Purposeful Faith

Tag - approval

When Your Mouth Speaks Stupid

Speaks Stupid

It was an odd encounter. I am not sure why. I didn’t intend to make it odd, but my mouth got ahead of my mind. What was meant to come out as, “Wow! You are so talented…” rolled out as, “What do you think you are being led to do in life?”

As if she wasn’t already doing enough.
As if God wasn’t already using her.
As if there was more to life than the moment she was currently in.

The second my question made its weird appearance, I wanted to withdraw it. I wanted to grab it and stuff it back into my mouth because I could see what it was producing: a seat-shifting sense that she should be doing more. That where God planted her feet today wasn’t good enough.

Yet, where she was — was entirely good enough. In fact, I was very much struck by the individual. And although I’d just met her minutes ago (another reason my mouth should have shushed it), I knew her wisdom and insight would have an impact on my life, as it has with so many others.

I left the gathering. On the way home, all I could think was: She thinks I am an oddball. I came off as prideful. She feels put down…not used enough…like she should have some greater mission…all because of my fast track mouth.

My hands clenched the car seat. My ears tuned out my husband and my embarrassment stuck on me like icky glue. It kept on bothering me — for days.

Yet, something hit me as I wrote this story down, after seeing it in black and white. What if the big deal I made about my words was really only a small deal to her? And what if her shifting around was only because she was bound to a clock and needed to start the meeting? What if her short response was only because she was thinking about what she needed to do next?

What if I read into things? And what if her words were far less about me, because she was already on to the next thing?

What if she didn’t really think I was:

the weirdo
the oddball
the arrogant one
the insensitive girl

What if she just thought I was a new person who seemed nice, who she is interested in getting to know as well?

How many times do we personalize predicaments and let them name us poorly? How many times do we let the enemy declare us bad when God is trying to set up a good friendship? How many times do we see our failings when others aren’t seeing that at all?

That night at the prayer gathering, I lost my prayer mojo because I kept thinking I injured her. I lost the chance to plead for, impact and change the hurting lives of others because I was caught up in my own mind-story. I lost God’s better plan.

When we personalize issues that really are not personal, we always lose God. We let our feet venture off his track and we head down some windy road with the goal of making man love us. We divert love. We walk away from Him who is love.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).”

 

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You Have Nothing To Prove

Nothing To Prove

We live in such a loud world with ridiculously loud voices and big personalities. We live in a culture where flashy and elaborate get noticed. We live in a society where those who are the loudest are often times the ones that receive promotion. Their gifts and talents are perceived as valuable and desirable. Quiet faithfulness has become minimized. And unfortunately, I have noticed this type of thinking has crept its way into the church and ministry.

I am the opposite of loud. I tend to be more reserved and observant. I have talents and gifts. I believe God is using them, but I don’t always feel seen or noticed by those around me. I was having a conversation with my friend Aleah recently and we were discussing the topic of not feeling good enough and feeling unseen. I actually think about this topic quite often as I observe church life around me and life on the interwebs.

I don’t ever want to be on a stage or do some great thing just for the sake of claiming the size. I would only ever fill those spaces if God calls me to that and equips me for it. I don’t need to be the center of attention. But as someone who finds herself in hidden places more often than not, to be considered for something is massive.

Nothing To Prove

That speaks to my heart and my soul in countless ways. I am not necessarily looking for approval or to be deemed good enough by others. But God designed community to work in this way…for us to truly know others and be known by them.

We call out the gold in others.

We believe the best in each other.

We give opportunities for others to lead.

We celebrate the wins of others.

It’s easier for me to fall into the trap of comparison when I focus on what I am not, instead of what I am. I don’t have anything to prove by pretending to be someone I’m not and neither do you. We are God’s unique masterpiece. We have nothing to prove to Him. He has already approved us.

You were created on purpose.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Before the foundations of the world, you and I were on the mind of God. That blows my mind! I cannot even comprehend that! But, there it is in God’s perfect, infallible Word. So, I believe it. That means He took time and care to form us from the inside out. Everything about us is on purpose…our hair color, our height, our likes, our dislikes, our passions, our burdens, what makes us laugh and what makes us cry. He doesn’t make mistakes. All that He does is good. That includes us.

When others don’t acknowledge you as a masterpiece, remember God calls you priceless.

Nothing To Prove

 You are an heir to God’s throne.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

My friends are my family. The Lord is my Father and mother. The Body of Christ is home. In environments that stress marriage and children as being the end all, be all, can leave a single girl like me feeling lonely and unqualified for what God has called me to. But, this verse tells me that if I have received Christ and believed in His name, I am a child of God. I received Him and have believed in His name. I’m in. If you have as well, you are in. How amazing! In the world of adoption, once you are adopted, you can’t be un-adopted. That is how God treats us. Once we are grafted in, we are a part of His family for eternity.. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit. There is not one thing that can separate us from His love or His family.

 You have a calling.

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Before creation, not only were we on the mind of God, but He assigned us a task and a calling for our lives. We honestly don’t ever have to wonder if we have a calling. We do. It’s simply to know God and make Him known. It plays out differently in the details of our lives, but it’s the same for all of us. Once we come to know Christ, life is not really about us anymore. We are to become others focused. We are to love, serve, bless, encourage and heal the hurting and forgotten around us.

Let’s not waste our time nor energy trying to hustle and prove ourselves to the world or to the Lord. Let’s walk out unity and honor and watch God elevate us to our next place of promise, in His perfect timing.

Nothing To Prove

He sees us.
He knows us.
We are His.

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Karina AllenKarina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

When the Recognition Doesn’t Come

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I waited a week for acknowledgement that the gift was received. A book I carefully picked out for this season of his life when he was groping for meaning and purpose.

I opted for the express shipping so it would be there in time for his birthday. My anticipation of his reaction mounted.

But the gratitude never came. There was no text, no thank you. I went online to make sure the package was delivered and saw it had.

It was as though the attempt to reach out never happened.

Self-defeat and pity consumed me. Why did I bother? Why did I make an effort when time and time again it wasn’t reciprocated?

An old wound was irritated. I knew I needed to address the source of pain, but I waited.

When a similar situation happened weeks later, I could no longer ignore the ache. I longed for recognition of the love I was pouring into those around me. I watched as others received pats on the back and validation.

In quiet moments between the fluster of a home with two young boys, I searched for peace. I asked the Creator to show me his heart.

Here’s the thing about asking the Father to reveal himself to you: He always delivers. It may not be on our timeline or in the way we prefer, but his response is as sure as the dew after a slow rain.

In another room I could hear my three-year-old begging for praise from big brother. He’d just put together the choo-choo and to him, it was a lifetime achievement worthy of celebration.

The desire to be seen was as deep and innate in him as breathing.

I flipped through my Bible trying to grasp the life behind the words on the page, but the syllables fell flat. Turning pages aimlessly, I landed in John.

Jesus was talking with the Jews, who were persecuting him because he equated himself with the Father. They wanted witnesses who could testify to the truth.

But the Father is the only witness Jesus needs.

“I am the one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” John 8:18 NIV

Even though the Jews didn’t see Jesus’ heart and eternal worth, the Father did. And he sees mine too. But often, my actions say my identity in Him isn’t enough.

I run after accolades and gold stars, but the only credit I need is from my Creator. He approved me, sealed me and delivered me.

I crave the spotlight and the center stage, but on God’s stage we are all equals.

If I walk in step with the Spirit, his witness is sufficient. Everything I have is a gift from Him, and I am simply pouring it into others so that they may experience the life he gives.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with recognition and encouragement. In fact, scripture tells us to encourage each other and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

But this type of acknowledgment is conditional and fleeting, while God’s adoration is unconditional and eternal.

Whose favor am I seeking most?

Months after my seemingly forgotten gift, I was visiting family. My loved one brought the book out and told me how much it meant to him. As he opened it to talk about a particular passage, I saw pages filled with marks from his highlighter and thoughts written in the margins.

Despite my flawed impression, he saw my heart.

And your Father in Heaven sees yours too.

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*Photo Credit

Guest ContributorAbby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Where Are My Blessings, God?

where are my blessings

That girl has it together.
She has what counts.
She speaks, and people listen.
She lights the room.
And blesses so many.
Who am I?

That girl, she is special.
She must be God’s favorite.
She must be the apple of his eye.
He really loves her.
Who am I?

Look how he blessed her.
Who am I?

Who am I if God doesn’t show me that I am worth something?

Who am I if God doesn’t push me a little bit further ahead than her?

Do I still count?

Sometimes, we look at our faith walk, like a race of worth. Sometimes we look at our blessings as medals of accomplishments.

It only looks like we are winning when we are not losing.

Do you ever feel this way?

Imagine for a moment, if the disciples had let this kind of thinking creep in.

If Peter looked at John to say,
“If you are beloved, I am not loved.”

If Elizabeth looked at Mary to say,
“You birthed Jesus, my womb is now worthless.”

If Jesus turned to his father to say,
“You reign higher, my lowly position has no place.”

How would Christianity look today?

Might living this way send us down a similar road as Satan? A road of orphanhood?

I praise God that these movers and shakers of faith didn’t move away and shake frozen in their boots – as God chose to bless some and not others.

Sure, the disciples had their moments, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Lu. 22:24

I have these moments too. I have moments where I want that girl’s stuff so badly. But, I am realizing that my needy declarations are, more than often than not, just proud questions demanding his marks of approval.

Questions like: “God do you love me?  Do you count me worthy enough to bless me too? Why are you forgetting me and exalting her?”

I kind of want to be God’s favorite loved child. Do you?

I kind of want to finally secure my place in his eyes.  I want people to think, “that’s the girl God blesses.”

I am prone to think my blessings count me worthy,
but God says – and always says –
my son has already marked you approved.

He was marked, to forever mark me  – loved.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time 2 Tim. 1:9

God pursues our holiness, many times, on our behalf; he knows what is best for our heart, our needs and our spiritual development.

He looks at his gifts to us, much like we look at ones for our children, likely asking,
“Will it delight them or spoil them?” 

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. Lu. 15:31

He is less concerned with the everyday, all the time blessings because he knows, everything he has is already ours.

He is not so much interested in playing into our insecurities, he is interested in healing them.

I wonder, do we realize, just like the lost son at home with his father,
that we aren’t missing out on anything? 

That the whole time, even though a brother strayed and was blessed,
we already had everything we needed to begin with?

Jesus never sets a value on one child over another.

All the same, all the time, equally adored, accepted and loved, he waits with arms wide open for: the losers, the winners, the victorious, the downtrodden, the proud, the humble, the rich, the poor, the sinful and the less sinful, the loved and the unloved.

He doesn’t have super-pipes of one-directional love. His love flows unhindered, ungated, unrestricted, all the time, into all the hearts that need his love, his gifts, his blessings and his perfect ways.

We are all worthy, every moment of every day, because Jesus Christ was crucified, covered, guarded, uncontained, glorified and magnified.

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Updates for #RaRalinkup Friends:
1. Visit this Thursday when Abby McDonald will share another powerful sucker punch to the devil’s work.
Don’t miss it!
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