Happy July 5th, friends! Hope everyone had a happy fourth full of fireworks, yummy food, friends, and family. Who agrees that summer is such a sweet season to start a new book? Whether you are traveling, on the beach, at home, or at the pool, taking time to dive into a new book feels so right during summertime. Below is a list of 7books to read this summer including pages we have read and loved, ones we are reading as of now, plus books that are our own to-read list this summer and beyond.
Disappointments. Frustration. Trials. Fears. Worries. Doubt. We all have them and if we don’t have them now, we will have them soon. We have talked about these tough emotional spots before on the blog in several faith-based posts on handling stress, becoming fearless, trusting the Lord, and so many more. In these tough times, our faith will be tested and holding on to Jesus will be a necessity! Today, though, we feel called to address the easy trap that we can all fall into when things aren’t how we want them to be, and that trap is something we are going to call emotional quicksand. You know what we mean…those pity parties, that everything is horrible forever type of thinking, and the general downward spiral of doom and gloom. Don’t go there! However, if you find yourself slipping, keep reading for my tips on how to get unstuck from emotional quicksand.
1. Process Emotions Properly
Letting yourself feel your emotions is a healthy start. Don’t hold on to emotions, but rather acknowledge them, feel them, and let them pass through you so you don’t get stuck reacting from a place of emotion that is void of rational thinking, sound counsel, and good wisdom.
2. Take Space
In order to react well, sometimes a deep breath or fresh air will be necessary. Give yourself permission to take space, both physically from someone or something, and definitely mentally for a moment or two so you can center yourself, fix your eyes on Jesus, and handle the situation as best as possible.
3. Have Necessary Conversations
Need to have a hard conversation? Talking about it face to face is always a good idea, once you have had time to process your emotions and take space. Speak out of love and from a place of Truth, with a peaceful voice and ears open to hear. The phrase “listening to understand” is always so helpful in a confrontation.
4. Release Control
Is a situation out of your control? As frustrating and scary as that may feel, release your desire to control what you can’t. Give it to God and thank Him for handling what you cannot. You will hopefully find the freedom that comes from the release and in turn, trust that He has your life in His complete control!
5. Move Forward In Prayer
No matter the situation, it is important we move forward and don’t stay stuck where we are. Say your prayers, ask for God’s wisdom, and take the next step forward in faith while embracing your current reality. God knows our needs before we express them, but we are called to ask! It’s pretty cool. Not to mention, this further develops our relationship with God.
6. Count Your Blessings
Focusing on what you have to be grateful for is such an important step to get unstuck and pay attention to the positive. Trust and faith open up the door to counting your blessings, which enables you to appreciate where you are right now (despite what is happening) and bloom where you are planted.
As we all know, life gets pretty busy. Am I right or am I right!? God is so gracious, though, and has given us an amazing, restful gift as a tool to navigate the busyness of life and that is PRAYER. No matter what we go through, prayer is always ours to practice and it is a direct connection to our Father. In a moment of stress at work? Put the phone down and pray. Unable to make a decision? Turn your eyes upward and pray. Overwhelmed by your to-do list at home? Step away from the pad of paper and pray. Frustrated with someone you love dearly? Excuse yourself momentarily and pray.
It sounds easy, right? Yes, except for the fact that in the moment we can sometimes forget to pray. No matter how much we love the Lord and trust Him wholeheartedly, as humans, we can get caught up in life and seriously forget that we have the amazing gift of prayer, of direct communication with our Maker, available to us at all times. All we have to do is remember whose we are and call out to Him.
Jase and I have been extra busy with the home renovation we are doing, so prayer has been an absolute blessing to help handle the task. We were both a little in over our heads the other day, and we got so caught up in the frustration that we forgot to pray. I was driving in the car, and it hit me! What peace it brings, almost immediately, when we pray in the midst of feeling overwhelmed. Prayer releases us from the cycle of frustration (or the feeling of wanting to control something) and reminds us that God is sovereign over all the things and he’s with us! We are not handling this alone- He is supporting us, comforting us, and guiding us every step of the way. PRAISE JESUS!
We recently heard a sermon on security and it really got our minds thinking. We have talked here on the blog about handling stress, guarding our hearts, trust, comfort, wisdom and so much more, but almost every faith-based message ends up focusing on the necessity of finding refuge in the Lord. It’s no coincidence!
In the sermon, the pastor speaks about how insecurity drives our fear. How true is this? When we don’t feel secure, safe, and firmly rooted, fear starts to take off. However, we have a forever, faithful, trusted safeguard against insecurity when we are are only putting our security in Christ. When we try to put our faith in something or someone else other than Jesus (be it your house, a person, job security, money, praise, possessions, health, our looks, abilities, or anything….) it doesn’t work. However, when Jesus is our rock, refuge, and fortress, we have a peace and security that is sure, guaranteed, steadfast, and true no matter what our circumstances are. This security allows us to stop striving, rest in Him, and be free of fear.
If you feel that you need a perspective shift when it comes to your security, hold the below verses from Psalm 18 close to your heart. Memorizing scripture is so powerful when insecurity, fear, and doubt try to worm their way in. Stand strong and use His word as your armor!
I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies. (CSB)
With Good Friday being today and Easter Sunday just around the bend, our hearts are feeling the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice for us and we feel called to share a little Holy Week message with ya’ll.
When we say the weight of His sacrifice, it encompasses the unimaginable suffering that He went through on our behalf, as well as the complete faithfulness of God toward us, the endless love Jesus has for us, and the outstanding gift of grace that we’ve been given as children of God.
It takes my breath away in a God-fearing way every Easter, since it is a very intentional time to focus on this sacrifice. Easter calls us to remember that Jesus died so we could be free! May we live life daily with this truth on our hearts and in our minds, living freely and loving others like He loves us.
Time is a precious gift and Easter reminds us to make the most of the days He has given us out of his love and mercy. He died so we could live for Him (2 Corinthians 5;15), which is more than enough reason to wake up praising him and live to glory of God each and every day. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us sacrificially, unconditionally, and faithfully. We love you!
I am so excited to have a dear friend of mine, Audrey Roloff, featured on LSK today. Auj and her husband, Jeremy, have written a book that everyone should read ASAP! Married, engaged, dating, or single, A Love Letter Life is a read that will speak to everyone’s heart, encouraging all to pursue creatively, date intentionally, and love faithfully. Relationships are such a precious gift from the Lord and we are called to love others as Jesus loves us. We promise you that Audrey and Jeremy’s love story will display God’s love for His children and inspire you to love well, thanks to Jesus’ love for us and how He equips us in relationship.
*Let’s chat about the inspiration behind this book. Was it something that had been on your and Jeremy’s hearts for a while?
AR: I’ve always wanted to write a book, it’s definitely a big God dream for me. I’ve always loved writing, journaling, blogging and am so passionate about relationships, from dating to marriage. Jeremy and I definitely have a similar heartbeat for relationships and the idea of writing a book as a way to walk alongside others in relationship by encouraging creativity, intentionality, and faithfulness felt really natural and made us both really excited.
*I love the book’s description of “Pursue Creatively, Date Intentionally, and Love Faithfully.” This captures the journey of meeting someone, getting to know them, and loving them like Jesus loves us. From your experience, what would you say is the most important purpose of this process?
AR: To us, pursuit, dating, and loving aren’t so much a process (as in one stops and the other starts), but more so a package deal where all three things are part of the whole love story, from the beginning until forever. Jeremy is still doing all three of these things: pursuing me, dating me, and loving me. Just because we are married, doesn’t mean the pursuing and dating stops! That is what we really hope to convey to couples and individuals, that pursuing creatively, dating intentionally, and loving faithfully are core healthy aspects for a wonderful relationship. As Jeremy says, they are beautiful ingredients for a beautiful love story. The adjectives there are super important, too: creatively, intentionally, and faithfully. This is how our God loves us, so we are to love others in the same way.
*Let’s talk faith! Can you explain your point of view in the importance of being with someone who loves the Lord with all their heart? How big of a part did Jeremy’s love for God have in your attraction, interest, and love for Jeremy?
AR: Huge part! I had a very high standard for who the person I was going to be with would be. Loving the Lord with their whole heart was a must when it came to a potential relationship. I met Jeremy at a time when he was in a slight season of spiritual complacency, so friendship first for us was definitely the Lord preparing us and protecting us to love one another better. There was no pressure when we were friends before dating and we are both so thankful for that season, because the season of friendship allowed us to follow Jesus so strongly individually, and then come together in a romantic sense and love one another intentionally and purposefully.
*You two discuss friendship as the basis for a love relationship a lot in this book which is so amazing. Jeremy puts it so beautifully in the book: “We were careful with one another because we didn’t want to mess it up. The friendship we were nurturing allowed us to build the foundation for a love story without getting lost in a cloud of emotions from physical intimacy.” Yes and amen to that! Can you elaborate on why you and Jeremy felt called to be careful with one another and why you believe this truth to be so key when dating? Immediately it makes me think of Proverbs 4:23- “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”
AR: This goes back to the question above and just how important the friendship season was for us. As I said, it was definitely preparation and protection from God which I am so thankful for. We were careful with one another and took it slow because we didn’t want to mess it up. We both messed up before with previous relationships and we didn’t want to go there. Friendship truly was our solid foundation for our relationship and allowed us to stay grounded and patient as our love story took root and then unfolded.
*When I think of your and Jeremy’s love story, I think of a seed being steadily nourished, growing into a delicate sapling, then strengthening into a blooming, healthy plant; one that is thriving and flourishing as you are nurtured through each other by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. How would you describe thriving and flourishing in marriage?
AR: Oh man, great question. I would say thriving and flourishing in marriage for Jeremy and I looks like us pursuing one another constantly, pushing one another to follow Jesus steadfastly, connecting with one another regularly, communicating well, and believing that there are always more ways to love and serve one another. Back to your plant reference, plants need different things at different times of the year, so knowing that thriving and flourishing for us is going to look different at different times of the year really brings us peace and keeps us going.
*Last but not least, we gotta hear what it is like to work and write a book with your husband!
AR: I absolutely love working together with Jeremy and wouldn’t trade it for the world. We get to do life together, completely, and we both love that. Of course we have challenges to work through together and we do that, but it might look different compared to couples who don’t work together. It definitely puts us in a place where we can’t avoid conflict, so we are quick to address it and quick to resolve it! It is such a blessing though to be on mission together and working toward the same goal, it is the best thing for us as a husband and wife team and keeps pushing us to grow, both individually and as a union.
Thanks, Auj! xo
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To read more faith posts on LSK, click here, and for more interviews, click here.