I scrolled through old photos on my phone and took notice of my face: When I turned my head to the left, I didn’t look so bad. But, from the right, I looked horrible. In every single picture, when my face was straight towards the camera, my big nose tilted, crooked.
I hated it. I wanted to erase, blur or cover my ugliness.
What do you hate about yourself?
Your hips? Your weight gain? Your crooked smile? Your type B personality? Your love handles? Your tendency to be too curious? Your hair?
I do, in fact, also hate my hair. Frankly, when it’s not flat ironed it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Bzzt… clown hair (Note: not cute).
Add this to my complexion of rosacea that runs right across my nose and – yes – on those days when foundation doesn’t do the trick – I wear a clown-looking nose too!!!
How do you contend with yourself when you’d rather be someone else?
This is the question I’ve been considering: Because sometimes I am afraid of who I am and what I look like.
I am afraid others will think I am weird. I am afraid I will look dumb. I am afraid I will be left out. I am afraid these weird features will be compounded by a fresh wrinkle. I am afraid you will stand and look at me just a few moments too long to sum up what is so wrong with my face – or my outfit.
I am afraid I’ll know what you are up to and I’ll have to deal with a whole mountain of inner awkwardness. I can’t climb well.
What about you makes you take cover? Feel ashamed? Embarrassed?
Did you know? God loves that part of you. He delights in it. He made you that way.
What would it look like if you accepted it, the way he accepts you? What would it look like to use that very thing – for his glory? For his advantage?
Scared to talk in public? Do a Facetime video.
Feel your heart beat out loud when you are around a circle of women? Approach one of the with a word of encouragement.
Hide your face under sunglasses and a hat? Go sans make-up and wear a smile that shines God’s goodness.
Feel too intellectual or too intense? Let it loose. Let it fly. Be you.
There is something liberating about approaching the world– just as you are, just as God made you. There is something freeing about not worrying about your worst. There is something redemptive about relying on the fact – God loves you.
You find yourself.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Ps. 139:14
I said a prayer. Jesus was in me. I could almost hear the chorus of angels singing in tandem, “Laa….You’ve arrived!!!”
Now, my whole life would change for good…
I’m God’s… No problems.
I’m saved. Things will go smooth.
I know the truth. No more mistakes.
God’s my backer. People will no longer annoy me.
Did someone, like me, sell you easy, breezy Christianity?
It’s hardly the case. It’s much more like being on an elite training team. It’s like learning to be a Navy Seal or something. There’s refinement, tests and drills. There are huge growing pains. There’s an enemy to throw you off. There are loads of tired days and hard work.
There is sweat, grit and perseverance.
There is heart.
There is passion.
There is dedication.
There is vision.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, no matter what – with Jesus, there’s always hope.
No Jesus = No hope.
Know Jesus = Know constant hope.
And there is peace.
No Jesus = No peace.
Know Jesus = Know peace.
Jesus delivers. Not just for eternity either. Many a day, I need a deliverer in a moment, and then, I need a deliverer, once again, in the next moment. Jesus holds me. He relieves the pressure. He picks up my slack.
He delivers me from evil and then delivers me from my own mind that, once again, wants to get its dirty little hands stuck in evil and conniving thoughts.
Jesus is so…good. He surpasses easy. He is that good.
And, so, our battle is good.
It makes us warriors.
Being a warrior makes us aware.
Being aware of war makes us need God.
Needing God makes us want him more.
Wanting him more makes us draw near more.
Drawing near more allows us to know joy, peace, hope and life.
Our battle is good, profitable, worthy and fulfilling.
It’s hardly about arriving, but all about journeying into holy: pinching a hem, clenching His will and riding out love, wherever it will take us.
This is where agony turns into testimony.
We remember the difficulty; they see all His glory.
God is smart. He makes things look easy. But, for the ones, like us, who have been through the wringer, we know, we know the full story.
Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit… (Ro. 5:3-5)
Through trials, we search out his love.
Through pain we find inner-progress.
Through heartache, we remember Jesus on the cross.
Through persecution, we uncover real faith.
Through shame, we realize we have a new name.
Through life, we discover, Jesus is all life.
Through mistakes, we dig up the healing grace.
We become the most radiant and dedicated warriors ever. For, deep in our hearts, we know, there’s nothing better than what we have. For what He’s given us, is truly – the very best. Our commander rocks!!!
WelcomeSharon Jaynes! Sharon is authentic, real and brings practical and applicable tips to win in your marriage. Plus today, she’s giving away a free book if you comment.
What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ in your marriage?
Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why.
Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were.
Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted.
Between taking out the garbage, paying the bills, running the car pool, mowing the lawn, disciplining the kids, and folding the laundry, sometimes the passion of marriage gets lost. It happens to all of us at one time or another.
We can get so busy taking care of life that we forget to take care of love.
None of us got married so we could have a long list of chores. If you’re like me, most likely you got married because you were madly in-love and couldn’t imagine life without your man! You got married because your heart skipped a beat every time you laid eyes on him.
You couldn’t wait to tie the knot and build a life with this incredible person God had miraculously brought into your life. Maybe you still feel that way. But maybe you could use a little reminder—a re-stoking of the romance.
In the book of Revelation in the Bible, God had this to say to the church at Ephesus: “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).
Ephesus was one of the most loving churches in the New Testament, and yet somewhere along the way they lost that initial thrill of knowing Christ. Their love for each other and for God had grown cold.
So how do you get that lovin’ feelin’ back?
God gave the church two simple steps, and I believe we can apply them to our marriages as well. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, emphasis added).
Remember how it was in the beginning.
Return and do the things you did at first.
One day I took John’s words in Revelation to heart, and decided to remember and return by romancing my husband for fourteen days straight.
Can I tell you, I was a little bit nervous about it?
What if he thought I was silly?
What if he didn’t respond?
But I took a deep breath, push the fear aside, and began to romance my man like I did in the early days.
Everyday wasn’t earth-shaking romance, even though there was some of that.
One day I simply put a sticky note on his bathroom mirror that said, “I love you.”
Another day I placed a box of Red Hot candy on his car seat with a note that said, “You’re a hottie.”
One morning I warmed up his towel in the dryer and had it ready when he got out of the shower.
And you know what happened? At the end of the fourteen days, Steve had a skip in his step and smile on his face like a Cheshire cat.
And what happened in me? I can hardly describe the love that welled up in me, as I loved my man well. Hear this…I changed.
I don’t have a big, bad personal story of how God took a terrible, tumultuous marriage and miraculously transformed it into a storybook romance filled with white-knight rescues, relentless romance, and rides into the sunset leaving all danger and darkness behind. Although our marriage has been all that at one time or another, it’s no fairy tale.
Our marriage is a daily journal, one page after another, one day after another. I’m guessing just like yours.
Some entries are smudged with tears; others are dog-eared as favorites.
Some days are marred by unsuccessful erasures that couldn’t quite rub away hurtful the words said; others are finger-worn by the reading of precious events time and time again.
But on those days when I see my marriage slipping back into the mundane cadence of passionless routine, I pull out my list of ideas, and put a smile on Steve’s face.
And that’s my challenge to you and to me today. When we see the fire needs stoking, remember and return. It may be a little scary at first, but be brave and begin!
What is one thing that you can do for your husband today to remind him of how much you love him?
Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker, devotion writer for Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries, and author of 21 books. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage will help you step out of the mundane routine of life and captivate your husband all over again. With encouraging stories, Biblical principles, and over 250 simple ideas on how to romance your husband, Sharon will show you how to put a smile on your husband’s face. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Oh, I’ve made some mistakes. Some big ones. I am not proud of them either. At risk of you hating me, and of pigeonholing myself into the corner of worst-Christian-ever, I am going to share 12 things I wish I would have never done.
If Jesus tells us to confess our sins to one another, I guess, you can call this an uber-confession.
Now, as a disclaimer to the disclaimer I wrote above, I fully know, some things may make you feel uncomfortable, but what I hope is, by sharing, admitting and bringing to light my worst, we are all inspired to fully move into God’s best. There is power in acknowledgment, in stepping out in complete transparency, with the purpose of leaving behind what God never called us to carry ahead.
So without further ado…
15 things I wish I never did as a Christian:
Critiqued the Pastor’s Sermon: He’s boring, self-indulgent, missing the point, too knowledge focused, too story-focused, too animated, not animated enough or missing the point.
Decided myself more holy than others. At times, I’ve worn a church-going halo, while internally criticizing the gal who hasn’t said hello to church in weeks.
Believed I need to be less Jesus-y. Thinking, if I shine too bright, people’s eyes may bug out in fright. If I show my strong love for Jesus, they may run away thinking I am a bible bumpin’ freek-a-zoid.
Kept up with the Jesus Joneses’ on Social Media. If my image isn’t pretty enough, calligraphy’ed enough or bright enough, I figured God’s Word wouldn’t be appealing enough to the masses.
Made an exasperated sigh at mention of, yet-again, another sermon on tithing, its merits and why I’m completely, entirely, and utterly missing out – and impacting the church in a horrible way – if I don’t drop my wallet in the basket.
Figured humility was about: 1.) Never accepting compliments 2.) Believing you couldn’t really do things 3.) Acting like you hated yourself.
Received grace only after acting godly enough and/or hard enough to receive it. Usually allowing myself 3 days to writhe in anxiety and worry before letting in what Christ already accomplished. Keeping company with shame.
Decided that girl is not a Christian because she didn’t say hi to me, lied to me or brushed by me – 3 too many times.
Believed to “deny myself” and to “live for Christ” meant I skip past who God made me to be, to jump ahead to who – you, or others – desire me to be. I forgot my God-given voice.
Made snap-decisions on the motives and heartbeat of non-believers without wanting – to know them, their problems or their setbacks in life.
Forgot the poor. Walked right past them.
Lived a life in pursuit of getting my latte, my life in order or my late self to my next place.
Missed the opportunity to wear glasses of love.
Placed my sin on a scale. Gleefully, watching the lead load of other’s sin crash low – while seeing the feather-light weight of mine – fly high. Who made me judge?
Found myself worried about, focused on and tightly gripping many things, instead of falling in love with the One and Only thing (the King) that matters – God.
This list is a petri-dish of ugly. My go-to instinct is ugly. My new identity in Christ – is beautiful.
What is your ugly? What judgment lurks behind the doors of your mind? What Christian shame has crept up on you like a night crawler ready to attack?
It is not too much for God. It is not too great for his healing hand. It is not going to disqualify you from heaven, I assure you.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
Prayer: Dear God, I am far from the image of glowing Christian. I am far from kind, some days. I do things, in my head, that would embarrass me greatly if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of that. I ask you to teach me your ways. I ask you to lead me in your grace. I ask you to forgive me for the ways, I’ve hurt you and others intentionally or unintentionally. Will you restore my heart in peace and trust? Will you help me know that what I’ve done no longer stands against me? You stand for me. You stand with me. You mark me forgiven. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
My son lives like a son. Meaning, he takes all momma wants to give him. If I walk in with a plate of cookies, he dives into them. If I offer him a hug, he runs up to get it in full. If I sit down with him, he delights in showing me things. If he gets injured, he runs to me and asks how I might help. He takes what I give, eagerly and willingly.
Somehow he knows where he is –is safe. And, what I am giving – is good.
For the most part, Christians aren’t good at being children. It’s not because we aren’t loved, adored and chosen, we completely are, but it’s mostly because we grew up. We think we can’t accept all that – all that the Father wants to lavish on us.
I’ve been watching, us, his children shut down his love.
Here’s how it tends to go:
I say, “Need prayer?” They say, “Nope. But, I know someone who does.”
I say, “Are you struggling with anything?” They say, “Nope. Not at all.”
I say, “I’d like offer you a gift – God has put you on my heart.” They say, “Nope. I never take gifts from others.”
I say, “You are courageous.” They say, “I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”
Rather than living as needy children, we living as arrogant adults. To turn away the love of Christ is to turn down the greatest gift moving on earth. We do it often.
Maybe, because we don’t want to owe people things. Maybe, because we feel guilty or embarrassed. Maybe, because we feel undeserving. Maybe, we don’t even notice he wants to hand it to us.
The maybe’s don’t matter.
What matters is, like children, we open our arms up to hold the gifts God is outpouring through others. What’s important is we see all the ways he is trying to love us. What is vital is we let this love in, so we can let this very love – out.
God wants to hand us his best, yet so often, we either walk right past it or reject it. Then, we get angry that God doesn’t answer our prayers, or reach out to us in our time of need. Guess what?! He’s been doing that all along. If only we’d just open our arms and hold close all he is pouring out.
He made us worthy.
What have you denied? Held at an arms length? Shut down? Walked away from? Turned away? Sit down, look up and let in what love is pouring out from others onto you – receive what the Father wants to give you. You will be shocked at how it impacts your life.
Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. Jo. 16:24
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My foot slipped. I couldn’t catch myself, not with the bundle of love I had in my hands. I took the fall. Rather than grabbing the railing or even putting a hand down to break the fall, I let my hip hit the stairs – hard. I held on to her. Child. Must. Be. Safe.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The impact left my hip sore for weeks. Child. Must. Be. Safe.
She didn’t even so much as touch the floor. She was saved. After the thrill of her ride, she got up, laughing, she was scuff-free.
God loves to save us from our worst falls. He lifts us right above them. Child. Must. Be. Safe.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Ps. 91:7
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4
You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. Ps. 40:11
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. Ps. 63:7
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Ps. 27:5
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Ps. 46:1
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. Ps. 18:35-36
…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Ps. 119:114
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Ex. 14:14
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Ps. 18:30
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Ro. 8:31
But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Ps. 3:3
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Sam. 22:32
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Mt. 26:53
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Ps. 9:9
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Ps. 62:2
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thes. 3:3
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. Is. 54:17
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. Ps. 138:7
…but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 Jo. 5:18
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
When you fall down the stairs of life, there is one who will run to your rescue. His name is Deliverer. Fear not, he goes with you.
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Do you hate yourself when you yell – again?
Do you want to flick your wrist when you eat those brownies you should’ve dumped a week ago?
Do you call yourself an idiot for forgetting that appointment?
Do you believe you’ll never get better, live better or act better?
Freedom can feel far. Hope can feel lost. Deliverance can taste like an extra-large pizza, when you are one who berates yourself in your head.
Half my life, I’ve looked at my mistakes and asked, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I say something dumb. “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I bump someone’s bumper with my bumper, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I miss an opportunity, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
No wonder, one of my big fears is of being stupid. I’ve been speaking that fear into my heart for a long, long time.
What have you been speaking into your heart? Does it look – and hit – hard, like a hammer to the head or does it look and feel soft – like grace?
If you’re a heavy self-hitter, like me, listen up, because this is important: You no longer have to be hard on yourself, because the world was already hard on Jesus.
Let it really sink in. It hit him hard – and he took it.
Have you considered the weight of that? You don’t have to beat yourself up because, Jesus, the bodyguard of all bodyguards, took all your hits. He got hit so hard his flesh broke wide open.
So, while you sit and stare at your injuries, thinking, “They’ll never heal,” God says, “If I conquered the cross, surely I can conquer what plagues your heart today.”
Your brokenness is of no magnitude
that the maker of heaven and earth can’t fix it.
When you whisper, “Please God, help me, help me, help me. God, I can’t. God…God…God…”
God hears and nearly whispers, “Jesus”.
Because if you see this man on the cross,
if you see the fullness of his gift,
if you see the King,
nearly riding to death on a donkey,
in this place of poverty and powerlessness,
if you just see him,
you’ll see how he hung –
arms wide open,
the weak, wounded and restless one.
You’ll see mercy,
You’ll see his heart
to save –
both for today and yesterday.
When we see, Jesus, the man who won our freedom,
we really begin to trust his life can save us.
He didn’t died for us yesterday,
only to give a half-hoot about us today.
When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, he welcomed our pain. He welcomed the addicts, the rapists, the depressives, the adulterers, the anxiety-prone, the controllers, the abusers, the abused and the proud. He basically says, “See me, I am reaching out to hug you, to embrace you – to receive the worst of you. Don’t forget what I’ve done. Let yourself be saved from your plague.“
With this idea friends, knowing his heart, I want to be saved afresh. There is an area so wounded in me, I keep on trying to layer dirt over it. I keep trying to wrestle it down in my own mind. I keep wanting to tell it to go hide out in Timbuktu. It never does. It tapes itself to me. It labels me.
Well, today friends, today…today, I say, Jesus, you are my only way. I am willing to travel through the hurt to find your help. I am willing to get honest with you, so I can get healed by you. I am willing to give it a shot, knowing that you surpass my slip ups.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16)
Hurt one, are you ready to live free? What’s holding you back?
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3
This is a question you do not ignore. Instead, it is one you put a pretty design around and then get tattooed on your hand.
It is that important.
You wear this question as if it is a badge of your dedication. You return to it often.
During my days in corporate America, I tried really hard. In my mind, I did really good. I responded to emails with lightning speed. I came up with proactive ideas before my boss even voiced word of the problem. I arrived not just with plans but complete SWOT analyses of the whole situation. I was always a step ahead.
After a long day at work, I’d run to release some steam. I’d run and think “I wonder if my boss sees all I am doing? I wonder if his boss sees too?” I assured myself, “Kelly, you’ll go places. They’ll uncover you and say, ‘Wow, what a gem.'”
Between striving and running. I was exhausted.
I was going after the wrong thing: the desire to be the star.
I wouldn’t have admitted this, but:
People were often a casualty in my race.
Problems were my ticket to a Kelly-solved-it phone call up the chain.
Work was a means to my end.
I didn’t feel good unless I looked good.
A woman dedicated to self-exalting ways
will run with skinned knees and deep discontentment.
What is your end? Not the one you try to convince yourself that you’re after, but the one daily you live for by your actions? The one that makes you feel cruddy?
Are you after people knowing the great things you are doing? The feeling you are finally enough? The one-track-mind goal of being published? The phone call that ends your waiting time? The approval of that person that restores your sense of self? The success that erases your feelings of illegitimacy? The desire to be wanted by family members? The spotlight that shows millions accept you? The achievements that are all about you?
Make no mistake, my fellow seekers, we are all after something. Many of us just don’t acknowledge it – because we are afraid to look at what our heart really wants. We are embarrassed; we don’t really want God after all.
No shame here friends. I get off track all the time. I blow it!
Getting off track is not the major problem, but remaining in denial of the problem – always is.
Where are you in denial?
Confront these questions(this means really consider them):
What is your heart’s goal on the daily basis?
Is it about pleasing God or pleasing man?
Seeking self or glorifying God?
Self-protection or God-dedication?
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17
Draw a line. Draw, not a grey or fuzzy line –
we have enough of those –
but an I-will-do-it-all-in-the-name-of-Jesus line.
Draw a line that says, I will be resolute, determined and steadfast
in only going after the right thing.
In going after – God’s thing.
This way, instead of allowances, excuses and rationalizing, you make progress.
Then, you and I claim a warrior-like mentality. It talks like this:
Speak to me, something that is not from him… I’m not listening.
Divert me with a call to selfish ambition… I’m shutting down.
Send me down a path of sin that will lead me astray… Nope, I’m not going there, I want God.
Try to get me to make it about me… I don’t think so. It is all about Him.
Aim my heart at some target off the path of God… Forget it. That’s not contentment.
We’ve gotta stop doping around.
A woman dedicated to do it God’s way,
finds the upsurgence of God’s heart
ready to explode from within her.
Your heart swerves left into discouragement, but you jerk back and remember how he has always taken care of you.
Your mind stalls – you pray and uncover your next step to get moving again.
Your doubts backfire – but you fire back truth that kicks doubt out of the car.
Your friends speak lousy words – you nod your head and exhale them like exhaust.
Your hard work proves fruitless – you remember he’s the one taking you somewhere.
You release demands and pressures. You fly free of the strings of the world. No one and nothing is tying you down. Like a hot air balloon, you are released to new heights.
You can see it all, from God’s view.
You move like a woman with laser-vision, dead-set on eternity. You fight hand-and-fist, tooth-and-nail, jackal-style, against the world that wants to wedge its way into your heart. You scream. You run. You stay near God. But, what you don’t do is let it get its sticky fingers on you.
You won’t have it.
And, when it does, when you feel icky because you went the wrong way, so you trash that empty wrapper, as quickly as you can, and say, “It’s not that I have fallen that most concerns God, it is that I get up and get going with him once again.”
And so you do. You just go where he wants to go, knowing that it is the ONLY and the BEST place to go.
A woman dedicated to the Lord
is like a ship anchored to the core of the earth.
What comes against her doesn’t move her an inch.
She is unwavering, unbreakable and unshakable.
Prayer to be an Unshakable Woman
God, help us. Where we are weak, make us strong. Where we are wavering, help us lay our anchor down. May we find strength through knowing you hold us. We no longer need to be held down by the world’s claws. May we believe you are so believable we see your hand in our everything. May we so fall into your arms of grace, so we never feel the pangs of condemnation rip us apart. That is not you. And, truly, we want nothing that is not associated with you – it will only leave us empty. God, you are one that leaves us on full. Not once, but all the time. God, give us you. Increase our faith; make us into fighters who don’t back down. May we know, strongly, you are what we need to run after. You are the answer to everything. You are the only way. Tie down our heart into you. Amen.
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Eyes trying to peep over the counter, they stood on tippy-toes. They were close, yet far enough the glass window preventing them from grabbing it. No touching allowed! They watched, as she ladled on the batter, shaped it, then carefully added the chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham crackers. Like pent up children ready to bust into Christmas, they knew, I knew – something monumental was about to happen. Yet, I also knew WWIII might breakout…
The second the gigantic crepe was in their hand, I heard it, “Mine, mine, mine.” He watched, she took a bite, “My bite wasn’t as big as hers!” She watched, yelling, “He got 2 bites.” He ripped it a chunk as quickly as he could.
So did she.
He looked at us with frustration, “Why can’t I have more.” She grabbed it and stared right at him, “Look what I have.”
They were so honed in on what the other had, they missed what they had.
So focused on the other’s portion,
they missed the chance to enjoy theirs.
So eager to win in the moment, they ruined it.
How often do we sour our sweet moments?
God, you should have given that to me. Why does she have the voice and the brains? Why don’t my kids act like that? How come every door is open for her to walk through? Why did she get the promotion and I didn’t? When will it be my turn? Why do I have to be the heavier one?
We sour sweet moments when we believe God hands us second-best.
I sat in church today. Up on the screen, they announced the women’s conference of all women’s conference. They showed the speakers perfect smiling faces, they highlighted their glorified messages, their idealized lives and their heart to bring Jesus to stadium-filled masses. Why aren’t I the model spokesperson for Jesus? I wanted their shoes.
They soured my sweetness.
The good in me went rancid.
My husband whispered,“Kelly, are you going to that event?”
“No way,” I whispered. “I am far too jealous.”
I didn’t want to go off.
Because I’ve come to see… women who walk with unaddressed sin are walking time bombs. As time passes, something ticks them off. And it is never pretty.
I don’t want to live exploding jealousy, but exploding love.
So, when I see even the smallest elements, I stop. I just shut it all down – and look. I look for Jesus. And, what I’ve come to see is he leads me, Willy Wonka-style, not into a big chocolate vat – but into the waves of my heart.
When you, first, seek Jesus’ heart, you find yours.
New rhythms of humanity surface. I see humans just like me. I see different missions for different children. I see that other’s great callings in no way diminish mine. I see a daddy meeting me in the gap, with love. I see it all. When I invite Jesus in.
What has soured your sweetness?
Is it a neighbor who is a little show-offy?
A colleague who always does right?
A winner who never loses?
A beautiful gal who, you figure, is BFF with the mirror?
An outgoing one who has it all together?
A successful one who is at the top of the charts?
A relationship you are not a part of?
I think about that crepe again. From another angle, it truly could have represented sugar cubes. That is how sweet it was. But, my kids enjoyed it as much as rock soup.
Jealousy steals our sweetest blessings, so we can’t even see them.
It’s often, not that we don’t have, but that we just don’t see.
What we do see, though, is the girl on the left and the right. Eyes glued, we analyze her clothes, beauty, success and everything else. Then, jealousy speaks up louder – it speaks vile. Chit-chat, that’s mean. Comparison, that’s damaging. Actions, that scar people. Not only that, but it drives us right by God’s plan.
We look back and say, “Where did God go?”
Well, we left him 4 blocks back, nearly right before we hit the lamppost on the side of the road.
Jealousy is crash-route for Christians. Ride or die – baby!
God, though, in his mercy, is something else; He is Savior. He offers us guardrails so we don’t crash. They’ve saved me a time or two.
4 Guardrails for Jealous Hearts:
– Realize: All relationships are permissible, but not all relationships are profitable. If someone is gossipy or comparison-oriented, it may be time to step back. “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. 1 Cor. 10:23
– Pray: If you lift a person up, instead of critiquing them, you might find you start to love them. You’ll see purpose arise out of hatred. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
– Submit: Lay down and see the height of your Father’s love for you. If you believe he is Creator, don’t you believe he will create something amazing on your behalf? My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Jo. 10:27
– Admire: If you can’t deal with girl’s God-shining glory on earth how will you endure God’s numero-uno glory in heaven? You don’t want to look like a fallen angel who can’t handle God’s glory, do you? Choose to admire his glory – in others – today so you can bask in it tomorrow.
Your sweetness is not found at the end of the yellow brick roads, friend, it is found at the end of yourself and the start of the Father that cannot contain his love for you. Get yourself there and your heart will get right.
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I got to the end of the day, pulled into the driveway, stared out the front windshield and laid down a verdict, “I didn’t succeed at loving. My morning goals – looked like a blown-out tire by afternoon.
Sure, I began the day with aspirations a mile long – I’d do great things with God, we’d pour out love on people, we would encourage the world with the love of Jesus. But then, life happened. Ugh. I felt much more like a woman on a treadmill – working up a sweat and getting nowhere – than a woman on a mission of grand importance.
I exhaled. Scrunched down in my seat. Clenched the steering wheel.
I stink. God, I am sorry that I didn’t win for you today. I am sorry that I let you down. My heart is to go all out for you, but I lost.
Have you sat like me –
wanting to make progress only to end up discouraged?
I recently signed up for Michael Hyatt’s Free To Focus Productivity Summit. Reason being? I have a minuscule amount of time to complete a massive amount of ministry. I need help.
Learning a ton, Michael said something that struck me; it clicked: Not keeping up, makes you feel like you are losing. Feeling like your losing diminishes productive confidence.
My confidence ride likes waves. I go high when I am confident, but when the waves crash – so do I. I eat it.
With this, I wonder, shouldn’t my confidence look more steady, more consistent?
More like Jesus?
More grace-filled, less about getting ahead?
More locked and loaded on eternity, less concerned with check-marks?
More set on God’s big mission, less engrossed with endless busyness?
How does God see confidence?
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16
I might say,“Do more”, but God says, “Be more with me. Come more – to me.”
What if I no longerlived like a temperature gauge –
hot and on fire with passion one day, cold in defeat the next?
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of my hand. Jo. 10:28
Godly confidence is knowing that God will never let you go.
It is less in what we do,
or how we see things, and more in who He is – and what he does.
He has our future. Confidence!
He knows our way. Confidence!
He will be faithful. Confidence!
We can fly arms wide open into his will. Confidence!
We can fall and he will still make my fly. Confidence!
We can not know the way – but he will. Confidence!
Confidence in Jesus, can’t be stolen, revoked or denied. It is a solid rock; it does not waver.
On what ground does your confidence stand confidence?
Achievement? People pleasing? Perfection? Performance? Busyness? Perhaps it is time to exchanges confidence that crashes like waves for rock-solid confidence that can’t be stolen.
4 Foundational Truths that Breed Confidence
There is no effective building of anything unless the Lord truly resides over everything. Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Ps. 127:1
God’s work is less about what you do and more about what He’s already decided to do. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6
You don’t need to fear, God protects you from the snares. For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. Prov. 3:26
You don’t have to know where you are going, just that God is going there with you. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1
The real power of confidence transcends our natural eye. When we pull our strength from the supernatural, something amazing happens – we often do the supernatural. Suddenly, focus is exactly what we have and progress is exactly what we get. It never comes by our strength – but always comes by His. This removes the pressure. It is a heavenly movement on our behalf, not a heart-attack ridden movement by our striving.
This kind of confidence? It makes all the difference.
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