Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

How to Run Hard for the Lord

How to run hard for the Lord

God doesn’t answer based on what we want, he answers based on what we need.

We may think we need peace and he says no, you need trials. We may think we need joy – he says perseverance.  We may think blessings – he says endurance.  We may think money – he says contentment.  We may think appreciation – he says love.

I was on the hunt for “encouragement”…

After my “big rejection”, an amazing friend who is wise beyond her years, strong in the Lord and faithful to his call, sent me this verse:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1

I think she wanted to encourage me in my race, to help me with endurance, but what God revealed was something far deeper and even more convicting.  Let me explain…

I love a good race.  I love competing and I love pushing through my personal barriers physically and mentally. I get the idea of running a race for the Lord.  Why?

I feel ready to give it all. I feel ready to explode off the starting line and to push no matter what my body feels.  I want to arrive at the gate of heaven and fall in front of my King with a fast beating heart, with sweat on my brow. I want to fall before him out of breath, knowing I gave it all.  I don’t want to have an ounce of push left.

I want this so badly.  But still, I get caught looking at the sidelines. I look at the crowds of people telling me to follow them, I look at my own inadequacies and I pump my arms with pride.

God knows this.  He sees this. And, as any fine coach would do – to make me the best runner for his kingdom – he trains me. He pushes me.  He sends me through hard training days; days with some pain – some trials. These trials serve to mold me into a champion runner for his kingdom.  They strip me of my own ways and the world’s ways – to make me more like him, the ultimate champion.

Even so, sometimes I wonder, despite all this, why I still slow down?

And, this was why Hebrews 12:1 was so powerful.  It was this part…“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.”  

God bugged me with this verse to see that: I can’t run loaded with weight.  I have a part in this race.

Sin weight slows me down.  It trips me up.  It keeps me from Him.

And, when sin is strapped on, its burden is heavy.  It’s consuming. It stops us in our tracks. It distracts us and trips us up.  We can try to pretend it is not there, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t.  

God is faithful to keep bugging us to address it.  When we do, we grow.  If we don’t, we fall.

I may have been trying to run a “victory”, but sometimes a “failure or a disappointment” ends up being the greatest “victory”. Why? Because as we fail, we can see our own faults and we hear him whispering, “Confess.”

I didn’t want trials.  I didn’t want pain.  I didn’t want rejection.  I didn’t want humiliation.

God said, “It’s not about you. Confess.”

I confess Lord, I have sinned.  I want all of you.  I can’t mentally pursue the race you have set before me when my mind is weighed down by my own desires and my own sin.

It is easy to want joy, peace, contentment and blessings.  It is easy to want encouragement and motivation, but God is operating from the throne of all knowledge, all power and all sovereignty.  In his seat, he sees yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He knows precisely what we need to finish our race. He knows precisely what will hold us back from finishing.

He wants us to be champions. He wants us to run with speed and power and strength.
He wants us to finish strong and joyful. 

We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus.

What baggage holds you back?  What do you need to confess?  What trials might God be using to train you?

When we confess, God has a greater gift in store.  The gift of speed and endurance that helps us run our race unencumbered.  

Bible Verses for Perfectionists: Finding Your True Worth

bible verses for perfectionists

I try to so hard to “do good”. I try so hard to keep everyone happy. I try so hard to keep things in order, to make others feel good, to do things the right way, to be all that I can be – and to be who others want to see.

I try and I try and I try.  But, I fail and I fail and I fail.  It can be tiring.  It leaves me worn, discouraged and wishing I could be better than – me.

Even worse, I notice that in my pursuit of perfection, I tend to hurt others. I don’t want to do this.  But, I do.

It is a common day, when simple words of feedback, turn into living giants of criticism. They come and tower over me with pointed fingers, telling me that I am not “good enough”, “talented enough” or “wise enough” to handle life.  They push me to strive harder and reinforce the idea that I am failing.

Why do we let these giants hold so much power?

When we seek to set our own worth, we fail.
Because only One defines worth.
Any worth found outside of Him is worthless.
God writes the definition of who we are – and why we are. 

I may seek worth in bills paid, things in order and a happy family, but God gives us his worth. We are worthy because we are his children, loved and fully accepted.

God has a greater glory is greater than our manufactured version.  His glory surpasses expectations. It exceeds our wildest dreams.  It is bigger than you or me.  But, we miss seeing it when our mind is focused on our perfect ways.

His glory unfolds in the midst of weakness.  In the place of imperfection.  In the land of mess. 

God is greater than our perfect.  He shows up in our faults.  He is present in our weaknesses.

This is where beauty is unveiled; and I want to see it.  Christ makes my imperfect – perfect.   Perfect in Him, as I trust Him.

I want this better way.  Let’s remind ourselves of God’s truth as we move towards him with authentic, open and receiving hearts.  He will be faithful to touch us in just the right way.

Bible Verses for Perfectionists:

1. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32)
His strength is power.

2. “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14)
We are being made holy.  We are a work in process.

3. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
He is greater than any barrier that stands in front of us.

4. Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8)
His mercy does not end for us because he loves us.

5. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… (Eph. 2:8)
Grace is always ours, even when we fail.

6. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
He made us beautifully. We can believe this.

7.  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
He holds us and loves us; his hand won’t let go of us – ever!

8. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
His ways are easy, when we truly are in them.

9.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
We are not perfect.  He is.

10. 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)
Let us be weak, because we can then be strong in Him.

God doesn’t view our weaknesses as obstacles to closeness with him;
he sees them as opportunities for growth as he loves us.

 

 

 

Out of Hiding & Free of Fear

It is time to step out.  To come out of hiding.  To let your true colors shine.  To be who God made you to be.   It is time to be fearless.  To be courageous.  To be passionate.  It’s time to take a risk – to move from your calm safe grounds to unsteady risky rocky terrain.   Terrain where you feel vulnerable – where you know, by yourself, can’t stand on your own.   Why?

Because too much is on the line not to.  And, the idea of not taking that adventurous step means living in mediocrity.  It’s so worth it.

I spent a good amount of time in hiding.  Sure, I went to church, I was in small groups, I had Christian friends, but I stayed on safe ground.  Grounds where no one really questioned me. Grounds where I rode in a perfect straight line, rarely branching off the beaten path.  I kept on this straight and narrow for fear of getting hurt.  When a conversation veered into sticky areas or when I felt too vulnerable, the warning light would go off in my mind, “do not venture there, you may get someone upset.    Don’t speak too passionately; you don’t want to be “that” person. Don’t seem too knowledgeable, others will feel less than.  Don’t bring up topics that could make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t run the risk of angering that person, it’s better to just let them continue feeling miserable as they go the wrong way.”

“Hide who you are because you don’t want to be judged, hurt or rejected.”

I did this all the time.  But I came to realize something life changing.  In my attempt to set others free of their bad feelings, I only succeeded in trapping myself.  I locked away the person God created Kelly to be.

When I lived in that closet, I missed the opportunity to love deeply.  I missed the opportunity to speak the absolute truth in love.  I missed the opportunity to walk in faith, as I felt afraid. I missed the opportunity to rely on Christ when others may have felt irritated at me.  I missed the chance to encourage others.  I was too worried about preserving myself.

You know, we have one life.  One chance to pour out love.  One chance to give all we have.    To be all in, no holds bar.  To share grace.  To encourage in truth.  To live without fear.  To give with faith. To help those in need.  This is our chance.  This is your chance.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of living trapped, beholden to this world. I know at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I will never ever regret living all out – full of love – for God.  Do I do this perfectly?  By no means, but that is the point.  That is why I need Christ.  And when I rely on him, I find peace.   I find safety despite an unsafe rocky terrain.

At the days end, when I come out of the ultimate closet, that is this world. I hope to stand in front of God with full confidence that I shared his love, peace, and joy with all of my heart to people who hurt so deeply.    I want to stand knowing that I spoke his wisdom – according to his timing – no matter the risk.

This authentic living is adventurous living.  We can’t do it on your own.  But, as we rely on him, we will find we are truly free.

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” (Ephesians 4:15)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  (1 John 4:18)

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  (James 3:17)

God’s truth is what healed me.  If it was hidden, I never would have been touched.  I never would have grown.   So why do we think we need to hide truth?   Rather than hide, we need to lay down our pride.  It is not about me and preserving my image- it is about people who are hurting and need to hear truth spoken in love.  Take it or leave it.  This is Kelly as God designed me.

When we are who God created us to be, we finally find true freedom. 

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)”