You’ve been with him for so long now. You know, love and treasure Him. He is God. Jesus cannot be harmed by common men who aren’t God. You must protect Him. You must keep Him from harm. He must remain with you.
You pull Jesus aside to address his comment that He must suffer. You say, “Jesus, far be it with you. This will never happen with you.”
You’re only trying to help. You’re only trying to save Him. You’re only trying to preserve Him from harm.
Jesus replies to you, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)
You were a stumbling block. Why?
You had good intentions, but you injected yourself where you weren’t invited to intervene.
The plan was owned by Father & Son , not Father & Son + disciple.
We can do the same thing in the lives of those we love. The plan is between Father & son or Father & daughter. Yet, we weasel our way right in, saying, “Nope this right here is about Father & Son + me + my opinions + my fear!” We take out our chisel and crack into God’s good plan. Woe to us who break what God is building in others.
We often break God’s good plan in others when we:
1. Tell people what to do.
2. Decide how people should think.
3. Instruct people based on our opinions.
4. Try to run in and fix bad situations.
5. Demand others think well of us.
6. Rescue people from their feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc.
7. Excuse away people’s issues, rather then letting them confront them.
I assure you: when a lesson is delivered by us, it’s forgettable. But delivered by God, it is unforgettable, undeniable and unbelievably life-changing.
Let’s make room for what God is doing. He has things handled.
For weeks, months even, I observed this gal on social media. Because she regularly posted, I could easily keep track of her. As I saw it, every picture was a sob story about her life. Every post seemed to be a call to the world saying, “See me! See me! Pay attention to what I am doing!” She prickled my nerves.
“At least I’m not like her,” I thought.
I thought this way for a very long time. Until. Until I discovered the reality. Reality is not social media. Reality is the voice behind it. And when I heard her voice on the telephone, I discovered the true pain of her recent struggles. I saw her heart to come to the aide of others and saw the true line of Jesus’ love running right through her.
I thought wrong.
A friend came to my house. To every question I asked her she replied with a one word Humph-like answer. She wasn’t a very good friend. She must be angry at me.
At least I’m not like her.
Only later, when I asked how I could pray for her did she share, “Please pray for my marriage.”
I thought wrong, again.
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’” Lu. 18:11
Oh really, Mr. Pharisee? You are not like them? Certainly, you “must be” a whole bunch more godly, more wise, more thoughtful, more successful, more holy…but, there is only one issue: You carry around brick-heavy weights of pride.
Yes, pride. It is the thing that makes you judge others without knowing the full story. It is the thing that makes you see one side but not the other. It is the thing that makes you consider others’ sin at a moments notice, while missing your own.
“I tell you that this (tax collector) man, rather than the (Pharisee), went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Lu. 18:14
Today, my aim is new: I will not judge what I don’t know. I can never know the inner story behind a person’s outer persona. The pain that resides inside usually works its way out. My job is not to pin it to the wall in condemnation. My job is to love until its appearance smoothes under the love of Christ.
I also love that as I love you, I get a chance to learn who you really are. You send me emails and thank yous and little stories of the giant hurdles you’ve made in life. And yes, even though you call them small, God and I know they’re giant.
You all are great. You make me smile. You make me shed tears. You make me pray. And while I can’t always respond to every email via the computer I always try to respond with God. I ask him for the best for you, for your situations and for your heart. I ask him to show his lavish love in your life.
You are amazing. You gift me a lot more than I gift you. Daily, so many of you give to my heart. Quietly, I know others inwardly offer up thanks. Readily, I know there are prayers going out for the wider community of gals who read these words.
To know we are fighting together, battling through our hang-ups, and sticking to the King of Kings on this road is beyond helpful to my heart.
We rage on – in love.
I once thought this blog was about me “getting my healing.” Now I know it is about all of us “becoming healed” and supporting each other along the way. Thank you for helping me realize I need you just as much as I need God.
You are often a vessel for His voice. A voice of encouragement that pops up via email at just the right time. A prayer note that I needed. A living testimony of what you are reading.
All glory to God! He is working right here. We read and write only holy ground, together. And I love it! I cherish it. I rejoice in the fullness of what He has prepared for such a time as this.
While social media rages with hate, anger and dissension, we pull together in love. We smile and keep on with Jesus. We do our part to do our best to change our little slice of the world one small act of love at a time.
I am grateful for you. I want you all to know that. God has given me so much in this community of lovers. I praise Him for you today.
My prayer for you: Sweet Jesus, thank you for the reader of this post today. Thank you that you see her heart. Thank you that she pursues, loves and follows you. I ask you to open every door unto her, so that she can meet and know you with immense passion. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind as to how much you love her. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind about how immensely loved she is. I ask for an increase of your heart on this very blog that reaches hearts day-in and day-out. I ask for your activating faith to pour out on every reader in profound ways in the coming days. I ask for your will to be done in all ways. We thank you Jesus. Amen.
I remember sitting on the beach, watching a man who owned the water. Unlike the lady I watched five minutes before, he ran up to the gigantic waves and dove straight into them. He didn’t inch forward with trepidation. He didn’t put his arms out to balance. He didn’t look back to his wife beach-bumming-it on the sand. He owned that water. He went in, looking far stronger than the waves. I couldn’t help but think his water-approach said much about our spiritual life approach.
When we walk out on the world with the confidence of God, we aren’t easily knocked over.
To say, “My heart is confident in you, O God” (Ps. 57:7) is the equivalent of saying, “I can run up to that 6-foot wave and dive right into the middle of it and be fine.” Why? Because God is greater than any force that wants to pummel me. Nothing can eat me alive.
To say, “This I know: God is on my side” (Ps. 57:9) is to silence opposition in just eight words. Distraction and irritations lose their effect. If God is for me, who or what can be against me?
To say, “God will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Ps 57:2) is to dismantle doubt. God will do what He purposes to do.
To say, “All the Lord’s promises prove true” is to walk fortified with the solid rock of Christ in you. All that God says is real and God really is good.
How will you approach the waves of your life? Ready to be tossed around or ready to thrust right through them?
“How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” Ps. 40:4
There’s this small activity I’d love you to join me in doing. I believe it will bring a huge smile to your face and your heart. Will you indulge me for a moment?
Think all the way back to the moment right before you were saved. Was it 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago?
Think of that old you visiting the new you today? What would she notice about you? About your life, attitudes, and perspective? About what God has done? What he has given you?
Note how far you’ve come. How faithful God is. All the small things you take for granted.
We usually can’t see what’s behind us. This means while we’ve run 10,000 miles, we usually keep our eyes stuck on the ten feet we’ve got to go, rather than the 9,990 miles we’ve come. We forget to celebrate the goodness, the providence and the wonderfulness of God.
I believe the Lord delights when we stop our race for just a moment, set down our plans and celebrate what He’s done. He’s done a lot, hasn’t He? In so many ways, He’s filled our cups, hasn’t He? Beyond measure, He’s done a good work, hasn’t He?
He’s carried us far.
He’s changed our minds.
He’s reshaped our worlds.
He’s increased joy.
He’s given us wisdom.
He’s gotten us out of trouble.
Take note of all that God has done.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil. 4:4
My tracks tend to be on auto-pilot. What about yours? Routinely, I’m interested in what I need to get done, who needs help around me, and what tasks need to be accomplished for the family and God. The order of our day does matter. Our priorities reflect what we believe about our identity.
Let me explain…
A religious man said to Jesus, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” (Lu. 18:21)
Essentially he said, “I’ve done what mattered, I’ve obeyed you, I am good.”
His identity was: A Rule-Follower.
Jesus replied, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Lu. 18:22).
Essentially Jesus said, “Your treasure is not what you’ve done, but is found by continually following me. In me, is your identity.”
In Christ we are:
Children of God.
Yet, as we let other treasures cloud the treasure found in following Jesus, we start to believe we: must work hard to be loved, follow every rule, do more to achieve eternal glory, look good to man, and get everything done in our day to be successful.
Where is your treasure? Is it in following and staying close to Jesus? Or is it in doing stuff, accomplishing more, and keeping up with the world in order to stay protected and safe?
What is the one thing that tends to distract you from following Him?
The best lovers of Jesus are the best releasers of what they hold tight to. The more they let go and cling to the robe of Jesus, the more they find their world healed by His love. They follow Him at all costs. They find treasure.
Jesus says to you today, “Leave that one thing behind and come. Follow me.”
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
I am the oldest of two kids in my family. While growing up, it was hard not to notice that my mom seemed to spend all of her time helping my younger brother. To be fair, he needed more help than I did but it was sometimes hurtful that I didn’t get the same level of attention. It kind of forced me to become independent. When I was an adult, married with kids, I asked my mom why there was such a disparity in my youth and her response was, “You didn’t need any help. You were perfectly capable.”
Now I call it the curse of the capable. Because you don’t need help, you won’t get any.
I’ve seen this curse play out a dozen different ways since then. For example, my husband and I are both independent people, and while we love to be together, we don’t always need each other. That can be good sometimes because I don’t have to wait until the weekend change a smoke detector battery or kill a spider. It can be a bad thing, however, because it’s easy for independent people to grow apart. We have to be careful about noticing when we’ve drifted and come back together.
I have also seen the curse among women. I am a natural born encourager. I use phrases like, ‘to die for,’ or ‘phenomenal’ when I’m cheering for you. I’m the friend that will literally jump up and down screaming when you share good news. I like to think I’m the ‘there for you’ friend in good times and bad. The problem I have seen is that as a natural encourager, it’s often hard to find encouragement for myself.
On the outside, it can appear as if I am confident and capable, therefore I don’t need anyone to build me up. Inside though, I am still the little girl thirsting for comfort in an arid desert. I have come a long way in this area. I found Jesus later in life and knowing I have his never waning encouragement is the most phenomenal comfort of all. But I have to admit that I still think it’s nice to get some affirmation from friends, family, and community.
If you are independent or competent, you may be under the curse of the capable. Maybe you are an encourager that needs to be affirmed or a mom who could use a reminder that she’s a good one. Perhaps you are a leader who would love some help but feels bad asking for it because you ‘should’ have it under control. Take heart, friend. As someone under the curse myself, I see you. I think you are doing a great job!
I want to invite you today to take a minute and think about someone in your life that could use a little boost. Even if that person seems like they have it all together, a quick note or message from you may be what she needs most. When we take the time to pour into others, the curse breaks and being capable becomes a blessing.
Father God, you are the ultimate encourager. Please help us to encourage one another regardless of whether or not we need it. Help us never to give up and to break the curse for people we love or admire and that in turn, it would be broken in our lives as well. Amen.
About Anne Watson:
Anne is a former sleep in on Sunday’s girl who didn’t meet Jesus until way later in life. She recently quit trying to be holy, however, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to shuck her unholy habits to fit into the Christian world. As a bullying survivor, Anne knows first hand the pressure to belong and why changing yourself doesn’t work. She now spends her time fiercely encouraging women to be badass for Jesus by being who God created them to be…themselves. She is a writer, a speaker, and a podcast host for the Declare Conference. She and her husband are raising three hysterical kiddos and are also in the process of going broke while paying for college. You can find more from Anne on her blog, GodDots.com.
Looking at it, I considered the thought deeper. I hadn’t been giving a lot of thanks lately. Mostly just gripes to God about people, timelines and the endless cause of trying to keep my house clean. In reality, I’d forgotten about thanks.
So when I considered which of the mugs to give away, it was hardly shocking that I nearly heard God say, “Kelly, thanks is made to be given away.”
Here, a mug short, I picked up the “Give Thanks,” mug. I would give it away with a heart of thanks. . .
…for, thanks is meant to be given away.
And this is the heart of hospitality. You give because you are thankful. You receive and say thank you.
So when the ladies came to my house for the event (I told you all a couple of weeks ago, that I was completely nervous about) and they selected little mugs to take home, I nearly kissed my favorite mug goodbye. Except. . . I didn’t.
When the event was over, the mug still remained on my counter. After texting the group to ask who left it, I got no response. So what I gave away in thanks, I kept.
What we give away to God, in thanks, we also keep…
We keep a smile on our face when we think of that precious moment of joy.
We keep a memory of a moment that we will treasure forever.
We keep a belief that God really will come through.
We keep a hope that God really can do the miraculous time and time again.
We keep a heart that is willing to change because God’s results are great.
We keep a fresh perspective on how much we have.
We give: thanks. We keep: everything. God doesn’t take away our cup; He fills it.
I have got so much to do and I don’t know how I can ever take care of everything because there is not enough time in the day plus I can’t even begin to get on top of that laundry and the family needs clothes and I wish I was a better organizer…it seems everyone else has buckets and labels for all the things they have so that everyone knows where things are located…and I can’t seem to keep track of where the scissors went…plus I am hardly making dinners, most nights it is quick-eats, not gourmet dinners and I need to get my kids more nutrients because they need to have strong bones and I really should be taking my daily vitamins but I am not even doing that and what if when I get old my bones crack in half and I am hunched over and have to spend the rest of my life sitting in a lawn chair or strapped to a recliner…
“Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.” Lu. 12:29
God knows our needs.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Lu. 12:30
Seeking the Kingdom first = Getting everything you need.
Letting go of the mind-rubbish consuming you to let God’s plans consume you = Getting everything you need.
Seeing the world as God’s drawing board and you as the paintbrush = Getting everything you need.
Getting love loosened from you and into the world = Getting everything you need.
Keeping your eyes on the kingdom of God, versus the kingdom of your every-waking-need= Getting everything you need.
Being watchful through prayer and diligently pursuing God = Getting everything you need.
God knows what we need. He has a good plan to give it to us. We need not worry about our fiefdom; it is all about His kingdom.
My daughter came into my room this morning and spotted a reddish container of lip- gloss that had fallen out of my purse. She immediately picked it up. Then, all 4-years of her looked over at me and said, “I have to put this on. I want everyone to see me nice.”
She wanted the girls at her school to see her nice.
We all want to be seen nice, don’t we? We try to put on our best face at get-togethers. We try to hide our nervousness and to soften our points of disagreement. We try to be the person everyone likes.
It is human nature to want to be seen: nice.
But what happens when, despite our best efforts to love, share, or to be honest, something goes horribly kaputz? What do we think in our mind when we tried, yet failed. When we speak and someone is offended? When we aim to apologize but the argument gets heated?
How do we contend when our best efforts go horribly wrong?
Galatians 6 says, “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ”.
Something here speaks to me. It says: If my goal highest goal is to ensure man is happy, I will hardly be in service to Christ.
The fact of the matter is while we look at people’s faces, God always looks at hearts. And while we are tallying up what is happening with others, God might be working something fantastically new within them. Face-value reactions are not our guide; the Holy Spirit is.
When we are true to God, he will be true to see the best result through. We, in humility, wait and respond accordingly. Sometimes, it involves an, “I’m sorry,” or “I should have done this better.” All this is okay.
We just move with God, always. And rest in the truth that He has already figured out what we haven’t. And this is peace that feels – nice.
Prayer: God, far more often than not I want to look nice to man. God, help me to have a heart and mind that aims to always look nice to you. Align me with your truth, will and heart. I want all of you and less of what holds me back from you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.