Purposeful Faith

Tag - control

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Can Hurt You

It was a dream, but it was also the truth: If I am not careful, some thing is going to ruin me. If I don’t keep my eyes open and my arms wrapped around Jesus, I will most certainly diverge – and the results won’t be pretty.

You see, I have these underlying things that pop out of me, things like: I want to be wanted, I need to be seen, I desire to be liked, I hope to be valued.  Intrinsically, they are not bad, but without God as the fueler – they’re horrible.

What is prone to lead you astray?

That “something”, if you’re not careful,
is bound to become your one thing.

Don’t think it can’t, won’t or will never happen to you…that in itself is called pride and pride every time goes before a fall, friend (Prov. 16:18).

What is it for you?

Imagine this for a moment. Christ, of all people, he chooses you! He singles you out as one of the 12 disciples. You preach, teach, heal and exorcise demons. You walk behind the miracle maker. You see his deeds. You know his words. You watch the lame walk, the mute speak and the blind look. He calls you by name. He likely touches you. He deems you special. Wouldn’t it be amazing?!

How would you feel? How might adoration bubble over? 

(Following would be so easy; you would never leave his side, right?! That would be impossible. Impossible to turn away from him, wouldn’t it?! Uhh...Hardly!)

So, there you are, this chosen little loved one. And there you stand, looking at the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. You see his value, but there’s another dang voice calling. It speaks things like riches, mightiness, love, value, adoration, power, earthly weight, beauty, and influence – and how you should acquire them. It calls you…to figure things out.

When you spend so much time listening to the wrong voice, you kind of negate its harm. 

It gets slippery here.

You have to be careful, for you may end up getting what you long for –
but Jesus may end up – long gone. 

There you stand and walk. You kiss Jesus with your lips – but betray him in your heart (Luke 22:48). 

Don’t think you are above the betraying act of Judas. If the the very people who walked behind Jesus, could walk away, so could you.

All the disciples, people who had a first-hand account of his majesty, abandoned Jesus: “This very night you will all fall away on account of me.” (Matthew 26:31)

Peter does it three times even after pledging allegiance to his King: “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33)

If you walk oblivious to your leanings and lures, you’ll walk right into them. It happens all the time – feet are swept up and face implants down. Oww!

I think I could easily end up as a Judas. If I go about my business without giving a second thought to my mind, I’ll be kissing all sorts of things. I can’t allow this to happen, can you?

Jesus, though, he has this way or reaching out to his loved ones who are loving him. He reminds me that his touch is all I need. His forgiveness is always active. His presence is always tangible. His help is always 2-steps ahead and his gift of freedom is always waiting to work. He reminds me that I am his and he is mine and that he will help me endure this thing called faith.

He reminds me that: Perfect love casts out fear. Not once. Not twice, but every single time and that when I start stretching my neck to see other things, his love will gently massage it back to peace and calm – if I only come – to him.

The simple truth is…when you cuddle into Jesus’ deep seat of love, you can’t so easily get up and head other places.


Jesus, I love you. I want to never depart from you. May all my needs, always be met in you. Keep my devotion devoted no matter what. May your love and forgiveness never leave room for despair. May the things I want to kiss, never kill me.  Jesus, I love you. Amen.

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How Do You Receive a Drop-In? (Link Up)

When I was growing up I remember my mother’s friends dropping-in from time to time. It seems the art of the drop-in has been all but lost in our generation and I think it’s too bad.

Guests coming by unexpectedly can brighten our day if we let go of our need to have everything just the way we want it.

Sure, I appreciate a text or heads-up before my friends swing by unannounced—tightly wound woman here, remember? But there is beauty found in learning to be flexible.

God used a bible verse to illuminate my need for readjustment when faced with the unexpected.

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” -Matthew 18:5

In our case, we are actually welcoming a child into our family in late May. I want to receive this unexpected gift by welcoming her as I would welcome Christ, both into my home and heart. This verse in Matthew prompted me to examine whether or not I am receiving well or carrying on with a fast-paced, overly ambitious agenda, as usual.

Too often I miss the beauty in the unexpected because
I like to be in charge and set the plan for my days.

How about you? How do you respond when you are redirected or interrupted?
Will you choose to welcome the drop-in? Whether God is bringing a child, an unannounced guest or some other form of unexpected circumstances into your life, how will you receive it?

Will you drop what you’re doing to receive the drop-in or
insist on sticking to your agenda?

Maybe the drop-in is a creative assignment that has you shaking in your cowgirl boots?
Maybe the drop-in is a new friend that needs a lot of prayer and a listening ear?
Maybe the drop-in is a season of suffering that will refine you as gold?

Let’s embrace the unexpected, even when it’s inconvenient or intimidating. Let’s trust the God who dropped love into our lap when we were lost in sin.

Let’s continue this discussion over at Katie’s place. Today the #RaRaLinkup is being hosted at Katie M. Reid’s blog. Click this link to join us… 

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Learning to Tango with a Trustworthy Partner

Trust is Required in order to be Led by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I love to dance with my husband. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I treasure the times it does. We’re invited to an April wedding, so I’m counting on a dance or two then.

Back in college Adam and I used to swing dance. I had trouble letting him lead me. I was tense and tried to control the moves—that doesn’t work when you aren’t supposed to be taking the lead.

Someone had to follow. It didn’t mean I was less talented or capable, it just meant that in order for our dance to be effective, I needed to learn to be led so that our moves would be in harmony instead of working against each other.

A New Direction

As most of you know I am pregnant. We were planning on adopting again but God had another plan. This miracle answered many prayers I had for my heart returning home.

But here’s the thing God has been showing me recently, I can’t keep trying to do all the things I am currently doing and add another child to the mix.

He isn’t asking me to stop dancing but He’s asking me to follow His lead as He spins me around—turning me a different way than I expected.

I can fight this new direction, and most likely end up tripping and looking foolish, or I can lean in to His trustworthy arms and see where He leads.

Learning to follow does not come naturally to this first-born leader. I like to be in charge. It feels scary and off balance to bend to the leadership of another. It is challenging for me to trust another’s lead because I don’t know where it will take me. And oh how I like to be in the know!

Just the other day a conference host asked me to submit a proposal to teach a workshop at writing conference this fall. I had been waiting for an invitation like this! I was honored, yet I knew I needed to pray about it and talk it over with hubby.

I soon realized that our baby will only be four months old when this conference takes place.

I had a choice.

I could fight the way the Lord is writing my story with this new life or I could yield to His direction and trust that He will provide another opportunity to teach when my daughter is older.

By His grace I chose the latter. And I feel great peace and relief.

The Loving Lead

Are you fighting His lead in your life?
Are you pulling against His leadership instead of learning to move in harmony with His Spirit?
Have you handed over your right to control to the Only One who is truly in control?

Learn to be led so that your moves will be in harmony instead of working against each other.

He is a loving leader. And He is a fabulous dance partner.

Sometimes He takes us to places that we weren’t expecting. He spins us around and takes us to another spot on the dance floor than what we are used to.

Will we lean in close to His heart and feel His arms holding us near?
Will we let ourselves dip into His strength and bow to His Majesty?

Put on those dancing shoes, sister. There is a stirring tango that calls your name. It’s the dance of your life with Your Loving Savior.

Webster defines the tango as, “a ballroom dance of Latin-American origin in 2⁄4 time with a basic pattern of step-step-step-step-close and characterized by long pauses…”

May the steps we take each day lead us closer to Jesus. Even when there are long pauses of waiting or rerouting on this journey may we remain near to the One who doesn’t leave—even when He is quiet.

May we stay close even when He takes us in a different direction that anticipated.

Follow Jesus’ lead. It won’t always be easy or graceful, but I know it will be beautiful.

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Katie M. Reid Author

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, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.


Snapping Beauty, Crushing Vision and Tiny Stitches

Snapping Beauty

Snapping Beauty

I probably would be the girl that you’d least like to walk behind on a busy street. I might even be the one that you’d silently curse under your breath (although not too loudly or discernibly because you are Christian, after all), but all the same I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. You might even step on my heels a little to give me a quick signal I am being slow, rude and indignant.

Heck, I may even deserve it.

But, would I stop doing it? No way. Would I stop listening to the small voice that speaks about 2 feet below me. I don’t think so.

You see, I think that little voice of immaturity is on to something all the rest of us have been missing. He is on to something that in our pursuit of destination we miss. He is on to the small meaning of life, the beauty in the cracks of a sidewalk and the peculiarities in a bird with a beak of an different variety.

He is mesmerized by creation and affirmed
in God’s determination to show love.

We call it a sidewalk. He calls it a God-walk. 
We call it a place where you move from one place to another. He calls it a place you see one glory to another.
We call it a stroll, he calls it God being on a roll.

Snapping Beauty

“Stop mommy, you gotta see those birds over there. Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see that little flower sticking out of the wall? Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see the way the sun is coming out of the clouds? Take a picture!”

Snapping Beauty

Snap that shot mommy and don’t let me ever forget about this little slice of moment where what God showed is greater than the crazy, mundane and forced things in this world.  Capture the moment of greatness that only those who have the small eye seeking beauty can find. Get that and let me hold on to it so I can remember how God wanted me to see him above the scary, freaky and dark things of world.

Snapping Beauty



A moment that will last forever.

Crushing Vision

How often do I look at the world like one waiting to be mesmerized?
How often do you?

I always thought I could see, but now I see, I was always becoming blind.

Maybe it happens to others like me. The ones who pull “drive” out of their back pocket and put on the glasses of determination to try to get themselves somewhere. Ones who believe they’ll end up seeing peace, joy and life from goals, plans and agendas. These types, they run a fast race; they move like a panther in hot pursuit of prey (work, spouses, cleanliness, promotions, money, vacations, internal value (fill in blank), yet tired and panting, huffing and puffing they always land in the same place –  in the alley called dead end, dead life and dead weight.

I should know, busted my head in that alley.  I told myself I needed to be best in my class (fail.). I told myself I needed to get the best job ever out of college (I went bust at the job after a year). I told myself I needed to press through an abusive situation (nightmares plagued me).

Dead-locked vision left me for dead and on lock down with discouragement.

Tunnel vision drive, driving towards anything but God’s goals leaves you driving into a head-on collision where you feel like you can’t breathe and you are not sure if you can return to normal life.

I thought those who try hard – win big.  Where did I go wrong?

Tiny Stitches

Blind folk start to see again, when they aren’t afraid to see themselves as dirty.

After saying this, (Jesus) spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Jo. 9:6

Untitled design (8)Yet, I don’t think it is only this. It is not just saying, “Hey God, go ahead, put that stinking muck on me. I am okay with it. I am okay with seeing myself as tarnished, hurt, powerless and needing the reality of myself to cleanse me.”

Nope. I think it transcends this.

“Go,” (Jesus) told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Jo. 9:7

Be willing to wear the grime of your self, your past, your wrongs, and your traumas – and then allow yourself to be sent out. See those things in a way where they earned your masters degree of life learning.

You let the dirt sit afresh on your eyes, you feel the muck and the yuck, and then you let the word “sent” compel your whole being to move to greater insight, vision and power; you move with them and beyond them all at the same time.

Then you start to see. As the grime of what you really are, the disgust of what you have been and the pain of shame wash off, you finally get somewhere.

“I went and washed, and then I could see.” Jo. 9:11

I could see innocence.
I could see through eyes untarnished.
I could see roads untainted.
I could see the slow movement of ordinary things.
I could see worry dissipate and fears calm.
I could see people – pained people.
I could see glory – in sunrises, sunsets, grime and grit.
I could see beauty – in grace extended.
I could see growth – by offering space.
I could see life – budding in the small forging of patience.
I could see flowers – protrude from the cracks of pain.
I could see longing, desire and hope.

Snapping Beauty

It is a picture that even words fall short of explaining. So, you just stop, drop your jaw at what you see, then you look for someone that doesn’t have their head stuck in automated zombie-zone, and together, you snap a picture. Usually with the child, the innocent one who gets the greatness of God. And, then, you go about carrying on in the mayhem called planet earth until God staggers yet again with all he has stored up in the unseen places of the world.

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5 Ways The Devil is Scheming To Nab You


Hey, little child of God, I have something to tell you, so listen up.

Happiness is over there. Do you see it? Go ahead, suck in what it could be. Feel it. Relish in it. Why not? Don’t you deserve it – for all you have suffered? Aren’t you tired of being stuck?

I mean, look at you! You idiot!

You marginal fool, why aren’t you doing anything,
to change everything?

You are stuck in a church that is not ideal.
You are stuck in a house you don’t want to be in.
You are stuck with a family who doesn’t get you.
You are stuck with a job that is horrible.
You are stuck with friends that don’t really care.
You are stuck in a life that constrains.
You are stuck with kids who are unruly and disobedient.
You are stuck with a spouse who irritates.
You are stuck with a body that is ugly.
You are stuck with health issues that you can’t beat.
You are stuck with pressures and problems.
You are stuck being overweight.

Look at you, your life is horrible. I think, I really think, you should have so much more.

Psst…did you know? It doesn’t have to stay this way…you can do things about it. Now listen up before your whole life is ruined, before all the marbles are dumped on your head and before you find yourself in a burnt heap of ashes, here is my charge for you:

1. Take control. What God hasn’t stepped in to do, you can do. Those he hasn’t changed, force them to change. Drive your power in.

2. Seek happy at all costs. If something doesn’t make you happy, flee from it to find frolicking fun elsewhere. You only live once, you don’t want to sit around missing out. Fulfill your desires and feel good.

3. Remind yourself of all you don’t have. 

“You dumb idiot. While everyone else is getting ahead, you are falling backwards. Do something about it. It’s not like you are that good of a Christian anyway; you always mess up. You failure. Give up.”

Speak like this to yourself and you will be bound to get somewhere.

4. If you can’t get what you want, find another way to make yourself feel good.

Drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, porn, controlling, demoralizing, taunting, instigating, stealing, worry, abusing – it doesn’t really matter – just fill your deep need to numb the real belief you are unloved, uncared for and shipwrecked. The moment of controlled power will feel intoxicating.

5. Put yourself first. You are the only one who can fulfill your deep needs. You have to fight hard to get what you want. Defend yourself, arm yourself, distance yourself and put up an armored stronghold around your body. You are a walking fortress; keep it that way or you will be ruined. Shoot, if necessary.

Other quick tips:

– Keep your eyes on what you see before you; make a snap judgement and abide by feelings.
– Don’t let the word “patience” fool; God really isn’t working for you.
– Don’t serve anything, or anyone, that doesn’t lead to success.
– There’s no one who can come through – like you can.
– You’ll miss out if you don’t grab the world’s cup tightly – and suck it up.
– Put yourself first, no one else will take care of you.
– Get super wise and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
– Mock those who are poor in spirit, “Weaklings!”
– Doubt “hope” and stick with “despair” and you’ll fill up with indulgences of the world, for sure.
– Embrace shades of grey and blurred lines between good and evil – you can rationalize things that way.


With this, applause to you! Cheers for you! Great glory to your work! Great progress to your name! Great power to your charge! Great impact to your step! You will do it; you will find pleasure in all you ever wanted, in the enticements and in the lure of your eye.

You know you want it.
So, step in, grab it and bite –
it is the best apple you will ever eat,
even it it makes your blood run cold,
even if 10 minutes after you feel nauseated,
even if the shame adds thirty layers of chains to your hide,
even if you trap yourself into a box you can’t seem to claw your chained way out of,
at least you will have joy for a moment, ecstasy for a minute and rule for an hour.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jo. 10:10

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Cutting Ties from The Need to Please

Cutting Ties

You live to make others happy. String.
You can’t be happy if others are upset. String.
You are burdened if you made a wrong choice. String.
You can’t disagree about life issues or opinions. String.
You feel responsible for how others act. String.

Ever wondered how to live life with no strings attached?

For so long, I have walked like a shoe with warn down treads and strings wrapping me. These strings seemed to both keep me together and squeeze me. They seemed to be known and detested at the same time. For so much of my life, I would tie these strings up and say, “I just care a whole lot, a whole lotta lot about people. I would give everything for them and to them.”

The only thing about strings so tight like that is – they squelch the very person wearing them.

When we give everything to everyone, we really become a no one to everyone.
When people seem to control our every move, we move into places of anxiety and fear.
When we don’t have a way, we allow others to define our way.
When God is not making our way, we lose our way.
When we hand over our identity, we live insecurity.
When we live insecurity, who lose all surety.
When we are at the beckon call of man, we find ourself far from the peace an’ call of God.

Have you ever considered that being an over-giver is unhealthy?

Have you ever pondered how eyes on man divert eyes from God?

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

I am considering all of this. Deeply. Meaningfully. Carefully.

I choose to seek the approval of God.

With this, here is what I have come to:

1.  I can’t help another, if I haven’t given God a full chance to help me.
2. I can’t control the environment of happy, peace and calm by telling others what to do.
3. I can’t make others see, do or say what I need them to in order to keep me balanced.
4. I can observe a situation or happening without making it declare me bad.
5. I can give space and grace rather than side glances of judgement and disappointment.
6. I can be free to be me, when I trust it is God, not man, that will take care of me.
7. I can say that I am beautiful, when I stop believing man thinks I am not.
8. Others opinions belong to them, not me, and I am not any less for their correct or incorrect assessment.
9. God wants me tethered to him, not tethered to ties that keep me stuck to the past, emotions or fears.

So, take that strings! Take that, because I am cutting you!

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Prov. 29:25

For each will have to bear his own load. Gal. 6:5

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel,
so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
1 Thes. 2:4

strings unleashed,
movement unknown,
plans uncontained,
life unrestrained,
unmoved by the shaking,
but uncovered in the trembling,
Trekking towards the once declared “impossible”,
yet moving all the same,
to the place where surrendered feet stand on holy ground,
God’s ground,
the place where you know all will finally be okay.

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The Myth Of Control

I am more than delighted to welcome a true woman of the Lord, Karina, to the Purposeful Faith blog. From the minute I met her, I could see love, joy and passion written all over her. Karina is an example of transparency and authentic pursuit of God. I couldn’t be more happy to have her on Purposeful Faith as a regular contributor. I hope you enjoy her heart as much as I do.

Post by Karina

I have this struggle. I’m sure I am probably the only person who struggles with this issue. I kind of, sort of, maybe, like to be in control. Just a little bit. When a say a little, I mean a lot!

The last 6 months or so have been a bit paradoxical in nature. What I mean is that many amazing things have happened to me! I went out of town several times, have had a few exciting writing opportunities, connected with dear friends and met some new ones! During those exact same months, I have been searching for a roommate. I’m 35 and single and living alone is ridiculously expensive. I normally have a sense from God in which direction to go in when making decisions, but this time around, I had no direction.

I, under no circumstances, like the way that feels! I did my part. I exhausted every avenue to find a roommate and searched high and low for other housing. Nothing made sense. Countless options came and went. No other housing option fit my budget. Again, still no direction. My sweet friend Holly prayed for me one night a couple of months ago after small group. She told me the Lord wanted me to know that this situation was not my fault. I hadn’t done anything wrong. That filled me with such peace and yet still, there was no direction.

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has been so faithful to remind me of the truths that I so easily forget.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

God is God. I am not. He is omniscient.

He know all things…the past, the present and the future. His timing and mine are rarely the same thing. After all, He is the one who created time itself. I can effortlessly believe the lie that what I see is all there is or that my time line is perfect. That is NEVER the case. There is a great deal happening in the supernatural that I cannot see and may never see. I am learning to embrace the mystery in knowing God and trusting His ways and His heart especially when I can’t see Him at work.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The never changing truth is that God loves me deeply and He loves you deeply. What He does or doesn’t do, what He says or doesn’t say is always for our good. That is what He does and who He is as our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t send pain or suffering or doubt or confusion. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. When our circumstances are not good and perfect, it breaks His heart. And His desire is to come in and bring healing, purpose and restoration to our lives. I am learning to let Him do just that.

Are you? Is there an area of your life where you have been believing the myth that you are in control?

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Karina 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.”

Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

I see so many things called “impossibilities” right now. Blockades to progress. Markers of all I haven’t been able to push through. Barricades of defeat. A funny thing happens with these things. Maybe you have noticed? The more we pass them, ponder them and pay attention to them, the less they look like barriers and the more they look like graven images.

They normally are the things God didn’t fulfill. Things left undone. Things that torture a soul with the word, “unknown.”

They exist and then they start to rule over us, like this:
I deserve to live in defeat.
I can’t do it.
I will never find days “better”.
Quicksand is my destiny.
God doesn’t really care that I am stuck.
He won’t help me out.
I can’t make it.
I can’t do this thing before me.
I will fall down and get hurt.
Others have it easier.

Yet, when we know the end from the beginning, we know we will end up okay. Just consider this...

  • It is easy to look at our kids and say, “Trust me, when you get older, it will get better, people won’t be as mean.”
  • Or to be stuck in traffic and say, “I am dead stopped, but soon enough I will get moving.”
  • Or to watch a movie and know, “I will be okay at the end of this show, this ordeal will end.”

Never give up.
Our bodies may be dying, but our spirits are being renewed every day.
For troubles are small and won’t last,
but they are producing great glory that will last forever!
So don’t look at the trouble you see,
look at what you have not seen.
Your troubles will soon be over,
but ur joys will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

When we really know the “agony” will end,
we don’t agonize.

When we stop relying on what we see, we start seeing 
God’s predictable and promised outcome. We feel safe.

When we see the finish line of pain,
we start to live in courage, rather than discouraged.

When we believe in what will come together, we consider less what never has.

I wonder, how are you living? His Word is sure-fire. More sure-fire than any of those circumstances above. We can’t always see his workings, but we can be certain they will fire through to change the landscape of everything, always.

It’s not so much about what we see and it is always about what we don’t. It is not so much about what we “get,” but always about what he is working to give. It is not so much about there here and now, but much more about the “will come” – and the holiness that also arrives in our own heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

We don’t have to understand,
we just have to stand to believe he is working
under the gears of our lives.

Stand to know encouragement: that the pain that stands before you – will end.
Not discouragement: that what you are confronted with will always be.

Where are you dwelling? In lands of possibilities or impossibilities?

Are you looking at what will never change or at what God has all power to change?

When we fear the unknown, we actually fear the idea of being out of control. We fear that we are losing our ability to impact a darn think – and we actually are. This is the point; God doesn’t want you in control – he wants you to know he is. Not once. Not twice. But all the time. 

Yesterday, I offered a challenge of losing “control”. Of walking in greater surrender. I would love for you to join me in this pursuit to “let go and let God.” For 31 days, we will push through a slice of control we continually want to eat. What is it for you? Might you consider releasing? If so, join in.  The bloggers who take part in this will be writing about it on November 9. I am excited to share a portion of their journey too.

Let go. What we let go of, can’t rule us inside. The hole that it leaves is replaced by more of God. More hope. More renewal. More encouragement. More life.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Enjoyed “Living Encouraged”? Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Bloggers, I have moved the guest post submission deadline out to November 16. I know many of you have a busy October.

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Control Challenge: 30 Days of Not Talking Back To Husband

Not Talking Back To Husband

Epiphany! It is a risk. It is a breakthrough. It is a rarity. Unbelievably, it just happens. We can’t demand it or force it. But, when it happens, your insides do a million little cheers because what you couldn’t see before all of a sudden makes sense. Yes! It happened to me. God pushed down a blockade that has been at least 10-years old and 10-yards thick. With my insides broken, things look different. The potential looks frankly fantastic and tangibly terrifying all at the same time.

Here is the deal, for so long, my agenda is always to have an agenda: 

You have a problem?
This is what you should do.

The kid is crying too much?
I have to figure out every last thing to get him to stop so my head won’t explode.

The plan is unsure?
I will worry my little mind off until something formalizes in my mind.

The husband and I are working together?
I will tell him exactly how to move the couch in the right way.

A family member is in a bad mood?
I tell them to get feeling better so we can start enjoying the day.

God doesn’t answer?
I will be under-the-skin angry at him for not showing up my prayed for “way.”

I fail?
I am horrified at my inability to succeed. I am embarrassed you see me. I defend myself tooth, nail and mouth running 100 miles an hour.

When we manage life, life ends up managing us.

It manages to put us into a hole of anxiety, turmoil and defeat. It manages to make our feelings slaves to other’s emotions, circumstances and outright fear.

How can we be in service to God, while we are in service to fear?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Ro. 8:38

If this is the truth, if nothing separates me,
shouldn’t my heart be almost laying right on top of God’s in every
encounter, situation, and moment?

Shouldn’t I almost feel our hearts beating together and moving as one?

Shouldn’t I not be standing on my feet, but trusting, or “bittachon”ing in Hebrew, which means leaning on?

Shouldn’t I be less concerned about standing up and
more concerned with falling into God’s fix-it, love-it, help-it, I-have-it hands? 

Then, perhaps, I actually won’t feel separated. Then, I won’t hold him and others at an arms length. Then, I won’t be ruled by the same driving force that compels the devil’s parade for power. Then, I will actually give God a chance to work. Then, God and I will be one. In my terrifying moments of uncertainty, he will actually become my certainty. He will be the only surety, the only hope, the only way.

Not through my way, but by me actually living God’s way.

Can you imagine the faith-strides that will happen through a true core belief that says,
in every single solitary situation, “God, this one-is-all you”?

What role do you need to forgo to see God’s hand go wild on your behalf?

Is it being a “mom”ager, a dictator, a fixer, an “advice”r, a “peace-maker,”
a ruler, a helper, a planner or an antagonizer?

Maybe you want to join me on this 30-day challenge?

Will you join me in picking one way that you want to pack away for 30 days?

For me, it looks like this: I am making one small decision to bow down to my husband. Starting today, I will not advise, fix, control, manage, plan, help, counsel, instruct, teach, come up with different ideas, endlessly question, give the one-eyebrow raise or offer the silent treatment to get what I want. For thirty days, I will answer everything he says by “leaning in” on God. I will not offer comebacks. I will learn to offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the places where I have relied on D-I-S-T-R-U-S-T.

I will say, “yes,” rather than give my off-the-cuff “no.”

I am going to lay it all down to honor him. For one month, I am going to see what it feels like to shut my mouth, open my ears and to soften my heart. I trust that God will open great plan in the places where I might feel defeated, unsure, and tumultuous. 

For 30-days, I am going to let my husband rule unhindered. What a risk! What craziness! What a nut! Yes, I am, I am so nutty that I think God will do some absurd, fanatical and wild things; I am willing to see what I have missed out on for so long. For 30 days, I can survive. For 30 days, I can see what happens. 

What is God calling you to go a little bit “wild” on?

Is it a challenge like mine?

Or maybe he is calling you in an entirely different way to submission? To service? To love?

Maybe his calling you to step out, so he can work-in-
as you trust him.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I am going to reflect on this journey, my progress and letting go of control. I would love for you to join me as I “Say no to saying no to my husband,” and as you ____________ (tell me in the comments)?

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. Eph. 5,7-8

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Feeling Powerless to Change Others

Powerless to Change

If only they would do what I wanted.
If only they would take the right path.
How can I make them?

What do you do when all that you want to do – is make people do the right thing?

How do you break through to someone who has the power to break your world into a million little pieces of despair, which you’re certain “all the kings horses and all the kings men could never put back together again?”

As I see it, with this kind of devastation, you don’t let things break in the first place. So, here’s what I do: I demand a quick delivery of perfectly wrapped progress to their doorstep of pain. I offer it with the outstretched arms of “you better love this gift.” As I do, I can almost see their moment of realization, their tears of release, their jumps of joy.

I not only crave that “Glory! God!” moment, but I expect it.

The only problem is, of late, I have a sneaky suspicion that no one is listening. I have a sneaky suspicion that my words are falling as void as a tree in the woods with no one around to hear it.  I have a sneaky suspicion the echo of my words are resounding to nowhere.

And while I kind of feel like pulling my hair out and screaming to the highest mountains, “It all doesn’t matter,” I realize I would be left with no hair and this might end up a big issue for me.

And the truth is, I know the truth. As much as sometimes, truth doesn’t look like truth, it always remains the truth (and that’s the truth). I am a Jesus daughter, and as Jesus daughters, we believe in things we cannot see, we walk the crazy walk called faith – it’s just what we do.

Truth means that his perfect love, as it is always known to do, grabs the hand of fear and drags it to the exit sign of no return. Adios!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Notice that God did not say:

My perfect love will set all those other people free as you fix their situations.

My perfect love is the best antibiotic to cure
that person’s virus that makes you uncomfortable.

My perfect love is a tool that you can use to ensure
people don’t threaten your emotional balance

God just gives us 2 commands:

1.  Love God completely, entirely, unabashedly and wildly.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Mt. 22:38:39

When we forget the “as yourself” part, we forget how to forge true love.

The only way to send out love is to receive it yourself, first. 

How can you mail, stamp and deliver something you never held in your hands in the first place?

It’s as impossible as the idea that we can somehow restructure another’s mind through well-timed advice or high-held opinions. I can’t restructure the small cells that keep others stuck in big cells of defeat.

That’s God’s job to beat.

The only cell I can walk out of today is my own – and today I will.  Because, the watching eyes of other people’s square blocks of doom are only boxing me in to defeat in Christ Jesus. Like a ball and chain, they chain me to a wall that seems impossible to scale. It leaves me angry at God.

Frankly, it’s a ball of confusion and a chain of pride. 

Are you chained into confusion and pride?

What form of head-hitting, that moves nothing anywhere, is God calling you to stop today?

What offering of grace might he be delivering straight to your doorstep?

His gift was always meant for you.

Lord, today, we let you capture us and hold us. As we are attached to you, God, you keep us where we need to be. You deliver us to the right words, you lead us to the right hopes, you guide us in the right light. You puff us up with authentic, pure and rich love for you and others. You make us new and you guide us to freedom every time. Help us to be lighthouses of freedom, simple lights that direct others to the only shore that provides safe refuge – yours. We can’t do it on our own. We will fail, so we fall down and know that even when we can’t move, you work on our behalf. The work belongs to you God.

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