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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30 Bible Verses For The Broken-Hearted

The first month is always the hardest.
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These Bible verses aren't only for people experiencing a break-up; they're meant to be uplifting, comforting and to bring a sense of peace to anyone who's hurting. The first month after every hardship is always the most difficult.

1. Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened; and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

2. John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

3. Psalm 55:22

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved."

4. Psalm 147:3

"He heals the broken-hearted, and bandages their wounds."

5. Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight."

6. 1 Peter 4:19

"So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good."

7. Romans 5:1-2

"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory."

8. Romans 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

9. Philippians 3:13-14

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive towards the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

10. Psalm 34:18

"The Lord is near the broken hearted; He delivers those who are discouraged."

11. Romans 8:39

"Nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

12. Psalm 73:26

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

13. Psalm 71:20

"You who have shown me great distress and troubles will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the Earth."

14. Isaiah 43:1 b

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine."

15. Romans 8:18

"For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."

16. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.'"

17. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."

18. Ezekiel 36:26

"Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stoney heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."

19. 1 Peter 5:7

"Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you."

20. Revelation 21:4

"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away."

21. Isaiah 41:10

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

22. Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and of good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you."

23. Romans 5:8

"I loved you at your darkest."

24. Isaiah 43:18

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past."

25. Psalm 46:1-2

"God is our refuge and strength; a well proven help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the Earth be removed."

26. Hebrews 13:5-6

"Let your lives be without love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you'. So we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

27. Romans 15:13

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."

28. Luke 20:17

"But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?”

29. Psalms 9:9

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."

30. Psalm 30:5

"For His anger endures but a moment, in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."



Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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From The Outside Looking In, UNC Is A Liberal Campus, But That Doesn't Mean God Isn't Working Here

Just because we don't always seem Him working doesn't mean He isn't

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When I decided to go to Carolina during my senior year of high school I specifically remember people immediately saying how they'd be praying for me and my faith as I headed off to such a liberal university. It wasn't until I actually stepped foot onto UNC's campus and became a part of the culture here that I realized how inaccurate people's assumptions of this campus truly are.

People's assumptions about what UNC is and isn't stems from a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions they have about a university that many of those same people never actually attended. I know that comes off as harsh, and maybe it is, but the truth is you are never truly able to understand what an environment is like until you spend a significant portion of time there. It's the mundane moments or the day to day life events that I get to take part in which allow me to fully embrace all that UNC is. Until I was able to experience that for myself I too feared that my faith would be muddled by UNC.

Those mundane moments I mentioned, it has been within those moments that I've been able to experience the overwhelming love of Christ and see the work He is doing on this campus. It's sitting at a table in the Union to finish up some homework and overhearing a conversation about Christ or walking through Lenoir at dinner time and hearing a group of friends praying before dinner. If you aren't looking for it you'd probably overlook it or cast it off as another conversation, but these moments are so much more than that. The best part of it all, those are just the mundane moments.

Maybe it's bold of me to say that God has a plan for this campus, but I'm fine with being bold in that. I find the confidence in saying this because I get to experience Tuesday nights in a church on Franklin Street as a congregation of students fills the pews and for 45 minutes we stop what we are doing and praise God together. There are no denominations there, there are no barriers, it's a group of students coming together to worship God through music. Then as we break away and go our separate ways for the rest of the week each of us falls back into our own sphere of influence. In these spheres of influence, we build a deeper community that binds us to different churches and campus ministries and organizations, but at the end of the day, we all find our way back to that same church every Tuesday evening.

I will not deny that my generation has shown a drastic decrease in the amount of college-aged students who regularly attend church services on Sunday, but that a) doesn't mean that they've fully forsaken the faith or b) that God is not working on college campuses like UNC. As with everything else, I think it is important to put these statistics into context. When students come to UNC, or any college for that matter, most of the time they find themselves trying to reestablish who they are and redefine their identity. This seems to stem from a lack of community and not really knowing where their niche is just yet. Loss of a well-established Christian community can be detrimental for a lot of students as they go off to college and struggle to balance all their new responsibilities while trying to figure out who they are. So that drastic decrease we see may be less of college-aged students fully parting ways with the faith and more of them not being able to find a community where they feel at home.

This area, in particular, is one that really defines why I say that God is truly working on this campus. As a student, it can be hard to find that community, as I said, but UNC has so many campus ministries or local churches that before long students seem to meander into their niche. I know for me it happened fairly quickly, but for others, it doesn't happen like that and it takes time. At the end of the day though, people seem to find a community that suits them well and where they feel loved and known. For me, that's the most important reason behind why I say God is here working on this campus.

To anyone who ever worried about me going to such a "liberal" campus, fear not because God has a plan and has placed me on a campus full of people that He loves and wants to minister to for a reason. Don't let false assumptions and stereotypes jade your perception of the work God can do. He's working here, it's now just up to us to listen and obey His commands.

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