It's a Girl Thing

The Secret to Confidence

I have a little secret to tell you–one that, if we were to meet right now, you might not believe–but here it is: I used to be really insecure.

No biggie, right? Isn’t every teenage girl insecure? Don’t all girls spend their teen years groping for a sense of identity? Sadly, I notice that all too often. And while I watch the teens around me (including my 3-years-ago self), seek confidence in oh-so-many places, my heart breaks for them.

Sweet friend, if you’re looking for confidence in relationships, materialism, approval, or even music, you’re looking in all the wrong directions.

But here’s the good news: The secret to confidence really isn’t a secret at all! No matter what causes your insecurity—no matter what pain you’re going through that steals your sense of worth—the solution to a confident heart is the same for each of us.

I said I used to be insecure. That’s not to say I don’t feel inferior or shy at times, because I do. But I’ve found the secret to a bold heart, and I can’t tell you how liberating it is.

So, are you ready to unlock the secret to confidence?

Here it is…

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Stop looking for confidence.

Yep. That’s it. Stop trying to be confident.

The minute I stopped trying to act perfectly, be the best, or gain the approval I craved, my life flipped upside down.
But I didn’t stop focusing on those things by myself. I didn’t magically wake up, decide to stop thinking about being confident, and suddenly become secure in my own skin. In fact, I didn’t even mean to find confidence when—or how—I did.

Let me explain:
When we first moved to New York, my parents took short walks around the neighborhood every morning. After some coaxing, I decided to join them on one of their early-hour adventures. It was brisk and invigorating outside, and I happily poured myself a mug of hot coffee as soon as we got home. When I settled down in the stillness of my room, nothing seemed more inviting than my Bible. In fact, I longed to open it. So I did. And I couldn’t stop reading.

Nearly every morning after that, I woke up with a quick walk and locked myself in my room with nothing but Scripture and my coffee. Now, subtract the shivery walks, and my mornings are just about the same. 

Little did I know that my decision to take a walk in the freezing cold would transform my whole life. I didn’t plan to read my Bible that morning when I got home. More than that, I definitely didn’t expect the radical changes that took root in my life as a result. The more I dive into the Word, the less time I have to focus on my insecurities, and confidence comes naturally. 

Sweet friend, the secret to confidence is so simple. We make things so much more complicated than they are, and it’s not helping us.

I’ve seen the Pinterest quotes– “Just love yourself, and everything else will fall into place,” or “stop caring about what others think and fall in love with you.”–But those things aren’t working. Girls aren’t becoming confident by loving themselves–or doing anything else the world suggests.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7, NIV).

Let me tweek those confidence tips a bit: 

“Seek JESUS and everything else will fall into place.”

“Read Scripture and understand what GOD thinks of you, and the world’s opinions won’t matter.”

“Love Christ and love OTHERS, and you’ll know exactly how to treat yourself.”

You see, when we focus on ourselves and try to feel better in our own skin, we only end up in a mess of constant overthinking and anxiety.
When we try to find security in ourselves, everything falls apart. We forget that Jesus never said to look at ourselves for help. In fact, Galatians 6:14 says our eyes are to be on the cross of Christ. Our boasting—our confidence—is in Him alone.

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (ESV).

Confidence comes from knowing who you are in Christ, and clinging to His grace when you fall short.

Confidence comes from a heart that trusts the Lord and cares about the things of heaven more than the things of earth.

Confidence comes from trusting that Jesus loves you, and no one can ever change that.

Ever since that morning of Bible study, one simple truth has rung clear in my mind: A relationship with Jesus brings all the security in the world—even when everything else falls apart.

The minute I chose to ground myself in Him, my confidence grew, and it continues to grow every single day.

Jeremiah 17:7 says “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (NIV).

Look to yourself –> lose confidence.
Look to Jesus –> be victorious.

“With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:8a, ESV).

Let me tell you a story:
In November, I took a trip to South Carolina for an art festival at a Christian university. My friend and I were competing in music, and we spent every hour together. We woke up early, ran to breakfast, rushed to the practice rooms, played for the judges, hung out with friends…it was awesome.
But, as the hours of that week wore on, we lost energy. Our supply of adrenaline ran low. And, the more we interacted with other people and compared notes, the more we overthought every minute.
My friend and I spent our days feeding off of each other’s insecurities, and the more we talked about our weaknesses, the weaker we felt. We started focusing on our problems and worrying about people’s opinions.

By the end of that week, I wasn’t the same Abigail I usually am. I had no peace. My moods were a rollercoaster. And I kicked myself constantly because nothing I did–no pep talk or amount of self-comfort filled the gaping hole of insecurity.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized what happened (Other than the fact that I was sleep-deprived): I spent zero time with God that week. I prayed for my competitions now and then, but that was it. I didn’t read my Bible or even take notes in chapel. As soon as I stopped focusing on Christ, my focus turned inward and I spun myself into a pit of insecurity. I inflicted pain on myself and my friend for no reason. All in 5 days.

Though I wish I could redo that week at times, I’m thankful for the valuable lessons I learned. One of them being this: Building confidence takes time, but losing it is a split-second disaster when we take our eyes off Jesus.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”

I know the miseries of insecurity. I’ve gone through the tears and journaled my feelings of self-doubt. I’ve kept my mouth shut in public because I was scared what others would think. I’ve chickened out of activities because I didn’t want to look bad.
Insecurity is a vicious cycle, and it cannot be defeated without the Word of God (both the written Word, and Jesus, the living Word). 
Sweet friend, I don’t want you to waste your life searching for confidence. I don’t want you to fall apart in tears because you’ve tried so hard to hold everything together. Not when you have the key to confidence at your disposal.

More than anything, I want to see you thrive and enjoy life to the FULL, because you found security in Jesus. Will you please, please, run to Him?

“Allow your desperation to direct you to the one who satisfies.” -Jonathan Pokluda

I know it sounds cliché. It seems too simple–too good to be true. But believe me, it works.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.”

Remind yourself of this truth. Post it on your wall, repeat it in your mind. This is your key to a confident life.

Let’s talk!

Do you struggle with confidence? Maybe you’re battling self-worth or perfectionism. Sweet one, I would love to talk with and pray for you. Feel free to contact me here

If this post helped you, feel free to leave a comment! I love hearing from you.

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It's a Girl Thing

1 Simple, Effective Way to Study Scripture

Hi friends!

I’m so sorry I haven’t come on the blog for a while—my only excuse is homework and traveling 😉 To any of you who emailed me recently, please forgive me for not responding yet. I will reply as soon as I can! I haven’t forgotten you 🙂

________________

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, ESV).

In July of 2016, I decided to dive into the book of John, combing through it verse-by-verse. I just finished reading it at the beginning of this month, and I’m so excited about all that I learned!

At times, I thought about just moving on to another book of the Bible because John was taking so long, but I’m really glad I finished it.
After taking so much away from each chapter, I thought it would be fun to share the method I used for studying John (and any other part of Scripture).

So, in three parts, here’s one simple, effective way to study the Bible—and get more out of each verse!

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Once you’ve chosen your chapter…

Part 1: READ
Read a couple verses at a time (enough to gather context).

Part 2: WRITE
Write out individual verses that speak to you or offer practical applications.

Part 3: PONDER & APPLY
Jot down notes or prayers  below the verse to fully absorb it.

You can do this for as many verses as you want—sometimes I just write out one verse at a time and scribble down my thoughts about it, and then move on to the next verse. Other times I’ll write out a few verses and draw general applications.
When I was studying John, I read anywhere from 5-20 verses each day using this method. Sometimes I would read the whole chapter after studying in small increments, just to tie everything together 🙂

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, ESV). 

5 Reasons I use this method:

1) Simply reading words on the page doesn’t do a whole lot for me, because I get distracted and tend to skim over the pages.

Writing down Scripture keeps my mind engaged, because I’m actively looking for bits to write down. It also keeps my focus because my hands have something to do.

2) Looking for things to write down makes me notice verses I wouldn’t usually see, because I’m actively seeking out applications and gathering information.

The book of John was great for stretching my creativity, because a lot of it is action (miracles, historic events, etc.). I had to look for significance in each verse and think of ways I could learn from every chapter. Some verses simply helped me grasp the nature of Jesus better, and I took notes on what I noticed of His character through certain things He did/said.

3) Writing verses down helps the words stick in my mind.

I’ve found that on days when I just read through a chapter, I remember a lot less of what I read than when I journal verses. Getting different parts of your brain involved by reading and writing is a great way to remember verses throughout the day.

4) It personalizes Bible study time.

When I read, I’m constantly searching for ways I could apply verses to my life or learn from actions of other people. After writing down the verses, scrawling out my thoughts and adapting verses into prayers really helps me process what I read and it keeps me involved in conversation with God. It’s always special hearing sermons or talks on the chapters I’ve read later on, because I remember how various chapters spoke to me, and what I wrote about them. It’s really sweet 🙂

5) If I don’t have much time for devotions, I can just jot down one quick verse, and then turn it over in my head or pray it throughout the day.

I never feel like I’ve missed out on time with God because I’m able to squeeze in a little truth before my day is started 🙂

Here’s a little sample of what my devotions journal looks like—just to show you how this method works:

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” Proverbs 2:1-5, ESV).

One last thing…

Maybe this method isn’t appealing to you—or you have your own way of studying Scripture, but you wanna add a little extra flare. That’s great! Here are a few other ideas for you to try…

1) Take notes from a commentary on passages you want to understand better.This is a great way to stretch your understanding of the Bible, and keep your mind involved.
–> My favorite commentary is Matthew Henry’s commentary, available for free in the Bible Gateway app

2) Keep a journal or sheet of paper to record definitions of words you come across in your Bible reading. They could be words you don’t understand, or just ones that are really special to you and you want to access their definitions quickly.

This is a really fun way to absorb everything you read–and those words take on more meaning for you as you continue reading.

3) Listen to the Bible!
I have a lot of Bible reading to do for one of my college courses, and I don’t have time to comb through and write applications down for each verse 😉 So, to keep my mind focused, I listen to Scripture.
–> The Dramatized Bible (only available in NIV and KJV) in Bible Gateway is my favorite one to listen to. It’s SO good.

“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:17, ESV).

That’s all for now!

Remember that spending time with Jesus in His Word is the most important thing you could ever do. Without the guidance and understanding of Scripture, we’re lost and defenseless. God gave us His word to instruct and help us, and we need to take advantage of that gift!

If you don’t have a reading system down yet, I hope you’ll try some of these ideas. I promise you won’t regret it ❤

–> Would you do me a favor and share this post with friends and family? It would mean the world to me!

Feel free to leave a comment or contact me with any questions–I love hearing from you!

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P.S. If you want to read more on Spiritual growth/get further Bible study ideas, you can check out these posts 🙂

–> 3 Ways to Draw Near to God

–> 5 Ways to Boost Spiritual Growth

 

 

It's a Girl Thing

Free Devotionals and More

Hi everyone!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been sending out 1-2 emails to my readers each month. I realized I haven’t mentioned this much in my posts, so I thought I’d take a minute to tell you more about these emails–and give you the chance to join the mailing list!

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At first, I planned on sharing stories of my experiences here in New York (I moved from Texas to Brooklyn about 3 years ago), but after sharing the story of how my family got here, I decided to change the focus. Since my Brooklyn adventures aren’t super relevant to the blog, I thought it would be fun to share devotionals and notes of encouragement instead.

So far, the emails I’ve sent are these…

  • 2-part story of my family’s journey to New York
  • When Life is Disappointing (A quick note of encouragement for tough times)
  • February Favorites (I shared favorite memories, lessons, and blessings from the month of February)
  • Psalm 13: Notes and Applications (a personal story + practical applications on Psalm 13)

A little preview:

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These notes are a lot shorter and more conversational than regular blog posts, and I’ve had such a good time interacting with readers this way!

If you’re looking for quick doses of encouragement and inspiration, you won’t wanna miss these emails. I think you’ll enjoy reading as much as I love writing them 🙂

Side note: Though the title says these emails are for young women, they’re definitely not focused only towards girls. In fact, my goal with these emails is to allow for a broader audience. So, if you’re not a young woman–or even a girl–these devotionals are still meant for you! 

So, do you wanna join the loop? You can sign up below! (Or use this link.)

 

That’s all for now!

I hope we can talk soon 🙂

 

It's a Girl Thing

A Letter to the Discouraged Student

I’ve had this post in mind for months now, and finally decided it’s time to share it–so here we go 🙂

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Dear friend,

It’s been a rough year, huh?     Whether you’re in high school or college, events have left you exhausted, counting the days until this semester is over.

A tough work load, difficult classes, bad grades, personal relationships…it’s all part of this stressful season, and honestly, you hate it. Maybe you’re wondering why you even try. Wondering how other people come out of this whole education process alive. And you’re ready to give up. I understand. I get the stress. The dread. Questioning if any of this is worth it.

…But I also understand that now is not the time to give up. No matter what trials you’ve faced this year, you can finish strong.
Sweet friend, can I remind you of the bigger picture? Step back for just a second and look ahead five or six years. Where do you see yourself? Graduated from college? Working? Married? Enjoying better life opportunities, because, hey! You made it! ?
Wherever you see yourself at the end of this journey, I want you to hold on to that image. Remind yourself that God has a big, exciting adventure waiting for you after this strenuous process is over. Just think how much your education will benefit you down the road!
I know it’s hard to remember, but this season is only a small portion of your life. The feelings of inadequacy and longing for something different will be over soon. These years are a small chunk of life you’ll someday look back on with gratitude. Grateful that you pushed through. Grateful for the lessons and relationships that took root. Grateful that God sustained you.

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16, ESV).

Here are a few things to remember this semester…

1) Your grades do not define you.

This truth is so important, and I wish I’d clung to it sooner.
I’m gonna be real with you and confess that I was a terrible Science and Algebra student. I got C’s, and D’s and the rare B…but my attitude was worse than those grades.
It still hurts to think about Algebra because I remember feeling so stupid and useless. I cried almost every time I saw a “65%” (or lower) on the screen after taking a test. I’m just one of those people who does not grasp math easily, and, after I spent two years believing that I was stupid (I even took those dyslexia and ADD tests online), I realized I put a lot of stalk into a huge lie.
Bad grades after hard work are discouraging, but when a low mark presents itself to you, remember that it’s just one grade. You have more chances. And that one grade doesn’t withhold the most important gift from you: God’s love and nearness.
It may seem silly to put such a serious outlook on school, but really, we need to remember what’s truly important. Grades don’t matter to God. Effort matters. Attitude matters. The amount of dependence we put on Him to help us matters.
Give yourself some grace. Remember that grades do not define intelligence.

 

2) You don’t have to be good at everything.

I’m not good at Chemistry or Algebra. Do I wish I was? Sometimes, but I have strengths some mathematicians don’t have. Just because letters in a math equation or graphing numbers scare me, doesn’t make me less intelligent than the smartest math student in the state (although it may feel like that at times 😉 ). I’m learning that I don’t have to be good at everything. Not every class will be easy for me. But I can try to understand and enjoy everything I do, whether I’m good at it or not. That’s how life works 🙂

Albert Einstein put it this way:  “Everybody is genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I hope you’ll cling to that truth sooner than later—I wish I had.

 

3) It’s okay not to be okay.

There is no perfect way to handle discouragement! You don’t have to be strong every day. Whether you’ve been hurt by a personal circumstance, a family problem, or just flat-out struggling with a class, it’s okay to feel sad. Always let yourself feel what you need to…Just remember to get back up when you’re done. You have a semester to conquer.

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18, ESV).

4) There is good at the end of this.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24, ESV).

Whatever you’re pursuing in your education–whatever you have in mind for the end result…it all takes time. If you muddle through the difficulties, the victorious outcome will be worth the trouble.

“So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NET).

5) School is not eternal.

It’s easy to become so wrapped up in school that we forget how temporary it really is. I don’t mean temporary in the sense that it only lasts a few years (though that’s true), but temporary in that, school doesn’t affect your eternity. Grades do not change your “status” in heaven.
Can I remind you that this earthly education is JUST earthly education? Of course, it’s important, and we should take it seriously. We’re called to do all to the glory of God. But what I’m saying is this: don’t let school determine your eternal outlook and steal your joy. It will all be forgotten when you get to heaven.

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I want to wrap things up with this quick word of caution: You and I must not compare ourselves to other students.
Oh friend. Comparison is a crusher.
If you let the success of others tear you down, you won’t get far at all. Your job is to try your hardest and ask Jesus to help you accomplish what He has for you.

Let me tell you a little secret: Those ‘genius’ students you see struggle too. They’ve had a hard time with school before. They’re human just like you and me.
Grades, campus status, or ability to ace certain classes does not define you as a student, and these things should not be compared between yourself and others.
This will all be over soon, student. Take time to regroup—read Scripture, take a walk, talk things out with a friend…or better yet, pray. Refresh your soul and press on. Jesus will help you—you need only to ask for grace. ❤

Before you go….

I’ve created a free printable with verse cards to cut out and keep with you. These verses have helped me immensely in my school journey (and life in general), and I hope you’ll take the time to check them out. They’re so uplifting. ❤

That’s all for now!

Would you do me a favor and pass this along to a friend or family member who’s struggling with high school or college? It would mean the world to me ❤

If this post encouraged you, Leave a comment or feel free to contact me! I love hearing from you.

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