Monsters

Once upon a time, in the very recent past, there was a girl who was consumed by Monsters.

Wait, pause. We need to learn more about the Monsters in this story. These Monsters aren’t the typical monsters of books and movies, but rather Monsters that are around us everyday. They have actually been known to surround us without us even realizing it due to our attraction to their ways. They start out as cute little things, but can grow into large Beasts.

Continuing on. During the day, the girl’s Monsters followed her around, but she managed to keep them hidden. At night though, oh, at night they came out. You see, these Monsters thrive in the dark. They attack in unexpected ways, biting you when you sometimes don’t even realize it.

This girl, in her ever drifting ways, was an easy target for the Monsters. At first, she wasn’t well aware of them. During the day she was the teacher’s pet, but at night she was the life of the party. Her stories of her life were almost so unbelievable that her friends joked she should write them all down in a book that would most likely become a best-seller. The problem, though, was that in writing them down, her Monsters would become visible to the world. They begged her to keep them a secret.

Moving around in her days, her Monsters were getting worse and worse about remaining hidden. You see, these Monsters have an ego. They want to be perceived as life, but they are darkness. They yearn to be seen without truly being seen. Before she knew it, the girl was being drowned by her Monsters, and she was silently screaming for a life free of them, not even realizing exactly how free of them she needed to be.

It didn’t take long for her hidden Monsters to begin revealing themselves. Eventually the Monsters began creeping into the daylight, wondering what it would feel like to risk being noticed. They wanted fame. Sneaky as they are though, they masked themselves even when slightly revealing themselves during the day. You have to have a trained eye to see them.

Carrying on through her days, the girl was seeking freedom, yearning to stand firm without her Monsters crawling all over her. They weighed her down. It took her being knocked down multiple times, but eventually she was torn free from her Monsters. Their masks were ripped off and they were revealed in the Light. She was finally able to stand up to her Monsters with the Light holding her hand, pulling her into a warm embrace.

Now, her Monsters still try to pester her, trying to get her to let them back in. They nip at her ankles and scurry through her mind. The Monsters try to tear her down and hide from the Light, but she knows better. Because of the Light, she is no longer slave to the Monsters. She has found Freedom.

Dear readers, you may have caught on by now to the characters in this story. The Monsters are the enemy, wearing many disguises that we may seek for without necessarily realizing it: popularity. alcohol. food. drugs. money. That’s just naming a few. Many Monsters lurk around without their hosts even realizing they are there.

But what about the Light? Who is this Light character? The Light is the victor of this story: Jesus.

In this story, Jesus ripped the enemy off of the girl and pulled her towards Him. He revealed her Monsters, revealed the enemy. He is our Savior. Our Lover. Our Protector. He wants to yank the Monsters off of you and pull you into Him.

Friends, this is just a little description of how Jesus saved me. He saved me from my Monsters.

Will you let Him fight your Monsters for you?

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12

IMG_9046 2

Braving the Wilderness

Brené Brown’s fifth book, Braving the Wilderness, is simply spectacular. She discusses how to remain true to yourself while still maintaining respect for other people and their opinions. Some items that specifically stuck out to me were the topics we’re hearing a lot about in the news and on social media: race and politics. I urge you all to pick up this book and begin reading it open-mindedly. 

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

Reading Challenge

Hi friends! I have a bit of a reading challenge for you, but not in the normal reading challenge sense. You see, I have noticed this problem with people taking every author at their word and not challenging the text. More specifically, I see all too often people who love Jesus taking a book author’s viewpoint and running with it without viewing it through a biblical lens. I myself have fallen prey to this mentality way too many times, so I want to help you out in your exploration of books.

Here’s my challenge: when reading a book, take in the message and see how it applies to living a life following Jesus.

Here are some practical questions to ask yourself while reading:
Does this line up with what I know to be True?
Does scripture back up this thought?
How can I take this concept and apply it to my life while showing others the love of Christ?

I applied these questions to a book I recently read, and oh wow did it transform how I absorbed what I was reading. I was able to interact with the text on a whole new level, which helped me take in and process the book in ways I never would have before.

I would love to know: what are some thoughts/skills you apply to your own reading?

Rising Strong

In her fourth book, Rising Strong, Brené Brown encourages digging into and accepting our own personal stories in order to live wholeheartedly. She discusses trauma and grief as we process through and radically accept each of our stories. With her theory, when we get honest with our stories, we’re able to write the endings. Also remaining true to her research, Brené incorporates the importance of remaining vulnerable in order to overcome shame.

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly is Brené Brown’s third book, and in this one she explores shame and vulnerability at an even deeper level. In this book, she stresses the importance of daring to be vulnerable in order to discover the importance of our lives. The truth that our lives are important is widely overlooked in our culture, so Brené challenges us to put on “vulnerability armor” in order to discover our wholehearted selves.

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

The Gifts of Imperfection

I’m a long time follower of Brené Brown’s work, and The Gifts of Imperfection is by far my favorite book of hers. In this book, Brené gives very useful “guideposts” on ways to cultivate wholehearted living. When I first read this book, I journaled as I went along and I highly recommend doing the same. I now reference The Gifts of Imperfection multiple times a year, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading it soon!

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)

Brené Brown begins her writing career strong with I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t). This book sets the stage for understanding shame and overcoming its potential control on our lives by discussing the power of vulnerability with people was trust. We live in a world that tries to tell us who we are and who we are meant to be, but Brené challenges you to live authentically.

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)