It’s a very important question to consider. Knowing the answer can make the difference between ongoing fulfillment and unending misguidance. This answer can radically shift the purpose of your life.
Have you asked God? And listened. Observed. Noticed.
And then asked Him again. Listened. Observed. Noticed.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13
Things are in the works my friends, on my end. I have something VERY exciting to announce in the next couple of weeks (and, no, it is not a baby…why do I always have to preface things with that?!). It is something that increases unity, brings restoration and that will change your life. I am sure of it. Oh, I can’t wait for you to know. To be a part of it.
But, I could have missed this calling altogether. I really could have. I was just considering this very thought this morning as I sat on my patio. I love to go out there in the mornings. I seek God, read scripture and absorb the Lord’s goodness. Well, this morning, as I tried to place my mind on Him above, I couldn’t. All I could hear was a consistent…SQUAWK!!! SQUAWK!!!
Get out of here!!! You are so annoying.
Try as I may to focus on how God wanted me to proceed with every He’d called me to, how to…SQUAWK! SQUAWK!
The shrill voice of the crows butted in once again.
And, I couldn’t: I couldn’t think. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get my mind off the annoyance.
What is squawking in your life right now? Making you believe you can’t hear God?
God never leaves us; it is usually our mind that leaves him. We always have the opportunity to return back.
Today, I sit with fresh resolve: I will not allow what is making noise around me – other’s voices, distractions of the iPhone, bad news on TV, uncertainty in the world, aggravation with a friend – keep me away from this question any longer – “What is God calling me to?”
I’ll fight to hear him. Will you?
There is a very real enemy, with a very real plan to hold you back from God’s real good stuff. Are you letting him win?
Pop Quiz: What is 1 thing you likely take for granted, yet could bring monumental joy, growth and connection if paid attention to it?
Answer: Your marriage.
Friends, most days I hardly look at it: I rush through breakfast, trying to start my day; I give a little hello near the Keurig; I listen and quickly respond; I go through the bare-bottom motions, trying to make sure I’m at least good enough to get by; I get ready to watch TV instead of to connect; I respond based on my own opinions, rather than hearing his; I focus on the kids and then remember he’s there too.
Uh-oh. Can I admit to you all? I am not the model wife.
And, while it pains me to write this, I have found such encouragement in the book, “A Wife’s Secret to Happiness” by Jen Weaver.
Right off, in the first chapter, her words meet my heart: “God will not call us anywhere his presence does not go with us,” she says, “He will not ask us to do what he has not equipped us to complete. The Lord longs to lead our marriages into spacious place, interwoven with his peace and strength…the day you made your vows He participated in an active agreement, invisible, yet majestic in glory.”
Thank you, God…we are not doing this thing called marriage alone. The Creator of our universe is creating something new, as we listen, go and respond with him. He is working within the confines of our arguments, annoyances, and mishaps to create space, love and peace. Bring it, God! I need that.
To ignite his power, one question remains: Will we let him in to work – by listening, seeking and following or will we continue doing the same ‘ole stuff?
What does it look like to let Him work?
I’m finding, it’s:
Prayer over panic.
Listening rather than responding in flesh.
Trusting God’s timeline to change, rather than my own.
Seeking to notice his good, before his bad.
Jen Weaver breaks down specific ways to see these high and lofty goals through (Thanks Jen!):
Write down index card prayers. Carry them with you.
Ask God to bless your husband right when you’re in the heat of battle.
Remind yourself to welcome God’s presence. Put reminders around your house with verses.
Scribe 5 pain points you have about your marriage. Bring them to God and ask them how he wants you to work them out.
Remind yourself, through scripture, how God has been there for you and won’t abandon you now.
Marriages that work, take work. If I’ve learned anything – it’s this. But, I’ve also learned, when God is at work, things seamlessly fall into place. Like Tetris. Bing! Connection happens.
Where do you need to let God take the lead? How might he want to put things together again? How might his small nudges be leading you to a greater outpouring of love?
Love that looks like:
A listening ear.
An open fist.
A generous portion of time.
An opening of your whole heart.
A letting down of guard.
A soft-spoken word.
An offering of grace.
A handing-over to God (Re: the past).
An excitement for the future.
Reliance on the Sustainer, Overcomer, and Creator.
Wherever God is calling you – if you step in, He’ll meet you there.
The two girls, in position, knew their job. They steadied their bent knees for the small gymnast to climb up and, before not too long, they supported her with their strong arms as she stood tall. Victory!
The girl at the top was tall. Radiant. Glowing.
But, what about the women at the bottom? I can’t help but think, no one really likes being at the bottom. In the place without glory. In the place, unseen. In the place not valuable.
We find that place hard. It is hard to:
– Encourage a person who speaks with a tone of meanness.
– Pray for the girl you’re always sizing up.
– Be generous to one who already has so much.
– Give precious time to the neighbor who needs help with the groceries.
– Tell the truth when no one is looking or when it could hurt someone.
– Praise others, even when we feel they are better than us.
– Acknowledge and praise Jesus on hard days.
– Get on bended knee when our finances, future and relationships all are tumbling around us.
– To work hard onto the Lord even when you have a horrible boss or a critical husband.
But, getting in the position of bended knee, with the goal to lift high is tremendously valuable. Just think, how would that small gymnast find her position if no one lifted her?
Are we willing to lift Jesus, no matter how difficult it is not to be seen?
Will we lift the one who:
– Left the riches and glory of eternal paradise.
– Was born in a stable.
– Rode in on a donkey.
– Took our every whip and lash.
Jesus reminds us we can. He reminds us the value of losing our self to find something far greater. He died to his flesh, so we could come alive in our soul.
A lot of times, we must do the same: Die to our flesh, to come alive to our soul. Die to our flesh, to help others come alive in their soul.
He is all in all, sufficient, perfect, holy, the beginning and the end.
Thank You Jesus that we can lay down this “good enough” question and relinquish its power over us because You answered this “good enough” question once and for all, on the cross. Thank You for reigning in love over us.Thank You that we can sit down on the inside* because You have finished the work.Amen.
-Do you struggle with a “not good enough” mentality too?
-In what ways have you found victory in this area?
Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.
I kick myself. Again, things seem to be falling on me. It’s not so much the entire world, this time, but it is much more – me. I know, with God, he always calls me out from under my awning of darkness. There is nothing holding me back really. But, sometimes it is easier to stay in self-pity and self-reproach than it is to move into something new.
What dark awning of guilt, shame and frustration are you staying stuck under?
You stay there when you berate your endless bad actions.
You stay there when you sum up all the ways you look dumb.
You stay there when you think that girl is miles ahead of you.
You stay there when you tell your mind it’s useless.
You stay there when you ruminate on yesterday.
When you overthink things.
When you feel caught by man.
When you declare your mistakes your identity.
When you let bitterness, anger and frustration reign in your heart.
We don’t have to stay in the dark.
If we take only 1 step, just one step – out…we’ll move somewhere new. We’ll move somewhere blessed, whole and free.
I know, it feels risky, unknown even, as we place one foot down on new ground. Sometimes we don’t even have thoughts formed about these areas. I understand.
But, here, right here, as we step out, we can see. Light above us.
It was always there, it was just hard to see when covered by the weight of wrongs. But, now, right here, we notice the immensity of a great God overhead. We look up. Stars. Lots of stars. A show, millions of them. Ahh!
We soak it in.
We are small, but he is so great.
He loves us, oh he loves us!
His face does shine upon us.
We understand if he could create this masterpiece, he can create a masterpiece out of us too.
We marvel at the vast lengths of his care that reaches further than eye can see. It reaches deep.
We notice how God extends beyond our vision. He reaches nebulas and galaxies and things far out there.
We ponder how faithful God is.
Every night – God is. Yet, some days, the clouds cover God’s best. Then, we can’t see. We run to the portico because we believe rain is coming, we are ruined. All we see is clouds.
But, no longer, do we have to hide. God’s brilliance, his flowing faithfulness -is still there – a covering of it, is overhead.
It is there on our good days and on our bad.
It is there in our best moments and at our worst.
It is there through the thick and through the thin.
It is there when people are mean and when they’re nice.
It is there when we’re mean to our self or kind.
A beautiful display of glory is. It just – is. Whether we see it or not. The goodness of God remains. HIs faithfulness never ends. His love endures forever.
When I am at my worst, I doubt who I am. I doubt I am good. I doubt I am valuable. Some days, I know, I don’t look an iota like Jesus. I look in the mirror, but his image I do not see. Instead, I see the image of a woman who is flawed, faulted and failing. I can be hard on myself.
It’s easy, on these days, to turn to action plans, to-do lists or a get-better schemes. Oh, I know this inclination! But, more and more, I am convinced, I don’t need a makeover or a new hairstyle. I don’t need a flick on the wrist or a self-inflicted put down to get right, I simply need peace. Peace that affirms who God says I am, not what I am prone to believe I am.
I need the reminder I am:
Created as beloved with Christ in me.
When we know these things, our vision shifts, our hope emerges and our love flows more freely.
Do you know who you are? If you’re at all like me, and you need a reminder, hopefully these verses – verses that speak of beauty, value and your beloved identity, will bring you to a new place, to a new vision of who you are created to be.
I am Beautiful:
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Sol. 4:7)
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov. 31:25)
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Is. 62:3
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song 2:10)
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Ps. 34:5)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (Ps. 139:13-16)
Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13 – 14)
For we are God’s masterpiece… (Eph. 2:10)
I am Valuable:
…Created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! (Lu. 1:45)
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. (Ps. 46:5)
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Pet. 5:10)
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Es. 4:14)
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:2o)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20)
I am Created as Beloved and Christ Lives in me:
She is worth far more than rubies. (Prov. 31:10)
But by the grace of God I am what I am. (1 Cor. 15:10)
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands… (Is. 49:16)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18)
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons (and daughters) of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:26)
…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)
I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Jo. 15:15)
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. (1 Cor. 15:58)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (Jo. 1:12)
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)
And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24)
So God created mankind in his own image… (Gen. 1:27)
Knowing who we are, somehow changes our face: It changes our face in the mirror. It softens our face as we face the world. It turns our face, unashamedly towards God.
May we not forgo remembering who we are. For the fact of the matter is – we are more daughter than anything else. No other name given to us stands more permanent than that name. No other title we carry will surpass that one. No other calling is greater. We are chosen, valuable, beautiful and secure.
We are in Christ. We are powerful in him and beautiful because He is.
I forgive you. In fact, I’ve already forgotten about what you’ve done. I’ve tied a weight around your worst and thrown it into the great abyss of my endless, all-consuming waters never to see it again.
So, why do you still hold on to it?
I’ve separated it from you. I’ve removed it hemispheres from your mind, being and soul. It’s so far, there is no sight of it in my eyes. There is no value to it in my economy.
So, why do you still hold on to it?
You expressed your remorse. You asked for forgiveness. It is done. I judge you not and I consider it not stuck to you, not even a grain.
So, why do you still hold on to it?
Hear this, I declare your righteous, holy and blameless. When I look at you, this is what I see. This is the sum of you are.
So, why do you still hold on to it?
Do you believe clinging on will help you improve? Be better? As if your fear will produce righteousness? As if slapping your own hand will finally make you act better?
If I don’t require this of you, why do you require it of yourself?
You want to hurt yourself so that you can finally be better. But, guess what? Jesus already took the hurt. He took the pain, for you. For moments just like these.
Jesus was forsaken, so you could be forgiven.
So, why do you still hold on to it?
It is not charges upheld, inflicted, that will mark you changed. But, charges released, absolved, that will give you hope, freedom to find my voice that will change you. In the space of forgiveness, you have room to hear my voice, to listen to my words, to find a new way, a different way. Here, your mind doesn’t talk like jury and judge. Here, you accept the fact – I’ve thrown out the court proceedings. Here, there is only new ground, a fresh day and the start of new opportunities – with me. Here, you find peace, you see my way and you uncover my revelations, progress and growth.
May I suggest you, let go?
Let go of what you can’t let go of. I’ll take it for you.
Lay back in the knowledge I’ll hold you. I won’t ever let you go.
Unclench your hands and believe I will lead you on your best path.
If you run after me, you will find me, when you search for me with all your heart.
What mistakes you keep seeing, have no value in the space between your eyes and mine.
For where we are going together, there is no need for dead weight and there is no necessity for you to control your own progress. I am the one molding you. I am the one keeping you. I am the one leading your family. I am the one in charge of your day. I am the one who you need. So, turn, face me and let’s go to where you haven’t been able to go because you’ve been holding all that.
I approached him, “Get your backpack. We need to get in that car.”
He marched right past me holding the shovel like a sword, swinging it as if he just won a war. He wasn’t going anywhere, this I knew. My words floated over him like the wind. His eyes were dead set on the game he was playing.
I was annoyed, for what stood between me and peace – was a 5-year old, a pretend game and a wrestling match of words that was about to explode.
What is standing in between you and peace? Between you and God?
For me it is distractions. Consider this: Just 5 minutes before my son’s victory march I was praying to God, asking him to be with me and wanting to walk forward in his love. So, what happened?
(Deep breath.) 3 distractions bubbled up – ones that so often pull me off track:
I let the demands of this world, steal my delight in the Creator.
I allow urgency to replace intimacy – between me and God.
I let destination take precedence over God’s invitation to let loose.
(Another deep breath.) When I am worried about time, (I don’t have enough of it, I am stressed out by it, I am going to be late, I am missing out, I am too old, I am too young, I should be somewhere already, I don’t want to wait, I must think about my future, rather than be present) I work myself into a tizzy. And, here, in all my trembling – I can’t see God.
…But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:19)
I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord the best, with as few distractions as possible. (1 Cor. 7:35)
If I am distracted I can’t as easily be engaged with God. If I am worried about many things, I can’t be enthralled by the One thing. If I am trying to press through a tight knit schedule, I can’t as easily press peace into this world.
I want more. Do you? I want to take God through my day with me. Not just in the morning time, but all the time. Not just when I think of him, but as I do everything. I want to invite in his love so I can spread his love.
No longer do I want to fear the rush, the clock and the game – that calls me to sprint ahead, but I want to stop and sit and savor and sip up God’s goodness. Maybe you do too…
For we serve a God who is limitless and unbound by time. The truth is, he can work within any barrier that lays before us. He just outstretches his hand and it expands in a way where we can do what we once thought we couldn’t.
My son lives like a son. Meaning, he takes all momma wants to give him. If I walk in with a plate of cookies, he dives into them. If I offer him a hug, he runs up to get it in full. If I sit down with him, he delights in showing me things. If he gets injured, he runs to me and asks how I might help. He takes what I give, eagerly and willingly.
Somehow he knows where he is –is safe. And, what I am giving – is good.
Christians aren’t always good children. It’s not because we aren’t loved, adored and chosen, we completely are, but it’s mostly because we grew up.
I’ve been meeting a lot of children of God in need lately, but when he tries to use me to love them, they shut it down.
Here’s how it tends to go:
I say, “Need prayer?” They say, “Nope. But, I know someone who does.”
I say, “Are you struggling with anything?” They say, “Nope. Not at all.”
I say, “I’d like offer you a gift – God has put you on my heart.” They say, “Nope. I never take gifts from others.”
I say, “You are courageous.” They say, “I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”
Rather than living as a needy children, we living as arrogant adults. To turn away the love of Christ is to turn down the greatest gift moving on earth. We do it often.
Maybe, because we don’t want to owe people things. Maybe, because we feel guilty or embarrassed. Maybe because we feel undeserving.
The maybe’s don’t matter.
What matters is, like children, we open our arms up to hold the gifts God is outpouring through others. What’s important is that we see all the ways he is trying to love us. What is important is that we let this love in, so we can let this very love out.
God wants us to sit at his feet and feel his love. He wants us to grow in community. He wants us to receive the glorious inheritance of his riches, which often walks into our life through the other body parts of Christ. He wants us to stand in need, so we see that he can stop what is making us bleed.
10 Questions to ask yourself: Are you not receiving God’s love?
Do you let his love in?
Do you embrace what God is offering you?
Do you make time to sit next to God?
Do you listen?
Do you remember God’s goodness?
Do you notice God through your day?
Do you seek spiritual eyes to see?
Do you trust by faith?
Do you push off distraction?
Do you renew your mind when it gets off track?
WelcomeSharon Jaynes! Sharon is authentic, real and brings practical and applicable tips to win in your marriage. Plus today, she’s giving away a free book if you comment.
What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ in your marriage?
Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why.
Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were.
Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted.
Between taking out the garbage, paying the bills, running the car pool, mowing the lawn, disciplining the kids, and folding the laundry, sometimes the passion of marriage gets lost. It happens to all of us at one time or another.
We can get so busy taking care of life that we forget to take care of love.
None of us got married so we could have a long list of chores. If you’re like me, most likely you got married because you were madly in-love and couldn’t imagine life without your man! You got married because your heart skipped a beat every time you laid eyes on him.
You couldn’t wait to tie the knot and build a life with this incredible person God had miraculously brought into your life. Maybe you still feel that way. But maybe you could use a little reminder—a re-stoking of the romance.
In the book of Revelation in the Bible, God had this to say to the church at Ephesus: “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).
Ephesus was one of the most loving churches in the New Testament, and yet somewhere along the way they lost that initial thrill of knowing Christ. Their love for each other and for God had grown cold.
So how do you get that lovin’ feelin’ back?
God gave the church two simple steps, and I believe we can apply them to our marriages as well. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, emphasis added).
Remember how it was in the beginning.
Return and do the things you did at first.
One day I took John’s words in Revelation to heart, and decided to remember and return by romancing my husband for fourteen days straight.
Can I tell you, I was a little bit nervous about it?
What if he thought I was silly?
What if he didn’t respond?
But I took a deep breath, push the fear aside, and began to romance my man like I did in the early days.
Everyday wasn’t earth-shaking romance, even though there was some of that.
One day I simply put a sticky note on his bathroom mirror that said, “I love you.”
Another day I placed a box of Red Hot candy on his car seat with a note that said, “You’re a hottie.”
One morning I warmed up his towel in the dryer and had it ready when he got out of the shower.
And you know what happened? At the end of the fourteen days, Steve had a skip in his step and smile on his face like a Cheshire cat.
And what happened in me? I can hardly describe the love that welled up in me, as I loved my man well. Hear this…I changed.
I don’t have a big, bad personal story of how God took a terrible, tumultuous marriage and miraculously transformed it into a storybook romance filled with white-knight rescues, relentless romance, and rides into the sunset leaving all danger and darkness behind. Although our marriage has been all that at one time or another, it’s no fairy tale.
Our marriage is a daily journal, one page after another, one day after another. I’m guessing just like yours.
Some entries are smudged with tears; others are dog-eared as favorites.
Some days are marred by unsuccessful erasures that couldn’t quite rub away hurtful the words said; others are finger-worn by the reading of precious events time and time again.
But on those days when I see my marriage slipping back into the mundane cadence of passionless routine, I pull out my list of ideas, and put a smile on Steve’s face.
And that’s my challenge to you and to me today. When we see the fire needs stoking, remember and return. It may be a little scary at first, but be brave and begin!
What is one thing that you can do for your husband today to remind him of how much you love him?
Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker, devotion writer for Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries, and author of 21 books. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage will help you step out of the mundane routine of life and captivate your husband all over again. With encouraging stories, Biblical principles, and over 250 simple ideas on how to romance your husband, Sharon will show you how to put a smile on your husband’s face. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!