I also love that as I love you, I get a chance to learn who you really are. You send me emails and thank yous and little stories of the giant hurdles you’ve made in life. And yes, even though you call them small, God and I know they’re giant.
You all are great. You make me smile. You make me shed tears. You make me pray. And while I can’t always respond to every email via the computer I always try to respond with God. I ask him for the best for you, for your situations and for your heart. I ask him to show his lavish love in your life.
You are amazing. You gift me a lot more than I gift you. Daily, so many of you give to my heart. Quietly, I know others inwardly offer up thanks. Readily, I know there are prayers going out for the wider community of gals who read these words.
To know we are fighting together, battling through our hang-ups, and sticking to the King of Kings on this road is beyond helpful to my heart.
We rage on – in love.
I once thought this blog was about me “getting my healing.” Now I know it is about all of us “becoming healed” and supporting each other along the way. Thank you for helping me realize I need you just as much as I need God.
You are often a vessel for His voice. A voice of encouragement that pops up via email at just the right time. A prayer note that I needed. A living testimony of what you are reading.
All glory to God! He is working right here. We read and write only holy ground, together. And I love it! I cherish it. I rejoice in the fullness of what He has prepared for such a time as this.
While social media rages with hate, anger and dissension, we pull together in love. We smile and keep on with Jesus. We do our part to do our best to change our little slice of the world one small act of love at a time.
I am grateful for you. I want you all to know that. God has given me so much in this community of lovers. I praise Him for you today.
My prayer for you: Sweet Jesus, thank you for the reader of this post today. Thank you that you see her heart. Thank you that she pursues, loves and follows you. I ask you to open every door unto her, so that she can meet and know you with immense passion. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind as to how much you love her. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind about how immensely loved she is. I ask for an increase of your heart on this very blog that reaches hearts day-in and day-out. I ask for your activating faith to pour out on every reader in profound ways in the coming days. I ask for your will to be done in all ways. We thank you Jesus. Amen.
Recently I was feeling the weight of life. The pressure. The stress. The tangled thoughts inside. The busyness. The expectations. In an effort to disperse the weight off my chest and into God’s hands, I knew a walk always would brighten my heart. So tennis shoes on, hair in a messy bun, and doggie on his leash, we hit the pavement.
We stopped by a friend’s house to feed their pets while they were out of town. The beauty of their back porch seemed to beckon me. Even though time was pressing and I needed to get back to, well, life, I opened the gate and stepped onto the porch.
I sat in the garden chair and allowed the beauty of the porch to minister to my tired soul. And in that moment, I knew that God was right there with me, inviting me to slow my pace. Sitting there, I suddenly knew why my soul was so tired.
I was caught up in striving instead of abiding, performing instead of being, trying hard instead of staying right in step with Christ in me, allowing Him to do all the things…through me.
The whisper of the Spirit brought this verse to mind:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3
I craved that tree-like stability in my heart, and I knew that Christ was inviting me to allow Him to steady me.
Christ invites us to a slower pace and into His lighter rhythms of grace where we can find a rooted-ness to our life.
You don’t have to try harder. You can come honest before God and tell Him what’s going on in your heart, and then, you can trust Him to help you learn the dance of abiding in Him. Abiding in Him is not a formula of steps, but a posture of the heart. It’s staying in this present moment with God instead of striving and worrying about future moments. Abiding in Him is the most restful and sturdy place for our hearts.
As you abide in Him, He will steady you. He will make you strong and steady just like that tree. You will flourish, grow, blossom, and thrive as you trust His life inside you.
Immediately, I wish my son hadn’t said that. I can’t help myself. My eyes drift to the expanse below and my feet wobble. What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?
I try to regain my composure and remember my harness. The 4-story high ropes course stretches out before me, and I know there is only one way out: through it.
If you fall, the harness will catch you.
I tell myself this repeatedly as I inch across a rickety bridge that seems a mile long. My son moves to the other side with ease, turning around at the end to cheer me forward.
“You’ve got this! Keep going!”
When I get close enough to the next platform, I take a giant step to the safety of a solid surface. I stop and breath deeply, thankful for a minute to relax my legs. As I survey the rest of the course, I take a mental note of how much further we have to go before we can make the trek back down to the bottom. My mouth is dry and I can hear my stomach starting to rumble.
When my husband suggested I embark on this adventure with my boys, my first instinct was to say no. First, I am not a fan of heights. And second, our one-year-old daughter was the perfect excuse for me to stay on the ground.
But then I felt a little nudge.
My parents were with us, and they were more than happy to watch their granddaughter. So I went. With harness tightened securely around me, I made my way to the top. And with my nine-year-old as my cheerleader, I kept going even when my balance was awkward and my footing unsure.
Even though I was afraid, I moved forward. Even though my stamina was tested, my resolved to finish was greater. And you know what? I will never forget those minutes spent amongst the trees with my family.
When my feet were firmly planted back on the ground, I realized God was teaching me a valuable lesson. Without my even realizing it, he painting a picture.
You see, lately God’s been asking me to be brave. He’s asking me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Speak more. Lead more. Trust him more. And my first instinct, like it was with my husband, is to say no.
God, I’m not qualified.
God, you have the wrong person.
God, I have no experience in this area.
But he keeps gently nudging me forward, waiting for me to take the leap. Desiring obedience, even when I stubbornly keep my feet planted in one place.
After making a lot of excuses, I said yes to one step. And then another. With each one, he shows me his presence never leaves. Even when my feet falter, he’s there.
Having a forward-moving faith doesn’t mean we’ll never fall. It means we trust a God who never fails.
So when we slip, he’s the harness that catches us and keeps us from hitting the ground. When our balance sways, he’s the secure grip that steadies us and enables us keep going.
“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He causes me to stand on the heights.”
2 Samuel 22:33-34
Friends, we serve a God who wants us to live life to the fullest. He wants our faith to move us to new heights so he can show us the depth and width of his love. A love that surpasses all understanding. A love that will change others’ hearts, minds, and lives. But we have to be willing. We have to get off the ground.
When we do, the view is spectacular. When we do, our image of God expands with each shaky step.
Is that knotted feeling of annoyance building in your stomach? Are you avoiding a person because they keep doing that thing? Do you know what’s right, but are afraid to share what’s wrong?
I like avoidance. I can pretend all is good, until it isn’t. Until I get to the point where I’m about to explode. Here, at 500 degree temperatures, I find it’s nearly impossible to present, “Love is patient. Love is kind.”
Poor sight says, “Protect yourself.”
Good foresight says, “Address frustration.”
Godly insight says, “God, how?”
I used to just go up to people and unload. I lost friends. I also used to hide my annoyance in fear, until one day I’d stop returning the friend’s calls. Both strategies are losing strategies. You end up down a friend and/or walking around with a lead-heavy heart.
If you find you continually lose due to a strategy, the strategy must change. That’s what I discovered as it pertained to my approach. So when a friend recently offended me and I wanted to unload on her, wisdom spoke, “Talk to your husband about it first, give yourself some time to process it, and talk to God about it.”
The more I did, the more I realized: No two people are alike and neither are two situations. God has specific plans for each predicament, but what He always wants to prevail is love.
“And do everything with love.” 1 Cor. 16:4
How can love prevail in your relationship?
Often it is less about talking and more about praying. If we prayed far more about what we blabbed about, we might arrive at a wonderful outcome. This is what I’ve been pondering. And it’s much of what God called me to do with my friend. Rather than do nothing, I can pray continually. I have a feeling huge change is coming and it starts not with my feet approaching her, but with my knees planted down on the ground.
What might your approach be? Consider asking God about it.
Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”
Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”
I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.
Why do I do this?
Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:
Bad Kelly! You want too much.
Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.
Bad Kelly! You are selfish.
Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.
Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.
God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.
God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.
God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.
When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”
What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10
“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33
I lived with fake trust in God for a long time. During those years, I thought it was real trust. Now I realize it was like dressing up a pig and calling her pretty. I focused on actions so much that I missed the heart of the matter.
I showed myself beautified by giving advice to others.
I dressed up my Christian life by doing bible study dinners.
I put on a thinking hat to prove I was smart on bible knowledge.
I believed if I read 10 minutes of God’s Word before breakfast, all His words would work for me.
I thought myself better by sizing myself up against those who were rude, struggling, arrogant, a know-it-all, or sinning.
“Do not throw your pearls to pigs.” Mt. 7:6
May I remind you? I was the pig.
I knew the Word of God, but missed God’s heart behind it. Ouch! I worked up faith, but faith that was all about me. I loved God, but it was the brute force of Kelly Balarie trying to make it happen. I believed God via my words, but doubted him deep in my heart.
Real love is not determined by what is shown on the outside, but by what compels us on the inside. Love does not originate from our good work, but from Jesus’ perfect work.
This thought and truth freed me. No longer am I looking to prove my worth. I am trusting Jesus’ worth to be my worth. I can breathe again. And beyond this, I can rest again.
I don’t have to force my way, because God’s way rules.
I don’t have to pretend faith, because God gives it.
I don’t have to make you think right of me, because God defends me.
The difference is: I get faith from God. He gives it to me; I don’t work it up.
I never have to prove myself more worthy, because Jesus is worthy. In this gap, I can confront my inadequacies, my vulnerabilities and my inabilities without fear of the unknown or unseen. Why? Because God has me.
He has you too. Naturally, He has you. He has you even when you don’t speak Christianese. He has you when you miss your morning devotional time. He has you when you mistakenly throw out a cuss word. He has you when you don’t know what to do. He has you when you think everything is crumbling. Your work won’t make up for what you owe Him…Jesus already paid for all that.
Jesus ministered to every man who needed him. Right?
Jesus never stopped giving, ever. Right?
One evening after sunset the people brought Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. (Mk. 1:32-34)
Notice, Jesus healed “many.” But, as I see it: many is not all.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”(Mark 1:35-38)
Notice, while the crowds of people waited… While people were still searching him out… He did what?!!!
He went off.
He turned away from the demands of man to connect to the voice of God. Away from the calls of man, He could once again to hear the call of God. We see Jesus restating his purpose to the disciples when he said, “This is why I have come.”
Jesus let go of a “very good call” (taking care of every person’s waking need), for a better one: going where the Father desired Him to be and following through on his vision/mission as planned.
What might you be doing today that is thwarting God’s mission for tomorrow?
We are wise to look into our life to see:
If our heart to do things is causing us to lose peace.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If we feel upset at others for all we’ve done for them.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If we are so tired, we can hardly love people anymore.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If we feel God has something new for us to do.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If others want us to do something more than we can do.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
Prayer re-centers us, not on the plans of man, but on the purpose of God in our lives.
People are fickle. In Jerusalem, Jesus was popular one day. Many days later, similar crowds yelled, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him.”
This is why we don’t live for man, but for God. This is why our worth isn’t dependent on how we’re received, but on how we are freed through Christ. This is why we don’t bend backwards to do what God is not calling us to do.
Yes, we love. We do what God calls us to do…but not to the point of hating ourselves, our answer or the decision that we knew we shouldn’t have made. (but felt obligated to say yes to)
Jesus says “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk. 12:31)
We can only give the best of what is in us. There must be love in the water reservoir in order to hand it out to the city.
I considered this recently when I talked to my husband. He said, “We can give money at the start of the year, rather than on a monthly basis because this is what I feel is right for the family…” I can feel at peace about it. I can love myself enough to take care of my family the right way – rather than feeling obligated to give the wrong way.
I also considered this when I got behind on writing blog posts. I can love myself enough to say I need to slow down and be around my family. I can be kind. If you noticed, a bit back, I wrote a little less.
A few moments ago, the phone rang. It wanted my attention. But to give attention to whoever that person was would steal my attention from you. I love myself enough to keep the peace of where I am, rather than being rushed to the next thing.
When we rightly take care of “us,” we can rightly take care of “them.”
In what ways have you gotten this backwards? In what ways have you tried to take care of them, so you could feel good about you?
This kind of sacrifice tends not to breed sacrificial love, but resentment and bitterness. Only when the well of our heart fills with God-given rest, hope and love does our well never run dry.
I remember sitting on the beach, watching a man who owned the water. Unlike the lady I watched five minutes before, he ran up to the gigantic waves and dove straight into them. He didn’t inch forward with trepidation. He didn’t put his arms out to balance. He didn’t look back to his wife beach-bumming-it on the sand. He owned that water. He went in, looking far stronger than the waves. I couldn’t help but think his water-approach said much about our spiritual life approach.
When we walk out on the world with the confidence of God, we aren’t easily knocked over.
To say, “My heart is confident in you, O God” (Ps. 57:7) is the equivalent of saying, “I can run up to that 6-foot wave and dive right into the middle of it and be fine.” Why? Because God is greater than any force that wants to pummel me. Nothing can eat me alive.
To say, “This I know: God is on my side” (Ps. 57:9) is to silence opposition in just eight words. Distraction and irritations lose their effect. If God is for me, who or what can be against me?
To say, “God will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Ps 57:2) is to dismantle doubt. God will do what He purposes to do.
To say, “All the Lord’s promises prove true” is to walk fortified with the solid rock of Christ in you. All that God says is real and God really is good.
How will you approach the waves of your life? Ready to be tossed around or ready to thrust right through them?
“How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” Ps. 40:4