Buttered-Up

So, I have been making an effort to eat healthier. I looked into all those fad diets, but decided that ultimately, I needed to have a healthy relationship with food and eat a balanced diet.

Let me be honest, I have been a yo-yo dieter since I realized I could lose-weight. As a result, I have struggled with eating healthy. God created everything good- right? So why should my food taste horrible? I had to find a way to eat healthy foods and enjoy it.

I realized that as I have made this shift in my eating habits, my kids want to as well. They have started requesting salads and omelets for lunch and seem to always be asking for a bite of whatever I am eating.

However, I made broccoli to go with dinner a couple nights ago. Let’s just say, not one of my kids was happy to learn that broccoli was on the menu. But I put some butter and seasoning on the broccoli and all the sudden they were all asking for more.

I would like to think that’s because they learned broccoli wasn’t all that bad. But really, I buttered and spiced up the broccoli, so that they would like it.

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All too often, we, as Christians, try to appeal to non-believers with Christianity that is all buttered up. Accept Jesus as your Savior and you will be blessed. Come to church on Sunday, follow a few rules, and now you are going to Heaven.

We sell this religion… this way of life… but we are missing a key element. The Gospel!

Why do we need Christ?

Who is Jesus?

Why did He come to this world?

It’s foundational, but without this missing component of our need for a Savior, we are simply being good people. Anyone can make a choice to be a good person.

But Christians aren’t just good people. We are God’s people. We are imitating Christ! We love because he loved us first.

It has nothing to do with our works, and everything to do with His love for us.

We are sinners. We live in a world created by a loving Creator. But sin has destroyed our world. We need a Savior. God loved the world so much that He sent his only Son to die for us, to take on the punishment we deserve. Three days later He rose from the grave, defeating death and giving us the hope of eternal life.

The Gospel needs no butter. It is a perfect, beautiful gift on its own.

However, walking with Christ is not easy. This is where we add all the butter and spice and everything nice. We say things like, “God won’t give us more than we can handle.” (Which is not true. God will give you more than you can handle because he wants you to rely on His strength not you own.)

We tell people God is always with them, and they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength. When these people attend Church, they see people who appear happy and blessed honoring God. It seems to be all sun-shine and roses. But right now, the seed we are throwing is not reaching fertile soil.  We have only sold the life-style not a real and personal relationship with Christ.

While this is good-intentioned and may have some foundational truths, we need to equip new believers. We need to teach them to read their Bibles. We need to teach them to pray. We need to invite them to fellowship. When they are struggling, we need to be the hands and feet coming along side of them, so that they know they are not alone. We need to help that person realize it will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

If we fail to do this, we are simply bringing another person to Church. We are not making disciples. We are making false claims to Christianity.

How can you be a Christian without looking like Christ?

I ask you, was Jesus’ life all sunshine and roses? (No.) Did he need to know and study the word so that it would be in his heart when the enemy came to tempt him? (Absolutely!) Did people oppose Jesus? (yes!) Was He misunderstood? (you bet!)

Did Jesus tell new believers, come to Church? No! He told them repent… Sin no more… your sins are forgiven.  He called them to change their ways.

Jesus is our model. We need to follow His example. Somehow, Christianity took on a religion and stopped mirroring Christ. When people were first called Christians, it wasn’t a good thing. It was meant as degrading, “Man you look a lot like that Christ guy…” or, “You Christians…”

Just like the cross, those things that were meant for bad, became symbols of triumph! However, let’s not forget where they came from.

If we are going to say we are Christians, we need to try to be like Christ. He is the example. We can never measure up, but we can grow and learn with the help of the Holy Spirit.

You cannot sell a butter-up version of the Gospel to nonbelievers. Jesus calls us to change our lives. But He doesn’t make us do it alone. He gives us the free gift of the Holy Spirit. He blesses us with other Christians to do life with! Take advantage of the fullness of the Gospel!

 “In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born to be a man and became like a servant.  And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death — death on a cross.”
Philippians 2:5-8

Hitting the Nail

The first Saturday of the month I try to take my kids to the Home Depot children’s workshops. They love using the hammers, nails, screwdrivers, and screws while building the project of the month. I’m pretty sure their favorite part of the project is the painting though!

This month, I told the kids they couldn’t paint… mean mom, I know. (We had places to be afterwards, and I didn’t want to have to mess with paint covered kids.)

Anyways. There’s only one of me and now five children who are trying to follow directions, build, and properly complete the project. My older kids have gotten pretty good at reading the directions and working on their own.

However, as I was helping #4 hammer some nails into her project, one of the kids comes to me with frustrated tears. “My nail is bent.” I helped “said-child” pull the nail out and get another.

Seconds later another child has a similar complaint, “My nail won’t go in straight.” Once again, I pulled the nail out and gave the child a new nail.

“Guys, your nails are not the problem. The way you are hitting them with the hammer is the problem. You have to hit it straight on. If you hit it sideways, the nail will go sideways.”

I watched each kid hit the nail, made some slight adjustments, and then sent them back to complete their task.

However, I realize I have bent some “nails” in my daily walk with Christ. Specifically, with my prayers.

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I so quickly throw up my arms and wonder why God isn’t hearing me when I pray.

I want things my way. Why don’t I see results?

Well, the truth is that there is no problem with God; there’s a problem with my prayers.

Prayer is a gift from God. A way of communication with Him.

When I pray me focused prayers, I miss the mark. When I start treating God like a fast food restaurant demanding things “my way,” I will always be disappointed.

See, everything around me is HIS work. He has graciously invited me to be part of it. Instead of expecting God to do things my way, I need to recognize His ways. I need to submit to His will, His plan, always.

A bent nail I come in contact with often is when my praying is more of a “wish list.” Even my “wish-list” for others. It’s good to present our request to God, but prayer has the power to be so much more! Prayer is not meant to be solely an intercessory thing. It’s communication with God. It’s glorifying Him. It’s acknowledging how Great He is!

Ok- Here’s another bent nail that I don’t like to admit. Sometimes when people ask me to pray for them, I don’t. I used to keep a list of prayer request. Then in my alone time, I would present these requests to God. This is a really good thing to do. It helps remind you of who you agreed to pray for. However, I am a mom of many small children. Many times, the people I said I would pray for never made it to my list. I needed to make some sort of change.

At the same time, I was playing a game called “Clash of Clans.” I have been part of an awesome Christian clan for a few years now. One of the members recognized she did the same thing and said she was going to stop saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and start praying for them. So now, when people ask for prayer. I stop what I am doing and lift that person up in prayer. If I am scrolling through social media and I see a prayer request, I stop scrolling and specifically lift that request up to God.

Prayer is a powerful tool that Jesus gave us by taking our place on the cross. And it works…when done with the proper heart and posture.

But so many times I feel like we all miss the mark. Prayer should not be just about us, but all about Him! Our prayers should praise God, thank God, ask for forgiveness, pray for provision, pray for intercessory, peace, understanding, and ask for God to show you where He is already at work so that you can join Him.

When we simply pray prayers centered around us, we are hitting the nail… but slightly to the right or left. Something’s not quite right. If we keep hitting the nail like that, it will bend or break the wood.

I’m sorry to say that people stop praying when they don’t feel like their prayers are being heard. So instead of setting yourself up for a broken nail, pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you and show you how to realign your prayers to be within His will.

 

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“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

 

 

But, I Want to Help…

So… our washing machine and dryer decided to stop working properly. The washing machine slowly stopped spinning out fully. As a result, our dryer was having to work overtime and slowly stopped working correctly too. For the last couple of days, I have been in denial as the laundry pile continues to pile higher and higher. I never actually realized that dirty laundry stinks… Usually, I have it in and out in the same day.

My wonderful husband went out and bought a new (to us) washer and dryer. Within the first hours of owning these machines, they did three loads of laundry with a huge stack to go. Then it happened… our new(ish) dryer broke. (Don’t worry my husband has already ordered the parts and is fixing it.)

But here I am with at least 4 more loads of laundry and 2 wet loads… I have to go to the laundry-mat… with six kids…

Immediately after breakfast, we piled the laundry baskets, laundry soap, coloring books, crayons, books to read, and the Chess board into the van and headed to the laundry-mat.

When we arrived I told my kids to make themselves at home in the corner next to a seating area. Coloring books scattered, Chess began, and I was off to put the loads into the machines.

I have really good kids. They did exactly what they were supposed to do. When I asked for help switching the loads, I had five eager helpers (the baby was asleep.) I asked one of my children to stay next to the baby. He did not like that request.

The look on his face was like, `But mom, I want to help.’ He had no idea how much help he was actually being by staying with his sleeping baby brother, so that I could do what I needed to do.

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I get it, kid. I do.

Some of you may know that my husband is now a youth minister/pastor. It’s so exciting to see him doing exactly what God called him to. And I really want to volunteer to help out at youth. I really want to be involved.

BUT… I have six kids… and dad doesn’t usually get home on youth nights until well past bed-time.

At first, I was supper bummed. I want to be involved. I want to volunteer. I want to impact the Kingdom like my husband gets to do.

As I was praying about this (and many other frustrations) I was gently reminded that THIS IS my ministry. My kids. My home. My family. I have 18 years with each kid. If they live to be 70, that’s not even one-fourth of their lives. But these years are so important, so formative.

I love to listen to people share their testimonies. One thing that every testimony has in common is the mentioning of parents. Sometimes it is positive… sometimes it is negative… but no matter what, your childhood effects your testimony.  Parents are part of every person’s testimony.

I have six children that I pray grow up to impact the Kingdom in big ways! I know that I am in no way a perfect parent, but I hope I am pointing them to their perfect Heavenly Father.

So right now, volunteering for all these other ministries and such can take a back-seat to my role as mom.

It’s just a season. This season will end. When it does, I can happily accept roles in other areas. But my first, primary, and most important earthly role is to my family. Seeing the importance in my role helped me be at peace with this season in my life.

So when I recognized that look on my son’s face at the laundry-mat, I knew, I recognized, I understood.  He had no idea just how important the job was I asked him to do. After I explained to my son why I needed him to stay with his baby brother, it was like a lightbulb went off in his head. “OHHHH… ok no problem mom.” He went and sat down next to his sleeping brother and happily read a book.

Sometimes the jobs we are given to do, don’t seem that important. It’s hard to see all the moving pieces of the big puzzle of life. Sometimes I wish I knew the big picture. I wish I knew where I would be in 20 years. But then I am selling myself short. I would be just like the Michael in the movie “Click.” (Who kept fast forwarding to the big events and realized he lost what matters most in the process.) The process, waiting, the unknown journey, is just as important as the big events. The big events are awesome, but we have to submit to what seems less important. It’s in those moments that character is made. That learning is going on. The growing occurs.

Sometimes I forget, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).” God knows what he’s doing. Even when we can’t see it. He has a plan. And we are so blessed to be part of that plan!

It’s not our job to understand. It is our job to trust Him.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all you heart, and lean not on your own understand; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Control-Top or Hidding the Problem

Confession time! I love my babies! But I do not love what pregnancy has done to my body. I just had baby #6 three months ago… and I reached the biggest I have ever been! Slowly the pounds are coming off, but that means I am now in the awkward in between stage… You know the one where your maternity clothes are baggy, but your pre-pregnancy clothes leave you looking like there’s a flat tire floating on top… yeah… that in between stage… and I am way too cheap to go out and buy clothes that I hopefully won’t need much longer.

So, what’s a girl to do? I started thinking, `Man I wish my B-band wouldn’t have ripped… you know I don’t think those are actually supposed to last six pregnancies… Why not go get some controlled-top underwear.’ So, that’s exactly what I did.

What do you know! They worked. My pre-pregnancy pants went on with no problem… but the real problem was still there… the fat just got pushed up to the middle of my stomach…

Instead of fixing the problem, I just covered it up, moved it around, and pretended like it was not there.

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It seems like this is an easy thing to do in our culture. Instead of taking the time needed to fix the problem, we look for an easy fix. But that easy fix does nothing but push the real problem off to the side for a moment. It’s like putting a band aide on a broken bone and just pretending like everything is ok.

There was a time in our marriage that we were broken. I mean like, the world would have justified a divorce- broken.

Both of us pointed the finger at the other person. I definitely was not willing to take responsibility for my shortcomings and couldn’t see beyond his. Every argument ended the same way, but never with a resolve.

By the grace of God, we were pointed to a Christian counselor. My husband and I went into the counselor determined to work on our relationship and tell the complete truth… except one little detail… that one we couldn’t share.

We saw improvement. We did. We began to communicate better and fight less. But there were still issues. Issues that we didn’t talk about.  We just put those “controlled-top underwear” on and worked on the issues people could see, not the issues that were really affecting us.

Well, luckily for me, the counselor was able to see I had issues below the surface that needed to be dealt with, and she began to see me as an individual. So much growth it was amazing.

As the weeds were being pruned out, I was more and more willing to open my heart to fully accepting Christ. The seed was falling, just not quite on fertile soil yet.

There was still a thorn, a weed, in the path. We still didn’t talk about that one little thing…

Then it happened. The night that our counselor released us from her care. We had the biggest, most epic fight.

We went into her office the next morning. In my anger, I spewed all the details. I thought for sure she was going to tell us we needed to get divorced.

Instead, the most amazing thing happened. When the truth came out, God was able to move. The Holy Spirit got a hold of my husband and in tears he was convicted and filled with the Spirit.

Noticing what was taking place, our counselor invited God into the situation, prayed with us, and for us. And then sent us on our way. I’m telling you it was an instant change. We had been married for almost three years, and now God was finally part of the marriage. I knew things were going to be radically different.

As we left the office, I looked at my husband in a completely different light. This man had every right to leave me, but he chose to stay. He chose to fight for me, to fight for us. For the first time in my life I understood what unconditional love meant. And in that moment, I cannot even explain the emotions I felt. I had a desire burning in my heart to become a real Christian wife and love him as best as I humanly could. But I didn’t have a clue how to do that. This was the very beginning of my walk with Christ. I was still uncomfortable opening my Bible. It would take a lot of mentoring, many blogs to follow, books to read, people to watch, people to grow with, and open communication with my husband.

But that growth couldn’t happen while I was pretending like the problem didn’t exist. It had to be confronted, so that we could overcome it together. We learned a very important (not-so-secret) secret during this whole thing. Marriage takes three. Until we could fully admit our brokenness, we could not surrender to God. Without surrender, God was unable to move.

God is a good God. And He’s always with us. However, when we try to control our own lives, our image, and surroundings we are putting God in a box restricting His room to move. So many times, we want things to go our way. We want God to be our “controlled top underwear.” Our prayers quickly turn into wish list and expecting God to do our will. When we are the one blessed to be part of His will.

Please! Don’t try to live life your way. Live it His way. Surrender. Just like those control top underwear only hide the problem for only so long before the fat rolls over the top. Don’t try to hide your problems; they will surface. Surrender those problem at the foot of the cross. God already knows they are there. He’s just waiting for you to let Him out of that box giving Him room to radically change your life.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

James 5:16 (ESV)

 

The Chore

Sunday evening I sat in the recliner happily crocheting. Then my oldest brought me up a basket of laundry to fold. I sat in the chair and continued to crochet. Eventually it seemed as if the laundry basket started screaming at me, “Renee, do you see me?” “Renee, it will only take 10 minutes to fold me.” “Renee, fold the laundry.”

But I continued to sit and crochet. I do not want to fold laundry right now. Besides, another load will be up in an hour to fold anyways.

Renee- go fold your laundry.

No- I don’t want to!

This conversation went on in my head for a little bit, before I finally just stopped, folded laundry, and then went back to crocheting. I probably spent more time arguing with myself than I did actually folding the clothes.

Honestly, I’ve had this same conversation in my head with many different topics.

Renee, you really should start cooking dinner.

Renee, you really should clean that bathroom.

Renee, you really should get out of bed and go read your Bible before the kids get up…

Wait a minute. Did I just put God in the same category as my chores?

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Why am I not excited to spend time with God? Why am I treating Him like a chore?

If I treated my husband like a chore, I am positive I would hear about it. If I treated my friends like a chore, I am sure they wouldn’t be my friends very much longer.

Why is it ok to treat God like this?

There is only one reason that I don’t really like to admit- it’s a heart problem. It’s a pride problem. It’s definitely a sin problem.

It’s funny, when I can see and feel God moving, I am eager to spend time in prayer with Him. I am eager to pick up that book and grow closer to God. I have on-going conversations with Him throughout the day. I will randomly turn on “Jesus jams” and just worship where I am at.

But sometimes… sometimes I don’t see the movement. Sometimes I wonder ‘God, where are you?’ I forget, He’s right here with me. I try to take the wheel and steer my own life. But every time I end up broken down on a dirt road, and He chooses to fix it putting me back on the proper path.

My pride tells me to follow the world. My pride tells me when things aren’t moving the way I want them to, I need to make it happen. My pride leaves me broken and in need of my Savior.

So how do I fix my pride… I don’t. I can’t.

No matter how hard I try. I fail. I end up chasing the wind. I have to lay it at the foot of the cross and pray that God will help me overcome it!

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Each morning, my kids read “The Jesus Storybook Bible” together after breakfast. I have been so blessed to be part of this. This particular Bible tells the major Bible stories, but at the conclusion of each story it points back to God’s mighty rescue plan to save his people- Jesus.

Every story. Adam and Eve. Noah. The Tower of Babble. Abraham. Isaac. (That’s as far as we have read.) Each story ends with reflecting on how God knew, loved, and used these people despite their sin nature for His glory. God knew from the beginning we couldn’t do it on our own. He had a rescue plan from the beginning to save us from ourselves. That plan was Jesus.

I will fail. I will fall short. But God already knows that. He already sent His one and only Son to die for me. All I have to do is reach out to Him, accept the gift of His Son that was freely given. Once I embrace this reality, I can start living in the fullness of the Spirit. I can grow in relationship with the Father.

Some days it may feel like a chore. Do it anyway. Pray. Ask God to change your heart. Ask God to help you grow and change your perspective.

It’s not a gimmick. It’s a reality. Don’t let life get in the way of the most important relationship you have!

Intentional

A few days ago, my husband called for me to come to the computer. He opened up a video from 2010 of our oldest as a baby. The adorable little baby (that looked strikingly similar to our current baby) rolled back and forth on a jungle floor mat happily playing by himself. Then he rolled over and our old puppy came in and gave him kisses. It was so adorable.

“Aww!!! That’s so cute! Do we have any videos like that of our other kids?” I asked.

My husband shook his head, “not one.”

I know, I know. It’s the joke that only baby #1 has a completed baby book, perfect month by month pictures, and the like. But baby #2 has an almost blank baby book, thrown together pictures, and so on… Sadly, it’s funny because it’s true. We have sooooo many baby pictures and footprint/handprint art from our first child. He also is the only one of my children to have six “Baby’s first Christmas” ornaments. We were so intentional about documenting and recording his life events.

Then we had more kids. And more kids. And now poor baby #6. When someone ask me how old he is, I’m like, “Well he was born on November 1. You can do the math.” When someone asked me how old my oldest was, I was like, “3 months, 2 days, and 16 hours.”

 

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Intentional.

I wonder if I treat my relationship with God like my first child or my 6th child. Somedays I think it’s more like my 2nd child. He has a baby book. He has a ton of pictures. But not as detailed as the first. Not as intentional as the first.

There’s a reason God wants to be first in our lives. He wants us to be intentional about our relationship with him. He wants us to want to document our lives with Him. He wants us to want to grow deeper in faith, obedience, and trust.

When I was a kid, I knew the 10 Commandments. I knew the commandment said, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Great! I’ll just keep a list of my loves. As long as God is on top, I am ok, right? WRONG!!! When God said this, he did not mean like a check list. He meant, no other gods in my presence.

He wants to be around nothing else that consumes your heart. But in our human minds we can justify our choosing to have other gods.

Well, I’m a wife/mom, my role there is the most important… Be careful not to make your family or your role a god.

Well, I’m their parent, they have to honor me above all else… Be careful not to make yourself their god.

Well, doesn’t God want me to be happy? He will overlook this desire that is pulling me away from His light. First, this is not true. I cringe every time I hear a Christian tell me this. This is the world justifying your sin, not God’s desire for you. Don’t make your secret (or not so secret) sin your god.

Please hear me here- it’s a trap! No one and no thing should ever have more importance in your life than God! Your role as a wife, parent, friend, and (you fill in the blank here) is important. But our primary reason for existence is to bring glory to God! If you have a role that is taking away from God, you need to reevaluate your heart.

If you have been expecting your spouse or children to make you happy, you are in for a sad and rude awakening. They are not God. Nothing you do for them. Nothing they do for you will satisfy that longing in your heart. There is only one that can satisfy. And that is Jesus. Your spouse and your kids were never meant to take the place of Jesus. Remember first and foremost, He took their place. They are gifts from God to point you to Him.

If you are a Christian, you must be intentional about making God part of your daily life. Church should be the dessert to the rest of your week, not the main course. Many times, we do not take advantage of the fullness of the cross. Jesus died so we can have salvation, but also so that we can be in direct communication with God! Are we being intentional at taking full advantage of what we have been given through Christ? Or are we checking the box and giving God our wish list?  Prayer, mediation, devotional life, and fellowships are just a few things we can do to be intentional with our relationship with God and grow towards Him.

If you are a Christian but your walk is not as strong as you would like it to be, you are not alone! Walking with Christ is an absolute blessing, but its not easy. It takes time. It takes practice. You will mess up. He will take you right back. Surround yourself with people and things that point to him. Spend time in prayer. Look for the blessings around you. Be intentional about making God part of every aspect of your life.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7

Guarded

While at the library Thursday, my daughter checked out a bunch of books. Since she forgot her library bag, the librarian gave her a plastic grocery bag to carry her books. As she was walking out of the library, the bag ripped, and her books fell all over the ground. She scrambled to pick them up, but since they were all different shapes and scattered, it was no easy task. Her brother went over to help her, but she quickly covered her books and said, “These are my books.”

“I know,” he said. “Would you like me to help you and carry some out to the car for you?”

Immediately her expression changed from anger to relief.

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Oh, what a perfect image of how I must be when people are trying to help me. I’m so overwhelmed by the problem at hand, that an act of help has me responding poorly.

For whatever reason I’m guarded. I’m prideful. I don’t even realize they’re trying to help.

My poor, poor husband. As I am typing this, I can recall so many instances where he offers me help, but I hover over my scattered books and say, “Leave me alone. I’ve got this.”

In my defense, no one likes being told your wrong. Even if that’s not exactly what is said, that’s how I internalize it.

Internalizing messages has been a major heart ache in my life. I learned from a young age to “read people,” but not based on their words. More like their emotions, facial expressions, and body language. Sadly, I thought there were two conversations being had. The one that was being spoken and the one that was meant.

It took me a long time to realize, most people say what they mean and mean what they say. You don’t have to read between the lines. But I still do it.

I still try to find the hidden message in what’s being said. And it causes my heart so much agony.

I suddenly think people don’t like me, when they barely engaged in conversation with me.  Now I am wondering what I did wrong, when maybe they just had a bad day, a headache, a problem, or lacked the time to actually talk to me.

When I’m running late, I start the negative talk wondering why I can’t ever be on time. When I say something dumb, I feel dumb. When someone makes a joke and it takes me a minute to get it, I feel stupid. If I make a Pinterest dinner flop, I think I’m a horrible cook. When I fail, I tell myself I am a failure.

It has taken me some time to realize that I internalize things because I place other people’s opinions higher than my own. I place other people’s opinions higher than God’s.

I need to see myself as God sees me. “Perfectly and wonderfully made.” I need to recognize the good work that He has started in me and know that He is faithful to carry it out to completion.

Yes, we are going to mess up, but we are not a mess. Yes, we will fail, that doesn’t mean we are failures.

We are daughters and sons of the God! Our creator! Our Lord. He cares for us. He knows us by name. He has a plan for our lives! Once we can wrap our heads around all that, we can begin to see ourselves as image bearers of God. After all that is the way God sees us. The good news is that we do not have to see ourselves that way before we can begin a relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ.

Let me take a bit of burden off of you for a moment and tell you something that maybe you haven’t heard before. Your worth and your identity is not in your marital status, family achievements, occupation, accomplishments, or any other worldly things. Your worth is in Christ! You were bought with a price. Christ paid that ransom. God loves you so much and he knows what you are worth and that is exactly why He was willing to die for you personally. As you go on with your life, I want to encourage you to remember that Jesus died once and for all. There is no need to stick Him back on the cross to die a second time. Once was enough.

Let down your guard. Accept help from those offering it. And look up. Thank God for what He has done in your life. Walk in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Embrace your identity in Christ!

“The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. The reason the people in the world do not know us is that they have not known him.”  1 John 3:1