Fleeting to Secure Identity

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

That Bible verse is such a beautiful promise of what the Lord desires for us in our life. Yet we are told by society that our identity is from how we look, our status in: relationships, career and class and our bank accounts. We change ourselves to fit that unrealistic ideal by taking drastic measures to lose weight, getting cosmetic procedures, working ourselves ragged or accumulating more possessions. I am not shaming anyone who has done this, we all have done something to fit in. Temporarily, it provides a fix. We get noticed for looking better which makes our self esteem soar. We get noticed by our work and receive recognition. We meet someone and fall in love, they complete us. (Let us roll our eyes together.)

Then the same insecurities come raging back. There will always be someone or something telling us we are not enough (thank you marketing/advertisers or just haters). Nothing permanently changes.

We have to accept the only thing to save our identity from being constantly assaulted is through Jesus. This is not easy. It is painful and it takes so much work. Once we know who we are in Christ, we can navigate through life with security that we are enough. Our identity is to be what God wants for us. We can ask Him in our prayers and He will reveal it to us as we surrender.

I do recommend reading Bible verses and saying them everyday to help you in the process. The world uses mantras, but we have His word which is true and never changes. There is a great resource on Neil T. Anderson’s, Freedom in Christ Ministries, website http://www.ficm.com called “Who I am in Christ”

(I am not paid by this ministry. I have used them for my own personal growth.)

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much that you designed me to be unique and have gifts to share in this world. I am thankful that you believe the best for me and what me to thrive. Please show me what you want me to do and be a part of in this life. Bring me people to walk in this together. Anytime the world tells me that I am not enough, remind me who I am in you. Help me to establish boundaries and to enforce them even if it offends people. In Jesus’ Mighty Name. AMEN!

Drama in the Family

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

This verse can be used as a source of hope in with dealing with major trials. When I read this verse, however, it spoke to me in dealing with fights among our family and close friends. It still amazes me how the enemy uses them to hurt one another. How many times has there been an argument over something that seems so insignificant and the enemy uses it as an opportunity to expose a deeper problem? They forgot to throw away the empty juice container or give you an important phone message and the argument spirals into, you don’t care at all about me, I am worthless. I have seen families jump in on social media comments about a post about kittens and then decide to put you on blast in front of the world about how they feel you are crazy or stupid or air your dirty laundry. What the what?!

We expect them to love us unconditionally and support us. Some family members feel they have free reign to speak hurtful words because of who they are to us, but it is harmful at best. You can lovingly explain how their choices could end up hurting them or disagree with their opinion without trying to destroy their self worth. But it does not work out this way.  The following quote speaks volumes of truth. 

Hurt people hurt people. We are not being judgmental by separating ourselves from such people. But we should do so with compassion. Compassion is defined as a “keen awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a desire to see it relieved.” People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain. Avoid the reactive response of believing they are bad; they already think so and are acting that way. They aren’t bad; they are damaged and they deserve compassion. Note that compassion is an internal process, an understanding of the painful and troubled road trod by another. It is not trying to change or fix that person.”

-Will Bowen

I believe that through God, anyone can be changed and be redeemed. I know it is difficult being the bigger person because of all the pain they caused. But we can ask God to guard us and keep us safe and carry us through all our trials without being damaged. Sometime we talk to others about our problems it may feel like is helping, but it ends up as gossip. Last time I checked, gossip is not a part of the Lord’s plan.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me Lord to look past people’s harmful actions and words and see they are broken. Please quench the fiery arrows of the enemy and place your protective shield around me. I renounce any word curses brought upon me or my family and render them inoperative. Help me to be forgiving and to offer love towards these people. Remind me to give people grace as you do for me. Help me laugh into the face of evil and know You Lord will always prevail.

In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Look to the Son

My heart is hardened with hatred.

The sun is not hot enough to melt away its grief.

No words, no pills can remove its grip on me.

Despair and destruction whirl my emotions like a hurricane.

My soul feels like an abyss, stagnant.

I am told to look to a different sun, the one spelled s-o-n.

He came to give us new life. He takes sorrow and shame and gives us laughter and love.

His love is an all consuming fire that refines and purifies.

Our pain is never wasted, it is redeemed.

Scarcity to Sufficient Joy

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2Cor 9:8

I complain about not having enough. Not having, enough sleep, not enough money to cover my needs or emergencies, not being healthy enough, not being strong enough both physically and mentally, not being a good parent or wife, not being a good enough person. I cut experiencing joy out of my life as a defense mechanism because I don’t want to be caught of guard when disaster strikes. I thought I am the only nut out there that does this…

Regarding this subject, I read a passage from Brené Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” that shook me to the core.

These are anxious times and fearful times, both of which breed scarcity. We’re afraid to lose what we love most, and we hate that there are no guarantees. We think not being grateful and not feeling joy will make it hurt less. We think if we can beat vulnerability to the punch by imaging loss, we’ll suffer less. We’re wrong. There is one guarantee: If we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on the two things that will actually sustain us during the inevitable hard times.”

Oh sure I practice gratitude… In the month of November, I take part in posting on Facebook of what I am grateful for each day. This is riddled with hypocrisy because the other 335 days of the year are plagued with negativity and disgust.

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 These are some of my favorite verses in The Bible, yet I struggle to live it. I only believe I can do this when I have everything lined up or safe. Yet, I have witnessed some of the poorest people in the word are able to be joyful and give more than those with padded bank accounts and every resource at their whim.

I have come to learn, that no matter the day, there is always something to be thankful for.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, remove the lies that I have to have more or be safe to live a joyful life. Remind me of your promises and all the wonderful parts of my life. Forgive me for doubting that you are not in control. Give me a heart of thanksgiving and praise. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!

Know it alls, really don’t know it all…

The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” Proverbs 12:15

It was a beautiful afternoon in Los Angeles and I was walking home after school from the bus stop. I decided to walk a different way home than what my mother suggested, because I believed it was faster. I knew that this way was closer, because I was sixteen years old and I knew more than my mother. After ten minutes of walking, I realized that this way was a terrible choice because a creepy man was following me in his car.

I began to walk faster. The way I chose was on a very isolated street, a kidnapper’s ideal situation. No houses were on the street and people did not drive on the street often. The way my mom suggested was through the neighborhood, loaded with homes. I would hear him drive up and then slow down and he would roll down his window and look at me in a way that would make all the hair on the back of one’s neck stand up, then he would speed off. As I came up on my street, I noticed a little boy playing basketball. He lived on the corner. I didn’t see the creep, so I ran across the boy’s lawn. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw the guy driving by again. I stopped and pretended to have dropped something on the lawn. I knew I could not let him see where I lived. I looked at him again and he drove off. I ran back to the boy playing basketball. I said, “Please help me a man has been following me”. He ran and got his mom. His mom came out and saw me crying. Her son told her what was going on and she invited me inside and let me call the police. She told me she would walk me home and make sure that he would not hurt me. We walked across the street to my door and watched me go inside. She said, “lock that door and you are safe now”. I am not sure if the police found him, but he never came around again. I also made sure, I didn’t walk that way, ever.  Lesson learned, listen to your mother and carry pepper spray!

I believe this happens with us and our relationship with Jesus. He warns us about sin and how it will destroy us. We think, “well everyone is doing it” or “a little bit won’t hurt if I do this some of the time”. We will be forgiven when we repent our sins, but our blessings will be hindered if we don’t wise up and listen to Him. This event happened over 20 years ago, but I still thank the Lord that He kept me safe.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for not trusting your will for my life.  Remind me that you know what is best for me. Thank you for the life you planned for me. Give me strength to run the race of this life.  I am grateful that you are the Wonderful Counselor. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!

Complaining

Do all things without grumbling or questioning…” Philippians 2:14

If complaining were an Olympic sport, I would have more medals than Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps. I love to vent about what makes me mad or angry about myself and the world around me. I can complain about complaining. There is such a high level of dissatisfaction. The world paints a picture that everything has to be bigger, faster, have more possessions, be stronger, prettier, our bodies thinner, our wallets fatter. No wonder we complain and are unhappy.

Complaining negates all the goodness God has already given and promised us. We are choosing to ignore just how great He is. I am talking about those petty things…we get cut off in traffic, our food order is wrong or takes too long, long shopping lines, etc. These things should not ruin the day the Lord has made. (Of course, when there are social injustices, we feel the need to complain about to give it light but action is better than empty words spoken). If our minds are focused on God, then there is always something we can be joyful over.

When we feel doubt about our circumstances, remember, the voice that spoke the world into existence, that heals the sick or raises people from the dead, is bigger and greater!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Prayer:

Father, please forgive me for being dissatisfied and believing my life is what the world says it should be. Let me wake up each day and remind me, just how much you have given us and to be thankful for those things. Show me all the people and things I take for granted. Let me speak words of life and encouragement to all. I proclaim you are in always in control. In Jesus’ Name…AMEN!