Purposeful Faith

Tag - doubt

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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A Truth I love

“Believing we can have it all, all the time is a myth and a lie and a joy-stealer. What I do believe is that we can have God’s best for us. A full life and a life to the full are two very different things. One is about grasping, the other is about receiving. One is about cramming in, the other is about room to breathe. One is about striving, the other is about trust. One is about control, the other letting go – sometimes for a moment and sometimes for always.”

When I read this, in Holley Gerth’s new book, Fierce Hearted, all I could think was, yes, yes, yes. She nailed it and was saying everything I was living. You see, God recently invited me into this beautiful place of, “Set it all down Kelly. Come. And follow me.

Set down the social media stuff. Follow me.

Set down your plans. Follow me.

Set down your busy work. Follow me.

Set down your dreams. Be with me.

My answer was, “Yes, God!!!”

But you see, it’s easy to speak, but much more difficult to do. To leave behind the striving to be seen, to turn away from the control that comes with manhandling my schedule and to surrender my busyness that covers over the sense of lack I don’t want to see. . . well, it all sounds nice, but. . .

It leaves me feeling exposed. What if I am not doing what I should be? What if I miss out? What if I am left behind? What if I don’t get what I dream of? What if my time spent with God ends up (and I’d probably never vocalize this). . . wasted? What if I get disappointed?

Yet I am finding it is always in the letting go that God works his way in. It is always in the relinquishing that we get a broad-stroke view of what God is doing. It is always in carved-out space that we see God draw new stories right over the old versions of insecurity.

But we must give leeway to His ways. It’s the only way.

When we clear out everything so God can come, He does. With power, strength, dignity, honor and a pen that redraws all we ever wanted – and more. He also has an eraser. One that doesn’t feel like denial, remorse or pretending, but recovery.

“Our everything” is not found in “our doing,” but “His everything” is found in “our undoing” before Him.

Ahh…peace.

Come, Jesus. Restructure us. Let us let go of what we clench so tightly so we can find ourselves held tight in the power of your love. Amen. (and thank you Holley!)

Buy Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely on Amazon or wherever books are found.

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I Don’t Belong

don't belong

Left out.
Not included.
Not wanted.
Not involved.
Not chosen.
Not asked.
Not included on the inside joke.
Not understood.
Not told.
Not invited to come.
No seat at the table.

Where have you been overlooked? Who has forgotten you? What memory still brings embarrassment to mind?

Recently, all I wanted was a seat at the table. But all I got was dead air. Nothing. There was no phone call, no acceptance, and no open door. I was blocked from where I wanted to be.

It’s happened countless times…

I was blocked in elementary school from being in the cool girls’ crowd. I was blocked by a childhood crush when he told me a lie so he didn’t have to be near me. I was blocked from friends when they gave me a quick hello and then gathered in a big circle, practically whispering, with me outside of it.

Blocked, blocked and blocked again. . .

Where are you blocked? Blocked from conversations with one you love? Blocked from being understood by people around you? Blocked from a gathering of women? Blocked from really getting to know others? Blocked from what you really want?

Where are you blocked and overcome with a deep sense of un-belonging?

May I tell you something today? You do belong. You belong even if every door is slammed in your face. You belong even if the words coming at you are daggers. You belong even if everyone hates you. You belong even if women have rejected you, repeatedly. You belong even if religious laws once said you didn’t. You belong even if voices of accusation tell you that you never will.

Let this fact sink in. You belong.

Jesus has gone and prepared a table for you. (Lu. 14:15-24) Jesus has gone and prepared a room for you in eternity. (Jo. 14:2) Jesus died for you, so you might be included in his forever family. You belong to him. As daughter, because HE CHOSE YOU. God wants you.

For those God wants, let them declare themselves unwanted. What a lie!

“And you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” 1 Cor. 3:23

No scheme, invitation, method, word or rejection leaves us outside the fold of God’s loving desire. He wants us and He will have us. We belong to God. We belong with Him.  Anything besides this fact is a lie.

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.

5 Ways to NOT get distracted from God

NOT get distracted

My son can’t keep his eyes on me when I talk to him. Granted, he is only six, but his small eyes wander left and right when I’m giving instruction. It drives me nuts.

“Hey boy, Mama is over here, not under the table…”

I hate it the most during those lean-in kind of conversations, the ones where I really need him to pay attention because I have something important to say. When his head starts spanning the ceiling, I just know he isn’t listening. I’ve lost him somewhere. It is usually hard to bring him back and get him to hear me.

Like my son, we can’t easily hear God when our eyes are off him.  We can’t easily follow what He is doing when we look left and right and all around.

We miss His directions. God may be standing in the center of our intersection called “life,” waving his arms, trying to tell us where to go. But if we have our head turned in other directions, thinking about random thoughts, annoyances, pestering people and pain-soaked problems, we won’t see what he is doing or saying to lead us.

So how do we keep our eyes on God so we can follow him? How do we focus our attention on his Word, on prayers and on his beauty so we find ourselves full of his joy?

I’ve mulled over this question long and hard, day after day, week after week and the more I consider it, the more I am finding these steps keep intimacy in this crazy world.

5 Ways to Keep Focus on God:

  1. Give yourself allowance. You have a human mind that does human things. It gets distracted. It wonders about random people. It notices ancillary objects. It tallies up its list of to-dos.Don’t hate yourself for getting off track. Just choose to get back on.
  2. Go back to where you last were with God. Example: If you are reading the bible and you find your mind has gone off another trail, return it back to where you last were.Pick up on the last place you remember being with God.
  3. Swap what you listen to. I watched a Nazi film last night. I couldn’t think about God, nonetheless sleep. But on the nights I pray before bed, I go to bed thinking, dwelling and at peace with God.Sometimes you have to swap what you watch or partake in.
  4. Ask for God’s help to stay awake to him.Then, act like it’s Christmas. Know that today, God has something good for you and you don’t want to miss it.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3

     5. Shut it all down. Literally.Shut down your phone, computer and your active-lifestyle. Pick a certain amount of time and call it off limits. Let no one, no how, no way encroach on that time with God. Then, during this time, refer to items 1-4 above.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Is. 26:3)

The more you practice these things, the more these things will seamlessly and effortlessly become part of your life. They’ll soak into your thinking, living and doing. . . and before you know it, you’ll find yourself walking with God far more often than you’re not.

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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What Voice Speaks In You?

Right before a recent move, someone told me, “I hate __ city. I hate everything about it. It is busy. It has mean people. It is a bad environment for living.” I had to pray for God to remove that from my mind so I wouldn’t allow their declaration to become my reality.

Another person essentially told me, “Kelly, you’re not a good enough writer.” I also had to erase that from my memory, so I could do what God wanted me to do without letting their words take life and speak over me day in and day out. But even now, I remember them.

Someone else told me, “All boys with the name __, act a certain way. You never want to name your kid that or they’ll be …” Again, I had to recognize this was something I could be prone to believe. I had to seek God’s truth and his ways, rather than to let those words take root in me.

What have people spoken over you lately? What have you permitted to become a part of you? What words might not be from God?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

What ruler, authority or dark agency has spoken within you? Does it sound like love? Or does it sound like…

An Authority Saying, You’re RuinedThere is no time. There are no people behind you. You will fail. You don’t have enough __. You are always without ___. God is far.

An Agency Stating, Take Care of Yourself, Only: There is not enough to go around. Protect yourself first. Give later. The world has limited resources. Take first, give later.

A Hard-Driving Ruler demanding, Perform! Perform! Perform! Work, strive and push yourself harder: Imperfection is not allowable.  It’s an all or nothing lifestyle. It’s black or white thinking. It’s thrive or die. People are liabilities and injuries just waiting to happen. If they don’t help you, hurt them. That’s what you say.

An Authority proclaiming, You’re IncapableYou’ve always done bad in life. Why change now? You know you are unlikable, but there is no use trying to be different. Your past has marked you. The world, the hurters, owe you. You’re a victim. You don’t really have what it takes, anyway.

God is not a Father who enslaves you to a chamber of fear.

He is a daddy who loves you. He gives us…
A Daughter mentality: He loves me, oh, he loves me. Every day, he loves me.

His voice sounds like this:

I choose her.  I want her to feel my love. I want her to dwell in it and to feel the fullness of my presence around her. I want her to know I am both behind her, in her and working out through her. I rejoice over her with singing, I write her name on my hand, I prepare a room for her, I have good works ready for her to walk in, and I want to give her all my riches. I want to pour out my glorious inheritance (shout out to Jesus Christ) all over her. I want her to walk knowing she has the biggest, baddest and strongest security behind her at all moments. I want her to see she can do anything through me. I want her to know her faith can part seas and make her walk to lands unimaginable. I want her to hear my words of truth before she relies on her perceptions, because then she’ll know my love. 

I want her to know I’m always cheering for her, leading her, loving her and ready to help her. 

 

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.

Are you Feeling Crushed by Life?

crushed by life

I heard this horrible story. On a warm evening a few summers ago, a boat hit a dock. A dock full of people.

A moment before this happened, they had no idea what was about to hit them. They drank cool drinks, enjoyed the summer breeze off the bay and laughed…until the load of a power boat hit them full force.

The boat flipped over, right onto it all. Right onto their party. Under the falling weight of this boat a five-year-old boy was caught.

He should have died. He should have been crushed. He should have never stood up again from the weight of it all…except, he did.

He got back up. He had a second life, a second chance, a free pass because an Adirondack chair caught the boat’s fall. It held the boat up at just enough of an angle so the boy could survive. He could crawl out.

And, he did. Despite all odds, he lived.

The cross of Jesus Christ is our Adirondack chair. I don’t care what kind of crushing power is coming against you right now. I don’t care how horrible the bills, the arguments, the conflict, the meanness, the stress, the blows are around you – the cross of Jesus Christ, the strength of his sacrifice and the inarguable greatness of his love – saves. It doesn’t save just once.

Over and over again, when life falls with a blow so hard it wants to kill you, Jesus holds things up just enough so you live again. So you walk out, miraculously, unscathed.

Jesus doesn’t save only for eternity; he saves for today. By faith, believe it. Believe in his saving power. It is in you…

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Ro. 8:11)

Thanks to the cross, the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, we have wiggle room to crawl out from any crushing load that falls on us. There is nothing that can ruin us, ever. Get on your knees again, crawl out, brush them off and know: Because Jesus overcame, you can too.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8 NIV)

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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The Enemy Can Trick You in a Split-Second

Enemy Can Trick

I was taking my normal morning walk when something caught my eye and tried to lure me. A hand waving from the side of a building.

Was he calling me?

Sure enough, he was. He wanted me to come over.

Now, this time of day just happens to be my time with God. A time of walk and talk. It’s also a time I am really receptive to being used by him. So, for a split-second, I considered walking down and talking with this fellow.

Maybe I can reach him for Christ. 

I took my ear buds off and yelled down the hill, “What do you want?” He motioned for me to come down to him – behind the liquor store.

I considered it, but I didn’t go. I didn’t go because:

  1. He was standing behind a liquor store.
  2. He was a he.
  3. I got the feeling he was up to no good.

And as I walked away, I was in shock: How could I have ever considered doing something so dumb?

Around my house are tons of motels. There are also a lot of drug addicts and prostitutes. I came to realize upon reflection, he was likely a pimp.

Scary, I know.

But what I also realized is that sometimes the enemy can trick us in the name of Jesus. He can pull us into strategies, plans, motions or words we think are God-filled, but are actually traps set to nab us.

Christian, beware.

The serpent said to Eve, “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5)

The devil appealed to Eve’s senses with something spiritual. He lured her in with a promise of a greater vision of God. He made her believe she was doing something God already knew about. Likely, he made her feel like God was okay with it. He convinced her she’d have greater vision of good and evil.

God would want that, right?

“(Eve) wanted the wisdom it would give her.” (Gen. 3:6)

That doesn’t sound like such a bad cause, does it?

Beware: Just because God is involved doesn’t mean it is a God-cause.

Beware: Just because there is need, doesn’t mean that you’re the one God needs to walk into it.

Beware: Just because you want God’s ways doesn’t mean you go about it on your own.

The enemy will trick us with whatever device he knows will work. Sometimes, it is even things of God.

To fight this:

  1. Seek.
  2. Pray.
  3. Discern.
  4. Act or don’t act.
  5. If you choose not to act, don’t let the enemy trick you with the shame of “not doing”.

It could save your life.

 

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.