Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

When You’re Afraid to Take That Step of Faith

Blog post by: Abby McDonald

“Don’t look down, Mom!”

Immediately, I wish my son hadn’t said that. I can’t help myself. My eyes drift to the expanse below and my feet wobble. What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?

I try to regain my composure and remember my harness. The 4-story high ropes course stretches out before me, and I know there was only one way out: through it.

If you fall, the harness will catch you.

I tell myself this repeatedly as I inch across a rickety bridge that seems a mile long. My son moves to the other side with ease, turning around at the end to cheer me forward.

“You’ve got this! Keep going!”

When I get close enough to the next platform, I take a giant step to the safety of a solid surface. I stop and breath deeply, thankful for a minute to relax my legs. As I survey the rest of the course, I take a mental note of how much further we have to go before we can make the trek back down to the bottom. My mouth is dry and I can hear my stomach starting to rumble.

When my husband suggested I embark on this adventure with my boys, my first instinct was to say no. First, I am not a fan of heights. And second, our one-year-old daughter was the perfect excuse for me to stay on the ground.

But then I felt a little nudge.

Say yes.

My parents were with us, and they were more than happy to watch their granddaughter. So I went. With harness tightened securely around me, I made my way to the top. And with my nine-year-old as my cheerleader, I kept going even when my balance was awkward and my footing unsure.

Even though I was afraid, I moved forward.

Even though my stamina was tested, my resolved to finish was greater. And you know what? I will never forget those minutes spent amongst the trees with my family.

When my feet were firmly planted back on the ground, I realized God was teaching me a valuable lesson. Without my even realizing it, he painting a picture.

You see, lately God’s been asking me to be brave. He’s asking me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Speak more. Lead more. Trust him more. And my first instinct, like it was with my husband, is to say no.

God, I’m not qualified.

God, you have the wrong person.

God, I have no experience in this area.

But he keeps gently nudging me forward, waiting for me to take the leap. Desiring obedience, even when I stubbornly keep my feet planted in one place.

After making a lot of excuses, I said yes to one step. And then another. With each one, he shows me his presence never leaves. Even when my feet falter, he’s there.

Having a forward-moving faith doesn’t mean we’ll never fall. It means we trust a God who never fails.

So when we slip, he’s the harness that catches us and keeps us from hitting the ground. When our balance sways, he’s the secure grip that steadies us and enables us keep going.

“It is God who arms me with strength

and keeps my way secure.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

He causes me to stand on the heights.”

 2 Samuel 22:33-34

Friends, we serve a God who wants us to live life to the fullest.

He wants our faith to move us to new heights so he can show us the depth and width of his love. A love that surpasses all understanding. A love that will change others’ hearts, minds, and lives. But we have to be willing. We have to get off the ground.

When we do, the view is spectacular. When we do, our image of God expands with each shaky step.


Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.


When You Feel Undeserving

Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”

Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”

I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.

Why do I do this?

Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:

Bad Kelly! You want too much.

Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.

Bad Kelly! You are selfish.

Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.

Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.

God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.

God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.

God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.

When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”

What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33


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Reasons Why Others Don’t Control Your Destiny

I recently noticed an increasing problem in my life. I can’t stand it if people think poorly of me. If they don’t email me back, I think there’s an issue. If they don’t answer my call, I decide they no longer like me. If I did something in the past and asked for forgiveness, I still figure I’m on the people-we-don’t-like list. The issue is not so much that I haven’t forgiven them. It’s that I think, “They couldn’t have forgiven me.” Which lends to a problem: shame.

And when shame shows up, we can always be sure its makings are from the enemy. And when he shows up, we can know we need to fight back.

How do we fight back? We realize, on many levels, it is not man who is in charge, but God.

Here are 25 Reasons Why Others Don’t Control My Destiny:

  1. What matters is not what man builds, but what God builds.
    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
  2. Every single battle belongs to the Lord. When He fights, He wins.
  3. Jesus had people against him. Guess what? He kept His eye on the mission, and as a result was still victorious.
  4. I may plan my way, but God ultimately directs my steps. (Prov. 16:9)
  5. God is actively working in others’ hearts in a way I cannot see, manage or predict.
  6. I think far more about how I appear and “come off” than others do. They usually are thinking far more about how they “appear” and “come off” than about me.
  7. What I dwell on, people tend to forget, especially if I’ve apologized.
  8. Another’s silence could also mean: they are busy, out of town, struggling or forgetful.
  9. God is my maker: nothing can unmake His plans for me.
  10. If I remember who annoyed me 10 years ago, they are practically a non-issue today.
  11. For every desperate no-way-out problem in the bible, God drop-kicked its walls and cleared way for victory, for those who trusted Him.
  12. Waiting with trust is the first step to seeing a miracle.
  13. What I can’t see being worked out, God can.
  14. Shame doesn’t rule me. God’s truth and Spirit does.
  15. I’ve been made to focus my attention on God, not on other’s wavering emotions, reactions and motivations.
  16. God knows my heart. He stands behind and protects the hearts of the righteous.
  17. The Spirit in me will guide me and lead me down the best paths.
  18. I am not perfect, but I can trust the one who is to help me.
  19. Jesus’ mission was never thwarted by those against Him.
  20. God-dropped learnings result in my growing, when I steer clear of self-condemning words.
  21. My path is God’s, not the trampled-down wide road the herds travel. Charting a new course with God always takes determination.
  22. It is God’s rod that comforts and protects me, not the response of man.
  23. I am made by God, not by other’s opinions.
  24. I am the daughter of the Most High King. He will provide all I need (and then some).
  25. God is the maker of every man, not the opposite.
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The Curse of the Capable

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,

 just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

I am the oldest of two kids in my family. While growing up, it was hard not to notice that my mom seemed to spend all of her time helping my younger brother. To be fair, he needed more help than I did but it was sometimes hurtful that I didn’t get the same level of attention. It kind of forced me to become independent. When I was an adult, married with kids, I asked my mom why there was such a disparity in my youth and her response was, “You didn’t need any help. You were perfectly capable.”

Now I call it the curse of the capable. Because you don’t need help, you won’t get any.

I’ve seen this curse play out a dozen different ways since then. For example, my husband and I are both independent people, and while we love to be together, we don’t always need each other. That can be good sometimes because I don’t have to wait until the weekend change a smoke detector battery or kill a spider. It can be a bad thing, however, because it’s easy for independent people to grow apart. We have to be careful about noticing when we’ve drifted and come back together.

I have also seen the curse among women. I am a natural born encourager. I use phrases like, ‘to die for,’ or ‘phenomenal’ when I’m cheering for you. I’m the friend that will literally jump up and down screaming when you share good news. I like to think I’m the ‘there for you’ friend in good times and bad. The problem I have seen is that as a natural encourager, it’s often hard to find encouragement for myself.

On the outside, it can appear as if I am confident and capable, therefore I don’t need anyone to build me up. Inside though, I am still the little girl thirsting for comfort in an arid desert. I have come a long way in this area. I found Jesus later in life and knowing I have his never waning encouragement is the most phenomenal comfort of all. But I have to admit that I still think it’s nice to get some affirmation from friends, family, and community.

If you are independent or competent, you may be under the curse of the capable. Maybe you are an encourager that needs to be affirmed or a mom who could use a reminder that she’s a good one. Perhaps you are a leader who would love some help but feels bad asking for it because you ‘should’ have it under control. Take heart, friend. As someone under the curse myself, I see you. I think you are doing a great job!

I want to invite you today to take a minute and think about someone in your life that could use a little boost. Even if that person seems like they have it all together, a quick note or message from you may be what she needs most. When we take the time to pour into others, the curse breaks and being capable becomes a blessing.

Father God, you are the ultimate encourager. Please help us to encourage one another regardless of whether or not we need it. Help us never to give up and to break the curse for people we love or admire and that in turn, it would be broken in our lives as well. Amen.

About Anne Watson:

Anne is a former sleep in on Sunday’s girl who didn’t meet Jesus until way later in life. She recently quit trying to be holy, however, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to shuck her unholy habits to fit into the Christian world. As a bullying survivor, Anne knows first hand the pressure to belong and why changing yourself doesn’t work. She now spends her time fiercely encouraging women to be badass for Jesus by being who God created them to be…themselves. She is a writer, a speaker, and a podcast host for the Declare Conference. She and her husband are raising three hysterical kiddos and are also in the process of going broke while paying for college. You can find more from Anne on her blog, GodDots.com.

I Said it in my Mind

Her: “I told you I didn’t want the banana.”
Me: “You did?”
Her: “Oh, wait, I said that to you in my mind.”

This really happened. Someone told me in her mind and expected me to hear, I guess. It seemed crazy. Outlandish. Ridiculous.

But is it?

How many times do we speak our mind within our mind, only hoping that another will pick up on what we are saying.

We think: I wish that boy would pick up his clothes.
We act: All huffy and puffy about bending over.

We think: Why can’t she be on time?
We act: Impatient, looking at our watch the second she walks in the door to prove our point.

In our mind, we often have a running tally of what others are doing and saying wrong. But unlike the girl who didn’t want the banana, we don’t admit it. Instead, it builds and builds and builds…

Until….dun. dun. Dun… the day. . . dun. Dun. Dun…we EXPLODE!!!!!! And we go off on the person. We lose our cool and do the opposite of this:

“Love is patient, love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4)”…and “slow to become angry.” Ja. 1:19

How did we get here?

I’ll tell you how. We weren’t honest. Instead, we were thinking inside of our mind and living in fear of being truthful. The problem with this is that a truth not spoken and pent-up eventually bursts out of the pot at caustic and scalding temperatures that leave others feeling burned. Yee-oww!

God intends we go another way. We are told the truth will set us free – and it will. What is your truth? What freedom do you need to get from God?

You may need to:

1. Confess your frustration to God and ask Him what He has to say about it.

2. Admit it to an accountability partner and ask for prayer and help.

3. Talk to the person about your aggravation.

But don’t keep it on the inside. It is a hot pot about to boil over and the pain of it all does hurt.

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“Brush it off!”

brush it off

“I don’t agree.”

These three words crawl under my skin like a spider.

To me, they mean:

  1. Someone disagrees with me.
  2. They probably think my idea is stupid.
  3. I have a huge chance of being wrong.

Beyond these three horrible feelings, they induce shame.

Shame is a:

Heaping on of

Shame makes you feel:

– caught
– like a fraud
– as if people won’t look at you the same
– like you should keep your mouth shut
– no good

Do you experience shame? When you speak? When you act in the wrong way? When people catch you doing something? When you make a mistake?

The other day my daughter came home from church. She looked at me and said, “Mommy, when I do bad, and say sorry to God, I get to do this…”

She took one hand and wiped off her other arm as if she was wiping sand off her forearm. Then, she did the same with the other arm.

“I get to wipe it all off, Mommy, and it is gone.”

I considered her words and actions. I get to do the same, too.

I get to wipe off the moment I feel caught, the second I feel exposed, the time I feel burdened by what I did wrong, the moments where I hate the little things I do. Wipe…wipe…gone.


Because of Jesus. Because his love leaves no place for shame. Because He came to free me, not to bind me up to my own nervousness. What He delivered me from was my sin and the things that keep me insecure, so I can walk out and into this world with glorious light. He does the same for you, too.

What do you need to wipe off 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.

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A Tested Way to Change What is Bad

The exterior of my house looks like a junkyard. I am not exaggerating. Out front is a broken desk; it was shattered during our near-cross country move. Out back are two sets of patio furniture. Ones I picked up and off the neighbor’s lawn.

I’ve never done that before. I really wanted patio furniture. So, the first second I saw the first set, the wrought iron white chairs, I declared them as cute as could be. That is, until a couple weeks later rust stains started showing up everywhere. I haven’t gotten rid of the chairs yet. My deck now is etched with tons of full-blown brown circles.

The other set was the replacement for the first set. I spotted the two big brown wicker chairs set aside as “throw-away items” in a neighbor’s yard. I rapidly snagged them (may I remind you, I’ve never been a trash hunter…I really wanted patio furniture). Like a sleuth agent, I threw them in my back yard before anyone could see.

Only later did I come to find out that the majority of the legs were missing. I guess they had enough legs to fool me at first. Go figure.

So, now, when I go outside, front-yard or back, I am overcome with junk. Junk that is rusty. Junk that is wasteful. Junk that is annoying. Junk I now have to figure out how to dispose of. Junk that leaves stains I also have to get cleaned. Junk that pesters me. And, no patio furniture, to boot.

What junk are you dealing with in your life? An old house? An old wardrobe? An old annoying habit that drives you nuts? A problem you can’t fix? A person you can’t de-stain? Baggage that feels to internally weighty to unload?

We can shift our attitude. Did you know that? I tried it. Sitting on the said-white chairs, the other day, I recommitted to God to be positive about it all. That is. . .until I looked left. . . and saw the brown chairs. Grr…not them again. My thoughts wandered off to lands of annoyed and not-bueno.

God, how do we continually see the good, while we are surrounded by the bad?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)

What if we were really go give thanks in (and for) ALL circumstances, good and bad?

God thank you that these rusty patio chairs remind me: earthly things rust, eternal things last.

God, thank you that the brown chairs, flipped over, with their broken and legless limbs up to the sky speak: on earth we don’t get everything, but in Christ, we have all we ever need.

God, thank you that the broken table out front is symbolic of seasons: they change, but your love, God, always stay the same.

God, thank you that what looks like junk can be seen through a new light. Thank you that what looks broken is a reminder of my brokenness and how you’ve repaired me. Oh God, I give thanks that you haven’t left me broken, but you are repairing me. You are good.

To give thanks for our bad, is to, undoubtedly, find God’s good. It is to let victimhood, despair and frustration drop off you and to let a high and lofty view come in you. It’s powerful.

Junk has purpose. Thank you God, my deck kind-of, now, looks like art work.

God, help me to give thanks. So many times I see what is bad, but through you, I ask for vision to see what is good. I ask you for a voice full of praise and thanksgiving. I ask for understanding of what you are doing through the hard times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


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

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

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

What does Faith look Like?

faith look like

A group of friends, full of strength, lowered a sick man from roof to floor, desiring to get him in front of Jesus. Jesus, seeing their faith, healed the man. (Luke 5:20)

Another man told Jesus, “say the word from where you are and my servant will be healed.” Jesus did. From afar and the man was healed. After Jesus remarked, “I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel” Lu. 7:9

A woman said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Mt. 9:21  She simply grabs Jesus’ hem and finds herself healed. Jesus tells her to “take heart.” I bet she did.

What do all these three examples have in common? Two things. Desperate need and infinite faith.

Do you have these? Desperate need? Infinite faith?

Coupled, they’re powerful. Yet, one without the other doesn’t work as well. If you have need without faith, you’ll likely camp out in your basement crying. If you have faith without need, you’ll fool yourself into believing Jesus for the wrong things.

What does your heart truly need? What, internally, are you crying for? What would you go any lengths to ask Jesus to do, heal, rectify, fix, or renew?

There is no shame in need. There is hope. Run to Jesus, lower yourself before him, call on friends to pray, grab Him in outstanding ways, cry, reach. . . but no matter what, go and get before Him. Desperately. Hungrily. Believing immensely in his power.

Desperate seekers loaded with wild faith find Jesus.

He notes their belief. He sees their struggle. He tends to their needs. He gives the words that encourage them to “take heart.”

Your desperation, whether hidden, apparent or ignored, is not bad. It is good when brought before a loving Father wanting to love. This is who God is. One with a greater capacity to care than even the best man. One with greater insight to teach than even the best teacher. One with greater ability to counsel than even the best therapist.

Faith believes God can.

Need lets Him in.

Open the doors to your heart. Then run after Jesus, ready to be changed.

Jesus, thank you that you are not after pretty images of perfection, nor righteous people who know everything, nor biblical experts of ancient times, nor striving hearts that never relax. You are after hearts in need. It was for those people, you stopped. It was for the sinners, you came. Help us to turn toward you in need and receive the best of you, in belief. Do a new thing.  Give us the faith to trust you. 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.

Your Worst Enemy Isn’t Them…

wrong enemy

Have you hurt someone, but can’t seem to apologize?
Is there an argument you feel completely entitled to uphold?
Does anger overwhelm you?
Do you have the feeling your assumptions were completely off base?
Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?

Sometimes, I internally know I am 100% wrong, but externally cannot admit the truth. It’s like my heart knows what it needs to do, but my mouth can’t speak.

It feels like everyone might hate me or turn away. It feels like I might be the bad egg that falls down the chute. Bye-bye…Kelly….!

Ever been there?

Perhaps, you’re trying to maintain a good status at work, or defending an issue you know you need to change your mind on or coming down on hard on one specific person because you always have. Maybe you do this. . . all to the detriment of truth.

But, it is the truth that sets us free. (Jo. 8:32)

John Piper boils this vicious cycle down to one issue. He puts it like this:

“Pride is the enemy inside us that speaks to us like a friend. Its counsel sounds so much like self-protection, preservation, and promotion we are often blinded to the fact that it’s destroying us and others. It rises in great indignation as a prosecuting attorney when others’ pride damages us, but it minimizes, qualifies, excuses, rationalizes and blame-shifts our behavior when we damage others. We can easily be deceived into believing that our pride wants to save us, when really, it’s our internal Judas betraying us with a kiss.” – John Piper, DesiringGod.com

What if rather than being tethered to insular pride, we were released to outpouring love? What freedom might God have for us?

“And the truth will set you free.” Jo. 8:32


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.

Beware of Forcing the Wrong Season

I worked really hard to get up the hill. Pumping, huffing, standing, sitting, then standing again, I. Was. Going. To. Make. It. To. The. Top.

Nothing would stop me and my bike.

It’s often easy to get on a mission. We want to get somewhere and when we’re really committed, we see it through.

I made it to the top. Then came the decline.

Victory. As I glided down, I kept on peddling hard. Why?

No, really. . . why?

Why did I feed the need to peddle when it was a time to glide?

God says there is a time for everything:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ec. 3:1KJV

There is a season to pump our legs hard; there is a season to glide; there is a season to cry; there is a season to rest; there is a season to give; there is a season to take.

Peaceful living, I am determining, has much to do with knowing the season God has placed you in. You don’t want to be laughing in the midst of your spouse’s grieving.

As I went down the hill, it was representative of a season: to glide. To let go of worries. To trust God with all the stuff I normally do. To hear his voice calling me to ministry outside of the internet. To wonder and awe at him doing really special things alone with me.

To step away from life, demands, blog requirements, and doing stuff as usual, because it’s not God’s heart for today…(noticing is half the battle).

Letting go is the other half. It’s recognizing that our current season doesn’t have to look like our last. In fact, I have to tell you, it shouldn’t. This is my opinion, however. It is my belief that when we push a round peg into a square hole, frustration feels as ever present as a hangnail.

But to move with the grace of God. . . this is like windsurfing in the direction of God’s move. You go with him. You let go of what you think things should be. You enjoy the wind on your face. You feel the moment. You come alive in what he is doing.

What season is God calling you into? What if instead of despising it, you decided to embrace it?

Prayer: God, in your presence there is fullness of joy. Keep me in your presence and peace. Keep me going in the direction you desire for me, and nowhere else. Let me go not according to what I think I should do, but according to what your heart is for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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