We All Need a Savior 

  
Missions work is not a foreign concept to me. Though I have traveled to foreign lands to serve God, the act of serving for His kingdom is not something that has confused me or given me pause. It seems very simple: show up, do work, save people.
I recently spent the weekend at City of Refuge with women from my church. We all went into this experience completely unaware of what we were going to do, but as I mentioned before, I had some ideas of what I could expect: doing a lot of work in a little period of time. This is not at all what happened when we arrived on campus.

 The RATL model of service is about “being with” the women and children instead of “doing for” (which is what my previous definition looked like). And as I began to just sit and listen to stories from the women in the room, I realized something incredibly humbling: I AM these women. In other words, nothing separates me from them. And when several volunteers mistook me for a resident, it became clear to me that God was at work in my heart, redirecting my image of “broken” to look very similar to the image I see daily in the mirror. As each woman I spoke with shared her own brokenness, it became abundantly clear to me I wasn’t there to save anyone, but to remember that I too am in need of a Savior.
So I didn’t rescue anyone during my time at RATL. I was the one who was worked on, by God, from the inside out. These women know Jesus by name: they have seen Him work miracles in their own lives and they have stories to prove it. Every woman I spoke with ministered the gospel to me by being with me and being transparent. And I walk away realizing that we are all broken, in need of salvation, and as we share our stories and spend time with one another, God’s hand is at work mending our hearts and knitting our tales together for His greater good.

Benefits of a Broken Heart 

In my humble opinion, heartache is quite possibly the worst emotional pain we humans can experience. It can feel, at times, that your heart has been shattered into tiny, unmanageable  pieces that will never beat together again. Heartache is so powerful it quite literally can take over your whole life for a period of time. 

I don’t think we were designed to withstand that kind of pain. Loss, in any capacity, is altering to a person. The heart yearns for what it can no longer have, and the brain must learn how to live in a world that just seems lacking. 

What’s interesting to me is the way God designed his relationship with us, His creation. It was never in God’s plan for us to experience the loss of Him, but in Genesis 3 we see very clearly Adam and Eve chose death over life with God. In making this choice, all humans to follow after the original sinners would have no choice but to experience life devoid of God. Unless…

Redemption. It’s God’s greatest magic trick. In His sovereignty, He made sure that I (you and I) never have to experience one second without his love or his presence. I will never have to suffer the loss of my God: He made sure of it! By sending Jesus to redeem my heart into His, God certified our relationship and basically put a metaphoric “ring on it!” He made sure I would never be without His love, thus guaranteeing I would never be heart broken over the loss of the One who loves me most. 
This is powerful. I actually cried about how beautiful this is. I think of all the loss we CAN experience as humans on this broken planet, and then I think about the one aspect of life I would never be able to recover from losing. And I realize that I never (ever ever ever) have to worry about experiencing that irreconcilable loss because the Lover of My Soul has bound me with Him for eternity by the action of Jesus dying on the cross. 

This is how I know love means action. This is how I know heartache wasn’t meant for us to deal with. This is how I know I am loved by a God whose grace is far more sufficient than I could comprehend  this side of Eden. 

And this is how I know my heart, broken and scared from the loss of human love, is not fully destroyed. My God allowed my heart to break so I could finally be at a place in my life where I would pray for Him to give me a psalm 51:10 newer and purer one! Where my prayer that His will and not my own has become REAL and the desire to see Him shift me has taken over completely. There is no fear in praying for God to take over when you’ve finally realized what an utter train wreck exists  when you’re in control. He’s got to be a better driver!! 

I guess a broken heart is perfect, actually. Because a broken heart can be fixed. ❤️

The Sacrifice of Brokeness 

I’ve recently started praying for God to dramatically change my heart. I believe the word “transplant” keeps coming up in my prayers. 
I want a new heart. 
I don’t mean in the Wizard of Oz kind of way: I mean in the Psalm 51:10 kind of change. I am asking God for a new and pure heart. The one I have is broken, wicked, and not fully in line with my Creator. 

What’s interesting is that later in Psalm 51, David speaks about his inability to offer a physical sacrifice great enough to appease God for his sin. As he’s writing this, he just sinned with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed in battle to cover his sins. David is telling God, what I believe God planted in his heart in the first place: the only path to true repentance and right relationship with God is by offering a sacrifice of brokeness. 

I have often thought that I was capable of cleaning myself up and presenting a perfect package to God. As if I had the power, self control, or ability to make myself clean and right in God’s eyes. We know Christ came because we weren’t capable of doing this alone. And yet, I still have fond memories of “hiding” sins from God, acting like I have everything together in my life, and wearing a deceitful  mask of perfection in public. All of which speak to God “I don’t need you. I can handle my issues alone and I prefer distance from you over the closeness that can provide me proper healing.” 

I’m thankful for David’s transparency and brokenness in the psalms. I’m glad he was honest about only being able to present God the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart. Lately, I have been identifying with being “broken” especially when it comes to my heart. I question how could I possibly be getting closer to healing when I feel like little pieces of me are daily being chiseled away? But David’s words remind me of God’s profound truth: when I humble  myself (lay down the broken pieces) before the Lord, and admit (confess) that I am unable to properly mend them, it is only then when true healing begins. 

The sacrifice of brokeness is the only door through which right relationship with God exists. If I want true and proper healing (and I do!) I must first admit I’m broken, and can only be fixed by the One who knows me part by part. 

32 things…

  

Today I say goodbye to 31, and I must admit I am happily waving “hello” to 32. I know I haven’t changed much in a day, but in this year, God has really done a work in me that has brought new levels of healing and growth. Which leaves me excited about seeing what 32 will bring! 
So, I’m going to just leave you with a list of 32 things that make me smile; a great way to start off my new year. 
1. Hand written notes

2. Warm towels from the dryer

3. Golden Girls reruns 

4. Discovering a new tv show 

5. Christmas tree lights 

6. Zombie survival plans 

7. Babies laughing 

8. The smell of old library books 

9. Dog cuddles 

10. Laughing so hard it hurts 

11. Kind gestures from strangers 

12. Someone washing my hair 

13. BOOK DEDICATIONS 

14. When there is no laundry or dishes to clean!! 

15. Escada Sexy Grafitti perfume 

16. Sharing something personal that helps another person 

17. Random texts from people thinking about me 

18. Seeing the answers to prayers 

19. Looking at my past and seeing what God has done 

20. Putting events on the calendar 

21. Popcorn. All. Day. 

22. Tahitian tiara flower candle from Yankee Candle 

23. Worshipping God in song 

24. Soft pretzels 

25. Snug ankle socks that make my feet feel loved and protected 

26. When even my jewelry and my shoes match my outfit 

27. Fun Surprises 

28. Quality time with people I can trust 

29. “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire 

30. Songs that bring back good memories 

31.  Learning a new skill 

32. The feeling and sound of loud, live music 
Here’s to 32! 

May this year be filled with fun surprises and lots of snug ankle socks! 

Quenchable Thirst

water glassA major part of the human condition is loneliness. It should come as no surprise that every human to ever walk on planet Earth will struggle with and experience the feeling of being lonely. This is something that has been built into us by our Creator; a longing for connection to Him that cannot be satisfied apart from Him. But we regularly try and fail to do so.

I am no stranger to feeling lonely. I have been in a house surrounded  by people and still felt that tingling feeling in my belly that had nothing to do with the bean dip. That hollow, anxious feeling has everything to do with my natural longings for God, and when I seek to fill that thirst with anything but Him I am always left wanting.

The truth is, people are lonely. And I honestly used to believe the only cure for this was marriage. For whatever reason, at a young age, I began looking at marriage as the only answer to the loneliness problem, and I couldn’t  have been more wrong. There are millions of men and women walking around feeling very incomplete, very lonely, and they’ve been married for years. How can  this be? Because they aren’t (we aren’t) seeking God for fulfill our basic needs. We’re trying to do it all on our own, in our own power, and we’re failing miserably.

When people talk about looking to God to meet our human needs, I often roll my eyes. It sounds so super spiritual and so absolutely impossible! How can someone I don’t see fulfill my need for a hug? Is He going to sit with me on my couch and watch Will and Grace? Am I supposed to hold hands with Jesus and walk around the mall picking out China patterns and expect other people NOT to call the police and arrest me for being crazy town? This concept has alluded me for a while, and I have honestly just pushed it to the back of my mind as something super spiritual Christians say to make me feel worse about being single. But today, I realize, there is actual validity in seeking God for every single one of my needs, especially the need to not feel like I am alone.

Consider the Samaritan woman at the well who greets Jesus in John 4. Jesus asks her for water and she is shocked (because of her heritage and the discrimination of her people by the Jews) that he is even talking to her. She tells Jesus of her shock, and his response is what I want us to look at:

(John 4:10-17, NIV)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirstyand have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

First of all, Jesus is always such a G when he speaks in scripture. He never minces words, and he isn’t doing it here either. In so many words, he’s calling this woman out for a sin that many of us (myself included) commit on a daily basis. Look at her track record: she’s been seeking fulfillment and satisfaction from men. She’s been looking for love to meet  her needs and every time (five and counting) she has not found the cure for her deep-rooted, hollow loneliness. And Jesus tells her that if she would just draw water from Him (go to Him for her satiation) she will never ever be thirsty again.

Now, it’s interesting that in our modern culture people call women who appear to be desperate for marriage or a man “thirsty”. I believe this term is accurately used, but not only for women. I actually believe every human, no matter what status in life, is thirsty. We are all desperate for the satisfaction and fulfillment only God can provide, and yet, we look to be filled by our relationship status, our jobs, our friends, our calendars, our skills, and our technology. We are chasing after cup after cup of water that will only continue to make us thirsty. And God is offering Himself as a never-ending well of water for us to drink from daily!

What does this mean for us then? What is the application here?

It means for me that when I am feeling that empty pit in my stomach and I know it’s not a hunger pang, I am going to purpose myself to stop what I am doing and ask God what He wants me to do to satisfy that thirst. This action will happen instead of what I usually do: either wallow in the pain or choose an activity that I think will meet the need. Neither one is helpful and I find myself thirsty all over again.

If we believe God will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19) then we must also believe that He will show us where and how to get those needs met when we seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). God is capable of telling you when you need to call an old friend or take a nap. He is capable of telling you when you need to read a book or cook a meal for someone. He is capable, in short, of letting you know exactly how to quench the thirst of loneliness. It’s not always  going to be Him saying “Be still”! He knows we need people and socialization! He built us to need and want those things (look at Jesus while he was here on Earth- He was mighty social!) Also, it’s not always going to look like you  think it will. Again, I say, I thought for a very long time that the cure for loneliness was marriage. And I am SO glad God is tearing down that lie and replacing it with truth. Marriage is a beautiful part of life, but not the main event. AND NOT A CURE. (More on this in a separate post).

At any rate, my homework for myself is  to turn to God and ask Him first how to satisfy my loneliness when I am feeling it. And I firmly believe that’s a  thirst He is more than capable of quenching again and again.

All my love,
Danni

When I Look Down

DSCN0201

I recently posted a blog on taking life one day at a time, and it was great to  get those words out there in the world. It certainly wasn’t a new message to anyone (myself included) but after writing about it, it became more REAL to me.

God is really making sure I get the message on this one, and I am thankful for His persistence in this season (I think…).

I was reminded tonight during a beautiful conversation with a friend about a time back in February when God made the “one day at a time” message clear to me in the visual world. During my conversation tonight, I am so thankful God brought this image back into my mind. I was brought to tears as I remembered how REAL it looks when we walk with God as I personally walked up a Volcano in Guatemala.

Hiking up any incline is difficult, much like life. There isn’t a manual that tells you how to climb properly (much like life) and any one traveler is left to his or own devices as she climbs her way up.

I found myself hiking up Pacaya in February of 2015. I had already made this journey the year before in April, and I had promised myself I wasn’t going to do it again. But alas, my fear of riding a horse up the volcano won, and so I marched my angry butt up the steep incline with bitterness in each step.

It’s funny how annoying it can be when we find ourselves on a journey we didn’t intend to take. Thankfully, I can see from this experience in Guatemala, that God’s plan are far better than ours. They just don’t look as pretty as we imagined.

As I climbed, I started to sweat. Which caused me to get more upset. I realize I had done this once already, so I shouldn’t  have been upset at all. But I was. I was upset I didn’t have the courage to ride the horse. I was upset I had to do physical activity I hadn’t planned on. And mostly, I was upset that everyone else in my group was WAY ahead of me, and I felt like the slow chubby girl waddling her way up the hill shouting ” wait for me!” ( I wasn’t shouting. I was too busy trying to breath).

Interestingly enough, I was never alone on my journey. I FELT alone, but I wasn’t. A man with a horse talked to me for a while before he moved on ahead of me to help someone else. One of my friends stayed behind to make sure everyone made it up to the top, so he made sure his horse moved slower than everyone else’s. I managed to move quicker at some points and caught up with groups of people who were also walking up and not on horses. They each provided me with comfort and support as we were all in the same predicament (whether by choice or chance). And there were also other Guatemalans along the way who either stared at me or spoke. But I was NEVER alone.

And here is the most important part; the lesson that made me cry tonight as I remembered it. When I looked up, and saw how far ahead everyone else seemed, and I saw how far I still needed to travel, I  got so upset. I felt utterly hopeless. And I wanted to cry. But when I looked down and focused on my own two feet and the just the next step I had to take, I felt peace. I felt ease. I felt accomplished.

And that’s exactly what I believe God is calling me to right now: to just focus on my own two feet, on the step that I am on. Because when I look too far ahead, it looks hopeless. And there is just so much more ground I know I need to cover. And there isn’t anything I can do about it from where I am standing.

You know what? I eventually made it to the top of the volcano and joined my group. I wasn’t the last one either! (Some of the girls got distracted with pictures and selfies with their horses and ended up taking longer to get to our end point). But I made it! In my own time, in my own fashion, and I didn’t feel like I had missed ANYTHING by the time I got there. All I felt was satisfaction. Excitement. Accomplishment. Because in  the  end, it did not even matter how long it took me to get to the top: what mattered was that I endured (and sometimes enjoyed) the journey up.

I want to say  the same for my life. In every season (this one especially) that even though the road was rough at times, and the view wasn’t always pretty, I enjoyed the journey.

I AM going to make it to the top. I know it. And I hope I can say (when I get there) that I traveled well.

All my love,
Danni

One Day At a Time

I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. -Homer

I am guilty. 

Absolutely guilty.

Completely guilty of wanting to live more than one day at a time.

Anyone else?

I find my brain LOVES to try and tackle days, weeks, months, YEARS even at a time, trying feverishly to figure out and control what will happen in my own strength and by my own means.

This is, absolutely and utterly, insane behavior.

Insane because, what I am currently (and FINALLY) realizing is that I can quite literally only live one day at a  time. I know, a novel idea here! But bear with me as I unpack this, because I believe we are ALL guilty of this insane behavior in one way or another.

For me, I like to know what to expect out of life. I want to set up systems in my day-to-day that provide evidence for what to expect in my week-to-week, which in turn leaves no doubt of how the rest of my days will play out. A pattern of predictability is so attractive to my brain, and yet, as I type this, I could argue that nothing about predictability sounds fun or rewarding.  In fact, what is really exciting about life and this whole human experience is that we do not, in fact, get to pick or plan how our days will play out, and we are called to live instead by faith.

Ah, the most annoying of the f-words: FAITH.

What exactly is God asking of me when His word says to live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)? My eyes work! What I see makes sense to me! And yet, here He is telling me to live NOT by what I see (not by what makes sense to my humanness) but instead, to live by what I do not see, and trust that He is taking care of the all the details that are currently unclear to my human eyes.

That sounds so contrary to what my body is physically designed for. And as a matter of fact, it is.

God is absolutely asking His children (myself included) to do the things that are not only contrary to our body’s design but also the culture of the world in which we live. The world will regularly tell you to take things at “face value” and believe what you see. But God, the Author and Creator of the Universe, tells us to trust in Him, and everything else will fall into place not only for our good but also to glorify him (Matthew 6:33; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

So I waste a lot of time trying to figure out or predict my life. I also expend unnecessary energy, and paint a picture of my future that is not only false, but also ugly. I cannot, in all of my fallibility, display an image of my life that even comes close to the masterpiece God has designed for me. As a matter of fact, I am GLAD God doesn’t allow my thoughts to turn into realities because that life, the one I am afraid of having, wouldn’t glorify Him in any way. In other words, I am glad His ways aren’t my ways, and His thoughts aren’t my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

When I meet Him (and I KNOW that day will come) I want nothing more than to rejoice in His goodness, His Grace, His mercy, and His love. And I will. That is one event I can absolutely predict. But right now, it is within my full capability to do all of that TODAY, not having to wait for some future date. I can (and should) rejoice in His goodness TODAY! Because it’s real, and it’s true, and nothing will ever change that. Not my overthinking, not my worry, not my fear: NOTHING.

I can only live one day at a time.

I can bank on the fact that I will meet God one day in Heaven.

Until then…I can enjoy His good gifts and promises one day at a time.

And that is a pattern worth following.

God’s Provision

I type this post from my brand new laptop! Well, it’s new to me!

Last week I posted that I was need of a new laptop as my ancient gem passed away without warning and I found myself desperate to start blogging again. The irony of  timing always baffles me. But, God is never surprised.

My friend Jenny Harwood reached out to me and offered he family’s laptop as a gift, an investment in my writing future, if you will. And I gladly accepted! So this post is in honor of the Harwoods! Thank you Jordan and Jenny!! Your kind and generous gesture has reminded me, in a very difficult time, that God always provides! I am glad you let Him use you this time!

As I mentioned, I find myself in a very difficult time. Sparing details that just don’t need to be shared, I find myself in a stage of life I never thought I would return to. I had images of what my life was going to look like in a year, two years from now, and that cloud of hope and promise has, in a way, vanished. And the person who I imagined would be living that life with me, is gone. And so, my heart is heavy as I type this post. I am not happy. I am not okay. I am not sure what my future now holds. I am, indeed, very sad.

I am having a hard time holding on hope, as it were. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around HOW or WHY  this is happening, and I am not actually sure I ever will (that’s a lie- I WILL I just can’t see it now through the pain). Though I made the decisions that lead me to this place, I am not fully happy with them. I don’t like this kind of loss or pain. I want to remove it. But I know that I can’t. And so here I am.

I am typing from a laptop that wasn’t mine a few hours ago. I didn’t have a laptop a few weeks ago. I am staring at a screen I never knew I would have…but God knew. He knew exactly where I would be, what I would be doing, and how I would feel at this  very moment. And He also sees and knows my future. I do not. if I can be honest, I would tell you my future looks and feel pretty BLEAK right now. But God doesn’t see it that way. And His provision spans far past my pain and limited scope. And I am going to do my best to hold on  to that. It’s just not going to be easy.

This isn’t a pretty post. I may not even be making sense, and I can tell you right now I am certainly not going to go back and edit any mistakes. Let them exist. It’s okay to have mistakes or be wrong or think something that never actually happens. It’s all okay. Because God is bigger than any of it. And I just have to remember that, especially when it doesn’t feel like that could be possible anymore.

Danni

The Perfect Picker 

  
I found myself at a china factory Friday. Crossing over the Ohio state lines into West Virginia, there lives a wonderful colony of misfit plates, cups, and bowls ripe for the picking by the careful and patient shopping crowd. This is a place my mother and aunts travel to at least twice a year: a place where kitchen dreams come true. 

I made the venture on Friday with my aunt. While we were pulling out of her driveway, she ran back inside her home to grab a towel. “We will need this to wipe off the plates.”  I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I just knew I wanted what we were going to shop for: new kitchen items. So we took my WANT and her EXPERIENCE and headed out on an adventure. 

When we got there, I saw bins full of second-hands plates. These plates were deemed “seconds” because of minor flaws in their creation. They had dinks, misprints, coloring errors, fading, bubbles: you name it. Simply put, they weren’t perfect enough to be sold at full price. So customers needed to sift through and find items they would be willing to purchase, flaws and all. 

I began looking through the bowls, plates, cups, and canisters and I realized one very important truth: I didn’t know what made something “good enough” to purchase. And so I started asking my aunt for her expert advice. 

She quickly told me I wasn’t choosing properly; I was accepting too many flaws and I needed to look for some key attributes in the plates in order to avoid buying something I would later regret. So then I started showing her all of the dishes I liked, and she proceeded to tell me “yes” and “no” accordingly. 

This scenario really got me to thinking about how I choose people and activities in life. Am I actively running everything important decision by the expert (in this case, God) or do I simply “add items to my cart” because they look okay and I WANT THEM SO BADLY! 

I think the answer is glaringly clear to me in this moment: and I believe the solution isn’t so difficult to see either. 

In life, there will be many experiences and relationships that I want badly. And many of them will be good and beautiful in the eyes of God and man. But there is sometimes a distinct difference between what I want, what is beautiful and good, and what God desires for my life. And the ONLY WAY to rectify these three to one another is to first turn to my expert and ask (in my lack of wisdom and understanding),

What do you think? Is this a good one to add to my cart?

He will direct me. He will give me wisdom. And most importantly, He will never lead me to add something or someone I will later regret. 

I got a lot of good and beautiful dishes to add to my colorful kitchen. I’m really glad I listened to my expert’s advice. I’ll enjoy those plates better now, knowing I chose in wisdom with the proper help. 
 From my heart to yours,
Danni 

What Is Legendary Living?

I firmly believe we allow life to get in the way of living sometimes.

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should!) you will begin to notice daily videos popping up with the hashtag #LegendaryLiving. I have checked, and this isn’t a new hashtag by any means, but it is new and important to me, so I think I should give a little explaination about this new relationship I am entering into.

For me, I sometimes find it’s easy to put life on hold. We press pause with our dreams regulary, for any number of reasons. You haev a huge deadline at work and you can’t keep working on your short story at home. You have a major life-changing event occur, and your crochet hobby falls by the side of your night stand. You’re tired from life, so anything that takes extra energy gets pushed to the back of your mind and your plate. Leaving a long list of to-do’s in life that often become don’ts.

I am sure you can relate to this on some level, in some way! We all have goals or aspirations that have yet to be fully realized.

And sometimes, that’s okay. Sometimes, we aren’t meant to scale mountains or pen novellas. But what is often the case, I firmly believe, is that we allow life to get in the way of living, and some days, weeks, months, years get wasted because of that simple truth.

So, legendary living is simply living on purpose. Choosing every single day that no matter what, you will live on purpose, for a purpose, thus leaving behind your own legacy. In other words, choosing to create your own legendary tale, one page at a time, instead of letting life write its own version for you.

I believe every person was created by God, the God of the Bible. I believe that very God wrote purpose on the hearts of all of His creation, and that purpose burns through us all in our thoughts, our skllls, and our deepest desires. I know for sure many voids exist on this planet because of people who haven’t and aren’t living on purpose, people who are casually choosing the opposite of Legendary Living, myself included.

I realize there is only one me on this planet: no other Danni Tabor who specifically possesses my talents, passions, gifts, or character.  The same is true for you!

Legendary Living is a choice, and I am going to start choosing it daily. I want to have a say in how my story plays out, and that starts with my choices each day.

All my love,

Danni

Do You Like The Company You Keep?

I firmly believe we are called to have fellowship and relationship with other humans. We were not created to live life or do life alone. However, it’s very important to understand the key difference between needing people, and NEEDING people. I know, it sounds like I just repeated the same words, but I promise the emphasis matters!

Needing people, in a healthy and godly way, is biblicaly mandated, and orchestrated beautifully by Christ himself.

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

Jesus, the only righteous (and might I add WHOLE) person to ever walk this planet understood the need for friends and fellowship. He himself had friends, close personal companions with whom he shared his life. It is no mistake that Christ identified with the very human need for companionship: it is God’s design for our lives.
Often, because we have been emotionally hurt by people and scars don’t easily fade, we can find ourselves denying the need for human interaction. This can look one of two ways: isolation or obsession. It is easy to isolate from society when even one person has hurt you: trust me, I know! I recall several different seasons in my life where I threw myself into books or television, shunning my phone, shunning my friends, and turning my back on the world, only to find I was even more hurt in the process. I have also encountered seasons of obsession: times where I have been longing for and obsessed with friendship or relationship, only to be left wanting and feeling empty for the lack that I felt.
And that obsession, that emptiness, THAT is the difference between needing and NEEDING. When we look to other people to compliment and add to our lives, we recognize a need to not experience life alone. When we look to other people to complete and validate our lives, that is when we are operating in unhealthy NEED, and in danger of causing more pain for ourselves than good.
Something to think about: when you’re sitting alone on your couch, do you feel calm or anxious? When it’s Friday night and you don’t have plans with anyone, do you feel at rest or restless? In other words, when you have moments of quiet, when you’re alone with yourself, do you like the company you keep, or do you feel you NEED someone else to make your moments worthwhile? Because ultimately, your relationship with yourself is the one you’ll be walking in the longest, and if you’re not content with that company, who can anyone else fill that void?
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Until next time, I send my love!
-Danni

Choosing Me

I have been reflecting a lot lately on my views concerning marriage. A large part of why I want to be married is because I do believe it is a desire God has given me, and also a convenant God desires for His children. It is a gift from God, and a good thing.

I also recognize that a part of my want is NOT biblical, nor is it in any way connected to God. I have found myself believing marriage will cure lonlienes (LIE), it will validate that I am loveable (LIE), and it will prove that I am worthy because someone choses me(LIE). You see a trend here? Because I do!

I have a lot of lies floatinga around in my head concerning marriage, and I believe it’s time to rectify them.

The thing is, marriage cannot and will not do any of those things listed above. My lonliness needs to be dealt with now, while I am alone. There are plenty of people married and lonely.  My validation comes from Christ and Christ ALONE! No human can give or take that away, and neither can marriage. Additionally, the only person who needs to choose me already has: Jesus died to spend eternity with me. THAT is the ultimate commitment, and the promised connection God speaks of in His Word.

I realized tonight that one more person needs to choose me, and that hasn’t happened yet. I have spent years in pain over situations with men where I have perceived they were telling me

” I don’t choose you because you aren’t worthy of being chosen.”

I have lived through that scene too many times, and each time the common idea is that I am not enough to be loved, so  therefore, since no one has chosen me for a wife yet, I am not worthy to be chosen. There is so much false logic in these statements I can’t even begin to address them!

What I do know to be true is that in order for me to have contentment in any relationship, or even alone, I HAVE TO CHOOSE ME first. This is not to say I need to start becoming selfish, because that’s not godly or correct. What I am saying is, if I want to experience the full capacity that love has to offer in any relationship, I have to choose first the most important relationship I will have on the planet, and that’s the one I have with myself.

I used to utterly HATE when people said “You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.” I know why that’s bothered me now: it’s not necessarily true. People can love you wherever you are, and that happens all the time. But what I do think is true is this:

You cannot fully grasp the joy and excitement of another person loving you if you  don’t choose to love yourself enough to know you’re worthy of love in the first place.

So again, I have to say, it’s not about someone choosing me or feeling worhy of being chosen. It is about me making the daily decision to choose me in all areas of my life, and making decisions that are in line with loving myself.

I can honestly say that I do love myself enough NOW to stop waiting for someone else to choose me: I am taking care of that myself. Because this is not something I have to wait around for: I can do this right now,  today, without the help or support of anyone else.

I choose me today, and every day going forward. And I hope and pray I can say this is my best decision yet!

All my love,

Danni

How about Love?

God is really unrelenting when it comes to how much He is willing to show us His love: we literally can’t escape it. And yet, how often do you find yourself feeling unloved? Alone? Empty? I know this is common to the human experience, and it saddens me. We have a love that so readily available, and we can still find ourselves in moments where we refuse to accept or recognize that love.
 
 Additionally, we don’t share that love as willingly as He has called us to. Sometimes I think it’s because we don’t feel a particular person deserves or has earned our love, but that’s ridiculous, because we know we have done nothing to earn the love God gives us. Scripture (and just simply living life) clearly points out the fact that we are all undeserving of the free and endless gift of love He gives us. So, I had to check myself and remember that I can’t hold out on loving if God isn’t doing that with me! 
 
The Lord put it on my heart to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day. I have been doing it for the last two weeks and I can’t explain how much it has opened my eyes. I am reading it in the Message version, and my goodness, ya’ll! It’s crazy how personal God can get when we let Him. I LOVE everything about this scripture, and it’s really doing a work on me. 
 
I want to encourage you all to read it as regularly as you want to, but perhaps you can join me in personally reading it every day this work week before 8 A.M. We all know God’s word can transform us in ways we never thought possible. What if He helped us to feel love and show love a little more freely? I know that’s what I am hoping for!
 

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

French Fries and Fancy Dreams

Do you dream at night? Well, that’s a silly question: we all dream at night! I guess the question should be, do you remember the dreams you have while you’re sleeping?

 
I do, always! And let me be completely honest: they are always wild! Seriously: I love the world my brain has created in my sleep!
 
In my dream last night, I started a new job at a restaurant like Chili’s or something, and on my first night they gave me 20 tables with no training and no idea what the expectations were. I got yelled at by my manager, I sold french fries to every table (even ones that were not my own) and I lost track of all of my orders. But for some reason, I was totally calm in my dream. I didn’t cry (which I probably would do in real life) or break a sweat at all. I had peace, for some reason I cannot explain, and I just kept walking up to tables and asking them if they wanted french fries. In my mind, I think I imagined that to be the best item on the menu (or, perhaps, the only one I actually knew on the menu!). 
 
Thinking about this dream last night reminds me of how God wants us to feel at ALL times: at peace. He offers peace to us in every single situation, but how often do we tap into it?  How often do we continue to just walk forward and be about our “father’s business” without getting distracted by the scenery around us?
 
In truth, I fail regularly. But I am realizing more and more that we have plenty of opportunities to “get it right” with each new day. And as you all know, our circumstances will forever be chaotic. I heard it said once that if you’re not going through a storm, you’re either coming out of one or about to go into one. Such a wonderful thought, right? But I love love love, how God makes it very clear in His Word that no matter where we are, He is with us. And where He is, so is His peace!
 
So today, I want to encourage each of you to keep your head up, be about your father’s business, and by golly, if french fries are the best you have to offer, you better sell it with every thing you’ve got! 
 
Danni 

I am enough.

And so are you.

Our worth was determined on the CROSS when Jesus sacrificed His life for us and died to set the final price value over our heads.

So why is it so difficult to remember this when the world tells us that we are replaceable, unworthy, forgettable, and alone?

Because the world (and Satan) work counter to God’s truth, and they have been programming our brains to believe lies that will never be true (and will never provide comfort or peace).

Psalm 63 speaks about the soul being satisfied as with fat and rich foods. Do you know how you feel after a heavy meal? overwhelmingly stuffed, as if you cannot fit anything else inside of your body. That feeling can be duplicated in the spiritual sense if we are stuffed to the brim with God’s love for us. I want that feeling of satisfaction, and man cannot give it to me. I find (as an extrovert) I focus a lot of my thoughts on how I can spend more time with people, because that helps to fill my natural desire for human interaction. However, I sometimes catch myself having a fear of alone time that is not necessarily related to extroversion, but more closely related to my fear of being unloveable or unworthy of affection.

The cure for these fears and lies is truly spending time with My Maker, and allowing him to saturate my being with His undeniable truth. I am enough, and nothing and no one can change that.

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To Someone I Might Someday Love

(a poem written by Danni Tabor).

I was just wondering where you were.
Did you get lost on your way to find me?
Or, in looking, did you find someone else?
Of this I would not be surprised.

For in my years of looking for you
I have stumbled upon a wonder of impostors.
(None of whom I was legally fooled
into believing to be you).

So I can empathize with your lack of haste:
It is somewhat hard to let the good ones go.
But I must remind you, 
You are seeking one that is great.

I will be here, 
Or there, if there is where you
And I are meant to meet.

I won’t be waiting
Nor should you be waiting for me.

You will be a happy surprise
I would like to smilingly embrace
along this tedious voyage
we have both embarked upon.

So, to Someone I 
might someday love-
I wish you a safe
and incredible journey.

If you should get lost in
The eyes of another
I don’t deny my heart
will painfully ache.

But if Someday
I am Somehow to love You,
I strongly advise
You catch me while you can. 

Before someone else
I might someday love
beats you to the chance.

And I am Somewhat fooled
Into believing that 
he is the Someone
You were supposed to be. 

Irreplaceable

I find myself to be a very introspective person. I often like to examine the why behind the what in my mind. Why do I feel this way? I am I afraid of that? Why can’t I do this?

I wish I could simply quiet my brain and live in the present moments of life,but I have yet to find a way.

So my question of late has been this: why exactly do people always disappoint me?

There are a number of reasons I’ve examined, most of them plausible. But my mind always comes back to the possibility that the full responsibility is my own. I am the one to blame for my own disappointment, because my expectations must be set way too high in man.

Which Is probably why I feel replaceable every now and then. This is certainly why I feel I “give so much” only to get “nothing” in return. And I’m convinced my high expectations in man are the sole reason I often think I’m very much alone, even when surrounded by people.

If I allow the Holy Spirit to do and be exactly what he is meant to do and be, my expectations would never be upset, for God never disappoints. Psalms speaks of my soul waiting on The Lord and my expectation being in The Lord. God knew our natural bent would be to look toward each other for happiness. That is why his word is sure to redirect our eyes (and our hearts) up.

I am irreplaceable to someone- and he’s above me. I need not look forward or behind me; my eyes need to tilt up. And in doing so, my expectations don’t need to fall. He will meet them. He always does.

Tip of the iceberg

Over the years, I find that the fault in much of my discontent in any situation lies heavily in my expectations. I have repeatedly set the bar high in almost all of my relationships and interactions, and I have repeatedly been disappointed and left wanting. 

 

Today it hit me that in truth, I will probably only get 10% of what I expect- from people and from situations. I call this my iceberg theory. You see, what we see of an iceberg is said to be only 10%, the rest lying beneath the water. In my thinking, I realize I want to map out and predict what the full iceberg will look like; I place my expectations in what I think I know is just below the surface. But in reality, that’s flawed logic. There is no way to know what lies beneath the surface (of an iceberg, an event,  or even a person). If I see 10%, can’t I just be happy with that? After all, that’s the part that I can clearly see. 

 

I’m realizing that I may only get to see the tip of the iceberg in some relationships. I may only get to experience a small portion of something or someone before I move on. A times, ill be permitted to go beneath the surface, but that permission is outside of what I can control. The bible is clear about this: my expectation is to rest solely in The Lord. I believe it is then, and only then, that even when I have been given a small portion, He turns the results into 100% satisfaction. In short- when what I expect is for Him to deliver, any result is far more than man can offer. Man will disappoint; God never will. 

Discipline Hurts

I have heard from many parents that when they discipline their children it hurts the parent more than the child. I don’t know if this is all together true for all parents, but I can’t imagine how any person could feel worse than one does when being reprimanded.

 

The theme of this week for me is discipline, and it hurts more than my words can express. I feel lonely, I feel like a fool, and I feel absolutely uncomfortable in my flesh. I find myself completely questioning whether or not I am even cut out for human interaction at certain moments, and then the next moment I crave companionship with a peer or friend. I am an emotional mess.

 

I have made a fool of myself this week by showing out to now two co-workers by being short and sassy for no other reason than my own personal issues and insecurities. I have gotten upset and defensive with people who I love (and who love me) because of something that only I can take care (by allowing God to take care of it). I have made two people upset with me, and one of them is not talking to me currently. I have apologized and sought wise counsel on how to resolve the issue, but it’s really up to God’s timing now. 

And in the midst of me being an idiot, I get awarded Employee of the Quarter yesterday. Seriously, God? An award for the woman who can’t seem to manage her mouth this week who is spewing insecurities all over the place every time she breathes?

 

I had to think about this though. Wouldn’t it make complete sense that in a moment where I feel completely inadequate and totally foolish, God would step in and make Himself known? To me, that award speaks volumes of his steadfast love and unearned mercy and grace. If I was awarded that honor on a day that I felt particularly deserving of it, would I have fully given the glory to God? Would I have been able to see that all good things come from above, and not taken any credit for winning that award on my own? I doubt it. The timing was absolutely perfect. He let me see that nothing I do can earn His favor, and nothing I do can make me lose His love. It’s all about HIM, and not Danni. That’s a hard lesson to keep learning. 

 

In the end, I doubt this will be the last time I put my foot in my mouth. I doubt this will be the last time I say something to anger a loved one. I doubt this will be the last time I feel uncomfortable in my skin. But I hope all of this discipline will get me to a place where I don’t feel so off kilter when I do mess up. I have an unshakeable foundation in the Lord, and if He isn’t going to change, my foundation isn’t going to change, even if the weather does. 

Abandonment Issues

I have often struggled with the pressure of “missing” something when I can’t make an event I’ve been invited too. Even more anxiety exists when people talk about all the fun they have during some activity at which I wasn’t present. I often find my mind reeling over the next big thing or the next time I get to hang out with people. This especially happens when I’m at home alone. It’s as if me, who I am in and of myself, is not even good enough for me. In other words, I have experienced days where my own company is just plain scary and I want to be around people desperately.

I have to ask myself what in the world am I afraid of? Yes we are built by God to crave companionship, and that is a healthy desire. What is unhealthy, and what I experience, is an irrational fear that one day I will have no companionship and I will be left by myself-which would certainly be the scariest thing in the world.

But why do I sometimes feel that way? What is the root of that stronghold? Who would be enough for me? As in, is there a person on this planet who, if they spent every second with me, I would find myself satisfied and happy? I highly doubt it. As a matter of fact, I know better. The answer is no!
So where does this free come from? What deep-rooted insecurity exists within me that causes me to fear loneliness in the middle of a crowd? What lie am I believing that makes it easy for me to understand that people could forget about me quickly. That I have nothing to offer but if someone would just love me, I’d be whole?!? It all sounds so silly, and yet, I must on some level feel inadequate if I continue to wrestle with the fear of being abandoned.

Lord, reveal the root so it can be addressed and killed. In its place, plant truth, peace, righteousness, contentment, and love of self and fellow man. Amen.