Without Rival

God has once again been speaking to my heart about comparison. I have posted about it before- how it steals our joy and undermines our purpose. Just recently I began doing a devotional from Lisa Bevere called “Without Rival.” The premise of it is that God fashioned each of us uniquely, with a specific purpose, and that we should be empowered to own that purpose instead of wishing we had someone else’s.

One definition of “unique” is without rival. This means comparison and competition don’t exist. This means we have our own race to run, and by all means we can cheer each other on, but it is a waste of time to covet another’s calling.

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“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” -2 Corinthians 10:12

I love how direct this verse is. When we compare ourselves with each other, we are “without understanding! I feel like the Bible wants to say “stupid” here, but maybe that didn’t get translated into our English version.

I can’t help but wonder what my life would look like if I really, truly believed that God had a unique purpose for me and me alone. How much could we change the world if we spent our time pursuing the causes He has placed on our hearts with the gifts He has given us, instead of nervously glancing around to see what other people are doing and what clothes they’re wearing and why their house looks like a Pottery Barn photo shoot? Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here.

As I progress through this “Without Rival” devotional, I am spurred on to accept and embrace exactly who God created me to be. There is power in owning our own strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and joys.  There is power in throwing off comparison and “running the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). I’m excited to keep exploring what that looks like in my life, and I trust that God will work out the details as I continue to surrender to Him.

Catherine of Siena said it so beautifully and succinctly: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

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5 Ingredient Granola Bars

I have recently developed an obsession with Clif bars. It started with the classic gateway Clif bar, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, and has quickly progressed to Coconut Chocolate Chip and beyond. So good! However, I decided it was time to break that somewhat expensive habit and find a way to make my own.

When I was on the hunt for a recipe, I knew I wanted them to be healthy, easy, and comprised of ingredients that I already had on hand. I googled “easy granola bar recipe” (had to get straight to the point, ya know?) and this recipe from Minimalist Baker was one of the first ones that popped up, so I went with it. Her recipes are gold.

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The only change I made was to use 1/2 cup of almonds + 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds because I didn’t have a full cup of almonds. Oh and I also added cinnamon because I am a cinnamon fiend. The bars come together so quickly and they taste amazing! They aren’t really comparable to Clif bars, but I actually like them better.

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Next time (and there will be a next time) I will probably double the recipe and freeze a bunch, if only to make them last a little longer than they currently are. Hooray for snacks!

New Year, Old Commandment

So… apparently it’s 2017 now? As usual, it feels like I blinked and 2016 was over. While I know that on a larger scale 2016 was a doozy, I have such a hard time calling it a wash when it held so much beauty for me- getting engaged, getting married, and starting my dream job at WakeMed. As I look back at the year, through the ups and downs and joy and craziness, I’m reminded that God is so faithful.

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[Photo Credit]

I’m not much for new year’s resolutions, but my heart always jumps at the idea of new beginnings and fresh starts. One morning, as I was excitedly contemplating what this new year might hold, I turned to one of my favorite books of the Bible and read these words:

“Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.” -1 John 2:7-8

Wait a minute. I was looking for something different, something intriguing, something that had never crossed my mind before. “Yet it is also new…”

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Boone, NC in December

 

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Another photo from our Boone trip… cramming 6 people in a very small stick shift to drive up a very steep mountain. New year’s resolution: never do that again

As I thought about it, I realized that no matter what year it is, loving people as Jesus loves is something new and radical. It is dynamic, because it can take on a million different forms, but it is also steady and unchanging, because according to Hebrews 13:8 we know that Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (hallelujah for that by the way).

This year, I want to live out the commandment to love one another. I don’t want to be blinded by resolutions to look better or be better or accumulate more things- all of which can tempt me. In a world where violence and hatred can seem to be the norm, my prayer is that by the grace of God I would be able to live the truth of that old commandment to love. I don’t know exactly what it will look like, but I know that it will be life-giving, because we were all designed to live this out.

Although 2016 was a little scary for our world, I have so much hope and excitement for 2017, because “the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.”