Purposeful Faith

Category - expectations

Is Your 1-Word Resolution Holding You Back? (Linkup)

Resolution holding you back

When I found myself getting irritated at the wide pronouncements of one-word resolutions, I started to wonder, “What’s my issue?”

How can someone not like words like:
Deeper?
Embrace?
Love?

Why am I so frustrated as others passionately pursue the Lord?

Sure, I picked a word – it’s “patience.” It was wisely given to my by a friend.

Patience in writing.
Patience with my husband.
Patience with my kids.
Patience in growth.
Patience in relationships.

Yes, I see the value.

But, what I can’t handle seeing – at the end of my year – is failure. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see the shame, regret, fear and embarrassment tied into that. Why should I set myself up for this?

So I find, it’s simpler to get annoyed and to avoid.
It’s easier to hate than to embrace.
It’s safer to go protected than to become dejected.

So, I push goals, dreams and hopes out of the way to protect a heart that could break along the way.

Truth is, I know I will fail in many ways.

I won’t be patient. I will get irritated. I will blow up at my kids and probably my husband. I will drop the ball. I will mess up. I just know it – and I hate that.

I hate that I can’t reach out to all I want to be – and grab hold of it.

And, underneath it all, I guess this is what really aggravates me about 1-word resolutions.  We will all fail in our own way.  We will all do the exact opposite of what our 1-word is.

Good luck on that 1-word friends!

For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

And, he is not content with stagnant hearts that hide from his life-giving, love-producing, purpose-provoking truth.

So he says to me, “Kelly, running from failure is running from me.”

And, who can argue with that?

Failure is the beginning of something new.

Failure is the meeting point of love.
Failure is the hidden treasure – we let go of self and grab hold of Christ.
Failure is the heart of growth.
And the starting point of hope.

Jesus doesn’t stand as a judge of 1-word resolutions.
He doesn’t demand a 1-year illusion – here today and gone tomorrow.
He is not a master of confusion.
Ready to throw us into seclusion.

This is not our Lord. He never withholds love –
and he doesn’t shame us based on failures.

In this, I realize our resolutions don’t stand as a barrier to his love –
but as a conduit for it. 

I realize if I stop aiming to please him, I can start aiming to just behold him.
Because a student best receives, when she isn’t trying to do things her own way.

failed resolutions

Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:

  • We are safe in his sacrifice. Held tightly, cupped in his loving hands.
  • Secure. So secure in our position as children of the most high King.
  • In the safety of his love – and the finality of his sacrifice – we can embrace grace and all the gifts extended through it.

A grace that doesn’t stop at our failings.
A love that is never given to be taken away.
An eternal position that can never be snatched.
A God that doesn’t give to steal away.

What kind of God would that be?

Truly, all wrath is gone.
All that remains is love.

Because of Jesus, I am safe – safe to move forward in perfect love. Love that casts out all my fear. Love that conquers all.  Love that makes me an overcomer. Love that let’s the Spirit of God pour out from me. I can’t even comprehend the start and end of this grace.

So, the Lord just says to me…

Patience, Kelly. Patience.
You are my work in progress.
It is not you that is at work – but it is me.
At the proper time, you will be exalted.
Do you trust me?
In my good time (which may well be more than a year), you will be patient.
You are my work, my craftsmanship, my love.”

And, in these truths, I can rest. I can rest because there is no condemnation left for me. It’s gone. It is gone for me and it is gone for you.

So for now, it just becomes a journey to his destination. In his timing. In his way. Until the day until he flings open the gate to welcome in his new creation – that he made me to be.

Until then, I will rely on him during the process of being patient.

And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)

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10 Biblical Ways to Grab Hold of Contentment

Grab hold of contentment

My son loves baking with me. He certainly takes the cake for the best assistant. But, it wasn’t his baking skills that astounded me, it was God’s lesson of contentment really left a taste in my mouth.

My son stirred the entire contents of the pancake batter in his bowl, yet his eyes were transfixed on the paltry 2 teaspoons of milk in his sister’s. He was aggravated, annoyed and discontent. Suddenly, he didn’t like his bowl; he wanted his sister’s.

I felt sad for him, because:
He didn’t realize the value of what he held.
He didn’t realize that I had given him something special.
He didn’t realize his ingredients were vital to breakfast.
Instead, he became so distracted with her plate, he neglected his own.

Didn’t he know that we were about 3-minutes away from eating some light and fluffy delicious pancakes?   He was missing out, missing the point and missing the joy.

His joy was stolen. Envy was eating him up.

How much of our attitude is just like his?  One of discontentment?

How often do we see past our portion – to only see another’s?  How often are our blessings soured by wandering eyes?

What does God think about this?

It gets me thinking – when our eyes wander to another’s portion, we miss the delight of our own.  We miss the joy, the anticipation, the thanksgiving, the appreciation, the purpose, the passion – and the moment.

The whole time, my son had what was better right before him
– but he couldn’t see it.

He was too transfixed with the matter of someone else’s batter.

Like him, are we so worried about “getting” that we miss what God is “giving”?  Let’s change this attitude to start enjoying what the Lord has placed before us.

10 Ways to Grab Hold of Contentment:

10. Believe that the Lord has given us exactly what we need for today.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Mt. 6:26)

If the Lord wanted us to have more, we would have more. But, we don’t.  Why?  We can’t always know, we can’t always tell and we can’t always understand – but we can understand that the Lord’s ways are not our ways. He knows better than us. Faith is trusting no matter what things look like.

9. Understand our deepest needs are already met.

Much like my son, we don’t realize that we already have the bigger bowl, the better goods and the sizable portion (we have Christ).  However, because we allow envy to creep into our hearts, we become disillusioned by what we see around us – and we miss what the Lord has done in us.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

8. Realize that underneath the other person’s baked goodies, often lies a chipped, cracked and discolored plate.

While we may say, “wow, what they have looks so good,” we never really know what the other person is dealing with.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. (Prov. 4:25)

7. Face reality: We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

We ask God for contentment, endurance and patience – while demanding, coveting and envying material goods.  God is not a genie in a bottle and we are not his master. When we trust God as supreme – we appreciate what we have.

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. (Prov. 29: 23)

6. Realize that joy is found when we find contentment.

If my son had worried less about his sister’s bowl and more about his – he could have enjoyed the moment. However, his joy was cut short.  He instead embraced jealousy, anxiety and frustration because he saw what he didn’t have.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

5. Walk by Faith: We never know what God has for us around the corner.

Frankly, we may have less than another today.  But, we have no idea what God has in store for us in tomorrow.  If we are always playing the comparison game  – we will either feel prideful one moment and neglected the next or vice versa.  Why indulge in this constant sin-cycle?  It’s not worth it; it clouds our calling. It throws us off track.

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:6)

4. Rest in the knowledge that the Lord will provide.

He will provide for our deepest needs.  We don’t have to look side-to-side any longer because we can look high-and-up to the King that stands ready to bestow all good gifts.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:26)

3. Even if we have less, we have a great opportunity to rely on God.

In these moments, we can fully rest in our Lord’s faithful providence. It is here where faith is grown. It is here where real blessings surface.  It’s not material blessings, but immaterial blessings that blow us away with joy, peace and purpose.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Phil 4:11)

2. Grab hold of God instead of material goods for true significance.

“Not having” gives us the chance to “have” the greater gift – a gift that fills insecurities, quells fears and provides security.  What was once insecure, becomes secure with Christ.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jo. 8:12)

1. Praise, honor and thank God for what we have. The more we do, the more we can celebrate – him.

The more we lift God up, the more we realize – one day – we too will be lifted.  The more we glorify God, the less we desire to be glorified by our own might.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (Jo. 14:13)

We find contentment when we realize that the Lord has placed just the right portion in our bowl. But, the key is, we can’t let our eyes drift.  We can’t miss the moment. We can’t miss his work – in us and through us.

Like my son, we have no idea what will come from our share. While he thought his sister’s portion had value, it was his that actually had true meaning. It was his that would make something lasting.  She only held a drop of milk.  His was nourishing, sustaining and valuable.

What has the Lord placed in front of you?  Is your gift eternal? Are you missing its value? Are you thanking God for this gift? 

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When You Feel Like You’re Running in Circles

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

On a cool afternoon in late fall, I mow straight lines across our long expanse of lawn. I’m surprised by how much I enjoy it.

I see the neat rows of freshly cut grass growing with each trip across the yard. It is obvious when I miss a spot. As the strips freshly manicured section gets increasingly larger, I view my work with satisfaction.

Why do I enjoy this so much? It’s simple, really. For one, I get some quiet time of reflection without listening to kids bicker or ask me for snacks every five minutes. But second and perhaps more importantly, I see visible results.

I know when I haven’t done the job well because the results speak for themselves.

Other roles in my life are not this simple. They are complicated, and often leave me wondering whether I’m making an imprint.

I explain a complex subject to my six-year-old, but I’m not sure he understands. My husband and I make efforts to instill strong morals and character into our boys, but there are days when it seems as though everything we’ve been striving towards is falling apart.

On a bitter cold morning, I attempt to capture thoughts that go deep into the core of me on the page, but can’t quite grasp them. The cursor blinks mockingly and self-doubt creeps in before I’m able to type a single word. I wonder if I’m wasting my time.

I wonder if what I say resonates with anyone.

I see a pile of laundry looming in the corner and think, “Didn’t I just tackle that yesterday?” Before the day has even begun, thoughts of defeat overtake me.

Then, as God often does, he sends a reminder that strikes just the right chord. I realize my current state is temporary, but so much of me longs for the eternal.

My yearning for results often reflects a glory which will not be realized in this lifetime, but in the next.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

I am a planter of seed. I am a light in a temporary casting. I am a mere reflection of the One whose glory I will behold. A glory I long for so deeply at times it aches.

So often, I believe we become discouraged because it seems as though we are moving in circles. Saying the same things to our loved ones and kids over and over. Teaching the same lessons.

But friends, the truth is always worth repeating. People forget because it is their nature. We are still living in a flesh that continually pulls us away from what is true, what is eternal, what is lasting.

We continue to fight because the fight is worth it, even if we don’t see the result right away or even if this lifetime. We fight because we are more than conquerors through him who loved us first.

We long for that which we cannot see because of Him in whose image we were created.

Do not give up. Do not lose heart. You were made for more than anything this world has to offer.

As you lay your head on the pillow tonight, ask yourself this: Did I love? Did I open my arms in grace? Did I help someone who needed it?

If the answer to any one of those questions was yes, it was not in vain. Keep pressing forward, dear one. Your reward will be great.

 

Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is mom, wife and southern girl who fell in love with writing at a young age. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.

When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

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

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5 Tips to Survive (& Thrive) amidst Thanksgiving Chaos

Thanksgiving Chaos

We are all gathered around the table. I can’t keep my eyes off the pumpkin pie, the mashed potatoes, and the creamed corn. I want to devour it all. My mouth is watering. As familiar family faces fade into the background, I develop a personal action plan of what I’ll eat, how fast I’ll eat it and when to fill up my plate again.

I hear distant sounds, words and discussions, but I am mezmerized by utter gratefulness as I take it all in – the pure beauty of the Thanksgiving spread set so perfectly on the table. Surely, God knew what he was doing when he gave us food; it truly embodies one of the greatest things we have to be grateful for.

But, as I smile, as I look, as I sit, deafening sounds quickly pull me out of my delightful daydream, and throw me back into reality. A storm is brewing. Someone is annoyed. Agitated. Frustrated.

It could be one of many things – someone got ticked off, another couldn’t get drinks fast enough, a rude piercing reply was launched or a digging question was fired over the table. Truly, it could be anything.

Who knows the exact reason why? But, all that mattered to me is that my moment was lost. My joy was stolen. Agitation filled me. Disappointment gripped me. Despite my best efforts to make this Thanksgiving great, someone messed it up. Again.

Why can’t we give thanks in peace? Why can’t we all get along? Why does it feel that we have to endure Thanksgiving rather than enjoy it?

This is should be a time of thankfulness – of gladness – not a time of madness. Not a time to push buttons. Not a time to get flustered.

Somehow we idealize Thanksgiving and Christmas. We turn them into perfect little gems of days that should only deliver sparkle, joy and peace. We think that, because we control the preparations, the decorations and conversations, everyone should meet our expectations. We hold on to these expectations with such strength that they crush under the pressure. And, this is when the true Thanksgiving weight hits us. We feel bloated with disappointment.

I guess I have come to realize that the bounty is not all about me. If we are going to truly be thankful for the bounty of the Lord, we have to be thankful for who the Lord has created. He created us all with strengths and weaknesses. It can be so hard to do. It can be so overwhelming when a storm blows in, threatening the day, but – if we trust the Lord – we can trust him to work things out.

God calls us to enjoy this day, rather than endure it. He calls us to leave perfect in the kitchen, and embrace imperfect at the table, so that expectations don’t leave us hiding in the bathroom with tears.

5 Tips to Survive Thanksgiving Chaos:

1. Seek to embrace verses erase the person in need.

Jesus ran to the people in need. His heart was inclined to those in pain. He didn’t demand what he needed, but he gave what others did.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

We are all chief sinners. But, in so many ways, we stand as chief judge. God is faithful to forgive us. With this, on Thanksgiving Day, let’s choose to sit at the foot of the cross. Let’s sit as saved sinners, basking in the glory of Him who is high and lifted up.

When we sit in this position, suddenly, we sit with more compassion for the meaningless jabs, frustrating arguments and aggravating words. We sit knowing that we are the same. We sit grateful for the one who paid it all. Who loved despite our actions.

Then, we find we have greater compassion and a heart to love.

2. Be truly thankful – for both the yummy and the yucky of life.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:12)

True thankfulness sees both abundance and scarcity and gives thanks. Why? Because both are from the Lord. Both have a purpose. Both are meant to refine.

We can rest in the truth that God has good plans (Ps. 40:5). We can rest in knowing his ways are greater than ours (Is. 55:8-9). We can rest because the Lord promises to work for our good through trials (Ro. 5:4). We will be refined, refreshed and renewed.

When we feel Thanksgiving Day is only giving us yucky food, we can choose to see the great silverware, the great centerpiece and the great God who is at the center of it all.

3. A storm may brew, but know God will bring you through.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Is. 41:13)

When we are weak, the power of Christ sits upon us. In the stormy moments, we can run into his arms, feel his embrace and let him recharge us with his love. It can be hard to remember in the moment, but God stands ready to help us. It’s ok to feel weak, but it’s not ok to feel ruined when God stands ready to help.

Call out to God. He is famous for rescuing and helping in a time of trouble.

4. Know you stand secure, no matter what others do.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro. 8:38-39).

People can do what they are going to do. But, none of this impacts our standing with Christ. We are in Him. We are secure. We are loved. We are a new creation. If we stand in Christ, we can’t stand outside of him.

We can hold to this truth, when the Thanksgiving feast looks like it may topple. No matter what others do, think or say, they are not the essence of who we are. Christ is. We are part of his family. We are his beloved children.

5. Find a heart of thanks for the burnt food of Thanksgiving.

True gratefulness is not just being thankful for all the delicious pickings, but also for the burnt food. If we have food – or family to complain about – we are already blessed. We are blessed with the perfect, but also with the imperfect. Why? Because through the imperfect, we see our need for a Savior. Through our failings, our trials and our frustrations, we find hope in One who is greater than these things.

He makes imperfect burnt food taste delicious when we see it for what it is – an undeserved gift.

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

Bonus Tip (consider it your Thanksgiving second helping): Realize it is impossible to control others.

We can’t control things. We can only control ourself. And, no one can take our spirit of thanks away, without us allowing them to do it. No one can steal our heart – unless we allow them to.

The fact of the matter is that when we stop looking for everyone to be perfect, we can start enjoying them for who they truly are. When our standards aren’t higher than the Thanksgiving Day roof, we can see people’s hearts, history and pains. And, we sometimes, can even empathize and minister to them.

Thanksgiving is a special day, a needed day. A day to see all that we have – burnt food and all. If expectations consume us, we may find all we have consumed is an inability to be happy, a heart of discontent and a spirit of bitterness.

The truth is that people will disappoint – and we will disappoint people. No one is perfect – except One. But, the ultimate truth is that God’s grace never ends. It nourishes us when Thanksgiving leaves us hungry for more love.

Let’s lay this truth on the table so we can pass, dish and eat up all the goodness of grace – in our own hearts and towards the hearts of others.

How to Believe God (over the lies of the world): Part II

How to believe God

In the blog post, Caution: How Not to be of the World, we talked about how taking our focus off of Christ can divert us down a road we never intended to drive.  But, by keeping our eyes on the Lord, nothing can take us down.  Nothing can shake us.  Nothing can keep God away.  He sees us and is right next to us.  We can learn how to believe God and not the World.

And when we do, God will stand next to us and walk us right up to the purpose of our life.  Finally, we can stand before purpose and to grab hold of it.

When we keep our eyes on the Lord, when we keep him at our right hand, we won’t be shaken. (Psalm 16:8) 

We won’t be shaken, because we are who God says we are.  And, we will be who God wants us to be – as we trust him.

God defines us.  God made us. And, God makes us. He answers and he fulfills his promises.

God is greater than the words and messages of the world that are here today and gone tomorrow.

With God:

  • Talking heads waste their words, because rely on the living active Word.
  • “Keeping up with the Jones” loses its power, because God’s our ultimate Superpower.
  • Never having enough is a thing of the past, because God is more than enough.

We don’t need to believe half-truths, when we have “the Truth”.

  • The world says you are less than, God says you are a child of the most high King. (Psalm 82:6)
  • The world says you need power, God says you need Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • The world says you need to conform, God says to be transformed. (Romans 12:2)
  • The world says you should find pleasure, God says to find treasure. (Matthew 19:21)
  • The world says to take for you; God says to give of yourself. (Matthew 19:21)
  • The world says to seek beauty above all; God says to love him above all. (Luke 10:27)
  • The world says be happy and fulfilled, God says die to self.  (Luke 9:23)
  • The world says take all you want, God says take up your cross. (Luke 9:23)
  • The world says live for today, God says live forever. (John 3:16)

When we drive down the freeways of the world, we end up in dark depressing neighborhoods filled with pain, shame and regret. God wants to lead us in truth and light.  He wants us to rush into his arms, to collide with his truth and to cruise in life safely.

He has plans that are so much greater than the world’s plans for us.  He has big plans.  But if we are so distracted with the signs of the world, we will miss the highway to him.  We will miss the joy that is him.  We will miss the peace that is him.  We will miss the life that is him.  We will crash.

He wants all of you.  He loves all of you.  He has big plans for all of you.  Give all of yourself to Him.

 

Why Can’t I Be Better?

Have you ever had that pull on your heart?  That ache that tells you that something is not quite right?  The persistent call that tells you that you have messed up yet again? The one that makes you ask, “Why can’t I be better?”

It’s a feeling of shame, mixed with regret, all combined with a ton of guilt.

I hate these feelings sometimes.  Even worse, I hate how I feel when I am not sure what I should do.  I hate not knowing if I will ever “be better”, “do better” and “love better”.  I hate feeling like I will never get it quite right.  I hate feeling afraid to take the risk to go “there”.

Sin weighs me down. It crushes a spirit.  It burdens a heart.  It stifles a purpose.

Sin comes and:

  • It laughs at us
  • It makes us afraid
  • It shames us
  • It makes us uncertain
  • It tells us, “why bother?”
  • It condemns us
  • It defines us
  • It confirms we can never change
  • It makes us self conscious
  • It covers us in chains
  • It discourages us
  • It attempts to hold us back from our purpose
  • It steals peace
  • It embarrasses us
  • It robs us of joy
  • It lies
  • It hurts
  • It lasts
  • It scars

It knocks on the doors of our lives attempting to lure us.  It stands ready to rob us.  And after it does, it leaves us injured, broken and lying on the floor unsure what to do next.

But it is in this place of vulnerable pain where our hurts drive us to admission.  It is in this place where we have to take a risk.  Where we have to step out of our comfort zone.

And, it is in this exact place where God is best seen.  This is where we see him from an authentic, open and receptive heart.  And, when we come to God, he heals and binds up our pain better than we could have ever imagined.

When we confess, and move towards God through changed actions, he comes to us – and we come to him.

And he says:

  • I forgive you
  • I love you
  • I will embrace you
  • You are my workmanship
  • Your actions don’t disqualify my plans
  • Your sin doesn’t mean you can’t win
  • Your ways don’t supersede my ways
  • I am more successful than your failures
  • My grace extends further than your guilt
  • I live inside of you.  I can’t give up on myself.
  • You are more than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus.
  • You are my work-in-progress

Do you believe me?  

If so, let it go.  As far as the east is from the west.  Let. It. Go.

Watch me work.

I can change you.

I am perfecting the beauty that is “me” within you.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

 

 

 

See Your Beauty – To Overcome Failure (Part II)

See Your beauty

What is the one thing you can do to overcome feelings of failure,
as we discussed in Part 1, How to Overcome Your Weaknesses?

Here it is:

 SEE YOUR BEAUTY.  You are absolutely beautiful to God, just as you are.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Songs 4:7)

God loves you.  Choose today to believe in the depths of your heart that God does not look at you and see a list of flaws, of shortcomings and of failures. He sees beauty. He sees a treasure that he loves.  One that he created.  He sees a child of God, his own child.  

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deut. 7:6

God doesn’t look and define you by your shortcomings, failures and your lack of _____.

Instead, you are defined by greatness – His greatness. He chose you, my friend.  You belong to God – not because of anything you did – and certainly not because of your goodness. But, because of your beauty – in Him.

When we believe that God accepts us because of him, the spotlight can come off of us.  When we believe that he loves us because of his love, we can stop harping on failures. When we believe that he is greater than us, we can finally stop feeling so weak.

God’s love surpasses our limitations.  There is no moderation.  What he gives,  surpasses expectations.

We expect to be pushed away for our failures, but God draws us near.  We expect to be cast aside for our weaknesses, but God makes us strong.  We expect to be ridiculed for our flaws, but God comforts us.

He knows we fall short.  This is the point. This is why we need Christ. This is why we need grace and forgiveness.  We need his saving work to be righteous – in Him.  His grace.  His love.

The real beauty is that it is all about Him.   We are beautiful because of Christ.  He makes us beautiful.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12). 

God looks at you, his child, and says:

“You are beautiful.”  

“I want to lavish love upon you.”  

“I know you sin, but, as you confess, I extend you my grace.”

“Be guilty no more, I have come to your rescue.”  

“Let go and trust me to refine you.”  

“Do not fear yourself. Let my perfect love cast out fear.”

“I love you as I have created you, you are my work in progress. I know what I am doing. You are beautiful.”

Do you get frustrated at your failings?  Do you feel less than sometimes? Do you feel unloved? God sees you and he sees beauty.  It is time you see your beauty too – not because of you, but because of Him.

Bible Verses for Perfectionists: Finding Your True Worth

bible verses for perfectionists

I try to so hard to “do good”. I try so hard to keep everyone happy. I try so hard to keep things in order, to make others feel good, to do things the right way, to be all that I can be – and to be who others want to see.

I try and I try and I try.  But, I fail and I fail and I fail.  It can be tiring.  It leaves me worn, discouraged and wishing I could be better than – me.

Even worse, I notice that in my pursuit of perfection, I tend to hurt others. I don’t want to do this.  But, I do.

It is a common day, when simple words of feedback, turn into living giants of criticism. They come and tower over me with pointed fingers, telling me that I am not “good enough”, “talented enough” or “wise enough” to handle life.  They push me to strive harder and reinforce the idea that I am failing.

Why do we let these giants hold so much power?

When we seek to set our own worth, we fail.
Because only One defines worth.
Any worth found outside of Him is worthless.
God writes the definition of who we are – and why we are. 

I may seek worth in bills paid, things in order and a happy family, but God gives us his worth. We are worthy because we are his children, loved and fully accepted.

God has a greater glory is greater than our manufactured version.  His glory surpasses expectations. It exceeds our wildest dreams.  It is bigger than you or me.  But, we miss seeing it when our mind is focused on our perfect ways.

His glory unfolds in the midst of weakness.  In the place of imperfection.  In the land of mess. 

God is greater than our perfect.  He shows up in our faults.  He is present in our weaknesses.

This is where beauty is unveiled; and I want to see it.  Christ makes my imperfect – perfect.   Perfect in Him, as I trust Him.

I want this better way.  Let’s remind ourselves of God’s truth as we move towards him with authentic, open and receiving hearts.  He will be faithful to touch us in just the right way.

Bible Verses for Perfectionists:

1. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32)
His strength is power.

2. “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14)
We are being made holy.  We are a work in process.

3. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
He is greater than any barrier that stands in front of us.

4. Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8)
His mercy does not end for us because he loves us.

5. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… (Eph. 2:8)
Grace is always ours, even when we fail.

6. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
He made us beautifully. We can believe this.

7.  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
He holds us and loves us; his hand won’t let go of us – ever!

8. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
His ways are easy, when we truly are in them.

9.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
We are not perfect.  He is.

10. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Let us be weak, because we can then be strong in Him.

God doesn’t view our weaknesses as obstacles to closeness with him;
he sees them as opportunities for growth as he loves us.

 

 

 

How To Take Charge of your Expectations

How to take charge of your expectations

This random Saturday morning, I had no idea that being stuck in NYC traffic was going to teach me a life-changing lesson on how to take charge of your expectations…

When my son laid eyes on just about the biggest big rig ever seen, his eyes light up as bright as a kid on Christmas morning.

“Roll the window down!” he yelled.

With utter urgency, his little fist started pumping – up and down, up and down. This would have been really cute, except for the fact that I was contending with New York City stop-and-go traffic.

Getting directly next to this truck was going to be a feat in itself.  With 2 kids sitting in the backseat on the verge of tears and on the brink of disaster, I knew what I had to do.

“Super Mommy” needed to come to the rescue – in a big way!  

Nothing would stop me from making my little boy’s dreams come true.

Finally, after much breaking and accelerating, I got my son in perfect hand thrusting position! Yes!

The driver was delighted.  Mikey was delighted.  I was delighted.  Everyone was happy.  We all shared a moment of fun as the truck let out a massive “honk!”.  Victory! Happiness! Joy!  The truck driver and I threw out some quick pleasantries, a couple of laughs and then he kept on truckin’.

Meanwhile, on one of the busiest freeways of NYC, I was guilty of the unthinkable!  I let two cars slip into line in front of me.  I inadvertently left open the tiniest of gaps on a freeway where most people don’t give you an inch.  And, in true New York fashion, these opportunist drivers took advantage of my gap.

Our final moments of celebration were cut short when the SUV behind us pulled his car right next to ours.  With a red face and a quickly moving mouth, he signaled me to roll down my window.

Anxiety welled up in me. I knew what was coming. Afraid, I rolled down my window down.

His anger was palpable, “What is wrong with you?  You let two cars get in front of you!  What are you doing? Pay attention lady!”

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Some way, some how, God gave me peace as I responded to this man.  He needed peace. So peace I gave him, not as the world gives.

I felt for him.

In his own attempt to get ahead, to be effective and efficient, he turned into a mad man. The irony of the situation is that, after he yelled at me, he cut up the line and gained a significant head, but as traffic freed, much to my discomfort, we still ended up side by side further down the road.  All his maneuvering made no difference in his ultimate progress.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT) 

In his quest to rush, to get ahead and to power through, he got nowhere. His impatience didn’t propel him forward; it landed him right where he would have been if he had kept his cool.

How often are we like this man?  How often do we have expectations that rule us?

Expectations Can Drive Us Mad

You may be thinking, I would never be like “that”! But, I find I’m guilty of being a “mad woman” too.  I often take measures into my own hands to get things “accomplished”.  I rush to get to my “destination”, only to get frustrated when others hold me back.  I “speed” to the least populated checkout lines at the store and become agitated when the cashier is the “slow” one.  I rush through bedtime stories with my son, in order to arrive at my “chill time”.

Unsaid expectations can rule me.  I think, “How dare “that person” mess up “my plans”, get in “my way” or “hold me” back?”

These expectations leave me sad, upset and irritated when things don’t go my way.

Are expectations just demands wrapped in a bow to cover their ugliness?  Is God even present in these demands?  Or, is he just the one we feel upset at when we don’t get our way?

How To Take Charge of your Expectations

God doesn’t give us what we want. He doesn’t answer us.  He doesn’t hear us.  And, others hinder our success. They block our lane.  They get us “stuck”.

With all this focus on our personal progress, we miss big opportunities.  The opportunity to love.  The opportunity to serve.  The opportunity to encourage.  The opportunity to witness, to see God’s glory and to understand truth.    Why?  Because our one-track mind speeds to our destination of choice – and the needs of others become the red lights that stop us.

What are your destinations? Maybe it’s education, maybe it’s a ministry, maybe it’s getting your kids into the best schools, maybe its your comfort, maybe its saving money, maybe it’s climbing the professional ladder, looking great for a playgroup, decorating your house, taking care of your yard, buying that house or (fill in the blank).

Are you missing the journey, the glory, and the people who need you?

Let’s not drive in vain.
Let’s slow down and see the scenery that God has set before us.
Let’s take a minute to look around,
soak it in and delight in the glory the Lord is displaying.

 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

The truth is God hasn’t – and won’t – forget about us.  He knows our dreams, our hopes and our wishes.  He knows what we hope for.  He knows us. We don’t need to rev up our cars and fill up our tanks in vain – he has an unlimited supply of gas for us, when we trust him.    He will get us where we want to go- in his timing.   Do you trust Him?

How to take charge of your expectations

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

When we let go of our need for speed, we will be freed-
freed to love, freed to experience peace and freed to see Him work.

How to take charge of your expectations

God has something special prepared for us in the midst of our “traffic”.  If you feel like you are stuck and you don’t know how to take charge of your expectations – the answer is that you don’t take charge. Instead, you let go of your will and surrender to His.

He will take care of you.  He sees you.  He has big plans for you – for his glory.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)

Release your expectations into His Hands.  To Take Charge of Your Expectations – you let him take charge.
You will be amazed at what He does.

Other Resources on Expectations:

When God Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

Jesus: King of Unmet Expecatations