“Do you have even the slightest reliance on anything or anyone other than God? Is there a remnant of reliance left on any natural quality within you, or on any particular set of circumstances? Are you relying on yourself in any manner whatsoever regarding this new proposal or plan which God has placed before you? Will you examine yourself by asking these probing questions? It really is true to say, “I cannot live a holy life,” but you can decide to let Jesus Christ make you holy. “You cannot serve the Lord…”— but you can place yourself in the proper position where God’s almighty power will flow through you. Is your relationship with God sufficient for you to expect Him to exhibit His wonderful life in you.” (Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)
To answer his questions, I do rely on myself. I think, God got me here. Now I need to figure things out. Or, what will I do? How will I do this?
There are so many “I’s” in my thinking — when it is all about Him.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.“ (Zeph. 3:17).
These words remain true today…
God will do it.
God, my God, is mighty.
God has the way.
God knows my answer.
God knows my name.
Christ’s power is being perfected in my weakness.
Christ’s goodness overshadows what I think is good.
Christ’s victory is sure and steady.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Today, I am provoked to re-surrender and to let God do things ‘His way’. I am inspired to more FULLY trust Him, believe Him, and to take Him at His Word.
Because…to work by my power is to, often, inhibit God’s power. It gets me ahead of God or it shuts off the mind of Christ, in me, as I run ahead with my own mind and thoughts.
I don’t have to have all the answers – God does. I don’t blaze my way; God does.
I wait, He moves. I pray; He shows up. Sure, sometimes I meet God, through works He calls me to, but aside from that I love God and others with all my heart and leave the results up to Him… I rest, knowing I don’t have to worry or fear anymore. He has this.
I saw the other author from afar. Sure, conference attendees were blocking her, but I knew it was her, so I approached to say ‘Hi’.
Sitting down right next to her, I smiled. She stared back tentatively. I waited for her to recognize me (we are after all in a similar circle with similar friends). Yet, her face was blank.
“Hey there, it’s so great to see you,” I proclaimed. She muttered back a one-word answer.
Perplexed, I asked her, “Hey ___, don’t you know me? I’m Kelly Balarie. I am an author too.”
She answered, “Nope, I don’t know you. I’ve never heard your name.”
She what?!!! Bricks hit my chest. My chest hit the floor. I sat like an exposed duck full of embarrassment.
What a fool I am to think I’d be “known”.
I’m so full of pride. I should have known better to think someone would “know my name”. It was so arrogant of me pre-suppose I’d be recognized.
Here, it was as if every childhood diss hit me afresh. Me – the girl sitting alone on the curb at recess. Me – the one made fun of because of my big nose. Me – the one the cool girls walked away from. Kelly? Huh? Who is she? We don’t know her name.
I want to blame all them. As if they’re the reason I want to be wanted and I need to be needed.
They’re why I cry out for attention.
But are they?
Growing up, I was the oldest of six kids, a mom on some days, a daytime babysitter on others, a back-up disciplinarian, a school-supply checker, a number amongst other important numbers…but, at the center of all this – I always wanted to be seen, known, wanted, valuable.
Is this wrong?
To want to be wanted? Do you feel this way too? Perhaps you want your husband to talk to you more. Perhaps you want that boss to finally give you the promotion you deserve. Or you want to be recognized for the friend you really are. Or as the sister who is super patient and forgiving
I don’t think God hates our desire to be seen, as much as we detach from it and call it “icky pride”. I don’t think He’s as embarrassed by our desire to be wanted as we are. I don’t think He shames us because we want to be known.
Because God fulfills each and every one of these desires – in us.
The question is are we looking to Him or to man for this infilling?
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)
7 Truths that Show How Much God Sees & Knows You:
God “Knows the plans He has for us.” (Jer. 29:11)
He calls us “children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jo. 3:1)
He creates us as His “worksmanship”, a beautiful work reflecting His glory. (Eph. 2:10)
God looks at us and sees Christ in us. (Ro. 8:10)
God wants us; He gave his most precious possession for us. (Jo. 3:16)
Our names are written on the palm of His hands, our hairs are counted and our words are known before they’re even spoken. (Is. 49:16, Lu. 12:7, Ps. 139:4)
He loves us first – before ever loved Him. (1 Jo. 4:19)
Do you feel alone? Disappointed? Are you struggling? It is not too late to get the Journey Together All Access Pass, full of 40+ how-to videos from authors and women’s ministers – click here for more information: www.journeytogethersummit.com
Marcia Kuyper is joining us today for Women’s Ministry Monday and, boy, am I delighted about it. Her words struck a chord with my heart. They are both encouraging and thought-provoking. I am confident they will bless you as much as they did me. Enjoy!
Post by: Marcia Kuyper
I could see he was annoyed with me.
My husband Tom set our vitamins out on the counter, and I, knowing a better system, “politely” questioned his arrangement.
The tension was subtle, but I was keenly aware of his frustration with me. It makes me mad when he gets annoyed with me. I was thinking, “What right does he have to be irritated with me, after the way he hurt me?”
I say out loud, “You are so bugged with me.”
My conflict avoiding husband gave it to me straight. He courageously began to tell me about the way I affect him. I knew he was talking about more than the arrangement of vitamins. He was talking about our life together.
I didn’t want it to be about me.
I looked down at my Bible, which was open to Luke, and I paused, asking Jesus to help me have ears to hear. “Lord, help me listen, truly listen. Help me listen for what’s being said beneath the words. Let me listen the way you listen… love the way you love… lay down my life the way you laid down your life.”
I looked at the words before me in Luke 7:36-50…
“And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”
And I hear it loud and clear…
“Marcia, I have something to say to you.” I pause…ask again for His help in my listening, and then I reply,
“Say it Teacher.”
I’ve read this so many times. I get the meaning of these words, but this time, His message hits home in a more personal way.
To love the way Jesus loves,
I must receive all the love and forgiveness He offers.
I must let the blood of the Lamb cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, which includes my SELF-righteousness.
I’m listening, so He gently shows me that I am the pharisee in this story.
I realized I was saying : “I would never do that.”
I didn’t say it out loud, but in my heart, I was saying, “I would never do that.”
It’s pride.I hold on to a small sense of superiority, and that is what comes out when pressed.
Tom was courageously being more direct and bold, because he loves me and values our relationship. I was tempted to react in a self-protective way, turning the fault back on him, but this time, by God’s grace, I was able to have ears to hear what He wanted to teach me. I am learning that, until I own my part, until I own my sin – my inability to come under him, my resistance to letting him lead me, to learn from him, to listen without pushing my words – we will only get so far.
Is there something God wants to say to you?
With Jesus as our teacher and guide, like the woman in Luke 7:36-50, we have the opportunity to let Jesus love us fully by giving Him access into every corner of our lives. Even the things we don’t speak out loud. It is here, in this place of admission and confession, where we experience His loving forgiveness and respond with extravagant gratefulness, just like this exposed woman did.
She, the woman, poured out her most costly possession (perfume), He poured out His blood for our redemption. As I wrestled with Jesus over my unforgiveness, He helped me identify and spill out my pride, which released in me an outpouring of love and forgiveness for Tom. What might your spontaneous outpouring of gratitude look like?
May you receive His love and forgiveness today in a way that overflows in love, forgiveness and gratitude.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
About Marcia Kuyper
Marcia Kuyper is the Women’s Ministries director at Open Door Fellowship Church in Phoenix Arizona. She leads Bible studies and Retreats, counsels couples and women in marriage and family and has a deep passion for God’s Word and His people
Marcia teaches with her husband at the A Time for Us Marriage retreats and Marriage preparation classes for engaged couples. She also shepherds and teaches a class for young marrieds and singles called C’est La Vie.
Marcia is a wife to Tom, mom of four, and grandma to seven, soon to be eight…
She spends a lot of time… planning vacations. 🙂 She loves reading… (Favorite authors: Oswald Chambers, Henri Nouwen, Elizabeth Goudge… too many to list.) the beach, snow skiing…
Raised in a Jewish family, Marcia came to know Jesus as Savior in high school. She is so deeply grateful that Jesus pursues her and never stops loving her.
She threw out the eloquent answer before I could even breathe a letter. This girl pre-empted my open mouth with just the right juicy tidbit. It moved like a hot juicy bone in front of a dog. Except, this dog was my boss. He bit and savored it all – bite by bite.
I squinted. She knew what she was doing…she was trying to one-up me – again. She always did. She had a bag full of treats.
She went to the boss’ office first thing in the morning with coffee.
She walked the halls to talk to the “important” people.
She sent emails that carbon copied the whole world and their bosses bosses.
She sat down in the chair right next to me, without even saying hi.
She rose her shoulders and typed away…
You know the type:
One who will do anything to get in with the right people.
One who keeps a count on who matters and who doesn’t.
One who doesn’t like you so much for you, but what you can do.
One who will step on your face to reach a little bit higher…
What do you do with those types?
Jesus encountered them too.
Judas. (Luke 22) Self-seeker.
Cash was king. Jesus was his disposable means to obtain it.
Pilate.(Luke 23:13-23) Self-seeker.
He chose popular acclaim, so as not to have to endure public disdain.
The thing about self-seekers is, many times, they think their maneuvers are sly and under the radar, but they aren’t. They are as obvious as day and as dubious as night. They really get to me.
I could go on and on about them…but, some wise person, whose face and name I can’t remember, once told me, “If something really irks you about someone else, it is probably because that something is you.”
Am I a self-seeker?
This thought horrifies me. I can’t be like – them. Can I?
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Mt. 7:3
My own critical eye boomerangs.
I say, “It’s them.”
God says, “No, Kelly, it’s you.”
I say, “It’s them. God says, “No, Kelly, it’s you.”
God, even more says: “It is you, my darling, and I don’t tell you this because I want to punish you, but because I want to redeem you.
(The gates of my heart open…)
I tell you this, Kelly, because when you are so set on looking at them, you miss me and you miss how I call you to love. You get bent out of shape instead of molding to my shape. You get protective instead of proactively offering out my best. You head off the rails of mercy and grace.
Be unconcerned with them. Be uncontrollably infatuated with me. What is holy. Blameless. Righteous.
Do you see me?
Your shape will take shape as you do this. Even if they diss you, I never will.
Even more, Kelly,the opportunity is never found in what you do; the opportunity is me.Plain and simple – I am the ropes set over that impassable river. I am the rubble changed into a road. I am a flicker of light in your darkness.
Don’t look left, don’t look right, don’t judge others, don’t fight to be heard, don’t act out to be seen, don’t fear, don’t worry…I AM the I AM.”
And so it is settled.
Starting today, I will:
1. Thank God for them.
2. Ask God for eyes to see from their perspective.
3. Give graciously to them.
4. Keep my focus on the wrongs within my own heart.
5. Pray that God fills both their heart – and mine – with security and assurance in him.
And, finally, I will turn to God and say, “I am sorry.”
Forgive me for the ways I have tried to get ahead.
Forgive me for my judgement of others.
Help me love those who I am prone to pick apart.
Help me sacrifice as you have, with no strings attached.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
Everywhere I have been there has always seemed to be an “in” club. There has always been an exclusive group of women who have it better than me.
When I was in middle school, I can remember all the girls faces. They pulled together like a band of linked BFF necklaces. They were unbreakable, together and unified. I was not part of it.
While they laughed, skipped and played – I always hoped to be seen.
While they hung out at one area of the pool – I was on the other.
While they whispered funny jokes – I wondered if they were talking about me?
I was left out.
Even growing up, I keep on seeing these “in” clubs…
At work, there was the “powerful group”, they were always a pay-grade and title above.
Around town, there are social classes. You either have the goods – or you don’t.
In writing, there is the “made-author” group, these are normally the untouchable women via email or social media because they have “people” who take care of that.
No matter what club it is, one thing remains the same:
They are in the light, I am in the dark.
They are center stage, I am in the back row, breaking my neck to see.
They are fun-and-games, big lights and cameras, I am alone. They are loving life, I am just trying to figure out how to see the action.
I am in the back row and they are in the front.
They have the best seat, I have the worst.
In a way, I feel victimized. I feel left with no decision, just left out.
Have you ever felt this way? Excluded?
But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you,‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. Jo. 14:10
What if God has placed us in the lower seat,
because he can best use and grow us there?
What if, over time, that exact seat is what gives us a freeing view of life only observable from that vantage point?
I can’t help but notice that those sitting in the lower seat, he refers to as “friend.” In a low seat, you almost can’t help but grow in relationship with God. You call on him. You need him. What if we were to see our seats differently?
Because, God says, what we consider our detested seat,
soon enough will become – our honored seat.
I don’t want to hate what he loves.
I can’t help but think of how he grows a person as they sit down low and in the center of “abandoned”…
He looks at them and says:
You don’t need other people, you just need me. You don’t need status, you just need my righteousness. You don’t need looks, wealth, intellect or ability, you just need my purity. I didn’t seat you high, because where I can best mold you and make you is when you are low. Then, I can dig my hands in deep and let them recreate the best you, the you that is truly made in my image. So, keep not your eyes on things or fads, that will come and go, but keep your eyes on me, for I will last forever. And, forever we will go. I love you child and in my club, you will forever reside.
The lower we go, the higher our view of God.
We must decide.
Will we spend our life crying that we sit low, or will we spend it in peace,
as we remember that God never fails to bring his loved ones high, in due time?
Whether on earth or in heaven, at the proper time, we will be exalted.
We will be exalted to glories unexplainable,
to words unspeakable,
to life unknowable,
to hope unbreakable,
to peace unfathomable,
to community unparalleled,
to love unsurpassed.
And we will know, we have just uncovered the seat that has been waiting for us all along.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
This sneaky sin. . . let me just tell you something. It’s under the radar, it’s pulling the covers over your eyes and it’s having a field day in your life – and, likely, you don’t even realize it.
For many of you, you actually think it helps you. You actually think you are better off, smarter, more capable and resourceful for pulling this little trick out of your bag of hats.
Do you know what I am talking about yet? (Clue: it is man’s greatest downfall)
Here’s how it looks in my life:
It makes me a super-speed, crazed, mess cleaner.
It transforms me into a female Dyson; I develop routes and measures to ensure every crevice is “handled.”
It levies the weight of the world on my shoulder and tells me, “You can handle it.”
It shuns advice, instruction and wisdom.
It tells people you better get on my highway, turn left and then arrive on time, or else.
It pushes me towards ambition and drive, without concern for the little guys.
It places one hand over God’s mouth, so I can speak just a little big louder than him.
It passes along the unsaid message, “Stay back God, I’ve got this.”
When I consider why I do it, much of it boils down to this:
If I am not controlling the world, it seems the world is controlling me. If I don’t use my ammo, I become the target. If I am just standing there, I risk getting run over.
Add that to the fact that the world hands out a bunch of cliched garbage (like this), and you can see how one can start acting like a maniacal lunatic:
“If you don’t make a way, you’ll have no way.” “Fend for yourself.” “Eat or be eaten.” “Get ahead.” “Get a leg up.” “Work harder.” “Reach for the stars.” “Figure it out.” “Watch your back.” “Don’t give up.”
Self-sufficiency, otherwise known as pride, is gangrene to a body of Christ. It takes his blood, oxygen and flow and blocks it in a way where his mighty providence is dead. We flow by our own accord, our own merits and our own will. So, naturally, our limbs of love, of reliance and of hope, they die. They wither away. For, we have no need for them. We don’t use them. You see, we exchanged God’s sufficiency, for our self-sufficiency and then, we lose.
If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. Jo. 15:6
Limbless, lifeless and loveless we stand, duped. We stand as tall temples of places where hope is not required, where need is useless and where one bows down only to self. The incense of stink rises and fills the air near those around us.
What we can produce by self,
is nothing in comparison to light scent of love
that is always ours to inhale.
It is not a mantra, a self-help phrase or a lift-me-up status that says, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” -A.A. Milne from Winnie the Pooh
It’s nothing like this. Because that kind of statement is a lie – it is poo from Pooh. The truth is, we are worse off than we think we are. We are weaker than we admit and we are a whole lot less wise than we walk around pretending to be.
Even more, we are wasteful without his purpose and lacking without his cause. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jo. 15:5).
But, here is the thing: with him, we can do everything.
I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13
When we get to the end of self, we get to the start of life. It is an exchange.
We hand over our ways. He gives us his. In the empty, he fills. In the wanting, he restores. In the empty, he sits. In the cant’s, he can. The dreams, he makes. For the low, he lifts. The unseen, he sees. The marginal, he magnifies. The insecure, he holds. The offering, he transforms.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Mt. 16:24-25
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
You can do it.
Make it happen.
You’re the boss.
Lead the way.
Get ‘er done.
Life makes us more into commanders than surrenderers doesn’t it?
I have been thinking about this lately, because, sure, I pray to God, I ask him for help, I follow his lead, I read his Word and I go to church. But, how much of my life do I manage, manipulate and mangle rather than letting him mend, mold and make me holy?
In many ways, I step up to God to say, “You are my helper. Assistant. But, you are hardly my rescuer.”
Which translates to:
I’ll call on you in prayer God; you better pull though when I ask.
I have the day-to-day interactions covered, you handle the miracles.
I can figure my way out of the small; I will circle back on the big.
I am the boss of my office; I will call you, the assistant, if I get overwhelmed.
I will buzz you in if there are some things I really don’t want to do.
Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. La. 3:40
I am a large part pride and, I entirely hate to say this, a small portion trust. I often think I can help myself better than God can help me. I run over God with the tread my dirt-laden wheels that head to reeking lands. My direction and intentions leave me with a flat tire and no way out.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help (including Kelly Balarie or [insert your name here]. Ps. 22:11
Trouble is always near. So is the devil; he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8
He sees our trouble.
He is acquainted with our adversary.
He knows our door out.
He knows his door in.
He calls us to it.
He pleads for us.
He advocates for us.
Will we call back to him?
Like a child with a breakage, knowing daddy will run to rescue?
Like a mother of a terminal one, knowing her great physician will save?
Like a distressed homeless one, knowing the benefactor has good?
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Ps. 55:2
He will handle our all as we hand over our all.
He loves our all, we need not be afraid of his all.
He brings us to his all as we seek his all.
If only they would do what I wanted.
If only they would take the right path. How can I make them?
What do you do when all that you want to do – is make people do the right thing?
How do you break through to someone who has the power to break your world into a million little pieces of despair, which you’re certain “all the kings horses and all the kings men could never put back together again?”
As I see it, with this kind of devastation, you don’t let things break in the first place. So, here’s what I do: I demand a quick delivery of perfectly wrapped progress to their doorstep of pain. I offer it with the outstretched arms of “you better love this gift.” As I do, I can almost see their moment of realization, their tears of release, their jumps of joy.
I not only crave that “Glory! God!” moment, but I expect it.
The only problem is, of late, I have a sneaky suspicion that no one is listening. I have a sneaky suspicion that my words are falling as void as a tree in the woods with no one around to hear it. I have a sneaky suspicion the echo of my words are resounding to nowhere.
And while I kind of feel like pulling my hair out and screaming to the highest mountains, “It all doesn’t matter,” I realize I would be left with no hair and this might end up a big issue for me.
And the truth is, I know the truth. As much as sometimes, truth doesn’t look like truth, it always remains the truth (and that’s the truth). I am a Jesus daughter, and as Jesus daughters, we believe in things we cannot see, we walk the crazy walk called faith – it’s just what we do.
Truth means that his perfect love, as it is always known to do, grabs the hand of fear and drags it to the exit sign of no return. Adios!
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Notice that God did not say:
My perfect love will set all those other people free as you fix their situations.
My perfect love is the best antibiotic to cure that person’s virus that makes you uncomfortable.
My perfect love is a tool that you can use to ensure
people don’t threaten your emotional balance.
God just gives us 2 commands:
1. Love God completely, entirely, unabashedly and wildly.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
When we forget the “as yourself” part, we forget how to forge true love.
The only way to send out love is to receive it yourself, first.
How can you mail, stamp and deliver something you never held in your hands in the first place?
It’s as impossible as the idea that we can somehow restructure another’s mind through well-timed advice or high-held opinions. I can’t restructure the small cells that keep others stuck in big cells of defeat.
That’s God’s job to beat.
The only cell I can walk out of today is my own – and today I will. Because, the watching eyes of other people’s square blocks of doom are only boxing me in to defeat in Christ Jesus. Like a ball and chain, they chain me to a wall that seems impossible to scale. It leaves me angry at God.
Frankly, it’s a ball of confusion and a chain of pride.
Are you chained into confusion and pride?
What form of head-hitting, that moves nothing anywhere, is God calling you to stop today?
What offering of grace might he be delivering straight to your doorstep?
His gift was always meant for you.
Lord, today, we let you capture us and hold us. As we are attached to you, God, you keep us where we need to be. You deliver us to the right words, you lead us to the right hopes, you guide us in the right light. You puff us up with authentic, pure and rich love for you and others. You make us new and you guide us to freedom every time. Help us to be lighthouses of freedom, simple lights that direct others to the only shore that provides safe refuge – yours. We can’t do it on our own. We will fail, so we fall down and know that even when we can’t move, you work on our behalf. The work belongs to you God.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
I am delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Angela Nazworth. She is not only a friend, who I adore, but an eloquent writer who always teaches me a lesson about God’s goodness. I hope you relish in her words the same way I do. Welcome Angela!
My hair has issues. Or perhaps the more honest statement to make would be for me to write that I have issues with my hair. I always have. Not even when I was five and my golden locks rivaled those of Rupunzel did I like my mane. Oh, I liked the length, and when it was properly curled and styled I pretended to be a princess, but I did not like the tangles. Even less did I enjoy the pain and aggravation caused by the untangling process.
My mom, being the one who had to listen to my whining protests, decided that my long hair had to go. This decision was made when I was in the fourth-grade, and it was one with which I agreed.
There was a downside. It was the year of the mullet. Not only is the mullet an eye sore, it’s a lot of work. My hair still easily knotted in the back and a brush was no longer the sole implement required to style my baby fine tresses. Each morning my mom had to stand over me with a hot curling iron to make the top portion of my head look more feminine, which in 1984 meant high and fluffy.
Fast-forward 30 years and you will still find me complaining about my hair. I have dyed it various shades. In my attempts for the perfect color, my hair has been green, pastel orange, purple, gray, and pink. All unintended. I have also tried myriad styles: short and bobbed, long and spiral permed, short and spiral permed, pixie, etc.
Once, as I sat in the salon chair of a former stylist eagerly waiting for her to transform me into a super model with just a few clips from her scissors, (I tend to have high expectations) she said the most peculiar thing to me.
“You are so lucky to have straight, fine hair.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said with surprise. “I wouldn’t wish this hair on anyone, plus what is with my crazy hair line in the back that grows upward and that hideous cowlick?”
“It’s much better than having hair like mine,” she bemoaned. “It’s so thick and coarse.”
I looked at her long, voluminous, perfectly coiffed blonde hair and giggled.
“This is too funny,” I said. “You have my dream hair!”
“Well, I guess we all want what we don’t have,” she replied.
How true that is. For sheep, the grass is always greener on the other side. For women, the hair is always prettier on the other head!
Moreover, it doesn’t stop with hairstyles. I will be perfectly happy with my blog’s design until I see the makeover another writer’s site recently got and then, suddenly, I determine that my online space needs spiffing up. I will feel content in my house until I overhear the sales rep at Home Depot tell another customer that “Aqua Chiffon,” is the most popular color for living room walls and I realize that I don’t even have anything close to that shade anywhere in my home.
It’s easy for me to brush off this cycle of comparison as innocent, human nature, but in reality it’s unhealthy and emotionally dangerous. Disparaging what belongs to me opens the gates of envy, coveting, and bitterness. Focus shifts from God and His goodness to selfish desires and I begin to lose sight of blessings that surround me. When I’m in the mode of comparison, discontentment and want, the vision of my heart blurs and I open myself up to being more susceptible to commit other sins in the name of pride.
Why is it so much easier for me to want something I cannot have than to thank my savior for the many gifts I possess?
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. – Colossians 2:6-10
So while the grass may appear greener, hair prettier, furniture grander, homes bigger, and figures thinner … I now try extra hard to not be so interested in the proverbial other side. I am going to focus on how to make my inside look more like Jesus and foster a spirit of thankfulness for all He has given me.
What about you? Please use the comment section to share something about your life for which you are thankful and no longer desire to change.
Angela Nazworth is a flawed and forgiven recovering perfection who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community at angelanazworth.com. She is a wife and a mother of two, who manages philanthropic communications for a nonprofit, national healthcare association. Angela’s also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl’s night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. She believes the creator of the universe is both the author of and lead character in her life story. With every experience she learns more about who she is in Him … and takes another step on her journey to love others better. You can also chat with Angela via Twitter.
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
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.