. The hateful comments and self-doubting have mostly come from the world.

When I’m feeling like the enemy is attacking me, I like listening to the song “Lies” by Keith Green. You can find it on YouTube. I highly  recommend listening to it.

I’ve finally come to a point in my life where I actually feel good about myself. But, I’m seeking God, and the enemy can’t have that. So, here comes the self doubt and feeling like I’m not good enough again.

In fact, the enemy has been trying to attack me through my blog too. I have been feeling like I have no business writing a Christian blog because, well, in some ways I am still very much a “new” Christian myself. Although I was born again/accepted Jesus in my heart a long time ago, I feel like I am just finally starting to truly follow Him. Then I remember that God gave me a talent for writing, and I believe He gives us each unique talents so that we can glorify Him through them.

If you have been having self doubts despite the fact that you’ve been seeking God, it may very well be BECAUSE you are seeking God. Don’t stop seeking God! You need to brush off the lies of the enemy. What I do is recite Bible verses to myself that I know are in direct contrast to what the enemy wants me to think. For instance, Psalm 139:14 (WEB) says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knew us even before we were in the womb: “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you. Before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you.”

It’s difficult to ignore the lies of the devil. I know, because it’s something I struggle with on an almost daily basis lately. Just today, though, someone in Walmart complimented me on my dress (my Dollar General maxi dress to be exact). It’s almost like God was telling me, through this kind person, that I AM good enough.

The devil is a liar, point blank. Don’t listen to him. Read God’s truths instead, believe them, and live them. You really were “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and God really does love you. The only opinion that matters isn’t an opinion at all- it’s God’s truth that He himself created you, and you are more than good enough for the God of the universe!

True Repentance

If we want to be forgiven for our sins, we must truly repent and be sorrowful. Once we do these two things, God will erase our guilt and shame. He doesn’t stop there. He also promises to lift us up (James 4:7-10).

Don’t keep carrying the weight of guilt and shame on your shoulders. I personally went through a period of repenting and feeling sorrowful for my sins, and God did lift me up. I now feel His grace and peace.

Don’t question if you are worthy of being forgiven, either. Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but a total of three times (Luke 22:54-62). Still, Jesus still took him back (John 21:15-25). Jesus loves you and He longs for you to return to Him.

Do Not Be Afraid

All you have to do to get your daily dose of fear is turn on the local news or scroll through your Facebook feed. It always seems like there are more bad news stories than good ones, and the more you pay attention to the news, the more you start to notice this. It is too easy to become entangled in fear in this day and age.

Lately, the media has been focusing on threats of war from other countries. The Bible tells us not to be afraid when we hear about wars (Matthew 24:6). In fact, this verse tells us to expect that wars will happen.

Threats of war is just one such example of fear we get from the media on a daily basis. Another example happened just today in Charlottesville, Virginia. Without going into too much detail, there was protest/rally surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue, and members of two opposing groups were at the event. Unfortunately, the event turned violent. Many people were injured, and one person lost their life when a car plowed into the crowd. Hearing stories like this can make us afraid that something similar will happen in our own town.

We should not bow to fear. The Bible tells us to not be afraid. Psalm 37, for example, tells us not to be afraid when people do evil things. Instead, as Psalm 37 tells us, we are to put our trust in God. Psalm 37 also tells us to “do good,” and that those who do these things will be exalted. It also says that we can take “refuge” in the Lord when we are faced with troubling times.

You see, the world can be perceived as a scary place, with all the violence and global tensions the news reports. We don’t have to be afraid, though. We serve a God who is always with us, who lives in us, and who comforts us.

Even if a war does happen, or a violent protest erupts in a city near us, we know that God will be our stronghold who we can take refuge in. It’s not worth it to live your life in fear. The Bible tells us wars will happen. I think what matters is our response to the world’s fear. We can respond by not being afraid and by continuing to do God’s work by proclaiming the truth and winning souls for the Gospel.

For Those Who Feel Empty

Have you ever felt empty? Like, totally, completely, depressingly empty? Your life could be going exactly the way you want it, but yet you still feel like there is a void in your life. I have felt this way for a long time, and it was only recently that the feeling went away.

I remember countless days living with a feeling that I can only describe as numbness. Surprisingly, this feeling was present when I had a good job and my finances were okay. So, why the emptiness?

If you are feeling empty in life, it may be because you are not connecting with God. I slowly started reading the Bible, a verse at a time, and praying to God to fill me with his presence. Then, the feeling started to go away. James 4:8 (ESV) tells us that if we “Draw near to God,” He will draw near to us. God is not a liar, so that is a promise from God himself.

It is not as simple as just drawing close to God though. If we want to really be connected to the Father, we must obey the rest of what James 4:8 says too, which is, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

You see, sin prevents us from being close to God. So, if you have any sin in your life, it may be the reason why you are feeling empty. I asked God for forgiveness for my sins, and I started to feel His presence again. 1 John 1:9 (NIV) tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

James 4:8 also tells us not to be double-minded. Is anything in your life keeping you from focusing on God? You should always stay consistent in your relationship with Him, which means reading your Bible and praying. If you do not like to pray out loud (like me), you can just pray in your head. God wants to have a personal relationship with you, and He sent his son Jesus to Earth knowing He would have to watch him die on the cross. He did this so that no one would have to perish, and so that we could all live forever with God in the present and in Heaven someday. John 3:16 (KJV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you have not yet asked Jesus to be your personal savior, and you just can’t deal with the empty void in your life anymore, Jesus is waiting for you to ask Him into your heart. All you have to do, in your own words, is say that you believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins, admit that you are a sinner, ask for forgiveness for your sins, and ask Him to come into your heart. It really is that simple.

Once you are a part of the Kingdom of God, nothing and no one can take you away from God’s love. I encourage you to read the Bible, starting with the New Testament, and find either a local church or an online church to help you grow in your faith. I hope this post helped you!

A Water Rescue and The Good Shepherd

Flooded RiverI was watching a water rescue unfold live on the Weather Channel the other day. A man who was driving got caught up in a flash flood. Thankfully, he was able to climb out of his car and take refuge on the roof while he waited to be rescued. The car was also pinned against a gate, so it was being prevented from moving downstream.

The rescue team had to daisy chain two ladders together in order to reach the man. One of the rescuers stayed at one end of the ladder, while the other rescuer slowly and carefully made his way to the man. Once the rescuer arrived at the car, he gave the man a life vest to put on. After a few seconds when the rescuer was probably telling the man how to walk across the ladder, the man very carefully started walking across the ladder. The rescuer stayed close behind him, while the other rescuer was helping to keep the ladder steady on the other side of the water. Both the rescuer and the man made it to safety.

The rescuers literally laid their lives down to save this man’s life. The rescuer that was walking across the ladder behind the man could have easily fallen in the water himself. He was willing to take that risk to make sure the man made it across the ladder.

This amazing water rescue reminded me of the good shepherd described in John chapter 10. In verse 11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” These brave water rescuers were literally being “good shepherds”.

The water rescue serves as a visual representation of how Jesus is always with us. He is always right behind us, guiding us through life. He is also in front of us, leading us on the path to salvation. As it says in Psalm 139:5 (NLT), “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

We will face difficulties in life, just as the man who was rescued did. However, the Bible tells us that God is always with us.