God did not make you for the sake of existing. God made you with a purpose. He made you with the purpose of glorifying His name. God made you to shine the light he gave you. God made you to bloom. God made you to be amazing. He has plans for you you can’t even fathom. He has made you for so much more than this. Continue reading

Act Like It

20140117-095131 p.m..jpg

Colossians 3 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Especially when I read it in The Message version [by the way! I totally recommend The Message. I love my NVI, and the KJV is the version in which I’ve memorized most verses, but when I want to get a clear picture of what God’s saying, I use The Message.]. And I absolutely love how Paul starts Colossians 3.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.”

How do you act like it? Let’s break down Colossians 3:1-8

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.”

(Colossians 3:1-4 MSG)

If you are a believer, yay! Your old life no longer exists. You have a brand-new life. Christ is your life. And if you’re serious about this life, act like it. Set your mind on things above. Not on what’s happening down here on earth. Not looking at things on Pinterest all day [guilty!]. Not spending a whole Saturday on Netflix. Not following celebrities’ lives. It’s not that those things are bad, it’s not that you should ignore them, but that you should focus on heaven. When those things take up a lot of your time, when they become a distraction, that’s when they can become harmful to your relationship with Christ. They can keep you away from spending time with Him, from seeking what is eternal. Because, you know, we’re spending the rest of our lives in eternity. We need to learn about God, about the place we’ll be in, and about what God’s plans are for us, among other things. We need to spend time reading God’s word, and not only reading it, but meditating on it as well. How can you prepare for the place you’ll be in for the rest of your life if you don’t read the guidebook? Spend time with God, reading his word, meditate on it, think about it. Apply it to your life. It will help you grow. Make time for it. Don’t let earthly things get in the way of your growth as a Christian.

How do you grow?

“And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.”

(Colossians 3:5-8 MSG)

I think these verses sum up that question really well. Stay away from what hinders your growth. Stay away from what was part of your old life. Out with the old. [In with the new. Goodbye clouds of gray, hello skies of blue. A dip in the pool…was I the only one who thought about High School Musical 2? Let’s pretend this didn’t happen.]

You can’t live a holy life when you are doing what you were doing in your old life. You know better now. I love how Lauren from The Fulltime Girl puts it:

“If we have truly chosen to be the Bride, why are we still living like we are single? Let’s say a girl got married. It was a beautiful wedding and they were so in love. However, the day after the marriage, she went back home to live with her parents. She slept in her old bed, and ate her parent’s food, and drove her parent’s car. Sure, she was married. She had taken his last name, but she wasn’t committed.

That is all too often what we do with Christ. We claim to be a “Christian” in name, and yet, we listen to the same music we used to listen to, watch the same old tv shows we used to watch, do and say the same old things we used to do when we were not ‘Christian.’ “

If you are a Christian, act like it. If Christ is in your life, act like it. You are not who you were. The old you is dead. The habits that characterized your old life don’t exist anymore. You’re holding yourself to new standards. You view your life in a new, different way because you have a new, different life. Set your mind on things above.

You are not who you were. Act like it.

What are your thoughts on Colossians 3?

This post is also in Spanish!

You Are

20140107-021120 p.m..jpg

I should be doing homework right now but I just had an inspirational bout and this is probably the last time I’ll write in this blog for a while because school is starting next week and yes I do run-on sentences on purpose. I am actually a big grammar freak.

I read this amazing poem by Madisen Kuhn and it has become my favorite poem ever [sorry, Hope is the Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson!].

Here’s the poem:

who are you,

you are not a name
or a height or a weight
or a gender
you are not an age
and you are not where you
are from

you are your favorite books
and the songs stuck in your head
you are your thoughts
and what you eat for breakfast
on saturday mornings

you are a thousand things
but everyone chooses
to see the million things
you are not

you are not
where you are from
you are
where you’re going
and I’d like
to go there

I love it so much because it is a reminder that the world does not define me. The world doesn’t define you. Your weight doesn’t define you. Your past doesn’t define you. Your mistakes do not define you. Jesus defines you. Grace defines you. You are more.

2014: Letting Go

20131231-102531 p.m..jpg

I’m scared. So scared that it’s really hard to write this right now. So many things are happening, so many decisions need to be made. College applications, for instance. I’m terrified of them. I know that I’ll get into college, but the whole process of applying and waiting is a little overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that I haven’t applied yet and I have 15 days to do it.

2014 is going to require so much of me. And a lot of faith. And stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things I want to do but I’m too shy and my shyness is apparently bigger than my faith right now I don’t feel comfortable doing. Like leading worship. I’ve always had a heart for singing but along with that heart for singing I have this inexplicable fear of speaking in front of people. I hate public speaking. It terrifies me. Last year I had to present a book project on the Hunger Games and I forgot the word district. If you’ve read the books, you know how important that word is. Also, my throat was dry and I was so hot and I got back pains because of how nervous I was. Not to mention that after I finished presenting my legs started to shake uncontrollably. I think it’s pretty clear how much I hate being in the spotlight.

A few days ago my friend Kayla sent me a devotional she wrote as well as a letter. In the letter she said that she had prayed to God and asked him what she should tell me. He’d told her that I had some musical talent and that I needed to lead worship. My exact thoughts when I read that part? “Ohmygosh. Seriously, God?” I put the letter aside for a minute and tried to breathe before I kept reading. I mean, seriously? Could that get any more hello-this-is-God-calling-you-to-do-something?

Today my brother, out of the blue, asked me: “Hey Gaby, if you were able to sing at camp, and when you came home you said that you weren’t so afraid of singing in public anymore, why don’t you do it at church?” Dude, you’re eleven. Where is this wisdom coming from? My stupid answer was: “It was easier to sing there because I’m probably never going to see those people again.” He replied, “Yeah, but isn’t singing to God more important?”
I literally told him to shut up because I didn’t want to face what God’s been telling me to do.

And I know now this is the year in which I’ll step out of my comfort zone and I’ll walk on the water. But I’m scared. Maybe I should’ve chosen Joshua 1:9 to be my #Verse2014 instead of Psalm 119:11.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Oh, I’m gonna read that Scripture so much this year. He knows I’m gonna need it.

I’m letting go. I’m letting go of my dreams and my fears. I will listen to God’s calling even though I’m terrified. I know He’s gonna keep doing what He’s doing, sending me people to tell me what He wants me to hear. I won’t be like Moses and give excuses because we know how that one ended [Exodus 4]. He kept giving God excuses and God gave a solution to those excuses. Moses had no other choice but to accept the calling God gave him. I’m letting go. I’m terrified of letting go. But I’m letting go. I don’t know how I’m letting go. But I’m letting go. I’m handing my fears over to God. I will pray to Him, I will find strength in Him, and hopefully soon I’ll do what He wants me to do. Pray for me, I’ll need those prayers.

I’m also praying for you. I pray that if there’s anything you need to let go of, that God can help you let go. Maybe you need to let go of your insecurities. Maybe you need to let go of control. Maybe you’re like me and you need to let go of your fears and accept your calling. Maybe you need to let go of pain. Of regret. Of grudges.

Whatever you need to let go, let go of it. Hand it over to God. He knows what’s best. When you give Him the power over your life it becomes His responsibility to guide you along the right path. It’s a giant leap of faith. But it’s worth it.

I’m still scared. But I’m letting go.

“This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace
The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go”

-Francesca Battistelli, I’m Letting Go

This post is also in Spanish. Click here!

20131231-102554 p.m..jpg