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“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
The word “thoughts” here means meditates, purposes & plots. God is meditating on & plotting peace for your journey of becoming your best you! Your purpose.
In truth everyone’s purpose is the same. What?
Your purpose is to be healed and restored and partner with Jesus in the passion of your heart. Your dream!
From that place of restoration you will automatically pursue your dream in a healthy and productive way, because it’s who you are!!!
Like the Father, who loves because He is LOVE.❤
Many people think God only has one plan for their life. And they are terrified that they have or will screw it up. I know…because I was one of those many. #fearisaliar
The uniqueness of our purpose is not the purpose itself…as previously stated.
It’s not the dream or passion. Many people may have a similar dream or passion.
Foe example…I am a writer and a photographer…so are multiple other people that I know. More that I haven’t met yet.
Many are significantly more talented, and I am okay with that. I cannot do all the writing and all the picture taking for the whole world. I wouldn’t want to.
I want to do specific writing and photography projects that move me. Because my journey and relationship with Jesus are different than other writers and photographers, what I produce will impact and inspire one set of people. While writing by another bride of Christ will umpact and inspire a whole other set. I love that!
They are fellow writers. They are fellow photographers. My artsy brothers and sisters. Not my competition. I may learn from and be inspired by them, or vice versa. But I will not compare myself or my journey with anyone else. It is a waste of time.
Like me…your journey to purpose depends on your choices. God will plot a new course for you everytime your choices take you away from His original course for your life.
He knows you are human. He is gracious. He is patient. He is kind. He is our Father, leading and teaching us.
The commonality ends there.
You are uniquely handcrafted by the potter. You have a heart’s desire. A passion. A drive to do something specific in this world.
You can choose to pursue this passion on your own, and in your brokenness. You may even be successful or monetarily rich. But fulfillment will never come if you attempt your purpose, your journey, alone. The hole in you will never fill.
“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above.” Proverbs 14:14 NKJV
But…when we partner with Jesus in the passion of our lives it changes the world.
Point to ponder while you wander…
“A hope deferred makes the heart sick but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 NLT
We are both the bride of Christ, and a heir, a son with an inheritance.
As a girl, I get the bride part. But it’s weird to think of myself as a son. I’m sure that for guys it’s probably the same in reverse. Then I learned something…God is bigger and His Kingdom greater. And there are things that don’t translate into this world completely. He explains His Kingdom Truths piece by piece in ways that make sense to us in our experiences in this world. Jesus’s parables are examples of this.
Being a bride is not about being a girl. It’s about the beauty and intimacy of the marriage itself. The relationship. We, in our humanness, often translate intimacy as sex and leave it there. That’s probably why close to half of marriages end in divorce.
In a marriage relationship, sex is an important, necessary and beautiful part of intimacy. It is the one time when you are connected to your spouse body, soul, and spirit. That’s truly beautiful. But if people aren’t opening themselves up and sharing the deep parts of themselves and really connecting they’re missing out on truly becoming one with their spouse.
As a single person who has never been married, I’m relying upon what God has taught me about marriage from His Word and from watching the marriages of those around me. The good, the bad, and the truly terrifyingly ugly that inspire me to remain single. I’ve seen it all. And through it Jesus has shown me why intimacy with Him matters.
And I’ll be honest I suck at vulnerability. I have pretty much loathed it most of my life. It’s a battle that fear has typically won against me. I am not a fan of revealing my heart to people. I was very sensitive as a kid, and I was told to toughen up and suck it up. But in sucking it up and rolling on, I just walled up the fragile parts of myself and never allowed anyone to get anywhere near my heart of hearts. Not even Jesus.
Just hearing the word vulnerable or intimacy caused me to shut down. But I had a break down of sorts, and as a last resort I opened up the outer layers of myself to Jesus, most of which were areas of brokenness. When I did, I quickly learned that He is kind. He is gentle. And that He truly loves me. As He healed the outer layers, I opened up more and more to Him. I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now. My relationship with Jesus is personal and I keep that part of my life in my heart of hearts. It’s not something I share easily with people.
So even though I love Jesus completely, I struggle talking about Him and how good He is simply because it opens up my most vulnerable place. Jesus saved my life in every way. He is my everything. But when you tell people this kind of thing…they roll their eyes or say, “Oh amen.” And it feels cheapened. Then I get angry. So I just don’t tell people about Jesus.
Believe me, I am aware that this is the opposite of the great commission and goes against everything I should be doing as a believer. But I choose to just live my life out of that relationship and the love that He’s given me. I treat people better than I ever have. I have a greater capacity to love people, even the people I vehemently dislike. I am more peaceful. I have a greater joy. My countenance has lightened. My perspective skews towards seeing people as Jesus sees me.
I tried to love people before…and I’ll be honest…I wasn’t very good at it. I still have days where it’s hard to be kind and patient. But I find that I’m not as judgmental or critical of myself or others as I have been. It happened gradually, just by being with Jesus. I didn’t try to change. I didn’t do a self-help book or force myself to be kind. It was a side effect 0f intimacy with Jesus.
The more time I spend with Him, and in His Word, the kinder I become. The more I want to put my arms around the world and just hug them until they understand their worth and value. I cry a lot. I am super sensitive, even more so than I was as a child. Yet, I feel safe. I feel protected and guarded. I’m not afraid of being me anymore. The Jill that God designed is sensitive. She was designed that way because she is an intercessor. And she needs to be passionate about seeing healing in the brokenness around her. I was created on purpose for a purpose. Praying continually for people, even people I’ll never meet, is a part of that. This understanding came from intimacy with Jesus. By being His bride.
Intimacy is defined as close familiarity, closeness and also private and personal, confidential. It is characterized by an atmosphere conducive to privacy and comfort. And it relates to and is indicative of one’s deepest nature.
It’s that picture of a bride and groom coming together in marriage. The hope in it. The joy in it. The openness. The joining together. The partnership.
One of the things that helped me to understand what it looked like to be the bride of Christ was reading Song of Songs in the Passion Translation. I highly recommend it, because in this version you can truly see the divine romance between yourself and Jesus. The way He loves us is just so thick and deep and genuine. Reading Song of Songs the first time took me about a month because I could only go a verse or 2 at a time. It completely wrecked me (in a good way).
One of the first interchanges between the Shulamite (me) and the Shepherd-King (Jesus) is Chapter 1, Verse 5:
The Shulamite: “I know I am so unworthy–so in need.”
The Shepherd-King: “Yet you are so lovely!”
The Shulamite: “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads.”
The Shepherd-King: “Yet you are so lovely–like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.”
This verse cut me. I physically felt it like a scalpel cutting away my negative image of myself and replace it with, “I am lovely.” For months every time I’d have a “I’m so fat” or a “I am ugly” thought, I’d hear Jesus say, “You are so lovely.”
I will never be the same again. Ever. I can’t go back to before or undo what His love has done to me.
Point to ponder while you wander…This is what being the Bride of Christ looks like in my life. What does it look like in your life? I’d love to hear what Jesus has shown you about being the Bride. Feel free to comment or to message me privately. Same goes if you need prayer.
Joshua is one of the people I continually go back to study. And one of the things that stands out to me is how many times God told Him the same thing. DO NOT FEAR. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS.
Joshua was the military commander under Moses, and then promoted to lead all of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua KNEW first hand the issues that Moses struggled. He was one of the two spies who stood against the other 10 in front of all the people. And he saw the people choose fear over faith. He sat in the desert for 40 years as those people died off. THEN God says, “Okay, Josh. Take the people in.”
“WHAT? Why me? These people? Seriously!?”
Those would be my thoughts.
But as I have learned. The faith walk is not for sissies.
Before Moses (at the age of 120 BTW) stepped down and went to Mt. Nebo, he spoke to the people:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
Then he called Joshua to him in front of all the people and repeated it to Joshua directly:
“Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8 NKJV
Then you roll on into the book of Joshua, and the first thing written is what God spoke to Joshua after Moses died is…(drum roll please)…Do Not Fear. Yes, the exact same message again.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.‘” Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV
Why? Fear is a sneaky punk. And it’s relentless in it’s efforts to make you live a pathetic small life. But God is bigger than fear. His love kicks fear’s ass every time. You just need to do your part and be bold and courageous.
Point to ponder while you wander…Today. Right now. In the decision you are about to make… Remember one thing. God has personally gone before you into the place He’s asking you to go.
“And Jesus arose & rebuked the sea, ‘Peace. Be still.’ And the wind ceased & there was great calm. And He said, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'” Mark 4:39-40
Do you see that as soon as the disciples lost their peace fear replaced their faith?
It only took fear a few minutes to change everything. They no longer trusted the Word from Jesus, that he’d just spoken 4 verses before. Their sole focus became their anxiety, which caused panic, even though Jesus was asleep in the same boat!
Fear is a liar & a thief! It steals more dreams and destinies than anything else. Peace is your first line of defense, so maintain your peace!