5 Tips to Overcome a Spiritual Slump

They say you should get 8- 10 hours of sleep a day. Based on my lackluster performance, one would likely guess that I’ve gotten about 8-10 hours of sleep this week. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just can’t seem to get it together. My schoolwork has been suffering, I’m constantly cranky, and all I want to do is sleep, yet I can’t fall asleep. My brain feels like it’s going to explode with the constant negative thoughts bombarding it. Not to mention I haven’t even opened my Bible this week. All I’ve had to fall back on was my habitual sin. All around, I just feel like I’m in a slump.

That was a scarily accurate picture of myself a few weeks ago. I had been in- what I like to call- a spiritual slump. And let me tell you, it stinks. Like month- old garbage stinks. Like my cat’s breath stinks. Now, I’m not telling you this to complain or make you feel sorry for me. I’m telling you because I get it. I’ve felt stressed, burdened, and grumpy in my life. I have been in a spiritual slump that it couldn’t seem to shake. I know how negatively it impacts your life. But thankfully, God has pulled me out of all that nastiness. So, if your life currently feels monotonous and dull, please know that 1. You’re not alone, and 2. These 5 practical tips might just help you out (they sure helped me out);

  1. Let out your feelings. Go for a run, listen to some music, throw a pillow across the room, whatever you gotta do. Get yourself out of that funk. The only way you are going to be able to brighten up your life again is by getting all the nasty, negative feelings out of your head.

 

  1. Get away. Getting away from other people to have some quiet time between you and God can be very necessary when you feel slumpy. Try to get away from any distractions or anything that might stress you out, whether that’s outside, in your room, or any other place you will be able to spend uninterrupted time with God.

 

  1. Crack open your Bible. You want to do it, I want to do it, God wants us to do it; we should all just do it. I know you’re busy, but think about it: if the God of the whole universe has enough time for you, then you should probably make time for Him. The Bible is full of calming, peaceful words to remind us that God is in control. He can fill you with life and joy through His word.

 

  1. Change your routine. It’s so very easy to fall back into any habitual sin you’re trying to overcome, especially when you feel dead on your feet. But by shaking up your routine, you shake up your attitude as well. Eating healthier, reading your Bible every day (like I mentioned above ;)), or taking time to be thankful are great ways to change your mindset… and a lot of little changes can end up drastically changing your character.

 

  1. Get serious. Change will never occur if you never commit to it. There is no way you can escape anything if you let yourself stay in that place. Fully commit to making changes in your life that will pull you out of your slump. Wallowing in laziness and self- pity has never gotten anyone anywhere in life.

 

The most important thing to remember is that God is the one who gives life. If you feel like you are dead on your feet, it is because you aren’t close enough to God. By sticking close to the One who breathes life into our lungs, He will make sure that we are never running on spiritual emptiness. God always can and always will fulfill us.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” -Ezekiel 37:5

Have you ever been in a spiritual slump? What other tips do you have for overcoming slumps in your relationship with God?

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A Different Kind of Lent | Kindness Challenge!

Lent is coming up tomorrow. I grew up in the Lutheran Church, so I participated in Lent as a kid, but never really understood it. I just thought God wanted me to stop eating food that I liked for a month. I didn’t know the reason behind what I did. A couple of years ago, I became a Free Methodist. The Free Methodist Church doesn’t technically observe Lent, but I have decided that I will this year.

I don’t know what your thoughts are about Lent. I don’t know whether you observe it or not, or if you’ve ever even thought about it. But regardless, please hear me out for a second.

Some people have gotten the principle of Lent wrong. It’s not about the practices or rituals performed during the weeks leading up to Easter. It’s not about all the delicious food you aren’t allowed to eat.

It’s about getting closer to God.

(Bonus: click here for a super awesome article about the principle behind Lent!)

I bet I know what you’re thinking. “Sweet, now I can still eat good food during Lent!” Yeah, it’s not quite that simple. Regardless of whether or not you do celebrate Lent, I really encourage you to fast during this time. If you don’t know, a fast is defined similar to Lent. It’s when you give up something (usually food) for a certain period of time in order to get closer to God. However, there’s a very interesting part of the Old Testament about fasting (which also applies to Lent);

“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” – Isaiah 58:5-7.

That’s pretty convicting, isn’t it? Lent, or any type of fasting for that matter, has strayed far from this definition. We have been so caught up in the formality of fasting that we have forgotten about God’s instruction! It’s about time that we get back to God’s design for worshipping Him.

I’m challenging you to participate in a different type of Lent. One where we give to those who are in need. One where we spread kindness to the hurting depths of the world. One where we break the chains of pride and selfishness and open up our hearts to let the love of Christ pour out onto others. I’m proposing a season of Lent that becomes a season of giving.

There are 46 days in Lent, and in the attachment below, there are 50 ideas for acts of kindness.  If you want to level up your lent this year, I would totally recommend completing one of these acts for every day this month. I truly believe we can worship God, draw closer to Him, and bring light to this world, simply by participating in a different kind of Lent.

Check out this link for 50 acts of kindness ideas for the Lent season- 50-acts-of-kindness-ideas 

P.S.- I will be sharing my own journey with this “different kind of Lent” on my Instagram page, so if you want encouragement and ideas along the way for this challenge, you can check out my Instagram @wonderfullygirlshttps://www.instagram.com/wonderfullygirls/

Let me know if you will be participating in this challenge! If you have any other ideas for acts of kindness, please share them in the comment section below!

Blog Updates! (New Schedule)

Hello again everyone! I know, I know, it’s been a while *hangs head in shame*. I’m new to the whole “blogging” thing, and I’m still working out the kinks. Plus, I’ve been having a difficult past few weeks (more on that coming soon!) But, I’m finally back. And, I have a brand-new schedule for you all. I’ll be posting every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with a different kind of post every day.

Tuesdays will be the type of posts you are used to here; topic-specific posts with biblical advice. I love writing these types of posts and I can’t wait to discuss new topics with you all.

Thursdays will be fun posts, whether that is crafts, outfits, stories, etc. I haven’t done any posts like this before, so I’m excited to try some new ideas! These posts will normally be related to whatever I’m else I’m talking about that week. (For example; if I talk about modesty on Tuesday, I might share modest outfit ideas on Thursday.)

Saturdays will be a devotional. I will focus on a specific part of Scripture and how it may apply to our lives. I know we have the most free time during the weekends, so I’m making these the most Scripture- filled posts.

I hope you are excited for this new schedule! I can’t wait to get back to posting. This was a pretty short post, but I just wanted to update you all on what is next for this blog. I have some exciting news and whatnot coming up soon. I’m super excited to start this new schedule and continue posting on this blog!

Don’t Even Think About It

Ever since I was a little kid, I loved the idea of having my own mind. (Bear with me, I know that sounds weird.) When I was younger, I constantly had an imaginary story running through my head. I’ve always thought that it was so cool to have my own little place that nobody could enter. All of my thoughts were safe and sound, and my mind was my own to do whatever I wanted with it. Then I became a Christian and realized, “Dang, I better clean that thing up.”

Once I started following Christ, I saw how much of an impact my thoughts had on my life. The more I let my mind get consumed with sin, the worse I treated my family and friends, the less motivation I had to work hard, and the more downcast I was in general. My thoughts directly correlated to my actions, which directly correlated to the quality of my life.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

Our thoughts run our lives. And our thoughts are a very easy place for Satan to make his way into. He starts off with a single little thought that isn’t a “big deal.” Maybe it’s just one snide thought that pops into your head about that girl you can’t stand at school. But before you know it, you’re consumed by them. When your mind becomes filled with evil things, it only takes a short time for your entire life to be affected. Your relationships, work, time, and energy suffer when your thoughts are in an evil place.

But, you probably don’t need me to clue you in on all of this. It’s very easy to tell when your thoughts are sinful. Your life stinks. What I always wanted to know when I was struggling was how to keep my mind off these things. No matter how hard I tried, evil thoughts kept creeping back in. I still struggle with this, and it is never easy to overcome any sin, but this is what I have gathered from all of my trials and errors;

If you want to think about sin less, think about God more.

Seems pretty elementary, but think about it: if you wanted to stop eating sugar so much, you wouldn’t spend all day sitting in an ice cream shop. Instead, you would spend your time doing other things to keep your mind off sugar, or eat something else that was healthier. Our thoughts work the same way. If we want to stop having evil thoughts, we need to turn them into a different place.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Turning our thoughts to God will vastly improve the quality of our lives, because as we previously established, our thoughts run our lives. Keeping our mind fixed on God will keep our minds way too occupied to focus on sin. We need to make our thoughts align with God. “…bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”- II Corinthians 10:5

As a final parting gift, here is a checklist for your thoughts which is straight from the Bible: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report (honorable), if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” -Philippians 4:8.

How are you using your mind? Are your thoughts driving you closer to God, or pulling you away from Him? How can you make your thoughts more God- honoring today?

Healing a Broken World

Unless you live under a rock, I’m pretty sure you know that our nation is headed down a downhill spiral. I mean, there’s practically nowhere you can turn without hearing about the latest shooting, riot, hate plot, etc. People all over the world are scared, confused, and angry. I don’t know about you, but the current state of our society really makes me want to climb under my covers and completely cut ties with all of the outside world. You feel me?

I know that it’s really easy to look at the world and believe that we are too lost for redemption. Or to judge and condemn people who are doing evil things. Or get terrified thinking about what our future holds as humanity. Our nation is so starkly divided that it’s simply natural to want to take a side and hurl insults at those who stand against you.

But please, just take a moment to step back and see things as part of a bigger picture. Yes, we are living in a rather dark time right now. But in the realm of eternity, this time is only a split second. We are on the Earth for a simple moment in time, but this moment can determine how we will spend the rest of our life. So I know it’s very easy to want to shut yourself out of interaction with this crazy, messed up world, or hop on the bandwagon of hate and division. But the truth is, the world needs you.

As Christians, we have what nobody else has, but everyone is searching for: love and joy.

At the end of the day, that’s all that everyone wants. We all want to be the good guy; to be happy and loved. And those who have Christ have that. That’s not something we can hide in ourselves. We need to be so completely filled with love and joy that it overflows out of us onto everyone in our lives. That isn’t necessarily the picture that most people have of “Christians” in their head. People will stand against you simply because you identify as a “Christian,” because the general media paints us as judgmental, wrath-filled people. Sadly, that’s the way a lot of people are. The problem with that is that we are ambassadors of Christ, and Christ did not come into this world to judge us. He says in John 12:47,

“…I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”

It’s very comforting to me to remember that Jesus has the capacity to save the world, because let’s be honest, we really need it. We really need Him. And as His followers, we really need to share Him to our lost, broken world. If we live to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we realize that we are called to love God, love others, and be a light to this world. That’s exactly what God tells us in His word;

  • “Jesus said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”- Matthew 22:37-39
  • “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine so before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:14-16
  • “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…”- Ephesians 5:1-2

You have a special purpose in this world. You have the capacity to bring God’s light and love into the dark depths of humanity. You were created “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). You might change one person, you might change the world. But remember that no matter what you do, do it for the honor and glory of our Lord.

How can you be a light in the lives of those around you? How can you bring love and joy into the world? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment below!

Finding Satisfaction

“I will never be satisfied.” -Angelica Schuyler. (Yes I’m that Hamilton freak.)

Ever pulled an Angelica Schuyler? Ok, ok, I’m sorry. All Hamilton lyrics aside, doesn’t it seem like satisfaction and fulfillment are worshiped in our modern culture? People willingly sacrifice their time, energy, money, and life trying to find happiness in being satisfied. We have tried to invent ways to fulfill ourselves, like having the newest technology, making x amount of dollars, being beautiful, etc. Yet, it seems just out of reach for everyone. The moment you get the latest iPhone, a new model comes out. When a vacation arrives at long last, it’s over in the blink of an eye and you have to return to the daily grind. Once you finally lose 10 lbs, you gain a new pimple. No matter how much people achieve and receive, it is never enough.

Humans have been on this earth long enough, why is it that only a select few have actually found true satisfaction? Well, I am about to share with you the key to fulfillment that I have discovered:

Stop searching for it.

The more we search for satisfaction, the further out of our reach it becomes. That’s because the desire within our souls for lasting fulfillment is not one that we can satisfy with anything of this world. We can’t satisfy ourselves; it’s too big of a job. We need more. We need something greater than anything this world could offer. You guessed it, we need God.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from where comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalm 121:2. Our help can only come from our Creator. He made us; He knows what we need. He knows that there is a longing in our hearts and void in our souls for something greater, something that we can’t fulfill. That’s why He sent Jesus down onto this earth. He paid the price for our sins so we could receive the precious gift that would satisfy us: salvation.  He has a plan and hope for us, but we need to trust Him and let Him work it out.

We need to seek God: not fulfillment.

Fulfillment is the byproduct of following God; it is not something that we can attain ourselves. As Matthew 10:39 says, “Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for My sake will gain it.” Are you trying to gain anything in your life? Fame, popularity, friends, money, beauty, fill-in-the-blank? None of these things will satisfy you. It is only when we give our lives up as a sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1) that we can experience true satisfaction and fulfillment. At the end of the day, God is all we need.

What do you try to find satisfaction in? How can you make your life about seeking & serving God? I’d love to hear your ideas/thoughts in the comments!

When Things Don’t go Your Way

Do you ever feel like your life is out of control? Like you just can’t win for losing, and nothing is going your way? 

I can’t stand it when things don’t go my way. A little secret about me; I’m a bit of a control freak. Whenever any situation doesn’t pan out according to the perfect little picture that I have in my mind, I go a bit nuts. Sure, sure, I know God’s in control and I shouldn’t worry and blah, blah, blah, but that’s a lot easier said than done. When you’re in a storm and your plans for life start crumbling, it can be hard to understand how God is working. Worry not, I’m here to give you some practical tips on what to do when things don’t go your way and you can’t seem to submit to God.

  1. Pray. When I say pray, I don’t mean spend 10 seconds asking God to do what you want Him to do. Actually pray. Wrestle with God, wrestle with yourself, and don’t stop until you have a clear head and can trust that God knows what He’s doing. God doesn’t want you to be discontent, but He has a reason for everything He does. Seriously sit down, talk to God, ask Him why He isn’t letting things go your way, and submit to Him.
  1. Be Honest. With God, and with yourself. In Matthew 26:39, Jesus is talking to God before His crucifixion. He says, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup [of suffering] pass from Me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus wasn’t trying to pretend like He was happy that He was about to be nailed to a cross and beaten to death. He was honest with God and yet still gave Himself to God’s will. Sometimes we can’t find contentment in God’s plans until we admit that we are discontent. I encourage you to tell God you are unhappy, and then tell Him why. Trust me, it takes a huge load off your shoulders and clears your mind to be able to accept God’s will.
  1. Read Scripture. Just look in your Bible’s concordance or search Google for Bible verses with the words “control”, “peace”, “plans”, “trust”, “power”, etc. Here are a few great ones:
    • “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. -Jeremiah 17:7-8.
    • “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11.
    • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6.
  1. Keep The Bigger Picture In Mind. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9. God has plans and ways that are so far beyond our understanding. While it might not make any sense at all why God isn’t letting things go your way right now, I have a feeling that in the future, you will look back and realize He was right all along. Remember, even when we have good intentions, God’s plan is always greater than ours.
  1. Find a Way to Let Out Your Frustration. A Godly way, not like punching your brother or something. For me, that’s reading my Bible or writing. Maybe for you it’s listening to worship music, going for a walk, or watching a Christian YouTuber (I recommend the channel Blimey Cow, they’re such a great de-stressor and so hilarious.) Our emotions tend to get the best of us at times, so you often have to let your frustration out before you can see things with a clear head.

I hope these tips help you out. This is still a huge area of struggle for me, but I’m slowly learning to submit to God and let Him direct my steps. I pray that God will work on all our hearts and teach us to trust Him more!

Are you a control freak too? Do you have any practical ways to submit to God in your life? Share them in the comments below!

What is the Purpose of Being a Girl? | Proverbs 31

As I crossed my arms and plopped my head down on my vanity in the corner of my room, Bible laid out in front of me, tears welled up in my eyes, the only thought I had was, “Is this really it? What’s the point?”

That lovely anecdote is a personal account of one of the several times I was reading my Bible and any passage relating women crossed my eyeline. I don’t know about you, but the tales of women in the Bible are very disconcerting to me. From what I read, all biblical women did was kept their traps shut, waited on their husbands hand and foot, and looked nice.

What I didn’t realize was that the role of a woman was not only precious in God’s sight, but it was indispensable.

I bought into the lie of this modern culture that in order for men and women to be equal, they must have the same role. I also blindly believed that a quiet and gentle spirit, the one that God has called for women to have, is degrading and puts women below men. That is so far from the truth! In I Peter 3:4, God says to women, “let [your adornment] be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” Did you catch that? As girls, we are precious to God, and He has called us to live out a great purpose which is far more than some second-class citizen.

In the book of Proverbs (an amazing book of the Bible, definitely read it) (well actually read all the Bible but you know what I mean), God describes the “virtuous wife” in chapter 31. I’ve read this part of the Bible multiple times, but I never fully studied it until recently. The main idea that I took from examining these verses closely is this;

The Proverbs 31 woman works… like, really hard.

Really, really, hard. She’s no idle lady. I never quite realized that biblical womanhood required so much work. I always assumed women were kind of an afterthought to God without any real purpose. This woman proved me so wrong. Check out some of these verses;

  • “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” -Proverbs 31:10.
  • “She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household.” -Proverbs 31:15
  • “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.” -Proverbs 31:25
  • “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” -Proverbs 31:27
  • “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” -Proverbs 31:28

Does that sound like a second-class citizen to you? No way! That is a strong, hardworking, and diligent woman who wakes up before sunrise and stays up after sunset, providing for the people who God has placed in her care. Her role is crucial to the people who rely on her. So yes, a biblical woman is a helper. But that doesn’t mean that she is less than anyone. Her responsibility is so valuable, precious, and irreplaceable. Women are called to be strong, trustworthy, caring, kind creatures of God who respect and fear Him enough to live out the purpose He has given them. That is no job for a wimpy girl.

My challenge to you is to read Proverbs 31:10-31 for yourself and discover the girl God has called you to be. Pray to God that He will give you understanding to know His will. Then underline each word that characterizes this woman, and find what stands out most to you about her. Seek to be like that strong, honorable, trustworthy, and wonderful woman in your life.

Bonus: Want to know more about God’s radical design for womanhood? I totally recommend the book “Girl Defined” by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird. It is packed with tons of Scripture- based truths on God’s great purpose for you as a girl. They even have a blog, too! Check it out at this link; https://www.girldefined.com/

What are your thoughts on biblical womanhood? How are you living out your God-given purpose as a girl? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Welcome to my Blog!

Hey people, what’s up? Welcome to my new blog, I’m glad you’re here! My name is Maddie, and I’m 14 years old. I began my walk with Jesus exactly one year ago from today (January 1, 2016). Since then, I’ve encountered my fair share of adversity, specifically since I’m a teenage girl in this modern culture. There’s a whole lot being thrown at us in this day and age through social media, television, instant messaging, etc. We’re definitely living in a culture that wants little to do with God’s design for our lives. I’ve struggled to be in this world but not of it ever since I became a Christian, and I know many others do too. That’s why I created this blog. I want to help other Christian teenage girls connect with God’s word to discover their God- given purpose. I hope to help you make a difference in this world and be a light. I’m still learning, so I want to share my journey and encourage you on yours. I hope you stick around here to become a Wonderful Girl for God. Remember, you are His princess. Ok, now that you know what I want to do, here’s a little bit about me;

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Meet the Writer: Maddie
Hey girls! I’m the writer of this blog and I’m so glad that you’re here. Few things you need to know about me:

  1. It took me several tries to get above picture because I had on the 10-second self timer and I couldn’t hold still for that long.
  2. The picture was taken on my bed because I didn’t feel like finding a cute backdrop.
  3. I’m one of those “New year, new me” types of people and have a weird need to line everything up perfectly, which is why I’m starting this blog on the 1st of the year.
  4. I love Jesus, dancing, writing, photography, reading, music, playing outside, debating things, and bugging my sister.
  5. I hate spiders, bugs in general, honey, tea, heights, sports, and writing with inky pens because I always smudge them.
  6. I’m left-handed (hence the whole pen-smudgy thing) but I’m always right.
  7. I love corny jokes (again, hence the previous corny joke).

I’m so excited to start writing for you. I hope you join me on this journey to discover God’s awesome purpose for us in our lives!