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.
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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!
When was the last time you truly felt at peace?
I often find myself distracted by the things around me, like my current struggles or circumstances, and I let them lead me away from the place of worship I should be in. Instead of focusing on God and what He’s done for me, I focus on less important things that not only bring me stress, but also bring me farther from Him. By the end of the day, I feel restless and not at peace. This is because true peace doesn’t come without surrendering our time, our days, our entire lives to Jesus.
It’s so easy to get into a routine where the only surrender we have towards God is found on Sunday mornings during worship. This is not right. What about the other six days of the week? Is God any less faithful or amazing as we go about our work and school and home? If we know that God is worthy of the praise, why do we only give it to Him at church? If we know that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds” (Philippians 4:7), why do we occupy our hearts and minds with everything but Jesus?
A prayer that my grandmother found and had laminated sits on my desk.
“Father, I set myself in agreement that the will of God shall be done today… in my government… in my church… on my job… and within my home and family. You see my written list of things to do. You know the people I am meeting today. Remove those who do not belong on my schedule. I speak to the north, the south, east and west, and call forth from the shadows of my life those You have intended to be linked with me. Father, Your priorities are mine. Your will shall be done. I am led by your peace, filled with your joy and controlled by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.”
What if we surrendered our hectic schedules and the plans we’ve made to Him? What if we started off our days asking for His will to be done?
My challenge for you is to find quiet time with God every day despite how busy you think you are. Don’t be afraid to be creative! Watch the sunrise and be amazed at His glory! In your free time, take your Bible down to the pool and read for a bit after a swim. Go for a jog and release those anxieties and worries to Him. When you’re in a rush, sing praises to Him while making breakfast, read your Bible while brushing your teeth, or even pray to Him on your way to work. As you’re sitting at a stoplight, why not meditate on His everlasting love for His creation?
Ask God how you can grow closer to Him this summer. The Lord comes near to those who come near to Him, and I have no doubt that when we start our days off with surrendering to Him and focusing on Him, relaxation and peace will come naturally throughout.
“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.” (John 14:27)
“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:3-4)
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ ” (Mark 4:35-40)
We all face storms in our lives. They’re inevitable, unpredictable, and no one is exempt. Whether in the form of an illness, emotional struggle, divorce, financial loss, bitterness, or even death, there will always be a storm that we must battle through.
The story of Jesus calming the storm in the book of Mark is a literal calming of a storm. However, the same truths evident in those verses can easily apply to our metaphorical storms today.
If you read carefully, you’ll notice that Jesus was the one who led them out onto the Sea of Galilee. It was his idea and he knew what was coming. Likewise, Jesus knows the storms we will face in our lives and we’re often led into them. Being obedient and living righteously does not exempt us from storms. Paul knew this to be true in his letter to the Corinthians.
“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?” (2 Corinthians 11:24-29)
Even while spreading the Gospel and advancing God’s Kingdom, Paul had plenty of storms cross his path.
What happens a lot to believers is a sudden doubt. Even though they know how Jesus has been with them through previous struggles and trials, there is that moment of doubt and disbelief. “Where are you, Lord?” “Why are you leaving me alone through this?” “How could you let this happen?” The disciples, who just so happened to have Jesus in the boat with them, experienced this during the storm. Even though many of them were expert sailors due to their knowledge and experience in fishing, they saw the storm as too big for them to handle. They were without resources and without a solution. In desperation, they went to Jesus, who was sleeping in the midst of this furious storm, and pleaded, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Why are we so quick to believe Jesus doesn’t care? Why do we forget or not realize that he’s in the middle of the storm with us, and he’s mightier than any trial that comes our way? We can call out to God and question all we like, but He’s the Creator of the universe. He knows what He’s doing and He sees the big picture. Jesus didn’t need to be woken up by the disciples; he already knew they’d make it through. We don’t need to get his attention because he knows what we’re suffering and even why we’re suffering. This knowledge we should not expect to have so how can we not put our trust in the One who does have it?
A beautiful thing about the trials in our lives is that we’re not alone. We may feel alone, but it’s in those moments, God is calling out to us more than ever as He stands by our side. It’s through these storms that some of us realize how much we need to turn, or return, to Jesus.
In the book of Hosea, we see an image of a woman guilty of adultery. Even though undeserving, the Lord declares how He will redeem her. “I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14)
Just like Hosea, we are sometimes led into the wilderness. It’s in this wilderness, a place of trial and temptation, that it can be very easy to lose faith in God. Yet He is still with us and it’s His plan for us to face these trials because He is leading us back to Him. When we focus more on Him and less on our circumstances, what we’re going through suddenly doesn’t seem to be so defeating and crippling. It’s the trust in God that will carry us through.
Many times in Scripture, we are told that God is our refuge, our stronghold.
“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:9-10)
“The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.” (Psalm 28:8)
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
In these verses, this truth rings true. Jesus does not always calm our storms right away, but he has a plan and always provides for his people. When we are faithful and keep our trust in God, He will provide us with a peace just like the calmed sea.
Whatever you are struggling with or facing right now, I just want to remind you that God is always present and attentive to your prayers and cries. He has proved time and time again that He is loving to his children, and the love He has for us is so grand, we can’t even fully comprehend it. Yet one thing we can be sure of is that He loves us enough to never leave us alone and to always carry us through any storm if we let Him.