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How to Own Your Decisions

Do you ever feel like the people around you influence your decisions? Or even worse, that people try to make your decisions for you?

If you’ve ever felt like this, let me tell you… you’re not alone.

I vividly remember my senior year of high school. There were a lot of great things about it… the dances, spirit weeks, football games, and traveling. But, there were also a lot of hard things about it, namely, committing to a college.

Choosing what to do after high school is extremely hard due to the fact that there are So. Many. Choices.

Do you stay in school or go straight into the work force? Go to community college or get a job? Stay in state or move out of state? Which major do you choose? What’s your budget?

Choosing a college and major was very challenging for me, because it was hard to narrow my choice down to what I actually wanted. It seemed that EVERYONE in my life had an opinion about what I should do, which was stressful.  By March of my senior year, I realized I was committed to a school that I did not care to attend at all. After coming to the realization that the reason I was going there was because I was influenced by what I thought would make everyone else happy, I decided to switch my decision to the school I actually wanted to go to, GCU.

Have you ever been stuck in a situation like this? Maybe you second guess your decision not to go to college because of the stigma attached to it. Or maybe you are apprehensive to enter into a new relationship with a guy you really like because you know your family and friends aren’t crazy about him. Maybe it’s even as simple as wanting to buy a pair of Vans, but now you’re considering Converse instead, because that’s what is in style.

I think a lot of our indecisiveness is rooted in insecurity. The reason we can’t decide what we want isn’t because we don’t know what we want, but because we don’t know what will make those around us happy.

Here’s the truth: You’ll never be able to own a decision that is not your own.

I think the best way to own our decisions can come from evaluating these simple things: WHAT, WHY & WHEN

WHAT

What does this decision entail? What are the pros & cons of your decision? Do the pros of your decision outweigh the cons?

For example, when I was choosing a college, I made pros & cons lists for each school I was deciding between, and only proceeded with the schools that I decided the pros outweighed the cons. Determining WHAT your decision is about helps your narrow down your decision to factors of importance. If you have reached the point in your decision where he pros prevail, it is important to evaluate the…

WHY

Why are you making this decision? What is both your logical reasoning and your emotional reasoning driving this decision?

Determining why  I wanted to go to each school helped me land at a firm decision. Once I evaluated both my interior and exterior motives, and weighed each decision in the light of logic and emotion, I was able to decide the school that I actually wanted to go to, not the one that just had the most pros vs. cons.

Evaluating WHY you are making a decision is the most important step in the process, because it helps you own your decision. Once you have owned your decision, you can determine:

WHEN

When and how are you going to put this decision into action? What are the practical steps you can take to own this decision?

Once I committed to Grand Canyon University, I enrolled in my classes, registered for housing, picked a roommate, and started to look for ways to get involved on campus. Once I felt confident in my decision, I started to take the necessary steps to make it a tangible reality.

Having a WHEN in mind makes sure you stay committed to your decision, and “seals the deal”.

I have found that following this simple decision making process creates an ownership to all my decisions. Now, when people try to sway my decisions or convince me to change my mind one way or another, I can explain to them exactly why I am committing to a decision, because I have taken the time to OWN my OWN decisions.

From now on, own your decisions… don’t let your decisions own you!

Hopes vs. Hope… Is There a Difference?

This Christmas season, I’ve been thinking a lot about hope.

I hope for a lot of things in just a single day.

I hope to pass my accounting quiz.

I hope to make it to work on time in rush hour traffic.

I hope to help run a successful Wyldlife club every Thursday.

I hope for a lot of long-term things, as well.

I hope to be successful in whatever I choose to pursue.

I hope to have a husband and a family.

I hope to travel through Europe.

I know I hope for a lot of things, and I’m sure you do too. This time of year especially, the world is hoping for something… whether that be good news, a family member to return home, or simply for Christmas itself. We spend a lot of time consumed by waiting, praying, and hoping for things to happen in our lives, and often become disappointed when they don’t happen just the way we plan.

After thinking about hope, I’ve come to this conclusion:

I think that we blur the lines between our HOPES and our HOPE, meaning what we are hoping for, versus who we are hoping in.

So, first things first… what is hope?

The dictionary says that:

1.) hope (n.) “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”

2.) hope (n.) “a person or thing in which expectations are centered”

Definition 1 depicts hope as a desire, or a want for the best case scenario to occur.

Definition 2 depicts hope as a placement of trust for the outcome of all circumstances in one, single thing.

Both definitions explain hope, yes, but which hope is Biblical, fruitful, and fulfilling?

The Bible says that:

“His [Jesus’s] name will be the HOPE of all the world” (Matt. 12:21)

“And the Scriptures give us HOPE and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Rom. 15:4)

“We who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the HOPE that lies before us. This HOPE is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Heb. 6:18-19).

Hope is not a thing. It’s not a wish, it’s not a magic genie, and it’s not something that should be sought after frivolously.

Hope is person, and that person is Jesus. It is  found when we seek Him, pursue Him, and tether ourselves to His love and goodness.

When we are walking side by side with Jesus, our hopes begin to align with His plan for us.

We realize that many of our personal hopes have become obsolete, and our goals and desires are more closely aligned not with what we thought we once wanted, but with who God created us to be.

I still hope for things (like I listed above) and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We all hope for things. In fact, the Bible is filled with people who hoped for things.

Abraham and Sarah hoped for a child.

Moses hoped Pharaoh would let his people go.

Ruth hoped for Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer.

David hoped for better, less desolate circumstances.

Mary and Martha hoped Jesus would heal Lazarus.

Paul hoped to be released from prison to continue sharing the Gospel.

Each person on planet earth has hopes and dreams and things they want out of life. But very few people have hope placed in something beyond these goals.

The difference between HOPES and HOPE is this: Our HOPES become possible when our HOPE is in Jesus.

The stories we read in the Bible are about REAL people who had real hopes and dreams, not much different from us. Even though some took time and unlikely circumstances, their hopes became reality because they placed their hope in Christ, and not the things they were hoping for. When the things we hope for align with the One who our hope is in, incredible things begin to happen. Eyes are opened, miracles occur, and lives are changed.

I know that this Christmas season, you are hoping for something, and I want to assure you that that’s okay. But maybe it’s time to shift your focus from what your hoping for, to Who your hoping in. Perhaps your hope will be affirmed, or maybe your focus will be re-directed and your heart will be fulfilled once again.

But one thing is for certain…

True HOPE in Jesus will never leave us dry or unsatisfied, because God can be trusted to keep His promises.

He is good.

<3, Britt

Reasons Why Listening is Powerful

Just a week ago, I talked to my middle school kids at Wyldlife club about the story of the bleeding woman found in Mark 5. I quickly found that condensing this story into a five minute message would be a challenge, and this that this Biblical account is rich, powerful, and worth re-visiting and looking at in depth.

The main theme of the story is simple but powerful: Jesus wants to listen to you.

The Biblical account begins with Jesus disembarking a boat after a long journey, when he is approached by a synagogue ruler, Jairus. Jairus frantically begs Jesus to come with him, requesting him to heal his daughter, who had fallen ill and was nearing the point of death. Jesus obliged and followed Jairus through town.

However, on his way, Jesus was engulfed by a large crowd. In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding out for twelve years. She had spent nearly all she had paying doctors to fix her condition, but she had only progressively gotten worse. This woman was living in pain, in shame, and in poverty, and was in desperate need of a miracle.

It was the woman’s first instinct to reach out to touch Jesus’ cloak to be healed… of course it was. But little did she expect the response she actually received.

“And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you said, ‘Who touched me?’ And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.'” (Mark 5:30-34)

In the process of Jesus’ encounter with this woman, Jairus’ daughter died. Although we later see Jesus raise the daughter to life, the fact that she died is crucial in understanding the weight of this story.

This story teaches us two incredible truths about Christ’s character:

1. Jesus stops to listen to us. 

Jesus was in the middle of completing something incredibly important, but in the midst of his busy day, he stopped for a sickly, poor woman who was healed instantly upon touching his cloak. He did not have to stop for the woman, she would have been healed either way, but he stopped because he wanted to. Which leads me to my next point:

2. Jesus makes the “unimportant” people known.

For Jesus to stop for anyone, let alone an unclean woman who was likely looked down upon in her town, was societally unacceptable. In the Bible, we see Jesus stop for the outcasts time and time again. Jesus cared little about what was societal praised or accepted, but instead, focused on loving people. In this instance, Jesus completely postponed curing the synagogue ruler’s daughter, even to the point of her death, to tell the bleeding woman her faith healed her, and to go in peace. These words and this interaction with Jesus undoubtedly changed the woman’s life forever. Not only was she physically healed, she was spiritually affirmed.

So how does this affect us?

Truths about Jesus’ character should affect us both in our relationship with Christ and our relationship with others. This means that:

We should realize that we worship a God who is personal and listening to us.

Even if we feel like our problems are trivial or unimportant, or that other people have “bigger problems,” Jesus is equally invested in our lives and is listening to each of us. We can go to Jesus with all our problems, and know that he is listening and genuinely involved in the trajectory of our lives. He is accessible 100% of the time, and he has our best interest in mind.

We should be treating others with the same genuine interest and respect that Jesus showed to the bleeding woman.

We, much like Jesus, live busy lives filled with checklists of places to be and important things to complete. I would beg to differ that Jesus was even MORE busy that us, since he was a celebrity of his day and was in incredibly high demand by all those around him, not to forget to mention he was also God in the flesh. Despite all that, Jesus stopped. Jesus stopped to make someone feel important.

Why aren’t we doing what Jesus did? Why aren’t we stopping our busy days to listen to a friend struggling with something, visiting a family member who we haven’t seen in awhile, buying a meal for the homeless person on the street corner, or even smiling at a stranger who seems to be having a bad day?

Why aren’t we stopping our days to show people their value?

We certainly aren’t Jesus, and we can’t physically or spiritually heal someone with our presence. But what we can do is this: listen & provide hope. Listen to people’s needs, their dreams, their hurts, and their stories. Then be that consistent voice of encouragement in their lives.

I think if we all stopped for a moment and lived like this, we would be surprised at how unimportant our busyness is, and realize how much value is found in simply stopping and listening.

The Mistake With Nothing

Life is bursting with opportunity.

Whether you want to admit it or not, your life is filled with opportunity. You can wake up and see life through a lens of boring monotony, or see life through a lens of opportunity.

It all depends on your perspective.

No matter what you do with your day, I can promise you one thing: you’re going to come in contact with people.

So really, your perspective on life boils down to your perspective on people.

What do people mean to you? What are their value? Are people the end goal?

The Bible tells us about God’s perspective on people. The creation account in Scripture tells us that God created mankind “in His image” and that when He saw what He created, He declared it as “very good” (Genesis 1:26, 31). Christians accept this as truth, but often act in a way that reflects a lack of understanding of this fundamental belief.

If we truly believe that people are created in the image of God, this means that each person is a image bearer of the Lord of the Universe: God created each person to reflect His character in some way or another.

Even though each person is created with image and purpose, some people lack direction and even hope, leaving their lives devoid of meaning. This means that each interaction we have with someone is an opportunity to remind him or her of their purpose. Your cashier at the grocery store? Opportunity. The quiet kid who sits next to you in class? Opportunity. That family member that is sometimes hard to love? Opportunity. You co-worker who seems to be having a bad day? Opportunity. The TV repair guy? Opportunity.

The truth is, there is no incorrect way to go about seizing these opportunities, which goes back to being created in the image of God. God created us each with unique personalities made to radiate His love to others in unique ways.

Most Christians understand this, but here’s the mistake we make: We do nothing.

How many days do we go through the motions, focused on ourselves, and do nothing to enhance the life of others? For me personally,  it’s more times that I would like to admit. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of life and just try to Get. Stuff. Done.

And suddenly, we find ourselves stuck in a rut. In our attempt for productivity, we suddenly feel unproductive. What once had worth becomes worthless. And we ourselves feel empty and devoid of meaning. How do we stop this?

It’s simple, my friends. We must stop seeking worth in worldly things and start placing it in heavenly things instead. This means placing value on people.

When we start seeing people as opportunities instead of liabilities, we automatically enter situations by asking how much we can give rather than calculating the best way to protect ourselves.

True fulfillment will come when we stop seeing opportunities as things to accomplish and instead, see opportunities as the people who we encounter each and every day.

With this perspective, there will never be a day devoid of opportunity.

When Battling the Uncontrollable

We’ve all been there… the moment when we receive news that shakes us to the very core.

A diagnosis.

A divorce.

A lost job.

A break-up.

A death.

All of these circumstances differ, but seem to contain a common theme: they are all unexpected, and we have very little control over their outcome. Over the past few months, I have been challenged by circumstances that I did not prepare for and definitely did not see coming. They were situations I had little control over, but seemed to be directly affected by. In these situations, God has challenged me by teaching me what it means to surrender.

Here’s the truth: I am a fixer. I like to fix things, especially people. I don’t like watching people hurt, watching people struggle, or watching relationships crumble. I will do anything I can to fix situations in order to keep the peace between people. However, this summer, I learned that it is extremely difficult to fix relationships that are not yours, and it is impossible to change people with absolutely no desire to change.

Watching relationships crumble is heartbreaking, especially when the people involved mean the world to you. It is hard to stand by, watching hearts break and lives fall apart, and being able to do nothing. In fact, the concept completely goes against my savior complex. If I can’t help you or do anything to fix the situation, I feel like I’ve failed.

In this, God has been teaching me surrender. Immediately after my life seemed to be falling apart, I read the following in Jesus Calling:

“You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control. Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know me in greater depth and breadth. I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways. I am always doing something new within my beloved ones. Be on the lookout for all I have prepared for you.”

After reading this and dwelling on it for a long time, I have come to this realization:

Sometimes circumstances have to fall apart in order for your life to fall together.

This is where the concept of surrendering comes in. Sometimes, we have to surrender our circumstances to God to allow Him to create beauty from our brokenness. We have to be okay with knowing we cannot fix things. Some things are not meant to be fixed, because God is transforming the old into something new.

When we cling to old ways, trying to adjust them to become compatible with our new lifestyle, we are not trusting God.

We have to have hard things happen to shape us and prepare us for what God is doing in our hearts. Having a relationship with Jesus is equivalent to going on an adventure, one that is unpredictable, exciting, and full of purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 promises us that “I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus loves you, and He wants you to prosper.

When we surrender ourselves: our plans, our pride, and our perception of perfect, we are able to best perceive our purpose.

Don’t try to fight everyone’s battles, including your own. Instead, hand the sword to Jesus, and stand behind His shield in perfect surrender.

<3, Bri

4 Ways to Grow During Your “Season of Singleness” as a Christian Woman

When I was in high school, I used to be bitter with God every time he made me wait for something, especially in the realm of boys. I am 19 years old, and I have never had a boyfriend or been in a relationship. At times, society makes me feel like an anomaly for being single, that where I am in life is wrong, that I am “behind”, or something about me is messed up.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned throughout my first year of college through a lot of prayer and seeking after Christ is the beauty of singleness. Being single was something I once resented, but is now something I understand is being used to shape me into a young woman of courage and conviction.

Every girl in the world is constantly being fed the lie that her worth lies in her outer beauty or sex appeal, and that without a boy, she is worthless. I have seen girls of all ages fall prey to this lie time and time again, and it breaks my heart, because I, too, know what it’s like to feel empty, and to seek worth in other people.

Looking back, I realize why God didn’t let me date the boys I wanted to- He was protecting me. Quite honestly, looking back on it… I was looking for all the wrong things in boys, and was becoming the wrong person trying to win them over. After coming to a really raw realization the guy I had the intention of dating my freshman year of college was not the one for me, and a lot of the guys I had met were steering me in the opposite direction of where I wanted to be going, I realized I needed to make some changes.

There’s something really humbling about God not giving you the things you want. It puts you in a place of childlike trust, and reminds you that He is God, and you are definitely not. Even though I wanted a boyfriend my first year of college, I realized God was clearly steering me in a direction of bring single. Being single these past four months, not the way I have been my whole life by looking for a boyfriend, but truly single, have been some of the most incredible times of growth I have experienced in my life.

I have learned a lot about myself this past semester and have made leaps and bounds in my faith because I have stopped seeking worth in worldly things and have placed my worth and aligned my pursuits with the Biblical truths I know to be true. Here are some of the verses that have encouraged me, and that have given me a new standard of what it looks like to be a godly, faithful woman, whether I am single or not.

Luke 1:42: “Blessed is she who believed the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Proverbs 31: 25-26, 30: “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

Psalm 139:13: “For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”

1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on your because you are young, but be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity

Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law”

1 John 4:12: “If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

In the eyes of Jesus, we are Forgiven & we are Loved.

This season of life has allowed me to begin growing into the person I have always wanted to be. I am less jealous of others, I am able to love others with my full heart, and am no longer afraid to let people in or mistrust their intentions. I don’t live my life with this nagging feeling that people dislike me, and if they do, it won’t be because I gave them the cold shoulder. Recent circumstances in my life have showed me how important it is to love your loved ones well, but I have found that it can be hard to do unless you yourself are in love with Jesus and are seeking him above all else. When you love Jesus and spend time letting him soften your heart, it is so, SO much easier to love others, despite who they are.

I would have never realized these truths if I was in an unhealthy relationship or still hanging on to the hope of one. I realized a lot of what hindered me from growing was trying to change myself for a boy. Now, instead of trying to change who I am, I have tried to grow into the person I was created to be. Here are the things that have helped me grow, and maybe they can help you, too!

Ways to Grow as a Single Woman

1.) I have focused on surrounding myself with positive, uplifting friends who build me up, make me feel important, and who challenge me to be better, rather than focusing on friendships that are unhealthy and dwell on unnecessary drama and boys.

2.) I have channeled my energy into serving and loving others instead of feeling sorry for myself for being single.

3.) I have focused on cultivating inner beauty– becoming a woman of faith, virtue, and wisdom, rather than outer beauty- a woman a vanity, insecurity, and materialism.

4.) I have set a standard for the guys I will date (write it out!), and have close sister-friends to keep me accountable.

I am still in the process of growing, which I know will take a lifetime. However, during this process, God is beginning to help me understand what to look for in a man to date someday- but not to settle, and to wait for his timing. Now, I know there is nothing wrong with me for being single at 19… it’s just that God is still working in my heart, and the heart of the guy I will be with one day. We aren’t ready for each other right now, and that’s okay. When we are ready to walk alongside each other, encouraging and challenging each other in faith and in life, it will be the coolest adventure ever. But until then, I am still young, and I am going to chase the dreams and passions God has placed on my heart while becoming the woman He has made me to be.

Relationships take up A LOT of our time, whether they be romantic or not… surround yourself with good ones. Do not dwell on the bad ones. Love others relentlessly, but use good discretion when allowing others in your heart for a permanent stay. And above all, trust God’s timing.

The waiting phase can be viewed as a burden or a blessing… what you choose to do with that time is entirely up to you. Use it wisely.

<3, Britt

Relationship > Religion

“Are you a Christian?”

A question so simple, yet one I’ve always struggled to find the right answer to.

Yes, of course I’m a Christian, but to me, that answer in complicated. My dad is Catholic, so I grew up in the Catholic Church. I attended mass frequently, completed my First Reconciliation, went through religious education, and completed my First Communion.

I vividly remember sitting in religious education one Sunday after mass. I was ten years old. My teacher had just reminded us to practice our prayers before First Communion the coming weekend, because if we couldn’t recite the Hail Mary or the Nicene Creed by heart, we might not be allowed to receive the Eucharist. She then proceeded to pass around necklaces (called scapulars) to the class saying:

“Be sure to always wear these. There was a man who died in a fire while wearing this necklace, and if he hadn’t have been wearing it, he might’ve gone to purgatory, or even to hell because he hadn’t gone to confession. But because he was wearing this necklace, he got into heaven!”

What??

I remember going home, shoving the necklace under my bed in a box, and crying. Deep in my heart I knew that this wasn’t true, but I slept in fear for several nights. I memorized my prayers, finished religious education, and continued tolerating church.

Just tolerating.

However, during this time at church, I was also attending a non-denominational Christian school that I was blessed enough to start at in kindergarten and eventually graduate from. In elementary school, I was taught that it’s okay to talk to Jesus in prayer by myself, and I could confess my own sins to Him. There was this concept of grace and mercy, and works were completely irrelevant in receiving it. And  I myself could have a relationship with Jesus just by acknowledging He died on the cross and rose again for my sins. No priest was necessary, just my heart.

I was afraid to tell the other kids at school I was Catholic, because I was afraid they would make fun of me, or would tell me I’m not a Christian (which definitely happened more than once). Catholicism had a bad precedence at my school, almost like it was an entirely different religion, because no one had been informed about it. I didn’t want people to associate me with it. During all of elementary school and middle school,  my very best friend was the only one who I told that I was Catholic.

I was always jealous of all the kids at school who went to “normal” protestant church… who had youth group, missions trips, a worship band, and a family that attended church every Sunday. None of that was normal to me, and the closest I ever got to it was attending chapel at school on Wednesdays and sitting in Bible classes, soaking in as much as I possibly could about Protestant Christianity and Jesus.

You can probably understand why I was a really confused child.

It wasn’t until I got to high school that I really started to try to make sense of it all and became more open about sharing my faith and upbringing. A summary of what I have learned and believe to be true through the perspective of my Catholic-Christian lens is this:

Jesus came to establish relationships, not religion.

I find it difficult to believe that this truth is somehow missed by so many Christians, yet is so fundamental to understanding the God we serve.

Jesus came fulfill the law with His perfect love, so we are no longer in bondage to it. Why is it that so many Christians are still trying to work, to be good, to do right? When we focus on trying to fix and polish ourselves, we forget to do the one thing we are called to do: love God and love others.

Jesus says in John 13: 34-35: “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Galatians 5:14 tells us that “the Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Galatians 3:23-24 states that “Before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”

And James 1: 27 tells us that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world”

This is why I believe Christianity is much less about a religion, and is more about relationships. Religion, in a sense, died with Jesus. He came to free us from all the dos and don’ts, legalism, and laws that I felt ensnared by in the Catholic Church. This is why the tearing of the temple veil from top to bottom was so significant: because now WE can speak to Jesus and communicate freely with Him through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 27:51). We  have free access to a personal relationship with Him, because He paid our sin debt… we are able to be raw, vulnerable, and personal.

The creator of the universe is desperately craving an intimate conversation with YOU. How cool is that??

There is no doubt in my mind that God uses the connections we form with others to do His work. When we have an intimate relationship with Christ and are able to reflect that in our relationships with others, incredible things happen. We can make disciples out of those who don’t believe, form meaningful, fulfilling friendships, and breathe life into the discouraged and lonely. We can confidently smile at strangers, freely give undeserved mercy, and love without limits.

Our capability to love others is a direct reflection of our understanding of the extent to which Christ loves us. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

All it takes is drawing near to Jesus. James 4:8 says to “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

Graduating high school allowed me to take a huge step back and look objectively at my life and reevaluate my faith. My first semester of college was a huge adjustment period, as it is for most, and my faith took the back burner. It wasn’t until my second semester that truth clicked, and I understood what I meant to love Jesus… to truly fall in love with Him, and to leave the rules behind.

After juggling rules for years- Catholicism, Christianity, different denominations, and expectations, it was absolutely freeing to finally understand to key to Christianity is simply loving Jesus, and as a result, loving others. When you love Jesus, everything else falls into place. There is nothing we have to do besides accept the free gift of grace He gives to each of us, and to respond to it. That’s all!

Although I used to fear talking about my Catholic background, it has given me so much clarity in understanding Jesus and who He is. I now understand this part of my story that can be shared with others as encouragement, or maybe even a call to freedom. So although the answer to the question: “Are you a Christian?” is definitely yes, I prefer to tell people I am in a relationship with Jesus… and I hope to encourage them to pursue their own unique, personal relationship with Him.

Jeremiah 29:13- “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart”

Leave the rules behind, and passionately chase after Jesus!

<3, Britt