Have you ever tried on a dress that was just not your style—ill-fitted for the shape God gave you?
I have been “blessed” with a pear shape figure, smaller on top and curvy on bottom; literally.
Straight, fitted dresses are a death sentence for my body type. I need extra material down south to cover the bulk.
Last week I tried to wear a style that was not flattering on me. No, it wasn’t a dress style, it was a writing style. I tried to pull on a style that looked good on others, but it was not a good fit for who God has made me to be.
I was trying to wear something shiny and sleek so that I would gain attention and maximize impact.
But, it didn’t lay nicely and it felt uncomfortable.
I was conflicted. I was trying so hard for it to fit, but it just wouldn’t. It did not complement how I was made, much to my dismay.
But here’s the thing, God made each of us a certain way, completely on purpose.
While we might be irritated with the largeness or smallness of our mold, Our Creator was intentional when He spun us on the Potter’s Wheel.
My dad said that if I got a tattoo or was a cheerleader he wouldn’t pay for college.
Years after I graduated, I almost caved and got a tattoo, but backed out at the last minute. It was going to say something like, “Follow the Way of Love”.
I didn’t exactly avoid the cheerleading thing though—cheering for others is something that naturally springs forth from within.
No, I don’t cheer on the sidelines for sporting events—except when our kids are playing soccer, then my husband and I are completely obnoxious and embarrassing, we’re so competitive!
But I do cheer for others as they pursue their dreams. I love to inspire others to take the next steps and to jump higher. I enjoy celebrating like a fool when a writing friend gets a book deal or a speaking friend gets an invitation to a national conference.
I am genuinely happy for my friends when they succeed, and I would do a back handspring for them, if I could—I tried to master one in gymnastics but never did get the hang of it.
But here’s the thing, when I see others sailing through the air—reaching new heights—it’s easy to feel left behind, grounded and insecure.
Recently, I confided in a few friends about how I was feeling as I saw others soar. It was embarrassing to admit that I was having a 38 year old temper tantrum—this first-born over-achiever doesn’t like to be left-out or passed by.
One of these friends prayed that God would give me clarity in my mission so that, regardless of what others are doing, I will feel peace pursuing the things that He has put in my heart (thanks Kelly!).
So I prayed this prayer. And you know what I felt like He said? Help others be successful.
I’m not going to lie, this was not really what I wanted to hear! It was, and is, such a pride-buster to my striving and driving self.
And maybe that’s exactly the point.
God knows what I need and that truly, deep down, I want to be more like Him than be liked by the masses—it’s buried down deep in there somewhere.
I read this the other day and it hit home, right in the epicenter of my success-driven self,
That’ll shut you up—or at least me up—as it speaks to the heart of the matter.
Do I want to climb the ladder or am I willing to hold the ladder for others?
Do I want the accolades, the fame and the win, or will I stoop, support and assist in order to hoist others to the heights that He has prepared for them?
Are you sure God? So basically You want me to be a cheerleader, so that others have a greater chance at V-I-C-T-O-R-Y? This is hard on my pride God, but I trust that You know what is best. And, thank You, for wiring me to cheer and come alongside others. It hurts sometimes as I’m stretched and bruised but it is a privilege. Forgive my unbecoming greed for gain and help me to be committed to holding the ladder so that others can climb.
Follow the way of love. I didn’t tattoo it on my foot, but He wants to write it on my heart and help me walk it out.
Jesus stooped down—from His royal throne—to come to earth and be the ladder between us and God.
Jesus made a way for us by serving, sacrificing and surrendering so that we could be restored to a right relationship with Father God, if we choose to believe and make Him Lord.
He offered Himself—holding nothing back—out of Love for us. Oh, how I fall short of this kind of love.
May we make Jesus famous in our lives as we bend to exalt Him.
May we trust Him with our dreams and let His Spirit lead each step of the way. May we care more about connecting with Jesus and being known by Him than we are about gaining connections to be known by others.
May we celebrate well when God brings others success—and maybe even learn how to do a back-handspring too.
Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com
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I stood at attention like a toy soldier, fisted hands on hips, and a plastered smile so tight the muscles in my jaws twitched. It was there on the floor of the junior high gymnasium, where I awaited my fate.
In Jr High all I wanted be known for was being a duPont Dragon cheerleader.
But on that day when the names were called mine wasn’t among them.
When I wasn’t chosen, I remember feeling jealous and bitter toward those who were.
That was 44 years ago. Today at 57, do I still want to be known for something?
If I’m totally truthful, yes I do. And you do too.
You might be thinking, No, I really don’t. But stop, and think about it for a minute. We all do.
For me, I want to be known as a good wife, mom, friend, writer, a good dresser, decorator, tennis player, and Bible study leader. And I like to be noticed for my efforts and applauded for a job well done.
We all want people to know us,
and sometimes, yes,
even envy us.
We count Facebook likes and our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and our link-ups on LinkedIn.
We want to be known for something or be known by that “somebody” who is known by everybody.
And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts in our youth and continues as we age. Wanting to be known is as natural as breathing and we all have an insatiable appetite for both.
But therein lies the problem. Our appetites.
Just like our appetite for food can lead us to gluttony and diseases of the body, our appetite to be known can lead us to diseases of the soul – greed, jealously, hatred and bitterness.
To keep our appetite in check, we need to recognize and understand the three P’s of known.
1. Provider – who owns my known?
2. Purpose – what’s my known for?
3. Perspective – is it mine forever or only a season?
John the Baptist was a man who could handle his known.
He had a huge amount of followers for his day in age, that is until Jesus took the majority of his following. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked him why people were leaving him to follow Jesus, John answered by saying …“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Ah, here in John 3:27, we are reminded that God gave John his position. It was not something he gained himself.
Only God owns our known.
He alone is the Provider. We may put in the hard labor but it is God who swings the doors open.
The purposeof our being known is not to point to us ( it’s not about us folks) but to point to Jesus. John 1:6-7 says, concerning John the Baptist, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that thorough him all might believe.” God has a purpose and position for each season of our lives so that we may use it to point to Him.
Most importantly we must keep the proper perspective on our known-ness and not hold too tightly to something we may only temporarily possess. Job 1:21 reminds us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, andnaked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In the wake of losing our known-ness, be it followers, friends, a job, our family or whatever else, our perspective should always be one of joy in living under the wings of God’s sovereignty. There are times we must take a backseat to another for the spotlight to shine on Jesus.
John 3: 29-30 says, …“That joy is mine and it is nowcomplete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
John the Baptist knew where his position came from,
he knew what his position was for and he was content in letting it go
when his time came to step aside.
This past year I received an extra portion of known-ness but when I started to fill it slip, I tried to hang on. And in doing so, I showed the telltale signs of not watching my P’s. I slid down the slippery slope of known into a selfish pile of actions that did anything but point to God.
Today as you take the kids to school, go to work, or check your Instagram account, ask yourself two questions.
What position has God placed me in?
And, in this position, am I pointing to Him?
Who owns your known?
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Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can find Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey at www.christymobley.com
When I found myself getting irritated at the wide pronouncements of one-word resolutions, I started to wonder, “What’s my issue?”
How can someone not like words like:
Why am I so frustrated as others passionately pursue the Lord?
Sure, I picked a word – it’s “patience.” It was wisely given to my by a friend.
Patience in writing.
Patience with my husband.
Patience with my kids.
Patience in growth.
Patience in relationships.
Yes, I see the value.
But, what I can’t handle seeing – at the end of my year – is failure. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see the shame, regret, fear and embarrassment tied into that. Why should I set myself up for this?
So I find, it’s simpler to get annoyed and to avoid.
It’s easier to hate than to embrace.
It’s safer to go protected than to become dejected.
So, I push goals, dreams and hopes out of the way to protect a heart that could break along the way.
Truth is, I know I will fail in many ways.
I won’t be patient. I will get irritated. I will blow up at my kids and probably my husband. I will drop the ball. I will mess up. I just know it – and I hate that.
I hate that I can’t reach out to all I want to be – and grab hold of it.
And, underneath it all, I guess this is what really aggravates me about 1-word resolutions. We will all fail in our own way. We will all do the exact opposite of what our 1-word is.
Good luck on that 1-word friends!
For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)
And, he is not content with stagnant hearts that hide from his life-giving, love-producing, purpose-provoking truth.
So he says to me, “Kelly, running from failure is running from me.”
And, who can argue with that?
Failure is the beginning of something new.
Failure is the meeting point of love.
Failure is the hidden treasure – we let go of self and grab hold of Christ.
Failure is the heart of growth.
And the starting point of hope.
Jesus doesn’t stand as a judge of 1-word resolutions. He doesn’t demand a 1-year illusion – here today and gone tomorrow. He is not a master of confusion. Ready to throw us into seclusion.
This is not our Lord. He never withholds love –
and he doesn’t shame us based on failures.
In this, I realize our resolutions don’t stand as a barrier to his love –
but as a conduit for it.
I realize if I stop aiming to please him, I can start aiming to just behold him.
Because a student best receives, when she isn’t trying to do things her own way.
Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:
We are safe in his sacrifice. Held tightly, cupped in his loving hands.
Secure. So secure in our position as children of the most high King.
In the safety of his love – and the finality of his sacrifice – we can embrace grace and all the gifts extended through it.
A grace that doesn’t stop at our failings.
A love that is never given to be taken away.
An eternal position that can never be snatched.
A God that doesn’t give to steal away.
What kind of God would that be?
Truly, all wrath is gone.
All that remains is love.
Because of Jesus, I am safe – safe to move forward in perfect love. Love that casts out all my fear. Love that conquers all. Love that makes me an overcomer. Love that let’s the Spirit of God pour out from me. I can’t even comprehend the start and end of this grace.
So, the Lord just says to me…
“Patience, Kelly. Patience.
You are my work in progress.
It is not you that is at work – but it is me.
At the proper time, you will be exalted.
Do you trust me?
In my good time (which may well be more than a year), you will be patient.
You are my work, my craftsmanship, my love.”
And, in these truths, I can rest. I can rest because there is no condemnation left for me. It’s gone. It is gone for me and it is gone for you.
So for now, it just becomes a journey to his destination. In his timing. In his way. Until the day until he flings open the gate to welcome in his new creation – that he made me to be.
Until then, I will rely on him during the process of being patient.
And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)
Soaked, two kids were packed under my arms.
When angry kids are in tow it’s never easy to move the cattle.
Rain makes it even more precarious.
So, I kept a singular focus on the car and ran with all my might.
I had no idea that this “rain dash” was set to give me a clear lesson on how to see and seize God opportunities in my own life…
No sooner did I lock them into their carseats than I noticed my daughter’s pink boot was gone.
Can’t they just keep their shoes on!
Along our 4-block mad dash, the stinkin’ boot was lost. Anger and irritation welled up in me.
I stood, in the rain, feeling like a sopping mess – and probably looking like one too.
I wanted to give up. To shut down. To let the rain take control. So, when I saw a grey shadow approaching, embarrassed, I kept my head down. I tried to divert my eyes. I wanted to hide under the car…until, I noticed something in his hands…
This man stepped into the rain – to minister to my pain. He saw my plight – and was determined to make things right. He knew it was the right thing to do – and he handed me the shoe.
He transformed an about-to-lose-it-moment into an I’m-so-blessed-moment.
Because he let go of convenience – and stepped into rainy inconvenience he made the difference. Because he looked beyond comfort, to see – not his iPhone, his to-do list or his worries – he saw the opportunity – a struggling, frustrated mom.
Willing. Ready. Available to help.
Am I this way?
It got me to thinking, how often do I miss God’s opportunities because I am too focused on insecurities, worries and incapabilities? How often am I too focused on my phone, destination or tasks to see another?
When we can’t see past ourselves, we can’t see others.
When we can’t see others, we can’t see their pain.
When we can’t see hurts, we can’t love hurts.
We walk right past. Head down. We don’t see. We miss it. We miss out.
When I’m so busy doing, I can’t be seeing. Seeing another in need. Seeing a selfless act. Seeing God’s will.
I don’t want to be so consumed with myself, that I miss the chance to offer help to a hopeless person. I don’t want to be so consumed with myself, that I miss the chance to love a cancer-filled woman. I don’t want to be so consumed with myself that I miss the chance to hold hands with one in agony.
Because God has created me for more. He has created you for more. He has created us to love, to give, to run into the rain and to sacrifice for others. When we step outside of ourselves, we step into purpose, into joy and into meaning. There is nothing better.
He has given us gifts to encourage and love. Will we use them? He has joy within the embrace of a hug. Will we feel it? He has hurting souls right in our midst – on purpose. Will we see them?
If we can just keep our eyes up! If we can just be willing, ready and available – then we will see. We will see the great chances the Lord has set before us to sacrifice and to step out of our comfort zones to love another. We will see the world through new light.
This is the opportunity the Lord has set before us:
…The LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners…to comfort all who mourn…giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting…that He may be glorified. (Is. 61:1-3)
Lord, let us be vehicles of your good news. Let us see lives changed, hearts healed, hope renewed, then we will see lives improved. We will see your hand, your will and your glory at work.
I so want that.
I wan’t to be the person holding the pink boot for another sopping wet super frustrated, tired mom, don’t you?
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On a cool afternoon in late fall, I mow straight lines across our long expanse of lawn. I’m surprised by how much I enjoy it.
I see the neat rows of freshly cut grass growing with each trip across the yard. It is obvious when I miss a spot. As the strips freshly manicured section gets increasingly larger, I view my work with satisfaction.
Why do I enjoy this so much? It’s simple, really. For one, I get some quiet time of reflection without listening to kids bicker or ask me for snacks every five minutes. But second and perhaps more importantly, I see visible results.
I know when I haven’t done the job well because the results speak for themselves.
Other roles in my life are not this simple. They are complicated, and often leave me wondering whether I’m making an imprint.
I explain a complex subject to my six-year-old, but I’m not sure he understands. My husband and I make efforts to instill strong morals and character into our boys, but there are days when it seems as though everything we’ve been striving towards is falling apart.
On a bitter cold morning, I attempt to capture thoughts that go deep into the core of me on the page, but can’t quite grasp them. The cursor blinks mockingly and self-doubt creeps in before I’m able to type a single word. I wonder if I’m wasting my time.
I wonder if what I say resonates with anyone.
I see a pile of laundry looming in the corner and think, “Didn’t I just tackle that yesterday?” Before the day has even begun, thoughts of defeat overtake me.
Then, as God often does, he sends a reminder that strikes just the right chord. I realize my current state is temporary, but so much of me longs for the eternal.
My yearning for results often reflects a glory which will not be realized in this lifetime, but in the next.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
I am a planter of seed. I am a light in a temporary casting. I am a mere reflection of the One whose glory I will behold. A glory I long for so deeply at times it aches.
So often, I believe we become discouraged because it seems as though we are moving in circles. Saying the same things to our loved ones and kids over and over. Teaching the same lessons.
But friends, the truth is always worth repeating. People forget because it is their nature. We are still living in a flesh that continually pulls us away from what is true, what is eternal, what is lasting.
We continue to fight because the fight is worth it, even if we don’t see the result right away or even if this lifetime. We fight because we are more than conquerors through him who loved us first.
We long for that which we cannot see because of Him in whose image we were created.
Do not give up. Do not lose heart. You were made for more than anything this world has to offer.
As you lay your head on the pillow tonight, ask yourself this: Did I love? Did I open my arms in grace? Did I help someone who needed it?
If the answer to any one of those questions was yes, it was not in vain. Keep pressing forward, dear one. Your reward will be great.
Abby McDonald is mom, wife and southern girl who fell in love with writing at a young age. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.
When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
1. We run to be first. While Jesus sits and says “be last”.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35
When we join Jesus, and sit down by his side, we tend to rely on him. He is faithful to take care of us as we listen, relax and trust him. When we just enjoy his presence, he equips us with all we need to serve others. What an honor.
2. We show off who we are, so we appear the star.
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
“Pride” has it all together, needs no one and appears perfect. “Humble” comes open to receive, ready to listen and eager to change. Is it any wonder that God shows favor to the humble?
3. We fear the world, our finances, our husband, our wife, our health, our kids, our work. We fear everything, but the Lord.
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
Fear of the Lord means that we know who is sovereign. We know who rules. We know who reigns – and we relinquish our reigns as we trust that he will provide.
When we trust in our own work and our own efforts we are left empty, lonely and tired. Let’s turn towards the King and confess our hearts. Let’s approach our friends and family with authentic hearts. Let’s seek to lift the Lord on high rather than our own accomplishments.
When we stop making prideful mistakes, a true sense of self God awakes.
Have you ever tried to reach out to someone but failed? Have you ever tried to help someone, but felt unappreciated? Have you ever tried to do something for God, but it didn’t work?
If so, I totally understand. Many years ago, God brought a young lady into my life, at what seemed the perfect time. During her regular visits to help with my son, I could clearly see she struggled with various life issues. I could clearly see her pain. I could clearly see she had major insecurities. And I could clearly see that I was the one to help her with this. I thought, “God has a plan for me to work on this one”.
Boy was I dead wrong.
I tried and I tried – and I tried some more – to pull her out of her shell. I tried to pour out words of encouragement. I tried to smile all the time. I tried to help her whenever she needed it. I tried to be flexible with work hours. I tried to tell her about God’s love. I tried to be super careful with feedback. I tried to take an interest in her life. I tried to ask her one hundred questions. I tried to offer food. I tried to offer help. I tried to make jokes.
What didn’t I try? I tried it all.
What did I get back? Nothing. Silence. In fact, what I got back seemed to be irritation and annoyance.
I felt so discouraged. I felt devalued. I felt frustrated. I felt angry, both at her and at God. Didn’t God see how much I was doing? Didn’t God know how bad she needed help? Didn’t she see how hard I was trying to be there for her?
This mission was a big FAIL. It failed because I totally missed the point. I am embarrassed to say that I was pursuing another’s heart with completely the wrong motive. It wanted to fix her. This motive left a mess in its wake.
When I felt my love was blocked, I tried a little harder. I gave a little more. I pushed it on her because I didn’t want to be rejected. I was seeking value based on her response. My heart may have been looking to love her at first, but after a couple of rejections set in, I was looking for even more love, admiration and appreciation. This was about “My Mission” not “God’s Mission” and therein lies the problem. The result? I felt rejected and she felt smothered. Not only was she trying to do her job, but she was also trying to satisfy me. We were both frustrated.
When we look to others to fill us and to approve us, we miss God’s plan. We miss his work and his miracle. When we work by our might it turns into a fight. When we work by his might, it is a delight.
So what are we to do?
We are to pray, to listen and to obey – in his timing. We are to trust him. We are to do what he calls us to do, not what we feel we need to do in order to garner a “feel good” response. We are to do our part, independent of other’s reactions. Then, the Lord will approve us as we move forward in his calling. Our love is not reliant on others. It is reliant on God’s love for us. This means, we don’t need to over work or over try. He will give us just the right direction. Our works are for him – and by him.
When we listen, hear and love as he loves, not as we love, we are in his will. He blesses this reliance with our hearts great desire – acceptance, love and purpose.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:6)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:14)