COMMUNITY

54730098_10218592822756772_3689364288650084352_o Awakened_arts 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

I had started a very basic purple painted canvas on the first day of spring.
I asked my social media friends, to share what color they wanted on the picture, fully intending to see who matched what was on my mind for the painting. The interesting thing, everyone had a different idea for the secondary color than mine. As I stood and stared at the purple canvas, deciding which color I would pick, the name of the piece came to me, “Community”. 

This painting wasn’t about one or two solid ideas, but about combining the creativity of many into something of beauty. I took each color that my friends had suggested and I thought of them and prayed as I painted their color. I sought where the Lord would have them impact the piece and prayed for individual situations. A few friends had chosen teal, it didn’t matter, as I applied the color again, a new friend came to mind. Another, shared her idea for the technique to add dimension and direction. This was a wonderful example of community, each contributing, every individual uniqueness adding a new depth and detail as we collaborated. 

This piece alone reminded me of how important it is to be in community with one another. I could have said, ew I don’t like that color, it would never look right, but looking at this painting, it needed every single color whether at first, I thought it would belong or not. As I looked at the painting with each layer I was timid to place more colors, yet a sense of belonging came over me as I saw the work coming together. 

You would not know that two years ago, I had my self hidden away, shying away from the world, from being hurt, from being ignored and passed over. I had a horrible sense of my self. I had lost the knowledge of my worth somewhere on the journey of surviving grief and illness that had reared its ugly head like never before and the depression wanted to take over. In the past, I was swallowed by that depression. I cut everyone and everything off and literally wanted to die.

The amazing thing, this time, depression could not stay! While I started blocking people out of my life, there were the solid, the community that would not let me. There were the people who reminded me of who I am. There were the people that pointed out when I was being flat-out ridiculous and that I needed to stop identifying with what I was facing and start identifying on who God says I am. It was my community that picked me up and reminded me how much ground I have gained and even in this hiccup, it was safe to spread my wings and fly again. 

Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Romans 12:5-
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Do I always agree with everything they do? No. Do I enjoy every single personality within my community at every moment? No.  Do I share every single belief and value? No. 

Do I drive people in my community crazy at times? Ah, YAH! 

However, when in the community, despite our human differences we can choose to stay united with a common goal. Intentional to build together, to hold one another up by carrying each other’s burdens and remind each other there is hope in a sea of unknowns.

When the going gets tough, we can be tempted to run from our communities, but all that brings is isolation and loneliness, which in turn becomes bitterness and anger. I think this is why the Lord mentions not forsaking the gathering of our brethren. He knew that we needed far more than to hear our own voice whisper silently to the wind. 

Hebrews 10: 24-25-
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

 

A different lens: Perception

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I recounted a story that changed my perception years ago, at Shaey Anthony on YouTube.
If you are interested, give it a view as it places this blog in a fuller context.

Who am I really? An opinion on Identity.

IMG_0410 Instagram: awakened_arts 

 

Years ago, I was in a bad head space. I constantly measured my identity based on how I felt others saw me: forgotten, sickly, snob, embarrassment, unwanted, boring and whiny to name a few. Now, these thoughts were seeded by the words and actions of a few. But I took those labels and let them take root as a truth that was how most people saw me.

Finally, one day I realized how much other’s thoughts of me were playing on my mind and actions. I was holding back out of fear of how others would label me. As I was praying, I felt the Lord start to work on my heart on the truth of my identity. This got me to thinking, how do people really see me? So, I asked my friends on Facebook to be completely honest, even brutally so, and that it was because I was working on a project.  Their response truly did surprise me. They saw me as Godly,  prophetic, gentle, kind, loving, strong, tender-hearted, caring, worshiper, youthful, bubbly and playful. I did not get one, negative thought pointed out at me. Now for some that did not surprise me, but others that I thought for sure had labeled me, had some of the most encouraging things to say. This lead to an evaluation of the lenses I viewed my identity through.

  • Situational
    What I do or own: Homeschooling mother, Preschool teacher, Worship team member, homeowner, etc.
    Abilities: Illness left me feeling unable to do much and what I did do was not amazing.
    Labels: This has shifted often over the years. But the ones that I was battling were the labels I put on myself. Worthless, weak, depressed, sick, etc.
  • Word of God-
    (was not walking in this as my identity at the time)

The problem with the measuring identity on circumstances is that they are ever-changing and contradicted what the word of God says about my identity.
I learned I was living in a situational identity. What happens when your identity is based on your situations and then things shift in a way that you absolutely hate? You no longer can identify with that part of you that you loved or took pride in. This is often the source of ‘midlife crisis”. Things shift and all of a sudden you have lost the identity you once knew because it was set on a situational foundation.

So imagine how my life felt like it was spinning out of control and I had nothing and was nothing when everything shifted. I was no longer a home school mother, my boys didn’t need me that way anymore, I could no longer be a preschool teacher and I had seasons of not being able to serve on a worship team. I couldn’t and still can’t drive more than a few miles at a time.

When my situation was that I was sick, walking in a season where my illness was everything in front of my eyes, so that is all I saw in my identity, how life-giving is that?
Basing my identity on what I had, imagine how it felt when I lost it all. We lost our home and were no longer homeowners. How does this thought process on identity measure up? What would those like myself now feel when they ‘own’ nothing? No business, no home, or like me if they are even more like me what they do own is debt?”

For many, if things are going well and they find their identity in what they do, they are looking to achieve more, and when they don’t see the progress they hope for they feel defeated.

If we find our identity in what we think about ourselves or what others think of us, we will aim to please people and not our heavenly father.

Thoughts and labels, like I said earlier, were the biggest battle I was walking in with my identity. When I was young, others always told me I was skinny and pretty, but when I got older my face sagged and wrinkles are arriving, hair became thin and straw like and you know it, I grew ‘fluffy’ over time. This hit hard, as I saw value in my younger self but not as an older woman. I took the label ugly.
Secondly, in the labels department, because I had a biological father that didn’t want me born (abortion), and an adoptive father that made statements I wasn’t really his after the divorce, I was always waiting for the next person to leave and constantly had a thought that I was not enough. If I was a boy like my adoptive father always wanted, maybe I could have liked the things he liked more and when he divorced my mom, I would have still had a connection. He would have at least called me to go hunting or fishing, or something, but he didn’t and I again took on the label unwanted. The constant thought ran through my mind, what if I had lost my husband, like the two fathers that thought I wasn’t enough.

Most of my identity being skewed was because of a lack of true understanding. Now, I knew the things that the word of God said that I had been taught over the years, but I knew them in my head, they were not a deeply seeded revelation that I was LIVING.

And the crazy thing is, I viewed others through the lenses of Jesus. I saw their identity of worth and value, but I could not see my own.
Over time, I learned how to go from head knowledge to heart knowledge.
In order for the word to become deep seeded in my life, I have found I need to read the word and pray for the revelation to become real to me. When I  am finding I still struggle, I need to spend time in prayer and fasting. This is preparing the soil for strong roots to take hold.

WHO GOD SAYS I AM: 

* Created: 
Ephesians 2:10- For we are Gods masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

God made me uniquely His. He gave me my very own fingerprints and DNA. He wanted me here on this earth and has a purpose set aside for me! My identity is created, this will not change!

* Chosen Child of God:
Ephesians 1:-5- Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

1 Peter 2:9- But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, Gods very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into the light.

John 1:11-12- He came to His own people and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.

Chosen, He will not leave me abandoned. He has filled the place in my heart crying out for adoption. He has made me His own with my belief and acceptance of Him! My identity is chosen and His, this will not change!

*Loved:
1 Thessalonians 1:4- We know dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and chose you to be His own people.

Understanding the Lord’s love for me has helped me to love myself. All that I am and all that I am not, I can love every part of me. My identity is loved, this will not change.


*Restored:

1 Corinthian 1:30-31- God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit, God made Him to be wisdom itself.
Christ made us right with God. He made us pure and Holy and freed us from sin. Therefore as the scripture says, if you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.

I am freed from sin! Through Jesus, I can walk in grace and strength. He has made me right before God and I don’t need to hide in shame and worthlessness. I was living in a lie. My identity is that I am restored, this will not change.

*New Creation:
2 Corinthians 5:16-17- So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ as merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone. A new life has begun!

1 Corinthians 6:11- And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. 

New! Let that sink in.
I have been made new! I do not have to live in the old lies that I am not enough. I do not need to live bound by the old lies. I have freedom. My identity is that I am a new creation, this will not change.

He has established all of His word in my heart. Everything, His word says about me, applies to me as His child. If you have excepted His truths in your heart and walk in His ways, Your identity to is secure and steadfast, never changing. All these truths I discovered apply to you as well.
Created, chosen child of God, loved, restored and a new creation. This is my identity and it will not change!
When we see ourselves as God sees us, we walk in confidence in Him, not our own abilities. We are able to pursue the things He has called us to, knowing that He has equipped us with all we need. We do not waiver in our authority because we know where it is firmly found.
He gives us the ability to change our circumstances when we are fighting battles, not for our circumstances to change who we are. We can be steadfast in Him.

Let His word settle into your heart and give a listen to this encouraging song:

You Say: By Lauren Daigle

View my LIVE on this topic at my Channel Shaey Anthony

Follow up scriptures to meditate on this week:
John 1:5
Jeremiah 2:21
Romans 6:6
Romans 8:14
Romans 12:2
2 Corinthians 12:9
1 John 4:17

I am READY

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I am READY FOR my new Season LIFE

 

This week at Bethel Music Worship School, has shaken me in every good way possible. I have been like a sponge absorbing God’s truths and casting off all the lies I have believed about myself and my ministry.
I have grown deeper in my relationship with the Lord and have allowed Him EVERY space in my life, rather than just the one to be revered and held high. YES, He is to be high and lifted up always, but there is so much much more. I am READY!

The second day at Bethel Music Worship School, while we were listening to Bill Johnson speaking, I had a vision of God holding out His hands with Jesus in the palms. I honestly don’t remember what was being taught at the moment. The vision was so clear and so beautiful it beheld my whole heart.
God’s hands outstretched were handing Jesus to me. I heard so clearly in my Spirit, this is my son and He is for ALL your areas of need. You need a friend, here you go, you need a Father here you go, you need a savior here you go, you need a healer here you go. There was no end to the places that Jesus was to fill in my life. I call out I am READY!!!

When I began writing for joy I was honestly at death’s door. I was ready to die. I wanted to die and had a plan to die. In my last cry to God before putting my plan into action I cried out… GOD, YOU PROMISED JOY WHERE IS IT?!?!
In that very moment, God instructed me to seek Joy and I would find it.
I felt shook. I said Ok God I will try this I will seek the FULLNESS of your Joy.
Step by step He pointed out all the areas that my life was robbing me of joy. It has been a good season to see His love and care and provision of the fullness of Joy in my life. Yet, that season has been one dimensional, survival-focused.
I was a baby surviving on milk and God is ready to give me more in the way of nutrition. He met me where I was and gave what I needed most to save my life and bring me back to living. Now He is ready to propel me forward in NEW life and NEW seasons of fruitfulness. The harvest has been planted, cultivated and now I will reap the benefits.
I am READY!

There is so so so much new the Lord would have me share and I am so ready for this wild journey He will be taking me on. This past week at Bethel Music Worship School has been one of the richest fullest life-giving experiences of my life. I am amazed and in awe of my Father all over again. I have come out of the land of the drought and ready for the land of living water. No more will I deny the spirit of God as He moves inside of me. I have been awakened and I will not be silent. I am READY

THIS…  AINT NO STINKIN GRAVE AINT NO STINKIN GRAVE… GONNA HOLD MY BODY DOWN!!!!

I once failed at love- Until I learned what it truly is

In my past, I had a world full of people around me, yet I felt so alone.
I had been hurt that others in my life were not listening or there for me in the ways that I thought they should be. I read recently that those that overshare on social media are often the loneliest people and that was me. I was so lonely. Yet, the lonelier I felt the more isolated I became. Shutting people out, to avoid the feelings of hurt.

I lived in a world where others were not being aware of MY needs. When these trials arose,  I would often pout, shout or shut down completely into a world of poor me.   I began to get bitter and turn people away.

I can see where this destructive pattern began. There was one that cut and hurt me so deeply, it shook my very worth.  I was done with living and I was done with people. So one by one, I deleted them from my life. I was not going to face that abandonment again. I would dispose of them before they disposed of me.

While my flesh was saying that this was the way to self-protect, God pointed out ever so gently in His amazing ways that I was on the road of self-destruction.

Where my immediate family is concerned, In the early days of wife and mother, I had completely ruined the atmosphere in my home with my grumbling and complaining.

I would blow up when my comfort levels were disrupted or when they were not meeting my need as I felt they should. If I called for the kids to stop arguing and talking back and they ignored me I would yell, react in the flesh and get bitter rather than giving the soft answer that the Bible calls for. If my husband wasn’t giving me the attention I wanted I would complain about every other little thing he would do, rather than discuss the issue. I would shut down and hide inside myself, making the problem worse, not better.

I was unhappy, depressed, to the point of suicidal. Nobody was there for me (my perception of the moment) and I didn’t know why. I was in the darkest place and when I asked the Lord why. His answer shook me.

The issue was not them, but me.

I was not loving!!! I did not LOVE myself, my family or others.

Love is not self-seeking.

Why is it that I find their actions concern me so much? Why was my comfort level controlled by their actions? Were my desires so much more important than theirs?

In order to understand the fullness of joy the Lord has for us, we MUST comprehend love.

When I am not seeing my needs be met by humans, I need to seek the Lord to meet those needs. I need to ask God how can you use me to help show your love to others?
God has made it very apparent to me what love was a while back. And for the most part, great joy has come in as I settle on the word and apply love like His in my life. I have become more patient, more kind, more peaceful overall.

I do fail and I do miss it, but thankfully I fail and miss it less and less as I learn more and more.

Love is an action. It is not a feeling. When I am irritated, self-seeking and impatient I am not acting in love. Criticism and judgment is not love. Manipulation and tantrum throwing is not love. Bitterness and impatience is not love.

The bible is very clear on the actions we are to take in love. Jesus was loving, he was giving, he was kind and I am to be Christ-like. I want my friends and family to see the kind of love that lives and dwells in me when I allow my self to get out of my own way.

Challenge this day my friend: Find areas that we can exhibit love that we never thought was an act of Love before. Look at the individuals you have cut off and ask yourself… was that an act of love? Sometimes God calls us to walk away for a healthier us, but sometimes, we are a healthier us by growing in the act of LOVE.

 1 Corinthians 3:4-7

Love is PATIENT, Love is KIND.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is NOT SELF-SEEKING,

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts always hopes, always perseveres

 

If You Let Them

 

 

I once thought I was beautiful until the others only looked at and mocked my flaws.
Then my flaws were all that I saw.
I once felt that I was meant to lead worship until the others pointed out every sour note, and left me embarrassed to open my mouth and continue trying.

The opinion of others can tear down all that the creator created us to be.

They can use half-truths and turn them into the ugliest of lies.

The opinion of others can
mar what you know to be beautiful… if you let them
tarnish what you once thought shined… if you let them
talk you out of what you know to be right… if you let them
Be careful of who you are listening to.
Ask yourself, does it line up with the Lord’s TRUTH?

You see, these individuals only view with their natural eye, not with the eye of the creator. The one that knew us from the beginning and KNOWS the plans He has for us. They only see our now, not our final destination.
God knows what He has for us to accomplish. The enemy is deceptive, with a goal to stop you doing what you are called to do. Will you listen to what is deep in your heart truth, or will you listen to the lies of the enemy? He only comes to distract and destruct, if you let him. Time to overcome and not let them!

Psalm 139:13

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 

 

 

 

Surrender

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I surrender my broken heart

I surrender my shame

I surrender my stubborn will

I surrender my pain

I surrender it all

my surrender is my gain

 

Mark 8:35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Surrender according to Strong’s concordance: Given over or delivered up.