Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

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.

Save

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.

When You Hate What God Gave

God Gave

My 3-year old daughter and I were playing a game. She was behind a box “counter”, I stood in front of it: ordering. I was supposed to buy some food, because, this was a restaurant.

I told her I wanted a salad and ice-cream. Trying to be good, but wanting to indulge, this was my kind of order. Add a chocolate dip to the ice cream and this is what summers are made of. I digress…

Anyway, daughter fixed up my food, looked me in the eye, while handing over my imaginary goodies, and declared “Now, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

My jaw dropped. She nailed it.

So many of us internally chide our self with this same kind of diatribe, as if God says this to us. As if this is how we are supposed to cope with life. As if, we are meant to get a crumb and tell our stomach to feel okay with it. Now don’t get upset!!!

Surely, I know this verse: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12)

Yet, somehow I think we’ve got it all wrong. God never told us to lie.

Yet, we’re convinced we must show the world we are strong, we tell our self, “We get what we get and we don’t get upset.”

Outside we look like a gracious kid at a candy shop, while inside we are throwing a fit like an irate toddler because we’re unseen by the world, unrecognized for who we are and uncared for.

I notice Paul, in the verse above, mentions the words, “I have learned. . .”  Why are we ashamed of learning? Of journeying? Of admitting we feel the struggle?

So often, we already can sense when this is the case with someone. Why do we hide so?

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Today, consider this: In the light of God’s glory, there is no shame in transforming.

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

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

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

How to Go Easy On Yourself

Go Easy

Does your mind hone in on what you do wrong, more often what God is doing right?

Maybe you’re quick to notice your quick temper, the error of all your past ways — your choices, your parenting style, your marriage mannerisms.  Or, maybe you’ve made some horrible financial decisions and found yourself at a loss. Usually, there is an area in our lives we hate; sometimes it is our thighs.

We are good at circling problem areas and critiquing them. Somehow, as women, we give ourselves permission to whine to each other. We think, it’s fine to share our worst, don’t brag about your best though.

So, we do. And, we learn to do this in our mind too.

I hate that I hate playing silly games with my kids. I don’t listen well either. I always give in to my kids. They always, nearly get what they want. Oh, I’ve been afraid to do spankings. I have a whole list of things I can improve on; I am aware of them.

I think of them as often as I think about what to eat next. They are a record of wrongs that follows me. Which is why, I needed some reprieve from them. And, fortunately, I found it.

I was in the kitchen, 6-year old so came in and said, “Hey Mommy, earlier, I almost ate the box of cookies in the pantry, but then I didn’t.”

I laughed it off.

The next day, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, I almost pulled all the toilet paper off the roll, but then I didn’t.”

And, it was at this point that wisdom hit me like a hammer: I can choose to see what I am not doing, or I can choose to see how I am improving. By focusing on how I am improving I remember important things.

I remember:

I am being sanctified, upgraded day-by-day, into the image of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11).
I am moving from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:8).
I am growing (Ro. 8:29).

We can’t look at a day and demand of it what God is doing over a year. I felt peace land on me. I felt peace land on my son as I looked on him with proud eyes. And, I imagined how God must look on me, when I try, when I improve and when I ease up on myself.

 

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

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

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

How to Fess Up

Fess Up

I am horrible at fessing up. Maybe you are too.

Here’s why I think we hate to do it:

  1. We feel so guilty.
  2. We don’t want to bring attention to it.
  3. We would rather pretend it didn’t happen.
  4. We are embarrassed.
  5. We hate to admit we aren’t perfect.

It’s number 5 that really gets me; I try so hard to be perfect, so to break the porcelain veneer is like dropping grandma’s ancient heirloom. I feel crushed. I feel caught. I feel like someone might want to yell in my face.

Yet, when my son started pointing fingers at everyone else but himself. When he couldn’t admit doing things wrong. . . well, all fingers pointed back at me. I can’t blame on him, what he learns from me. He’s really just a reflection of the environment that I create for him.

I declared it was high-time I start to change something – about me.  And, sooner rather than later. It is far easier to say you want to change than it ever is to actually do it.

I still tried. I noticed when I got that little prick of anxiety in my heart and admitted why: I pushed a little too hard on my husband to get my way. I paid attention to the small sense of guilt I previously ignored and acknowledged my wrong: I brought up a sensitive topic at the worst time. I looked at my child’s face when I chided with too much force and reacted: I am sorry.

Nope. And, I wasn’t perfect. Sometimes, my pride inhibited my humility. Pride made me take an hour, where humility would have shown up right away. But, I am learning: it is a learning process.

Sometimes, the act of being honest with yourself is the first act. You have to cheer yourself on for this. I am doing this. YAY!

Maybe you need to join me? Have you built up defenses so high even you can’t see over them to the truth? Have you found that you don’t ever want to be wrong.

This verse has been such an encouragement to me: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Pet. 5:6)

I used to think an apology meant I needed to go dwell in a dumpster or something. Now I see an apology is a welcome by God to a higher place with him. It is my letting go so that I can welcome his glory and peace in. When I do this, I find my way back to his heart more easily.

I go low. God brings me high.

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.

My Gigantic Mistake

Gigantic Mistake

I only wish I could take it back. Why doesn’t life come with a rewind button? Why can’t we re-do those horrible, wretched moments where we just get ahead of our self?

I got lured in. No, I didn’t.
I got pressured. Well, no, actually, I didn’t.
It was an impossible situation. No, to see things plainly, it really wasn’t.
Anyone could have done it. This point really doesn’t justify my action.

Now that my excuses are out of the way, I can name my action for what it is: a gigantic mistake. I can own it: I sinned.

Here’s what happened . . .

I met up with a girlfriend, Jen. Oh, how I love her. Wisdom is all over her. She is someone I can tell anything. Laughing, we enjoyed our time together. We connected, relayed stories and then, at one point, Jen relayed one of her secrets: she didn’t enjoy going to one of our common friend’s, Christy’s, marketing parties.

To me, this was no big deal, but to Jen, as she shared this information, it seemed huge. She quieted her voice, she leaned close, and she told me to keep it between me and her. She had that face on her that said, I just told you something I am SO embarrassed to admit. 

Of course, I promised to keep quiet. But, I didn’t. The secret about Jen slipped out while I was talking with Maria, our common friend. And, the “whoopsie moment” was magnified when I realized, Carrie, Jen’s closest friend, was right behind me. Like, RIGHT behind me. She totally could hear.

All I could do was – Panic! I’d messed the whole thing up, horribly. I’d gone – and got myself – caught.

Suddenly, rather than enjoying my place amongst friends, my mistake spun me out into some parallel universe of worry, fear and angst. I’m going to be busted. My friends will never tell me anything ever again. I am horrible. I am now going to be known as a liar.

The sin bothered me, but what was really killing me was the fact: I got caught. It is funny how sin works that way, isn’t it?  If we can hide it safely, we figure – no harm, no foul, but if it gets brought to the light we are crushed, tied up and self-tortured for our horrible behavior.

I tortured myself and disallowed my heart from experiencing joy that night.
I tortured myself by rewinding, over and over again, my big mouth blabbing in slow motion.
I tortured myself by trying to pull away from those friends out of embarrassment.
I tortured myself by believing God hated me for a moment.
I tortured myself by thinking my prayers were like paper airplanes missing the target of God.
I tortured myself by not accepting forgiveness.

I didn’t have to do this. I didn’t have to partake in self-torture. You don’t either. Even if you’ve blabbed like me, or thought no good rotten thoughts about your husband or stolen some item from the grocery story. Whatever it is, trying to pierce and plague your heart – you can let it go.

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14 (NIV)

My friend, you and I both, are under grace. Together we stand, united we will not fall, because Jesus loves us and she who the son sets free, is free indeed (Jo. 8:36).  Done. Finalized. Finished.

I am forgiven and you are too. Grace that hung on the cross absolved us from the pain of self sin-torture. Today, let’s receive it and move on.

 

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.