Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

See Your Beauty – To Overcome Failure (Part II)

See Your beauty

What is the one thing you can do to overcome feelings of failure,
as we discussed in Part 1, How to Overcome Your Weaknesses?

Here it is:

 SEE YOUR BEAUTY.  You are absolutely beautiful to God, just as you are.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Songs 4:7)

God loves you.  Choose today to believe in the depths of your heart that God does not look at you and see a list of flaws, of shortcomings and of failures. He sees beauty. He sees a treasure that he loves.  One that he created.  He sees a child of God, his own child.  

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deut. 7:6

God doesn’t look and define you by your shortcomings, failures and your lack of _____.

Instead, you are defined by greatness – His greatness. He chose you, my friend.  You belong to God – not because of anything you did – and certainly not because of your goodness. But, because of your beauty – in Him.

When we believe that God accepts us because of him, the spotlight can come off of us.  When we believe that he loves us because of his love, we can stop harping on failures. When we believe that he is greater than us, we can finally stop feeling so weak.

God’s love surpasses our limitations.  There is no moderation.  What he gives,  surpasses expectations.

We expect to be pushed away for our failures, but God draws us near.  We expect to be cast aside for our weaknesses, but God makes us strong.  We expect to be ridiculed for our flaws, but God comforts us.

He knows we fall short.  This is the point. This is why we need Christ. This is why we need grace and forgiveness.  We need his saving work to be righteous – in Him.  His grace.  His love.

The real beauty is that it is all about Him.   We are beautiful because of Christ.  He makes us beautiful.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12). 

God looks at you, his child, and says:

“You are beautiful.”  

“I want to lavish love upon you.”  

“I know you sin, but, as you confess, I extend you my grace.”

“Be guilty no more, I have come to your rescue.”  

“Let go and trust me to refine you.”  

“Do not fear yourself. Let my perfect love cast out fear.”

“I love you as I have created you, you are my work in progress. I know what I am doing. You are beautiful.”

Do you get frustrated at your failings?  Do you feel less than sometimes? Do you feel unloved? God sees you and he sees beauty.  It is time you see your beauty too – not because of you, but because of Him.

How To Overcome Your Weaknesses – Part 1

How to Overcome Weaknesses

Have you ever wondered what is wrong with you? Why you can’t do things right? Why you are the way you are? Hold tight, you are about to find out how to overcome your weaknesses in this two part series.  There is one simple tip that will change your life!

We all have them.  Try as we may to sweep them under the carpet, our flaws, our shortcomings and our failures still exist.  In fact, often stand out bright as day.

Or, at least this is how I felt – when what started as a simple task turned into a colossal failure.

I was working on what was supposed to be the most delicious, mouth-watering seafood salad ever made.  I bought fresh lobster. I cut up some farm fresh vegetables. I even sautéed some scallops to go in it. But, somehow I made the dressing all wrong –  lemon, tons of lemon – was all we tasted.  I didn’t want to admit it – it tasted straight up nasty!

It’s funny how something so small, and so meaningless in the grand scheme of life can make us feel so less than.  What begins as a small mistake develops into a persistent ache.  It lingers. It annoys.  It hurts.  And it whispers the lie that we will always mess up – that we are full of mistakes.

It’s not only small mistakes that hold power, but relationships, circumstances and words of decades past that rule over us.

Relationships highlight our deficiencies, asking, “How did you screw up again? Why did you say ‘that’? Imagine what they think of you now? They don’t want to be around you.”

Circumstances knock us down, telling us, “You can’t conquer me.  You always react in this way.  You will never change.”

Ancient words call down from the attic saying, “You were always this way. You are not beautiful, smart or worthy. You can’t change.”

These words can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. We fail because we have failed. We are abandoned because we fear abandonment.  We act in fear, and fear brings about our worst fears.

How do we change? How do we prevent these words from taking residence in our hearts, ruling our minds and directing our actions?

“…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:34)

We look at the heart. Because when we change the beliefs of our heart, our thoughts will follow step. And, if our thoughts are in line with truth, our actions will be based on love.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. (Proverbs 4:23)

There is a lot of heart work to be done and many “heart” beliefs to reform (see this post for more on the heart).  But, what you are about to learn is one of the most life changing beliefs when truly embraced.

Tune in on Thursday for Part II – where you will  find the one thing you can do to overcome your failures.

When you believe this truth – your life, your mind and your actions will never be the same. I am so excited to share it with you!

Remember, you are being transformed into his image – you are a conqueror.  Your failures and your weaknesses do not have to hold the power to reign over you.

Now, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

See you on Thursday to learn the tip that has been so helpful to me.  Find out how to overcome your weaknesses!

How to Get Through A Bad Day

How to Get through a bad day

It was one of those days. I wasn’t sure how to get through a bad day – that was this bad.

“I don’t want to leave the house.  I don’t want to put my shoes on.  I can’t get dressed.  I don’t want to get in the car. I can’t buckle myself in.  I don’t want music.  I do want music. Mommy, I am hungry.  I am not hungry. I am thirsty.  I am not thirsty.”    

We make it to the car – a small victory!

“Mommy, don’t sing. I don’t like music. I want my window down. I don’t want the wind to hit me.”

Finally, our car pulls into our destination – a huge victory!

Goliath may have been strong and mighty, but all I know is that I felt like David as I walked onto that soccer field. I defeated my giant.  I arrived.  I did it!

A sense of relief washes over me.  I was ready for my time of solace.  My time to sit down and cheer on my adorable boy from afar.  I can be still.  I can sip a drink. I can think. I can recuperate.  I can “be”.I give him a little push in the direction of the field, and say, “Have fun, Mommy can’t wait to cheer you on.”If only the story ended here.  Because if it did, I could wrap it up with a bow and say, “persevere my sister, all will get better – just obey, be loving and trust God.”
Find out  how I survived they day that almost knocked me down and how God encouraged my weary soul!  
God is faithful to reveal to us how to get through a bad day!

How to See God’s Glory

How to See Gods Glory

Your pain, your emotions and your story are not for naught. Behind these circumstances God has glory waiting to be unveiled.  He has power waiting to be revealed.  He has encouragement awaiting your soul.  He stands ready to show you how to see God’s glory – hidden in your present day circumstances.

So take hope.  For in the moment is pain, but joy comes in the morning.  (Ps. 30:5)

The story of the blind man paints an incredible picture for us.  He was actually born both blind AND poor.  We can only imagine his struggles, his loneliness, his embarrassment and his feelings of hopelessness.

We may ask, “how could this happen to him?  Blind and Poor?  What hope did he have for work? How demotivated must he have felt?”

Yet, with Christ, all things are possible for those who believe (Mark 9:23).

Jesus often rescued others to reveal his glory – and to better the story.

So, he “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.” (John 9:6 ESV)

After the blind man applied the mud, Jesus told him to wash his eyes.  He did.  And – the blind man could see!  Imagine his joy when his blurry eyes gave way to the glory held within the eyes of Christ.

When we look at this story, we see Jesus was faithful to heal.  But the blind man played an important role too. He had to take a moment, to step out of his suffering, to step out of the place of despair and to get up and walk to the water.  He had to obey, when perhaps all he felt like doing was sitting and laughing at the thought of putting mud on his eyes. When all he felt like saying was, “nothing has ever worked for me before”.

But, he got up.  He listened.  He believed and he obeyed.  He took a step towards healing.  And, what probably was the biggest prayer of his lifetime – was answered.

God takes pain and exchanges it for glory and power.  He comes into our moments of despair and of hopelessness and offers us a new step – when we believe.

When asked earlier why this man was blind, Jesus said it was “…so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3 NIV)

It kind of reminds me of the words Jesus spoke Martha at Lazarus’ tomb, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

When we believe, we perceive the glory of the Lord.

The beauty that God reveals to us often extends beyond our own eyes.  It surpasses our benefit.  It has some saving work to do.

Because God knows his glory is too amazing to contain.   He knows the glory in our story is too fantastic to jar up.  We have to share.  We have to talk.  Come and see what Jesus did – for me – as I believed!

We have seen glory, to shine glory. We shine glory, so that others may believe.

“…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)  

God’s glory is BIG – and once revealed –  there is no stopping it.  Look at how far the Glory of God has shined in this story.  We still talk about the healed blind man today.  The story encourages us thousands of years later.

Because the blind man overcame, he couldn’t help but proclaim.  And the more he proclaimed, the more restored he became.  The more he shared the more he believed.  His faith is fanned.  He can’t contain the glory of the Lord.  It is too much to hold inside.

We can learn a valuable lesson from this blind and poor man who had been through so much. No matter our situation, no matter our pain, no matter our suffering – there is glory in our story.  Can you see it now? Perhaps not.  Will you see it some day?  Likely.

Trust God to work and faithfully wait.  But, make no mistake, he has hidden glory in your story.   He turns our messes into masterpieces – for his purposes.

We are the light bearers for Christ’s glory present day.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Do you feel like you have no light today?  Take heart. He will work things out.  He will redeem his children. He loves us too much not too.  He has not forgotten you.  He cares for you.

Wait and see.  God has hidden his glory in your story. He shows you how to see God’s glory in your life.  While once you were blind, soon you will see.  And when you do – Go yell it on a mountain!  There are others waiting to learn how to see God’s glory.

 

3 Ways to Guard Your Heart

3 ways to guard your heart

I had no idea I was in for one huge scare – and a timely lesson on some key ways to guard your heart – as I walked over to my computer.

I planned to indulge in just a few seconds – of distraction, of indulgence, of entertainment.    But, these seconds ended up being seconds that cost me so much.

My eyes darted around the room for my 1-year-old daughter. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name. Nothing. I furiously looked around the room. Nowhere. My heart skipped a beat. Anxiety welled up in my chest. There are so many things that can happen in just seconds. My mind raced. The possibilities overwhelmed me.

Then I heard it—a thump, thump, thump. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Something was happening to my baby. She was falling. I sprinted to the most dangerous spot in the house—our stairs.  There I saw her – crying on the floor. My heart broke.

My distraction led to this infraction. My preoccupation created a situation. My online enjoyment led to her torment.

How often are you finding that what you seek online—pleasure, satisfaction, fun—leads you to a situation of tribulation? What we do in a matter of a few seconds may have long-lasting repercussions. What makes us feel good or accepted can make others feel the exact opposite: denied and rejected. 

As I hugged my crying baby girl, God spoke to the deepest recesses of my heart. It was time I turn away from the internet to think about how I am impacting others. It was time that I look at what my heart is seeking.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart” (Psalm 26:2 NLT). 

Give me your heart and let your eyes

My heart needed testing, and God was faithful to show himself.

HE REVEALED 3 WAYS TO GUARD YOUR HEART:

1. Guard it from a distracted mind. I was distracted from the moments that he had given me to experience and enjoy. I loved to see my daughter’s new milestones, but I didn’t get to see her climb those stairs. I missed that moment.

When we immerse ourselves in a screen, we miss the in between. 

We miss what God has set before us. We miss his plan and his will. How can we be focused on what he wants when we are focused on what we want? We can’t. We miss out on him. And on our family and our future.

Instead, let’s be attracted to our King, instead of distracted with a screen.

2. Guard it from seeking excessive amusement. “Entertain me! Delight me! Consume me!” That is what I say so often to my screen. Give me a moment of joy in a world that leaves me feeling so empty. Give me a moment of pleasure in a world that hurts. Give me a laugh when I so often want to cry.

We are missing the point. God doesn’t want us to fill our emptiness with amusement. He wants us to fill our emptiness with him. Amusement comes and amusement goes, but God’s love remains forever.

When we are constantly filling our mind with “noise”, we miss what God wants to say in the “silence”.

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5) 

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.” (Psalm 101:3)

3. Guard it from seeking FAME over his name. Read my posts. Like me. Favorite me. Retweet me. See me. Accept me. Do you notice the theme? It is all about me.

 When the focus is on self, we often put God on a shelf.

“LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

It is all about God’s fame. May we proclaim this fame. God’s – the glory, for his story—not ours.

Are you looking online to fill the desires of your heart? God has created you so that you need to rely only on him to fill your every need.

“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9 NLT).

Do you believe this? If so, turn to him. Talk to him. Rely on him. Take joy in him. Distract yourself with him. Amuse yourself in him. Seek his fame.

 

When we are looking for his glory, he presents a beautiful story.  He will be faithful to give you seconds that will serve as priceless memories.

Hold his hand and take a moment – free of distractions – to look in his eyes; his beauty will astound you.

 

Bible Verses for Perfectionists: Finding Your True Worth

bible verses for perfectionists

I try to so hard to “do good”. I try so hard to keep everyone happy. I try so hard to keep things in order, to make others feel good, to do things the right way, to be all that I can be – and to be who others want to see.

I try and I try and I try.  But, I fail and I fail and I fail.  It can be tiring.  It leaves me worn, discouraged and wishing I could be better than – me.

Even worse, I notice that in my pursuit of perfection, I tend to hurt others. I don’t want to do this.  But, I do.

It is a common day, when simple words of feedback, turn into living giants of criticism. They come and tower over me with pointed fingers, telling me that I am not “good enough”, “talented enough” or “wise enough” to handle life.  They push me to strive harder and reinforce the idea that I am failing.

Why do we let these giants hold so much power?

When we seek to set our own worth, we fail.
Because only One defines worth.
Any worth found outside of Him is worthless.
God writes the definition of who we are – and why we are. 

I may seek worth in bills paid, things in order and a happy family, but God gives us his worth. We are worthy because we are his children, loved and fully accepted.

God has a greater glory is greater than our manufactured version.  His glory surpasses expectations. It exceeds our wildest dreams.  It is bigger than you or me.  But, we miss seeing it when our mind is focused on our perfect ways.

His glory unfolds in the midst of weakness.  In the place of imperfection.  In the land of mess. 

God is greater than our perfect.  He shows up in our faults.  He is present in our weaknesses.

This is where beauty is unveiled; and I want to see it.  Christ makes my imperfect – perfect.   Perfect in Him, as I trust Him.

I want this better way.  Let’s remind ourselves of God’s truth as we move towards him with authentic, open and receiving hearts.  He will be faithful to touch us in just the right way.

Bible Verses for Perfectionists:

1. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32)
His strength is power.

2. “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14)
We are being made holy.  We are a work in process.

3. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
He is greater than any barrier that stands in front of us.

4. Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8)
His mercy does not end for us because he loves us.

5. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… (Eph. 2:8)
Grace is always ours, even when we fail.

6. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
He made us beautifully. We can believe this.

7.  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
He holds us and loves us; his hand won’t let go of us – ever!

8. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
His ways are easy, when we truly are in them.

9.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
We are not perfect.  He is.

10. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Let us be weak, because we can then be strong in Him.

God doesn’t view our weaknesses as obstacles to closeness with him;
he sees them as opportunities for growth as he loves us.

 

 

 

How To Take Charge of your Expectations

How to take charge of your expectations

This random Saturday morning, I had no idea that being stuck in NYC traffic was going to teach me a life-changing lesson on how to take charge of your expectations…

When my son laid eyes on just about the biggest big rig ever seen, his eyes light up as bright as a kid on Christmas morning.

“Roll the window down!” he yelled.

With utter urgency, his little fist started pumping – up and down, up and down. This would have been really cute, except for the fact that I was contending with New York City stop-and-go traffic.

Getting directly next to this truck was going to be a feat in itself.  With 2 kids sitting in the backseat on the verge of tears and on the brink of disaster, I knew what I had to do.

“Super Mommy” needed to come to the rescue – in a big way!  

Nothing would stop me from making my little boy’s dreams come true.

Finally, after much breaking and accelerating, I got my son in perfect hand thrusting position! Yes!

The driver was delighted.  Mikey was delighted.  I was delighted.  Everyone was happy.  We all shared a moment of fun as the truck let out a massive “honk!”.  Victory! Happiness! Joy!  The truck driver and I threw out some quick pleasantries, a couple of laughs and then he kept on truckin’.

Meanwhile, on one of the busiest freeways of NYC, I was guilty of the unthinkable!  I let two cars slip into line in front of me.  I inadvertently left open the tiniest of gaps on a freeway where most people don’t give you an inch.  And, in true New York fashion, these opportunist drivers took advantage of my gap.

Our final moments of celebration were cut short when the SUV behind us pulled his car right next to ours.  With a red face and a quickly moving mouth, he signaled me to roll down my window.

Anxiety welled up in me. I knew what was coming. Afraid, I rolled down my window down.

His anger was palpable, “What is wrong with you?  You let two cars get in front of you!  What are you doing? Pay attention lady!”

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Some way, some how, God gave me peace as I responded to this man.  He needed peace. So peace I gave him, not as the world gives.

I felt for him.

In his own attempt to get ahead, to be effective and efficient, he turned into a mad man. The irony of the situation is that, after he yelled at me, he cut up the line and gained a significant head, but as traffic freed, much to my discomfort, we still ended up side by side further down the road.  All his maneuvering made no difference in his ultimate progress.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT) 

In his quest to rush, to get ahead and to power through, he got nowhere. His impatience didn’t propel him forward; it landed him right where he would have been if he had kept his cool.

How often are we like this man?  How often do we have expectations that rule us?

Expectations Can Drive Us Mad

You may be thinking, I would never be like “that”! But, I find I’m guilty of being a “mad woman” too.  I often take measures into my own hands to get things “accomplished”.  I rush to get to my “destination”, only to get frustrated when others hold me back.  I “speed” to the least populated checkout lines at the store and become agitated when the cashier is the “slow” one.  I rush through bedtime stories with my son, in order to arrive at my “chill time”.

Unsaid expectations can rule me.  I think, “How dare “that person” mess up “my plans”, get in “my way” or “hold me” back?”

These expectations leave me sad, upset and irritated when things don’t go my way.

Are expectations just demands wrapped in a bow to cover their ugliness?  Is God even present in these demands?  Or, is he just the one we feel upset at when we don’t get our way?

How To Take Charge of your Expectations

God doesn’t give us what we want. He doesn’t answer us.  He doesn’t hear us.  And, others hinder our success. They block our lane.  They get us “stuck”.

With all this focus on our personal progress, we miss big opportunities.  The opportunity to love.  The opportunity to serve.  The opportunity to encourage.  The opportunity to witness, to see God’s glory and to understand truth.    Why?  Because our one-track mind speeds to our destination of choice – and the needs of others become the red lights that stop us.

What are your destinations? Maybe it’s education, maybe it’s a ministry, maybe it’s getting your kids into the best schools, maybe its your comfort, maybe its saving money, maybe it’s climbing the professional ladder, looking great for a playgroup, decorating your house, taking care of your yard, buying that house or (fill in the blank).

Are you missing the journey, the glory, and the people who need you?

Let’s not drive in vain.
Let’s slow down and see the scenery that God has set before us.
Let’s take a minute to look around,
soak it in and delight in the glory the Lord is displaying.

 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

The truth is God hasn’t – and won’t – forget about us.  He knows our dreams, our hopes and our wishes.  He knows what we hope for.  He knows us. We don’t need to rev up our cars and fill up our tanks in vain – he has an unlimited supply of gas for us, when we trust him.    He will get us where we want to go- in his timing.   Do you trust Him?

How to take charge of your expectations

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

When we let go of our need for speed, we will be freed-
freed to love, freed to experience peace and freed to see Him work.

How to take charge of your expectations

God has something special prepared for us in the midst of our “traffic”.  If you feel like you are stuck and you don’t know how to take charge of your expectations – the answer is that you don’t take charge. Instead, you let go of your will and surrender to His.

He will take care of you.  He sees you.  He has big plans for you – for his glory.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)

Release your expectations into His Hands.  To Take Charge of Your Expectations – you let him take charge.
You will be amazed at what He does.

Other Resources on Expectations:

When God Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

Jesus: King of Unmet Expecatations

How To Stop Comparing Once and For All: 3 Tips

How to Stop Comparing Once and For all

I recently read a famous author’s article and thought, “I could write a better story than this.”   It’s embarrassing to admit.  My words were spoken through a heart of jealousy.

Comparison, like a teeter-totter, lifted me higher than she was – for a moment.  I felt good. I felt high. I felt powerful.  And then, as fast as I went up, I came crashing down.

As I began my descent, a little voice asked, “If you are so good, why aren’t you like her? How come you aren’t doing what she is doing? Why bother Kelly? You don’t measure up. Quit.” Slam.

The impact of comparing can be shocking.  It often leaves us discouraged as we fall to the ground, feeling disappointed in who we are.  Up and down the teeter-totter goes – feel good, feel bad, feel high, feel low.   What goes up must come down. 

So, how do we gain lasting steady confidence? How do we beat the up-and-down rhythm of comparing? How do we deal with ourselves when we feel less than?  It is time you found out how to stop comparing.

 HOW TO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS – 3 TIPS: 

1. Anticipate the Lure of Comparing & Preemptively Fight

Thoughts of comparison are like a fly, they often land on us before we realize – and are gone before we can take action.  What are we to do?  We need to fight the lure in advance – before it even lands. We do this by examining our areas of vulnerability.

Examine Yourself:
 Where do I feel less than?
Where do I feel prideful?
What do I feel I am lacking?
How have I failed?
What areas of my life do I normally fall prey to “comparing”?
What are are my greatest dreams? Hopes?
How can I pray for those who are doing better than me?
How can I encourage those who are doing better and less than me?
What can I be thankful for?

“Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.”  (Lamentations 3:40 NIV).

We are wise to open the door to our vulnerabilities and to welcome thankfulness in our lives.  When equipped this way, we can more easily shut (and lock) the door to the temptation of comparing.

how to stop comparing

2.  Bless & Decompress.  

One of the greatest things we can do to combat comparing is to pray.

When we pray, we find a better way.  When we:

Pray for our weaknesses, we find strength.

For our failures, we find hope.

For our dreams, we find new doors.

For our pride, we find authenticity.

For those in need, we find love.

For those more successful, we find a softened heart.

For those less than, we find charity.

For eyes to see like Christ, we find faith, hope and love.

We pray and God answers us with eternal rewards – lasting, meaningful and transformational rewards.  Prayer changes us. Rather than looking for how much value we get, we start to see how much value we can give.

Instead of seeing our size compared to man, God shows us our size compared to Him. 

 He can – and will – bless many.

He is not an either/or kind of God.  So, we can stop comparing, pray big and dream big for others!

how to stop comparing

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

3. See Yourself as God Sees You.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  1 Sam. 16:7

To think that we will ever be without weakness, without hardships, without areas that need improvement, is not reality.  God created each of us with both strengths and weaknesses.  And, although the world tells us that we need to shape up or ship out, God just wants us to rely on Him in the midst of pain.  He wants us to look at ourselves created in his image.

We are wise to embrace who we are in Christ (click to learn more),

to believe his truths and let them  sink into the depths of our souls.

He created you uniquely and he loves you uniquely.  He wants you to rely on Him.  To trust Him.  To draw near to Him.

He knows what he is doing.  Posture your heart towards him and trust him to manage the rest.  You are a work in progress – and he won’t finish until his masterpiece is finished.

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)

***BONUS TIP:  Embrace Grace

No one is perfect – not one.  Jesus didn’t die for us to be perfect; he died to extend us grace.   We are growing more and more into the likeness of Christ, but it is a process.  God has you covered – with the blood of Christ.   Rest your deficiencies in the arms of Christ. He desires to hold your pain and work them to accomplish his goal in the most exciting exhilarating ways.

Now that you know how to stop comparing, trust him and let go of the up and down ride of comparing that only serves to leave you wind blown and frustrated.

Now that you have learned how to stop comparing, be sure you don’t miss Part I (The Shocking Truth about Comparing) & Part II (3 Ways Comparing is Bad) of the Comparing Series.

3 Ways Comparing Is Bad & Damaging (Part II)

Comparing, judgement

“Look at her.  She has it all.  It must have been easy for her.  She doesn’t have the same barriers that I have.  I could do that too if I had the financial resources that she has, the support she has, the backing, the connections.  She is confident.  Nothing can take her down.  I want to be like her, but I will never be as good, as insightful or as knowledgeable.  I can’t.  I will never do “BIG” things.  She’s the whole package.  I may as well give up.”

Comparing is wearing.  It’s tiring.  It’s frustrating. It brings us down and settles us in a place of insecurity. When “comparing” is our companion, we are only as secure as the depth of another’s weakness.

Higher

How sad is that?  Our strength balances on our assessment of another’s faults, lack of material items or “less than” appearance.

“COMPARING” STANDS AND TAUNTS:
“I think I am prettier. I am smarter. I am happier.”
“My car is better.  My house is better.  My family is better”
” I am less than you.  I am nothing.”

“You are better than me.  I may as well give up.”
“You are respected.   I feel dejected.”
“You are so put together. I am ready to fall apart.”
“You are so rich.  Why can’t I have more?”
“Your clothes are perfect.  Mine are outdated.”
“You have a neat house.  I interact with my kids more.”
“You have kids that show you love.  I have a neater house.”
“You may know so much about God.  I think I love others more.”
“You love others. I know more about the Bible & God.”
“You serve. My faith is stronger.”
“You do so much.  God loves me less”

“You are so “insert judgment here”, I am so “insert feel good response here”.
“You are so “insert praise here”, I am so “insert a “less than” comment here”.

Aren’t we made for more than this?

Comparing takes us on the up and down roller coaster ride – called “judgment”.
And, it drops us off feeling  inflated or deflated. 

3 WAYS COMPARING IS BAD FOR US:

1.  OTHERS BECOME THE BAROMETER OF OUR WORTH.

We feel unvaluableSo, we either look to others to confirm our worst suspicions or we look to put others down to lift ourselves up.   Either way, others hold the power to sink us or to let us swim.

We win or lose. There is no middle ground. We are either better than or less than.  No matter, we always stand ready to fall.  Our position is constantly threatened  – there is always someone who is better, who has more or who is more talented.

“In all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.” (2 Cor. 10:12 Msg)

2.  WE MISS “LOVE”.

Notice the theme of comparing?  It is all about “US”!   What if the person we are so quick to judge, has a life that is stuck in the sludge?  What if they need encouragement, love and help?  What if they feel worse than you?

When we compare, we have eyes that only see our own pain.  We were created to love others.  We completely miss the point of this when our greatest pursuit is seeking our own worth.

1

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16)
Let’s make it about His story, not our glory.

3.  WE MISS GOD’S GLORY IN OUR WEAKNESS. 

You may be asking yourself, “Why is this bad? It is good to rely on yourself. At least then you are in control.”

When we rely on ourselves, we miss the chance to see God as he fills up our weak areas.  We miss his glory as he works out his story.  We miss the opportunity to learn about ourselves – as we trust Him.  We miss the opportunity to see how he wants us to grow in love.  We miss so much.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10 NIV)

We now have a great understanding of the 3 ways comparing is bad and damaging for us.  Be encouraged, in Part III we will look at the 3 Ways you Can Overcome “Compare” to Find Repair.  

God is a God of grace, love and forgiveness.  We have all fallen into comparing at some time or another; he loves you and has a plan to help you change.  Comparing is bad, but God is good.  He has great plans to help you.

Be sure to read Part I: “The Shocking Truth About Comparing”  and Part III: 3 Tips to Stop Comparing Once and For All.

 

Comparing Ourselves to Others: The Shocking Truth (Part I)

Comparing Ourselves to others

It is almost as if I have been groomed to compare.

I remember the school bell ringing.  I was the first to run outside.  My chest constricted with excitement as I dreamed of what this hour held.   I couldn’t throw my book bag down quick enough. As I plopped myself on the ground, and pulled open my Care Bears lunch box, my mind dreamed of the possibilities.  Pudding? Peanut butter crackers?  Chocolate Milk? Oreos? Eager anticipation and hopefulness was a daily ritual. I relished in the anticipation of “what could be”.

But, I am not sure why I did this when I knew exactly what my lunch box held – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with side of banana.  My usual.

I continued in my daily habit – right setting eyes on my lunch – I would peer from lunch box to lunch box surveying their goods. What did they get? Pudding? Oreos? Brownies?  I wonder if a banana is trade-able? How does my food look in comparison to theirs? Do they think that I am lame because I have nothing to trade?  Am I am weird because I can’t take part in the trading game called “food”? Who notices that I eat the same thing everyday?

I couldn’t stop comparing.  But, what I was really asking is, “Do I  measure up?” 

Underneath the peanut butter and jelly sandwich sitting in my lunch box, my questions were much deeper.  I wanted confirmation of my self worth in order to satiate the deepest depths of my soul.

I was looking to see if others counted me less valuable because I didn’t have what they had. I was looking for worth. I was looking to be valued as a contributor.  I was looking to be appreciated.  I was looking to feel special.

Even today, these feelings don’t go away. Even if we aren’t comparing ourselves to others, don’t we all desire to feel valuable, worthy, appreciated, admired, acknowledged?  These desires are not intrinsically wrong.

But, God has more for us than jealous eyes that constantly size up the quality of the lunch box sitting next to us. He wants us to see more.  Live greater.  Discover life in a richer sense.  He wants us to live abundantly in the identity that he has uniquely given us – not in one set by the standard of  “others”.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

We may know he knows us in our mind.  But, do we know it in our hearts?  Let’s journey together to battle through the pitfall of comparing ourselves to others so that we can live a life of joy, contentment and peace.

God has something incredible in store for you, despite what others are doing or saying!  You were created for amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring works – in Him.  Keep your eyes on Him – not others –  and he will show you the exact way you should walk so that you find areas of joy and fulfillment.

For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

I can’t wait to dive deeper into comparing in this 3 Part Series.   Stay tuned for Part II: 3 Ways Comparing is Bad for Us and Part III: 3 Tips to Stop Comparing Once and For All.    God has something far greater for us when we end comparing ourselves to others.