Check out this quick two question poll about our obstacles to experiencing self-worth!

I’m leading a class in which we’re discussing how we can escape the torment of comparison and insecurity. We are finding that we all struggle in different ways with negative messages that tear down our proper image of ourselves. I created this poll to see what your responses would be to a couple of our discussion questions.

Follow the link below and participate in this quick two question poll.  I can’t wait to read your answers!

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Words in Red: John 7:6 – Ready, Set,Wait!

Words in Red are excerpts from my journal as I have been taking the words of Jesus and letting them speak directly to my own heart.

20160901_191329_resizedJohn 7:6(NIV): Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.”

Timing is everything. The right thing done at the wrong time becomes the wrong thing.  Jesus, You never succumbed to the pressure of hurry or allowed other people’s agendas to get you off track.  Your time in prayer and in the Father’s presence set Your daily course and caused  You to walk in power and authority out of divine directive.

Now Lord, You tell me in your Word that I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and that I can know the will of God for my life on a daily basis.  Jesus, as I wake up and spend time in Your Word, I ask You to tune my ear to Your voice so that I don’t go running in my own reactionary direction, running into obstacles I could have avoided and making rushed mistakes.

Lord Jesus, You told your unbelieving brothers that any time “was right” to them for You to reveal Yourself as the Messiah. They were like pushy agents for a Las Vegas talent act – trying to get You to “perform” where and when they thought best to get the most attention and biggest following. But You didn’t allow their worldly agenda to get You out of alignment with the Father and push You out of His will. You knew that success and promotion come from God – and self-promotion is from Satan. Therefore, You were able to wait on the Father’s timing for the “who, what, when, where and how” of every detail of Your destiny.

Lord Jesus, help me to settle down and rest in You.  Help me to approach the throne of grace with confidence, asking for help in time of need and patiently waiting on You for the right timing to execute the items on my task list.  Free me from a “hurry up” mentality and lead me calmly beside still waters. (Psalm 23)

Lord God, today may I hear Your voice for my day.  May You guide me in all my affairs. Because I have given my day to You and surrendered everything that concerns me, I trust and believe that You are going before me to make straight paths for my feet.(Proverbs 3:6) I walk on the red carpet of Your favor. Thank you Lord that my acceptance and identity are settled in You so I don’t have to scramble, struggle or strive for promotion or approval from people.  I will wait on Your timing for all good things in any way you choose to bring them! Amen.

Now you:

  • Do you struggle under the pressure of deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise?
  • Are you a slave driver of yourself?
  • Is someone else in your life putting great pressure on you to perform perfectly and causing you feel the weight of their unreasonable expectations?

I’ve been on both sides of that coin. Have you? Most of the time, though, I am the one putting pressure on myself to get too much accomplished – and perfectly at that!  I want to be all things to all people.  I want to be the perfect wife, mother, grandmother, friend, employee, colleague, Women’s minister, teacher, and child of God.  Seeing it all in print reminds me how impossible that would be, even on my best day.  Jesus states so clearly in the Scripture above that there is a time for everything.  God knows when and how things should be done and when we fail to consult Him, we are doomed from the start!

You can learn to start Your day off with prayers of consecration and requests for wisdom and guidance and favor.  Thank the Lord for His everlasting goodness and faithfulness in your life, even through the times when you were faithless!  The more you magnify Him in your day, the more your ear stays tuned to His voice and you receive guidance without having to strive. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Olympic showdown: Shut your mouth, get in your lane and let your actions answer your detractors

Michael Phelps swimming butterfly

Last night I watched Michael Phelps win his 20th and 21st Olympic gold medals.  The 20th medal in the Butterfly was the one that really struck me as it was a showdown like we see in old Westerns.  There was an adversary that had thrown slurs and was trying intimidation tactics to get under Michael’s skin.

I watched Michael as he sat in the preparation room waiting for the race to start.  The opponent in question, Chad Le Clos, kept looking at Michael, probably trying to make intimidating eye contact.  But Michael refused to engage. Although, at one point, as Le Clos turned around, you could see what looked like rage spreading all over Michael’s face as he glared at Le Clos’ back.  But throughout the prep time, Michael sat in his seat, stone faced with his noise cancelling head phones on.  He could hear neither the jeers of his opponent as he sat in the green room nor the cheers of the crowd as he entered the pool area.

I listened as the announcers questioned whether the intimidation tactics of Le Clos were going to rattle Michael’s confidence, distract him or fire him up.  And looking at Michael from the outside it was impossible to tell which would be the outcome.  Based on past races, you would think that he would come out swinging; but Le Clos had recently won World Championship gold medals in the Butterfly and he was itching to take Michael down.

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Words in Red: John 5:44 – Looking for love in all the wrong places

Words in Red are excerpts from my journal as I have been taking the words of Jesus and letting them speak directly to my own heart.

value-plant

John 5:44 – “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes only from God?”

Jesus asks the questions that cut right to the heart of the matter.  Like a surgeon, He uses his words as a scalpel to cut down to the tumor and expose it.  But he won’t remove it without our cooperation.  There is no general anesthesia.  We need to be awake for this procedure.

This cancerous tumor is called the Fear of Man.  It grows unchecked in the unhealthy environment of lust for the world. When we love this world and what it offers, then we are forced to serve its masters – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). The Operations Manager for these worldly slave drivers is the Fear of Man, since people will impact everything we lust after.  They either become pawns in our desire for satisfaction or they impede our achievements. Even the best relationships – like those between parent and child or between spouses – can be polluted and poisoned by fear of man as it twists those relationships into something dysfunctional that they were never meant to be.

Jesus, I hear you say here that as long as I accept praise – look for, long for and crave praise – from people, I can’t truly have all my trust in You.  I can’t approach You in humility and Truth as long as my heart belongs to another.  It’s an adulterous situation that You won’t be a part of.  Where am I getting my identity needs met – in the praise or judgment of other people or from my Creator and Savior?  I’m foolish and short-sighted if I do the former, but how often do I do that?

I can’t serve two masters.  If I am pursuing the praise of man, there is no way that I can pursue the praise and acceptance that comes from God.  Even if my heart wants Your acceptance, there is no way I can pursue both at the same time.

Lord, remind me today, in both my successes and my failures, that when people praise me, correct me or even criticize me, that You approve of me.    May Your joy in me be my sustenance and my “craving” today.  May I have a single focus – to obtain the praise that comes from God!

Now you:

  • Maybe you are struggling with rejection from someone or a group of people that is making you feel like a failure or a loser.  How do the words of Jesus put everything into its proper perspective?
  • Do you see how Jesus does NOT want us to put weight in the praises of people (which are fickle and fleeting) or in the judgments of people (which are based on their assessment of us, not on the truth).  When we allow people’s pleasure or displeasure in us to control our emotions and sense of worth we are negating the value that Jesus put on us when He purchased us with His blood on the cross.

The value of an item is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.  You never know what someone thinks is valuable and what price they’re willing to pay for it. A piece of clothing that was worn by George Washington could sell for thousands of dollars! No one can wear the clothing again, but because he touched it and wore it, people will pay a lot of money to own it.

The price that was paid for you determines your value.  Can anyone on earth put a price on the life of the Son of God? Could anyone pay that price or outbid God for you? Not at all! You truly are ‘price-less’.  Let that knowledge keep you steady in the face of the Fear of Man that wants to rule your heart and grab your focus.

Composting our past: Turning our memories into nutrients for today

GardenI learn a lot of lessons from my garden.  I don’t know why it speaks to me so much, but the Lord uses nature and my garden to teach me some pretty profound concepts.

This past month, the lesson involved my compost pile.

Almost a year ago, after much cajoling, my husband, created a compost pile for me on the edge of our property. He asked me why I was so determined to have a compost pile.  I told him that since our garbage disposal had backed up twice requiring some pretty intense yard work to unclog the pipe, we could no longer throw a lot of our scraps down the drain.  So I came up with the compost idea as a solution that would benefit two areas: 1) We no longer had to throw our biodegradable, compostable items in the trash, which would decrease the smell and 2) I would get super rich compost mix to combine with my garden soil every Spring.

So now, every day, John and I take any food item that is compostable and put it in a covered compost bucket on our counter.  After 2-3 days, John goes out to the pile to dump our latest offering.  Every month or so, John goes out to “turn over” the compost so that the nutrients and the really “good stuff” on the bottom can work on the newer compost items that we just added.

I’m sure you probably didn’t open the blog today to read about composting, but you’re going to get a quick lesson, nonetheless.

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Words in Red: John 5:34-35 -Freedom from the approval trap

John 5:34-35: Not that I accept human testimony…John was a lamp that burned and gave you light and you chose for a time to enjoy the light.” (Italics mine)

Lord Jesus, help me not to live for human applause, acceptance or affirmation.  Help me to root my feelings of acceptance and affirmation in You.  But to do that, I realize that I need to hear you clearly as You affirm me in love.

If I can hear the God Who is over all creation telling me that He loves me and is pleased with me, I know my heart will be steady and satiated.

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