To The New Christian Who Feels Like A Fake

Accepting the Lord into your heart and knowing that He has saved you can feel like the most refreshing and humbling moment in a new Christian’s life. It can also be the shining moment before an inward spiral of self-doubt.

When I was saved, there was a series of events that the Lord led me through that showed me his loving grace. I was on top of the world, basking in his love, gathering every book I could to learn more about Him and looking for the perfect church. That was the exciting period but shortly after finding the perfect (for me) church, the anxiety started.

I was in small group and said something that someone corrected in a sweet way but I immediately started analyzing myself. “Does everyone here think I’m a fake?” Then it progressed from me being worried that other people would think I’m not a REAL Christian to me thinking I wasn’t. “What if they find out I’m a fraud?” I spent my spare moments reading literature to strengthen my relationship with the Lord and here I was questioning myself because of one wrong answer.

I started wondering if people were going to be talking about how I don’t know scripture or that I am too new to answer questions in group. Searches for “impostor syndrome” and “feeling like a fake” were filling up my phone and I wasn’t finding any answers. This season was like a sinking black hole that I couldn’t get out of. I prayed for Him to help me not feel like a fake and to help me be closer to Him so that I wouldn’t be a “fake Christian.”

I want to share some things that helped me get out of this season and to thrive in my relationship with God. You aren’t alone in your feelings. This is very common and there might even be people at your church who have been Christians for years who feel this way.

Christian Books To Read

You Are Saved

If you look up impostor syndrome, you’ll find this information: “It often rears its head after an especially notable accomplishment.” Accepting our Lord, repenting our sin and drawing closer to God is the greatest accomplishment I can think of. We are experiencing a life giving and lifesaving moment and our savior gave it to us. So really, it makes sense that you feel this way. It’s also a beacon to the enemy that another warrior is on the battlefield. He will start his spiritual attack on you and try to convince you that you should be alone, that no one wants you around and that you don’t really have faith anyway.

The enemy wants us to doubt our salvation and feel like we aren’t real Christians but we need to turn to the scripture. Teach 4 the Heart has an amazing article about doubting your salvation where she explains her own experience. One of the things she mentioned that really helped me is Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”. We have called upon the Lord and he has saved us. There isn’t anything that the enemy can do to take away what Jesus has done for you. He lost at the cross and he will lose the battle in your heart. You are a real Christian and the enemy cannot take that from you.

Do Life Together

During my lowest moments of feeling like a fraud, I reached out to my community group leader and shared how I was feeling. She was so encouraging and was the one who helped me to see that it was the enemy trying to pull me away. He doesn’t want us to encourage each other, he wants us to be alone. It’s easier for him to be heard when we don’t have the positive encouragement of other Christians around. When Christians are together and helping each other, we are truly acting as the bride we are meant to be.

God’s covenant community (you and me) were created to do life together. We aren’t meant to be alone and to try and figure everything out by ourselves. We are supposed to reach out when we are alone in the dark and another covenant member will show us the light. Hebrews 3:12-13 tells us “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Exhort means to encourage; we are to encourage each other every day to protect each other from the enemy who wants us to fall away from God. Just because God isn’t speaking directly to you, it doesn’t mean God isn’t telling you something. If you don’t have a community you are in, please feel free to reach out directly to me. I’d love to get to know you more and help in any way I can.

Bible Notes

Have Faith in Your Faith

As a new Christian, there are times when you feel like your faith is constantly being tested. You are adjusting to changing your entire life and it can be easy to fall back into old habits. I still have a hard time with cursing and listening to hardcore gangster rap (seriously). Everyone has their sin that they work through with the Lord, but feeling like a fake can lead you to feeling as though you don’t have ENOUGH faith. In James 5:15 “and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” If you have prayed for God to accomplish what he has promised in His word then you have prayed the prayer of faith according to Ligionier Ministries.

No one knows what is in your heart but you and our Father. If you have accepted Him into your heart, know that Jesus is your savior, admitted your sin and asked for forgiveness then that is between you and God. It is important to live in covenant community as explained above but it is also important to understand that no one else’s judgement of your amount of faith is as important as your relationship with the Lord. If someone is criticizing your faith, try paying attention to our creator and not your critic. Our place as Christian’s isn’t to rank people’s faith, so feel comfort in the love of fellow Christians instead of anxiety and those who might be against you.

Pray for Strength

In every challenge, it is crucial to be in conversations with the Lord. He might be guiding you through a lesson that will help you have an even deeper faith. In this particular challenge, you might feel like retreating and not reaching out to the Lord in fear of judgement but he wants to hear from you. He wants to hear from you what is plaguing your heart. The Psalms has the perfect scripture for finding strength to defeat the enemy and your feelings of inadequacy in Psalm 46:1-3 “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 (you might feel like this right now), though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

He is your refuge that means in times of pursuit, danger or trouble he is there for you. In times when your heart is troubled, He will listen and guide you. The enemy wants you to pull away from God and to stop speaking with Him. Pray to our Father about what is causing your anxiety, have faith, speak with others in your community and know that you are saved and He will be with you always.

Sermon Notes

Every Christian no matter how long they have been a Christian is on a journey to be more Christ-like and none of us are perfect. The only one who was perfect gave His life for ours. Keep that in mind the next time you worry about being a fake Christian.

Scripture Resources:

How to Make a Unique and Effective Bible Journal

It can be a lot of work trying to find the perfect journal to keep all of your sermon notes, Bible studies, challenges etc. in and it can take a lot of money to find something that might not even be what you are looking for.

I recently cleaned out my office so I could actually start using it. If you are a planner/journal/stationary girl like I am, you know exactly what I found… notebooks and planners piled up on bookshelves and in drawers. Some of them had scribbles that went all the way to the center binding, others had a couple of pages worth of notes. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I spend so much money on paper? I’m a device person, it’s literally what I do for a living but when it comes to my personal life I want paper and a lot of it. I need to be able to be creative but I want structure, I want to feel like it is working for me and not against me.

I’ve spent a good amount of time and money trying to figure out my perfect way to plan and in the midst of this journey I found my perfect way to Bible Study. Before we get into that, I want to share with you some of the methods I tried before getting to this method.

DIY Bible Journal

What I’ve tried:

  • Bullet Journaling – Moleskine Notebook
  • Bullet Journaling – Moleskine Cahier
  • Bullet Journaling – OneNote
  • The Simplified Planner
  • Kate Spade Spiral Bound Planner
  • Kate Spade Zip Planner
  • Target horizontal planner
  • The 12 Week Year – Digital
  • Trello – Digital
  • Asana – Digital
  • Google Calendar – Digital
  • Outlook Tasks – Digital
  • Traveler’s Notebook
  • Regular Spiral Notebook
  • Thin To-Do List Notebook from Target
  • Whiteboard To-Do List
  • Standard Horizontal Happy Planner

Disc Bound Up Close

What Was I Looking For?

  1. Small enough to fit in my bag but big enough that I wouldn’t have to squint to read it
  2. Paper thick enough that my pens wouldn’t bleed through
  3. Customizable
  4. Space to hold:
    • Sermon Notes
    • Bible Study Notes
    • Printed version of the book of the Bible I’m reading
    • Calendar
    • Spare Notes Section

So yes, I was asking for a lot but I had been through enough versions (listed above) to know EXACTLY what I needed.

Disc Bound Realization

After trying my hand at traveler’s notebooks and liking the customizability aspect, I knew I wanted to try the Happy Planner that I saw everywhere. I watched a video from Sea Lemon about disc binding and making my own notebooks and had to have one. After I bought it however, I realized that what came in it wasn’t what I was looking for at all. Luckily, I grabbed one that was a horizontal planner instead of the blocks, which ended up working out (as you’ll see later).

So initially, I’m bummed because it’s not what I was looking for. Then I start looking on Pinterest and decide I’ll use the spare discs I had to make a notebook for Bible Study. It was the regular paper size 8.5″ x 11″ and I made covers out of cute files I found on clearance at Target. Unfortunately, this didn’t meet my first requirement, it was massive. It was big and wasn’t something I would want to just carry around with me in my bag. It was also pretty flimsy so I couldn’t use it for sermon notes either. Strike two with the Happy Planner disc option.

That’s when it dawned on me… I don’t have to use the Happy Planner the way it was designed, that is the entire point. So I took out all but the current and next month planner inserts and started working on my new book. When I bought my Happy Planner, I purchased a hardcover because somehow I knew I would need it and I’m so thankful I did. It’s what really helped this book come together along with free printable items.

Verse Writing

Supplies Used:

  • Paper Cutter
  • Happy Planner Hole Punch
  • Happy Planner Hard Cover
  • Happy Planner Month Inserts (Current and Next Month)
  • Thicker Printer Paper
  • Printer
  • Bible Book Printable – Ephesians 
  • Bible Study Printable – Word Before World [Well Watered Women]
  • Dot Grid Printable – Savor + Savvy
  • Decorative File Folders (Optional)
  • Happy Planner Faith Stickers (Optional)

Happy Planner Hole Punch

Steps – Printable Items:

  1. I took out all of the inserts I knew I wasn’t going to use leaving this month and next month along with the yearly view calendar
  2. I popped on the hard cover
  3. I went to the printable website and selected to print it
    • Sizing:
      • If it is something that is on a Word Doc you can actually specify the sizing (The size for a standard Happy Planner is: 7″ x 9.25″
      • If it is an item that is in a PDF form or another file type that doesn’t allow you to specify exact page size, use 84% in the print sizing option (Here’s a great post/videos about resizing)
    • Double-Sided:
      • I printed dot-grid paper and wanted it to be on both sides so I put the pages back in to the printer to print the design on both. Some printers have the option of printing on both sides but mine didn’t want to for whatever reason but I made it work.
    • Once you have printed your items, use the paper cutter to trim it down to size
    • After you have trimmed it down, use the hole punch to punch the pages
    • Pop the pages into the area you want them in

DIY Divider

Steps – Dividers: I wanted my items separated so they would be organized and easy to access.

  1. Cut the file folder in half using the paper cutter
  2. Line up one of the dividers that came with the Happy Planner and mark it with pen/pencil
  3. Cut the file down to size
  4. Punch holes with the hole punch
  5. Use faith stickers to decorate the front of the divider
  6. Pop them into the discs
  7. Pop the paper into the proper section

Things I Learned About My Style:

  • I can have my work and personal stuff separate – some methods suggest having everything together and I tried desperately to do this without any success. I’m sure it works for some people but it doesn’t work for my brain. All of my meetings are on my Outlook Calendar and tracking them in multiple places doesn’t make sense to my day-to-day.
  • I need to have my Bible studies handy so that I will do them during my actual spare time. There are times when my “Word Before World” challenge is done during my lunch time because I know it’s the only free time I’ll have that day. It also helps when I meet with someone from Church because I can just whip out my book and write down their wisdom.
  • If something is TOO structured I won’t do it but if it relies on me doing a ton of work I won’t do it either. For example, if it is a specific track x,y,z every day for 21 days and it isn’t a high priority for me but it’s in the notebook I’ll never do it. Something in me (being a child of wrath and all) doesn’t want to be forced to fill something out that isn’t important. I know I don’t “have” to but if it’s on the page it’s something I feel the need to do. On the flip side, if it’s something where I have to re-write everything everyday (looking at you BuJo) I won’t do it either. It just isn’t something I’ll take the time to do and I’ll miss a day and just get frustrated.
  • I like to have all of my Bible Study items together. Some people have a separate notebook for sermon notes, a binder for Bible Study etc. but I was finding myself not doing any of them if they were all over the place.

Ephesians Notes

Tips, Ideas and a Freebee:

  • You can use coloring book pages in your book as well. Cut them out, punch them and add them into your book.
  • A paper cutter will be your best friend. No lie, we tried cutting the pages the first time with an exacto knife and vices holding the paper in place… seriously that’s what we did.
  • Use washi tape to mark the dimensions on the paper cutter.
  • Just because you don’t like the way something is out of the box, it doesn’t mean you should chunk it all out. I ended up using the horizontal planner pages to do daily scripture writing and it’s the perfect size.
  • If something isn’t working for you, change it. It’s all about what is going to work for you and what you need to be closer to the Lord.

Mark Paper Cutter

When I first started studying the Bible I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just bought some study guides that had answers to questions and started reading. If you are looking to start studying the Bible, Jen Wilkin’s book “Women of the Word” is a wonderful place to start.

Fill out the form below for a free printable of her 5 P’s to studying the Bible.

[email-download download_id=”869” contact_form_id=”868”]

 

Parenting Advice I Wish Someone Told Me

When your friends, family and even strangers find out that you are going to have a baby, you are going to be buried beneath mountains of advice and wisdom. Some of the advice is helpful but most of it is just going to freak you out. I remember someone warning me about having to have my downstairs cut open to pull the baby out for it to be easier on the doctor… what the heck. Another piece of sage wisdom I received involved feces, your SO and a room full of surgeons and interns (I’ll spare you the details).

It’s funny now to think about all of the things we were told before P got here and the things we wish we would have known. So instead of terrifying you with stories of stitches and fecal matter I’ve put together a list of things that you should really know about having a baby:

You won’t be able to go anywhere alone anymore (but you won’t want to).

At least in the beginning (our little one is still super cute and doesn’t have a cell phone) you won’t want to be apart from this new addition to your family. The first night she stayed with my parents all we could think about was what she was doing. We were texting asking for pictures and spent our “date night” at Target buying her clothes. Sure there are times when it would be easier to run out the door without having to get another human being ready to go, but they make up for it with kisses.

You will never sleep again (If your spouse sucks).

If your spouse doesn’t let you take naps when you are exhausted then y’all should have a serious conversation about the side-effects of being that tired. Hubs and I switch off when we are both on the brink of exhaustion (both working parents with super long commutes in decently stressful jobs). Since we switch off we are always at different levels of needing sleep so P is never just running amuck while we are passed out. When P was a newborn, we even took shifts to let the other sleep and recover for even moments at a time. If anything, the phrase should be “you’ll never sleep at the same time again” and even that passes.

You’ll never get to shower (any time you want).

There will be times when the baby is crying and you are covered in all kinds of disgustingness and you’ll want to get in the shower, but you can’t. That doesn’t mean you’ll never shower again. In fact, when the baby is a newborn it is much easier to shower because they can’t go anywhere (at least P couldn’t). When they can’t even roll over you can put them in a bouncy in the bathroom with you and get in the bath/shower. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t look out every minute and a half to check on them but you are getting water on your covered in snot body. There are also going to be times when you are just too exhausted to get in the bath but that’s fine too. Your baby will love you no matter what you smell like.

Stick to your guns (but not everything is a mountain to die on).

I’m more of a every fight is a mountain to die on type of girl, but I quickly realized that you can’t be as a parent. If you don’t want your baby to eat certain things then let it be known but if grandma or grandpa sneaks them a treat don’t lose your cool (I say this from experience). Not everyone feels the same way about foods and grandparents and other family members with children don’t always agree with you. That doesn’t mean they are right to give your kid something you specifically expressed you didn’t want them to have; it also doesn’t mean you should ban them from your next get together. Unless it is a detriment to P’s health, I’ve had to learn to let some things slide. Family members aren’t intentionally trying to hurt your child (it was hard for me to come to grips with too).

Moral of the story, it’s all going to be okay. If you poop on the table during birth, if you have a c-section or natural, if the baby has a head as big as a melon… it’s all going to be fine. Here are my parting words of wisdom:

No child is exactly alike, your combinations of life choices are never going to match perfectly to someone else, and that’s okay. Love them, keep them healthy, safe and don’t raise them to be a jerk and you’ll be good to go.

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter a crappy piece of advice that you received when you found out you were going to be a parent.

Finding A Daycare That Is Perfect For Your Family

As a new mom it was really hard to find a daycare that didn’t have a wait-list a mile long. I know that isn’t the same in all areas but where we are we had to wait a full year for an open spot at our daycare of choice. Picking who is going to be a surrogate parent for your child during the day is stressful. Here are the tips that I wish we had before we picked our first daycare:

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Continue reading “Finding A Daycare That Is Perfect For Your Family”

How to Get Your Chores Done Fast

I hate to admit that I was a terrible partner but I absolutely was. It’s embarrassing to say that for the first several years we were together my husband did 90% of the housework and cooking. I had a lot of baggage that made me believe that if I cooked/cleaned that I was subservient to my boyfriend/husband. I just couldn’t get it through my thick and selfish head that I needed to do my part. I didn’t want to be like my biological mother and I was so stubborn that I didn’t see the difference.

One day it finally sank in and I realized that chores weren’t a way to put someone in their place. It really was as my husband had been saying all along; they were just “things that had to get done.” Once I got over my baggage and selfishness, we started doing all of our chores together. I’m very blessed that he was patient with my nonsense. This is when a completely different issue popped up. He had his way of doing things and what all needed to be done but I didn’t.

Continue reading “How to Get Your Chores Done Fast”