Allie Shirley is a twenty-three-year-old, Jesus-loving entrepreneur, chasing after the dream Jesus has now brought to a reality. Marque Modest Apparel is a company set out to proclaim the name of Jesus, to rebrand modesty, and to inspire others to dream again. Aside from being a business owner, Allie is a mom to a Miniature Schnauzer named Emmie, has a passion for adoption, and is obsessed with sweet tea. To check out more from Allie, visit Marque Modest Blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram for updates on her latest posts.
A note from Allie: I pray that something shared in this blog post will encourage you, inspire you, and bring you a little freedom as you continue to walk with our precious Savior.
Take the Pressure Off
As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to have things all together all the time when in reality those are unrealistic expectations for anyone. Yet we put those standards on ourselves daily and it leaves us feeling like we aren’t good enough or even depressed.
I know these feelings all too well because as much as I don’t like to admit it, I’m a perfectionist and an over-thinker. I get upset if my hair and makeup don’t look flawless, I obsess over my company being perfect, and I even try to put on a really good front before God that I have everything all together. Instead of coming before Him with my brokenness, I try to stand before Him like some supernatural human that can handle herself.
I don’t know what battle you are facing, whether it be comparison, materialism, perfectionism, or a slew of other things, but I do know we can take the pressure off. Jesus never meant for it to be there in the first place. He wants us to come as we are, to give ourselves grace for today and to live our lives in a way that is honoring to Him.
The day He went to the Cross He bought us our freedom from any insecurity, any shame, and any self-doubt. We can be confident in knowing that even when things are messy and even when our lives are broken that He is holding it all together. He is making our crooked path straight.
I could go on for days about what we deal with on a daily basis as women, but instead I would rather encourage you with truth. His Word is the only thing that can set you free from whatever is entangling you; I can only encourage you to seek that freedom.
Here are some of my favorite Scriptures that I pray encourage you to take a step toward finding freedom in him.
Come As You Are:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Anxiety Be Gone:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Freedom in Jesus:
“It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. STAND FIRM, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
“I will walk about in FREEDOM, for I have sought out your precepts.”
Peace that Passes Understanding:
“You will keep in PERFECT PEACE those whose minds are steadfast, because they TRUST in You.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
If you truly want to take the pressure off and be set free from whatever you are bound by, the Word of God is where you will find that freedom.
Praying that each of you will find your identity, security, self-worth, value, and ultimately your freedom in Jesus alone. The world can’t give you what Jesus can. Run to Him; His arms are wide open.
. . . . .
A note from Jessie: this week, I am part of a guest blog loop with the Bloggish community. Allie is a part of the Bloggish community with her blog at Marque Modest Apparel, where you can read more of her posts and check out her clothing line. To read a guest post written by me, check out To Raise an Ebenezer. Continue to follow the links to read more posts and find bloggers you love! Happy reading!
I have to admit something to you.
I’ve been cowardly for the past couple months. You wouldn’t know it from looking at me considering my new Facebook page for my blog, the investment I put into this site to make it my own, and the book proposal I’ve been steadily working on for the past month.
But I have been cowardly because I intentionally didn’t do something I felt God calling me to do because I was afraid of failing.
A few months ago, something began formulating in my head. A project of some sorts. I spent weeks planning it, praying about it, and contemplating it, and I felt the push from the Spirit to jump into it after returning from Clarkston. But when I did return, I became complacent and I pushed the project to the side.
I was scared.
I decided to do something more safe, like sharing cool blog posts and article once a week and calling it Friday Finds. It was a nifty idea, I thought. But it was only giving me more reason to hold off on the idea God was birthing in me.
And if that’s what Friday Finds is doing, then I don’t want to do Friday Finds anymore.
In fact, I’m removing Friday Finds altogether. I share a good majority of those links on my Twitter already. Friday Finds just takes up space on this blog that I could be giving to God and to this project.
I see now that I can’t keep writing about being brave if I’m not willing to be brave with this.
So I am officially announcing my upcoming project, one that I think you’ll like and benefit from greatly. I believe this is something God’s been leading me into and I want Him to get the glory and credit in this.
More details are coming soon, I promise. For right now, I’m just going to give you a name. I know that if I at least do that, then I can’t easily back down.
I’m tired of letting my fears dictate my life. I know what is true. I know God’s sovereignty and goodness is true. I know His work in my life is true.
And my desperation to be brave is true, too.
If I really think about it, I have nothing to lose. And if this is where God is leading me, I have everything to gain.
My lovely readers!
Thank you so very very much for your encouragement this past week! In case some of you don’t know, there have been quite a few changes taking place in my blog space. Allow me to introduce you to my blog with ITS VERY OWN DOMAIN NAME.
That’s right, folks! I am now the proud owner of http://www.jessienyland.com. I held off on registering my own name for years because I was afraid of never becoming anything big. I’m still not “anything big.” But I’m braver now and I felt like this bravery should be accompanied by taking full ownership of my blog (I’m still using WordPress, by the way. BUT I HAVE MY OWN NAME NOW).
I am also the proud owner of my first ever Facebook page! You can now like me on Facebook here. And while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to follow me on Twitter or Instagram! If you look at the sidebar on the left, you’ll see that I added some nifty social media buttons. These buttons will take you directly to my sites.
Along with these things, I have begun releasing a couple banners that I am pretty sure will be my “signatures” for the remainder of my blogging career. Or, you know, until I get bored and decide to switch it up.
Also, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have a new theme and totally new look. This is another attempt to finally make this space my own. I decided that if I’m going to stick around, then this blog is probably worth a little investment. I paid a few extra bucks to get custom design options and I have not regretted it one bit. How do you guys like the new look?
Lastly (and yes, I saved the best for last), I am in the beginning stages of writing *gasp* A BOOK. I don’t want to give too much away, but things are coming along quite steadily and I am excited to send my proposal out to publishers. The goal is to have my proposal done within the next month or two. And from there, who knows? I believe God has planted a vision in my heart and He’s equipped me with the right tools and gifts and opportunities to make that vision come to life. Hey, I’m only twenty, but that doesn’t mean I can’t chase my dreams. More details are to come, I promise.
Thank you for your support. Truly, it means so much to me. I love receiving your feedback on everything I post and I’m dying to know what you think about all of these new things happening! Please drop a line if you get a chance and let me know.
You are awesome. Now make like a tiger and go get them.
People have been telling me that I’m brave for writing about the things I do and putting myself out there the way I do, but can I just fess up to the honest-to-God truth that I have a hard time receiving that?
I don’t feel brave.
I feel desperate.
I don’t sit down with my laptop and Bible and ask myself, “Jessie, what courageous and bold things do you wish to declare over yourself and people today?” I don’t crack my knuckles as I set to writing and feel like I’m doing something victorious or brave.
You want to know how it really goes? While crying and praying and reading and thinking, God occasionally hits me with something that I can’t get out of my head, a truth I so desperately have longed to hear. And it’s so prominent, I feel the need to immediately pull out my laptop and write a post. I think to myself that if I can write these things down fast enough and put it out there for the world to see, then maybe I can believe these things for just a little while longer. I’m desperate to grab onto these truths before they escape me and I’m faced with another frustrating, tear-stained day.
You see, there are lies all around me and they are skilled in the art of imposing forgetfulness where truth is concerned.
I’m grateful that my attempt to grab onto truth and peace means something to you, but it doesn’t feel all that brave to me. Despite the messages I receive, the gratitude and compliments that come my way from strangers and friends, I feel like just one girl who pecks away at her keyboard because she simply doesn’t know what else to do.
The idea of me being brave feels farfetched in my mind, like a label I could never earn even as it’s shoved in my face by people who don’t really know me.
Writing doesn’t feel like an act of bravery. It feels like an act of desperation.
I am desperate to push these things out of me and place them onto paper or out into the world because the things God speaks over me are often forgotten when the enemy’s lies come back.
If you were really so brave, you wouldn’t hide behind a computer. You’d say things to people’s faces. You wouldn’t be so shy and force yourself to be alone. If you were really so brave, you wouldn’t be curled up in that chair, unable to move. You’d be out there, doing things. You’d be productive. You wouldn’t need to beg for strength just to face another day.
This morning, I was curled up in my bedroom chair, unable to move. I knew I should get up and do something. I should open my Bible and sip my coffee and believe the things God says. But instead, I was staring at the wall, questioning my existence, wishing for a different and improved version of the Jessie I live with every day.
And then I got a text that said things like how God is going to heal me and He’s going to answer my prayers and bring me out of this sadness. And all I wanted to do was retort with, “but I want to be healed now.” And I meant it. I was desperate.
Get on your knees and pray, I was then commanded. Whether the command came from heaven or from my mind, I was so desperate that I somehow found the strength to leave my cushion of sorrow and do just that in the middle of my bedroom floor.
Praying like this is a rare occurrence for me. Placing my knees on carpet and bowing my head to the ground felt foreign and awkward. Yet humble prayers soon tumbled out of my mouth. I don’t know what to do. God, I need you. I don’t even know what to say. I’m desperate.
Somewhere along the way, my desperation drove me to madness. I was mad enough to spit out the words, Do something! I don’t want to be this way. I want to feel lovely and beautiful and graceful. I don’t want to feel weak like this anymore.
I want to be brave.
As I was on my knees and these words escaped my lips, a story of a desperate woman came to mind.
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:36-38)
She was desperate. She was so desperate she was willing to enter in this man’s home, despite the judgmental things he would say about her. She was so desperate, she was willing to approach Jesus, give him her nicest perfume, and let him receive her sorrowful tears. She was so desperate, she found herself on the ground, grasping for even just his feet.
She was so desperate, she became brave.
And I realize now that maybe this is me, too. I see desperation while I am told I am brave, but perhaps the two can both be true.
Maybe I am brave after all. Not because I say bold words and write my heart out for the world to see, but because I’m desperate enough to sit down and do this. For myself. For you. For God.
I’m so desperate for the truth to be declared. I’m desperate for healing in my life. I’m desperate for God to be glorified through me. And this desperation has driven me to say things, do things, and believe things I wouldn’t otherwise. If I were this image of a normal nineteen-year-old with average hopes and stable emotions that I envision, would I have anything to say when I sit down to write?
I’m desperate and I do like to think that I’m brave. On a good day, at least. Who’s to say where I’ll be tomorrow? In the morning, you might find me again in my chair, unable to move.
But when I do move (and I always do), may my mind believe bold things, my hand write great things, and my heart know that I am brave.
This is my prayer. Not just for me, but for you, as well.
We all need to be told that we are brave. We don’t just need the world to say it; we need God to declare it.
And yes, we sometimes need desperation to drive us to believe it and be it.