Purposeful Faith

Category - birth

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.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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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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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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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What Surrender Looks Like

What does surrender look like?

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.”

Your what?

Your 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?

This is surrender.

 

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Your Faith Isn’t Up to Them

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.

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When You Don’t Know What to Do

I can’t.

How many times have we thought this?

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

One disappoints.
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 SpiritThe 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.

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At Least I am Not Like Her

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.

I can do this with myself, and with others.

 

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Dealing with the Demands of the World

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.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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What Faith Does

Look back and think of some miracles God has done in your life.

My miracle: He completely healed me from an eating disorder.

My miracle: He brought money into my mailbox on the very day I believed, many years ago when I couldn’t pay rent.

Your miracle: ____

Your miracle: ____

These past miraculous mile-markers serve as huge celebrations. Essentially, we said to God at that time, “Father, I want to ____. I need to ___. Only you can ___.” Then, Jesus did.

Times like this are recounted again and again in scripture. For example, a blind man said to Jesus, “I want to see!” (Lu. 18:41)

Jesus replied: “Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” (Lu. 18:42)

It was this man’s faith that healed him. Faith permitted him to receive his healing versus doubting it and blocking it. He opened up his arms to a new idea, versus crossing them. Doing this was powerful, because look what happens. . .

We are told, “Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.” (Lu.18:4e)

Notice the progression at work here…
Our faith leads to our receiving: This becomes our seeing.
Seeing leads to following Jesus.
Receiving and seeing creates a life of praising.
Our praising makes others start praising.

Where might your small mustard-seed-size faith start a wildfire of praise in this world? Don’t discount a small beginning of faith; God does not despise it. Instead, remember the wonders of old and recount the faithfulness of yesteryear. Re-establish that your God is able. And believe. Get ready to receive God’s new thing.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Reasons Why Others Don’t Control Your Destiny

I recently noticed an increasing problem in my life. I can’t stand it if people think poorly of me. If they don’t email me back, I think there’s an issue. If they don’t answer my call, I decide they no longer like me. If I did something in the past and asked for forgiveness, I still figure I’m on the people-we-don’t-like list. The issue is not so much that I haven’t forgiven them. It’s that I think, “They couldn’t have forgiven me.” Which lends to a problem: shame.

And when shame shows up, we can always be sure its makings are from the enemy. And when he shows up, we can know we need to fight back.

How do we fight back? We realize, on many levels, it is not man who is in charge, but God.

Here are 25 Reasons Why Others Don’t Control My Destiny:

  1. What matters is not what man builds, but what God builds.
    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
  2. Every single battle belongs to the Lord. When He fights, He wins.
  3. Jesus had people against him. Guess what? He kept His eye on the mission, and as a result was still victorious.
  4. I may plan my way, but God ultimately directs my steps. (Prov. 16:9)
  5. God is actively working in others’ hearts in a way I cannot see, manage or predict.
  6. I think far more about how I appear and “come off” than others do. They usually are thinking far more about how they “appear” and “come off” than about me.
  7. What I dwell on, people tend to forget, especially if I’ve apologized.
  8. Another’s silence could also mean: they are busy, out of town, struggling or forgetful.
  9. God is my maker: nothing can unmake His plans for me.
  10. If I remember who annoyed me 10 years ago, they are practically a non-issue today.
  11. For every desperate no-way-out problem in the bible, God drop-kicked its walls and cleared way for victory, for those who trusted Him.
  12. Waiting with trust is the first step to seeing a miracle.
  13. What I can’t see being worked out, God can.
  14. Shame doesn’t rule me. God’s truth and Spirit does.
  15. I’ve been made to focus my attention on God, not on other’s wavering emotions, reactions and motivations.
  16. God knows my heart. He stands behind and protects the hearts of the righteous.
  17. The Spirit in me will guide me and lead me down the best paths.
  18. I am not perfect, but I can trust the one who is to help me.
  19. Jesus’ mission was never thwarted by those against Him.
  20. God-dropped learnings result in my growing, when I steer clear of self-condemning words.
  21. My path is God’s, not the trampled-down wide road the herds travel. Charting a new course with God always takes determination.
  22. It is God’s rod that comforts and protects me, not the response of man.
  23. I am made by God, not by other’s opinions.
  24. I am the daughter of the Most High King. He will provide all I need (and then some).
  25. God is the maker of every man, not the opposite.
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