Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

What True Trust Looks Like

I lived with fake trust in God for a long time. During those years, I thought it was real trust. Now I realize it was like dressing up a pig and calling her pretty. I focused on actions so much that I missed the heart of the matter.

I showed myself beautified by giving advice to others.

I dressed up my Christian life by doing bible study dinners.

I put on a thinking hat to prove I was smart on bible knowledge.

I believed if I read 10 minutes of God’s Word before breakfast, all His words would work for me.

I thought myself better by sizing myself up against those who were rude, struggling, arrogant, a know-it-all, or sinning.

“Do not throw your pearls to pigs.” Mt. 7:6

May I remind you? I was the pig.

I knew the Word of God, but missed God’s heart behind it. Ouch! I worked up faith, but faith that was all about me. I loved God, but it was the brute force of Kelly Balarie trying to make it happen. I believed God via my words, but doubted him deep in my heart.

Real love is not determined by what is shown on the outside, but by what compels us on the inside. Love does not originate from our good work, but from Jesus’ perfect work.

This thought and truth freed me. No longer am I looking to prove my worth. I am trusting Jesus’ worth to be my worth. I can breathe again. And beyond this, I can rest again.

I don’t have to force my way, because God’s way rules.
I don’t have to pretend faith, because God gives it.
I don’t have to make you think right of me, because God defends me.

The difference is: I get faith from God. He gives it to me; I don’t work it up.

I never have to prove myself more worthy, because Jesus is worthy. In this gap, I can confront my inadequacies, my vulnerabilities and my inabilities without fear of the unknown or unseen. Why? Because God has me.

He has you too. Naturally, He has you. He has you even when you don’t speak Christianese. He has you when you miss your morning devotional time. He has you when you mistakenly throw out a cuss word. He has you when you don’t know what to do. He has you when you think everything is crumbling. Your work won’t make up for what you owe Him…Jesus already paid for all that.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Practical Side of Confidence

I remember sitting on the beach, watching a man who owned the water. Unlike the lady I watched five minutes before, he ran up to the gigantic waves and dove straight into them. He didn’t inch forward with trepidation. He didn’t put his arms out to balance. He didn’t look back to his wife beach-bumming-it on the sand. He owned that water. He went in, looking far stronger than the waves. I couldn’t help but think his water-approach said much about our spiritual life approach.

When we walk out on the world with the confidence of God, we aren’t easily knocked over.

To say, “My heart is confident in you, O God” (Ps. 57:7) is the equivalent of saying, “I can run up to that 6-foot wave and dive right into the middle of it and be fine.” Why? Because God is greater than any force that wants to pummel me. Nothing can eat me alive.

To say, “This I know: God is on my side” (Ps. 57:9) is to silence opposition in just eight words. Distraction and irritations lose their effect. If God is for me, who or what can be against me?

To say, “God will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Ps 57:2) is to dismantle doubt. God will do what He purposes to do.

To say, “All the Lord’s promises prove true” is to walk fortified with the solid rock of Christ in you. All that God says is real and God really is good.

How will you approach the waves of your life? Ready to be tossed around or ready to thrust right through them?

“How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” Ps. 40:4

 

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What we Fail to See

There’s this small activity I’d love you to join me in doing. I believe it will bring a huge smile to your face and your heart. Will you indulge me for a moment?

Heart-Warming Activity:

  1. Think all the way back to the moment right before you were saved. Was it 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago?
  2. Think of that old you visiting the new you today? What would she notice about you? About your life, attitudes, and perspective? About what God has done? What he has given you?
  3. Note how far you’ve come. How faithful God is. All the small things you take for granted.

We usually can’t see what’s behind us. This means while we’ve run 10,000 miles, we usually keep our eyes stuck on the ten feet we’ve got to go, rather than the 9,990 miles we’ve come. We forget to celebrate the goodness, the providence and the wonderfulness of God.

I believe the Lord delights when we stop our race for just a moment, set down our plans and celebrate what He’s done. He’s done a lot, hasn’t He? In so many ways, He’s filled our cups, hasn’t He? Beyond measure, He’s done a good work, hasn’t He?

He’s carried us far.
He’s changed our minds.
He’s reshaped our worlds.
He’s increased joy.
He’s given us wisdom.
He’s gotten us out of trouble.
Take note of all that God has done.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil. 4:4

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Let Jesus Stop you In Your Tracks

My tracks tend to be on auto-pilot. What about yours? Routinely, I’m interested in what I need to get done, who needs help around me, and what tasks need to be accomplished for the family and God. The order of our day does matter. Our priorities reflect what we believe about our identity.

Let me explain…

A religious man said to Jesus, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” (Lu. 18:21)

Essentially he said, “I’ve done what mattered, I’ve obeyed you, I am good.”

His identity was: A Rule-Follower.

Jesus replied, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Lu. 18:22).

Essentially Jesus said, “Your treasure is not what you’ve done, but is found by continually following me. In me, is your identity.”

In Christ we are:

Children of God.
Beloved.
Adored.
Restored.

Whole.
Holy.
Wholly Blameless.

Yet, as we let other treasures cloud the treasure found in following Jesus, we start to believe we: must work hard to be loved, follow every rule, do more to achieve eternal glory, look good to man, and get everything done in our day to be successful.

Where is your treasure? Is it in following and staying close to Jesus? Or is it in doing stuff, accomplishing more, and keeping up with the world in order to stay protected and safe?

What is the one thing that tends to distract you from following Him?

The best lovers of Jesus are the best releasers of what they hold tight to. The more they let go and cling to the robe of Jesus, the more they find their world healed by His love. They follow Him at all costs. They find treasure.

Jesus says to you today, “Leave that one thing behind and come. Follow me.”

 

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The Curse of the Capable

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,

 just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

I am the oldest of two kids in my family. While growing up, it was hard not to notice that my mom seemed to spend all of her time helping my younger brother. To be fair, he needed more help than I did but it was sometimes hurtful that I didn’t get the same level of attention. It kind of forced me to become independent. When I was an adult, married with kids, I asked my mom why there was such a disparity in my youth and her response was, “You didn’t need any help. You were perfectly capable.”

Now I call it the curse of the capable. Because you don’t need help, you won’t get any.

I’ve seen this curse play out a dozen different ways since then. For example, my husband and I are both independent people, and while we love to be together, we don’t always need each other. That can be good sometimes because I don’t have to wait until the weekend change a smoke detector battery or kill a spider. It can be a bad thing, however, because it’s easy for independent people to grow apart. We have to be careful about noticing when we’ve drifted and come back together.

I have also seen the curse among women. I am a natural born encourager. I use phrases like, ‘to die for,’ or ‘phenomenal’ when I’m cheering for you. I’m the friend that will literally jump up and down screaming when you share good news. I like to think I’m the ‘there for you’ friend in good times and bad. The problem I have seen is that as a natural encourager, it’s often hard to find encouragement for myself.

On the outside, it can appear as if I am confident and capable, therefore I don’t need anyone to build me up. Inside though, I am still the little girl thirsting for comfort in an arid desert. I have come a long way in this area. I found Jesus later in life and knowing I have his never waning encouragement is the most phenomenal comfort of all. But I have to admit that I still think it’s nice to get some affirmation from friends, family, and community.

If you are independent or competent, you may be under the curse of the capable. Maybe you are an encourager that needs to be affirmed or a mom who could use a reminder that she’s a good one. Perhaps you are a leader who would love some help but feels bad asking for it because you ‘should’ have it under control. Take heart, friend. As someone under the curse myself, I see you. I think you are doing a great job!

I want to invite you today to take a minute and think about someone in your life that could use a little boost. Even if that person seems like they have it all together, a quick note or message from you may be what she needs most. When we take the time to pour into others, the curse breaks and being capable becomes a blessing.

Father God, you are the ultimate encourager. Please help us to encourage one another regardless of whether or not we need it. Help us never to give up and to break the curse for people we love or admire and that in turn, it would be broken in our lives as well. Amen.

About Anne Watson:

Anne is a former sleep in on Sunday’s girl who didn’t meet Jesus until way later in life. She recently quit trying to be holy, however, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to shuck her unholy habits to fit into the Christian world. As a bullying survivor, Anne knows first hand the pressure to belong and why changing yourself doesn’t work. She now spends her time fiercely encouraging women to be badass for Jesus by being who God created them to be…themselves. She is a writer, a speaker, and a podcast host for the Declare Conference. She and her husband are raising three hysterical kiddos and are also in the process of going broke while paying for college. You can find more from Anne on her blog, GodDots.com.

It’s a Shame

It’s a shame I got so angry.
It’s a shame I didn’t give in to the demands and now, those people are still upset at me.
It’s a shame that I handled things all wrong and hurt people’s feelings.
It’s a shame that I regret it and can’t rewrite history.
It’s a shame. Or actually, I am a shame. I am a shame of a girl who should be ashamed of myself for how I acted.

This is the line the devil feeds me: “Oh, Kelly, look at you. . . you should be ashamed of yourself.”

And now, look what you’ve done:

They all hate you.
Everyone remembers.
You are a bad testimony.
You’ll never recover.
No one will ever support you.
You’re ruined.

He’s sneaky, that devil.

But I can be sneaky too. I can be. I’m sneaky when I remember: if I’ve confessed it, God’s forgiven it.

At this point, the face of that issue no longer faces me. Jesus’ love speaks louder than my history. Yet, I can be sure if there’s a voice still talking, it’s the enemy’s. And at this point, it will always sound like shame or regret.

But I don’t have to live with it. I can tell it to shut up. Here’s how. . . I say:

I am not controlled by what I’ve done, but the Word of Truth and the Spirit of life.
There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
There is no perfect person and if that is my standard I will always fall. I can forgive myself.
God is my hiding place, and in Him no harm will touch me.
God knows the intentions of my heart.
The Lord watches over me, because I fear Him. (Ps. 33:18)
The Lord protects me; He is my shield. (Ps. 33:20)
The Lord thwarts any evil schemes coming against me. (Ps. 33:10)
I am not perfect, but the perfect sacrifice of Jesus perfectly covers me and marks me righteous.

I am fully restored in Christ.

And that’s how the voice stops talking. You tell it the truth.

 

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.

“No Strings Attached”

No Strings Attached

We’ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six years, and with each move I’ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. Women can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.

After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit the one across the street from our apartment complex.

It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the building. People wanted to know where we were from and where we’d been and if we preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad these complete strangers were making an effort to get to know us.

And then someone took it to the next level.

A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.

If my jaw didn’t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’t hesitate to welcome my child and I into her daily life.

I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the groove of the friendships she had already established.

As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of many life-giving friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful Beth didn’t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you like to come over?”

May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:3

Prayer:

Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely. And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.

About Kendra Broekhuis:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her NeighborThe book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

 

When To End a Friendship?

When do you end a friendship?

This is both a hard question to ask, and perhaps, one we’ve all been confronted with. Are there times, reasons or seasons to pull away from a friend? And should we feel horribly guilty about it?

I stood facing exactly this type of decision only three weeks ago. I liked the girl, but she had been giving me far too much detailed advice about topics I never asked her input on. This annoyed me. It was as if she was rewriting my life with a pen I never handed her. It was as if she was telling me a list of things I should improve, but the hard part was she didn’t even know my story or what God was doing behind the scenes. She was quick to talk and slow to ask questions of understanding.

My finger was pointed at her. And my mind kept circling the thought, “Guard your heartCreate distance from her.”

This meant avoid her: Avoid confronting her. Avoid the problem and avoid dealing with the repercussions of having a real discussion.

But God bless my husband. He essentially told me, “Love has hard talks.”

It does? So I talked with her.

Which I’m so glad I did, because if I didn’t I never would have seen:

-How my wounds made me react quickly to her words.
-God had things for me to learn through this discussion.
-Her heart was in the right place.
-God has deeper healing for me.
-There are safe boundaries that can be set up.
-I am not always right.
-Communication about what works and what doesn’t is vital to any relationship.
-We both have good goals in mind.
-The enemy is sneaky and he loves to create division.

I am not perfect, and neither are my friends. I haven’t always been a good or an enduring friend but I am learning to give people the benefit of the doubt.

So to answer the question, “When do you end a friendship?” I don’t have all the exact answers and there are far too many nuances to explain in black ink…but I do know: you never ditch people like trash. That is for sure.

You talk and you tell. You love and love some more. You give and accept grace. You listen and you learn. You dive in and you uncover. You persist and listen to God’s direction.

You take the risk, even when you want to turn your back and walk away. Sure, there may be times God leads you to go a different path. But, before this point, you enter the difficult spaces and get real. You seek to understand.

Take a hard-learned lesson from me.

Prayer: God, I want to be a good friend. I want to be a person who is slow to anger, quick to listen, patient and kind. Grow me in this. Show me how to communicate well. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Invite More of Jesus In

“While we were still sinners…” Ro. 5:8

Take notice, the line above does not read…
“While we were trying really hard to improve…”
“After we had started to get wise…”
“Once we read the book of John three times…”
“As soon as we looked like Mary, not Martha…”
“After a huge and long prayer that really showed God you loved Him…”
“After we proved we would have Christian value for the future…”
“Because you did better things than the other woman…”

No. While you were a sinner. . . while you had dirty knees and an unclean heart, while you still were doing that horrible blasted thing you always do, while you brought nothing to God on your own…right then, Jesus chose to die for you.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Tim. 1:15

Jesus, sans sin, saves sinners. Lamb of the world. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. Lion of Judah. He came (and got) what he was after: our sin and our hearts. What we hate in us, Jesus annihilates. He throws it as far as the east is from the west, and remakes us into His image. Glory.

What love is this?!

Right now, love calls you deeper. Will you respond? What must you clear out so Love can make His way in and renew your spirit? So that you can abound in freedom?

No matter how unworthy, messed up, horrible or guilty you feel, there is nothing that can separate you from Jesus’ love. There is no amount of feelings that can devalue the price Jesus paid on the cross. There are no lengths that can’t be erased by his grace.

Invite Jesus in, no matter how badly you feel about things. No matter how wrong you may have been. No matter how bad that thing from the past really was. No matter how hurt you feel. No matter how badly you’ve been sinning.

Jesus will take it, then remake you. It is that simple.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Ro. 5:8

He loves you.

Prayer: Jesus, all of you is what all of me needs. Everything else is of no merit in comparison to your glory and grace. Fill me with you and lead me in your ways. Thank you for the price you paid, to love me. I love you so very much. I confess, (share with Jesus here). I need your help (share more with Him here). What do you have for me, God? In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

I Said it in my Mind

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.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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