July 2017 has been such an incredible month. This month I’ve loved how God’s been teaching me lessons in three key areas of life— dreams, our relationship with Him, and the keys to any future romantic relationship. I wanted to be honest about what I’ve learnt, in the hope it’ll encourage you, too, so here are the three key pointers I believe He whispered to me during this season… enjoy:
1. ‘Live out your dreams fearlessly.’ (Purpose)
By far the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in July is how beautiful things become when you simply decide to pursue your dreams and do so fearlessly. Back in January my best friend and I vowed to scrap the fears and ‘what if’s that were holding us back from simply living out our true honest selves and pursuing our dreams like there’s no tomorrow. We realised that fears—of people, of inadequacy, of failure—were stifling us and so many of those around us, and determined that 2017 would be the year we let go of fear. We were so determined that we voice-recorded the prayer and conversation, to keep ourselves accountable!
Seven months later, by God’s grace and much hard work (and frequent FaceTime catch up sessions!) we have both achieved some incredible feats in our careers, and July has been a month of celebration and elevation into new seasons for us both. Personally, I would never have thought that I would be a published author at age 20—but God and His ways are simply extraordinary, and He is capable of all that is beyond anything we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)! I am so grateful to Him for what He’s allowed to come to pass this year so far.
So here is my advice to you: drop the fears that are holding you back from living out your dreams. Jesus came that we would have life to the full (John 10:10). Determine your purpose by merging your gifts with what moves you most in this world; prayerfully walk with God along the path away from slavery to fear and out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is not where He wants you. If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to step out of the boat. This radical walk of faith and trust in Him was never going to be ‘comfortable’—and if it ever becomes comfortable, it might be time to start questioning why. God has immense plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11) and His flawless words and promises over your life will always prove true (Proverbs 30: 5-6). Take the plunge. With God for you, no one can be against you—and no-one can thwart the plans He has for you if you keep your eyes on Him. As the title of the book I’ve been reading most recently says: feel the fear, and do it anyway! Your destiny depends on it.
2. ‘Trust Me.’ (Walking with God)
If you’re a Christian, you’ll know that trusting God is key to our relationship with Him, and that hearing the instruction to trust Him can feel cliché. Dangerously, we can become very complacent in this and in appreciating what it actually means and feels like to trust Him. July reminded me that deciding to trust God (and yes, it is a decision, and sometimes a repeated one!) can often feel extremely uncomfortable, and He revealed to me that we can trust Him wholly in some areas and hardly in others, all at once.
I’ll be honest—I had reached a stage where I really thought I’d gotten the hang of trusting God because I trusted Him in many areas—from my studies to my health and His protection. But over this month, He gradually revealed to me areas where I trusted Him less—even though I believed I trusted Him completely—and it took a deep and sometimes very difficult process over a few weeks to uproot the root causes of this distrust. Sometimes we (especially those of us who’ve been Christian for a while or who have platforms of influence where we share the Word) say we trust God… but living out that trust is a very deep and different thing to simply talking about it. Wherever you’re caving into fear right now in your life, or battling with frustration, you’re probably not trusting God. It’s as simple as that; difficult to swallow, perhaps, but very straightforward. And a Christian who doesn’t trust God is an uncomfortable paradox.
Take some time to slow down and be raw and vulnerable with Him about those areas you find it difficult to trust Him with. He loves you so deeply and so dearly, and in His perfect love He wants you free of fear (1 John 4:18). There’s nothing about you He doesn’t know (Psalm 139), and He simply wants you to be vulnerable with Him. He is, after all, immensely moved by intimacy with you. I learnt this month that trusting God means trusting Him in every area.
3. ‘Trust My timing.’ (Love & Relationships)
I’m always super shy about writing about relationships on my platforms and I have no idea why, but this area is something the Father really spoke to me about this month, so I’m going to grin and bear it just for you! 🙂
On Sunday I got back from a beautiful two-week family trip, which was precious on so many levels. Our group of family members and in-laws comprised people from age 86 right down to age 17 and, importantly, several couples who have been married or together for 15 years or more. The trip was beautiful for so many reasons—mainly because it allowed us all to bond again after a hectic year—but what I especially appreciated and witnessed during it was the bond of friendship between each one of the couples.
I’ll write about this more one day, but God really revealed to me the preciousness of the friendship that should and must be underlying in any long-term romantic relationship if it is going to be healthy. I realised that the key to life-long love was friendship. Our generation has somehow reduced romantic relationships to image—the #relationshipgoals craze being a prime example—when really there is so much more to love than that. Image is what others see when they see a couple; it’s what they project onto a couple. Love, on the other hand, is what the couple has when it’s real. And the foundation of that love is a profound, true friendship. I pray nothing less than that for you, reading this, if you’re in a relationship or trusting in God for one!
And so, evidently, July has been a month of continued lessons and growth. I hope these three have blessed and encouraged you. Be sure to purchase your copy of my book, ’Heart Shards and Lip Balm’, for more wisdom—and thank you to everyone who has been purchasing; you have blown me away.
I’m excited to see what next month will bring!
See you in August,