How Facebook Made Me a Secret Admirer

Do you remember the middle school concept?

When someone left notes in our friend’s locker signed “your secret admirer,” there were usually lines about wanting to know her more or how great she was. We would all embark on a quest to discover the identity of her secret admirer. It was somewhere between inspiringly sweet and super awkward; some unknown person out there really appreciated her.

That’s where I’m at. Somewhere between inspiringly sweet and super awkward.

My Facebook feed features friends, acquaintances, and followers. Over time, I learn about these virtual connections’ lives and character. I promise I don’t go stalking- this stuff shows up on my timeline!

There’s the girl I barely knew, whose friends were friends of my friends. She took a big leap of faith years ago. I am regularly encouraged watching God honor her choice as the story slowly unfolds on my Facebook timeline.

Or there’s the fellow student I loosely associated with as friends overlapped, who I never thought much about at the time. I regularly wish we were closer because as her story slowly unfolds on my Facebook timeline, I so identify with and admire her approach to the challenges and joys she faces.

When I stumble across posts by another friend of a friend I met twice for a few minutes, I sometimes want to leave comments as if we’re good friends ourselves. We’re not. I just love her sweet personality and how she radiates Christ’s love online through everyday life stuff.

I could keep going.

My list of “admireds” is long.

It makes me wonder, on my bravest days, if I should drop a note in their virtual box. If I should walk through the awkward of flattering-creepy and let these people know that the Lord uses their ordinary, everyday Facebook sharing to encourage my heart.

I haven’t decided yet.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God..png

But I’ll leave this here for all of us admirers and admireds:

When you share online, people notice. Maybe not the people you expect. Maybe without ever commenting or liking. But people notice how you’re living your life. When you’re living it for Him, it’s so obvious. I am awed by our Lord through much of what people share about Him in their daily lives. It’s so powerful…

…Enough to make this shy, awkward, introvert a secret admirer who “thanks the Lord every time I think of you,” courtesy of my Facebook feed.

Facebook might not seem like a place for testimony, but let me tell you, I see God using it for His glory everyday. 

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

I’d love for you to guest post on First and Second! Especially for an upcoming series…more here.

Overcome Failure Book Review

I’m one of those people who has regularly lived in fear of failure. Are you?

I’ve made too many decisions based on what I know I can do, not what I believe I should do. All too often, I shrink back from the ideas that excite me, even when I know the Lord is offering them. I refuse because I doubt I can succeed in fulfilling them.

My list of “almosts” but “might fail, better nots” is long.

What a blessing it has been in a recent season of growing in boldness to discover Ifeoma Samuel’s new book Overcome Failure.

Unique in style and informal, Overcome Failure has been to me like a series of pep-talks or letters from this lovely woman of God. Nearly every time I dive into the book I’m met with a God-timed phrase or passage from Scripture speaking directly to the fear of failure I’ve needed to face.

For example, on page 35, Ifeoma outlines one of the first reasons fear of failure triumphs over us: we hate to wait without a guarantee of the risk (or of anything!) being worthwhile.

“Only patient people can fully surrender. Are you one?” she says.

overcomefailurebook

My immediate answer is no. But isn’t she right?

We often surrender something to God only to find ourselves snatching it back when He takes longer than expected. If we don’t take it back, we often head right away from the foot of the cross to another thing we can pick up and cling to instead of simply being patient in waiting for what He desires to fill us with.

Picking up our lesser, safer options, we bypass God’s best for us because waiting to see if we might succeed is scary. But that’s where faith can swoop in and spare us.

As Ifeoma explains on page 7 and throughout the book:

Failure is not a monster to be afraid of. It only becomes a giant when we see it as such; however, when we embrace the hope God offers us, it becomes just another challenge that is brought down.

When God says He can work all things together for good, He even means our failures or potential failures. As He explains in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “His power is made perfect in weakness.”

God doesn’t need us to succeed for Him to succeed in His purposes for us and through us.

I hope that simple, essential lesson from Overcome Failure helps you grow in boldness, trust, and obedience in Christ the way it has me.

Thank you, Ifeoma, for the wise, personal, God-grounded talk on this touchy topic!

To learn more about Overcome Failure, click here.

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

We Need to Witness to Believers Too

Photo from: Pixabay

“Witnessing” and “testifying” are words generally reserved for evangelizing. It is by hearing a testimony that many people become interested in the Lord. Through the witness of Christians, many have been convicted by the Spirit and accepted Christ as their own.

But there is also a place for witnessing to other believers.

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 tells us that:

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

When we think of encouragement, our testimony isn’t often what first comes to mind. But encouraging one another isn’t just about pointing out strengths and speaking hope into hard situations.

The sleep referenced in this verse is similar to falling asleep physically. It’s the same word used in Scripture for the sick “dead” child who Jesus said was actually just asleep.

Although some suggest otherwise, this “sleep” does not indicate that one is in hell or unsaved (Mark 5:39). In fact, the writers of 1 Thessalonians are writing to believers in a church.

Of course, this simple falling asleep and being asleep is a metaphor still. It is described as a metaphor for “yield(ing) to sloth and sin, and be(ing) indifferent to one’s salvation” (BibleHub).

Here our testimonies have a great but often overlooked purpose: spurned the saved to live as though saved.

One of the best forms of encouragement we have as Christians is our testimony –both in the big and the little things. It’s through this encouragement that others are woken up to the possibility of living their new life in Christ now. Whether in a deep sleep of faith or a taking a little nap, forgetting to keep our eyes fixed on Him all the time, we all have times when a wake-up call to faith is needed.

The call isn’t always loud or startling. Our testimonies don’t have to be either. What we witness about doesn’t always have to be a matter of life or death (especially when talking to those who will live forever, asleep or awake!)

We can testify to the Lord’s desires for our lives through simple stories. Sharing our little victories in the faith serves as a witness to others of the Lord living out His promises. Salvation first. But also the Holy Spirit. Also His presence with us. Also His best plans for each of us.

Every day that we spend in fellowship we have opportunities to witness to other believers by sharing about answered prayers or things the Lord is teaching us. By testifying to how He works in our lives, beyond saving us in the first place, we remind each other that He is alive here and now too.

That matters. That testimony stirs us to wake and to live the life He has for us now. It’s no surprise that Scripture is clear on this: giving a wake-up call is one of our callings in fellowship as believers in the body of Christ.

This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday #Faith-Filled Friday, and #DanceWithJesus.

The Nuts and Bolts of Building Your Faith

Photo from: pixabay.com

You know the monumental moments of your faith.

When you take the first step of faith and your foundation is laid in Christ.  Days, months, years later when crucial decisions arise and you find that you indeed want to live with Him as your cornerstone, it’s big.

There are moments of obvious growth and transformation as piece by piece you’re built, a temple to glorify God. The moment when you gave up on a certain sin and it stuck. That time when the Lord provided something extraordinarily spectacular.

But in the building of your faith to His glory, there is more than just the big, memorable, and obvious. There are also the nuts, bolts, screws, and drops of glue. Little victories -these are what hold all of the major framework in place.

Little victories are as simple as:

  • An unspoken prayer answered
  • A silly picker-upper in your day
  • A call at just the right time
  • A gentle kick in the pants when you need it
  • A reminder that you get to choose your attitude
  • A verse that stays in mind
  • An extra three minutes with nothing to do but get quiet with the Lord
  • A song on the radio speaking to your heart
  • A gift you needed but never asked for
  • A smile and a hug, just warm and full of love
  • A step out of bed when you feel you can’t get up
  • A sunrise you wouldn’t want to miss when you didn’t want to wake
  • A moment of clarity in a pattern of mess
  • A laugh by yourself that just has to be loud
  • A sense that you are not alone, even when you kind of are
  • A little conviction from the Lord, coupled with grace
  • A broken bad habit, maintained
  • A Friday waking up to realize that you’ve formed a good habit in just a few days
  • A glimpse into what may be coming, filling you with hope

Simple. So simple are these. But they are the thousands of “littles” that make for big faith. Remember the verse?

If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in large ones. (Luke 16:10)

Even a house with big beams and solid boards breaks and creaks if little screws haven’t made the planks a secure resting space.

Look on your little victories as faith builders, not “almosts” or “steps.” They have a purpose too. Tack them in. Drill them in place. Hammer away with gratitude, with recognition, and praise. Those little victories are built to last.

When your house of faith rocks and shakes…

When you climb its steps and enjoy the view…

When another large addition is in progress…

When the Lord wants to show off His handiwork…

You’ll be glad for every short moment you spent ensuring that you saw the victory, the gift, and put it to work in your faith.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory.