Author Archive

Why Marriage Won’t Complete You

Monday, September 10th, 2018

What I wouldn’t give to go back to the final scene in the movie Jerry Maguire and change Tom Cruise’s romantic line,

“I love you…you complete me!”

Why?

Because it’s unhealthy and untrue.

What he should have said is, “You can’t and won’t complete me!”

There. I like that line a lot better.

It’s so unfair how the movies that make us swoon and tear up with sweet emotion often carry messages that leave us confused when we do fall in love. Here are 3 things I’ve learned about love that are even better than romance, but might contradict what you see in the movies!

1. Your Spouse Cannot Complete You.

As someone who is coming up on 1 year married, I have been learning the hard lesson that depending on my husband to complete me and bring me happiness is not only unrealistic but it’s unfair to him. He is human just like me so he makes mistakes. Your spouse WILL fail you and they WILL let you down because they are not perfect. My husband is sometimes crippled under the weight of my expectations that he will meet all of my emotional needs. In those moments it’s like a neon sign in my brain is blinking saying, “He’s not meant to complete you, your creator is.”

Marriage cannot be about finding another person to make you whole, because no human being can do that. Yes, two halves do make a whole if we are dealing with fractions, but the marriage equation works differently. Two whole individuals can equal one successful marriage. When I stop putting the pressure on my man to be the missing emotional pieces in my life then he is free to be himself and love me to the best of his ability without fear of failure. (Trust me, I DO NOT do this perfectly!)

Your spouse is not meant to complete you, your creator is! Click To Tweet

2. You are Already Complete in Christ.

There is no need to find someone to complete you because God has already done that!

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10 NLT)

This verse is a powerful reminder that in God we have access to all that we need. God does not see you as imperfect and incomplete. He gave his son’s life so that you can have a relationship with Him and have victory over the things in this life that weigh you down. Simply working out of the knowledge that I am complete changes how I look at situations in life. The good news is that if you have a relationship with Jesus you do not have to work harder to be more complete in Jesus. His work for you was finished at the cross so you are blameless and set free – COMPLETE in Him.

3. God Wants to Give you What You Need.

You might be saying right now, “But Joy, sometimes I don’t feel complete!” And I fully understand, because I don’t either!

Good thing BEING complete and FEELING complete are two different things. All we need in this life can be found in our relationship with Jesus. Our spouse is only a physical reminder of that. When my frustration grows because my husband cannot meet all of my needs, I know that I need to hand those things over to God and ask Him for what I’m lacking.

We serve a gracious God who knows our hearts so intimately that he knows when we are lonely, anxious, or sad and He wants to meet us there. God wants to fill those empty places with truth about how he sees us and who we really are when we feel like we are lacking.

Even if you do not feel complete now, God is still here for you. The first step is to actually pray and talk to God about what you are struggling with, even how your spouse may not be giving you exactly what you feel you need. Then to “abide” in Jesus like this verse talks about.

“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

I’m still trying to figure out this “abide” business myself, but to me, it looks like continually thinking about God’s word and talking to Him throughout your day and your life.

Tips on how to abide:

  • Take your needs to God in prayer throughout the day.
  • Spend focused time with God in prayer, reading the Bible, or with music that connects you with Him.
  • Act intentionally to show who God is and honor Him with your actions.

Abiding in God is not some magic potion to give us whatever we want, just like saying “I do” does not transform us into a completely fulfilled person. But abiding in God can start to make us into who we want to become. God is in the transformational business and wants to make you feel complete! Stick with him, even when you don’t feel it. He’s always there to help you, if you just ask!

God is in the transformational business and wants to make you feel complete! Click To Tweet

God Cares About What is Stressing You Out – Here’s How I Know

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Life is too much sometimes.

In those moments when our hearts are stressed or hurting, we can either bring it to God or try to handle it on our own.

I’ve been in a “handle it on my own” kind of season.

I didn’t know why I just keep pushing through and going on my own when God promises to bear our burdens, except that deep down I think maybe my problems are so trivial that God doesn’t care. As if, maybe that promise from God to bear our burdens was for people who are battling cancer or who can’t find work, but certainly not for little stressed out me.

Why do I think maybe my problems are so trivial that God doesn’t care? Click To Tweet

I am figuring out being newly married, have had so much change in the last year, and am dealing with anxiety in a way I never have before. This has been a wonderful and yet crazy stressful season. I don’t feel like I am doing well in any area of life and I constantly feel behind.

I just don’t know how to balance it all right now.

I figured if I shared all of this with God that He would tell me what everyone else has, to not make it such a big deal or to handle it.

But then I discovered these verses while reading John 11:32-33 about when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead:

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled“

It struck me as weird – that Jesus would be deeply moved in spirit and troubled when he knew that He was about to raise his friend Lazarus from the dead. He was about to wipe all of their tears away and completely fix everything. So I reread it and noticed it was only after Jesus saw Mary and the other people upset that he was deeply moved and troubled.

I am guessing he was trouble for 2 reasons:

  1. Because these people He loved were hurting. His heart broke with them and He felt their pain even though he knew it would all be ok soon. He was present with them in their suffering.
  2. Because He knew He was the answer to their grief and suffering if only they would trust in Him.

These revelations brought me to tears because it means GOD CARES!

These revelations brought me to tears because it means GOD CARES! Click To Tweet

He knows He is the answer and that we should choose to trust Him, but even when we don’t and we hurt and we struggle and even just stress on our own, He cares and feels it with us.

How is it possible that the creator of the universe cares about us in such a kind and intimate way?!

He doesn’t judge Mary for her emotions but is heart broken over them. That’s how I know God cares about the stress in our lives. His heart breaks for us when we don’t trust Him and give our struggles over to Him, but He doesn’t chastise us from afar.

Instead, God meets us where we are and is deeply moved for us.

If what you are facing seems too small to share with God and yet it’s wrecking you, know that it matters to Him! Share your heart and stress with Him and let him show you how faithful He is!

The One Lie You Believe That Keeps You From Being Confident

Monday, August 20th, 2018

She has got it all.

You know the girl. The one with perfectly manicured nails, the flawless makeup, the body that looks like she never leaves the gym, and the man who seems like prince charming on her arm.

We look at this girl and we quickly notice that we are NOT this girl. We know our mess and our flaws.

But something in us wants to be her. We figure she must be so happy with her life. She is bound to be so secure and confident in herself!

However… If we looked a little closer and we could actually see the shape her heart is in, I bet we wouldn’t be envious of her at all. Because first of all, keeping up that kind of appearance can be exhausting. Second, she is probably looking at someone else thinking they have “it all” and she still doesn’t.

We all carry insecurity in different forms, but I know something that all of us with insecurity share: our “false idea of fulfillment.”

What does that mean? Let’s define it:

False Idea of Fulfillment – the incorrect belief that attaining one specific thing would change your life for the better and bring more security and fulfillment

Identifying this “false idea” is the beginning of rooting it out of your life and being fully secure and confident!

Face-to-face with my false idea of fulfillment

My false idea of fulfillment is: THE PERFECT BODY.

I have always struggled with my weight and somewhere along the line I started to believe that my whole life would be better if I had the perfect body. I thought if I was skinny then shopping would actually be fun, I would have more friends, I would be more successful, and I would finally feel good about myself.

Saying this out loud helps me realize that it is NOT TRUE! But I live as if it is!

Insecurity is something we all deal with, but there is at least one main thing that you are putting your hope in to make you secure. Maybe your “false idea of fulfillment” is:

  • Wealth
  • The Perfect Man
  • The Ultimate Job
  • The Bigger House

We think if we can just get that thing then suddenly we will be confident and secure.

But our security is not a situational problem it’s a heart problem.

Our security is not a situational problem it’s a HEART problem. Click To Tweet

I was convinced that having the perfect body would get me happiness and fulfillment. But I see girls who actually have what people would consider “the perfect body” and under the surface they are just as insecure as the rest of us. That’s why insecurity is so hard to nail down. It looks different for each of us, but identifying the lie that is your “false idea of fulfillment” could be freeing!

Follow the thought process of actually attaining that THING. What kind of new insecurities would you find there?

I actually journaled this week about what my life would look like if I had the perfect body. I realized if I had what I wanted then I would start to wonder if I had a man, friends, and success just because of my looks. Even attaining that coveted thing would send us back to the insecurity wheel if we don’t deal with our HEARTS!

Even attaining that thing we want will send us back to the insecurity wheel if we don’t deal with our HEARTS! Click To Tweet

So what is your “false idea of fulfillment?”

Say it out loud or comment with it below.

Identifying your false idea of fulfillment is the first step to conquering it and realizing why this thing is truly FALSE.

Then start to see true confidence and security is only found in God. See yourself as He does. Accept your flaws and know that he loves you the same with or without your THING.

I will never have the “perfect body” because I am simply made curvy and that is ok. I really don’t need skinniness to be secure and neither do you!

I can find confidence in a God who is crazy about me and thinks I’m already incredibly beautiful inside and out! I know you can, too.

What Arie the Bachelor Got Wrong… and You Might Too!

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Whether you love the show “The Bachelor” or think it’s garbage, hang in here with me. There was a huge lesson in the finale of this season that I cannot stop thinking about!

“I still think about her…for me, the more I hang out with you the more I feel like I am losing the possibility of maybe reconciling things with Lauren.”

Those were the words that Arie, the Bachelor, said to his fiance last night after the finale of the show.

He proposed to a girl named Becca and dumped the runner up, Lauren, in the end. However, after the big finale and engagement happened, Arie was left regretting his decision and dumped his new fiance to pursue the girl he left behind.

As someone who has watched the show since it’s beginning, I have been on the fence of quitting it for a while. I hit my breaking point with this season and have decided that I’m done. I’m not watching “The Bachelor” ever again! Not only does it manipulate love into something it should never be, but it also uses people’s heartache for ratings. It was all too much.

Sadly, I saw myself in Arie during the final moments of this season and you might too.

Here's why I stopped watching The Bachelor once and for all! Click To Tweet

Arie’s struggle and his quote to Becca revealed that he had been dwelling on the girl he left behind. The words “what if” had clearly been running through his mind so much that he was no longer present and thankful for his current relationship.

The phrase “WHAT IF” could be the most dangerous question you ever ask in your life!

What if I had taken that other job?

What if I had never broken up with my ex?

What if we hadn’t bought this house?

What if we hadn’t waited to have kids?

“What if” keeps your mind in a possible past that is NOT your reality. We tend to always romanticize what could have been. Even if you did take the other job or had never broken up with your ex, things would not be perfect in those scenarios either. Arie would still have issues with the other woman because they are both still flawed people. There is no perfect path, but there is the opportunity to make the best of the path you are on every single day. When our minds are elsewhere then whole seasons of our lives can be stolen from us as we fantasize what our lives could have been. In this situation, Arie thinking the grass would be greener with Lauren has caused him to become the biggest villain in Bachelor history.

Arie said he was just following his heart, but our hearts are fickle. The Bible even says our hearts are evil in Jeremiah 17:9, so we can’t trust them!

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

Our emotions change from day to day, but our God does not. Focus your heart on Him and ask Him to help you keep your mind on being grateful for what you do have.

The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. Click To Tweet

Have you ever caught yourself in a “what if” moment? We cannot let ourselves dwell on the life we do not have. The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. Focus on today with the job you have, the home you have, the people you have and cherish them. Grow where you are planted! When that little bit of doubts starts to creep into your mind and you want to say “what if,”, shut it down with gratitude for the life you DO have.

Photo Credit: Variety

Here is How I Know God Cares About What is Stressing You Out

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Life is too much sometimes.

In those moments when our hearts are stressed or hurting, we can either bring it to God or try to handle it on our own.

I’ve been through those “handle it on my own” kind of seasons.

I didn’t know why I just keep pushing through and going it on my own when God promises to bear our burdens. But all along, deep down, I thought, “Maybe my problems are so trivial that God doesn’t care… Maybe that promise from God to bear our burdens was for people who are battling cancer or who can’t find work, but certainly not for little stressed out me.”

I was planning a wedding and possibly moving to a new place. It was a wonderful and yet crazy stressful season. I didn’t feel like I was doing well in ANY area of life and I constantly felt behind. I just didn’t know how to balance it all.

I figured if I shared all of this with God that He would tell me what everyone else has, to not make it such a big deal or to just handle it.

But then I discovered these verses while reading John 11:32-33. It’s about when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead:

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled”

It struck me as weird that Jesus would be deeply moved in spirit and troubled when he knew that He was about to raise his friend Lazarus from the dead. He was about to wipe all of their tears away and completely fix everything. So I re-read it and noticed it was only after Jesus saw Mary and the other people upset that he was deeply moved and troubled.

I am guessing he was trouble for 2 reasons:

1) Because these people He loved were hurting.

His heart broke with them and He felt their pain even though he knew it would all be ok soon. He was present with them in their suffering.

2) Because He knew He was the answer to their grief and suffering if only they would trust in Him.

These revelations brought me to tears because it means GOD CARES!

He knows He is the answer and that we should choose to trust Him, but even when we don’t and we hurt and we struggle and even just stress on our own. He cares and feels it with us!

How is it possible that the creator of the universe cares about us in such a kind and intimate way?!

How is it possible that the creator of the universe cares about us in such a kind and intimate way?! Click To Tweet

He doesn’t judge Mary for her emotions but is heart broken over them. That’s how I know God cares about the stress in our lives. His heart breaks for us when we don’t trust Him and give our struggles over to Him, but He doesn’t chastise us from afar. Instead, God meets us where we are and is deeply moved for us.

If what you are facing seems too small to share with God and yet it’s wrecking you, know that it matters to Him! Share your heart and stress with Him and let him show you how faithful He is!

What to Do When Worry is Wrecking Your Life

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Unemployment is the WORST.

My dad has been looking for steady work for almost a year now, and my worry for my family has seemed to sky rocket.

What will they do if he can’t find a good job?

Will they lose their house?

What are you doing God?

The worries have piled on top of each other until they created a wall that can feel like it’s closing in on me.

 Have you ever felt as if the worries for tomorrow are too much for today?

God actually has something to say about that in Matthew 6:34,

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I love how God doesn’t make “do not worry” a suggestion. It’s clearly a command and one I am not so good at obeying. We are not suppose to worry, but with trouble all around us, how is that possible? With every passing day my dad hasn’t found full time work, the issues and worries facing my family seem to grow larger. When worry is wrecking my life it’s not an easy thing to “simply trust” that God will work it all out.

Clearly, I need something tangible to do INSTEAD of worry. I cannot simply expel it from my life without replacing it with something else. These are the three things that started to help me.

I need something tangible to do INSTEAD of worry. Here are 3 things that help me! Click To Tweet
  1. Find Something to Be Thankful For.

Some days I wake up defeated and worried with the only focus in my mind being all the things going wrong in my life. When this is my mindset then there is no room for thankfulness. I heard a song that said, “If you woke up this morning then you are blessed.” It was a reminder that if you are reading this then there is air in your lungs and your heart is beating so you have something to be thankful for! Finding the small things that God has given me already helps shift my focus from the worry to the good things in my life.

  1. Live in the Present.

Worry keeps me constantly trapped in the “what ifs” of tomorrow. I try to mentally and emotionally prepare for things that have not even happened yet. I think that if I can imagine the worst and get ready for it now then I will survive it better. But God doesn’t give us the strength to survive tomorrow’s problems today.

Mentally living in tomorrow’s worries makes me miss out on today. I have tried to intentionally focus on what is before me one moment at a time. Being present in each moment and loving those I am physically around helps keep my mind from wandering into tomorrow’s problems. I do not want to be so scared of what could happen to my family in the future that I am not present to help them with what they are going through today.

  1. Hand Your Worries Over to a God Who Cares.

I went for a hike this weekend and stumbled upon a “bird blind” which I thought was used for hunting, but instead was set up as a way to view birds up close in their natural habitat without scaring them off.

As I watched the beautiful, bright, red cardinals gather food right in front of me, I couldn’t help but remember Matthew 6:26-27.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

It hit me that if God loves these small birds and cares for their needs, why wouldn’t he care for me and meet my needs? God is trying to tell us to chill out! I know he hasn’t forgotten my family even when it feels that way. He is caring for us in small ways we may not even see right now.

I have to prayerfully give my worries to God. Sometimes I have to do this every 30 minutes because I begin to worry again and take the issues right back into my own hands. But the only relief I will truly find is by releasing the burden of worry that I was never meant to carry into the hands of a God who is the only one who can truly control the outcome anyways.

How to Rock Your Singleness

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

If you are single and wish that you weren’t, it can be so frustrating, hurtful, lonely- you name it and you’ve probably experienced it during this season.

That’s why when a question popped up in my inbox from Jenelle about how to find hope when you are tired of being single, I had to write out some of my thoughts. Jenelle knows that I just got married, but also that I have waited a very long time for the right guy to come along and struggled with singleness along the way!

I don’t think that I always kept the faith that God had someone for me…and that’s ok. 

I discovered that putting my hope in a future husband would fail me. However, placing my hope in a God who will never fail me or leave me is encouraging!  I wrestled with God over the last few years because God doesn’t promise all of us a mate. I desperately wanted one, but I came to the place where even if God never gave me a husband or someone to share life with that I was going to be OK. I wasn’t gonna be happy about it, don’t get me wrong! However, I realized God knew best and would have some amazing plan for me as a single woman then that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill if I was married. I don’t think God wants to punish us or make us miserable. But our goal is not just to be happy while here on earth, instead it’s to make God’s name known by sharing who He is with others. I married my husband because I know he pushes me to know and serve God better and I think that we are more powerful at serving God together!

Suddenly, I realized that putting all my hope into God bringing me a husband, could end up destroying any relationship with a guy that could come along. Putting all the pressure on a guy to fulfill my hopes and dreams would surely crush our relationship. No man is meant to fulfill you. No relationship can be everything you need and crave as a single women. I had to start taking my hopes and dreams and giving them to God. Even now as a married woman, my husband fails me at times because he is HUMAN and just as sinful as I am. That’s when I’m so glad I have a relationship with God to fall back on. With my hope securely in a God who loves perfectly, I can live a more free and fulfilled life!

Here are some of the things I found that help to rock your single years:

  • Invest in the friendships God has given you.
    • Ask people out to coffee, get to know their hearts, carve out time to develop deep friendships with single men and women who you share life with.
  • Explore the gifts and talents God has given you.
    • This is your time to learn YOU. Whether it’s through personality tests or trying new things, discover what brings you joy and makes you feel full at the end of the day.
  • Find somewhere to serve consistently.
    • I love kids and so teaching the kids on Sundays at my church for years is one of my favorite things I did. You have more time on your hands than those who are married so use it to pour yourself out for others. You will be surprised how much it fills you up.
  • Find a younger woman to mentor or invest in.
    • This can be daunting, but face it, young girls look up to you. Share your faith, your makeup tips, and your heart with a young woman who needs someone pouring into her. There is so much I wish someone had told me in junior high so I have a 13 year old girl that I try to meet with every few weeks. We may just end up shopping or grabbing some ice cream but it’s so fun to mentor her.
  • Try new things!
    • From hang gliding, to swing dancing, to traveling to far away places, do the things that you may only be able to do now as a single person. You may just find a new passion!
  • Go to a Christian counselor.
    • This is super scary but one of the best things I have ever done. Working through your own issues from the past and even how you can grow can help you become the best version of yourself. I learned how to handle conflict better and once I was in a relationship it was so valuable!
  • Treat Yourself
    • Whether you love to get your nails done, buy yourself flowers, or get a massage, don’t forget to take care of yourself and enjoy the good things in life!
  • Get Out of Debt
    • I knew that if God brought the man of my dreams into my life with school debt of his own that it would be a huge burden to manage my debt combined with his. So I took Financial Peace University from Dave Ramsey, worked two jobs, and 3 years later I was debt free and felt like I was on top of the world! Even now that I am married it frees my husband and I from already worrying about financial hardship in marriage.

 

Please don’t hear me saying this was an easy process or that I was perfect at it! Some days I would try to embrace my single life and serve God and other days I would cry because I simply wanted someone in my life. It’s a daily battle! Some days I could watch chick-flicks with no problems and other days they would send me into a pit of lonely despair.Since there is no way to know if God has someone for you or not, then use this time to work on you! I read a book called “True Love Dates” by Deb Fileta and it gave a super healthy perspective on how we need to work on ourselves while we wait to see if God has a spouse for us. It’s great to get out there and to meet people but you can’t force a relationship to happen with the right person. So while you wait focus on getting your heart ready and becoming the woman that the man you would want to marry, would want to be with. For me, this looked like going to some Christian counseling on my own. I had plenty to deal with from my childhood and lots of things about me that may have killed a relationship because I didn’t know how to deal with them yet. I think because I went through counseling and God really grew me during a painful season, I became the woman that my now husband Hunter needed. My husband actually said that what made him interested in me is that I wasn’t flirting with him or acting desperate to get his attention like some of the other girls in our friend group. He just saw me loving life and serving the Lord. We ended up working on a service project together and then he got to know my heart he started to fall for me. The right man will love the confident woman that you are who is pursuing the Lord and not simply trying to find a mate.

The final thing that really helped me is reading blogs from truelovedates.com. We’ve interviewed Deb Fileta on the show and she has the best perspective I know out there on dating, singleness, and marriage! I signed up and get notified every time she posts a new blog and even now that I’m married I read them all!I hope that’s helpful.

Our hearts are emotional and our feelings can deceive us from the truth. Just know that you are beautiful and valuable just as you are. No man can add or take away from that. Who knows, God may have someone for you in the future but I would hate for you to miss right now while waiting for him.

-Joy