Purposeful Faith

Category - faith

When You’re Not the Favorite

favorite beauty from chaos

Post By: Angela Parlin

They were the sparkly people.

This was my secret definition for the beautiful people who surrounded me growing up. My sisters, my best friends, the cheerleaders I wanted to grow up and be like. People with big personalities, who turned eyes without trying.

People watched them.

People listened to them.

People laughed at whatever they said.

People wanted to be with them.

They didn’t fear being seen, because they knew it was true—everybody wanted to hear whatever they had to say. They were the beautiful people through and through.

And I wasn’t one of them, at least in my perception.

So I was reading through Genesis again a few years ago, and I came to the story of Joseph. The part where his father loved him more than his other sons. I knew all about people like Joseph. I’d spent decades observing them. The sparkly people. The beautiful ones. People with big dreams, and all the pieces coming together into a perfect picture.

The truth is, my parents didn’t play favorites at home. I grew up with 3 sisters, and we were all entirely different, yet deeply loved. But beyond the walls of our home, another story unfolded. People responded differently to each of us, and the only problem with that? I noticed all these things. And as I stored them up in my heart, it broke.

I had never been a Joseph. I could only identify with his brothers—the other kids, the ones less chosen. The only thing I could understand was that longing for a coat of many colors made for me. Something to show I was picked, that I was also a favorite.

So my view of Joseph’s story had always been colored by my own story.

Do you ever find yourself so focused on one piece of the story, that you miss the whole rest of it?

I know I sound like Ms. Obvious, but there’s a whole lot more to the story about Joseph. His brothers threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. And when the sight of him had his master’s wife all hot and bothered, her desire for him landed him in prison. But the Lord was with him, through it all. Even in prison, Joseph was put in charge. He continued to take what he was handed in life and do the next right thing. God repeatedly elevated him to places of honor.

Even so, Joseph spent years in prison, and when he interpreted dreams for some of the king’s former servants, he asked them to remember him when serving the king again. But they did not remember Joseph. 

This time around, I sat with these words, and I felt like I owed Joseph an apology.

I’d looked at his blessings—the way he was favored and handsome and put in charge. But what about his suffering? He was also trafficked, sold, imprisoned unfairly, and forgotten.

For the first time, I looked at Joseph’s story and saw his blessings and tragedies. I saw how the Lord was with him—from his original home to the pit, in slavery, at the king’s house, in prison, and in power.

The Lord remained with Joseph through it all, and He promises the same for you and me.

Joseph was chosen by God for specific purposes. But we are also created for specific purposes and the Lord also remains with us. We’re not so different from Joseph. Look long enough at your life and you’ll see where our Father is making beauty out of chaos. You’ll see that He’s working good even where harm was intended.

You’ll see He only makes beautiful, sparkly people. And that we’re all His favorites.

Favorites who once had blind eyes, but now we see.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50

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Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

This is for You: Get Up!

Get Up

Get up.

Someone sitting on a couch of complacency, who now grabs a remote more than the Word of God, whose heart feels let down by God – needs to hear this. It is why I am dedicating this blog post to this very person.

Get back up again.

You have not been forgotten. You’ve not been left behind. Just because you’ve pulled away, does not mean that God is pulling away from you. He’s not. He’s pulling even closer. He’s chasing you down, pursuing you, on this very blog page. He’s letting you know that he sees. He sees your tightly clenched jaw. He sees the way you’re shying away from talking to him. He sees your insides that ache. He sees your loss. Your grief. Your shame. He sees your feelings that say – I cannot continue. 

He knows when you lay down or when you get up.
He’s got every single move, all your thoughts,
all your ways and all your actions in his hands.
He’s deeply familiar with you (Ps. 139:1-2).

You are not outside His vision. You have not journeyed to wild places where God doesn’t exist, lost friend. That’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to go where he isn’t. He’s everywhere.

I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps. 139

It’s about here, you say: But, Kelly, it’s my shame that keeps me from him. I feel too embarrassed. I’ve gone too far away now, you say.

I say, no one is ever too far for God. We were far, but now are close. Jesus dropped from the paradise of heaven to hit the grime- and stink-laden earth. Why? He came close so we don’t have to live far forever. He took our shame and owned it, to annihilate forever shame. His body broke, so ours could be repaired, restored and renewed according to his glorious riches. He felt agony, so we could learn peace. Jesus cried out so one day we will cry no more, our every tear will be wiped away by Him.

My friend, when you’re in Him, you’re in righteousness – not temporary, but permanent; not moody, but consistent; not dependent on you, but independent of you.  He is in you. Period.

Remind yourself of these 3 things:
1. It is done.
2. It is finished.
3. I am secure today and tomorrow, in this minute and the next, in this situation or the next.

When we remember Jesus won our security, we can, once again, get up in victory.

Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jo. 5:8

Friend, pick yourself up and walk. You’re not as incapacitated as you’ve told yourself. You’re not as sick as you want to believe. You’re not as ruined as circumstances say. You’re not as done as the enemy says. Forget all that…

Walk, I say!
Walk, He says!

Enough is enough, because God is enough. What He gives is enough.

And, time is awastin’, days are a progressin’ yet, better said, God’s love endures forever. It is behind you, with you and moving for you. Go with it. Head to the great places He’s prepared in advance for you. Don’t miss the chance!  Step in! Grab Jesus. You’ll come alive in ways you’ve never experienced on your safety mat. Get up!

And go….today is the start of your new day.

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.

 

***Bloggers…When I wrote this, I felt sure there was someone who desperately needed this message. Perhaps it is one of your readers. I pray we reach that person so their heart can be restored in truth, love and security. May your heart feel blessed too. Much love to you all!

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When Others are Thinking ____ about You

Others are Thinking

I sat in the group. I remember it clear as day. She thinks I’m a know it all, a God-goody two shoes, a high and mighty bible thumper.

My shoulders tucked under, my eyes looked down, I almost immediately clammed up, turning into myself and away from them.

There’s no use in being me because being me – is far too much for them. I am coming across too strong, so I need to appear more weak. Appear weak, and they’ll like you. They’ll want you. You won’t intimidate them or throw them off because of your intensity, strength or willingness. You’ll pacify everyone and then you can go and eat that brownie after the group, hungry for it. But, hollow and empty on the inside. 

Do you ever hide yourself to appease others? Restrain who you are to make sure others aren’t put off?

It happened again to me yesterday. She’s going to be jealous when she hears about this. Should I not do it? Brush it under the carpet and pretend it isn’t happening?  Out of guilt, respond to her with some sort of sundae-with-a-cherry-on-top offering that will make her smile again? 

Do you ever confuse serving others with taking care of them because of your own guilt?

Guilt makes a woman do all sorts of nasty stuff, things that God never assigned her to do. She gives up a part of herself. She gets involved in the constant cycle of thinking about others emotions. She signs away her dreams to makes sure others pick up theirs. She forgets about God’s heart to care for others and thinks she’s the Good Shepherd.

God is the only Good Shepherd. He calls us to care for people from a place of love, not guilt. Why?

Because actions out of obligation lead to destruction:

Resentment
Frustration
Regret
Irritation
Bitterness
Retaliation

How do you know if you’re operating from a place of guilt and not love? If you’re leaving behind God’s calling to remediate someone else’s, you’re on the wrong path. If you’re trying to fix someone’s problems to make your own heart feel happy again, you’re on the wrong path. If you’re coming to the rescue of people who feel insecure, and your changing your identity to meet them, you’re on the wrong path. This is a guilt-offering, not a God offering, nor a good offering.

Love instead, works like this:

God, in his timing and in his way, will take care of them.
He’ll instruct me on the way I should go.
I am not the manager, fixer or orchestrator of others’ feelings.
Often the best way to love is to make space for God to swoop in with his rescuing love.
Not everyone was happy with Jesus, even when he did God’s will, not everyone will be happy with me.K
Sometimes the higher calling is the low road, where discomfort is.
God leaves behind no one and he won’t leave me behind as I am true to who he’s created me to be.
I can follow through on God’s callings, no matter what others think, say or do.

I can say no.
I can be true to who God created me to be.
I can go my own way, have my own opinion and stand firm.
I can relax and love as God calls me to, rather than how my insides demand I do.

What would our life look like if we were unhinged from having to tie up everyone’s shoelaces? Would we then allow ourselves the ability to look up and see God’s unique callings?

How might we thrive? How might we minister rather than manipulate? How might love grow within us then bloom so that many can be changed by its beauty?

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.

A Prayer That Turns Bad Days, Good.

In my own mind, I am weak.

Especially this week, with husband out of town and toddler girl waking nightly seeing “bad things”, repeatedly, nearly every hour – I am tired. It didn’t help she came down with pink eye, the mysterious condition that makes your eyes seep out goo that should only be reserved for icky monsters on kid cartoons. Needless to say, the goo spoke saying, “Get her to urgent care ASAP.”

Which was almost impossible because it was nearly blizzarding and pelting ice like hockey pucks. But, not entirely impossible, so we pulled on winter gear, slushed through the mush and made it, unscathed, to 3 urgent care locations. Closed. Each and every one of them. Closed. Closed. Closed.

I considered laying my head on the horn, making a SUV tribal sound, indicating to the world, “Rescue me.” I didn’t. I knew no one would come.

Upward and onward!!! Moms don’t give up. We got her meds.

Then, I got pink eye. Then, Madison got a mysterious fever only showing up during the hours of school. She got banned for 24 hours from returning. I got frustrated because every single mission I am trying to work on is getting thwarted. Every moment of time I have to do great things, is getting stolen. Every dream I am pursuing is becoming ruined by sickness and no sleep and storms and people and…the whole world is buckling, it is falling down on the sides. The box is breaking and I can’t hold it up. It isn’t listening!!!

Did I mention, I feel weak?

Jesus says, “Our flesh is weak.”  (Mt. 26:41)

He knows how it goes.

He also says our “spirit is willing.” (Mt. 26:41)

“Spirit” in this case is the Greek word pneuma, our own soul or mind.

In translation, this means: Our flesh is weak and our mind is willing. Or better said, our flesh is weak and our mind tries…

Our mind tries, just like the disciples’ minds probably tried. They tried to stay awake, I’m sure, but, they didn’t. They fell asleep in  Jesus’ hour of need. Jesus returned to find them, not praying and watching, but asleep – again.

I think if Jesus returned to find me, he’d find me, not praying, but weak to his power in my life.

That thought scares me.

But, what wakes my true Spirit up in me, not the try-hard, die-hard, spirit in me, is this: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17)

When I get in the posture of prayer, I can awaken my Spirit of Faith. God wants to pour out revival in my own soul. He wants to replenish what is depleted. He wants to overpower my spirit with His. And this, returns me to power. It awakens me to purpose. It reminds me: My flesh is weak, my spirit is willing, but His Spirit is alive, moving and activating things that need tending to in my life.

Will you let God in?

Perhaps you join me today and pray this simple prayer: God, I pray out of your riches, you strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being. Father, I want Christ to dwell in my heart through faith. You are the only answer when everything seems impossible. You are the only answer when I feel I can’t. You are the answer when everything goes wrong. My spirit is willing. My flesh is weak. Increase the power of your Spirit within me and by decrease my spirit response, so that I might live full of faith and full of you as I go through my day. In Jesus’ Name, 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.

How to Take Care of Yourself

Take Care

A few weeks ago, I told you about a flower that got pulled out by the bulb. I replanted it.

I also told you how, I believe, the enemy wants nothing greater than to pluck out the bulb of our faith. Deep truth in fertile soil only survives.

We talked about this…we pondered those beautiful flowers.

So, everything was fine and dandy, until, snow got in the forecast. Until, my beautiful budding beauties were about to clobbered by a mega snowstorm.

Then, my heart started up again. Worrying like I do. About – flowers?!

What?! While most worry about finances, pension funds, and pilgrimages to far away lands, here I am – worrying about flowers!? While other people are fretting about unsaved folk, disaster planning due to health catastrophes and pleading coverage for substance abuse therapy – here I am worrying about petals – yet, again?!

Normally, I’d silently call myself stupid! and call it a day. But, not today.

Today, I’ve learned to create space for what God is speaking. The Spirit is always working, ever-counseling and constantly grabbing for the attention of our hearts and mind. Will I listen? Will you?

No matter what they all think? No matter how stupid we look or feel?

By not listening, just think of all we miss: How much we deny ourselves. How we look past what God is doing, because we feel we have to be on this hamster wheel of progress, schedule and monotony. How we think we are running after the right stuff, only to find out chasing urgent is all wrong.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 1 Cor. 3:18

I consider those flowers in the snow. And, when it is snowing, I give them a second glance on the way to the car.

Their little yellow noses pop up from under the white blanket of freezing. I smile at them.

Then, I think, what God wants me to see. It comes: They are closed.

Before, when they were in light and warmth the petals were open. Picture-ready flowers.

Yet, now, while being battered by ice, snow and wind they are closed. Closed and shuttered for a non-tropical hurricane. There’s no getting in. 

I hold on to the message given to me, as if it is a clue for Kelly Balarie as she traverses this dangerous world. It’s this: When the high winds of the world come (and they will!), close your shutters and pull in close to God.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

It works like this:

When you feel frazzled because you aren’t dazzling the world,
shut out the show and slow things down.

When people are speaking at you from five different sides,
shut off the voices and find His voice of peace.

When life keeps telling you, you’re no good,
shut off the messages and read God’s Word.

When social media reminds you you’re a step short,
shut off the computer’s power and rest in His power.

When you feel as weak as a woman one day short of death,
shut down, be still and know that He is God.

When everything and then everything goes wrong,
shut off negativity and ask for God’s objectivity.

When you feel stupid for doing something,
shut off your inner-voice to see if God’s voice is calling you deeper still.

When you remember all them laughing,
slam shut the memory and open up truth:
you can do exceedingly abundantly more than you ask or imagine.

When you’re afraid you’ll fail, shut out doubt.

Just as God feeds the birds, He’ll feed us. Just as God protects the flowers, He makes way for us to protect our hearts.

 

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.

6 Tips: Go From Defensive to Offensive Faith

Defensive to Offensive

Life, no doubt, lives like war. Daily, we wake, and don’t know what attack might come our way. We don’t know if we might get that phone call, if our small health issue may turn into a big problem or if we may hit a relational snag that leaves us knot-tied for weeks.

We wake up. Usually, we blindly head into it.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of days, I feel like I wake vulnerable, open for attack and easily knocked down. The battles move so fast, some days, it is hard to get ahead of them. It is hard be be one step faster or to create a battle plan, especially when you don’t know what is coming.

But, lately, I’ve been thinking much about moving from defensive faith to offensive faith. I think the stance makes all the difference.

A defensive faith stance is:

– Waking and going through the motions

– Reading God’s Word in the morning then going into the day

– Praying when troubles hit

– Asking people to help you when you are in a serious ditch

– Acknowledging God when something really great happens in your life

An offensive faith stance is:

– Waking and proclaiming God’s truths over your life (God is with me, for me, above me, before me…)

– Moving God’s word from your head to your heart by dwelling on it throughout the day

– Praying perpetually, in the car, in your house, in your free time.

– Having a team of people to support your faith walk. Knowing they will check in on you.

– Praising God as you see his glory through your day.

– Thanking God continually for all you have.

A Christian on offense moves into the battlefield not only able to withstand war, but ready to win. They see not only what is coming against them, but they are prepared with a tactical plan to love, when usually they’d be prone to fear. It changes their eyesight. Rather than being a pawn they are now a son or daughter of the King, one loved, provided for and helped along the way. They are an active force of good on the spiritual game board of good and evil. God knows they are ready, I believe. He sees their faith and willingness to prepare. He rewards them for seeking him diligently.

This person understands, it is not their own willpower that wins, it is not their mindset that overcomes, but it is the blood of Jesus that won for them. In humility, they stand under God so that he can move over their lives and into the lives of others.

This kind of person proclaims: Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Psalm 144:1)

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 Seek Wisdom For Tough Decisions

Seek Wisdom

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

– Edward Hersey Richards

His big, dense, coal eyes looked at me. And, I looked at him.

What does he see – in me?

In him? I saw wisdom: Eyes in no rush to move. A being okay with being. A head made up of regal feathers of grey and white.

He was caged, contained, but still, somehow, he appeared content. Our gaze connected us, yes, but what bothered me was – he seemed to know something. In all his wisdom, was he on to something I could not see?

I walked away from his cage, but in the end, all I wanted to do was return. When I did, his branch was empty and while I peered through the fence for him, he wasn’t so easy to spot.

There he is! The owl of wisdom. He’s in the back of the cage.

But almost as soon as I found him, I realized something I’d missed all along. There was another owl, right next to him. I hadn’t seen him, not even one bit.

I gazed deeper now, wondering if my eyes were still betraying me…

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Prov. 8:17

The harder I looked, the more I saw: There was a 3rd owl, right next to the first two.

Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
Prov. 8:34-35

Could there be more? Should I keep looking? Search harder? I did: another one, a 4th one was right before my very eyes!

How are my eyes deceiving me?
How much more do I miss in life?

Often wisdom is right before our eyes, but we can’t see it.

We think wisdom is much like everything else in this world. We think it will just show up like a boxed up UPS deliver on our doorstep. But, guess what? It doesn’t work like that.

Wisdom isn’t something we trip over. It’s something we’ll miss if we don’t seek it. It is something we’ll step past if don’t pursue it. It is something we won’t find if we don’t hunt for it.

Wisdom, we must pursue.

Because, often wisdom is camouflaged in our environment, in the environment of the world. Just as I couldn’t see the owls, often we can’t see wisdom because we are: too distracted, too worried, too rushed, too preoccupied, too concerned about people, too critical or too annoyed.

But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death. Prov. 8:36

And, with this, as far as I can see, I believe we have two paths – a way of wisdom or a way of destruction. We have a way of seeking or a way of delusion. We have a way of wonder or a way of wreckage.

God doesn’t make it hard for us to seek wisdom, to find it under the cover of our world, to glean it out of our places of uncertainty, he simply says to ask him for it…

“If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.” Ja. 1:5

Then: Watch. Seek. Pursue. Wonder. Wait. Marvel. Pray. Ask. Follow. Look. Crouch low. Keep looking.

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.

Take a Risk as You Step Out in Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

A fun project popped into my head. The idea had the potential to strengthen families and spur on meaningful conversations. Instead of attempting the project on my own, I took a risk and asked a few others if they wanted to collaborate. To my delight, they were intrigued about the project and willing to be a part of it. I was thrilled!

It seemed like a God-inspired idea! The door of possibility was open wide.

We worked hard, against difficult odds, and pressed on. And then (due to unexpected circumstanced beyond our control) it all fell apart. Out of left field, a windstorm appeared and we wisely took cover.

Disappointment set in; I felt like I’d let the team down. Although I hadn’t realized that wind was in the forecast, I could have been more prepared for something like it.

Had I heard God wrong? Had I run ahead hastily? I don’t think so.

Just because something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, doesn’t mean you weren’t supposed to do it.

Risk-taking has a variety of results.

Right around the same time, I took another risk. I reached out to a fellow writer and basically said, “I think we should be friends”. It felt awkward and vulnerable, but I had experienced that “take a risk” nudge again—so I followed through.

I’m happy to say that this risk had a more favorable outcome. I had a hunch this friend and I were cut from a similar cloth, and that has proven true—”two peas in a pod” is how she describes it.

We have encouraged each other, helped one another, and celebrated work milestones together. It would have been a shame if I had let the failed-project situation keep me from risking again. It would have been easier to ignore the prompting and save face in case rejection ensued…yet we both would have missed out.

Time after time, in Scripture, we see God’s people faced with a choice:

  • They could believe what they saw with their eyes or they could believe what God told them.
  • They could take a step of faith or turn back in doubt.
  • They could risk their current comfort and follow God or they could settle into sinful patterns in rebellion to Him.

Has God prompted you to take a risk? Are you dragging your feet…afraid to step into the sea before you?

When God’s people stepped into the Red Sea (and later, the Jordan River) He parted the waters. They took a risk in believing Him and He faithfully took care of them.

No, it wasn’t often comfortable.

No, it wasn’t free from difficulty.

No, it did not always turn out like expected.

BUT,

Yes, it was worth it.

Yes, it brought them blessing even amidst challenging circumstances.

Yes, God was glorified and exalted through it.

Risk-taking is not easy but it is a part of our faith journey. As we follow God’s lead (whether into deep waters, dry desert, or high ground) we risk, yet we find comfort in knowing that He first took a risk on us.

God gave us everything we need for life and godliness, in the form of His Perfect and Only Son, Jesus. He left us with the choice to receive or reject Him.

Let’s take a risk and follow the One who leads us…through the depths, heights, and middle ground.

Let’s obey and trust Him with outcome.

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

Katie M. Reid Writer and Speaker at katiemreid.com

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

 

How Faith Decays

Faith Slowly Decays

I walked to the car. Laying on the driveway at my feet was a flower, pulled out by the bulb. My heart dropped. It was disturbing.

Leaning over to pick it up, I tossed it around in my hand, considering how it hadn’t been picked like a normal flower, it hadn’t been cut at it’s stem so it could sprout up next year. Nope. Instead, it was ripped up, its core yanked from the ground. Never again would there be growth, renewal, and hope for this little thing.

The worst thing – ever – happened to this little flower. Hope was gone.

The devil wants to rip us, the same way, right from the bulb out of the hearty soil of God’s love.  He wants to cut us, not at our stem, so that we can grow again, but at the core of who we are. He wants to take away our heart that believes we are son or daughter. He wants to remove the mustard seed of faith. He wants to hijack the truth we are saved from our heart. He wants to cripple our ability to ever bloom again.

The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Mk. 4:14-15

His tactics happen subtly. I don’t know one person who said: I want to become an alcoholic. I want to someday cheat on my spouse. I dream of becoming addicted by drugs. I am looking forward to becoming a shopaholic. I hope to one day fall far, far away from Jesus, never to care much about his ways anymore. His tugs are slow-coming.

Little-by-little, he yanks. Little-by-little, we are removed just a little more from the soil we were planted in. Day-by-day, it happens until, one day – pop! – we’re a plucked bulb from the ground. Faith is gone.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  Jo. 10:10

What are we doing, anyway? Are we waiting and watching or are we just going – la, de, da –  living as life passes us by?

Just as a predator loves a woman head down, wearing earbuds (how better to grab her) – so does the enemy love when we are distracted by the noise, commotion and the distraction of the world. Snatch!

Friends, be aware. Don’t just go through the motions of a day. Intentionally draw close to God.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. (Ja. 4:8)

Don’t just wait for faith to happen. Move into it. Grab it.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Ro. 10:17)

Don’t just be a lukewarm Christian. Let God set you on fire. Go out.
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:16)

Don’t sit around and live a distracted life. Stay focused. It matters.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God… (Heb. 12:2 MSG)

The days are short. The weeks are numbered. The mission is huge. The stakes are high. God is what matters.

I replanted that bulb, by the way. That is what God does. He replants us, no matter where we’ve been ripped up in life. He grows us again. And, we show up even more beautiful.

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 Nitpick Your Every Flaw?

Nitpick Your Every Flaw

I scrolled through old photos on my phone and took notice of my face: When I turned my head to the left, I didn’t look so bad. But, from the right, I looked horrible. In every single picture, when my face was straight towards the camera, my big nose tilted, crooked.

I hated it. I wanted to erase, blur or cover my ugliness.

What do you hate about yourself?

Your hips? Your weight gain? Your crooked smile? Your type B personality? Your love handles? Your tendency to be too curious? Your hair?

I do, in fact, also hate my hair. Frankly, when it’s not flat ironed it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Bzzt clown hair (Note: not cute).

Add this to my complexion of rosacea that runs right across my nose and – yes – on those days when foundation doesn’t do the trick – I wear a clown-looking nose too!!!

How do you contend with yourself when you’d rather be someone else?

This is the question I’ve been considering: Because sometimes I am afraid of who I am and what I look like.

I am afraid others will think I am weird. I am afraid I will look dumb. I am afraid I will be left out. I am afraid these weird features will be compounded by a fresh wrinkle. I am afraid you will stand and look at me just a few moments too long to sum up what is so wrong with my face – or my outfit.

I am afraid I’ll know what you are up to and I’ll have to deal with a whole mountain of inner awkwardness. I can’t climb well.

What about you makes you take cover? Feel ashamed? Embarrassed?

Did you know? God loves that part of you. He delights in it. He made you that way.

What would it look like if you accepted it, the way he accepts you? What would it look like to use that very thing – for his glory? For his advantage?

Scared to talk in public? Do a Facetime video.

Feel your heart beat out loud when you are around a circle of women? Approach one of the with a word of encouragement.

Hide your face under sunglasses and a hat? Go sans make-up and wear a smile that shines God’s goodness.

Feel too intellectual or too intense? Let it loose. Let it fly. Be you.

There is something liberating about approaching the world– just as you are, just as God made you. There is something freeing about not worrying about your worst. There is something redemptive about relying on the fact – God loves you.

You find yourself.

I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Ps. 139:14

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.