The New You Need

The New You Need

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

How do you look at the world and not see what is there – but what could be?

The way a writer looks at a blank page and sees a story, a musician sits down at their instrument and hears an unwritten song, a painter picks up a brush to transform a white canvas into a work of art.

This year has brought a surplus of time to self-reflect. For many of us, 2020 became a crossroads. When faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, fears, or failures, we were left with a decision: are we going to stay the same person we were before the world flipped upside down, or are we going to grow and change with it?

A new world requires a new you.

And let’s be honest – the new doesn’t always come easy.

I’m sure you’ve felt the growing pains this year – maybe your prayers don’t flow the way they used to because they’re suddenly too small or self-focused. Your worship might not feel as impactful because now you need to bring a deeper level of vulnerability with your surrender. Maybe your faith feels stunted because you can’t bring yourself to hand your fears to God and trust them in His hands.

I love Romans 12:2 because it says, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world.’ The words ‘Do not’ are a big help here, because sometimes we feel that it’s not up to us. If the world tells us to be afraid, we have to be afraid! But the scripture is clear – if the writer Paul is telling us not to do something, it means that it is within our power not to do it. We do not have to conform.

When you decide what will shape the person you want to be, you have two options: your character or your circumstance. 99% of what happens in the world is beyond your control. But you know what? Your character is 100% your own responsibility. When your character is rooted in Christ, no circumstance can change you.

The verse continues to this: ’…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

How do we not conform? We transform! We become new. We take the growing pains of developing our character and we let God lead us into a better future.

In this verse, it says the way to transform is by renewing your mind. Learn to think differently, and you’ll learn to live differently. Don’t just see the world around you – see what it could be.

My favorite subject in high school was psychology and one of the most interesting subjects we studied was the idea of ‘functional fixedness.’ Basically, functional fixedness is a limited way of thinking that means a person only sees or uses an object in the way it is traditionally used.

Here’s an example of how functional fixedness ruins lives (this is a slight exaggeration):

A table is lopsided because a screw is loose. I look at the loose screw and think it can only be tightened with a screwdriver – because that tool was created to tighten screws. But let’s say I don’t have a screwdriver…then what? If I have functional fixedness, I conclude the table must be lopsided forever, because the screw cannot be tightened.

Someone without functional fixedness could look at that table and think – ‘Oh, I could use a coin to tighten the screw.’ Pull a coin out of their pocket, tighten the screw, and it would be fixed.

The point is this: if I look at an object and only see it for what it is or what it’s supposed to be, I never see it for what it could be.

This principle extends to our entire lives!

This new world we’re in calls for new minds and new eyes. Why are we looking at everything in it like it’s supposed to be, and not what it could be?

Yes, schools were supposed to be open.

Graduation was supposed to be happen as planned.

Dating and hanging out with friends was supposed to be fun, not a health risk.

But God’s intention for you is not to live your life in a ‘should have been.’ That’s living for the past, not for the future.

The future God has for you is ALWAYS greater than what came before. You know why? Because God loves to do new things in us, through us, and for us, and he doesn’t copy and paste. He creates with new beauty, new splendor, new wonder. Just for YOU.

So yes, life doesn’t look like you thought it would. But now – neither do you.

You are getting stronger.

You are growing tougher.

You fight with resilience.

You lead with integrity.

You let Christ shape your character, and your character shape your future – not your circumstance.

Pray and ask God today:

What do you need me to see differently?

What am I not using that’s right in front of me?

What expectation do I need to let go of to not live in the past?

What are you renewing in me to create a better future?

God wants to change how we perceive the world – He asks us to lay down what we believe our lives SHOULD look like, what the world SHOULD look like, for us to be able to live, live well… and to live original.

Brooke Figueroa is a pastor at Mosaic, a church in Los Angeles, CA. She loves drinking espresso with her husband, leading worship with Mosaic MSC, and reading an absurd amount of books. She’d love to meet you on Instagram at @brookeofigueroa

Making Big Decisions

Making Big Decisions

Your life is shaped by big decisions. Our choices set up our future – for better or worse!

There’s a massive difference between letting life happen to you and taking ownership of your future through your choices – one creates a life of cowardice and the other creates a life of courage.

In order to experience the future of beauty + awesomeness that God wants for you, you have to be willing to risk. You have to decide to own the big decisions in your life.

When you decide to own it, when you decide you’ll make the hard choices and face the tough decisions of life head on, that’s when you get tripped up on one question – how?

How do I know what the best decision is? I’m willing to risk big to live out a life of faith – but how do I know which risk is right and which is wrong?

I’ve asked myself this question so many times in my life. Should I marry my boyfriend? Should I move to a different city? Should I go to this college. Should I take this job or move in with these roommates or buy this car… the list goes on and on!

Here’s what I’ve learned in 29 years of making big, life-altering, tough, and wonderful decisions:

First things first, pray and seek wise counsel. Prayer and reading scripture shows you what God considers the best path for you (not a life focused on money, not a boyfriend who doesn’t love Jesus, a life where you desperately need Him). A lot of foolish choices can be avoided simply by comparing them to scripture. Wise counsel is one or two people in your life whose lives you admire and whose opinion you trust. (If you ask more than two people what to do, be careful that you’re not just looking for someone to give you an easy out!)

What we’re dealing with are the vague questions – the ‘God doesn’t say its wrong, but I don’t know if it’s right!’ questions. So that brings us to the second most important thing:

Let go of trying to make the ‘right’ decision.

God’s plan for your life isn’t a treasure map – it’s more of a choose your own adventure book! He just wants the best and most spiritually healthy life for you – you get to decide what that is! Don’t be afraid you’re living one decision away from ruining your future – that’s not how our loving God works.

If it doesn’t go against His will – and that’s anything He clearly states against in the scriptures – then it’s up to you. HOW SCARY AND AWESOME!

Here are three questions I ask myself when I make a big decision that I believe can also help you:

1. Be honest with yourself: is this my comfort or my calling?

Sometimes we try to extend something in our life that was meant for a season. When I was about to finish college at UNC Chapel Hill, I knew I’d always planned to move and work in Los Angeles. But Los Angeles is massive and expensive and scary and I didn’t know a soul there. I had a job in Chapel Hill and I loved the little town around my school. I was very tempted just to…stay. Stay in my comfortable job. Stay in my pretty town. But I knew I loved Chapel Hill because I loved being a student and I loved my memories there. If I stayed to avoid something hard, I would have been extending a season in my life that was only meant for four years. Four amazing years, let me tell you, but only four years. To stay wouldn’t have been bad, but it wouldn’t have been best, either. I had to go where God was calling and leave where I was comfortable.

2. Where will I have the most impact and where will I be the most impacted?

What will challenge you the most? Where can you do the most good or bring the most life?

The common misconception with this one is that you would choose a path that promises you suffering in hopes you’ll be refined. Don’t do that! God never wants us to suffer for the sake of suffering.

I chose to marry my husband because he makes me incredibly happy – and he is also incredibly challenging! He doesn’t let me settle. He knows my capacity and constantly helps me live up to and exceed what I think I can accomplish. And I know that I do the same for him.

Choosing who you’re going to marry is legitimately terrifying – it’s forever! – but when you’ve chosen well leading up to that big decision – who to date, how to date, and everything in between – it’s still scary, but it’s not difficult. I couldn’t love another man like I love my husband, and no other man could love me like he does!

3. Am I motivated by fear?

Fear is the killer of all good intentions. Fear ruins plans and eats away at your life with regret, bitterness, and anxiety.

Pray to God for peace that surpasses all understanding – let nothing you decide be ruled by fear.

Here are some common fears to look out for that can lead you away from the best decision for your future:

‘I’m afraid if I move I won’t have any friends.’

‘I’m afraid if I break up with him no one else will like me.’

‘I’m afraid if I take this job I won’t be good at it and I’ll fail.’

‘I’m afraid if I get married I’ll lose my independence.’

‘I’m afraid if I choose the wrong college I’ll regret not going to another school.’

‘I’m afraid that if I don’t go to college people will think I’m strange or not intelligent.’

The ‘I’m afraid’s’ could go on forever! Examine your heart, your attitude, and your spirit – what choice feels like it would require God to show up and do great miracles in your life? What choice feels dangerously dependent on Him? Head in that direction! God calls us to be secure in Him, not safe!

Brooke Figueroa is a pastor at Mosaic, a church in Los Angeles, CA. She loves drinking espresso with her husband, leading worship with Mosaic MSC, and reading an absurd amount of books. She’d love to meet you on Instagram at @brookeofigueroa

I Don’t Have Time

I Don’t Have Time

I am busy.

I’m willing to bet that you are, too.

A lot of the time, when something I haven’t planned on or don’t know how to handle pops into my life, my instinctive mental response is, I don’t have time for that.

My brain is already processing a thousand other thoughts and feelings and I don’t know how to squeeze in this unexpected problem, so, instead, I refuse to engage. Maybe if I ignore it, it will solve itself!

Over time, I’ve learned the hard way that when God tries to get our attention, it’s not to inconvenience us – it’s to help us.  Pushing away anything that’s not in our schedule is not a safety mechanism – it’s a delusion. The avoidance, the ignorance, the hiding of a problem – it says we’re capable of living just fine on our own without God in the middle of our lives. But we’re not.

In the past year my body developed an intolerance for gluten and dairy. I would get hives on my face after eating bread, or my stomach would be upset for days from a bite of cheese. My stomach was painful to the touch for months. After repeated doctor’s visits with no clear answers, I was getting more and more miserable.

I would consider calling a homeopathic doctor or doing research on alternative diets, and then discard the idea – I didn’t have time! I had projects to complete, deadlines to hit, people to meet. I traveled to over 40 cities in six months on a tour bus – how was I supposed to try a new diet in a tiny town in Pennsylvania? The food options were basically a Cinnabon and a PB&J.

When I got home for a break, I took stock of my misery. Did I want to live a life of being in pain? A life of feeling tired and covering up hives and breakouts on my face? No!

I realized that if I kept waiting until I wasn’t busy, I’d never have time. It was time to make time.

Make time to read a book about an alternate diet with no sugar, no dairy, no gluten. Make time to go to the gym. Make time to make a nutrition-approved breakfast every morning by waking up earlier. Make time for recipes and blogs and cookbooks. Make time to go grocery shopping and to prep meals instead of relying on fast food chains or eating out.

After a couple weeks I felt so much better it was ridiculous. You could live without sickness or pain? What?

I realized that what I was brushing off as an inconvenience was my health and my happiness. I get caught up in my busyness and I can start to believe it’s the entire universe, instead of the little world I made for myself.

How many times did a little voice tell me to ask questions, to dig deeper, to take one more step toward feeling better? How many times did I ignore God wanting a better way of life for me?

I think at one point or another, we’re all guilty of this. What do we brush aside? What opportunities do we pass up?

How often do we relay to God in one way or another: I don’t have time!

You see someone new. Someone you don’t know but could be a great friend. I don’t have time for new friends!

There’s an opportunity to be creative in a different field. I don’t have time for new challenges!

You find a free night to catch up with your husband/friends, but I don’t have time for date nights or fun events!

Maybe we need to reevaluate our position on time. When we believe we don’t have time, are we actually saying I don’t believe there’s something better for me! I don’t have time to be disappointed! I don’t have time to fail!

Maybe we are squishing our lives into manageable little boxes that we think we can control. Maybe we are letting everything God could add into our lives fall to the wayside.

Maybe I don’t have time is not a reality. It’s a perception. Maybe it’s time to take stock of our time and see where some adjustments need to be made. God has a simple ask of us. He is asking us to make time for him. He wants us to leave room for him to move in our lives.

This is my challenge to you: Don’t treat God’s input like an interruption.

If we want health and beauty and friendship and love and peace and joy and wonder to wash over and through our lives, we have to make time and leave space.

When God’s voice shapes your life, your life gets wider, deeper, freer. He created you and he knows you inside and out. God can always be trusted with the life he gave us.

How do you make time for God to speak into your life? Read your Bible. Pray and tell him if you’re overwhelmed or doing great.

Make time for new people to become new friends. Leave space for God to show you how much He loves you through your relationships with others.

Make time for laughter and leave room for spontaneity. It’s okay if your schedule doesn’t always run as planned -maybe it wasn’t leading you where you really needed to go anyway.

Make time for taking care of yourself. Leave room for treats and maybe a few splurges (gluten-free cupcakes have come a long way).

Proverbs 16:9 says, We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.

If we’re only existing in the time and space we make, how does that invite God in to help us truly live?

Change the narrative.

I don’t have time…to be stressed. I will make time to relax.

I don’t have time…to be anxious. I will make time to pray.

I don’t have time…to be unhealthy and in pain. I will make time to take care of the body God gave me and to live happy!

You have all the time in the world to live the life God created you to live. God made time and God made you.

Make time for God to do something beautiful in your life. Leave space for God to love you.

Brooke Figueroa is a pastor at Mosaic, a church in Los Angeles, CA. She loves drinking espresso with her husband, leading worship with Mosaic MSC, and reading an absurd amount of books.

She’d love to meet you on Instagram at @brookeofigueroa

I Don’t Have Time

Fighting Without Fear

I love a good fight.

I love the energy, the passion, the magic of an unexpected win, the thrill of a victory.

Any good law-themed movie where the attorney takes on the big corporation and wins, every civil rights story where justice prevailed over what felt like insurmountable odds – sign me up!

One of the most famous fights in the Bible is between David, a young shepherd boy, and a giant named Goliath who was out to kill David’s countrymen in battle.

However, when I read this story in 1 Samuel, what captures my attention is not the outward fight between David and Goliath – it’s the fight David won before he ever stepped onto the battlefield.

Even in the best of movies or books, the protagonist hesitates – they aren’t sure they have what it takes. But not David. David saw the giant and then said to Saul, the king, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

David won the fight against Goliath because he first won the internal struggle against fear.

In 2018 I had to face a lot of fear in my life. Choices I attributed to circumstances, timing, finances, or ability were stripped down to reveal what they really were – fear ruling my life in different masks. I never want fear to be the deciding factor in any choice I make, let alone every choice.

Humanity is in a fight to bring light into darkness, to bring hope into despair, to bring love into hate. We are each in our own fight to live lives of significance. We all need to learn from David so we never let fear disqualify us from the fight.

So how did David fight without fear?


Earlier in I Samuel, the anointing of the king of Israel went to David. God’s power is described as leaving Saul, who was king, like a physical presence and coming onto David. I imagine it settling around the shoulders of David like a cloak to prepare him to one day be king. David knew God chose him for a special purpose and David did the hard work of preparing himself for that purpose as a shepherd.

Do you know what the presence of God feels like? Those moments of peace in the midst of chaos, of comfort in the presence of pain. It is the weight of his attention when we pray or sing praise to him together. God offers his peace and presence to us when we ask. His purpose was instilled in us the day we accepted his call of hope–that we would share that hope with the rest of the world.

David knew he would one day be king over the people Goliath was threatening to kill. He didn’t let Saul or his family take away the responsibility of protecting them because he was only just a shepherd. David knew God’s presence and he knew God’s purpose – that David would devote his life fighting for others.

We find our identity in the knowing that we are seen, named, treasured, accounted for, protected and provided for by God. We are called to do good in the world and, in the pursuit of that good, we know God goes with us and before us. We get to feel his presence as David felt it wrap around him. Are you living like you were made on purpose and with purpose? Let your confidence take root in the confidence God has in you.


When David told Saul he wanted to fight Goliath, Saul looked at him and basically said, “No. You’re fourteen. You’ve never fought a battle before.” By the way, this was a reasonable response.

But David responded that he hadfought battles before; not against giants, but against lions and bears who would have eaten the sheep he protected. He said to Saul, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

I have the bad habit of forgetting my little victories when faced with a large battle. The victory I felt from the time I pulled through, made the deadline, or navigated a tough conversation seems to vanish in the face the panic my current situation has caused. It’s easy to believe the fight we’re facing is unwinnable when we don’t hold onto the wins we’ve had before.

Don’t ignore the wins in your life that feel small – every time you read scripture, you pray for someone, you choose to save money instead of spend it, you are generous instead of greedy, you are sacrificial instead of selfish, every time you receive praise or hit the note, land the mark, ace the test – these are victories that matter!

Wins compound, they don’t disappear. You are building your life, brick by brick. When you stand on the foundation of all the victories God has led you to and through before, you can look at any situation and know: A bigger enemy is just a better fight!


Before Saul let David go fight Goliath, he gave David his armor and sword to wear in battle. David tried on the heavy armor and attempted to swing the heavy sword but couldn’t. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.”

While this might just seem like fashion or practicality, it’s actually a powerful moment of identity.

God had been preparing David for this moment. David defeating Goliath was not the big finale of David’s life story; it was a tiny incident that began the epic narrative of his life. You start how you want to finish. David’s story was not meant to be a smaller version of anyone who had come before him. It was his and his alone.

If you want a life no one else could have lived, you have to live it as you. Everyone else’s has been done before.

It was David who was anointed to be king, not Saul. It was David who was trained to care for vulnerable and defenseless sheep which prepared him to one day care for the people of Israel, not Saul. It was David who was chosen, David who was bold, David who was qualified for this moment, not Saul.

So if, in the moment before the fight, David had let fear get the better of him and he kept on Saul’s armor, he wouldn’t have been able to walk to the giant. If fear had made David hold on to Saul’s sword, he wouldn’t have been able to reach the giant’s head, like he could with a slingshot and a stone.

In the fight of your life, are you letting fear turn you into someone else? Maybe you don’t want to be too smart, too funny, too outspoken, too quiet, too mature–the list can go on and on. Perhaps you see a friend, peer, or celebrity getting attention, likes, or achieving the goals you set out for yourself, and you think, they have what I want, so I’ll be more like them.

But God has a specific future in mind for you. A future for which your talents, skills, handicaps, quirks, and personality are specifically crafted. There is always room to shape your character, to grow your wisdom, but the core of you was never intended to be shaped or obscured by someone else’s identity.

When you fight as you, you can fight without fear. It’s a fight only you were meant to win!

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