It has been such a long time since I have added to my little blog. Life has been a bit chaotic and exciting since my last post. I recently graduated from Texas A&M University. I moved to Dallas, started a job in (the non-creative side of) advertising. Then pretty quickly realized how severely I missed creativity, imagining, writing, and photography.
So, I quit my job.
Quite literally one of the scariest things I have ever done.
I pretty much had the picture-perfect start to my career- well, at least to what the world says is picture-perfect. I worked in a fancy building, lived close to work, and had invites on my calendar to super cool events every week.
But I realized that to me, picture-perfect looks a bit different- it’s trying to get all nine members of a family through a photography session without fighting or crying (who can relate?). Or writing 134 tag lines to follow a headline for a piece of writing. It looks like spending time with my family playing spicy uno or nertz (any nertz fans out there?) And, it looks like investing in the lives of high school students.
Even the paragraph above probably has you thinking, ‘that life seems pretty nice too.’ Well, in the midst of all those fun things, life has been the complete opposite of what I could have predicted post-grad to be like. Bills, navigating friendships, dating , finding a new home church, having to spend money on stupid-boring things like tires (I am a bit bitter that rubber costs so much), and lots and lots of schedules. Remember how I pretty much am schedule-averted and prefer to live on what some would call the spontaneous side of the road?
In this season, the season of fresh-out-of-school-who-thought-it-was-a-good-idea-to-graduate-on-time-and-navigate-adulthood, the Lord has blessed me with Tuesday night Chick-Fil-A dinners with my mentor, Sarah.
If you know Sarah, you know she’s passionate about discipleship, pursuing the Lord, encouraging women, and of course, Chick-Fil-A. Sarah and I have had many conversations around what a healthy thought life looks like and how to combat the lies of the world. In late July, Sarah asked me a question that has completely changed the outlook I have on myself and others.
She asked, “What negative thoughts are dominating your thinking and what spiritual truths will demolish these strongholds?”
Excuse me, what???
Your thoughts matter because our lives move in the direction of our strongest thoughts. If your thoughts are full of faith, then you will become more faithful. If your thoughts are polluted, you will struggle in your actions. This idea is based off of Romans 8:5-6,
“Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. Letting the spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
When you wake up in the morning and think about how stressful and exhausting your life is the product of those thoughts is a stressful and exhausting attitude. If you wake up in the morning and choose to believe the Lord will provide for you and the day you are about to have the product is faithfulness.
If you spend your day comparing yourself to other people and measuring your successes against others the product of those thoughts will be emptiness and exhaustion. If you spend your day encouraging others and praising God for the gifts he has provided others the product of those thoughts will be compassion and abundance.
Easy enough. So, go! – stop being stressed and negative and just trust in the Lord. No big deal.
HAHA! If only it were that easy, right?
Have you ever seen a t-shirt or bumper sticker that says, “Not today Satan”? I have a new found appreciation for this statement. Why?
Because Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
What I love about this verse is that is not about Madi changing Madi, it’s God changing Madi by renewing my mind and stopping the lies I was believing and replacing them with truths.
So, to answer Sarah’s question… “What negative thoughts are dominating your thinking and what spiritual truths with demolish these strongholds?”
I was believing that I would never live up to expectations set for me. I believed I failed at spending time in the word because I would never be able to fully trust God. I believed my sin would always ruin my friendships and relationships because of my past. And I would let myself believe I was unworthy and unwanted.
Yeah, this just got real. I’m often asked how I am alright with my personal life being so open on the internet but it is topics like this one that make it so easy for me to be.
I know I am not alone in these deadly thoughts. I know that every person who is reading this has sin and has been caught in the crossfires of other people’s sin. Women especially –I know it is easy to convince yourself of these lies. (Sorry dudes, I don’t know what it is like to be a man, but let me know if you can relate) The next part of Sarah’s question was, what spiritual truths DEMOLISH these strongholds?
I sat down looking these lies in the face and found scripture to discredit each and every one of them.
Psalms 23, 2 Peter1:3, Deuteronomy 30:19, Luke 10:19, Matthew 7:7, Psalms 54:4, Psalms 103:12
From these pieces of scripture, I have written what I call my daily mission statement:
I will hold myself to God’s standard and measure myself with grace. I will not compare myself to other women. God made us beautifully unique. The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need for life a godliness through the knowledge of Him. I have the ability to choose life, because I have authority over the enemy. My lovingkindness will speak for itself, so I don’t have to. Joy will be my reputation because my record has been wiped clean. No temptation is greater than God. He will help me, I only need to ask. I am loved. I am accepted. I am enough because Jesus is enough. Jesus is in and through me. He sustains me.
Life post-grad has looked a lot like being in the trenches and trusting the Lord is right next to me. Trusting He knows my next step – believing that He is enough.
Ladies, I encourage you to figure out what lies are stealing your joy and holding you back from fully trusting in Him. You can do it. It’s a daily – sometimes hourly battle. But you can do it because He will give you the strength.
Oh, I almost forgot…I quit my job to pursue full-time ministry. I will still be in Dallas, but I will be working at a church, and pursuing my dream of writing and photography. So, stay tuned or better yet hire me…pretty please.
(PS. Sarah and I’s conversation was based on Craig Groeschel’s sermon. Take a listen, here.)