When You Feel Invisible

cathedral

I didn’t know my insecure feelings were so close to the surface when I looked out of my kitchen window the other day and saw the cardinals.  The red birds were sitting on a spindly pasture branch and going about their business.  They were working and picking at the seeds from the dried weed heads creating a rhythm.

Suddenly feelings of invisibility came to mind.  Momma cardinals like to be hidden to protect their young while daddy cardinals are bright red, showy and secure in their roles, taking the lead in seed gathering.  The feathered friends distract the enemy from the nest, each in their own way, creating rhythm.

Perhaps I was out of my rhythm.  The problem with invisible feelings is that they often spiral leaving me isolated, rejected, and alienated.  I needed a new rhythm or maybe I just needed to refocus on a rhythm that worked.

Then, through the winged action of my red feathered friends, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, God softly spoke some courage to my insecurities.  It was then in my invisible time at the kitchen sink, I got honest before the Lord, and I admitted feeling stuck and that I had let doubt overcome my thinking.

“Don’t you see me God?”  Then something happened.  I realized that being visible wasn’t the point.  I knew in my heart that God’s point was His leading and my learning to hide myself in Him.

God sees us all.

There are some invisible builders who have built great houses for God.  Cathedrals are known for their architects and bishops.  But their invisible rhythm, the vast majority of the labor, the masonry, the carpentry, stained glass windows and hand carved doors were all done by people who names history will never credit.  Scan the history books for yourself and see, most of the work was done by someone who is listed as unknown.  Many of these cathedrals took hundreds of years to complete.  That’s more than my lifetime for sure.  These cathedral workers devoted their whole life to something they would never see finished.

They would never see the grand unveiling of the fruits of their labor.  They would never get to look upon what was accomplished but they did it anyway.  That’s devotion and being dedicated to the end to something with a passion, as if their work was a spiritual act of worship.

I wiped the moisture from my eyes and looked for the cardinals.  They flitted to another branch or back to their nest.  They had became invisible in their rhythm of life.  So, when I’m feeling alienated, isolated or insecure I take these verses to heart and remember my conversation with the Lord by way of the cardinals.  When I remember that He sees me, my visibility doesn’t matter.

Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG) “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life— your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”  Yes, Lord, I will take my every day and ordinary life and place it before you as an offering, the seen and unseen.  It’s all yours!

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV) “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  God is our El Roi and He sees everything.  All of it, He doesn’t miss a beat of our lives nor rhythms we are in.

Psalm 33:13-14 “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth”.  God sees us, and we are seen from the windows of Heaven.  We are watched by God who cares about every single detail, life, and feeling.  We are always visible to God.

How have you dealt with feelings of invisibility?

 

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How I Avoid A Class Act Freak Out

pumpkins

Years ago, I gave up on my magic pill idea to fix my bad eating habits because diet fads don’t work and swallowing a pill is too easy.  To lose my weight, I resorted to more sound strategy like eating right, exercising, and managing my appetite.

Eating and living, it’s just that way.  I mean seriously, with all the Thanksgiving traditions and recipes, there’s enough food on most tables to feed an army.  There’s also plenty of pressure to get it right without burning something.  Should we include every one of our grandmother’s favorite dishes this year?

What is your eating tradition?  Being grateful for the food and family around your table or how much turkey a person eats before going comatose?  How many slices of pie does it take to convince you to camp out in a line for few hours for Black Friday shopping?

For myself, it’s always what I’m eating everyday.  The bigger question is how will I not eat everything in sight this week?  Every meal, I’m met with the opportunity to stick with my healthy eating or give in to my desires to eat it all, every last little crumb.  I’m sure you are thinking right now, that I am having a class act freak out caused by the lack of sleep.  After all I am posting this at time when I should be sleeping.

You see, there are plenty of fears out there.  I’ve wrestled with lots of those bad boys.  I’ve dealt with a lot of mine and fear in itself is just awful and scary. Since we’re being honest here, fighting the battle of the bulge doesn’t get easier.  Some days are as challenging as “day one days”.  But I’m learning to manage my appetites better.

So Thanksgiving…how will I not gain back my 132-pound weight loss all in a meal or two, or trigger week long binges?  Hold your breathe…I think of me.  I remember where I have been and how long it’s taken to get here.

I’ve often said my claim to weight loss fame would be the invention of an “after-binge pill.”  I dreamt of creating like a crazy-mad scientist.  This magic pill would eliminate all calories from a previous food frenzy.  This same magical pill would release a needed chemical into your body.  The brilliant formula, would intensify pain and temporarily paralyze your body to result in the agony of not having exercised at all in five years!  Yes, that would do it.  You know, the muscles that scream “This was the worst idea I’ve ever had!”  Much like the pain I feel right now because, yesterday I ran for the first time in a month.

Food friends, managing appetites is hard work, everyday.  So when big eating holidays come around, I have to admit that I panic just a little.  Now my friend, Sandy, would say I’m being ridiculous and being fearful of losing control.  For the record, I still have a righteous fear of rats and mice.

The good news is that gaining that much weight back in one meal isn’t going to happen.  Since food is my trigger, I’ve learned enough to know that there are lots of different appetites to manage.  Most just think in physical terms, but there is the appetite of your soul that constantly needs filling and comfort.

Since this is getting long, I will suffice it to say that I am the only one who is going to take care of what I eat.  I have to think about how I’m going to feel tomorrow.   Each day I am so grateful that I am not carrying around extra weight, which overrides my desire to eat pecan pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, and my mom’s famous dressing.

In my memory, my mom’s dressing is…to die for, even cold.

I survive Thanksgiving just like every day, with gratitude for each morsel of food taken in.  I know there is going to be another meal plus I remember what size clothes are hanging in my closet.  It’s not about the numbers or appearance but about the constant work, sweat and a lot of tears of thankfulness.  I know who I am and what I have accomplished.

The point is that I know me and what I should be eating, but I make mistakes like you.  People, we don’t need as much food as we think we do.  I offer myself more grace when I mess up.

But, I can’t let myself go to the fear of not controlling my self-control.

I pray, I plan, and I give myself margin for error.  That’s all I do.  God has delivered me from the chains of over eating.  God has also given me a brain to sort out my eating patterns.  As a foodie, meals will always be a temptation for me, but it’s my actions, feelings, and permissions I deal with to survive.

Eating healthy in a way that honors God is my desire now.  I didn’t always think that, but I’ve come too far to know that there are consequences for my choices.  I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty.  When I put thoughts like this down on paper, it helps me be accountable.

I avoid a class act freak out on Thanksgiving by being thankful for all that God HAS changed in my behavior around food.  He gives me strength to resist the most tempting of recipes.  Why, there is even chocolate in my house right now!  Are you serious, really come on! (Yes, it still calls my name!)

My best daily survival is consider the cost.  The basic science of calories still apply on Thanksgiving, just like they do any other day.  I pray that I can feed my family, control my appetite, and enjoy the day like you.  I ask God to give me the strength to control myself plus I remember the “rules” of calorie science.  But moreover, I rely on my relationship with my sweet Savior to get my heart and mind through it.

The problem with confessing all of this to you?  Is that I must walk the talk now.  I can let my head hit the pillow every night knowing I have done what I can and trusted God to do what He does.  God so good at saving me from myself.

So, what’s your food biggest challenge when you are celebrating Thanksgiving?

 

When you feel like a failure

dontpinyourheart

Just days earlier life was going so well.  All of a sudden, everything changes.  Who would have thought that in the subtraction of things, that we could see gain?  Just when you think things are leveling out or just when there’s a little financial peace that settles, just when you think you accomplished something great (at least in your own mind), or just when you achieve a type of professional confidence, loss hits.  Failures, losses, setbacks feel like we have been shoved down a tall ladder of successes and we are left with nothing, empty hands, and the feelings of loss.

All of a sudden you are stalled in the middle of wonder, the desert, the deep waters of faith and wondering how to tread water, or to keep your head ABOVE the fears and dangers that are consuming your mind and strength.  You wonder how we are going to make it through.  Where will we find the strength for the next step?  Is it because we tend to believe that the loss will never bring a gain?

Sometimes in our losses, we have to look for the gains.  Is it true that less is more?   When fear is present we have a choice, to see a failure or turn it into a perceived loss to see the victory in the release of the circumstances.  Could it be the stripping or the pruning brings bigger fruit-bearing?

Genesis 13:14 – 18 “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever.  I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

Back up to the beginning of Genesis 13:1 …”Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.  Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.  From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.  Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.”

Abraham had devoted his life to following and obeying God.  Just as wealth came to his household, there was trouble.  Dissention within the ranks of success and then division.  His story continues:  Gen. 13:8 – “So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”  Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company:  Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.”  Lot made his choice, and chose the best land by appearance.   As it turns out, Lot chose evil over good.

Oh if only, we stood on God’s promises instead of looking at our perceived failures.  What if we considered the strength and joy of pleasing the Lord in faith, instead of letting doubt and fear overcome us and our moving forward in obedience?  Is it possible to override human reasoning and trust with confidence as we move forward on what our heart tells us over our brains?

If only we get to the level of survival upon the wings of a prayer, the trust of our Savior, and the affection of God’s heart!  We could see that less IS more!  If only, we could see that God is always on our side, that His heart is ALWAYS for us, and the everlasting way we are loved.

“I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then I know that there is none but Thee.”  Oswald Chambers.

We have these promises to move forward on when we feel like we have failed:

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  All still means every last little thing in my book and “him” is referring to Christ.  Perhaps when it looks like we failed, we were attempting to do things on our own strength, or reason, or ability.  Last time I checked, Jesus has the LAST word about every victory.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  We aren’t supposed to find our confidence in the flesh (or minds for that matter) but in the Spirit that dwells inside of us.  Sometimes, it takes a loss of pride to see that we have to be a vessel for God to work THROUGH us.

In conclusion:  The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God.  Once we obey, the nature of God is opened up and we see things and His promises in a new light.  Our “yes, God” and “Have your way in our lives, Lord” are born out of our obedience.  By obedience of our lives we say “Amen” meaning a “so be it!” to His promises that God has already given!  Christ has guaranteed our success and makes us adequate.  Understanding His great love FOR us and is at work FOR us, how can we fail?

Sowing Seeds

My apologies to all those on my email update list.  There were several typos in the email and I didn’t catch them all before sending it out.  I do know that drives a few of you crazy.  I am sorry for pushing publish too quickly.

Lydia's circle 12Now the exciting news.

I can’t hardly contain my excitement about what has happened from my recent trip to South Africa.  While there one of the missionaries, Claire, shared about a new ministry that she felt the Lord was leading her to…a ministry at a city dump. It started two weeks before, when she had gone to dump her trash, where the ladies search for recyclables for income. They were so aggressive that before she could get the bags out of her car, they started rocking the car back and forth. How scary! Anyway, as she dumped the goods out she quickly drove away. But she felt a prick in her heart from the Lord to reach out and share the gospel with them.

She obeyed the Lord the next Wednesday and went to share with them. They said it was okay to meet and that if a car came to dump something, they would have to stop the lesson and scour through the trash. That gave her permission to move forward in what God had asked. The next week my team arrived and Claire shared the vision of the ministry. Before she could finish, I asked, “Can I come to meet these ladies?” She had the biggest smile on her face and said “Why yes, would you like to teach them a lesson?”

I said yes and did just that. I shared my testimony the week our team was there. Afterwards that day, our team collected money to buy the dump ladies Bibles in their own language. The next week I was able to share again about what it means to be a child of God. They all listened so intently and asked questions. It was two weeks later when Claire found enough Bibles to give to the entire group of 10 – 12 ladies.

I was bothered they were referred to as “ladies from the dump.” Although that was true about them it wasn’t how God saw them. I was prompted to pray forward into their identity. In my time with the Lord with a new name came to mind for them. I shared the potential name with Claire. She loved it. So the ladies at the dump are now known as their new identity.

What is the new name you ask? Lydia’s Circle, based on the legendary Lydia in Acts 16. I received news yesterday that twelve ladies received Christ in their circle time. I am amazed how God opened their hearts to not only hear the Word of the Lord, but receive salvation. So blessed to be a part of that process.

Seeds sown are seeds planted when the Lord is in the sowing.

Like Lydia in Acts 16, once she opened her heart to the Lord there was that ripple effect that took place and resulted in her entire family’s baptism. I see this same holy act coming soon to the new circle of ladies in South Africa. Because we pray, it changes us. Because we are changed, we change the world around us. And because we are vessels of life-change we affect the destiny of others. The Lord is honored in all of it. So blessed to share this story with you.

I still have room to travel to South Africa on my next team to serve alongside the missionaries reaching with the gospel message. The trip details are just that, details, but don’t let fear keep you from trusting God in this new area. If you are interested in going March 9-21 to South Africa, please let me know. I would love to sign you up and take you to a new place of trust to let God expand your faith in ways you have never imagined.

More stories coming soon! If you aren’t compelled to go, would you consider a tax-deductible gift towards missions? I can help with that too! Email is: thejanellekeith@gmail.com.

What to pray when you feel alone

lonely

Life is full of incidents that only separate us from friends, family, but society as a whole.  In our feelings of isolation we tend to feel alone and unloved.  Those are feelings that lead us down a wrong path when it comes to hearing from God.  There is a kind of “lonely” feeling that tricks our minds into a thought pattern of sadness and self-pity.  The fact of God’s love is not connected by isolation of any kind.  As children of God, He never leaves us to face or go through whatever the circumstance or crisis alone nor does He expect us to plow through it by ourselves.

Those lonely feelings are common when death comes, in loss of relationships or when fear comes in.  So what can we pray when we don’t think anyone, especially God, is listening?  When the lonely feelings hit my heart, I have to remember that God loves me all the same and I just need to be reminded of His great love for me.  It’s normal to feel lonely or unloved by the ebb and flow of the circumstances that surround us.

I simply pray… “God, show me how much you love me.”

God will answer that prayer in a way that will reveal His love for you.  God loves it when we ask Him to show His love, He loves to show off because He IS love.  His love never, ever fails to prove otherwise.

If you are feeling alone, we must remember that God sees us and oversees all of His creation.  We are not invisible to God, nor are the circumstances that isolate us.  God sees ALL affairs of ALL His people, His creation, and cares in a way that no man could ever match.  Here are some promises of His presence in our lives.

1.       Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified …for the LORD your God goes with you; “He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  V.8 ads “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  What a promise that God not only goes with us, sees us, but doesn’t abandon us.  He removes all the fear that discourages us too.

2.       Psalms 94:14 “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.”  The Lord never sends us away from Him, nor does He want us to run from Him.  He doesn’t reject His own people, if you have received Jesus in your heart, then you too are a child of God and considered His inheritance.  He doesn’t abandon His own children.  If you have accepted Him as Savior, you always have a friend you can turn to.

3.       Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Don’t doubt God’s love for you.  If you can’t feel His love wrapped around you, then remind yourself that you are loved by God and that He knows how lonely you feel.  He is thinking of you constantly, and loves you because of what Jesus has done for you.  His love doesn’t depend on your behavior but what Jesus has already proven on the cross for you.

In conclusion:  We may leave God, but He will never leave us.  We are His children by faith and acceptance of what Jesus has proven on the cross for us.  That gives us ownership into the family of God and an inheritance of Heaven.  When we know and believe our identity is in Jesus that fact alone gives us great worth, value and a belonging that never leaves us lonely.  When we believe, confess and accept Jesus that also means we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of our hearts.  That’s the presence of God, our Father taking up residence inside our bodies and dwelling there.

We are carriers of God’s Holy Spirit who comforts us when we are lonely and helps us through the tough times.  He also helps us understand that we are loved by God.  Our enemy, the Devil, doesn’t want us to know or remember that God is on our side.  He also likes to whisper fears and lies into our minds to make us think that no one knows our struggles and that God is too busy to help us.  God’s love never fails, and His love casts out all fears.  No matter how bleak the situation, no matter how empty the feelings are, God will never leave you!  His promises are true.  His word is above all!  We can move forward because, He goes before us.  If God be for us, who can be against us?

Profound wisdom from a rice farmer

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I found this standing stone at the top of Prayer Mountain, South Africa. May it stand forever of the faith established there.

It was the most profound thing I could have heard in that faith moment at the top of Prayer Mountain.  I, along with my missionary friend Mitch, had just led our team up Prayer Mountain, Badplass, South Africa.  We had just arrived and it was a team bonding experience to climb it together.  I didn’t know that it was going to be that intense.

The intensity went way past the physical aspect and transformed to a spiritual experience for me.  The team set out in small groups breaking along the way for water and rest.  We forged a rugged path, not following an organized trail, but our appointed guide Bruce.  There a couple of hiker guys in our group that split to go went their own way up the face of the mountain.  The rest of the group decided to follow our guide.

We didn’t know what was ahead, certainly didn’t know the magnitude of the altitude.  I had a sense of what God was going to show me, I had dreamed of this trek for months before.  I knew there was something special waiting for me.  I prayed to prepared to receive to take it all in.

Take it all in.  Wouldn’t that be a great perspective for each and every day as we follow God in this life?

It’s one thing to ask God to show you things, it’s another thing to have faith to receive and see what God has to show you.  Back to how the mission trippers were doing at this point.  We paced ourselves and I connected with Patsy, Ronald’s wife, and Tara Jamison, missionary to South Africa.  We talked of books and favorite authors on our way up.  Bruce led us and we followed, eventually.

At the top of Prayer Mountain, the team gathered to take communion.  I shared a inspirational devotional that I just read earlier that day about trust, prayer and being led by God in life.  And then it was if the heavens opened and the voice of God came down.

Ronald Gerston, a rice farmer from Texas, said this…”The problem with mountains is that no one lives there.”  Wow….I needed to hear that one line of wisdom about life.

The problem with mountains, no one lives there.  Most of life is lived in the valley.

The valleys of life and God.  Have you asked where is God in your valley?

I’ll be honest I have too.  I had some valleys in my day and I’m always looking for God in those days too.  When Ronald said such profound wisdom, the Holy Spirit quickened and stirred my heart and mind to enable me to see God’s presence in my valleys.

Our God, my Father is faithful.    My family has had some valleys just like yours.  We’ve had some unorganized trails we’ve been on. We’ve had some hard treks through cancer, illness and pain.  We’ve had some tough days of messiness.  We’ve had some stop, rest and take a drink of water days too.  We’ve been on many problematic trail, some full of suffering, some not.  Our Faithful Father has helped us with each one of them.  Every unknown step.

God has seen us through a lot of valleys.  Those profound words took me to a place where before I couldn’t see God working until they had been spoken over me.  In those days when I couldn’t see the next step, God was still there.  On the days ahead that I still can’t see, I know that God has already been there too.

When it was dark on that 7th floor surgery waiting room and I felt so alone, God was indeed there too, even though I couldn’t see Him.  How kind of our Heavenly Father to teach us to rely on His strength in those valley moments.  God was in my valley then and He is in all my valley days.

My heart fell silent with gratitude in those moments on Prayer Mountain where I was more filled with the Lord’s face than ever before.  I didn’t need to question the problems on the mountains or in the valleys ever again.

The Presence of the living God is can be felt wherever you are right now, whether it be a valley or not.  If you don’t feel the Lord then ask Him to show you.  He doesn’t just show His face on mountaintops because He knows most our lives are lived in the valley.

When life says we are no good or worthless

shamed

There were years and years that I felt unworthy, no good, and valueless.  I tried to shake it, cover it up, pretend it didn’t exist, and run away from the depressing thought of it.  For some reason I wore shame daily like a coat of heavy iron without fail.  Shame, guilt and overwhelming self-hatred crept into my mind daily.  It was like a chain slowly choking my inner self but feeding toxic sewage into my heart with many regrets and guilt.  I couldn’t see that it was suffocating my spiritual walk and further extinguishing my self-esteem, much less see how it was hindering my walk with the Lord.

I can’t pinpoint all this shame to one particular event of my past but a cumulative piling of years and years of thinking wrongly about many things.  Internalizing the offense of others was buried instantly without a thought of appropriately resolving conflicts.  Looking back I could see how I compromised my spirit by allowing certain relationships into my life that provoked this whole shame business in the first place.

The shame of my past all came land sliding down to a screeching halt one Sunday when I heard a message about repenting from wrong thinking.  The Holy Spirit reached right through my heart barriers and set me free.  Shedding shame and related assumed guilt finally made sense and I realized I had internalized a ton of unnecessary emotional “roughness” or excess relationship roughage in my mind.

This is a place we often find ourselves and where our minds like to dwell on the negative aspects of our life and it centers on the shame that creates places of self-blame.  So many justifications for those abusive situations or circumstances.  It could be caused by any number of reasons that can circumvent your health, finances and your relationships.  These circumstances sting us and leave us hurting whether it be by words, or actions, or bad choices we have made or others have made about us.

Shame damages our spiritual lives in ways that take years to show up.  Shame, blame, and guilt detract from our self-worth.  God’s word, however, says what is true about worthiness and how we are made acceptable because of Jesus.  There are three verses that apply to living worthy in Jesus.  If we are His children then we live according to what His Word tells us and we believe that every word of it is true.  These verses helped me overcome years of shame hidden in the unspoken part of my life.

1.  Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”  When we belong to Jesus, once we are saved and believe, then there is no accusations, or condemning words that can tell us we are otherwise.  Nor can we take in the blame that others try to put on us or our lives.  We belong to God’s family, so ALL condemnation has been taken for us through Jesus.  The Holy Spirit will correct us and remind us of bad choices but will never shame our character.  Shame says we are something, guilt shows up when we made a bad choice.

2.  Romans 15:7 “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”  If we aren’t found condemned then we have no place to condemn others who have accused or maligned our character.  (Any time there is a “therefore” in scripture it’s important to note what it’s in there for.)  We must accept ourselves and others as Christ accepts us just like we are right now, with all our weaknesses, faults, imperfections and whatever hang-ups or hurts we carry.  Only God can give mercy to heal us where we need help, and over our wounds.  He doesn’t cast shame when we confess to Him nor does He keep a record of wrongs against us.  He is our helper through these issues.

3.  Ps. 139:1-6 “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.  You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.”  These verses refer to the fact that God knows us inside and out, He sees us right where we are right now, and loves us enough to put His hand of blessing upon our lives. Even though we have imperfections, we can leverage those issues to grow us in the knowledge of Him and teach us how to live by His ways.

In conclusion:  I know it’s challenging to consider our worthiness in today’s world, when the world demands proof of value and acceptance.  Shame is everywhere in the world, that is why it’s important to remember that God is for us, loves us, and sees us worthy.  His love is unfailing and He helps us when we call upon Him.  When we are feeling no-good about ourselves and unworthy to even talk to Him we can know that He doesn’t think that about us.  He loves us because he IS love.  The perfect kind of love that helps us over ourselves and the wounds of others who have inflicted shame upon us.  God’s Spirit never shames us into righteousness, no God doesn’t shame or blame.  He accepts and draws us into Him to enjoy His presence.  We invites us to know Him intimately.  When we cast our shame upon His able shoulders then the chains of shame are broken and we are free to be the children of God that He intended for us to be.  Whole and without blame.

Blameless before God, what freedom!  How has shame kept you prisoner?

When it feels like life is passing you by

writingdownHabakkuk 2:2-4 “Then the Lord replied:  ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald my run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  ….but the righteous will live by his faith'”(faithfulness as it says in the footnotes of my Bible.)

Ever feel like life is passing you by? Have you ever prayed for God to give you that “burning bush” to help you to know what direction to go in life? Five years ago I took part in class at church that changed my purpose and vision for my life. It is called Chazown and it helped me discover the spiritual gifts that God has entrusted on the inside of me.  Once I discovered what my gifts were, I was not sure what or how to work within them.

Finding your life’s purpose is a noble cause, and everyone is talking about it.  You have to know this about you before you discover what your life is all about, and it’s really more of a recovery versus a discovery.  In this life’s journey we are on, this process takes time and it’s important to delve deep into what your purpose is.

Once you realize the value of doing so, it’s also important to let your gifts develop within you.  Years ago after the class, I wrote this mission statement about what I wanted to do in life.  “To compassionately communicate truth in a real and honest way that impacts and serves others.  To be a voice and a catalyst for service, purpose, acceptance, redemption and freedom in Christ”.

It takes time to let God develop the gifts He puts inside of you.  We all learn differently and I learn with my heart first then my weakest part, my mind. 

How about you?  What’s rewarding for me personally is that I feel like my mission statement is finally being fulfilled in my own life.  Walking in your purpose comes over time.  I haven’t always been here though but God has given me some freedom to do what it is that He has put as deposit long ago.

My recent mission trip to Africa God unlocked something inside of me that I didn’t know where was lying deep.  It’s like the story of the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River in the days of Joshua.  They encountered some really high water at the shores.  They didn’t understand how they were going to cross the river with its tide raging, waters higher than they could cross.  Joshua told them to put their feet into the water and they would be able to cross.  They had to step out to find out.  But once their feet hit the waves, they parted miraculously.  They stood in the middle until everyone crossed with no fear of the water swallowing them.

That is the purpose of this post today, is that we have to let God develop our gifts with no fear of where He wants to take them.  Your journey will look different that others and that’s okay.  Your journey could be longer than others that is also good.  We are slow learners and that is the best way to see the hand of God in your life.  You might wonder if you have gifts to even be developed.

You do.  Believe today that you are reading this for a purpose and God has plans for you too.  It will look simply different than others.  The place we get caught is comparing our gifts with those of others but friends, that only results in detours and roadblocks.  Celebrate the gifts that God has lovingly put inside of you. 

Are there are things that only you sense from the Lord?  That’s a good, and an awesome thing! He is telling you these things because HE ALONE knows what you are capable of.  And it’s okay that it doesn’t look the same or like the next person’s.  Envy of others only brings disunity but celebrating God’s handiwork brings unity.  We are all the body of Christ when it comes to the kingdom of God.  Take a step of faith and see what is in your inner being.  You will be surprised at what your gift looks like.  What’s the next step?   We will walk by faith and not by sight and will not be intimidated by the wall of water that looms on the shores.

So I challenge you to find out what your purpose is and once you discover it, let God develop it. If you go to this website, you will get step by step free instructions, including a spiritual gifts tests to help you determine your gifts and empower you to be all that you can be for God. Go ahead, I dare you. Check out this website and find out for yourself.

My next step is to keep close to the Giver, and keep trusting in His process. Keep to what He has faithfully shown as I look forward.