Purposeful Faith

Category - failure

When Someone is Better than You (& You Hate Them for it)

Better than You

The lady was confident. That was my first issue with her.

If she was just beautiful and – not confident, she might not have bothered me. But, she was SO sure of herself. She knew she was made of.  No one in the world could tell her otherwise! No one could stop her! She brought her brilliance with her wherever she went!

She sat like the statue of liberty. I was a small seagull whose job was to soak in her glory.

It didn’t help she had a great job and wouldn’t shut up about it. That really irked me, because at this time, I had a horrible job and I loved to whine about it. I have too much work! I can’t do it! I need a new job!

This lady spoke to my husband differently: My job is a dream! My boss is inspirational. My life is fantastic!

Puh-lease….someone pass me the salt shaker – so I can pour it on her head.

I could almost see it, me – the small one, salt-shaker in hand – wrecking her moment. Her, the large-and-in-charge one melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.

But, she is not wicked. I am. Ever asked yourself…Why am I thinking this way?

I sat back in my chair, tuned out her conversation and considered –  why am I thinking so – meanly?

Her strength is depleting mine.

Her success is ruining my moment.

Her great attitude defines me as less than.

Her belief in herself is stealing my joy.

Why does one woman have such a great impact – on me? Can 1 lady take away all of God’s promises with 1 sparkly super-white smile?

Is this what God intended? For me to hate girls who are happy, successful and beautiful?

Somehow, in this moment, I know my heart has followed a rabbit trail – straight away from God’s glory. I’ve gone got myself stuck in a pit now.

Have you found yourself in a pit lately? Perhaps someone shines better than you? Always has a perfect answer? Has the job of all jobs? Is PTA mom extraordinaire? Is driving your dream car? Has perfect kids? Constantly shows off Facebook vacations?

God says, our pits are escapable, with his help. “He lifted me out of the slimy pit…he set my feet on a rock & gave me a firm place to stand.”

God has the strength to lift me up from the yuck I put myself in.
When I set my eyes on God, not her, he, like a medivac, pulls me to safety.
Choose to stand upon the solid rock – the ground that is not sinking. , that is not wavering and that will not quake under the pressure of earthly measures.

Here, I see: I am not less than, I am just right in God’s eyes.
I am not struggling, but victorious, because I am chosen as daughter.

I am not without a plan, because God has created good works for me in advance. I am not alone, for God sees the desires of my heart.

I am not dependent on others, but fully dependent on God – and who he says I am.

I pull out of my thoughts and find myself at that restaurant table. Her voice emerges, except it no longer sounds like nails on a chalkboard, but another girl, who’s excited to be who she is created to be. I mention how blessed she is to have a good job. She smiles. We talk – and have fun.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

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Fear of Time: Does it rush, pressure or stress you out?

fear of time

I approached him, “Get your backpack. We need to get in that car.”

He marched right past me holding the shovel like a sword, swinging it as if he just won a war. He wasn’t going anywhere, this I knew. My words floated over him like the wind. His eyes were dead set on the game he was playing.

I was annoyed, for what stood between me and peace – was a 5-year old, a pretend game and a wrestling match of words that was about to explode.

What is standing in between you and peace?  Between you and God?

For me it is distractions. Consider this: Just 5 minutes before my son’s victory march I was praying to God, asking him to be with me and wanting to walk forward in his love.  So, what happened?

(Deep breath.) 3 distractions bubbled up – ones that so often pull me off track:

  1. I let the demands of this world, steal my delight in the Creator.
  2. I allow urgency to replace intimacy – between me and God.
  3. I let destination take precedence over God’s invitation to let loose.

(Another deep breath.) When I am worried about time, (I don’t have enough of it, I am stressed out by it, I am going to be late, I am missing out, I am too old, I am too young, I should be somewhere already, I don’t want to wait, I must think about my future, rather than be present) I work myself into a tizzy. And, here, in all my trembling – I can’t see God.

…But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:19)

I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord the best, with as few distractions as possible.  (1 Cor. 7:35)

If I am distracted I can’t as easily be engaged with God. If I am worried about many things, I can’t be enthralled by the One thing. If I am trying to press through a tight knit schedule, I can’t as easily press peace into this world.

I want more. Do you?  I want to take God through my day with me. Not just in the morning time, but all the time. Not just when I think of him, but as I do everything. I want to invite in his love so I can spread his love.

No longer do I want to fear the rush, the clock and the game – that calls me to sprint ahead, but I want to stop and sit and savor and sip up God’s goodness. Maybe you do too…

For we serve a God who is limitless and unbound by time. The truth is, he can work within any barrier that lays before us. He just outstretches his hand and it expands in a way where we can do what we once thought we couldn’t.

We believe by faith. And God handles the rest.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

25 Ways Not to be Lukewarm in Faith

Friends, I’m also sharing on Sharon Jaynes blog, “God, will you come through for me?” and on Suzie Eller’s blog, “Faith when fear tries to run you over“. Two fabulous ladies, two fabulous blogs. I encourage you to check these out! Comment on their blogs for a chance to win a free book.

Now on with my post…

“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16

This. This verse right here. It gives me the chills. It’s one of those things that makes you sit up straight. It reminds me of coasting on a bike. The thing about coasting is – you can’t coast up to God, you’re always coasting somewhat downwards and away from him.

I don’t want to coast. I certainly don’t want to be looking at the world and living my life, only to die and find out – I was never really that close to him to begin with.

Whoops! Big Whoops! Eternal Whoops!

You all know I just wrote the book, Fear Fighting. So, it’s not that I have to fear what I am doing wrong, it’s just that I have to fear God. Get my eyes on him. Seek him. Be with him. Pursue him.

Like dominoes, everything falls in line when we do this. We get near him and he gets in us. I like that.

With this in mind here are my 25 Ways Not To Be Lukewarm:

1. Pray

2. Praise

3. Practically search out ways to love others

4. Read scripture

5. Ask God for help.

6. Submit all your plans to God.

7. Enjoy creation with God.

8. Remember Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

9. Forgive others.

10. Forgo anxiety and replace it with praise.

11. Encourage another person.

12. Hold fast to the belief that trials are training you into the image of Christ.

13. Grab on to faith, even when you feel like you are falling.

14. Thank God for everything.

15. Die to your selfish ways and live for Christ’s.

16. Renew your mind in truth, throughout the day, every day.

17. Worship through songs and Psalms.

18. Seek to understand others, verses judge them.

19. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide, then follow.

20. Seek holy in everything you do.

21. Put on the armor of God (Eph. 6)

22. Proclaim the gospel, no matter how scared you may feel.

23. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Speak it over your life.

24. Receive and extend grace. Repeat.

25. Uncover your heart and ready it for God’s transformation.

The good news is – even if we’ve lived lukewarm, we don’t have to fear our salvation. If we are saved, it is as done and done is done. We also don’t have to fear that we messed up, drifted away from God or turned our back for moment. Why? Because God’s love is greater than our deep worry we won’t be loved again. It extends beyond our feelings, thoughts and hurts. It reaches in – and once again – accepts us.

Buy my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears!

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

 

Do You Fear What is Ahead?

fear what is

I walked in the door, dropped my bag and called upstairs to my husband, “Want to take a walk?”

Shockingly, he did. He wanted to enjoy the spontaneous burst of warm weather that was gracing our air. We put on our shoes and headed out. I had no idea I was about to be graced with his wisdom too.

We headed down a forest laden trail. It was beautiful.

“Kelly, I wonder what is up there, beyond that bend?”

I already knew, I’d walked the trail time and time again.

He went on, “I think God says, we don’t have to know what is beyond our bends. We don’t have to see what is up ahead. We just have to walk with him in the moment, knowing he is up there already. He is already where we are headed. And, that’s all we need to know. We are free to enjoy the purple flowers, the flying birds and the moving clouds. We can simply trust he has what we are walking into.”

I knew I married this guy for a reason.

I nodded my head in agreement. “Yep,” I said, ” because if we are so caught up with what we can’t see, we’ll miss what we can. Plus, once we get to that bend, we will want to know, yet again, what is beyond the next one. It’s a losing battle.”

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you…  (Deut. 31:8)

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mt. 6:34)

Often, I am so caught up in what’s coming, I miss the table of beauty God has laid in front of me today. I don’t partake in what is good.  I fear what is bad. I adjust my shirt just right so my stomach bulges don’t stand out too much. I grip onto tight schedules so I have a handy excuse for social situations I am terrified of. I cling on to my kids hand with a death grip, hoping the doesn’t stray to far away from mom if I let go. I rush through breakfast and traffic lights and pajamas trying to my couch and TV.

But, my husband reminds me – I don’t have to hold on to what is up ahead – or fear it – for God is already there. It’s like he rushed ahead and set the table in advance, so when I arrive, the goodness awaits. Sure, sometimes it might look like the table is empty or it’s not as I thought, but as I am present with him, in the moment, he always surfaces some sort of surprise party.  His spiritual blessings all jump out at me and I leap for joy. I realize, “Wow God, what I really wanted is right here.”

And, friend, what you want is right before you. For what is before you, in this moment, is your God. He is with you and will not let you go. Keep walking with him, no matter how good, how bad or how ugly your trail looks. For, you never know, when you might stumble you upon your – surprise party!

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

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today! Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge. 

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

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15 Things I Wish I Never Did as a Christian

Never did as a christian

Oh, I’ve made some mistakes. Some big ones. I am not proud of them either. At risk of you hating me, and of pigeonholing myself into the corner of worst-Christian-ever, I am going to share 12 things I wish I would have never done.

If Jesus tells us to confess our sins to one another, I guess, you can call this an uber-confession.

Now, as a disclaimer to the disclaimer I wrote above, I fully know, some things may make you feel uncomfortable, but what I hope is, by sharing, admitting and bringing to light my worst, we are all inspired to fully move into God’s best. There is power in acknowledgment, in stepping out in complete transparency, with the purpose of leaving behind what God never called us to carry ahead.

So without further ado…

15 things I wish I never did as a Christian:

  1. Critiqued the Pastor’s Sermon: He’s boring, self-indulgent, missing the point, too knowledge focused, too story-focused, too animated, not animated enough or missing the point.
  2. Decided myself more holy than others. At times, I’ve worn a church-going halo, while internally criticizing the gal who hasn’t said hello to church in weeks.
  3. Believed I need to be less Jesus-y. Thinking, if I shine too bright, people’s eyes may bug out in fright. If I show my strong love for Jesus, they may run away thinking I am a bible bumpin’ freek-a-zoid.
  4. Kept up with the Jesus Joneses’ on Social Media. If my image isn’t pretty enough, calligraphy’ed enough or bright enough, I figured God’s Word wouldn’t be appealing enough to the masses.
  5. Made an exasperated sigh at mention of, yet-again, another sermon on tithing, its merits and why I’m completely, entirely, and utterly missing out – and impacting the church in a horrible way – if I don’t drop my wallet in the basket.
  6. Figured humility was about: 1.) Never accepting compliments 2.) Believing you couldn’t really do things 3.) Acting like you hated yourself.
  7. Received grace only after acting godly enough and/or hard enough to receive it.  Usually allowing myself 3 days to writhe in anxiety and worry before letting in what Christ already accomplished. Keeping company with shame.
  8. Decided that girl is not a Christian because she didn’t say hi to me, lied to me or brushed by me – 3 too many times.
  9. Believed to “deny myself” and to “live for Christ” meant I skip past who God made me to be, to jump ahead to who – you, or others – desire me to be. I forgot my God-given voice.
  10. Made snap-decisions on the motives and heartbeat of non-believers without wanting – to know them, their problems or their setbacks in life.
  11. Forgot the poor. Walked right past them.
  12. Lived a life in pursuit of getting my latte, my life in order or my late self to my next place.
  13. Missed the opportunity to wear glasses of love.
  14. Placed my sin on a scale. Gleefully, watching the lead load of other’s sin crash low – while seeing the feather-light weight of mine – fly high.  Who made me judge?
  15. Found myself worried about, focused on and tightly gripping many things, instead of falling in love with the One and Only thing (the King) that matters – God.

This list is a petri-dish of ugly. My go-to instinct is ugly. My new identity in Christ – is beautiful.

What is your ugly? What judgment lurks behind the doors of your mind? What Christian shame has crept up on you like a night crawler ready to attack?

It is not too much for God. It is not too great for his healing hand. It is not going to disqualify you from heaven, I assure you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)

Prayer: Dear God, I am far from the image of glowing Christian. I am far from kind, some days. I do things, in my head, that would embarrass me greatly if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of that. I ask you to teach me your ways. I ask you to lead me in your grace. I ask you to forgive me for the ways, I’ve hurt you and others intentionally or unintentionally. Will you restore my heart in peace and trust? Will you help me know that what I’ve done no longer stands against me? You stand for me. You stand with me. You mark me forgiven. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Or, order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

With 3 Words, Cut the Negative Power of Fear

This time of year is full of angst. At least it is for me. It is mostly this feeling that I need to do something bigger, better and bolder than last year, but the problem is – I have this sinking feeling – I won’t.

Add this to the swirling questions:

What if something catastrophic happens in 2017?
My children get hurt?
I find out I have cancer?
My husband and I lose our great relationship?
What if I accomplish nothing of importance?
I let God down?
Terrorism hits close?

This list goes on and on and the fears grow bigger and bigger the more I recite them. Before I know it, the bump on my face will surely become cancer and heartburn is, no doubt, a heart murmur.

Me + Fear = An atomic combination

It blows up my life, because I walk around with the destructive air of anxiety. This bad air, then makes others glow with frustration at my bad attitude.

Fear clouds my view of God. While once I could see and admire him, front-and-center – my constant trepidation quickly makes me lose heartfelt dedication… Worry covers wonder, action plans cover the idea – God-has-the-best plan, and prayer gets lost under despair.

Breathe deep.

Sometimes this is the best first step, I think. Any separation from the trepidation falling on you, is always good. If you give God an inch, He can work with that.

And, as I do, as I step back from the angst of 2017 in full motion, 3 calming words and 3 consoling verses come to mind:

Know: “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10)

Grow: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt. 6:33)

Go: 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. 46:10)

These 3 words help me see, I’ve complicated things. I’ve worried about the future, yet, God is in the present. Have you missed God too?

Perhaps, we don’t need to know the future, but we simply need to know that God is God. Perhaps, we don’t have to fear growth, progress or accomplishments, but simply seek first his righteousness, knowing we’ll grow as he adds everything to us Perhaps, we don’t need to get paralyzed by what ifs and hypotheses, but simply Go! in God’s strength and protection.

We move as he moves and trust him; he is trustable.

This idea awakens my heart, because when we fear, it is hard to be in God’s plan. Yet, when we know God is near, we lose fear.

This 2017, these 3 words will be my Fear Fight. A rather unconventional fight – one where I remember Jesus has already fought the fight – and won. In this, I’ll stand in his victory. Will you?

 

Interested in joining the Fear Fight? Want to leave behind your tremblings to walk into unbelievable calling? Order my book, Fear Fighting, today!

Sign up for the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge!

Or, get all her blog posts by email. Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

What Do You Blame Yourself For?

blame Yourself

Is there something in your life – you can’t forgive yourself for?

There is something, even today, I am still angry at myself for doing. I can’t tell you all the full story, although I wish I could. There are people, and places and things, that have to be protected.  But, what you need to know is this: for a long time I’ve walked around with a pile of regret, loaded up with the bricks of fear that I can never rewrite the past.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Eph. 1:17

Peace, Child. I call you blameless. 

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13-14

Peace, Child. I call you blameless. 

Did you hear me? I. call. you. blameless. Col. 1:22

Not blamed a little bit when “that girl” stands taller, thinner and richer.
Nor blamed when you royally drop all the marbles of so-called great faith.
Nor blamed when your mind starts to dig deep tracks into despair.
Nor blamed when you can’t seem to be sinless enough to win my accolades.
Nor blamed when don’t have as good as a comeback as that other person.
Nor blamed when you look like a walking zombie of motherhood.
Nor blamed when your house is messier than a city demolished post-tornado.
Nor blamed when you feel lowly, last or marginalized.

Blameless. Child. Blameless.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Eph. 1:4

Peace Child. I call you loved. Jo. 3:16

Not loved just when you’re performance is perfectly stepped and played.
But loved just as the unique creation I formed.
Your imperfections are what I call beauty. I know them and I love them.
Not like I love “her”–and for a good reason. She is not you, nor does she have your call.
I know how to love you, just as you need.
I know how to help you, just as my will prescribes.
I made you to be you, because I like you.
I made you to be you, because I have plans for you that no one else owns.
I made you to be you, because you know how to love the hurt that were hurt like you.
I made you as you, because there are people that need the most authentic being–of you.
I made you to be you, because I want you as mine. I enjoy you. I like you. I call you friend.

Order Kelly Balarie’s new book, Fear Fighting today! Or, get all her blog posts by email. Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:
10 Ways to Develop Rock-Solid Faith
5 Transformational Tips: Make God’s Word Come Alive

Where Are My Blessings, God?

Need A Miracle? This Is Breakthrough…

need a miracle

Do you feel unable? Do you have a dream no one believes in? Have you hit an impossible roadblock?

Maybe you’re after a miracle.
Even worse, maybe your not.
Maybe, you’ve given up.

I am well aware, we all have our – “if onlys”, “it’s impossible” or “that couldn’t happen” scenarios. They loom like harbingers of how we will self-destruct, how those we love will get hurt or how we will never come out the other side – alive.

The enemy loves to tell us we can look, but can’t touch. He tells us good things are out of reach. So, instead we put on anti-faith, which is doubt cloaked in the covering of Christian-like behavior. We pretend.

We forget about this: Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Jo. 16:23

Our real problem isn’t that it’s out of reach, it’s that we don’t believe God’ll put it within reach.

The difference between a miracle and a mirage – is prayer.

If only we asked.
And believed.

For 80% of my life, I lived not believing. I mean, half-believing, I guess…if that is such a thing. I lived attending church. I lived trying my best. I lived praying. But, for the most part I lived doubting: doubting I’d ever do good, doubting God would really forgive me, doubting God could use me, doubting people would ever like me.

Fear was my slave master and my inadequacy his whip. I stayed in line.

Until, I started praying. Prayer is the liberator every woman needs, but has no idea how to find.

Me? A girl who stayed back in 3rd grade. A girl crippled by a chest that clenched its own self. A woman afraid that everyone would hate her. A quitter. An anorexic who felt she had to be perfect. A woman who hid from opportunities because she didn’t want to fail. A lady who was told she’d never write, nonetheless be an author.

Me? God saved me – from the overwhelming anxiety of being me.
Me? God opened up purpose and passion.
Me? God lit vision and destroyed the power of rejection.
Me? God inspired my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Fears.
Me? God just put my book on the Today Show. Kathie Lee Gifford named it one of her Favorite Things.
Me? God showed me – He can do anything, free anyone or rescue anyone – if only they ask.

We don’t ask though. This is the real problem.

What if you asked God to be fearless?

What might your life look like?

Where might God take you?

No doubt, underneath this stark movement in my life, were countless prayers.  Above it, stood a limitless God. Between these two places, was my belief. I watched everything collide.

God is calling us to step deeper and walk further into the fullness of all he can do. You see, we don’t have to imagine it, or perceive it – forget all that – we just have to believe it.

This is what my book Fear Fighting is all about. It’s about linking arms with the Savior, the Redeemer and the Creator of all good, so that we, as sisters, may walk bold and brave. It’s about leaving behind trembling so we can walk, on sure foundation, into God’s greatest callings. It’s about exchanging comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of I-am-loved, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s about seeing yourself as God sees you. It’s about stepping out when every voice from your past tells you to step in. It’s about finding the you God created you to be.

Join the Fear Fight. The time is now. Your God waits. He will help you. Prayer will be your guide and God will not steer you wrong. Your greatest miracle is just ahead.

Buy Fear Fighting!

Join the Four Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

More Reading:
When You Let God Down
5 Ways: Calm the Inner-Rumbles of Rejection
When Your Picture Is Not Pretty

Know What Can Ruin Christmas?

Ruin Christmas

I keep going back to what happened – what was said, how it was said and why the person is wrong.

A label was tossed my way; I was called a name. But, it’s more than just that. The bullets run deep – and are hard to pull out.

Sometimes what’s said or done, is not easily removed.

People yakked and hacked an image.
They understood things wrong.
They dissed, offended or disregarded you.
They were insensitive.

Like, I said, with people, what’s said or done, sometimes, is not easily removed. It sinks deep.

So, anyway, here I come, prancing on up to Christmas – a time of joy, a time of Jesus, with a hundred and one holes through my heart – and increasing pain lodged between me and a manger.

I am not sure what to do.

Because, this I know, if I want to meet holy, I can’t walk around hostile. In order to be super-close with Jesus, I can’t be loaded-up with sin. This idea is Christianity 101, but it takes a masters degree to apply.

Waving goodbye to your right to be angry, is like letting go of a bad habit – you love. Everything in you knows you’ll be better off without it, but not walking up to that wine bottle and taking a glass, or three, after a hard day, is hard. Like unforgiveness, it beckons you to hold on.

In some ways, your noble actions have warranted it, you figure. You’ve earned it. Other people have entitled you to carry around that glass, even if it makes you cranky, tired or on edge. Even if it hurts.

Yet, here’s the quandary: God says I should be able to approach him with “freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12). I can’t when I carry around this cup of self-righteousness. It spills over onto my eyesight and then I can’t see God. I get all clouded with shame, guilt and discontent.

So there they stand – ones who’ve offended me, tremendously.
There Jesus stands – the One who befriended me, groundlessly.

I wonder if Jesus thought about me before he entered the world?

Maybe he thought: “Hmmm…there she stands; I see all Kelly’s offenses. In fact, I can line them up and they’d reach around the world. Join them together, they’d actually wrap it 3 times. How can I go down there, to that place of vile, and forgive her? How can I leave the heights of glory, a throne of brilliance, and all the angelic hosts of heaven – for her likes?

I would have thought that way, if I was him. I would have thought, “Keep me up here at the banquet, but don’t send me down there into the stink and dirt of a manger – coupled with difficult people. Don’t put me there for that bad girl, Kelly. Not worth it.”

But, He didn’t. And this is the part I can’t contend with: Jesus didn’t abandon me because I abandoned him.

How can I abandon others, when Jesus didn’t abandon me? What right do I have to pick up a right that he laid down? To stand when he laid down?

He teaches me to lay it all down for others so that I can pick up that baby, Jesus Christ, and hold him close this Christmas.

I don’t do it for them, I do it because I love him. I want him. I can’t do life without him. I do it because he’s forgiven them too. He’s set the standard. He shows me the way. And, if I want the way to lead up to his throne, I can’t have mean people blocking my path to him.

So, there they stand. I look at them and, in them, I see me. I see me, because we are all in Christ. I see me, because just as they are covered, so am I. And, what I also accept, beyond the peace that comes with forgiving them, is God’s peace that comes with him forgiving me. For what I’ve held inside, me – the contempt – is covered. And, like a magic trick, but better,  with God’s grace it goes – Poof!  It’s gone.

And, all that’s left is Jesus. A man, whose small act of entering a large world, changes it all. Whose humility, radically rewires our vision. Whose love, makes our mouth go agape. Whose forgiveness, goes against all odds, yet changes them all the same.

The one “who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8), remains. He always does. And, what we’ve done is cleared a way for us to bow low, so we can cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” So we can get eye-level with a baby, who redeems it all.

Will you let in the baby this Christmas? Who do you need to forgive?

Continue Fighting Fear!
Join me on the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Prayer:

God, we come to you as we are. We come to you with our frustration, anger and irritation. We come to you with our pain and our opinions. We bring to you our perceptions, right or wrong. We hand over to you, what you don’t invite us to carry any longer. God, will you take care of all this? Will do you do justice on our behalf? Will you mend our hearts on our behalf? Will you soften our rough edges and take from us what you know is not healthy for us to carry? We turn it over, God. Today, through the name of Jesus Christ, we release it. We know what you have, in return, is peace and joy that is far better than self-righteousness and pride. Lord, now that we are clean, we ask you to bring us close to your heart. We ask you to walk us up and into your love. We ask you to teach us and grow us as you see fit. We trust you God. Above all, we trust you. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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

More Reading:

1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle
Embarrassing Bravery and Insane Courage
When Sharing Makes You Embarrassed

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When People Take Advantage of You

Take Advantage

She told me, “I deserved more.”

Do I?

I hadn’t thought of it like that. But, perhaps she was right.

I should get it. I am owed it. I’ve missed out, been singled out, treated poorly.  Suddenly, she confirmed my worst fears.

I’ve been taken advantage of.

In a split second, her statement touched an open nerve, exposing all I-don’t-have, but should. The words grabbed me hook line and sinker. They make me want to get mad, to fight. Maybe, with some effort to get what I really deserve; I’ll feel 100% happy. 

What do you feel you deserve? What have you been passive-aggressively implying you’re owed?

I suppose, under the cover of my steel lid, I’ve been slowly simmering with the idea I deserve respect, answers, and kindness from people. I deserve them to pull through for me. I deserve their help.

Yet (and this is the part that really gets to me – and hard to embrace), Jesus didn’t demand much. Jesus wasn’t known for saying he deserved things – even though he deserved everything. Actually, rather than taking what he deserved, he gave to the world what they didn’t deserve – his very own body.

He got broken for me, when he could’ve stayed enthroned, without me.

If Jesus is my role model…

If I really follow him…

I deserve nothing…
but, through Christ, gain everything…
the ability to love…
to receive grace
and to delight in the journey of being with God...
…it is more than enough.

It really is. It truly is.

I lose peace when I start to think otherwise. I lose freedom too.

I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. Jo. 5:30

It’s a war of the world for the heart. There’s a tug one direction saying: fight for yourself. Then, there’s the Spirit’s tug the opposite direction saying: Die to yourself and live with me. And, there’s God’s truth saying: While you are silent, I’m fighting for you. (Ex. 14:14)

What if we gave up all our ways – to seek God’s? What might happen? I wonder what might happen to the world if – instead of fighting, we started loving? Call me simplistic or idealistic, but somehow, I not only think this is what God calls us to do, but he, in the process, sets us free to do.

The power isn’t in getting, but in giving.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Prov. 10:12

Love never fails… 1 Cor. 14:7

Quick-fire Prayer: May I have eyes from above to shed love. May I not seek to gain the world, but extend a hand to it. May I fight not for my ways, but give up all my ways, in order to find Jesus.

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

More Reading:
Have You Lost Peace?
The Good Found in the Darkness (Linkup)

What’s Blocking you from Christ?