Category Archives for "Weekly Encouragement"
In the middle of an extremely cramped space I stood waiting. Waiting for what would be that day’s purge. My living conditions had become unbearable, as there were but a few empty spaces I could actually step foot. Clean clothes, dirty clothes, trash, and keepsakes sat in piles surrounding me. Embarrassed, with chaos hidden behind a locked door, I kept my secret as long as I could, unable to ask for help. I wanted so badly to tell my roommates how lost I felt. I wanted to be able to open my mouth and say the words. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t ask for help, because if I did I would have to admit I was not the super woman I was trying to be. I would have to admit that my mistakes and failures were weighing on me to the point I didn’t have the sufficient energy to pick up a broom. No one wants to be the messy girl in a house full of productive, up and coming career women.
There I stood with plans of what to get rid of, what to keep, and where to clean. The plan was quite simple, but the execution was non-existent. Being an over-achieving organized person has its faults. If you’re like me you will find that we can be great at fixing and strategizing for others. We even learn how to compartmentalize categories for ourselves. Yet, there is always that one area where disorder will show up. In my case it was my living space.
Every day I stood waiting, asking myself if today would be the day that the cleaning process would begin. Every day the answer was no.
“You don’t have time. You’re too tired from the day that still seems to be going.” I thought. My mind would tell my body on a consistent basis not today, and I agreed. I was tired. I was burned out.
Still I stood waiting for the purge to happen; the one that would bring me an emptiness I could feel. In the middle of that room surrounded by piles of belongings I was standing on a scale. Having taken pills to counteract the food I had just eaten I stared at the number on the scale. I followed a pretty strict diet most days, and over exercised on the days I didn’t. To top it all off I was on an unending cycle between detox and diet with very brief periods in between where I would give my body a break. Diet pills, diuretics, fiber, and even epsom salt were on the list of consumables that I would take to get to that comfortable empty. I didn’t want to categorize myself as bulimic since I wasn’t model thin. But I realize now that is exactly what I was.
During adolescence I began binge eating as a way of comfort. Filled with anxiety, and emotion I would stuff myself until I could almost vomit. I say almost because vomiting was not a habit I liked enough to continuously do. Instead I gained weight. This only advanced the issues of rejection, hurt, guilt, and shame I was dealing with. In my early twenties I found out there was more than one way to eliminate a nasty binge. There was a whole aisle in the drugstore with over the counter pharmaceutical treats. Filling up, then emptying out, that was the process. Of course when my diet became restrictive I couldn’t fill up the way I wanted. I mean who binge eats on salad? *raising hand* I did. When I really couldn’t fill my stomach I had many other compulsive behaviors to swap in the place of food. If you hadn’t already guessed the pile of clothes were purchases made with money I didn’t have on things I did not need.
Each behavior led to a temporary fulfillment to counteract the emotion I was feeling in the moment. The impulse with food felt different from the others. I could rationalize that everyone gets hungry. What I failed to ask myself is what if your hunger doesn’t stop? What if with each bite you savor the taste a little more, a little longer, not wanting the meal to end. Your stomach is saying “put down the fork or you’ll explode” and your brain is saying “you better not stop, this tastes way too good, and will make up for all the emotional pain.” So I kept eating, thinking of ways I could get rid of the excess later.
What I remember most about those exhaustive days is there was never a point of “enough”. The filling I experienced was one of desperation. I felt hollow emotionally. Like the tin man I cried out for a new heart; one that hadn’t been battered, and bruised. A heart that didn’t feel non-existent. I turned to food for comfort, and an empty stomach for relief. I found myself in a destructive cycle I could not get out of. At one point I made a dangerous adjustment to my diet by mostly having foods filled with fiber. I would give myself “cheat” moments, but then even that could become extreme as I might use that one cup of frozen yogurt as my only meal for the day. I give you these details because I want you to sense the frantic rationalization going through my brain. Like a car speeding on the freeway in the middle of the night my thoughts zoomed, racing, excusing the behavior that could destroy me.
If food was that good, and my cravings wouldn’t subside, then why did I always find it necessary to empty out? Why was I looking for the comfort of feeling light, and nothingness in my body? Because the fullness I was experiencing was not what I needed. Spiritually in that time of my life I found myself pulling further and further away from God. I was ashamed of the fact that I once had a closeness with God and still chose sin over Him. I knew right from wrong. I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to me saying “Don’t do that,” or “Don’t go there,” or “Just stay with me. I love you.” Instead of drawing closer I stepped away. Pride had me believe that what I needed were tangible things (people, possessions, etc.) to fill the emptiness. Not wanting to be a hypocrite I went to church less and less. If I did attend I rarely paid attention. There weren’t any worship songs in heavy rotation on my playlist, and the bible wasn’t a book I liked to read. Like a star lost in the night sky, I found myself pulling closer to a black hole, knowing that on the other side was a darkness I did not want to experience. I couldn’t help myself. Nor did I think I deserved anything better.
Piecing together what was happening in that time of my life I realize that I was missing the fear of the Lord. He was like the size of an ant, and I was holding a magnifying glass toward Him to see Him. There was no reverential awe toward Him. I didn’t understand how the creator of everything could fill me up to a filling that would cause me to never hunger those things again. I didn’t care to know how His filling was passionate and not desperate. I found comfort in the emptiness and thought I couldn’t be fixed.
Proverbs 19:23a says: ‘The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction.’
With humility I had to set myself in a place to be able to see God clearly. In order to face my problems I had to first recognize the one who kept speaking to me over and over even when I walked away. There were moments I asked myself “do you want to live?” Sometimes the answer wasn’t clear. I knew that what I was doing wasn’t living, but I didn’t want to die either.
There were many other issues going on in my life at that time. And like a shattered glass on the tile floor I found myself lying in the middle of the bathroom floor too broken to get up. As I cried and cried all I remember saying is “God I really need you now, and if you get me through this one day and show me that it’s possible to keep living then I will try.” Little by little I gave Him more and more, and He didn’t force me beyond my comfort… at first.
In times of feeling lost, God brought me to a place of direction. In times of angst, He brought me to a place of peace. When I was feeling empty, He would touch my heart and bring me comfort. That comfort was something I could experience on a Sunday worship experience, but rarely sought on my own.
A few years ago I heard a pastor once say that Sunday should be like the encore to your week. ‘For many of us we walk in church depleted, and empty, waiting for God to fill us. When what should really be happening is an experience of Him unlike any other. We should want His glory every day of the week, and Sunday should be the added bonus.’ From that moment I started noticing how dissatisfied I was. I kept going to church for a quick fix, but I hadn’t learned how to have a sustainable diet of Him.
Since that moment though I felt a stronger push from Him. A nudging past the elementary comfort I placed myself in. I was no longer in control. Yes, I still had free will, and choices to make. But if I wanted what He was offering to me I had to willingly give up anything that was displeasing to Him. I had to recognize his lordship over my life. I had to be willing to say “God you know what’s best.”
Did I always smile through it? No, not always. Sometimes I would cry gripping tight when I should let go. Were my paths always straight and easy? Not. at. All. There was plenty of twisting and winding as I went left when I should have gone right. Still, He never let me go. He showed me who He was. He showed me His majesty, His heart, His love for me, and the magnitude of who He really is.
In the current season of my life I have been challenged in the area of relationships, and have battled loneliness. This is a big deal for me because loneliness causes compulsive behaviors to bubble up. In the middle of this “lonely” season I spent a week on a ranch without contact to the outside world. My access to any technology was very limited, and all of my activities were Christ centered. If the concept of this doesn’t already sound challenging to you, imagine how I felt when I found out an old friend died on the first day I was there. Leaving in uncertainty I decided to return the following Monday for a second week. That was when I was struck hard with an overwhelming feeling of being alone. As I walked a dirt path I admitted I was tired, and what I really needed was a friend. I looked out with tears in my eyes and I said “Holy Spirit I need a friend right now. I can’t do this alone anymore. I need you to come and be my friend.” As I stretched my arms out a wind brushed past my face, and I felt Him take my hand. For me that feeling is the fullness of Him. That even in my most uncertain moments, the ones that cause me to feel alone, and desire a hollow habit, He brings me life and peace.
The fear of the Lord leads to life because He takes away all that pains me. The fear of the Lord leads to life because I am amazed by Him and His desire for me. I can abide in satisfaction because my fear of Him isn’t conjured up by some anxious feeling over His judgement of me. I abide in satisfaction because my fear of Him is a reflection of how overwhelming His love truly is for me.
Written By Kelly Elders
I read a quote the other day that read, “If you aren’t being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Maybe you’ve marked yourself down. It’s you who tells people what you’re worth. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where they keep the valuables.”
Wow, I can look back and see how many times have I lowered my own price by my actions. Every time I fought back with hurtful words, every time I said I couldn’t accomplish something and didn’t, every time fear kept me from forming relationships, I was showing how I felt about myself. I had to make a decision to stop allowing my inadequacies or insecurities to keep me from doing what I love to do. I chose to learn and keep learning even if it’s slower or different than others.
KNOW YOUR VALUE
We need to know our value. You will protect what you value. We will do our best to protect our children because we value them. We go to great lengths to protect jewelry, important papers, memorabilia but when it comes to ourselves we tend to leave ourselves unprotected. Maybe we lower the price because we see all the imperfections. Like when you find a shirt at a store and it has an imperfection and they mark it down to sell the item. Our value doesn’t lessen because of our imperfections it increases because Christ paid the ultimate price in spite of our imperfections.
Do you daydream or wish you could do something challenging but don’t feel you have the skills, personality, education or support? First, take responsibility for your own pursuit of purpose. It was assigned to you and no one else. God gave you a specially designed purpose that He also equipped you to do. God wants to give you more than you can possibly think, dream or imagine.
Put yourself out there
Don’t avoid people just because you are afraid of being hurt. If
you understand the placement and purpose of people in your life you won’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Each person in your life falls into one of these four groups the majority of the time. Those you add, subtract, divide or multiply. If you have a subtracter make sure you have more people in your life who add and multiply or you will definitely be in the red, and by red I mean frustrated, empty and angry. You can learn from all group types but avoid Dividers at all cost. Even the hardest person can help develop the best character in you. Everyone near you has the potential to hurt you but rest in knowing that God is your Protector and your rear guard. So instead of putting all your faith into people, put your faith into God. You can only learn forgiveness if you have a reason to forgive.
Don’t be afraid to learn if it gets you closer to your purpose
We may not know all the answers on our way to our dream but God aligns us with people who are already doing what we long to do or know how to get there. Be humble enough to ask for help and be open to learn new things. Being vulnerable increases your value because you aren’t afraid to try and try again.
Allow yourself to fail but not quit. There’s not a successful person who didn’t experience failure. The difference is they chose to keep going.
When you know your value, you will not allow others to mistreat you. It’s you who teaches others how to treat you. Don’t allow anyone to steal your time, joy or peace. You are too valuable to waste time trying to please others.
I can’t tell you how many women settle for men and friends who don’t value them. Just because someone doesn’t know your worth doesn’t mean you have no worth.
I had a half dollar rolling around in my purse and tried to pay using it until the clerk at a store wouldn’t take it and told me it was worth more than face value. I found out it was worth around $200. When I had it at the bottom of my purse it was still worth $200 even though I didn’t recognize or treat it according to it’s value. How people treat you doesn’t determine your
worth but how you respond shows your self worth. Once you treat yourself well others will follow.
No Price Tags
Don’t look to others to determine your worth. Don’t wait for validation from a spouse, leader, pastor, children or friends. Take back the power of value. You don’t need approval every time you volunteer, teach or accomplish a task. You know if it’s overlooked by people it’s seen by God and He will reward you openly. We all like to feel appreciated and should be, but being overlooked or unappreciated doesn’t mean your worth becomes less. We will never please everyone but we can please God by walking in faith and knowing that He has made us capable of accomplishing great things for Him and He sees ALL!
Value Has Benefits
You can pull great things towards you when you know your value and believe that you can experience blessings based on God’s goodness and not your own. You shouldn’t feel guilty when you succeed. You were created to succeed! He commissioned you to be fruitful and multiply so be productive today in all you do.
You are ENOUGH to live out your purpose
You are ENOUGH to accomplish the impossible
You are ENOUGH to have great things happen to and for you!
Read More from Kelly Elders at her blog.
One of the greatest steps in discovering who we are is discovering who God is. God is a God of justice and righteousness without guilt or sin. He is pure and He is Holy. Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
After Moses had been with God, his face glowed. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he was very much aware of his own sinfulness. But in the heart of God a way had been prepared for Jesus from the beginning. God gave His perfect gift, His Son, and through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, blood has spilled on the doorframe of the hearts of every man and woman who trusts in Him. We must draw near to God with a sincere heart of faith. Who we are in ourselves is not enough, but who we are in Christ is everything.
Ephesians 3:20 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. Acts 17:28 For in Him we live and move and have our being.
God’s power is at work within in us everyday, therefore we can learn to live beyond our feelings. Paul learned to live beyond his flesh and feelings. 2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we learn that His grace is sufficient. Grace signifies unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, a free gift. God’s grace is His power exceeding what we could achieve or hope for if we were on our own. His grace gives us the ability to sustain, endure, and maintain all that He is enabling us to and become in Christ.
His grace enables us to manage our feelings. Although feelings can be very strong and demanding, we do not have to allow them to rule our lives. We must manage our emotions rather than allowing them to manage us. We have free will and can make decisions that are not based on feelings. I am so grateful that I don’t have to wait and see how I feel everyday before I know how to act. With Jesus’ help I am going to live beyond my feelings. I’m going to live the joy-filled life that Jesus came to give me.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-19 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
What is your heart’s cry? God hears your heart! Our words for the most part cannot express everything that is inside of us. Our words fall hopelessly short of expressing our sorrows, frustrations, hopes, and dreams.
God wants to hear our hearts so the Holy Spirit examines our conscience and subconscious innermost thoughts and feelings. I thank God for His Holy Spirit and my heavenly language that prays my heart. Jesus cares more about our heart’s cry than our words.
Romans 8:27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. When we mess up, the first thing we say is “God knows my heart.” Yes He does! Do you?
“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” This is a quote from a Huffington Post article, and this same article states that 85% of what we worry about never happens. 85%! Which tells me that my real problem is what I spend my time thinking about. I would like to think I’m an optimist or even a “realist,” however I’m pretty sure that I’m more of a pessimist. I thank God because He knows how to get my attention, and He encourages me to walk in faith, not pessimism or over analyzing.
I was listening to a message on YouTube and the speaker said, “if we really believed what we say we believe, we’d pray a lot more.” This is not an uncommon saying in the church world, nor should it be, because it is the truth. As I was meditating on that, I was reminded that if I really believed and focused on the promises and the declarations in the bible, my entire perspective and attitude would instantly shift because I would have heaven’s perspective.
Lately my attitude has been funky because I just can’t seem make progress in certain areas despite my best efforts. Fact #1 my best efforts don’t matter when I am trying to do everything out of my own strength instead of putting God first and allowing Him to direct my path as we are instructed to do in Proverbs 3:5-6. Fact #2 The word is powerful! Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Here we have some very clear and profound instructions: speak the word, meditate on the word, and do the word… and then your way will be prosperous, and then you will have success. The word prosperous here means to advance, to make progress, to succeed, and to be profitable
When we think of prosperity and success we tend to immediately think of money, influence, and major life achievements. All of those things are great, and I definitely want them, but what about prospering in our soul? What about prospering in peace, prospering in clear thinking, or prospering in joy? Well when we meditate on the word, declare the word, and do the word, we can have both.
That said, I would like to share a praise report. I have never struggled more with worry, fear, and a bad attitude than I have in the past year. This week the Lord brought me to the same verse twice in one day. The verse is Romans 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Ok now, not every problem is from the devil. I’ve done a great job creating my own problems and drama. But when I heard this verse, I knew the Lord was speaking to me and telling me not to fear opposition or failure because He is in control and He will crush the enemy. I smiled broader than I’ve smiled in a long time because I remembered that I’m not alone and that God has already promised victory. Romans 16:20 is one of the verses that I have began to meditate on and decree. I have to choose many times each day to meditate on the word instead of meditating on worry. Every time I choose to meditate on the word, the God of peace is faithful to prosper me in peace, clarity of mind, and understanding. I hope that this has encouraged you and I pray that as you meditate on the word you will prosper in every way.
Now that the new year is past, I was reflecting on the the last part of 2015. Before Thanksgiving I was meditating on being thankful and realized that we throw thank you’s out there like we throw the word love around. I am thankful every day of my life, but there is more to being thankful than just saying thank you.
Someone gives us something or does something for us and we say thank you, but was it a real genuine heartfelt thank you? Webster’s Dictionary says to thank is to express one’s gratitude. Thankful is a feeling or showing of gratitude. As we know, Thanksgiving Day in the United States is set apart as a legal holiday for public thanksgiving.
Years ago, I began to pray a prayer of thanks over our Thanksgiving meal and as each one of my family members accepted the Lord, different ones said that prayer! I know everyone of them were thankful, but sometimes the prayer was said with their eyes on the food with a “let’s say this quickly, I’m hungry,” attitude. This year I asked my 14 year old great-grandson to bless the food, and though it was short you could hear and feel true thankfulness pouring out of his heart, and see the tears in his eyes. This spurred me on to search my heart and to continue to meditate on true thankfulness.
Jesus thanked God at the passover feast before His crucifixion in Matthew 26:27. He also thanked God for the two fish and five loaves, and then fed the five thousand in John 6:11. Why did Jesus, God incarnate, have to thank God? Because Jesus was truly thankful, and also to be an example to us. There is something supernatural in true thanksgiving. There is power in being truly thankful.
A heart of thanksgiving is vital to our walk with Jesus. It was easy for me to be thankful for all the good things, yet, now the Lord has given me a thankful heart even through trials, challenges, tribulation, and sorrow. In them I have been developing a truly thankful heart. Let’s see where Jesus is in all of our situations. In Psalms 27:13-14 David said “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.”
I learned to leave the outcome to Jesus while staying thankful. We follow Him wherever He leads in thankfulness, without worrying about how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Jesus as your guide and companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Him. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with thanksgiving; with His help. When we come to a resting pace with thankfulness, take time to be refreshed in His Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Jesus.
You already know the ultimate destination of your journey is heaven. So with thanksgiving keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving the outcome to Him.
He is pleased with you. Allow yourself to be aware of His pleasure shining on you. Shift your focus from His performance to His radiant Presence. Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors. Thank Him for all things, trust Him at all times.
Psalms 62:8 Trust in Him at all times you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Habakkuk had a true thankful heart. Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will joy in the God of my salvation.” This is true thankfulness!
A thankful attitude opens the windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. As you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpse of glory and a taste of heaven.
Thankfulness is not a magic formula; it is the language of love. A thankful mindset is not a denial of reality. Instead, it rejoices in Jesus our savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. Jesus is our refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in times of trouble.
Let’s practice true thanksgiving at all times whether there are gifts or not, whether everything is going our way or not.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. So let’s learn life lessons with thankfulness and watch and see what the Lord is doing in all things.
Happy New Year, and with much love, Judy Smith
VERSES ON THANKFULNESS
Psalms 26:7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.
Psalms 50:14 Offer to God thanksgiving…
Psalms 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalms 107:22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
As I reflect and think about walls, which are like boundaries- some are necessary. The problem arises if we put some up for the wrong reasons or if we don’t take them down when necessary.
Take for instance my first marriage, which was abusive. After that experience I was afraid to trust anyone. I kept my heart at a distance. There were times I was hurt when helping people or doing ministry, because the enemy came in and used people who were broken or immature to destroy what God was doing. It caused me to pull back again because I didn’t want to be hurt or abused again. God didn’t want me to put up walls and hide behind them so he kept tugging at my heart to help his people. He kept nudging me with the scripture do you love me? Feed my sheep. I’d hear it in a sermon or come across it in my reading, or he’d drop it in my spirit.
In truth I wasn’t happy. I felt like something was missing. I’ve always helped people and prayed for them. God made me an intercessor, but I was fearful. I started helping more but one on one, and I realized hurt people are are also capable of hurting others. I felt God keep telling me to step out again, to put myself out there in front of everyone, and I thought, no way! I’ve seen and felt what people can do. I’ve met a lot of cruel people. God kept telling me to step out and be real. When I did, some people came up to me after my speaking thanking me for being real. Some came up to me in tears and hugged and thanked me.
When I was teaching the at Salvation Army I used to tell my girls don’t get upset when someone gives you a weird look. Maybe they’re hurting or just got into a fight with someone. You don’t know what they’re going through. Try reaching out, smile and be nice. It ended up working. Many of the women became really good friends and are still connected years later.
Many people think because people are different, they are odd or you can’t connect. I have always been blessed with friends that vary in thought, color and age. I have found that everyone has something to teach us, gifts to share and joy to bring into our lives. To connect we have to let down our walls or come out from behind them.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t use wisdom or have boundaries. But we still have to love, help, share, and be real with people if we’re going to be any use to the kingdom. After all isn’t that what it’s all about?
When the Walls Crumble
Sometimes we may come out
From behind the walls we’ve built,
For a moment,
An hour, or a day.
Then we run back to their shelter,
Until the next time we feel brave enough to venture out.
Over time our walls begin to crumble
Little by little as the years pound against them.
Some of our walls may be suddenly bulldozed
By circumstances beyond our control,
Then we’re left exposed,
And something happens,
A shift and a change occurs.
It’s then we realize the walls that we built
Were really prisons we put ourselves into,
And now that we’re exposed
We’re also free.
Prayer: God help us to break down our own walls, so that we can walk together in love and unity. Free us to be who you created us to be. Lights, visions of hope, intercessors, warriors, teachers, healers, your hands of love extended. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
In my last post, I shared how I wanted to find a new job because I had been with my current employer for ten years. Well, I finally have the new job. It has been quite a journey, although it’s only been a few weeks.
I was blessed to be able to work with the same company for ten years, yet secretly the only reason I was there that long was because I was afraid to move on. Now here I am in this brand new position and you know what? God is still teaching me how to trust Him and move past the fear of failure. I knew my old position like the back of my hand, to the point where I could work from home. In this new position I am learning entirely different operating procedures; it’s challenging.
Do you talk to yourself? I talk to myself all day long. I think to myself, “this is a new position, it’s going to take time to get acclimated; be patient with yourself.” And two seconds later a work situation arises and I think, “Oh my gosh I hate learning curves. I just want to know how everything works, now,” which is impossible, but if only! I love my new position, however the first few weeks were unnecessarily rough because I was operating out of fear and not trusting God. I went home every night and rehashed everything from the work day. Then laid awake worried about my to do list, and when I’d fall asleep I’d dream about work. That was not healthy because my behavior was driven by a fear of failure.
I believe fear of failure entered my life when I was five years old and my Mom was home schooling me. When I initially learned the alphabet, I would say “x,y and z.” My Mom wanted this corrected because it sounded like “xyNz,” therefore she would have me repeat the alphabet over and over. One night she grew tired and she left me in the kitchen/classroom to practice. After a while I knocked on her room door and recited the alphabet, incorrectly, again. Out of exasperation she slammed the room door and told me not to come back until I got it right. At the time I could not understand what the big deal was, however in that moment I learned to tie my performance into acceptance and personal worth. The next day my Mom was refreshed and patient and fyi I did eventually learn my A B and C’s 😉
After this last experience with fear of failure at work, I finally made a decision to believe God and rely on what He taught me through previous experiences. It is astounding how much my perspective changed (and how much better I slept) when I simply believed Him. God is faithful and He promised me the grace to do what He has directed me to do, at work, at home, at church, and in school. His grace is sufficient, which means I do not have to be afraid to fail because I am in relationship with Him.
This whole process makes me laugh at myself because when I resigned from my previous position I was convinced that I had overcome my fear of failure. As my Pastor says: a lesson unlearned is a lesson returned. And this makes perfect sense because God’s intention is to teach, not punish. He loves me too much to leave me in a place of fear.
Isaiah 43:1 NKJV “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
There is no other name like the name of Jesus Christ. There is power in the name of Jesus, and there is an assignment against the name of Jesus. His name is being removed from our country. Many no longer pray in the name of Jesus. His name has been taken out of Christmas. His name is not being proclaimed like it once was in some churches. We must fight against this assignment to have Jesus’ named removed. The enemy hates the name of Jesus Christ. I don’t even hear some Christian acquaintances pray in His name anymore. I am so grieved by this that I am asking you all to not forget the name of of Jesus Christ.
His name is Counselor, Mighty God, and King. Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. I hear people throw the name of Jesus Christ out there like a crystal ball, or use His name to curse.
His Name is to be exalted and praised. When we say His name it should be in reverence and in awe. And He has instructed us to make requests in His name. John 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. Our prayers are answered through the name of Jesus Christ. Let’s review and reverence the name of Jesus Christ, and the identity that we have through His name.
Romans 1:6 I am called in Christ
Romans 3:24 I have redemption in Christ
Romans 5:17 I reign in life by Christ
Romans 6:23 I have eternal life through Christ
Romans 8:17 I am a joint heir with Christ
1 Corinthians 1:2 I am sanctified in Christ
1 Corinthians 6:15 My body is a member of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 I have the mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 15:57 I have victory through Christ
2 Corinthians 2:14 I triumph in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17 I am a new creation in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:21 I am the righteousness of God in Christ
Galatians 2:4 I have liberty in Christ
Galatians 3:27 I have put on Christ
Galatians 4:7 I am an heir of God through Christ
Ephesians 1:4 I have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that I should be holy and without blame
Ephesians 2:10 I have been created in Christ to do good works
Philippians 3:3 I rejoice in Christ
Philippians 4:19 God supplies all of my needs through Christ
Colossians 1:27 Christ in me the hope of glory
Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ
Hallelujah! That is the name I am talking about! Jesus Christ, King of kings, and Lord of lords! He is everything to me; I love His name, Jesus. Speak His name, ask in His name, proclaim His name!
Have you ever been in a room full of people, a party, or even at a table in the midst of many conversations but you are disconnected and you just feel lonely? There was a time when I felt just like that.
A while back I realized I was feeling very lonely. Even though I have a husband and four children always around me; I felt alone. Friends weren’t calling and my social life was really very superficial, in fact non-existent. There were no meaningful conversations or even just fun daily banter taking place. It was a difficult time, but one that taught me a lot about myself and especially about my God. At first when I started feeling this way I wasn’t sure what was happening.
I would see people going off to lunch together after church, and inviting each other to their homes
I realized I was walking through a season. It was a season where God was calling me to His heart. It was time to draw closer.
and on fun outings. But that just wasn’t happening for me. When things like this occur in my life I usually do some self-reflection. Be careful it can be a slippery slope between self-reflection and self-abuse. I started wondering what was wrong with me and at times acted defensively towards others because of it. I tried being more friendly and outgoing. Nothing was working and my situation didn’t appear to be changing. I started to pray.
I love praying on the way to work. When I leave in the morning it’s dark out and fairly quiet. Even the freeway doesn’t seem to be as noisy as it does at four or five in the afternoon. There were many times I would be praying on my way to work, tears streaming down my face crying out to God about how alone I felt. I would ask Him to come to me, cover my and comfort me. It was in those times, I felt His tender hand wipe away my tears. He would touch my heart and say, “I am here.” It was then that I realized I was walking through a season. It was a season where God was calling me to His heart. It was time to draw closer.
It’s important for you to know that if you are feeling lonely; if you aren’t already, you need to begin to guard your heart. It’s very easy to mistake this season of growth for a pitfall such as rejection. The enemy would love for you to believe you are not wanted, less than, or not accepted. It’s a lie, plain and simple. There were times where offense tried to rise up in me, but I had to recognize the lie and liar and squash it right away. Make sure that you are praying and most importantly, listening. It’s the voice of God that will carry you through the valleys of this season.
I began to hear God’s voice often and sought after knowing Him in a closer way. There were even times when I would be at work and songs would pop into my head. I would hear them over and over again. One day as I walked through the hallway at work I heard Him clearly say, “I am singing my song over you.” It’s so hard to physically stay in control of yourself in those moments when you just want to crumble to the floor and weep in His presence. Not for sorrow, but in gratefulness. Thank God for the large stall in the ladies restroom!
These are months I wouldn’t trade for a hundred close friends. I don’t know how many times I have said and sang the words, “He is Everything to me.” But during this time I learned to live them. I couldn’t look to my husband, friends or children for fulfillment. It had to be God first now and always. Proverbs 18:24 says that a man with too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I would often think about Moses and how Exodus talks about the Lord speaking with him face to face. The dark place of loneliness quickly disappears when you are surrounded by His light. When His breath is on your face and your heart begins to beat in sync with His heart. There is absolutely no one and nothing in this world that is better than that.
Recently, I have had waning relationships that were put aside return in newness and in health. They are simply the bi-product of putting HIM first. Matthew 6:33 can be applied to so many areas of our lives, but it has really come alive to me in the area of friendship. I sought after a real friend and there He stood before me. I was sinking into loneliness and He carried me out of it. I needed someone to talk to and He listened and even answered.
You see it is NOT good for man to be alone. That’s basic bible. It was never God’s intention for us to live closed-off, shut- out and alone. He created us to commune with others but He intended for us to look to Him first. So if you are feeling lonely; look to Him to fill your heart. If you don’t feel like you are connecting, you can connect with Him. If you need love, love on God. I can tell you right now, it’s not going to be an overnight process. But building relationships with anyone never is and HE isn’t just anyone…this is the King of Kings we are talking about. Remember, relationships work both ways. So spend the time, build the relationship. You won’t be disappointed. I promise. I’m not.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you are going about life, minding your own business when you are suddenly hit with a thought or revelation? At this point you stop, do a double-take and look straight into life’s camera as if to say, “Really? Well that only took me fifteen years to get.” Well, I had one of those moments while reading Psalm 59. I need to rewind a bit to the beginning of my lesson called, “Watch Your Mouth.”
I was at work when my boss pulled me aside and started talking to me about promotion. This would not be the last time he would spend moments speaking to me about future plans for our organization and how I was going to fit into that. I was excited about the prospect of promotion and worked hard daily to keep moving forward towards that goal. Soon after my initial conversation with my boss I became very ill and put out on medical leave for two months. When I returned things at work had drastically changed.
The department I worked in had been split and some individuals had been promoted into a new department, not me. However, there was one spot left that and I was sure was being held just for me. A couple of weeks after returning to work, I went to see my boss and told him that I would love to move into the vacant position and I casually brought up one of our previous conversations about promoting me. He looked at me it was as though while I was out on leave, he had also fallen, bumped his head and could not remember the last three months of his life. He told me that he couldn’t remember those conversations and he would have to, “Check his notes.” I was stunned.
The next few weeks were difficult for me because I felt so disenfranchised. I started nit-picking
At this point I had convinced myself that it was ok to speak badly about him… It was an ugly moment in me.
everything and becoming bitter over what had taken place. I tried to still do my job with pride but I found myself complaining quite a bit and even stirring up others by the negative things I would say. At one point I sat down to “unload” on a co-worker who had been with the company for 15 years. Surely, I would receive sound council from this older, wiser woman.
I mumbled, griped, complained and even gossiped about my boss. I was so upset and felt it was my right to say the things I did. Picking and choosing what we will call sin is a dangerous game; and it is one that we will lose every time. At this point I had convinced myself that it was ok to speak badly about him since he had done me wrong. After all, he wasn’t in “church” with me. I knew it was sin, the Holy Spirit lives in me… Just confessing this part makes me cringe. It was an ugly moment in me.
Very soon after I was praying and I heard the Lord so clearly say to me, “You have a choice. You can let me handle it, or handle it yourself. Or will your friend do more for you than I? There are those moments when God speaks to you and He is the Lover of your soul, your heart flutters and you rejoice at the sound of His voice in your ear. He can also speak to you and be Daddy, or Papa loving and tender. At this very moment He spoke to me as Father and Lord. The sound of His voice commanded me to attention and I knew there would be no more excuses or justifications for my behavior. Plain and simple, I was wrong.
From that moment on, I let it go. (I wonder if Queen Elsa knew she was going to release a song of deliverance.) I asked God to forgive me and I moved on by making a decision to change my attitude and chose the high road at every turn. Every time I wanted to remember what I thought had been stolen from me, my mind returned to God’s words over me and I was empowered to return to peace…His peace.
Our organization shifted again and this time because of the changes a large amount of the work load swung over to my group. Coupled with the growing industry demand our department found itself heavily bombarded with more work than we could handle. We were all working ten to eleven hours every day. I kept a good attitude about it all and was determined to be God’s instrument of peace amidst the chaos and complaining. Every day, He put a smile on my face and gave me a reason to laugh out loud and enjoy my job.
One day my manager called me in to her office and told me that we were hiring a new group of representatives and they were starting the next week. She had recommended me for a mentoring position. It was going to be my responsibility to train a new employee. I was ecstatic. I love teaching and this was an amazing opportunity being trusted with a new hire. If I had been promoted those months ago, this opportunity would not have been available for me. I would have been operating in a different capacity and not in the place I was called to be.
Current day…I am reading Psalm 59 and I am looking into life’s camera dumbfounded. I hear the words of David. He is crying out for deliverance from those who seek to destroy him. He is pouring out his broken heart before God and waiting on him to move on his behalf. The man who had become a father figure to him, Saul sought to kill him and yet he waited. What I found most profound about David’s Psalm was that he hadn’t gone out gossiping about Saul telling his woes and troubles to whoever would listen. He took all of that to God and at the end of Psalm 59 in verses 16-17 David praises and worships God, while he waits.
David, in the midst of this great trial and grief, remembers the Lord and how worthy He is. He draws his strength and resilience from Him. He remembers that there is nothing more important than his bond, heart to heart with God. As I came to end of this Psalm I heard the Lord speak to me again and although the scripture may seem harsh to some; at that moment his voice was like gentle rain on my face. It brought refreshing and renewal to me. He said, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life. But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction and I have come that you may have life.”
I close my eyes and He is nearer to me than the skin that covers my flesh. He is my breath and the life that moves through me every day. In Him I live…I move…I exist because of Him. Once again he has lovingly taught me a much needed lesson about trust and honor. I sense the chuckle in His voice as He speaks again, “Are you ready?…New level, new lesson.” I can’t help but giggle with Him. Never a dull moment with our God.