To Love Your Neighbor is to Love Yourself

July 20, 2017

On a plane, you are told that in case of an emergency, always put your mask on first before assisting someone else. Because, how can you help someone else breathe when you don't even have breath?

I work as a nanny, and I get the cool opportunity to travel with a little one and his family. While holding him on a plane recently, the reality of what I just mentioned hit me. Even though everything inside of me would want to help him out first, if something was to go wrong, it was imperative that I’d help myself first. Ugh! That truth hurts so bad.

Far too often, I put others before myself. It just makes me feel better to know that everyone else is taking care of. I figure I can just squeeze myself somewhere into my busy schedule. Then I burn out. I pour all that I have into the people around me, and in return, am left empty. And what good is an empty well? I have to remind myself that its okay to be selfish sometimes. That if I’m gonna be any good to other’s I’ve got to be good to myself first. Not only do I need to bee good to myself, but I need to allow Him to be good to me. 

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” | Mark 12:31

This verse can sometimes be used just a little too much. Okay not too much, but maybe out of context. You see, love your neighbor means more than being nice to the people around you. Love your neighbor means to love yourself. 

It’s kind of like the old saying, “Treat others the way you want to be treated." How can you fully love someone, if you haven't taken the time to fully love yourself, or more importantly, to allow yourself to be fully loved? This is SO important, especially for leaders. We have to be constantly fueling ourselves to be able to pour into others.

Every now and then I get caught up in life, and the Lord throws me this question.
"How's your heart?" 
Ummm... beating?
This calls for a heart check!

I am learning to love myself, and to allow myself to be loved. When those heart check moments arise, I realize I need to sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness of Jesus.

Love yourself my friend, and more importantly, allow yourself to be loved. Submerge yourself in His grace, and lose yourself in His presence. Take that same fierceness you have for the hearts’ of others, others, and  pursue His heart. Remain in Him, and Him in you. 

As much as the Lord wants you to go out and love on people, He wants to love on you. Dive into His word, worship at His feet. Sit with the Lord, and allow His love to pour over you. 

Love your neighbor, and love yourself. 

"This is my comfort, my consolation, and my breath of fresh air in the midst of my depression and loss. Your Word nourishes and repairs, it revives my life and your promises restore me and make me whole.”  | Psalm 119:50 

Scars vs. Bruises

June 7, 2017

When I was 9 years old, I had a pretty traumatic bike fall. (If we are being honest, I still have pretty traumatic bike falls today.) But this particular fall tells a pretty sweet story. I was riding my bike in my grandparents’ super cool concrete backyard when I made a sharp turn, causing me to fall, and my bike’s handlebar to jab me right in the middle of my chest. Long story short, the accident left a huge dent in the middle of my chest, but after spending hours in the ER, it was determined that there were no broken bones, just some bruising. It still hurt like it was broken though. I had to do everything with caution, and my grandma banned us from riding bikes for a while. I remember my cousin and sister being so mad at me. Like I totally meant to nearly kill myself. Over time my chest healed, and we were eventually allowed back on our bikes. But there was a pretty nasty circle shaped scar in the middle of my still slightly dented chest, and if you look close enough, (which you shouldn’t) you can still see that scar today, some 11 years later.

I love getting to tell that story. Can you imagine the faces I get when I'm all “Dude, my chest literally caved in!” What is so cool and blog post worthy about it, is that even though I definitely felt broken, I wasn’t. While the bruising hurt like hell, it soon faded, but the scar remained. That’s the thing that makes scars and bruises so different. Bruises may hurt and they may be ugly, but they eventually go away. Scars on the other  hand, they remain, as they tell a sweet story of victory.

I never understood why after rising from the dead, the scars on Jesus’ hands and feet remained. Like you are Jesus! You literally just rose from the dead, and you couldn’t fix the holes in your hands?!?!?

“So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he replied, "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe. A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” | John 20:25-27

Those scars didn't remain for His sake, but for our own.

Our past hurts, experiences, and sin, they are no longer bruises, but scars, scars that say “I survived.” Yeah, they don't paint the prettiest of pictures, and that is okay. Its okay to not have enjoyed the whole process of getting the scar,  (to be honest, that’d be kinda weird if you did. ) but it shouldn't be something that continues to hurt you. Remember, its a scar, which means that wound has healed.

Jesus’ wounds are much like the nails that pinned Him to the cross. They represented the enemy's false triumph, the moment he THOUGHT he won. The scars though, the represent victory, Jesus defeating death. 

What were the nails in your life? What hurt, mistake, loss had you pinned down in defeat? And what story do your scars now tell? Or maybe you’ve still got some nails in your hands. Can you imagine the story that scar is gonna tell some day?!?!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” | Isaiah 53 : 5

Love Always,

Destinee Nicole

Some Assembling Required

April 18, 2017

A few weeks ago, I did something very “adult-ey.” I bought, and built a bookshelf all myself. You see, I had been storing my books in  a plastic bin, but as my collection grew, books began to pour out of the bin, had planted themselves all over the floor. I chose this shelf solely based on the fact that it appeared easy to assemble, but as I started to pull the pieces out of the box, I realized that this shelf would take way more effort than I intended. Not gonna lie, I was pretty annoyed. I just wanted to snap a few things together, and have a perfectly built shelf for all my books to rest on. That’s when the gears in my brain started turning, and this blog post came about.

Work defined in the Webster’s Dictionary is: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. The key word here is “effort”. I think a lot of times we forget that results = work. Today especially, we have become entitled, expecting things to be handed to us without doing any kind of work to receive them. There is not a single thing on this earth that came to be without work. Nothing comes out of nothing, but all things come out of something.

This is where our relationship with the Lord can get a little messy. How many of us, accepted Christ, and then expected everything to change over night? I’ll speak for myself when I say that I STILL sometimes find myself in this position. “Well I’ve got God, so its gonna work out.” I say as I lay in my bed doing absolutely nothing.

I remember the beginning of this school year. I was desperately in need of a job after one didn’t work out. I’d come home after school everyday, laying in my bed and in my misery. When I should have been submitting applications and making phone calls, I did absolutely nothing. One day I prayed out to God, “Where are you? Why is nothing happening?  I NEED A JOB!!” Then it hit me! God was waiting on me to make the first move, to put my faith into action.

God never promised that our walk with Him would be easy.  He said it plain as day that there would be trials and tribulations. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." | John 16:33

The cool part about all of this is that we know how the story ends. The victory has already been won, the hardest part already taken care of. Some once told me, “God’s already done the hard part, and you just have to do the busy work.” All things require effort, work, and dedication. And while sometimes that work feels crappy, its work that is worth it!

We must not look at this life as something that comes perfect right out of the box, but something that requires some assembling.

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” | Proverbs 14:23

Love always,
Destinee  Nicole

Living on the Edge

March 21, 2017

We are not called to ordinary lives, but extraordinary lives.

This Spring Break, I went to the Grand Canyon again, but oh was the experience so different. The last time I went, I made sure not to get too close to the edge. I kept my distance, and still got a pretty good view. But God doesn’t mean for us to just have a pretty good view, but he calls us to the BEST view.

This time around, I got on the edge. I stepped onto places that caused my knees to buckle. I’d look down and think, “If I fall, I am surely dead.” But for the first time, fear didn’t overtake me. It didn’t drive me away, but actually fueled me to step out further. The riskier I got, the riskier I wanted to go.

The picture above captures the moment this revelation was poured over me. God calls us to nerve-wrecking, palm sweating places, because that is where the best views are. The views that leave your jaw dropped and mind in awe.

As I sat in this spot, I felt the Lord say to me, “See, it isn’t so bad is it? The reward is much better than the sacrifice.”

DING, DING, DING! Ladies and gentlemen we have a winner! You see, I’ve been struggling big time. Fear has seemed to consume me, and I’ve been living afraid, my heart guarded more than ever before. I didn’t want to let anyone in, or anything out.

I think about the song  “Oceans” by Hillsong. The whole song speaks of this very thing. He calls us out into the water, the unknown, because the best of views lie there.  But when we build these walls and borders, we block out the beauty God has in store for us. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you should call me.” This should be our prayer. I long for a trust without borders. A heart that says “yes” even when my mind is freaking out.

I spent the rest of the week in San Diego praying for a “yes” I my heart. I prayed for chains of fear to be broken, and that I would come back to Texas bold, brave, and ready to say yes to whatever God called of me. But, I had it all wrong. The Lord said to me, “Destinee, you ARE those things. And I will show you, if you let me.” Here’s where I got a little sassy with God, and I’m sure He just rolled His eyes and chuckled a bit. “You mean you want me to do this WHILE I’m scared? Legs buckling and palms sweating?”

DING, DING, DING! Another winner! “Yes”, is not always easy. Sometimes we have to step out afraid. Legs trembling, and heart pounding. Think about Jesus. He wasn’t happy go lucky, jumping for joy as He headed to the cross. It troubled Him. We see this in the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane:  "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.' ” | Matthew 26:39. I find myself in this position all the time. Except for the “not my will, but yours” part. I tend to think my will is the right will. LOL, considering my will has only ever lead me into trouble.

God wants to take us to places we cant even fathom, but we’ve gotta put our big girl {or boy} pants on, and step out our comfort zones and into the unknown. I am learning to say “yes”, even when I’m afraid. Even when my hands are trembling and my heart is pounding out of my chest. Here’s to a life of extraordinary views!

“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” | 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Love always,

Destinee Nicole


March 11, 2017

“Thy will be done.”

I love that phrase, but I don’t always like to hear it. I’m a control freak. I like to hold the past, present, and future in my hand. I need the ball in my court at all times. When I hear those four words, I hear God saying, “Hey let me take care of this. I’ll do what needs to be done.” No! No, no, no!

I am in a season of life where the unknown surrounds me on every end. I’ve changed my major for the fourth time, and have come to the realization that I have no idea what I’m doing in life. Graduation reels in closer and closer everyday. What am I going to do? Where will I work? Grad school? Teacher’s certification? Ministry? Destinee, what is your plan? I don’t know. I really just don’t know. This frustrates me, because I knew. Since starting college, I always knew what the end goal was. Teacher. And honestly, that still is the end goal, but the Lord revealed to me that the process and end result might not look how I’ve pictured it. I am learning to accept this truth.

I’m sure we’ve all played the “Get all the groceries inside in one trip” game a time or two. I play it till this day. Well, in life, Jesus wants to come and take those bags for us. He wants to take hold of our life’s “groceries”, put them away on the proper shelves, and bring them out at the right time. Now in terms of actual groceries, this sounds amazing! “You mean I don’t have to put my own things away? Someone else can do that for me? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?” But when it comes to the produce of our lives, our plans, money, and relationships, we freak out. We cling tight to those bags, and tell God, “Its okay. I got it.” NEWS FLASH: You don’t “got it”. Not at all.

Hillary Scott has a song titled the very words, “Thy Will Be Done”. This song used to tear me up. I’m talking hurriedly changing the station every time the song played on K-Love. I didn’t want to hear it. I wasn’t ready to give it all up to God. No not yet. I needed to get some things settled first. And then I heard this verse:
“Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that You’re God
And I am not”

Mic drop.
I am not God, and I will never be. If we know God to be the creator of the universe, the one who holds the world in the palm of His hand, why do we still doubt Him? Why do we try to take on these massive loads, when the Lord will so graciously take them off our backs?

“How much longer do you have in school?” “What are you going to do when you graduate?” “Have you thought about grad school?” I dread these questions, because to be quite honest, I don’t know. Like I mentioned earlier, I changed my major for technically, the fourth time last semester. I’m not really sure what I’m doing, or where I’m going. Today, we are expected to know just what we’re doing, and how we’re going to do it. I get it. It’s good to have a plan, but plans change, and that is okay. The Lord knows where He wants me, and in due time, He will make it very clear. Until then, I will pursue Jesus. I will chase after Him, and let His will be done.

Surrendering control can be hard, especially if you’re a control freak like me. But we have to let go. It’s for our good. God’s got this! I promise. He knows you, because He formed you. Those desires of your heart, yeah He placed them there. It says in Romans 8:28 , “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Notice that this doesn’t say for what we THINK is good, but what is good according to HIS purpose. Thy will be done.

We don’t know all the answers. We don’t have it all figured out. But God does, and He wants us to rest in that, and let His will be done. Let Him take your load. Allow His master plan to play out in your life.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” | Proverbs 19:21

Love always,

Destinee Nicole

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