Purposeful Faith

Tag - doubt

When You Don’t Know What to Do

I can’t.

How many times have we thought this?

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to proceed. What does this person need to hear in order to start acting differently?

There’s validity to our questions. In reality, our wisdom leads to dead ends. Over-strategizing doesn’t work. When we control others, we grip a slippery wall, powerless.

The flesh is death.
The Spirit is life.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Ro. 8:6

One disappoints.
The other points us to Christ as we await his best thing.

One musters up faith through actions and reactions.
The other leans on God through heart connection.

One is reactive to insults.
The other is reflective and submitted to truth.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Ro. 8:26

The Spirit in us gives life to us. He not only cares our your problems, but groans on our behalf, the exact words we cannot muster.

Do you feel unaccounted for? Do you feel left behind? Do you not know what direction to head? Fear not, whatever you don’t know, God does. His plan is not to hide the plan, but to reveal it.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the SpiritThe Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10)

There is goodness prepared for you. There is an uncovering of your way being revealed by the Spirit. Therefore, wait, with faith. Trust, with hope. Be governed by the Spirit. He is always your best way.

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When You Feel Undeserving

Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”

Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”

I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.

Why do I do this?

Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:

Bad Kelly! You want too much.

Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.

Bad Kelly! You are selfish.

Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.

Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.

God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.

God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.

God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.

When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”

What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33

 

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Winter Means Waiting

Post by: Christine Hoover

In winter, I spend an inordinate amount of time holed up in my home under a blanket, guzzling hot coffee, and longing for spring’s arrival. It’s not my favorite season, but favorite or not, winter is important. Despite what we see with our eyes, the earth in winter is busy creating life. We only know this is so because spring eventually comes, and then we marvel at what that life looks like.

Is it possible that God designed winter and the earthly cycle of life, death, and renewal in order to speak a deeper truth? I believe, because the Bible says it’s so, that everything in creation is designed speech about its Creator. Just as we find him on warm summer days, standing in the sand, listening to the waves crash against the shore, we find him in the stillness of winter.

Winter, however, often speaks of a barrenness we don’t want to hear about.

Annie Dillard writes, “All that summer conceals, winter reveals.” And so we need a life with winters, because we need our hearts revealed. Winter comes to strip us bare of our delusions, to make us face reality: we have imperfections that we can’t perfect. We are helpless to find a formula to reason or act our way out of our helplessness. We are human, and we, in our barrenness, must be acted upon if we’re to experience eternal life, joy, and the supernatural.

Winter then, after stripping us bare, points us to the invisible motion as if in invitation to these very things: life is happening. God is at work, acting upon us.

The harshness of our waiting winter tells us that this world has nothing for us and that we have nothing for ourselves. We have this hope–one, and only one–that there is life waiting for us beyond death.

Although we are not yet in that world, we have reasons for our hope: the words of God. With words, he formed the earth and its seasons and cycles. With words, he continues creating. We can trust his words. In our winter, we must draw ourselves under the warm blanket of God’s promises, a sure comfort in the darkest of hours.

This is what God did with the prophet Jeremiah:

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.'” (1:11)

In Jerusalem, the almond tree, the first to bud in the spring, was said to “watch for spring.” God used the almond branch to comfort Jeremiah in his lamentable circumstances. The almond branch was a reminder that God is always in process of keeping his promises, that he is, at this very moment, hurtling all of us toward eternal spring. He pointed to the almond branch—the coming of spring—and told Jeremiah to watch and wait.

We too watch and wait, not in fear of this winter in which we live, nor in fear of our own spiritual poverty or even final death. We watch and wait, comforted, because all of this God is right now working for our true life, when winter will forever turn to spring.

Christine Hoover is a Bible teacher and the author of several books, including Messy Beautiful Friendship. Her latest book, Searching For Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time, frames the life of faith according to the seasons and according to Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Searching for spring is really a search for God’s redemptive work, where suffering and death become fruitful life. Christine invites readers like you, who may be weary and withering, to join her on a treasure hunt for beauty in both familiar and unexpected places.

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Your Fight Back Strategy!

When it is “You vs. The Enemy”…you must be prepared.

You must.

Because in this world it truly is eat or be eaten. Eat God’s Word or be eaten.

Fight or be killed. Fight back with truth or be killed.

I know this firsthand. The times when I try to do everything on my checklist so I feel accomplished, or work really hard to look better than others, or hear a million reasons why I am no good. . .here, I have one of two choices.

I can:
1. Ignore what is going on within me, do nothing, and thereby proceed into the lion’s den,

or,

2. Square up to the one who desires to make me doubt, fear, worry, stress, overdo it, give up, get defensive or hide.

Choice 1 leads me to: eating a whole bunch of the enemy’s stomach-churning bull.
Choice 2 leads me to: finding the truth that has just set me free.

Choice 1 ends with: doubt, discouragement and despair.
Choice 2 ends with: faith, hope and love.

Always use truth when you face a liar. He can’t stand up against it. So that is what we will do today. We will use truth so choice two becomes your only end and option.

Here is arsenal for your fight:

Nothing can come against me in Christ Jesus.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn. (Is. 54:17)

The Spirit in me always trumps what is coming against me.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

No evil will overcome me, because Jesus is in me. 

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. (Ps. 91:10)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Gal. 2:20)

How can the enemy own what he can’t find?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)

I’ve been given divine power to demolish the strongholds set up against me.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

God will faithfully protect me against the evil one.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thes. 3:3)

Whatever evil comes against me will be annihilated by God.

The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. (Deut. 28:7)

God will not lose me; I am not outside His love.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (Jo. 6:39)

 

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

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

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

Really, Do Not Worry

I have got so much to do and I don’t know how I can ever take care of everything because there is not enough time in the day plus I can’t even begin to get on top of that laundry and the family needs clothes and I wish I was a better organizer…it seems everyone else has buckets and labels for all the things they have so that everyone knows where things are located…and I can’t seem to keep track of where the scissors went…plus I am hardly making dinners, most nights it is quick-eats, not gourmet dinners and I need to get my kids more nutrients because they need to have strong bones and I really should be taking my daily vitamins but I am not even doing that and what if when I get old my bones crack in half and I am hunched over and have to spend the rest of my life sitting in a lawn chair or strapped to a recliner…

“Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.” Lu. 12:29

God knows our needs.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Lu. 12:30

Seeking the Kingdom first = Getting everything you need.
Letting go of the mind-rubbish consuming you to let God’s plans consume you = Getting everything you need.
Seeing the world as God’s drawing board and you as the paintbrush = Getting everything you need.
Getting love loosened from you and into the world = Getting everything you need.
Keeping your eyes on the kingdom of God, versus the kingdom of your every-waking-need= Getting everything you need.
Being watchful through prayer and diligently pursuing God = Getting everything you need.

God knows what we need. He has a good plan to give it to us. We need not worry about our fiefdom; it is all about His kingdom.

 

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

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

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

This Person Taught Me a Huge Lesson

There’s an unsaid celebrity who said unsaid things. I don’t want to say much about this person because: 1.) I’m not a fan of gossip. 2.) I do not know this person’s heart 3.) I bless her and hope she gets all her heart desires (aka. Jesus). 4.) The point of this story is not really about her, but about me. (and perhaps, you)

However…the whole story really spoke to me. Here’s the clandestine background you need to know: This individual is at the top of her game. She is loved. She has been beyond successful in every single and solitary sense of the word. The world stops and gawks, “Wow, look at her. She has it all.”

Now, you’d think with so many awards, cheers, and recognitions, this person would know: I am amazing. I am so happy. I have all I need.

Yet, in a recent report this person lamented something the equivalent of, “Waa…my friend didn’t call me today to tell me I did a good job.”

When I heard this person say this, I considered it deeper. It is like an Olympian saying, “I didn’t hear the 4-year-old clap for me, so I must be no good.” Or like a professor becoming furious that on the first day of class that no one stood up and cheered for him. Or the genius saying, no one was happy for me that I completed the Spokane Post crossword puzzle.

And here I realized: If you are always looking for people to recognize you, you always will. You won’t just reach the pinnacle of success one day and say, “Well, looky here…now I need nothing from anyone. I have arrived at happiness…”

This just isn’t happening.

The truth is if you base your worth off of others’ opinion, it will never stop. The ferris wheel keeps going. Sure you may rise to the top because you’re getting seen, but before you know it, it swoops to the bottom and you are in obscurity, feeling bound with insecurity. Then, you lament that your husband didn’t cheer for you as you finished your bike ride.

We can undo this, you know?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:30-31

What if we weren’t as much bound up by what we do as how much we love?

If who you are is loved and what you do is love others, how can mankind ever block a goal like that? His love sets us free.

Prayer: God, it is not trophies, metrics or applause that I serve, but you. Fill me with your love, so I can pour it out. Equip me with your heart, so I can enjoy it above all. Do a mighty work in me, but let it be all about you. Everything else pales in comparison. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

 

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

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

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Stay On Your Course

course

“Mommy, I can’t race. She’s ahead of me on the track,” my son said.

“She is?”

I looked left and right, but in neither direction could I spot her. I knew she was halfway looped around the track, on the other side of the building.

My son couldn’t see her either. There was nothing blocking him from charting his own path: she was enough ahead so that he wouldn’t see her and he could enjoy the ride at his own pace. And this thing wasn’t even a race.

Why was he so concerned with her? Why am I so concerned with them?

These are legitimate questions.  Why am I so concerned with the track of others when God has me on my own path? Why do I look to let other people’s courses direct mine?

I told my son it is all about perspective. He could look at his journey around the loop as:

1.) Being behind his sister 2.) Being in front of his sister 3.) Being on his own unique track with God.

When we fail to stay on our track with God, we tend to decide we are either ahead or behind. This is where pain settles in. “Ahead” tends to lead to performance anxiety, arrogance or heavy burdens, while “behind” feels like disappointment, dejection and demotivation.

Which track do you tend to be on?

The best track is: with God. God has a journey marked out for each of us. It doesn’t matter if someone is a few miles ahead, tracking their own way. You track yours. I track mine. We each want to keep space (by grace) to see what God is doing as we travel our road. Looking at others takes our eyes off God’s next best thing He is about to do.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Heb. 12:1

Prayer: God, I want to be on your road. I want to race with you. Let me not look left and right, but keep my eyes on You. Fill me with peace and an immense joy as I go. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

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

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

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

A Word on Other’s Advice

What is advice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is why prayer is paramount.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Get-Together I Never Had

get-together

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have her over. Then again, it wasn’t that I did. Generally speaking, I couldn’t make up my mind and that was the problem. I was indecisive.

Going a level deeper (there’s almost always something deeper) the reality was. . .  I’d been to her house. Everything was laid in perfect order — no crumbs on the floor, stains on her couch or picture frames off-center. Her house was perfection, every corner Pinterest-able.

Mine? Mine was laundry on the floors, toys spread all over the family room and crumbs under the counter cupboards. Mine was marker stains on the kitchen table and a mini-trampoline in the center of the living room.

She looked so good.

I looked so bad.

On face-level I look good too. Outside my house, I dress stylish. But inside- that’s what might scare her away, make her feel uncomfortable or worst yet, make me look bad.

So, while I wish I could tell you Ms. High and Mighty Blogger Gal Kelly Balarie kept our date, I canceled our little get-together. She gave me a little leeway to cancel, and I took it and ran….

And now, to top this all off, I just invited eight gals to my house in a couple of weeks. My mind can’t stop thinking of what:

– comfy chairs I need to buy
– new patio furniture I need to get
– flowers need to adorn my home
– scents need to hit them as they walk in

But then, I consider this. What if my imperfection isn’t all bad?

What if my imperfection gives way to theirs? What if my lack of everything somehow welcomes them in a small, unsaid way to share their lack? Their lack of hope in their marriage? Their lack of will to stay close to God? Their lack of understanding of what their future holds?

What if imperfection is the open door to invite Jesus in? Jesus always walked into the space and place of vulnerability. Those who fell on their knees, cried out, felt less than, hopeless, broken…for these people, Jesus showed up, with power.

Won’t He do that for me too?

So why do I try to shun that away? Why do I slam the door on the one opening God may use to truly, deeply and powerfully reach others?

I can’t help but think it is not perfect, clean and shiny houses that bring people near, but real and authentic houses that really draw people in. It stops them.

Our real truth.
Our real story.
Our details of need.
Our belief that God will show up there.
Our hope in something greater than material items.
Our will to just be with people rather than putting on a show.
Our desire to see something more meaningful than facades.

Jesus never ran from what was askew. He welcomed it.

 

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

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

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

“Brush it off!”

brush it off

“I don’t agree.”

These three words crawl under my skin like a spider.

To me, they mean:

  1. Someone disagrees with me.
  2. They probably think my idea is stupid.
  3. I have a huge chance of being wrong.

Beyond these three horrible feelings, they induce shame.

Shame is a:

Sudden
Heaping on of
A
Massive
Embarrassment

Shame makes you feel:

– caught
– like a fraud
– as if people won’t look at you the same
– like you should keep your mouth shut
– no good

Do you experience shame? When you speak? When you act in the wrong way? When people catch you doing something? When you make a mistake?

The other day my daughter came home from church. She looked at me and said, “Mommy, when I do bad, and say sorry to God, I get to do this…”

She took one hand and wiped off her other arm as if she was wiping sand off her forearm. Then, she did the same with the other arm.

“I get to wipe it all off, Mommy, and it is gone.”

I considered her words and actions. I get to do the same, too.

I get to wipe off the moment I feel caught, the second I feel exposed, the time I feel burdened by what I did wrong, the moments where I hate the little things I do. Wipe…wipe…gone.

Why?

Because of Jesus. Because his love leaves no place for shame. Because He came to free me, not to bind me up to my own nervousness. What He delivered me from was my sin and the things that keep me insecure, so I can walk out and into this world with glorious light. He does the same for you, too.

What do you need to wipe off today?

 

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

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

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

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