Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

What Voice Speaks In You?

Right before a recent move, someone told me, “I hate __ city. I hate everything about it. It is busy. It has mean people. It is a bad environment for living.” I had to pray for God to remove that from my mind so I wouldn’t allow their declaration to become my reality.

Another person essentially told me, “Kelly, you’re not a good enough writer.” I also had to erase that from my memory, so I could do what God wanted me to do without letting their words take life and speak over me day in and day out. But even now, I remember them.

Someone else told me, “All boys with the name __, act a certain way. You never want to name your kid that or they’ll be …” Again, I had to recognize this was something I could be prone to believe. I had to seek God’s truth and his ways, rather than to let those words take root in me.

What have people spoken over you lately? What have you permitted to become a part of you? What words might not be from God?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

What ruler, authority or dark agency has spoken within you? Does it sound like love? Or does it sound like…

An Authority Saying, You’re RuinedThere is no time. There are no people behind you. You will fail. You don’t have enough __. You are always without ___. God is far.

An Agency Stating, Take Care of Yourself, Only: There is not enough to go around. Protect yourself first. Give later. The world has limited resources. Take first, give later.

A Hard-Driving Ruler demanding, Perform! Perform! Perform! Work, strive and push yourself harder: Imperfection is not allowable.  It’s an all or nothing lifestyle. It’s black or white thinking. It’s thrive or die. People are liabilities and injuries just waiting to happen. If they don’t help you, hurt them. That’s what you say.

An Authority proclaiming, You’re IncapableYou’ve always done bad in life. Why change now? You know you are unlikable, but there is no use trying to be different. Your past has marked you. The world, the hurters, owe you. You’re a victim. You don’t really have what it takes, anyway.

God is not a Father who enslaves you to a chamber of fear.

He is a daddy who loves you. He gives us…
A Daughter mentality: He loves me, oh, he loves me. Every day, he loves me.

His voice sounds like this:

I choose her.  I want her to feel my love. I want her to dwell in it and to feel the fullness of my presence around her. I want her to know I am both behind her, in her and working out through her. I rejoice over her with singing, I write her name on my hand, I prepare a room for her, I have good works ready for her to walk in, and I want to give her all my riches. I want to pour out my glorious inheritance (shout out to Jesus Christ) all over her. I want her to walk knowing she has the biggest, baddest and strongest security behind her at all moments. I want her to see she can do anything through me. I want her to know her faith can part seas and make her walk to lands unimaginable. I want her to hear my words of truth before she relies on her perceptions, because then she’ll know my love. 

I want her to know I’m always cheering for her, leading her, loving her and ready to help her. 

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

When Your Mouth Speaks Stupid

Speaks Stupid

It was an odd encounter. I am not sure why. I didn’t intend to make it odd, but my mouth got ahead of my mind. What was meant to come out as, “Wow! You are so talented…” rolled out as, “What do you think you are being led to do in life?”

As if she wasn’t already doing enough.
As if God wasn’t already using her.
As if there was more to life than the moment she was currently in.

The second my question made its weird appearance, I wanted to withdraw it. I wanted to grab it and stuff it back into my mouth because I could see what it was producing: a seat-shifting sense that she should be doing more. That where God planted her feet today wasn’t good enough.

Yet, where she was — was entirely good enough. In fact, I was very much struck by the individual. And although I’d just met her minutes ago (another reason my mouth should have shushed it), I knew her wisdom and insight would have an impact on my life, as it has with so many others.

I left the gathering. On the way home, all I could think was: She thinks I am an oddball. I came off as prideful. She feels put down…not used enough…like she should have some greater mission…all because of my fast track mouth.

My hands clenched the car seat. My ears tuned out my husband and my embarrassment stuck on me like icky glue. It kept on bothering me — for days.

Yet, something hit me as I wrote this story down, after seeing it in black and white. What if the big deal I made about my words was really only a small deal to her? And what if her shifting around was only because she was bound to a clock and needed to start the meeting? What if her short response was only because she was thinking about what she needed to do next?

What if I read into things? And what if her words were far less about me, because she was already on to the next thing?

What if she didn’t really think I was:

the weirdo
the oddball
the arrogant one
the insensitive girl

What if she just thought I was a new person who seemed nice, who she is interested in getting to know as well?

How many times do we personalize predicaments and let them name us poorly? How many times do we let the enemy declare us bad when God is trying to set up a good friendship? How many times do we see our failings when others aren’t seeing that at all?

That night at the prayer gathering, I lost my prayer mojo because I kept thinking I injured her. I lost the chance to plead for, impact and change the hurting lives of others because I was caught up in my own mind-story. I lost God’s better plan.

When we personalize issues that really are not personal, we always lose God. We let our feet venture off his track and we head down some windy road with the goal of making man love us. We divert love. We walk away from Him who is love.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).”

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Damaging Effects of Speaking Under Your Breath

Speaking Under Your Breath

Yesterday, I went to the local cafe to write. I sit in the back where all the employees congregate, gossip and chit-chat. I usually try to keep my head down, but this time my eyes got the better of me. I couldn’t help but watch and listen.

A man marched through the front door. Chest up, he huffed and puffed all the way to to the back full of disdain at what he saw laying around him. Immediately grabbing a napkin and wiping a chair, he proceeded to attack the mess. He also decided to speak out from under his breath, saying, “This place is a mess.” He wanted his co-workers to hear. They did. Loud and clear.

Each belabored move to tackle crumbs, tables and spills, was all a message telling them, “You aren’t on it, but I am.”

A minute later, he pointed out two chairs and said, “Are those chairs supposed to be like that?”

He knew full well they weren’t. Then, he strutted over and fixed them. The two women employees next to me raised their eyebrows and gave each other the look, which I took to mean, “He’s up to it again…”

With their look, something pierced and shifted in me. Something called me to look within myself. Why? Because I knew his ludicrous behavior was also my ludicrous behavior. I am often, “up to it again.”

I speak a word under my breath, “Ugh…this place is such a mess.”

I send a silent message to my child, “Can’t anyone throw out these used paper towels on the counters?”

I leave a complaining spirit around my house, “He didn’t put his shoes away. Now, I have to do it.”

I am “up to it again” often.

I never knew how this practice appears. How it comes off. The arrogance of it. The looks it produces in people. The retaliation it produces. The spectacle of it all.

It makes me consider how I could approach things differently.

You know, the man could have come in and:

  1. Chosen to connect with hearts by first caring for those around him.
  2. Been straightforward with his request for help in cleaning up, saying, “Hey, would you all mind helping me clean up?”
  3. Connected with others during the process.
  4. Given thanks to them for helping him out.

I can do this too.

It was interesting as I watched this situation transpire. The women retaliated and called the man out on his “junk.” They said, “Hey Jim, are these your bags of chips out here on the counter?”

They were. Embarrassed, Jim walked back to pick them up.

None of us are perfect. Usually, what we huff and puff about are things we are equally guilty of.

Why not give everyone a break? Ourselves included.
Why not be honest? In need? Straightforward?

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Eph. 4:24

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Dear Perfect Christian…

Perfect Christian

Dear Perfect Christian,

First, we want to acknowledge that you do not exist. You never can, nor will you ever exist. We are sorry to tell you this, but your mission is 100% impossible and we regret to inform you it is one God never called you to.

We also want to encourage you, finally, to let your shoulders relax. You can let down your guard. You can stop pretending you’re a whole lot better than you look. You can let go of the messy drawers, the bad habits, the quick responses and stop beating yourself over the head with a self-improvement plan that never seems to work. You can inhale, let your stomach fill and then exhale.

You can rest. Finally, you can rest. You can find a daddy God who doesn’t look at you for what you can do, but who you are in him. You can see him want to be near to you. You can see him approach you with the fullness of love.

He wants you, even when you don’t want to see the horrible things you’ve done.

Breathe deep. Again.

There is peace for you.  Even when you are face-to-face with a horrible, ugly, unwanted failure. Still, there is peace, love and hope. Acceptance of failure is freedom.

I am writing you today with an invitation to let in- the love you hold at an arms-length. The love your always-unmet achievements declare you unworthy of. The love you keep away lest it make you feel needy. The love that will change you.

Today, let in…Christ. Let love in to a greater capacity.

What Jesus did covers what you don’t do. What he did washes away the blame that sticks. What he did marks you blameless. What he did removes the status of “wholly unworthy” and leaves you with an identity of holy.

This status reminds you: you will mess up, but God never gives up on you.

Return here, to this reminder. It is your rest. He wants you, not your work. He wants your heart. Let him have it. Let it be immersed in the Living Water. Let it splash around, dance, have fun, be free and enjoy the goodness of him who loves you.

I’ll meet you there.

Love, a fellow trying-to-be-perfect girl,

Kelly

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Do you Need God’s Saving Power?

My biggest fear came true, the exact one I couldn’t stop mulling over as I lay on my shaking, rattling bed. My 6-year-old was on the top bunk of an Amtrak train bed.

Would it hold him? Would he roll over?

At home, my son was protected. He knew his surroundings. He had comfort. His fall wasn’t 6 feet down. But here, in this new situation? In a bed half his size? One really couldn’t tell what might happen…

I got word in the morning. Husband told me he fell off the bed. My heart stopped. My eyes stared. I looked the kid up and down for train wounds. Nothing.

Husband explained, the safety straps next to the bed (the ones I completely took for granted), caught him. They wrapped him as he fell, like a cocoon, keeping him in a deep well of safety. So dear son was just chilling there, swinging and safe. Unaware of how protected he was…how he’d just been saved. He wasn’t even aware it happened. Dad pulled him back onto his bed without waking him.

How often does our Dad “save” us without us realizing? Pull us onto our bed of safety without us noticing? Wrap us in a cocoon of protection so harm can’t touch us?

Many of us, myself included, never give thought to the family wars, the bitter arguments, the looming bills, the accidents, the woops moments, the injuries he saves us from.

We see the things that hit us, and blame God, but we never consider how he saves us, and thank God.

He’s probably protected you a bazillion times, because God is mighty to save.

“He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3)

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” (Zeph. 3:17)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:8)

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Simple Way to Strength

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Is. 40:29)

When I read these verses, do you know what I think?

I think: That’s great He does all that – for them.

It’s great that he cares for the weary people who have cancer, or the poor people in India or the single mom in Detroit. He is SO loving to all them. But, I never apply God’s Word to me…

…even though I fall entirely in this camp. I am weary from packing up my whole house and carting boxes all the way to a new state. I am weak from trying to sell off my whole house and I am lacking might in the kindness department as night gives way to another night of no sleep.

But, I hardly count myself like them. I hardly place myself in the camp of the needy and poor people who should get God’s best.

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;

the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.” (Ps. 41:1)

What about you? Do you regard yourself?

Do you easily admit you are:

  1. Weary
  2. Weak
  3. Lacking might
  4. In trouble

What strikes me is that when we admit these things, we receive strength and power. It’s what this scripture says will happen. But, part of it happening is allowing it to happen.

You know, we can stop it from happening…

I’ve never been able to shove a popsicle in a kid’s mouth who didn’t want it. Nor have I been able to make my husband accept time of rest when he didn’t want it. Nor have I been able to fully feel God’s love when I didn’t make time for it.

David, the man who wrote this Psalm, even said, “Have mercy on me, Lord, heal me, for I have sinned against you” and “Even my close friend, someone I trusted…has turned[ against me.” (Ps. 41:9)

He admitted his gunk. What’s yours?

Psalm 41 says God:

– protects
– preserves
– does not give people “over to the desire of their foes”
– sustains
– restores those who are weary and lacking.

Seems like everything I need. What about you?

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Are you Feeling Crushed by Life?

crushed by life

I heard this horrible story. On a warm evening a few summers ago, a boat hit a dock. A dock full of people.

A moment before this happened, they had no idea what was about to hit them. They drank cool drinks, enjoyed the summer breeze off the bay and laughed…until the load of a power boat hit them full force.

The boat flipped over, right onto it all. Right onto their party. Under the falling weight of this boat a five-year-old boy was caught.

He should have died. He should have been crushed. He should have never stood up again from the weight of it all…except, he did.

He got back up. He had a second life, a second chance, a free pass because an Adirondack chair caught the boat’s fall. It held the boat up at just enough of an angle so the boy could survive. He could crawl out.

And, he did. Despite all odds, he lived.

The cross of Jesus Christ is our Adirondack chair. I don’t care what kind of crushing power is coming against you right now. I don’t care how horrible the bills, the arguments, the conflict, the meanness, the stress, the blows are around you – the cross of Jesus Christ, the strength of his sacrifice and the inarguable greatness of his love – saves. It doesn’t save just once.

Over and over again, when life falls with a blow so hard it wants to kill you, Jesus holds things up just enough so you live again. So you walk out, miraculously, unscathed.

Jesus doesn’t save only for eternity; he saves for today. By faith, believe it. Believe in his saving power. It is in you…

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Ro. 8:11)

Thanks to the cross, the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, we have wiggle room to crawl out from any crushing load that falls on us. There is nothing that can ruin us, ever. Get on your knees again, crawl out, brush them off and know: Because Jesus overcame, you can too.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8 NIV)

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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Stop Trying to Fix Yourself

So, I know you all know I wrote the book, Fear Fighting. I also know you know if there is anyone who should be fearless – it’s me. But, guess what? I admit it. I am not.

After a recent stressful situation, I was told by a family member, “You need to work on your anxiety issue.” This gave me anxiety.

Before she made this comment, I was leaps and bounds more anxiety-free than ever before. In fact, I considered what God did a miracle. But right after she said this, it felt like someone dropped a 50-pound brick off the Empire State building and it landed on my chest. The burn started up…

For days, I lost any sense of inner comfort and felt a new overwhelming sense of pounding nervousness.

Oh, how I wanted to blame her.

But I didn’t…well, I kind of did.

Man, what I’d worked through, she put back on me.

For days, I worked to work it away. For days, I pressed to bring back God’s peace. For days, I struggled and fought to pretend it wasn’t there. For days, I felt acted upon and angered by it all.

For days.

On the 5th day, I said to myself, “Of course, Kelly, you have anxiety. You’ve been through a hard time. You had a big family issue. You had some sin issues within yourself to contend with. You’re taking on a huge project right now, as you write a new book. And, you are also moving in a few days to a new area. It’s like the world is on your shoulders. Make room for this emotion to live, to breathe before God and be patient. God will work there, in the space where self-hatred is absent.”

I realized I could stop “performing peace” and let “Peace” come. And this is what happened. With less attention on performance and a clear focus on God’s love, it faded.

Jesus took it. He took it as I focused on Him – not on it. He took it as I remembered his all-sufficiency. He took it as I made room for rest. He took it as I let go of any anger I once had at that family member. He took it as I found myself free to not fix myself. He took it.

Thank you, God. Please keep it.

What might Jesus want to take from you through peaceful waiting? Where you are absent of self-hatred, remorse and condemnation?  Where you don’t demand yourself to improve but wait on God?

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Enemy Can Trick You in a Split-Second

Enemy Can Trick

I was taking my normal morning walk when something caught my eye and tried to lure me. A hand waving from the side of a building.

Was he calling me?

Sure enough, he was. He wanted me to come over.

Now, this time of day just happens to be my time with God. A time of walk and talk. It’s also a time I am really receptive to being used by him. So, for a split-second, I considered walking down and talking with this fellow.

Maybe I can reach him for Christ. 

I took my ear buds off and yelled down the hill, “What do you want?” He motioned for me to come down to him – behind the liquor store.

I considered it, but I didn’t go. I didn’t go because:

  1. He was standing behind a liquor store.
  2. He was a he.
  3. I got the feeling he was up to no good.

And as I walked away, I was in shock: How could I have ever considered doing something so dumb?

Around my house are tons of motels. There are also a lot of drug addicts and prostitutes. I came to realize upon reflection, he was likely a pimp.

Scary, I know.

But what I also realized is that sometimes the enemy can trick us in the name of Jesus. He can pull us into strategies, plans, motions or words we think are God-filled, but are actually traps set to nab us.

Christian, beware.

The serpent said to Eve, “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5)

The devil appealed to Eve’s senses with something spiritual. He lured her in with a promise of a greater vision of God. He made her believe she was doing something God already knew about. Likely, he made her feel like God was okay with it. He convinced her she’d have greater vision of good and evil.

God would want that, right?

“(Eve) wanted the wisdom it would give her.” (Gen. 3:6)

That doesn’t sound like such a bad cause, does it?

Beware: Just because God is involved doesn’t mean it is a God-cause.

Beware: Just because there is need, doesn’t mean that you’re the one God needs to walk into it.

Beware: Just because you want God’s ways doesn’t mean you go about it on your own.

The enemy will trick us with whatever device he knows will work. Sometimes, it is even things of God.

To fight this:

  1. Seek.
  2. Pray.
  3. Discern.
  4. Act or don’t act.
  5. If you choose not to act, don’t let the enemy trick you with the shame of “not doing”.

It could save your life.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Way Out if You’re Angry and Bitter

Angry and Bitter

I recently talked with a friend.

Plain as day, she told me:

  1. I can’t hear God.
  2. I am upset at God.
  3. Others have done me wrong.

Maybe you are there too. Maybe there are miles of distance between you and your once beloved Father, God. Maybe you are irritated, although you likely don’t admit it. Maybe you feel God has let you down. Maybe you are counting up all the ways others have failed, hurt, and insulted you.

Maybe you can’t see straight because you want to let the world, have it!

We’ve all been there. Or at least I have. I remember, I felt God let me down so badly I’d go to church, pretend I was voicing the worship songs, count the lights and draw doodles on my notepad rather than giving the pastor one second of my listening ear.

It seems what others do to us, we displace onto God.

Which is why there is only one way out of this mess: forgiveness.

Yes, it is that word. The one we cringe at.  Because we hate to do it. We hate, hate, hate to let go of the injury that was SO WRONG, SO UNDUE, SO MEAN, SO RUDE, SO INFURIATING…SO, SO, SO!

But, the reality is, that person, who injured us doesn’t continue to lose, when we hold on to bitterness, we do. That person who was horrible doesn’t get their due from our resentment, we do. We don’t hurt them. We are the ones who stay hurt. We are the ones who live the offense over and over. We are the ones who stay in pain.

Unforgiveness is the enemy’s trick. He steals, kills, and destroys the freedom waiting on the other side of our anger. He keeps us wrapped up in the agony of the unjust, the immoral and the inept. He keeps our mind off Jesus.

Indeed, he’s cunning. But, God is greater. And, so is forgiveness. It breaks every shackle. It tears off every band-aid. It restores peace. It renews joy. It returns us to high standing with God, where we feel okay with talking to him.

Forgiveness is our way home. Do you need to come home? To a God who wants to comfort you in your time of need.

Prayer:

Dear God, I am angry at  ____ because they ____. I know that as I let them go, you will handle them. I hand them to you today, Lord. I forgive them in your name. I ask you to bless them and to keep them. I ask you to heal whatever was hurt within me as a result of them. Repair me. Repair them. Be near to me. Thank you, my God. Amen. 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.