When They “Should” All Over You

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My husband and I have this saying that we stole from a former commercial fisherman named Jack*.

Jack used to say people will “should” all over you, if you let them.

As in, You “should” do this.

You “should” do that.

So when we feel the inward pull to do more than we want to, we say that “People are shoulding on us.”

And we’ve had to learn the hard way that people “should” on each other.  We all do it.  We place expectations on each other that we don’t realize are slowly suffocating the life out of the ones we love.

And so we’ve had to learn how to get very good at saying “No”, “No, thank you”, and “I’m sorry that’s not going to work for me”.

Because ultimately, it’s no one else’s job to guard our own hearts except our own.

God has tasked us with that responsibility.

 

Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.

Proverbs 4:23

(The Message)

 

God wasn’t kidding.

Everything that flows from your life starts with your heart

And nothing kills our hearts quite like “should”.

We can get so caught up in looking ahead that we forget to live in the now, the present of our lives.

We worry and fret that we aren’t doing enough and so we redouble our efforts to get more done.

To not only do more but to produce more.

And that is death to our hearts.

It is not up to us.

We are in God’s process of learning to listen to our hearts just as we listen for His.

And if His spirit is within us  – it is Him who works in us BOTH to work but also to want to do good things.

But we have to pay attention.

It’s far to easy to drift into auto-pilot and just do what we believe is the “right-thing” rather than allow God’s spirit to direct our steps to do the “God-thing”.

And there is a huge chasm between the two.

We can be so busy doing the “right thing” that we miss out on God’s “best thing”.

For it is [not your strength, but it is] [a]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

(The Amplified Bible)

 

So what if instead of tackling our to-do lists and striving to meet other people’s expectations of us, we stopped to ask ourselves what we WANT to do today and from there asking the Father what he thinks about that?

What would your day look like?

Would you have more peace?

Would you have more fun?

Because you were created to live in freedom.  And the choice to give to others can only truly come from that place of freedom.

 

 It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].

Galatians 5:1

The Amplified

 

And so for the past 2 years, we have been learning as a church how to walk in a season of stewardship.

That means that God is giving us the freedom to choose to take care of ourselves and the things and people he has placed in our care.

 

As a mother, that means taking care of yourself so you have energy, time, and the mental clarity to love on your kids.

 

As someone in a ministry position, that means having interests outside of church so that you are recharged and able to face the demands and needs of others.  This also means, being completely comfortable saying “no” to others.  It was never your job to save them – only to point them to the One who can.

 

As a human being, that means saying “no” to the requests of others so that you have space and time to recharge and just be.

 

 

There are seasons and times when we slip into absolute apathy and God does challenge us to give more, but not this time.  This is a season of stepping back and allowing God to do what He does best.  This is a season of being present.  Present with Him.  This is a season that is all about lifting our eyes upward to connect with the Father and is less about reaching out to others, which is why there is such an opposition to it.

 

 

This is a strategic move of the enemy because:

 

“Should” will burn out all of our energy to seek God first.

 

“Should” will leave you wondering and striving and exhausted.

 

“Should” makes it very difficult to experience the presence of God.

 

So today, I challenge you to step away from all of the demands of others, whether they be spoken or unspoken.  And to step into what the Father has for you.  I promise you it’s worth it and full of more of His presence and grace than you or I could contain.

 

You can purchase Joyce’s latest book, Scattered, Finding God in Your Story at Amazon.com

 

 

Scattered, Finding God in Your Story

 

 *Jack Frost was a commercial fisherman before God caught ahold of his heart.  You can check out more of his resources at Shiloh Place Ministries 
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The Prophetic Process

Prophetic words.

I love them.

They open our eyes to see our potential.

They help us see ourselves as God sees us.

But I think there is great danger in receiving prophetic words without understanding God’s process.

Disappointment can set in when we grow weary in the waiting for God to fulfill his promises for us, but if we truly understand His process then we learn that the waiting seasons are more about developing our character to carry the largeness of his vision and less about figuring out where things went wrong.

Not only should we hold our prophetic words up to the word of God to judge them but I think we could save ourselves so much disappointment if we remembered that our enemy also wants to use our prophetic promises against us.

If he can get us into the place of trying to make a prophetic word come true – we’ve stepped out of faith and into striving.

God can’t bless that.

Why not?

Because he is a God of rest, never burn out.

Remember, come to me all who are weary and I’ll give you rest??

Yeah, he said that.

Will he use that experience down the road for our good?

Absolutely.

But the promises of God are for Him to perform.

Not us.

Our job largely is, to watch and wait.

If we blur the lines, we’ve stepped into no longer being yielded to God which verges on rebellion which opens the door towitchcraft.

Yeah, witchcraft.

The promises of God are yes and amen but not always now and immediately, because the best things take time and patience to create.

If you thumb through your Bible all of the great heroes of faith waited and waited for their dreams and promises to come true.  There was so much journey between the delivery of the prophetic word to the actual fufillment.

Why?

Because God was developing character.

This is why the Bible says, “a man’s heart plans his way but God directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9)

Because there is character building to prepare us to carry the vision.

It is very possible that there are in fact people in your life that have held the doors closed that God meant for you to walk through.

Or it could be that maybe you’ve made some ummm, let’s call them lapses in your better judgement.

But it wont matter.

Not really.

All of this works together to build character and God is the God of the scenic route.

He’s faithful to get you to your destination.

And He can use the detours to heal some lies you may have believed about yourself, or others, or even about God himself.

Just remember to keep your heart right before him in a posture that puts him above all else. . . and trust him.

He’ll see you through.

You can purchase Joyce’s latest book, Scattered, Finding God in Your Story at Amazon.com

Scattered, Finding God in Your Story

You Haven’t Failed.

 

Sometimes life can make you feel like a loser.

It doesn’t always pan out the way we thought it would or should.

And it’s easy to look at the goals and dreams God has placed in your heart and wonder if you’ve screwed everything up through the wrong choices, trusting the wrong people, or by just not being, you know, enough.

But instead of asking if you’ve failed, ask yourself if you’ve grown in your relationships this past year.

Ask yourself if your trust in God has grown.

Ask yourself if you’ve made progress in becoming more of the son or daughter that God wants you to relax into.

Sometimes the toughest seasons are about letting down your guard and remembering that you and I are not God.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! 

The Message

Romans 8:5

 

As people, we measure success by tasks completed but God measures success by love increased.

 

Which can be really difficult to wrap our hearts around.

I went through an amazingly intense season several years ago.

God took me through about 9 months of teaching me about the gift of discernment.

And when God teaches me stuff, it’s not usually in a nice, college lecture type setting.

It’s always in a very life-in-the-trenches-so-you-can feel-this-and-have-some-tactile-experience sort of way.

Okay, yeah, it was pretty much like boot camp.

But He taught me that I was powerful.

And I watched as afterwards, my prayers moved mountains.

My words helped set people free.

I could change the atmosphere in a room, just by walking into it.

 

It was incredible.

 

 

I kinda felt like Bruce Almighty.

 

And then the seasons changed.

And God was no longer teaching me about His power in me.

 

He started whispering about my humanity.

The things I wanted.

The things I needed.

The things that irritated me.

The situations in my life that had brought me to my knees.

And I suddenly went from being the most powerful I had ever been in my life to feeling the weakest.

Driven into the proverbial wilderness of life.

To figure out with God, what was going on in the hidden places of my heart.

 

And this change of season has not been an easy one for me.

Time and time again, I’ve had to fight the thought that I’ve failed.

That somehow I’d fallen from grace and just royally screwed everything up that God was doing in me.

That He was throwing His hands up in air and you know, just done developing me.

Meanwhile, I plummeted from the mountaintop straight into the valley, to learn how to embrace the divine while my feet still remained on Earth.

 

To add insult to injury, there’s quite a few people around me who are stepping into their destinies and God-given dreams this season.

And you know, I’m happy for them – sorta. 😉

 

So where am I going with this today?

I dunno, maybe just a reminder to you and me that God really, truly does know what He is doing.

And that you haven’t failed.

Whether you’re on the mountaintop, in the valley, or somewhere in between.

He is helping us to become more aware of His love for us and to heal us so that His love flows more freely out of us.

And while our eyes have been focused on task-based success, His eyes have always been on you and me.

 

Love you friend,

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You can get Joyce’s book, Scattered, Finding God in Your Story, here.

Scattered, Finding God in Your Story

Joyce Ackermann

When Mountains Won’t Move

 

mountains-2228273_1920

I’ve had several requests for help this past month, some really fun opportunities and others that were heart-breaking pleas for help.

One was extremely hard to say no to, due to the sadness of the situation, but I knew with everything in my heart that I needed to say “no”.

It was such a difficult thing to say no to, that afterwards, I crawled into the shower and sobbed.

It is excruciating to say “no” to people.

People with very real need, people with very tender hearts.

And that’s really hard, especially when you know that you could change the outcome of the story.

That with God’s help, you could move mountains.

 

And yet, I hear the Father’s heart saying, “No, not this time.”

 

Why?

Why would God say no to something that is very much in his power to give through another person?

 

Because there are some journeys that were meant to be taken alone with only him.

Those mountain roads that only He can navigate with you.

No person, no church, no gifting can ever replace that.

 

I think sometimes, that it can be a good thing when our churches and the people in our lives disappoint us.

It’s a healthy reminder that at the end of the day, you and I are just people.

But I can only imagine how hard it must be for God to delay things that are in his power to give.

He is still the God who heals.

He is still the God who is with us in our loneliness.

He is still the God who sees and knows and is all powerful.

 

But sometimes He doesn’t come through like we hoped.

And sometimes the Christians we know, and the churches we attend don’t come through the way we thought they would.

And this is hard to swallow, whether you believe in God or not.

Disappointment is never easy.

 

But disappointment can be an opportunity to make room in our lives for God to be God.

Not the idea of a grandiose God who hovers above us, punishing us for our sins.

But a God who loves us better than we know.  Who loves like a Father and gives us his best, even if it might cause us to misunderstand him.

It’s about making room in our lives to tell God things that hurt us and that disappoint us.

And for those of us who have been through a season like this – it is one of learning to let go.

Learning to let God do what only he can do in the lives of those we love.

To step back, and not be the hero of the show.

To let him do what only he can do.

Remembering that he is faithful and able to be trusted.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: “Mountains” by Skeeze, Permission through C.C. by 2.0

 

 

 

 

In the waiting

 

In The Waiting

Hold on to your promises, even if they feel a little tattered and torn at the moment.

God moves in seasons.

 

Why?

 

I’m not sure, but I think sometimes that farmers must understand God better than us city kids.

 

There are seasons when we are waiting on God to blow on our dreams and to answer prayers.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

 

 

My friend Praveena and I went out for dinner a couple of months ago and she said in her usually brilliant way, “God is teaching me how to hold onto my dream without having any casualties in my relationships along the way.”

Wow.

Doesn’t that sound like the God we know.

The one who wants us to have our dreams.

The one who loves people.

 

The one who wants us to learn how to do both.

Have our dreams and love people.

 

In the waiting, we’re learning how to do just that.

 

Maybe it goes without saying, but waiting is hard.

Correction.

Waiting is really really hard.

 

God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.

In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’

The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’

They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’

They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.

Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’

He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’

So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.

Matthew 25:1-13

(The Message)

 

We read this verse a lot when we talk about Jesus coming back, but I believe there’s a kingdom principle embedded in this story.

Those who have been wise to hold on to their oil, to not give away their hope and their faith in who God is, get to enter into the party with Jesus.

Why?

Because when the time comes, they have hope that gives them light to see and discern the opportunities God brings our way.

These are the ones that held onto believing the promises of God, even when it felt like you were just holding on by a thread.

It still counts.

Remember Jesus said, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed.

And a thread is bigger than a mustard seed.

 

So hold on to your promises, even if they feel a little tattered and torn at the moment.  God is good and he always comes through for us, the ones he loves.

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Photo Credit: “Sparkler” by Unsplash, permission through C.C. by 2.0

Never Alone

Never Alone

So what’s the cure for the loneliness that hits at the “happiest” time of the year?

 

It’s the holidays, which for a lot of people means fighting loneliness. . .alone.

 

For some it truly is being alone, with no one to commiserate with about the runny mashed potatoes at Christmas dinner with the in-laws or the long lines at the mall.

 

But for most, it is fighting the onrushing tide of feeling alone in a crowd.

Feeling unseen.

 

It’s the ugly side of the hustle and bustle during the holidays.

 

So what’s the cure for the loneliness that hits at the “happiest” time of the year?

 

Ugly Sweater Parties?

(Uhhhh, lets hope not!)

 

Friends?

 

Family?

 

Taking cheesy holiday pictures?

 

I think it’s simpler than breathing in the moment of the holiday cheer and hoping that some of it will infect you.

 

I think the answer lies in pressing the pause button on life.

 

Taking a deep breath.

Knowing you’re not alone, even if you feel like it tonight.

I’ve got nothing to say, no verses to type, no advice.

Just a hug from me to you.

 

And a thought.

 

Maybe Jesus came for nights like this.

Nights when we need a friend.

Nights when we feel alone.

 

Wherever you are, you’re in my thoughts and prayers tonight.

 

 

“Lights” by Tabeajaichhalt is licensed by Creative Commons under CC BY 2.0

 

Why Boundaries Are Necessary

Why Boundaries Are Neccessary

I saw this tonight and I couldn’t wait to share this.  Great post by Kris Vallotton on boundaries, why they aren’t selfish and how to start creating some.

 

By Kris Vallotton
October 19, 2016
www.krisvallotton.com

If you don’t manage your life, others will. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself, the crowd will get what they think they need from you, but soon there will be nothing left to get. Then they will discard you like an old pair of shoes.

MANAGING YOUR SOUL

If you set boundaries to manage your soul, many won’t like it. They will accuse you of being arrogant, uncaring, not spiritual, unloving, etc. They will tell you about the life of Jesus, who never turned away anyone…of course He didn’t begin His public ministry until he was 30 and died at 33. He also had no wife or children to take care of…no soccer games to go to, no sleepless nights…up caring for a crying babies etc…

If you have a public platform, most people think you are obligated to carry out their will…pray for them at their convenience, take pictures until all you can see lights, hear every detail of their story, while 40 other people wait in line behind them, follow you out to your car or talk to you over the bathroom stall. You are expected to answer every post, email, phone call, text, etc.

If you love God and are passionate about caring for people…if you give people hope and believe in miracles…if you pour out your soul for the broken and the poor…if you are radically generous…you WILL have favor with God and man. BUT if you don’t steward the favor of God…if you let the fear of man be your shepherd…if you convince yourself that you are the savior of the world, obligated to meet every need that you are exposed to…YOU WILL CRASH and the crowd will find another savior.

LEARN TO SAY NO

So a little advise from an aging man; chill…you are not that important. Have fun! Enjoy your life. Learn to say NO! Operate out of overflow. Let Jesus love on you. Let the crowd think whatever they want…and remind yourself that there is always enough time to touch everyone Jesus sent to you.

 

Photo Credit: “Fence” by Unsplash permissions through C.C. by 2.0

The Eye of God

The Eye of God

I write for my sanity.

You thought I wrote just because I loved you.

I do.

I really do.

But writing also helps keep me sane.

You see, by writing I have a built in excuse to go to a coffee shop every week and write.

My husband is a business guy, I call him the Human Calculator, because, we’ll he is.  It is freaky how well he can calculate numbers and percentages in his head when it comes to money. And because he’s a bottom line kinda of guy, in his mind – paying for coffee every week is a business expense -which means I can get away with it.  (Take notes ladies, this is how it’s done.)

So that’s part one of my self induced therapy plan – self-medicate, ie, drink coffee.

But the other part is to write about how I feel and how I’m processing the world, because . . . lean in. . .  I’m a stuffer.

 

Yeah, you heard me.  I stuff my emotions.

Which is why blogging is a such a great outlet.

At the heart of blogging is connection.

It’s all about letting another person into your world, the way you think and what you feel.

Because of this, bloggers are awesome people.

 

But right now I hate blogging.

And I kind of hate being a blogger.

And I definitely don’t feel awesome.

 

Because it means that I’m one of those people who processes her world by writing about it.

 

 

I’m a stuffer who writes about the stuff I don’t really want to write about because I figure if I put my stuff out there, I won’t be as much of a stuffer anymore. – Say that 10 times fast.

Here’s what my stuffy side doesn’t want to say tonight.

 

God’s not done healing me.

 

I actually thought he was.

I thought I had finally moved past all of my childhood issues and was on the cusp of something big. . . like the promised land of adulthood.

But I don’t think he got my memo.

 

Actually it’s the opposite.

It’s like he saved one of the biggest bombshells for last.

 

And here it is: Because of growing up in a home with a schizophrenic mother and living in a constant state of childhood trauma – I have  ummm — cough — tendencies.

 

What?

 

I said, I have — cough — tendencies.

 

Alright, fine.

 

I HAVE CODEPENDENT TENDENCIES.

There, I said it.

 

Maybe not a shocker for you, but it is for me.

 

And now I’m going from a season where I thought I was finished with all of this inner healing stuff to my-dreams-are-feeling-a-bit-like-sand-slipping-through-my-fingers-all-because-I don’t-know-how-to-not-be-overly-responsible-and-just-trust-God-when-it-comes-to-other-people’s-emotions.

Grrrrr me.

 

Here’s the crazy part, I knew he was up to something.

I was playing the piano one afternoon and just spending time with him, when God shows me this picture of a giant eye.  It reminded me of the nebula in the photo above.  Not intimidating or scary, but I was very aware that my heart was being searched.

And since then, I haven’t heard God say anything about it.

But I’m pretty sure that this discovery of codependent tendencies is tied to that day.

 

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (The Message)

 

Okay seriously, I didn’t even know I had codependency issues until like 2 months ago.  And it’s not like I want to keep them or anything but man, I wish that God would snap his fingers and make it just go away.

Open a can of miracle, right here, right now.

Because I am one bewildered girl right now.  Lez just be honest.  I did not realize I was as messed up as he is showing me I am.

 

My friends and family, however, are not as shocked.

 

To make matters worse, this has not been a fast moving kind of revelation.  This is more like a slow as molasses revelation.  As in, every day I’m going to show you what is going on and how it is affecting you and the people you love.

 

Ouch.

This really sucks.

 

But I don’t want to stay this way.

I really do want to change.

 

Repentance at its core is being willing to go through the process of being changed.

 

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (The Message)

 

Okay, Jesus, so healing is what you’re offering me in this season.

I’ll take that mercy.

I’ll accept that help.

 

Photo Credit: “Helix Nebula” by WikiImages, permissions through C.C. by 2.0

Slow Down

 

slowdown

Photo Credit: Juxtapost

 

I like old people.

Old people typically like me.

 

Or at least, I get the impression that they do.

 

They smile and strike up conversations with me in the grocery store.

 

Maybe they’re laughing at me though.  Knowing that one day, I will be old too.

 

Still, I like ’em.

 

They don’t just know things – they understand.

They’re confident in who they are.

They’ve got tough skin.

 

But the thing I like best about old people is this, they move slower.

Most of them by choice.

 

They aren’t in a hurry and they don’t care if you are.

 

It can wait.

 

Nothing is more important than spending time with the people around them.

 

 

Watch, someday I’ll end up being the old lady whacking people with my purse as I shuffle along in my walker, grumbling that,”those young punks don’t know how good they have it.  When I was their age. . .”

 

This is like crazy person speak today, I know.

 But come with me.

Let’s go down the crazy road together.

 

 

What if you and I were more like old people?

 

 

You know, sit for a spell and fall asleep mid conversatio- – – zzzzzzz.

Hang out on the porch and watch the cars go by.

Tell stories about people that no one else in the room remembers.

 

What if we slowed down enough to forget that we are millennials determined to change the world and just enjoyed our lives for a moment.  What if we remembered that God wants that for us too.

 

What if we, actually, rested?

 

I told you, crazy person speak.

 

We have busy lives.

We fly through our days at speeds that could rival NASCAR.

And we are proud of our busyness.

It’s a badge that we are important.

We are worthwhile.

What we are doing matters.

Because we are busy.

 

But what if that was completely opposite of what God wanted for you and me?

 

What if we aren’t really as busy as we think, what if we are just terrified of letting go and resting in God’s love for us?

 

And so this is still a live promise.  It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today”.  The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people.  God himself is at rest.

Hebrews 4:9-10

(The Message)

 

This whole idea of rest started last summer.  I guess that’s when God started getting my attention about resting and what that should look like.

But the biggest umm, we’ll say, “hint” – was a dream that I had.

 

God was speaking to me about rest.

He told me, “Joyce, I need you to get this.”

 

It was a really blunt “hint”.

 

I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out what the heck he meant.

 

I was more careful about my schedule making sure I didn’t burn myself out, made sure I was rocking the Sabbath and took one day off each week to do nothing, but I still didn’t feel like I was getting it.

I listened to sermons on rest.

I read books about rest.

I quoted Bible verses about rest.

I prayed about rest.

 

 

But I was tired.

 

 

It’s a lot of work learning how to rest.

 

 

But after 18 months, I finally got it.

 

You wanna know the secret to resting in God?

 

 

 

It’s no worries.

No kidding.

 

Worry was making me tired.  I didn’t even realize how much I worried.  But it was like a leech.  Sucking away my passion and energy from all that was supposed to be life.  I felt it like a black hole in my stomach.

I wondered if I was parenting my kids well.  I wondered if I was a good wife.  I wondered if I picked the right songs when I led worship.    I wondered if I offended that person the other day.  Wondering.  Wondering. Worrying.  Worrying.

 

I was thinking about all good things.

Being a better wife.

A better mom.

A better worship leader.

A better writer.

 

But it was killing my heart.

And my energy levels.

Which is hard on us old people, because after 2 pm we only do decaf.

 

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs.  God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time.  Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

1 Peter 5:6-7

(The Message)

 

But I wasn’t carefree anymore.  I was taking on more than my fair share of the load.  A load that was supposed to be God’s.  I was trying to keep myself righteous.

 

Ouch.

 

It’s not our job to maintain our own righteousness.

It’s our job to not screw it up.

 

I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

Philippians 3:9

(The Message)

 

 

It is possible to do all the outward motions of rest and still be a worried mess on the inside.

And there’s a lot to worry about these days.

There’s the fight you had with your spouse.

There’s the kids.

The bills.

The car that has started making a clanking sound when you reach 55 mph.

The people at work.

The people at church.

The people on the street.

The people in the world.

 

You can pick your poison.  You can worry about anything.

 

But his righteousness is enough and if he needs to bring some adjustments to our lives, he’s big enough and gentle enough to do it.

 

God wants our internal state to be at rest.

He’s not worried.

Not in the least.

 

 

 

 

Confidence

 

 

Go

Photo Credit: FamousQuotes254.blogspot.com

 

I’m in the final stages of editing my book and I should be excited.

 

But I’m not.

 

I’m terrified.

 

I’m sitting in a corner in Panera as I type this, trying to resist the urge to curl into a ball and rock back and forth.

 

Am I afraid that my writing isn’t as good as I want it to be?

Maybe?

 

Am I afraid that no one will read it and I’ll become the laughingstock of social media sites everywhere?

Probably a little.

 

Am I afraid of putting myself out there and letting everyone see the scars and bruises of my past?

God, yes.

 

Why are new forays in being open and honest always so scary?

 

When we were pre-kids, Jason and I went to resort in Mexico for a friend’s wedding.  It was beautiful – room service, gorgeous beaches, room service, fun people, and did I mention – room service. They even made those cute towel animals every morning and put them on the bed for us.  Awwwwww.

It was perfect and . . . ummmm, nude.

The pool staff were apparently used to having some of it’s more European guests more comfortable with the ‘skin to the wind’ philosophy.

 

If you catch my drift.

 

So we averted our eyes as an older couple literally let it all hang out.  Wrinkles, pudginess, and all.  Vulnerability like that is hard to come by.

No, really – I think I swam to the other side of the pool.  It was that uncomfortable.

 

Being open and honest is difficult.

Especially when it comes to our dreams and goals.

I used to think that I was a little like that older couple.  That I was okay with letting it all hang out, letting people watch me grow in the process of pursuing my dreams.

But the truth is, I’m comfortable with you letting it all hang out.

Me  – I want my stuff nipped, tucked, and in a tidy package.

I want to look like I have it all together.

 

We don’t like to be naked and exposed.  All of our flaws out in the open for everyone to see.

 

But when you’re venturing on something new, it is inevitable.  You and I will make mistakes and people will see our “nakedness”.

 

Maybe you’re starting a new business?

Launching a new ministry?

Moving to another state?

Writing a book?

 

It’s all new and a little scary.

 

When did we stop giving ourselves permission to try something new?

To have the confidence to try?

Hebrews 10:35 says this:

Do not, therefore, fling away your (fearless) confidence, for it has a glorious and great reward.

(Amplified Bible)

 

The definition of confidence is, “full trust, belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.”

 

Full belief in the reliability of God to see us through.

 

When did we stop believing that God was big enough to help us in the newness?

 

I don’t want to stop believing that God is bigger than my flaws.

I don’t want to stagnate in my thinking.

 

So, I’m going to try this whole European, openness thing.  I’m going to fight the urge to bury my book in some file on my laptop.

 

I’m going to hold onto my confidence.

 

How about you?

 

 

Scattered, my new book, comes out June 1st, 2016.