Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

I’ve Got to Do Better than Her

She is going to make me look like a fool. It’s me against her. I have to come out on top.

Deep in me, there lives a competitive beast. One that promotes selfish ambition and untoward conduct. One that looks at other gals and compares them to me.

The beast says:

I need to be super impactful, smart and powerful. Or, I’m disposable.
I can’t let others get ahead of me. No one will pay attention to me anymore.
I should desperately fear being left behind. I’ll be useless without impact.

Competitiveness is a horrible beast to be chained to. It demands we control the uncontrollable. It sets us up to fail.

Does jealousy, fear, selfish ambition or a competitive nature threaten you, like me?

Lately, I’ve become so sick and tired of it’s bullying tactics. I’ve decided – through a deep investigation of scripture – to fight back.

Here’s how:

1. I humble myself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time (and in God’s proper way), He’ll exalt me.

2. I remember Christ rules over everything. He has all authority and every victory belongs to the Lord. If it is my victory, it is an empty one. But if it is God’s, it is fruitful.

3. I ponder the idea that by my strength, I get tired. But by His, I become empowered.

4. I bless those who hurt me, persecute me, laugh at me, talk behind my back and injure me. Why? Because God loves His creation. He is working on them. He is doing something. I don’t need to get my sticky fingers into His artwork. I can trust the masterpiece He is creating without trying to let my bitterness or irritation take control.

5. I wait on God knowing that, nearly half the time, it is by doing nothing I find He’s doing everything. Likewise, I step out when He says it’s go time, no matter how prideful, arrogant or self-serving it may seem to the world. Ultimately, I don’t serve others opinions of me, but Christ’s lordship. I follow it, stay close to it and trust it, no matter how it looks.

The beast dies when we die to our flesh and come alive to Christ. It can’t live when we stay surrendered and in-step with the Spirit. It has no rule when Christ rules. Period. And Amen.

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From “a Bad Hand” to “The Upper Hand”

For a large part of my life, I believed I’d simply been dealt a bad hand. I had thoughts like this: “Things work against me. No one is for me. The world will hurt me. People are out to get me. I can’t trust anybody. I am at risk of being continually injured or stranded. Bad circumstances find me.”

Bad. Hand.

Hurt. Kelly.

Struggling. To. Be. Okay.

Annoyed….Others. Have. It. Better.

Defined. By. My. History.

Have you, like me, allowed internal definitive statements to define your identity? Are you unsure how to climb out of the pit of injustice you’ve found yourself in?

Incredibly, God’s Word shows us the way. God has clear-cut, straightforward instruction for those who have been punched one too many times by the constant onslaught of the world. For those whose stomach feels like it is caving in and they’re about to give up.

Here it is…(notice the two main call-to-action points included within this statement):

“If you… 1.) listen to the commands of the Lord your God and 2.) carefully obey them, (then) the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always have the upper hand.” Deut. 28:13

If you listen and obey…

Then you’ll have – not the bad hand –  but always, the upper hand.

You won’t be the tail that gets stomped all over, but the head that is wise, smart and full of God’s truth.

Jesus, as the head, will get in your head and change the world of hurts you’ve been living in. Give Him a shot. Listen, obey and find yourself ahead.

 

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Trading Fear for Confidence in His Unshakeable Grip

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

If you were completely confident in God’s unchanging, irrevocable love for you, would it change how you walked? If you knew that no matter how many times you fell, he would be right there to catch you, would it change the way you lived your life?

I believe it would.

Several years ago, God showed me what confidence in a daddy’s grip can do. Our firstborn was six, and he set out to conquer a new set of monkey bars at a state park we were visiting. But after climbing the ladder and surveying the height, fear overtook him. I could tell he wanted to cross, but he convinced himself he wasn’t able to do it.

After spending a few minutes observing our boy, my husband walked over. He spoke words of encouragement and told him he would walk with him, arms out and ready to grab him if he slipped.

Our six-year-old hesitated another moment and then went for it. He made it all the way across without falling, and then there was no stopping him. He immediately went back for more.

The smile on his face spoke for itself, but for the rest of the afternoon he told everyone about his new accomplishment. Our friends. The neighbors. People he met on our hike to the waterfall.

Everyone heard, “Daddy wouldn’t let me fall, so I knew I could do it.”

It’s amazing what that kind of confidence can do for us, isn’t it?

When we know someone is walking with us and cares about every detail of our lives, we can move forward without fear. Even when circumstances look bleak, we can put one foot in front of the other because we know we aren’t doing it alone.

Can I tell you something? You have someone too.

If you’ve surrendered your life to the living God, he goes with you, behind you and before you.

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 NLT

Even if everyone in your life has let you down or abandoned you. Even if your earthly father never gave you the love and assurance you needed.

God’s love is not fickle. It is patient and enduring. It withstands in the places where human loves fails.

This is the type of love that transforms our walk. It’s the type of love that enables us to do things we would never do before, because we know with him standing in the gap with us, we will never be alone.

Claim this truth as your own today. Speak it out loud when the lies of the enemy threaten to overtake your thoughts. I can promise when you do, you will see a change. And the change will be in you.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

What if Jesus Drove Your Life?

Him: “Mom, I want to ride my bike with you on a major highway.”
Me: “Hmm… No.”
Him: “Mom, I want to ride my bike to a far-off neighborhood I’ve never been to before. I want to go far and get somewhere.”
Me: “You know, son? I care far less about our destination and far more about just being with you.”

As soon as I said it, the words hit me like self-reversing bullets at brute force speed. God cares far less about my destination than He does about just being with me.

I say: “God, I want to do things for you.”
He says: “Come and sit at my feet. Be not worried about many things.”
I say: “God, I want to do things for you.”
He says: “It appears being first is the right way, but sit with me and you’ll find being last is your true joy.”
I say: “God, I don’t know if I’m doing enough for you.”
He says: “People look at the outward appearance, but (I) look at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

In all my going, am I missing the fullness of God? In pushing fast, am I really pushing God away?

God is the driver; I am the passenger. God knows where I’m going; I stay near to Him. God has the heavenly GPS; I pay attention to where He wants me to go.

Can a passenger ever go anywhere if she isn’t seated next to the driver? If she’s off in her own land, trying to drive her own pretend car to her own Never Neverland…can she ever arrive?

Surrender is to allow God to be the driver. It means you become a sitter at the feet of Jesus. It means allowing your heart to become in awe of Him and His every word. It is to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time: He’ll do the exalting. (1 Pet. 5:6) It is peace. It is joy. It is our portion. It is our calling. It is our ultimate destination.

Why? Because the destination that is Jesus always leads to a destination of vision. We find out who we are in the boundless nature of His love. Here, He reveals the “go” we always wanted to find.

Another note: My new book Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously is available for Pre-order. This summer, I want you to read the book with me. We’ll be going through the book (200 people get a copy) in my private launch team group. I’ll also be providing free support materials, printables, scriptures, prayer time together and fun stuff from me. If you want to learn to abandon discouragement, doubt, and disappointment, come join me on the launch team. Just pre-order a book on Amazon, then sign up here.

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Where Did God Go?

I believe some of you counted yourself not valuable or unable to make a difference. It’s not true. This is why I want to invite you, again, to join my launch team.

Friends, every bit helps – how you share Battle Ready with a friend in need, or do a post on Facebook, or encourage me along the way, or share it in your small group, or bring unique excitement to the team. Don’t discount yourself.  You all mean something to me; I want you to be a part of the launch team.  I want you to do this with me. Big or small, whether you feel important or meaningless, join me as we gain new confidence, seize new thoughts and spread Jesus’ liberating truth far and wide.  Pre-order a book on Amazon, then join the team here (and get a ton of video devotionals, scriptures, accountability, team support, prayer with me and little gifts from me: www.iambattleready.com/launch 

I love you all. Now here is the post:

Consider a random picture frame in your house. See it? When you wake up the next morning, do you know where it is? Are you confident it is there? Think of another one. When you walk into that room, are you sure you will see it?

What about the frame of your bed? How sure are you that when you return to your room, you’ll find it? Pretty confident, right?

The permanence of these objects is obvious. Yet, why doesn’t it feel this way with God?

It’s like God’s with us one moment and gone the next. We’re full of God one night, but down the next day. Trusting fully, then stuck in swirling ruminations the next hour.

We go from God with us to God is gone. God is here to God, are you really here?

Why does eternal God seem less real than the passing world around us?

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:8

Because there’s a re-framer in our house.

The enemy constantly attempts to steal our view and reframe it with his. He takes our pictures of God’s nearness, assaults them with doubt and tries to move them out of our line of sight.  We say, “God’s good and gone.”

Same tricks. Different day.

Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen. 3:1

Suddenly, Adam and Eve bit the fruit and were standing stark naked, ashamed in front of a far-off God.

What has the enemy reframed in your life? What has he subtly led you away from? What has he put between you and the God of closeness and fullness?

Remove it. Remove it fast and get with God. Do this repeatedly. All the time. God IS with you. He is. He will never leave your side.

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How to Prevent Yourself from Stumbling

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This (suffering, pain death) shall never happen to you!” (Lu. 16:22)
Jesus replies to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)

What is a stumbling block?

It is anyone or anything that tries to stumble you as you move on God’s road. Like Peter, people may have good intentions. Their words may even be comfortable, harmless, or normal, but if they’re stumbling you, they’re worth investigating.

Stumbling blocks often make us say, “Wait, was I really meant for all this? Will God really pull through for me? Is He really that good? Is his Word really true?” 

When I consider stumbling block words, they tend to: question God’s plan, doubt his ability to show up, discourage what He is imprinting on a heart.

They speak fear instead of life and doubt instead of faith.

Will God really…?
How is that possible…?
Are you sure you want to…?

Wise people receive wise words from others.

But like Jesus, we are wise to rebuke voices contrary to the clear moves of God happening in our heart. Indeed, Satan often uses people to do his worst handiwork.

However, we can recognize his schemes. They tend to deter us from…

  1. Holiness
  2. God’s clear call for our life
  3. Loving people as God is calling us to

Here, we can:

  1. Rebuke the enemy within our mind, and ask God to give us fresh courage to see things through.
  2. Forgive others if their words hurt us.
  3. Pray and ask God what he wants us to learn through this situation.

Just because someone said something, doesn’t mean we have to own it. And just because we don’t own something, doesn’t mean we ignore what others have said. Perhaps they have a good point. Wisdom knows to sift it through God’s Word and prayer before deciding to accept or reject it.

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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’re Afraid to Take That Step of Faith

Blog post by: Abby McDonald

“Don’t look down, Mom!”

Immediately, I wish my son hadn’t said that. I can’t help myself. My eyes drift to the expanse below and my feet wobble. What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?

I try to regain my composure and remember my harness. The 4-story high ropes course stretches out before me, and I know there was only one way out: through it.

If you fall, the harness will catch you.

I tell myself this repeatedly as I inch across a rickety bridge that seems a mile long. My son moves to the other side with ease, turning around at the end to cheer me forward.

“You’ve got this! Keep going!”

When I get close enough to the next platform, I take a giant step to the safety of a solid surface. I stop and breath deeply, thankful for a minute to relax my legs. As I survey the rest of the course, I take a mental note of how much further we have to go before we can make the trek back down to the bottom. My mouth is dry and I can hear my stomach starting to rumble.

When my husband suggested I embark on this adventure with my boys, my first instinct was to say no. First, I am not a fan of heights. And second, our one-year-old daughter was the perfect excuse for me to stay on the ground.

But then I felt a little nudge.

Say yes.

My parents were with us, and they were more than happy to watch their granddaughter. So I went. With harness tightened securely around me, I made my way to the top. And with my nine-year-old as my cheerleader, I kept going even when my balance was awkward and my footing unsure.

Even though I was afraid, I moved forward.

Even though my stamina was tested, my resolved to finish was greater. And you know what? I will never forget those minutes spent amongst the trees with my family.

When my feet were firmly planted back on the ground, I realized God was teaching me a valuable lesson. Without my even realizing it, he painting a picture.

You see, lately God’s been asking me to be brave. He’s asking me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Speak more. Lead more. Trust him more. And my first instinct, like it was with my husband, is to say no.

God, I’m not qualified.

God, you have the wrong person.

God, I have no experience in this area.

But he keeps gently nudging me forward, waiting for me to take the leap. Desiring obedience, even when I stubbornly keep my feet planted in one place.

After making a lot of excuses, I said yes to one step. And then another. With each one, he shows me his presence never leaves. Even when my feet falter, he’s there.

Having a forward-moving faith doesn’t mean we’ll never fall. It means we trust a God who never fails.

So when we slip, he’s the harness that catches us and keeps us from hitting the ground. When our balance sways, he’s the secure grip that steadies us and enables us keep going.

“It is God who arms me with strength

and keeps my way secure.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

He causes me to stand on the heights.”

 2 Samuel 22:33-34

Friends, we serve a God who wants us to live life to the fullest.

He wants our faith to move us to new heights so he can show us the depth and width of his love. A love that surpasses all understanding. A love that will change others’ hearts, minds, and lives. But we have to be willing. We have to get off the ground.

When we do, the view is spectacular. When we do, our image of God expands with each shaky step.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

 

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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The Ministry of “Not Today Folks!”

Jesus gave to everyone, always. Right?

Jesus ministered to every man who needed him. Right?

Jesus never stopped giving, ever. Right?

Wrong.

One evening after sunset the people brought Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  (Mk. 1:32-34)

Notice, Jesus healed “many.” But, as I see it: many is not all.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”(Mark 1:35-38)

Notice, while the crowds of people waited… While people were still searching him out… He did what?!!!

He went off.

He turned away from the demands of man to connect to the voice of God. Away from the calls of man, He could once again to hear the call of God. We see Jesus restating his purpose to the disciples when he said, “This is why I have come.”

Jesus let go of a “very good call” (taking care of every person’s waking need), for a better one: going where the Father desired Him to be and following through on his vision/mission as planned.

What might you be doing today that is thwarting God’s mission for tomorrow?

We are wise to look into our life to see:

  1. If our heart to do things is causing us to lose peace.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  2. If we feel upset at others for all we’ve done for them.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  3. If we are so tired, we can hardly love people anymore.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  4. If we feel God has something new for us to do.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  5. If others want us to do something more than we can do.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.

Prayer re-centers us, not on the plans of man, but on the purpose of God in our lives.

 

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.

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