Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

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.

Are you Feeling Crushed by Life?

crushed by life

I heard this horrible story. On a warm evening a few summers ago, a boat hit a dock. A dock full of people.

A moment before this happened, they had no idea what was about to hit them. They drank cool drinks, enjoyed the summer breeze off the bay and laughed…until the load of a power boat hit them full force.

The boat flipped over, right onto it all. Right onto their party. Under the falling weight of this boat a five-year-old boy was caught.

He should have died. He should have been crushed. He should have never stood up again from the weight of it all…except, he did.

He got back up. He had a second life, a second chance, a free pass because an Adirondack chair caught the boat’s fall. It held the boat up at just enough of an angle so the boy could survive. He could crawl out.

And, he did. Despite all odds, he lived.

The cross of Jesus Christ is our Adirondack chair. I don’t care what kind of crushing power is coming against you right now. I don’t care how horrible the bills, the arguments, the conflict, the meanness, the stress, the blows are around you – the cross of Jesus Christ, the strength of his sacrifice and the inarguable greatness of his love – saves. It doesn’t save just once.

Over and over again, when life falls with a blow so hard it wants to kill you, Jesus holds things up just enough so you live again. So you walk out, miraculously, unscathed.

Jesus doesn’t save only for eternity; he saves for today. By faith, believe it. Believe in his saving power. It is in you…

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Ro. 8:11)

Thanks to the cross, the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, we have wiggle room to crawl out from any crushing load that falls on us. There is nothing that can ruin us, ever. Get on your knees again, crawl out, brush them off and know: Because Jesus overcame, you can too.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8 NIV)

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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What Does That Woman Think of Me?

think of me

We climbed the train, tucked away our luggage for the long haul, then headed to the lounge where we got some waters and drinks. Relaxation time! Well, not so much. The kids were nuts. They tackled each other on the booth cushions and screamed like animals at a wrestling match. I eyed the woman staring at me to the left. I glanced down the row at a man who couldn’t keep his eyes off them. I motioned to my husband, “It’s time to go.” But what came next shocked me.

As we headed out, the woman with a pixie haircut and eyes that didn’t quite catch you straight stared a bit beyond me and said, “You have beautiful kids. We love watching them.”

I was shocked. You love them?

She went on to tell my family and I that we shouldn’t leave the lounge. And if we did, we should return soon.

And with this thought, I began wondering how often I suppose women hate me when they actually: A.) Want to get to know me B.) Are intrigued by me or, C.) Are looking my way, yet not even thinking about me?

Recently, I learned about the Spotlight Effect. It means the vast majority of the time you think people are critiquing, watching or condemning you, they aren’t. They’re likely thinking about themselves and what they are wearing, doing or saying. They’re caught up in their own spotlight.

To boil this down further, it means people are quite often thinking about themselves. And when they aren’t, they are thinking about what you are thinking about them.

Everyone is wrapped up in their own world.

So, those women who I think hate me?
They’ve probably moved on to pondering who hates them.

The person I offended, who I am convinced constantly tracks it?
She’s probably wondering why she doesn’t …blah…blah…blah…

The girl I was a terrible boss to years ago?
She’s probably just concerned with doing a good job at her work, today.

What if we let go of the pressure of what everyone else is thinking? What if we let go of the burden of owning other’s contentment? What if we just let our goal be to please God and seek him, plain and simple?

What if we let go of everyone’s load? Because it pains us to carry it.

“For each one should carry their own load.” (Gal. 6:5)

 

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.

Stop Trying to Fix Yourself

So, I know you all know I wrote the book, Fear Fighting. I also know you know if there is anyone who should be fearless – it’s me. But, guess what? I admit it. I am not.

After a recent stressful situation, I was told by a family member, “You need to work on your anxiety issue.” This gave me anxiety.

Before she made this comment, I was leaps and bounds more anxiety-free than ever before. In fact, I considered what God did a miracle. But right after she said this, it felt like someone dropped a 50-pound brick off the Empire State building and it landed on my chest. The burn started up…

For days, I lost any sense of inner comfort and felt a new overwhelming sense of pounding nervousness.

Oh, how I wanted to blame her.

But I didn’t…well, I kind of did.

Man, what I’d worked through, she put back on me.

For days, I worked to work it away. For days, I pressed to bring back God’s peace. For days, I struggled and fought to pretend it wasn’t there. For days, I felt acted upon and angered by it all.

For days.

On the 5th day, I said to myself, “Of course, Kelly, you have anxiety. You’ve been through a hard time. You had a big family issue. You had some sin issues within yourself to contend with. You’re taking on a huge project right now, as you write a new book. And, you are also moving in a few days to a new area. It’s like the world is on your shoulders. Make room for this emotion to live, to breathe before God and be patient. God will work there, in the space where self-hatred is absent.”

I realized I could stop “performing peace” and let “Peace” come. And this is what happened. With less attention on performance and a clear focus on God’s love, it faded.

Jesus took it. He took it as I focused on Him – not on it. He took it as I remembered his all-sufficiency. He took it as I made room for rest. He took it as I let go of any anger I once had at that family member. He took it as I found myself free to not fix myself. He took it.

Thank you, God. Please keep it.

What might Jesus want to take from you through peaceful waiting? Where you are absent of self-hatred, remorse and condemnation?  Where you don’t demand yourself to improve but wait on God?

 

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.

Leaping in Faith Even When You Feel Afraid

Trust, run, leap quote and image by Katie M. Reid Photography for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith blog

Post by: Katie M. Reid

My daughter and I attended a gymnastics meet at the local university. We were mesmerized as the athletes leaped over the vault, spun around the uneven bars, and soared through the air during their floor exercises.

The coach gave each gymnast a pep talk before their routine. I imagine that he reminded them to focus, breathe deep, and remember their training. They ended with a fist bump and a “You’ve got this.”

As I watched one of the athletes get ready for her event I noticed that her hands were shaking. She looked nervous and unsure of herself but she charged ahead when her time came to compete.

That’s when it hit me.

The gymnasts practice facing their fears and have learned to compete, in spite of feeling afraid.

They don’t let fear stop them from doing what they were made to do. They put in the time day after day to improve their skills but there is a still a strong element of risk, uncertainty, and fear as they approach each apparatus during a meet.

Even if they are confident in their abilities, they realize that something could go wrong, they could come up short, or their body might let them down. But they forge ahead anyway. They are committed to their goal. They are focused on what is before them and they are driven to
do their best.

How many times do I avoid something because I over-analyze the risk factors or focus on my fears?

Of course, it can be a good thing to be cautious, but an overly cautious outlook can cripple forward motion.

The heavy weights of “what ifs” are “who do you think you are?” have kept me from living free. The news, the reports, and the suffering all around threatens to paralyze purpose; to live fully for Jesus, delighting in His company and following His ways.

What if we practice facing our fears by choosing to go forward, when we are called? Ready or not we spring ahead and give it our best. We put in the time day after day and choose to listen to His instructions and flex our faith muscles.

We still might feel afraid but we decide to follow God’s Word anyway, to trust His voice, to breathe deeply and focus on what is set before us.

  • Has He led you to travel to a far off place or to get to know your neighbor better?
  • Has He told you to forgive a loved one once and for all or to forgive yourself?
  • Has He asked you to move or to stay?

Whatever lies before us, let’s face it…knowing that we can do it because God is cheering us on as we face each challenge.

Kelly has written a passion-filled guide to help you face your fears. If you haven’t read Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fearspick up a copy today.

Let’s move forward, even when we feel afraid, knowing that we don’t go alone.

Katie M. Reid Author and Speaker

Katie M. Reid is an author and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life (look for her first book coming out next summer with Waterbrook). She inspires others 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. She is a fan of cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea. Katie and her husband host the popular Facebook Live show, “Stop! Hammock Time” (which airs Wednesdays, 9pm EST).

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

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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.

The Way Out if You’re Angry and Bitter

Angry and Bitter

I recently talked with a friend.

Plain as day, she told me:

  1. I can’t hear God.
  2. I am upset at God.
  3. Others have done me wrong.

Maybe you are there too. Maybe there are miles of distance between you and your once beloved Father, God. Maybe you are irritated, although you likely don’t admit it. Maybe you feel God has let you down. Maybe you are counting up all the ways others have failed, hurt, and insulted you.

Maybe you can’t see straight because you want to let the world, have it!

We’ve all been there. Or at least I have. I remember, I felt God let me down so badly I’d go to church, pretend I was voicing the worship songs, count the lights and draw doodles on my notepad rather than giving the pastor one second of my listening ear.

It seems what others do to us, we displace onto God.

Which is why there is only one way out of this mess: forgiveness.

Yes, it is that word. The one we cringe at.  Because we hate to do it. We hate, hate, hate to let go of the injury that was SO WRONG, SO UNDUE, SO MEAN, SO RUDE, SO INFURIATING…SO, SO, SO!

But, the reality is, that person, who injured us doesn’t continue to lose, when we hold on to bitterness, we do. That person who was horrible doesn’t get their due from our resentment, we do. We don’t hurt them. We are the ones who stay hurt. We are the ones who live the offense over and over. We are the ones who stay in pain.

Unforgiveness is the enemy’s trick. He steals, kills, and destroys the freedom waiting on the other side of our anger. He keeps us wrapped up in the agony of the unjust, the immoral and the inept. He keeps our mind off Jesus.

Indeed, he’s cunning. But, God is greater. And, so is forgiveness. It breaks every shackle. It tears off every band-aid. It restores peace. It renews joy. It returns us to high standing with God, where we feel okay with talking to him.

Forgiveness is our way home. Do you need to come home? To a God who wants to comfort you in your time of need.

Prayer:

Dear God, I am angry at  ____ because they ____. I know that as I let them go, you will handle them. I hand them to you today, Lord. I forgive them in your name. I ask you to bless them and to keep them. I ask you to heal whatever was hurt within me as a result of them. Repair me. Repair them. Be near to me. Thank you, my God. 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.

Yes, It’s true, God Sees You.

weary perspective

Yesterday, was the “day of all days” for my little 3-year old, turning 4. Her birthday!  The girl wasn’t asking for much…no toys, no gifts…she only wanted one thing: to be like mommy. And, she only had one request: to get her nails painted. So, although I figured she was way too young for this, I scuttled her off in the car, expectant of what God would do for her – only later, becoming completely surprised about what he did – for me.

At the nail store, little sweetheart was mesmerized by all the rainbow colors, the nail tools and her mom – she kept smiling, giving me the thumbs up and delighting in how all the “big” people in the salon were saying hi to her.

All was happy. But, then they moved her chair – and rather than her being right next to me, she was across the store.

All I could think was:

I’m missing her moment!
I’ve got to see my daughter!
Can I smile at her from here?

Leaning my head to the left and right, trying to view her through a slat, aiming to give her my best look, I suddenly was struck…

God looks at me the same way: he wants to see me, delight with me and enjoy my moments.

Just as I want to bless my daughter, God wants to bless me too.
Just as I want to delight in her special moments, God wants to delight with me.
Just as I am thrilled to see her joy, God is thrilled over my joy as well.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mt. 7:7)

Later, after we got home and she showed off her nails to her brother and daddy, I thought about the little gift, the one wrapped all up in the top of the: a new dress. Specifically the one I told her in the store was, “too expensive.”

I bought it for her. And all my mind kept returning to was the moment she opened it: her face, her delight, her life, her thrill.

God sees us too, as we open his best gifts: our face, our delight, our life, our thrill.

There is no shame in enjoying his good things. Our good, good daddy delights in the giving and he loves our receiving his very best.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from (our) Father…” (Ja. 1:17)

 

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.

Note: To the Unforgiven and Condemned Gals Like Me

To the daughter who can’t forgive herself for years past. . .God already has.
To the person frustrated they do nothing right. . . Christ Jesus sees himself – purity and righteousness – in you.
To the gal repeating I’m sorry to God. . .Your debt is as good as gone; God keeps no record of your wrong.
To the lady who only half believes in her new identity. . . there is no half-way “you” in God’s handbook.
To the person who feels miles less than free, who the son sets free, is free indeed.
To the child who feels under the microscope, God looks at you and is well pleased.

To want to be more, to try hard for God, to give it our all, to push with all our hearts, these can be good noble things. Yet, trouble comes, when we believe the job belongs to us. When we pull out brute strength. When we expect to muscle our way into some kind of new-glory. God deserves all glory.

Likewise, relief comes when we know this: Our sanctification belongs to God. Our growth is his to impart. Our spiritual strength is His to build or rebuild.

Knowing this, is paramount, because then, when we scuff a knee, or get in a tiff, or injure a loved one by accident, our world doesn’t explode like Hiroshima. “He who is all strength” is still for us.

Keeping our minds stayed, in rest, with God is our highest calling.

We do this by:

  1. Allowing our hearts and minds to be “rooted and established in love” (Eph. 3:17)
  2. Praying we would know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph. 3:18)
  3. Opening our heart to need God’s nourishment, truth and direction.
    “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. (Jo. 15:4)
  4. Confessing and believing – what is done is done.
    “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Mi. 7:19)

God is at work. He knows you. He has destined you for his greatness and he is conforming you to his image: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image.” (Ro. 8:29)

The work belongs to him, the freedom belongs to us. It is his timeline, not our stopwatch and this realization = freedom.

 

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.