Purposeful Faith

A Word on Other’s Advice

What is advice?

It is that which makes you feel guilty that you aren’t on the right track.
It is that which pressures you into doing something you don’t really feel right about.
It is that which tends to speak over God’s voice.
It is another person’s perceived answer to your deep heart problem.
It is unsolicited input that creates average output.

What opinions are coming at you? Are you reliant on them?

I spent years reliant. I needed your answer to my problem. I didn’t believe in myself much. I didn’t know if I could trust myself enough to not make a fool of myself. I thought you knew better than me. If I had an idea, I would change it if yours was different.

I was horribly pulled in every direction and completely unsure of my life-path.

Until, one day, I realized: I was on man’s course, not God’s.  Maybe this is the case for you too?

Little by little, voice by voice, we can become so swayed by others’ insight that we have no sight to see God’s unfolding plan for us. We hear all the swirling voices but miss God’s.  We may be sure we are on the right path, only to have someone else doubt us.

This is why prayer is paramount.

Praying hearts understand this truth: you can ask and expect God to answer. Often He answers by giving you peace. Peace for a specific road you want to travel. Or, He answers with a random word through a person (it often doesn’t sound like advice, but a random comment that strikes you). Or, He answers with a verse in your mind.  Or, He answers by putting a situation right in front of you.

The vital component to the answer is waiting. When we wait on God, we create space for the move He wants to make. Then, we gain certainty.

What advice does your heart need to turn away so you can turn toward God in prayer and follow Him?

Prayer: God, we want to hear you first and foremost. Soften the loud voices around us so that what comes through is your heart and your heart only. Give us a view of our best path. Lead us, with your arm around us. Grant us peace and certainty in our walk. 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 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.

 Loading InLinkz ...

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.


The Danger in Letting Others Define Who We Are

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“Don’t ever say you’re just a mom.”

I spun around, startled at the realization that my conversation wasn’t private. I was talking to the cashier at a local toy store about school and pursuing a career in writing. Both my boys were tiny at the time, and before I knew it the statement that I was “just a mom” spilled out of my mouth.

It wasn’t that I didn’t think mothering was important. It had more to do with other’s perception. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

When I turned I saw an older man standing there. He looked me square in the eye and said words I desperately needed to hear during that season.

“What you’re doing is the most important job there is.”

I nodded and thanked him, not sure what else to say. I was amazed at God’s ability to use a complete stranger to encourage me during a time of my life when I felt lost and defeated. And in an instant, I knew I was where God wanted me. My doubt and apprehension was replaced with confidence and security.

But old habits have tendency to resurface, don’t they?

Eventually, I had more time to devote to things I loved and opportunities knocked at my door. I was filled with gratitude and awe at how God was using me.

Encouragement from other strangers came. Strangers who eventually became friends and confidants. I linked arms with others who shared a passion for communicating a message and pointing others toward the hope of Christ through words and stories.

But before I realized what was happening, gratitude turned to comparison. Awe turned to impatience. My timeline and God’s were not the same, and goals I thought would take months turned into years.

I fought for affirmation and approval. Sometimes it came, but when it didn’t my security blanket was ripped off like a band-aid. Rejections stung. Silence and waiting stung even worse.

If we let others define who we are, our security will change like the rising tide.

We will constantly lower our buckets into the well of compliments and accolades until we hit the bottom. And one day, the bucket will come up empty. Our source of sustenance will be parched.

But you want to know the good news? There is Living Water. It never runs dry. And his definition of who we are? It never changes, once we’ve received Him.

Friends, we don’t have to fight for our seat at his table.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:6 NIV

 Our status has nothing to do with our abilities, and everything to do with Christ’s finished work. It is because of his grace and love for us that he allows us to participate with him in his divine work.

Perception changes everything. So the next time we’re tempted to compare and fight for our seats at the table, let’s remember this:

Christ’s finished work = our eternal worth.

This world and the people in it do not determine who you are. The One who hung on a tree and paid a price more precious than pure gold does.

Never forget who claimed you as his. Take your seat, and remember your identity comes from him alone.

 

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


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.


Sign up for Purposeful Faith blog posts by email!

I'll also send you "3 Ways to See More of God."

Enter your Email:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe!