“Believe,” she said. “You just have to believe. And don’t settle. See belief all the way through.”
It sounded like a very good and faithful thing to do. It sounded like what I really should do. But as we all know, faith in practicality lives much more painfully than it does through words. You think things like: If God doesn’t come through on this, I am toast. If I don’t find my way, I’ll never be happy. If I don’t get this done, I’ll be left behind.
Belief wavers after that first jolt of confidence and fizzles out like day-old soda. It gets flat sometimes.
So, when looking for a house and walking through one that was “a definite possibility,” her words came back to me. “Don’t settle.” She had gone on to say, “If it is an orange light from God, don’t go, but it if it is a green light, only then proceed.”
I liked the layout. It was open. I liked the paint color. It was grey. I didn’t like the door frames that looked like water had gone up their side. I also didn’t like the musty smell. Internally, I debated if the place had mold.
I wanted to overlook the bad, so I could move forward and be done with this frustrating process of finding a new place.
I went home and told my husband, “I think I found a place that looks pretty good. We probably should move on it.”
He remembered the words of our friend, “Kelly, is it a green light or an orange light?”
How often do we push into something God hasn’t called us to because we are over things? Because it is easier not to contend with that issue anymore? Because faith is hard?
When I saw the reality of it, that place was orangey-red.
“See belief all the way through.”
Where do you need to see belief all the way through?
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” Jo. 2:29
After talking with my husband, I redirected my thoughts, my heart and my will to believe. I committed to see things through. And I did. I write now from the comfort of a green light home without mold. Our family loves it.
While driving today, a motorcyclist cussed out loud at an intersection. Apparently, he didn’t make a right turn fast enough to get ahead of the cars headed his way. Now, he was slaying everyone, including me, with the evil eye as he sat waiting for his turn to go.
Staring at him, I wondered, “What would it take to fix this man’s attitude? To show him or teach him you don’t act like this?”
Many women ask themselves the same thing. “What would it take to change this person’s attitude? How they approach me, how they live, how they talk to me and listen to me. . . ”
They say, “Should I:”
Be someone different for them?
Bark at them until they act better?
Whine under my breath?
Nitpick their small issues?
Be passive aggressive?
Teach them a lesson?
Flesh aims “to fix.” It focuses on faults.
Spirit loves always. It never ceases in prayer.
My inclination at that intersection was to fix the motorcyclist’s problems. What if God called me to something different? What if rather than fixing, I was called to go about empathizing.
Empathizing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:
“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…”
Empathy thinks: He is likely having a horrible day. A coffee-spilled-on-you, kids-yelled-at-you, huge-project-at-work, hardly-any-sleep day. I’ve had those days too. I know what it is to feel rushed. I understand what it is to get so annoyed I unleash my mouth like a rabid dog. I can understand how that is.
Empathy acts. It offers eyes of sympathy with a small smile and wave that says, “Please sir, you go ahead. I am making way for you. I love Jesus and I want his love to reach you.”
Empathy sees things from the other side. It loves with all it has. And keeps at it.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Heb. 4:15)
One time, I did this totally un-Christian thing. I hid something behind the picture frames on my walls. Because it was unseen, potential new home dwellers never knew what lurked there as they walked through my house. Heck! I halfway forgot what was back there too. But on move-out day, when I took the frames down, I saw them: deep wall gouges. Ones never fixed. Ones left behind.
Welcome home! You need to re-plaster your walls!
We walk around just like this. A beautiful picture covers our deeply wounded selves.
We carry these wounds:
We don’t meet the standard of the woman we should be.
We are always falling short of other’s expectations for us.
We don’t match the persona of the woman who can do it all.
We are unworthy of receiving unconditional love.
Underneath the glass cover, no matter how beautiful or sophisticatedly adorned we are, our smile is not as real as we pretend it is. We hurt. We angst.
Our internal pictures tell a different story.
What picture is behind your picture? Is shaped like a wound? What lies deep in your soul? Loneliness? Isolation? Discouragement? Doubt?
May I tell you today, Jesus is strong enough to heal. He still is.
He still works. He still frees. He still sets free. The ancient of days is not so ancient of days that your internal wounds are outside his repair, today.
He loves you. He has chosen you to be in his care, and that means he wants to care for you. What would it look like to let him take what you’ve hidden so long?
To let it belong to God? I believe this blog post is a knock on the door of your soul: let God in.
What if you were to believe: God really heals and right now, he is actively healing you? What would it look like to let his freedom in?
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)
Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it.
I am God’s daughter. I am the daughter of a good, good father.
What does this mean?
To my heart it means:
God inclines his eyes to watch me.
He enjoys me.
He is glad he made me.
He wants me.
He delights in giving to me.
He will always help me.
He opens up his inheritance to me, gladly.
He sees me as a reflection of him.
He cheers me on as I go the right way.
He seeks to grow me, so I can thrive.
He wants me to know I am safe with him.
He believes in me.
He thought of me before creating me and liked his workmanship.
He considered my abilities, strengths, character, and frame.
He speaks over me that I am good.
He wants to be near me.
He loves it when I spend time with him.
He delights over me with singing.
He declares I am altogether beautiful, flaws and all.
He gives grace in good measure, without casting down shame.
He hands out wisdom and understanding with good pleasure.
He blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
He freely gives the best of himself to me.
He encourages me to unite in heart-centered relationships with other women.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. . .” (Eph. 1:3-6)
What number from above do you need to let soak in? What truth seems a little distant from you? What do you have a hard time believing?
Ask your good Father to comfort you in that way and make known that exact nature of his good, good character. He will.
And this makes all the difference. When a daughter knows she has a good father, she finally finds peace.
Don’t. Don’t give up on the kid who won’t listen.
Don’t give up on a dream you’ve never accomplished.
Don’t give up on a hope that seems hopeless.
Don’t give up on the spouse that you think is too far gone for you to ever love.
Don’t give up searching out that great friend you’ve always longed for.
God sees all that you’re enduring. He knows the desires of your heart. He cares for each and every one of them.
And God loves you. I fear this sounds contrite, like wasted words and that somehow, like my daughter, you’ll respond: I know this already. Tell me something I don’t know. . .
But do you really know?
Jesus loving you and dying for you is the equivalent of him jumping in between you and an assault, pushing you out of harm’s way so he can take the blow, and entering a war that feels like a huge loss, all so that you can be lifted above it.
It is like him jumping into the scene of your life to fix it, permanently and eternally.
If he cared for you that much, doesn’t he still care for you that much — today?
Don’t give up: on Him, on you or on those around you.
To not give up means to keep going. It means to you can feel kind of icky, tired, or weary and worn, but you keep at it. Not working hard, or doing more, or pressing ahead, or sweating it out, but simply pursuing him with all your heart. It’s keeping your time intact with him who is love. It’s not letting life encroach on his territory.
This is not giving up.
Getting his love gives hearts new air to breathe, room to move, and a helping hand up.
Our high aim and our lifting hand always is Him.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn.” (Ps. 37:4-6)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jesus is your victory. Your victory and your destiny. You are secure.
Because it is: Won and done. (Let these words take root in your mind when you forget)
Jesus won, is winning and will win. Period. Always. Forever. And on and on…for always.
If everything is against you, Jesus wins. Won and done. If you see death to cancer. Won and done. One day, you’ll be healed on earth or in heaven as your every tear is wiped away.
If your husband left you. Won and done. Jesus will be right next to you, never leaving your side, while leading you to his best thing.
If you get every door slammed in your face. Won and done.God will be your defender and restorer. Nothing gets by him.
If you can’t see out of depression. Won and done. In God’s presence there is fullness of joy.
If you are hated. Won and done. Jesus loves you and will fill the deep desires of your heart.
If pain overwhelms you. Won and done. Greater is God’s love than the substance of anything in this world.
Always, Jesus wins. Won and done. Always. Always. Always. Honor God by returning to this truth, in every case, at all times, in every way. Don’t delay.
He won for you and his victory is done.
“For those who honor me, I will honor.” 1 Sam 2:30
A couple weeks ago we left our house to prepare for Hurricane Irma. There were so many moving parts. We had no idea when school would resume. My husband needed to take a business trip. The storm had no real direction, and we had people telling us to leave and which houses we could live at. A million decisions were thrown up in the air, with a storm barreling towards us.
And so many worries…would our car be okay? Would our place get flooded? Would our life ever return to normal? Would power take months to go back on? Would schools ever start up again? How could I get my manuscript done for the next week with a hard deadline on my shoulders?
Add to the ride screaming kids, a phone that was blowing up with texts, bad news after bad news and it all could add up to: too much.
My husband looked at me and said, “Kelly, we need to take things one day at a time.”
These words released me from the burden of knowing it all. They spoke to me: Kelly, it is okay to be where you are today. Just stick here, in today. . .you can figure out the rest later.
Inhale. Exhale. God has this.
Where do you need to “take things one day at a time?” How might keeping your thoughts in today prevent you from rushing into quick, sandy thoughts of tomorrow? Thoughts that want to sink you emotionally?
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mt. 6:34
What we have here, in this moment, is what God works with. It is what he impacts, as we trust him. It is what we feel peace with, as we address it. It is what calms us, as we know we did our part. It is what sets us free from overwhelming and heartbreaking worry.
Let it go. You have full permission, today, to take things one day at a time.
Recently while playing back a Facebook live video I discovered an ugly truth…
I don’t have a chin in my profile view unless I smile.
I stumble when searching for the right words to say.
And I forget to look and mention each person that tuned in—how rude!
As I watch the video again, I think, I should have done better. Silently I resolve never to do another Facebook live video.
The ugly truth? Gasp—It wasn’t perfect. The realization? Ugh, I’m a perfectionist.
Perfectionist: A person who demands perfection of him or herself.
A couple of years ago I would have never called myself out as being a perfectionist because to me, a perfectionist is someone who has to make everything perfect—meaning they accomplish the task. Since I knew I couldn’t make everything just so, I surmised I didn’t fit this description.
But I was wrong.
I do try to make everything perfect but it’s according to my own standards. And I set them pretty high then I beat myself up when I don’t measure up. This often leaves me feeling like I’m good enough.
And that’s sad.
This idea that I shouldn’t ever make a mistake—mess things up, well, it’s paralyzed me and boxed me in for years. It’s kept me from trying new things, from moving forward, from chasing my dreams.
Have you ever felt like this, even partially? If you have and you are like me, you probably don’t know where this need for doing things flawlessly originates.
I believe perfectionism is a scheme of the devil. Another kill, steal and destroy game plan.
It kills our drive. It steals our joy. It destroys our dreams
Satan feeds us lies to keep us stuck. Because when we hold ourselves to this unreachable standard we keep ourselves from taking a next step—from learning.
By God’s divine design we learn by making mistakes—trial and error. If we are scared of goofing up how can be ever move ahead to the great things God has planned for us—our divine destiny—our God-given purpose?
But there is hope. It’s called grace.
And grace looks like Jesus—God’s greatest gift to us.
I am good enough and you are good enough because Jesus was good enough to be the perfect sacrifice for us. Because Jesus took our place on the cross we’ve been made perfect in God’s eyes. No more striving. It’s already been taken care of. By God’s grace it’s been done.
“For by grace you have been saved though faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)
His grace allows us the freedom to be all He intended us to be.
And though I now intellectually know this, I‘ve believed the lies so long its been a slow recovery. But I am recovering. You too?
So let us perfectionist types forge our way forward bravely running head on into mess-ups, blunders, goofs and mistakes, allowing God to refine us through each one. Knowing and believing that as His children, He sees as not only good enough but priceless, blameless and beyond compare. Already perfect.
So give yourself a little grace. God has.
Christy is an award winning writer, national speaker, wife, mother, mother-in-law, and first time grandma! She is passionate about helping women see God working for their good in the midst of their circumstances.
When Christy isn’t with family, speaking or writing, you can find her on the tennis court chasing a fuzzy yellow ball.
You can connect with Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey, Facebook, and Twitter