For a large part of my life, I believed I’d simply been dealt a bad hand. I had thoughts like this: “Things work against me. No one is for me. The world will hurt me. People are out to get me. I can’t trust anybody. I am at risk of being continually injured or stranded. Bad circumstances find me.”
Struggling. To. Be. Okay.
Annoyed….Others. Have. It. Better.
Defined. By. My. History.
Have you, like me, allowed internal definitive statements to define your identity? Are you unsure how to climb out of the pit of injustice you’ve found yourself in?
Incredibly, God’s Word shows us the way. God has clear-cut, straightforward instruction for those who have been punched one too many times by the constant onslaught of the world. For those whose stomach feels like it is caving in and they’re about to give up.
Here it is…(notice the two main call-to-action points included within this statement):
“If you… 1.) listen to the commands of the Lord your God and 2.) carefully obey them, (then) the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always have the upper hand.” Deut. 28:13
If you listen and obey…
Then you’ll have – not the bad hand – but always, the upper hand.
You won’t be the tail that gets stomped all over, but the head that is wise, smart and full of God’s truth.
Jesus, as the head, will get in your head and change the world of hurts you’ve been living in. Give Him a shot. Listen, obey and find yourself ahead.
My 6-year-old son puts on shows. Willy Wonka, Moses in the wilderness, Box Car Children- you name it, and he acts it out. And he always asks this question.
“Are you watching me?”
Half the time, I’m not. I mean to be, but I’m also human. I’m trying to tackle things like bills, emails, text messages, phone calls, dishes, laundry, dinner…you get the point.
The fact of the matter is, our parents didn’t watch us non-stop either. I know there were times I put on shows and my mom or dad didn’t watch. It’s not because they didn’t want to, but because they were human.
But you know what? God is not human and He is watching. This fills the desires of all our hearts. The desire that says, “Someone, please, be watching me. Watch out for me. Watch me and know my ways. Watch me and protect me. Watch me and help me.”
God watches, carefully.
God is always with us.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Ps. 139:7-8
God’s watched our days before they’ve even happened.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:16
God’s intimate thoughts about us don’t stop.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Ps. 139: 17-18
God is aware of our most intricate workings, habits and ponderings.
“You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.” Ps. 139: 3-4
He watches you to protect you.
“You hem me in behind and before.” Ps. 139: 5
God watches it all. Every song, dance, move, time you sit down, stand up, and twirl around. You are precious in His sight.
One way to succeed at life is to take inventory of what sets you off.
Ask: What makes your chest well up with discomfort? What makes your stomach turn in rolling knots of nervousness? What makes your hands sweat?
There’s some very good news coming to you soon. With this, I’ve had to do some very hard work to see it through. Hard work makes me feel under much pressure. And being under pressure makes me feel I must perform.
Performances steal the presence of God.
It becomes all show and no rest. Performances are about: doing, striving, working stuff up, making things happen, generating results and presenting a good face.
They’re about getting somewhere. Meanwhile, God just wants to be with us.
Maybe you are there. Maybe you are saying to yourself, “I try so hard, but get nowhere. I don’t know how I’ll do it all. I am stressed out. I am overwhelmed. I am burdened.”
Right now, I believe God has an invitation for you and for me.
As I see it, I believe it reads like this…
Dear (your name),
I invite you to step away from the soul-crushing burdens of all you feel you “must” manage. I will manage those things as you trust in me. I can do far more than you can think or imagine when you trust me. I can accomplish in one minute what it takes you 5000 to conceptualize. Will you trust me? Will you let me take lead? Will you hand to me what you’re death-gripping and mishandling? Will you let go of those unruly emotions and trace them for promised lands of peace? I promise to take good care of what is most important to your soul. I won’t leave you behind. I am always true to my word.
“Defeat does not come to those who trust (in God).” Ps. 23:5 GNT
“(God) is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Heb. 11:6 NKJV
Above all, please know: I am with you. I am on your side. I am helping you. My hope is to give you the deep desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)
Our mind is a garden. We either take time to water it, or it wilts due to worry, distress and stress. We either remove the weeds or they crowd-out fruit.
God cares greatly about our gardens. Why? Becuase what we think on, we act on. What we dwell on, drives us. What untruths we believe, shape our instincts, emotions, and impulses.
Our mind is not meant to just memorize scripture, it’s to be compelled by the mind of Christ, always. “We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)
As we pluck what’s not of Christ, He seems to grow in us. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Ro. 12:2)
Nutrient-dense soil grows faith.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)
Without weeds, Christ rules our thoughts. “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(2 Cor. 10:5)
Is Christ’s truth, promises, and love ruling your thoughts? Or are you stressed out and stunted by problems, pessimism, and pain?
What if, you began to think differently, like Christ? What if you could face your problems proactively, verses reactively? How would your whole world change?
I wrote the book Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously after suffering through an eating disorder, depression, health issues, relationship problems, financial struggles and so much more. This book is not only a hands-on manual, where you can explore-your-story, but it is also a battle plan for your mind. With how-tos, practical and biblical wisdom, verses and truths it will help you stand strong. It will surely change your thoughts, change your habits and then change your life.
Want the inside scoop on the book? Printables? Video devotionals? Live prayer with Kelly? My arsenal of Battle-scripture? Group-support? Weekly accountability? A physical thought-changing gift? A Mini-Prayer Journal?
You don’t have to do a ton, you’ll just get behind the book in the little ways that seem natural to you. Such as:
Sharing the book with your small group or women’s minister
Spreading the word about it on social media.
Writing an Amazon review (which is so helpful).
Encouraging my heart.
Sharing it with your people (if you are a blogger)
Just pre-order a book today, then join the group here. Don’t delay. 200 also get a free book sent to them. Join the launch team.
Are you a seasoned- or veteran blogger, women’s minister, leader or speaker?
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What are some of the 15+ courses experts in each field will share?
Video sessions include topics like: – The 5 Biggest Speaking No-Nos (and 5 Things You must do)!
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How to join:
1. Pre-order a book on Amazon to help me.
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My son is at a new school.
He’s still getting used to making friends.
He’s not on the basketball court during recess.
He’s a little shy.
He’s pretty small for his age.
I’m quite sure he’s desperately wanting to be liked, approved and wanted.
We all are.
At his school relay race I hoisted him on my back. As I did, the little guy bent down towards my ear and said, “Mommy, run as hard as you can.” Something took over me. I was going to do this run for him. I’d carry him so well, so proud, so fast – he could finally have a moment to feel proud.
And I did just that. At “Go!” I exploded. Fast. Focused. Almost wild-like.
A mom told me, “Kelly, you ran so fast. I was a little worried, but you made it.”
The reality is: I wanted to redeem my son’s story. I wanted to give him a moment to be proud of. I wanted him to understand his mommy would always carry him.
God does the same for us.
We aren’t struggling alone. We aren’t stuck in some environment where no one sees us.
“When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.” Ps. 138:3 NIV
Almighty God has a mighty eye on us.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Ps. 32:8
All-knowing God understands what we’re going through.
“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chron. 20:15 NIV
All-powerful God is working on our behalf even when we don’t think he is.
“Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.” Deut. 3:22 NIV
All-loving God would do anything to see our breakthrough.
“Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Ps. 144:1 NIV
Already-two-steps-ahead Father has a good plan in motion.
“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Is. 45:2 NIV
Altruistic Daddy would carry us, knight-in-shining-armor style out of any predicament.
“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zech. 4:6 NIV
Always, we are not alone, not left behind, not destroyed, not ruined, not the laughing stock, not forgotten, not ignored, not destroyed, not crushed, not left to rot. Always, we are helped, loved, carried and guided.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57 NIV
Oh yes. I thank God for this today. What about you?
Once inside the trolley, I realized it was not a tourist ride. It was a public transportation trip through the inner ghettos. As people poured in, I noticed them. I noticed the torn up pants. The week-old dirt. I noticed the tattoos. The Narcotics Anonymous recovery backpacks. I noticed the teeth grill of gold and the huge smile at me. The family community feel. The waves hello. The guy exiting the bus saying, “Be blessed you all! Keep faith today.”
I also noticed I had love. For them. I could see the reality of their life. Instead of being stuck in my own world, avoiding others’ hardships, I was struck face-to-face with people’s real pain, history, tears, hopes, dreams and difficulties of escaping poverty.
How was I ever so oblivious? Oblivious not only to poverty, but to emotional hardships, to anger, to marital issues, to health concerns, to people needing help…to loving ones who feel like lesser people because no one sees them?
Jesus saw the lesser man and raised him up to be a greater man. May I do the same.
To see the reality of mankind, we must enter into their reality. We must confront what we avoid confronting. It’s the only way.
So, I’ve asked God, what does it look to really love?
To love we:
– Seek to understand the reality of the hardship
– Allow ourselves to feel their feelings for a moment
– Remember how we ourselves felt those painful feelings at one time or another
– Pray for understanding on how to fill gaps of pain
– Let God do the saving
– Submit to His leading
– Fill the gap by seeing through His small call to step out
No person is too far gone. No pain is too far beyond God’s ability. No soul is one He doesn’t care for. No child is left behind.
What would it look like for you to begin seeing what you avoid seeing, feeling, or relating to? What does it look like for you to step out of the world you live in and into the one you’re cynical of, apathetic to and uninvolved in?
That’s what Jesus did. He went to the Samarians. He touched the plagued. He loved the untouchables.
Jesus never permitted cynicism to rule,
even though He most certainly could have.
Jesus knew it is love heals;
Love is the complete fulfillment of all He came for.
And as Jesus puts it:
Love is our one cause and our only cause.
May we never forgo love.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Pet. 4:8
Love goes. Heals. Speaks. Breaks divides. Understands. Sacrifices time and treasure. Calls people somewhere new. Lays down old stereotypes. Leans not on its own understanding or inclinations. Cares not if people see it work. Is governed by a mind of the Spirit. Brings life. Always. Continually. Eternally.
What would it look like for you to step out in love today? Ask God. Write it your answer here: ___________
You need to know this: It’s not up to them – the pastors, the teachers and the ones who stand on big platforms. It is up to you. Seriously. You are a royal priesthood. You are a saint. You are chosen.
Sometimes, I look at all the people who are doing big things. Then, I think my stuff is small. I think my work is unworthy. I believe it’s them doing the stuff God wants, but not me.
Lies. Lies. Lies. Pit of Hell lies.
The truth is: your stuff is not small. I get the messages from you all. You have just as much fabulous insight, wisdom, and lessons to teach as I do. You have things to say. You have stories to tell. You have people to love. You have lives to change. You are being used by God and He IS doing mighty things in you and through you.
Believe it. Do not despise small beginnings. And do not negate God in you.
Do you want to be used? Then ask God to be used. It is almost always as simple as “an ask.”
Ask, “God, will you use me today?”
Then, ready yourself to be used. Look for the woman who can’t handle all her bags at the grocery store. Listen and discern God’s heart for the woman dumping out her heart on your couch. Believe God has things He wants to do, say and release through you. You are not inconsequential.
Stop disqualifying yourself. You are mighty, because the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is in you.
Hello?! Can you even believe that?
It is true.
When we stop believing we are weak, we start seeing we are strong, in Christ. You don’t have to see yourself as weak anymore. Sure, see yourself as a servant to Jesus and to others through love, but don’t look at that as weak. Don’t say, “Woe is me, I can’t do anything of value…” That is not Christ’s call or lot for you.
Jesus never lessened himself to appear to man as being super-humble. Neither should we. Jesus did the works God called Him to. He always stepped out no matter how it looked to others.
The world needs us. Let’s step out.
The hungry need to be fed. We know the Bread of Life.
The angry need to find peace. We are well-acquainted with the Prince of Peace.
The depressed need to know joy. We have found it, more than ever, through Jesus.
The isolated need to know they are not alone. We are the body.
The world needs answers. We know The Way.
Be in Christ and be used. Be prayerful and be discerning. Be strong and loving. Be bold and vocal. Be free and bring that freedom to others. This is our call.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you have put passions inside each one of us. I ask that we would walk them out with you. I ask that you would unleash us in our purpose. Help us to do all things, in love and with your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
You’ve been with him for so long now. You know, love and treasure Him. He is God. Jesus cannot be harmed by common men who aren’t God. You must protect Him. You must keep Him from harm. He must remain with you.
You pull Jesus aside to address his comment that He must suffer. You say, “Jesus, far be it with you. This will never happen with you.”
You’re only trying to help. You’re only trying to save Him. You’re only trying to preserve Him from harm.
Jesus replies to you, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)
You were a stumbling block. Why?
You had good intentions, but you injected yourself where you weren’t invited to intervene.
The plan was owned by Father & Son , not Father & Son + disciple.
We can do the same thing in the lives of those we love. The plan is between Father & son or Father & daughter. Yet, we weasel our way right in, saying, “Nope this right here is about Father & Son + me + my opinions + my fear!” We take out our chisel and crack into God’s good plan. Woe to us who break what God is building in others.
We often break God’s good plan in others when we:
1. Tell people what to do.
2. Decide how people should think.
3. Instruct people based on our opinions.
4. Try to run in and fix bad situations.
5. Demand others think well of us.
6. Rescue people from their feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc.
7. Excuse away people’s issues, rather then letting them confront them.
I assure you: when a lesson is delivered by us, it’s forgettable. But delivered by God, it is unforgettable, undeniable and unbelievably life-changing.
Let’s make room for what God is doing. He has things handled.
“Oh you’re fine. It wasn’t even a hard fall. Get up, you’re okay. You fell softly,” the grey-haired lady said repeatedly to the 4-year-old who fell off her seat.
After watching this all play out, I consider her words. How can one “fall softly?” I’ve never heard of such a thing. Second, I have no idea how a warehouse metal floor could be soft.
The little girl threw a fit for the next 10 minutes afterward.
Now, I recognize: I’m eavesdropping at this coffee store. I also recognize: I’m judging. Even more, I recognize: I’ve probably done the same thing to my kids at times.
God help me.
But, there’s a point to all this. When we negate people’s fall, or feelings, we fail to be there for them. When we brush off another person’s reality, we hurt them even more. Thus, this 4-year old girl’s 10-minute tantrum post-fall. No one was there for her.
She threw a fit.
Just because we brush off someone else’s pain, doesn’t mean it disappears. In fact, insensitivity to pain often heightens it. It causes tantrums. Explosions. Depression.
How did Jesus deal with people’s pain?
A “man who had died was being carried out” by his mother.
“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Lu. 7:13
“And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[d] gave him to his mother.” Lu. 7:14
Through compassion, Jesus cleared the way for life. Our approach should be the same.