I came. I saw. I loved.

Or in other words,

“Došla. Vijela. Voljela.”

While I was backpacking across Europe, I got these three words tattooed on my body in Croatian.

Why you may ask?

1: I am full Croatian & 2: These three important words describe the way I see life in multiple ways. Let me explain…

These words explain how I travel the world, how I meet new people, and how I become the woman I want to be. For example,

“I came to a new country, new culture, new opportunities. I saw beauty in the people, the valley, the sky. I loved being out of my comfort zone.”

Or in other words…

“I came to a new place full of strangers. I saw their brokenness and hurt. I loved how God used me to impact their lives, even in the slightest.”

As human beings, we are all sinful. Majority of the time, we are sinful without even thinking twice about it. Before leaving to Europe for eight weeks, I was in a awkward place in my life where I looked down on everyone. I started to experience an angry void in my heart and I did not know how to shut it off. My friends knew me as the person who is always smiling. I took the challenges of life & found beauty in all the mess. However, this time I was in a funk.

When I landed in Europe, I was ready to abandon the funk and chase after my joy. I asked God to guide my steps & help me learn something during the eight weeks of being on my own. After that, I was off.

I came across a group of girls from the U.S. also backpacking Europe. They invited me to explore the beauty of Europe with them since I was on my own. While traveling with these girls, I started to realize the kind of people they were. Behind each of there backs, the others would start gossiping about the individual. When the girl returned, everyone would act as if they were best friends. They were all so consumed of the “reputation” they withhold that their was no real friendship. I did not understand how anyone was able to live with themselves like that. After dealing with the non-sense for two weeks, I separated from the group and adventured out on my own.

God really upset me because the first two weeks of my trip was wasted on non-sense drama. Even though I saw beautiful places with these girls I knew I could of enjoyed them differently. Then it hit me. God purposely surrounded me with those girls to show me the way I have been acting back in the states. I was faced with a decision of “who do you want to be? These girls or the woman I created you to be?”

 

Our world tends to portray a reputation called fitting in. All of us wants to be liked. It is in our human nature to be accepted. When we are wandering this world without people we start to think there is something wrong with us. This thought begins to burn into our minds until we start to believe these lies. We are willing to do anything to fit in. To be in a group that will want us. Even if it involves sinning.

Gossiping, Judging, Critizizing. These are sins. Sins that every one of us have committed on a daily basis. Satan is willing to do anything to turn our attention away from Christ. In the bible it states, “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” – Ephesians 4:29. God gives us detailed instructions between the right and the wrong. Even when we want to be accepted by people, committing the wrong continues us on a road of sin.

When we look to the Lord during our loneliness and troubles, He always delivers. When I recognized my sinful ways, I changed my actions immediately. All of my friends who continued to commit sin decided to “disown” me as their friend but new friends came. Friends just challenges me everyday to become better. Friends who accepted me for all my weirdness & awkwardness. Godly Friends. Friends I would not trade for the world.

I am not telling anyone to leave your group of friends and go find new ones. What I am saying is to trust God and let him guide your steps through these challenges. God may want to use you to help your friends see the right from wrong. It only takes one person to change hundreds.

When we are running to Christ, we are never alone. He always provides. He knows the person we are and He knows what our hearts desire. Whether it is friends, a spouse, or traveling (like mine), he will deliver. We must trust and be patient during this time a continue chasing him rather than the world.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well”

-Psalm 139:14  

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