Purposeful Faith

Category - awe

I Get Complain-y and Want Sympathy

sympathy

There are two ways I tend to look at things:

1. Good
2. Not so good at all.

Unfortunately, I usually default to the bad outlook. Somehow I figure if I focus on what is wrong, I can fix it. Or, if I see what is not right, I’ll have a better handle on it. Or, if I know every detail of the problem, I can lay out a plan. I also like sympathy from people.  Emotionally, when I feel hurt, I want someone to make it better. Or, I want someone to really grasp my pain.

In these cases, I may:

1. Complain
2. Whine
3. Act negative
4. Feign tiredness and weariness

After a bit these actions cause issues. On-loading problems onto people almost always off-puts them. There’s a threshold people allow. They may walk away, roll their eyes, tell you to get over it or not call you back. You really have to be careful about going “too far”, I’ve found. But more important than this is – we don’t need sympathy from man, what we really need is empathy and love from God. He is the only thing who will ever fill us up.

So, how do we find this?

Psalm 57 has some interesting answers.

David complains, “I’m surrounded by fierce lions…” (Ps. 57:4)
Shortly thereafter he says, “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.” (Ps. 57:5)

David whines, “My enemies have set a trap for me…” (Ps. 57:6)
Shortly thereafter he says, “My heart is confident in you, O God.” (Ps. 58:7)

In the place of “not so good at all” thoughts, David gets back to “good”, quickly. His mouth runs ahead of his mind for a second. Then, he catches up to “good” with God’s truth.

We can do the same. Even if we think “not so good” thoughts, we can catch right back up to goodness, by immediately changing course, just like David. We can dwell on thoughts of:

1. Praise
“I will waken the dawn with my song.” (Ps. 57:8)

2. Protection
“I will look to you (God) for protection.” (Ps. 57:1)

3. Promises
“…God who will fulfill His purposes for me.” (Ps. 57:2)

4. Power
“He (God) will send help from heaven to save me.” (Ps. 57:3)

5. Passion for God
“My heart is confident in you, O God.” (Ps. 57:7)

David didn’t always think perfectly, but he returned to the Perfect One, quickly and readily. We can do the same. We won’t ever be perfect, but above us, around us and for us – is the Perfect One who has all our answers. He answers when we call. Not only this, He sympathizes with our pains, holding our every tear in a bottle (Ps. 56:8).

All we really want is sourced from God.

 

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I Don’t want to Take a Step Back

What if your power to move ahead, was in stepping back? What is not pressing ahead, but sitting out?

I recently heard a story that captured me. A group of All-star basketball players went to meet an elite coach. His instruction was that they step back; he wanted to re-structure their basketball shot. The mechanics and technique of their shooting arm needed to be entirely reworked to take them to the pro level. For this change to happen, they’d have to go back to the drawing board for 3 months. They’d need to essentially sit it out on the sidelines as they learned a new way.

The sad part was many of the players couldn’t, or wouldn’t do this. They wouldn’t listen to the coach. They didn’t want to lose thier all-star status.

Yet, what they didn’t realize was to compete on the next big stage, they needed this new skill. The coach knew: refinement was required.

A rich man essentially said to Jesus, “I’ve followed your commands. Now, Jesus, what do I still lack?”

Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mt. 19:21)

To get ahead, we sometimes have to go back.

To follow, we sometimes have to give away.

To move forward, we must release.

To meet with God, we relinquish other important things even if it appears we will be set back, halted or we will lose out.

I don’t like moving backward. In fact, I believe so much in the message God wrote in the book, Battle Ready, these days, I want to keep working harder to make sure every person in need gets a copy. I believe in the transformation I am seeing happening in people’s lives. I see how mindsets are being renewed. I want to push, push, push…and get Jesus’ message out far and wide.

Yet, still, God whispers: Kelly, rest. Trust me (even if it feels like you are moving backward). Surrender.

To not strive, to not push, to not do anything….feels like I’ll lose what God is giving me. It feels like I’ll fail. It makes me feel nervous.

But, God never leaves us behind. Surrender never counts us “out.”

The truth is we only follow Jesus, when we follow him. We only can go where He is going, when we obey. It’s not easy to follow with the world on our shoulders. Nor can we follow when we clench our history and won’t let go of it. Following doesn’t look like demanding results.

Today, if it looks like you are moving backward, be encouraged. Christ did not bring you this far to drop you on your face, to leave you behind, to fail you, to discourage you or to hurt you. He brought you to this place to love you, to equip you, to ready you, to prepare you and to be with you.

Time spent reworking your life is not a waste. Time spent with kids is not idle. Time spent praying is not inconsequential. Time spent seeking answers is not useless. Time spent sitting at Jesus’ feet is not without merit.

Move backward and see Jesus change the trajectory of everything as you move forward. God is good and He truly does have goodness for you.

Women who are battle ready know this – and live it.

Learn more about the book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

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BLOGGERS, 4 Winners will receive (in order of votes):

1. A 15-minute Literary Agent Meeting with Amanda Luedeke from MacGregor Literary. (2 People)
2. A 15-minute Publishing Appointment with Baker Books editor, Rebekah Guzman. (1 Person)
3. A 15-minute blogging, writing, life-coaching or platform consultation with Kelly Balarie (1 Person)

Learn more about the Battle Ready Contest.

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Are You Using The Wrong Spiritual Tools?

You would not use a hammer as a tool to get a baby to sleep. Nor would you use a saw to put batteries in a toy. Or a colander to fix a driveway. Specific tools address specific issues.

Are you using the right tool when addressing problems?

This is vital.

Just think, Aaron and Hur knew the battle against the Amelikites would be won through prayer, so they held up Moses’ arms.

Arms up, they were winning.
Arms down, they were losing.

One spiritual tool was their breakthrough: prayer. (see: Exodus 17)

Think, Paul in the prison.

He praised and sang – and prison doors opened. In this scenario, praise broke prison bars.

His spiritual tool was: praise and singing.

Specific spiritual tools address specific physical issues.  What we see in front of us, is often broken by God above us, when we allow Him to work through us, as He wants.

If I try to pray, when I feel tired, worn and weary and I can hardly speak a word – my words may not amount to much. If I try to pray when I’ve lost all hope, my words fall flat. Yet, if I get into God’s Word and let it attend to my soul – it can be mind shifting. It is important for us to identify the season we are in and where God is moving.

Just as the enemy shifts his strategy, we must shift ours. And, we must know where God has traditionally moved in our life, what inspires us, what has broken chains and prison bars in the past. Most of us have a breakthrough point. Most of us have past approach that tends to work when all the chips fall.

Do you know yours? Your battle style?

It is vital we know our battle style. Why? Because we must be in tune to what wins our battles, shuts down our enemies, silences our fear, and pushes the needle. This way, we can win – our war.

This way, when we can’t think in our mind, we have a fallback plan. We have a vision of where God might want us to head. We have a strategy to get up and fight again. We remember what moved the needle before can do it again.

There are a lot of battle-styles. Here, we mentioned a few:

Prayer.

Praise.

God’s Word.

But, do you know the rest? Do you know what to do, when you don’t know what to do? Do your children? Do your friends?

Today, let’s equip not only our own hearts in being prepared to face what hits us, but let’s equip others in the same way. Let’s invite our friends to gain the wisdom and understanding of their own style. Let’s help those going through a hard time to gain new strength.

Learn Your Battle Style for FREE!

Are you curious what your Battle Style is? Download and print the FREE quiz at IAmBattleReady.com.

When you get your results, message a friend your style, and encourage them to take the free quiz. We can’t do this alone. We’re stronger together.

Bloggers, let’s reach our friends in need. Share this on social media: “Are you going through a battle? Take the free Battle Style Quiz for free at www.iambattleready.com. Discover how you best keep connected to God. www.iambattleready.com”

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Beware of Being Battle Worn & Weary

He offended me. The fighting words my husband launched hours ago were now causing my entire afternoon to be thrown off.  It wasn’t my fault, or so I thought. But, now, rather than being nice to my kids, I was snappy. Rather than being present, I kept thinking of how he was so wrong. Rather than tidying the house and helping out, I went on a silent protest in my room. Rather than dwelling on love, I wanted to release my own missiles.

In retrospect: His words were an attack sent by the enemy (one point for team-enemy!).

Usually we can recognize attacks. They are:
– issues that pop up out of nowhere.
– people problems that seem completely random (or odd).
– sin that makes you feel so guilty that you are unlovable (this issue starts with us and is leveraged by the enemy).
– past wounds that are intentionally re-hit.
– old tapes that get repeated by people to keep us stuck.

There is wisdom in asking: Is my unconfessed sin or my unrepentant heart holding on to what the enemy will use to his advantage?

Think for a moment. Judas got here…: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)

…even though He said this: “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” 

Indeed, he was “seized with remorse”, but He failed to go to the Redeemer who could heal him. Sadly, he died by his own hand.

Beware of confessing to others, but not to God. Beware of carrying burdens, only Jesus was meant to carry. Beware of leaving unforgiveness untidy and unruly within your heart. Even the most specially-chosen disciple can fall. 

If someone so close to Jesus could go down, so could we.

Today is the day to let go and let live with Jesus.

Do you need to ask God, “Will you forgive me?”
Do you need to tell God, “I forgive _____?”
Do you need to say to God, “Today, I let go of this (offense).”?

Do it.

The price of holding on to guilt, shame and pain is death. The price Jesus paid to free us from it, becomes our new life.

Be Battle Ready today, by letting go of what pain you cannot manage any longer and putting it into the arms of Jesus. What will come about is restored connection and renewed hope.

Be Battle Ready.

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“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”

Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Available now wherever books are sold.

Amazon comments:

“This book inspired me to make positive changes in my life!”

“It’s more of a reference tool—a guide, a manual. It’s one of those books you stick on your bedside table and refer to often throughout the ups and downs of life.”

“Finally, someone put together a book containing actual tools to help you face life’s trials and tribulations. 

“It is not meant to be read and put on your bookshelf, it is meant to be a companion to The Bible.”

Be Battle Ready.

I’ve Got to Do Better than Her

She is going to make me look like a fool. It’s me against her. I have to come out on top.

Deep in me, there lives a competitive beast. One that promotes selfish ambition and untoward conduct. One that looks at other gals and compares them to me.

The beast says:

I need to be super impactful, smart and powerful. Or, I’m disposable.
I can’t let others get ahead of me. No one will pay attention to me anymore.
I should desperately fear being left behind. I’ll be useless without impact.

Competitiveness is a horrible beast to be chained to. It demands we control the uncontrollable. It sets us up to fail.

Does jealousy, fear, selfish ambition or a competitive nature threaten you, like me?

Lately, I’ve become so sick and tired of it’s bullying tactics. I’ve decided – through a deep investigation of scripture – to fight back.

Here’s how:

1. I humble myself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time (and in God’s proper way), He’ll exalt me.

2. I remember Christ rules over everything. He has all authority and every victory belongs to the Lord. If it is my victory, it is an empty one. But if it is God’s, it is fruitful.

3. I ponder the idea that by my strength, I get tired. But by His, I become empowered.

4. I bless those who hurt me, persecute me, laugh at me, talk behind my back and injure me. Why? Because God loves His creation. He is working on them. He is doing something. I don’t need to get my sticky fingers into His artwork. I can trust the masterpiece He is creating without trying to let my bitterness or irritation take control.

5. I wait on God knowing that, nearly half the time, it is by doing nothing I find He’s doing everything. Likewise, I step out when He says it’s go time, no matter how prideful, arrogant or self-serving it may seem to the world. Ultimately, I don’t serve others opinions of me, but Christ’s lordship. I follow it, stay close to it and trust it, no matter how it looks.

The beast dies when we die to our flesh and come alive to Christ. It can’t live when we stay surrendered and in-step with the Spirit. It has no rule when Christ rules. Period. And Amen.

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From “a Bad Hand” to “The Upper Hand”

For a large part of my life, I believed I’d simply been dealt a bad hand. I had thoughts like this: “Things work against me. No one is for me. The world will hurt me. People are out to get me. I can’t trust anybody. I am at risk of being continually injured or stranded. Bad circumstances find me.”

Bad. Hand.

Hurt. Kelly.

Struggling. To. Be. Okay.

Annoyed….Others. Have. It. Better.

Defined. By. My. History.

Have you, like me, allowed internal definitive statements to define your identity? Are you unsure how to climb out of the pit of injustice you’ve found yourself in?

Incredibly, God’s Word shows us the way. God has clear-cut, straightforward instruction for those who have been punched one too many times by the constant onslaught of the world. For those whose stomach feels like it is caving in and they’re about to give up.

Here it is…(notice the two main call-to-action points included within this statement):

“If you… 1.) listen to the commands of the Lord your God and 2.) carefully obey them, (then) the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always have the upper hand.” Deut. 28:13

If you listen and obey…

Then you’ll have – not the bad hand –  but always, the upper hand.

You won’t be the tail that gets stomped all over, but the head that is wise, smart and full of God’s truth.

Jesus, as the head, will get in your head and change the world of hurts you’ve been living in. Give Him a shot. Listen, obey and find yourself ahead.

 

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Let’s Count the Ways: God Watches You

“Are you watching me?”

My 6-year-old son puts on shows. Willy Wonka, Moses in the wilderness, Box Car Children- you name it, and he acts it out. And he always asks this question.

“Are you watching me?”

Half the time, I’m not. I mean to be, but I’m also human. I’m trying to tackle things like bills, emails, text messages, phone calls, dishes, laundry, dinner…you get the point.

The fact of the matter is, our parents didn’t watch us non-stop either. I know there were times I put on shows and my mom or dad didn’t watch. It’s not because they didn’t want to, but because they were human.

But you know what? God is not human and He is watching. This fills the desires of all our hearts. The desire that says, “Someone, please, be watching me. Watch out for me. Watch me and know my ways. Watch me and protect me. Watch me and help me.”

God watches, carefully.

God is always with us.

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Ps. 139:7-8

God’s watched our days before they’ve even happened.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:16

God’s intimate thoughts about us don’t stop.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Ps. 139: 17-18

God is aware of our most intricate workings, habits and ponderings.

“You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.” Ps. 139: 3-4

He watches you to protect you.
“You hem me in behind and before.” Ps. 139: 5

God watches it all. Every song, dance, move, time you sit down, stand up, and twirl around. You are precious in His sight.

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I Can’t Do This All

One way to succeed at life is to take inventory of what sets you off.

Ask: What makes your chest well up with discomfort? What makes your stomach turn in rolling knots of nervousness? What makes your hands sweat?

There’s some very good news coming to you soon. With this, I’ve had to do some very hard work to see it through. Hard work makes me feel under much pressure. And being under pressure makes me feel I must perform.

Performances steal the presence of God.

It becomes all show and no rest. Performances are about: doing, striving, working stuff up, making things happen, generating results and presenting a good face.

They’re about getting somewhere. Meanwhile, God just wants to be with us.

Maybe you are there. Maybe you are saying to yourself, “I try so hard, but get nowhere. I don’t know how I’ll do it all. I am stressed out. I am overwhelmed. I am burdened.”

Right now, I believe God has an invitation for you and for me.

As I see it, I believe it reads like this…

Dear (your name),

I invite you to step away from the soul-crushing burdens of all you feel you “must” manage. I will manage those things as you trust in me. I can do far more than you can think or imagine when you trust me. I can accomplish in one minute what it takes you 5000 to conceptualize. Will you trust me? Will you let me take lead? Will you hand to me what you’re death-gripping and mishandling? Will you let go of those unruly emotions and trace them for promised lands of peace? I promise to take good care of what is most important to your soul. I won’t leave you behind. I am always true to my word.

“Defeat does not come to those who trust (in God).” Ps. 23:5 GNT

“(God) is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb. 11:6 NKJV

Above all, please know: I am with you. I am on your side. I am helping you. My hope is to give you the deep desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

Love,

God

 

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What if Jesus Drove Your Life?

Him: “Mom, I want to ride my bike with you on a major highway.”
Me: “Hmm… No.”
Him: “Mom, I want to ride my bike to a far-off neighborhood I’ve never been to before. I want to go far and get somewhere.”
Me: “You know, son? I care far less about our destination and far more about just being with you.”

As soon as I said it, the words hit me like self-reversing bullets at brute force speed. God cares far less about my destination than He does about just being with me.

I say: “God, I want to do things for you.”
He says: “Come and sit at my feet. Be not worried about many things.”
I say: “God, I want to do things for you.”
He says: “It appears being first is the right way, but sit with me and you’ll find being last is your true joy.”
I say: “God, I don’t know if I’m doing enough for you.”
He says: “People look at the outward appearance, but (I) look at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

In all my going, am I missing the fullness of God? In pushing fast, am I really pushing God away?

God is the driver; I am the passenger. God knows where I’m going; I stay near to Him. God has the heavenly GPS; I pay attention to where He wants me to go.

Can a passenger ever go anywhere if she isn’t seated next to the driver? If she’s off in her own land, trying to drive her own pretend car to her own Never Neverland…can she ever arrive?

Surrender is to allow God to be the driver. It means you become a sitter at the feet of Jesus. It means allowing your heart to become in awe of Him and His every word. It is to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time: He’ll do the exalting. (1 Pet. 5:6) It is peace. It is joy. It is our portion. It is our calling. It is our ultimate destination.

Why? Because the destination that is Jesus always leads to a destination of vision. We find out who we are in the boundless nature of His love. Here, He reveals the “go” we always wanted to find.

Another note: My new book Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously is available for Pre-order. This summer, I want you to read the book with me. We’ll be going through the book (200 people get a copy) in my private launch team group. I’ll also be providing free support materials, printables, scriptures, prayer time together and fun stuff from me. If you want to learn to abandon discouragement, doubt, and disappointment, come join me on the launch team. Just pre-order a book on Amazon, then sign up here.

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Where Did God Go?

I believe some of you counted yourself not valuable or unable to make a difference. It’s not true. This is why I want to invite you, again, to join my launch team.

Friends, every bit helps – how you share Battle Ready with a friend in need, or do a post on Facebook, or encourage me along the way, or share it in your small group, or bring unique excitement to the team. Don’t discount yourself.  You all mean something to me; I want you to be a part of the launch team.  I want you to do this with me. Big or small, whether you feel important or meaningless, join me as we gain new confidence, seize new thoughts and spread Jesus’ liberating truth far and wide.  Pre-order a book on Amazon, then join the team here (and get a ton of video devotionals, scriptures, accountability, team support, prayer with me and little gifts from me: www.iambattleready.com/launch 

I love you all. Now here is the post:

Consider a random picture frame in your house. See it? When you wake up the next morning, do you know where it is? Are you confident it is there? Think of another one. When you walk into that room, are you sure you will see it?

What about the frame of your bed? How sure are you that when you return to your room, you’ll find it? Pretty confident, right?

The permanence of these objects is obvious. Yet, why doesn’t it feel this way with God?

It’s like God’s with us one moment and gone the next. We’re full of God one night, but down the next day. Trusting fully, then stuck in swirling ruminations the next hour.

We go from God with us to God is gone. God is here to God, are you really here?

Why does eternal God seem less real than the passing world around us?

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:8

Because there’s a re-framer in our house.

The enemy constantly attempts to steal our view and reframe it with his. He takes our pictures of God’s nearness, assaults them with doubt and tries to move them out of our line of sight.  We say, “God’s good and gone.”

Same tricks. Different day.

Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen. 3:1

Suddenly, Adam and Eve bit the fruit and were standing stark naked, ashamed in front of a far-off God.

What has the enemy reframed in your life? What has he subtly led you away from? What has he put between you and the God of closeness and fullness?

Remove it. Remove it fast and get with God. Do this repeatedly. All the time. God IS with you. He is. He will never leave your side.

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