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’m sitting in a coffee shop in Omaha, Nebraska, next to my beautiful fiancé, writing my first blog ever about the best day of my life. I hope this story encourages and inspires everyone who reads it and I hope every reader leaves this page more captivated than ever by the One who is the true orchestrator of this relationship, Jesus Christ.
Neither Sadie nor I could have ever imagined the timing and the way the Lord brought us together. We are both here, not because of anything either of us did, but because of God’s faithfulness and kindness toward those who love and serve Him. We serve an amazing God who loves us relentlessly and will stop at nothing to draw us near to Him. I hope you see a glimpse of His love through the way Sadie and I love one another.
So, here goes a play by play of the day that I proposed to Sadie Carroway Robertson, who is the love of my life.
Sadie and I have birthdays just two days apart, so we decided to have a huge party on June 9, 2019. Now this was a “birthday party” to Sadie, but to everyone else it was a little more than just a “birthday party.” Both of us had invited a ton of our friends and family to Louisiana for the party. Most of them already knew more was going to happen than just celebrating our birthdays.
The morning of June 9th, I woke up antsy as all get out, knowing this was going to be the day I would propose, but I tried to act calm so Sadie wouldn’t suspect what was happening. It was tough, let me tell you, because she can read me like a book. I was praying that morning for God to bring ease and calmness to the day, allowing me to soak it all up and enjoy the moment that He created.
It was a Sunday, so we (the family and lots of our friends) got up that morning and headed to church. Church was amazing which started our day off right. Following the church service, everyone carpooled back to Korie and Willie’s house for the party which was to start at 1:00 that afternoon. It didn’t take long for everyone to change clothes and get the party started! Korie had the day organized with lots of competitive games and relay races, which was perfect for Sadie and me. We both love to play anything. (Side note: Sadie and I have never lost a game when we team up together in any sport. No big deal 🙂 ) After we finished all the games and the relay races, everyone left to get ready for the big dinner that was going to happen that night. Sadie and I were sitting by the pond talking about the day while I was icing my ankle. As I was icing my “not so swollen ankle” trying to stall for little bit of time, I told Sadie that I needed her to go inside and put on one of her favorite outfits. At this point, she knew what was happening. I had asked her mom, my mom, and all her sisters to help her get ready so they all went upstairs to Sadie’s room.
When we were both dressed and ready, I met her at the bottom of the stairs accompanied by her dad, my dad, and her brothers. I had a stack of letters for her that each member of our immediate family had written. From there, we hopped into the Bronco and drove out to a farmhouse Korie and Willie own where everything was set up for our magical moment.
Once we got there, we sat down to pray for our relationship. We even prayed over the ring. The moment was so full in the spirit. We both had never felt every fruit of the spirit like we did that day, in that moment. Once I finished praying, I stood up and walked around the blanket with the biggest smile ever on my face and asked the question “Sadie, will you marry me?” She screamed “YES!” and started to cry from excitement. She jumped up into my arms and I spun her around several times before gently letting her down onto the blanket. Then we both began screaming and laughing out loud at how exciting this moment in time was.
Let me just tell you friend, this was the most exhilarating moment of my life. After the proposal, we both caught our breath and I drove us over to the barn that sits on the property. In the barn was a screen and a projector, along with popcorn, M&Ms, and a coke. These are all of her favorite movie things. Together we laughed and cried as we watched a slideshow of our life together so far. It was great remembering all the things we had done together this past year. Soaking all of it in, just the two of us, was amazing, but we were also excited to go back and celebrate with all our friends and family. As we pulled up at Korie and Willie’s house, everyone was outside and met us with the loudest shouts and hoorays. Of course, everyone wanted to see the ring, give us a hug and take a picture. I think in that order.
The night wasn’t over yet. We ate dinner, then watched the video of our proposal outside on a big screen. I was smart enough to have someone hiding to film the whole thing. I knew it was something we would always want to have and it was fun to have the film to show our family and friends the very night it happened. Then we slipped away from the party to just sit in the hammock and rest for a moment. We wanted to talk about our day and pray (gotta give credit where credits due) over how amazing it was.
We could not be more thankful for everyone who loves us enough to drive or fly all the way to Louisiana to celebrate that day with us. It was truly the most special celebration. Any love that God brings together is worthy of celebration and should be clothed in intentionality. Psalm 37:23 says “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
Let me tell you friend, our Father is in the details of our lives and, oh boy, does He take delight in the little things. Our proposal day was a dream come true and one that we love to replay over and over in our heads.
It has been so fun going through Proverbs together! I cannot wait to share with you some treasures in Proverbs six. If you are just now joining us and want to catch up, I got you! Here are the previous posts:
Proverbs 1 + 2
Now let’s dive in!
Honestly, if you take the instruction of this Proverbs I think it is going to put some pep in your step, and help you make some decisions that you might have been putting off for quite some time. This chapter addresses an issue that this generation who is obsessed with sloths tends to struggle with, laziness!
The chapter starts out strong by talking about if you get stuck in any kind of binding contract situation that you do not need to be in, it gives the advice in verse 3, “QUICKLY get out of it if you possibly can! Swallow your pride, get over your embarrassment, and go tell your “friend” you want your name off that contract. DON’T PUT IT OFF, and don’t rest until you get it done. Rescue yourself from future pain and be free from it once and for all. You’ll be so relieved that you did!”
I know for those of you who do not like confrontation this verse is one you want to sprint over, but there is so much wisdom in this. The passion version just really lays it right out in front of you. What is the hard phone call you need to make? I used to have a hard time making these kind of moves myself, but I was at a leadership conference once Craig Groeschel said something that helped me not to put off things that I knew might be hard for me to do. He said, “Surgery hurts, but death hurts worse.” Essentially, it is hard to make a decision to cut something out or someone out in your present even though you know it may hurt your future, but the price you pay by not cutting out what you need to will kill your business, dream, relationship, and really just anything that it touches.
Verses 6-11 also address the issue of laziness and it is a good life lesson.
When you’re feeling lazy,
come and learn a lesson from this tale of the tiny ant.
Yes, all you lazybones, come learn
from the example of the ant and enter into wisdom.
The ants have no chief, no boss, no manager—
no one has to tell them what to do.
You’ll see them working and toiling all summer long,
stockpiling their food in preparation for winter.
So wake up, sleepyhead. How long will you lie there?
When will you wake up and get out of bed?
If you keep nodding off and thinking, “I’ll do it later,”
or say to yourself, “I’ll just sit back awhile and take it easy,”
just watch how the future unfolds!
By making excuses you’ll learn what it means to go without.
Poverty will pounce on you like a bandit
and move in as your roommate for life.
This is one of those moments I am just going to let Solomon, the writer of proverbs, have a mic drop and ask y’all not to kill the messenger. Act as if Solomon is your mentor right now and take that advice to heart, because it will help you fulfill your purpose on a day-to-day basis. Verse 11 is something I want to highlight – reread it.
When my little brother turned 16 he is a very good example of who this is talking to. My parents told him that if he worked hard in school and met a certain grade point, then they would bless him with a car. It was not an impossible grade point to reach. I would say it was pretty grace filled if you ask me. Well, he turned 16 and did not have the grades, so he did not get the car. Keep in mind, my brother is an incredibly talented, smart, and creative guy and my parents and our whole family see that potential in him. Because of that, they then extended it and said whenever you reach these grades we will get you the car. It has been almost two years with the same offer on the table, and he still has not made the grades, so he does not have the car and the only thing standing in between him and this car is his own laziness and excuses. I want to ask you, what is your car? What is the thing that could be the very thing that takes you to the next place in life, but the lack of a little work is hindering you from reaching? “By making excuses you’ll learn what it means to go without” is very true.
Throughout the whole bible it talks about not being lazy. Romans 12:11 “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically! Wake up sleepy heads! You all have purpose to walk in every single day!”
If you’re loving this study and looking for community to discuss it with along with soo many other resources, consider joining our online community of sisters! Sign up to be notified once LO Fam’s doors open back up here! Hope to see you there 🙂
Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO Fam member, Emily! If you want to know more, check out our online community of sisters here!
In Sunday school, when I was young, I learned the Ten Commandments, just as any other church-going child did. Some of you learned them as teenagers or adults, and some may never have learned them at all. Well let me refresh your memory of the first two: “You shall have no other gods before Me,” and “You shall not make idols.” In my mind these have a pretty straightforward meaning- we should only pray to God and not mold gold into statues that we pray to and worship. I always thought these were easy commands to follow, just like “do not murder” or “do not commit adultery.” (As a kid, the more difficult ones to follow were “honor your father and mother” and “do not be jealous,” but that’s another story). Anyways, as I am getting older, I realize that the first two commandments can actually be pretty tough to obey. I mean, I don’t pray to anyone but God, however the whole “idol” thing is an entirely different battle. I have all kinds of idols in my life that I haven’t ever quite realized how much emphasis I put on them until recently.
Things that pull me away from God, things that I want so badly that I convince myself I need them, and things that are of this world are all idols. Perfectionism. Social media. Relationships. Marriage. Work. Exercise. Comparison. Dreams. Television. Internet. Cell phones. These are just a few things in my life that I see taking up so much of my time and thoughts and energy. If I am consumed by all of this, what do I have left for God? A prayer as I’m falling asleep at night? A quick devotion once I’ve checked my phone for text messages or notifications? Not all of these things are bad, when cultivated in a good way, but when one or more of these things takes precedence over our relationship with God, then it becomes a problem.
Let me clarify something here- when I listed marriage as an idol earlier, I didn’t mean my own marriage…I meant I idolize the idea of marriage. I am single right now, but I’ve always dreamed of getting married someday. I think it’s a good dream, and I do really hope it is in God’s plan for me. However I have finally come to the realization that I have put way too much pressure on that dream. I have begun to idolize it in a way that is not healthy. For some reason I seem to think that once I get married everything will be better. I’ll be more whole. I’ll learn to do more things. I’ll always have someone to talk to. I won’t ever feel alone. My relationship with God will be stronger when I have someone to push me closer to Him. I will be CONTENT.
Another huge idol in my life is social media. I constantly am scrolling through Instagram, passing by other peoples’ seemingly perfect lives, wondering why mine isn’t as perfect as theirs. If only I looked like this person, or if only I got as many likes as that person, maybe then I would feel SATISFIED.
But whoa. Hold on a second…
How can another human being satisfy all of those things in me? How can something of this world make me whole and content? How could they make me like myself more then than I do now? How could social media fill the empty void in my heart? The secret is…they can’t. Only Jesus can satisfy me. Only Jesus can make me whole again when I feel broken. Only Jesus can help me find contentment in this world. The hope and promise of getting to see HIM one day is what will get me through this broken world. If I can’t be content with who I am in Christ right now, how on earth do I think I could be with another person? God has to be more than enough for me before I can even think of letting someone else in for the long run of marriage. Only He can complete my heart. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Sure, other people and talents and things can complement us, but only God can complete us. It’s not fair to me, my future husband, God, or anyone else to expect something of this world to fill all of those voids.
It’s impossible for a human being to live up to that task. I have idolized the man that I don’t even know and marriage so much to the point that I think they can fulfill me, and that is not okay. I have idolized people on social media that seem to have it all together to the point where I compare myself to them. If I could do this or that better, I’d be content.
No. We can’t fall back on things of this world. We can’t expect people or things of this world to take His place. He alone is worthy of all of our praise. Nothing and no one can ever come close to Him. He has done amazing things for us…the least we can do is offer Him our hearts and let Him in all the way. We don’t deserve any gift He chooses to give us. He just chooses to do that out of love for us. And even with all the good gifts He gives, He alone satisfies. Everything else is temporary. Everything.
What are you idolizing in your life? What have you let satisfy your heart? Take a step back and ask God to diminish the idol in a way that will put Him back in the number one spot of your heart. Whatever stage of life you’re in, He must always come first, or you won’t end up having room for anything else. Make space for Him and everything else will fall into place.
“My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.” Matthew 6:33-34
Emily is a member of LO Fam and graduated from Malone University in 2018 with a degree in math education. When she am not teaching math, she enjoys Irish dancing, painting, journaling, and hanging out with friends! During the past year, Emily has navigated lots of life changes by learning more about God’s faithfulness and expressing that through writing.
Want to join the Fam and have a chance to be featured on the blog? Sign up for emails to join once membership opens!
In our little corner of the world, we are very excited about a new road we are getting. It’s a two-lane road that seems to lead to everything necessary for the thousands of people who travel it every day. In fact, we are so excited about the new five lane road that we dream of the improvements to our daily lives. We’ll get to and from work quicker. There will be no more sitting behind trash trucks or school buses or a great-grandma who goes ten miles an hour. We will be able to zip into Dollar General and get back into the traffic easily and effortlessly. Yes, life will be much better when the construction is done. But, for now, and for the next three years, it will not be good.
The road, our already very busy road, is lined with large equipment, fallen trees, piles of dirt and downed power lines. So, as we wait for improvements, we have to put up with a few messes.
Isn’t this true of any improvement project? Think about how God works in the lives of each of us. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight, does it? Oh, many things can happen on the spot. Hearts can change and attitudes can change and actions can change, but generally speaking, for real change to happen, it takes a little–or a lot–of work.
But, what happens with any construction site? We get impatient, don’t we? We get tired of the mess. We’ve stepped over or moved around or taken the detour too many times and we’re tired of it! We’re eager for the “new.” When we look at our fellow followers of the Jesus, many times we lose patience with their “growing” process. We want to cry “Enough already! Let’s move on!” When we look at ourselves and our spiritual process, we do the same. We pray for God to change us—NOW!
But here’s the good news. Life is a journey. It’s a story that doesn’t end until we take our final breathe. Just recently I was talking with a friend whose son is struggling with addictions. We talked about his long journey in recovery and how each day is better, but the journey isn’t over. Like all of us, his story doesn’t have an ending yet. It’s still being written and God will not leave him. This young man has parents who poured Jesus into him, but he got caught up in sin and addiction. The last few years have been very hard on him and his family. But, there is hope, for sure. His story is still under construction. He is still living in a mess.
Philippians 1:6 tells us this: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” With this verse, we are assured, if we desire to grow and change, that God will never leave us in a mess. His desire is for every mess to become a message. As long as we continue to look to God for guidance, He will never leave the construction site of our life. When things seem to pile up, He is there like a mighty machine plowing His way through the junk and debris and making way for the new person He is molding and shaping us to be.
I have been able to watch many life stories get rewritten. I’ve also been witness to many life stories where the words “the end” were added to their story. While there is always sadness at the ending of life, there is also victory when one can see God’s promises lived out. I have witnessed drug addicts become leaders in the church. I have watched broken marriages made whole and those same couples lead marriage seminars. I have rejoiced as lost children have been restored to their faith in God and gone on to lead their own families to be strong, powerful faith leaders. I have seen God take down-trodden, broken-hearted, and sin-filled messes and give them a life that shouts, “Jesus is Lord!”
Don’t ever give up on YOU or anyone else! When you think you’ve had enough with a fellow believer who continues to walk down a broken road, don’t give up! Keep bringing their name before the Father. You may be the only one doing that for them. When you get discouraged with yourself, wondering how you can keep making the same mistake over and over again, don’t give up on you. Keep praying. Keep studying. Keep worshipping. One day, that struggle you had will be a super highway to help others get through their tough days. Your mistake will be a thing of the past and your message will light the way for someone else’s future.
Hugs and blessings, 2 mama
So many people ask me this question: how can I start leading a bible study or a group? I thought it would be fun to share some practical tips and encouragement on how to lead. This is something I’m super passionate about because I believe that every one is a leader.
All my sisters out there who are ready to lead, to host, to start something, today is your day! Side note: if you’re also looking for a study to start, check our our BOLD CONFIDENCE study. This box equips you with everything you need to start a bible study.
I’ll start by saying that leading a bible study doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy.
The power if God is so much better than any fancy set up. The power of God is what draws people in. So Let go of any excuses. You’re already equipped to lead.
Leading is more more than encouragement, it is about leading people into a place to encounter Jesus. Are you ready to see people dive in, see who God is and wake up to His incredible power? I promise this will strengthen you just as much as it will strengthen the girls that you invite in.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Text your friends – get your phone out. For real, stop what you’re doing, grab your phone, and text your friends. It can be two, four, six, eight, twelve people, or the whole school. Tell them the time and place. Don’t wait any more 🙂 Just set the date, set the time and invite people in to see what happens.
2. Pray over your house – fill your home with worship music. Pray that people are invited by peace and joy as they enter the room. Pray for love and refreshment. Pray that people walk out of your home with greater strength and encouragement. Pray against fear, shame, insecurity that leaves at the door. By praying ahead of time, you are creating the space for change to happen in girls hearts.
Be a leader who believes for your group. Louie Giglio always says that if we want to see change happen out there, we have to see revival happen in here first and that’s inside your heart, and your home. So go and pray!
3. Make a meal for everyone – practice hospitality. Maybe you’re older and can cook a full meal, or perhaps you are younger and want to have pizza for your friends. Both are great. Meet your friends where they are at. Love on them and consider providing a meal or snack together.
4. Worship together – spend time praising God for who He is and what He as done. For at least 10 minutes, invite God to move. This is the moment that things change, and things happen. My friend Laney always says that you don’t have to have the best voice to worship, just sing with the voice He gave you! As a leader, just turn on some worship music and don’t be afraid to sing!
5. Study together – this is one of the core parts of your time together! If you are leading a study you need to already have studied what you’re covering as a group. Before you gather with your group, study the text, verses, book, topic, ect. As a leader, you’re teaching and guiding discussion. Prep. Read before. Please. And as you study together, teach the girls where God is at in the season, where the people are at (in the Bible), what’s happening in the book (or book of the Bible), and how it relates to our lives.
6. Be vulnerable – share your story that relates to what you are studying or talking about as a group. This is important. When you share your story, you are leading and opening the door for others to be vulnerable. Though you are encouraging them, you’re also leading them to consider their hearts, and to their own encounter. Give them time to reflect and respond. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, or let the girls ask you questions!
7. Get crafty – create creativity based on something that you learned! If you don’t have a craft, consider bible journaling, or taking minutes to write out prayers. It’s a great time of reflection and connecting with God, too!
8. Close in prayer – pray for each other, for your community, state, family leaders, and country. And some of you may be thinking that prayer time takes forever – don’t think that friends! Prayer is powerful source that we have. Pray into the things and ask God to move.
9. Do life together – meet up with friends, hang out, follow up! Cheer and champion each other on in your community.
No matter where you are at I hope that these are practical tips that lead you on your way!
And I can’t wait to see the world changed by the change that happens in your heart when you step into leading!