Exotic dancers ain’t the only ones stripping this year.

Bow.

Bow.

Bow.

Okay, if you know anything about me at all, you know I am definitely not talking about the booty club.

But I AM talking about stripping.

The other day I was sitting quietly with God and I came across this scripture:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12: 1-2

It convicted me heavily. 

2017 was an extremely vulnerable pursuit of walking with Jesus like never before.

For so long I had played the fence. Some days I was lifting my hands in church and other days I could be rolling someone up dancing at the club.

I never wanted to fully surrender to God because I didn’t want to seem too serious to everyone.

I didn’t want to become unrelateable. 

Strip for GodSo the lukewarmness I held so dearly to my heart allowed me to keep both worlds, but also the baggage that came with it.

With one foot in and one foot out, it showed up in every other area of my life.

I couldn’t commit to any decisions. I battled with deep insecurity, fear and approval of others. I constantly needed to fill my time with other people.

Christians always talked about having “freedom” in Christ but I didn’t realize that my need to please the world and “have fun” blocked me from truly experiencing it. And it annoyed me.

Because to be honest, my Christian life was BORING. So monotonous.

But oh, in 2017.

God began to work in me so heavy. I began to become convicted about things that never used to bother me before. 

That whisper in my heart became louder and louder and I knew that I desperately needed to do it His way.

Amazing things started happening as I started growing closer.

I became a youth group leader. Got some church mentors. I even stayed in quiet time for hours.

So when I read that scripture the other day, everything that he was bringing me out of made sense.

In 2018, I believe that God is calling us to strip.

He is telling us that if we just let go of the things that we desperately hold on to, we will be able to receive so much more. There are a few ways I am committing to doing just that this year:

Remember Who’s Watching 

“we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith”

I was being the biggest hypocrite in my walk. I couldn’t proclaim about how good Jesus was one minute and cussing people out the next. The life I said I lived and the reality were so polar opposites that it was a joke.

Part of my stripping is understanding that as Christians we have the incredible task of loving people like Jesus.

We have the honor to introduce people to what He is like. To show them purpose.

But how can we walk in truth when our lives don’t match what we preach? If we high-key don’t know ourselves?

God needs us to walk this walk not so that we can just receive his blessings or make it to Heaven. He needs our assistance in setting people free. 

What an amazing yet difficult task to do when we are drowning with our own baggage.

Flee From the Things That Displease Our Father

“let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.”

I feel like sin is the #1 thing we hate talking about but the only thing that draws us farther from God.

I love what Steven Furtick says about sin. “God exposes sin, not to shame us but to change us.”

We love the perks of God but avoid the truths that keep us from him.

I want to do a better job at evaluating what weights slow me down. Which sin distracts me from walking in love, joy, peace, self-control, confidence and all of the other gifts that He desperately wants to give us?

In the past I have put so much hope in weights like relationships and even entertainment. 

For you it could be sex, unhealthy eating, gossip or even just laziness. 

But those things will never give us the true peace we are searching for (John 14:27).

The enemy knows how to distract you with these things. He knows that if you continue to get caught up in these dead weights that you won’t truly discover all that you are.

Unstoppable. 

You must be willing to let Him identify the areas that you need to surrender completely.

Run Like HELL

“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

No really, I’m running like hell is coming straight after me ya’ll. 

This verse tells me to not casually take my time dropping weights.

The truth is that we are running out of time. How much longer will we play games with God’s opportunities to level up?

God is requiring us to run toward our callings and purpose, not tip toe.

You see, we can’t fix our eyes on Jesus when we have all these other things filling up our time. Our hearts.

We have become ineffective because we have been side-tracked.

Haven’t we been wandering long enough?

In 2018, I’m coming for all the goals and dreams I got distracted from. I commit to learning how to love myself and others like Jesus.

And we do this by seeking Him like never before. We do this by building a real relationship, not just a ritualistic religion (going to church, semi-praying, you get it).

Finally, we do this by turning from people, habits and unnecessary pleasures that keep us covered in defeat.

God stripping awayDon’t you think it’s time that we do the sacrificing?

Stop striving to please the world, fam.

“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests aren’t truth contests.” – Luke 6:26

It’s time to rise up and see who you can truly be in 2018. So first, we must strip.

Make it good. Pick a lit song.

You got this.

Alaina