My mouth says I want to “run with endurance the race that is set before (me)”, (Heb. 12:1), but my feet often go in the opposite direction.
I get set, and ready to go, until I fall and am ready to cry.
It’s a dichotomy I just can’t beat.
I snap back at my husbandwhen I know a kind word turns away wrath.
I think bad thoughts towards a rude personwhen I need to forgive as I have been forgiven. Col. 3:13
I yell at my children, when God says to bear up under one another in love.
I judge a sister in Christwhen God tells me to first look at the log in my own eye.
I take pride in my workwhen God tells me at the proper time I will be exalted.
1 Pet. 5:6
While my mind says, it’s all for you God, I am running hard and fast for you, my actions say, “it’s still kind of all about me.” I can’t let go. I can’t break through. I can’t succeed with God.”
The pounding of my feet on the sidewalk of God’s mission, start to turn into fists pounding on my heart, saying “Why can’t you just do better?”
Pound. You gotta get it together. Pound. People won’t see Christ in you. Pound. Are you really a Christ follower when you mess up so much? Pound. You are selfish.
And one who is beaten to the ground, can’t be running a good race for Jesus.
One who is pounding themselves, can’t be pounding the ground.
One fallen, can’t be encouraging others.
They can’t “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:24)
As I investigate my heart, my sin, and my desire, I am coming to see that God understands this roadblock too.
In order to run, run, run, we are instructed to unload, unload, unload: “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance…” (Heb 12:1)
so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Phil 2:6)
Jesus understands the struggle of a heart striving towards him. He doesn’t come to point our our lagger tendencies. He tells us to unload and rise up. To let go, and to move our feet. To say I am sorry, and to speed into his love. To send the failure fits to the sidelines and to move forward in faithful fury.
I’ve noticed, as I can let that go, I no longer feel like a girl running in circles, I no longer feel like the big loser on Olympics day, but instead I start to move forward – in a straight line – gliding into forgiveness, forging into peace, wholeheartedly striding into hope and joyfully pumping into the cheering applause of my loving Savior who roots me on with all that he is.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 1 Cor. 9:26
The question is not will I fall, because I will. The question, is – will I unload, confess and believe the promises of God (aka – get back up again), because this is where the race is won. This is where I stop pounding myself for every bad action and start pounding the streets with the message of Jesus Christ crucified and glorified.
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Purposeful Faith has been delighted to have Katy McCown join us as a guest contributor. Her insights have compelled our heart to love God more and more. We wish her only the best as she follows God in the next chapter of her life. Katie, thank you for being you. You glorify God in a powerful way!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)
And the hearts of all God’s girls say, Yes, please!
But deep down we wonder, Is this really attainable? Does her newspaper tell the same stories mine tells? No way she considers college costs and laughs.
Before we talk about the laugh we long for, let’s assess our current condition.
How does your sentence end?
She ________ ?
To help you fill in the blank, consider how you might respond in this moment:
You expect your husband (or friend, sister, mom, etc.) to meet you for dinner. You wait 30 minutes and he’s a no-show. What thoughts race through your head while you wait?
He’s hurt. Your heart beats faster and your palms begin to sweat. What route did he take to get here? You check your phone for a missed call from a number you don’t know and consider grabbing your keys to bolt for the car and re-trace the path he would have driven to the restaurant.
He doesn’t care. While you wait you replay all the ways you don’t measure up. Your head drops and a tear may even cloud your eye as you pick yourself apart and tear yourself to shreds. No wonder he’s not here.
He’s not worth it. Your fingers drum the table as your blood pressure rises. You run through the long list of demands still on your plate. How dare he waste my time.
If number one is your instinctive response, your blank may be filled with words like: She worries. She fears. She panics.
If you identify with number two, maybe these words strike a chord: She compares. She doubts.
If option three nails you on the head, then maybe you describe yourself as: She erupts. She controls.
Maybe you’re like me (and Goldilocks) and you’ve tested all three seats, but still haven’t found the one that’s just right. The bad news is that leaves us all scared, sad or sorta mean. But there is good news!
In her book Living So That, Wendy Blight writes,
“Emotionally, our faith is often muddled by fear, hesitancy, and doubt. But our feelings become irrelevant when Jesus is the object of our faith – when He alone is the One in whom we trust.”
Our faith hangs not on the future, but on the One who holds the future.
The woman God paints in Proverbs 31 fears nothing – not because of earthly security or stable emotions, but because of the position and condition of her heart.
She laughs, because she trusts.
“My friends, we are not those who give up hope and so are lost; but we are of the company who live by faith and so are saved.” Hebrews 10:39 (The Voice)
A few days ago all the stars aligned and every, single, one of my six children.
Fell asleep at the exact, same, time during the afternoon.
I tip-toed to my room as fast as tip-toes can carry a tired mama and nestled into the pillows with a smile from one ear to the other. Thank you, God, for the blessing of these few minutes. Thank you, God, for rest. Thank you, God, for
Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!
Get out! I screamed to the fly as I fanned my hand in circles. I tried to sink back into my tranquil state but to no avail.
Someone left the door open and let a pest in the house.
Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!
Strategy #1: Ignore it.
Failed. How does one tiny fly know just where to buzz to drive a person millions of times bigger than him CRAZY.
Strategy #2: Avoid it.
Success! Or so I thought. With the help of some spare pillows, I erected a teepee-type structure around my head. And it worked. No more fly. No more buzzing. Back to sweet dreams and silence.
The only problem … I painted myself into a corner. Even the slightest shift of an arm would bring the teepee tumbling down.
Instead of freeing myself from the problem, I trapped myself with a faulty solution.
Is there a pest wreaking havoc in your heart? In your haste to handle the problem, have you set up walls that prevent growth instead of providing protection?
If we want to laugh without fear of the future it’s time to clean house … or heart. Drive out the pests that torment & trap.
If you’ve ever tried to get a fly to do anything you know the dilemma. It reminds me of Shakespeare, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.“
The pests in our hearts put up a fierce fight. Sometimes they outwit. Sometimes they hide or blend into the surroundings. Sometimes they outlast us.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
The pest in your heart has a name. The devil pursues you. He waits for the crack in the door. He invades and attacks with relentless force. Something tells me you know this already.
Defeating the devil requires you to do more than ignore or avoid.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
To actively keep my heart, I employ 3 Strategies:
Be Alert! Identify the poison Satan feeds your heart and slam on the brakes (1 Peter 5:8).
Replace lies with Truth! Make every thought obedient to God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Choose Faith! Show your belief by what you do (Jame 2:18-24).
So, how would the lady who laughs at the future approach the problem at the restaurant? I bet she prays. She tells God her fears, doubts or anger and begs for His truth to take over. She re-directs her toxic path to one focused on His Words and filled with His promises. And as she chooses to believe Him, she laughs.
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT)
She laughs without fear of the future. Is this attainable?
I have to believe it is and, more than that, anything less is a life not suited for the daughter of the King.
Special thanks to Meagan at Ancient Verse for donating the artwork in the photo at the top of this post.
I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com and I’d love for you to visit me!
“I don’t want you to do that. You better not go there.” “I walked down a path and I saw the bad things that resulted.” “You may get hurt.” “I will have to carry your load.”
When we speak fear, we speak death into another person’s joy. We speak the emotions of worst case scenarios into what could be another’s best. We rain on another’s parade.
I don’t want to be that kind of person.
The kind of person that sees a child with a new balloon – and who then sucks the life right out of it.
I can try to justify it in love:
I don’t want them to be hurt.
I am saving us future pain.
They should know the truth.
But speaking fear is just criticism wrapped with a thin bow of “care”. The “care” bow doesn’t last, but often it’s the underlying words of fear that endure.
Are you raining on a parade?
Are you letting fear dictate your words to another?
To a spouse?
I am guilty. I look at my 3-year old son, carrying big bucket of water and a huge smile, only to say, “Don’t spill that. I really don’t want to clean that up.”
While I know this is a small example, and it won’t ruin his life forever, it still conveys the point. What if, instead, I was to say, “Wow! That looks like fun. You are up to something cool. I want to be a part of that! Let’s take it outside.”
Instead of stealing joy, I am building into it.
I know, so often, I run so fast to fear…
Fear that ruins.
Fear that cripples.
Fear that overshadows emotions.
Fear stands for:
Fun Ends And you’re left… Rejected
What’s the other alternative? Love.
Love stands for:
Letting Obstacles Vanish and Enduring Faith Win
Love doesn’t see issues, but sees hope.
Love doesn’t see threats, but sees opportunity.
Love doesn’t see differences, but common pain.
Love doesn’t see the words “you can’t”, but encourages through the words “you can.”
Love doesn’t see the potential downfall, but a chance for greater faith to be forged.
Love doesn’t run to save, but trusts Jesus to.
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Lately, I have been running in mode chicken-with-her-head-cut-off.
And, yes, it is as unpretty as it sounds, my friend.
With activities, school, summer planning, the blog, other writing, my husband and everything else to be done, I feel like I am running a marathon of must-do’s. Surely, I can manage it. Surely things will calm down.
But will they?
What happens when the onslaught never appears to have an end in sight?
Just a couple days ago, one more HUGE item was loaded onto my already slumped shoulders.
“I don’t have time for this! I can’t do this and everything else!”
Well, that is something that most (smart) non-mighty women say, but it isn’t what I said. Instead, I said, this is a have-to-do for today.
The only way I could think of removing it’s power was by clearing it out. It’s like, I felt that by handling it, I could handle my feelings.
So, my eyes focused, my mind raced and my anxiety was set and loaded as I moved forward – all systems go!
And, I did. I accomplished this big action item. I did it.
I did it to meet the words of my husband, “You know, Kelly, I needed you today. You were so focused on you, you missed me.”
I did it to meet the face of my children, “Mommy, we just wanted to play with you.”
I did it to hear my God whisper, “Kelly, what happened to your connection to me?
Sure I did it, but in the process I blew out all the people I loved.
Sometimes I feel that I have to run to a destination, but the greatest destination is always seeking and caring for the hearts the heart of those I love most.
I don’t want to miss that.
I don’t want to spend my life so set on to-dos that I miss the todays.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt. 6:33
The reality is:
It’s not the action items that gets done first, it’s the kingdom of God. When we go after his heart and his purpose, we find true purpose. When we seek his face, he pours down on us abundant grace.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Mt 11:28-30
The great answer to the list of work that never ends is not doing more, it is resting and praying more.
It is laying down to see up. It is seeing up, to see what he pours down. It is the decision to accept a moment of his peace.
Because aren’t we either rushing or resting?
And, if we are rushing how can we accept his rest?
His rest doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get everything done,
but it does mean we will find a safe refuge and clear direction about how to go.
Who doesn’t need more of that?
It is as simple as saying, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” Ruth 1:16
Then we start to believe, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
Not the things that I want to do, but the things that he wants me to do.
Not the ways I think I should approach it, but the way he does.
Not with fear as my driver, but with Jesus as my chauffeur.
When I rest in God, I begin to see I don’t have to do it all to know he can take care of it all.
Did you like, “Finding What God has you Do?” Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
#CompelTip – Avoid tired and typical writing. Use the 5 F’s to beat boredom!
He didn’t want to get out and all I wanted to do was climb back in, cover my head and ponder how one can be so completely incapable of handling a bad situation.
But, instead of retreating into myself, I grabbed his legs and pulled. I pulled with all my might and – like a rubber band – his body extended in and out of the car – over and over again. This cat-and-mouse game seemed to be the workout that would never end. It continued to the point where his pants were nearly coming off.
Annoyance melted away and in its place was a big smile and a spirit of fun.
Sometimes, when life gives you the worst, you just gotta return it back your best. Sometimes, when things get hard, changing your approach changes your feelings. Sometimes, when you don’t know what to do, you don’t have to.
You just do what will keep your head on, your heart in and love pouring out.
I was kind of proud of myself in this moment for not letting that 3-year old defeat me. Yet, as I turned around one stood ready to bring me back to that place of defeat.
I met man. He stood staring, eyes laser focused right on me. Right on my antics. Uh-oh.
I realized, he had been waiting right. next. to. me. Waiting for what must have been a very long time. I was blocking his door.
All I could muster was “Oh, I am so sorry. Have you been here long?”
He answered, “You know, I have been where you are. Just know, I completely understand.”
Meeting his words was like meeting a doctor filled with compassion.
His understanding quenched my thirst for acceptance.
His tone let me know that I was not alone.
The simple words “I understand” changed the game.
And, this really gets me to thinking. So many times, we think we are alone, we think we can’t walk, we think we need to retreat in our cars, we think we are the only person screaming out amidst thousands. We think we can’t handle things.
We think no one gets our situation.
But one does. One always understands.
One looks and says, “You know, I have been there. I understand.”
When life breaks down, this one says, “I understand.”
When feelings pound over you like a boxer in a ring, he says, “I understand.”
When you have to go somewhere you don’t want to go, he says, “I understand.”
When people don’t do what you want them to do, he says, “I understand.”
When (fill in the blank), he says, “I understand.”
This one is Jesus.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Heb. 4:15
As we see that God understands, he:
changes our hurting hearts to hopeful ones.
no longer seems far away, but near in today.
confirms to your spirit that if he got through, you can too.
doesn’t appear to point at your inadequacy, but he simply points out love.
In every case, at all times Jesus understands. He is well acquainted with pain and suffering. He doesn’t look to beat you down, but he understands to build you up. He doesn’t look to condemn, but to conform your heart to his as he configures your emotions to his truth.
Freedom and grace are packaged in the understanding
that God understands.
Freedom and grace are packaged though people who show others they understand.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 8:9
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Ever felt like you were so close to God, only to somehow fall off-course? To somehow lose your in-step walk with the one who gives all peace, joy and love?
It’s easy to wonder how you got to this place. How you somehow diverted your path from his.
These thoughts plague me. I wonder, how can I avoid this next time, because
so often land me in a land miles away from my greatest love.
Like lost child, I lose my maker. It’s not that I don’t want to be with him, but something pulls me off-course: another grabs my attention, an emotion makes me run the other way or a circumstance takes hold. Before I know it, there I stand there – a missing child in a massive world trying to make my way back to my maker.
My once in-step, turned-in, reliant heart on Christ
becomes an out-of-step, out-of-focus, reliant heart on my problems.
I can see what’s around me, but I can’t see him.
I can see people, problems and the past, but I have blocked out his light.
I can see my feelings light as day, but I still feel buried deep in a distant hole.
Unchecked emotions have covered my heart.
And, one thing I am sure of is this: one covered with the unchecked emotions of shame, guilt and regret, can’t be shining the light of Christ’s resurrection, power and love.
One loaded under the weight of unrepented issues, can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.
So, I wonder, which do I have –
a heart covered by the weight of guilt
or a heart uncovered by the flashlight of Christ’s grace?
What God uncovers he uses for his glory. And what is hidden – is just that – hidden.
Hidden things stay covered.
Yet, God calls us “the salt of the earth.” Mt. 5:13
How can people taste salt if they can’t see it?
Instead of being salt-hiders,
we have another option, we can be salt-makers with God.
Do you see it?
Salt is produced by enduring pain, hardships and trials with Christ. As we move into deep intimacy with God, we move into knowledge of how to season other’s hearts. We start to flavor the world with the great testimony of his revealed power in our lives.
Salt is a God’s cleansing agent, and we are it’s salespeople. Let’s represent his holiness well.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
Let’s shine bright to display his light!
We have a light that cannot be contained.
A city set on a hill.
It goes far and wide.
As a beacon of love.
That no one can miss.
That makes opponents flee.
That keeps your heart in safe places.
That endures until we come into his glorious light.
Don’t forget: You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
It’s a beacon of love, a calling to all to come and know him.
Shine! Don’t remove your hand from his, don’t be pulled away from your Father, don’t get lost in the masses, don’t fall down in a pit, just keep revealing your heart to the light-shiner to let your life be transformed with the power of his always-exposed love.
He will never let you down, he will always chase after you the second you are lost. He loves you so much. He has chose you as his own. He is ready to shine so much goodness out of you, if only you will run your problems straight to his great flashlight of grace.
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You won’t be able to do that. No one does that. It doesn’t happen that way.
Despite my sure belief and confidence in what God had been working – uncertainty crept in.
Was this person right? Was it impossible? Was I wrong to believe?
Waves of doubt filled my heart. With force, they came to topple down my focus on God, my desire to follow and his great purpose for me. They rippled wider than my head and pushed straight into my anxious heart, with thoughts like:
I am on my own, God has left me! What do I do now?
Why did God give only to take away? I better figure a way to fix this myself.
Should I just take flight and run another way? I can’t do this after all.
Why did I believe? It seems now, I was never cared for to begin with.
Swelling up, under all of these fear-ridden thoughts, was a deep undercurrent that I wasn’t capable, valuable or lovable enough to get good from God.
Yet, as I thought of all that God has done for me, He brought me to on of the most valuable questions that we can ever ask ourselves: Who do I trust? The power of God or the power of man?
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. Ps. 118:18
Trust means I fully accept
the promises, the assurances, the life,
the resurrection and security of Jesus Christ.
It means I don’t see all I can’t do, it means I just see all he DID do.
It means I don’t see others words, I solely see his words guiding my way.
It means I don’t see an overwhelming future, I just see overwhelming past proof of his love for me.
The tide of God’s love is pulling me into the deep waters of Jesus. It brings me back to the place of trust.
I want to rush into his waters, only to come out drenched with his love and purpose.
3 Ways to Pull Yourself Back Into The Current of Faith
1. Seek to See God and His Surrounding Faithfulness.
I have the opportunity to see God. Truly! I can see his invisible qualities, his eternal power an his divine nature. It is all laid out before me in the creation that surrounds me. The more I look into nature the more I find his peace-giving presence.
The sun proves his consistency.
The thunder proves his power.
The mountains prove his steadfastness towards me.
The sky prove his all-encompassing presence every day.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20
2. Dive into the Safe-Dwelling Waters of Jesus.
Like David, as we seek God, dwell on God and pursue his holiness, we start to lay our eyes on the heart of God. The world, voices and messages start to fall away and we start to build a sanctuary of love in our heart. This sanctuary is a temple of God that many are drawn to – it shines God’s glory.
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.” 1 Chron. 22:19
3. God brands us with his promises. His promises are marked on us, they never leave our side – and we believe it.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit… Eph. 1:13
As believers, we are sealed in the Lord’s love for us. We are packaged so tightly with his purpose, his seal can never be broken. We are sealed inside of all he has already promised us. Now, we walk believing it.
God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19)
We are held tightly by the power of:
– a hand that holds ours
– a Father that sees
– abundant forgiveness
– unending mercy
– unrelenting love
– unbelievable grace
– a help in a time of trouble
– eternal life
Trust is built – and kept – as we remember our Creator, his holiness and our sealed status in him. Truth and life already available. Assurance of our faith already exists. The question is – will we choose to believe and seize it? Will we choose to trust God or to trust man?
Because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever. 2 John 1:2
We can overcome doubt with faith in all of God’s abundant promises.
Do you remember when you bought your first home?
Probably, no matter the price, you put a large bulk of your saved money into the down payment.
That’s how it worked for us.
With no extra money to buy furniture, I felt like it wasn’t just the echoes of empty rooms that were resounded in my heart, but the echoes of not having enough.
I can’t have people over, when the first thing they see is that room!
I can’t even enjoy this house, until we can actually sit down!
No one is walking through that front door, until things change around here!
But, God – he had different plans. His different plans, are always the best plans, for my not-so-well-laid plans.
He had plans to take my “not enough” and exchange it for “more than good enough.” He always seems to do that when we are looking, seeking and praying after his will, doesn’t he?
You see, the word “insufficient” doesn’t reside in Jesus’ vocabulary,
because he entirely defines the word sufficient.
If we have Jesus, we have the all-encompassing sufficient answer to every one of life’s problems. It can just be very hard to see in the whirlwind of pain. He understands this and, in many cases, gently brings us right into his fold, when we are ready.
In my case, he exchanged my empty room and empty heart for something far greater,
way more hectic and a billion times more exciting.
My empty room, covered with the wallpaper of “not enough”, became “more than enough” as the paper busted at the seams, exposing joy, peace and glory. We found our nightly ritual – a family worship session on the best dance floor in town – our living room.
We went in that room to dance and sing with all our hearts. We had more than enough!
We ran around with smiles wide and kids raised up. We had more than enough!
We saw our toddlers joy as they ran circles around us. We had more than enough!
We opened our hearts and eyes to see our great high and lifted God. We had more than enough!
When we look for Jesus, no matter our situation –
whether a small one like mine or a bigger one like death –
we find him.
He is the door to our “more.”
He is the access to our joy.
He is the way to life.
He is the answer of peace.
He is the hope in all.
In my situation, I had much to be thankful for, but still, I was not content. I saw the door that I didn’t want visitors to enter, but what I didn’t realize was that my focus was on the wrong door.
I should have been looking at Jesus as the door.
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)
Jesus is always the access point to greater things.
If you have walked through Jesus’ door of salvation, you are saved.
Not just saved for eternity’s joys, but saved to enjoy Christ’s present ones in today. Are you seeking them?
If you have walked through Jesus’ door, you are gaining access to your calling and mission. Are you using your gifts, talents and finances for his glory?
If you walk through Jesus’ door, you will find pasture.
Your Father wants to bring you much joy, peace and purpose in life. Are you relying on him?
If we have chosen to walk through his door, Christ has presented us with eternal riches, his present day glory, focused missions, fulfilling callings, joy-filled songs, enduring character and his ever-present help in a time of trouble.
We no longer live in empty rooms of despair, discouragement and doubt, but our rooms become filled with the love and presence of Jesus Christ.
When we look for him, we realize we have – and always had – more than enough!
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
Our great shepherd is leading us into his great, powerful and calm-of-heart pastures. Will we follow him?
We already have “more than enough.”
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I stood at attention like a toy soldier, fisted hands on hips, and a plastered smile so tight the muscles in my jaws twitched. It was there on the floor of the junior high gymnasium, where I awaited my fate.
In Jr High all I wanted be known for was being a duPont Dragon cheerleader.
But on that day when the names were called mine wasn’t among them.
When I wasn’t chosen, I remember feeling jealous and bitter toward those who were.
That was 44 years ago. Today at 57, do I still want to be known for something?
If I’m totally truthful, yes I do. And you do too.
You might be thinking, No, I really don’t. But stop, and think about it for a minute. We all do.
For me, I want to be known as a good wife, mom, friend, writer, a good dresser, decorator, tennis player, and Bible study leader. And I like to be noticed for my efforts and applauded for a job well done.
We all want people to know us,
and sometimes, yes,
even envy us.
We count Facebook likes and our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and our link-ups on LinkedIn.
We want to be known for something or be known by that “somebody” who is known by everybody.
And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts in our youth and continues as we age. Wanting to be known is as natural as breathing and we all have an insatiable appetite for both.
But therein lies the problem. Our appetites.
Just like our appetite for food can lead us to gluttony and diseases of the body, our appetite to be known can lead us to diseases of the soul – greed, jealously, hatred and bitterness.
To keep our appetite in check, we need to recognize and understand the three P’s of known.
1. Provider – who owns my known?
2. Purpose – what’s my known for?
3. Perspective – is it mine forever or only a season?
John the Baptist was a man who could handle his known.
He had a huge amount of followers for his day in age, that is until Jesus took the majority of his following. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked him why people were leaving him to follow Jesus, John answered by saying …“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Ah, here in John 3:27, we are reminded that God gave John his position. It was not something he gained himself.
Only God owns our known.
He alone is the Provider. We may put in the hard labor but it is God who swings the doors open.
The purposeof our being known is not to point to us ( it’s not about us folks) but to point to Jesus. John 1:6-7 says, concerning John the Baptist, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that thorough him all might believe.” God has a purpose and position for each season of our lives so that we may use it to point to Him.
Most importantly we must keep the proper perspective on our known-ness and not hold too tightly to something we may only temporarily possess. Job 1:21 reminds us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, andnaked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In the wake of losing our known-ness, be it followers, friends, a job, our family or whatever else, our perspective should always be one of joy in living under the wings of God’s sovereignty. There are times we must take a backseat to another for the spotlight to shine on Jesus.
John 3: 29-30 says, …“That joy is mine and it is nowcomplete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
John the Baptist knew where his position came from,
he knew what his position was for and he was content in letting it go
when his time came to step aside.
This past year I received an extra portion of known-ness but when I started to fill it slip, I tried to hang on. And in doing so, I showed the telltale signs of not watching my P’s. I slid down the slippery slope of known into a selfish pile of actions that did anything but point to God.
Today as you take the kids to school, go to work, or check your Instagram account, ask yourself two questions.
What position has God placed me in?
And, in this position, am I pointing to Him?
Who owns your known?
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Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can find Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey at www.christymobley.com
Oftentimes, all seems well in my Christian life until one small thing happens to completely knock me down.
It could be an unexpected bill.
An unexpected argument.
An unexpected tantrum.
An unexpected suspecting mole.
An unexpected heartache.
An unexpected injury.
But, no matter what kind of unexpected thing comes to tackle me, it usually takes my eyes right off the ball – right off of Jesus.
As one unexpected issue heads at me straight on, another issue comes to pound me, and then another. It’s like everything is set to force me to the floor. All of life’s opponents are after me.
In this moment, I wonder, How can I keep my eyes on Christ
when all I can think about is preserving my life?
Because all I can only see the weight of the issue from this vantage point; I have no sight beyond that. I can only see the weight of things on top of me; the things that are loaded one after another, like a big pile of worry. They keep me from seeing the light. They make me feel like I am suffocating.
They avert my eyes from the light of Christ’s glory and grace. They make me want to run – but their heaviness reminds me – I’m stuck.
How do I release myself from the powerful force of these issues?
Because, one thing I know, one covered, can’t be shining.
One loaded under the weight of issues,
can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.
Either I am uncovered by the grace of Jesus
or I am covered by the weight of worry and fear.
This truth calls me to rise above my momentary troubles. It calls me higher than defeat; it calls me to fly high to grace. To fly high above the problems that plague me to see the beauty that I hold.
Not a ball, but Jesus Christ.
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
Life is always available through Jesus Christ.
If my life is set to his playbook and I seek to run into the world with his light,
doesn’t he call me to more than defensive living?
Doesn’t he call me out to live offensively?
In the light? With his power? Understanding his grace?
I am being called to lay down my fears so that the love of Christ can shine into my dark places and the world’s dark spaces.
You are the salt of the earth. Mt. 5:13
Then, and only then, will I be able to shine the light he gives me.
I won’t be able to contain it.
I will shine it into the hearts that come against.
Into the situations that seek to tumble me.
It will shine as a beacon of his love, calling all to know and love him.
It’s light will cast away my issues, and illuminate the issues of those around me.
It will light the steps towards love, verses the step towards fear.
The light of Christ makes the difference. It guides us in the way we should go. We no longer have to live defensively, because the light of Christ let’s us move offensively.
The more we think of Jesus, the more we see our issues fade and his light takes over.
We can stop letting the unexpected things throw us down, and instead, let the unextinguishable light of Christ propel us forward.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 Like a lighthouse set on a hill, the light of his love will not contain us. We will radiate love.
“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Phil. 2:15 Like stars, our light testifies to the Creator’s majesty. We will draw awe and wonder at the display of his great beauty. The presence of God is displayed through us through light.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 Jo. 1:7 Light = Fellowship, unity and purity. Light draws out love and extinguishes fear.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12:9 As wise children, we shine heaven far and wide to brighten the path to Jesus. We reveal the glory of his eternal destination.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 As torch-bearers, we cast his light into the darkest pits of despair. Glory shines in places where there once was no hope.
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”1 Thes. 5:5
We stay in the day, where we are safe in his ways. We are children of the light! Our light can never be put out.
Eternal light can never be covered. It will always shine. There is no opponent who can defeat it or unexpected threat who can beat it. We always have hope.
Even more, we serve as the present day light-carriers of Jesus Christ. There is too much at stake, too much important work to do, to allow our lights to get put out. People are desperate for this light. We need this light to thrive and to revive – the world.
Uncover your light, so you may shine bright in Christ.
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