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UNPLUG

UNPLUG

Happy Tuesday! Yes, it is Tuesday – and yes I did have to double check that. I always love getting to write for LO, because I know that this shows up in the inbox of people who love God. Friends, I’ll never really know, but you in the grand scheme of forever are being used by God in individual ways to bring the Kingdom. I pray that God blesses you in crazy ways!

There is nothing good for me outside of God. 

If I am to be settled on anything, I want to be settled on this.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word unplugged? For me I think of pulling a charger out of the wall or unplugging a kitchen appliance, which doesn’t really sound like a good thing. But when I stopped overthinking it, it made so much more sense to me. Yes, things work best when they are plugged in – but what if it’s broken? There is no point in plugging in a broken phone, it simply won’t work – that phone needs to be fixed not charged.

The word fix can sound so harsh, but it’s not. Man, it is the kindest thing. The word literally means to restore order or tidiness to. I can’t get over that Jesus does that for us. And I don’t mean boom, it’s fixed, all better, no problems. I mean God’s overall restoration. Everything broken Jesus came to fix. He came to restore order – Eden to Eden. Right relationship with God, to right relationship with God.

Perhaps we have been given an opportunity to let God go there with us. Time not to just scratch the surface, but time to heal. Time to take inventory and really ask ourselves: Is this breaking me? Does this thing, or person, or activity bring me closer to God’s heart or not?

And if not, let it go. It’s not worth it.

James puts it like this – 1:16-17 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Don’t be deceived! Y’all, I think that when we get this – when we let every good and perfect gift from God sink in, the things that leave us broken don’t deceive us anymore.

We don’t have to chase the things that once made us feel connected when God really is all that we need. I mean unplugged in the very best way… with the intention of plugging back into our true source of life.

He is the only source.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

You will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… This is the Kingdom come life. This is restored order. This is being plugged in.

Gracie Tucker is the owner of Gracie’s Milkshake Bar in Nashville, TN! She loves spending time outdoors, traveling, hanging out with her friends and family, and is also known to make a mean milkshake.

Follow Gracie on Instagram @shakeitgracie

And check out all the fun at the milkshake bar @graciesmilkshakebar

What I Know (and so do you) About Surviving a Crisis

What I Know (and so do you) About Surviving a Crisis

Wow! Who would have thought we would be facing spring 2020 with words like coronavirus, social distancing and self-isolation, all now a daily part of our vocabulary. This self-isolation thing is a tough one for us “hug everyone” southerners, but we’re doing it. Not just in the south, but all over the world!

Plus, non-homeschooling moms are now homeschooling moms, every college student, not just those who choose to, are now doing school online, and zoom is on almost everyone’s computer. Toilet paper is a premium product and people are asked share with their neighbors. Who knew, right? Yes, life has a way of surprising even those of us who thought we had seen it all. We’re finding out, we have NOT seen it all!

It is scary times and different from other crises we have lived through. I say that to remind us that we have lived through tough times before. All crises’ have their similarities so we can draw from past experiences as we navigate this new one. Being one of the older generation, I may have lived through a few more than you have, but you have your list too.

It’s true, this one is different, but we can draw strength from what we have done in the past. The past always prepares us for the future, right? Remember the first time you jumped off a diving board. TERRIFYING. But, jump after jump, you got more and more comfortable. Soon, instead of climbing the steps up to the diving board shaking from fright, you ran up the steps, eager to jump and do it again. Going through anything prepares us and gives us important tools for getting through the next thing.

Here are some things we’ve learned from the past that I know are helping us get through this crisis, whether we consciously think about them or not.

  1. Back in the fifties and sixties, we were threatened with what was called The Cold War. It was a time of great tension between the United States and Russia. Our country didn’t know what Russia would do, so we often had drills in school in case our country was bombed with a nuclear device. The siren would go off at school and we all filed into the hallway or under our desks (dressed in our little ironed and starched dresses), hunkered down and covered our heads. I’m pretty sure the “duck and cover” plan would not have protected us from a nuclear bomb, but it did teach us to hunker down in times of trouble. This isn’t the time to run out and take advantage of the streets being empty, but it also isn’t time for us to panic. It’s time for us to hunker down in our homes and make the best of a difficult situation. We’re three weeks into it now, so don’t be tempted to give up. Find your space, hunker down, cover your head and sit it out. This is coming from someone who has a bad case of FOMO at all times, but I have to live with the fact that I am missing things right now and hopefully one of those things is coronavirus.
  2. My generation also lived through the measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Thankfully, due to vaccinations, your generation won’t see most of these. But, during these times, we were often isolated from the rest of the family, hoping to not infect them. Even our siblings were afraid to hang out with us, especially with those awful chicken pox (seriously, we looked scary!), so we learned to entertain ourselves with pencil and paper and a few crayons. Life is looking very differently things days, but we have so many more resources at our fingertips to keep us, not just entertained, but learning and growing. It’s an amazing time to be quarantined and I’m not saying that in a flippant way. It is true. We live in a time when we can facetime our friends!! Something my generation never dreamed possible! Wow! Amazing! But, it’s also a time to remember to use your words to inspire and encourage others. With social media, all of us are able to bring a message of faith and hope to the world. Use those tools wisely.
  3. Another crisis our country, well, the world, has lived through is war. For my generation, it was the Vietnam and Gulf War, but the generation before me can add World War II and the Korean War to their list. War times taught us to work together as a country for a cause that is bigger than each of us individually and one we may not totally agree with or understand. We may not all agree with the restrictions imposed on us at this time. We may have a thousand ideas in our heads of how we would have handled the whole crisis, but we can all agree that we need to work together if the problem is to be solved. If we ignore what is being asked of us to do, we are saying we don’t want to compromise and compromise is the key to overcoming any crisis.
  4. Here’s something you have possibly lived through. Natural disasters, like Katrina, and tornados and ice storms, often affect a part of our country. Some of happened even as we are dealing with corona. From these disasters, we’ve learned to help out our neighbors. I’ve already witnessed precious examples of teachers volunteering to facetime and help students, not just their own, but anyone needing help. Doctors and nurses are coming out of retirement to help and church members are volunteering to get groceries for older citizens. In our neighborhood, my son-in-law, Willie, has taken on the job of feeding my mom and two of my aunts and uncles during this time. It is true that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s not what we want, but it is what will make us better people, if we choose to let it.
  5. Here’s another type of tragedy that you have either experienced or know someone who has. It affects many of us and we learn lessons from each one. Death, disease, and divorce are tragedies faced by many and, from those events, we’ve learned that the sun will come up tomorrow. While we’re going through a crisis or tragedy, it’s not fun or easy or anything we want it to be, but it does pass and we do move on and life does go on. All those clichés we say really do come true. My family, your family, everyone’s family has lived through all of these to some degree and we’re still here to fight another day.

So, that’s it! Lessons we’ve already learned and can apply to the situation right now.

I’ve heard words like crazy, weird, unreal, and bizarre applied to our coronavirus crisis of 2020, and all of those are true, it’s strange times for sure, but I can’t wait to see all the “good” things that come from this time when we were forced to refocus. Many of us flipped the calendar to 2020 with the aspiration of “seeing God more clearly.” It was a natural life motto for this year. After all, who wouldn’t want to have 20/20 vision for God’s plan for our life in 2020?

While we didn’t expect a quarantine when New Year’s Eve rolled around last January, we do know that we can expect God to use anything that happens in our world for our good. Disruptions cause us to refocus and that isn’t all bad. It’s been said that many never change until forced, so let’s change something. Let’s allow this disruption to cause us to be better people. When our President says, “Everyone can go back to your normal lives,” let’s say “No, we want to go back to a better life.” And, that doesn’t mean better things or places to go or activities to do. That means a better way of seeing the world and loving our neighbors and honoring God and reflecting Jesus.

My prayers are with each of you as you make decisions about your future. Now, more than ever, let’s cling to this verse:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Hugs, 2 mama

Chrys Howard is the mother of three adult children, Korie Robertson, who is one of the stars of the A&E® hit TV show Duck Dynasty®, Ryan Howard and Ashley Nelson. She has fourteen grandkids, including Sadie. They call her 2-mama and her husband, John, is 2-papa. Chrys directs a Christian youth camp in the summer, spends time serving in the mission field, and hosts a weekly radio show titled It’s a Mom Thing. She has edited and co-written more than 100 books and is the author of nine books with more than 1,000,000 copies in print in six languages. Her more recent book is Rockstar Grandparent. Stay connected with Chrys on Instagram: @chryshoward, on her websites: chrysHoward.com and  RockingItGrand.com, and Facebook: Chrys Shackelford Howard.

Drop Your Water Pot

Drop Your Water Pot

Message from Team LO: We are so excited about today’s post from our favorite, Laney Rene! Laney has written an exclusive study on the book of Ruth, launching TODAY in LO Fam! We are giving away your first month free (limited time only!) so join today and be a part of this new study, mentorship from your favs, and global community! 

Have you ever heard the story of the woman at the well? You might have, but I’ll give a little summary just in case.

The story goes like this…

Jesus left Judea to go to Galilee after hearing what the Pharisees were saying about Him baptizing more people than John.

On His way to Judea, He had to go through Samaria.

Jesus was tired from His journey, so He sat by a well.

While He was there a woman from Samaria came to draw water from that well.

Jesus asked the woman for a drink, but when He did the woman couldn’t understand why a Jew would ask her (a Samaritan) for a drink of water.

Because “traditionally” the Jews wanted nothing to do with the Samaritans.

So she said to Him, “Why would a Jewish man ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water?”

In reply, Jesus said to her, “If only you knew the gift of God and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would’ve asked Him for a drink and He would’ve given you living water.”

The woman, seeing that Jesus had nothing to draw water with, goes on to tell Him the well is very deep. “So where do you get this living water?” she asked.

Jesus said to her, “Anyone who drinks this water will thirst again, but anyone who drinks of the water I give him will never thirst again.

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

After this, the women said to Jesus, “Give me this water that I may never thirst again and have to come back here to draw water.”

Jesus, in reply, said, “Go get your husband and bring him back here”, already knowing that she didn’t have a husband, but that she had 5! And, the man she was currently living with was not her husband.

The woman then said to Jesus, “You must be a prophet! So tell me this… Why do our fathers worship God here on this nearby mountain, but your people teach that Jerusalem is the place where we must worship. Which is right?”

Jesus responded to her question saying, “Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart. Your people don’t really know the One they worship. We Jews worship out of our experience, for it’s from the Jews that salvation is made available. From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and He longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”

Then the woman said, “This is all so confusing… but I do know that the Anointed One is coming—the true Messiah. And when he comes, he will tell us everything we need to know.”

Hearing this, Jesus said to her, “You don’t have to wait any longer, the Anointed One is here speaking with you—I am the One you’re looking for.”

“At that moment the disciples returned and were stunned to see Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman. Yet none of them dared to ask him why or what they were discussing. All at once, the woman dropped her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the Anointed One we’ve been waiting for.” Hearing this, the people came streaming out of the village to go see Jesus.”

I know I basically just had you read a whole chapter of the Bible and this is a blog post, but I had to have you read all of it to get to what I believe Jesus has been putting on my heart to share. Lately I’ve been noticing how much traditions can affect our lives. Whether we realize it or not, we all have traditions. Some traditions are amazing, life giving and remind us where we came from or can be sweet things we do with family. Other traditions can be out of obligation, because that’s what “everyone” does or because we think that’s what everyone should do.

By definition, a tradition is “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious act or social custom).”

I’m sure we can all think of some good traditions we’ve inherited and that have been passed down by family, but have you ever wondered why you actually do some of the things you do? Is it possible that some of the traditions we have actually take away from relationships with others, rather than add to them?

Often times in the Bible we see Jesus forsake human traditions and customs for the sake of relationship and to reach the heart of a person.

Let’s use the woman at the well as an example. This woman probably woke up that day just like any other day and did what she normally would do by going to draw water from the well. She was doing what she would traditionally do. Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t seem to live many days doing the exact same thing.

Jesus came into the world by breaking one of the most common and socially acceptable things there is by the way He was born.

When was the last time you heard of someone being born of a virgin? …probably the same time I did, being Jesus.

He began His life by breaking a tradition and, since then, He hasn’t stopped.

Things that are expected and “traditionally” done, could often make us miss the whole point or the person for that matter.

At the well, Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman. Tradition would’ve told Jesus to stay clear of this woman, maybe to even find a different well to go to, but, as we can see, tradition didn’t seem to make Jesus’s decisions. Jesus did the opposite of what was often “socially acceptable”.

Catching the woman off guard, we saw her defenses go up. Trying to get what she needed and leave per usual, she probably was thinking “Now why is this guy talking to me? Doesn’t he know I’m a Samaritan and he’s a Jew… we’re not supposed to talk to each other.”

But Jesus didn’t care about being socially acceptable, or keeping the law of tradition, Jesus wanted to give her true life.

Notice Jesus knew everything about her and still was only concerned about one thing… that she would never thirst again. He wanted to give her everlasting life.

He wasn’t focused on the “do’s and don’ts”, or the “rights and wrongs” of traditions.

He wasn’t concerned about the right place or the right time.

For He said, “Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart.”

And here’s my favorite part of the story!… “All at once, the woman dropped her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the anointed one we’ve been waiting for.”

Notice… the woman left her water pot at the well.

When the woman encountered Jesus she completely forgot what she came for because her need was already met.

No one told the woman to go tell everyone she knew. No, the living water was springing up just like Jesus had told her it would and naturally she couldn’t help but share the good news.

One encounter with Jesus led to the Gospel being spread to many. She couldn’t help but tell others about the man she had met.

She was seen.

She was loved.

She was naturally leading people back to the well.

Jesus often leads us to break the laws of human tradition.

It’s the unexpected and the things in between.

It wasn’t Judea or Galilee, it was Samaria. It was the stop in between the two destinations.

It was the place that wasn’t a part of the “plan”.

It was the encounter that wasn’t socially acceptable.

It was the human interaction and face to face moment.

It was Jesus, just Jesus, meeting a woman right where she was.

I wonder how many traditions we have that we just consider “normal” that actually hinder us from having life-changing encounters with people, or maybe even our own face-to-face, life-changing encounter with Jesus.

Something tells me Jesus didn’t have a schedule. Or if He did, He must’ve always been late to everything.

Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry.

He always had time for what to us “millennials” would probably be inconvenient.

But just because Jesus might not have had a very tight schedule, it definitely didn’t mean that He didn’t have purpose or that He wasn’t very important.

Busy-ness can often hinder us from true relationship. It’s good to have a little room for the inconvenient and non-traditional.

Jesus always had room, and I think we can learn something from Him 😉

Laney Rene (most recently known as Mrs. Pickens!) is a lover of Jesus who loves sharing about what He has done in her life. Whether it’s through writing blogs, music, or designing clothes, Laney’s prayer is that it would always remind people of how loved they are by HIM.  

Check out Laney’s brand new study, available on LO Fam!

Follow Laney on Instagram @heylaneyrene

10 Verses To Help With Fear

10 Verses To Help With Fear

Are you letting fear run rampant in your life right now?

Have you reached a place where you’re ready to deal with it?

Are you unsure where to start? That’s okay!

A great way to start combatting fear is to focus on the Word of God, and what He has done for you.  When our minds are racing, scripture helps us focus on what is true. It’s not that things aren’t scary, but God has given you the power over them through His Word.

We have paraphrased the verses so we encourage you to get your bible out and study the scripture along with us!

Journal them, memorize them or offer them as prayers to God. The key ingredient to overcoming fear is not just speaking to it… It’s speaking to it in Jesus’ name with these words.

Here are 10 bible verses to help with fear:

1. Psalm 25:4-5
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

Friend, soak on this question for a bit: Where is your hope today? So often, we want to put out hope in something tangible, seen, and felt. But what we are forgetting is that faith requires hope in the unseen. The greatest part is, hope actually can be tangible. It’s in the very real, living word of God. And this verse is saying that God can lead us, teach us, and save us, all shown through this Psalm and all throughout scripture.

So today, let it be different. Make a choice to cast aside all worries, and all day, minute by minute, put your trust in Him.

2. Isaiah 41:10
Focus on who God is and all that he’s going to do in your life in this time. He will strengthen and uphold you.

We just talked about hope, and now we’re focusing on our focus. Where do your thoughts go during the day? Are they thoughts of anxiety, worst case scenarios, fear of the future? Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Paul here is telling us to re-shift our focus, and this requires a choice to do so. We won’t just fall into focusing on who God is, it first takes identifying what you’re focusing on and doing a heavily re-shift. When we focus on the one who is true, noble, right, pure, and lovely, we are assured peace, even in the midst of the storm.

3. Joshua 1:9
Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. God is with you.

Fear is a very real thing, friend. In these uncertain times, fear is one of the quickest things to hit us. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning your first thought is one of fear and worry. But God tells us that even if that is the case, we don’t have to get discouraged, because God is stronger than our fear. He is more powerful than our worries. And He is the conqueror over all circumstances. The very fact that we have a God who is with us, for us, and fighting on our behalf can overcome any fear with a supernatural peace that surpasses understanding.

4. Hebrews 13:6
The Lord is your helper.

Who doesn’t want a little help these days? We sure do! Pastor Nicky Gumbel says that sometimes the most powerful thing we can say is “help”. We weren’t created to do it alone. We weren’t made to face our fears by ourselves. We were hardwired for community, dependence, and vulnerability. And God is enough to come to our rescue in times of fear and uncertainty. Hand over your anxieties today, knowing that He is a helper and longs to do just that.

 5. Isaiah 35:4
Your God will come.

What a promise we can hold tight to! These days, we live in uncertainty of who will actually show up when times get rough. Even the people who love us the absolute most will fail to show up in our time of need. This is because we are human. But God promises to be near and come to us. We don’t have to doubt if He will be late either. He is always on time. Anxiety will never show up before God does.

6. John 14:27
Peace he gives to you. Do not let your heart be troubled.

 Anyone read this verse and start singing “Good Grace?” This is exactly where that song comes from. Jesus says right after this that he doesn’t give to us like the world gives us.

The world gives: anxiety, fear, worry, uncertainty, unpredictability, inconsistencies.

Jesus gives: love, joy, PEACE, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

 7. Deuteronomy 31:8
 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you.

Did you know that God isn’t just with you, but He’s also in front of you? Friend, you are covered on all sides today. God is like a shield around you, protecting you from hits the enemy tries to throw at you. If you are feeling anxiety today, pray out to God what is true: that He is before you, He is beside you, He is behind you, and no scheme of the enemy is going to get in the way of remembering where and who God is today.

8. Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious. Present your requests to God.

Let’s focus on the second part of this scripture. Present your requests to God. Friends, God already knows what’s on our heart and our minds. He knows all of our fears, our worries, and our thoughts. So, why do we present our requests to God? Sharing your anxieties and fears with God through prayer allows us to both invite Him into our hearts and surrender anything on our mind. Even a simple prayer can ease daily anxiety. So, when you’re feeling anxious, turn to prayer.

9. 2 Samuel 22:3
He is your stronghold, your refuge, your savior.

Wow. Read those words again: STRONGHOLD. REFUGE. SAVIOR. Anyone else feel like they need all three of these? Raising our hands over here. These times call for strength. These times call for refuge. These times call for a savior. It’s sometimes difficult to put our faith in something that is not of this world, something we can’t see. It’s difficult to not fully rely on people, government, and leaders for provision and safety. Friend, we have access right now to all three in Jesus. Rest in the truth that Jesus is your stronghold, your refuge, and your savior.

10. Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.

One of our team’s favorite verses is Psalm 46. David, the author of the Psalms cried out to God many times for help, for safety, for strength and so much more. It’s our turn. He is with us, and all we have to do is turn our faces towards him and declare against fear.

Repeat after us: WE WILL NOT FEAR. Choose to step into the refuge of God and say no to fear today. Continue practicing this every day in this season. Encourage yourself and others to no longer fear because of the great refuge in Jesus.

We are with you! There is a greater promise that the God of the universe will strengthen you.

Prayer: Lord help me identify what I am afraid of and show me how You are bigger and greater than that. Give me security and safety through your Word.

Want more encouragement from Live Original? Follow us on Instagram @legitsadierob and @liveoriginal.

Struggling with the Hate

Struggling with the Hate

I talk a lot about haters, and even give a lot of advice to people dealing with haters in their lives. Everything that I have written and said I truly stand by. Those things have helped me through a lot of negativity, bullies and haters in my lifetime, but I think there is a vulnerability that I haven’t reached yet in sharing about how I actually feel when haters comment on my social media. I’ve experience my fair share and truly understand how bad it feel, so I thought I’d share.

If you’ve been following me for a while and read any of the comments, I am sure you have seen it. You can pretty much pick any post and if I haven’t already deleted or blocked the hate, then it’s there, so here goes…this is going to be the most honest thing I have ever written about the reality of how it feels when people are hateful towards me, maybe you can relate.

First off, I think that referring to people as haters can sometimes try to mask the actual pain that comes with the truly hateful words real humans choose to say to other real humans who have real feelings and real lives. Giving people the title of a “hater” almost just sounds too fun. If someone is, “just a hater” maybe it’s somehow easier to not take what they say seriously. Maybe it is, that is until you are on the other end of the hate for who you are, what you look like, or what you are doing. Hateful things hurt, not matter what you call it.

If I am being really honest there have been many times when I delete my social media and never want to post another video, picture, message, or do anything again in the public eye because of some of the haters out there and the negative comments I have received. I realize those are the dramatic moments when feelings are escalated, when I’ve just read one too many, but I want to share this because that is what hate can do to you. It can make you want to just give up.

Also, there are times I feel like it would be easier to just pose in a bikini and smile with the perfect sunlight with some caption about wanting a donut, then to actually post something that matters to me and that I believe could truly make a difference in the world. At least posting something that didn’t really represent who I really am might help shield my heart from the sting of the words that target me after I post something that actually matters to me.

The truth is, though, no matter what you do or however you choose to live your life you will experience hate at some point. I have gotten blasted about my appearance – some people think I am too skinny, others hate my hair blonde, I have had a whole page dedicated to zooming in on a pimple. I have been blasted for my shorts being too short and then made fun of for being modest. I have been criticized for talking too fast, too country, for losing my accent. I have literally had hateful comments for helping orphans in other counties by building schools and safe houses and going to visit them from people who think because I do that I’m not helping people in my own country… I mean hate is everywhere with anything and it can make you not want to go anywhere or do anything.

I was young when my social media became really big. I was 17 when I hit 1 million followers. It was pretty much overnight and then hundreds of thousands more over the years put me now at over 5 million through my platforms. I’m grateful for that and believe there is a purpose in all of that, but before the crazy thing is before I knew who I was, or who I wanted to be it felt like everyone else was commenting on who they thought I was or thought I should be. I remember feeling so overwhelmed.

It is an interesting thing to navigate through when it seems like everyone knows who I am but me.

I did not know what God was doing by calling me. Why would he call a girl who was scared she didn’t even know who she was, felt like a hypochondriac, was struggling through some relationship problems, and would find myself crying in the bathroom from a bully at school? Reading even what I am now writing I see it was the perfect timing to call a 17 year old girl who would have to completely and utterly depend on the God of the Universe Himself to carry her through the journey I was just beginning to say yes to. As time went on I began to find confidence in who He was, and what He was calling me to and I started to think much less about who I was and more about who He is. I started to realize that my life wasn’t about getting the praise of man, but was about bringing glory to the one who made me.

That right there, that moment when I started to think about myself less and Him more was the turning point for me, and that is probably my greatest piece of advice I could give you to walk out the calling on your life and survive the hatefulness of the world. More of him, less of you.

The next thing that changed everything for me, when I am struggling with the haters is to remember that the God I serve actually really loves the haters. Those people who blast me online, he loves them, and he is asking me to love them too. There is no greater example of someone loving their enemies than Jesus. That is humbling to the core. It is not only humbling, but it is extremely challenging. First that would mean that I can not let the hateful words that people say about me make grow hate in my heart for them, and secondly and sometimes this is even more challenging, I can’t let the hate they throw at me make me hate myself. How am I to love others if I don’t realize the love God has for me and I can’t love myself? 

These are the revelations I have to return to every day to be able to continue to post, preach, do videos, write, record podcasts and otherwise fulfill my purpose.

I could just quit it all and go live my life with my husband, my family and close friends out of the public eye, but I want to live a life of purpose and I believe that a true purpose is never selfish and is very rarely easy. I pray that the things I post are never just to boost my ego, or get a lot of likes, because I know that will not truly satisfy my own real desire and the desire that we all as humans have, to live a life of meaning and love.

You have heard me say it before and I will say it again – you will not experience the true depth of love just by being liked or just by liking others who like you back. You will experience the depth of love when you feel known and are loved anyway, and when you love others not because of what they do for you, but because God loved them first. If you do not allow your true self to be known to the people around you no matter how many likes, comments, or compliments that you get on social media –  you will not feel satisfied in your truest desire to love and be loved, and you will crumble in the face of hate. But if the way you live your life online and off is out of a place of already knowing you are loved by the God who created you before a single like or comment, you will be able to stand up under whatever hate you might experience and remain true to your original self God made you to be and the calling He has placed on your life.

It is a lot easier to take a hateful comment about yourself, when you are living for something bigger than yourself.

  • Does the hate still bother me? Yes, it does bother me.
  • Does the hate still hurt? Sometimes.
  • Do I ever cry, because of the hateful things people say? Yes, sometimes I do but mainly it’s not so much out of hurt but out of frustration.
  • Will I stop doing what I am doing because of the hate? Never. Simply because what I am doing is not about me.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

One final disclaimer: My team at LO and I do delete and block people from my pages that say hateful comments and here’s why: I truly desire for my social media to be a place people come to be encouraged and enlightened. The hateful comments seem to just breed more negativity and arguments back and I try to keep my page from being about that. The bible talks about guarding our heart because it is the wellspring of our life. This is a way to guard our hearts and the hearts of those following me from mean-spiritedness, so that’s why we do it and will continue to. We all need to realize the power we have to guard our hearts in our own lives. When someone is being hateful to us in person, we can and should walk away. I call it “getting out of the car,” that might be a story for another day, ha! But we also have the power on our social media to control who speaks into our lives and the block and delete button is one way to do that.

Want more encouragement from Live Original? Follow us on Instagram @legitsadierob and @liveoriginal.

6 Ways To Use The Virtual World For Good

6 Ways To Use The Virtual World For Good

We don’t need to say it, we all know these are interesting days. In a time where we are being asked to distance ourselves and stay home, we are all learning how to still find community. As we try to connect during these days, we thought we’d send a few encouraging ways you can use the virtual world for the good & stay connected. 

GATHER 

Hebrews 10:25 – Do not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

This week, Louie Giglio posted a graphic which said, “The Church has left the building”. We couldn’t have stated it better. Parking lots will be empty this week, youth groups won’t be meeting for a while and we do not know when the doors will open again. However, we do know that we are still called to gather. Can we encourage you to tune into your churches’ services if they are doing online gatherings? It might feel awkward to sing in your house alone or with a few family members – but how special is it to know that individuals across your city are doing the same? You are not alone! How comforting to know that The Body is still alive and active, even with the doors closed at your church? It’s a privilege to be a part of The Church during this time in history and I hope that when we do gather together again in our church buildings, we will be stronger than ever because of what has happened in our own homes.

If your home church doesn’t have an online service, here are a few we recommend: 

Christ Church, Passion City Church, Church of the City Franklin, Cross Point Church

CELEBRATE

Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Amidst the mass amount of hardship that is happening, we still have people around us celebrating birthdays, births, anniversaries etc. Just as much as we want to be there for those struggling, we also need to practice the discipline of celebration during this time. 

This week was a dear friends birthday. We got creative and celebrated her via a “Virtual Birthday Party”. We all gathered over a Zoom video chat in our PJ’s. We shared original birthday poems to make her laugh and encourage her. We sipped our coffee together and sent her virtual gifts— like e-books and online gift cards. 

We still have much to celebrate during these days. It might take some creativity, but hey, we will all remember, “that year when we had those “unique” celebrations”.

ENCOURAGE

Hebrews 3:13 – But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (ESV)

Do you know anyone who could use some encouragement? Um, probably most of us! How cool would it be if we went on “Encouragement Rants”? Let me explain— set your timer on your phone for 10 minutes and scroll your address book on your phone. Focus your mind on others. Take some time to send a few texts to those who you know might need a positive word in this time. Perhaps it’s someone who you know who lives alone, an older person who hasn’t left their home in weeks, someone who is sick, or someone you just haven’t talked to in a while. I think we would all be surprised with how much encouragement we can spread in just 10 minutes.  

STUDY

Psalm 1:3 Blessed is the one.. whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

We never thought we would be so pumped to tune into an Instagram live – however, we have been following along with a friend who is doing an 8AM CST Instagram Live (shout out to Alex Seeley). Each morning she does little devotional and it has been the most wonderful way to start the day, with connection to other believers. This is a great time to dive into the Word of God alone during your own quiet times but it could also be a great time to study the word together. Host a morning devotional once a week on IG Live, start a group text thread with your small group and discuss a topic or question, or check out our LO Fam online community which has a variety of workshops and studies to dive into online. 

SUPPORT 

James 5:16b pray for one another, that you may be healed.

Here’s a unique idea! Have you overcome a struggle in a specific area that you might be able to support another person in during this time? Many people find comfort in gathering together in small groups to encourage one another in specific areas, but are not able to gather in person right now. Is there way that you might be able to host a small group online during this time of isolation? Perhaps you could lead a 30-minute prayer time together online or be an accountability partner to someone you know who might need it during this season. Perhaps you’ve wrestled with anxiety, an eating disorder, grief, or another life controlling issue and could be support to those who need it now in their own recovery. Perhaps you are a mom at home who just needs the support of other moms who can share parenting ideas and tips. 

If you are looking for a way to host a private gathering /small group online, we recommend checking out a convenient, free video conferencing website like Zoom.

HAVE FUN. BE KIND!

Proverbs 17:22- A cheerful heart is good medicine

Random Acts of Kindness! Perhaps, if you’re able, anonymously send someone some flowers, a book, some donuts!

Hidden Talent Challenge— can you juggle, tap dance, balance books on your head? Do you have unique ideas on how to pass time, funny cat videos, silly videos of your quarantined family? Send them out! 

We all could use a good laugh these days. Sometimes the virtual world can be a dark place, so let’s shine a little light in it during this time and have some fun! 

Want more encouragement from Live Original? Follow us on Instagram @legitsadierob and @liveoriginal.

About Sadie & Live Original

Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19

XO

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About Sadie

Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19

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