Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Good News for All of Us Who Feel Like Outsiders

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

Outsider.

I let this term define me for far too long. As a teenager, I always felt on the outside of the popular crowd at school. When I became a young adult, shyness and nerves prevented me from venturing out and making new friends.

When we wear a label long enough, it becomes comfortable. It’s like a thick skin of protection and we start to like it. Even when our circumstances change and our beliefs about life and eternity are rocked, those names we give ourselves are hard to get rid of. They stick like residue, not wanting to come off.

After becoming a follower of Christ, I received new names.

Daughter. Beloved. Child of the one true God. It all sounded wonderful and good and intriguing. But I still felt like an outsider. I fought to grasp something that seemed perpetually out of my reach. If I could only grab hold of it, I would truly be free.

What whatever it was, it continued to elude me. Like a drive through the heavy fog that obscures our mountaintop in the morning, my vision was obscured. I kept striving and wanting something more.

One morning I was in the thick of a women’s Bible study, and the author was talking about anger. She asked the reader to list the things she thought she was entitled to. Her rights. And I’m not talking about our rights as citizens of a country, but the things we think we deserve because we walk this planet.

At first, I struggled through it.

“I’m not an angry person,” I reasoned. I love others.

“But do you feel loved in return?”

It was a gentle question. A nudge in my spirit. If I’d rushed ahead to the next activity, I would’ve missed it.

The longer I sat in the quietness of a Father’s compassion, the more I realized what I chased.

I ran after ways I thought I deserved to be loved by others, but wasn’t. I longed to be understood and truly seen, but felt often felt lacking in both.

Friends, we can learn others’ love language and go to endless relationship experts and counselors. But in the end, there’s only One who will love us the way we truly desire.

Our feelings will change with the weather, but his love is constant and unwavering.

He’s the One who created us. The One who knows us inside and out, who can see our thoughts before we form them.

We are never outside his love. He invites us inside, to feel the closeness of his Spirit and the breath of his adoration.

“In Love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” Ephesians‬ ‭1:4,5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We are inside his eternal family.

We are in the depths of his unconditional love.

He drenches us with his endless, undeserved grace.

When I spend time in his presence, I realize I’m loved in ways I dare to dream about. The more I grow to know him, the more I see that I’m not an outsider.

And neither are you.

In Him we belong. In Him, we are complete.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

 

Your Faith Isn’t Up to Them

You need to know this: It’s not up to them – the pastors, the teachers and the ones who stand on big platforms. It is up to you. Seriously. You are a royal priesthood. You are a saint. You are chosen.

Sometimes, I look at all the people who are doing big things. Then, I think my stuff is small. I think my work is unworthy. I believe it’s them doing the stuff God wants, but not me.

Lies. Lies. Lies. Pit of Hell lies.

The truth is: your stuff is not small. I get the messages from you all. You have just as much fabulous insight, wisdom, and lessons to teach as I do. You have things to say. You have stories to tell. You have people to love. You have lives to change. You are being used by God and He IS doing mighty things in you and through you.

Believe it. Do not despise small beginnings. And do not negate God in you.

Do you want to be used? Then ask God to be used. It is almost always as simple as “an ask.”

Ask, “God, will you use me today?”

Then, ready yourself to be used. Look for the woman who can’t handle all her bags at the grocery store. Listen and discern God’s heart for the woman dumping out her heart on your couch. Believe God has things He wants to do, say and release through you. You are not inconsequential.

Stop disqualifying yourself. You are mighty, because the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is in you.

Hello?! Can you even believe that?

It is true.

When we stop believing we are weak, we start seeing we are strong, in Christ. You don’t have to see yourself as weak anymore. Sure, see yourself as a servant to Jesus and to others through love, but don’t look at that as weak. Don’t say, “Woe is me, I can’t do anything of value…” That is not Christ’s call or lot for you.

Jesus never lessened himself to appear to man as being super-humble. Neither should we. Jesus did the works God called Him to. He always stepped out no matter how it looked to others.

The world needs us. Let’s step out.
The hungry need to be fed. We know the Bread of Life.
The angry need to find peace. We are well-acquainted with the Prince of Peace.
The depressed need to know joy. We have found it, more than ever, through Jesus.
The isolated need to know they are not alone. We are the body.
The world needs answers. We know The Way.

Be in Christ and be used. Be prayerful and be discerning. Be strong and loving. Be bold and vocal. Be free and bring that freedom to others. This is our call.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you have put passions inside each one of us. I ask that we would walk them out with you. I ask that you would unleash us in our purpose. Help us to do all things, in love and with your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Am I Really Saved?

Sometimes when I get really doubtful, I ask myself, “Am I really a Christian? Does Jesus really live inside my heart? What if I think I believe, but don’t believe enough?”

I get afraid that I am not saved.

Do you ever feel this way? That you might be an inch short of His saving glory and power? That you are outside of his love?

When I feel this way, I do three things:

1. I observe: If I question whether I’m saved, it’s a very good sign that I am. One who loves God wants every confirmation that they get to be with Him. All they desire is to know they are His and He is theirs. This is a good sign.

But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (1 Jo. 2:1)

2. Remember that Jesus advocates for me. I don’t have to defend my faith and prove I am faithful enough. I simply trust Jesus to advocate for me in heaven. He is the jury and his defense is solid; it is the blood poured out on the cross. It even covers my doubts.

3. I do a fruit-finding activity.

Jesus said, they will know us by our fruits. (Mt. 7:16)

I ask myself, “What are my fruits, since I’ve found Jesus?”

Fruit: I have greater love inside my heart for others.
Fruit: I am more patient with myself as I grow in Christ.
Fruit: I find increasingly more joy in spending time with God.
Fruit: I desire to pray often. By doing so, I am dying to myself and coming alive to Christ.
Fruit: I am kinder to others and not as quick to judge.
Fruit: I would do anything for Jesus.

What about you?

Fill in your fruits here:

Fruit: __

Fruit: __

Fruit: __

Celebrate how you are: in Christ.

And if you can’t come up with fruit, then invite Jesus to live in your heart today. Tell Him:

Jesus, I abandon everything to be with you and to live for you. Thank you for suffering and dying on my behalf. I want your life to be my life. I want you to fill me with your Spirit. I want to be wholeheartedly united with you and to surrender my whole life to you today. 

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

 Loading InLinkz ...

Stop Saying You’re The Worst

Post by Anne Watson

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

My teenage son recently got in trouble for a bad grade. To be clear, he’s a really good kid who struggles a bit with staying organized. Of course, as the queen of organization, I felt it was my duty to help him learn the art of a place for everything and everything in its place. I would quote things like, “Every test is a reading test,” and encourage, cajole, and mollycoddle if I’m honest. Still, the bad grade happened, and I was forced to become the mean mom who grounds her kid from important things like video games.

My son is sensitive (which I love), and he was deeply concerned about having let me down. He tried to convince me he was a bad son. Up until that moment, I had been nice about the whole thing. However, the second he assigned his struggle as a character flaw, I got mad. We had a little come-to-Jesus about it.

You see, I grew up in a highly critical environment that included a lot of peer bullying. Something inside me knew these comments were lies, but a stronger part of me reasoned they must be true because why else would people say those things? I spent years people pleasing and adjusting myself to quiet the critical voices, but the real outcome was a lot of self-loathing and frustration. It wasn’t until years later that I met Jesus and began to understand how who he says I am is different from what I had been led to believe.

I’ve had to learn how to recognize my defeating thoughts and take them captive by rewriting them. For example, “I’m too emotional,” became, “God made me sensitive and compassionate through my emotions, and he will use them to help others.” It’s taken years to develop this new habit, and there are some days when it simply doesn’t work, and I have to binge on Netflix for a few hours. Overall though, there has been a vast improvement. Now when I see or hear other people believing some lie about themselves, I feel righteous anger!

Thoughts become beliefs and beliefs shape everything we do. If we only believe the bad stuff, how will we ever become or do all God has planned for us? The bad stuff is often easier to believe; I’ll give that to you. But doing the work of choosing to believe the good, even when you don’t feel like it, leads to the rewards of grace, freedom, and a purposeful, meaningful life. I’d say it’s worth it.

Father, thank you for giving us your word to contradict the lies and critics of this world. Help us to remember we are who we believe. Strengthen our ability to take our thoughts captive and give us the courage to believe the best. In your name, Amen.

About Anne

Anne is a former sleep in on Sunday’s girl who didn’t meet Jesus until way later in life. She recently quit trying to be holy, however, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to shuck her unholy habits to fit into the Christian world. As a bullying survivor, Anne knows first hand the pressure to belong and why changing yourself doesn’t work. She now spends her time fiercely encouraging women to be badass for Jesus by being who God created them to be…themselves. She is a writer, a speaker, and a podcast host for the Declare Conference. She and her husband are raising three hysterical kiddos and are also in the process of going broke while paying for college. You can find more from Anne on her blog, GodDots.com.

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

An Old Catastrophe with a New View

They couldn’t shake me awake.

“Kelly, Kelly, Kelly…”

Completely gone, on the blue and yellow tiles of the bathroom floor, I just laid there, dead-like…

Immovable. Still. Minutes passed.

“Should we call the ambulance?”

My mind tracked back to this memory the other day.

How did I ever let myself get there? How did I ever get so gone?

It’s embarrassing to think back to and even more embarrassing to write about. Worst yet, it wasn’t the first time I’d gotten myself into such a horrible condition.

Why?

No one knew all the problems I had in my heart: they didn’t know the needs of my family, or how I constantly exerted myself as their protector. They didn’t know how wildly incapable I was to do either of these things. And how failure and fear lurked around every waking corner of my life.

Beyond this:

No one knew me.
No one saw me.
I existed, but not really.

Then the nights came and my mind didn’t have to live anymore. I could soothe it with alcohol. Things didn’t have to bother me anymore.

Praise God, today, I am a new creation. You are too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor. 5:17)

What old memory do you try to forget? The embarrassment and shame of yesterday that you hope is gone? Guess what? It is.

Not only that, but the “new” is here. You are remade, no longer used, and made fresh. The whole script gets rewritten.

But let’s look deeper. The Greek word for “new” is “kainos.” This word also means, “of a new kind, unprecedented, uncommon and unheard of.”

Knowing this kind of “new” changes everything. You see:

-Where we were always common and unseen, we are now of an unprecedented variety.

-Where we were ordinary, we are now an uncommon crafting of His extravagant making.

-Where we were unseen and unknown, we are now unheard of. Wow. We are a new kind, of beautiful.

We are what we always wanted, hoped, dreamed and desired to be. We’ve been recreated by the Creator of all creators, into His kind of beautiful. Unlike anyone else, He’s fashioned us into His type of special. Our past is gone and the new is here. In God’s eyes, we are simply unprecedented.

What would it look like for you to accept that you’re now uncommonly beautiful? A new kind of special? Uncommonly full of Christ?

 

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

When You Feel You’re Not Good Enough

Post by: Sharon Jaynes

“I’m not ___________ enough.” You can fill in that blank with smart, talented, gifted, spiritual, outgoing, attractive, or any number of positive attributes. But the root source of each one of those blanks is rooted in “I’m not good enough.” Period. It’s one of the Enemy’s favorite deceptions to hold God’s children hostage to a life that is “less than.” “I’m not good enough” is an insidious lie that keeps God’s best at bay for many of His children.

The Enemy tries to get us to focus on our flaws rather than on our faith. When we focus on our faults, we take our focus off God, who equips us; the Holy Spirit, who empowers us; and Jesus, who envelops us.

The Bible does say no one is good enough to earn his or her way into heaven (Romans 3:23). Salvation is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). However, many have taken the truth that they are not good enough to earn their way to heaven and transferred it to “I’m not good enough—period.” But through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and His power working in you and through you, you are good enough to do everything God has called you to do and be.

Giving in to the lie of “I’m not good enough” will paralyze you. It’s the coward’s way out. I might have just hurt your feelings, but listen, I’m talking to myself too.

I was asked to speak to a group of teenage girls not too long ago. I thought, I don’t do teenage girlsThey scare me. I’m not cool enough. They won’t listen to me. I’m going to sound stupid.

But I put on my cool jeans and my gladiator sandals and spoke to the girls. How did it go? I’m not sure. But here’s what I do know. I am not responsible for the outcome of my obedience. God is.

Stepping out when “not good enough” is heckling at you to step aside is scary. Shrinking back and not moving forward is safer. But it is also boring—not the life to the full Jesus came to give. Henry Blackaby challenges us, “When God invites you to join Him in His work, He has assigned a God-sized assignment for you. You will realize that you cannot do it on your own. If God doesn’t help you, you will fail. This is the crisis point where many decide not to follow what they sense God is leading them to do. Then they wonder why they do not experience God’s presence and activity the way other Christians do.”

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t think you do either.

Courage and confidence follow obedience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood backstage at a conference with the words “I’m not good enough” screaming in my head. But when I step out in obedience, and do what God has called me to do, the power of the Holy Spirit overpowers the lies of the Enemy, who told me to just go home.

What lie of the enemy do you need to replace with God’s truth today? Leave a comment and let’s compare notes. We’ll randomly pick one comment and send a FREE Enough bracelet  made by the women of Fashion and Compassion. Every time you wear it, you’ll be reminded that because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross and His spirit in you…you are enough!

Order Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by April 6, 2018 and you’ll receive 3 FREE eBooks plus more! Click here for details.

What Can You Do When You Feel Like You’re Just Not Good Enough?

Do the voices in your head say you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…or just not enough, period?  It’s time to stop listening to lies that sabotage your confidence and embrace the truth of who God says you are.

In Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence, Sharon Jaynes exposes the lies that keep you bogged down in shame, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy. By recognizing the lies and replacing them with truth, you’ll be able to

  • silence the voice inside that whispers you’re not good enough
  • accept God’s grace and move past failures that have defined and confined you
  • preload your heart with truth to fight your deepest insecurities

Your confidence and faith will grow when you trade self-defeating thoughts for God’s truth. Today is the day to embrace your incredible worth as woman who is uniquely fashioned and spiritually empowered.

Sharon Jaynes is an international speaker and best-selling author of 21 books. For those who know her best, she is a simple southern girl who loves sweet tea, warm beaches, and helping women live fully and free as a child of God and co-heir with Christ.

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

 Loading InLinkz ...

He Knows Your Name…Even If I Can’t Remember It

POST BY: Kendra Broekhuis

It takes roughly 2.7 seconds after meeting someone new for me to forget his or her name.

I’m certain that when people tell me what they are called, that information goes in one ear and bounces off a fluffy cloud out the other ear. Because I fear the embarrassment of not remembering this critical detail, I’ve become hyper-sensitive to sparing other people from the same potential embarrassment upon meeting them a second time:

“Hi! Nice to see you again. I’m Kendra.”

Now please do me a solid and follow suit.

Some days I consider giving up on trying to acquire this skill I so greatly lack. It sounds way easier to just become that person who greets everyone with a, “Hey there, Sport!”

I mean, what’s all the fuss about remembering a person’s name anyway?

“The Fuss” became clear when my husband and I tried to pick names for our children. We argued for no less than nine months over what to call them. We knew that whatever label we chose would stay with them their entire lives. Their names would be tied to their faces, which would be tied to their personhood, which would be tied to memories and deep meaning.

Their names would be the first way they were known.

I was recently reminded of this when I read John 10. Jesus described Himself as the Good shepherd, and His people as His sheep. At first skim, that description might not seem comforting – like we’re all just a bunch of ambiguous animals gathered in a flock of millions.

But the way Jesus explains His relationship with His sheep is incredibly tender: He leads us closely enough to feel the warmth of His presence. Engaged enough that we can distinguish His voice from that of a stranger or a thief. Nurturing enough to bring us to pastures of abundant life. Protecting enough to lay down His life to the wolves that come to snatch and scatter. Treasuring enough to know each of us by name.

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. {John 10:3}

Our world can feel incredibly cold and impersonal at times – like we really are ambiguous among billions.

But when those days come, may you remember that the Good Shepherd not only sees you, but He knows your name.

He knows you.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you will help us remember that we are not only loved as an entire church, but also as individuals. In times that we feel lonely, insecure, or worried, remind us that You are close enough to know each of us by name. Thank you for being our very Good Shepherd. Amen.

 

Bio:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her NeighborThe book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

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

Praying Prayers that Work

When I need to confront a friend with an issue, I pray before.
When I finances go amuck, I pray.
When I desperately need something to change, I pray.
When I want breakthrough, I pray.

I pray kind of like this: “God, please, I need you.”

Like a kid, I lob my prayers upward, hard, hoping they’ll catch heavenly-hold. But inside, I wonder and I fear. I fear they’ll back at me and expose me as a fool. That they’ll return void.

Prayer sometimes feels like wishful thinking. We want, but we aren’t sure if we will get. We ask, but we wonder if we’ll be left empty-handed. We once dreamed and never saw things come to pass.

We write off verses like this:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mk. 11:24 NIV

Why? Because we’ve gotten jaded, over-spiritual, and cynical. Or, at least I have.

Rather than praying, believing, contemplating and thanking God for the outpouring of his blessing, I groan and moan over the issue. I doubt it will ever change. I remain unprepared to receive his better thing and stay unstable in doubt.

“Prayer doesn’t work,” I think.

But prayer isn’t broken. My faith is.

In Hebrews 11, God highlights what great faith looks like:

By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.” Heb. 11:33 NLT

Faith is not just measured as the by-product of doing. It is also measured in the believing that is tied to receiving. If we pray for friends but don’t want to answer the phone when they call, guess what? Our prayer will go unanswered. It is not because God didn’t give, it is often because we didn’t receive.

We “must believe” that God “rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Heb. 11:6 NLT)

We must pray in belief that God rewards those who sincerely seek him. It is that simple.

God will reward my search of him.
God will come through with this prayer.
I can believe and trust Him to show up on this.
I don’t know the how but I know the Who and that is enough.
I can’t wait to receive the answer God has for me on this very thing.
I can rest in his care with great expectation.

This kind of prayer works and this kind of faith pleases God.

 

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

Seriously, let’s not act like satan

act like satan

Imagine your heart wanting to protect Jesus.

You’ve been with him for so long now. You know, love and treasure Him. He is God. Jesus cannot be harmed by common men who aren’t God. You must protect Him. You must keep Him from harm. He must remain with you.

You pull Jesus aside to address his comment that He must suffer. You say, “Jesus, far be it with you. This will never happen with you.”

You’re only trying to help. You’re only trying to save Him. You’re only trying to preserve Him from harm.

Jesus replies to you, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)

You were a stumbling block. Why?

You had good intentions, but you injected yourself where you weren’t invited to intervene.

The plan was owned by Father & Son , not Father & Son + disciple.

We can do the same thing in the lives of those we love. The plan is between Father & son or Father & daughter. Yet, we weasel our way right in, saying, “Nope this right here is about Father & Son + me + my opinions + my fear!” We take out our chisel and crack into God’s good plan. Woe to us who break what God is building in others.

We often break God’s good plan in others when we:

1. Tell people what to do.

2. Decide how people should think.

3. Instruct people based on our opinions.

4. Try to run in and fix bad situations.

5. Demand others think well of us.

6. Rescue people from their feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc.

7. Excuse away people’s issues, rather then letting them confront them.

I assure you: when a lesson is delivered by us, it’s forgettable. But delivered by God, it is unforgettable, undeniable and unbelievably life-changing.

Let’s make room for what God is doing. He has things handled.

 Loading InLinkz ...

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

The Pain of Insensitivity

“Oh you’re fine. It wasn’t even a hard fall. Get up, you’re okay. You fell softly,” the grey-haired lady said repeatedly to the 4-year-old who fell off her seat.

Oh really?

After watching this all play out, I consider her words. How can one “fall softly?” I’ve never heard of such a thing. Second, I have no idea how a warehouse metal floor could be soft.

The little girl threw a fit for the next 10 minutes afterward.

Now, I recognize: I’m eavesdropping at this coffee store. I also recognize: I’m judging. Even more, I recognize: I’ve probably done the same thing to my kids at times.

God help me.

But, there’s a point to all this. When we negate people’s fall, or feelings, we fail to be there for them. When we brush off another person’s reality, we hurt them even more. Thus, this 4-year old girl’s 10-minute tantrum post-fall. No one was there for her.

She threw a fit.

Just because we brush off someone else’s pain, doesn’t mean it disappears. In fact, insensitivity to pain often heightens it. It causes tantrums. Explosions. Depression.

How did Jesus deal with people’s pain?

A “man who had died was being carried out” by his mother.

“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Lu. 7:13

“And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[d] gave him to his mother.” Lu. 7:14

Through compassion, Jesus cleared the way for life. Our approach should be the same.

 

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