Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

The Get-Together I Never Had

get-together

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have her over. Then again, it wasn’t that I did. Generally speaking, I couldn’t make up my mind and that was the problem. I was indecisive.

Going a level deeper (there’s almost always something deeper) the reality was. . .  I’d been to her house. Everything was laid in perfect order — no crumbs on the floor, stains on her couch or picture frames off-center. Her house was perfection, every corner Pinterest-able.

Mine? Mine was laundry on the floors, toys spread all over the family room and crumbs under the counter cupboards. Mine was marker stains on the kitchen table and a mini-trampoline in the center of the living room.

She looked so good.

I looked so bad.

On face-level I look good too. Outside my house, I dress stylish. But inside- that’s what might scare her away, make her feel uncomfortable or worst yet, make me look bad.

So, while I wish I could tell you Ms. High and Mighty Blogger Gal Kelly Balarie kept our date, I canceled our little get-together. She gave me a little leeway to cancel, and I took it and ran….

And now, to top this all off, I just invited eight gals to my house in a couple of weeks. My mind can’t stop thinking of what:

– comfy chairs I need to buy
– new patio furniture I need to get
– flowers need to adorn my home
– scents need to hit them as they walk in

But then, I consider this. What if my imperfection isn’t all bad?

What if my imperfection gives way to theirs? What if my lack of everything somehow welcomes them in a small, unsaid way to share their lack? Their lack of hope in their marriage? Their lack of will to stay close to God? Their lack of understanding of what their future holds?

What if imperfection is the open door to invite Jesus in? Jesus always walked into the space and place of vulnerability. Those who fell on their knees, cried out, felt less than, hopeless, broken…for these people, Jesus showed up, with power.

Won’t He do that for me too?

So why do I try to shun that away? Why do I slam the door on the one opening God may use to truly, deeply and powerfully reach others?

I can’t help but think it is not perfect, clean and shiny houses that bring people near, but real and authentic houses that really draw people in. It stops them.

Our real truth.
Our real story.
Our details of need.
Our belief that God will show up there.
Our hope in something greater than material items.
Our will to just be with people rather than putting on a show.
Our desire to see something more meaningful than facades.

Jesus never ran from what was askew. He welcomed it.

 

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.

“Brush it off!”

brush it off

“I don’t agree.”

These three words crawl under my skin like a spider.

To me, they mean:

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

Beyond these three horrible feelings, they induce shame.

Shame is a:

Sudden
Heaping on of
A
Massive
Embarrassment

Shame makes you feel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

What do you need to wipe off today?

 

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

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

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

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My Christmas Bawl: Read if You Feel Sad

christmas bawl

Right in the center of tinsel, twinkle lights, and towering holly, I lost it. The dam opened today in my living room and waterfall tears gushed out: the house isn’t clean, it looks like a second-rate Christmas, there are problems all around me, I couldn’t get stuff for my husband this year, he didn’t get stuff for me, we aren’t near family…

Add all this to all the unsaid stuff I wouldn’t admit, like — I am sad because I feel alone, I am disappointed, in some ways, with life as it is, and I wish my kids would recognize all my hard work — and I was in a full-blown pity party. Waa! Waa!

Santa isn’t real. Bah-humbug!
I am all alone. Bah-humbug!
I just busted a glass jar of apple cider vinegar in the kitchen. Bah-humbug!
Jesus feels far and isn’t rescuing my emotions. Bah-humbug!

Every expectation that Christmas would show-well — was busted, like little shards of an apple cider vinegar jar. Christmas can cut you if you aren’t careful.

Why? Because Christmas isn’t perfect. Not in my house.

Christmas is tree needles everywhere.
Christmas is family arguments because someone talked mean.
Christmas is presents wrapped up with two extra wrinkled pieces of Christmas papers.
Christmas is a longing to be somewhere else with different stuff.
Christmas is mountain-high expectations with front and center realizations.

Christmas isn’t perfect, but Jesus is. He is perfect. He is love.  And, I am under his love. With this, no matter what self-destructs this year — if the Christmas tree catches fire or if a stray cat wraps itself up in my tree lights or if every trimming is burnt to a crisp, Jesus is still Jesus. And, Jesus still wants me.

He came for me.
He chose me.
He loves me.
Independent of how I act.
No matter how sad I feel.
No matter what a 24-hour day looks like.
Jesus remains fully intent on keeping me near.
He sustains me by the endless well of his grace.

This 24-hour tinsel-tree decorated day will pass and go, but God’s love endures forever. People may offend us, but Jesus’ care covers people’s wrongs. Avalanches of tears show up, but in Christ’s eyes, we are still beloved. Presents may disappoint, but appointed to heavenly purposes, we still remain.

Jesus does not disappoint. Never. We realize this when we actually get around to thinking of Him. His peace never lets us down.

I choose right now to allow him to carry the Holiday-load I’ve been shouldering. Will you?

Jesus is Jesus. The man “anointed to proclaim good news to the poor,” sent “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind” and “to set the oppressed free…” (Lu. 4:18).

I accept all of this from all of Him, this Christmas. His love makes me well.

Jesus and His care is my best gift this season. I am so grateful.

Prayer: Father, will you please extend a Merry Christmas on each and every one of the readers of this blog? Will you wrap us with your grace, peace, and life. Will you love us? Will you be near to us this Christmas? We want this as a personal gift, from you to us. Give us more love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Tested Way to Change What is Bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

When Life Bites

National parks have things that bite. We all know this. Mosquitos. Ticks. No-see-ums. Things like that. But my daughter was most terrified of the cat. She remembered it from last time.

This time, she seemed to believe it wanted to come and bite her from behind.

“Madison, I want to tell you, dear one, if the cat comes. . . see this Starbucks bag? If he runs in and tries to bite you, I will swat him. If he comes near you, he will not hurt you.”

Now, this interaction gets me thinking. If I am a pretty good mom and God is a very good God, how much more does God protect us than I watch over my daughter?  How much more would he go to any lengths to keep us safe, protected, secure, watched over, and secure?

God swats things away from us. Things we can’t even see. Things we don’t even know.

How many of us can look back at our past and say, “Wow, it is amazing I never got involved in ____. Or, by all accounts, I should be ___. Or, by the grace of God, I avoided ___?”

Jesus. That’s why. Jesus. His grace. Jesus. His covering. Jesus. His love.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am…yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10

Friends, the antidote to feeling out of God’s care is recounting how much you’re in it.

I could have become an alcoholic, married to an abuser, co-dependent in every relationship, and in a job I hated. I am not.

I am a woman dependent on Jesus Christ, married to an honorable and trustworthy man of God, in a ministry role that I am blessed to be a part of.  This doesn’t mean everything is perfect, or figured out, but it means God is perfectly caring for me, on every account. Even the ones I have not yet seen in the light of His full glory.

But I believe in his glory; I don’t give up in it. The testimony of his faithfulness speaks of the very meaning of the phrase: do it again, God. And when I recount it all, I believe he will.

Why not take a look back into your past? Why not remember all the ways God has kept you and protected you? Why not stand in awe that you are what you are, because the grace of the Lord Jesus is what it is.

Prayer: God, give us a fresh view of what our life would be like without you. Give us understanding of how loving you are. Give us new vision of all the ways you’ve protected us. Keep us in your love. Help us to rest on your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

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

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

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

What does Faith look Like?

faith look like

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

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

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

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

Do you have these? Desperate need? Infinite faith?

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

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

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

Desperate seekers loaded with wild faith find Jesus.

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

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

Faith believes God can.

Need lets Him in.

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

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

 

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

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

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

A Truth I love

“Believing we can have it all, all the time is a myth and a lie and a joy-stealer. What I do believe is that we can have God’s best for us. A full life and a life to the full are two very different things. One is about grasping, the other is about receiving. One is about cramming in, the other is about room to breathe. One is about striving, the other is about trust. One is about control, the other letting go – sometimes for a moment and sometimes for always.”

When I read this, in Holley Gerth’s new book, Fierce Hearted, all I could think was, yes, yes, yes. She nailed it and was saying everything I was living. You see, God recently invited me into this beautiful place of, “Set it all down Kelly. Come. And follow me.

Set down the social media stuff. Follow me.

Set down your plans. Follow me.

Set down your busy work. Follow me.

Set down your dreams. Be with me.

My answer was, “Yes, God!!!”

But you see, it’s easy to speak, but much more difficult to do. To leave behind the striving to be seen, to turn away from the control that comes with manhandling my schedule and to surrender my busyness that covers over the sense of lack I don’t want to see. . . well, it all sounds nice, but. . .

It leaves me feeling exposed. What if I am not doing what I should be? What if I miss out? What if I am left behind? What if I don’t get what I dream of? What if my time spent with God ends up (and I’d probably never vocalize this). . . wasted? What if I get disappointed?

Yet I am finding it is always in the letting go that God works his way in. It is always in the relinquishing that we get a broad-stroke view of what God is doing. It is always in carved-out space that we see God draw new stories right over the old versions of insecurity.

But we must give leeway to His ways. It’s the only way.

When we clear out everything so God can come, He does. With power, strength, dignity, honor and a pen that redraws all we ever wanted – and more. He also has an eraser. One that doesn’t feel like denial, remorse or pretending, but recovery.

“Our everything” is not found in “our doing,” but “His everything” is found in “our undoing” before Him.

Ahh…peace.

Come, Jesus. Restructure us. Let us let go of what we clench so tightly so we can find ourselves held tight in the power of your love. Amen. (and thank you Holley!)

Buy Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely on Amazon or wherever books are found.

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Your Worst Enemy Isn’t Them…

wrong enemy

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

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

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

Ever been there?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Need Answers?

You don’t have to have all the answers.

Relieve yourself of this. You don’t have to have it all marked out with lines pointing to things, with circles around events, checkmarks next to your part and supporting roles delineated.

It’s not your show. It’s not your story to write.

God is Creator. He is also Author God. Let him write a better story than you can. Give up your need to theorize, summarize and categorize people and all the details that go with them.

If Jesus wanted you to be ruler, he would have let you know this before he died, but he didn’t.

His grace is your grace when you give Jesus space to fill the blank lines. Then, you actually get a chance to see God work. But if you already have every line filled in and filled up, what room does this leave an active, always-writing, ever-working God?

Avoid your need to know. Eve wanted to know everything. Satan wanted to know he was higher than God.

Knowing is not our goal. Abiding is. Stick to abiding. Self-soaked ambition masked in some cover of godliness is still nastiness. Intellectual know-how covered with a know-it-all attitude still stinks.

Jesus talked to the Pharisees like this:

“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Mt. 23:27-28

Choose instead to let Jesus wash you. White. Clean.

Need him.

Let him be highest. The highest scheduler. The highest orchestrator. The highest lover. The highest mountain. The highest plan.

You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to know every detail. You don’t have to be in tune with the whens or the whys. You know the WHO. It’s Jesus. He has you. He has a plan.

Prayer: Jesus, it’s all about your heart. It’s all about your desires. It’s all about you coming to earth, so that we could come to heaven and be with you always. Don’t let us lose sight of what matters. What a waste it is to have eternity with you, but to miss daily life with you. We want every moment with you. Restore that to us. We repent of what is not ours to keep, manage and rule. We trust you with what you want to give us. We lean on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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

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

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

To Freak or Not to Freak?

You’re lying if you say life is absent of turbulence. You’re either lying or denying.

We all have rough spots. If we’re honest we all have itchy spots we think unworthy of prayer, problem areas we’re tired of addressing, or pasts we’ve tried to pretend are done.

So we stuff them away in some cob-webby attic, pretending.

Out of sight, out of mind.

We deny them, hoping we’ll get by them. But the problem is, we don’t get by them because much of what we do is driven by them. The crux of our responses, defensive ways and judgements are a result of them.

Sometimes, the only way to get through a storm is by addressing it.

Jesus did that.

“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’

He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Mark 8:23-26, emphasis mine

Jesus spoke to the waves, “Stop.” They did. He rebuked the winds. They listened.

Jesus did not see the storm and hide from it. He met it face to face. What if we did the same?

Let’s consider things from the disciples’ perspective for a moment. Did they meet the storm face-to-face? In some ways, yes. They saw it before them. In other ways, no. They took things in their own hands. They demanded Jesus handle the storm the way they thought right. They woke Jesus up from the rest he needed.

But Jesus is always aware. Jesus always sees. Jesus always knows. Jesus always has a plan.

He may look voiceless, but he is interceding for you.

He may look silent, but he is advocating for you.

He may look immobile, but his will prevails.

Rather than being the ones who demand our way to God, what if we trusted his ways no matter what problem was trying to sink us?

What if we said, “Christ, with the power to calm every storm, can powerfully calm my storm and I am standing on that fact. Jesus, with the heart to bring people where they are meant to go, will bring me, and I am banking on that. Jesus, who has a plan, has not lost the plan for my life – and I believe that.”

What kind of miracle would we see if we didn’t wake Jesus, but trusted him?

How might he arise to say, “You of great faith,” verses, “You of little?”

What might we see transpire?

 

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.