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The Key to an Abundant Life

abundant life

Do you feel like you’re living an abundant life where you are right now, today?

I asked myself that question yesterday, I was struck with this harsh reality: My answer was no.
After dwelling on why that could be, I came to this conclusion:

I think that it is much easier to live out of a deficiency mentality than an abundance mentality. And the reason why is because we think that abundance is something we can achieve if we just work a little bit harder.

Have you ever tried to strive towards abundance? We think that when we have “the next thing,” we will be happy.
When we have the perfect relationship, our dream career, or a better house.
When we are no longer dealing with unwanted circumstances, heartbreaks, and pain.
When we are more patient, more skinny, more financially stable… when we are MORE.
Until we have more or can be more, we think we are deficient. And so we laser focus on the one thing we don’t have, while ignoring all the things we do have, and we feel empty.
The truth is, we are all so guilty of this. It is simply human nature to focus on what we don’t have and to do everything in our power to fix it. And let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with striving towards things that matter to you and building a life that you love.
But I don’t want to talk about that. I think society is obsessed with the “hustle till it hurts” mentality, and I don’t know about you, but it exhausts me. 

Sometimes there are circumstances that you can’t fix by sheer determination, and your heart will still hurt no matter how hard you “hustle.”

Some circumstances take time and require us to patiently pursue resolution.

My abundance question that I asked myself was prompted by a devotional that said: “There is abundant life in My Presence today”

Let me say it louder for the people in the back: There is abundance in my presence TODAY.

Abundance is not something we work to achieve. It’s not something we feel when we have more. Abundance is something we understand when we focus on God’s presence in our lives.

Much like God’s love, abundant life is not circumstantial… its unconditional.

Abundant life is really less about us and more about God.

It’s less about what we aren’t and more about who He is.

It’s less about all the things we do and more about what He has already done.

It’s less about what we don’t have and a whole lot more about what we have because of Him.

Jesus promises us abundant life TODAY. And it has absolutely nothing to do with what you have or don’t have, what you are struggling with, or where you are in your journey.

Jesus has made our lives abundant with His Love, right now, today.

Today I asked myself the same question. Nothing has changed in my life since yesterday. I still have the same struggles and the same deficiencies as yesterday. But today, I am living with an abundance mentality, because I have chosen to focus less on the thing I don’t have, and more on the One who I do.

Will you?

Did this post encourage you?

If so, spread the encouragement! I made the reminders below because they are PERFECT for sharing on social media, adding to a Pinterest board, putting on your bathroom mirror, or sending in a quick text to a friend who could really use this reminder today!

& if you DO post on the gram, be sure to tag me @fearlesslyinfaith so I can come say “hey!” 😉

<3, Britt

4 Tips to Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve

How do you feel when you hear the word…

GOALS?

When I hear the word goals, I want to pull out a brainstorming sheet and get to work (nerd alert, I know). Maybe you’re petrified to set goals because you fear not achieving your them perfectly. You might feel determined to finally get around to doing something about your goals. Maybe it’s annoying because you hear so dang much about goal-setting from all those self-help books you’ve read, but nothing actually helps you get anywhere. Heck, if it makes you want to curl up in the fetal position on the couch because you have so many unachieved goals and you just can’t even think about it, that’s okay too.

Whether they be positive of negative, I think we all have strong feelings about setting goals for ourselves.

Have you ever heard the quote:

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”?

I’m not quite sure where that came from, but whoever came up with that phrase sure knew what he (or she!) was talking about.

Planning sets us up for success. And planning well requires setting goals.

Lately, I’ve been really focused on setting goals for myself that I can actually achieve. Emphasis on that last part. ACHIEVABLE. Because, trust me friend, I have set plenty of goals before that I have failed miserably at.

In my process of setting (and not achieving) goals, I have learned a lot about how to set goals that I can actually achieve. Today I want to share with you my process for setting goals to set yourself up for success!  I think it is easier to remember things as acronyms, so the one I came up with for our topic today is:

The 4 S’s of Goal Setting to Succeed:

Sets Up for Success

Specific

Scheduled

Steps

1. Sets Up for SUCCESS

I want to start with this one, because I think it is so important. 

If you set a goal, and you fail at it, it can be hard to recover from.

It is important to choose goals that will set you up for success, while still being ambitious enough to reach your goal.

So, let’s say you are trying to stop drinking sugary drinks. That’s awesome! Go you! But, there’s a small problem.

On a typical day, you drink a Starbucks coffee on your way to work, a bottle of Coke with lunch, and a Red Bull on your way home. Going cold turkey on all sugary drinks is going to be nearly impossible for you to do all in one day.

So, instead of saying “I am going to stop drinking sugary drinks,” and setting yourself up for failure, setting yourself up for success would look like saying “I am going to give up my bottle of Coke with lunch everyday, and instead, replace it with an iced tea.”

After a month or so of succeeding with that goal, you’ll probably feel a lot more confident to give up your Starbucks. Then, next month, your Red Bull. Soon enough, you’ll realize that you are no longer craving sugary drinks.

Setting yourself up for success will actually help your REACH and MAINTAIN your goal, even though it might take a little longer.

2. SPECIFIC

Goal-setting must be very specific. If your goal is not specific, it will not be achieved. Here’s why:

Goals that are not specific are easy to give up on or bend the rules on.

Say that my goal is: “I want to work out more this year.”

Will I be satisfied if I go once a week? Does that count? Well, technically yes, since I was working out zero days before. But does “more” mean that I should go six times a week? That’s almost once a day. I know my schedule, and I know there is no way I will make it to the gym that much in a week.  And what does “Work Out” mean? Running around the neighborhood? Doing a quick 10 minute workout in my living room in the morning? Going to the gym?

See how ambiguous the goal of “I am going to work out more this year” is?

To make my goal more SPECIFIC, I should say instead: “I want to go to the gym three times a week.”

Now my goal has a number attached. It has a place that I am going to. It has a quantifiable measurement, not an ambiguous one.

3. SCHEDULED

Let’s stick with my goal from before, “I want to go to the gym three times a week”. Now that it is specific, it is time to schedule it out.

Not all goals can be scheduled. However, if you can put an event in your calendar to make your goal happen, that is definitely ideal. Maybe your goal is to improve the habit you have of scrolling social media before bed. You can’t schedule that, right?

Actually, you can. Set a timer on your phone that goes off at 8 PM and reminds you to plug in your phone. Then, you can remember to stick to your plan and achieve your goal.

Or maybe you are thinking “My goal is to invest more in my relationship with my brother… how do I schedule that?”

What does investing look like to you? More time? Schedule a time to go out to lunch and put it on the calendar. More conversation? Schedule a time you plan on calling him and put it in your calendar.

Get this gist?

To make my goal SCHEDULED, I can say: “I am going to go to the gym three times a week: after class on Tuesdays, with my sister on Wednesday afternoons, and Friday mornings after I wake up.”

This keeps me accountable to a time to make my goal happen.

4. STEPS

Creating steps to reach your goal is super important. Some goals have more steps than others, and steps look really different for every goal. But, no matter what they are, all goals should have some steps.

For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, you are probably not going to be able to jump on the treadmill tomorrow and run 26 miles. Chances are, you are going to have to create steps for yourself to work up the endurance to run a marathon. Maybe your first step is to buy a gym membership and some running shoes. That’s great! Start there, and work your way to the next step.

Creating steps helps us to break up our goal into “bite-sized chunks”.

These steps ultimately create a plan that sets us up for success, and gives us little mini victories along the way. Creating steps is essential in long-term goals so that you do not become discouraged and burnt out.

So, let’s say that my objective for working out more was to lose 10 pounds and gain lean muscle. Some steps I might take to reach this are doing cardio and working my arms, legs, and abs.

To make my goal have STEPS, I should say: “I am going to go to the gym three times a week: after class on Tuesdays to do cardio and arms, with my sister on Wednesday afternoons to do cardio and abs, and on Friday mornings to do cardio and legs.”

See how much better that goal is than, “I am going to work out more this year.” ??

I hope these four steps help inspire you to create goals that you can start achieving TODAY!

Remember, the most important part to achieving your goals is simply picking a place to start.

I am rooting for you!

<3, Britt


Do you have any tips for setting achievable goals? Share them in the comments below!

Goals

4 Impactful Truths From “Girl, Wash Your Face”

Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, read this book!

Seriously, I don’t care who you are (well, I really do care about you a lot, but you get the gist). If you are a woman, you should read this book ASAP!

Chances are, it’s going to make you realize that you’ve been living in a box in some way or another, and that YOU are the one who put yourself there.

In fact, I’d say that’s the general theme of this book… identifying what your metaphorical boxes are, and how to find your way out of them.

Okay yeah, so you might feel a little exposed, but that’s better than living in the dark, right?

If you are up for the challenge, this book will impact you. The tone is incredibly motivating and has the potential to inspire great change. Do you need someone to believe in you and push you to succeed? Well, I’ll tell you what, you’ll certainly feel like you’ve just been coached through the game of life by Rachel Hollis after you read this book!

So, at this point, you might be wondering what kind of impactful, motivating, and inspiring words are tucked in-between the pages of this awesome book. Well, that’s up to you to discover, but I though I would share four of my takeaways from the book listed below, followed by my own commentary and thoughts about them!

I’ll call the Reader’s Digest Version with a Twist of Britt of “Girl, Wash Your Face”… and I hope you walk away feeling as motivated and inspired as this book has made me!

1.) Successful People Don’t Take “No” For An Answer.

I will be the first to admit that I am the worst at “no”… both hearing it and saying it. The reason that I hate telling people “no” is because I feel like I am letting them down, and the reason I hate hearing “no” is because I feel like I am being let down. Anyone else??

When we are young, we are taught to respond to “no” by bowing our heads and turning the other direction. In this book, Rachel challenges women to not take “no” for an answer, especially when it comes to chasing your dreams.

If you want to pursue your dreams, chances are, you are going to receive some pushback. You will probably hear a lot of “no”s.

But when it boils down to it, your dreams are YOUR dreams… they don’t belong to anyone else. No one else is going to care about them quite as much as you do. This means that it is up to YOU to make them happen.

2.) “SOMEONE ELSE’S OPINION OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.”

I put this one in all caps because Rachel did too (also in quotes cause she said it first!). But I think it is worth repeating exactly like that because us girls sometimes need that truth screamed right in our faces.

For someone who is a creative, this is really hard.
For someone who dreams of living a life unconventionally, this is really hard.
For someone who cares about making other people happy, this is really hard.
For someone like me (or maybe you!) who wants to do all of these things at the same time, this is really, really hard.

EVERYONE has an opinion. And everyone has a DIFFERENT opinion. In fact, there are over eight billion opinions floating around in the world, at least one unique opinion for every person.

You cannot live your life focused on other people’s opinions of you.

Yeah, sure, it might feel like your heart is being ripped out a little if someone has a negative opinion of something you’re doing. But if you can live your life living CONFIDENTLY in your God-given purpose, you can know that you are being the best you that you can be.

3.) Never Stop Creating.

Whether or not you have an audience that listens, never stop creating. If being creative is your God-given ability, you better be out there creating something! And more importantly, your creation of something should not be contingent on whether or not someone is paying attention.It should be created because you have been given the gift of being creative, and, well… you love to do it!

Anxiety over whether something is good enough to release out into the world is a real thing for me. This book reminded me of this truth:

If your work can resonate positively with even just one person, it is worth creating.

4.) Stop Putting People in Boxes

“If we adjust our posture, we will see the person, not the category they fall into.” -R.H.

Sorry, I’ll be right back, because I’m going to go scream that on the rooftops because I love that line so much.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbors. Loving someone is pretty hard to do when you don’t know them, or when we keep them at an arms length.

We should expand our community to be more inclusive, instead of categorizing people into boxes.

Instead of putting people who think and act just like we do in our little box, we should find bigger boxes that fit more people inside.

Or, better yet, let’s just forget the boxes all together. Let’s just love people for who they are, not what box they fall into.


These are some of the very impactful truths (along with my own thoughts about them) that I am taking away from Girl, Wash You Face by Rachel Hollis! Which one of these resonates with you? If you’ve read the book, what do you think about it? (controversial opinions welcome 🙂 )

Thanks for listening! <3, Britt

The Comparison Ends Here.

comparison

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the idea of comparison and what it can do to us.

I’ve heard a lot of people say before that comparison is the thief of joy, and that is definitely true. But more of what I am coming to realize is that comparison is the thief of compassion.

So, confession, I struggle with comparison. I think all us girls do in some way or another. We all have a comparison trap, whether it’s body image, relationship goals, career aspirations, or a standard that you are trying (or supposed to be) living up to. And that just a small sampling of the long, long list.

We compare ourselves to others all the time, but not only that, we get compared to others… and standards others have.

Anyway, the idea I have been thinking a lot about lately is looking at the way comparison literally strips us our individuality, and the compassion we have for ourselves and others.

I feel like I need to scream this from the rooftop, so I’ll put it on the internet and see who finds it. Here is the truth:

YOU were created to be YOU.

…and sometimes, as simple as that statement is, it is incredibly hard to accept, both for you and for others.

People don’t talk about how hard it is to accept yourself, especially when the person who you actually are feels at odds against the world. Being authentically YOU and building a life that is centered around your unique gifts and talents is no doubt an uphill battle, just as most things in life that are worth striving for.

Cause chances are, if you are being yourself, it is going to come with some friction. The reason there is friction is because of comparison.

So imagine this scenario… you are climbing a mountain. This mountain represents some goal you are pushing towards or trying to achieve. You are doing a pretty good job… even though it was hard to motivate yourself to get started, now you are making some serious progress. Suddenly, the mountain starts to get really steep, and it gets slippery, and you start to slide. Then you start sliding down, down, and further down, until you are back where you started.

The slippery, sliding part of the mountain? That’s comparison. It backtracks all our progress…

…and suddenly we are down at the bottom the mountain, feeling bad about ourselves, and not only that, feeling bad about the people and expectations we compared ourselves to.

For example, I love writing. I feel confident in my ability to write and share words with the world. But sometimes, it is extremely, EXTREMELY hard to even sit down at my computer to type and get the words out. And you know why?

Because I literally sit and compare myself to every blogger, influencer, and writer I know or follow, and think to myself “why should I even bother? I’ll never be as good as them.” So I’ll take the little bit that I wrote, erase it, and wait until the next time.

This is not my attempt to fish for affirmation because obviously if you’re reading this you probably don’t feel that way, but if I’m being super honest with you, that is a real struggle of mine. You probably have those insecurities too.

Well, my friend, this is what I have to say to you today:

THE COMPARISON ENDS HERE.

I’m putting this on my blog, because that’s where I need to see it.

Maybe you need to put it on your bathroom mirror. Your desk at work. Maybe you need to text it to a family member or friend.

But the truth is, the comparison needs to stop somewhere. Otherwise, we will continue to run in circles trying to become just like everyone else. And in out search to become everyone else, we will lose our compassion for ourselves and others.

I read somewhere that compassion motivates us to go out of our way to care for others: physically, mentally, and emotionally. The opposite of compassion is selfishness and greed. And what’s more selfish and greedy than wishing to be someone who we are not?

Let this be the point in your life where comparison ends, and compassion begins… compassion for yourself, and all those around you.

Friend, you were created for much too much in this life to let it pass by you pretending to be someone you’re not.

Today, EMBRACE who you were made to be, and live in purpose. Let that purpose guide you into places where you can show others compassion, kindness, and love.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that who you are is not enough.

And remember: compassion begins where comparison ends.
So… let’s start right now! Drop a comment below about ONE way you want to vow to STOP the comparison in your life and BEGIN to show compassion to yourself and others… I’ll be the first! 😉

<3 Britt

What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?

It’s really easy to throw around the word “prayer,” in a Christian culture, isn’t it?

If someone is going through a difficult time, we’ll say, “I’ll pray for you!”

If someone is struggling with making a decision, we’ll ask, “Have you prayed about it?”

If we really want something from God, we’ll tell people, “I’ve been praying about this for months, but I still haven’t seen God show up.”

I think that we have watered down the power of prayer, and the genuinely meaningful impact it can have in our lives and relationships, including our relationship with God.

Prayer isn’t meant to be a sympathetic condolence, a guilt trip, or a granted wish from a magic genie. It is a means of conversation!

Let me explain:

Picture your best friend in the whole world. Are you picturing them? Okay, cool. Now, think about how you got close to this person. Was it through brief and shallow conversations every couple of days? Was it through consistently asking and expecting them to do things for you? Was it through telling them how grateful you were they were in your life, but never actively showing it?

I’m going to guess probably not. And if so, wow, you have a pretty incredible friend! And, the truth is, God loves us even when we are being a “bad friend” to Him. That’s just the depth of His love for us. However…

If you want a dynamic, growing, life-changing relationship with Christ, you’ve GOTTA communicate with Him.

In fact, you can learn to deeply enjoy your conversations with God. In order for this to happen, it is important to keep in mind how to be a “good friend,” just like you have been to your best friend! Tell Jesus your deepest thoughts, desires, hurts, and joys. Go on coffee dates with Him. Ask Him for the things on your heart, but come from a place of gratitude. Never take His presence for granted.

All relationships are a two-way street, including your relationship with Jesus, and all healthy relationships rely on great communication.

But how wonderful that the Bible gives us a model of HOW to communicate with Jesus.. and that is through PRAYER!

The practice of prayer has recently been put on my heart, because I have realized just how important & powerful it is. I also realized how difficult it can be to determine exactly what prayer is.

I think it’s easy to get caught up in the act of prayer rather than the purpose of it.

My next few posts are going to dive into prayer: what it is/isn’t, ideas to experience growth in your prayer life, and different methods to practice prayer! I am going to call the series Powerfully in Prayer, because I think that in order to live fearlessly in faith, we must learn how to be rooted powerfully in prayer!

Today, I am going to begin by laying the foundation of what the Bible has to say about prayer! So, without further ado… here ya go 🙂

#1 Pray Alone

(Matthew 6:6, Luke 5:16)

The Bible places emphasis on praying alone. Not only did Jesus pray alone several times throughout the Gospels, Matt 6:6 says to pray in private, because God sees all!

#2 Pray Together

(see James 5:16, Acts 1:14, Acts 12:12)

Praying with other believers is just as important as praying alone! When the early church was started in Acts, the apostles were mentioned to be praying together on multiple occasions. We are also encouraged to confess our sins & pray with one another… yay for vulnerability!

#3 Pray About Everything

(see Philippians 4:6)

You know the amazing thing about God? He already knows everything you’re thinking, but wants to hear it from YOU! Don’t hesitate to tell Him about your bad shift at work, crazy idea, awkward conversation, or that thing you’re super nervous about. Pray about everything!

#4 Actively Pray… and Never Stop

(see 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18)

Do you ever feel like something happens in your life and you are constantly praying… and then you just stop? The Bible says for us to “pray without ceasing” and to “pray at all times and on all occasions”… and not only that, but to stay persistent in your prayers!

#5 What You Pray For Through Faith Will Be Given to You

(see John 15:7, Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24)

This is a truth that the Bible reiterates time & time again. Those who abide in the Lord will receive what they believe. A prayer from a faithful, sincere heart goes a long way!

#6 Pray With an Alert Mind

(see Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2)

Prayer is not meant to to be a mindless activity. In fact, the Bible calls us to devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and to be alert in prayer! Practice alertness while praying, but also maintain alertness while you watch God move & work in the requests you’ve made known to Him! Remaining alert in prayer will give you an understanding of how active God is in your life and it is SO COOL!!

#7 Pray With Intentionality

(see Matthew 6:7)

Have you ever finished praying and realized you just said a bunch of fancy “prayer words” to try to sound a certain way? In Matt 6:7, Jesus says that when we pray, we should not “babble on and on” and that prayers are not answered by “repeating words again and again.” Instead, we should pray with intentionality! You wouldn’t give your best friend a surface level conversation, so don’t give God one either 🙂

#8 Pray With Persistence

(see Matthew 7:7, Ephesians 6:18)

God calls us to pray with persistence! He wants to give good gifts to those who pray persistently and rely on Him to provide. In fact, Matt 7:7 says: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you.

#9 Ask God Graciously, With a Thankful Heart

(see Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2)

It’s okay to ask God for things! In fact, like we just established, He wants us to. However, God calls us to also pray with a thankful heart. Before we start placing our requests at the feet of Jesus, let us first thank Him for ALL the blessings He has showered in our lives.

Also, a really great practice for establishing thankfulness in your prayer life is to remember all God has done. We become easily desensitized to and forgetful of answered prayers. Instead of praying persistently for something, watching God answer your prayer, and then forgetting about it, write it down! Write down your requests and the way that God answers them. You will be AMAZED at the magnitude to which God answers prayers.

Well, there it is… 9 truths that the Bible tells us about prayer!


I hope that these help you establish some focus and direction on prayer.

Stay tuned for the next post in the Powerfully in Prayer series! Hint: It might involve prayer journaling 😉

<3, Britt

5 Qualities Christian Men Look for in a Girlfriend (From a Guy’s Perspective!)

What do guys really want?

This is a question I asked myself for many years. Oftentimes, I ended up looking in the wrong places, leading me to draw the wrong conclusions. Been there before?

Being a girl in this day and age is hard, let alone trying to be a girl following Jesus. Anyone else feel the struggle? As young women, we are constantly being targeted and lied to about our worth, which heavily impacts how we perceive relationships. One of the biggest culprits, you ask?  

It’s way too easy to muddle what culture tells us guys want with what men who are pursuing the Lord actually want.

Culture today tells us that the quality of our relationships is tied to our sex appeal. Being superficial is okay. Dumbing ourselves down is “cute”. Having ambition isn’t necessary. And the depth of our conversations is unimportant.

What culture tells us that guys’ want will ultimately lead us to destruction, heartbreak, and shame.
But God doesn’t want that for you.
He has so, so much more in store for you.
And that “so much more” is a man who is chasing after Jesus, and who wants to chase after you, too.

So… what do those guys… the ones chasing after Jesus today, look for in a woman worth pursuing?

On our flight home from my friend’s wedding, I asked my boyfriend Michael to narrow down the TOP 5 things that Christian guys are looking for in a girl. Here’s what he had to say… with my personal tips on ways to apply this information in order to become a woman worth pursuing!

1.) Loves the Lord

“I can only be fully understood by somebody who shares my beliefs and convictions. Without this, it would be difficult to remain on the same page as you navigate through a relationship.” -M
This may be the most obvious, but is also the most important. If you want to be with a guy who loves the Lord, you should be pursuing the Lord and making Him the #1 priority in your life.
TIP: Instead of spending your time pursuing a guy, spend your time pursuing the Lord. Your relationship with Jesus is, and always will be, the most important relationship you maintain throughout your whole life. Authenticity in your faith will lead to authenticity in your other relationships.

2.) Trustworthy

“A guy has to find someone who he knows has the right intentions, and knows won’t compromise a relationship when the guy has put his heart out there.” -M
Healthy, lasting relationships are built on trust. Because of this, men who are looking for a serious relationship are also looking for someone who is equally as committed as they are.
TIP: Before getting into a relationship, ask yourself this question: How committed are you to the relationships in your life right now? When you make plans with people, do you keep them? Are you a loyal person with lasting friendships? Are you able to keep confidential information private, rather than sharing it with everyone? If the answer to these questions is yes, chances are, maintaining the level of trust that Christian men are looking for in a relationship should come easy to you.

3.) Fun & Adventurous

“Most guys want someone who likes to live life and be out there. Be bold, go do what you want… be yourself.” -M
A guy who is looking for a serious relationship is looking for someone he can build a life with. He is looking for an individual with strong convictions & goals to achieve!
TIP: Pursue your passions. Chase your dreams. Create a life that you love. A guy worth having will see that and say “Wow, she’s passionate & driven. I want to be a part of that.”
DO NOT wait to find a guy to start your life.

4.) Likable by Others

“A guy doesn’t want to bring a girl around who gives a bad impression to his friends… he wants to bring a girl that he is proud of.” -M
Basically, this one boils down to this. A guy who is looking for a serious relationship is looking for someone that he can bring into his life… not isolate him from it. However, being likable doesn’t mean altering your personality or behavior to get people to like you. It just means being yourself and genuinely caring about the lives of others! Radiate the love of Christ.
TIP(S): Instead of trying of trying to make yourself more important in his world by being clingy and isolating him into spending time with you, enter into his life and allow him into yours, and you will naturally become more important to Him.

5.) Accepts Me For Who I Am

I think Michael said this one best, so I’ll just quote him 😉
“As guys, we have been conditioned to have it all together, to be the leader, and to not let a girl down. Those are the pressures we have to live with. We are supposed to have it all together before even considering asking a girl out. This is unrealistic. We don’t have it all together, and it produces anxiety when we fall short in our relationships.
Plus, when you grow together, instead of entering into a relationship with a guy who already has it together, you get to experience the joy & accomplishment of growth and learning, instead of just being with the ‘final product’. The former is much deeper and much more meaningful. That’s why it is essential that the woman we fall in love with is someone who loves us for who we are, and not our merits or accomplishments.” -M
TIP: Just learn to love people for who they are… not what they do, where they are going in life, or who they could be. Also, be an encourager in the lives of others!

 

Okay, so… let’s be honest here.

The reason you clicked on this post is because you were curious about what Christian guys want in a relationship, and you wanted an answer about what you need to do in order to win one over.

So here’s the answer you are looking for: just be yourself. Remember all those tips you just read? Focus on those things right there.

Pursue the Lord and create an authentic relationship with Him.

Commit to and make time for the people in your life right now.

Create a life you love by pursuing your dreams & passions.

Love people for who they are, not who they could be.

Then, when the right guy comes along, he is going to walk into the life of a beautiful woman who radiates the love of the Lord. She loves people authentically and selflessly, and she chases the dreams & passions that God has placed on her heart. And he’s going to say:

“Wow. This is the woman who is worth pursuing for the rest of my life.”

That, my friend, is God’s “so much more” for you.

<3, Britt

The Secret to Discovering Your Purpose

There are three things you cannot walk on campus at my university and not see:

  1. The color purple (it’s everywhere, seriously).
  2. Someone doing the “lopes up” sign (kind of like “love” in sign language, except it’s supposed to be an antelope).
  3. The slogan “FIND YOUR PURPOSE” (plastered on every banner, building… even the website).

Every time I read that slogan… “Find Your Purpose”… I wonder how many people come to GCU searching for purpose, but walk away with a mere diploma in hand.

Purpose is a hot topic amongst ALL Christians (not just the students at GCU), and rightfully so. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard:

I just don’t know what my purpose is.

I am waiting to hear from God about  ____ before making this decision, because I’m not sure if it is His plan for me.

I really want to major in  ____, but I just don’t know if that will be fulfilling God’s purpose for me.

I want to date _____, but I am afraid being with them is not God’s plan for my life.

If you are surrounded by Christian culture, I KNOW you have heard at least one of these thoughts before. Chances are, you’ve even thought one or two of them yourself. Sometimes it seems like determining God’s plan for our lives is like plugging numbers into a massive math equation, and if we don’t choose the right number for the right variable, we will have screwed up for God’s plan for us.

Here’s the bottom line: Nothing you accomplish in your life will give you purpose.

Crazy, right? In a culture that tells us that college degrees, wealth, or even raising a family will give us purpose, we have to realize that none of those things can ever fulfill us. So of that’s the case, what IS God’s purpose for us?

God’s purpose for you is simple… it’s exactly what Jesus told His disciples in John 15.

Your purpose is to love God, be loved by God, and to love others.

That seems like a simple concept, but I think the disconnect lies somewhere in finding where God’s plan for our lives intersects with His purpose for us.

Instead of asking the question: What is God’s plan for my life?

We should be asking: In what ways has God equipped me to love?

I think the key to discovering God’s plan for us is by pursuing the purpose He gave us of loving Him and loving others. However, Jesus never called us to pursue a passive love, but rather an active love.

This is why I believe that discovering God’s plan for our lives is found through an action-oriented pursuit of purpose, rather than a passive waiting game for God to “reveal” His plan.

I have found a greater sense of purpose for my life after implementing the following 4 action-oriented tips to pursue God’s plan, instead of waiting for it… and here they are!

4 Ways to Find Your Purpose:

1.)  Don’t Stay Sitting

If you feel confused about God’s plan for your life, the worst thing you can do is to stay sitting where you are at.

The key to discovering God’s plan for your life is by discovering what your God-given gifts and passions are.

For a long time, I was afraid to try anything new for fear of rejection or being embarrassed. It took me way too long to realize that the only way I could discover the talents that God gave me to give to the world is by going out and living in it. Find activities to explore and things to involve yourself in, because once you find the things you are gifted at and passionate about, you will likely feel more direction on the ways God might be calling you to love others. For example, when I realized I was both good at and passionate about writing & encouraging people, I decided to create this blog, with the purpose of loving people because of my love for Jesus! See how that works?? 😉

2.) Surround Yourself With Community

God works through people, so if you are not surrounding yourself with people, you are missing out on your purpose.

Surround yourself with a community of like-minded people who are willing to encourage you & push you into opportunities of growth. Surround yourself with people with differing perspectives, so that you can learn from them and they can learn from you. With hurting people so that you can comfort them. With joyful people to be encouraged by them. With difficult people to inspire them. With younger people to share wisdom with. With older people to glean wisdom from. Just surround yourself with people, and love them well. I guarantee you will instantly feel a heightened sense of purpose.

3.) Find a Ministry Opportunity

One key to discovering God’s plan for your life is by finding a way to live out your faith. For several years, I felt really purposeless as a person and very dry in my faith because I wasn’t doing anything with it. That’s when I started leading Wyldlife, a Young Life ministry for junior high kids, and my life slowly began to gain a greater purpose.

Ministry doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate… if you’ve found a way to intentionally show a specific group of people Jesus by loving them really well, then you’ve found a ministry opportunity.

Great places to look for these opportunities are churches, schools, organizations, the workplace, or even your own home. Just identify a group of people you have a heart for, and love those people both selflessly like Jesus did.

4.) Eliminate Distractions and Persevere

This might be the last point, but it’s very important, so hear me out.

The world wants to do all that it can to make your feel purposeless, or that God is “withholding” His plan from you.

There will be people who tell you lies about who you are. There will be failures you encounter that cause you to question why you do what you do. There will be thousands upon thousands of other people and their accomplishments to compare yourself to. Whatever you do, PERSEVERE.

Even though God’s purpose for each of us is love, His plan for you is unique… there is no one else with the same set of talents and passions that you have, and no one with the same heart.

Eliminate anything that distracts you from pursuing your purpose, and remember that only YOU can fulfill God’s plan for your life.

I hope that these 4 tips encourage you to pursue your purpose, and give you a greater sense of direction on what God’s individual plan for you might be! Remember:

Stop searching for your purpose.

Know your purpose.

Now, pursue it.

<3, Britt

To the Girl Who Feels Inadequate

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt inadequate.

I think if every girl reading this were all sitting in a room together, we would be sitting in a sea of raised hands.

I mean really, haven’t we all:

Felt inadequate in our relationships.

Felt inadequate at our job.

Felt inadequate in school.

Felt inadequate in ministry.

Felt inadequate as a person.

It’s crazy how the slightest hitch in our lives: a word that feeds into insecurities, an unplanned event, or an “off” day can drastically impact our feelings of inadequacy.

Even a thing as small as burning a batch of brownies.

I work at a coffee shop, and part of my weekly responsibilities include baking the brownies we sell in the store. A few weeks ago, I put a batch of brownies in the oven, set a timer, and walked to the front of the store to continue serving customers. About half an hour later, my manager walked up to me and asked, “Brittany, does the oven usually start smoking when you bake brownies?”

After running to the kitchen and turning off the oven that was, in fact, smoking, I removed the batch of brownies, realizing I had set the oven to 400 degrees instead of 300 degrees.

The brownies weren’t just burnt, they were scorched. Yikes.

Burning the brownies was not a big deal. All I had to do was whip up another batch, throw them in the oven, and take the extra two seconds to verify that the oven was set to 300 degrees. However, it was the way burning the brownies made me feel that was the issue. Feelings of:

“I am a terrible employee.”

“I can’t do anything right.”

“I’m just not good at what I do.”

All those ugly thoughts…. from one batch of brownies.

I think our problem is this: Our feelings of inadequacy come from hyper-focusing on situational things. We come to the conclusion that because we’ve done one thing wrong, we suddenly have become inadequate in that general area of life.

I am inadequate in my relationship BECAUSE I said something hurtful that I can’t take back.

I must be a failure at relationships and undeserving of love.

I am inadequate in my job BECAUSE I didn’t hit my sales quota this month

I must be awful at my job and the weak link of the team.

I am inadequate in school BECAUSE I failed this exam I studied really hard for.

I must be stupid and incapable of pursuing this degree.

I am inadequate in ministry BECAUSE nothing impactful happened in the small group I was leading this week.

I must be incapable of pouring into the lives of those around me and leading people to Christ.

Therefore, I must be inadequate.

See the common theme?

When we tie our circumstances to our character, we will continue to feel inadequate every time we make a mistake.

The truth is, we will always feel inadequate in something if we equate our worth to what we do instead of who we are.

There will always be someone prettier, smarter, more energetic, more caring, and more enthusiastic than us.

But they can never be you.

The reason we feel inadequate is because we focus on WHAT makes us adequate instead of WHO makes us adequate.

Instead, we should say:

I am adequate in my relationships BECAUSE I am a child of God.

I am deserving of love.

I am adequate in my job BECAUSE I am a child of God.

I am not the weak link.

I am adequate in school BECAUSE I am a child of God.

I am smart and capable.

I am adequate in ministry BECAUSE I am a child of God.

I am capable of loving others and leading them to Christ.

Therefore, I am adequate.

You are adequate. Today, start believing it.. then start living it.

Abiding, Pruning & Bearing Fruit: John 15:1-11

A few summers ago, my best friend and I were taking a road trip while I visited her in Boise. On our way, we drove by a small farmer’s market on the side of the road that we decided to stop at to buy some fresh fruit to eat while we were hammocking by the lake. Best. Decision. EVER. These blackberries were hands down some of the sweetest & juiciest I had ever had.

If you’ve ever eaten fresh fruit before, you know what I’m talking about. If not.. You’re missing out!

Anyway, the reason I bring up these killer blackberries is because fruit is something Jesus calls us to produce (not eat, bummer) in the Bible. Bearing fruit, in fact, is a process that brings great glory to God… definitely something we should interest ourselves in.

Jesus tells us in the book of John that there are three steps to the process of producing great fruit: abiding, pruning, and finally, bearing fruit.

Read John 15:1-11 to follow along!

 

STEP 1: ABIDING

How many times do you wake up, look at your insanely hectic schedule for the day , and think: “I’ve got this!”

I’ve been there. It’s easy to get caught up in checking off a to-do list.

But then, as you lay in bed to drift off to sleep, you realize that not once today did you rely on Christ as you navigated your day full of work, school, friends, family, meetings, interactions, and choices. And then you realize why you feel empty.

Jesus calls us to a different posture of productivity. In John 15:4, Jesus says: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”

Being productive is great! We have the wonderful ability to glorify God with our time, resources, and involvement in various relationships and responsibilities. Here’s where problems arise:

If we are not abiding in Christ, and are instead abiding in ourselves, we are not growing, because we are disconnected from the vine. And when we are disconnected from the vine, we are not bearing fruit.

So what does abiding in Christ look like?

Slow down for two minutes, and ask Jesus to work in and through you during the day. Cultivate the characteristics of love, joy, and kindness in the tasks you complete, instead up just checking them off a list. Make the tasks you complete less about what you do, and more about how you do them.

John 15:7 says,  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Let the truth and love of Christ overflow into everything you do, and when you feel overwhelmed and empty, simply ask to be filled, and He will fill your soul.

 

STEP 2- PRUNING

So now that we are abiding in Christ, we are ready to grow and bear fruit. So what happens when we are living for Jesus and something happens that throws our hearts off track… perhaps a death, a break-up, a divorce, or a lost job… and everything in us wants to ask God this question:

“God, if I am being obedient and following you, why would you allow ______ to happen to me??”

I think the answer to that question lies in the idea of pruning.

John 15:2 says that “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”

After a little research (since my knowledge of pruning is limited to none.. I’m guessing yours might be too), I’ve discovered how interesting this reference is in understanding of the process of bearing fruit.

Pruning, by definition, is “to cut off undesired twigs or branches” or “to rid or clear of anything superfluous or  undesirable.”

So, what is pruning in the context our lives?

Pruning is getting rid of the undesirable things in our lives that prevent us from growth. Relationships that hinder us from seeking Christ, job opportunities that will eat away at the time we can devote to our ministry opportunities, or anything that can be removed from our life that will snap us into the perspective of our deep need for God and our inability to bear fruit on our own.

When does pruning happen?

In the context of real life fruit, pruning is done in the winter, which is the season that grapes do not grow. In the context of our lives, wouldn’t it make sense that we would see pruning happen in the seasons of our lives with little to no growth? The times where we are simply following Christ, but not being fruitful in Him, are the seasons during which we have the most potential to grow.

Lastly, one of the most fascinating things I read about pruning is this:

The mistake people make with pruning is not pruning hard enough. In fact, light pruning does not create an environment for adequate fruit growth, whereas heavy pruning creates the greatest quality of grapes.

So, why is ____ happening to you if you are bring obedient and following Christ?

The pruning experiences you go through are the moments you grow through. In other words, we grow through what we go through. And that’s how we bear the BEST fruit.

 

STEP 3- BEARING FRUIT

So, you’re abiding in Christ, and you’ve been pruned to experience growth… now what?

You are now prepared to bear fruit.

John 15: 8 says that “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

One of the ways we can glorify God is to bear spiritual fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You know, the fruits of the spirit? In this context, those aren’t just some intangible characteristics, but rather, the direct result of abiding in Christ and experiencing pruning in our lives.

These qualities are what make our lives plentiful. They are what makes Christianity attractive those who don’t know Christ.

But ultimately, the evidence of these characteristics in our lives are what glorifies God.

 

So today, maybe you need to be reminded to let go of your control over your own life.

Abide in Christ, not yourself.

Maybe you need encouragement that this hard season will not last forever, and good will come from your pursuit of Christ.

You will see growth after you are pruned through the hard times.

But ultimately, remember that Christ is glorified by the fruit produced in our lives.

Serve lovingly. Live joyfully. Speak kindly. And never lose faith.

<3, Britt.

Why Codependency is Destroying Your Relationship (& The Healthy Solution!)

I remember when I got my first cell phone. At age thirteen, it was everything I ever wanted… it had a sliding keypad, built-in camera, a bedazzled phone case, and was brand new. After I received it, I wouldn’t let it out of my sight. I would even lay it on the bathroom counter when I showered so I could check my messages the second I got out. I would say I was possessive, obsessive, and borderline dependent on my cell phone.

I think sometimes when we get something that is exactly what we want, it is hard to not become possessive and obsessive over it, even to the point of dependency.

& I think the place where I see this most frequently is in relationships.

My boyfriend and I have had multiple discussions about dependence: being independent, being codependent, having a healthy dependence, and everything in-between.

Dependency in relationships, especially dating relationships, is a tricky topic. There should be some level of dependency in a relationship… after all, the purpose of dating is to determine if you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, which involves meshing various aspects of your life together. But how much is too much?

I think a safe place to draw the line is codependence.

Codependence, in essence, is present in a relationship in which there is a psychological reliance of one person on another. This is manifested in a way that makes it so that the codependent person does not allow the other person to have a life outside of the relationship.

Need to be with your boyfriend 24/7? Codependence.

Does your boyfriend feel the need to constantly check up on you when you’re not together? Codependence.

Are you not allowed to hang out with your friends unless your BF says you can (or vice-versa)? Codependence.

I think the problem people have with codependence is this: they have difficulty recognizing it. Just like the new cell phone I got when I was thirteen, we often become enamored by our significant other in a relationship, because ideally, they are exactly what we want. We think that needing to be together is sweet, after all, who doesn’t want to feel needed? However, what we don’t realize is that this enamor can soon lead to possessive and obsessive feelings, which can lead to dependency.

Once codependency is rooted in a relationship, it can cause individuals to lose their sense of self, and create a severe sense of mistrust within the relationship, ultimately leading to destruction.

So if codependence kills relationships, and complete independence is impossible due to the nature of relationships, what is the solution?

Healthy dependence– & here are 4 ways to identify and develop healthy dependence in a relationship!

  1. Wanting to be together (& not needing to be).

    Should you want to be with the person you’re in a relationship with? YES! Should you need to be? No. There’s a difference. Wanting to be together is looking forward to when you get to see each other, spend time together, and tell each other about your day, versus needing to be together, which is a consuming mindset.

  2. Letting the other person have friends.

    This might seem obvious, but it’s important. Letting your boyfriend have their own friends and allowing them to spend time with someone other than you, and having the same freedom, is very important. You should look forward to the time you get to spend with each other, rather than feel obligated. Not allowing your BF (or not being allowed) to have friends outside the relationships is a sign of both mistrust and codependency.

  3. Maintaining your own hobbies, interest, personality, and beliefs.

    When getting into a relationship, don’t sacrifice who you are for a guy. Chances are, the reason they liked you in the first place are for all the things that make you YOU. In addition, don’t get into a relationship with the intention of changing someone. If your partner tries to change who you are, chances are, the relationship is not going to last, or will lead to codependence. 

  4. Trust.

    The foundation to every healthy relationship is trust.  Trusting a person whether you are with or without them allows for a relationship to thrive and grow… 24/7 companionship does not.

“Not needing to need, but choosing to need.”

Overall, the key to having healthy dependence versus codependence in a relationship is wanting to need versus needing to need. Wanting to need is far more powerful than needing to need, because it is dependent on a choice rather than an impulse. 

If you want to need someone, you make a choice every single day to love them and make them a priority in your life. You know they will be there for you, and you will be there for them, but you don’t have to rely on them for fulfillment. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy that need.

If you are living in a codependent relationship today, be brave,  make the choice to have a choice.