It is that which makes you feel guilty that you aren’t on the right track.
It is that which pressures you into doing something you don’t really feel right about.
It is that which tends to speak over God’s voice.
It is another person’s perceived answer to your deep heart problem.
It is unsolicited input that creates average output.
What opinions are coming at you? Are you reliant on them?
I spent years reliant. I needed your answer to my problem. I didn’t believe in myself much. I didn’t know if I could trust myself enough to not make a fool of myself. I thought you knew better than me. If I had an idea, I would change it if yours was different.
I was horribly pulled in every direction and completely unsure of my life-path.
Until, one day, I realized: I was on man’s course, not God’s. Maybe this is the case for you too?
Little by little, voice by voice, we can become so swayed by others’ insight that we have no sight to see God’s unfolding plan for us. We hear all the swirling voices but miss God’s. We may be sure we are on the right path, only to have someone else doubt us.
This is why prayer is paramount.
Praying hearts understand this truth: you can ask and expect God to answer. Often He answers by giving you peace. Peace for a specific road you want to travel. Or, He answers with a random word through a person (it often doesn’t sound like advice, but a random comment that strikes you). Or, He answers with a verse in your mind. Or, He answers by putting a situation right in front of you.
The vital component to the answer is waiting. When we wait on God, we create space for the move He wants to make. Then, we gain certainty.
What advice does your heart need to turn away so you can turn toward God in prayer and follow Him?
Prayer: God, we want to hear you first and foremost. Soften the loud voices around us so that what comes through is your heart and your heart only. Give us a view of our best path. Lead us, with your arm around us. Grant us peace and certainty in our walk. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
I went to the bathroom and balled my eyes out. Everything I wanted, wasn’t showing up. Everything I needed, didn’t seem to be happening. Everything that I figured good, was far from me.
God, where are you? God, did you leave me? God, why aren’t things happening for me?
God seemed lost. His help seemed distant. His loving hand, removed.
Help me, God!
Not knowing what to do, I did the only thing ever left to do – when you don’t know what to do: I opened God’s Word, expecting He’d teach me, lead me and restore me.
He did. These verses changed my heart; I believe they’ll change yours too:
28 Verses Proving: God Will Provide
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (Prov. 10:3)
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Ro. 8:32)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Eph. 3:20)
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:2)
Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Gen. 22:8)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (Jo. 15:16)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:16-17)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Jo. 14:13-14)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:22)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jo. 14:26)
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:15-16)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)
I’m beginning to believe that the way we choose to see the circumstances of our lives is the big point.
Sometimes my vision is clouded with things I don’t enjoy about my current situation. When I’m focused on the problems I face, there’s little room in my heart to see the good. Instead, I’m chronically unhappy with the way things are.
Can you relate?
Other times, my eyes are full of what I think I need to improve upon everywhere I look, and then I fall into perpetual striving. I seek to make my life something better, and I miss the beauty of what’s already in front of me.
I’m talking about contentment, a way of seeing our lives with thankful eyes.
The way we see determines how we’ll experience our days. So how is your vision today? How do you choose to see?
Years ago, I named my blog, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos. God was teaching me then that His beauty is always around me. Even in the chaos that sometimes happens at home with the kids, even in the trials, even in my disappointment, He has planted so much beauty.
My job is to choose to see the beauty. My part is to call it out and thank Him.
I’ve struggled many times to see the beauty in my life when chaos crowds it out, and so I started naming the beauty whenever I could see it. I started to look for it.
~The way God met me there in that trial, the way He comforted me.
~The beauty inside the people He placed in my life for me to love, and the ways they love me back.
~The truth He speaks straight to my heart from His Word day after day.
~The sky and the birds and the rest of His incredibly gorgeous world which surrounds me.
I’ve learned the beauty goes on and on and on.
I’ve learned there’s always more, because I find it whenever I choose to look.
But sometimes I still return to my critical eyes, to my critical heart. Sometimes the details of life overwhelm me, and I find myself right back in that ugly, bitter place, where I have a really hard time seeing the good. Sometimes I wake up and it’s cold and I’m tired of doing the same old things another day, and maybe it’s just that I woke on the wrong side of the bed, but I’m just not happy with the way things are. I’m just not satisfied.
I don’t know about you, but I desperately need God’s vision–to see great things He’s already done.
To see all the beauty He’s planted between the rows of my chaos, in the middle of every day.
Where will you choose to see the beauty God has planted in your life today?
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
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Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.
That girl has it together.
She has what counts.
She speaks, and people listen.
She lights the room.
And blesses so many. Who am I?
That girl, she is special.
She must be God’s favorite.
She must be the apple of his eye.
He really loves her. Who am I?
Look how he blessed her. Who am I?
Who am I if God doesn’t show me that I am worth something?
Who am I if God doesn’t push me a little bit further ahead than her?
Do I still count?
Sometimes, we look at our faith walk, like a race of worth. Sometimes we look at our blessings as medals of accomplishments.
It only looks like we are winning when we are not losing.
Do you ever feel this way?
Imagine for a moment, if the disciples had let this kind of thinking creep in.
If Peter looked at John to say,
“If you are beloved, I am not loved.”
If Elizabeth looked at Mary to say,
“You birthed Jesus, my womb is now worthless.”
If Jesus turned to his father to say,
“You reign higher, my lowly position has no place.”
How would Christianity look today?
Might living this way send us down a similar road as Satan? A road of orphanhood?
I praise God that these movers and shakers of faith didn’t move away and shake frozen in their boots – as God chose to bless some and not others.
Sure, the disciples had their moments, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Lu. 22:24
I have these moments too. I have moments where I want that girl’s stuff so badly. But, I am realizing that my needy declarations are, more than often than not, just proud questions demanding his marks of approval.
Questions like: “God do you love me? Do you count me worthy enough to bless me too? Why are you forgetting me and exalting her?”
I kind of want to be God’s favorite loved child. Do you?
I kind of want to finally secure my place in his eyes. I want people to think, “that’s the girl God blesses.”
I am prone to think my blessings count me worthy,
but God says – and always says –
my son has already marked you approved.
He was marked, to forever mark me – loved.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time 2 Tim. 1:9
God pursues our holiness, many times, on our behalf; he knows what is best for our heart, our needs and our spiritual development.
He looks at his gifts to us, much like we look at ones for our children, likely asking,
“Will it delight them or spoil them?”
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. Lu. 15:31
He is less concerned with the everyday, all the time blessings because he knows, everything he has is already ours.
He is not so much interested in playing into our insecurities, he is interested in healing them.
I wonder, do we realize, just like the lost son at home with his father, that we aren’t missing out on anything?
That the whole time, even though a brother strayed and was blessed,
we already had everything we needed to begin with?
Jesus never sets a value on one child over another.
All the same, all the time, equally adored, accepted and loved, he waits with arms wide open for: the losers, the winners, the victorious, the downtrodden, the proud, the humble, the rich, the poor, the sinful and the less sinful, the loved and the unloved.
He doesn’t have super-pipes of one-directional love. His love flows unhindered, ungated, unrestricted, all the time, into all the hearts that need his love, his gifts, his blessings and his perfect ways.
We are all worthy, every moment of every day, because Jesus Christ was crucified, covered, guarded, uncontained, glorified and magnified.
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A unique opportunity was given to me – and then completely taken away.
I could have brought so much to the table. I knew I would have done a great job. I knew God would have used me in a powerful way. I so badly wanted to be used. I so badly wanted to give all I had.
But, I wasn’t chosen. In a sense, I was left behind.
I just needed the chance. Why not me God?
I just needed someone to believe in me. God, can’t you clear a path for me?
Am I not good enough for your blessings? Not special enough to move your mighty hand?
Like a mother removing a treat from a child’s hands, God was pulled away what was mine. I threw a tantrum of my own and wallowed in hurt feelings and disappointment.
God had given, only to rip away.
The moment of his gift- lost.
The sweetness of the moment – handed to someone else.
Bad, bad, bad thoughts rushed in, like:
“One day they will see…they should have picked me.”
“I could have done this better. I would have been different, but more impactful.”
“I will do great things one day and they will say, ‘We made a mistake, we should have given her the chance.'”
God loves reaching curtained hearts,
the ones covered by pounds and pounds of fabric
that hide his show
– and cover his glow.
He opens our eyes. He pulls back the curtains. He places our eyes on him. The one who is center stage. The director of all, so we don’t miss it. So we don’t miss his truth.
So we see what is really at play.
And, what God said to my open, plaint and needy self was:
“(Kelly), are you saying, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on my mount…, on the utmost heights… I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High?'” Is. 14:12-14
Is that what you are saying, dear child? Because these words sound sadly familiar.
“They will see my majesty.” “They will see my glory.” “They should have recognized me.” “I will go so high.” “I will one day show them.”
My heart was shocked. My eyes were open and his truth was flat out in front of me.
I was bowing down to the antithesis of truth.
To the great opposer of humility.
The enemy Father.
The enemy who says, God will leave you high and dry,
because he is up in the sky.
The enemy who points to your powerless as a weakness.
The enemy who shakes your feet to walk you straight away from the heart of Christ.
He is effective. Powerful. Cunning.
We are his best target, because if he can hit us, he can momentarily thwart the plans of God in our lives. He can run our heart amuck in fear, worry and worthlessness. How can one living here, truly honor God?
Yet, If I keep God’s truth front and center I realize:
He may not give me the good I want in today, because he is preparing great for tomorrow.
This role may count for another’s soul.
My heart needs to learn a lesson in humility, so I can go to these places with stability.
When we are forced to step down, God steps up to teach our hearts deeper love.
God doesn’t want us reliant on opportunities, he want’s us reliant on him – the King.
He is forming us into a shadow-image of Christ, that should be our highest desire.
When it seems that God has taken away, the truth is – he has always given.
He has given us an opportunity to see his hand work in our heart. He has given us a chance to get on our knees. He has always given us a pliant heart.
He has given me a chance to be a foot warrior of contentment in the face of opposition and defeat. That is powerful.
He has shown me that the greatest victories aren’t in the big things we do for God, but in the small ways we endure, by faith, in defeat.
Now, my eyes are open to the workings of God.
Perhaps my greatest gift was found more in what I didn’t get, than what I did. For, what I didn’t get forged lessons and a heart condition that will last to eternity. What I could have gotten would have been done in a moment.
God is always giving us his best. Don’t let the devil fool you.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
ON ANOTHER NOTE – 2 Quick Updates/Announcements:
1. I am delighted to tell you that I am introducing a new regular contributor to the fold at Purposeful Faith. This woman has spoken so many times to my needy and controlled heart. Her words have been like a soothing oil on the rough parts of my striving. She is a #RaRalinkup Cheerleader already and certainly a woman I call friend. I know that so many of you already know and love her. Certainly, you will be blessed by her words to come on this site.
Let’s welcome Katie Reid as a regular Purposeful Faith contributor!
Join us this Thursday to support her big debut!
2. Compel members/future members – Join us tomorrow (Wednesday) on Twitter for the Compel Twitter party. Share a #CompelTip that you learned. On Thursday and Friday, linkup here.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
Most of the time, and I hate to say this, I do anything but what is right.
I get frustrated at crying kids.
Get irritated at the load of work I have to do.
Feel annoyed with people who get in my way.
And grab hold of a discontent heart.
I look at others and judge.
I gravitate towards sin, especially when I am not filtering life through God’s Word. With the burden of my sin and the distance it causes between me and God, I have been considering how to approach this. Because, like Paul says, I normally end up doing the exact things I don’t want to do. Then, I hate myself for doing them.
How do I do what is good to do and forgo what isn’t?
How do I find God’s joy and his blessings
as I cast sin aside?
God delivered a simple recipe of truth to answer these questions in the sequence of these verses:
1.) Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)
It’s simple. Delight.
Delight in his truth.
Delight in his love.
Delight in his law.
Delight even more in his grace.
Delight in his power.
Delight in his sovereignty.
Delight in his being.
Delight in his guidance.
Delight in his mercy.
The more I delight, the more he will help me and offer me the deepest desires of my heart – the things I want the most. The things that I often try to obtain by sin. These are the things he wants to give me. With this, God pushes out any works based approach as I delight in him.
The power of delighting casts out all fear of the future, people or circumstances, because God casts out any control they have over my future.
When we delight, they have no weight on God giving us what we most desire in the deepest recesses of our heart.
2. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Ps. 37:5)
If my ways are committed, then my ways are likely in his will. In this there is no disappointment, because I will what he wills. We are working in unison. It comes as no surprise to me that he says “he will do it.”
We delight and commit – and he sees us through it.
When we delight in who God is and what he can and will do, all we want to do is commit to and trust in his amazing ways.
3. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light… (Ps. 37:6)
What is the result of delighting, committing and trusting?
He gives us the desires of our heart.
He does what we most desire.
He brings righteousness.
The recipe for blessings is clear – we delight, commit and submit.
As we proclaim his goodness, sing songs of praise from our lips, we discover the joy that is God. We discover his ways, and we let go of our fears.
He makes us righteous solely by residing in him more. He delights us with the most amazing gifts of our lives, things we may not even be aware of, and he will do his will, which we also will in unison.
Let’s stick to this recipe, my friends – it will yield amazing results.