Kelly: “God, I feel angry at people. I can’t stop thinking of the past.”
God (what I believe He says to me): “Kelly, it is not about them. It never was about them. In actuality, they’re not the blockages to your goals, the answers to your cause, nor the life you are looking for. When you look at them, it is as if you stare at the gutter. Yet, if you want to strike the fullness of life – of me and all I have – you have to look down the lane. Don’t look left or right. Behold, the pins of my glory. Gaze on the beauty of what I am doing. See past the side-shows. Look straight into who I am, how I see you and what I am doing. Choose to see me. Know me and follow me.
Be led by my Spirit; I’ll take care of the rest.”
Kelly: “God I dismantle the lie that I am being taken advantage of. The truth is, God, you are taking care, defending and providing for me. God, I no longer want to dwell in discouragement. You have enough encouragement to set me free.”
God, you are my all-in-all, my friend, hope, cause, love, guide, strength, help, initiative, being, wholeness, Savior, love, life, wisdom, entirety, mission and surroundings. I trust you.”
Kelly: God, who am I to you?
God: “You are my love, my daughter, my special one, my prize, my sight, my friend, my seen one, my speaker, my joy, my reflection, my peace, my heart, my beginning of new things, my growing child, my blooming flower, my eager-beaver, my purpose, my cause, my listener, my prize, my delight, my boldness and, again, my love.”
Wow. Somehow understanding how God sees me changes everything. He wants me. He loves me. He helps me. He watches me. He knows me. I am not alone. I am not left behind. I am not forgotten. I don’t have to fend for myself. I don’t have to look to man to fix my problems. I am free in Christ.
So are you.
Who does God say you are – to Him?
Here’s a hint:
You are altogether beautiful, my love; (because of Christ) there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
Lord, your love searches me. It desires to know everything about me. It ministers to the depths that I hide from you. I can’t believe you desire to see me – to really know me. You want me. My thoughts are like an open book to you. You read me not to criticize me or to size me up, but to know me.
Who am I that you should think of me? But still, you do. Who am I that you should care about my little small and unseen ways? But still, you do. I can’t comprehend why you’re so good to me, but still, you are.
With all the millions and billions of people…when I think of all them – and when I think of you – I feel small. There are far too many daughters for you to care about – and to still consider me. But, you do. You are intimately aware of every thought I have, every movement I make, and every word about to come out of my mouth. How can you really love me like this?
I confess, God, that sometimes it is hard to believe that you really love me. I confess God, it is hard to believe that you really – day-in-day-out, want me. It is hard to believe you have the capacity to love this way. And, still, you do. My conception of you does not limit you. Even this, proves your greatness. You are amazing. Forgive me for my unbelief. Give me fresh faith to trust, rely and fall back on your love.
The reality is: it’s not my work that earns your love, but Jesus’ finished work that paid for it.
I can let go of the pressure to perform for you. Jesus gave it all, did it all and continually does it all for me.
I can let go of a mind that tries to figure out why you love me. Christ is in me. How could you not love your own son?
I can let go of thought I continually offend you. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus; you see His righteousness in me.
I can let go of the past that plagues my thoughts. If the tomb is empty of shame, guilt, and condemnation, shouldn’t also my mind be? You’ve fought for and secured resurrection life.
I can let go of the inkling that I have nothing to offer people. The Holy Spirit, a heavenly deposit of the fullness of God is in me. You can do far more than I even think I can.
I can let you in. I can let you know me. You aren’t coming to shame me, to hurt me, to criticize me, to embarrass me or to haunt me. You’re coming to love me. You’re coming to let me know how you care. You’re coming to make me aware of all you’ve done and the deep life-impacting significance of it all.
God, show me what I keep from you, so I can really know you. God, show me what keeps me far, so I can get closer to your ways. God, show me how I am terrified of intimacy so I can intimately and authentically seek you.
When I say I want you above all else, I really do.
She didn’t so much as say hi to me. In fact, even worse, she walked right past me, looking the other direction. She pretended I wasn’t there. Hmph!! After all I’ve done for her.After all I’ve given her. After how I’ve gone out of my way to love her.
Now I’m the one left looking like a crazed waving-at-the-air fool. Like – an idiot.
I humph at her husband along the way to my church seat. Silently, I critique her in my mind, She’s rude. Before not too long, I get side-tracked by own thoughts: Everyone always hurts me. Like that boy, I asked to dance in 4th grade. Like those girls who circled up to whisper about me in that damp locker room. Like the group of women who act like they’re far better than me.
I’m supposed to be listening in church, but who can listen, thinking about all this, all them!?
Here, I find myself, in the heat of a horrible battle. You can always tell if you’re in the heat-of-a-battle. Almost instantly, your soul-crushing problem magnifies 100x larger than your promise-keeping God. Suddenly, you’re standing weaponless, in all-out combat within your own mind. Hardly able to win.
Ever been there?
I’ve struggled through a lot – through massive health-scares, depression, an eating disorder, financial debt and relationship-severing dramas. Battles. Huge, hard-fought battles, loaded with momentary decisions of pain, struggle and uncertainty.
I remember the time:
1. The doctor returned to the room with the clipboard saying, “You really might have Mulitple Sclerosis.”
I thought: How do I keep my thoughts close to God with this kind of news?
2. My colicky newborn made me pace my hallways 24-7. Sleepless, hardly-thinking and powerless to change my health-situation, I didn’t know what to do.
I thought: How do I still love people when my whole life is unraveling?
3. A family member called me to say I really should get on setting up long-term care for myself.
I thought: How do I deal with the fact all my dreams will now look different than I thought?
Through all this, I realized, real wisdom is having a battle-plan.
Let’s talk about Christ-centered battle-plan preparedness. Begin by asking yourself: What am I currently facing?
Identifying your main struggles (resentment, regret, trauma, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, fear) is to allow God to help you win your battle. For example, for me, underneath that issue with the girl, was an old war full of rejection, humiliation, and abandonment from years past. Underneath, were old battles I’d lost – because they were left unaddressed. Therefore, they left me with resentment towards God.
Seeing our battles for what they are, gives us a clear-cut strategy to fight – and win. It also removes all the pent-up offenses that, like plaque, cover our heart.
What about you? Do you emotionally respond to happenings set before you or do you wisely act based on God’s Word and promises?
Today, you can fight your battle a new way. Consider:
1. Asking God what feelings of fear, worry, anger, resentment, neglect and hurt He desires you give to him.
2. Giving those hurts to Jesus, by saying, “Jesus, I am not meant to carry these. Forgive me. They’ve hurt me for far too long. I know and believe you have peace, joy, life and freedom for me as I give you these things.”
3. Blessing any women who have hurt you.
4. Reframing your moments of hurt. (Example: when she passed by me quickly, she was probably was in a rush, she might have had something to do or she lost in thought)
5. Returning to a heart of love. (Example: Thank you God that you love me and I can love others. In fact, I can love the very person who hurt me by ___.)
This is the start of being Battle Ready. There truly are practical insights, wise biblical instructions and truths that can help you rise above the mayhem of trials and hardships. You can find the light of Christ and step into all God has for you.
The victory belongs to the Lord. Isn’t it time you began to make room for it?
About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously
“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 TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Battle Readyis a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to
· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters
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.
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)
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.”
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.
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.
On a steamy track, the coach ran after my heels screaming with her timer, “Go, go, go!” No one talked. It didn’t matter how we felt. Sprints gave way to more sprints. Tiredness ended up sprinting. So did exhaustion. Near-death feelings were supposed to somehow push us harder.
With that little glint of belief in her eye, the coach non-verbally pressured us that there was “more in us”. So we somehow found it and kept going.
During tryouts the coaches hovered over me, trying to figure out where I fit in on the track field. Would I be a long distance runner? A shot-putter? A sprinter? A hurdle-runner?
As she assigned everyone to his or her spot, I imagined all the potential of one person: me. I imagined myself running fast and with intensity along with all these other pre-Olympian superstars. But when she looked at me with beads of sweat on her face and in her hair, she said, “You’re my race-walker.”
The loser. The one who looks all weird with her hips swaggering from side to side?
I wanted to quit. While everyone else was something, I was nothing. The embarrassment.
Have you ever felt like the things you dream of are blocked? Like you can’t access what you’re supposed to be?
That day, I stood on that field shell-shocked. Then, I started walking. I walked so hard and fast, a year or so later, I made it to the Junior Olympics and got a bronze medal. Oddly, this moment is one of the greatest joys and the greatest gifts of my life. That track team had heart and taught me heart. I learned it is not what you think you should do that matters, but what God has for you that fills your heart.
What if what you’re made for looks different than you think? Will you accept His best in belief that it will one day become yours?
You need to know this: It’s not up to them – the pastors, the teachers and the ones who stand on big platforms. It is up to you. Seriously. You are a royal priesthood. You are a saint. You are chosen.
Sometimes, I look at all the people who are doing big things. Then, I think my stuff is small. I think my work is unworthy. I believe it’s them doing the stuff God wants, but not me.
Lies. Lies. Lies. Pit of Hell lies.
The truth is: your stuff is not small. I get the messages from you all. You have just as much fabulous insight, wisdom, and lessons to teach as I do. You have things to say. You have stories to tell. You have people to love. You have lives to change. You are being used by God and He IS doing mighty things in you and through you.
Believe it. Do not despise small beginnings. And do not negate God in you.
Do you want to be used? Then ask God to be used. It is almost always as simple as “an ask.”
Ask, “God, will you use me today?”
Then, ready yourself to be used. Look for the woman who can’t handle all her bags at the grocery store. Listen and discern God’s heart for the woman dumping out her heart on your couch. Believe God has things He wants to do, say and release through you. You are not inconsequential.
Stop disqualifying yourself. You are mighty, because the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is in you.
Hello?! Can you even believe that?
It is true.
When we stop believing we are weak, we start seeing we are strong, in Christ. You don’t have to see yourself as weak anymore. Sure, see yourself as a servant to Jesus and to others through love, but don’t look at that as weak. Don’t say, “Woe is me, I can’t do anything of value…” That is not Christ’s call or lot for you.
Jesus never lessened himself to appear to man as being super-humble. Neither should we. Jesus did the works God called Him to. He always stepped out no matter how it looked to others.
The world needs us. Let’s step out.
The hungry need to be fed. We know the Bread of Life.
The angry need to find peace. We are well-acquainted with the Prince of Peace.
The depressed need to know joy. We have found it, more than ever, through Jesus.
The isolated need to know they are not alone. We are the body.
The world needs answers. We know The Way.
Be in Christ and be used. Be prayerful and be discerning. Be strong and loving. Be bold and vocal. Be free and bring that freedom to others. This is our call.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you have put passions inside each one of us. I ask that we would walk them out with you. I ask that you would unleash us in our purpose. Help us to do all things, in love and with your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to proceed. What does this person need to hear in order to start acting differently?
There’s validity to our questions. In reality, our wisdom leads to dead ends. Over-strategizing doesn’t work. When we control others, we grip a slippery wall, powerless.
The flesh is death.
The Spirit is life.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Ro. 8:6
The other points us to Christ as we await his best thing.
One musters up faith through actions and reactions.
The other leans on God through heart connection.
One is reactive to insults.
The other is reflective and submitted to truth.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Ro. 8:26
The Spirit in us gives life to us. He not only cares our your problems, but groans on our behalf, the exact words we cannot muster.
Do you feel unaccounted for? Do you feel left behind? Do you not know what direction to head? Fear not, whatever you don’t know, God does. His plan is not to hide the plan, but to reveal it.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10)
There is goodness prepared for you. There is an uncovering of your way being revealed by the Spirit. Therefore, wait, with faith. Trust, with hope. Be governed by the Spirit. He is always your best way.
For weeks, months even, I observed this gal on social media. Because she regularly posted, I could easily keep track of her. As I saw it, every picture was a sob story about her life. Every post seemed to be a call to the world saying, “See me! See me! Pay attention to what I am doing!” She prickled my nerves.
“At least I’m not like her,” I thought.
I thought this way for a very long time. Until. Until I discovered the reality. Reality is not social media. Reality is the voice behind it. And when I heard her voice on the telephone, I discovered the true pain of her recent struggles. I saw her heart to come to the aide of others and saw the true line of Jesus’ love running right through her.
I thought wrong.
A friend came to my house. To every question I asked her she replied with a one word Humph-like answer. She wasn’t a very good friend. She must be angry at me.
At least I’m not like her.
Only later, when I asked how I could pray for her did she share, “Please pray for my marriage.”
I thought wrong, again.
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’” Lu. 18:11
Oh really, Mr. Pharisee? You are not like them? Certainly, you “must be” a whole bunch more godly, more wise, more thoughtful, more successful, more holy…but, there is only one issue: You carry around brick-heavy weights of pride.
Yes, pride. It is the thing that makes you judge others without knowing the full story. It is the thing that makes you see one side but not the other. It is the thing that makes you consider others’ sin at a moments notice, while missing your own.
“I tell you that this (tax collector) man, rather than the (Pharisee), went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Lu. 18:14
Today, my aim is new: I will not judge what I don’t know. I can never know the inner story behind a person’s outer persona. The pain that resides inside usually works its way out. My job is not to pin it to the wall in condemnation. My job is to love until its appearance smoothes under the love of Christ.