Love Thy Neighbor

I came across this shirt today and thought it summed up the idea of true LOVE for others (picture below). How often have we heard ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ or ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The concept seems simple right? First, you must love and respect yourself. You must be kind in your thoughts, gentle to your shortcomings and give yourself grace on the hardest days. Sometimes it’s hard to do that, but when it comes to loving ourselves the concept is much easier. We strive to feed ourselves, fulfill our basic needs, necessities and fulfill general duties to our families and friends.

Even at the most surface level, this concept should be easily applied to anyone else you come across. Being kind, respectful, providing help if you can, giving grace when people mess up should be our default…and yet it is so easy to judge and be hateful. This is where many people get it wrong. We were not put on this earth to judge. We all make mistakes, sin and fail. We are called to live a life of love. To serve others the way Christ did. How many stories are there in the bible that has Jesus talking to tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners? Do you see him segregating himself from those he deems unworthy? No. So why do we?

To the clerk at the grocery store, the homeless person you pass on the way to work, the hateful family member, other professions, beliefs, nations, religions, nationalities, prostitutes, sinners and tax collectors….we owe love. We teach by loving and caring.

Something Marshall, my husband, and I often talk about is that respecting someone’s point of view, listening to their thoughts and validating their thought process does not mean you have to agree with it. You can kindly listen and not agree. You can respect and have different views. You can love without jeopardizing your own beliefs. Why is this so hard to grasp?

So remember today:
Love thy foreign, homeless, prostitute, imprisoned, disabled, gay, straight, transgender, enemy, blue collar, white collar, old, young, black, white, lonely, jewish, muslim, christian, atheist, male, female, racist, addicted, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, different from you __________ NEIGHBOR.

Love+Shirt+Main

What identifier do you need to fill in the blank so you remember this? Go out today and LOVE. Be kind, be strong and be loving to everyone you meet. Maybe pray a little too.

~Shelby

 

Images property of https://cyny.org/all/loveshirt. Also- go buy this shirt.

“Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.”

—Judy Garland

When we see people being successful it’s hard not to feel envious. It’s hard not to wonder why my life isn’t working out the same way their is.

Remember you don’t want to be a copy of someone else. You are meant to be completely unique and serve a totally different purpose on this earth.

Be new, be YOU, be innovative. Don’t be afraid to be different or like what you like. You excel and be bold in who you are. Be first-rate today.

Managers of the Mysteries of God

1 Corinthians chapters 1-5, Week 1

This is the first full week of reading She Reads Truth’s 1 & 2 Corinthian’s bible study! My Wine Women and the Word gals have been reading and preparing to chit chat over some wine and the teachings of Paul.

First, props to Paul for just laying it all out there. There was no beating around the bush, not intricately constructing of words, no nonsense…this man fiercely wanted to get a message across to the Corinthians by all means necessary.

Our readings this week dealt with power, false wisdom, spiritual wisdom, foolishness, servanthood, our calling, humility and discipline. Yeah…that sounds like a lot. Paul knew the tendency of the Corinthians towards self centeredness and self sufficiency and has swooped in to set the record straight. As human beings we are all prone to this lifestyle and listening to Paul was pretty humbling.

Paul tells us

God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:9

It starts out simple. Fellowship is when you associate with people who share a common interest. Jesus died, we follow his teachings, we are saved. BOOM DONE. Yeah it can be that simple, but we humans like to complicate things with our selfishness, hence Paul talking to the Corinithians. The Jews and the Greeks especially had a hard time accepting Christ. Jews found weakness in Jesus’ death and the Greeks, who dwelled upon the wisdom per their culture, found Christ’s death to be nonsensical.

It’s really easy to see where they are coming from. Belief in something that is unseen takes inordinate amounts of faith. No, we can’t just download the answer to life in Christ and install it into our brains. We can’t google our way to eternity. It takes a quiet listening to the Holy Spirit speaking within you, it takes stepping away from what the world deems as important. It makes you step off the religion cliff, trusting that by following God we will be safely caught in a net before we crash and burn. The non-followers of Corinth could not make sense of this leap of faith and deemed it foolishness.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.

1  Corinthians 1:18

Paul sees the Corinthians have fallen victim to worldly distractions. They’re getting wrapped up in titles, in who they serve, which church they follow or what person they study under. Paul says

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave growth.

1 Corinthians 2:6

It is not an allegiance to any teacher, it is only God that matters. Teachers and bible studies can supplement, but they are not the main focus. They are merely tools in helping spread the word. We may strongly support global missions, feeding the poor or funding missionaries, but it is important to remember that though those things are good, they are merely ornaments on the life we are building. The foundation is God and can be nothing else.

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul says something I love: His Grace is your qualification. I have a tendency to feel inadequate when measured up to successful and smart people. Lies creep in: Who am I to be leading a bible study? Why am I attempting to give advice? Am I qualified to spread the good news of Christ? WHAT IF I GET IT WRONG? Paul reminds the Corinthians that whether we are newbies or lifetime scholars of the bible, we all qualified. We have all been given the same mission:

A person should think of us in this way; as servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:1

Ok how cool is that? “Managers of the mysteries of God.” That’s going on my resume. It’s important to remember that no matter where you are in your faith you are already fulfilling your mission. If you believe, if you live a life worthy of God’s teachings, if you humble yourself and make Christ the center then you are already showing the world that there is something more important worth living for. You are ministering simply by living.

When you follow God your world shifts. You may do many of the same things, but your purpose shifts. Suddenly we are called to love unconditionally, to give, to serve, to not judge others, to live by God’s word and to model it for others. We no longer become the center of our own lives, Christ does. This often means others do too, as we are called to serve others as Christ served others. We are called to be humble, kind, strong, truthful, to learn and to listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit (even when we don’t want to).

When I think about it this way it sounds simple. It makes all the premeditated instagram posts, the constant resume builders, or the worldly desires I have fall away on a heap beside me. When we put on humility, love and discipline we have nothing to fear from others or the world. It makes me want to run through a field of flowers and joyfully shout that God has GOT THIS. Most of all, it makes me want to keep reading Week 2 of the study…I’m soaking this up like a sponge and can’t wait to see what comes next.

Questions to consider this week:

  1. What righteous thing do I put as more important than God or the Holy Spirit? Is it my own understanding? Is it the teachings of a favorite pastor or author? Evaluate: is God my center?
  2. How is the foolish teachings of the world clouding my judgment? What thing, though it may seem logical, is holding me back from firmly grasping God’s truth?

 

I’d love to know your answers 🙂

~Shelby

 

 

Finding the One Your Soul Loves

It’s a rare thing finding people your soul truly loves. Not just someone you like or can be around, but someone your soul craves. Your soul is the true essence of who you are. It’s the part of you that needs to be filled up with goodness and truth; your inner being. When your soul feels dried up you feel tired, alone or forgotten. Allowing people in your life that love you from nose to toes, good, bad and ugly, refreshes your soul. You have to accept that love and allow yourself to be loved.

I thought about this today for two reasons: 1. It’s my husband’s birthday! 2. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about this word ‘soul.’

Though I love the portion of Solomon 3:4 it’s not really about finding any person. We all know the only person we’d need to find is relationship our creator.

I do love the essence of this quote though. I’ve been married about 6 months now and am learning to love and be loved. Yes, it is something you need to actually learn. Allowing someone to be part of EVERY aspect of your life can be super hard. It’s really the same with friendships and family members. I think too often we guard our true selves, our soul, or our essence from others for fear of not being understood. Unfortunately it is too easy to hide the things we don’t want others to know about us and to display the parts we want to be known for.

That is so detrimental to our wellness. I know it is for mine. I didn’t realize how much I adapted myself for others until this past year when Marshall and I did couples counseling. Luckily, I think Marshall is the one person that knows me through and through (lucky guy). When it comes to work it’s easy to hide our personal lives or put on a different face. It’s easy to share only parts of your life you think your friends will accept. It’s easy to keep prayer requests to yourself so your small group don’t know your true struggles.

I feel this tightness in my chest when I’m not being authentic and true. Many of us struggle with not wanting to be disliked. The truth is, not everyone is going to love us…or like us for that matter. It’s up to us to be faithful and kind to what we believe and what we need. Splitting apart your soul and sharing different pieces of it isn’t going to last for long.

I’m so (x 200) thankful for Marshall. Especially today on his birthday. He challenges me, he encourages me to do hard things and be brave. He’s the one my soul loves.

Who do you have that knows your fears, your ambitions, your dreams, your heart? Who do you have that loves you even when you make dumb decisions? I want all my close relationships to be this way. It’s time to stand up, stand strong, and be authentically you. No one else can fulfill your role on this earth but y-o-u! So why hide that goodness?!

Showing who you are to the core is the most honest, and scary, thing you can do today. And yet how freeing that is. I’m on a mission to be true and honest with every person that I meet, and you should be too.

~Shelby

Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go
    until I had brought him into my mother’s house,
    and into the chamber of her who conceived me.

Song of Solomon 3:4

Wine Women Word Wednesday

Wine:

Couldn’t help myself…this is a busy week after all! I have the will, so where is my Rosé?
Rosé-Kick-Off1

Women

With a woman so strong, so accomplished and so admired, I couldn’t help but share this quote. I don’t like that the stereotype among women is that we can be catty or mean to each other. So often I see quite the opposite- women boosting other women and standing up for each other. This is something young and old women alike need to be reminded. When you stand for another woman you stand for yourself.
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Word:

Proverbs 4:25-27
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

I love reading psalms and I love reading proverbs. There are so poetic. Not knowing where to search today I simply searched our date 4:25…I love what it showed me. Keep your eyes forward, ponder your path and turn your foot from evil. There is so much going on right now for all of us, this couldn’t have had better timing.

 

I shall ponder this verse over a glass of wine!

~Shelby

When in Rome

One year ago today the Millers were in Italy taking in the sights, eating all the gelato and experiencing beauty as we walked down the narrow cobblestone streets. This day last year we were in Rome, specifically. Exploring the city felt like we had stepped back in time. The architecture and ancient history was very evident as we took it all in.

The amazing thing about travel is the chance to broaden your view of the world. Seeing how other people live their day to day lives is so fascinating. Perhaps the craziest thing to me was to see modern life happening around these ancient structures. The Colosseum bold and still standing strong was breath taking. The intricate details of each church was unmatched and there was a quiet hush as we entered them for a better view.

Sitting in those many churches in Italy brought perspective. The church and God’s people were the heart beat of so many places we visited on our trip. Take time to go somewhere new and experience putting yourself out of your comfort zone. It allows a lot of room for reflection. Just having that childish sense of awe over beautiful things and large buildings is humbling. We are all part of making history right now. It is exciting to think about what impact each of us might have if we follow our God given paths. We were all made for the same greatness that was visibly evident in the beautiful cities we visited.

Kathleen, my mother-in-law, sent out a great reminder today including some verses that rang true for her about the trip. I asked her if I could share because they were too good not to! To tie in scripture to these great experiences really helps me to enjoy the beauty of our trip again and again:

Exodus 36:5

The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done. (This verse is about the building of the tabernacle, but makes me think of all the time, devotion and gifts dedicated to building the beautiful cathedrals and churches.)

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us and we are His.
We are his people, the sheep of all his pasture.
Enter His gates of Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Give thank to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(The response we felt as we experienced the beautiful churches and his beautiful creation and the reminder of His faithfulness through ALL generations.)

Psalm 90:1-2
Lord you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

(All that we saw and experienced to me was a great reminder that God has been and always will be our dwelling place – He is everlasting!)

Romans 1:7

To all in in Rome (or who have been there) who are loved by God and called to be saints. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Thanks Kathleen!

~Shelby

 

The Time in Between

We all go through times of transition. We all go on journeys every single day to accomplish something new. The motivated, type A, part of me forgets that. I want to be at the destination NOW. I want to be done with grad school NOW. I want to be able to do the full splits NOW. It’s hard to wait and be patient for something good.

It’s almost harder with life transitions. College women going from messy buns on campus to an adult job. Transitioning after a breakup. Healing from trauma. Moving states, changing jobs, starting new health goals, building relationships, creating better habits…the list goes on.

For me the transition has been unpacking my busy brain. Spending so many years pushing aside hurt and barreling forward only worked for so long. Never stopping to evaluate your mental health and well being only leads to failure. I’m a go-getter and I LOVEEEEEE checking things off my to do list. The thing I don’t like to admit is that some things can’t just be checked off. Some things take time and extra work.

This week I was in the final chapters of Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. And, of course, was listening to the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. Both were hitting me with similar messages (love when that happens!)

Though Good Friday was a few weeks ago, I started to draw this connection with the struggle and transition of the ‘in between’ times. Jamie and her guest Tova Sido opened my eyes to the importance of ‘Saturday.’ We know Jesus was taken on Friday and that he was resurrected on Sunday. But what about the time in between? The struggle and anguish of Saturday made the resurrection of Sunday that much more important and beautiful.

This showed a logical translation into my life (and I would bet yours too). If we immediately go from the pain to the resurrection of our problems we miss the important work that happens in between. It’s hard not to be impatient and to want to free ourselves from the hard things. But those places where we work through something difficult is the place we see growth.

This seems so obvious, but is easy to overlook. Whether we are struggling to the point of being overwhelmed, or constantly searching for our answers, we can easily be blinded from the wonderful path laid out in front of us. We are all called to do something great. No one can fulfill YOUR role on this earth.

I love seeing people thrive. You can tell when people are at peace with the path God has laid out for them. It’s inspiring. It reminds me that my goals and dreams don’t have to be done for anyone else. In fact, they can’t be done to please anyone else on this earth. If you’re doing what you’re feeling called to do you will succeed.

I want to enjoy the Saturdays. I want to wrestle through the bumps and find learning in each moment. (Perhaps I’m feeling reflective as grad school is about to start!)

Take this week to enjoy every moment- the beginning, the end and the moments in between. Something valuable will come from each experience. Don’t push an angry conversation to the side, hurt feelings, or struggle at work. Write or think it out and be opening to asking for help. You got this.

“Our Lord’s divinity has never been hesitant to step into the mess of humanity. He is the great answer to our every desire.”

Lysa Terkeurst, Uninvited

~Shelby