Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

I want to Look Nice

My daughter came into my room this morning and spotted a reddish container of lip- gloss that had fallen out of my purse. She immediately picked it up. Then, all 4-years of her looked over at me and said, “I have to put this on. I want everyone to see me nice.”

She wanted the girls at her school to see her nice.

We all want to be seen nice, don’t we? We try to put on our best face at get-togethers. We try to hide our nervousness and to soften our points of disagreement. We try to be the person everyone likes.

It is human nature to want to be seen: nice.

But what happens when, despite our best efforts to love, share, or to be honest, something goes horribly kaputz? What do we think in our mind when we tried, yet failed. When we speak and someone is offended? When we aim to apologize but the argument gets heated?

How do we contend when our best efforts go horribly wrong?

Galatians 6 says, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ”.

Something here speaks to me. It says: If my goal highest goal is to ensure man is happy, I will hardly be in service to Christ.

The fact of the matter is while we look at people’s faces, God always looks at hearts. And while we are tallying up what is happening with others, God might be working something fantastically new within them. Face-value reactions are not our guide; the Holy Spirit is.

When we are true to God, he will be true to see the best result through. We, in humility, wait and respond accordingly. Sometimes, it involves an, “I’m sorry,” or “I should have done this better.” All this is okay.

We just move with God, always. And rest in the truth that He has already figured out what we haven’t. And this is peace that feels – nice.

Prayer: God, far more often than not I want to look nice to man. God, help me to have a heart and mind that aims to always look nice to you. Align me with your truth, will and heart. I want all of you and less of what holds me back from you. 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.

I Said it in my Mind

Her: “I told you I didn’t want the banana.”
Me: “You did?”
Her: “Oh, wait, I said that to you in my mind.”

This really happened. Someone told me in her mind and expected me to hear, I guess. It seemed crazy. Outlandish. Ridiculous.

But is it?

How many times do we speak our mind within our mind, only hoping that another will pick up on what we are saying.

We think: I wish that boy would pick up his clothes.
We act: All huffy and puffy about bending over.

We think: Why can’t she be on time?
We act: Impatient, looking at our watch the second she walks in the door to prove our point.

In our mind, we often have a running tally of what others are doing and saying wrong. But unlike the girl who didn’t want the banana, we don’t admit it. Instead, it builds and builds and builds…

Until….dun. dun. Dun… the day. . . dun. Dun. Dun…we EXPLODE!!!!!! And we go off on the person. We lose our cool and do the opposite of this:

“Love is patient, love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4)”…and “slow to become angry.” Ja. 1:19

How did we get here?

I’ll tell you how. We weren’t honest. Instead, we were thinking inside of our mind and living in fear of being truthful. The problem with this is that a truth not spoken and pent-up eventually bursts out of the pot at caustic and scalding temperatures that leave others feeling burned. Yee-oww!

God intends we go another way. We are told the truth will set us free – and it will. What is your truth? What freedom do you need to get from God?

You may need to:

1. Confess your frustration to God and ask Him what He has to say about it.

2. Admit it to an accountability partner and ask for prayer and help.

3. Talk to the person about your aggravation.

But don’t keep it on the inside. It is a hot pot about to boil over and the pain of it all does hurt.

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

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Addressing the People in Need

A person taken advantage of by a boss.
Another in desperation because there is no way out of a marriage.
One uncertainty about what the future holds because children are now gone.
A friend in deep need to be healed not only of cancer, but emotionally.

We see these people, but we often feel helpless. We don’t know how to help. What to say.

The apostles perhaps felt the same when they saw thousands without food. They instructed Jesus to send them away, to “villages so they could find food” because “there is nothing here in this deserted place.”

Jesus had none of that. He replied, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13) He says the same to me. You feed them.

You feed her – the daughter who needs to know you’re listening.
You literally feed him – the husband who is tired and comes home starving.
You feed them – the couple who looks downtrodden at church every week. Go to them and see how you can get to know them.
You feed that one – the person who has been on your heart for weeks, but you haven’t taken a step towards.

Do it.

Even if you say, “What, God? Me? Don’t you see I am in a deserted place? I have nothing to give.”

Jesus replies, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13)

This Christmas season, neighbors left and right came out of their house with little cookies for me and my family. I was far from home and without family nearby, but they came – and they came with smiles. Some with gifts. And every one with a heart of love.

This season, I got fed. I feel full. I told my husband it was like we were with family for Christmas.

These people didn’t count up their own deserted land and have a pity party of their own. They picked up their tin and came over. This is what Jesus means by feeding. Just get out there and do it. It matters. Small things offer others big heart strides.

And the truth is, all of us have a something, even if we have nothing. His name is Jesus. He is always our something. He is always our first leading to our best thing to do, to give, to hand away no matter how big or small. Size never matters in God’s economy. What is little gets big, in the name of Jesus.

You feed them.

Prayer: God help us to do the small things you instruct our heart to do. Give us a will of follow-through. Give us intent to love. Give us your vision and your hearing so that we might love a world in need. 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.

2 Tips for Life-Impacting Prayer

Life-Impacting Prayer

Why? Why do we toss out that rote prayer line to complete our prayer time, without even giving thought to it? Is it just how we do things or does it actually mean something?

To give you some background, for a long time I prayed like a beggar.

God…please answer my prayer and fix things. God… please hear me. God, I can’t do this any longer. Won’t you please fix it?

Then, I’d use an “in Jesus’ name,” like a bow to wrap up all my complaining, agonizing, and posturing. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Jesus approaches prayer differently than I do. I’m struck by the time he addressed the blind man. Of course, this stumbling man wanted to see, but Jesus still asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Here, I notice Jesus wanted to hear the blind man’s “specific” request. Jesus pushed deeper than surface level words into the deep requests of the heart. He pushed past the nebulous words into the real.

Friend, today I believe God asks you, “What’s your real request? Child, what do you want me to do for you?”

What is your answer? No, not that one. Your real one.

Mine is: that I would trust God when no one sees. That I would really believe His words in those super-hard, I-hate-life moments.

There is extreme power in asking Jesus for that thing you really want/need “in the Name of Jesus.”

Ever wondered why? When we use this phrase, we should expect God WILL:

  1. Glorify the Father

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Jo. 14:13

  1. Complete our joy.

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Jo. 16:24

The degree to which I can dwell on the Father being glorified, through my prayers, is the degree to which I experience joy.

The irony is – I often don’t even have to see my prayer swiftly answered to get this joy. If I can trust that, behind the scenes, God is pulling the best glory-falling strings, I can rest in His timing. On the contrary, if I believe my prayers serve no purpose, are too big, are wasteful or are worthless and I only focus on my natural eye, I’ll miss His supernatural purpose behind the scenes. I must “keep the faith.”

Why? God’s working ways are much higher than our praying ways. There is always a grand purpose. Our prayers are being answered. And God hears. Loud and clear.

What prayer do you need to recommit to believing in? How might you imagine the Father’s glory building because of that very prayer?

Smile.

Prayer: God, thank you that you hear my every prayer. You know my every desire. You are well acquainted with all my needs. Help me, Lord, to know my true wants. Help me to go deeper than surface-level pleas, so that I can see true and meaningful life change that brings joy. 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.

I’m Trying Out My Resolution Once Again

trying out

The first week of January.

I must: lose 5 pounds.
I must: encourage my kids more.
I must: save money.

This is the time of year where we get all intentional about the things we unintentionally forgot about last year. We pick them up again, and test them out. We try to surpass what, apparently, got the better of us.

We tie on the running shoes and hit the pavement, extra weight blobbing around.

We tuck away the cigarettes, pretending they weren’t right there in the dashboard.

We open up the closet doors, ones we’ve tried to ignore for last 11 months.

And as we open these tightly shut doors and experience the reality of what we failed at last year, well. . . we often feel like failures. We’re ashamed of ourselves. And thus, our minds inadvertently themselves up for failure.

May I encourage you, and myself, right about now?

Friends, every new beginning starts by facing a present reality. To see the weight, the issue, the pain, the problem, the sadness, the isolation or the agony around what is – is good. This is your new start, somewhere.

Don’t hate that.  Don’t push the reality away. See it for what it is. This will be your driver forward; it will be what leads you into the arms of Christ. God’s strength will be your follow-through.

Know your deep need of rescue and help. It’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. For here you’ll find:

Where you can’t, God can.
Where it’s impossible, prayer makes everything possible.

The things that make you doubt- faith can knock down.

Where shame tries to scream about your looming failure,
Christ says, “With me, all things are possible.”

Where you find yourself messing up again, Jesus reminds you,
“My power is perfected in your weakness.”

Where you once strived hard to make things happen,
you can now trust Jesus to.

Where you demanded progress this year,
you can make space for God’s miracle.

Where you aimed to see your success,
you’re now prepared to see God’s glory.

Every new beginning, in Christ, is a happy ending. It is literally impossible to submit to Jesus and to not see goodness. Sure, it may look different than you thought, but it will always be good. Better even.

In Christ, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So go for it. Go for it with Jesus!!!

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…” Phil. 1:6

Prayer: God, I am not perfect. I fail. Help me to see through what vision I have. Give me grace to do it with you. Give me peace along my path. Help me not see mess-ups as failures, but as opportunities to keep going. Teach me along the way. 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.

Why Jesus is Enough

Confession: I didn’t even know I hated myself.

But I guess I did. Admitting this is embarrassing and exposing. . . but, does that matter?

For Jesus, we’ll admit anything.
For Jesus, we’ll do anything.
For Jesus, we’ll admit the reality.
For Jesus, we’ll make room for Him, no matter the cost.

And let Him change us. Which He will.

Did you know that all of Jesus is enough to change all of you?

These are not nice sayings we put on Instagram, or include on Christmas cards or hand out to people because they sound right; they are reality.

They’re reality even when I hate that:

I make mistakes, like not taking care of my kids well enough.
I criticize my husband underneath my breath at times.
I can’t seem to believe God in crunch-time moments when I know I should.
I don’t see friendships through at times.
I have an awkward laugh.
I let people down when I don’t do, speak or follow through.
I don’t do what I preach. .  .

Even when. Even when we are horrible, Jesus remains Jesus. He doesn’t leave. He doesn’t walk away. He doesn’t write us off. He doesn’t.

Jesus remains. He not only remains, but He comes closer. (knock, knock)

Jesus is the one with power. He needs none of mine. Jesus is the one with grace. He needs none of my work to effectively cover the work that I’ve desperately tried to force into success, but seen go horribly wrong.

The gift of Christmas is the gift of Jesus’ blood. It effectively covers my every wrong, my every tear, and my every shattered dream. Jesus recovers everything. The life and light of Jesus has come and is coming, on behalf of you and me.

This is not hyperbole. This is not pleasantries. This is not an old memory.

Jesus is here! His rescue is here. He is coming. . . for you. . . .

He is coming for your weakness, your frailty, your insecurity, your uncertainty. All of it.

Our weakness is not hated by our King. Our failings are not too much for his love. On the contrary, we can permit our Savior to fill every bit of us with every bit of Him, by the immensity of his love.

What holes remain are wholly loved by Him who is Love. Let that sink in this season.

Jesus is here. He reigns. He rules. All of you — and all of me — is fully loved, helped, guided, restored and repaired by all of Him. Fear not, for God is with you.

We celebrate! We rejoice! Let the angels sing! Let the skies be painted! Let creation sing. Jesus is here. The light has come. The King of all Kings will rule — forever!!!

 

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.

Making Space + New Stuff with Purposeful Faith

Remarkably, Jesus called out the Pharisees and religious types repeatedly for their loss of what mattered most. While they were dead set in following the law to the T, Jesus was all about letting love out abundantly.

The schism between these two in Jesus’ time often seemed great. It still is, in many ways.

It is not that the law is bad; it is not. It is surely good. However, when the letter of the law triumphs over love in a way that restricts the heart of God, this creates problems.

My heart here at Purposeful Faith is to feed you the heart of God day-in and day-out. Yet, to do it five days a week, I am coming to realize, feels more like abiding by a rule of daily law than impromptu love.

I think back to the stories throughout the bible. So many times, religious, pious or scholarly folk missed Jesus’ heart. He’d reply to them with wisdom, instruction or the way to go and they’d either rebuke him, walk away from Him or miss the point entirely.

But one time, the tax collectors responded differently — like this, “”Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?””

I have asked God what to do about my love for each of you. “Teacher, what should I do so I love my readers and you, well?”

A couple things came to me: pray bigger, love better, encourage more and open the doors to new writers.

You can expect all this in the New Year. You can also expect less weekly blog posts (3-4 times a week), with more exposure to me via video prayers and encouragement on social media.

What would you like to see from me? What topics would you like me to cover? How would you like to connect? What sort of video encouragement would you like to receive? Let me know.

And, beyond this… what if you were to ask Jesus this New Year, “Teacher, what should I do so I love those around me well?” You might be astonished what he says.

 

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 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.