Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

How to Take Care of Yourself

Take Care

A few weeks ago, I told you about a flower that got pulled out by the bulb. I replanted it.

I also told you how, I believe, the enemy wants nothing greater than to pluck out the bulb of our faith. Deep truth in fertile soil only survives.

We talked about this…we pondered those beautiful flowers.

So, everything was fine and dandy, until, snow got in the forecast. Until, my beautiful budding beauties were about to clobbered by a mega snowstorm.

Then, my heart started up again. Worrying like I do. About – flowers?!

What?! While most worry about finances, pension funds, and pilgrimages to far away lands, here I am – worrying about flowers!? While other people are fretting about unsaved folk, disaster planning due to health catastrophes and pleading coverage for substance abuse therapy – here I am worrying about petals – yet, again?!

Normally, I’d silently call myself stupid! and call it a day. But, not today.

Today, I’ve learned to create space for what God is speaking. The Spirit is always working, ever-counseling and constantly grabbing for the attention of our hearts and mind. Will I listen? Will you?

No matter what they all think? No matter how stupid we look or feel?

By not listening, just think of all we miss: How much we deny ourselves. How we look past what God is doing, because we feel we have to be on this hamster wheel of progress, schedule and monotony. How we think we are running after the right stuff, only to find out chasing urgent is all wrong.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 1 Cor. 3:18

I consider those flowers in the snow. And, when it is snowing, I give them a second glance on the way to the car.

Their little yellow noses pop up from under the white blanket of freezing. I smile at them.

Then, I think, what God wants me to see. It comes: They are closed.

Before, when they were in light and warmth the petals were open. Picture-ready flowers.

Yet, now, while being battered by ice, snow and wind they are closed. Closed and shuttered for a non-tropical hurricane. There’s no getting in. 

I hold on to the message given to me, as if it is a clue for Kelly Balarie as she traverses this dangerous world. It’s this: When the high winds of the world come (and they will!), close your shutters and pull in close to God.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

It works like this:

When you feel frazzled because you aren’t dazzling the world,
shut out the show and slow things down.

When people are speaking at you from five different sides,
shut off the voices and find His voice of peace.

When life keeps telling you, you’re no good,
shut off the messages and read God’s Word.

When social media reminds you you’re a step short,
shut off the computer’s power and rest in His power.

When you feel as weak as a woman one day short of death,
shut down, be still and know that He is God.

When everything and then everything goes wrong,
shut off negativity and ask for God’s objectivity.

When you feel stupid for doing something,
shut off your inner-voice to see if God’s voice is calling you deeper still.

When you remember all them laughing,
slam shut the memory and open up truth:
you can do exceedingly abundantly more than you ask or imagine.

When you’re afraid you’ll fail, shut out doubt.

Just as God feeds the birds, He’ll feed us. Just as God protects the flowers, He makes way for us to protect our hearts.

 

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.

6 Tips: Go From Defensive to Offensive Faith

Defensive to Offensive

Life, no doubt, lives like war. Daily, we wake, and don’t know what attack might come our way. We don’t know if we might get that phone call, if our small health issue may turn into a big problem or if we may hit a relational snag that leaves us knot-tied for weeks.

We wake up. Usually, we blindly head into it.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of days, I feel like I wake vulnerable, open for attack and easily knocked down. The battles move so fast, some days, it is hard to get ahead of them. It is hard be be one step faster or to create a battle plan, especially when you don’t know what is coming.

But, lately, I’ve been thinking much about moving from defensive faith to offensive faith. I think the stance makes all the difference.

A defensive faith stance is:

– Waking and going through the motions

– Reading God’s Word in the morning then going into the day

– Praying when troubles hit

– Asking people to help you when you are in a serious ditch

– Acknowledging God when something really great happens in your life

An offensive faith stance is:

– Waking and proclaiming God’s truths over your life (God is with me, for me, above me, before me…)

– Moving God’s word from your head to your heart by dwelling on it throughout the day

– Praying perpetually, in the car, in your house, in your free time.

– Having a team of people to support your faith walk. Knowing they will check in on you.

– Praising God as you see his glory through your day.

– Thanking God continually for all you have.

A Christian on offense moves into the battlefield not only able to withstand war, but ready to win. They see not only what is coming against them, but they are prepared with a tactical plan to love, when usually they’d be prone to fear. It changes their eyesight. Rather than being a pawn they are now a son or daughter of the King, one loved, provided for and helped along the way. They are an active force of good on the spiritual game board of good and evil. God knows they are ready, I believe. He sees their faith and willingness to prepare. He rewards them for seeking him diligently.

This person understands, it is not their own willpower that wins, it is not their mindset that overcomes, but it is the blood of Jesus that won for them. In humility, they stand under God so that he can move over their lives and into the lives of others.

This kind of person proclaims: Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Psalm 144:1)

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.

How 1 Small Thing Will Change Your Life

Change Your Life

Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?

Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.

Got it yet?
Not yet?

This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6

The tongue.

It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.

It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.

It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!

It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.

It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.

It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.

It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.

How do you use your tongue?

I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”

Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.

It’s not easy.

The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.

But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Prov. 18:21

By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.

5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):

  1. Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
  2. Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
  3. Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
  4. Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
  5. Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.

This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.

Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:

Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent.
Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.

Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.

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.

When Rest Feels Like a Prison Sentence

“Take the keys and go,” my husband said.

It wasn’t a question. From the time he’d walked in the door my tone had been short and snippy. He knew I’d had a long day and needed time to myself, even though I was insisting on cleaning up the dishes.

After stalling several times on my way out the door, I left. I played worship music in the car and talked to God about the things that were bothering me.

I didn’t take much time to listen. I didn’t pause to see whether he had an answer to my endless list of concerns and complaints.

But since our God is faithful and more patient than I deserve, he kept speaking.

One day in early February the weather was crazy warm. Spring warm. Our family went for a walk, and my five-year-old paused every five seconds to pick up rocks and sticks. He found his favorite bridge (a slat of wood) and hopped across, quite pleased with himself as he ran down the other side of the ravine.

Will you continue reading? Today Abby McDonald is hosting the #RaRaLinkup and we’d love for you to join us at her place! Click here to join us!

28 Verses Proving God will Provide

God will Provide

I went to the bathroom and balled my eyes out. Everything I wanted, wasn’t showing up. Everything I needed, didn’t seem to be happening. Everything that I figured good, was far from me.

God, where are you?
God, did you leave me?
God, why aren’t things happening for me?

God seemed lost. His help seemed distant. His loving hand, removed.

Help me, God!

Not knowing what to do, I did the only thing ever left to do – when you don’t know what to do: I opened God’s Word, expecting He’d teach me, lead me and restore me.

He did. These verses changed my heart; I believe they’ll change yours too:

28 Verses Proving: God Will Provide

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6)

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)

The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (Prov. 10:3)

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Ro. 8:32)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  (Eph. 3:20)

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:2)

Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Gen. 22:8)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (Jo. 15:6)

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:16-17)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Jo. 14:13-14)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:22)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jo. 14:26)

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:15-16)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

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.

How Faith Decays

Faith Slowly Decays

I walked to the car. Laying on the driveway at my feet was a flower, pulled out by the bulb. My heart dropped. It was disturbing.

Leaning over to pick it up, I tossed it around in my hand, considering how it hadn’t been picked like a normal flower, it hadn’t been cut at it’s stem so it could sprout up next year. Nope. Instead, it was ripped up, its core yanked from the ground. Never again would there be growth, renewal, and hope for this little thing.

The worst thing – ever – happened to this little flower. Hope was gone.

The devil wants to rip us, the same way, right from the bulb out of the hearty soil of God’s love.  He wants to cut us, not at our stem, so that we can grow again, but at the core of who we are. He wants to take away our heart that believes we are son or daughter. He wants to remove the mustard seed of faith. He wants to hijack the truth we are saved from our heart. He wants to cripple our ability to ever bloom again.

The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Mk. 4:14-15

His tactics happen subtly. I don’t know one person who said: I want to become an alcoholic. I want to someday cheat on my spouse. I dream of becoming addicted by drugs. I am looking forward to becoming a shopaholic. I hope to one day fall far, far away from Jesus, never to care much about his ways anymore. His tugs are slow-coming.

Little-by-little, he yanks. Little-by-little, we are removed just a little more from the soil we were planted in. Day-by-day, it happens until, one day – pop! – we’re a plucked bulb from the ground. Faith is gone.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  Jo. 10:10

What are we doing, anyway? Are we waiting and watching or are we just going – la, de, da –  living as life passes us by?

Just as a predator loves a woman head down, wearing earbuds (how better to grab her) – so does the enemy love when we are distracted by the noise, commotion and the distraction of the world. Snatch!

Friends, be aware. Don’t just go through the motions of a day. Intentionally draw close to God.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. (Ja. 4:8)

Don’t just wait for faith to happen. Move into it. Grab it.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Ro. 10:17)

Don’t just be a lukewarm Christian. Let God set you on fire. Go out.
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:16)

Don’t sit around and live a distracted life. Stay focused. It matters.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God… (Heb. 12:2 MSG)

The days are short. The weeks are numbered. The mission is huge. The stakes are high. God is what matters.

I replanted that bulb, by the way. That is what God does. He replants us, no matter where we’ve been ripped up in life. He grows us again. And, we show up even more beautiful.

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.

Do You Nitpick Your Every Flaw?

Nitpick Your Every Flaw

I scrolled through old photos on my phone and took notice of my face: When I turned my head to the left, I didn’t look so bad. But, from the right, I looked horrible. In every single picture, when my face was straight towards the camera, my big nose tilted, crooked.

I hated it. I wanted to erase, blur or cover my ugliness.

What do you hate about yourself?

Your hips? Your weight gain? Your crooked smile? Your type B personality? Your love handles? Your tendency to be too curious? Your hair?

I do, in fact, also hate my hair. Frankly, when it’s not flat ironed it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Bzzt clown hair (Note: not cute).

Add this to my complexion of rosacea that runs right across my nose and – yes – on those days when foundation doesn’t do the trick – I wear a clown-looking nose too!!!

How do you contend with yourself when you’d rather be someone else?

This is the question I’ve been considering: Because sometimes I am afraid of who I am and what I look like.

I am afraid others will think I am weird. I am afraid I will look dumb. I am afraid I will be left out. I am afraid these weird features will be compounded by a fresh wrinkle. I am afraid you will stand and look at me just a few moments too long to sum up what is so wrong with my face – or my outfit.

I am afraid I’ll know what you are up to and I’ll have to deal with a whole mountain of inner awkwardness. I can’t climb well.

What about you makes you take cover? Feel ashamed? Embarrassed?

Did you know? God loves that part of you. He delights in it. He made you that way.

What would it look like if you accepted it, the way he accepts you? What would it look like to use that very thing – for his glory? For his advantage?

Scared to talk in public? Do a Facetime video.

Feel your heart beat out loud when you are around a circle of women? Approach one of the with a word of encouragement.

Hide your face under sunglasses and a hat? Go sans make-up and wear a smile that shines God’s goodness.

Feel too intellectual or too intense? Let it loose. Let it fly. Be you.

There is something liberating about approaching the world– just as you are, just as God made you. There is something freeing about not worrying about your worst. There is something redemptive about relying on the fact – God loves you.

You find yourself.

I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Ps. 139:14

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.

Super Simple Way: Escape the Rat Race

Escape the Rat Race

Moms know what I am talking about here. It’s that time when you are T-minus 5 minutes until junior’s lights out. It’s that time you know you’re about to be set free. It’s that time things need to move ahead with military precision. Demands and dictates must be followed and executed. Perfectly, even. Orders run like a military checklist…

Prayers: Contrite and consolidated. Check!

Kid: 1 sip,  1 question, 1 hug. Then, they must get snug as a rapid-fire bug in a rug. Check!

Door shuts: Only a confident “Good Night” is permissible with no grain of guilt allowed (lest the kid should pop his head back out again). Check!

Final Declaration of Victory: A sigh against the side of the wall you are slumped against.

War Plunder: A piece of dark chocolate on the couch to soothe away residual anxiety.

You made it!!!

I live my life like this and I feel like a barbarian for it. Sure, I know it is wrong. Yet, after you spend nearly 14 hours being the living slave to the kid you love beyond the smallest inkling of your wildest imagination, and after giving your best and then giving a spoonful more – your somehow on your last leg.

Many days, I hope by morning, everyone will forget how I acted like a jerk. How I spoke words I should have kept in my mouth. How I snapped about people not moving fast enough. How I nitpicked about the kitchen not being clean enough. How I grunted at mistakes.

Honestly, it is often easier to run away than to run straight into confession. It is easier to run fast than to slow down. It is easier to do than to be.

And, so, the insanity continues! I go through the motions. Repeat.

Yet, one night, things changed. He went to sleep. Peacefully.

Hmm…no sound. He was all quiet, all sweet. And here I was – outside the door. I couldn’t help but notice how far, far away I felt.

What if real peace isn’t chocolate?

What if success isn’t determined by a stopwatch?

I opened the door and went inside, I climbed up to the top of his bunk bed. Shocked, his head peeped out.

I sang a long song. Gently, his hand stretched around my neck. I felt its tight grip.

I relished the moment.

He whispered, “I love you.”

There is nowhere else I would rather be.

What have you been rushing to? Often our best moment is in the process of slowing down.

How many times have we missed it? How many times have we rushed to something better, more relaxing, when what we really want- is right before us?

When we slow down to let in a moment, we get a chance to receive it.

When we reach out with no demands, we find people reach in, towards us.

When we choose love we experience it.

I am learning – slowing down is paramount to receiving love.

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.

When Things Look Dull and Dreary

I kick myself. Again, things seem to be falling on me. It’s not so much the entire world, this time, but it is much more – me. I know, with God, he always calls me out from under my awning of darkness. There is nothing holding me back really. But, sometimes it is easier to stay in self-pity and self-reproach than it is to move into something new.

What dark awning of guilt, shame and frustration are you staying stuck under?

You stay there when you berate your endless bad actions.
You stay there when you sum up all the ways you look dumb.
You stay there when you think that girl is miles ahead of you.
You stay there when you tell your mind it’s useless.
You stay there when you ruminate on yesterday.
When you overthink things.
When you feel caught by man.
When you declare your mistakes your identity.
When you let bitterness, anger and frustration reign in your heart.

We don’t have to stay in the dark.

If we take only 1 step, just one step – out…we’ll move somewhere new. We’ll move somewhere blessed, whole and free.

I know, it feels risky, unknown even, as we place one foot down on new ground.  Sometimes we don’t even have thoughts formed about these areas. I understand.

But, here, right here, as we step out, we can see. Light above us.

It was always there, it was just hard to see when covered by the weight of wrongs. But, now, right here, we notice the immensity of a great God overhead. We look up. Stars. Lots of stars. A show, millions of them. Ahh!

We soak it in.

We are small, but he is so great.

He loves us, oh he loves us!

His face does shine upon us.

We understand if he could create this masterpiece, he can create a masterpiece out of us too.

We marvel at the vast lengths of his care that reaches further than eye can see. It reaches deep.

We notice how God extends beyond our vision. He reaches nebulas and galaxies and things far out there.

We ponder how faithful God is.

Every night – God is. Yet, some days, the clouds cover God’s best. Then, we can’t see. We run to the portico because we believe rain is coming, we are ruined.  All we see is clouds.

But, no longer, do we have to hide. God’s brilliance, his flowing faithfulness -is still there – a covering of it, is overhead.

It is there on our good days and on our bad.
It is there in our best moments and at our worst.
It is there through the thick and through the thin.
It is there when people are mean and when they’re nice.
It is there when we’re mean to our self or kind.

A beautiful display of glory is. It just – is. Whether we see it or not. The goodness of God remains. HIs faithfulness never ends. His love endures forever.

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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Fear and Faith Through the Lens of the Small Screen

Fear and Faith

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– 2 Timothy 1:7

About Mary:

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