Devotional

Day One: Finding rest in christ
Song: Warrior by Hannah Kerr.

How many of you find yourself a victim to your thoughts? To your anxiety? To the worry of the unknown? I know I struggle with anxiety and the fear of the future. The unknown is so uncomfortable and scary sometimes. I worry if people will like me. I worry about my son constantly. Sometimes my heart races so much that I feel like I’m going to pass out. I am in constant need of reminders that I can find my rest in Christ. That I can trust Him and find my comfort in Him. I know that I will be okay because God is with me. Will life be easy? Nope. Ya know that saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle?” That saying is not true. God will give us more than we can handle so that we will lean on Him. We are not meant to walk through this life alone. God wants to hold our anxiety and worries. God wants to provide us comfort and he WILL provide us comfort. 
Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Proverbs 12:25, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
Matthew 6:25-27, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life. What you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Day Two: Imperfectly Perfect
Song: Perfect Life by RED.

When I was in high school, my need to be perfect was at an all-time high. It got so far to the point that if I messed up once writing notes for a class, I had to start my notes all over because I couldn’t stand having my notes look “messy.” Perfectionism not only affected my school notes, but also fueled my eating disorder and eventually spread to my faith. Let me explain. If my faith wasn’t “perfect” then I wasn’t good enough for God. If I didn’t pray a certain way or feel a connection with God every day, I felt like my faith was a joke. If I didn’t go to church every Sunday, I was a bad Christian. I felt like if I wasn’t perfect in my faith, then God became angry with me. At least that is what I believed. We were not created to be perfect. Let me say that again. We were not created to be perfect. Something I have learned throughout my recovery from trauma and my eating disorder is that it is okay to be messy. Life is not perfect and it will never be perfect. We all have flaws and will fall short. How great is it to know that we do not have to be perfect? God already knows the mistakes we will make. He already knows our every thought and action. God uses our imperfections for good. He uses our imperfections to help build his kingdom. WE are the church.  The church is not a building. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly comforting, and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders knowing it is okay to be messy. It is okay for my house to not be in order 24/7. It is okay to not have everything together because God can and will still use me. We weren’t created to have everything all together. If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Day Three: Battle Cries
Song: You’re gonna be ok by Brian and Jenn Johnson.

Depression. Suicide. The feeling of never being good enough. These struggles are some of what has kept me stuck in my past. Stuck being the victim of my story. I grew up feeling like I was never going to be good enough. Like I had no purpose. I became hopeless. I felt like my life wasn’t worth living. How was God going to use ME? There’s no way. My depression rose and it got to the point where I didn’t want to live anymore. This wasn’t the first time this feeling came. Before I told about my abuse, I got to the point where I didn’t want to live and was hoping someone would kill me. Where was God? I blamed Him. I blamed God until I realized that He never left me…I was the one who left God. I walked away. I sulked in my depression and hopelessness until I wanted to leave for good. The enemy puts those thoughts into our minds. The enemy wants us to believe that God cannot use us because of our mistakes. I’m here to tell you that God CAN and WILL use you. God doesn’t want perfect people. He wants to use you!
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Day Four: You Are More Than Your Jeans
Song: Beautiful Things by Gungor

“My thighs are too big.” “I’m not as muscular as other men.” “Why can’t I look like her?” “I can’t eat that.” How many of us has said at least one if not most of these in our lifetime? How many of us spend most of our time focused on how we look, what we wear, or try to change the way we are for other people? In the depths of my eating disorder, I was so focused on how I looked, the calories in the foods, the list could go on. It helped distract me from what I didn’t want to think about. It almost killed me. I am now at a place in my recovery where I am not so focused on my outer appearance. In fact, our appearance is the least interesting thing about you and I. I know this is cliche but what matters is on the inside. I used to compare my inside to other people’s outsides on instagram and other forms of social media. I saw my self image as the most negative thing. I now think of my body as a masterpiece who gave life to my son. We are created in the image of God. God does not make mistakes. He does not care what you look like on the outside. God loves you regardless. You are worthy. You are worth more than numbers. You are priceless. 
1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Day Five: Victory Over Fear
Song: Worn by Tenth Avenue North and I’ll Keep On by NF

Feeling rejected can be so hard and make you feel alone in this world. I am sure more often than not, we can admit that we have felt rejected at some point in our lives. Your husband has declared he doesn’t want you anymore?
You got looked over for that promotion?
You didn’t get asked to go and do something when everyone else did?
Feeling like you don’t fit in, and so on? No matter the reason of being rejected, it can create a lot of hurt and make us feel unlovable, unwanted, and rejected. Just one time of being rejected and it can cause us to create a wall and allow our minds to think we are unwanted and no one will accept us. Or you might feel God is leading you to do something, maybe speak out in a group setting—like with the ladies group but you have such a fear of rejection that you are missing out on using your gift and talents. The fear of being rejected can create a weakness within us and we have to make sure to not get in the mindset of being afraid because we won’t fit in…or that people will make fun of us. I remember when I was in high school I had a huge fear of being rejected. In fact, sometimes I still have the fear of being rejected from people. Sometimes I feel like I am too much and end up trying to conform to what other people want me to do instead of what God has planned for me to do in order to feel included and not rejected. Rejection hurts deep in the soul. It can fester and build up before it rears its ugly head. When I was speaking against my abuser I was terrified no one was going to believe me and unfortunately, that is the reality for some people. Being rejected is a valid fear, however, we do not have to deal with being rejected alone. Even Jesus suffered rejection. Jesus knows quite well what it feels like to be treated as a person of no value; to be treated as a worthless and useless individual. He is well acquainted with the sorrow and grief that come when people that you love turn their backs to you and reject you. Throughout the Bible, Jesus was rejected and is still rejected to this day. What encouragement we find from Scripture to realize that when we feel rejected, or when we feel that we have been misunderstood, we are not alone. Jesus Christ has walked that very road ahead of us, and he stands at the end of the road, as if beckoning and motioning to us, Come, child, follow me; and I will show you the way to new life. The love of God is the greatest remedy to rejection.
Psalms 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.”
John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces. he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”

Day Six: You Are Not Your Past
Song: You Are More by Tenth Avenue North

For years I have struggled with letting my past consume me and define who I am. I let my addictions with food/losing weight, misusing pills, and sex, consume me and define me. Throughout the years and my own recovery, I have learned that God can and will use my past for good. He will use your past for good. There is no such thing as being “too messed up” for God to use you and I. Our past can act like a chain around our necks or an anchor that weighs down our soul. If we dwell too long on thoughts of our past, we can feel like a failure. Feeling trapped and stuck in negative circumstances, we can doubt we’ll ever escape and assume nothing will ever change. However, god can provide us with complete freedom. The forgiveness He offers is so amazing that our sins are removed “as far as the east is from the west.” Remember you are forgiven and cleansed. Today is a new day to celebrate your freedom and move forward as a new creation in Christ. 
Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing. anew thing! Now it springs up. do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Day Seven: Regaining a Childlike Faith
Song: Great Are You Lord by North Campus Worship

To have faith like a child is to blindly trust the goodness, care, leadership, and provision of a father. Jesus continually called his disciples to a lifestyle of surrender and trust in him, but never so simply. Mark 10 teaches that it is in having a childlike faith, that we will receive the kingdom of God. Childlike faith is what fills us with the unshakable hope that we will one day dwell in Heaven with our Father for all of eternity. As Christians, we have placed all our hope in the truth that Jesus came, died, and rose again, and that if we place our trust in Him, we will have a resurrection like this. We succeed in having childlike faith when it comes to salvation, but often we fail in placing our trust in our heavenly Father on a daily basis. So often, we go our own way and live our lies apart from all that’s available to us in God. Whether it be by a lack of revelation, impatience, fear, wrong teaching, or past experiences, we so often fail to have faith that God will shepherd us to His perfect plans. God is calling us to a greater lifestyle of childlike faith. He is calling youth place your trust in Him alone for your finances, relationships, future, past, and present. I still have those days, those worries, that try to overtake me—yet I refuse to be defeated. God is my fortress and I will walk anywhere as long as He is with me. Knowing where ever God is, there is safety from falling. So, the next time you feel yourself caught up in the fear of the world, close your eyes tightly for a moment—envisions hat child who walked without looking over their shoulders. The person you were before the world took its toll on your spirit. 
Luke 18:17, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Matthew 18: 4, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”