Purposeful Faith

The Joy Found Four Steps Back

Joy Found

I started running around a little.
Seeing other people.
Jumping in with them only to realize I shouldn’t be doing it.

Well, it is actually not as bad as it sounds, but it is actually still really bad. You see, I got online and started looking at all the people doing more than me. I started looking at how God is using them, gifting them and providing for them.

I saw their glow – and my mediocrity.
Their gifts – and my struggles.
Their smiles – and my sadness.

Like an album of poised perfection, as they radiated –  all my faults were punctuated.  Facebook seemed to exclaim, “Your really not that special.”

I hate it when it does that, don’t you? It can be an obnoxious friend. It’s shiny albums so often lead to dirty shame.

They have that? I wanted that too.
They went there? Why not me God?
They accomplished that? I will never.

Tsunamis in motion cannot be stopped; the hand of a human man doesn’t have the strength to hold them back. The thoughts roll in and they seem to take us down.

The stuff I have? It’s cruddy.
My clothes? They’re ugly.
My summer trips? They are small fry.
My status. It’s average.

How do I stop feeling this way God?

I don’t want to live like a pauper amidst your riches.

I don’t want to live thinking you won’t pull through,
when you already have.

I don’t want to live coveting,
when your life-injection power is found in praying.

How do I flip the switch of my hungry soul
to access the power of your nourishing being?

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15

God’s truth: By the time we have gotten to sin,
we have arrived too late.

The holiness party is long gone;
it was found 4 steps back.

Here is how it works:

1. We have a desire. I want more happiness and more riches and more recognition.

2. It tempts us. Kelly, don’t you deserve more happiness, more riches and more recognition?

3. It lures us.  Look at them. See what they have. See what you don’t.

4. It gives birth to sin.  Covet! Envy! Judge! Be prideful!

5. It leads to death.  Take what should be yours, at any cost. Put to death the temple within.

We beat sin not at the point of sin (#4), but at the point of disbelief (#1).

What is the impetus to your disbelief?
What little whispers coerce dissatisfaction in your life?

For me, it’s the whisper that I deserve to be happy, like really happy, slideshow-picture-perfect happy, glow-in-the-eye happy, arms-wrapped-around-each-other-so-tight-your-shoulders-get-smooshed happy.

MapQuest better send me there! A straight shot and no accidents please! That would throw off my happy meter.

It’s the whisper that small beginnings don’t count.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zech. 4:10

Even the disciples started as fisherman so they could understand the words, “Be fishers of men.”
David started by first being faithful to sheep.
The tiny amount of loaves and fish were only the beginning of God’s miracle.
God rejoices in the motion of faith-reliant beginnings.

It’s the whisper (and quite an embarrassing one) that I need you to love me. I kind of want that – for you to see all of me and say “Oh, wow, that girl, that gal, Kelly, she has it. I want to be her friend. I want to know her.”

Jesus died open handed and he calls us to
open the hands of our desires, our longings and our hopes to him.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. Prov. 10:28

Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing.
And who entirely fills them – Him.

I can:

Deal with sin and be delivered from pain.
Run to him like a prodigal child runs to a long-lost daddy.
Be shocked by radiant truth that liberates needy hearts.
Suck in his gift of always-love that never runs out as I open my heart.

When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.

I want that. Do you?

It is called joy – feeling-ruling, comparison-busting, overpowering joy.

It sees Him, who hands out his best.
Eye on the prize, it knows who is active and adorned.
It envisions the heavenly banquet table of camaraderie waiting.
It sits in a place of hardship with a smile of gratitude.
It often grows from pain (earthly crosses and nails water it).

It’s unlike any album on Facebook.

It is unlike any heart that seeks a new and shiny
bridegroom or idol online.

It is unlike anything we could scavenge up on earth.

It’s joy in the all-consuming presence of the one who consumes our deepest longings. It’s atypical, absolute and anesthetizing.

It’s fruit that keeps on satiating and replenishing our soul’s ravage hunger. It keeps us going.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
​because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Ja. 1:2–3

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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68 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Kelly, I know this struggle as well but God is not a God of comparison. I loved your words when you said “When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.” This is so true. In all our longing to get more what we long for is what we have yet need more of – God. Glad to join the conversation today. Be blessed! – Kia #RaRalinkup

  • Kelly- I’ve been there, too, with the online comparison and coveting of FB albums. It’s so easy to slip into steps #1-3! But God always offers joy. I love this simple line, “When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.” Amen! Blessed by your words today~

    • Thank you Karen. I want to tell you, thank you. You faithfully share with me every week what spoke to you. You are a gift. I pray that God blesses you profoundly and deeply today.

  • The moment we take our eyes off God and start looking around us is the moment we lose focus on truth. I have been part of the comparison game time after time and have found that it leaves me stuck. God is calling me to be me and that means I must move forward and follow Him not the world. I pray for all those who feel less than that they learn they are more than in God’s eyes.

    • We are more, so much more than we even realize in God’s eyes. Mary, I praise God for the woman he has made you. What a treasure of godliness you are. Please keep being fabulous – you!

  • Kelly, what a needed reminder to all of us. It’s so easy to look around and compare. I love that we can rest confident in God’s eyes and arms. How precious! If only we would remember this lesson every single day. Thank you for this word today!

  • Love this so much, sister! It’s an easy trap to fall into (and lie to listen to) that we deserve certain things and need certain things to be content. This line especially stood out to me: “Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing. And who entirely fills them – Him.” Love the way you humbly share your struggles, and the way the Lord flips them around, so your focus is on Him. #RaRaLinkup

    • Thank you God for being faithful to love me even when I entirely fumble your ball. Angela, the grace of God is filling me this morning. You know my weekend and I am so thankful that he comes to my rescue time and time again.

  • I’ve arrived too late on way too many occasions to count. Consider it pure joy…to be disciplined, to hear the voices and stop them immediately, to know my own weakness before the Enemy has a chance to leverage it against me and anyone else. This is one of my favorite posts from you this month:) Thanks so much Kelly!!

    • Let us hear and not walk away from a word of discipline, because then we will be more like him. Amen, Meg, let us be so acquainted with our fail-points that the devil can’t score one on us! Love you.

  • Comparison is the thief of joy. God uses us right where we are, yet we tend to doubt Him. His methods, His ways – we think we know better! Silly us. “It often grows from pain (earthly crosses and nails water it).” I like that.
    Thanks for the reminder today to bloom where we’re planted, Kelly! And thanks for the link up and this very supportive group!

    • Ruthie, let us walk with God. Not ahead, not behind, but holding his hands and moving forward with our sisters and brothers in Christ. Then the church will move mountains. Thank you for an encouraging word this morning.

  • WOW Kelly! This is beautiful!! I envision you writing this and still thinking about our breakfast, hug session and elevator shenanigans. This speaks right to me. “Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing. And who entirely fills them – Him.” Amen, and then Amen and then Amen some more girlfriend! God is so patient with us, isn’t He? So grateful for the Spirit and how He whispers gentle truths to nourish our souls. He is all we ever need! Eyes on Him and no one else. Love you, Amy

    • His patience breaks my face into tears and my body into goosebumps. Seriously. I can’t believe he uses us and needs none of us (our posturing) all at the same time. Amy, I lay down to look up at our great King w/ you this morning.

  • Oh dear, I seem to be a daily player of this comparison game. And being competitive by nature, I get frustrated because I never seem to win. Everyone has a book, and I don’t. So I NEED to do this book thing! I confess, Kelly, I’ve looked at your twitter numbers and wondered how you did that and why do I only have a few hundred followers? When I put it into words, I sound like a 5-year old! This game is not only fixed so that you can never win, but it’s exhausting going around and around the gameboard with no end in sight! And it’s not conducive to writing with God. Trying to measure up to everyone else robs us of you we are meant to be and what we are meant to be doing. Thanks for your vulnerability and willingness to share what we all deal with.

    • Mary, I am right here with you. I know those feelings of sizing up, oh man, I know them. I love your honesty. The power of Jesus Christ’s grace that you are unleashing through these words is sending tremors through the malicious intentions of the evil one. I feel the release. There is power in the name of Jesus and his abundant grace for us sinners. We are moving towards Him.

    • Mary,
      I’ve been there too. One thing the Lord had me to do to keep my eyes focused on Him alone was to set up parameters, blinders if you will. On social media I go there only to post what I need to post then I get off because when I would look at what others ‘had’ it would become discouraged and distracted. The Lord is faithful to speak to you regarding you “space” in the blogosphere. I pray your contentment and perfect peace as you obediently walk out your calling.

      • Tyra, I think there is a lot of wisdom in that approach. There is a fleeing, a guarding and a protecting of the heart that God calls us to. You are moving my heart to go in that direction.

  • This hits me right in the heart! The dissatisfaction with my here and now pulls me away from the cross. Thank you for your encouraging words!

  • Yes friend, aligning myself to beat sin at step #1. Proactively checking the condition of my heart and placing it in the surgeon’s hands, putting on the mind of Christ and having lips purged with hyssop.

    • YES!!! Let’s do it Tyra. Lord, help us, we can only do it by your power in us. Let us know our desires and bring them to your throne of reconstruction. We are willing Lord, make us able.

  • Oh Kelly – this warmed my heart as I read this – you are the woman that I look at and think all those things and yet I hear your struggle and realise your just like me and I’m just like you – we are women desiring to follow God and allowing the shiny half truths of the internet shadow His truth. Thank you for sharing your heart so honestly – it’s the best encouragement ever 🙂

    • We are just the same, Tania. The mountain heights are really never reached and if we get there the fear of descent will stand before us. Praise God that he doesn’t care much about this stuff. He cares so much our hearts. I feel him calling us more and more to him, don’t you?

  • Kelly, you’re sharing a struggle we all relate to. Your point about battling sin when it starts with unbelief is SO important. As you say, if we wait until step 4, we’ve lost the battle. We have to nip unbelief in the bud at step 1, the get-go! May God give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation!

  • Oh sweet friend how I have been there…multiple times! I actually full on deleted my Facebook account for over a year in 2011 as I found myself in #4 and #5 too much! It helped me to put the shiny objects in perspective but it is still a constant battle! I choose JOY today 🙂 #RaRaLinkup

  • My goal, simple as it sounds, is to be blessed by beginning. Just taking the first steps. Basking in being small. The victory of those moments are so sweet.

    Yet it is so much easier said than done. God is teaching me to embrace and love the moment, even when it seems like those around me have so much more.

    In reality, nothing is truly ever as it appears on the outside. Thank you for your couragous words.

  • Kelly- Your honesty is refreshing. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable- to let the Holy Spirit pull back the layers so that He has more room to fill you. You are making room for the freedom of others, thanks friend.

  • Ah…lies that lure us from the truth of God’s great love and purpose for us. And small things do so matter. I think of a baby! And an acorn! A mustard seed! A drop of rain. All good and all things work for good when surrendered to Him for His purposes and not our own. Freedom! Blessings and hugs to you, dear Kelly!

  • Oh Kelly, we all get caught in that trap don’t we…wanting what others have, thinking we are not enough, etc. But God knows that we are. God also knows the desires of our heart. But when those desires still haven’t been answered, it is hard to trust in God..hard to trust that God has hear every desire. So much THIS:” Jesus died open handed and he calls us to
    open the hands of our desires, our longings and our hopes to him.” I need to remember that too!

  • “When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.” Love this, Kelly. Here’s to seeking Him and His will and setting aside the comparison that robs us of His joy and purpose that is so uniquely written over our lives by His hand.

  • Truth here Kelly. I can add one I fight a lot, your too old to…….

    It is comforting to know that I am not alone. That many of us fight the battle – cancer – of comparison. Your words are placed in my heart today. xxxooo

  • Kelly,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here in this post! It really spoke to me as I have just started blogging a few months ago. In my desire to learn and understand, the blogesphere I look at other bloggers,read their inspiring posts, and I sometimes wonder will anybody hear my whisper? This was a tremendous encouragement that God knew I needed. I feel God wants me to share the “good news” to both encourage believers and help others know Him as their Savior. So I will continue pressing on in my “small beginning. Thank you for the opportunity to link up with everyone here and be a :cheerleader” of Faith! May God richly bless you in all that you do!

  • Kelly,
    you hit it on the nail…it begins in step #1…whether we believe God is enough and we’re enough in God…I can relate…so often I fall but God is gracious and reminds me of truth again and again…Appreciate you 🙂 Blessings to you, friend 🙂

  • I may have said this before, so redundancy is a good thing…maybe… but this, I think, was one of my favorite posts you have shared here. I could identify with this in so many ways. Why do we need others to like us so much when having the emptied hands, open to grace, is the richest treasure hunt we could pursue?
    Such encouragement you share, Kelly. Thank you!

  • Oh, that comparison is just awful, the coveting, the tendency of doing what we don’t want to do! I love how you weave in such beautiful choices of scripture to help us through the thick of our humanness, to return to our Great Counselor who makes all well, who loves us even in our brokenness. Thank you much for your honesty and bringing us back to where we belong.

  • Girl, you’ve pegged it! There are times when I have to shut FB, leaving the wants and lacks behind. I’ve been right there with you. But your post brings a shot of direction, encouragement for those moments. Kelly, I’m nodding with total agreement on this one –> “When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.” Yes!

  • I’ve been visiting the past few weeks and I have to say, we all need people to show us that we aren’t alone. I have personally had to distance myself from social media and my cell phone because honestly, it had become an idol but, It’s so easy to get locked in and start looking at everyone else’s lives. What they don’t show us is their flaws. You never see the messy. Trust me everybody has messy. 😉 It’s easy to let the devil whisper those things into our ears making us feel like we aren’t enough.
    The part I loved best about this post was, when you said “Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing. And who entirely fills them – Him.”
    That was awesome! 🙂

  • Kelly,
    Once again, you encouraged me and made me smile! You are a treasure and I thank God you are being a witness to God’s power and showing each of us to stay His course, not looking to the left or right in comparison, but to the specific journey He has createdfor each of us!
    Blessings and smiles,

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