Mall Walks

Mall Walks

I was at a large mall in a bigger city with a friend. Vague, maybe. But you get the scene.

I arrived about 30 minutes earlier than my friend, so I decided to peruse around Dillard’s. I love to peruse. I also love the word peruse. So lovely! Anyways, this grand mall has a lot of wings and subdivisions, and Dillard’s is tucked away far from the main entrance of the mall. It’s quite a walk.

When my friend finally arrived, she gave me a call and I tried explaining to her where I was.

“Okay, so when you walk in the main entrance of the mall, head straight back past the stairs. Hang a left. You will pass Banana Republic on your right and a Rue 21 on your left. Once you get past Tommy Bahama, you will see two couches…”

At this point I knew I had completely lost her. Honestly, it could be that my instructions and capacity to direct people suck big time, but there was no way she was going to find me with my verbal directions.

I changed my approach. I was like,

“You know what? I will just come get you!!” She said “You sure?? I can try to find the mall directory and find you that way.” Me: “No way girl! I will just come to the front of the mall and take you back with me to Dillard’s so we can go together. We can even stop at a few stores on the way!”

In that moment, something clicked in me. It was much easier for my friend’s sake, for me to come get her and show her the way and enjoy the walk to Dillard’s together. It would have been much easier for me to let her come find me based off my instructions over the phone.

The Law vs. Walking

You see, when God first gave The Torah (1) (Jewish written law given to the Jews to set them apart as His Holy People. Aka the Pentateuch: The first five books of the Old Testament) … He did this in order to keep them protected and holy to lead them into the promise land and more importantly eternal life with Him. Without dissecting the entire Bible and creating controversy over Leviticus, I find it most incredible that He didn’t just leave His people with the law and a ton of instructions to fend for themselves. He decided to leave His throne, come to the front of the “mall” and show us the way to Himself and eternal life with Him.

Fellow Believers

I want to take a moment and talk to Christians. If you don’t believe in Jesus, you have my unwarranted permission to scroll to the end 😉

We must live in freedom knowing that when Jesus decided to leave the throne room to fulfill the law on our behalf, that He knows how to lead us back home. This isn’t some sort of game He is playing with us. This is a journey. A life He overcame. A perfect law He fulfilled, so that we can walk alongside a Holy God. NOT because we go to church, listen to Christian music, or monitor our cussing. These things may occur due to a heart change and pure convictions, but we got this thing backwards… We try to modify our behavior and create mini laws tricking ourselves into the fullness of Christ. When in reality, we are bedridden with anxiety, comparing ourselves to the world’s success, contemplating faithfulness to our spouse, and weak in our prayer life. I need to be slapped upside the head with Galatians 2-5 on the real… specifically Galatians 2:16 “and yet because we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we ourselves have believed in Christ Jesus. This was so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.”

In this passage, Paul is specifically talking to Peter (a fellow Jew) calling him out for being a hypocrite by not sitting with Gentiles when other Jews would come around. But I need to be reminded of this truth as well.

Enjoy the Walk

Going back to my friend at the mall, there was no way she would have been able to find me in a timely manner. Not only was I in Dillard’s, but Dillard’s is 4 stories high. I was on the third floor in one of the 10 fitting rooms. Also forgot to mention that English is her second language. Even if she would have made it past Tommy Bahama into the candy cane forest, there was still work that needed to be done for her to get to me. I wanted her to enjoy her shopping trip without worry or feeling lost. A foreign country, a foreign city, a huge mall, a language barrier, and an intricate set of instructions. You see, when Jesus came and found us, He asked for our hand. He asked for our trust. He knows how to lead us into the inner throne room to the feet of our Heavenly Father. My friend did not get to Dillard’s by my instructions, she got to Dillard’s by us walking together. However, we naturally fulfilled the directions from the front of the Mall to the third floor of Dillard’s just by walking together. That’s it. That’s the simplicity of the Good News of Jesus. The law has been fulfilled. We walk hand in hand with the Spirit of God into eternity. Jesus dwindled the law down to two commands.

Love God. Love others.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

Also, wanted to mention that my second episode of Write it Down will be released on November 1, 2019 on Apple and on xvxiii.com. Follow for more content on Instagram @widpod and @xvxiiinetwork

Thank you @kyanamassihniaphotography for the picture!

  1. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-tanakh-full-text
Write it Down

Write it Down

I started my blog two years ago in September 2017 after one of the most trying seasons of my life. I was confused on where God stood with me, convinced He didn’t want good things for me, and fearful of what He might do in my life. My circumstances weren’t adding up to my dreams.

I wish I could go hug on her and tell her that what He had in store for me next would blow my freaking mind. But here I am again, two years later falling back into the trap of fear. Fear that my dreams are too big, fear that people may look at me funny, and fear that I have been forgotten in some areas. I am reminded two years later that His faithfulness in my season of heartache and confusion did not look like what I thought it would. He didn’t give me the relationship I thought I wanted, he didn’t give me the first job I thought I wanted, and He didn’t give me my immediate desires. Not because He was mad at me or wanted good things for my friends instead of me… but because He wanted what was best for me and His plan for me… and my oh my am I blown away.

Moving home in 2018 after graduating was fun for like 2 months, and then I began to panic. I started to reach out to all my contacts for a job in the TV Industry. I even applied to a job in Alaska. I was not finna be caught dead in Melbourne where I grew up. I was so eager to get out. I wouldn’t commit to community because I was moving. I wouldn’t commit to a job because I was sure I would be moving. I wouldn’t commit to being present because I was for sure going to get a job in NYC or Cali.

It’s funny because when I told people about my dreams, they would say “I can see it. You are gonna be in LA or NYC hosting a TV show.” But that wasn’t happening. I knew God had validated my dreams in secret, but people’s opinions of how it should happen began to shape some unnecessary insecurities in me. I started to think “Well here I am, settling for Melbourne… cleaning Air BnB’s, babysitting, and bartending on the weekends…” It didn’t make sense. I started to feel like every time I walked into a room people were looking at me sideways… yet expectant of what God could be up to.

I was invited to a Bible study in October of 2018, and I reluctantly went. I say reluctantly because I did not want to connect with people in Melbourne. Like at all… I missed my community in Gainesville. I missed my church. I missed my old job. I missed my apartment. All of it. Bible study stopped in November 2018 due to schedules and life. During this time, I was training for my first half marathon with a friend. It was during those 12 weeks of training that I really felt The Lord speaking to me. He told me that it was the daily disciplines, the early mornings when no one sees you, and the recovery days that would ultimately prepare me for the race. Come race day, I was ready. And this isn’t a humble brag, but I won my half marathon. And when I tell you I had no idea… I had no freaking clue. I had to pee the whole time. I almost cried. My headphones were dying. I was just trying to finish and not die to be honest. But I learned something that day. If I was going to see fruition of anything God wanted in my life, well I was going to have to be okay with the endurance training. It doesn’t mean that I had to merely get through the tough seasons, but I could enjoy it and train well. That because I am saved by Jesus that I can be sure that I will win in this life and the next. Because He did. But I also learned that life is not going to turn out how we expect almost ever… But we can expect to train and to choose people we want to train with.

I trained for the half with two of my dearest friends, and we look back on those long Sunday runs on Trop Trail and think to ourselves: “how the heck did we do that?” What a joy it was to our friendship and still is…

Fast forward to January 2019, I was convicted in the New Year that I needed to take that principle of training with people into my personal life. I had already booked my flight to North Carolina to visit my sister, and I was still applying for jobs out of state, like fervently. I applied again to jobs in Alaska and this time I put my dad’s email in, and he still gets emails from them to this day. Lol sorry dad, you rock.

I remember calling a friend in January asking her, “Hey want to start back up Bible study with me? We can take turns and just see what God does.” I needed to stop projecting myself into a story that wasn’t mine. The story of me moving to LA, the story of me moving overseas to be a missionary, the story of me getting married to a college sweetheart… I could choose to come to terms with my life, or I could choose to live the actual life God presented me.

Fast forward a few weeks later, my friend told me I should connect with this local podcast network… I am like “Uhm… no I am going to NC in February and I am going to follow up with someone from ESPNU. I am sure I am going to land a job with them or somewhere else.” She basically told me I had nothing to lose and to reach out. So, I did. I didn’t really think much of it. My friend kept telling me I was being stubborn… which I was. Melbourne was not for me. I thought to myself… a podcast network? What does she think I will be doing? Running sound? Is this entry level? Do I need experience?

So, I reached out and got connected with the XV XIII Network in downtown Melbourne. I was impressed with the people I had met there, and I was excited to meet people with similar passions and dreams as me. I tabled it a bit in my mind. I was excited, but I was nervous. I prayed about it, and I decided to listen to the Lord and just do it. I recorded my first episode with my Aunt April. She was wonderful. I fumbled. And I will never release that episode, and I will re-record with her someday. Just keeping it real. I went to NC to be with my mixed nut nephew. I prayed. I worried. I second guessed it. I read a book. I read The Bible. But I had already committed, and I didn’t want to back out.

Fast forward to March with one episode recorded and a concept, I went to the Tim Tebow Celebrity Gala and Golf Tournament… and it’s there that I had no idea I was talking to an NFL Hall of Famer for a few hours. That’s a story for another day… but that NFL Hall of Famer was Marcus Allen. It’s probably good I had no clue who he was… LOL

Long story short, he offered to help me with my podcast and said to me “Sometimes it’s all about having one person, just one person believing in you and helping you.” I am like wow. First of all, I told him I didn’t even know who he was when I met him. Perhaps he is going to connect me to someone who can help. But when he said “one person”; he meant himself. He was my next guest for my podcast. And just like that I am living in Melbourne, interviewing a former NFL athlete for a podcast I never dreamt of starting.

Many of you know that I have been working on this lil project for a while now, and I am excited to release my very first episode of Write it Down. This would not be possible without the XV XIII Network. We didn’t know that months later, God would open doors and create a unique show with unique guests. But isn’t that the beauty of God’s adventure for our lives? So, my encouragement to you is to stop projecting yourself into the life you think you should be living. Don’t just sit in the life you have, but train in the life you have with the people God has placed in your life. I promise you… you will not miss out on anything exciting. In all aspects of my life, I am challenged to surrender the story I thought I wanted and live in the one I was given. Surround yourself with people who have the same end goal in mind. For me that goal is the Kingdom of God, and I am thankful for every single person who has encouraged me, mentored me, and prayed for me. This is not my show. It’s ours.

Check out what my friends are doing with the XV XIII Network. The other shows on this network are exceptional and unique. I am excited to watch God move n shake in the 321, and I am humbled that He chose me to be a part of it.

 xvxiii.com

By the way… my release day is October 1 and will be released the first of every month!!! Follow for content on Instagram @widpod and @xvxiiinetwork

Macros and Manna

Macros and Manna

I would like to preface this entry by saying: This is not a blog full of dieting tips nor is it a suggestion to start counting your macros.

Macronutrients

There are a lot of fitness junkies out there who count the macros in their food. What does that mean? Well, there are 3 macro-nutrients that your body requires in order to function. Those macro-nutrients or “macros” are Carbs, Proteins, and Fats. When a fitness enthusiast “counts their macros”, they do this to optimize the benefits of their workout to shed fat and build muscle. It’s a science. For more on this, read this article: https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/03/06/how-much-do-macronutrients-really-matter

  • It is necessary for your overall health to ingest all 3 macro-nutrients throughout the day when it comes to the longevity of your life. Sure you can go on a low-carb diet to lose weight fast, or you can do a fat-free diet to avoid high caloric intake, or you can do a high protein diet to ensure you build muscle to burn more fat, but if you go a long time without one specific macro-nutrient you could inflict long-term damage to your body’s system.

Jillian Levy, Certified Holistic Health Counselor and senior writer for the Dr. Axe Team, puts it this way, “We cannot live without all three of these macro-nutrients even for a short period of time, as they’re needed for everything from growth and development to sustaining circulation and providing the brain with enough energy for cognitive functioning.”(1).

Why do I bring all of this up? Because God created our bodies to crave and require these macro-nutrients for basic function and living. We can tweak our diets for weight loss results and to feel better in the gym, but we can’t deny our bodies these macro-nutrients… at least not forever. Eventually on a low-carb diet, we are gonna break down and eat a pound of cheesecake at the next party.

Okay, maybe that’s just me…

The main goal when it comes to nutrition is to eat exactly what you need, when you need it, in order to maintain a healthy and functional lifestyle. Overindulgence will hinder your efforts, and undereating will wreak havoc on your body.

Timing

One more thing I would like to add: a lot of health gurus stress the importance of nutrient timing. They suggest “eating for what you are about to do”. Without getting too technical… Carbs are used as a quick energy source and best consumed around physical activity. Fats are best consumed when your activity level is significantly low, like before bedtime. Dr. Clay Hyght, (DC, BSc, CSCS, CISSN) believes you should consume fats when there are no carbs. When you sleep, your body is almost exclusively using fat as an energy source (2). Protein is great throughout the day, however, consuming it at night before bed is also beneficial. Protein is necessary for repairing your muscles after strenuous activity and this repair occurs more proficiently during your sleep cycle.

Let’s take a break from this dieting convo and head over to Exodus 16. There is a correlation between nutrients and God’s perfect supply of what we need in our life.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+16&version=NIV

The Wilderness

The scene is this: Moses and the entire Israelite community were being led out of slavery from the Egyptians. I am sure you know the story of Pharaoh and Moses even if you aren’t a Christian or avid Bible reader. If not, you can find that story starting in Exodus 1.

The Lord had promised to lead the Israelites into the promise land; however, they would be wandering in the wilderness for 40 years in the meantime. Around the second month in the wilderness, they did not have food. God had just miraculously provided water for them in the desert after their escape from the Egyptian army. The Israelites grew angry with The Lord for their starvation in the wilderness. “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted, Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!” (Ex. 16:16:3).

PAUSE: how many times has God pulled through for you in a big way, then you enter a season of wilderness and almost wish for the last season? “The grass is always greener” syndrome is real.

Manna

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from Heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather it for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions’”.

Without typing up a block of scripture I am going to paraphrase the rest of the passage. The Lord provided manna (a very thin-flaky honey flavored wafer) in the morning and quail at night. (Ex. 16:13). When they woke up in the morning, the dew evaporated, and the fine flakes of manna covered the desert ground. “The Lord has commanded, ‘Gather as much of it as each person needs to eat…’” (vs. 16) Then “Moses said to them, ‘No one is to let any of it remain until the morning’. But they did not listen to Moses; some people left part of it until {the next} morning, and it bred worms and stank.” (vs. 19).

You get the picture? The command was to gather as much of the manna they would need for the day but not to keep any for the next morning. Why? Because he knew that the next morning He would again provide fresh manna for their nutritional needs. When the sun came up, it melted the leftover manna (vs. 21). There was no need for them to overindulge or become greedy.

By the way, the main macro-nutrient in bread is carbs…. Remember that carbs are the main energy source for physical activity. The Lord knew they would be breaking down camp, walking miles and miles, fighting beasts of the wild, and setting up camp again. Carbs would be needed for this strenuous daily activity. He wanted them to trust Him for the next morning’s supply. Much like He wants us to trust Him for the next season’s supply. He gives us exactly what we need, when we need it.

Quail

Let’s look at God’s provision when evening came. “At twilight you will eat meat… So, at evening quail came and covered the camp.” (vs. 11,13)

I looked up the nutrition information of quail…. Quail meat has zero carbs high protein, approximately 78%, and moderate in fats, 22% per caloric ratio (3). (that’s interesting; I believe most health gurus suggest no carbs at night….)

Quail is also high in zinc, iron, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B3 (niacin). Quail is high in cholesterol, however Vitamin B3 assists in controlling cholesterol levels by catalyzing lipid synthesis in the liver. Zinc is great for growth, reproduction, the immune system, and neurological function. Iron helps form hemoglobin (protein that transports oxygen in the blood) and myoglobin (protein that transports oxygen in muscles). Vitamin B6 supports the immune and nervous system but also aids in breaking down glycogen (a form of sugar stored by muscles and the liver as a store of carbohydrates). Wow all that nutrition information and science makes me realize the Israelites had EVERYTHING they needed at the time they needed it for optimal health and physical activity.

You see, it may have seemed overbearing for God to command them when and what to eat. However, He knew exactly what their bodies would need for their daily activities and recovery at night. For a span of 40 years!

Now, I said this wasn’t a diet blog, and I am not saying that the Bible wants you to count your macros… But I think we just learned a lot about the human body and its complex needs. We also learned a lot about our Father in Heaven who is the ultimate provider and supplier of our needs. Not only is nutrient timing effective, but God’s timing is even more effective. He is merciful. He is just. He is faithful.

If we are in the wilderness like the Israelites, I recommend we obey His commands and cling to His promises extra tight because we can be assured, He will provide each morning and each night for our good.

  1. https://draxe.com/nutrition/vitamins/macronutrients/
  2. https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/tip-eat-fat-before-going-to-bed
  3. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/798/2
Self Talk

Self Talk

Have you ever heard of an ear-worm? An ear-worm (or a brain worm) is when a song is stuck in your head and you can’t get rid of it. This could be an entire song or part of a song that continues to repeat over and over. Like “Baby Shark”.

Anyways, the only way to really get rid of an ear-worm is by replacing it with a different song or preoccupy your mind with different thoughts by watching a movie, completing a puzzle, or chatting with a friend.

Can We Just Talk?

I bring this up because I think all of us have a song that we sing over ourselves that we can’t seem to replace. The ear-worm I have goes something like this: “Brooke, you are too much. Your personality is abrasive. You’re too loud. You don’t know how to relax. You overwhelm people. You are overbearing. You obsess over what people think. You rub people the wrong way. You will never get what you desire with the personality you have. You are intimidating. You are the reason things go wrong in relationships.”

Yikes! Sounds so harsh. By the way, I would NEVER say these comments about anyone else, but for some reason this is the record that plays in my head the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep at night. This song starts off loud in the morning… then when my day is full of work and distractions, it grows faint, but it is still there. Kind of like when you’re shopping and the store has faint background music you can quietly hum to. The more I sing the song over myself, the more familiar I am with it. To be honest it sucks.

Side note, whenever I have a legit song stuck in my head, I often sing it out loud or tell the nearest person “You know what song is stuck in my head”? Then I tell them.

The song we sing in our heads about ourselves follows this notion as well. I pretty much announce my insecurities and almost beg people to agree with them… ☹

Maybe it is just me, but when I believe lies about myself, I let that influence my relationships and how I interact with people. I preface most texts and conversations with, “if not no worries” or “you can say no” because I am afraid that my presence is too much. I would rather reject myself first than have someone else do it and validate my insecurities. WHY??? Why do I give people permission to perpetuate the lies that Christ worked so hard on the cross to replace?

No matter how many times someone reminds me that I am a child of God or I am who He says I am… I struggle. And then when people tell me to ask Him who He says that I am, I wonder if He has a unique name or song for me.

Interlude:

I wish there was a step by step process on how to rid yourself of the explicit content in your head that permits you to believe lies about yourself. I think one way we can combat these lies about ourselves is by focusing on what is ahead instead of letting the past define us.

The Lyrics in the Letter

In the letter to the church at Philippi, written by a guy named Paul around 60-62 AD, reminds us what we should be filling our minds with.

“My goal is to know Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus… Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained”  

This passage is found in Philippians 3:10-16, right before the famous passages of not being anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6-7).

When I read the passage above, I do not initially think of my ear-worm problem. But when I circle back to how songs are introduced into our thoughts; I reconsider how I read this passage. My self-deprecating thoughts that I replay in my head do not reflect that I have been taken hold of by Christ (vs. 12). They reflect that I have been taken hold of by my fears, past rejections, recent failures, and misconceptions of the realities in my life. I am challenged to forget the song I have been replaying in my head and replace it with the goal of Christ’s call on my life.

I love verse 15 as well, “Let all of us who are mature think this way”. This maturity is not due to age, it is due to a mindset. In order to be mature and whole in our thinking, we must forget what is behind us and reach for what is ahead. What is ahead? Christ ruling and reigning on this earth in fellowship with His people. In the meantime, God will reveal to us the thoughts He has towards us and His call on our life (vs. 15). While we wait for Him to reveal more of Himself to us, we should overwhelm our lives with the truth He has already shown us (vs.16).

A New Song

It’s a process my friends, but in order to stamp out the explicit lyrics that we sing over ourselves, we must replace it with a new song. In the same letter, Paul closes out with this challenge:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy, think (dwell) on these things.” (Phil. 4:8)         

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” Isaiah 49:1

Let’s replace the songs in our heads with a new song. We can start by replaying these.

Song of the Day: https://youtu.be/k5w7MgTgVVs

Guest of Honor

Guest of Honor

I shared some thoughts on my Instagram story last night in regards to pride that I would like to elaborate further on. Here is what was shared in case you missed it.

” Something I’ve been challenged by lately is my pride…

Pride by definition: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired

The larger my pride is, the less I rely on Christ.

Seems simple and plain enough right? Pride is an open door which grants permission for the enemy to come in and keep us in bondage…

How so?

Pride comes in all forms, false humility, insecurities, fear of rejection, thinking you’re the best in one area of life to compensate for where you lack in another, situational frustration, and comparison…. (I struggle daily with all of these and more)

When I feel insecure or frustrated or compare myself… these are all symptoms of pride.

  • Being insecure is a form of pride by wanting to be and look the best
  • Frustration is a form of pride when things don’t go my way
  • Comparison is a form of pride by wanting to be/do better than someone else
  • All forms of pride keep us from fearing the Lord and trusting in Him to provide the ultimate best for us. If we fear the Lord and His presence, recognize that we are all weak and hurting, then and only then can we experience true freedom in Christ and what He did for us.”

Sit Down. Be HUMBLE.

To take it a step further, let’s take a look at Luke 14:8-11. Jesus tells a parable (an allegory told to illustrate a spiritual lesson) at a leading Pharisee’s (strict observers of Jewish laws) house.

To summarize Jesus’s parable, He sets the scene describing a wedding banquet where the host invites you and a more distinguished guest. Let’s say you were invited to the Royal Wedding but so was Oprah… Jesus continues the story by instructing us not to sit in the best seat at the banquet because someone may come along and ask you to get up and give your seat to the guest of honor… “and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place” (vs.9).

Instead “when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you ‘Friend, move up higher’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests” (vs.10).

It’s challenging to me that when I intend to honor myself and sit where I want in life, I end up humiliated and embarrassed. But Jesus, who was the ultimate example of humility, inspires me to do the same. Self exaltation is so easy to do when you feel like you have a right to something. But in this story both people were guests… they were both invited. We are all invited into what God has called us into, our biggest battle within is where we think we should be sitting… We look at those around us and compare our seat to theirs. We are aggravated with situations not going our way because we think it will interfere with the goodness allotted to us in this life. We puff ourselves up internally so we feel better about ourselves. But it’s important to remember that God is the one who exalts…

He is our host. He is the one who invited us to His banquet. Wouldn’t you rather be sitting in the back of the wedding eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the action and have the host of the big event come grab you by the hand, in front of everyone, and move you to the front? So many times I miss this. I park my happy behind in what I think is the front, just waiting for God to do something big… what is there to do when you’re in the best seat of the house? Besides be moved to the back. Jesus finishes the story with “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (vs.11)

When you place yourself in the best seat of the house, the less you rely on Christ to come through for you. Pride keeps us in bondage because it doesn’t give room for Christ to come in and change the narrative for us. My pride manifests differently each day, but my hope is that I will seek out the back of the room because that’s where Jesus sits… and where He is healing, fellowship, and holiness reside.