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Sarah Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Sarah Martin

Live It Out

So here's the deal. I've memorized all the Scriptures that tell us we are beautifully and wonderfully made. (God's Truth is legit, yes!) I've agonized with God over body insecurities. I've done the whole 30-days-to-a-beach-body routine and failed. This year, something. must. change.

Something.

The best conclusion I've come up with on how to survive the bathing suit season is this:

Change the atmosphere. Create a culture that celebrates God's creation. Draw confidence from His beauty rather than our preconceived, unattainable notions of what beauty is or should be. Steer the attention away from insecurities and point it back to Jesus.

Let's not miss summer. Let's not leave memories on the table because we were too bound up by our body junk to enjoy, really delight in the dog days of summer. Create a culture that celebrates God's creation. Change the atmosphere.

Bathing suit season

You see, we have the opportunity to bring to the pool, beach, lake, river, park...the representation of God Himself. The Spirit in us is bigger than the bumps of cellulite or the extra 10 pounds in which winter left in it's wake. Summer is here and His beauty abounds. We were created to enjoy and delight NOT cower and hide away.

The waves call our name.

The sun sparkles.

The lightning bugs chirp.

The juicy watermelon overflows.

All to HIS glory.

So why should we slap our Lord in the face by trashing His creation with ugly thoughts and words about our body--HIS CREATION?

I propose that we bless others by creating a culture of celebration as we gather 'round the pool or layout at the beach. Don't you know the gal right next to you has her own issues? Don't you know that Jesus speaks through YOU straight to her heart when we cultivate an atmosphere of lifting up? For when we redirect the conversation, insert Truth in our pool side convos, encourage and affirm, HE IS GLORIFIED.

The practicalities of surviving the bathing suit season:

Cover yourself in prayer. Simply put. Ask God to push out your grumblings of body fat or imperfections with revelations of His grandeur. His grandeur fills the atmosphere. Pray, pray and pray some more, friends.

When we dwell on Him more than ourselves we see ourselves in a new light--His glorious light. Let God speak to those places in your heart that struggle and agonize. He takes great care in showing how we loves and adores us. The evidence is all around when we lived entangled in His presence, beauty, love rather than self focus.

So let's not just survive the bathing suit season.

Let's live a summer season of delight.

Leave a comment...let's chat and lift each other up.

***This post was originally published on LIVE IT OUT! blog***

I never thought that in my mid-thirties I would have an identity crisis. You know, those times where the "who am I?" question leads you down roads of irrational thoughts of identity and awkwardness? Ok, maybe it's just me here. Or maybe I'm not alone.

I always tell my sweet 20-something friends that this 20's decade is weird, transitional, that they would get things figured out and not to fear the thirties. Which is true. But, at trend in my life I'm noticing is it's really not an age thing in regards to the identity crisis. It's somewhat seasonal––where life has you––and the crisis of sorts can come anytime we are knocked off our norm and our routine and forced to evaluate what we are all about.

As I puttered around my house on Saturday, hoping that someone would come and love this house as we have for 10 years now, the thoughts of transition and starting over threatened to throw me in this thing I call "figuring out what I'm all about." Honestly, what started it was the thought of how I would go about making new friends.

Would they get me?

They don't even know me?

They don't know what I'm about. Am I even sure what I'm about?

I'm tempted to write of these questions as silly and self centered. They are a bit. That's ok, I'm going to roll with it. In fact, I did roll with it. I talked to God about it and we decided that I must stop fretting.

When we live entangled in the presence of God, that essence of who we are naturally bubbles to the surface. Entangled. That's a new word in which I'm associating with abiding––as in John 15 abiding. No, not trying to override the word so prevalent in Scripture. I'm reverent to the word, abide. The word entangled takes the image to a rich level where I see myself, my thoughts, my heart, even my family, caught up in seeking after Jesus. We are so entangled that every thought, every word spoken, every activity serves as worship and in obedience to God Himself. We entangle ourselves s in Jesus that if we were to ever unravel ourselves...that very self would lose all meaning, hope, purpose, passion. Life entangled...might be a new book in the works...

Yes, who we are bubbles up as the fruit (which harvests from abiding in Christ) makes our personal quirks taste sweet, our God-given gifts more juicy, our qualities and characteristics more colorful. No identity crisis sustains when God Himself overrides the question of "who am I?" with:

I AM the Great I AM. (Exodus 3:14)

Let's  negate the questions we ponder about self and entangle our identity in the One who is worthy of our focus--not self focus.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:4)

In this entangled relationship with Jesus, are we wiling to allow some sifting and shifting? His Spirit highlights the unfruitfulness––those areas in need of repentance. This makes me squeamish. Might I daily remember that God looks past those ugly parts of my heart (where repentance is mandatory!)as He draws out goodness instead.

 

Identity Crisis

For when we draw near to Him, He draws near to us and thus draws OUT every good and beautiful quality so that we point back to HIS ultimate goodness and beauty and majesty and power and mercy and...and... and... That is the true identity crisis: when we resist this drawing out. We resist who God formed us to be.

So really, it is not about "finding ourselves" (in whatever decade of life we find ourselves in). It's about finding the open arms of Jesus and resting in who He IS. The Great I Am. The act of finding won't take long for He is ever present regardless of our acknowledgement.

Oh let our heart cry out that we need everything of who He is to live comfortable in our own skin.

No identity crises necessary.

Leave a comment...let's chat!

**This post first appeared on LIVE IT OUT! blog**

I look at my calendar for the month of May and then for the month of June. Each day is up in the air. I have no true plans nor do I really know what our summer looks like. I lift my eyebrows and quell the flutter in my heart. Being Type A does that to you. Having no real plan, I feel like we are on shaky ground. Even the platform wedges I convinced myself to wear on my last date night feel more sturdy than my life at the moment. I'm thinking it's not just the Type A's that would get nervous about a lack of plan or purpose or direction, right?

So after I shared last week (ie. spilled my guts) about the words I use when asked how our move to Texas is going, I've honestly evaluated my words...honestly. Not fun to take a hard look.  And then I took to Scripture rather than the swirling negative thoughts surfacing in my mind. What do we usually do in times like this? Yep...google Scripture. Or do we dig into our go- to Bible verses that we used to doodle in Math class in the seventh grade rather than working on excruciating fractions? Wait...maybe that was just me... Probably was. That was me doodling cute words based off of our go-to Scripture that we usually place on cute magnets or posters with fluffy Kittens that say something like this:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Yes, this is the go-to verse we tell ourselves (or share with others?) that things are going to be ok. We tell ourselves that God has PLANS, God will PROSPER us, He will give us a great FUTURE. But, FRIENDS!!! Let us not stop at Jeremiah 29:11...please keep reading...verse 12...verse 13...verse14...maybe the whole chapter...maybe the whole book or Jeremiah??

Our intentions might be spot on. We mean so well when we encourage those who are hurting, feel rejected, forgotten by God. We mean so well when we pep ourselves up as our bank accounts lay empty or the job market is not in our favor. God will prosper us...God will fill up our account...God will come through for us with a brand spankin' new house.

But are we seeking after Prosper, Well-being, Hope, Future with our pre-conceived notions about just what true prospering looks like?

Let's be WOMEN who go to the depths beyond the doodling of just the verses that inspire on those cute Facebook or Instagram graphics. Might we keep reading?

11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord...(Jeremiah 29:11-14 emphasis mine)

You will seek ME

You will find ME

says the LORD

Seek, find: with all your HEART.

Let's get bold here, friends! As I look at a house that has not one buyer toward a move where I'm not sure where we will lay our head, Jesus tells me to SEEK HIM for prosper and plans. What if my notion of prospering and future and plans were wrapped up ONLY in who the Bible says God is? A life entangled by the grace of our Lord. It's a grace that tells us to go on with our day, not fretting or head spinning –– ever CONSUMED with seeking after GOD Himself. GOD. HIMSELF.

I look at my calendar for the month of May and then for the month of June. Each day is up in the air. I have no true plans nor do I really know what our summer looks like. I lift my eyebrows and quell the flutter in my heart. Being Type A does that to you. Having no real plan, I feel like we are on shaky ground. Even the platform wedges I convinced myself to wear on my last date night feel more sturdy than my life at the moment. I'm thinking it's not just the Type A's that would get nervous about a lack of plan or purpose or direction, right?

So after I shared last week (ie. spilled my guts) about the words I use when asked how our move to Texas is going, I've honestly evaluated my words...honestly. Not fun to take a hard look.  And then I took to Scripture rather than the swirling negative thoughts surfacing in my mind. What do we usually do in times like this? Yep...google Scripture. Or do we dig into our go- to Bible verses that we used to doodle in Math class in the seventh grade rather than working on excruciating fractions? Wait...maybe that was just me... Probably was. That was me doodling cute words based off of our go-to Scripture that we usually place on cute magnets or posters with fluffy Kittens that say something like this:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Yes, this is the go-to verse we tell ourselves (or share with others?) that things are going to be ok. We tell ourselves that God has PLANS, God will PROSPER us, He will give us a great FUTURE. But, FRIENDS!!! Let us not stop at Jeremiah 29:11...please keep reading...verse 12...verse 13...verse14...maybe the whole chapter...maybe the whole book or Jeremiah??

Our intentions might be spot on. We mean so well when we encourage those who are hurting, feel rejected, forgotten by God. We mean so well when we pep ourselves up as our bank accounts lay empty or the job market is not in our favor. God will prosper us...God will fill up our account...God will come through for us with a brand spankin' new house.

But are we seeking after Prosper, Well-being, Hope, Future with our pre-conceived notions about just what true prospering looks like?

Let's be WOMEN who go to the depths beyond the doodling of just the verses that inspire on those cute Facebook or Instagram graphics. Might we keep reading?

11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord...(Jeremiah 29:11-14 emphasis mine)

You will seek ME

You will find ME

says the LORD

Seek, find: with all your HEART.

Let's get bold here, friends! As I look at a house that has not one buyer toward a move where I'm not sure where we will lay our head, Jesus tells me to SEEK HIM for prosper and plans. What if my notion of prospering and future and plans were wrapped up ONLY in who the Bible says God is? A life entangled by the grace of our Lord. It's a grace that tells us to go on with our day, not fretting or head spinning –– ever CONSUMED with seeking after GOD Himself. GOD. HIMSELF.

 

 

Prosper- A live engangled with the Grace (1)

Prosper: A life rich with knowledge of the Gospel.  LIVING OUT! the Gospel. Loving God first, loving others. Living bold faith coupled with servant love. Doing relationships out of a love for Jesus first.

Laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6) rather than clinging to an ideal of that which distracts us from a fulfilled, ever close relationship with the King of Kings. Those earthly treasures fade shortly after the tags are ripped off and we wear once.

Future: That to look forward to while we do life differently to make Jesus famous right here and right now. Living heaven minded while we serve and love others right where we are. A wild paradox of future verses our life's purpose at this MOMENT.  Entangled with loving and serving God here on earth and enthralled with the notion of the face to face one day when He returns.

Hope: Completely wrapped in the Gospel. Jesus, {God HIMSELF} lived the sinless life, died to pay the price for our sin, raised to LIFE--victorious over death. We have access to SEEK GOD with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13). That is our hope daily whether we've known Jesus as Lord for 50 years or 5 minutes. Oh that we won't take the Gospel for granted.

Prosper, Future, Hope: Tied up in the very PERSON of Jesus.

Seek

Find

Seek with a heart desperate for things, plans, future more than a house, money, shopping spree, shiny car, dream job, Pinterest perfect family...seek with a heart flat out desperate for Jesus Himself.

That is how I move forward with the chaotic calendar for the month of May and however long God has us in this transition. Seek. God. HIMSELF.

Whew! What do you think?

Leave a comment...let's chat!

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