Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

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.

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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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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Trading Fear for Confidence in His Unshakeable Grip

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

If you were completely confident in God’s unchanging, irrevocable love for you, would it change how you walked? If you knew that no matter how many times you fell, he would be right there to catch you, would it change the way you lived your life?

I believe it would.

Several years ago, God showed me what confidence in a daddy’s grip can do. Our firstborn was six, and he set out to conquer a new set of monkey bars at a state park we were visiting. But after climbing the ladder and surveying the height, fear overtook him. I could tell he wanted to cross, but he convinced himself he wasn’t able to do it.

After spending a few minutes observing our boy, my husband walked over. He spoke words of encouragement and told him he would walk with him, arms out and ready to grab him if he slipped.

Our six-year-old hesitated another moment and then went for it. He made it all the way across without falling, and then there was no stopping him. He immediately went back for more.

The smile on his face spoke for itself, but for the rest of the afternoon he told everyone about his new accomplishment. Our friends. The neighbors. People he met on our hike to the waterfall.

Everyone heard, “Daddy wouldn’t let me fall, so I knew I could do it.”

It’s amazing what that kind of confidence can do for us, isn’t it?

When we know someone is walking with us and cares about every detail of our lives, we can move forward without fear. Even when circumstances look bleak, we can put one foot in front of the other because we know we aren’t doing it alone.

Can I tell you something? You have someone too.

If you’ve surrendered your life to the living God, he goes with you, behind you and before you.

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 NLT

Even if everyone in your life has let you down or abandoned you. Even if your earthly father never gave you the love and assurance you needed.

God’s love is not fickle. It is patient and enduring. It withstands in the places where human loves fails.

This is the type of love that transforms our walk. It’s the type of love that enables us to do things we would never do before, because we know with him standing in the gap with us, we will never be alone.

Claim this truth as your own today. Speak it out loud when the lies of the enemy threaten to overtake your thoughts. I can promise when you do, you will see a change. And the change will be in you.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

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.

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

The Mind + Exciting News + You’re Invited: Do it With Me!

Our mind is a garden. We either take time to water it, or it wilts due to worry, distress and stress. We either remove the weeds or they crowd-out fruit.

God cares greatly about our gardens. Why? Becuase what we think on, we act on. What we dwell on, drives us. What untruths we believe, shape our instincts, emotions, and impulses.

Our mind is not meant to just memorize scripture, it’s to be compelled by the mind of Christ, always. “We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)

As we pluck what’s not of Christ, He seems to grow in us.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Ro. 12:2) 

Nutrient-dense soil grows faith.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
(Phil. 4:8)  

Without weeds, Christ rules our thoughts.
“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
(2 Cor. 10:5)

Is Christ’s truth, promises, and love ruling your thoughts? Or are you stressed out and stunted by problems, pessimism, and pain?

What if, you began to think differently, like Christ? What if you could face your problems proactively, verses reactively? How would your whole world change?

I wrote the book Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously after suffering through an eating disorder, depression, health issues, relationship problems, financial struggles and so much more. This book is not only a hands-on manual, where you can explore-your-story, but it is also a battle plan for your mind. With how-tos, practical and biblical wisdom, verses and truths it will help you stand strong. It will surely change your thoughts, change your habits and then change your life.

Want the inside scoop on the book?  Printables? Video devotionals? Live prayer with Kelly? My arsenal of Battle-scripture? Group-support? Weekly accountability? A physical thought-changing gift? A Mini-Prayer Journal?

****SPECIAL INVITATION: Join me on my launch team and you’ll get all the above and far more.

You don’t have to do a ton, you’ll just get behind the book in the little ways that seem natural to you. Such as:

Sharing the book with your small group or women’s minister
Spreading the word about it on social media.
Writing an Amazon review (which is so helpful).
Encouraging my heart.
Sharing it with your people (if you are a blogger)

Just pre-order a book today, then join the group here. Don’t delay.  200 also get a free book sent to them. Join the launch team.

Are you a seasoned- or veteran blogger, women’s minister, leader or speaker?

I’m offering an unprecedented launch opportunity. I am taking the Platform Mastermind Course – the one I’ll be releasing in the Fall for $500+ dollars – and I am literally giving it to my launch members for free. FREE.

This course:

  • Boils down all the marketing mumbo-jumbo into clear and concise how-tos so you can steward and grow your audience.
  • Reduces hours of learning, flight-times to conferences, time away from your family, and money spent trying to figure out what to do or not do.
  • Gets industry experts to share what is working right now on social media, in speaking and online so that you don’t have to endlessly search to figure everything out.
  • Presents the information in easy-to-consume and take-action videos that are short, and chock-full of wisdom. Plus, you can watch it all from the comfort of your home.

What are some of the 15+ courses experts in each field will share?

Video sessions include topics like:
– The 5 Biggest Speaking No-Nos (and 5 Things You must do)!
– “Crushing it on Facebook/Instagram Stories Video”
– The 7 Best Blogging Tips, Ever
– Making Facebook Work For You
– 3 Tips Publishers Won’t Tell You, But You Need to Know
– Why You Need an Agent and How to Get one
– Start a Blog: Get Up and Running in No Time
– Thriving in Ministry and Motherhood
– How to Boss Your Time Around
– How to Build an Email List, Fast
– “Rock it” on Instagram
– 5 Tips to Heart Connecting Writing/Speaking
– Find and Book Speaking Gigs
– The Social Media Strategies that ARE Working
– Learn Kelly’s Groundbreaking Tips in Bonus Video Content
– Creating awesome photos and visuals that attract people
+ much more…

How to join:
1. Pre-order a book on Amazon to help me.
2. Join the launch team here.
3. Fill out the form (do it now, limited space available).

I expect this launch team to be not only mind-changing but also life-changing and platform ground-breaking.

Share this on social media (and be entered to win a free book): Join Kelly Balarie’s Battle Ready Launch Team! You’ll get 15+Platform-Building Expert Coaching Videos for Free. (Include the link to this page)

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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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How to Prevent Yourself from Stumbling

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This (suffering, pain death) shall never happen to you!” (Lu. 16:22)
Jesus replies to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)

What is a stumbling block?

It is anyone or anything that tries to stumble you as you move on God’s road. Like Peter, people may have good intentions. Their words may even be comfortable, harmless, or normal, but if they’re stumbling you, they’re worth investigating.

Stumbling blocks often make us say, “Wait, was I really meant for all this? Will God really pull through for me? Is He really that good? Is his Word really true?” 

When I consider stumbling block words, they tend to: question God’s plan, doubt his ability to show up, discourage what He is imprinting on a heart.

They speak fear instead of life and doubt instead of faith.

Will God really…?
How is that possible…?
Are you sure you want to…?

Wise people receive wise words from others.

But like Jesus, we are wise to rebuke voices contrary to the clear moves of God happening in our heart. Indeed, Satan often uses people to do his worst handiwork.

However, we can recognize his schemes. They tend to deter us from…

  1. Holiness
  2. God’s clear call for our life
  3. Loving people as God is calling us to

Here, we can:

  1. Rebuke the enemy within our mind, and ask God to give us fresh courage to see things through.
  2. Forgive others if their words hurt us.
  3. Pray and ask God what he wants us to learn through this situation.

Just because someone said something, doesn’t mean we have to own it. And just because we don’t own something, doesn’t mean we ignore what others have said. Perhaps they have a good point. Wisdom knows to sift it through God’s Word and prayer before deciding to accept or reject it.

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The Pain of Insensitivity

“Oh you’re fine. It wasn’t even a hard fall. Get up, you’re okay. You fell softly,” the grey-haired lady said repeatedly to the 4-year-old who fell off her seat.

Oh really?

After watching this all play out, I consider her words. How can one “fall softly?” I’ve never heard of such a thing. Second, I have no idea how a warehouse metal floor could be soft.

The little girl threw a fit for the next 10 minutes afterward.

Now, I recognize: I’m eavesdropping at this coffee store. I also recognize: I’m judging. Even more, I recognize: I’ve probably done the same thing to my kids at times.

God help me.

But, there’s a point to all this. When we negate people’s fall, or feelings, we fail to be there for them. When we brush off another person’s reality, we hurt them even more. Thus, this 4-year old girl’s 10-minute tantrum post-fall. No one was there for her.

She threw a fit.

Just because we brush off someone else’s pain, doesn’t mean it disappears. In fact, insensitivity to pain often heightens it. It causes tantrums. Explosions. Depression.

How did Jesus deal with people’s pain?

A “man who had died was being carried out” by his mother.

“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Lu. 7:13

“And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[d] gave him to his mother.” Lu. 7:14

Through compassion, Jesus cleared the way for life. Our approach should be the same.

 

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