Purposeful Faith

Category - failure

Do They Hate Me?

I wanted to write the girl a message of encouragement, but felt… embarrassment.

It wasn’t that I did anything horrifically wrong in the past. I handled our interactions the way I believed God wanted me to. But I didn’t know if she thought I did so well. There were some tensions. This bothered me. Greatly.

I hate tension.

So, I kept testing the waters. I sent her little messages, trying to gauge her emotions as it pertained to me.

I didn’t get much back. Blank messages. Which irritated and inflamed my injuries even more.

The idea that she didn’t like me made me imagine her spreading the word to everyone that I was:

  1. Odd.
  2. Overzealous
  3. Selfish

It made my heart twist, tie and snap almost like raw rope.

They all hate me, miscategorize me and misunderstand me. 

Perhaps I unfriend them first. I must push all them away.

Have people hurt you in this same way? Misunderstanding your motives? Misconstruing your efforts? Ruining relationships?

My friends, what strikes me today is: Jesus.

Jesus was offended. Jesus was misunderstood. Jesus was miscatagorized. Jesus was taken to trial, when he wasn’t guilty. Jesus was hurt, when he didn’t do anything wrong.

Jesus knows these feelings. He also knows the depths of our heart. He knows the cry of our pain. He knows our little schemes to make things right. And most importantly, I believe He knows…

  1. There is a time to speak.
  2. A time for space.
  3. A time for prayer.
  4. A time for grace.
  5. A time for (Add yours here)
  6. And, ALWAYS a time to love, unconditionally, without strings attached.

What is God calling you to?

In order to accomplish #5, we often have to lean on God to see which specific response (see: #1-5), He is calling us to. Sometimes, the best way to love someone who is against you is to just pray for her. Sometimes, the best way to breakthrough is to see life through their eyes. Sometimes, the best way to reconcile is giving space so God can heal their heart.  Sometimes, the best way to love is to just let things go and trust God to be faithful to defend you, restore you, renew you and reestablish what was lost, over time.

But never is there a time to let fear be our driver. Fear steals what God is working out in faith. We cannot permit this. It moves us from free-to-love to chained-by-fear. It keeps us endlessly worried rather than expectantly wondering what our Almighty God will do next. Fear always is a failing mission.

Never should we do in fear what God welcomes us to do with unfailing love.

What no-strings-attached love is God calling you to unleash today?

 

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 Do You Choose to Live?

to live

Catastrophe hit my family, and while I can’t go into the details here, I can assure you it shredded my heart. It scared me silly and caused me to release tirades on people I love. I am not as good as you think I am. Nor am I as good as I thought I was. I’m a whole lot worse.

Yet, through this there’s a hidden blessing: I see how much I need Jesus. His light. Because apart from Him, my thoughts are dark.

Getting to this thought is freedom.

Jesus came “to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” (Jo. 9:39)

Apart from the nature of Jesus (love, kindness, goodness, truth, nobility, purity, loveliness, excellence, wisdom, humility or gratefulness) all I see is darkness. Worthlessness. Vanity. Diversions. Fear. Voids. Schemes. Faking. Swirling tornadoes of emotions that lead to an inward focus, plus a generalized sense God won’t come through.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Mt. 6:22

The choice is ours. . .

Light or dark?
Dark or light?

Reliant on the Living Water?
Departing from Him?

All Jesus, all the time?
Or me, myself, and I, all the time?

While our world hates calling things one way or another and we tend to desire shades of safety, sometimes one-way-or-the-other choices are exactly what God ordered.

What will you choose to be:
Lukewarm?
Or on fire?

All things hope, all things faith, all the time…not done with perfection, but certainly done from a heart of dedication?

What if we were to choose to see faith, hope and love activated by the grace of God, as we. . .

Pick our kids up from school.
Respond to annoying people.
Grab the bills from the mailbox.
Go to that doctor’s appointment.
Contemplate our yeses and nos.
Let go of our defenses.
Follow God.
Seek His guidance.
Deal with unanswered prayers.
Confront our emotions.
Wake up.
Go to sleep.
Live.

What if we chose to really believe?

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” Heb. 11:1 AMP

 

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.

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.