Failure Won't Define Me

Failure Won't Define Me

Even though the world might misunderstand, I know who I am and God does too.
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Do you ever feel like the world hates you? Because sometimes, I do. People misunderstand you. You make mistakes, people see it and they think it defines you. Do people know me as the girl who did that? How do I show my face in here again?

"Though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand."
Psalm 37:24 New International Version (NIV)

Have you ever felt like all you’ve done is mess up? Because I have. I make mistakes, though I probably should have learned my lesson from the first hundred I’ve made since coming to college. At times, I’ve found myself three steps behind where I need to be. More than once I’ve had to stop and step away from the situation in order to step closer to God. When those times come, like losing a battle, I retreat and find refuge in God’s word. There’s one story that I’ve returned to a few times, it’s about David.

In the Old Testament, 2 Samuel, chapter eleven, David commits adultery with Bathsheba. He saw her bathing on her roof, immediately was overwhelmed by how beautiful she was and acting as king, he ordered for her to be brought to him. They slept together, despite her being married, and she became pregnant. Instead of stopping there to realize his mistake, David took matters into his own hands in an attempt to fix the problem. He ordered for the woman’s husband to be sent to the frontline of battle knowing that he would be killed. The man was killed and David felt it was then, acceptable to marry Bathsheba.

Now, wait. You’re probably thinking, wasn’t David the one who killed Goliath with a stone? Didn’t he write most of the psalms? And do we not call David the man after God’s own heart? David sinned and he didn’t even realize it until God sent the prophet, Nathan, to tell him. David angered God and as a result, God took the child’s life.

Despite committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, David still is the one that killed Goliath, he did write over seventy psalms, and in Acts, he is called a man after God’s heart.

“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22 New International Version (NIV)

Just like David, we make horrible mistakes and they sometimes have horrible consequences. Can you imagine the amount of guilt David felt after his son died? Whenever I make a big mistake that I end up regretting, I always go back to read this story. Because when people hear of David, they don’t think of him as the man who committed adultery. They think of him as the man after God’s own heart, the man who wrote psalms, who was king, who was a shepherd boy, who brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and to whom God told “‘Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” 2 Samuel 7:16.

David messed up but people don’t know David solely by his mistake. When I mess up, it feels like all that people see is that and they don’t see who I actually am. Maybe that’s true, people are judgemental. However, I’m not the only one making mistakes in this world. When people look at me and see me making mistakes, they have no right to judge. Sure David sinned when he slept with Bathsheba, but we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I don’t look at David as an adulterer. And I hope people don’t label me by the mistakes I've made.

"For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble then calamity strikes." Proverbs 24:16 New International Version (NIV)

This is life, stuff happens. Don’t let the guilt from your mistakes overwhelm you. Don’t be too ashamed to show your face. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone messes up and it has some effect on their reputation. I’m sure David regretted sleeping with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, but in the end, he had another child with her.

“And they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him.” 2 Samuel 12:24 New International Version (NIV)

I won’t deny that I’ve made a ton of mistakes since coming to college. I’ve messed up a little and I’ve messed up a lot. Even though people might judge me by what they’ve seen, I choose not to let their judgment define me. Even though the world might misunderstand, I know who I am and God does too.

“...But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” Philippians 3:13 New International Version (NIV)
Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Open Air Preachers Don't Belong at Marshall

There are appropriate ways to share about Christ, and these guys just don't get it.

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Marshall University has an absolutely beautiful campus. After spending 4 years here, spending time around the memorial fountain is honestly going to be something I miss. During the week, campus life was usually always so bustling and exciting. There always seemed to be something going on at the student center plaza, some of which was more pleasing than others.

This past year on multiple occasions, Marshall had a few unwelcoming visitors. Some preachers came in, usually with signs, and would stand along a path that most of the student body would take on their way to and from class. They would start yelling Scripture to anyone who might be listening, but they were very rude and derogatory in their proclamations. One guy had told a girl that she would go to hell for the shirt that she was wearing. Another one was shouting, "God hates gays!" It eventually got so bad that they were banned from campus, multiple times.

As a Christian myself, this makes me so angry to see other people that claim the name of Jesus treat others poorly. Jesus wasn't like that. He was gentle, kind, and loving. That's part of being a Christian. It's what you sign up for. I personally don't believe that these "preachers" should be allowed on Marshall's campus because of the way they represent Christ and how their actions might affect students.

As mentioned previously, I am a Christian myself. I believe that being a Christian is more than a label. It is a calling to live your life in a way that exemplifies Christ himself. I personally know that I do not live up to this calling and fall short of it everyday. However, I know there is a difference between someone who does wrong and recognizes it as such and someone who willfully acts a certain way.

These preachers coming off to nonbelievers in the way that they are is doing more harm to the church than good. People aren't going to want to be a part of something that involves being rude to others. I know some people growing up that have been turned off from the church by another Christian who didn't act like a Christian. Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to like everyone. There are definitely people I have met that I am not fond of; but I am called to still see them the way God sees them, whether that be a part of His family or part of the mission field. Either way, God loves them.

Also, words are very powerful. It is very easy to either lift someone up or tear them down with what you say. When the open-air preachers are telling the LGBT community that God hates them, that is just discouraging and pushing them even further away from the Lord, which is terrible. Also, criticizing someone for what they wear can be very destructive. You don't know what a person is currently battling. Maybe you're not the first person to make a derogatory comment about their outfit. Maybe they can't afford to buy new clothes at the moment. Maybe they are dealing with a much more severe storm and simply don't need unnecessary, petty comments.

Personally, I think it was a good move when these guys were banned. They are not doing themselves or anyone else any good. There are appropriate ways to share about Christ, and these guys just don't get it.
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