We make things far more complex — when, in so many ways, the Kingdom of God is simple.
My kids ran around my car last night like kids. It was simple. They had fun chasing each other down. The driveway was a playground. They were not worried about what dinner would be. They were not thinking about what they needed to do next, for bedtime. They were present in the fun, in the joy, in the moment. Complexities did not weigh them down.
“Truly I tell you anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Lu. 18:17)
The practice of receiving the Kingdom of God is not a heavy task; it is light. Childlike.
“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:30)
Some of us love to weigh down the Christian walk. It’s so hard. I have to do this…. I’ve gotta wake up and spend time with Jesus. I don’t know how to obey. I’m always…(doing such and such).
With such a heavy burden on oneself to accomplish and figure out God’s work, one almost — can’t…
Kids, with good parents, don’t fixate on self-issues. They know dinner comes. There’s an excitement about what’s to come. Worry isn’t necessary; they’ll be taken care of. Children believe God on face-value. Faith is easy.
Are you a child or do you feel weighed down by religious expectations that feel impossible to meet?
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things….” (Ro. 11:36)
“(Now the God of peace)…make you perfect in every good work to do his will…” (Heb. 13:21)
Somewhere along the lines, we picked up a bag of “self-effort” and began to think the work was up to us. But, every work of God belongs to the Lord. It starts from Him, it is by Him, and then, it is back to Him.
Let’s not get confused, lest a yoke of heaviness weigh us down.
Prayer of Repentance: Father, forgive me for carrying a heavy burden that is not mine to carry. This is pride. I repent of thinking that I have to do more or be more to be loved more by you. Jesus, you died for me while I was yet a sinner. I receive your grace today. Equip me and Empower me to be like a child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I stood looking over a box filled with cash. Should I give her two dollars or should I give her five?
Earlier in the day, my daughter said, “Mommy, mommy, please give me a five-dollar bill tonight — for the tooth under my pillow.”
I replied, “Madison, this is your third tooth you’ve lost. For the first tooth, you get a lot but for ones after, you get a little less. Don’t expect a five-dollar bill, you’ll maybe get a couple dollars.”
She asked me again for the $5 bill and then I shuffled her off to do other things…
Yet, when night came, and I stood looking over the cash box…I realized how badly I — wanted — to give her more. I wanted to delight her. I wanted my daughter to have the very best. I just love her so much.
I grabbed the $5 bill, snuck up to her room, and tucked it under her pillow, with joy.
“If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.” (Mt. 11:7 AMP)
If I love to give what is good, how much more does my Father in heaven want to give good, to me? If I want what is advantageous for my little one — and I’m not even nearly half as amazing as God is — how much more does God give what is advantageous?
Sometimes I long to do the most amazing things for my kids… I desire so deeply that hard situations change… I want, absolutely, their best…
This makes me see, the enemy has been telling me lies. Namely that: God doesn’t give me good things, God doesn’t want to give, and that He won’t help me. He might be busy with other people. I’m last on the list.
What lies have you been hearing?
The truth is that God has a heart to give: He gave His son. He gave us eternal life. He gave us the flowers, the birds, and the stars out of kindness.
He gave everything for us. He loves us, incredibly, absolutely, and eternally.
Believing we have a Father who gives is important.
If we don’t believe God is good and that He gives, we will keep our head down and miss all the goodness He has set before us. We may even develop a victim-mindset. I think I’ve missed God’s good gifts before. I’ve likely walked right by them, but I am determined on lifting my head and seeing what He has for me now!
A must-act-now email popped up in my inbox demanding my immediate attention… I got flustered because of what it was requiring me to do. My son was demanding that I play chess with him now. The world needed everything I had in that very milli-second. I couldn’t take it.
Can’t you just wait a second, son?! Give me a break!
I was so aggravated, both at what was coming at me, and because of this needy child, I lost my composure. Then, I felt guilty about it.
Grr… A stupid email set my house on fire.
Small things cause big damage just as little foxes spoil whole vineyards…
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” (SOS 2:15)
What little fox tries to attack you? Is it a mistimed word from a family member? Is it your boss’ critiques? Is it a house out of order? Is it people with different political points of view.
The enemy desires to use small things to create big havoc. If we let him… But, we don’t have to.
““Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9 AMP)
When I keep the peace I literally express God’s character. When I maintain calm, I am blessed with life and joy and God’s favor. When I remain calm, I am a child who trusts God.
I want all to see the character of God being expressed through me. For then, He will calm them. He will heal the situation. He will add himself to my situation, whereas before my anger and frustration would have stopped me from seeing Him. This is favor.
Have you ever said yes, then hated yourself later? Or, wanted to spend time with God, only to lose track of time to something else? Perhaps, you’ve done what people wanted and completely lost any sense of inner rest…
Long ago, I had no ability to say no. I remember one instance, years ago, where everyone was ordering one type of food. It was unhealthy and, at this point in life, I had made a conscious decision to become more healthy. I knew, with better health, comes making wise decisions. But, because everyone ordered a type of food, I felt obligated too.
They all said, “Come on, Kelly…have it too!”
I gave in and then hated myself later. Afterward, I had such inner-turmoil for not standing strong. My mind wouldn’t let it go.
…Thus, why the invitation at the end of this email is so vitally important.
But, before we get to the invite, let me ask you — what things are forcing you into a state of unrest?
It may not be food for you like it was for me. For you — it may be you doing more housework when you need to sit down with God. Or, working longer hours when you really need to spend time with your kids. Or, allowing a family member to suck the life out of you, because you can’t separate yourself.
The inability to say no causes exhaustion, stress, and tiredness. Are you there now?
Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life…” (Mt. 11:28 MSG)
The beginnings of every good “no” — is simply saying yes to Jesus. The more you meet Jesus, the more you want Him. The more you want him, the less things block His joy and peace. The more you rest, the more you understand you are blessed.
Today, I want to invite you to find this sort of rest. Rest beyond people’s demands…rest beyond up-and-down circumstances…rest beyond insane world happenings and rest beyond a busy life. Does this sound like something you may need?
If you have been blessed by this blog…if these messages have resonated with your heart, might you consider blessing me? How? By pre-ordering the book Rest Now and joining “the Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries, and Seize Joy” launch team.
With a supportive, loving group who are seeking rest, much like you, you’ll learn how to
– create boundaries that allow you to overflow with love
– say no so you don’t hate yourself later
– ditch passive-aggressive behaviors in favor of healthy conversations
– embrace permission-giving thoughts to create mental space for God
Only when we receive God’s rest can we most effectively bring God’s peace.
Launch Team Details
Timeline: Starting Now to Mid-October.
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(25 practical ways to rest with God, rest-filled prayers, and more..)
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Anyone — can join no matter who you are! Have a friend who may want to join? Simply forward this message. All that’s needed is to pre-order “Rest Now” and fill out this spreadsheet to join today.
I love you all and thank you for your support. I could not do this without all the prayers, love and heartfelt messages I get from each of you. This book is a product of you — too!
When we got to the coffee shop, the kids and I noted a fluorescent green Lamborghini parked in the “No Parking” zone across from the store. We sat down on the patio while my husband got our coffees. My mind drifted…who’s car is that anyway? I’ve seen flashy cars before. These owners almost always do the same thing…they sit directly across from their vehicle. Why? To watch it? To feel proud of their accomplishment? To buoy their ego? I don’t know…but — if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a dozen times — luxury car owners watch their vehicle, like hawks.
My eyes glanced over to the car, then caught a man seated directly across from it. Sure, enough — it must be him. Before long, a truck rolled up. The truck needed to go where the Lambo was parked. The luxury car owner hopped out of his chair, left his coffee trash on the table, and moved his vehicle.
When my husband got back, I relayed the story. I let all my assumptions fly…how it must feel good for this man to see his car…because it affirms his identity. Surely, this car is a constant reminder that — he’s made it!
But, I wondered, had this man really made it? He parked illegally. He left trash on the table. He was seated all by himself, with nothing to face but a pile of metal.
My husband looked at me, and said, “Kelly, I think you are like this man.”
I prayed for a second. Was my husband right? And, what came to mind was how I sometimes:
– feel better when I look good or do good.
– allow projects to label me a success (or a failure).
– permit what I own, how I look, or what I do — to define me more than God’s Words.
– get narrow-minded, believing success looks one way.
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him….” (1 Jo. 2:17 MSG)
I, like that man, isolate myself from my good Father when I allow bright and shiny things to determine who I am — and how good I’ve done. The truth is who I am is only determined by who God says I am. This is security and stability. Here, I can come — weak, human and needy — and still find the help and love I so desperately need, without shame.
I am always accepted. And, so are you.
Whether you’re succeeding or failing, rich or poor, abounding or sinking, thriving or hardly getting by — you are always loved. Chosen. Wanted. Approved. As a child of God, you have a Father and He loves you — no matter.
She was sharing her heart, but for some reason I felt like I had to have her “fixed” by the time the call ended. She phoned me because she needed help. And, I wanted to really be there for her. To leave her where she was — didn’t feel right.
I offered some advice. I gave her some strategies. Yet, after hanging up — I had a sinking feeling that I said too much. That my words were — input-overload.
In retrospect, she didn’t need my lofty words, but just my care. My heart. My presence with her in the heat of a hard moment.
She didn’t need an answer as much as she needed an ear.
I noticed when I did stay quiet on the call, she had room to pray. I also remember how she seemed to pray her way out of her own hole.
It was my pride that made me want to be a savior. It is also my pride that makes me unload harsh words on others because of my inflamed emotions. It is pride that feels like it has to have an answer to everybody’s every question.
Humility does the opposite, though. It says less so that God can move more.
“A truly wise person uses few words…” (Prov. 17:27)
Wise people say less and listen more. They weigh words carefully before blasting them like a water gun. They intentionally think about restoring the other person, rather than ripping them apart or giving too much advice. They don’t let their emotions get the best of them.
Wise communicators know they don’t have to respond. They are okay with silence. They give space for others to help themselves. They allow ‘no response’ answers or ‘let me think about it’ approaches so they can release life-giving, redeeming words.
Using less words provides more impact. Where, in your life, might God be calling you to use less words? What would this look like practically?
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Is. 40:31)
When I wait, I usually don’t feel strength rise. Instead, I’m wondering…
“When will you show up, God?”
“Why is this taking so long?”
“How do I do things differently?”
The more I wonder, the more I feel confused. Ever been there?
Well, I asked God about this verse I could not understand. I knew the issue was not with God, but with me. I needed clarity. Ironically in-line with this bible verses whole concept, I didn’t get an answer from for a while…that is, until He provided me clarity in the most unlikely of places… the ocean.
Surrounded by waves, with my son on top of a boogie board, I was looking into the ocean for just the right wave for him. I explained, “You gotta look for the right wave, son.”
I went on, “If you take any old wave, it will be a dud. If it is a dud, you’ll ride that wave and go hardly anywhere, and then you’ll have to fight all the waves to get back out to where you originally were. That’ll tire you out.
Wait, son, don’t go too early, and when the time is right — go!”
God hit me in that water. I realized, just like riding dud waves, we often let our mind go where it wills when we are waiting. We ride dud emotions and little lies and let them take us where they will. No wonder we feel tired as we have to work our way back; We fight the tides of opposition to get back to a place of faith and trust in God.
Yet, when we stay near to God, keep our eyes on Him and remember that He has the perfect wave of faithfulness coming our way — we stay at peace. We feel renewed. We often see God’s mini-encouragement show up through His Word or people along the way. We stay afloat with God. There, we can enjoy His creation around us and all He is doing.
Here, we rest. We rest and see His nature. We rest and wonder at what He is about to do. We rest and remember how good He has always been to us. We rest and wonder what that beautiful wave of His might look like when it comes…
All these things renew strength. And then, at just the right moment — He breaks through and, boy, were we glad that we didn’t follow every little emotion and instinct that came on us along the way…
God is Provider. He shows up just on time. He provided His Son, at just the right moment, to literally save our souls. He knows what He is doing. He has a pulse on every detail that we need. He knows everything He is working together. He has us in the palm of His hand.
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Is. 49:16)
God has us so much so — that we are engraved in the palm of His hand. We are ever-before our Maker. He thinks of us. He has a mind — to mind us.
He also has a plan to provide.
If you’ve lost hope around God providing a way, a means, a hope, finances, or a great rescue for a need, allow Him to renew your hope…
28 Verses Showing: God Provides
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (Prov. 10:3)
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Ro. 8:32)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Eph. 3:20)
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:2)
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Gen. 22:8)
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)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (Jo. 15:6)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:16-17)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Jo. 14:13-14)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:22)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jo. 14:26)
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:15-16)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)
Do you feel tired? Weary from world happenings? God knows.
Do you feel lonely? Perhaps, many around you — don’t fully understand you. God understands.
There are seasons where God sets us apart to figure things out: us and God. It can feel odd.
I feel this right now. The Lord has positioned me in such a place where there is risk…where I need to pray…where I have to trust Him for big things…where He is working on me…where I have to look at our relationship afresh..where I am not sure what the future holds…where I’ve been going, going, going. Yes, it feels odd, annoying even. I am set apart from what is normal for me.
The feelings could overwhelm me — if I am not careful.
Yet, I know this: a wise person never allows feelings to force them to give up. They see them for what they are — like little waves — that are passing emotions. And, they come to understand the reason they are set apart — is to be with God.
Did you know that the biblical word “holy” (Hebrew: Qodesh) means set apart? Whether we are John, Jesus, or David, there’s a God set-up for God’s setting us apart. This setting apart was always a part of God’s plan to use them in mighty ways.
John paved the way for Jesus. Jesus paved the way for sinners. We are set apart to pave the way for God’s great moves in our hearts, as we let Him do what He wants to do even through discomfort. We are set apart — so we can meet with Him.
We are set apart so that His leadings, love, and lessons can teach us to not only survive but to thrive, no matter what we face. It is here we learn to rise above other’s opinions, the world’s estimations, and natural limitations. Here, we learn to completely rely on God.
So, don’t let a feeling throw you. This too shall pass. But, God’s love endures forever. And, perhaps, He is setting you apart because He loves your time together. And so that you can know that He has a very, very good plan for your life… And so you know Him as your truest King, above finances, health or relationships.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is. 40:29-31)
Sometimes, I say to my kids, “To delay is to disobey.”
For instance, I may instruct them, “Move away from the cake so you don’t end up eating it!”
If they delay and linger by it…eventually, they’ll put their finger smack dab in the center of it and lick the sugary icing off their finger. The temptation will be too great.
So often, to delay is to disobey. It leaves room to ask, “Did God really say…? Maybe it is okay if I…” (See: Gen. 3:1). It opens the door to justification and rationalization.
Recently, God showed up in a big way in my life. It was an awe-inspiring breakthrough. I got clarity to a decisive next-step from God. On day 1, I was all in. But, day 14? I started to wonder, “Was that really you, God? Did you really say that? I am not sure it can work that way because ___, and ___and ___.” I got an Eve-complex.
Questions — and all the reasons why it “couldn’t work” — were zapping my faith.
The delay was causing disobey to rise up in me. I began to sway.
It won’t be good because… What I have here is really good… It can’t possibly work out…
Rather than looking ahead to where God was taking me, I looked back at my circumstances.
Another woman did this. Her name was “Lot’s wife.”
And, God was not pleased with her behavior: “But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19:26)
She looked back at sin, at Sodom and Gomorrah. Today, I repent of looking back, delaying, and rationalizing my own way. I can’t move ahead when looking back. Nor can I go with God, when I’m going against Him. Forgive me, God!
And, He does, forgive me.
What about you? Where have you strayed? Looked back? Delayed? Where does it feel that you are working against God, rather than with Him?
You know, things of God won’t always make sense. They won’t always seem easy. They won’t always come together as we expected. But, this doesn’t mean God isn’t working in our life. When we trust Him, even though, He helps us. When we keep our eyes on Him, despite what we think, He leads us. When we remember our best work has nothing to do with us, He equips us.
God has your best path and all you need — you already have — through knowing Him.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3)
Be encouraged, even if your way doesn’t make any sense.