A New Years Revelation

This December started out with a pleasant anticipation of the Christmas season. Let’s be real though, it started November 1st! As hard as it was, we did resist the decorating and carols until Thanksgiving Day. That pleasant anticipation of Christmas slowly faded into an overwhelming sensation of doing more, buying more and questioning every morning with “What store am I going to today?” My feelings for shopping are quickly becoming less and less thrilling. Stores are filled to the brim with toys, gadgets, decorations, cheap woozy-what’s-its and bamboozlement. Every square inch is filled with stuff upon stuff with humans fighting their way through it all. I’m not sure if it’s the fatigue of a pandemic or the close resemblance of the retail atmosphere to how the anxiety of it all feels in my brain. Every December I’ve piled on the list of expectations that come with the season which most of the time serve as distractions from what really matters: Unity and communion with the Father, son and holy spirit, that overflows out of our hearts as unity and communion with our family and friends. Countless things pull for our attention, it’s a fight to keep our souls and hearts at peace. January then almost always comes with a rush of self-propelled ambition to reach goals and start over again. Most often we draw the energy to change and begin again out of a place of shame from slacking off or maybe over eating through the holidays. My thoughts have been swirling with this fascinating idea of starting January differently. Not with goals, more plans, and new habits for self development. (Although, I’m a goal-girl and will not shy away from writing and praying about new goals for the year).

What if I start January, with a heart that is readying itself for the release of control of the year ahead? It’s a bit daring, but how thrilling and soul-settling it is to place it all in God’s hands!? I wonder what He would do with our surrender? What if my focus for January isn’t a diet or fitness goal, or a habit to make me more likable and successful. Instead my focus is to face palms up to heaven and open my heart in surrender to the will of my loving and compassionate Father God? What if I start this new year not out of striving and doing, but out of prayer, contemplation, and surrender to Jesus who truly knows how to empower me for the good of others and the glory of God? This year, I’m setting my heart into the luscious soil of the goodness of God. That does not look like shaming myself into change or over planning or committing to ideas before truly saturating them in prayer. I’m setting my mind into the revelation of wholeness in Christ, not a scattered canvas of great ideas or an elaborate to-do list that leads to burn out. It’s a transition for how we begin…from goal-setting to soul-settling. God has good works in store for you and I to do, and I’m going to go out and do them but not from a place of shame, anxiousness, striving in my own strength or pure ambition. From a spirit of abiding in my maker, sustainer, rock and shield. My great goals and ideas do not sustain me. My appearance and ability to be a good-enough human being does not sustain me…it’s God’s love which sustains me. On my own, I can try my best and perform really well but it results in burn out, a lack of peace and inability to carry joy. It’s God’s love which sustains me. My revelation for this new year is to begin slowly and steadied by the pace of God’s presence and comfort. Our imagination, creativity and ideas will then follow but through the filter of God’s vision for us. I invite you into this with me; to let yourself begin in the abounding and faithful love of the Father. With a heart surrendered, completely saturated and set in the presence and communion with him. I’m starting this New Year with the energy of the birth of Jesus; surrender and simplicity. A simple stable, hay, and manger. The one and only, holy and perfect God putting himself at the mercies of two humans to raise him as a baby (that is absolutely mind-blowing to me)!

The surrender for Joseph was to still wed Mary, even though it would appear to friends and family that Mary had broken a purity covenant with Joseph and God. God had sent an angel to wake and speak to Joseph about the coming Savior through Mary and so the virgin birth was undeniable to him…but he still had to choose to believe and surrender despite outsiders or even close relatives who would disown him for having a child before the proper arrangements were made. He would look like a fool. No matter how costly the surrender, I’m willing to give it all to follow you Jesus. If you’re a goal-setter and go-getter like me, surrendering to God by slowing down might be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. In order to live by grace and to serve from the richness of God’s goodness, we must slow down our hurried hearts and renew our crowded minds. I put this into practice much of 2021 and began to see the benefits. I had to surrender and let go of some things in order to create this space of life by God’s grace. What I gained made it all worthwhile, like seeing the sparkle in people’s eyes, more laughter and depth with my husband, healing in my own physical body and mind and relationships and even career opportunities I would have missed out on if I had been too preoccupied. Practically applying this New Year’s Revelation, we can work in pockets of pause throughout our day. Sometimes it helps to have a mantra, a bible verse, a short prayer that you say to tell your brain that it’s time to “freshen up” the heart and mind, if you will. A pocket of pause involves stillness, prayer, or just simple awareness of God with you in that moment. One of my favorite’s is a breath prayer,

Inhale: “Father, your love…

Exhale: “…sustains me”

“When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.”

Psalm 94:18

Before we begin again, remember who holds you and sustains you. When life is going really well, and when life could be better. Remember who sustains you. Before we begin, before rushing into big ideas and grand achievements, let’s be a little rebellious to our natural way of living and doing…let’s pause and pray. It’s one way we can move and live from the simplicity and surrender of the birth of Jesus. 

Merry Christmas friends. I hope you are well in mind, body, spirit and soul. I hope your families are strong and your friendships grow in authenticity this year. I hope that you see your God-given purpose light up in every space you walk into. I hope joy and peace abound in and through you.

-Brianna Joy

A Peak through the Window of Liz’s Transformation Story

“When I am more patient with the work God is doing and continues to do in me, I notice I have more patience with others.”

Today I get to share with you part of my friend Liz’s wellness transformation. We took a walk a few weeks ago and she set my heart on fire with testimony of what God’s been doing in her life. For me, the biggest part that she shared of her change was her view on relationships. God shaped her mind to view others through His eyes, but that took her faithful obedience of letting God do the deep renewing work of her heart and mind.

Before we get into it, I want to share a little bit about Liz! Liz’s favorite style of exercise is cardio-dance and running “with freedom”! The things that make her laugh the most are the joy of being with family and friends and her own clumsiness! If Liz had unlimited resources she would love to provide a safe space for teenagers and kids alike to dance. “A place that is about wholesome restoration and redemption. It would be a place for them to just be loved and enjoy moving together like family!” Liz is a bucket of giggles and paints a masterpiece through her gift of dance. She also does the good work of discipling young girls in her small group at church. It’s an honor to be her friend and my pleasure of bringing to you part of her wellness testimony. Read below!

Why is wellness important to you? It’s important to me because my body was given to me by my Creator to be used as His hands and feet. If I am not supporting this beautiful gift He has given me, then I will not be able to go forth and do what He has called me to do well.

Where did your wellness journey begin?

It officially started the beginning of last year when I changed my mindset about wellness-when I did the Wellness Revelation Bible study. It took me a year from then to really grasp what I was being taught through this Bible study. It was no quick or immediate transformation, but a slow and redemptive one. 

What are the benefits of inner-training of the mind, spirit and soul?

Because I did all this inner work first before I started with the outside of myself, I feel that I am more successful. I believe that in order to really change, it starts with a change of one thought. Also taking time with Bible study as I apply it to my life. I know that sounds like it would take forever, but this kind of work will be lasting. I still have made mistakes along the way because I am human, but with the foundational groundwork toward transformation it can be used as a net to catch the fall. I have to say that none of this has been possible without my walk with my friend, Jesus, holding my hand and most of the time carrying me.

And how did that affect your physical and nutritional disciplines?

As I used last year for all this groundwork, it gave a good foundation to build off of to start doing nutritional options of food and exercising everyday. It gave me the freedom to try what works for me and what does not. Then to forgive myself when I feel like I failed or messed up or ate the whole jar of peanut butter, lol. With Christ working in me, He helps me to bounce back quicker and better than I was before.

How do you stick with the disciplines of faith and wellness especially on those days where there’s no motivation?

I remind myself of the goals and purpose of why I am doing it in the first place. I also talk with others around me that are on my team of encouragement. They remind me of my reason, God’s truth and help me to keep going. Being in community while going towards whole body wellness is what will get someone through it. I would not be able to do this alone without my community of support. 

If you were to look back at yourself this time last year, what is a major difference that you see?

The major difference I see is the transformation of what Jesus has done in my heart. He has worked on me a lot; He’s pulled me through some of the hardest times of my life. My past was still affecting me in such a severe way that I needed that transformation to start from within. Jesus knew that. He knew exactly where to start and begin. I kept pushing through for more and more transformation on my own, but that crashed and burned. I needed to realize that I could not do it on my own and that Jesus has perfect timing. Transformation felt like slow progress, despite my desire to change immediately. However, I am glad He does gradual work because how would I appreciate the transformation without the process?

How has this affected your relationships with other people?

It has affected my relationships in big ways. When I can accept myself and who God has made me to be, I then in turn want to love and accept others around me. When I am more patient with the work God is doing and continues to do in me, I notice I have more patience with others. When I learn to step into His love over me and trust that He knows what I am doing then I am able to extend the same to others. When I have respect for how I treat my body that God has given me then I can have that for others. It all starts with leaning on Christ for all things knowing I cannot conjure them up on my own. He propels me to have healthy relationships with others. 

Reflecting on what you’ve learned in your journey thus far, what is one message that you think everyone should know? 

One message I think everyone should know is that real transformation starts on the inside and continues to the outside–not outside to in. Yes, it is important to take care of the body and temple Jesus has given us, but if we want true transformation, it has to begin with Jesus healing our heart and mind.

-Liz Sinclair

Phantom Oppressions

Have you ever experienced a phantom vibration? That feeling of your phone buzzing in your pocket when you actually left it in the other room? “According to Dr. Michael Rothberg, the term is not a syndrome, but is better characterized as a tactile hallucination since the brain perceives a sensation that is not actually present.”

I was reminded of this when I read Isaiah 9:4 the other day:

“For you have shattered their oppressive yoke
and the rod on their shoulders,
the staff of their oppressor,
just as you did on the day of Midian.”

I read this verse wondering, ‘If Jesus shattered my sin and the things that feel heavy, then why do I sometimes feel like they’re still there? If Jesus took all my sin and shattered it, if He has removed the oppression of the enemy from me, and the weight on my shoulders off, then why do I still feel it?’

Now we circle back to phantom vibrations. This condition of being so attached to something that even when its not there, our brain still send us messages that it is. And even though Jesus carried the victory over sin and darkness and all that comes with it, we may still feel “phantom vibrations” that remind us of its heaviness.

“For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.” Isaiah 9:6

In those moments where I feel defeated, not enough, or that I’m not doing enough, I remember. I remember that God sent His son to be born FOR us. At first reading through the verse about, I read it as TO us, but rereading it, I fell in love with the wording. That God gifted us His son, who is FOR us. Oftentimes we make the challenges we face so much about us that we lose sight of the big-Kingdom-of-Heaven picture. Thankfully, it’s not the “Kingdom of Bri”, which might be similar to the creepy staging of Wanda in WandaVision.

I hear God saying it’s time to “about face”– to turn away from our self-focus or problem-focus, to face Him. It takes one moment of awareness to get back to the Gospel and grace-fueled living. Maybe we were hurt or feel worthless compared to the other social media families or celebs and get hung up on the feelings of “not enough”. Consider finding the trigger that sends you spiraling down the hole of discontentment, envy or whatever it is. Consider a physical prompt to change the course of your thoughts. It could be a few deep and slow breaths, a walk around the neighborhood, or even a snap of the finger (unlike Thanos this will not actually make all your people-problems go away). A single moment of awareness can redirect us to remember the truth of when we make it all about Him, we our blessed with the Kingdom goodness He originally intended for us to live with. Lets remember to make it about Jesus reigning and His kingdom, and for Christ coming and making himself at home more and more in our hearts as we trust in Him.

“The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:7

Jesus reigns with justice, righteously and with great passion over His kingdom. He will continue to reign “to establish and sustain it”. My zeal, passion and strength will not establish or sustain Gods Kingdom. As hard as I might try, I won’t even sustain my own Kingdom (which looks like the drive for power, prestige, purpose). Which sometimes, if we are all honest here, its easier said than done to steer free from doing. It’s Jesus’ zeal that accomplished the reign of His kingdom. Signed, sealed by His blood and delivered to us– it’s HIS kingdom, not my own. He has the power, plan, the purpose and provision for us and we can trust Him to remain faithful.

It can be exhausting to be a work in progress, but the beauty of transformation is that it helps remind us of our need for God and the work Jesus did on the cross. Verse 6 says that Jesus was named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of peace. Would you believe this with me? That the God who is holding His gift of himself out to you–who is mighty, will counsel you, pledges by BLOOD to be your Father forever and the bearer of peace wherever He is, is for you? He wants you to succeed, be well, be whole and be transformed as you live out a life of serving and loving others. Its not a call to perfection, but a call to be human, permission to fail, but given the liberty to walk by grace through faith in Christ.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Take a moment to breathe deep (or snap yo’ finger) to redirect your thoughts towards what is true. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and counsel you through the challenging times to remind you of how Jesus shattered that weight. The more you practice redirecting your thoughts and making it about him, the more you’ll feel the phantom vibration of that weight, dissipate in the fullness of surrendering to our Eternal Father.

The Endless Battle to Find Our Worth

Working to live up to other peoples expectations or our own devalues who we are. In living to please ourselves or other people, we lose sight of the goodness that’s found in living to please God and the freedom of living as our authentic, God-designed-self.

We can subconsciously allow people to dictate our attitude towards ourself. If they respond with an eye-roll, it could result in us shying away or shrinking back from the conversation or relationship. It could be in the way you slaved over making them dinner only to find no appreciation or thing in return. Who’s fame and honor are we working towards when we try so hard to live up to other peoples expectations? There’s. Results: a whole lot of feeling sorry for ourselves, poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger, and resentement.

Living up to our own expectations of ourselves often looks like trying to conform to the perfect image of who we are. Enough is never enough. The metaphorical plate always needs to be crammed full and the candle burnt at both ends. We hustle, we push to the top, and hope that soon we will have peace with the gal we’ve made of ourself. Who’s fame and honor are we working towards when we try so hard to live up to our own demands? Our own. Results: stress, hurry, anxiety, depression, impatience, missed opportunities of good friendships and being out of touch with reality and our authentic self.

We all give honor and glory to God by being exactly who we are. Just as a mountain gives Him glory by simply being a mountain. When we find ourselves in hopes to please God, we experience wholeness, joy, peace with who we are, and authentic love for Him, others and ourselves. When we know and experience God and His character, we discover our authentic self. The one who doesn’t shy away from an eye-roll or a curse word, but stands firm in who she is as loved always, belonging to the King of Kings, equipped with every single thing she needs to carry out the life she lives and do so with great joy and ongoing peace. Who’s fame and honor are we working towards and resting in when we seek Him first above all and with are whole heart? When we serve others because God loves them? When we take care of ourselves and live out our God-given gifts and vocation? HIS!! Results: Freedom, peace with ourselves and others, confidence, security, joy, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, self-control, kindness towards ourselves and others, and greater self awareness as we experience God in new ways and get to know ourselves through His transformative power.

Rest in His love and take inventory of the reasons you do what you do. Become aware of your thoughts to see what bend you tend to take (pleasing others or yourself), and surrender it. See what God will do in you when you practice thinking, feeling and choosing from a place of already being loved and valued by Him.

“Don’t be afraid or intimidated by others, for God will bring everything out into the open and every secret will be told.” Matthew 10:26

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

“Fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back.
But when you place your confidence in the Lord,
you will be seated in the high place.”
Proverbs 29:25

10 Resources to Supplement Your Wellness Journey

When our minds + hearts aren’t planted in truth, love and grace, we become complacent or we wander from thing to thing, with no vision, plan or purpose. With no root system, if you will, we let life happen to us, we live by what we feel and not what’s true or what is beneficial. It’s time to take authority, to give direction to the way we live, think, feel and choose.

The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.

Proverbs 21:5

Below you will find a list of 10 resources that can help us stay rooted in truth, love and grace as we take care of our body, mind, spirit and soul. Doing the work to keep our minds rooted in the Word of God (the Bible), will help us become whole. It works on our “inner layer” because without a firm foundation, the house will crumble. Research the material below to gain insight on how to live a lifestyle of wellness that is long-lasting: one that is fueled by God’s grace, love, and truth for you, not in striving and self-sufficiency.

  1. The Bible
  2. The Wellness Revelation by Alisa Keeton
  3. Revelation Wellness RevWellTv, Challenges + Podcasts
  4. Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose. By Rebekah Lyons
  5. Well-watered Women studies
  6. The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner (this book is 1 of the The Spiritual Journey trilogy he wrote)
  7. Biblical Meditation with the “Sleep Meditation” Abide Podcast
  8. The Bible Recap by Tara-Leigh Cobble. I love to align these podcasts with what ever scripture I am studying, easy to do!
  9. Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  10. Daily worship through Youtube channels like Maverick City

The Shift

A throwback from my blog 4 years ago…

I found myself in the woods earlier this week, escaping from reality and hoping for a fresh connection with God. Going on a hike seemed like the perfect idea to spend some time in peace and quiet. Just a few feet into the trail, it dawned on me that I was alone. Every squirrel and chipmunk made me jump. I could just hear what my mother would be saying to me, “Now Bri, a young lady walking in the woods alone? Not a smart idea, you never know who could be out there.”  With my mothers persuading voice booming in my head, I turned back around.

image

I thought about how this is just like me: FEAR stopping me from reaching the top of the mountain with the beautiful over look. For the past 2 years, I’ve been battling with what I’m supposed to do, as far as a career goes and making sure it’s “God’s will”. You want to know my biggest stumbling block? Fear. Fear of failing, not meeting others expectations, and fear of not being in God’s will.

“God’s will” is one of those christian sayings that has ALWAYS left me feeling constrained.

It’s not what you do, it’s who you are. Better yet…WHOSE you are.

Up until last week, I was trapped in this fear of not being in God’s will and obsessed with trying to make something of myself by gaining a title through a career. There was good intention behind my pursuing a career…I wanted to desperately serve God and serve my family by providing more income to better support them.

Unfortunately, I was trapped. Trapped in the idea that servanthood gave me worth.

The same day that I attempted that hike, was also the day that I failed my exam through the American Council on Exercise–a certificate that was supposed to land me a job. I learned so much from this. I learned that I was putting way too much of my worth, in owning a title in a career because of how hard it hit me. I broke down, throwing out hard words and questions at God, ‘I thought this was what you wanted!?…What am I supposed to do now!?…God show me what you want!…What direction do I go?!’

Now, these questions are not bad at all. In fact they’re good questions to ask. The problem with them, is that they stemmed from a heart of pure servanthood. When that’s actually NOT what a relationship with God is.

image

Have you ever stressed about the will of God for your life? 

There are many verses in the Bible that explain God’s will. Explaining that His desire for us is to be saved, to be filled with the Spirit and to be set-apart, etc.  Although, when it comes to our day to day decisions, we can get ourselves trapped in wondering what God’s will is, as if we have no choice.

For many things in my life, I’ve been afraid to take advances because what if it’s not the will of God?  Let me tell you friend, it’s time to release your self from that dangerous holding cell. I wasted enough time of my life with that perspective. What God’s done with me, literally just last week…has placed a great shift in my view of our relationship. Instead of living my life with too much worth in what I’m doing, I’ve shifted into living my life completely understanding that I am loved by Him and He values my choices and my passions more than I do my own. He doesn’t see me as His servant, but as His friend:

 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you FRIENDS, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

John 15:15-16

He has way more interest in your desires, than you have in your own. He is passionate to have the desires of our heart come true. When you’re a servant, you have a master and usually the servant doesn’t know too much about the master’s business, and the master usually has no great desire to know the servant.

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

The shift to being empowered and liberated by His will.

The shift comes when we realize that we are not identified by all that we do, the applause we get, the certifications we own, or the amount of service hours we hold. We are also not identified by what labels we put on ourselves such as: weak, afraid, screw-up, unpopular, etc.

The shift comes when we realize that we are radically identified as: ONE LOVED BY GOD. To understand that by simply being ourselves, we bring glory to God.

He calls you friend and you are His Beloved.That is your pure, raw identity.

The shift to my worth coming from God’s love for me.

YOU ARE GOD’S BELOVED.

He absolutely cherishes you, 100%. He values what you value. You are known, you are heard you are important…AS YOU ARE. Strip away everything that you hold against yourself, telling you that you aren’t good enough. Then you’ll see the shift in your life slowly begin to work:

People’s negative comments, won’t bother you. His love is greater.

Your spouse, not treating you like he or she should? His love is greater.

You failed an exam? His love is greater.

You’re fearful of saying something stupid or screwing up? His love is greater.

Your friends don’t call you as often as you like? His love is greater.

Your children don’t respect you? His love is greater.

You’re past looks like one out of Shawshank Redemption? His love is greater.

You’re illness is only getting worse? His love is greater.

Yes, things can hurt us in this life. They can hurt bad. But when we shift our relationship with the Lord to one of friendship and pure love, life’s temporary getups don’t hang us out to dry. Being loved by the Creator of this world, means so much more. His love for you is greater than you can even imagine.

“‘Who am I? I am one loved by Christ.’ This is the foundation of the true self. The indispensable condition for developing and maintaining awareness of our belovedness is time alone with God. In solitude we tune out the nay-saying whispers of our worthlessness and sink down into the muster of our true self. Our longing to know who we really are–which is the source of all our discontent–will never be satisfied until we confront and accept our solitude. There we discover that the truth of our belovedness is really true. Our identity rests in God’s relentless tenderness for us revealed in Jesus Christ.” -Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child.

If you’ve wondered why your relationship with God is stale, weak and uneventful. Or maybe stressful and self-condemning…I encourage you to sit in solitude. Sit down with your true self. It’s when we are alone, that our deepest worries, anxieties and fears hit us. What’s causing you hurt? What’s weighing you down? What’s owning yo
u? Now ask the Lord to show you how to live in the freedom His love brings to the table. Radically claim your identify as God’s beloved. Then you will see that God doesn’t want to make every decision for you, but would rather build in you something rich and see your deepest passions spring to life.

image

“It’s not ‘what is the will of God in my life?’ instead, ‘what are you building in me?’”

-Bill Johnson

 The freedom that comes when you embrace the fullness of relationship with God, will reveal His heart of passion for you and your desires. He loves you DEEPLY my friend. Now, ask him daily how to make the shift to live in that truth.

In His love,

image

Bri

“Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 The Message

I LAUGH IN THE FACE OF DOUBT

Good Morning Beautiful!

Do you have what it takes to laugh in the face of doubt today?

Doubt likes to grab a hold of your dreams, gifts, and calling to stop you from moving forward.

Have you ever become paralyzed by the feeling? Let me tell you what doubt is…it’s dwelling on your weaknesses when you are on the cusp of splashing into a refreshing pool called, your calling. Doubt makes you feel cemented and chained to your environment, social-expectations and standards. Doubt traps you in a box.

Today my lovelies, we are going to start dipping our toes into that pool of faith, the pool of your calling. Much to our surprise, our calling may not just be one title we get to call ourselves in our lifetime…you know, one day we’ll get “there”. No, but perhaps we are called to many along our path…Teacher. Doer. Initiator. Dreamer. Doctor. Counselor. Server. Cashier. Coach. Volunteer. Lover. Mother. Daughter…The list might go on! Take a “look” at what you hold in your heart: your skills, personality, passions, and abilities. As well as your identity; you know, child and truly loved friend of the Creator of this universe. God has called you and it’s mighty because HE made the call, not you. He has already gone before you in this thing you call your life. Don’t be afraid. Other’s need what you possess, and you need what they are gifted in as well. Take a deep breath and let yourself flourish with great purpose, one brave step at a time. Otherwise, what is our life? Just another human being, grappled by doubt and fear. Release! Flourish! Be free! The world needs you and your gifts, no matter how small you think they might be.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:6

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10

“I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints” Ephesians 1:18

Until next time,

Bri

Question I’m asking the Lord today, “Show me how to use my strengths and gifts to better raise my kids. Show me how to be faithful with the “small” things”

Faith over Fear

       There are a lot of mind-blowing moments in Biblical History; God-breathed words portray endless accounts of healing and miracles, supernatural grace, forgiveness and unconditional love. 

But why? I’ve asked myself this question countless times: Why is the Bible packed with all these amazing things, yet for some reason I don’t see much of that happening around me now?

I’ve muddled through different answers in my head: Maybe there are too many distractions, maybe we’ve lost touch with God, maybe it’s the change in culture. Nothing really made sense, seeing as how God promises that He’s the same as He was “yesterday, today and forever”. He promises that He’s our healer. He promises that we would do “even greater things”. 

There is an account of healing in the Bible, where two followers of Jesus (Peter and John) heal a paralytic. Not through bandaids and physical therapy. They didn’t cast a magical spell with fairy dust either.

“And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” -Acts 3

By FAITH in Jesus, they were able to bring complete healing to the man who had been “lame since birth”, in an instant! Part of me reads the story and thinks, “Oh, what a neat story of the power of Christ working in someones life!” and the other part of me says, “I want to do crazy stuff like this! I’m a follower of Jesus, what am I missing that these two guys had?!”

Faith man, it’s faith.

What does it mean?

It’s such a short little word for how powerful it is.

I’ve always struggled with the word, more or less the meaning of it.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11

I’ve turned this verse upside down-right side up and inside out to better understand what faith is and how it applies to me.

According to the verse, Faith is:

  1. Substance of hope
  2. Evidence of the unseen

As I have been stretched and grown through trials, God has grown me out of my unbelief into a woman of faith. Recently, I was caught in the middle of a challenge that could have easily made me over-stressed and anxious, as I’ve been so quick to do in the past. I remembered a verse that I had recently read:

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” -1 John 5:14-15

In the midst of fear, I had a CHOICE. As do we all. I could get caught up in the endless worries of, what’s going to happen? what do I do? #freakout.

OR

I could choose to pray in FAITH. What is the difference you ask?

OH MAMA, it’s huge.

Take the verse above and apply it to your prayer life–in doing so, you gain a whole different type of strength. I promise. FAITH equips you to heavily rely so much on God, that you let your fears escape your mind and replace them with anticipation of God’s faithful response.

Fear is so ugly. It’s a life-ruiner, home-wrecker and a perspective obliterator. It’s Satan’s biggest tactic when it comes to destroying and distracting us from God’s goodness and His perfect will!

24 hrs after praying in faith (BELIEVING and knowing that He heard me and would faithfully answer), an answer came through a friend. It was incredible-I need to pray like this more often!

Two things I’ve learned about myself: I’m quick to fear, but I’m also a quick learner. One who is quick to fear, is less prone to reap the fruit of a deep-seeded faith in God. Faith in EVERY instance.

Together, let’s be a community of Jesus followers who destroy fears with Faith. Each step of faithful living and prayer, opens up a new spout for God’s goodness to pour through.

#Faithoverfear.

Try it today:

  1. Set apart time to be alone-distraction free.
  2. Be still, and thank God for a few things.
  3. Pray with confidence-not thinking “this is too big of a request” or “oh this may or may not happen”or “God may hear me right now, but maybe He’s too busy”. Stop. Pray in FAITH (with confidence) knowing and believing that He is there with you and will answer.
  4. Try catching yourself-the moment a fear ridden thought enters your head. Acknowledge them, try to not judge yourself for feeling them. Practice kindness to yourself and allow yourself to feel but not stay afraid.
  5. Pray and trust that your LOVING Father will take care of you and that HIS PLAN is the best plan.

“Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?” -Job 11:7

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” -Job 42:2

 God has given us His Holy Spirit as a helper. The instant you start to feel fear creep into your mind, ask Him to fill you a fresh and proclaim His authority over you, and watch fear diminish.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” -John 14:26

If you have trouble trusting God, remember all that He’s done and hold onto His promises.

He will never leave you or forsake you.

He is always with you.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

He will supply all your needs.

He’s healer of broken bodies and broken hearts.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” -John 14:27

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.” -Psalm 42:5-6

image

Guys, we don’t have time to let fear control us. Everyone experiences some level of it. Though the difference between what Christians do with fear, and what the rest of the world does with it is exponential (or at least it should be). God gives us a whole different kind of peace that the world can never give us. The kind of steady mind and heart that is able to remain steady in EVERY moment- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Everyone’s going to experience fear; it’s your response that will set you apart. Look around you, this world isn’t thriving. People are hurting, lost, addicted, abused, dying-you name it. There’s a deep calling for urgent rescue. It is our job to carry this eternal faith into the hearts of the people around us, so that we can all thrive no matter what our circumstance may be.

“But you are a chosen group of people. You are the King’s religious leaders. You are a holy nation. You belong to God. He has done this for you so you can tell others how God has called you out of darkness into His great light.” -1 Peter 2:9

Don’t look back. Go forward today in newness of life. This is your choice: choose to step into the plummeting-spiral of fear or the miraculous freedom-ride of faith.

“He said to her, “Daughter, your FAITH has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” -Mark 5:34

Wake up, church! Revelation 3:2

Bri

Well begun is half done

img_3190

GROWING UP, WE CALLED MY MOM THE “FIDDLER”. IT SEEMED THAT WHENEVER WE TRIED TO SIT DOWN TO WATCH A MOVIE OR EAT DINNER, SHE FIDDLED WITH THE DISHES, THE LAUNDRY, HER HAIR. AFTER WAITING 20 MINUTES, SHE WOULD SAY, “JUST GO AHEAD…START WITHOUT ME”. WHICH WOULD FOLLOW WITH IMPATIENT REMARKS FROM HER LOVELY CHILDREN. 🙂

This afternoon, I found myself in a place that I’ve been countless times before. I sat down to connect with Jesus, but I couldn’t connect. An hour went by before I truly felt myself zone into the place I wanted to be. Why did it take that long? Because recently I’ve let myself become the Queen of Fiddling.

img_3168

The Holiday’s brought plenty of joy and awesome family time, without a doubt. Although, it made for very little quiet time. I was like a gerbil caught in it’s wheel, for crying out loud; Traveling, activities, visitors, gifts, food, and Christmas movies. All of which had me spinning non-stop. This week, things began to calm down but for some reason I couldn’t remember how to get off my “wheel”. The moment I sat down for peace and quiet…I pulled out my phone to all the goodies a screen could offer:

Emails, Texts, FaceBook, Instagram, Snap Chat, wishful vacation shopping on GroupOn, ETC. 

After some time, I threw my phone down and closed my eyes trying to clear my mind and let God speak to me. This is what I had originally sat down to do while the boys napped. Elijah began to cry and at once I blamed my wasted time on my crying 18 month old. I comforted him, then let him cry it out hoping he’d fall back asleep.

I turned my attention to the Bible, and Eli’s cry became background noise.

img_2734

Ah-ha! That’s it…

Connection to our dreams, goals, priorities and God easily become drowned out by time-consuming fiddles. 

Think of someone who has lost their vision. Since there is nothing to be seen, they have an immaculate taste of the other senses. They hear whispers, smell smells, taste tastes, feel the feels better than any seeing person ever could.

ARG! How frequently I cave to entertainment where I don’t let myself have a quiet moment to think. It’s awkward to do nothing. One must look at a screen to be comfortable. *Rolls eyes* You know how it goes…The phone comes out:

In the waiting room.

On the bus.

In line at the grocery store.

In-between commercials on T.V.

In the bathroom. 

When do we give ourselves time to think?!

It is little distraction by little distraction, that the presence of God becomes our background noise.

There are a lot of exciting things going on around us. New inventions, a plethora of entertainment and activities–There’s always something to do. If there isn’t, we go stir crazy because of our heightened sense of pleasure. It’s become instilled in us that we always need to be doing something, never settling, always going…otherwise we are bored. For some reason, the quietness is scary to us. It’s foreign. But that my friends is where we find the Lord. That’s where we see Him, when we seek him in the quiet. The quiet is also where our dreams develop. It’s where our passions come alive when we give them room to grow. And where our priorities become appropriately aligned.

It starts with, well, starting! It you allow yourself to sit, with nothing to get side tracked with, you’ll see progress. Just begin. Begin to open up space for your mind to be comfortable with the quietness.

Together let’s put down the fiddle and make more room for:

…our dreams to develop

…our calling and passion to flourish.

…our knowledge of God to expand

…God to overwhelm you with the peace and joy of His presence. 

You will see yourself become more focused, level-headed and driven when you fully accept quietness into your everyday routine. It is in the seeking that we hear Him speaking.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

“…in Him we live, move and have our being.” -Acts 17:28

Now, put down that dang fiddle. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:1-2

→Keep moving forward→

Bri

Rev up! and GLOW

2U1A5410Two nights ago, 24 young girls and 11 rockin’ volunteers filled up a gym as they shined in the glowing purple hues of black light. With faces literally glowing from the body paint, we all moved to the upbeat sounds of music that would make any grown woman want to dance. After the night ended, one girl said that she looked around the room and even though it was dark, she could tell everyone was smiling. The minimal lighting allowed her and the rest of the girls to feel comfortable enough to let loose and dance even if it meant moving offbeat and looking ridiculous.

After sweating ourselves silly, we all raided the Smoothie bar where we created delicious bowls, topped with yummy fruit, granola, and other healthy toppings! Some of us then played around at the photo booth taking pictures in costume. Others freshened up with a fragrant face mask. Then, there were others who ran around with 50 glow bracelets linked together, letting out their inner creative child! 2U1A5484

After a time of stretching, we practiced stillness. With a cool lavender towel on our foreheads, we inhaled a prayer of, “I love you” to God, and exhaled as we allowed ourselves to hear God say it back to us, “I love you”.

This transitioned into storytime, of sorts. Where I shared my first experience of looking at myself in a mirror and seeing how God saw me–instead of seeing myself through the filter of how I thought the world saw me. I had looked at myself, with a filter of several lies attached to it including I was ugly, I need make up, not good enough so I have to layer up with material things, and so on. I had been lied to in middle school, and high school and believed them for several years after. It made me slightly paranoid that I would never be pretty enough for people to like me.

After taking the girls through Genesis 3:1-13, it was their turn to look inward. The girls wrote a lie they’ve believed on a balloon. After asking them to pop it, they found a little note inside with a truth to displace that lie that had been exposed. At the end, the girls came up and wrote down their truth, what God sees when He looks at them, on a full-length mirror. This was a huge expression of their faith; calling out the lie for what it is, and stepping into the freedom of the truth of who God says they are. Only our maker can tell us who we are. Why, oh why, would we want other broken and hurt reflections to define who we are? If they didn’t make you, they cannot define you.

As they left that night with newfound energy, hope, and friends, they also each left with a letter written by women of faith in our community! All women who sat down, spared a few minutes out of their busy schedules to love on those girls with their words and their testimony.

If that was you, thank you. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you to all those who volunteered and led, and for doing it well. Thank you for being bold enough to talk to, to move with and engage those incredible young women who came out Saturday night.

 “I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:18-21

Brianna Joy

Revelation Wellness Instructor at The Well

If you would like any info about The Well ministry events and classes, please contact me at: brijoyful@gmail.com. I host seasonal, faith and fitness classes: Rev Up! classes are cardio and strength-based and Flow classes involve light strength, stretching and meditative practice.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.