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.
These three words crawl under my skin like a spider.
To me, they mean:
Someone disagrees with me.
They probably think my idea is stupid.
I have a huge chance of being wrong.
Beyond these three horrible feelings, they induce shame.
Shame is a:
Sudden Heaping on of A Massive Embarrassment
Shame makes you feel:
– 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
A couple of weeks ago, I panicked. After reading some random comments about God on a webpage, I suddenly got the sense I wasn’t good enough for God. I became stressed, thinking, “I needed to be the keeper of my faith.” I thought if I didn’t perform well enough for God, He wouldn’t want me. Or, if I didn’t do enough “make-God-happy” stuff, He wouldn’t bless me. It terrified me, shook me and got me thinking about his truth.
With the space of days, I began to see clearly from the woods.
Here, I noticed:
– God doesn’t speak like an accuser.
– Condemnation is not the sound of His voice.
– Conviction is his method, but truth spoken in love is always his manner.
Understanding these dynamics about God offered me a deep breath. And a baseline for the judgments and critiques coming against me. This was important because I desperately wanted to let in what was from God and let go of what wasn’t. We all want this, don’t we?
After much searching, I was left with one realization, described in 4-words: fear of the Lord.
I must have a healthy fear of the Lord. Not an unhealthy one.
An unhealthy “Fear of the Lord” thinks:
– God will get me and ruin me if I do bad.
– God has a heavenly taser ready to zap me.
– If I do good, God will be good to me.
– If I act like a bad girl, God will desert me and go on to the next girl.
– Doubt and complacency is okay because it keeps me from sinning and making Him angry.
– Father might take from me and give to the next girl if I keep making mistakes.
– My vulnerability with God opens me up to getting hurt.
– I need to panic and stinkin’ figure things out, ASAP.
Healthy fear of the Lord thinks:
To know God is better than life.
Allowing His Word to become my words restructures my life.
Contesting and detesting sin and its power to hold me back reenables my life.
To hope in the Lord and to believe Him at His Word re-energizes my life.
To trust in Him and to rest under His love renews my life.”The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to avoid the snares of death.” Prov. 14:27
“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Ps. 145:19
It’s funny. On Facebook, I surveyed a lady going through tremendous pain. She’s struggling through extreme turbulence in her marriage, likely difficulties within her family and heart-stopping health issues. Yet, I thought, “She’s tough in the Lord. She’ll make it through the other side. No problem. She’ll come out stronger in the end.”
When I looked at her, I wasn’t worried. I had great confidence she’d make it out fine. God would bring her through. I knew grace covers her.
But then I looked at me. I didn’t feel as sure. I didn’t feel like God would bring me through stronger. Why?
Why am I not as sure for my trials as I am for hers?
The truth is, we often are so inside ourselves, we fail to see the rock solid truth from God’s outside-in perspective. We fail to see Him above us, grace around us and hope working through us. We neglect remembering the cross that erases bad behaviors, bad days and bad errors.
Inside us, it’s easy to forget: It is not us that makes us strong, but Him.
In heated moments, He pours out strength.
In the face of yet another battle with that person, He is our shield.
In the worst of our replies, He is restoring forgiveness.
In our anger, He is soothing consolation.
In our lack of vision, He is 20/20 fiber-optic sight.
We see trials and tremors; He sees triumph secured — on our behalf.
So the truth is, we WILL come out the other side stronger. Period. Exclamation point. By his grace.
Not because we are great, but because He is. Because He is mighty to save, our shield in every battle, our hope in every offense, our love that beats out injury and hope that quells rebellious thoughts.
Jesus is restoration and renewal, always.
His grace gives me hope. It welcomes me to stop trying to fix myself in order to live well, but to let His all-powerful love do the healing. And this feels like freedom…freedom that is my refuge, strength and stronghold of my life. Salvation for eternity, but also for today.
Thank you, Jesus. I am strong and I will come out the other side of all this, stronger.
God, I can’t even trust myself sometimes, how can you trust me?
my ability to be deceived in the smallest way
my pride that so often fools me.
“God, do you really love me? How much?”
Do you love me when I forget you? Do you love me when I yell at my kids? Do you love me when I go the wrong way? Accidentally hurt you? God, do you really love me?
As if God answered my very prayers back, these questions came to mind…
Kelly, how could you have experienced so much freedom (release of fear, anxiety, worry), aside from my love?
(What freedom has God brought you within the space of his love?)
Kelly, how could I call you and not want you?
(In what ways has God called you to things, only He could?)
Kelly, how could I not love you after sending my son to suffer and die for you, as He did?
(In what ways does Jesus suffering cast new light on God’s love for you?)
Kelly, how could I abandon myself in you?
(How would God abandon his own Spirit within you? Sounds impossible.)
God loves me. He loves you.
Even when life breaks down…or people do…
Even when fears tumult all around…or uncertainties do…
Even when answers to questions do not abound…and problems still exist…
Still. Even then, His love still works. It pursues. It remains. It saves. It quiets rambunctious hearts. It sings over us. It moves on our behalf.
“The LORD your God is in your midst… a mighty one who will save… he will rejoice over you with gladness… he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).”
What we have…the lengths, heights and depths of His love, cannot be stolen, removed or relinquished.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro. 8:37-39).”
You, as a daughter, are in God’s love.
You are secure.
What if God doesn’t forgive me for all the mistakes I made? What if I only believe I’m freed?
What if I am not good enough for him, when all’s said and done?
What if He doesn’t want me, when he comes back. . . and, I’m the last woman standing as he turns away from me. . . what if?”
Has your mind ever calculated the what ifs of faith? The “What ifs of Faith” say I may not be in God’s love. I might be left behind. I might unlovable. I might never have been included in his saving faith.
Many things can trouble us and make us wonder about our relationship with him. Words of another, your past, your sense of not being good enough, your endless faults, or internal criticism that shouts in your mind, your fears. . .
What, in the rare silence and contemplation of your heart, do you hear?
As I took a walk today, questions stirred. I noted the dark rain clouds, the heaviness of the world and the shifting movement of a life passing me by.
One day Jesus will return. One day he will come for me. It may not be far away.
I walked, wanting Jesus, needing Him – his truth, his faithfulness.
God, will you show me your glory?
No sooner did I pray that I saw it: a rainbow. A promise so clear, as God’s faithfulness peaked through the heaviness of the dark and despairing clouds covering our pain-ridden world.
God is here.
His promises are true.
Faithful He will be.
What He says will come, will come.
He is who He says He is.
He will come in glory.
And I? I’ll be cloaked in his grace. Covered by it. Dancing in it. Freed by it. Owned by it. Released from every burden that wants to convict or distance me from his love. Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save it. And I am saved, not by my own actions, but by Him. Released. Taken care of entirely.
Freedom exists behind every dark cloud. Freedom is Jesus. His grace waits to bust you out of the heaviness, regrets or bitterness clenching hold of your spirit. It’s all Jesus.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8-9
Yes and amen.
Jesus, we proclaim you as the Promise Keeper, the Lord, the King of Kings over everything. We declare you to be our Lord. We confess our sins to you today. We turn away from them. We want you above all else, and nothing apart from you. We give you our life, our heart, our song and hopes. We ask, in your complete goodness to have your way in our life. Thank you that you cleanse us, restore us and renew us right now. We are living testimonies of your goodness. Your grace and peace frees us. We overflow with contentment and joy. We receive all this, and your full inheritance and give it room to live in our lives. We praise you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen