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I was distracted by unrealistic expectations

Hey Jessie, tell us about your style: “My style is 98% comfort. I’m especially loving the ‘wear white trainers with absolutely anything’ trend at the moment! Yet, my favourite thing is dressing up for an occasion, or making something an occasion purely so that I can dress up…”

What are you passionate about?: “I’m fiercely passionate about girls and women realising that we’re more than just our image; what we look like. God is way too creative for that! We’re so much more than just pretty. We’re pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty ambitious, and all round pretty great. What we see and think when we look in the mirror is sometimes distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty. It’s time we look at God and believe what he says and thinks about us. And in Ephesians 2:10 it says that we are his masterpiece and he created us anew to do the good things he planned for us long ago. This changes EVERYTHING.”

What worship song do you have on repeat?: “I’ve continued working throughout lockdown and the last few weeks have been pretty draining and exhausting. So I have Good Grace by Hillsong on repeat, particularly when it says: “don’t let your heart be troubled, hold your head up high, don’t fear no evil, fix your eyes on this one truth, God is madly in love with you”. As everything is stripped away, and stripped bare through lockdown, God’s love alone sustains us.”

We’d love to hear something transformational God has done in your life: “God has transformed the way I see myself. I used to question my beauty and whether I was enough. I used to plead ‘if only…. I looked like her, I had skinnier thighs, a flatter stomach, etc.’ Instead of appreciating how God made me, I wanted to be anyone but me. They say that a picture paints a thousand words but it doesn’t necessarily paint reality. I compared myself to photos that weren’t reality on social media. God spoke deeply to me through Ephesians 2:10 and I realised I was so distracted by unrealistic worldly expectations and social media perfection and that God had another way for me to live and another plan for my life. In a society that profits from our self-doubt, insecurity and anxiety, loving who we are is a truly rebellious act. God took my struggle and made it into a beautiful story full of hope for other girls; a story for the world to read in a book called ‘More Than Just Pretty’.”

More Than Just Pretty is published by SPCK Publishing and is available to buy here.

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My style says “she will dance in a rainstorm”

Meet Chelsea who lives in Texas and writes for truth magazine.

Tell us about your style: My style is eclectic…a mix of trendy and fun yet always functional. I love bright colours, mixed patterns, and wild textures. Even my loungewear needs to have an edge. We communicate with our styles, and mine says, “She will dance in a rainstorm.”

What are you doing right now: I am currently the President and CEO of a chamber of commerce in North Texas, USA. I provide marketing solutions and connection opportunities for local businesses. I love writing and I am also a hireable Mrs. Claus during Christmastime. I am passionate about stories and allowing people to feel safe and known. I love the mission of RHRG and Truth for these very reasons.

What worship song do you have on repeat?: “Yes I will” by Vertical Worship. The same God who’s never late is working all things out” If you’re doing life right, there’s always a wait, and that is a blessing and privilege. I didn’t realise how much this song would reflect 2020, but I love belting it!

We’d love to hear something transformational God has done in your life: Depression and anxiety are a part of my story, but they are not my story. The Lord led me through some dark and hard times this year, and he used MY OWN writing. He used encouraging words he had given me for others to help lift my head. He is so good and strategic and perfect and loving. His hope and joy are splatter painted all over our lives. We need only look for it.”

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Five Steps to Having a Positive and Truth-filled Mindset

Sometimes when we speak about positive thinking, we can think it’s for the pessimists out there but the truth is we all have a mental and emotional healthiness to maintain. We each have thoughts to monitor, worries to try and cast aside and beliefs that direct where our time and lives are invested in. Even looking at the amount of thoughts that swirl around our heads each day can be overwhelming. Scientists believe we go through between 6,200-60,000 thoughts in a single day! What we think matters. Our thoughts direct what we think of ourselves, what we believe we can achieve, how we view our relationships and how we choose to live.?

It’s essential to understand how important our minds and thoughts are to how we live so that we pay closer attention to what we let in and out. Often when I find myself at my lowest in life, it’s not a particular thought or moment that led me there but rather the gradual compromise of letting lies, worries and negative beliefs stay. Thankfully God knows how our mind’s work. His word is full of wisdom and truth-filled promises directed at trying to help shape our minds and hearts to how we were created to be. 

That all sounds really good but how do you go about having a positive, Christ-filled mindset that the Bible so often speaks of? In Philippians when Paul is talking about living in this peace and joy, he speaks about what a healthy thought life looks like: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

It’s in this verse God really spells out where he wants our minds to be directed and spending time on. This is the joy and truth-filled mindset that God is wanting for us. By identifying what is from our Heavenly Father, he is helping point out what thoughts are intruders: the lies, the crushing negativity, the hurtful opinions etc. God gives us his promises and strength to stand on and to combat the enemy and his lies. It’s a mental battle and very much a daily one where what we choose will direct what we do. 

Five Steps to Having a Positive and Truth-filled Mindset 

?1. Identifying your untrue thoughts and bad habits. Reflecting on what is going through your head and where your time is being spent and comparing it to what Jesus says will help you to recognise the thinking patterns that are destructive and distracting. And once they’re recognised, making sure they are thrown out of your headspace and day-to-day. 

?2. Prioritising your time with God. This sounds like a textbook tip but it’s a solid one. Making sure that before you start or finish the day you spend time asking the Holy Spirit what he thinks, what God’s word is saying and reminding yourself of who you are in Christ will completely shift your whole perspective for that day. It will help your focus and clear your thinking as well.

3. Speaking to someone you trust. Talking with a trusted friend or a mentor who can offer wisdom really helps to encourage, challenge and keep you accountable. Putting our thoughts into words helps clear our heads and get a different perspective on what we’re thinking. ??

4. Take time to look after yourself. Stress and busyness can be one of the biggest distractions. Remember to give your mind and body rest and healthiness. Whether that is eating more healthily, breathing exercises, 15 minute stretches or reading a book, it’s important to know when you need to stop for a minute. 

5. Start living out your purpose. Seeing purpose and goodness in your day-to-day really helps your mindset to reflect that as well. By starting to live out where you think God is calling you and helping those around you, it increases your mental focus and all round mental health as you see the positive in your daily life. 

God gave us a lot of power when he gave us choice. What our mindset looks like very much depends on our choices and control. It might be difficult at first but once you live life in a way of truth and joy imagine how much more God can use you! The enemy knows who you can become and he’ll do anything to slow you down so keep going. It’s hard and it requires a lot more effort but with God in your corner, there’s nothing that you can’t do. 

By Lottie Hood

If you are struggling with anxiety, Rebel Hearts Rebel Girls has published a small book “Be free from anxiety” available to buy here for £5 inc p&p.

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5 things that have helped with anxiety

Eight years ago I suffered what you might call a breakdown and began a battle with anxiety. I was prescribed medication, I went through 2 years of counselling, had a LOT of prayer ministry and today, I’m off the medication (with the Dr’s advice) and free of anxiety.

If I were to give a short summary of what helped, this would be it. My 5 things. I’ve also written a little book about it, based on my experience and in the style of the Rebel Hearts Rebel Girls posts. Be free from anxiety you can buy it here.

Five things:

1. Jesus can be trusted so I put my trust in him
I was anxious about being anxious. Blown away by worry. Fearful of fear. I wasn’t standing on solid ground. I didn’t have roots that went deep enough with Jesus. So that needed to be addressed big time! I learnt to put 100% of my trust in him.

2. Professionals are professional so I went and saw a few
I got help. I saw the Doctor. I got the right medication. I had counselling. It was good. It wasn’t always easy but it helped me find healing. It helped me to forgive. It helped me to dig out some of the nasty stuff that had accumulated in my life.

3. I confessed my mess because it was good for me
I was in a mess. I had made mistakes (I still do). I had carried with me past hurts and pain. The wounds I had became infected with anger and bitterness and resentment (amongst other things). The healing came when I began a process of confession with people I trusted. 

4. The bible is living and active so I activated it in my life
OH MY DAYS! This book. It’s the best. I read it out aloud. I said verses over myself again and again and again. It worked. 

5. Worship was my trip and is my tip
On the floor. Dancing. Crying. Laughing. Worship was and is my go to for breakthrough. And got it I did.

Finally I had the help and love of my family and friends. What an amazingly wonderful group of people they were and are. 

If you are suffering today, don’t suffer in silence. Please. Speak to your friends. See your Doctor. Speak to someone. 

There is hope. Hope has a name. Jesus.

By Jane Kirby, editor of truth magazine.

To buy Be free from anxiety click here .

Rebel Hearts Rebel Girls is a no nonsense relatable insta and the publishers of truth magazine a new title for women, designed to cheer you on, challenge you and point you to Jesus. You can buy a copy here.

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Truth magazine launches

Get me a nice coffee and a pastry and my fav mag. I just love it. BUT… I don’t know about you but I’m hankering after reading about something other than Gwyneth’s latest product on Goop or what Beyoncé wears in the afternoon (although I’m quite curious), something that will challenge me, cheer me on, inspire me, shape me and make me WOOP WOOP.

I’d really like to get my hands on a magazine that helps me to get closer to God, causes me to get on my knees and ask for more of him in my life, makes me laugh, and helps me to be the woman God has made me to be, and now I can. In fact I helped to put it together for these very reasons.

Truth magazine from Rebel Hearts Rebel Girls is coming atcha and we want to shout out loud over your life with words that we pray will give you LIFE. It’s out now and is is available to buy here for £5 inc p&p.

In the very first issue of truth we have a feature on marriage and relationships written by Imogen who reaches the conclusion that she needs to give up the fantasy she has about marriage and surrender everything to God. Seriously she’s so inspiring.

Also there is a piece on our relationship with our phones and how it’s simply a device and not the source of all life. We delve deeper into a very big issue for the Church (more to come on that one), and have a really very special interview with Elle Limebear who recently released her first album Lost in Wonder in which she talks about going on tour, what its like growing up in a large family and her dreams for this generation.

As well as so so so much more!

Our aim is to publish quarterly, but can’t wait for you to see this edition, available here: click here to buy.

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Jesus chose you

Tell us about your style: “I’d describe it as ‘grunge with pops of colour’, which is a recent thing as up till uni I only used to wear dark clothes. My friends tell me I still only wear dark/monochrome things, but I’ve got pops of colour, mainly from my Nigerian clothes which I’ve been quite into over the last few years. However, I also love to dress up when I can, so yeh I kinda touch a lot of bases with my style. I like the fact I can’t quite place it, there’s a freedom to it.”

What are you doing right now: “I’ve just finished my 3rd of 6 years of medical school and am on my summer break before I start my clinical years in September. I’m passionate about helping people and injustice and particularly BLM, which is of course super relevant at the moment and a bit of a new passion since I’m finding my voice in that, but also for the homeless. I love youth work and feel that teenagers are awesome, moody at times, but awesome.”

What is giving you life and joy at the moment?: “During this time of isolation I’ve struggled, but in that, I feel like for one of the first times in my life I know that only Jesus can satisfy me, absolutely nothing else in this world can. I know it and truly believe it, not know it because I know it is the ‘right thing’ to know if that makes sense. And I think knowing that and coming to this realisation not only in my head but in my heart, for lack of a better phrase, is both scary because vulnerability isn’t my favourite thing, but also the most exciting thing ever.”

What do you struggle with?: “I think I struggle or have struggled with not being perfect whether that’s in mine, others or God’s eyes but God is teaching me and reminding me that he loves me and loved me before I even knew what love was, even when he knew what a mess I could be. He loves me, all of me, and so knowing that I can allow myself to accept his grace and can give myself grace too.”

What worship song do you have on repeat?: “Out of Hiding – Both the original by Steffany Gretzinger and the Gospel Medley version by Tye Tribbett and Lena Byrd-Miles.”

We’d love to hear something transformational God has done in your life: “Freedom. I am living in absolute freedom and stepping into new freedom with each season that comes. From freedom from anxiety, to lies of the enemy, to hurts of the world, God has set me so free and I’m loving learning to live in that. He’s been working on this, on me for years, and I’m still being transformed, but man, freedom is good. God is good.”

Do you have any tips you’d like to share that have helped you in your journey with God?: “Know that he loves you and give into that, don’t fight it, accept it, don’t try and do good things to earn it, he loves you because he loves you because he loves you.”

The most relevant thing that has helped me with that is an analogy of our relationship with God kind of being like that with a perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/partner. If you kept messing up in a relationship, you’d expect to be broken up with, but God doesn’t break up with us. If you were in a relationship with someone who was perfect and never did anything wrong you may feel unworthy of them or like its not a great match and so want to break up and they may let you do just that, but God doesn’t do that. Imagine you break up with your significant other and try run away by flying to the middle of nowhere. Jesus is at the airport of that random place holding a placard with your name on it. He doesn’t give up on us and he knows we’re not perfect, but he wants to be there for us.

The way this relationship works is realising your significant other chose YOU and loves YOU no matter how much you don’t feel worth it or don’t feel like you deserve it. This is how it is with Jesus. Running away from it is exhausting; sinking into it and accepting it, now that’s what is good. And gradually you stop doing stuff you know is wrong because you grow more and more in love with your partner, and don’t want to hurt them, not because you have to and it’s a rule of the relationship. It’s the same with Jesus. That’s what God gave me to remind me of how he loves me, and it’s really helped. So yeh, approach him from a place of love, it’s a relationship not a religion.”

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Five blessings to speak over your future

By Leah Felton

During lock down my family and I have been speaking out blessings over each other, taken from a book about the power of spoken blessings.

I have experienced such a drastic change in my heart and mind as a result and it’s helped completely transform my thought life and the way I feel about my future as I look ahead during this time.

When you speak out blessings you fill your spirit with God’s truth and his intentions for you. It gives your spirit the boost it needs and fills the any gaps in your life with God’s desires for you, in his perfect timing.

Five blessings

Here are five blessings you can speak over yourself and declare for your future.

Rebel Hearts, Rebel Girls I call your spirits to attention to receive all that the Lord has for you:

  • (Fill in the name), I bless you to encounter the Holy Spirit and his dreams for your future. I bless you to dream big dreams and to see past the crazy and impossible
  • (Fill in the name), I bless you to be free. Free from worry, fear, expectation or judgement. I bless you to be free like a wild flower, whose roots grow wherever they desire.
  • (Fill in the name), I bless you to feel God’s movement in your life. I bless your feet to follow the path God had set out for you.
  • (Fill in the name), I bless your spirit to trust in the Lord, so that you can fall into your future without worry or fear of what you could face, because God is on your side.
  • (Fill in the name), I bless you with restoration of relationships. I bless you with such a sense of peace in Jesus that you can hand over these relationships to Him. So that he can mend them together with gold.

Be blessed in knowing that nothing in your past, present or future can take His love from you.

Book links

The Power of Spoken Blessings

Spirit Blessings

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I want to see the Church rise up

Hi I’m Zoe, and believe it or not, I’m just like you. Growing up was always a blast as an adopted black girl, but it made me who I am today.

Being asked why I was at certain places or how I got here and my personal favorite, my mom said we can’t be friends, really opened my eyes to the fact that racism is real. This always hurt as a young kid, but it showed me over time, who the good friends were and the families I wanted to be around were. When I was in high school I played softball, and it was one of the best things going on in my life. As always the end of a season comes and you ask your coach if you will make the varsity team. So I did. He said no, you don’t fit the mould and you don’t have the look we are going for. It was obvious, there were only fit and toned white girls or light skin girls on the team and I was a curvy black girl.

Getting a job and continuing my education were probably the easiest things out of all of this. Church was where I felt safe. My dad was the youth pastor at the church I went to and the kids were well, kids. I only got picked on because they were like family and it never had anything to do with the fact I was black. Friendships were a mix of different things. Like I’d mentioned earlier that I did have some people say they couldn’t be my friends or tell my friends that they shouldn’t be friends with a black girl. But in high-school I had girls just hate me, for no reason. There was never any explanation. But I also had a solid group of friends of all colors, ethnicities and races. My best friend who I have known my entire life, who has loved me and seen me as human her whole life is white. That was the majority of my good, close friends. We saw each other for who we were and loved and appreciated each person’s culture.

I never experienced pain like the pain when I moved. I moved from Orange County, where if people had a problem they would post it on Facebook and tell their friends behind you back. But now I live in a small town where you can never tell if the lady is gonna make a racist comment or ask you how you are and if she can pray for you. But two weeks ago I was driving in my dad’s truck on the way to a friend’s house, and as I’m driving a kid starts to cross the street. I make a full stop and wave the lady and her son on to go ahead and this lady does something I’ve never seen before. She stands right in front of my stopped car and yells and says “STOP!! YOU BETTER STOP RIGHT NOW!!! HEY! I SAID STOP!!”. The whole time I’m sitting with my foot completely on the brake, and as she walks by I hear her say “Stupid black people.” I have never wanted to cry or scream or punch something more in my entire life. The anger I felt, the hurt and pain, and the understanding of the fact that I live in California, and it is so much worse for people living elsewhere.

I guess I feel patronized when people treat me like I don’t know what I’m doing.

I want to see the church rise up and not be afraid to speak on this and give a voice to the black community. As a Christian I grew up knowing we are all equal and created in God’s image, meaning there are no mistakes. So when I see people saying that the black community needs to be gotten rid of it hurts me, because I know we have a purpose and a reason to be alive.