Dear Ex, I Never Really Loved You

Worldly “love” comes natural. It’s that Eros “love.” It’s erotic, sensual, and highly appeals to the flesh and the emotions. I’ve fallen in this kind of “love” with several guys. And the more physically and emotionally intimate I was with the guy, the more “in love” I thought I was.

No no. I didn’t think I was in love. I was convinced I was in love. But praise Jesus, His Spirit taught me what real love looks like.

See, the Eros love is how people who don’t truly know Christ love. They do not have His Spirit within them, so they love in a purely human and unspiritual way. This love is broken, limited, and extremely harmful. This love is desperately selfish, even when it looks like it isn’t. This love craves what the other person has to give; their attention, their affection, their adoration, their body. This love stems from the heart that is consumed with Self. A heart that is concerned about its own happiness, not the other’s true well-being. And that is why it is dangerous. Because it is not pure love. It is earthly, sensual—dare I say—demonic.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?-Jeremiah 17:9

If before surrendering to Christ, the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked how on earth can it deny its true nature and love another in a pure way? A godly way? The answer is simple: it can’t.

But when a heart is given to Christ and regenerated by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, now this heart can love in the agape way. The unconditional, selfless, pure, sacrificial way.

Firstly, the regenerated heart is no longer seeking to please Self, but God. This new heart prompts the Christian to delve into the Scriptures and get to know God’s heart. This heart is powerful because the Holy Spirit now lives within it and causes it to be like and obey God.

Before I surrendered my heart to Christ on February 22nd, 2009, I truly thought I loved my ex more than anyone. I believed that because I felt such intense burning desire for him, thought about him often, and wanted to see him all the time, I loved him.

This wasn’t love. I was like a human leech, sucking whatever I could out of my ex because it pleased MY flesh. It made ME feel good. I was addicted to him, not in love with him, because like a drug, he gave my flesh a good high.

But after giving my heart to Jesus, things changed. I’ve been married for almost four years (September 10th <3), and hubby and I don’t fight anymore. I mention this first because in so many worldly relationships fights are natural and usually often. Outbursts of wrath is a fruit of the flesh. You get upset because in that moment, your boyfriend isn’t making YOU happy. Your Self acts out because it’s currently not getting a good high.

But with hubby, now of there’s ever any tension, one of us lovingly submits, and the one who was thinking selfishly at the moment quickly repents and there is immediate peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I give in to him, he gives in to me, and without a fight. We just lovingly give ourselves and this evades conflict. It’s not all about what I want to do and it’s not all about what Jonathan wants to do. We understand one another and are 99% of the time, gentle toward each other, which is another fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NKJV)

When two people have the Holy Spirit, and are letting Him lead, this is the outcome. Real love doesn’t have moments of feeling good, it is good. Sacrifice isn’t this painful, horrible notion that is never even conceived of. Sacrifice is given freely because we seek the well-being and benefit of the other—not ourself.

It’s extremely tragic when Christians are in worldly relationships. It begs the question: do you really have the Holy Spirit in you, because the fruits of your relationship are fleshly. They look just like the world, except maybe they attend a weekly service or two together.

My prayer is that Christians in a worldly relationship will repent. It will certainly hurt their selfish flesh, because the relationship can be so pleasing to it at times, but in the long run, they’ll spare not only their souls from judgement (because being in sinful and hurtful relationships isn’t pleasing to God), but will be free to experience true love, agape love. And when you begin loving someone in a Christ-like way, and he or she loves you likewise, you’ll understand what you’ve been missing all this time.

Is Christianity the Most Beautiful Religion?

Christianity is soooo beautifully simple AND practical!

If one were to just read the book of Matthew or John to see what Jesus said and did, or read one of Paul’s letters to the early church, Colossians, or Philippians, you’d see how…different Christianity is from other religions which are huge on either mystical, elusive, and abstract concepts and thoughts, or food-chain, climb-the-ladder type exaltation of participants, or severe bodily rejection and repetitious, ritualistic behaviors.

But not Biblical Christianity. Not the Christianity you find when you read the New Testament. The admonition and commands on how we ought to love one another and what that looks like practically are just so easy to grasp and refreshing and totally sensical and observable.

Indeed, it’s not like, dare I say, reincarnation, a mystical, never before observed idea. Even Christianity’s claims of resurrection from the dead has been observed time and again throughout history with people praying in Jesus’ name for life to return to someone who died and then it does.

So all this to say, I love the whole of Christianity, of what its Founder, Jesus, teaches. If there is anything more beautiful, more good for mankind, please, show me. It is for such teachings as these that I am totally unashamed to say I follow Jesus and His ways as recorded in the Bible:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” –‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Don’t worry about what people may think if you proclaim to be a Christian. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our God is so good and wonderful. Get to know Him better so your confidence in that fact can be assured and you can more boldly share His love unabashedly with others. At the end of the day, it isn’t about whether or not someone likes you, it’s whether or not you loved Jesus and that person despite.

blog_love_natasha

To Serve [In Church] Or Not To Serve…?

You go to church services on Sundays, maybe on a weekday as well–or more. You like the people there, you have some friends there, you like your pastor and the music so one day, you decide you should serve. So you do.

Question:

1.) When serving–or after the fact–do you find yourself wiped, frustrated, grumbling, or complaining about your experience?

OR:

2.) During and after the fact, you feel good, you enjoyed it, and can recall good experiences and can dare say you’re starting to–or already do–love it?

There’s usually two kinds of reactions to serving in your local church:

A) You feel used or frustrated, but you also feel obligated to serve because, well, it’s just what you should do, isn’t it?

B) You love the people in your church and find it a joy to help them out.

Check it:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.-Philippians 2:1-8

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.-Philippians 2:14-18

Ask yourself: Which kind of volunteer am I and why am I this way? I’d say this, if we aren’t the joyful one, doing it from love, we aren’t walking in love…And maybe that’s because we haven’t truly trusted in Christ and thus, we don’t really have His Holy Spirit living in our hearts, who makes us more loving and Christ-like. Or, we’ve allowed the devil’s lies, who is the author of division in the church, to creep in and embitter us, when once we really did love and enjoying serving, but overtime we started looking down on others or thinking they were taking advantage or not appreciative of what we do.

We as Christians aren’t perfect. It’s why Paul wrote that if anyone has an offense against another to forgive each other as God in Christ has forgiven us. Besides, we do it not because we deserve it, but because we love Jesus and He desires us to use the gifts He gave us to strengthen and serve and build up His church which ultimately is serving Him. If you really think someone is mistreating you, first pray about it. Ask God if this notion is true, or if it’s a lie from satan, or your own misunderstanding. Ask Him to make it known to you. And if afterwards, you still believe the person(s) are being mean or wrong, confront them about it–in a gentle manner. Share how you feel, don’t hold it in, or bring it up to a higher authority. Be honest in your confession of how you feel and what you see and experience. Sometimes it’s just perspective, or sometimes someone really is being out of line and needs correction.

Always remember the above passage, re-read it and really consider it. Jesus and a real love for Him and others should be what compels us to serve–nothing else. And if there is a different reason, we have to confess that our heart isn’t in the right place, and ask God, in Jesus’ name, to forgive us and help us get to that place, that we may shine as lights in this world.

blog_love_natasha

Fat Shaming Vs. Beauty Vs. Reality

Hey precious ladies. First, let me say being cruel or unkind or mocking someone because of their appearance is foolish and, well, mean. God via the Bible has lots to say about kindness and the words we speak.

I’ve seen plenty of what I believe to be beautiful plus-sized women who look great and healthy. Call them, “curvy” or “voluptuous,” they’re not “skinny” and that’s totally okay!

But just as there are some who are unhealthily skinny, there are some who are unhealthily overweight.

For example: I have a grandmother who is obese. She was always “big-boned” which was fine. I believe she lived a healthy life in her earlier years. But then she got remarried after divorcing my grandfather…

Her second husband, “Liked fat women,” so he encouraged her to eat up and eventually, she became 200+ lbs–and the number has climbed and climbed. Nine years ago, she almost died from a blood clot which had to do with her weight and immobility. Currently, my grandmother is basically bedridden. With swollen legs, very heavy and hard to move, getting out of bed is a serious workout and she’s fallen more often because of muscle weakness (again, laying in bed means no real exercise of her limbs and without strengthening by means of use, eventually, our bodies grow frail).

She’s been eating better, thanks to my sister who cares for her and has been trying to help her lose weight so she’s more healthy and mobile. But there are people in the family who say to let her be because she’s happy. In reality, she’s quite the opposite, and though eating junk-food and however much food she desires momentarily releases happy chemicals, doesn’t mean she is truly happy and if anything, it sure is a cheap happiness in comparison to the simple but greater happiness of being able to move around and do necessary things like walk to the restroom, bathe, and not be bed-bound. She’s terrified of falling and has grown all the more bound to her bed because of it.

Many Americans are what doctors call “obese” or unhealthily overweight. You don’t even have to be visibly that “fat” in order to have clogged arteries, diabetes, and the like, but the point is that, at a certain point, “fat” can be more easily defined as unhealthy or potentially unhealthy and when a person is medically obese, encouraging them to stay that way, applauding it, etc. isn’t helpful, but harmful…

How many young people suffer from asthma and diabetes, or die prematurely from a heart attack because of fat build up? Again, I’m not for mocking anyone, but I am for being lovingly honest and offering solutions to what sometimes is just ignorance of how unhealthy certain stuff really is, and the addictive chemicals and whatnot in those foods that keep you coming back for more, or often, over-eating stems from deep, unresolved issues so encouraging the person to continue being unhealthily overweight is also encouraging them to ignore the deeper reasons as to why they’re placing their comfort in food.

Now we can offer help and support without openly embarrassing someone. We should be able to voice any concerns if it’s done so with the genuine intent of helping another person. I appreciate those who are honest with me about my issues and sins and offer advice and help me get through. No one is perfect, but man, the honest words and assistance of others can be such a blessing.

So yes, let us be kind to one another, but let us also offer support and help those whose weight has gotten to the point of being problematic to their health, rather than encourage them to continue embracing an unhealthy lifestyle. Not everyone desires to be helped, but we still love them anyway. Our love shouldn’t be dependent upon a person taking our advice or not, love is unconditional, but it also gently speaks the truth.

blog_love_natasha

What are your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment. ❤