Purposeful Faith

Tag - doubt

Take a Risk as You Step Out in Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

A fun project popped into my head. The idea had the potential to strengthen families and spur on meaningful conversations. Instead of attempting the project on my own, I took a risk and asked a few others if they wanted to collaborate. To my delight, they were intrigued about the project and willing to be a part of it. I was thrilled!

It seemed like a God-inspired idea! The door of possibility was open wide.

We worked hard, against difficult odds, and pressed on. And then (due to unexpected circumstanced beyond our control) it all fell apart. Out of left field, a windstorm appeared and we wisely took cover.

Disappointment set in; I felt like I’d let the team down. Although I hadn’t realized that wind was in the forecast, I could have been more prepared for something like it.

Had I heard God wrong? Had I run ahead hastily? I don’t think so.

Just because something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, doesn’t mean you weren’t supposed to do it.

Risk-taking has a variety of results.

Right around the same time, I took another risk. I reached out to a fellow writer and basically said, “I think we should be friends”. It felt awkward and vulnerable, but I had experienced that “take a risk” nudge again—so I followed through.

I’m happy to say that this risk had a more favorable outcome. I had a hunch this friend and I were cut from a similar cloth, and that has proven true—”two peas in a pod” is how she describes it.

We have encouraged each other, helped one another, and celebrated work milestones together. It would have been a shame if I had let the failed-project situation keep me from risking again. It would have been easier to ignore the prompting and save face in case rejection ensued…yet we both would have missed out.

Time after time, in Scripture, we see God’s people faced with a choice:

  • They could believe what they saw with their eyes or they could believe what God told them.
  • They could take a step of faith or turn back in doubt.
  • They could risk their current comfort and follow God or they could settle into sinful patterns in rebellion to Him.

Has God prompted you to take a risk? Are you dragging your feet…afraid to step into the sea before you?

When God’s people stepped into the Red Sea (and later, the Jordan River) He parted the waters. They took a risk in believing Him and He faithfully took care of them.

No, it wasn’t often comfortable.

No, it wasn’t free from difficulty.

No, it did not always turn out like expected.

BUT,

Yes, it was worth it.

Yes, it brought them blessing even amidst challenging circumstances.

Yes, God was glorified and exalted through it.

Risk-taking is not easy but it is a part of our faith journey. As we follow God’s lead (whether into deep waters, dry desert, or high ground) we risk, yet we find comfort in knowing that He first took a risk on us.

God gave us everything we need for life and godliness, in the form of His Perfect and Only Son, Jesus. He left us with the choice to receive or reject Him.

Let’s take a risk and follow the One who leads us…through the depths, heights, and middle ground.

Let’s obey and trust Him with outcome.

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Katie M. Reid Writer and Speaker at katiemreid.com

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

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

 

Fear and Faith Through the Lens of the Small Screen

Fear and Faith

Today, I am delighted to welcome Mary Carver to Purposeful Faith. I love her heart and her unique ability to link faith with the Gilmore Girls! You will love her unique perspective below…

“I’m gonna have to quit drinking coffee, and I love coffee!”

– Rory, The Perfect Dress (Season 6, Episode 11)

Gilmore Girls – or television in general – might not be the first place you’d look for inspiration or encouragement in your faith, but I’ve found it there. And on top of a list of books to add to my to-read pile and a hankering for Pop Tarts, my favorite TV show has taught me a thing or two about fear and faith.

———

You know things are bad when a Gilmore girl is willing to give up coffee. But that’s exactly what Lorelai and Rory, the main characters in the show, do when they’re trying to avoid someone who’s hurt them. I lost count of how many times Lorelai boycotted Luke’s diner after the two of them had argued, and Rory learned from her mom so avoiding her boyfriend Logan (and their mutually loved coffee kiosk) was an obvious choice after a break-up.

Jonah tried ignoring his problems – and God, and that landed him in the belly of a giant fish. Thankfully, my fear has never sent me there, but avoiding people to escape confrontation or further pain has never served me well. Once I missed the baby shower for one of my dear friends because I was too afraid of interacting with the hostess, a former friend of mine who had hurt me deeply. The result wasn’t a seafood sauna, but it was a whole lot of disappointment and regret.

When I thought about this – avoiding hard things or difficult people out of fear – I realized that I didn’t need to rack my brain for more personal examples. I simply needed to rewind to the day I began writing my devotional last fall.

After getting one daughter off to school and the other to the babysitter, I opened a new document and began to … think of all the reasons I couldn’t write yet. I got up and washed some dishes, then moved upstairs to clean my bathroom sink. As long-time hater of all things housework, I was obviously procrastinating this project I was supposedly so excited to begin.

I shouldn’t have been surprised (although procrastination via cleaning is a new variation on a common theme). Though I call myself a writer, I actually find writing a terrifying act of vulnerability and risk. So typical, this tortured writer’s insecurity. And also? So similar to what our Gilmore friends did every time they avoided they people they loved but also feared.

Running away and avoiding people and places and projects is messy. It’s foolish. And it inevitably hurts us much more than it protects us. Even without the siren call of coffee, that is enough for me to remember God’s promises to be with us when we face our fears. We don’t have to be afraid, because the Creator of the universe is for us and with us.

What – or who – are you avoiding today? Do you think God will abandon you now? No! He will never leave you or forsake you. Today I challenge you – and me – to take one step of faith, make one move of bravery. Let’s stop hiding from our fears and begin to face them, knowing God is with us every step of the way. And, for the love of Gilmores, don’t give up your coffee!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

– 2 Timothy 1:7

About Mary:

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, MaryCarver.com. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me, MomAdvice.com, and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

Circling Fat: How to Deal When Beauty Is Threatened

Beauty Is Threatened

She looked at herself in the mirror, all 3-years of her life, and sized up her outfit. Her dress had layers of tulle, her face had a smile and her pigtails were long, nearly reaching her shoulders. She waved her head a bit and considered them as I said she looks, “Oh so cute…”

“Are they all going to laugh at me mommy?”

She’s already asking herself this question? God, please don’t let this question rule her life, like it had mine.

Oh how I didn’t want her valuing her worth on no-filter 3 year olds with mouths that sound like waterfalls of ruthlessness.  Oh how I didn’t want her to determine her beauty based on comments. Oh how I didn’t want her living her life based on others opinions. Oh how I didn’t want her to pander to mankind. Oh how I didn’t want her to lose herself.

My heart sunk.

“No Madison. I think you look fabulous. But, even if they do laugh. You know who sees you? Who loves you? God does. Always.”

I deeply worried my words would fall empty, repeated words, landing in the great abyss of things moms speak, but are never truly heard. Please, God, no!  I could almost see the thieves of school, boys and society snatching truth from her. Ripping it out of her heart. Claiming it as theirs.

How do I seal up beauty within her?

We headed downstairs. Me? A million questions stirred. Can I really do this? Will she ever know? She is more than a cute dress. Her small hand clenched mine.

“Mommy, do you think he will like my dress?” She looked longingly at me, inquiring about her brother.

I shrugged, already overwhelmed with the barrage of thoughts firing off in my mind.

We made it to the kitchen.

Son stared at her. She stood there.

He looked at her. She waited.

He formed his hand into a known symbol: a big thumbs down sign.

What?!  What in the stinkin’ world?

And, as if every single one of my insecurities was highlighted, I felt completely and entirely angry! Furious. I felt like my very own son had degraded – me!!! Her!!! Every single woman who ever wanted to feel good about herself!

But, he hadn’t.

As he put it, he was kidding.

But, as I saw it, it was no joke. He transformed. My son was all those people who hurt me. He was every single detractor of my worth. He was completely wrong.  He was messing up my daughter. He was in trouble: I badgered him. I nagged him to say he was sorry. I came down on him. I was unforgiving. I was obnoxious.

I projected my fear, to try to protect my heart from the past.

Do you ever do this?

We might be prone to project when:

  1. We respond super sensitively.
  2. We make comments predictors of our worth, then hate others.
  3. We become a punisher.
  4. We are extremely, overwhelmingly and exceedingly angry at a person.

Yes, my son was rude, but projecting had made me a monster. That’s usually what it does.

And, so, here I sit. Guilty? Yes. Totally.

But, forgiven? Yes. Completely.

I am not perfect. Neither are you.

The fact of the matter is we are all still working through our pain with God, aren’t we? We are all still realizing the areas we’ve once been hurt, aren’t we? We are all still in the process of letting redeemer redeem the beauty we once lost, aren’t we?

God forgives. And, my son will forgive me too. I will tell him my story: a story where I was put down, hurt and let down by the world, a world that can pick people apart instead of loving them.

I will let him know how I never want to do that to him. And, to daughter? I will hold her hand through life, keep my voice next to her ear, relinquish control and let God take the lead. I will trust that even in her hard moments, he won’t let go of her hand.

All through the month of February you will find freedom messages on Jami’s blog about the truth about how Jesus feels about you. From our darkest fears to our greatest folly He is with us – and for us!  You can check out these posts by following this link

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

When God Doesn’t Move the Mountain

God Doesn't Move the Mountain

Today, I welcome Christy Underwood! She is not only my dear friend, but she is also a woman who fights to stand strong in Christ. I admire her perseverance and endurance. I think you will too. May her story below be an inspiration to you.

The ultrasound tech asked, “How many pregnancies have you had?”

“This is my fifth.”

“How many live births?”

“One.”

Questions like these are tough to answer when you’ve had repeat miscarriages.

What’s even tougher is learning at your first ultrasound that there’s nothing in the sac. Nothing. That was a first – and I was devastated.

On my way home from the doctor’s office, I heard the song “Come Alive (Dry Bones),” by Lauren Daigle:

“Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive.”

Ezekiel once saw dry bones in a vision. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. When he did, God put breath in them and they came to life. I knew the story behind the song before I was pregnant. Hearing it this time, I cried. I badly wanted God to breathe life into me, into my baby.

In the days ahead, I had bloodwork done, and my hormone levels were consistent with a normal pregnancy but not rising as much as expected. I still was hopeful, but, at our next ultrasound the result was the same:  No life. No baby.

There are no words to explain the sinking feeling.

Yet through this heartache, amazingly, I’ve experienced more of God’s love. It’s unlike anything the world can offer. Sure, I’ve wept – and wept, but God extended strength, peace, and joy during the difficult times. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Only God, the Creator of all good things, could have carried me through this.

Do you ever stop to consider God’s point of view when you’re going through a hard time?

He’s a good, loving Father. When I see my daughter hurting, my heart breaks. I desire to give her good things. Yet, because I love her, at times, I must withhold things for her benefit.

God could have given us this child, but maybe He didn’t because He wants me to share my story with others who have experienced loss. Maybe He saw how this would strengthen my faith and the faith of others. Maybe He saw how He would be glorified.

And, maybe, God intervenes more than I realize, maybe, more than – we – realize…

I started reading Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur. Here, it occurred to me, God might have prohibited a situation from happening that would have been even more difficult.

Maybe I don’t need to know it all…maybe I just need to trust a good, loving Father.

Yes, I continue to pray for a child, but I want God’s plan for my life more than a child.  I choose to trust Him for myself, my husband, and my daughter. Trusting for my daughter is the most difficult. Sometimes I want another child more for her than for me. God reminds me that I need to trust Him. Isn’t it hard though when we think we know what’s best?

These words encourage me.  I hope they  encourage you too:

When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.

– Song, Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

Whether it seems big or small, God cares and desires to reveal His love for you. He wants to breathe new hope, joy and peace into what we look at as dead, dry and done with. Even with Jesus, what looked dead, at the right time, came alive. Day by day, let’s trust God, even when our plans don’t seem to align with His.

Prayer: God, thank you for who You are. You are a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Help us to trust in You when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Help us to keep our minds and thoughts on You instead of the worries of this world. Help us to expect You to show up, that we would feel Your love and know the peace that only You can bring. Amen.

Order Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Christy is a wife, a mother to one sweet girl, and a speech therapist. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life. Kelly and Christy met in their early 20s at a church retreat and have supported each other through all of the crazy transitions life keeps bringing.

Kelly’s must-add words about Christy: Christy is faithful. She pursues God in a way where she doesn’t let her heart quit. I admire her, I love her and I thank her for using her extreme difficulty as a God-exalting opportunity. Daddy is well pleased.

I Need Your Help (Badly!)

Need Your Help

If someone told me I’d write a book on fear, I’d have laughed in their face and told them, “There’s as much a chance of that as an ant marching in world peace.”

Not. Going. To. Happen.

But, here I am – I wrote a book – on fear, nonetheless.

Only with God. Only with God, can what you declared too scary, too high and too wild for you – become possible. Only with God, do the weak become warriors. Only with God, do those who feel like outcasts get cast out to bring others close to his love.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

God is a wild ride.

The blessing is – he takes you peacefully, not with your hair flying back all wide and your heart plummeting to the ground. It feels, usually, more fluid.

But, this story isn’t about me. Not one bit. It’s not even about how I was a horrible, no good, hated writer. It’s not about how bosses, teachers, and my inner critic laughed in my writing-face! Nope. It’s not about my inability to ever follow through on anything. Nor my tendency to blame away any opportunity as “not good enough”, because I was desperately and hopelessly fearful it was exactly what God meant for me.

It’s not about all that – because it’s about you.

Because, when I think of YOU, every time, my heart pumps a little more. Suddenly, I accept you’re, in many ways, the same as me. Some of you are afraid of lice and little bugs and what a disorganized house says about you. Or, you’re terrified your kid is going to leave Jesus to become consumed with the next pop star showing pearly whites and tanned biceps. Or, you’re not sure you’ll ever amount to anything and you fear failure – so you pretend you are disinterested in your greatest dreams, God’s leadings and massive opportunities. Maybe, you freeze. You run. You hide. You do it all because you’re desperately afraid people won’t like you. And, you’re 100% confident of one thing – you’ll never stack up to her – the All-star with the perfect car. Nope. You’ll never…ever look like her – in all her Facebook glory! Every day you hate her a little bit for that.

So, my sister in fear, I think of you….

And, this is why I wrote this book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears.

Because we get each other. We know what it is like to worry, wrestle and war against anxiety day-in and day-out. And, with you, rather than against you, I believe, together, we can win. Like, if we strip it all off (not literally) and just get really honest, supportive and unified, we will have power as we move forward. We can raise our finger to Jesus and remind each other, “He won’t leave us!”

So, in actuality, my thoughts about you – are also largely about me (sorry). I need you.

And, most of all I need God.

Because, there is no way out of the dark, without Jesus. No woman ever has ever done it alone.

Sometimes, we all need a helping hand.

Accepting help is half the battle. I am sure of it.

With all this said, I hope my book, Fear Fighting feels like a helping hand to you. That’s my dream. That it would just as much bolster your courage, as it did mine. That God would just as much meet you, as he did me. That you’d just as much find his love, as I did – and am.

It’s not like life is perfect now. But it is pacified. The edge is gone.
It’s not like I have all the answers. But, I feel okay that I don’t. I am giving space to not knowing.
It’s not like the journey isn’t ongoing. But, I am rapidly growing. I see God teaching me new things all the time.

Instead of trembling, I am more and more, walking into God’s greatest callings.
I am shedding the weight of comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of love and grace.
I am holding tight to daily bravery decrees instead of buckling at my knees at the first mention of the flu.

I’ve exchanged fretting for the feeling of being on fire for God. I want this for all my sisters in Christ Jesus. Heck, I want it for every woman. I want this book, like a movement of God, to reach into every heart and set them ablaze with passion and purpose (pray for that if you would).

Fear says it’s impossible. God says anything’s possible. God’s voice wins.

Will you join me? Beyond a shadow of any of my doubts, I need you.

Seriously, will you join the Fear Fighting movement? Will you spread the word? Will you light hearts on fire, starting with your own? Will you pass the book around? The message? The heart?

Do as God leads, that is what I did as I wrote this book. And, God never leads one wrong.

Let’s go, my sisters in Christ Jesus, I need God, so do you – let’s leave debilitating trembling behind so we can walk into God’s most astounding callings.

3 Ways to Join the Fear Fighting Movement:

  1. Buy Fear Fighting!!!
  2. Share about Fear Fighting on Facebook. (Sample: If you want to find purpose, passion and new courage then the book Fear Fighting is for you. Fight fear this new year! Check it out: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Fighting-Awakening-Courage-Overcome/dp/0801019346)
  3. Join the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge: http://purposefulfaith.com/four-days-to-fearless/
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When It Appears God Hurt You

God Hurt You

Have you ever felt like you were following through on what God called you to do? But, it seemed he was punishing you?

Perhaps, he’s called you to love a difficult person.
Perhaps, he’s called you to serve in a difficult spot.
Perhaps, he’s called you to wait on him.
Perhaps, he’s called you to stay put in a place you don’t want to.

Paul went to Macedonia saying, “God had called us to preach the gospel (in Macedonia).” (Act 16:10)
There, he cast out a demon in a woman, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (Acts 16:18)
Only to land himself in prison when the owners of the woman realized they lost “their hope of making money.” (Acts 16:9)

If I was Paul, I might throw my hands up in the air and say, “Thanks a lot, God. You really know how to send a woman out and then let her down.”

Paul and crew were stripped, flogged, beaten and thrown in jail.

What do you do when it seems God – led you, but now he’s fled you?

It’s easy to feel angry, frustrated and indifferent in this place?

Years back, God called me to start a company. I seeking God with all my heart. I was obedient in the work, diligent in the process and hopeful in prayer, yet it didn’t happen. It tanked so badly, there were tens of thousands of dollars on the line. That was tough.

What is tough place has God called you to?

Here’s how Paul responds, within the walls of his prison: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)

Imagine that? Beaten, wounded and imprisoned, yet still singing, praising and evangelizing…

This act, brings me to a place of pause: What if rather than seeing my disgrace, I believed God, for me, would about-face my situation? 

And, in this I could give praise?

Did Paul believe this?

Did he know his good God would most certainly do a good thing?

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16:26)

When we believe in God’s power, his power tools break down high walls. When we are in the center of God’s will, God works a way out for us. When we are worshipping, God is working on our behalf to open doors.

I think Paul believed in the power of God. What if we believed too?

When that person hurts us. God can shake us in love that heals.
When that dream fizzles. God will quake new dreams in us; He has a plan.
When pain surfaces: Through God all things are possible. We will wait.
When we see no way out: God will mine gold in our heart through this.
When we feel bad: Jesus’ forgiveness rattles our soul in unwarranted acceptance that feels like peace.

God will show up and when he does the power of his work – will set you free. Until, then, like Paul, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)

Beat Enemy Attacks: 1 Simple Way

Beat Enemy Attacks

I walked. I not only walked, but I felt like I was in that place, that very special place, you only get to once in a while. It is that place where you mind stops thinking about the million and one things it has to do, and it starts thinking of Jesus. That is where I was. Each step was a movement with God and each prayer was one I knew he heard.

I turned the corner and walked next a fence. Still, I honed in on Jesus – his power, his life and his resurrection and what that meant in my life. Peace sat heavy- until, a bulldog scared the living daylights out of me. He was right next to me, moving along the fence, jumping and trying to attack. I jumped in fear. But, then I remembered, that dog can have a loud bark, but he can’t really touch me.  A fence is between us. I am safe. As fast as I was fearful, I returned to being faithful.

Thank you, God.

The enemy jumps on us the same way. He’s ready to bite our heads off. But, what I’ve realized is – the enemy’s bark is worse than his bite when we trust God at his words. He can only bite us if we hop over the fence and enter into his territory. If we get caught up in the sound of his voice. Only then are we destructible and torn apart.

But, if we walk in God’s territory, in places of trust, hope and love, he can’t touch us. Try to scare us he may, but he can’t touch us.

We are protected. We are safe. God puts a shield before us. He puts his armor around us. He places the mind of Christ within us.

When we walk in the Spirit, the enemy can only destroy the flesh. What is spiritual can’t be touched by him, unless we allow it.

It releases us. We don’t have to walk around in fear, afraid of the next catastrophe ready to befall us or the next dog ready to bite our head off. No. We move in faith.

My daughter is afraid of dogs. I lift her high and hold her tight. Nothing can harm her when she is in my arms.

God is doing the same with us. We are lifted above the fray above the mania when we take his words and say, “By golly, I’ll believe those things.”

I’ve been working on this. What I’ve found is – if I can walk with God’s eyes to see, I’ll walk in a way where the enemy lets me be. Each step I take to thwart him, discourages him. Each move I make in faith, is like a fake – where I move left and he moves right and we don’t hit each other. I think it is working.

But, of course, upon reflection, I can see why: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

What if today, rather than living ready to run from attacks, we lived ready to run into the full and unwarranted favor of God? What would it look like if we grabbed his Word and let it work, as if we really believed it? How discouraged might we make the very opposition in life, rising up against us?

God, may we keep our eyes on you. May we keep our gaze steadfast. May we know that nothing can touch us with your armor around us. In you, we are safe. In you, we are full. In you, we are brought to life. Thank you that you are within us and He who is within us is greater than He who is in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

A 3-Point Plan to Beat The Enemy

Beat The Enemy

Sometimes, in the summer I get lazy. Real lazy. You see, when I go out to sit in the backyard and to soak in the summer sun, I just grab my books, my towel, my chair and my lemonade – and go. I forget the pests. I forget about those nasty mosquitos- that bite.

And, bite they do. It is usually the next day – I’m scratching my legs off.

If only I would have picked up that bottle of repellant so that I would have held up against the suckers. That would have been good.

Even more, with all this talk of Zika, I start to fear. What if I get sick? What if some disease is passed to me with all these bites?

Some days, I worry about mosquitos, most days I worry about something.

I don’t have a fight-plan either. Well, I guess by definition, if you have no plan, you do have some plan – its just a bad one.

Mine looks like this:

  1. Kelly, stop worrying.
  2. Kelly, do something to fix what is coming against you.
  3. Kelly, didn’t I tell you to stop worrying?

My fight looks like me on defense, not Christ on offense. But, Jesus never told us to sit around like doormats anticipating a good stomping. He never told us hang out in the midst of blood-sucking mosquitos.

He gave us self-protection on the cross. Jesus shows us a way out. He gives us a plan to repel what is coming against us.

Do you know it?

It looks like an unconventional fight:

Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Eph. 6

3 Point Offensive Fear-Fighting Plan:

  1. Pick up. Grab faith so you can fight life-sucking fear.
  2. Hold it up. Hold up faith founded on truth during spiritual, emotional and physical attacks. When you feel fear popping up, remember: God is for you. God is with you. God won’t leave you.
  3.  Blow up the fiery arrows of evil. Go forward in faith like it is your personal repellant to the enemy. You see him coming? Spray him with faith.

No spiritual attack can hurt you spiritually, unless you walk into life unprotected, uncertain, of God’s great love for you.

Take up your faith, hold up your shield and blow up every strategy that is trying to take down your trust in your first love. Fear Fight. Stand firm. Don’t back down.

When You Don’t Feel Gifted

Not gifted

Baseball. It taught me who I am and what to never, ever, do.

It all started on the bus ride to a game…

“Hey….Kelly,” the men’s Italian voices echoed in unison as I walked down the center aisle, clothed brightly in both team colors and Disney World-like smile. Breathing it all in, I could fully sense the air of excitement: it smelled like Syran-wrapped ham sandwiches with American cheese, it sounded like a portable pre-game radio talk and it felt like the freedom of crunched peanut shells underfoot.

Crackerjack box in hand, I left that bus and walked the stands like I owned the place. This day, I’d be – encourager. The fans would hear my chants, they’d see my team colors and, like last year, I’d start the wave. No doubt, where two or more are gathered, my sister and me? We’d move mountains – or the masses in this case.

We did. We cheered and the wave moved the stadium. The game was groundbreaking. I didn’t watch a lick of it. Still, I learned: she who thinks she is small is big when she let’s loose God’s gifts within her.

I liked that idea, very much. What I didn’t like was all this talk about the pitcher’s slump. Apparently, he lost his luck, which was ironic since he did a little song and dance before every pitch. Plus, I couldn’t figure out how he could possibly be in a “slump.” He was still the same man as yesterday. He wasn’t hurt or crippled. He could still throw 102 miles an hour. He still was strong and powerful. Yet, somewhere along the line, his mind failed him. I guess he figured, “I’ve lost my effectiveness,” or “I’m a fraud.” Maybe he thought, “They’ll all laugh at me if I do bad” or “I really never was as good as I thought.”

That pitcher? The fear that stole his could, was the mindset of – I can’t.

I’ve had his mind of anxiety lately – one of I can’t. I can’t act godly enough. I can’t love my kids well enough. I can’t do what God is calling me to. I can’t find my way. I can’t get out of the hole of discouragement. God can’t really love me, can he?

Fear has sent me to left-field looking for daisies.

And that gift of encouragement? The one that rises people out of their seats, the one that can move masses, the one that sings Jesus’ name? It’s a crumb in the bleachers.

What gift of God feels lost? Frightened away by fears?

What spiritual base of – I can – through Christ – has been stolen by the mindset of – I can’t?

Perhaps, like the pitcher, we recognize, our mind may say we can’t, but the grace of Jesus says, “We can.”

Grace says we are:

Loved beyond the very definition of the word.
Cared for infinitely and intimately.
As much saved today as yesterday.
As free as the grave is empty.
As victorious as Jesus is lion.
As gifted as always.
Irrevocably called.

Our mindset doesn’t define us, a mind set on Christ does.

Choose to win.

Baseball is a fight to win. So is the Christian walk. You can’t walk out on the field of dreams without the armor of grace, truth and love. That’s a fight in futility friends. I’ve played like that – in defeat – for 36/38ths of my Christian life. I remained – slumped.

Sure, I knew Scripture.
Sure, I knew about God.
Sure, I knew the right thing to do.
But, surely it was in my head, not my heart.

A switch must occur. Have you heard of a switch-hitter? It is a player who can hit from either side of the plate. God is calling us to switch to a new mindset that can attack any fear, fret or fury from any side. With a mind set on Christ, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing can stop us.

Today, let’s be switch-hitters – ones with eyes set on Christ, ones ready to fight -and win.

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5 Steps to Dismantling Doubt

Be still and know that I am God.

But, that was precisely the problem. I couldn’t be still. My heart was racing ten miles an hour. Ever been there? Where the face of your problems seems far more apparent than the loving face of your God?  Where it is hard to know if God can fix what you are standing up against?

“Your child has been exposed to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.”

I gave them the blank stare. I didn’t know what this entailed, but I did know it sounded – horrific. Anything with the word “disease” in it is about enough to send mom’s stomach flip-flopping and reeling in anxiety. Add visions of pussing, oozing and painful sores – and mom was already seeing red spots.

“Were they exposed to the sick kid a lot – or a little?”

“Oh, a lot and it is very contagious.”

Thanks, lady. Thanks a lot. Oh, and thanks, God. Don’t you know? I just came off the stomach flu that built into a cold that seemed to never end then my family was attacked with illness from the inside out. I’ve been run ragged and now I have to deal with – this? Great, how do you heal this thing?

In my spinning mind, my jumping, skipping and smiling daughter was already deeply ill. I could see it happening, and none of my prayers could stop this unforeseen visitor from coming.

When we open the gate to worry, it walks in, but it almost always invites its friend – doubt – to come along.

Are there uninvited guests filling your mind,
heart and soul with agony?

Doubt arrives as an attack on hope.

It deconstructs the goodness of God.
It wrecks the order of his love.
Its slow-seep is cancerous over time.
It corrodes dependence on God.
It is the devil’s biggest win.

Doubt is about as good as a heart attack,
so how do we fight it?

Fight doubt with these 5 A’s:

  1. Acknowledge the lies and God’s corresponding truth.
  2. Ask for forgiveness.
  3. Admire the power, height and love of God.
  4. Abandon our own will.
  5. Affirm God’s goodness through thanksgiving and prayer.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil. 4:8

If we filter the bad from the good, we will only be left with good. And, if we’re left with good, we’re left with God. Simply said: If we are filled with God, we can’t be filled with doubt, fear and worry.

I’m going to bank on that verse up there. It keeps uninvited guests out!

Prayer Against Destructive Doubt:

God, you are in everything. You are above everything. You know everything. You are orchestrating everything. All control is yours. All vision is yours. All power is yours. You move the handle on my life. Thank you that you want to take care of me. Thank you that you love me. You withhold no good thing from me. Thank you that I can trust you. Not with half my heart, but with my whole heart. Thank you that you know my way, even when it looks not like “my way.” Grant me greater faith to trust you by faith. Stand closer to me so I can dwell in your love. Help keep my mind steadfast on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. If I move with you, I won’t depart from you. Teach me God in all your ways. I am open and willing to what you want to do in me. I need you, God. Amen.

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