Reputation: Learning to Let Go | alyssajhoward.com

Reputation: Learning to Let Go

*I was honored to have this post featured at Purposeful Faith! You can find a portion of it there along with some other amazing words of encouragement from fellow bloggers! 

 

God was very real to me growing up. I didn’t just know about Him; I can honestly say that knew Him on a personal level. What went wrong for me is hard to pinpoint to one single event in my life. It was a very slow downward spiral that I never saw coming. All I know is that I woke up one morning realizing that I was sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit of loneliness and confusion. My reputation was destroyed, and I had no idea how I was going to make it out alive.

 

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True Identity: Discovering the Real You | alyssajhoward.com

True Identity: Discovering the Real You

AFollow your heart. Be who you are. Do what makes you happy. Discover your true identity. We are bombarded by these messages on a daily basis. Our children are being raised in a culture that preaches these messages in nearly every outlet they are exposed to.

On the surface, these messages are good and wholesome. I want my daughters to be the best they can be. I desire their happiness and success. And I would love to see them discover something they love and excel at it. There is just one problem…

When it comes to our true identity, there is a big difference between being who you are and being who you were created to be.

 

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The Power of a Good Story: Spreading the Message of Hope to the World

We all enjoy a good story. Books, television, and movies all prove this point. Whether it be romance, science fiction, drama, etc. – as long as the story is good, we generally enjoy getting to know the characters and the plot. Perhaps we love stories because we can identify with them. Or maybe we simply enjoy being entertained by them. Either way, a good story will draw us in.

 

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Armor of God: The Helmet of Salvation

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul presented a metaphor that would shape the way Christians view spiritual battle – the act of putting on spiritual armor. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. The helmet is often the final piece of armor a soldier puts on before marching out into battle. Yet without it, the rest of the armor seems somewhat pointless. If your head is unprotected, it will only be a matter of time before the enemy takes you down.

 

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Lukewarm Christianity: 8 Ways We Can Avoid It | alyssajhoward.com

Lukewarm Christianity: 8 Ways We Can Avoid It

Lukewarm Christianity. It was a phrase I heard often growing up in the church. It’s described in the book of Revelation where God speaks to the church of Laodicea:

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)

 

He goes on to tell them that true wealth, health and happiness come from Him alone – rather than things of this world.

 

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When God Proves Who He Is: The Power of Your Story

Does Christianity have a future? I recently read an article asking that very question. Our world is rapidly changing. We are taught to question everything. And everyone wants proof. Does God exist? Are the stories of the Bible real? Was Jesus truly who He claimed to be?

Unfortunately, tangible proof is hard to come by when it comes to Christianity. Our faith is just that – faith. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of historical evidence for Christ, the Bible, the early church, etc. But there is also a lot of controversy. This also doesn’t take into account the very existence of God. For many, the God of the Bible is simply a fairy tale. Everyone has their reasons for skepticism, but in the end it usually comes down to a lack of proof. We can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that God exists. (On the flip side of that, we also can’t prove that He doesn’t…)

 

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From This Day Forward: Our Chance at a New Beginning

I love the beginning of a new year. It is such a motivation to start fresh. I find that I am suddenly motivated to start living better, and I know I’m not the only one. The start of a new year brings about New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s eating better, losing weight, or simply being a better person, the new year is a perfect motivation to make goals and begin again.

 

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Embrace the Uncomfortable: Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones to Grow in Our Faith

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be frightening. Nobody enjoys being uncomfortable. In fact, most of us despise it, and we will do anything to avoid it. The truth is, however, that our comfort zone can actually be the most dangerous place to be. Why you ask? Because when we are too comfortable, there is no inspiration to grow or move forward. We become content with where we are at in life. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing…it’s not exactly a good thing either.

 

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Wasted Years: A Lesson in How God Lets Nothing Go to Waste

What comes to mind when you think of Moses? Maybe the phrase “let my people go” comes to mind. Or perhaps you recall how he parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross over to safety. We remember the great moments of his life, but what about the not so great moments? Moses wasn’t always the great leader of the Israelites that we remember. He began his life just like you and me, and he had his fair share of ups and downs.

 

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Point of View: Where Do You Stand? | alyssajhoward.com

Point of View: Where Do You Stand?

Point of View: Where Do You Stand? | alyssajhoward.comSo much of life is what we choose to make of it. How we see ourselves and the world around us truly impacts the life we lead. While I was online the other day, I couldn’t help but notice all of the inspirational quotes that people shared through social media. It seems that everyone is looking for a little inspiration. We know that staying positive can change our outlook on life; but when push comes to shove, it can be difficult to not be brought down by the people around us or difficult circumstances we encounter.

 

Many of us need a paradigm shift. We need to view life from a different angle. Catchy and inspirational quotes may tug at your heart-strings; but until you make a permanent change to your point of view, you will always end up back where you started.

 

Picture this: If you were to stand on your back patio and look north, what would you see? Now close your eyes and imagine a beautiful ocean with white sandy beaches. If you opened your eyes, would anything have changed? Nope. You would still be looking at the same thing that was there before. Wishing to see something differently cannot change what you are looking at. The only way to change what you see is to move and look at something else. Continue Reading

Choose Joy! 3 Keys to True Happiness

Choose Joy: 3 Keys to True Happiness | alyssajhoward.comJoy is something we all hope for. I haven’t met a person yet who didn’t have the desire to find true happiness and contentment in life, and we all search for it in different ways. We focus on our careers, our families, helping others, our faith, etc. all in the hope of finding true joy.

An American author named Tom Bodett once said that in order to be truly happy in this life we all need “someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” If we look at his quote through biblical eyes, I do believe he’s correct. Continue Reading

The Fear That Sets You Free | alyssajhoward.com

The Fear That Sets You Free

The Fear That Sets You Free | alyssajhoward.comI think it’s safe to say that we are all afraid of something. In this world we are taught to be brave and face our fears head on, but that’s usually easier said than done. For many of us, fear truly is our greatest enemy. It keeps us from being at peace and enjoying life. It also keeps us from living the abundant life God has given us.

 

For the sake of my own curiosity, I decided to do an internet search for some of our most common fears. The following is a list of what I found:

  1. Circumstances (heights, enclosed spaces, the dark, etc.)
  2. Animals/Insects (spiders, snakes, wild animals, etc.)
  3. Nature (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.)
  4. Man (terrorists, thieves, murderers, etc.)
  5. Ourselves/Emotional Fears (public speaking, intimacy, failure, rejection, commitment, etc.)
  6. Death (what it will be like, life after death, not leaving a legacy, etc.)

 

I see one major thing in common with every fear listed above – they are all fears of things in this world. The Bible tells us that as children of God, we have nothing in this world to fear. (Psalm 27:1-3) Continue Reading

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really? | alyssasjhoward.com

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really?

Are you a follower of Christ? It’s a simple yes or no question. In Matthew chapter 26, it was a question that Peter couldn’t answer. Of all people, one would think that a disciple of Jesus could have answered that question with ease. He had walked and talked with Jesus. He had witnessed all of his miracles and teachings. Yet when put to the test, he failed. Peter could not identify himself as one of Christ’s followers.

 

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