//Rest is good// (Maggie)

Let me just tell you…I am not good at “being still”. I love schedules and planning and filling my time with meetings while using my color-coded agenda. I organize my time around my “to-do” list, which stays mostly in my head because I have the memory of an elephant! #reasonswhyiloveelephants… A successful day in my mind would be one where I have accomplished tasks, hung out with four or five students, made some phone calls, went to a meeting, and came home at 8pm exhausted from my day, but satisfied with the fact that I did work. I got things done.  I am an amniovert. It’s a new term in the Myers Briggs test that defines someone who is both an introvert and extrovert. I like being around people, but my energy comes from being around one or two people at a time, not 75. So my energy would quickly deteriorate after spending ALL day on campus. I started to see my walk with God kind of the same way. As long as I was spending my scheduled time with Him, and meeting for discipleship with all of my students, and then meeting with more new students, and then running off to our weekly meeting, I was being productive. I never took time to sit down and just be still. I go in and out of the seasons where I think I need to do a certain amount of tasks for God for Him to be pleased with me, and then realizing that it’s not about a checklist. He wants us to just sit with Him and be with Him. You know that best friend who you can hang out for hours with and have a really great time without actually saying much of anything? God wants us to soak in His truth and love and be quiet before Him.
Rest
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
 my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
 he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

With the beginning of the semester, things can get CRAAAZY. You want to sign up for everything and meet new friends and go go go until fall break finally arrives and you can take a short nap before you go visit your friends at JMU because they don’t have a fall break…and the cycle of do everything ever starts over again and you become burnt out.  Take time to be with Jesus. It doesn’t have to be this whole big organized prayer and worship session where you journal for 20 pages and have a revelation about your life. Those are great times too, but… Time with Jesus can be simple, sweet, and still. Just listen.  

Do you know you’re beautiful? {Maggie}

            

  Today I stood in front of the mirror after having changed my outfit 4 times and just let out an exasperated sigh. I didn’t like what I saw. My shirt didn’t hang right, my shorts were ugly, and I was breaking out. My hair was not cooperating, and I wished I were thinner, tanner, and taller. Then I would be more beautiful…right? As those thoughts were going through my head I realized how often I compare myself to other people. Scrolling through my newsfeed I see pictures roll by of my beautiful friends who have a guy on their arm, and are looking real good at the beach…and then I look at me and think…why can’t I have that? Why can’t I be the one super dedicated to cross-fit or the latest workout regimen? Why am I not the one getting married in 100 days or whatever the latest countdown that day is? Why am I not traveling the world with my imaginary new hot boyfriend? Why is literally “everyone” getting married???
Because.

            God has me where I am for a purpose. For the purpose of bringing me closer to Him and Him getting to reveal his glory in a way that will deepen my love and affection for Him. I am beautiful. God created us all to be beautiful children of God. He doesn’t want me to be constantly comparing my story to others. If I’m constantly waiting for the next best thing to happen to me, I’m missing it. God is here. Now. And wants me. I don’t have to have a certain body type, or hair color to be beautiful. God creates each and every one of us in His image in a unique and wonderful way. He doesn’t want us looking around wondering why in the world we are where we are. He doesn’t want us to figure out each nitty-gritty detail in his plan for us so we can try hard to make it happen. He is in control. He’s got this. Trust Him. He loves all of us and sees us as beautiful. He knows what’s best for us and wants us to glorify Him in our waiting. Patience is not just waiting, but it’s our attitude while we wait. Where is our heart in this waiting period?

            We as women, I think, struggle a lot with self-image. We are never happy with the way we look or what we have. We can’t stand to live in the present; we are focused on planning our perfect Pinterest wedding when in fact, God wants to use us for his purposes to reach the world with His truth. Ladies. We are princesses of the most high King. There could never be a more beautiful you. God created you the way he did with purpose. A greater purpose then getting 80+ likes on a new profile picture, and having the perfect outfit or “finally” being in a relationship. Don’t settle. I’m not saying God doesn’t want us to feel beautiful, or wear ugly clothes all the time. It’s not that he doesn’t want or have someone for us. My friend mentioned how someone from her church decided she wasn’t going to date for at least a year, and then two months later…she had a boyfriend. I jokingly said, “hey I’ll do that too.” Why? I wanted to be in a relationship…Wrong reason to take a vow of singleness.  I needed to do a heart check. Who’s approval am I seeking here?
Galatians 1:10 smacks me with some hard truth…
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.” 
        
         Yeesh. I should be trying to glorify God, not myself when I get ready for the day or figuring out what to post to Instagram…Like Meg said in her last blog, God gave us our status as beloved adopted children of His. So let’s start seeing ourselves that way. Be confident in who you are in Christ. He loves you. Just the way you are.
“ I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ” Psalm 139:14
 “Because He delights in me, He saved me.” Psalm 18:19 
This video might be a little cheesy…but I think it shows how what God sees as beautiful, and the world’s definition of beautiful are completely different.


Identity {Maggie}

What did you major in? What job do you want to have after college? Are you dating anyone seriously? These are quite common questions that I’ve heard ever since I was a freshman in college…and not much has changed in the year since I’ve graduated. Society instills in us this idea that who we are, is defined by what we do, who we spend time with, what we look like, and where we came from. Beauty is defined by the photo-shopped images in magazines that tell us the 5 steps to becoming a better, more successful person. “Success” is defined by our society through the ideals of American dream.  One needs to have a nice house, a breadwinning husband, 2.5 kids, and a golden retriever (I love goldens, it could be a lab or collie or something too :P) . Now, I am not saying any of the things are bad, but it is so easy for us to take those into our hearts and start creating an identity based on those things, and feel inadequate or not good enough if we don’t get those things that we apparently “need”. 
            I’m from NOVA. I play volleyball. I am a photographer. I love kids. I am a Communications major. I am single.  I’m on Cru staff. I love Jesus.  These are just a few ways I would describe myself to someone I am just getting to know. For so long I saw who I was through what I did. Using that lens, in looking at people who became doctors, or graduated top of their class, or had their own business…I saw them as better than me, a more successful person at life than me. I saw myself as someone who wasn’t good enough. I didn’t live up to some created standard of living because I didn’t have the job that everyone fought for, or the dream guy that adored me. “There must be something wrong with me” constantly ran through my head for the first few years of college, and still creeps back into my heart on occasion. But I went to a conference a few years back and learned about my identity. My identity is in Christ.  God created us in HIS image. We are His image bearers. The Bible teaches that for us whose identity is in Christ…

There is no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1)

We can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39) 

We who are many form one body (Romans 12:5) 

We have wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30) 

Our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58) 

We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) 

We become God’s children (Galatians 3:26) 

We have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3) 

We have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7) 

We were also chosen (Ephesians 1:11) 

We are for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12)

We have been seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)

These are just a few I pulled from an article that talks about our identity in Christ. For the full list, click here.
            Just a quick story…
On Sunday my parents and I went to our local breakfast place after church. There is a guy who’s worked there forever (no this is not what you think keep reading.) and is a family friend of ours. He saw me and couldn’t believe that I was already 23, and that I had grown up into a “lovely young lady”. We ordered our food and when we went to leave he said to me, “congratulations” (and going through my head was…uh why? I didn’t just get engaged or get a new job and I’m not pregnant…) #reasonstocongratulate but then he said, “for being successful at who you are”.  I smiled. God used him to remind me that it’s not about what I do or where I’m from, but it’s who I am in Christ.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Father in Heaven who loves us. He created us for a purpose and has given us desires and passions that are good! But remember who we are in Christ. Don’t let “things” define your heart. Don’t compare yourself to others as a measurement of your identity. See yourself as God sees you. He sees you as his beloved child who is forgiven and set free. He sees us as beautiful daughters (and sons, welcome to the women’s blog men) of the King. We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others to find our worth, but looking to Jesus as the only one who gives us our worth through our identity in Him.