Being obedient to his word has been the most rewarding growth in our relationship that I could explain.
I am in a growth season right now in my relationship with God. He is stretching me in ways that I didn’t even know I needed. I just came out of a season where I questioned God a lot. I was even pretty upset with Him. I felt as though I had spent a long time trying to force some type of rule or way to live my life so that God would listen to me, see me, and respond to me.
Because I felt like I wasn’t being heard, seen, or responded to, I felt that He didn’t love me. It was like His light had passed from me. Yet, there I was trying to do all the right things to somehow get His attention.
I sat in my car one morning and I gave up trying to prove to God that I was worthy. I decided that I was no longer going to do things to show God I loved Him. I decided I was simply just going to love Him, in whatever way that meant. No more scheduling out quiet time and putting on a timer for 30 minutes for worship. No more fancy words and check lists. No more desire of man’s recognition for my “perfect christian life”. No, this was between me and God and I was tired of feeling like our relationship was in a “perfect” box. (if you know me, then you know that I definitely don’t like to be put in a box)
I chose to search for Him even more than before. Not in a way that made me feel like I was simply checking something off my list, but in a way that was raw and true. I spoke, I listened, I read, and I worshiped. It was then that I actually met my Heavenly Father. He wasn’t wrapped up in fancy words and actions. No, in fact, I found him when I took off the mask I created to try to show Him how “good” I was. He was wrapped in truth, honesty, and the purest form of love. He spoke to me directly, not the better version of me that I was trying to become. The more honest and completely surrendered I was to him, the more I heard.
I found that I was becoming a better person. Not because of what I did, but because of what was being done within me. I was holding on to those whispers of truth and love. My actions changed because my heart was changing. It also took away the unbelievable pressure I was under to be “perfect” because I know that I am human and I will make mistakes, but as long as I am listening to God, I will be right where I need to be.
You hear it all the time in church, “God loves you no matter what”, and that is so true! But, it is not until you find yourself surrendered to Him that you understand the magnitude of that statement. “No matter what”. When I fail, when I fake it, when I am angry, when I ignore him. “No matter what”. When I follow, when I listen, when I love Him. “No matter what”.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
“From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; He is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
This verse has really been challenging me lately. I have heard this verse a million times but just now it has really become alive to me. I used to look at this verse and apply it to how I talk to others, which is still very important, but when you really look at it, it’s more than that.
I have been convicted about my speech. I have realized just how negative I can be. Nothing is ever good, there is always something wrong. I tend to have something to complain about and I am not afraid to say it out loud. This isn’t something that I kind of struggled with, no, it is something that has been putting me down for a while now and had my husband not pointed it out in the most loving of ways, maybe I would have never noticed. I was eating from the fruit of my mouth which was negative and most definitely not life giving.
If you notice the verse doesn’t say “there is death and life in the power of the tongue when you speak to others or when you talk about yourself” no, it says “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Period. Meaning, everything you say has either life or death attached to it. After realizing this is something I really struggled with and I caught myself about to say something negative but the conviction would hit hard. Many times I even ignored it and talked negatively anyways. I felt ridiculous, like it was an addiction.
As I was really struggling with taming my tongue, I was reading through 1st and 2nd Kings about the story of David. I’m not going to lie, things got personal between me and God. I would sit there in anger and wonder why David was supposed to be a ‘Man After God’s Own Heart’ and yet he did many things that were against the ten commandments. I was mad that David had great treasures and yet still had some of the greatest failures. Truthfully, I was mad because I had felt like God was speaking to everyone else but me while I was trying so hard to do the right thing and others didn’t even want to hear from God, yet they were. I would complain to God, “You say ‘ask and you shall receive’, ‘you want to give us the desires of our hearts’ and yet here I am waiting while you talk to everyone else.”
One morning as I was reading more into David’s story I realized something. Almost every time David spoke, He praised God. The man would get a loaf of bread after being in the wilderness and he would say “God has provided” (those probably wouldn’t have been the first words out of my mouth, not going to lie). I realized that he was a man, an imperfect human, after God’s own heart, chasing God’s heart and giving him the glory for everything, not a man that God just said, “well he is my homie so I will turn a blind eye to all the destruction and still bless him.” no, David was blessed because although he failed, he gave glory to God in every season, never cursing God or leading with a negative spirit, but with a spirit chasing after God and what He wanted for him.
It made me realize that maybe I wasn’t hearing from God because of the words and thoughts that were clouding over me. Maybe God was speaking but I chose to hear the negative. And maybe God was trying to reveal to me that even through our sin and darkness, if we choose to listen, speak life, and actively pursue God above all else, He will give us more than we deserve because He loves us no matter how many things we do wrong.
“Let all you do be done in love” 1 Corinthians 16:14
“..Put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14
Taming the tongue is hard, and I know that it’s something that I struggle with because the devil is afraid of what God will accomplish through me if I choose to put on love, listen to all the life God is speaking into me, and then share living words that lift others up. But, like David, I choose to be a woman actively seeking after God’s own heart.
Is this something you struggle with? How can I be praying for you?
I got my first tattoo at the mature age of 18. I was at a tattoo festival in Dallas and I got it for free. Sounds sketchy because it was sketchy. I remember the thoughts going through my mind, “It needs to be small, easy to hide, and something I won’t regret”. A few minutes later I had my new permanent ocean waves on my left hip.
I laugh at it now, but regardless I still love it. It is literally a part of me and also it reminds me of such a fun time in life. Since then I have gone on to get five other tattoos. Every time I have gotten one I think about my employer and take into consideration that if I have something that cannot be covered, would it inhibit my ability to get hired or is it something easy to cover if my employer wants that. With having four tattoos on my arms, this is something that I have to take into consideration whether I like it or not.
According the the Dress Code and Grooming Policies an employer is allowed to require employees to cover tattoos as long as they are not doing it in a discriminatory matter. for example, allowing women to have them but not men. In an article by Lindsay Wigo it states that 40% of Millennials have tattoos and since Millennials are now the most employed generation according to a census reported by Richard Fry, just passing up Generation X, we are now the majority and just under half of the most employed generation is tattooed.
Yes, tattoos are becoming increasingly common and accepted among employers, which is great, but we still have employers who like their employees to keep them covered which is their right.
Every time I have ever interviewed I always make sure to keep my arm art covered, because no matter how much we don’t like it, someone could judge your character by what is on your body. We can’t control what others think, how they were raised, or how they perceive us. I like to give my employer a chance to get to know me first. I like to show them that I work hard and professionally. When I feel like they know me, I ask them if it is alright if my tattoos show. They may say no, and as their employee I have to abide by that. But I think it gives time to build a foundation of trust and respect with my oversight.
So, if you are a millennial, do you have tattoos? Do you show them at work? And what do you think about your employers telling you to cover them?
If you’re an employer, how do you handle employees with tattoos and what is your stance on this?
All answers are welcome and friendly conversation is encouraged.