Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

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.

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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When You Don’t Know What to Do

I can’t.

How many times have we thought this?

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to proceed. What does this person need to hear in order to start acting differently?

There’s validity to our questions. In reality, our wisdom leads to dead ends. Over-strategizing doesn’t work. When we control others, we grip a slippery wall, powerless.

The flesh is death.
The Spirit is life.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Ro. 8:6

One disappoints.
The other points us to Christ as we await his best thing.

One musters up faith through actions and reactions.
The other leans on God through heart connection.

One is reactive to insults.
The other is reflective and submitted to truth.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Ro. 8:26

The Spirit in us gives life to us. He not only cares our your problems, but groans on our behalf, the exact words we cannot muster.

Do you feel unaccounted for? Do you feel left behind? Do you not know what direction to head? Fear not, whatever you don’t know, God does. His plan is not to hide the plan, but to reveal it.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the SpiritThe Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10)

There is goodness prepared for you. There is an uncovering of your way being revealed by the Spirit. Therefore, wait, with faith. Trust, with hope. Be governed by the Spirit. He is always your best way.

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Don’t Be Vulnerable to The Enemy

When the screams come out of the garage, I don’t know what to do.

Should I yell for the kids to be quiet so they don’t disturb the neighbors? Should I run with Superwoman speed to swoop them up in case they injured themselves? Or do I just assume they are playing because they’ve “cried wolf” 100 times now?

I hurriedly walk…and when I get there, I nearly scream too.

A– rat. Yes, a big, hairy and nasty rat was half in the house and half out, with its body wedged between the siding of my house and my garage door frame. Panic crawled my body like a cockroach in the night.

How did this happen? 

If I’d clogged up that open hole, that intruder wouldn’t have gotten in. 

As soon as I thought this, something occurred to me. The same is true in my spiritual life: if I close up the holes of vulnerability in my soul, the enemy intruder can’t easily get in.

What holes do you leave open for attack?

Anger at a sister who offended you three weeks ago when she said your house was dirty?

Unforgiveness toward your husband because he always makes the same mistakes?

Bitterness toward your mom because she forgot your birthday again last year?

Revenge toward your boss because she demeaned you at that meeting?

Jealousy because the woman has far more confidence and comes off “strong?”

Comparison because everyone else has better Facebook vacations than you?

Open holes lead to nasty intruders. I can attest, they start small (think: Raid) and they grow BIG (think: son pulling a big ugly rat out of a hole). Either way, what goes unattended becomes infested with decay in your relationship with God.

Clear out fear and worry of all kinds. Put your foot down and proclaim: Jesus is Provider, Peace and Protection against all of my fears.

Refuse to let holes stay open. Because, in places that are absent of God, we quickly grow absent of peace, joy, life, hope and everything we ever wanted in life.

God has something better for us than what the enemy intends to bring. My friends, let’s acknowlede our holes today and patch those things right up under the covering of Jesus’ love and forgiveness that, right now, is extended to us.

Prayer: Father God, we thank you that you quietly and softly convict us so that you can continue to help us walk to the best things in life. We submit to you these holes that need patching. We ask you and welcome you to address them. We need help. We need you. We need a new way to move forward when confronted with this issue. Will you show us a new way to react to these things, instead? As we hand you our holes, in repentance, will you fill them with wisdom to direct us on our new path? In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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At Least I am Not Like Her

For weeks, months even, I observed this gal on social media. Because she regularly posted, I could easily keep track of her. As I saw it, every picture was a sob story about her life. Every post seemed to be a call to the world saying, “See me! See me! Pay attention to what I am doing!” She prickled my nerves.

“At least I’m not like her,” I thought.

I thought this way for a very long time. Until. Until I discovered the reality. Reality is not social media. Reality is the voice behind it. And when I heard her voice on the telephone, I discovered the true pain of her recent struggles. I saw her heart to come to the aide of others and saw the true line of Jesus’ love running right through her.

I thought wrong.

A friend came to my house. To every question I asked her she replied with a one word Humph-like answer. She wasn’t a very good friend. She must be angry at me.

At least I’m not like her.

Only later, when I asked how I could pray for her did she share, “Please pray for my marriage.”

I thought wrong, again.

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’” Lu. 18:11

Oh really, Mr. Pharisee? You are not like them? Certainly, you “must be” a whole bunch more godly, more wise, more thoughtful, more successful, more holy…but, there is only one issue: You carry around brick-heavy weights of pride.

Yes, pride. It is the thing that makes you judge others without knowing the full story. It is the thing that makes you see one side but not the other. It is the thing that makes you consider others’ sin at a moments notice, while missing your own.

“I tell you that this (tax collector) man, rather than the (Pharisee), went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Lu. 18:14

Today, my aim is new: I will not judge what I don’t know. I can never know the inner story behind a person’s outer persona. The pain that resides inside usually works its way out. My job is not to pin it to the wall in condemnation. My job is to love until its appearance smoothes under the love of Christ.

I can do this with myself, and with others.

 

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