Purposeful Faith

Tag - contentment

Releasing Results to the Righteous One

Peace in release to His Keeping by Katie M. Reid for purposefulfaith.com

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I had a plan to promote a product. I brainstormed ways to roll it out and made lists of people who might be able and willing to help spread the word. But while in the shower the other day (where it’s quiet enough to get good ideas and where I usually hear God more clearly) I sensed Him asking me something like this…

If you don’t get the outside help you’ve been planning on, will you be okay? Are you dependent on others or will you trust Me to do what I desire through this? Will you release this project and leave the results to Me?

I wrestled for a few moments but quickly realized that God was right, of course.

He was asking me not to hold so tightly to my well-crafted plans but relinquish the outcomes to Him.

There was no guarantee the project would be a success in the world’s eyes but there was a reassuring peace that God’s will would be done. I could insist on my desired outcomes or bend to His higher and better ways—even if the results looked like “not much” or even a failure to others.

As the water poured over me, I was reminded afresh…

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

We should rely on God all the way through a project.

I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” -Psalm 16:2

But sometimes we turn what was His to “mine”. Like Gollum, from Lord of the Rings, we hold our “precious” close at all costs. We don’t want to let go because we can’t imagine how life would go on if we lose that which we hold so dear.

What is your “precious”? Is it a person, a project, or a possession with which you have an unhealthy attachment?

Have you turned what once was an act of worship into an idol? Did you start off doing something for God but then it became all about you?

Are you willing to trust God with what He’s asked you to steward or have you made the sneaky shift from steward to prison guard—caging in your “precious” so that it can’t be freed from your watchful gaze?

Or will you bravely unclench your fists and hand over the “precious” to the Great Overseer of your soul?

You are precious in God’s sight. He doesn’t cage you in but sets you free under the necessary boundaries of His loving and watchful gaze.

God is trustworthy. He has entrusted you with people, projects, and possessions to steward well. Release the results to the Righteous One. He does know what’s best. His will for you and your project might look different that you expect but there is great freedom in letting Him lead and use you according to His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Don’t despise His Sovereignty. Don’t discount His Supernatural ability. Don’t depart from His ways.

Find peace as you release people, projects, and possessions to His keeping.

Release what is precious to God and then stand back and see what He will do with your surrender.

Dear God: We want to worship you with clean hands and pure hearts. Thank You for entrusting us with projects, people, and possessions. Help us to steward them well and not elevate them above Your rightful place in our lives. We choose today to release the results to You. You are good. You know what is best. You love us too much to let our desires destroy us. Give us the wisdom and strength to hand over our dreams to Your keeping. Would you take our humble offerings and multiply them for Your purposes and glory? Forgive us for holding on too tightly to that which is mean to be handed over as a fragrant offering to You. We open our fists and raise our hands in worship to You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Define • er • ed •ism•able •est •ly

By Jami Amerine

This is my word. Defineredismableestly. Granted, I made it up. And granted, it is slightly ridiculous.  But let me explain. I am at a crossroad; another adoption, another child launching, a new career in the making.  We all come to them, repeatedly.  For example, when I got married. I was no longer only defined as Don and Glenna’s daughter, I was now Justin’s wife. Later I became Maggie, John, Luke, Sophie, Sam, and Charlie’s mom. Grad student, blogger, Catholic, displaced Catholic, Spin instructor, injured Spin instructor, Chronically ill. Then, I became a foster mom and adoptive mom.  I have been defined, redefined and undefined.  I have added prefixes, suffixes and then, deleted and added again.

A woman on Twitter started following me the other day.  I clicked on her profile to see who she was and this is what it said: Overweight, widowed, divorced, childless, unhappy, atheist. Working as a secretary for an arrogant windbag attorney. Living in a cramped apartment with a grumpy cat, two fish, and my dying mother.  Follow me. 

Hmm.

Click.

Follow.

Cause I respect the honesty, and I commit to pray for her.

I haven’t heard much else out of her. Although every time I get on Twitter I click on her profile to see if any of her adjectives have changed.  They haven’t. Aside from some funny cat memes and derogatory comments about Christians, these definitions are all that I am left with in my assessment. And I could pity or judge her, but she could pity and judge me.  And if I was asked to write a profile for myself similar to hers what would it look like? What defines me?

Simply stated?  Tall, busty, married, blonde, 7 kids at the moment, happily seeking Jesus Christ. Stay at home mom, author, in love with my husband. Living in a large home with large family, two dogs, lots of laughter. Follow me.

And it does sound a bit more fanciful and bright. Well, I would have rather typed tall and rail thin, but that’s not the point.  The point is the definitions we take on and the definitions we portray as truths of ourselves can both explain us or cripple us.  And I wouldn’t want to represent myself to the masses as a complete failure or mess, and I certainly wouldn’t want to do that and preface or conclude with “Christ-seeker.”

There is both the societal and self-imposed assumption that I am better than or whole if I am a follower of Christ. And as Christians, we believe our souls are better off – as human beings we know the definition of Christian doesn’t crown us the definition “flawless.”

So maybe I followed this brutally honest and seemingly dark woman because I envied her rawness. And, I want to be frank, and raw.  I recently ripped the Jesus fish off my van. Not to deny my Christ, but because I am a distracted driver and you can’t judge a Christian by their inability to maneuver a 12 passenger van.  I honestly don’t want to portray Christians as lousy drivers.

The things that adorn my profile or my biography on my blog are definitions of the human Jami. The feathers in my cap or the bumper stickers on my van don’t convey the profound truths of what it means to be wholly seeking Jesus. At first glance, you might define me as funny, lighthearted, sweet, fanciful, vain, and bouncy. From inside my head I am a one-woman circus – desperately seeking Jesus.

And that is the most relevant definition of being me.  My general identity can be found in excerpts on websites. My husband and children could give you a quick run-down of singular adjectives that would give you a universal idea of who I am.  My parents and my siblings have an adjective or two. I have friends who think I rock. I have enemies that think otherwise. And I get down and can rip myself to shreds. Or, I can drop a couple pounds, get a syndicated post, and make a perfect pot roast and think I am the “grandiestly” momma on the block.

But all that fades without my Jesus.  What I must remember and what I must cling to is my identity in Christ.  This character never changes. No matter the number of children under my roof, the size tag on my jeans, the rejection letters in my inbox, for that matter, the acceptance letters either. My identity in Christ is an unchanging description. I strive to be better, and I ache to please Him – and He consistently loves a fearless, grand, unending, boundless, undefinable, indescribable perfect love.

He sees me as infinitely – HIS.  Maybe that is what I’ll change my Twitter profile to read, just: HIS.

For in Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 

And in Christ, you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Col. 2:9-10

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Do You See the Beauty?

see beauty thanks contentment

Post By: Angela Parlin

The way we view our lives changes things.

I’m beginning to believe that the way we choose to see the circumstances of our lives is the big point.

Sometimes my vision is clouded with things I don’t enjoy about my current situation. When I’m focused on the problems I face, there’s little room in my heart to see the good. Instead, I’m chronically unhappy with the way things are.

Can you relate?

Other times, my eyes are full of what I think I need to improve upon everywhere I look, and then I fall into perpetual striving. I seek to make my life something better, and I miss the beauty of what’s already in front of me.

I’m talking about contentment, a way of seeing our lives with thankful eyes.

The way we see determines how we’ll experience our days. So how is your vision today? How do you choose to see?

Years ago, I named my blog, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos. God was teaching me then that His beauty is always around me. Even in the chaos that sometimes happens at home with the kids, even in the trials, even in my disappointment, He has planted so much beauty.

My job is to choose to see the beauty. My part is to call it out and thank Him.

I’ve struggled many times to see the beauty in my life when chaos crowds it out, and so I started naming the beauty whenever I could see it. I started to look for it.

~The way God met me there in that trial, the way He comforted me.

~The beauty inside the people He placed in my life for me to love, and the ways they love me back.

~The truth He speaks straight to my heart from His Word day after day.

~The sky and the birds and the rest of His incredibly gorgeous world which surrounds me.

I’ve learned the beauty goes on and on and on.

I’ve learned there’s always more, because I find it whenever I choose to look.

But sometimes I still return to my critical eyes, to my critical heart. Sometimes the details of life overwhelm me, and I find myself right back in that ugly, bitter place, where I have a really hard time seeing the good. Sometimes I wake up and it’s cold and I’m tired of doing the same old things another day, and maybe it’s just that I woke on the wrong side of the bed, but I’m just not happy with the way things are. I’m just not satisfied.

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need God’s vision–to see great things He’s already done.

To see all the beauty He’s planted between the rows of my chaos, in the middle of every day.

Where will you choose to see the beauty God has planted in your life today?

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

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

Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.

You Are Welcome Here

Come As You Are by Katie M Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

Have you ever tried on a dress that was just not your style—ill-fitted for the shape God gave you?

I have been “blessed” with a pear shape figure, smaller on top and curvy on bottom; literally.

Straight, fitted dresses are a death sentence for my body type. I need extra material down south to cover the bulk.

Last week I tried to wear a style that was not flattering on me. No, it wasn’t a dress style, it was a writing style. I tried to pull on a style that looked good on others, but it was not a good fit for who God has made me to be.

I was trying to wear something shiny and sleek so that I would gain attention and maximize impact.

But, it didn’t lay nicely and it felt uncomfortable.

I was conflicted. I was trying so hard for it to fit, but it just wouldn’t. It did not complement how I was made, much to my dismay.

But here’s the thing, God made each of us a certain way, completely on purpose.

While we might be irritated with the largeness or smallness of our mold, Our Creator was intentional when He spun us on the Potter’s Wheel.

Come on over for the rest of the story as Katie hosts the #RaRaLinkup over at her place, katiemreid.com, today

Being a Perfect Christian

perfect christian

Proud, happy and all buttoned up, I’ve been the good-girl Christian skipping along my merry way.

Moving just a little faster.
Standing just a little taller.

That is, until my face meets the concrete and a land flat on my face, bruising my image.

Injured and shocked, the impact of the hit
impacts my heart with the truth, I’ve been missing Christ.

Have you ever gotten so concerned with your image that you missed His?

Believed your faith is what makes others want his?

Or, let your high standing in Christ’s family, make you feel just that – high and better off?

When performance leads our charge, when we think we have all our stuff packed perfectly, tightly and detailed into our favorite bible of choice, when we parade a little taller, a little higher, with a little more insight, when others are not doing things right all the time – we better yell, “Stop” to our heart, because we are about to fall.

I know I should have done that.

Perhaps, I would have saw things more clearly, before letting the critiques of others spill out on the floor. Perhaps then, my contents wouldn’t have displayed a load of pride and a pound of judgement and a dash of negativity. These things don’t taste good and they certainly don’t go down with feelings of Christ’s love.

For the most part, others turn and run at their stench.

Oh Lord, let this not be me.

Yet, somewhere along my way, I mistakenly began believing that godliness equates to giftedness, goodness and greater access. 

I became that unfavorite person I so often look down on.

A Litmus Test: Are You Better-Than-Thou?

Do our prayers sound more like this? 
‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ Lu. 18: 12

Or do we come and pray more like this?
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Lu. 18:13

When we see our sin nature as a worldwide epidemic that hasn’t left us spared, we see we really are just like the taxman slumped in the corner of mistakes, turmoil and pain.

We see we are that jacked up. No better or worse than others – just saved.

Saved, not from neediness, but from eternal fallenness.
Our embrace of this truth gives legs to humility
not a heart set on growing in earthly nobility. 

Perhaps this is why Christ looks at the first man, the Pharisee, and says, “If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:14

I learned the hard-knock way.

I am more a Pharisee than a needy sinner, and it feels good to see. Christ does not condemn me. He loves me. This realization returns my heart to Jesus like the slumped man needing a fresh touch. It returns me to the place of need, where I, like all my fellow man, sit.

This place is a place of unity, togetherness, hand-holding, anticipation of Christ’s work.

A place of relief; it removes my show-off, to turn the power of God on.

It brings Christ to the places that I can’t deal with –
leading me to the most downtrodden, contagious and dirty people.

It brings him into my weakness, into my pain.

perfect Christian

May I boast only in my weakness.
Paul knew this is the power prayer.

May it be one of our favorites too: God, help us to boast only in weakness. Forgive us God, sinners. We miss you and need you. Teach us your ways God and lead us in your paths, lest we fall on our face. May our humility be the artery that allows your work to flow to us and through us. Amen.

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

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and Five Minute Friday.

More Than Enough

More than enough

Do you remember when you bought your first home?
Probably, no matter the price, you put a large bulk of your saved money into the down payment.

That’s how it worked for us.

With no extra money to buy furniture, I felt like it wasn’t just the echoes of empty rooms that were resounded in my heart, but the echoes of not having enough.

I can’t have people over, when the first thing they see is that room!
I can’t even enjoy this house, until we can actually sit down!
No one is walking through that front door, until things change around here!

But, God – he had different plans. His different plans, are always the best plans, for my not-so-well-laid plans.

He had plans to take my “not enough” and exchange it for “more than good enough.” He always seems to do that when we are looking, seeking and praying after his will, doesn’t he?

You see, the word “insufficient” doesn’t reside in Jesus’ vocabulary,

because he entirely defines the word sufficient.

If we have Jesus, we have the all-encompassing sufficient answer to every one of life’s problems. It can just be very hard to see in the whirlwind of pain.  He understands this and, in many cases, gently brings us right into his fold, when we are ready.

In my case, he exchanged my empty room and empty heart for something far greater,
way more hectic and a billion times more exciting.

My empty room, covered with the wallpaper of “not enough”, became “more than enough” as the paper busted at the seams, exposing joy, peace and glory.  We found our nightly ritual – a family worship session on the best dance floor in town – our living room.

We went in that room to dance and sing with all our hearts. We had more than enough!
We ran around with smiles wide and kids raised up. We had more than enough!
We saw our toddlers joy as they ran circles around us.  We had more than enough!
We opened our hearts and eyes to see our great high and lifted God. We had more than enough!

When we look for Jesus, no matter our situation –
whether a small one like mine or a bigger one like death –
we find him.

He is the door to our “more.”
He is the access to our joy.
He is the way to life.
He is the answer of peace.
He is the hope in all.

In my situation, I had much to be thankful for, but still, I was not content. I saw the door that I didn’t want visitors to enter, but what I didn’t realize was that my focus was on the wrong door.

I should have been looking at Jesus as the door.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Jesus is always the access point to greater things.

If you have walked through Jesus’ door of salvation, you are saved.
Not just saved for eternity’s joys, but saved to enjoy Christ’s present ones in today.
Are you seeking them?

If you have walked through Jesus’ door, you are gaining access to your calling and mission.
Are you using your gifts, talents and finances for his glory?

If you walk through Jesus’ door, you will find pasture.
Your Father wants to bring you much joy, peace and purpose in life.
Are you relying on him?

If we have chosen to walk through his door, Christ has presented us with eternal riches, his present day glory, focused missions, fulfilling callings, joy-filled songs, enduring character and his ever-present help in a time of trouble.

We no longer live in empty rooms of despair, discouragement and doubt, but our rooms become filled with the love and presence of Jesus Christ.

When we look for him, we realize we have – and always had – more than enough!

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Our great shepherd is leading us into his great, powerful and calm-of-heart pastures.
Will we follow him?

We already have “more than enough.”

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

Today I am delighted to join #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday and #DanceWithJesus.

A Sure-Fire Way to Get What You Most Want

A Sure-Fire Recipe for Blessings

Most of the time, and I hate to say this, I do anything but what is right.

I get frustrated at crying kids.
Get irritated at the load of work I have to do.
Feel annoyed with people who get in my way.
And grab hold of a discontent heart.
I look at others and judge.

I gravitate towards sin, especially when I am not filtering life through God’s Word.  With the burden of my sin and the distance it causes between me and God, I have been considering how to approach this. Because, like Paul says, I normally end up doing the exact things I don’t want to do. Then, I hate myself for doing them.

How do I do what is good to do and forgo what isn’t?

How do I find God’s  joy and his blessings
as I cast sin aside?

God delivered a simple recipe of truth to answer these questions in the sequence of these verses:

1.) Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

It’s simple. Delight.
Delight in his truth.
Delight in his love.
Delight in his law.
Delight even more in his grace.
Delight in his power.
Delight in his sovereignty.
Delight in his being.
Delight in his guidance.
Delight in his mercy.

The more I delight, the more he will help me and offer me the deepest desires of my heart – the things I want the most. The things that I often try to obtain by sin. These are the things he wants to give me.  With this, God pushes out any works based approach as I delight in him.

The power of delighting casts out all fear of the future, people or circumstances, because God casts out any control they have over my future.

When we delight, they have no weight on God giving us what we most desire in the deepest recesses of our heart.

2. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Ps. 37:5)

If my ways are committed, then my ways are likely in his will. In this there is no disappointment, because I will what he wills. We are working in unison. It comes as no surprise to me that he says “he will do it.”

We delight and commit  – and he sees us through it.

When we delight in who God is and what he can and will do, all we want to do is commit to and trust in his amazing ways.

3.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light… (Ps. 37:6)

What is the result of delighting, committing and trusting?

He gives us the desires of our heart.
He does what we most desire.
​He brings righteousness.

The recipe for blessings is clear – we delight, commit and submit.

As we proclaim his goodness, sing songs of praise from our lips, we discover the joy that is God. We discover his ways, and we let go of our fears.

He makes us righteous solely by residing in him more. He delights us with the most amazing gifts of our lives, things we may not even be aware of, and he will do his will, which we also will in unison.

Let’s stick to this recipe, my friends – it will yield amazing results.

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

Counting Gifts Instead of Problems

Good gifts from above

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

Christmas vacation came to an abrupt end as my husband and I listened to water gush underneath the bathroom floor. It wasn’t just coming out of the drainage pipe. No, it sounded like a waterfall beneath our feet.

The longer we stood there waiting for the noise to stop, the more dollar signs I saw adding up in my head. This was the second plumbing issue we’d encountered during Christmas break, and we still had not received the bill from the first service call.

As my mind raced with endless possibilities, I sent up a frail prayer hoping the damage would be minimal. Although I avoided complaining outwardly, I inwardly assumed the posture of punished child.

Why did this have to happen right after Christmas, when we’d just spent money on travel and gifts? Why did these types of things always happen in multiples?

Potty training a high-maintenance, strong-willed child added to my list of stresses. A struggling family member kept me awake at night.

As my inner monologue rehearsed all of these things, it sounded like a six-year-old whining. But the thought that disturbed me the most was one I’ve seen countless times from followers of Christ when times get hard: Why was God punishing me? What had I done?

Had we missed a tithe check, neglected acts of service or turned a blind eye to someone in need? As my mind sunk further into a downward cycle of self-pity, I knew my thoughts were not from the Creator. I was in the midst of a battle of the mind, and I needed to grasp onto the light of Truth.

I stole a few moments by myself and counted gifts. I thanked God that I have a husband who is handy and able to make repairs when times get rough. I thanked him that we live in an area where we have resources available to us. As I walked our dogs, I praised God for the beautiful weather we came home to the previous day. But the further I went down a rocky, uneven path, the more one question kept repeating itself in my head.

Why do I perceive negative circumstances as punishment from God, but often fail to recognize blessings as God’s love?

I reflected on everything I love about my life on a given day. A song that comes on the radio at just the right time. The way my three-year-old throws himself into hugs, his whole body wrapped around you. A beautiful sunrise that turns the entire horizon a deep shade of orange.

How could I not look at each of these gifts and think, “Wow, God must really love me”? And if I recognized each of these blessings as an expression of love from my Creator, how would it change me?

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

He does not change, friends. He doesn’t have a mood swing and decide to clog up your drain. He doesn’t get hormonal and decide not to listen to your prayer. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

When he allows us to face trials, it is not because he is angry with us, but to draw us to Him and refine us. Each struggle we face is an opportunity to build character.

Tonight, as I sit in the soft glow of the Christmas tree, I’m still counting. I’m counting not only the gifts he’s given me, but the ones I know will come. Because he’s that good.

As the list grows, I feel his love swelling up inside of me. He loves me so much. And he loves you, too.

So today, as your brewing your coffee and listening to your favorite tune on the radio, remember he created this day just for you. Let truth of that realization sink in and fill you with a love so deep it overflows.

 

Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is mom, wife and southern girl who fell in love with writing at a young age. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.

When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

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

***Sign up to get Kelly Balarie & Friends blog posts by email.  Click Here.

From Complaints to Thanks

Post By: Angela Parlin

I stood beside their beds in the dark, praying for each of my 3 little ones while they slept. Every night on my way to bed, I whispered thanks to God for the gift of being their Mommy. But often tears fell, because I knew the truth of that day. And the one before.

I was discontent with that season of my life, and I had become an under-the-breath complainer.

I didn’t always like that this was what God had called me to do. Because it looked like endless wiping. Wiping counters, spills, bottoms, floors, always wiping.

With a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby, my days looked like finding messes by the handfuls, like potty training and nursing and living chronically behind in housework. It was harder than I’d expected. I loved my babies so much, and yet I wished away the hard parts of those days.

One day, after lunch, I stepped in a huge blob of strawberry jam on the kitchen floor. When I grabbed for a dishrag to wipe it up, I ran my arm through more jam on the edge of the counter. I looked up to see this little trail of jam, smudged across the kitchen cabinets, and started to cry.

I felt mad about the mess, about the way I couldn’t stay on top of 6 sticky little hands, mad at my kitchen, mad at jelly, just mad.

And then, I noticed a verse I had taped onto the fridge, written in beautiful calligraphy:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

The phrase, “this is God’s will for you” wouldn’t leave me alone.

His will for me then included days full of messes, all waiting for me to clean them up.

His will included a jelly-coated kitchen some days, and jelly-filled hands to clean.

His will included loving and serving three little people, much of which would be done from the ground, on bended knees.

His will for me also included giving thanks, even in never-ending, sticky-mess moments.

It’s easy to thank God when life feels good, when the house is tidy and the days go as planned. But thank God in the middle of the mess? I didn’t even know how. I hated messes.

I decided right then, to try, even though I didn’t really feel it. So I thanked God for the day He made, for the home we lived in, for three little people with small, sticky hands.

The more I thanked God, for both big and small things, the less I complained. And the more I enjoyed being a Mom.

I have to admit, I sometimes fall back into a spirit of complaint. But whenever I realize this and confess it to God, He is faithful to change my spirit, from being full of complaints to repeatedly giving thanks.

When we practice giving thanks in all kinds of circumstances, He fills our hearts with peace and makes us light with joy.

Do you need to confess a complaining spirit today? Will you begin to make a habit of thanking God in every situation?

Thank you Lord, for changes in perspective, for the ability to offer You thanks, even in jelly-smeared kitchens.

I would love for you to connect with me at my blog, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

~Angela

Don’t miss any updates on Purposeful Faith! Click Here to receive blog posts to your email inbox.  Sign up today to be entered into a sweepstakes to win an Amazon Gift Card.

ang3

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.