He sat at a family sized table alone, pouring all of his attention into the Study Bible opened before him. I imagined that the baked potato sitting at his side grew colder by the second and wondered if it felt neglected by his lack of interest it. I sat enjoying my own meal and as I watched his fixed attention on the wrinkled pages before him, my curiosity only grew. The questions became a pile in my head and before I knew it my two legs were bee lining me to the lonely man. It was only as I stood before him that I realized that I had no sort of a plan; something that is very unlike my cautious, doesn’t approach strangers unless I really have to, demeanor.
I sat down and launched into my jumble of questions. He smiled at me and answered simply then, he asked me what I knew about the book in front of him.
“I certainly don’t know everything about the Bible,” I stumbled over my words, “But the most important thing I know about this book is that it is a story about how Jesus loves me. It tells a story about how I was lost in sin and hopeless to save myself and how God, being rich in mercy, found a way to bring me to Him. He sent Jesus to die a death that, because of my sin, I deserved to die. I believe that Jesus paid the price for me and because of it I am free from the punishment I deserve. I have hope in the fact that Jesus is preparing a spot in Heaven for me and will return to take me home.”
Our conversation plunged deep into theological ideas as we shared what we had learned while studying the Bible. This stranger had years of life experience on me and all I wanted to do was sit and learn.
Then he said something that stuck to me. An air of confidence and purpose filled him as he said, “There are two things that put me at an advantage when compared to the world around me. The first being that I have been forgiven for more sins than any of the rest. The second being that I lead a life that is as void of distraction as it can be.”
This made me lean in close as he proceeded to explain his latter claim. He no longer had a wife, his children were gone, he only used the internet to study the Bible, he owned the simplest phone he could, he had no TV, no dog to feed or walk. When he went home at night he had his Bible. When he was alone, he was with Jesus; digging in and learning about the God he so dearly loved.
He used 2 Corinthians 4:18 to explain why he chose to live a life so free of distraction. “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (NIV).”
What we see is all around us. Lift your eyes from these words, what do you see? All of it is temporary. One day it will no longer be. Our world is ruled by mindless distractions. The Devil uses these temporary things to slow our pace as we run after Jesus. How much of your time do you pour into temporary?
But what is unseen is what will last. Our God is unseen. Our souls are unseen. These are the only things that will last and so this is where we must fix our eyes and focus our time. My restaurant friend has it all right. He is fixing his eyes on Jesus and caring for the souls of the people around Him by sharing Jesus with them. Any moment that he has, he spends it connecting his heart to the Lord’s or sharing what is unseen with people around him.
He challenged me. I was able to look at my own life and see places where I allow distraction to rule my life. There are temporary things that the Lord is asking me to use as a tool, but how often do I allow these things to keep me away from chasing after the only thing that will last: my Father in Heaven and His love for me?
I do not know where my friend is now. When we parted ways he left me with a hug and his phone number on an old dentist appointment card. But the Lord used our time to spur me forward and encourage me as I pursue a life that is not numbed by the distractions around me but rather used purposefully.
I grew up in a family of renovators. I have torn countless rooms apart just to reconstruct them. My favorite part of a project is right in the middle, when everything is an utter mess. The part where it is easy to doubt that the room will ever be presentable and looking around makes anyone without blueprints want to pull their hair out because there is no semblance of order. But as the builder, you can see the beauty in the mess because you know exactly how the chaos is going to lead to beauty.
I imagine God does the same with us. Here we are, some big fixer upper and the only thing that can be done is a complete renovation. God, seeing our beauty from the very beginning, starts these big projects in us. There are moments when we look around in absolute exasperation because all we can see is the mess. But God looks at us, right in the middle of our renovation, and sees Jesus in us. He sees beauty in the mess because He knows exactly where we have been and where we are going. He knows how the chaos will become beauty and He is chipping away and renovating.
It is easy to look around at our lives and cry out in complete exasperation! What is the purpose for these messes? But there is reason. There is purpose. If we have put our trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are in the process of looking more like Jesus and God has access to all of the blueprints. We can trust where we are, even when it makes no sense to us because the Creator of Heaven and Earth knows where we are going.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
There they are,
Always in my head,
Always warring with one another.
The victor always the same.
The voices in my head never cease;
A constant rhythm and hum drum of noise.
Each of my very worst critics lives there.
It becomes overwhelming and quite exhausting,
Listening to their unfiltered and twisted thoughts.
It is easy to rationalize their lies and take them as truth.
Then, so very softly, I hear it.
It comes and goes, the softest little murmur.
Almost going unnoticed to my untrained ear.
In my stillest moments it grows in volume.
Contradictory to anything the voices have said before.
Could this be true of me?
My heart longs to believe.
These voices are at war in my head
The victor has always been the same.
In my quietest moments Truth reaches out to me,
Challenging me to believe something more.
Truth will win the never ending battle,
Maybe not today,
But He is fighting for me
I need only to choose to believe His voice in my head.
Hello, sweet friends!
I am here with the third and final week of Galatians quiet times!
How did it go? I cannot believe that we are already coming to an end on Galatians.
I'm already dreaming up quiet times to prepare our hearts and lead us right up to Christmas time!
I pray that this week quiets your heart before the Lord's as you connect with Him :).
Week one of Galatians: HERE
Week two of Galatians: HERE
Sign up for emails when I post: HERE
This weeks content for Galatians (week 3): HERE
Have a lovely week!!
WEEK ONE IS DONE!!
That could easily turn itself into a nice chant.
How did it go?! Was your self discipline streeeeetched? Was it an absolute joy? Was it somewhere in between? Is the Lord teaching you something new?! I'm dying to know!!
Tell me in the comments down below, make it into a Insta story for the WHOLE world to see (not scary), or direct message me on the Gramm (Instagram). You could also e-mail me if you're into that kinda stuff.
Week two is bumping and ready to go! It's gonna be LIT (I've been away from college life for a semester and I feel like I'm aging myself with that one). Do people still say lit? Please let me know. My reputation is on the line.
Okay, this is what you're HERE for.
Week two Galatians content: CLICK HERE
To sign up for notifications of when I post: CLICK HERE
Still want to be digging into the Word of the Lord but missed all of the action last week? That's okay, you can still join us! Week one is HERE.
The Lord is faithful, my friends. I find it so sweet to see Him reaching out to each of us right where we are at and calling us Beloved. He just keeps inching us along to love and understand Him a little more. What a sweet thing to be a part of.
Praying for you as you connect your heart to Jesus' this week!
Hello, Sweet Friends!
I am so excited to be going through Galatians with y'all!! This plan follows a simple outline to encourage time focusing on who the Lord is and how He wants to meet you with each new day. Feel free to print this outline out or to freestyle it in your own journal! I understand that the outline is helpful to some but suffocating to others - I just wanted to provide it as a tool that is available! (I'm 100% one of those "your outline suffocates me" kinda people so there's not a single hard feeling.)
Here's the deal: I know that some days it is plain 'ole hard to actually dig into God's Word. So, I have built a couple of catch up days into this plan so that you have the freedom to miss a day and not feel like you are completely behind. The importance of this content is that we are getting into the Word!!! So, don't let a missed day stop you! God's expectation for us has never been perfection.
The importance in all of this is to connect our heart to the Lord's heart. Some days that looks like reminding ourselves of our need for the gospel as we brush our teeth. Other days it looks like jamming to worship music while driving so that our hearts can reflect on how sweet the Lord's grace is. Most days it should look like us digging into the living and active Word of God. BUT HAY, that's what this quiet time accountability stuff is for!!!
One last thing before we get to the good stuff! I desperately want to know what the Lord is teaching you (wow, it brings me SO MUCH joy). So, I would love it if you created an Instagram story on Sunday about what the Lord taught you. Be sure to tag me in it (@abbie_norris) so that I don't miss it!! This will kill two birds with one stone: I will get to see what you are learning (and learn from you), and the people who follow you will see a little something about Jesus. :)
Here is the link to the quiet times. As mentioned before, feel free to print it out!!
Do you want to be emailed reminders on Sunday's when I post the outline?! Sign up for that here!
I'm blessed by you, friends!!
A moment of complete and total honesty for you, my friends. Moving to Texas has been wonderful in so many ways but it has taken a toll on the time that I spend with the Lord. I can't even claim that it is anything other than my own passivity. I have lacked a value for daily connecting my heart to the Lord's heart. I spend time with The Lord here and there but nothing consistent, and nothing that floods me with a substantial, daily reminder of the gospel.
With all of this being said, I know I am not the only one who has a hard time with prioritizing time with Jesus when I do not have a plan of what to spend my time in. When I lack a plan, I fail to execute. So, I am going to be creating an outline for the quiet time schedule I am making for myself and I will be sharing it here. My hope is that you will join me in following the plan and invite others to join as well! I am currently praying about what to go through but the plan will be coming directly from the Bible, allowing the Word of God to speak for itself, rather than me telling you what theme you should be drawing from your time with the Lord.
This will be a resource that will provide structure, room for a missed quiet time or two (there is so much grace), and accountability. The first plan will be posted next Sunday afternoon as we gear up for the week.
If this is something you would be interested in, would you fill out the form below so that I have an active email address that I can be sending content to? At any point if there is a time when you no longer want to be part of this, you can cancel your subscription!
If you have any questions feel free to comment below or direct message me on Instagram: abbie_norris .
Busyness is a thief of truthful living. We get lost in the pace of things, letting our identities get marred and cloudy in the process. We push hard and forget to slow down, getting caught up in the rhythm of busy when I wake up and busy until I fall asleep. Ignoring the tickings of our hearts, we just do. Then one day, everything slows down, our busyness momentarily disappears and, as the ticking gets louder, we realize that it is quite irregular. We realize that we have gotten so caught up in using our activities to prove our worthiness that we forgot to remind ourselves that we are already counted as worthy by the One who made our ticking hearts. Slow is hard, intimidating even. The enemy whispers loud when our hearts don't have the distraction of a spinning world to capture it's attention. Slowing down means debunking the lies and claiming truth. Slowing down is hard but slowing down trains my heart to fight off lies and claim truth as my own.
Sweet girl, look at you. So full of hope and longing for the future. Slow down, I’m begging you to.
You’re a dreamer, you probably always will be. I can hear it in the way you speak and see it in the way you light up with excitement over the idea of something new. Is there anything sweeter than a dream? Perhaps not, but do not let these dreams pull you away from where you are today.
Our lives are but mists and our today's will soon be tomorrow's: don’t allow them to slip away without a sideways glance. Look around you when you are in the company of friends and soak in what it’s like to be surrounded by these faces. Cling to their laughter, soak in their presence, store these memories in places where you know you won’t forget them. Enjoy yourself a little more when you go out for ice cream at two in the morning, memorize the walk to your car and the music that is blasted over the radio. Remember the jam sessions that were finished in the parking garage, the dance parties that were had, and the late night heart to hearts when every hope and grief was poured out. Remember the way your roommates look when they just wake up and the way you struggled to keep quiet when you got home and they were sleeping. These moments may seem trivial now but, trust me, they will be oh so sweet when you look back on them.
The late nights, early mornings, proximity of friends, annoyances, and sweet times will all be fond memories before you are ready for them to be. The world keeps spinning, people keep aging, and before you know it you will want every piece of these years back. Embrace the moments now so that when you look back you will not regret only living for the future rather than the current memories being made.
You’ll miss it, that is not a bullet you can dodge, but you can enjoy the time you have now for your future self. Sit back, breathe a little deeper, let time creep by a little slower; live today in a way that shows your appreciation for it, soak it in, and remember.
Time flies and before you know it everything will look different. Love where you are now, make the most of this time, and do not wish it away. Not on a boy, not on the excitement of a new place to live, and not on the pull of your newest muse. You are here today so live like it and most certainly do not rush it away.
The Sophomore Year of College You
But i’m reminded that this isn’t going to be easy.
Some days I won’t have the capacity to handle what I have.
I’m weak and my strength is fleeting and I find myself stuck in the same rut.
Then You, Lord, gently remind me:
I don’t have to be strong enough
I don’t have to fix my problems
Because You are strength, You are my protector
When I don’t have the fight in me You are fighting for me
I have freedom to be who I am, where I am, and still be the recipient of love
Grace is a strange thing.