Her: “I told you I didn’t want the banana.”
Me: “You did?”
Her: “Oh, wait, I said that to you in my mind.”
This really happened. Someone told me in her mind and expected me to hear, I guess. It seemed crazy. Outlandish. Ridiculous.
But is it?
How many times do we speak our mind within our mind, only hoping that another will pick up on what we are saying.
We think: I wish that boy would pick up his clothes.
We act: All huffy and puffy about bending over.
We think: Why can’t she be on time?
We act: Impatient, looking at our watch the second she walks in the door to prove our point.
In our mind, we often have a running tally of what others are doing and saying wrong. But unlike the girl who didn’t want the banana, we don’t admit it. Instead, it builds and builds and builds…
Until….dun. dun. Dun… the day. . . dun. Dun. Dun…we EXPLODE!!!!!! And we go off on the person. We lose our cool and do the opposite of this:
“Love is patient, love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4)”…and “slow to become angry.” Ja. 1:19
How did we get here?
I’ll tell you how. We weren’t honest. Instead, we were thinking inside of our mind and living in fear of being truthful. The problem with this is that a truth not spoken and pent-up eventually bursts out of the pot at caustic and scalding temperatures that leave others feeling burned. Yee-oww!
God intends we go another way. We are told the truth will set us free – and it will. What is your truth? What freedom do you need to get from God?
You may need to:
1. Confess your frustration to God and ask Him what He has to say about it.
2. Admit it to an accountability partner and ask for prayer and help.
3. Talk to the person about your aggravation.
But don’t keep it on the inside. It is a hot pot about to boil over and the pain of it all does hurt.
A person taken advantage of by a boss.
Another in desperation because there is no way out of a marriage.
One uncertainty about what the future holds because children are now gone.
A friend in deep need to be healed not only of cancer, but emotionally.
We see these people, but we often feel helpless. We don’t know how to help. What to say.
The apostles perhaps felt the same when they saw thousands without food. They instructed Jesus to send them away, to “villages so they could find food” because “there is nothing here in this deserted place.”
Jesus had none of that. He replied, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13) He says the same to me. You feed them.
You feed her – the daughter who needs to know you’re listening.
You literally feed him – the husband who is tired and comes home starving.
You feed them – the couple who looks downtrodden at church every week. Go to them and see how you can get to know them.
You feed that one – the person who has been on your heart for weeks, but you haven’t taken a step towards.
Even if you say, “What, God? Me? Don’t you see I am in a deserted place? I have nothing to give.”
Jesus replies, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13)
This Christmas season, neighbors left and right came out of their house with little cookies for me and my family. I was far from home and without family nearby, but they came – and they came with smiles. Some with gifts. And every one with a heart of love.
This season, I got fed. I feel full. I told my husband it was like we were with family for Christmas.
These people didn’t count up their own deserted land and have a pity party of their own. They picked up their tin and came over. This is what Jesus means by feeding. Just get out there and do it. It matters. Small things offer others big heart strides.
And the truth is, all of us have a something, even if we have nothing. His name is Jesus. He is always our something. He is always our first leading to our best thing to do, to give, to hand away no matter how big or small. Size never matters in God’s economy. What is little gets big, in the name of Jesus.
You feed them.
Prayer: God help us to do the small things you instruct our heart to do. Give us a will of follow-through. Give us intent to love. Give us your vision and your hearing so that we might love a world in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
These three words crawl under my skin like a spider.
To me, they mean:
Someone disagrees with me.
They probably think my idea is stupid.
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:
– 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.
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.
The exterior of my house looks like a junkyard. I am not exaggerating. Out front is a broken desk; it was shattered during our near-cross country move. Out back are two sets of patio furniture. Ones I picked up and off the neighbor’s lawn.
I’ve never done that before. I really wanted patio furniture. So, the first second I saw the first set, the wrought iron white chairs, I declared them as cute as could be. That is, until a couple weeks later rust stains started showing up everywhere. I haven’t gotten rid of the chairs yet. My deck now is etched with tons of full-blown brown circles.
The other set was the replacement for the first set. I spotted the two big brown wicker chairs set aside as “throw-away items” in a neighbor’s yard. I rapidly snagged them (may I remind you, I’ve never been a trash hunter…I really wanted patio furniture). Like a sleuth agent, I threw them in my back yard before anyone could see.
Only later did I come to find out that the majority of the legs were missing. I guess they had enough legs to fool me at first. Go figure.
So, now, when I go outside, front-yard or back, I am overcome with junk. Junk that is rusty. Junk that is wasteful. Junk that is annoying. Junk I now have to figure out how to dispose of. Junk that leaves stains I also have to get cleaned. Junk that pesters me. And, no patio furniture, to boot.
What junk are you dealing with in your life? An old house? An old wardrobe? An old annoying habit that drives you nuts? A problem you can’t fix? A person you can’t de-stain? Baggage that feels to internally weighty to unload?
We can shift our attitude. Did you know that? I tried it. Sitting on the said-white chairs, the other day, I recommitted to God to be positive about it all. That is. . .until I looked left. . . and saw the brown chairs. Grr…not them again. My thoughts wandered off to lands of annoyed and not-bueno.
God, how do we continually see the good, while we are surrounded by the bad?
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)
What if we were really go give thanks in (and for) ALL circumstances, good and bad?
God thank you that these rusty patio chairs remind me: earthly things rust, eternal things last.
God, thank you that the brown chairs, flipped over, with their broken and legless limbs up to the sky speak: on earth we don’t get everything, but in Christ, we have all we ever need.
God, thank you that the broken table out front is symbolic of seasons: they change, but your love, God, always stay the same.
God, thank you that what looks like junk can be seen through a new light. Thank you that what looks broken is a reminder of my brokenness and how you’ve repaired me. Oh God, I give thanks that you haven’t left me broken, but you are repairing me. You are good.
To give thanks for our bad, is to, undoubtedly, find God’s good. It is to let victimhood, despair and frustration drop off you and to let a high and lofty view come in you. It’s powerful.
Junk has purpose. Thank you God, my deck kind-of, now, looks like art work.
God, help me to give thanks. So many times I see what is bad, but through you, I ask for vision to see what is good. I ask you for a voice full of praise and thanksgiving. I ask for understanding of what you are doing through the hard times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
“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.
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.
Have you hurt someone, but can’t seem to apologize?
Is there an argument you feel completely entitled to uphold?
Does anger overwhelm you?
Do you have the feeling your assumptions were completely off base?
Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?
Sometimes, I internally know I am 100% wrong, but externally cannot admit the truth. It’s like my heart knows what it needs to do, but my mouth can’t speak.
It feels like everyone might hate me or turn away. It feels like I might be the bad egg that falls down the chute. Bye-bye…Kelly….!
Ever been there?
Perhaps, you’re trying to maintain a good status at work, or defending an issue you know you need to change your mind on or coming down on hard on one specific person because you always have. Maybe you do this. . . all to the detriment of truth.
But, it is the truth that sets us free. (Jo. 8:32)
John Piper boils this vicious cycle down to one issue. He puts it like this:
“Pride is the enemy inside us that speaks to us like a friend. Its counsel sounds so much like self-protection, preservation, and promotion we are often blinded to the fact that it’s destroying us and others. It rises in great indignation as a prosecuting attorney when others’ pride damages us, but it minimizes, qualifies, excuses, rationalizes and blame-shifts our behavior when we damage others. We can easily be deceived into believing that our pride wants to save us, when really, it’s our internal Judas betraying us with a kiss.” – John Piper, DesiringGod.com
What if rather than being tethered to insular pride, we were released to outpouring love? What freedom might God have for us?
Relieve yourself of this. You don’t have to have it all marked out with lines pointing to things, with circles around events, checkmarks next to your part and supporting roles delineated.
It’s not your show. It’s not your story to write.
God is Creator. He is also Author God. Let him write a better story than you can. Give up your need to theorize, summarize and categorize people and all the details that go with them.
If Jesus wanted you to be ruler, he would have let you know this before he died, but he didn’t.
His grace is your grace when you give Jesus space to fill the blank lines. Then, you actually get a chance to see God work. But if you already have every line filled in and filled up, what room does this leave an active, always-writing, ever-working God?
Avoid your need to know. Eve wanted to know everything. Satan wanted to know he was higher than God.
Knowing is not our goal. Abiding is. Stick to abiding. Self-soaked ambition masked in some cover of godliness is still nastiness. Intellectual know-how covered with a know-it-all attitude still stinks.
Jesus talked to the Pharisees like this:
“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Mt. 23:27-28
Choose instead to let Jesus wash you. White. Clean.
Let him be highest. The highest scheduler. The highest orchestrator. The highest lover. The highest mountain. The highest plan.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to know every detail. You don’t have to be in tune with the whens or the whys. You know the WHO. It’s Jesus. He has you. He has a plan.
Prayer: Jesus, it’s all about your heart. It’s all about your desires. It’s all about you coming to earth, so that we could come to heaven and be with you always. Don’t let us lose sight of what matters. What a waste it is to have eternity with you, but to miss daily life with you. We want every moment with you. Restore that to us. We repent of what is not ours to keep, manage and rule. We trust you with what you want to give us. We lean on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I worked really hard to get up the hill. Pumping, huffing, standing, sitting, then standing again, I. Was. Going. To. Make. It. To. The. Top.
Nothing would stop me and my bike.
It’s often easy to get on a mission. We want to get somewhere and when we’re really committed, we see it through.
I made it to the top. Then came the decline.
Victory. As I glided down, I kept on peddling hard. Why?
No, really. . . why?
Why did I feed the need to peddle when it was a time to glide?
God says there is a time for everything:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ec. 3:1KJV
There is a season to pump our legs hard; there is a season to glide; there is a season to cry; there is a season to rest; there is a season to give; there is a season to take.
Peaceful living, I am determining, has much to do with knowing the season God has placed you in. You don’t want to be laughing in the midst of your spouse’s grieving.
As I went down the hill, it was representative of a season: to glide. To let go of worries. To trust God with all the stuff I normally do. To hear his voice calling me to ministry outside of the internet. To wonder and awe at him doing really special things alone with me.
To step away from life, demands, blog requirements, and doing stuff as usual, because it’s not God’s heart for today…(noticing is half the battle).
Letting go is the other half. It’s recognizing that our current season doesn’t have to look like our last. In fact, I have to tell you, it shouldn’t. This is my opinion, however. It is my belief that when we push a round peg into a square hole, frustration feels as ever present as a hangnail.
But to move with the grace of God. . . this is like windsurfing in the direction of God’s move. You go with him. You let go of what you think things should be. You enjoy the wind on your face. You feel the moment. You come alive in what he is doing.
What season is God calling you into? What if instead of despising it, you decided to embrace it?
Prayer: God, in your presence there is fullness of joy. Keep me in your presence and peace. Keep me going in the direction you desire for me, and nowhere else. Let me go not according to what I think I should do, but according to what your heart is for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Do you know what it is to stand up for your faith?
It’s like standing up for the kid getting taken advantage of on the playground, except the kid is you.
It’s like standing up in the court of law to speak justice, because you know it’s what needs to be done.
It’s like standing up at a sports game and cheering wildly because you have love for a team.
It’s like standing up full of sin, like the woman who committed adultery, and allowing Jesus to forgive you.
It’s like standing up against all the chatter of opposition to telling it to shut up and sit down.
It’s like standing up and putting your hands on your hips and saying, “That’s not what God says, so no way.”
It’s like standing up and speaking out God’s truths over the ample lies that surround you on the daily basis.
It’s like standing up and fighting, through prayer, for a sister going through a killer-of-a-hard time.
It’s like standing up and saying, “No, I will not lay down.”
It’s standing on the solid rock of Christ.
It’s knowing that that very rock is unmovable, unbreakable and unwavering.
It’s deciding in your heart that since Jesus was strong enough to bust out of the grave, He will be able to take you right out of your dark circumstances to move you into His light. This is standing strong.
Where do you need to stand strong?
Certainly, there is a time for mourning, crying and wrestling. There is a time. But then comes a day to say, “It is my day to bust out of this tomb of self-pity and dejection and to move into God’s light. It is time for me to stand up and say no more. No more will I be tossed like a boat of doubt, or on the waves of nauseousness or by the words of mankind. No more will I listen to the opinions of old replay or the questions of the enemy circulate. No more. Today is my standing up day. May standing up and moving out day.”
In what way do you need to stand?
“He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:4
Jesus had every right to count man’s offenses, bad words, religious spirits, hurting words, whips and mockings. He could have dwelt in that tomb of despair for a long, long time. He could have said, “Forget them, they did me wrong.” He could have let death come over us. But Jesus didn’t.
He stood up to the power of hell taking aim to bring the kingdom of God down. He stood. He stood up to take his seat at the right hand of God.
“When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19
God calls us to stand today. He calls us, today, to rise into his heavenly perspective. One that does not count the offenses of man, the injuries of yesterday, the tears we can’t move past, the people we can’t reckon with, the memories we can’t distance, the worries we can’t alleviate… certainly, all that is there. God knows it. We know it.
There it is. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it every day, for a long, long time. But what if we chose to stand up and walk past it?
The choice is ours.
We can either give in to the weights of the world, or we can rise up and give it to the God who holds the weight of the world in His hands?
We can trust the resurrection life, Jesus. He is resurrection. In all ways. All the time. With all power.
A couple of weeks ago, I panicked. After reading some random comments about God on a webpage, I suddenly got the sense I wasn’t good enough for God. I became stressed, thinking, “I needed to be the keeper of my faith.” I thought if I didn’t perform well enough for God, He wouldn’t want me. Or, if I didn’t do enough “make-God-happy” stuff, He wouldn’t bless me. It terrified me, shook me and got me thinking about his truth.
With the space of days, I began to see clearly from the woods.
Here, I noticed:
– God doesn’t speak like an accuser.
– Condemnation is not the sound of His voice.
– Conviction is his method, but truth spoken in love is always his manner.
Understanding these dynamics about God offered me a deep breath. And a baseline for the judgments and critiques coming against me. This was important because I desperately wanted to let in what was from God and let go of what wasn’t. We all want this, don’t we?
After much searching, I was left with one realization, described in 4-words: fear of the Lord.
I must have a healthy fear of the Lord. Not an unhealthy one.
An unhealthy “Fear of the Lord” thinks:
– God will get me and ruin me if I do bad.
– God has a heavenly taser ready to zap me.
– If I do good, God will be good to me.
– If I act like a bad girl, God will desert me and go on to the next girl.
– Doubt and complacency is okay because it keeps me from sinning and making Him angry.
– Father might take from me and give to the next girl if I keep making mistakes.
– My vulnerability with God opens me up to getting hurt.
– I need to panic and stinkin’ figure things out, ASAP.
Healthy fear of the Lord thinks:
To know God is better than life.
Allowing His Word to become my words restructures my life.
Contesting and detesting sin and its power to hold me back reenables my life.
To hope in the Lord and to believe Him at His Word re-energizes my life.
To trust in Him and to rest under His love renews my life.”The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to avoid the snares of death.” Prov. 14:27
“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Ps. 145:19