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A Christ-Like Life

A Christ-Like Life

By Kendall Kelley

Life is tricky. It is full of ups and downs and unanswered questions. But, if you look at life closely, you begin to see its true beauty, you begin to fully understand its value, and can begin to notice God’s hand at work.

I recently watched a sermon by Todd White during which he spoke on becoming the person God has created you to be. His challenge to each of us was to fully see ourselves the way God sees us and to walk uprightly with God, with the wisdom and knowledge of his love so that we may live confidently in who he says we are. But how do we do this?

One point that stuck with me the most is when Todd said: “So many people today are walking around, trying to figure out this thing called life. But you can’t really do the thing until you become the thing.” He said our main priority in life should be this: To live like Jesus lived, to love like he loved, to walk like he walked, to talk like he talked. We must die to ourselves so that we may be alive in Christ. Die to our old ways and to all our selfish ambitions. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, wanting someone else’s life, because we don’t understand and know the life God has created us to have. “If we wake up in love with Jesus, spend our day in love with Jesus, and go to sleep in love with Jesus, then we will have fulfilled his first command – to love the Lord your God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

What does all this mean? What exactly is this ‘thing’ we are meant to become? As I dove deeper into my notes and thought about Todd’s above quote, it was all made clear when I added one word to the phrase: “…you can’t really do the thing until you become like the thing.” In other words, we cannot fully live this life until we become invested in following the one who sacrificed his to give us ours. In John 11:25, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” So, if we want to live a joyous life, and it is written that Jesus is life, then why not start by living a life for Jesus? We do life by becoming more Christ-like. We relinquish our selfish ways, our need to always know the plan, our acts of comparison, and we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us. We take the gifts and desires he has placed in our hearts and we execute them for the sake of his glory and his good.

You see, when we look in the mirror we see something completely different than what God sees. We see flaws, we see imperfections, we see the regrets from our past, the mistakes we made, rejection from others, our addictions, our sins, and our insecurities. We see that we’re ‘messed up’. God doesn’t see that. In fact, he does one better; he says, “I’ll see you’re ‘messed up’ and raise you freedom. He gives freedom from it all. That is how good our God is. He willingly came into this world and became our sin, so that we could become something more. Something more than what our shame, guilt, worry, and rejection tell us we are.

God is constantly forgiving us and pursuing us every single second of the day. He does this because we are his children that he made in his image. We’re made in HIS image! That’s huge!! God, who is perfect in all things, made us in his image – meaning he sees no imperfections in us.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m my own worst enemy. My indecisiveness, ability to overthink little details, and desires to understand every circumstance takes over and causes me to lose sight of who I am. Just the other day, as God was revealing some of that hard truth to me, I found myself writing in my journal. Six pages filled with ugly details from all of my past relationships. These were areas of my past that I never wanted to revisit because they were reminders of times when I was wronged and when I did wrong. The burdens I carried had been pushed way, way down. These memories had left permanent scars on my heart. As I sat there with shame-filled pages staring back at me, I realized just how much of an effect it all still had. The guilt, the anger, the fear and need for control – it was still consuming my every move. Then I heard God say, “Now take all of what you just wrote and go rip it up.”

This is a direct representation of our God. He loves us so much so that he calls out our sins and rips them up, tearing away their bondage over us. He forgives so that we can move forward with a pure heart into the plans he has for us. He does this so that we can become who he created us to be and live an abundant life in the body of Christ. He doesn’t call us to live under our pages of regret; he calls us to rise above, seek his face and be a living vessel of his work. But before we can fully rise to the occasion, to be our very best self, we must first be willing to sacrifice everything that keeps us tethered to the ground.

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

 

A special thanks to our guest writer Kendall Kelley. You can find her online at http://www.onefinesoul.com/ and on instagram @onefinesoul.

Let It Go

Let It Go

By Kendall Kelley

Self-reflection — The last month of 2017 has consisted of lots and lots of self-reflection. Anyone else still sitting in 2017’s hot seat trying to answer the questions of where the year went and what you have to show for it? The beginning of a new year will do that to you, won’t it? It reminds you that another year has flown by. It reminds you of all the things you did or did not accomplish from the list of resolutions you made twelve months ago. It reminds you of all the great memories you made, the people you met, and the places you visited. For some, the start to a new year is a celebration of a past year well spent. For others, you’re celebrating a fresh start, a restart and a better year to come.

I used to be a sucker for making lists. Every year around this time, I would get so excited to sit down and write out everything I planned to do in the New Year. I would fully embrace the “New Year, New Me” mentality and look forward to the satisfaction of crossing off my accomplishments one by one. Because we all know that is the best part of a creating a list, right? Nothing screams productivity louder than a thick, black line drawn through a task that has been completed. However, after a while, as I’m sure you can all attest, I found myself with lists of unattainable goals and/or a lack of motivation to really follow through past the month of January.

So two years ago, in an effort to take on a more attainable approach, I adopted the idea of a New Year’s phrase to embody what I wanted my next 365 days to look like. I simply declared it “A Year of (fill in the blank)”. In 2016, it was “The Year of Yes” – saying “yes” to things I would normally say “no” to and going “all-in” rather than overthinking. This past year, in 2017, it was “A Year of Giving and Saving”. I was going to give more quality time to friends and family and invest in others. Then, saving where I did not need to spend and being content with what I had. I have to say, sticking to these two phrases for an entire year has completely helped shape my outlook on life thus far.

As 2018 approached, I was reeling over what I wanted my phrase to be. In all honesty, this past year was not my easiest. I faced many highs and lows, but through my struggles came a lot of personal growth.

The last few weeks, I’ve been challenged to really dig deep into the core of who I am. This has been mainly due to a few real and honest conversations that have led me to wonder: What makes me, me? What is my purpose in this life? What am I called to do? And recently, I had a friend ask a question that hit me like a ton of bricks and really got me thinking: “What is your ‘messed up’?” Come again?? I mean, I may have a couple issues, but what’s my ‘messed up’?

As she began to explain her own struggles, I slowly started to understand and interpret the question in a different way: What circumstances from your past have, or still are, affecting who you are or believe yourself to be today? I carried this question around with me for a couple days, asking God for clarity.

I know I suffer from some underlying insecurities, but I’ve never taken time to specifically seek out the roots of these problems. But my goodness, did the Lord reveal some hard truths through this process. All of these self-reflecting questions ignited a thought: What if I accept everything I just discovered, along with the unknowns to my previous questions and just did one simple thing – let it go?

So, as I step into this New Year – I’m declaring 2018 to be:

A Year of Letting Go
Letting go to fully embrace the goodness of God.
Letting go of my need for things to go a certain way.
Letting go of resentment of others.
Letting go of expectations.
Letting go of complaints.
Letting go of all anger.
Letting go of the fear of outcomes or what others might think.
Letting go of worry.
Letting go of insecurities and self-doubt.
Letting go of failure.
Letting go of financial concerns.
Letting go of every past sin done unto me or I have done unto others.
Letting go of everything I cannot see or do not know.
I’m letting go of all control and I’m handing it over to the God who is in complete control.
I’m taking the steps to become more Christ-like: actively pursuing, actively loving, and actively forgiving. For He is in whom I find my strength, He is in whom I place my trust, and it is His name I long to glorify.

What areas of your life are you holding on to? How is God encouraging you to “let it go” in 2018?

 

 

A special thanks to Kendall Kelley for allowing us to use her post. You can find her online at http://www.onefinesoul.com/ and on instagram @onefinesoul.