Purposeful Faith

Category - expectations

Seizing Spiritual Confidence: 4 Foundational Keys

spiritual confidence

I got to the end of the day, pulled into the driveway, stared out the front windshield and laid down a verdict, “I didn’t succeed at loving. My morning goals – looked like a blown-out tire by afternoon.

Sure, I began the day with aspirations a mile long – I’d do great things with God, we’d pour out love on people, we would encourage the world with the love of Jesus.  But then, life happened. Ugh.  I felt much more like a woman on a treadmill – working up a sweat and getting nowhere – than a woman on a mission of grand importance.

I exhaled. Scrunched down in my seat. Clenched the steering wheel.

I stink.
God, I am sorry that I didn’t win for you today.
I am sorry that I let you down.
My heart is to go all out for you, but I lost.

Have you sat like me –
wanting to make progress only to end up discouraged?

I recently signed up for Michael Hyatt’s Free To Focus Productivity Summit. Reason being? I have a minuscule amount of time to complete a massive amount of ministry. I need help.

Learning a ton, Michael said something that struck me; it clicked: Not keeping up, makes you feel like you are losing. Feeling like your losing diminishes productive confidence.

My confidence ride likes waves. I go high when I am confident, but when the waves crash – so do I. I eat it.

With this, I wonder, shouldn’t my confidence look more steady, more consistent?

More like Jesus?

More grace-filled, less about getting ahead?
More locked and loaded on eternity, less concerned with check-marks?
More set on God’s big mission, less engrossed with endless busyness?

How does God see confidence?

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

I might say, “Do more”,
but God says,
Be more with me. Come more – to me.”

Lasting confidence.
Enduring confidence.
Unwavering confidence.

What if I no longer lived like a temperature gauge –
hot and on fire with passion one day, cold in defeat the next?

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of my hand. Jo. 10:28

Godly confidence is knowing that God will never let you go.

It is less in what we do,
or how we see things, and more in who He is – and what he does.

He has our future. Confidence!
He knows our way. Confidence!
He will be faithful. Confidence!
We can fly arms wide open into his will. Confidence!
We can fall and he will still make my fly. Confidence!
We can not know the way – but he will. Confidence!

Confidence in Jesus, can’t be stolen, revoked or denied. It is a solid rock; it does not waver.

On what ground does your confidence stand confidence?

Achievement? People pleasing? Perfection? Performance? Busyness?  Perhaps it is time to exchanges confidence that crashes like waves for rock-solid confidence that can’t be stolen.

4 Foundational Truths that Breed Confidence

  • There is no effective building of anything unless the Lord truly resides over everything.
    Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
    Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Ps. 127:1
  • God’s work is less about what you do and more about what He’s already decided to do.
    For I am confident of this very thing,
    that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6
  • You don’t need to fear, God protects you from the snares.
    For the LORD will be your confidence
    And will keep your foot from being caught. Prov. 3:26
  • You don’t have to know where you are going, just that God is going there with you.
    Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Heb. 11:1

The real power of confidence transcends our natural eye. When we pull our strength from the supernatural, something amazing happens – we often do the supernatural. Suddenly, focus is exactly what we have and progress is exactly what we get. It never comes by our strength – but always comes by His. This removes the pressure. It is a heavenly movement on our behalf, not a heart-attack ridden movement by our striving.

This kind of confidence? It makes all the difference.

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7 Ways You Distance God (& 5 Verses to Bring Him Close)

Distance God

Uber scares me. I rode on it one time and I convinced myself I was about to be trafficked and brought to South America on first sight of the car. I was wrong. He was nice; I got where I needed to go. The next time, things took a different turn.

It was desolate and dark. I stood on the curb heart beating out of my chest, pondering whether to hide behind the nearby bush. I’d watch UBER wait for me, then see him drive away. Perfect! I could go inside to safety. I didn’t.  I am glad, boy, am I glad, I didn’t.

“I am a Pre-K teacher,” the driver said, “You know, kids say all types of things.”

I nodded and continued, “One kid said to his misbehavin’ friends, ‘Aww…you’re in trouble…I am going to tell Jesus on you.’”

Little did she know – I know that kid.

He lives in me. He talks the same:

“You’re being insecure. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

“You’re not spending enough time with God. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

“You’re not acting nice to the family. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

When we believe Jesus is out to get us,
we have a hard time believing Jesus is out to love us. 

“…You are trouble in Jesus now! He’ll never bless you, help you, want you, lead you or provide for you now, you little delinquent.”

 God more resembles a punisher than a lover.

Does Jesus ever feel more like a high school principal than the Prince of Peace?

People avoid principals! They take the opposite route, to avoid them. They fear his office. They know retaliation is prevalent. They fear him in a way where they forgo wanting to be near him. They keep safe distance. I do. I don’t want to get hurt, shunned.

Is this you?

7 Ways to tell if you’re Distancing yourself from God:

1. You fear God’s mean face before you think of his abounding grace.

2. You fear admitting wrong because you believe God’s compassion can’t be that strong.

3. You feel if you accept God’s good gifts, you will owe him something.

4. You think you are unworthy of forgiveness.

5. You are certain who you are and how you act, disqualifies you.

6. You work really hard to be loved.

7. You feel great when you’re great and a heathen when you’re horrible.

5 Truths that Move God from Authoritarian to Author of Peace

  1. Remember, for children of God, God’s grace more than meets the strength of mess-ups. There’s no ounce that can stand under the power of the cross.
    “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Ro. 5:20)
  2. God’s love requires nothing from you, but gives everything to you. When you receive and then receive some more, suddenly you start to believe God is good, truly good.
    “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
  3. Meditate on the idea… If Jesus died for us while man treated him like the scum of the earth, if he received whips and lashes on the account of our sin, if he died a slow an agonizing death and won – won’t he continue to forgive you today?
    God demonstrates…love…: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Ro. 5:8)
  4. Say, “I am sorry. Forgive me God.” It will restore you every time.
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps. 103:8)
  5. Believe this: God isn’t a rule-master, but a Master who knows his love, law and liberty will set us free.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:30)

There is no punisher hoping to hurt you. The complete sum of Love pursues you.

Will you let him in?

God doesn’t love you dependent on good actions.
He doesn’t disqualify you based on your wrongs.
He won’t outcast you because you look different.
He sees past your personal convictions of guilty.
He released you 2000 years ago – when Jesus paid for it all.
Not-guilty.
Loved.
Done.
& Done.

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***The #RaRalinkup for 1 -day only, will be this afternooon and tomorrow (Wednesday).

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5 Ways: Calm the Inner-Rumbles of Rejection

Rumblings of Rejection

I am joining Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited Book Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.

Her belly stuck out like a balloon, her shoulders slumped and she wore a skirt like a table cloth. Face as cute as a button, no doubt, this girl was ready to pop.

I remembered those days. Sweaty, in the summer heat. Eager, to be done with it. Waddling, in discomfort. I remembered the odd feelings, the circles in front of the mirror, the clothes wedged up in the small parts of my body. The discomfort.

Striding into the coffee store, I determined to – make her day!

“You look beautiful. Just beautiful,” I declared with oomph, power and confidence.

I waited. She stared.
I hoped. She looked confused.
I felt awkward. She shifted her eyes away.

I put my head down and flew that coffee store door wide-open.

She hates me!
I made a fool out of myself!
She thinks I pity her!
She thinks I am one of those weird “I-want-to rub-your-belly-types.”

Why do I try to be kind?
Why do I always mess up?
Why can’t I do things right?

In that moment, I signed an internal declaration stating I would no longer do dumb things. I put my initials on the blank line, agreeing, “I will not risk, when the greatest one at risk of getting hurt – is always me!” The deal was done. I was over feeling like the loser, who couldn’t succeed at making others feel like winners.

sting of rejection

Oh no! Here she comes. Just 4-feet away. I fumbled around in my purse, trying to find safe refuge (a.k.a. my phone). Heart beating faster and faster, I swiped, clicked and typed. I did anything to remain unseen, until…

…her friend arrived and they mumbled in some foreign language I could not understand.

I stared.
I looked confused.
I shifted my eyes away. 

What I declared as rejection, was never her intention.

She likely couldn’t understand my words. She likely felt insecure. She likely felt alone and afraid in a foreign country, where everything in her world was changing before her very eyes.

For every backslap, there is usually a backstory.

What if I considered what others see,
rather than letting responses be declarations of me?

In Lysa Terkeurst’s latest book, Uninvited, she says,Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.”

Well, Lysa, you get me thinking, really thinking. Rejection not only steals, he plunders my greatest opportunities to love others. He makes me hate myself sometimes. When I hate me, I tend to only think about – me.

Yet, what I am realizing is the inner-mumblings of rejection, well – they almost always lie. Man doesn’t define who I am – Jesus does. Let him define you too.

5 Things to Remember when Rejection Stings:

  1. You are chosen by God to do great things.
  2. You are royal. Daughter’s of God are always taken care of.
  3. You are holy. God sees your heart, knows your desires and delights in you.
  4. You are God’s special possession and treasures you.
  5. You are called to the light and being led to greater places.

Essentially, remember this verse: You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet. 2:9)

sting of rejection

With God’s ownership over me, I am no longer the byproduct of whom others declare me to be – now, I am an escapee. In God’s truth, I am set free.

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Even when you’re overlooked by others, you are handpicked by God. In her new book, Uninvited, New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst will help you live like you really believe that truth! Order your copy.

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If you liked this post, you may like:

When You are Rejected, Rejected and Rejected Again

The Promise Inside the Sting of Rejection

Do you Focus on Differences that Separate?

differences that separate

Standing there, remembering, it felt like these moments happened just 5 minutes ago…they still weigh heavy. Somehow, everything about these situations said so much about me. Here’s how they played out:

1. I cut the strawberries carefully, practically savoring the trifle I’d soon pick apart. Conversations were ample, fun and full. Juice ran off my fingertips and I loved the feeling, the freeness, the summer air. Life was good, until, I came undone by her words, “You cut differently than I do.”

2. A friend joined me for a morning IV of coffee. We connected, discussing: who we are, where we will go, and how we will approach things. But as quickly as the caffeine jolt appeared, it was crashed with his words, “Well, I am just different than you. I don’t do things like that.”

3. She was kind. So kind. I love her. I still do, but it stung deep when she said, “I believe differently than you do.”

Differences make us feel odd and outside the norm. Rather than feeling like a belonger, we feel like an outsider. Underneath, we hear hostile threats, declaring, “You are wrong. You are not as good as me.”

Ever noticed? These threats come in all different shapes and sizes: A child whose dreams, views or agendas are different. A spouse who thinks “contrarian”. A job moving forward with different plans than the ones you were committed to. A person who looks nothing like you. An opinion that doesn’t resonate with yours. A person you can’t relate to. Backgrounds you don’t understand.

What difference is threatening you? More.

Read the rest of the post
at Christy Mobley’s site,

where you will find the
6 easy steps to being a uniter:
click here to continue reading.

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Defeating Distraction with just 2 Words

I came home from a prayer meeting all full of Jesus and with new plans to let his love flow.

Sitting down at the computer, I knew three things:

1. God was using me to roll-out his glory.
2. I am encouraging others with words that only God could ordain. He is bringing unity.
3. Jesus’ pulse was beating in my heart.

I pressed into my work with fervor. But, as time passed, my mind strayed. It wondered what people were up to? It pondered, what am I missing online? It called me to Facebook, then to my emails. God’s work will be waiting when I return…I figured.

I scrolled.

But, as I did, three things captured me:

1. The face of someone from the past. They brought me straight back into a bad memory.

2. Images from the Dallas catastrophe. It tried to rip the idea of unity apart in my heart.

3. An email from my husband, reminding me we have no idea where we are going to live or what our plans are.

What God established,
distraction was determined to demolish.

Like a perfectly organized shelf, my heart was arranged just right. It was oriented towards God, only to all be knocked down, at a moment’s notice, by my own carelessness in keeping my heart set straight.

This kind of thing happens subtly. This toppling of God. It happens somewhere between morning devotion and child carpool. It shows up in a day somewhere between worship and workers with paint cans who never show up. It arrives through the voice of a boss who sounds like he hates you.

How do we stay devoted to God
when distractions get stuck to us? 

“Only God knows,” I thought. And he did.

What God put on my heart was two words: Purpose and Protection.

1. Purpose: If we don’t purposely pursue his plans, our plans will fail.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Ps. 127:1

This means, no matter how blaring the noise, no matter how worthy its notability, we don’t welcome it in for coffee. Sure, this alert, notification or ding can arrive at the doorstep of our heart, saying, “Hey look at me. Look at me! I need your attention.”

But, we can act differently by saying, “I see you, but right now, I am on a mission from – and with – God. I need to focus on his face; he has plans for me that I cannot be deterred from.”

2. Protection: If we don’t guard against discouragement, we will swim in it.

What good are we to spread love, if we walk in defeat? We must consider what sends our heart astray and then, like we are holding a leash to a dog that is biting us, break the leash and send that yapping dog astray.

We need to let go of the leash that has actually kept us captive.

What is it? Facebook? Comparing? Jealousy? Performance numbers? Words from a friend that really is not even a friend?

Cut the leash. 

Friends, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be beholden to the world, pinned down by it. I want to be a running and raging fire, releasing the love of Christ.

To do this, I must protect the sanctity and the sacred connection to my King. You must too.

For as we target our focus,
what will come in focus,
is the very focus of all our affections,
the King of Glory,
the Hope of Nations,
the drink of living water,
the way through all our existing questions.

There he is enthroned,
empowering his people,
pleading on our behalf,
equipping us with what we need.

And we will feel it,
we become certain,
eager even,
heart pulsing, we want to move.

And we do,
we rise into his purpose.
Unrestrained.
Uncontained.
Unbelievably effective for his cause.

We find ourselves.

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Are you Fooling Yourself Faithless?

Fooling Yourself

Bang! The thunder sounded like a shot in the night, except it was morning. Either way, the shrieks that ensued caught us all off guard. “Quick, get under the blankie! Let’s hide,” Madison shouted at her toddler brother.

They tumbled down like miniature-wrestlers, grabbing the comforter and maneuvering it over their heads.

They felt safe. But, what I could see from the height of my vantage point went beyond two sets of covered heads – to the 3 feet of remaining limbs laying uncovered. These soft legs, arms and hearts were still vulnerable – vulnerable to thunder, destruction and all the fierce consequences of lightening.

Fooling Yourself

All I could think was, “Those cute little fools aren’t safe. They’re hardly covered.”

In the same way, I act like a fool.

Do you?

Do you take cover with defensiveness, escape and busyness to escape the danger of reality?

Are you afraid to deal with mounting problems and the excruciating weight of your own emotions?

Do you figure Jesus won’t be able to handle the likes of you?fooling yourself

It’s embarrassing, ugly even, to admit, but I cover. I grab a leaf and pretend it will hide the ugliness of my nakedness. Yet, what didn’t work for Eve, still doesn’t work for me. 

These thoughts…
“If I can’t see my problems, my problems can’t see me…”
“If I pretend it isn’t there, maybe it will go away…”
“If I can fight back with strength, I won’t be so weak…”
…these thoughts, leave me vulnerable, exposed and aimless – running like a rabid dog in hunt of life. 

Even worse, my tricks go bust, because no one is tricked. My family sees my limbs flailing about. My God sees everything. And, my insides see a hole too deep to climb out from.

The tension mounts, my heart asks:
How can I deal with my feelings without fleeing?

An answer settles: What pain we give God an opportunity to see, he’ll free.

Because God is a God of clear vision…
From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all…(Ps. 33:13-14)

…who cares.
who considers everything they do…. (Ps. 33:13-14)

And He sees deliverance and delivers deliverance to those who desperately hope in him.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine. ( Ps. 33:18-19)

His tender mercy wants to approach us (Lu. 1:78). It doesn’t look like a hand raised. It doesn’t squint with eyes furrowed. It doesn’t pontificate with a red face. No. It is a cupped hand that holds you tenderly, as if you were a shell about to break into his glory.

Unfailing love wants to heal you. He wants to heal me too.

Will we let Deliverer deliver us from fear to faith?

We don’t need to hide from tender mercy. For it is, after all, what we most crave, isn’t it?

So today, gather your courage, put it in a line, get it ready to launch, and pray with me: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23), make them plain to my eyes, Lord. Help me be able to handle them. Show me the way to go. Teach me. I am open.”

Then prepare your heart to be flooded by He who is – LOVE. He will lead your way through the muck and yuck. Through thick and thin. Through tears and healing.

fooling yourself

He won’t let you down, as you look up.

It may not always feel easy or safe, but, every time, his ways are (Mt. 11:3o).

So, let’s no longer pull the comforter over our eyes, for the Spirit is comforter (Jo. 14:26) and his vision will see us through.

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What Pours Out from within You?

Outpours

Marcia Kuyper is joining us today for Women’s Ministry Monday and, boy, am I delighted about it. Her words struck a chord with my heart. They are both encouraging and thought-provoking. I am confident they will bless you as much as they did me. Enjoy!

Post by: Marcia Kuyper

I could see he was annoyed with me.

My husband Tom set our vitamins out on the counter, and I, knowing a better system, “politely” questioned his arrangement.

The tension was subtle, but I was keenly aware of his frustration with me. It makes me mad when he gets annoyed with me.  I was thinking, “What right does he have to be irritated with me, after the way he hurt me?”

I say out loud, “You are so bugged with me.”

My conflict avoiding husband gave it to me straight.  He courageously began to tell me about the way I affect him.  I knew he was talking about more than the arrangement of vitamins.  He was talking about our life together.

I didn’t want it to be about me.

I looked down at my Bible, which was open to Luke, and I paused, asking Jesus to help me have ears to hear.  “Lord, help me listen, truly listen. Help me listen for what’s being said beneath the words. Let me listen the way you listen… love the way you love… lay down my life the way you laid down your life.”

I looked at the words before me in Luke 7:36-50…

“And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

And I hear it loud and clear…

“Marcia, I have something to say to you.”  I pause…ask again for His help in my listening,  and then I reply,

“Say it Teacher.”

I’ve read this so many times.  I get the meaning of these words, but this time, His message hits home in a more personal way.

To love the way Jesus loves,
I must receive all the love and forgiveness He offers.

I must let the blood of the Lamb cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness,
which includes my SELF-righteousness.  

I’m  listening, so He gently shows me that I am the pharisee in this story.

I realized I was saying : “I would never do that.”

I didn’t say it out loud, but in my heart, I was saying, “I would never do that.”

It’s pride. I hold on to a small sense of superiority, and that is what comes out when pressed.

Tom was courageously being more direct and bold, because he loves me and values our relationship.  I was tempted to react in a self-protective way, turning the fault back on him, but this time, by God’s grace, I was able to have ears to hear what He wanted to teach me.  I am learning that, until I own my part, until I own my sin – my inability to come under him, my resistance to letting him lead me, to learn from him, to listen without pushing my words  – we will only get so far.

Is there something God wants to say to you?

With Jesus as our teacher and guide, like the woman in Luke 7:36-50, we have the opportunity to let Jesus love us fully by giving Him access into every corner of our lives.  Even the things we don’t speak out loud.  It is here, in this place of admission and confession, where we experience His loving forgiveness and respond with extravagant gratefulness, just like this exposed woman did.

She, the woman, poured out her most costly possession (perfume), He poured out His blood for our redemption.  As I wrestled with Jesus over my unforgiveness, He helped me identify and spill out my pride, which released in me an outpouring of love and forgiveness for Tom.  What might your spontaneous outpouring of gratitude look like?

May you receive His love and forgiveness today in a way that overflows in love, forgiveness and gratitude.

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About Marcia Kuyper

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.14.39 AMMarcia Kuyper is the Women’s Ministries director at Open Door Fellowship Church in Phoenix Arizona. She leads Bible studies and Retreats, counsels couples and women in marriage and family and has a deep passion for God’s Word and His people

Marcia teaches with her husband at the A Time for Us Marriage retreats and Marriage preparation classes for engaged couples. She also shepherds and teaches a class for young marrieds and singles called C’est La Vie.

Marcia is a wife to Tom, mom of four, and grandma to seven, soon to be eight…

She spends a lot of time… planning vacations.  🙂  She loves reading… (Favorite authors: Oswald Chambers, Henri Nouwen, Elizabeth Goudge… too many to list.) the beach, snow skiing…

Raised in a Jewish family, Marcia came to know Jesus as Savior in high school.  She is so deeply grateful that Jesus pursues her and never stops loving her.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.14.48 AM

 

The Promise Inside the Sting of Rejection

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I remember watching my firstborn get his first taste of rejection. He was about two at the time, and he leaned in to give his older female playmate a kiss.

On the mouth.

She looked at him, wide-eyed and a little mortified, and backed away. I couldn’t help but chuckle but my sweet toddler took it in stride. He knew he was cute, and her lack of interest didn’t stifle his confidence.

We kiss in our family. We show unrestrained love. But I know that once we go outside the walls of this home, those unstated rules of conduct change. My two-year-old didn’t know these rules but at that age, who does?

As he’s gotten older, the tide has shifted. Rejection hurts. I remember the first time he cried after a spat with a friend who said, “I’m not your friend anymore.” I’ve seen kids come in and out of his life, sometimes later to return.

He’s usually able to roll with the stings and the snubs, but he’s not bulletproof. And I don’t want him to be. As much as I’d love to see him never cry, get hurt or given a cold shoulder from a friend, I know he has to experience these things to truly live.

A week ago I sat at my computer reading a rejection email from an online publisher and I realized the prick of “no” may change in nature, but the pain doesn’t.

When we see the pictures of the get-together we weren’t invited to plastered on Facebook, we may feel like we’re in our high school skin all over again.

When we extend the invite to the new acquaintance from church and are repeatedly shunned, we may wonder why we even bother.

We may feel like crawling into a hole with our popcorn and Netflix marathons so that we never have to feel the ache of another “no,” another denial, another wave of apathy and disregard.

But can I tell you something? The blessing is worth it. The “yes” is worth it. When you don’t think you can extend yourself one more time, remember this.

 We serve a God who was rejected in the most brutal, public way. He did it for you. For me. He did it so we could experience life and love and yes, pain. He never rejoices in our pain but he knows it’s sometimes necessary for us to grow.

But we can’t live if we’re constantly trying to protect ourselves. We can’t live if we let fear of pain and rejection rule our lives.

For over a year of my life, I stared at what I thought was a closed door. I counted cracks in the ceiling, and our recliner and a good book became my best friends.

I was tired of trying to make friends. I was tired of the blank stares.

Since I didn’t have anyone else to talk to, I talked to God. He hears us, you know. And he’s the always the best person to talk to. The first and the last.

After months of staring at ceiling cracks, I wasn’t sure God heard me. Silly, right? But then, I made a connection. And then another and another.

I discovered community, life and purpose. I discovered friendship, yeses and open hands.

Keeping our hands open isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. When we make those kindred connections and see those invitations extended, it’s worth the “no’s,” the stings and the heartache.

The next time you’re rejected, remember the promise of the One who was rejected most of all. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5). And he’s working and listening, even when we don’t see it.

Keep your hands and your doors open, friends. You never know what God may have for you on the other side.

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View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

Seeking Your Fame Over His Gain

Seeking Your Fame
I was checking to see how many Twitter followers I had. It was just a few seconds of distraction, a few seconds of indulgence, but seconds that cost me so much.
 
I glanced around the room for my 1-year-old daughter. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name. Nothing. I furiously looked around the room. Nowhere. My heart skipped a beat. Anxiety welled up in my chest. There are so many things that can happen in just seconds. My mind raced. The possibilities overwhelmed me.
 
Then I heard it—a thump, thump, thump. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Something was happening to my baby. I heard her falling and ran as quickly as I could muster to the most dangerous spot in the house—our stairs. I saw her at the bottom, crying. My heart broke.
 

My distraction led to this infraction.

My preoccupation created a situation.

My online enjoyment led to her torment.

 
How do you find that what you seek online—pleasure, satisfaction, fun—leads you away from God and others? What we do in a matter of a few seconds can have long-lasting repercussions. What makes us feel good or accepted can make others feel the exact opposite: denied and rejected
 
As I hugged my crying baby girl, I realized, it was time to turn away from Google and Facebook to think about how I was impacting others. It was time I look at what and where I invest my heart.
 
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
 
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart” (Psalm 26:2).

God, what do you want to show me about my heart?

I was DISTRACTED. 

I was distracted from the presence, the place where God shows off. Usually, I love to see my daughter’s new milestones, but, this time, I didn’t get to see her climb those stairs. I missed that moment.

When we immerse ourselves in a screen, we miss the in between.

I sought AMUSEMENT above all. 

“Entertain me! Delight me! Consume me!” That is what I say so often to my screen. Give me a moment of joy in a world that aggravates me.
 
God speaks differently, to me it sounds something like: amusement comes and amusement goes, but my love remains forever.
 
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV).

 
I wanted my FAME above his.
 

Read my posts. Like me. Favorite me. Retweet me. See me. Accept me. Do you notice the theme? Me. Me. Me.
 

When we focus on self, God goes on a shelf. 

“LORD, I have heardof your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NIV).
 
What desires does your heart seek?  They extend far beyond a screen, I assure you.
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9 NLT).
 

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You Have Nothing To Prove

Nothing To Prove

We live in such a loud world with ridiculously loud voices and big personalities. We live in a culture where flashy and elaborate get noticed. We live in a society where those who are the loudest are often times the ones that receive promotion. Their gifts and talents are perceived as valuable and desirable. Quiet faithfulness has become minimized. And unfortunately, I have noticed this type of thinking has crept its way into the church and ministry.

I am the opposite of loud. I tend to be more reserved and observant. I have talents and gifts. I believe God is using them, but I don’t always feel seen or noticed by those around me. I was having a conversation with my friend Aleah recently and we were discussing the topic of not feeling good enough and feeling unseen. I actually think about this topic quite often as I observe church life around me and life on the interwebs.

I don’t ever want to be on a stage or do some great thing just for the sake of claiming the size. I would only ever fill those spaces if God calls me to that and equips me for it. I don’t need to be the center of attention. But as someone who finds herself in hidden places more often than not, to be considered for something is massive.

Nothing To Prove

That speaks to my heart and my soul in countless ways. I am not necessarily looking for approval or to be deemed good enough by others. But God designed community to work in this way…for us to truly know others and be known by them.

We call out the gold in others.

We believe the best in each other.

We give opportunities for others to lead.

We celebrate the wins of others.

It’s easier for me to fall into the trap of comparison when I focus on what I am not, instead of what I am. I don’t have anything to prove by pretending to be someone I’m not and neither do you. We are God’s unique masterpiece. We have nothing to prove to Him. He has already approved us.

You were created on purpose.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Before the foundations of the world, you and I were on the mind of God. That blows my mind! I cannot even comprehend that! But, there it is in God’s perfect, infallible Word. So, I believe it. That means He took time and care to form us from the inside out. Everything about us is on purpose…our hair color, our height, our likes, our dislikes, our passions, our burdens, what makes us laugh and what makes us cry. He doesn’t make mistakes. All that He does is good. That includes us.

When others don’t acknowledge you as a masterpiece, remember God calls you priceless.

Nothing To Prove

 You are an heir to God’s throne.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

My friends are my family. The Lord is my Father and mother. The Body of Christ is home. In environments that stress marriage and children as being the end all, be all, can leave a single girl like me feeling lonely and unqualified for what God has called me to. But, this verse tells me that if I have received Christ and believed in His name, I am a child of God. I received Him and have believed in His name. I’m in. If you have as well, you are in. How amazing! In the world of adoption, once you are adopted, you can’t be un-adopted. That is how God treats us. Once we are grafted in, we are a part of His family for eternity.. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit. There is not one thing that can separate us from His love or His family.

 You have a calling.

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Before creation, not only were we on the mind of God, but He assigned us a task and a calling for our lives. We honestly don’t ever have to wonder if we have a calling. We do. It’s simply to know God and make Him known. It plays out differently in the details of our lives, but it’s the same for all of us. Once we come to know Christ, life is not really about us anymore. We are to become others focused. We are to love, serve, bless, encourage and heal the hurting and forgotten around us.

Let’s not waste our time nor energy trying to hustle and prove ourselves to the world or to the Lord. Let’s walk out unity and honor and watch God elevate us to our next place of promise, in His perfect timing.

Nothing To Prove

He sees us.
He knows us.
We are His.

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Karina AllenKarina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”