I get two responses when people find out that I'm not married. The first is, "Oh, that's too bad. Well, Mr. Right will come one day." Got to appreciate the resounding sympathy. Or I've also heard this, "Stay that way! You're free to do whatever you want!"
I appeciate both efforts of consolation, but the last statement couldn't be further from the truth. It may appear that I'm "free" in that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, with no thought to that partner called my boyfriend or husband. But there is Someone who will forever have my affections - my heart. And His name is Father God.
When you think of someone "holding your heart," you usually think of a human relationship. But you'll find more than just enamored males in your life desiring your affections. The world is constantly vying for your heart's attention. Sports, music, hobbies, fashion, work - you name it - all demand that you give them your all. Anything to break your focus off the true Love of your life.
Matthew 6:21 says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." In other words, what you value the most is going to be hidden away in your heart. That's the place where your dreams start and are protected. Your heart is what decides what you will do, where you will go, and what decisions you will make in life. If your heart's focus and desire is for something other than your Abba Father, then your heart will stear you away from Him, not toward Him and His desires for you.
When you asked Jesus into your heart, your heart became His. Actually, everything about you became His possession. Check out I Corinthians 6:19, 20, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."
When you let God hold your heart, there's no bondage. Quite the opposite, actually. You are allowing God to decide where your desires will lead you. He'll keep you from giving your affections to someone or something that will only drain your life of His very best. He's watching out for that "treasure" inside that was made for His glory. No one can have you unless He says it's okay. Under His lock and key, there is a safe haven that any heart can trust. It's freedom knowing He's going to make every dream come true in a way that will bless and not harm you.
Every day there's a temptation to let a piece of my heart to be held by something else. But every day I ask God to hold my heart. I want His will to be done . . . because I love Him that much.
© 2007 Music and Lyrics by Christa Heider
This heart wants so much, but waits so long,
Alone it is hard when they call my name,
Eyes and smiles write a sweet love song,
But they’ll never know me the way You do.
I give You my heart to have and to hold,
I’m Yours before I’m his,
I give You my heart to keep in this fold,
You hold, You hold my heart,
You hold, You hold my heart.
This heart holds so much, yet has this peace,
Because you promised to make a way,
Their desire could never replace,
This wonderful love You’ve shown to me.
In Your hands I’ll always believe,
There’s no other place my heart could be,
Let God always have your heart - always and forever. More on this next time!
"Christa Heider, get your power turned on. Table three, please," the automated voice rings over the chiropractor’s office sound system. I walk up to table three, scan my badge and watch as my medical file comes up on the computer screen. Then I make myself comfortable on the table – face down - and wait for my adjustment.
When I first started going to the chiropractor, my neck and back had been out of line for a while. A combination of doing gymnastics as a kid, falling on my head doing street drama in Italy, and spending hours bent over a desk at work had turned my spine curvy and my neck straight. After a year of discomfort, I had decided that something needed to be done about it. It was pinching nerves and keeping me from exercising. (I hate muscles that feel like two-hour cooked spaghetti noodles because I hadn’t done more than walk from my apartment to my car!) So now I'm in the process of getting my spine aligned – and it’s a week by week process.
When I look back to the times that I've felt discouraged, I can usually say that my time with God and my pursuit of His Word had waned. I allowed every day problems to distract me from my priorities. Our strength as a Christian comes through the Holy Spirit, but it's our responsibility to pursue that strength. The basics like reading our Bible every day, praying, being faithful to attend and participate at church, and praising and worshiping God can't be neglected. When they are, that alignment we used to enjoy suddenly disappears and we experience "spiritual subluxation." The nerves are pinched (we can't hear God's voice) and we're in pain (the worries of life get to us). No wonder we feel weak! Our focus isn't where it's supposed to be!
© 2008 Lyrics and Music by Christa Heider
Some die for just a whim, a shallow, fleeting dream,
Some give it all away, for any selfish thing,
I’ve made my choice today, in honor of Your Name,
I’ve given all I am, no matter what the pain.
Did you know I’d live and die for You,
Did You know I’d give my everything,
To the Lover of my soul?
Some die for only love, a simple, passing need,
Some sacrifice it all, for worthless anything.
I’ve made my choice today, no matter what I face,
I’ve chosen my own way, to stand here in this place.
No greater love than this, no greater love than yours,
No greater love besides, the one that I adore.
This attitude is called pride - thinking you're better than everyone else. It's not the attitude any Christian girl should have. The Bible says that "pride comes before a fall," and that God "resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." I don't want to be on God's "resisting" side!
Then there's the opposite attitude of thinking lower of yourself than you should. This is usually called low self - esteem. Compared to everyone else, you're just not good enough. But this attitude - in God's eyes - is just as wrong as pride. In fact, it could be pride as well if you're refusing to believe the truth of what God says about you. And what God says about you will never make you feel inferior or insignificant. Quite the opposite, actually. It will make you feel like someone special, valued, and highly significant. It's not wrong to acknowledge who you really are, especially if the King of the Universe declares that that's who you are! It would be a slap in His face to deny it. Look at what He's done through the sacrifice of Jesus to make you that way!
You're a New Person
No one can tell you that you're the same o' same o' person you've always been! You've been made new through salvation, and what's in your past is long gone!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
You're Chosen by God
The cheer-leading squad may have past you by, but who cares! God Himself chose you before you were ever born!
1 Peter 2:9-10 (The Message) "But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted."
You're Special-Made by God
God made you! So no one else has the right to decide who you should be and what you should do!
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJ) "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
You're Complete in Jesus
Some may say you're lacking some things . . . maybe a lot of things. But God says you're complete in every way!
Colossians 2:10 (NKJ) "And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."
You're Loved by God
Man's kind of love will fail you and will not last. God, however, loves you with a perfect, on-going love that will never change!
Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJ) "The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:“ Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you."
These are just a few samples of who you are in God's eyes. The awesome thing is, no one can change His opinion - not even you! God's opinion should always be the final say to every critical thought or attitude that might come your way. There will always be people who will try to pull your opinion of yourself down to the dirt. But their view of you couldn't possibly matter when someone as great and honest as God declares your value! When He says it, there's no reason you can't say, "I'm all that . . . God's made me to be!"
I had to laugh when I read "Smart - Mouth College." Mr. Peterson has such an unusual, and sometimes humorous, way of putting things!
Ever been around anyone who just loved to constantly make smart remarks that could have gone unsaid? Or maybe you've met a few people who seem to only be able to tear people down rather than build them up. Worse yet, have you rubbed shoulders with a person who only wanted to blaspheme God? They're enrolled in "Smart-Mouth College."
The Bible says that you are blessed if you don't hang around those kind of people. Take a look at good ol' King Jimmy: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful . . ."
You're "happy, prosperous, and to-be-envied" if you're closest friends are people who "delight in the law of the Lord" (see verse 2). We live in a world that doesn't see the law of the Lord as a "blessed thing." We have to rub shoulders with unbelievers all the time. But that's when your godly influence can take charge! Your "tree" (life) can flourish and prosper in a way that let's people know that "Smart-Mouth College" just isn't worth the tuition!
The older I get the more appreciative I am for the relationships in my life. Parents, pastors, ministers, teachers, friends. The kind of relationships that influence me for the better. They have been faithful in their role in my life, and believed in me in every season. What would I be without them? Dreary at best.
God knows who you need in your life. He has specific people that He will connect you with that will "color" your life - influence you - to help you become all He planned you to be. Some will be with you for life; some will come and go quickly. But they were put there for a reason. Your part to play is recognizing them and appreciating what they do. Then taking their input - their color - and passing it on to someone else. Just think of all the paintings you could create!
So to all the wonderful people who have loved me, believed in me, and "polished" me - this song is for you.
© 2008 Christa A. Heider
As I pause just to reflect, I remember who you are,
The memories that we made, the moments that we shared,
But so much more than this, you left your mark in shades,
Giving color to a life, that without you would be gray.
You’ve colored my life like no one could,
You shared yourself in bad and good,
Despite the flaws you believed in me,
And colored my life for all to see,
Now let this painting be complete,
As I give this color to the world.
I thank God when I think of you, you’re so faithful to Your call,
Selfless and good until the end, you sacrificed it all,
Honesty sharpened weakness, love made room for me to grow,
I won’t forget your labor, and how you let me know.
Just how much you’ve touched me, I’m sure I’ll never know,
Until one day you stand in line, to receive your golden crown.
"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father."
I Thessalonians 1:2,3
When God dreams, it’s not a fantasy or a fleeting day dream like you and I would have had while sitting at our desks in school. With God’s dreams, there’s no wondering when it will happen, how it will happen, or who it will affect. He’s already got every detail settled. From the beginning of the world, God determined when His greatest dream would come to pass. The dream? That the whole world would come to the knowledge of Him through the sacrifice of Jesus. What’s so incredible is that He’s asked us to dream that dream with Him!
But have you noticed how easy it is hold on to our dreams – even if they’re straight from heaven – so tight that even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t rip them from our hands? Suddenly those dreams become so precious that we forget Who gave them to us in the first place. Our focus turns from the Creator of the dream to a little thing called “Me.” Pretty soon, our world revolves around seeing that dream come into reality – with us in the center of it all.
That must grieve God’s heart. I can hear Him say, “Hey, I was the One who gave that dream to you! Shouldn’t I be a part of it?” Like everything in our lives, our dreams should be yielded to God. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Notice the word “first.” Not me first, not my dreams first, but God’s agenda first. We’ve got to put aside our desires so that what God wants becomes what we want. Our attitude should be, “Okay, God, I love these dreams You’ve given me. But I love You more. I’m willing to put these dreams aside and give Your dream my full attention.” If Jesus – the Son of God – had to surrender to God’s plan, how much more should we! (Mark 14:32)
God’s got a dream for every person’s life. Jeremiah 29:11 says that He’s given us a “future and a hope.” Our future, in His eyes, is filled with good and not evil. Our dreams couldn’t possibly compare to His infinite imagination for us. The question is, will you first die to self in order to see God’s dream become a reality?
God will never ask you to do something without giving you something greater in return. He wants you to know that if you’ll dream with Him, He’ll dream for you, and every dream will come true.
© 2008 Music and Lyrics by Christa Heider
Here is my future cut in stone,
Designed for what I call my own.
Whoever knew this dream would change,
Until You came and rearranged.
When I dream with You, redemption is revealed,
Giving life to more than what I see.
When I dream with You, You dream beyond my world,
And every dream in You comes true.
You took my sights from me to You,
Revealed Your best in something new.
Now my pleasure is Your plan,
I give my all to Your command.
My dreams, Your heart, this is all I want,
Your dreams, my love, ev’ry part of me.
We talked last time about how you have a choice between being a Common Girl or an Uncommon Girl. The world is forever wanting us to conform to what they think is acceptable or "normal." But God's got different plans - plans that transform a Common Girl into a remarkable, Uncommon Girl.
"So what's in it for me?" you might be asking. "Being a Common Girl doesn't sound too bad. Look at all the fun I could have!"
First of all, let's look at a few facts about the Common Girl. Living like a Common Girl means conforming yourself to the world, which is sin. Sin separates us from God, leading to eternal death in hell when we die. THAT does not sound like fun! The Bible also says that sin is pleasurable for a season but leads to death in the end. Look at the lives of some of the Common Girls you've seen around. Choas, broken relationships, pain, addictions . . . it's a major self-destructive lifestyle.
The solution? Repent of your sin and surrender yourself to an uncommon redemption through Jesus. The transformation from Common to Uncommon then happens as you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You're changed from an old, sinful creature to a new, righteous creature that can now stand boldy before God as His friend and daughter (2 Corinthians 5:17). No makeover of this world could ever accomplish that! From that day forward, it's your responsibility to allow God to perfect your life - spirit, soul, and body - into an Uncommon Girl.
Let's take a look at the Uncommon Girl. This is the girl that God has always dreamed you to be!
UnCommoner Trait #1:
Follows their own preferences in fashion, music tastes, intertainment, etc.
This girl knows who she is and what she likes. She's got her own style that represents the personality God has given her. Just because her best friend likes the ecclectic look doesn't mean she's got to give up her frills. What dominates her style is a modesty and purity that sets her apart from any old girl who can't bear liking something other than what the world says is cool.
UnCommoner Trait #2:
Lives out their own dreams and not someone else's.
So many girls are applauded for what they've accomplished. But why stand in envy when God has a plan tailored just for you? There's so much to look forward to . . . so many dreams to live out. You've got a purpose that only YOU can fullfill because God's the One dreaming for you. Move over Britney Spears and J-Lo! Whether on stage or off stage, you've got a destiny that's going to make an impact for good!
UnCommoner Trait #3:
Stands up for what's right when tempted to compromise.
What?! Back down! This just isn't in your vocabulary! Forget what kind of persecution you may get. You're answering to the God of the universe who will see that you are rewarded - both now and later - for doing what's right. What you stand for is just too precious to give up in order to just avoid a little flak.
UnCommoner Trait #4:
Puts others first, themselves second.
This girl has her moments of decision like everyone else. She can either look to the good of others or forever keep her sites on #1. Selfishness, though, isn't an option when you consider the sacrifice Jesus made. The love of God is in your heart, so other people have definitely got to come first. Hey, the Golden Rule never hurt anyone!
UnCommoner Trait #5:
Has a strong desire to better themselves.
You see the lousy way your peers end up when they ignore character traits like self discipline, responsibility, and a good work ethic. That life's just not for you. You're going somewhere, and it's not down hill! It's going to take wisdom from God and those in authority to help you reach your full potential.
UnCommoner Trait #6:
Desires to change the world around them for the better.
Stand in front of a crowd and flash glimmer and glitz - and for what? A little self-satisfaction that leads people away from God? No way! Your world is depending on your influence. You may not be able to strike up a conversation with every girl and guy on the planet. But God's definitely got people that only YOU can reach with the Gospel.
This life sounds exciting to me! And where I'm concerned, there is no other option but to be an Uncommon Girl. When I consider God's love for me and all He's done to make my life uncommon, I couldn't imagine something different.
One thing that makes God so much different than the world is His love and unconditional acceptance for you as His creation. When God looks at the world, He doesn't see a mass of people whose lives simply blend together from days to day. Every life has meaning and uniqueness. The Bible says in I Peter 2:9 that you are His special treasure. And Psalm 139:14 declares that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God never designed you to be common! From your talents, to your looks, to your personality, no one else's life is colored just like yours. Not to mention the amazing born again spirit and power of God that lives in you, declaring that you are anything but remotely close to being like the world! So why try to be a commoner when you can be a remarkable young woman of God?
Remember this, Princess, no one but Jesus should ever decide who you are. Who you are is definitely Uncommon!