Purposeful Faith

Category - failure

The Damaging Effects of Speaking Under Your Breath

Speaking Under Your Breath

Yesterday, I went to the local cafe to write. I sit in the back where all the employees congregate, gossip and chit-chat. I usually try to keep my head down, but this time my eyes got the better of me. I couldn’t help but watch and listen.

A man marched through the front door. Chest up, he huffed and puffed all the way to to the back full of disdain at what he saw laying around him. Immediately grabbing a napkin and wiping a chair, he proceeded to attack the mess. He also decided to speak out from under his breath, saying, “This place is a mess.” He wanted his co-workers to hear. They did. Loud and clear.

Each belabored move to tackle crumbs, tables and spills, was all a message telling them, “You aren’t on it, but I am.”

A minute later, he pointed out two chairs and said, “Are those chairs supposed to be like that?”

He knew full well they weren’t. Then, he strutted over and fixed them. The two women employees next to me raised their eyebrows and gave each other the look, which I took to mean, “He’s up to it again…”

With their look, something pierced and shifted in me. Something called me to look within myself. Why? Because I knew his ludicrous behavior was also my ludicrous behavior. I am often, “up to it again.”

I speak a word under my breath, “Ugh…this place is such a mess.”

I send a silent message to my child, “Can’t anyone throw out these used paper towels on the counters?”

I leave a complaining spirit around my house, “He didn’t put his shoes away. Now, I have to do it.”

I am “up to it again” often.

I never knew how this practice appears. How it comes off. The arrogance of it. The looks it produces in people. The retaliation it produces. The spectacle of it all.

It makes me consider how I could approach things differently.

You know, the man could have come in and:

  1. Chosen to connect with hearts by first caring for those around him.
  2. Been straightforward with his request for help in cleaning up, saying, “Hey, would you all mind helping me clean up?”
  3. Connected with others during the process.
  4. Given thanks to them for helping him out.

I can do this too.

It was interesting as I watched this situation transpire. The women retaliated and called the man out on his “junk.” They said, “Hey Jim, are these your bags of chips out here on the counter?”

They were. Embarrassed, Jim walked back to pick them up.

None of us are perfect. Usually, what we huff and puff about are things we are equally guilty of.

Why not give everyone a break? Ourselves included.
Why not be honest? In need? Straightforward?

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Eph. 4:24

 

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

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

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

Dear Perfect Christian…

Perfect Christian

Dear Perfect Christian,

First, we want to acknowledge that you do not exist. You never can, nor will you ever exist. We are sorry to tell you this, but your mission is 100% impossible and we regret to inform you it is one God never called you to.

We also want to encourage you, finally, to let your shoulders relax. You can let down your guard. You can stop pretending you’re a whole lot better than you look. You can let go of the messy drawers, the bad habits, the quick responses and stop beating yourself over the head with a self-improvement plan that never seems to work. You can inhale, let your stomach fill and then exhale.

You can rest. Finally, you can rest. You can find a daddy God who doesn’t look at you for what you can do, but who you are in him. You can see him want to be near to you. You can see him approach you with the fullness of love.

He wants you, even when you don’t want to see the horrible things you’ve done.

Breathe deep. Again.

There is peace for you.  Even when you are face-to-face with a horrible, ugly, unwanted failure. Still, there is peace, love and hope. Acceptance of failure is freedom.

I am writing you today with an invitation to let in- the love you hold at an arms-length. The love your always-unmet achievements declare you unworthy of. The love you keep away lest it make you feel needy. The love that will change you.

Today, let in…Christ. Let love in to a greater capacity.

What Jesus did covers what you don’t do. What he did washes away the blame that sticks. What he did marks you blameless. What he did removes the status of “wholly unworthy” and leaves you with an identity of holy.

This status reminds you: you will mess up, but God never gives up on you.

Return here, to this reminder. It is your rest. He wants you, not your work. He wants your heart. Let him have it. Let it be immersed in the Living Water. Let it splash around, dance, have fun, be free and enjoy the goodness of him who loves you.

I’ll meet you there.

Love, a fellow trying-to-be-perfect girl,

Kelly

 

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

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

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

Do you Need God’s Saving Power?

My biggest fear came true, the exact one I couldn’t stop mulling over as I lay on my shaking, rattling bed. My 6-year-old was on the top bunk of an Amtrak train bed.

Would it hold him? Would he roll over?

At home, my son was protected. He knew his surroundings. He had comfort. His fall wasn’t 6 feet down. But here, in this new situation? In a bed half his size? One really couldn’t tell what might happen…

I got word in the morning. Husband told me he fell off the bed. My heart stopped. My eyes stared. I looked the kid up and down for train wounds. Nothing.

Husband explained, the safety straps next to the bed (the ones I completely took for granted), caught him. They wrapped him as he fell, like a cocoon, keeping him in a deep well of safety. So dear son was just chilling there, swinging and safe. Unaware of how protected he was…how he’d just been saved. He wasn’t even aware it happened. Dad pulled him back onto his bed without waking him.

How often does our Dad “save” us without us realizing? Pull us onto our bed of safety without us noticing? Wrap us in a cocoon of protection so harm can’t touch us?

Many of us, myself included, never give thought to the family wars, the bitter arguments, the looming bills, the accidents, the woops moments, the injuries he saves us from.

We see the things that hit us, and blame God, but we never consider how he saves us, and thank God.

He’s probably protected you a bazillion times, because God is mighty to save.

“He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3)

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” (Zeph. 3:17)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:8)

 

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

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

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

Crushed By My Own Expectations

My turn to share was coming, and I wasn’t ready. While the other women on our Google chat discussed their writing goals, my mind spun on repeat. Summer gave this word a whole new meaning, and I was still processing it.

Ah yes, goals. What were those again? My goal yesterday was to keep the boys playing outside for more than twenty minutes before they came back in screaming from bloodied knees and bumps on heads. Today it was to make it to bedtime without yelling.

Sometimes my goals vary by the hour. It’s my first summer with three kids at home, and my mental capacity seems to wane a little more each minute.

This afternoon I turned my head to see our eight-month old trying to eat a dart our son left on the floor. (Don’t gasp; it was foam and rubber) Fortunately we were able to dislodge it from her death grip before she added purple styrofoam to her diet.

So, needless to say this Google chat was a welcome diversion where I could talk to other women like an actual adult. I listened to plans about our shared passion for writing and encouraging other women. It was bliss.

But my mind wasn’t on the future. It was on all the ways I’d failed over these summer months.

Click here to read the rest of this post and join us at Abby’s place for today’s #RaRaLinkup. Can’t wait to see you there!

For The Days You Don’t Feel Like a Good Christian

Good Christian

If you saw me in the heat of the moment, you’d no doubt say, “She isn’t a good Christian. She made a mess of everything and she’s no good. Rotten.”

Sitting here, I’m inclined to agree.

I made a horrible mistake. I didn’t have wrong intentions, but I certainly used the wrong actions. I pointed fingers at people. I unleashed venom on people. I put an electric current on everyone and everything. Left people fried.

And now I hate myself for it. Sitting here. I really do.

I said my, “I’m sorries.” But it doesn’t take away the fact that I was a bad representative for Jesus. It doesn’t take away the fact that some weaknesses get the better of me. It doesn’t take away the fact that people are still suffering. It doesn’t take away the fact that I feel horrible.

Maybe today, you are considering unsubscribing from my blog. I wouldn’t blame you. Maybe you thought I was a better Christian. I guess I thought so too… I suppose I would have relied on God a little more.

These and a hundred more thoughts consumed me as I pressed my head against the steering wheel today, and cried.

Oh, the regret!

Until, something shifted… I imagined Jesus. There. Weak, on a cross, arms wide open, crying out, “Father, forgive (her), for (she) knows not what (she) does.” (Lu. 23:34)

Forgive Kelly, she realizes not how she speaks before she thinks.
Forgive Kelly, she knows not how her mind gets ahead of things.
Forgive ___, she makes mistakes non-stop.
Forgive ___, she tells little white lies.
Forgive ___, she is desperately afraid.
Forgive ___, she is just looking for attention.
Forgive (insert your name), she is …..

What do you hold against yourself?

Jesus died saying, “Forgive them,” and he wrapped things up by saying, “It is finished.”

And, so it is.

Because it is finished, I can be finished with what I did. Because it is finished, you can be finished with your bad deeds too.

Whether they are from today or 500 todays ago, Jesus already declared your worst deeds are done. Let them die.

When Jesus looks at us now, I see him lifting us. I see him beholding his righteousness in us. I see him declaring his holiness in us. I see him noticing his blood that marks us blameless. I imagine him holding us before the world to say, “This is my daughter, with whom I am well pleased.”

This is who we are in his eyes. His view is all that matters.

Anything left after asking forgiveness of others and God is just shame.

Because in Christ, we are loved even when we feel unlovable. We are remarkable, even when we feel marked with sin. We are whole because Jesus gave up every bit of his body. This cannot be undone. It is the permanent power meant for all believers.

Your shame is finished. Right now, let it poof away. Jesus annihilated it at the cross.

Done.

This is the power of Christ.

 

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

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

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

How to Combat Mean Words

Mean Words

“So, what is your life worth, anyway? Doesn’t look like much…”

Yes, that is what the person said to me. And, yes, it took everything in me, not to hit back with…

Well, hotshot, what’s your life worth? 

Because, how do you reply after a question like this?

I didn’t answer. Instead, I sat there dumbfounded with a pocket knife hanging out my side. Like a victim. Bloody. All I could do was stare at it. Then, it hurt more.

And, while I knew, these words were insult-fueled, they were all I could think of…

Am I a waste?
Am I no good?
Does God think I am a failure?

Insults become attached to us – and come alive in us. 

I wonder, has someone insulted you? Maybe they’re insulting you today? Maybe they won’t shut up in your mind.

Insults often hit like this:

“You’re sin caused this to happen.”
“You are no good.”
“You are ugly.”
“You are selfish.”
“You are rude.”
“You don’t ever ____.”
“You are worthless.”
(Add your own)

You know the words, but how do you know how to protect yourself? This is what has eluded me for decades.

Until recently…

Let me tell you about that, but before I do, let me tell you about my daughter.

She has this saying. It is one she speaks if she really doesn’t like, want, or consider something good to hear. When something comes at her like this, she pushes her hands towards you as if she’s handing back what she doesn’t want.

Then, she sings, “Take it, take it, I don’t want to bake it.”

She doesn’t receive it.  She hands it back. And, so should we…

If words spoken, are only meant for insult, not to build, grow or transform…if they are only meant to hurt…we should do what my daughter does… push with our hands and mind and say, “Take it, take it, I don’t want to bake it.”

We don’t have to bake in our heart ungodly words deep in our soul. We don’t have to receive kill-words. We don’t have to permit someone’s injury to become ours.

Because then we get hurt and hurt others a similar way.

Instead, we can repent (if necessary) and not accept mean and hurtful words. Take it, take it, we don’t want to bake it!

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” (Eph. 4:29)

 

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

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

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

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Renew Your Weary Perspective

A few years ago, I thought I wanted a big house. I wanted massive square feet. I wanted a big yard, a long driveway and grass to plant flowers. I wanted it all. At least I thought. Until, I realized what I didn’t want: I didn’t want house problems, like leaks. I didn’t want snow plowing, every winter. I didn’t want, lawn mowing bills every week. I didn’t want house cleaning all the time. I didn’t want furniture bills up to my neck. I didn’t want housework without kid playtime. I didn’t want to live far away from friends. And, I didn’t want to feel like I was drowning under house chores.

That year, we sold the house – at a huge loss.

In retrospect, I realize, after selling the house, I stood at a decision point…

I could either wallow in my misery, thinking, I always lose money. I wasted so much cash on furniture I didn’t need. I cannot figure things out. I’ll always be lost. I’ll forever feel I don’t belong.

Or, I could recognize the issue, bring it to God, reframe my situation, and think differently. Like this:

Money comes and goes, but God’s care and providence for me endure forever.

Worth is what I invest in heaven, not what I see here.

My value is not my home, but God’s vast love for me.

What issue do you face? What seems to impossible to fix? How might you reframe it?

Begin by infusing into your problem what you’re thankful for. Then, move to praising your God for who he is thru your problem. End by requesting from God for eyes to see your problem afresh.

And always remember: There is no victory Christ can’t bring.

 

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

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

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

Getting Saved from Problems

need help

If you want to know how I found Jesus, know this: He found me.

Sure, pre-Jesus, I was religious. I knew how to go to church well. I knew how to say prayers. I knew how to follow rules. I knew how to make sacrifices. What I didn’t know was, love so great it would send you down to your knees because you wanted to go there. Because it was your joy to fall down. No. I didn’t know that.

I only knew striving hard and working hard to earn favor that felt about as unreachable as a life that mattered. It all frustrated me so. The idea of figuring out how to prove I was a prized daughter. The unquenchable desire to be seen and the corresponding desire to do everything right. The endless guilt and self-contempt. I always felt busted; I knew he always knew I wasn’t worthy enough.

And, it was tiring. I wore my body out doing all this. My weight dropped like a rock, my stomach turned knots in the night and my mind swung wild circles in the fog it lived in. It’s called Anorexia.

That’s where I went.  We all go somewhere. Without God we all go somewhere to escape the vicious thought: God might hate me. I went there.

It was painful. And, to add pain to this injury, the drinking didn’t help. I nearly hated myself.

Have you been there? Perhaps, you’re there now. Perhaps, you are trying to pretend you aren’t there, while everything in you – knows, you are there.

Do you feel the distance between you and God?
Do you sense the anger at yourself?
Do you feel the pull towards old addictions?
Do you try to meet all God’s expectations, but feel helpless to do it?

Today, I want you to know there is no shame. We tend to look at life as colors of black and white, good or bad, God or Godless. And, while, absolutely, truth is truth, often our own spiritual progression is not so easily delineated.

Faith is a journey; you are the sojourner. Beyond this, greater is a truthful heart to God, than a story contrived to the world. A fake.

God wants your truth. He wants your heart and he wants your truth. Will you bare it to him? Reveal it without shame? Let him unravel it?

That is what I did way back when (and I still do today). I called out to God. I said, “I don’t know what I am doing anymore. I don’t know who I am Jesus. Will you help me, save me?”

It’s a prayer we should use often; it works.  God always shows up. God always saves. God’s love completely endures, no matter how many years past a vibrant faith you are.

You are never too lost to be found.

He found me.

So, no matter where you stand on the spiritual spectrum, consider this:  God is ready to save you, today. Why not let him?

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

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

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

My Gigantic Mistake

Gigantic Mistake

I only wish I could take it back. Why doesn’t life come with a rewind button? Why can’t we re-do those horrible, wretched moments where we just get ahead of our self?

I got lured in. No, I didn’t.
I got pressured. Well, no, actually, I didn’t.
It was an impossible situation. No, to see things plainly, it really wasn’t.
Anyone could have done it. This point really doesn’t justify my action.

Now that my excuses are out of the way, I can name my action for what it is: a gigantic mistake. I can own it: I sinned.

Here’s what happened . . .

I met up with a girlfriend, Jen. Oh, how I love her. Wisdom is all over her. She is someone I can tell anything. Laughing, we enjoyed our time together. We connected, relayed stories and then, at one point, Jen relayed one of her secrets: she didn’t enjoy going to one of our common friend’s, Christy’s, marketing parties.

To me, this was no big deal, but to Jen, as she shared this information, it seemed huge. She quieted her voice, she leaned close, and she told me to keep it between me and her. She had that face on her that said, I just told you something I am SO embarrassed to admit. 

Of course, I promised to keep quiet. But, I didn’t. The secret about Jen slipped out while I was talking with Maria, our common friend. And, the “whoopsie moment” was magnified when I realized, Carrie, Jen’s closest friend, was right behind me. Like, RIGHT behind me. She totally could hear.

All I could do was – Panic! I’d messed the whole thing up, horribly. I’d gone – and got myself – caught.

Suddenly, rather than enjoying my place amongst friends, my mistake spun me out into some parallel universe of worry, fear and angst. I’m going to be busted. My friends will never tell me anything ever again. I am horrible. I am now going to be known as a liar.

The sin bothered me, but what was really killing me was the fact: I got caught. It is funny how sin works that way, isn’t it?  If we can hide it safely, we figure – no harm, no foul, but if it gets brought to the light we are crushed, tied up and self-tortured for our horrible behavior.

I tortured myself and disallowed my heart from experiencing joy that night.
I tortured myself by rewinding, over and over again, my big mouth blabbing in slow motion.
I tortured myself by trying to pull away from those friends out of embarrassment.
I tortured myself by believing God hated me for a moment.
I tortured myself by thinking my prayers were like paper airplanes missing the target of God.
I tortured myself by not accepting forgiveness.

I didn’t have to do this. I didn’t have to partake in self-torture. You don’t either. Even if you’ve blabbed like me, or thought no good rotten thoughts about your husband or stolen some item from the grocery story. Whatever it is, trying to pierce and plague your heart – you can let it go.

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14 (NIV)

My friend, you and I both, are under grace. Together we stand, united we will not fall, because Jesus loves us and she who the son sets free, is free indeed (Jo. 8:36).  Done. Finalized. Finished.

I am forgiven and you are too. Grace that hung on the cross absolved us from the pain of self sin-torture. Today, let’s receive it and move on.

 

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

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

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

3 Steps to Calm Anxiety

Calm Anxiety

I’ve battled the tightness of chest, the shakiness of body and the uncertainty of what is to come for quite a while. Only recently have I been able to win the war against what seems incurable: my anxiety.

Do you suffer from it?

It’s a feeling you can’t get ahead…
It’s surviving, with generalized gnawing…
It’s living with overwhelming tenseness because you feel out of control…
It’s bearing with the weight of the world on your shoulders…
It’s carrying irritation from others actions…
It’s a true sense of your inability to change things…

For so long, anxiety crept up on me like a lightweight spider; I didn’t know he was on me until his poison sank in. Then I knew, I was in for it. He saturated me in a way where it felt impossible to get well again. To fix things. Maybe you’ve been there. I wouldn’t wish it on my greatest enemy.

Anxiety has ruined family vacations.

It’s made me snap like an explosive.
It’s caused many a sleepless night.
It’s broken peace.
It’s stolen moments.
It’s made me self-consumed.
It’s made me angry at myself.

What has it taken from you? What has this poison done in your body? Life?

Only recently have I started to make headway against it.

Step 1 of progress is in acknowledging this: My anxiety is due to a gap I do not internally believe I have the power to bridge, control or fix.

Step 2 is deciding I am in charge of my feelings. No one else has the ability to: 1. Tell me how to feel. 2. Make me feel a certain way 3. Force me to have feelings or to act a certain way.

With this, I can imagine a holy box of God around me. In this space, I am permitted to feel as I feel without feeling bad about it. In this space, I am able to present to God the actual emotion I am feeling and the cause that set it off, without living under the weight of crushing judgment. Why can I do this? Because Jesus is my advocate. He forgives, heals and helps. He is behind me and for me. He also wants me to discover his peace. He loves me.

Step 3 is saying this: God, I do not have the ability to figure ______ (insert the trigger of the issue here) out. I need your help with how to respond. Will you show me how to stay with you in this space and place that feels scary? Will you show me how to lean on you when I am not sure how people will react or how well I will do? Will you be my protection as I respond in a way that is truthful – to you and to others? I can hand over to you the person, place or thing that is troubling my heart and be with you in the moment. Here, you will lead me and prompt me to move with your love, grace and mercy towards myself and towards others. I can trust you to be with me, even when I feel all alone.

This 3-step process has literally been my saving grace. When I feel the poison starting to rise up from within me, God’s grace towards my constricting heart makes all the difference. It frees me. The secret is: you gotta catch it early. Right when it starts.

And, when you don’t, it’s okay. Just try again next time.

Prayer for women like me who struggle like this: Dear God, here we stand before you, women who don’t have it all figured out, women who want to be better, women who struggle inside our own bodies. God, will you help us to rely on your truth instead of our feelings? Will you help us to put up healthy barriers between us and the world? Will you help us to take your peace you’ve given us and to keep it? We need you. We can’t do it alone. Please be our guide, Lord Jesus. You are the answer every time. We trust your ways and want to die to our own. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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