Hey you, I know how you do things. You watch everyone else. You size them up to see if what they are doing is good enough. You pick it apart. You notice how they dress, act, carry themselves. What they do, think or say. You’ve pulled your microscope out and you are not missing a beat.
You survey things. You predict their next step. You pick apart their face. You want to anti-applause their success. You hope they will fail. You hate yourself, how you look so small and they look so big, as if they were Jackie O’ or something like that.
Your face tenses, your eyes squeeze, your blood pressure rises. You want her to fall and trip over a sidewalk crack. Maybe if she’d hurt her face, you wouldn’t have to see it and feel as flat as a pancake. So, you imagine her ruined, politically, professionally or personally. Truly unleashed, you rub your hands together like the bad witch of the west and chuckle a little over it. Of course, you wouldn’t let any Christian people know this was going on under your covers.
God, forbids that.
I’ve been this girl in the past. I see these girls in the present. It’s a war out there friends. Women are at war with women. At times we almost hate each other, and, no doubt, berate each other.
Can I just ask, “What are we doing?”
We take potential friends and, in our mind, make them foes.
The only one we hurt by hating – is ourselves. Because this kind of behavior makes us hate ourselves even more. We either grow so big for our britches we fear busting and been seen as a fraud. Or, we get so small we fear our whole calling will deteriorate into the vast outer limits of the universe and no one will bat an eye.
Either way, a comparing mind sits in a living hell.
It sees not all it can do, but all it hasn’t done.
It sees not where it will go, but only how it could never go there.
It sees not the call of God, but only his call on the other girl’s life.
It hears not his still small voice, for it is consumed by voices of social media.
It believes not that God will fulfill its longings, for it longs for other peoples’ unique gifts.
It knows not it’s specialness, for it never allows it.
It seeks not humble means, for it is caught up in worldly ones.
This kind of mind is so focused on outer things, it misses God’s inner voice. It misses his voice that says, “I made you for you and no one else can do what I have set forth for you to do. It is unique to you.”
That truth gets rushed away in the after-wind of someone’s success. Gone. Unseen. Woosh…
We stand there, left with obsessive and critical views that only see the world’s nothingness.
We are the sum of all we are not, short-sheeted by the sheer genius of another. We try to stretch out, but our mind lets our legs take us nowhere.Stunted.
So, today with all this bull, (yes, I said bull), I want to break through the depressive bed of lies that you have trapped yourself in. It is time to rise up and to move out and into something new – and that new is – you.
10 Secrets to Squash Jealousy & to Live Abundantly
Go forth with God. Grab his hand and let him know, “No matter how big or small, my plans will be your plans.”
Establish a determined and resilient will. When (not if) you get off track, be resolute in getting back on.
Give thanks for those around you. Notice their good and let them know.
Notice the little things, the small growths, God is watering within you.
Give out more than your flesh tells you you must acquire.
Believe that God’s goodness for you is plentiful, joyful and powerful. It is not hard to grasp.
Decide to follow his decrees all the way up to the place where he meets your deepest desires.
Agree with God; he made you good. He doesn’t play favorites.
Hope in God‘s “exceedingly, abundantly more,” (Eph. 3:20).
Remember, life isn’t about here, but all about there – heaven.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Ps. 51:10
Life is too short to find your mind, heart and progress stunted. God has too great of plans for you. He put the same power that raised Christ from the dead in you (Romans 8:11). He seated you with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:13).
After all this, you don’t think Christ has great plans for you?
He let son numero-uno take the rap for you.
Don’t you think he will carry you through?
For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. Eph. 1:4
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9)
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Friends, I am feeling discouraged. I am trying to write this thing called book, with what does not appear to be tremendous success. Getting feedback of average is making me feel average. It is making me feel as if I am a failure for God. It is making me feel as if my purpose, my calling, is now null and void.
Ever been there?
Ever thought you were doing okay only to greet
discouragement face-to-face through
circumstances, opinions or sudden obstacles?
Discouragement can be the detour to defeat if you’re not careful.
It happens when we let our progress become our identity. When feedback is what feeds us. When we see our reflection as a byproduct of work.
God is maker.
He is refiner.
The commander of hows, whens and whys.
Helper every time.
Rescuer to the drowning.
Hope to the inquirers.
The power to the least of these.
The strength in weakness.
Many times, what he is doing – in us – is far more important than what we hope he does – through us.
For accolades, awards and acceptance speeches will fade, but adoration will last forever.
The world will wane and purity will reign.
What are we seeking? What are we believing in?
Take a look at the Israelites.For seven years, they got off track (which is also means they did “evil in the eyes of the Lord”), and landed in the hands of the Midianites (Judges 6:1). The Midianites were killers by nature; they killed the land, they killed the animals and they simply sucked out the the air of hope around the Israelites (Judges 6:4-5).
At this point, the Israelites could have said, “Let’s forget God, he has forgotten us.”
They could have said, “We have lost his love; he is not for us anymore.”
But instead, after 7 years, they said, “Lord, will you help us (Judges 6:6)?”
Deliverance appeared in the form of a prophet, but also as an angel to Gideon, saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12
This line, this word from the angel, is what dead-stops my heart. It is what calls me to attention. It declares both power of God and his intent.
The defeated one is declared the mighty one.
The unsure one is made the warrior one.
We are the present day Israelites – wandering, waiting and wading the world – calling out “Lord, save us.”
I imagine, God looks at us, much in the same way and says, “Child, you have the riches of my everything. You have the fullness of the kingdom. Everything is at your disposal. Be mighty in me. Be warrior for my cause. Don’t let doubt make you think you’re being held for ransom. Keep your eyes on me and go where I go.”
These words. The power.
I am mighty warrior. You are mighty warrior.
Being mighty in God’s ways; it changes things. It brings new charge.
We have an opportunity when we drive down the detour of discouragement – we can see truth for truth. It often looks like a red and white sign that says, “WRONG WAY”. The only thing to do at that point is to turn around, call out to God saying, “Lord, save me” and to get on the right road again.
Then our drive becomes his drive. Lowly. Gentle. Humble.
His passion is our passion. Giving. Gracious. Generous.
Our great love makes his love shine more. Bright. Brilliant. Reliant. It becomes less about us, but then, somehow, he gives everything to us. Daddy. Loving. Caring.
We try less, but God gives so much more.
We become more than we dream,
even though he is far more than our best dream can conceive.
That is called faith.
We become warriors, who march over our worrier.
We become mighty, serviced beyond marginal.
We become listeners, who don’t have to be controllers.
We become waiters, who trust in his perfect plan.
We become believers, rather than achievers.
We become lowly, seeing past pride.
We become passionate, delighting in the Kings will.
We become determined, keeping our eyes on our own Promised Land.
We know we are his, and already, we have all we need.
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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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Days where these kids head to time-out, over and over, despite the repeated talks on love.
Days when work doesn’t work-out.
Days when the marriage just goes off kilter.
Days when friendships irk.
Days when finances continue to dwindle.
Days when God doesn’t immediately show up. Days that can turn into weeks…
It’s days like these when you wonder why in the world things don’t work better when you are working so hard?
It’s days like these that compel your heart to want to give up, to run and hide.
Why is it that the train-wreck days sometimes seem far easier to get over than these kind of slow-gnaw-type-of-days?
At least with the train-wreck days, you can clean up the toys at the end of the day and start over with a clean slate. You can file these days away in the “once-in-a-blue-moon” cabinet knowing they won’t repeat too soon.
But, slow-gnaw days are called faith-busting day. Over time, they cut your faith away.
They make you question your worth, your heart, your value, your plans, and your God.
They make me lay in the bed, look up at the ceiling, and say, “Why do I even try, God. When are you coming through? What do I have to do?”
We tend to think that way, don’t we?
That for some reason, we are responsible to fix the hand of God.
As if our actions are the precursor to his decisions.
Who owns the hand of God – HIM or me?
Yet, I think of another who had a serious loss of heart. I think of another who had a series slow-gnaw days that could have eaten him alive – if he let them.
Imagine hearing these words:But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. Luke 22:32 And then hearing this:“I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Lu. 22:34 Only to do this: “I don’t even know him!” Lu. 22:57
Might Peter thought, “I’d never! That day will never come! I am strong!” Likely.
But he did – 3 times he did. And he wept. Beyond that, I imagine the next days must have been excruciating as he, probably left in discouragement and despair, saw his savior crucified, dead and buried.
What happened to his purpose?
What use was his life, after in Jesus, he practically twisted the knife?
Peter’s actions must have gnawed worthlessness, pain and struggle.
But, Jesus never leaves the failures, the forgotten or the futureless.
Peter’s inability to stick it through in the moment didn’t disqualify him from Jesus’ love, neither did his past actions.
Nope. Remember this? “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” Luke 22:32 And, it didn’t.
How often do we arm ourself up with faith like Jesus did for Peter? His prayer was answered.
How often do we pray preemptively for war? We are at war.
I can only speak for myself, but with faith like mine,
I should make this prayer my living-mantra.
Because it worked for Peter who:
Was bound up in forgiveness and recommissioned by Jesus with the words: “Tend My sheep.”
Was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to preach and lead 3000 to Christ.
First cried for himself, and later cried with passion for the church built above his foundation.
Spread the gospel far and wide with crazy love for his Savior.
Completed his life as the rock – to the point of death, not as sand – breaking under the pressure of life.
We think Jesus uses heroes, he often used the ones who felt like zeros.
We think it’s about perfection, but it’s simply about his resurrection.
We think Jesus looks for the perfect, but he always finds the willing.
We try to be faultless, but God grows the repentant faulted.
Peter was never disqualified because he doubted.
His days were never marked as fake and tossed out like bad meat
(we read his lessons time and time again).
He wasn’t left in the dust without a purpose or a cause.
He hit gnawing days, battling days and downright discouraging days, yet Jesus chose him, ate with him, replenished his heart and restored his mission so he could go awesome, outstanding and amazing distances for God’s glory.
He waits to do the same with us; Jesus waits to recharge us into his purpose.
What is really amazing is, after all was said and done, Peter, wasn’t just changed for himself, so he could reach some high-and-lofty goal like sitting at the right hand of God, or going before God, or looking good to man, but he was changed to one who learned to deny self (no matter the cost).
He became chief-tender over Jesus’ greatest love – the sheep, just as Jesus always believed he would.
Jesus said to Peter (pre-denial), “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32
And, Peter did.
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I was in a mom’s bible study. We were there to grow in love of the Lord – to share his work in the midst of the craziness of motherhood, his encouragement when we felt despair and his grace in failures. As much as I was looking to be loved and accepted, I wanted to shine an encouraging word into each of their hearts.
God had been transforming my soul in awe-inspiring ways, so I was eager to share. He had been teaching me about trusting him – about reaching outside of myself, stepping outside of my comfort zone and about letting go of things I clenched so tightly. He was teaching me to let him work out what was his to work out. God was teaching me in a powerful way.
But, as I stepped into the spotlight of vulnerability, a dark cloud cast a shadow over me. I questioned, “Is my story even good enough? Am I overwhelming them? Can they handle all this “Jesus talk”? Am I a “know-it-all”? Do these ladies even care?”
I left the group defeated and discouraged. I went in with a flame ready to ignite the group’s passion for the Lord, but I left with burnt ashes in my wake.
I was confused. Shining my “light” illuminated my vulnerabilities – and highlighted my insecurities.
God, I heard your call. Why did this happen?
After much soul-searching, I realized I hid my candle – out of fear of judgment. The light still remained in my soul, but I took my eyes off of God.
I placed the value of my light on the women in my sight. Instead of the God who works with all might. Instead of the God who is completely right. Instead of the God who shines bright.
God’s glory, his radiance, and his brilliance are not dependent on the responses of others. He is light.
It is impossible for darkness to extinguish light. It will always shine. It will always be. It does not depend on reactions, perceptions or judgments. It just is.
Even if you have your flame hidden, it is still there. It stands ready to shine.Because the light he put in us is truth. It is the power he works within us to shine the glory of Jesus Christ in present day life.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6 NLT)
To hide his light, to squelch its power – is to hide the saving and redeeming work of Jesus Christ. When we do this, we hide the work he has set forth for us to do. But, when we live based on the light that is within us, we are truly living. We are in his will. We are living with purpose and with power. We can see the way we should go. It is amazing. It is powerful.
In Order to Let Your Light Shine Bright, You Should:
Not fear the response of man.
Speak as the Lord directs.
Listen to others opinions and reflect on truth.
We run from those who are not willing to listen or hear.
Realize that the value of our message is not dependent on the value of others responses.
Give glory to the Lord all the time – in all ways.
Weigh our words carefully before speaking.
Speak truth no matter what, balanced in love.
Be who God created us to be, no matter how others feel.
When we shine light – when we let our light shine bright – God sends it into dark places. We may not even know the distance that our light will shine. He will send it far and he will send it wide. Our job is to keep our eyes on him and trust him as we let him lead.
People will judge us, but his truth will lead us. He will not let our foot slip (Proverbs 121:3).
Never be afraid to shine too brightly for the one you love; for the light within you is set to light the world on fire with a love of Christ. Let your light shine bright.
Have you ever had that pull on your heart? That ache that tells you that something is not quite right? The persistent call that tells you that you have messed up yet again? The one that makes you ask, “Why can’t I be better?”
It’s a feeling of shame, mixed with regret, all combined with a ton of guilt.
I hate these feelings sometimes. Even worse, I hate how I feel when I am not sure what I should do. I hate not knowing if I will ever “be better”, “do better” and “love better”. I hate feeling like I will never get it quite right. I hate feeling afraid to take the risk to go “there”.
Sin weighs me down. It crushes a spirit. It burdens a heart. It stifles a purpose.
Sin comes and:
It laughs at us
It makes us afraid
It shames us
It makes us uncertain
It tells us, “why bother?”
It condemns us
It defines us
It confirms we can never change
It makes us self conscious
It covers us in chains
It discourages us
It attempts to hold us back from our purpose
It steals peace
It embarrasses us
It robs us of joy
It knocks on the doors of our lives attempting to lure us. It stands ready to rob us. And after it does, it leaves us injured, broken and lying on the floor unsure what to do next.
But it is in this place of vulnerable pain where our hurts drive us to admission. It is in this place where we have to take a risk. Where we have to step out of our comfort zone.
And, it is in this exact place where God is best seen. This is where we see him from an authentic, open and receptive heart. And, when we come to God, he heals and binds up our pain better than we could have ever imagined.
When we confess, and move towards God through changed actions, he comes to us – and we come to him.
And he says:
I forgive you
I love you
I will embrace you
You are my workmanship
Your actions don’t disqualify my plans
Your sin doesn’t mean you can’t win
Your ways don’t supersede my ways
I am more successful than your failures
My grace extends further than your guilt
I live inside of you. I can’t give up on myself.
You are more than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus.
You are my work-in-progress
Do you believe me?
If so, let it go. As far as the east is from the west. Let. It. Go.
Watch me work.
I can change you.
I am perfecting the beauty that is “me” within you.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
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.