Beyond Saving?

by A.C. Williams

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom. Isaiah 28:29 NLT

Did you know that when a cake recipe calls for freshly brewed coffee, you’re supposed to let the coffee cool before you add it to your cake mix? Yeah, nobody told me that.

My cake batter turned into soup the instant I poured hot coffee in it. I was mortified, because I had been making it for a professional chef who was staying at my house. I asked for her help, and—well—the cake was beyond saving. Even for her.

Recently, I discovered a parable of sorts in the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:23-29). The passage talks about how a farmer knows how to harvest specific seeds in specific ways. Not all seeds are harvested with the same techniques. And it’s a good thing the farmer knows that, because it would be a waste if he crushes a seed beyond usefulness.

The farmer knows all this because God taught him. See, God knows how to do stuff. Everything, in fact. So why do so few of us ask for His help? Or if we ask, why do we ignore His instructions when He answers?

Can I get really honest? I don’t like it when God interferes in my life. He directs me to change things that I don’t want to change. He tells me to do things I don’t want to do.

Do it His way. Follow His rules. Obey His Word.

What about my way and my rules and my word? Don’t you ever just wish He’d leave us alone and let us do life the way we want?

Do we even know what we’re asking for?

What would happen if God left the room? If He chose to not be here anymore? Imagine the horror of that. No one on earth has ever experienced life without God’s presence around us in some way.

Without God’s interference in our lives, the world would crush us (Proverbs 2:7-11). The power of darkness and the influence of the enemy would utterly destroy us—or would lead us to destroy each other. When sin entered the world, when we broke the world God gave us to steward, it would have crushed the life out of us but for God’s hand of protection (Psalm 138:7).

What we view as Him being overly strict or too harsh is His Divine protection (Hebrews 12:6). We are saved by faith alone, but if we choose a lifestyle of right-living, He can keep us from letting the enemy gain a foothold in our hearts.

He disciplines us, yes. He lets us suffer, true. But He doesn’t destroy us. He doesn’t break us. He doesn’t crush us (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). How else is He supposed to get our attention when we are so dead set on doing our own thing?

But what about those who haven’t faltered or wandered from the Way? Why does He let them suffer too?

Have you ever tried to look beyond your suffering? If it’s new, don’t expect this of yourself (Ecclesiastes 3:4), but if you’ve been languishing in your sorrow for a long time, stop. Look up. Jesus suffered more than anyone in history, and He chose it because He could see us. He knew there would be joy on the other side (Hebrews 12:2), so He endured. We can too.

It hurts. It’s a hard truth. But God’s discipline is mercy (Lamentations 3:31-33). Otherwise, He would leave us to the world to be pulverized. God’s interference is the only thing that can help us. Don’t despise it. Embrace it. Be grateful for it.

When God allows you to suffer, rejoice. It means you’re not beyond saving.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. An AWSA Golden Scrolls finalist and an editor at Uncommon Universes Press, she believes that God works miracles through stories. Learn more about her coaching services at www.amycwilliams.com and subscribe to her daily devotional emails at www.alwayspeachy.com. Amy is offering a special: the first seven days free, then $5/month. https://acwilliams.substack.com/arisedaily

Join the conversation. How could you embrace suffering?

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Fear Is a Toxic Roommate

by A.C. Williams

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.  1 John 4:18 NLT

Have you ever lived with a roommate? It’s an art, and it takes years of practice to get right. There’s push and pull, as with any sort of relationship. You have to learn to compromise on some things.

But what if your roommate is toxic? What if they never give back and only take? What if they only care about their own comfort? Roommates like that don’t clean up after themselves, spread their junk into spaces that don’t belong to them, and never let you have a moment’s peace.

Toxic roommates are the worst, but if you’re in that situation, you usually have opportunities to escape. But what if that roommate isn’t a person? What if your toxic roommate is fear?

We all have to deal with fear on some level. Anxiety and stress are normal parts of life, but something happens to our mindsets when we actually live with fear.

When we allow fear to live in our hearts, it takes over everything. Maybe it starts small, but it doesn’t stay small. Fear expands and spreads into every nook and cranny in your heart and mind and life, so that you can’t do anything without a battle for control. When fear is living in your heart, all you have room for in your life is anxiety.

It’s not a sin to experience fear. Everyone does. But it becomes a problem when you make decisions because of fear. When you do that, you’ll turn away from God’s best because you’re afraid of what you might lose. 

In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel forfeited the extraordinary destiny God had for them because they were afraid (Numbers 13:31 – 14:4). Over and over and over, the Israelites defied God, complained about Him, complained to Him, rebelled against Him—all because they were scared. They clung to fear because it was easier than obeying the God who had saved them.

Sound familiar?

It does to me. Fear is something I’ve struggled against for my entire life, and I have only found one weapon strong enough to defeat it:

Love.

When your life overflows with God’s love, there’s no room for fear (1 John 4:18). When God’s love is in control, fear loses its power.

So when you experience fear, instead of letting it put down roots, remember who God is. Be intentional in recalling what He’s done for you, and be specific in thanking Him for it. The fear may not completely go away, but you’ll be astounded at the peace you experience in spite of it.

Accepting God’s perfect love is a direct link to God’s peace. When God’s peace rules your heart rather than your fear (Colossians 3:15), you’ll find that the noise and chaos of the world fades away. Instead of being bothered and anxious about everything the world finds terrifying, the only concern you’ll have is obeying (Isaiah 8:12-13).

Stop clinging to your fear. No matter how easy it is, no matter how safe it makes you feel, God never intended us to live with fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Cling to Jesus instead. Only by trusting in His love will you have the power to evict fear from your heart.

Fear doesn’t pay rent anyway, and God’s peace is a much better roommate.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. An AWSA Golden Scrolls finalist and an editor at Uncommon Universes Press, she believes that God works miracles through stories. Learn more about her coaching services at www.amycwilliams.com and subscribe to her daily devotional emails at www.alwayspeachy.com. Amy is offering a special: the first seven days free, then $5/month. https://acwilliams.substack.com/arisedaily

Join the conversation. Does fear rule your life?

Obey and Take a Nap!

by A.C. Williams

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. Psalm 139:1-4 NLT

Little babies make a lot of noise when they cry, and the angrier they get, the louder they scream.

I don’t know much about babies, but I’m at the age now where all my friends have them. So I’ve had a crash course. The other night I was trying to get my best friend’s exhausted 10-month-old to sleep. It was late, and the baby was so tired. But she was having none of it.

How dare I force sleep upon her! How could I betray her in such outrageous fashion? (This is how every 10-month-old speaks, by the way.)

This fourteen-pound squishy-child full of applesauce and drama can throw her head back and squall loud enough to rattle windows. Big wet tears pour out of her eyes. Her little toothless mouth twists all up, and she just howls like the world is ending.

There was nothing wrong with her. She just didn’t want to miss out. The child desperately needed sleep, but she fought it every step of the way. All I could do was hold her and rock her and reassure her that the world would look so much better if she’d just admit how tired she was and let go.

After all, I knew better than she did.

In response, of course, she flailed and punched me right in the face and sent my glasses flying across the living room.

And then, as I was laughing at her, I felt a very pointed tap on my spiritual shoulder, and I could practically hear the Lord whisper in my ear: Now you know how I feel with you.

Ouch.

I stopped laughing at the squirmy, wiggly, bawling child in my arms and nearly started crying myself. Because, as usual, God was absolutely right.

That very day was supposed to have been my Sabbath, but I’d worked through it. Like every other adulting adult, I have deadlines. I have people who are counting on me. So I sacrificed my rest in order to do my work, which is pretty much the opposite of what God desires (Exodus 20:8).

I fight against rest as fiercely as this little baby-child does. Maybe it’s my fear of missing out. Maybe it’s my fear of letting people down. Whatever it is that keeps me working when I ought to be resting, it’s connected to fear. And I’m fairly certain that I’m not supposed to be making decisions that way (2 Timothy 1:7).

God knows me better than I know myself. He knows everything about me. He knows what I think before I think it, what I say before I say it, and what I want before I want it (Psalm 139:1-4). That means He’s the one who knows what’s best for me. So when He tells me to rest, I should rest. Not throw a tantrum. Not howl and bawl about it and fight it, like an infant who wants what she wants even if it’s bad for her.

Know what I did the very next day? I slept in. I gave myself a day to rest, and I felt better about life. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

We all need rest. Sure, there are always exceptions, but if rest weren’t supposed to be part of following Jesus (Matthew 11:28), I don’t think He’d talk about it so often.

So maybe it’s time for us all to just take a nap. Can you make space for that today? I think I will. Looming deadlines or no, I’ve learned that God values obedience more than sacrifice.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

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About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. An AWSA Golden Scrolls finalist and an editor at Uncommon Universes Press, she believes that God works miracles through stories. Learn more about her coaching services at www.amycwilliams.com and subscribe to her daily devotional emails at www.alwayspeachy.com. Amy is offering a special: the first seven days free, then $5/month. https://acwilliams.substack.com/arisedaily

Join the conversation. What do you plan for practicing rest on the Sabbath?

A Lament Is More than Sadness

by A.C. Williams

Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Luke 22:42 NLT

For Lani Forbes and Jane “Nightbirde” Marczewski

Do you ever lament how broken the world is? Ugh. Lament is such a medieval-sounding word. Bleak and gray and dreary like a novel by a Bronte sister. But what is a lament?

It’s a song of grief, isn’t it? It seems an appropriate response when the world is such a dark, broken, sorrowful place. Grief is our native tongue. Loss is our common bond. And it’s not even the hate and the violence that hurts the most sometimes. It’s the heartbreaking loss of loved ones taken too soon. Violence has a solution in some ways. Hate has a cure in some ways. Death by disease? All we can do with that is mourn.

There are no fingers to point. There is no blame to cast. Just a big gaping wound that pulses with pain every time something brushes up against it. 

In the month of February alone, I’ve seen cancer steal two godly women. They fought the good fight. They won their race. Both of them. Even their final days here were full of gratitude and praise. They used the gifts God had given them right up to the end and left a legacy (and a challenge) for all of us who remain.

But today isn’t a day for challenges. Today is a day for sadness. For letting ourselves feel the grief that comes when one of God’s children goes home (Ecclesiastes 3:4). 

Brokenness is worthy of lament. Have we even taken time to think what brokenness means? It means the world doesn’t work.

Our world can’t be fixed. No political leader, no religious movement, no earthly power can put our world back together again (Jeremiah 17:5). 

A lament is certainly worthy of grief, but it isn’t just about sadness. It’s not just about mourning. A lament is a heartfelt cry to God that both acknowledges the pain of loss and reaches toward Him in hope.

Lament leads to hope.

Do you ever think of Jesus’ words in Gethsemane? He was hurting. Sorrowful. Brokenhearted and so, so scared. You know He was. He had to be dreading what He knew was coming. He was God in skin, but He still had skin. 

Yet, He declared, “Not My will, but Yours” (Luke 22:42 NASB).

Loss and grief will come at us every moment of our lives, and the last thing we will want to do is face them.

Not my will, but Yours.

People will hurt us, let us down, betray us. We’ll feel lonely, abandoned, taken advantage of, and all we’ll want to do is give up.

Not my will, but Yours.

It wasn’t God’s will for our world to be torn apart, but that’s what happened. Now, in this world, old age and sickness and cancer will steal our loved ones. Hearts will break, families will collapse, friends will betray each other.

But Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33). He overcame death itself. And because He’s alive today, I know that my sisters (and brothers) are alive with Him. And that even in my sorrow and my grief, I can live with confident hope. I can cry and mourn and see the brokenness of the world around me, but I can pick myself up again and keep moving forward, too. Because my God does miracles with broken things. One day, soon I pray, nobody who knows Him will be broken anymore.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if isn’t, her socks will never match. She likes her road trips with rock music, her superheroes with snark, and her blankets extra fuzzy, but her first love is stories and the authors who are passionate about telling them. Learn more about her book coaching services and follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Amy has a special offer for her Always Peachy Devotionals: Free for 7 days and then $5 a month. https://acwilliams.substack.com/arisedaily

Join the conversation:  Which of these guidelines from Colossians seems most important to you?

How to Live Happy When Life Isn’t

A.C. Williams

I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! John 15:11 NLT

How happy is your life? Do you jump up every morning and dash excitedly from task to task because you have confidence that everything you try will work?

Yeah? Me neither.

Most days it takes a heaping helping of faith for me to crawl out of bed to face my to-do list. Life is hard. It’s a constant struggle of trying to make ends meet, supporting people who need me, giving generously (and cheerfully), and fulfilling my God-calling.

Honestly? I just want a nap.

But I also know that rejoice is a verb. Sure, it’s a noun too, but most of the times I find it in Scripture, the Lord is talking about rejoicing as an action we’re supposed to take. That means it’s a choice. It’s something we can do or not, and it’s up to us.

So how does that work? How can you rejoice when you don’t feel like it? How can you choose joy when life keeps giving you reasons to be sad? How can you be happy when life isn’t happy at all?

This is what the Lord is teaching me.

Do what you can. (Proverbs 16:3)

We all have impossible problems, but even if you can’t fix it, you can do something. Do what you can. Fix what you can fix, and give the rest to God. Trust Him with what you can’t do.

Don’t give up. (2 Timothy 2:3)

God never promised that following Him would be easy. Quite the opposite actually (John 16:33). We’re going to face challenges. Jesus says so repeatedly throughout Scripture. But we know God has His own timetable, and He’s never late (2 Peter 3:8-9). So don’t give up on what He’s doing in your heart, in your life, and in your world. He’s got a plan. Give Him the chance to keep His promise to you.

Feel what you feel. (Psalm 34:18)

Surprise! God gave us emotions. You have permission to feel sad or hurt or discouraged when life is wrong. Experiencing negative emotion doesn’t make you a failure as a Christ-follower. It makes you human. David expressed his feelings to God honestly in the Psalms, and we should too. Feel what you feel, but choose your actions based on truth (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Look for the good. (Romans 12:12)

You can acknowledge that life is hard without embracing a negative life perspective (Job 13:15). Spend time with God and let Him transform how you see your life. When you trust that God can truly do anything, your challenges suddenly become opportunities He can use.

Take one step at a time. (Philippians 2:12-13)

Choosing to believe in Jesus saves you immediately (Romans 10:13), but you still have your sin nature to contend with (Romans 7:15-17). You aren’t going to get it right every day. No one does. But God remembers that we aren’t perfect (Psalm 103:14), and He offers us grace for the journey of life.

Remember where home is. (Philippians 3:20)

Heaven is our home, but for now, we are in this world as God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) with a message of reconciliation for those around us. We have a purpose here. And no matter how difficult life is, we can always remember that this life isn’t our full destiny (Hebrews 13:14-15).

God didn’t promise us a happy life, but He did promise us a good future. We can rejoice in that, because He always keeps His promises. So choose to be happy, even when life isn’t.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

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About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. An AWSA Golden Scrolls finalist and an editor at Uncommon Universes Press, she believes that God works miracles through stories. Learn more about her coaching services at www.amycwilliams.com and subscribe to her daily devotional emails at www.alwayspeachy.com.

Join the conversation. What helps you get through the times when rejoicing is a challenge?

Everybody Follows Somebody

by A.C. Williams

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16 NLT

Have you ever had to follow someone who didn’t know where they were going? It’s a headache, right?

I am directionally challenged. I admit it freely. I can’t find my way out of a paper bag, yet people persist in asking me for directions. Yes, I can navigate if I need to, although I usually end up having to turn around a few times. And I do my darnedest not to get frustrated when people riding in my car like to criticize or point out my ineptitude. It’s good for my perfectionist heart to learn not to take myself so seriously. 

But what if someone is following me? What if I take a wrong turn and get us both lost when I don’t know where I’m going? Making a wrong turn when people are following you can be catastrophic.

We all follow someone. None of us truly have original ideas, you know. It’s all been done before, even that road you’re taking that you think no one has traveled. Someone somewhere has already been there and done that (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

But are you following someone who knows where they’re going? Or are you following someone who has no idea? You need to be sure, because it can be dangerous to follow the lost (Matthew 15:14).

And if you’re the one who people are following, you need to be even more careful. Christian leaders are accountable to God (Hebrews 13:17), yes, but what about those of us who choose to follow?

Is it only up to the leaders to determine a course? If you live in a dictatorship, maybe. But the Body of Christ is a unit, a system, a family. Don’t we have the freedom to check each other? Don’t we get a choice in who we follow (Joshua 24:15)?

Of course we do. So choose wisely.

If we just follow the next person we meet on the street, who knows where we’ll end up. But if we take the time to get to know people, to understand their hearts and their motivations, then we have a better chance of knowing whether they are following God or trusting their own wisdom or personal experiences.

If you can tell that someone has a bad sense of direction, don’t follow them. You don’t have to follow anyone you don’t believe should lead. This is your choice. 

Ruth made a choice (Ruth 1:16-17). I’m not sure if Ruth knew God closely when she made this decision, but she did know Naomi. And she wanted what Naomi had. That reasoning is sound. It worked for her. It will work for you.

Following someone takes trust, and while Jesus is the only one we can trust implicitly, those who are earnestly following Him probably have a better chance of staying on track. And maybe they’ll even be willing to accept correction when they make a wrong turn. I’d hope so, at least.

So if you’re a leader, be sure that you have your directions. Leading others is a huge responsibility that is too much for you to handle alone.

And if you are a follower? Don’t turn your brain off. Be sure you’re following someone who is following God. If not, you’ll both end up in a world of hurt.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if isn’t, her socks won’t match. She has authored eight novels, two novellas, three devotional books, and more flash fiction than you can shake a stick at. A senior partner at the award-winning Uncommon Universes Press, she is passionate about stories and the authors who write them. Learn more about her book coaching and follow her adventures online at www.amycwilliams.com.

Amy’s latest book is Flipping Fates (The Misadventures of Trisha Lee, Book 3). Enjoy a madcap, rock-the-church journey + mystery that pulls no punches (and features a sweet side of romance).

Join the conversation: What do you look for in a leader?

He’s Just That Good

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, Oh Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who live in your house, always singing your praises! Psalm 84:3-4 NIV

Can I tell you what Jesus has done for me?

He woke me up this morning and gave me air to breathe and lungs that work.

He gave me coffee to drink and taste buds to enjoy it, along with a sugar-free pumpkin spice flavored creamer to put in it that was simply delightful.

He gave me beautiful fall weather in a state that sees an actual autumn season once every twenty years or so.

 But not only that, He gave me a back yard with a step to sit on and a big floofy dog to cuddle with.

He gave me a comfortable home to live in. I have food in my refrigerator, not just for today but for next week, too. I have a car that drives, and thanks to God’s provision, I have new brakes and new tires and even new windshield wipers.

I live in a country where I get to vote for our leaders, to speak up for what I believe and how I think our country should be run. I am free to believe, live, and speak as I choose

I have a church where I get to worship freely, where I get to learn about God from His Word, where I have friends and relationships that support and encourage me.

I have a family that loves me. Parents and a brother and a sister-in-law (who I prayed for before I knew her and can say she is exactly the one God had in mind for my adorkable weirdo of a brother). I have a grandma who makes me laugh, and a grandpa who is more alive now in heaven than I am on earth.

But do you know what else I have?

Confidence. Assurance. Abundance. Security. Identity.

My Jesus tells me who I am. My God directs my steps. The Holy Spirit leads me in meekness and wisdom and truth.

I am so blessed. So blessed.

What about you? What blessings do you have? My list of blessings may not seem like much to some folks, but to me, they are a direct confirmation from God that He will always take care of me. And as I sit here making this list, tears are flowing down my face as I remember yet again just how good God has been to me.

How good has He been to you?

Honestly.

Look at your life. Look at what you have and recognize that you couldn’t have gotten where you are today without Him. Any good thing in your life comes from God. Maybe you feel like you earned it, but don’t you see that it’s not in your power to make your life what it is?

Even if it’s for something small, praise Him for it. Even if your life is full of trauma and sorrow and grief—praise Him for the good He will do through it. He’s the only one who can transform sadness into a reason to rejoice (Psalm 84:6).

Would you praise Him for that today? Would you choose to believe that a life in His presence is worth more than wealth and status without Him?

Praising God in dark times can be a challenge until you start, and then, you can’t stop. He’s just that good. And you have to admit, a life spent praising God isn’t a bad way to live.

So how about it? Let’s praise Him together.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

TWEETABLE
He’s Just That Good – thoughts on #Thanksgiving from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Finding Fireflies

About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if isn’t, her socks will never match. She likes her road trips with rock music, her superheroes with snark, and her blankets extra fuzzy, but her first love is stories and the authors who are passionate about telling them. Learn more about her book coaching services and follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Join the conversation: What ordinary, often overlooked blessings has God given you?

It’s Okay to Be Wrong

by A.C. Williams @free2Bfearless

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

Did you know that the Earth is flat?

I knew people believed it back in Columbus’s day, but it’s still a thing. People can believe what they want, of course, but when you encounter a Flat-Earther and attempt to prove them wrong, you’ll end up in a debate. No amount of evidence, facts, or shouting will change their minds.

It’s the same with almost every other belief or standard. Even if you can logically prove another person’s beliefs contradict the truth, many times they won’t accept it.

Why?

Well, do you like being wrong?

I don’t.

Nobody does. Being wrong means that we’ve built our lives on a lie. Or that we’ve defined ourselves by something that’s false. Being wrong can hurt others, wreck relationships, and separate friends. But being wrong is the only way we learn what’s right.

We’ve all been wrong at some point in our lives. Maybe we acted on principles that were later proved false. Maybe we treated someone badly because of lies we’d been told about them.

Want to know the truth? It’s okay to be wrong.

So why do we fear it?

Well, social media hasn’t helped us, transforming everyday bullying into an Olympic-level sport. Being wrong is terrifying. And I’m pretty cowardly, to be honest. I don’t like facing the chance that I could be wrong. I hate conflict, and I hate being wrong because somewhere in my soul, I need to always be right.

But I’m not, and neither are you, my friend. No matter what side of the religious or political line you’re standing on. No matter what you believe about the current state of our country and the world. Everyone has the capacity to be wrong, but the truth will always win. Can we just embrace that and give ourselves the space to be wrong so the truth can transform us?

Think about the Apostle Paul. He killed Christians, intent on wiping Christianity off the map, but after an encounter with Jesus, Paul became one of the greatest leaders of the faith. He was wrong. Jesus changed his mind, and Paul changed his direction. The truth transformed him. He wrote: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14 NASB).

What could you be wrong about today?

A person? A relationship? An action? Could you be wrong about what you believe? If you can’t be wrong, how do you know?

Let’s all leave room for the possibility that we could be wrong about what we believe. Don’t give in to the emotions that call us to lash out in fear. Instead, let’s reason through the issues. Let’s test the problem. Let the truth be known honestly, and let the truth transform you.

And you, Jesus-follower, be a safe place. You have access to strength and love that surpasses understanding. Use it and do what you can to live peacefully with the people you don’t agree with.

Everybody in the world has screwed something up. Let’s stop throwing stones at each other and start listening. We all have a lot to learn, but thanks to Jesus, there’s grace enough to cover it.

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It’s Okay to Be Wrong – encouragement from A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams

About the author: A.C. Williams is an author and entrepreneur who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks will never match. She prefers Trixie Belden to Finding FirefliesNancy Drew, wears her watch on the wrong wrist, and Mr. Darcy is her love language. Follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Join the conversation: Do you remember a time you were proven wrong? How did you respond?

Live God’s Light

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.       1 Peter 2:9 NLT

Have you seen the fish that live at the bottom of the ocean? You want to see something bizarre and weird, those guys are freaky looking. It ain’t right for anything to have that many teeth.

But it’s not just fish. What about animals that only come out at night? Owls, monkeys, armadillos—weird! Beautiful sort of, but strange, alien in their features and survival mechanisms.

They’re nocturnal creatures. Since they live in the darkness, they have features and characteristics that allow them to function and survive at night.

Know what? Human beings don’t have those characteristics. We aren’t designed for the dark. We were made for the light. Otherwise we’d have eyes the size of dinner plates and more creepy glowing teeth than an enchanted chainsaw.

Granted, we begin in darkness, hidden in our mothers’ wombs, but we don’t stay there. When we’re born, we emerge into a world of sensation. Sight and smell and sound and touch—all those senses were out of reach, and in the light of life we get to experience them.

Sound familiar? It should, because emerging from darkness into light isn’t just something that happens in a physical birth. This is what happens when we’re born again.

God called us out of the darkness. He didn’t build us to survive in the shadows; He created us to thrive in His light, and He did it for a specific purpose.

But what does that mean? What does a life in the light look like? Seeking God’s will. Following Jesus. Listening to the Spirit. So many stained-glass idioms that sound wonderful but lack practical application.

We live in interesting times, facing unprecedented challenges. We’re surrounded by the darkness of hate and prejudice, and it feels like it gets stronger every day, while we get weaker. Is it any wonder it seems right to join the angry mobs and shout our perspectives from the rooftops and point accusatory fingers at the people we feel deserve the blame?

But doesn’t that just add to the noise? Giving in to anger and rage draws us into the dark, not away from it.

Jesus-follower, God didn’t call you into His light to be angry. He didn’t rescue you from darkness so you can condemn others to it. We are called into His light to show the world how good He is. Jesus told His followers: “Let your light shine before men is such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NASB).

How we interact with others matters. It will make the difference in their ability to see Christ in us. Let’s focus on God’s goodness. Let’s share stories of how He has been faithful when we weren’t. Let’s tell others about how God provided for us when we had no hope. Let’s shout from the rooftops, not with anger or rage, but with joy that we have a future, and it’s good.

Don’t build your life on rage and guilt and shame. Build your life on God’s uncompromising love and unchanging truth. Don’t live in the darkness where evil is concealed and redefined as something good; live in the light where we call sin what it is and confess it and turn away from it and show others how to do the same with our lives—not just our words.

Want to change the world? Come out of the darkness, Jesus-follower. Live God’s Light.

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Live God’s Light – #encouragement from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williamsAbout the author: A.C. Williams is an author-preneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys, and she’s passionate about helping writers master the art of storytelling. A quirky, coffee-drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on Finding Firefliesa mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.

Join the conversation: How would you describe what living in God’s light looks like?

Rejoice in Your Weakness, But Don’t Let It Define You

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.    2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT

Pain is weakness leaving the body.

At least it used to be. Now that I’m inching closer and closer to 40, pain is just part of the daily routine. You know, lower back pain. Knees that crackle like popping bubble wrap. Achy muscles. Foot cramps. Pain is just part of life, right?

I hate being perceived as weak. I hate admitting that I need help. I hate people believing that I can’t do something (even if I actually can’t do it).

As much as I despise admitting it, weakness is a factor in my life. Just like it is in yours. There’s no shame in it. The best thing we can do with our weaknesses is accept them. Right?

The Bible even tells us to rejoice in our weaknesses. In my mind that meant I had to accept the weakness in the first place, but that might have been because I was pathologically opposed to admitting it existed. I’m slowly beginning to realize, however, that accepting my weakness and rejoicing in it are two very different concepts.

What makes them different? It’s the heart behind the choice.

Why are you choosing to embrace your weakness? Is it because you believe it will never change? Or is it because you believe God can actually use your weakness in His big plan?

For me, when I accepted my weaknesses, they became part of my identity.

I’m asthmatic. I’m a stress eater. I’m overweight. I’m disorganized. I’m bad at math. I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I’m single.

Y’all, that’s not who I am. My weaknesses don’t define me, but somewhere along the line, as I accepted them, they began to do just that. So when I tried to correct them, it became like amputating part of myself, and I lost the motivation to change.

To a certain extent, you MUST accept your weakness. If you don’t, you’re deceiving yourself. Everyone has weaknesses, but the moment we embrace them as defining characteristics of our lives, we lose sight of who we truly are. We stop growing.

Rejoicing in your weakness looks very different. Rejoicing in your weakness is accepting that you are limited but God is not.

That’s the difference.

When we rejoice in our weakness, we aren’t accepting that it defines us. We’re recognizing that it CAN change, but only if God changes it. And that if He doesn’t take it away, God will use our weaknesses for something bigger than we are.

Admitting that you need help isn’t weakness. It’s character. When we set our limited human strength aside and trust in the limitless power of God, there’s nothing we can’t do.

Being weak isn’t part of your identity. Being weak is an opportunity to do something through God’s strength that would be impossible otherwise.

Feeling weak functions like an indicator light on your car’s dashboard. It signals you need help to overcome it. Don’t despair when weakness creeps up on you and threatens to overwhelm you. Don’t give in because you believe it will never change. Rejoice. Celebrate. You can’t conquer your weakness alone, but you have a personal, intimate relationship with the God who can.

So ask Him for help. He always will. Give Him the chance to use your weakness to prove His strength.

TWEETABLE
Rejoice in Your Weakness, But Don’t Let It Define You – encouragement from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams
Finding Fireflies

About the author: A.C. Williams is an author and entrepreneur who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks will never match. She prefers Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew, wears her watch on the wrong wrist, and Mr. Darcy is her love language. Follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Join the conversation: How has God used weakness in you?