Staying in Step with the Lord

Staying in Step with the Lord

Have you ever been in a season where you feel like you have no direction for where you are going? Maybe you’ve asked God where He is at. Maybe you’ve felt as if He isn’t working in your life and it seems like you are completely stuck. I’ve been there too, many times in my life. But specifically at the beginning of 2022, I was frustrated with where I was. I was a full-time nurse, about to be a first-time author, ran a small business, was encouraging women through social media, and knew that the Lord was stirring something new within me. I just had no idea what that something new was, and it became all that I could think about.

I honestly was really struggling with being a nurse at the time. Work was draining, my co-worker’s morale was really low, and I had all these other new passions within me. It was getting hard to balance the writing I was doing along with having a full-time job, being a wife, a friend, and taking care of myself. Burnout was really close. I was waiting for the day when the Lord would tell me to quit. I selfishly didn’t want to be doing the hard work as a nurse anymore. I wanted what seemed to be the “easier way.” But deep down inside I still had this feeling that I was still called to be involved in nursing. Every part of me was trying to ignore it. My dream was to be part-time, but that was desired by many people and seemed impossible since we were short staffed so I never bothered asking.

One Sunday morning I was at church and during the last worship set I remember sitting down and pleading to the Lord, “What is next for me?” I began to see a picture of Joshua at the Jordan river, I felt the Lord remind me that the waters didn’t part until the priests took a step into it. It was at that moment that I felt the Lord tell me to quit my job as a nurse. I was hysterically crying as now I knew I heard clearly from the Lord and wanted to obey but now doing the one thing my flesh wanted felt like the most horrifying thing to do. I didn’t know what would come of it. I was stressed about what our finances would look like, and I had no plan whatsoever of what would happen once I wasn’t working, but I chose to be obedient to what the Lord asked of me. The next day I put my notice in for 2 months. Why 2 months? Only the Lord knew.

Fast forward a few weeks and I still had zero clarity on what was next. I found myself asking God, “Okay Lord, you told me to do this, and I still have no idea what you want me to do!” I felt the Lord call me to fast for a day from food. I prayed and prayed and prayed, but still, nothing. The next day I was at work and it was the day to tell my boss what my official last day would be with the new schedule out. As I walked into the office to tell her what my last day would be, she offered for me to go part-time! At first, I was hesitant and thought, “But God, you told me to quit?” and then I felt Him say, “I am giving you the desires of your heart.”

After talking with my husband and family it was evident that this was the next step that God had for me. As I began to work part-time as a nurse God then began to open other doors that filled my time. Looking back, I see God’s hand in every moment, even when I felt as if He wasn’t there.

As I walked through that season of my life, the verse I held onto was, The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV

 I could have made all of the plans in my head that I thought were best for me and tried to pursue them. But ultimately, I wanted and knew that God’s plan for my life was better than anything I could have ever come up with on my own.

When we choose to surrender everything that feels comfortable and step into the uncomfortable of the unknown with Jesus, He WILL show up. God isn’t always going to give us a list of the steps we need to take to get to where He wants us to go. Most of the time He is a step-by-step kind of guy or even “take this blind step and see what I will do.” But with each step of faith that we do take with Him, we can trust that we are on the path to the most abundant life. I love what Mark Batterson says in his book Draw The Circle, “God wants us to get where God wants us to go more than we want to get where God wants us to go.”

You are on the path of abundance when you are on the path surrendered to Jesus. He will get you where He wants to get you in His perfect timing. He knows every detail of how He will get you where He wants to get you. And in that time leading up to where He is taking you, He is preparing you for what He has for you.

So yes, maybe you are in a season where you feel no direction or clarity. I want to encourage you, instead of asking God for a 5-step plan or just waiting for Him to make a move, ask Him what the next step for you to take is. And then boldly and courageously take that step no matter how scary or daunting or vulnerable it may seem. Sometimes instead of just waiting on the Lord to move, we need to take an action step that says, Lord, I am ready to do what you want me to do. I lay down my plans for my life and submit to your plans for me whatever they may be. If God told you to do it, He will bless your obedience. Just like the priests touched their feet in the water of the Jordan river and then it parted. They had to have faith that God would do what He said He would do. Out of faith, dip your toes in the water, and watch how God will make a way when there seems to be no way!

Believe in the promise that God is establishing your steps. Write it on your heart and remind yourself of it every day. The Lord is establishing your steps better than you could ever do on your own. Not only is He actively doing that now but He is excited about where He is taking you! It will be worth the wait. Waiting on the Lord is NEVER wasted waiting.

Allyson Golden is the Author of the devotional Words Are Golden and founder of the online ministry Words Are Golden. She is also a part-time nurse & on staff at the church in which she and her husband helped plant. Her heart is for women to recognize that their words hold power when rooted in God’s powerful word. She loves to host people in her home, cook yummy meals & learn about the heart of Jesus! You can read more from Allyson on Instagram @wordsaregolden

The Value of God’s Word

The Value of God’s Word

It was the year after I graduated college, and I found myself sitting in my apartment staring at my Bible. I knew that I should probably read it more often than I did, but honestly, it intimidated me. I never knew where to start, I felt like I was supposed to “get” something out of it for myself when I read it and was disappointed when I didn’t, and sometimes it honestly felt like another thing to check off my to-do list. Have you ever felt this way too about reading God’s word?

To be honest with you, I found myself seeking words of encouragement and motivation from people instead of going to God’s word first. The enemy would slip into my mind and lie to me saying, “man’s approval will fill you more than God’s approval”. I ended up in a place that was isolating and lonely. I was seeking affirmation from the words of man, rather than going to The source that would be able to satisfy every longing I had.

In psalm 19:9-10 it says, “the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold.” A lot of times in the Bible when it says “rules” it means God’s word and His teachings. So this verse here says, His word, is to be desired more than gold. But, think about the context of this. The value of gold when the Bible was written was THE most valuable possession. 

God’s word is to be more desired than anything that exists on this Earth! Our Bibles are our most valuable possession. Friend, I was not treating it that way. I wanted worldly approval. His word didn’t have the utmost authority in my life. As we hide our valuable possessions, His word was not hidden deep within my heart.

I remember I had a moment with the Lord where I sat at his feet with all that I was feeling. I felt empty, I felt lonely, I was struggling with comparison, and I just wanted to feel loved. I had come to the end of my rope and was desperate for the Lord. I felt Him speak to me, “Allyson, seek my face and I will seek you.” I didn’t know where to start or how to, so I just prayed and asked the Lord, “Jesus, help me to have a deeper desire to know you and to be hungry for your word.”

And because the Lord is so good, and keeps His promises, ever since then, I have had a hunger for the Lord like never before. I think a lot of times the enemy makes us think that reading the bible and getting to know Jesus is complicated (of course, because He doesn’t want us to read God’s word!). When in reality, it is simple. When we seek Him, when we make that 0.1% of effort, God sees it. He is constantly pursuing your heart. He is constantly chasing after you, wanting you to experience His love for you. 

His word is life-changing. His word is alive and active. His word is what we can use to combat the lies of the enemy.  I still have my moments of struggle. Do I read my bible every single day at 6 am with coffee in hand and in an Instagram-worthy spot? No. Reading God’s word isn’t supposed to be something we do to say we did or to check off of a to-do list. Reading God’s word is something we do because we want to seek all of who He is. 

God’s word is golden, and your words can be golden too! His word gives us a deeper understanding for how we are to live our lives and speak life over others. Having His word written on our hearts allows us to believe His truth for ourselves. He then gives us strength to be filled with His word and go out and speak it over others! When rooted in the Word of God that holds the ultimate power, your words have the power to change the world!

Here are some steps to help you dive into God’s golden word today:

  1. Pray and ask the Lord to instill within you a hunger for His word.
  2. Start small, read one verse per day, then increase to one chapter per day.
  3. If you don’t know where to start, start with the book of Matthew
  4. Order my journal Words Are Golden to help you dive deeper into the meanings of words in the bible, how to live them out, and how to speak them over yourself and others!

Wanting a tool to help you dive deeper into God’s word? Allyson’s new journal Words Are Golden and Inspirational Journal is the perfect place to start! Inside the journal you will find 47 different words along with their meanings, a short devotional, questions, a creative activity, and a challenge to do! This journal will give you the space to reflect on specific words and explore ways to believe them for yourself and go speak them over others. When rooted in the word of God that holds the ultimate power, your words can change the world!

Head on over to LO sister for a chance to win a copy of Ally’s new journal!

Allyson Golden is the author and creator of Words Are Golden an Inspirational and creative journal that is newly released! She runs the Instagram page @wordsaregolden where she encourages women to be rooted in God’s truth. Allyson is a pediatric nurse and lives in San Diego, CA with her husband Michael where they are involved on staff at the church they helped plant 3+ years ago. Allyson loves to write, encourage, and spend time with her community hosting people in her home. Say hi to her over on Instagram and order her new journal Words Are Golden today!

The One and Only Best Friend You Will Ever Need

The One and Only Best Friend You Will Ever Need

Throughout high school and into my college years I felt unsatisfied in my friendships. I would look at those around me and think to myself, “If only I had close friendships like them, then I would feel so loved.” Social media wasn’t very helpful at the time either. I didn’t have healthy boundaries with it and it made me feel so isolated. I was constantly comparing myself and the friendships I had to others. My mind would become overwhelmed with questions and doubts about my friendships.

The enemy loved to whisper little lies in my head like, “They like her more than you” “You weren’t invited because they don’t like you” “You just aren’t a good friend.” And the list goes on…

Why was I feeling so alone when I had good friends? Why did it feel like everyone around me had a “best friend” but I didn’t? Why wasn’t the deep longing in my heart to be loved filled by my friends? Wasn’t that how it is supposed to be?

Sister, if you are reading this right now, and you feel like you relate to any of those questions or feelings above, know you are not alone. But also know, that is not what God intended for you.

The deep longing in our soul to feel loved can only be fully satisfied by Jesus.

No human, no parent, no sibling, and no friend can fully satisfy the longing in our hearts to be fully known and fully loved.

For so long I had it wrong. I wasn’t running to Jesus to be filled up, I was running to people. I wanted to feel known, seen, and heard, but I was left feeling empty and confused. I was placing the expectations on my friends to love me and provide a friendship that only God could fully fulfill.

While we were created to be in community, we weren’t created to be dependent on community. When our dependency is in Christ alone we don’t need anything else but Him to sustain us.

It took me a few years before I realized – I was trapped in a cycle. It wasn’t fair of me to place these unrealistic expectations on my friends. But, God chased after my heart. He knew the deep desire I had to be a good friend. He knew the void I had in my heart for deep friendships. He saw that I was looking in the wrong places for fulfillment.

He met me in my brokenness and restored me. He reminded me that it is only Him that can fully satisfy. It is His well of love that never runs dry!

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

He is chasing you, friend. He wants to show you how He is your ultimate best friend. He will satisfy every deep longing that you have. He will fill every empty space with love and grace that never runs dry. You are not stuck where you’re at. Let Him dig up your roots and re-plant them in the soil of His never-ending love and friendship. He wants to pour His love into you so that you overflow with that love to those around you.

When we are rooted in our identity as a daughter of Christ we bloom into the sister and friend God has called us to be.

The world we live in is a very self-centered world. It is almost engrained in us to ask “well what is in it for me?” “How will I benefit from this?” This mindset has wiggled it’s way into relationships. It can be easy to walk into a relationship with a mindset that can be a little self-centered. But in the bible we are called to put on humility. Friendship isn’t about “what can I get from them?” But rather about, “what can I do for and give to them?”

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)

When we meet with Jesus and make the decision that He is our best friend, He provides our every need. When we let Christ fully satisfy our hearts, through compassion and humility, we are able to outpour with that same love to those around us.

He brings the right people at the right time into our lives. He surrounds us with the community we need. He wants us to be in sweet friendship with one another. Jesus modeled how to be the ultimate sister and friend. When we meet with Him, He transforms our heart and our minds to become more like His so that we may be the best sister and friend we can be.

Maybe you find yourself in the same lonely place where I once was – meet with Jesus.

Maybe you have friends surrounding you who aren’t a good influence on you – meet with Jesus.

Maybe you are desiring deeper friendships – meet with Jesus.

Maybe you are having conflict with a friend right now – meet with Jesus.

Maybe you want to pour into your friends more but feel empty – meet with Jesus

Maybe you have been meeting with Jesus – Keep meeting with Jesus.

The ultimate and best friend we will ever have is God, and He is all we will ever need.

Ally is a pediatric nurse in San Diego, and on her off days she is writing and creating encouraging content for her Instagram page @wordsaregolden. She is a big fan of Jesus, lover of all things pink, drinks iced coffee every day, and loves to cook for and host people in her home.  

Follow her on Instagram: @wordsaregolden

If Only I Had What She Had…

If Only I Had What She Had…

“If only I had what she had, then I would be happier.”

“I wish I was that loved, it looks like everyone loves her so much.”

“It looks like that is working out for her really well, why does nothing ever work out like that for me?”

“They always like, comment on, and re-share her photos, they must like her more than me.” 

“Wow, she has got it all together all the time and I just feel like a mess all the time.” 

These thoughts above are thoughts that I have struggled with in my life. I am not proud of these thoughts in any way. But at a point in my life, I have thought them, they consumed my mind and took away my joy. They say, “comparison is the thief of joy,” and I have come to realize that it is Satan who is the thief of Joy and he does all that he can to try and make us believe that what we have isn’t enough. 

Satan who makes us fall into comparison is the true thief of joy. 

So how do we do it? How do we escape from comparison? How do we be women who encourage and uplift other women no matter what our circumstances may be? 

We fall before the feet of Jesus Every. Single. Day. 

We ask Him to show us the areas in which we have made ourselves the center. We repent of those things and we ask him to invade our hearts and be at the center of all that we do. 

Comparison cannot be overcome without the One who has overcome it all. 

It is so much easier said than done though, right? One minute we are reading the word of God and feel seen and known by Him. The next minute we are scrolling on social media consuming our minds with content that makes us feel like we are less than. It is a vicious cycle and one that we will always need to be ready to go to battle with. Our battle with comparison belongs to God.

Let’s equip ourselves with scripture to ground and strengthen us when we catch ourselves falling into moments of comparison: 

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4 TPT)

When they get what you wanted. When she gets the job instead of you. When they get what you feel like you’ve been waiting for your whole life. When it seems like the stars are aligning perfectly for them and all you want is for two stars to align for you. Love refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. On our own, we can not fully love in such a way as this. But with the strength of Christ, reading and reminding ourselves of this scripture, and making Him the center of our hearts, He begins to transform us. 

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” (Ephesians 2:10 TPT)

Friend, God has His perfect plan for you that is going to be different than His perfect plan for them. We live in a time where our minds are bombarded with what everyone else is up to and doing. Our selfish flesh begins to desire what the world defines as “making it.” But what our flesh desires usually doesn’t line up with what God desires for our life. In the moment, it is hard to see when someone gets something we are desiring. But know and trust that before you were even born, God planned in advance your destiny and the good works you would do to fulfill that. Ask Him to align His desires for your life to also be the desires of your heart. 

“Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.” (Romans 12:10 TPT)

We are to celebrate one another! When we know fully that God is doing wondrous work in the life of a friend it deserves celebration. Satan is likely going to try and trick us into thinking that God must not love us or care about us as much as them. But actually, God withholds things from us for our good and because He knows our every need. So when God blesses another may we encourage, support, and celebrate knowing full and well that God is at work in that person’s life! May we be people who choose celebration over comparison. 

“So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:2-3 TPT)

The sin in which comparison stems from is pride. And when we become prideful, unity is harmed and in danger. Pride loves to hide. It is sneaky. It is like a killing weed and if it takes root and grows, it damages what is around it. So we must check in with ourselves and do a heart-check to make sure pride is not taking root. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are there any opinions or thoughts in my heart today in which I am in the center of?
  2. Am I putting the needs of myself first or the needs of others? 
  3. In recent conversations have I been making myself the center? 

These 4 passages from the bible above are what we can use in our battle against comparison. Write them down. Memorize them. Let them become your lifestyle. 

I see you, the one who has been struggling with comparison, and I am with you. It truly is something that we will always have to fight against, and sometimes it may get the best of us. Know that it doesn’t make you any less of a person. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. 

Like I said above, it takes falling at the feet of Jesus Every. Single. Day. Rely solely on Him. Pray these verses over yourself. Be confident in where He is leading you, knowing and trusting that it is perfect for you. And as you are led, cheer on others as they too are being led. 

As your Father in heaven cheers you on, go and cheer on His people. 

Ally is a pediatric nurse in San Diego, and on her off days she is writing and creating encouraging content for her Instagram page @wordsaregolden. She is a big fan of Jesus, lover of all things pink, drinks iced coffee every day, and loves to cook for and host people in her home.  

Follow her on Instagram: @wordsaregolden

My Empty Cup

My Empty Cup

Have you heard the analogy of filling up your cup in order to pour out? It is something I have lived by for a long time. I have always viewed it as needing to fill up my cup with the things that bring me joy and give me life, and once my cup is full, then I can pour out to those around me. Meaning that sometimes if I was personally feeling burnt out or beaten down I wouldn’t pour myself out to those around me like I would if my cup was full. I also viewed it as not being able to give my best self or ability to others. The thing is, I was filling my cup with the wrong things. Things that I selfishly wanted, thinking that they were going to make me happier, fuller, more ready to give of myself. I found myself left feeling even more empty.  God has recently opened my eyes to a new way of viewing this analogy, and I want to share it with you!

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and researching lately on the way Jesus lived while He was here on Earth in the form of a human. I have been reminding myself of His humanness. Jesus slept, ate, cried, laughed, put clothes on, showered, walked, rested, all of the human things we can forget that He actually did too! I love remembering the simple things that Jesus also did, it makes Him so relatable. 

“He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead, he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!” – Philippians 2:6-8 TPT  

While Jesus was here on Earth He emptied himself. As I read this passage the word emptied jumps out of the text and catches my attention every time. Jesus lived a life of continual emptying because He was continually overflowing with the love of God.

He knew and relied on the strength of God to fill Him with everything He was going to need for each day. He trusted that God would give Him the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that He needed in order to pour out.

You see, I think we have this whole filling of our cup analogy wrong. When we view it as needing to fill ourselves up with the things of this world in order to pour out, we are never going to have enough. The things of this world are never going to satisfy our deepest needs and longings. 

When we choose to fill our cup up with time spent reading God’s word, sitting in His presence, worshiping Him, and being in communication with Him, our cup will continually be full. He will fill us with the strength and courage needed to be of continual emptying of ourselves to those around us, just as Jesus did

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.  Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.” – Philippians 2:3-5

I think this is something so beautiful that we as children of God can begin to work on in this season of giving. May we begin to come before God and ask Him to fill us with what He wants us to pour out to those around us. We are all probably a little burnt out right now, this year has been very taxing mentally and emotionally on us all. What are the people around us needing? How can we give of ourselves to them, knowing and trusting that God is going to fill us with the very needs that we ourselves have? These are hard questions to ask when we feel in a place of defeat, but in our boldness, God will bless us with His faithfulness. 

I believe that if we all began to live this verse out in our daily lives to the best of our ability amazing, God-ordained things would happen. When the mindset of Jesus becomes our motivation, nothing can stand against us. I feel like it is easy to be scared of continually giving of ourselves. We know ourselves pretty well, we know what we are like when we start to get burnt out. But when we continue to give ourselves for the glory of Jesus Christ, He will give us strength beyond understanding. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He sees in us beautiful courage waiting to come to life as we trust in Him. 

We are made strong because of the strength of Christ. He equips us with what we need when we exactly when we need it. He puts His words and thoughts in our minds and out of our mouths as we ask Him to intervene in our life. He wants to radiate His light through us, His shining lights. Ask Him to strengthen you, come to Him to be filled up, and pour the fruits of the Spirit out to those around you. He is so proud of you, and He delights in you, His beautiful beloved child.  

Ally is a full time pediatric nurse in San Diego, and on her off days she is writing and creating art for her business Words Are Golden. She is a big fan of Jesus, lover of all things pink, drinks iced coffee every day, and loves to cook and bake new recipes for her friends and family.  

Say hi to her on Instagram!: @wordsaregolden

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