Chasing HIM Before Him

Originally posted on theodysseyonline.com

The chase. Everyone has gone through it. You meet someone who turns your world upside down. Then comes the texts, likes, favorites, and trying to do whatever we can for them to notice us. We are constantly on a chase. A chase for fulfillment, a chase for desire, a chase for someone. The funny thing is, we should be chasing someone much larger than life itself, someone that is the ultimate fulfiller, the life-giver, the one who desires and loves us more than we could ever possibly imagine.

Our society has high expectations of what a relationship should be like, including extravagant gifts, #wcw, #mcm, and being “relationship goals”. We chase after these labels like it’s the only way our relationship can be at it’s fullest. The part that is usually left out is how the relationship grows towards Jesus. It is so utterly important, living water for us to thrive in. We look for satisfaction in the arms of someone else when we are already wrapped in the arms of someone so much bigger who loves us so unconditionally that we should be not just simply satisfied, but overly rejoiced.

I know what you are thinking, this is a lot easier said than done. Trust me, I am completely with you on that. I’ve been single for about two years now, and I have found myself confused and angry with God as to why it seems everyone has their perfect relationships, and I am still alone. I, too, have struggled with searching for acceptance and approval of other people, not being satisfied with just the love of God. But I’ve realized He does this for a reason. You see, we really need to have our relationship right with Godbefore we can have it right with somebody else. Once you feel the immense love of God and see the promises He has for us, you’ll never question if it is enough again. My mom once told me that you should chase after God with all that you have and the person that can keep up, well, that’s the one you should pursue. It is hard to be patient for this relationship, but it’s so true. The two of you should be chasing so hard after the Lord, and when you’re able to do that alongside each other, now that’s where you should be.

So, evaluate yourself. Who are you chasing? Are you chasing the approval and satisfaction of somebody else? Or are you chasing after the Lord with all your heart? And when you find that man after Christ or woman of God that is chasing after HIM just as hard as you are, then grab them why you can and keep up. The real “relationship goals” is to help make each other a better model of Christ and bring them closer to our Father in heaven. Be their number one fan and supporter in fulfilling God’s purpose for their life. Don’t get too wrapped up in all the labels. Appreciate that person because they want to love you well and love Christ well too. Be at peace with the fact that one day it will not anymore be “who am chasing” but “who are WE chasing”. Keep on running.

 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galations 1:10

 

hungry

There is a growling in my heart. A yearning for fulfillment. A want for more. I am weak. I need more. I am not hungry. I am starving. Starving for Jesus.


Think about the number of times throughout the day where we think to ourselves, man I’m hungry. And so we easily go grab a snack from the kitchen and go on: full. But how often throughout the day do we think to ourselves, man I’m hungry for Jesus? And then easily go open our Bibles and eat up the abundance of food that the Lord has for us? And the crazy thing is, is that the food supply from Jesus is endless and unlimited, we’re just too caught up in our daily lives to realize it. The tough part about it all though, is sometimes even when you’ve eaten some of it, you don’t always feel full.

I’ve been stuck in this stagnant place where I am very happy and content with life lately, where I haven’t really had to depend on God that much. Even though there has been blessings, I have found myself still. This word is so hard to grasp: being still. And in all honesty I don’t like it at all. If you’re anything like me, we want to constantly be pushed or challenged by God and when that doesn’t happen it’s a phase of “well what do I do now?” It’s a frustrating place to be, but now I’m starting to figure it out.

I’m starting to enjoy this, this concept of being “still”. I’m learning to appreciate it, because I know that soon one day God is going to completely ROCK. MY. WORLD. And He will do that in His time. I am a stress-er and planner through and through, but I am learning to kind of let life do it’s thing for a while, and I have to tell you it’s a pretty relaxing feeling. I’m learning to trust more in what God is doing, because I’m sure He is cooking up something great for my life, it just isn’t time yet. I’m learning to be present in what is happening right now, and not worry about all that is to come. I’m learning to not get so wrapped up in homework, social media, and school, and just roll with the punches, because it’s going to work out, it always does. I’m learning to be happy with this whole “being still” thing, and really appreciating the little blessings that God provides each and every day. I’m learning to love better, be more intentional, and share Jesus in a whole new way.

So, I’m being patient (for once in my life), and just waiting for the Lord to guide my paths. Instead of getting frustrated in these stagnant times, take them as a blessing and learn from them, because there’s a reason God wants you to experience it. I am hungry but I am patient, and I can’t wait to see the ways the Lord is going to feed me.

Psalm 63:1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

And just like that,

One down, seven to go. My first semester of college flew by in the blink of an eye but holy moly it has been one of the best rides I’ve ever been on! Time flies, but maybe that’s where we learn to appreciate every little thing more. Here’s a few of the most important lessons of my life that were jam packed into a few short months…


Grades don’t define you, seriously.

Constantly we are pressured and identified by the grades we get, the GPA we have, and the classes we take. But our identity does not lie in how well you did on that chemistry test. Our identity can only be defined by the one who created us, and that is what is most important. When we get to heaven one day, our grades aren’t going to matter, it’s the way that we lived for HIM.

But you still have to take school seriously and make it a priority.

In high school, it was easy to blow off studying or that homework assignment to do later, but in college it isn’t that easy. Getting behind is the worst thing you can do, and studying one night for a test is not going to cut it if you want to be prepared. There is always something fun going on, but sometimes you have to stay in, you are at college for a degree after all. But, hey, study breaks are extremely effective. 🙂

They were right when they said you’d find the friends that you would have for the rest of your life. 

For some reason, the friendships that are made in college are immediately deeper and more real. Maybe it’s because you aren’t forced to see those people at school everyday, and it really takes effort on both sides for a great friendship. Maybe it’s because we all came in on the same boat, in a new place, being on our own for the first time. All I know is that these are the people I want to be in my wedding some day.

Your faith and personal relationship with God is vital.

You don’t have your family to make you go to church or bible study anymore. It is completely up to you and it’s your job to make that happen. Talking to God daily and digging into His truths is the only thing that has gotten me through the ups and the downs of life in college. It’s a challenge sometimes putting your faith first, but this is where it starts. This is what will reflect what your relationship with the Lord will be like for the rest of your life.

You will make mistakes, and you will be forgiven.

You aren’t perfect. And I know that phone call home to tell your parents of the fender bender you just got in is hard and you want so badly to be able to handle it all on your own because you’re supposed to be an “adult”, but they WILL understand. It’s OKAY to make mistakes, you’re only human. Don’t be so hard on yourself. And always remember who the ultimate forgiver is of the mistakes and sins we make.

No matter how much you say it, you will miss your parents. 

Life in college is fun and busy but you will find yourself calling up your mom and dad way more often than you ever said you would. When you’re eating cafeteria food for the 4th time this week and you want so badly to have some of your mom’s homemade cookies. When you are stressed out to the max and all you want is to hear one of your dad’s infamous belly-laugh jokes. Your parents are the ones that understand you better than you even understand yourself. Go ahead and call them, they appreciate it more than you do.

Relationships are important. 

Friendships have no need to be superficial anymore. Friendships are meant to be profound and real. Don’t be afraid to ask those deep questions, that is where you really get to know someone. The conversations aren’t always the easiest, but to hear someone speak about their passions or how they think God is working in their life or how they are struggling is truly beautiful, and shows their true self. The people that push you deeper are the ones you want to keep in your life.

Take risks.

Your comfort zone is not where you need to be. Now, I’m not saying go out and do something stupid, but don’t be afraid to do something new. Get up at 5 in the morning to go watch the sunrise. Hang out with that girl in your calculus class that you thought was kinda cute. Don’t just wait for life to pass you by, because it passes by too quickly. I think I’ve realized that sometimes you have to do the spontaneous things because that keeps life exciting, and you never know what might become of it.

Don’t get too caught up in the “let it be” and get more into the “go make it happen”.

Too many times people tell me about hopes and dreams and finish with “but if it’s meant to be it’ll be”. Why I’m a firm believer in that statement, I feel there are times when you can’t just wait around, you have to go do something about it before it’s too late. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t happen in that time, and hey if that’s so, God has something much bigger planned for you anyways. You’ll never know unless you give it a try and just go for it.

 Appreciate every. single. moment.

Sadly, at the beginning of this semester, I had two people I know pass away in car accidents. One who was a few years older than me, and one that was my age. This was tragic. Two girls that had their life cut short. This taught me that we aren’t promised tomorrow, the only thing we are promised is the now so why not live in it. Don’t be on your phone the whole time and just enjoy the moment, that is where you really learn to appreciate all of the little things that we take advantage of. I have learned that life is too short to not be happy and to show love to everyone you know, because you don’t always know what they are going through. Appreciate, and be grateful, for God has blessed us immensely.

You don’t have control of your life, and THAT IS OKAY. 

A good friend of mine and I got into this conversation just the other day. You  may think so, but in all honestly none of us have our whole lives figured out. It is extremely difficult to literally let go of everything and just put all of your trust in God’s hands. It’s terrifying actually. And it’s a fact that we are all control freaks when it comes to our lives, we have an idea of exactly how we want everything to go. Well, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, and you just have to roll with the punches and accept that the Lord has an immaculate plan for your life better than anything that you could ever imagine. It is nice to take peace in the fact that things have always worked out just the way that they should have.

College has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and if this is just the first semester, I can’t wait to see the things God teaches me in the next 7. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made and the opportunities I’ve had. Even though it’s hard, I can’t help but come out of it with a smile. I have been so blessed, second semester: bring it on!

Shelbs

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Jesus is BETTER

Accomplishments. Wealth. Failures. The good. The bad. Grades. Popularity. Successes. JESUS IS BETTER. Better than it all.


The simple phrase: “Jesus is better.” has really been tugging at me lately. We get completely wrapped up in the “competitions” of life. Who will get the best grade? Who will get the most number of likes on their Instagram? Who is going to have the best “relationship goals”? Why why why. Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others?? Because that’s what our society has set us up to do.

“You should look like her.” “You should be as strong as him.” “You should be happier like that girl.” “You should be as romantic like that guy.”

It’s funny though, because society doesn’t tell anyone that “you are enough”. It always seems to be telling us that we need to be a little bit more, a little bit better. No matter the successes we have, the great things we do, there’s still something missing. Society points out our flaws, the things we’ve messed up. Good try, society, but your time to reign is over.

Yep, there is one thing (and one thing only) that can completely fulfill us, make us complete, and that’s Jesus Christ. He has overcome death and conquered the grave, forgiving us of all our sins and wrongdoings and loving us unconditionally every second of every day. You see, Jesus doesn’t tell us that “you need to be better” but He tells us that “you are perfect just the way you are“. Because let’s face it, we are all broken, but there is one guy continuously picking up the pieces and gluing us back together, because HE knows that we are ENOUGH. In our good seasons, when we think our accomplishments are awesome, let’s remember who had the greatest victory of all time.

The bottom line is that, no matter what we think or what society tells us to think, it is known that nothing (and I mean nothing) can fill us up quite the way that Jesus can, because He is the ultimate friend, victor, comforter, lover, encourager, and better than anything earthly that we can even imagine. Austin Stone puts it perfectly:

“In all my sorrow, Jesus is better, make my heart believe

In all my victories, Jesus is better, make my heart believe

Than any comfort, Jesus is better, make my heart believe

More than all riches, Jesus is better, make my heart believe

Our souls declaring, Jesus is better, make my heart believe

Our song eternal, Jesus is better, make my heart believe”

Jesus is better. Better than any test grade. Better than any number of likes. Better than any “relationship goals”. Jesus, make our heart believe.

Shelbs

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S T O P

Faster. All things new are faster than before. Our lives are a constant going going going. We don’t slow down. We are labeled as busy, stressed, tired. Tests, quiet times, homework, social life, work, church, meetings, practices, events, sleep, make sure to get it all done!!!

stop. just stop.


It’s been one of those weeks. A week where things are going a mile a minute, sleep is at a minimum, you don’t feel prepared for anything, and yes, stress tears come. I was drowning in work, finding myself at a loss of what to do next. Busy, busy, busy. So much to do, so little time. Time passes quickly, and life sort of is passing you by. In the midst of the craziness, I was (once again) brought back to reality of what I’m here living for anyways. See, in the end, your grades, wealth, and involvement isn’t going to matter, it’s the way you lived for CHRIST.

Some of my friends had an intimate worship night in their backyard, and it was there as I was singing out the words: I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom, but I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, that I was brought to peace that the hard times will pass, you WILL get through it, and there is always happiness to be found. We waste too much time complaining about all of the tasks we have to get done, when we can use that time to be boasting in JESUS and being THANKFUL for the good things HE provides!

We find ourselves getting lost, lost in the things that do not define us. We stress and worry about all of the demands life has for us, but how often do we focus on the demands and requests God has for us???

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” -1 Corinthians 1:9 

During these hectic times, how often is it that we take time to be in fellowship with Christ? Shouldn’t that be of the highest priority on our to-do list?? We all forget. We push it aside. But let us come to remember the reason we are here on Earth after all. Not to make a 4.0. Not to make a 6-figure salary. Not to be head of organizations. But to live in fellowship with Christ. Next time we find ourselves lost in the maze of life, hitting dead ends trying to find a way out, may we sloooow down, stop, and go directly to Christ, because he is the reason we are living, the reason we have life.

Shelbs

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Hometown Heroes

My heart was pounding with excitement as I was embraced by old friends and loved ones for the first time in 5 weeks, a smile was permanently on my face because I was just so overly excited!!! Yep, my first surprise trip home was a success, but it also taught me a whole lot.


OH MY STARS how did I not realize how great it is to be at home?! I was pretty reluctant to coming home due to the fact I am head over heels in love with my university, but a little voice in my head just kept telling me to go home, so it seemed like the perfect time to finally make the trip to my good ol’ hometown. The town that you just couldn’t wait to get out of (I know you said it), the town that had become “boring” (I know you probably said that one too)… As I walked back into my house and was happily greeted by my dogs and my parents, that’s when it hit me how relieving it felt to just be home. I had become so wrapped up in my new life routine that I had bypassed the fact that I needed to come home and see the ones that mean the most. I was lucky enough to catch our hometown rivalry volleyball game (it was always my favorite game to play in) and catch some Friday night lights. This hit me hard, seeing that I was actually a “has been”; an “alumni”.

I was abundantly joyful to be loved on and missed so much by my dear friends, a comforting feeling. I was in the middle of it all when I felt the Lord saying in my ear, “I told you so”, and that’s when I realized who kept telling me to come home this weekend; God is weird in His works sometimes. My Jesus was reminding me of where I came from and who I really am. Sometimes we forget where we came from and what place made us the people we are today. That can relate to our faith as well.

There is a start to our faith journey whether that was when we were a small child, or even an adult, the start was the most important part. Most people can recall that “aha” moment that sparked them onto their journey of faith, and it changed their life for the better. There are certain foundations that are established in that moment, foundations that we can fall back on every step of the way in this everlasting journey that we are on. If we don’t remember where we came from, how will we know where we can go? Though we often push these foundations to the side and just focus on the future, they are what is going to get us to the future. Although it isn’t always easy, let us always remember where we came from, and how that has and will make us who we are meant to be.

Shelbs

“Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.” -Isaiah 46:9

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New Beginnings & Fresh Starts

New home. New town. New school. New bed. New colors. New friends. New experiences. New memories. New life.


The past month has been one of the craziest, hardest, yet most exciting months of my life. I started my freshman year at Texas A&M (gig ’em) and along with that came sorority recruitment, moving in, and learning to do laundry. I have to say these first 4 weeks flew by, but I am so happy and content with where my life is right now. Yes, college is constant stress, but in the midst of it all, one thing constantly remained, I was reminded numerous times of how good our God is. Things have gone far from perfect (especially the fire alarm going off in the middle of the night four different times before 8AMs), but somehow everything has fallen perfectly into place.

Because that’s just how God works. Isn’t it funny? He doesn’t call us to be comfortable, he calls us to do the exact opposite actually. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. This brings us to a realization… where exactly do we stand? Getting out of our comfort zone is not easy by any means, in fact, it’s one of the hardest things that we are called to do. But if we never get uncomfortable, will we ever truly make a difference in our lives? In His mysterious ways, The Lord is not one for comfort. Do you think Jesus was comfortable when He was being tempted by Satan in the desert? When He realized He had been betrayed by Peter three times? When He was there hanging on the tree? He shows us that living in the depths is where the difference is made, and in the end it’s all going to work out exactly how it is supposed to.

May we take peace in that, & when given the chance, may we leap from our comfort zones knowing just who’s hands we are in!

Shelbs

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