Let's Try Honesty

Honesty. Let’s try honesty. 

I’m lazy. 

Actually, no. I struggle with laziness. And yes, there is a difference. 

I get up and read my Bible every morning, but even still, look for excuses to look at my phone. I’m just making my coffee. I’ll look at my phone. 

Gah, I’m still not quite awake. I’ll look at my phone. 

KC Window

I can sense Him coming if I know what to look for. I hear the leaves rustling, I feel the breeze, and He calls. I see the sun rise and the colors change and He draws. 

I don’t deserve it. His patience or His mercy and yet, because it is who He is, I will always find Him faithful. Even when I am not. 

Doesn’t He know every thought in my head? How sometimes I go down roads I know I shouldn’t? Secret paths, dimly lit and forgotten. He does, and He waits. 

He waits until I take those thoughts captive because He’s given me the responsibility and authority to do so. He waits until I’m ready to listen, but He’s not One to be manipulated. And when I’m ready to listen He speaks truth–love-soaked truth that cuts me to the quick and exposes my need for Him. 

And yet there are times that I persist like a belligerent child who insists that she knows best and she knows what she wants right now but cannot conceive of more and can’t imagine better. 

Pride is ugly. It doesn’t look good on anyone. And it comes in secret forms. Forms we don’t recognize at first. 

Pride looks like my frustration when things aren’t going my way. It looks like when I’ve worked all day, dinner still has to be made, children still have to be cared for, and I feel the load resting on my shoulders rather than letting Him carry it. It looks like when I choose anger over love and I don’t invite Him in. 

There is a kind of death that must happen for us to move forward. A death to that old self. You know, the one with all the demands. Can you see it? Demanding that I reach for the phone. Demanding that I think those thoughts. Demanding that I speak my mind or hold a grudge when things don’t go my way. Demanding that I carry the load.

Why does it take so long to decide we are no longer slaves to who we once were? 

Because it’s a choice. A choice that I will have to make time and time again. I will have to tell that old part of me, the part that is selfish, lazy, insecure and unloving to get back in the grave. And with every ounce of grace at my disposal I’ll let her know, “You’re not welcome here anymore."

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
— Colossians 3:3-10 ESV 
 

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State of Mind: Managing the Madness in Your Head

"In the beginning God created..."

It's a familiar story. But what I want to know is if there was no one else around to hear God as He was creating the Earth, then who was He talking to?

My best, educated guess is that He was talking to Himself. The way I see it, if God can talk to Himself then you and I can too. 

State of Mind - Image Post.jpg

I'll be the first to admit, I talk to myself all of the time. In the car, in the shower, when I'm working, mowing the lawn, etc. I live a healthy portion of every day in my head. And as someone who has struggled with social anxieties and even depression, I can tell you that learning to manage the madness in your head is a skill worth mastering. 

Chances are, you talk to yourself too. Come on, now...you know it's true. I'm willing to bet that your brain is always turning. And there's a few of you reading this who never stop. The conversations in your head are constant. 

(Alright, before we get weird on each other, let's dig a little deeper.)

It's a healthy personal practice to make declarations over yourself. I'd venture to say that you, like most people, have an "inner coach" who is constantly scanning, reasoning, encouraging, and criticizing what you do. 

But at what point do you draw the line on your internal dialogue? 

Can you take it too far? And if so, how can you make your way back?


Let's not beat around the bush, there's a point where you can fixate over your issues so much that eventually, you are all you care about. 

When you glorify your condition to the degree of leaving God out along with anyone else it turns into idolatry (and by idolatry, we're talking "self worship").

But before things drift to this extreme, there's a few ways you can safeguard your heart in hopes to maintain a healthier internal dialogue. 

 

1.) Me-Against-the-World

Remember those moments where you looked at yourself and thought, "It's just me. I'm the only one. No one else feels this way and no one else has ever been here before." 

Feeling separated and isolated is hard to combat. Culture advocates for self sufficiency. We pride ourselves in doing it on our own. But is this really a good thing? 

You're wired to be social. As you're reading this, I guarantee you have at least 1-3 social media accounts. Your need for others is inherent. It's built in; designed by God. 

When you isolate yourself, you are pulling away from the fabric of love and encouragement meant to be found through others. The conduit for God's love is people. People are part of His design in how He chooses to express His love.  

Community is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.     [ <– Read that again, bruh. ]

You need other people in your life to remain emotionally, mentally, & spiritually stable. God has given the local church to build this familial element into your life. (Small groups are great too, as they provide community on even a more intimate scale).  

The closeness is good. It helps to vent and to stay transparent and honest with yourself. But most importantly, it will help you to give and receive love.

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.
— King Solomon [Proverrbs 18:1]

Action Step 1 -

Don't divide or separate yourself. Instead, plug in. Meet with friends. Invite people over. Join a small group (if possible) or grab friends for coffee. You need people and people need you. Whatever you choose, commit to making these connections on a weekly basis. 

 

 

2.) No Good for Nuthin'

Your internal boss is all over you. You're critical of yourself in a way that you should not be. 

When you reach this state of mind, it’s time to pull the plug. You need to fire your internal boss and restructure how you speak to yourself. 

Self-speak is a very real thing. If you’re not speaking to yourself in the manner like God’s word does, then your words are out of place. 

So, how should you talk to yourself? 

 Here’s what God’s Word says about you... 

God Says You are:

 

[Side Note: Yes, more than encourage, God also corrects. In His word, God makes many declarations about the state of man to correct his steps and ultimately lead those living in a fallen, sinful state back to Him (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 14:6, Romans 10:8-10). But please understand, that even when God rebukes, it's because His desire to correct is charged by His love. Even in discipline, God shows us mercy and grace.]

 

Action Step 2 -

Be extra vigilant to re-calibrate your heart each and every day. Time alone with God is crucial. Use His word to declare His value over your life. Scripture is good medicine (Proverbs 16:24), for all moments, not just in the down times.  Dig into the scriptures when and before you feel yourself starting to drift. 

 

 

3.) The Bleak Numbness

It’s not that you feel too much, but that you don’t feel anything at all. 

The numbness has set in and you’re not sure what to feel. Apathy is a sure sign that you’re overwhelmed. Too much stimuli or maybe it’s been a lack of intentionally pursuing the relationships in your life. Either way, you have to battle back. As hard as it is to admit, this is a place that I have been far too familiar with. I can tell you first hand that If you choose to live here, then you're going down with the ship. 

It's sad to see people in this state because it quickly becomes such a lonely place. There's no room for anyone else here. Your friends, spouse, kids...no one else can stay here because it's all about you. You're stuck in an emotionally-pressed state. The challenge with emotions is that they are quickly subject to change, so while they can enhance an experience, you should never allow them to become the framework for making decisions. Emotions will stop your motion if you let them. 

 

Action Step 3 -

Stop what you're doing (even this very moment). Pray. Repent. And run as hard as you can in the opposite direction. Mentally and emotionally, look to insert yourself right back into the last place where you had peace and were able to hear God's voice clearly (Isaiah 26:3). When you reconnect with that state-of-mind, start moving forward. But as you push forward, keep your focus on the needs around you rather than your own. The purpose here is to build healthy habits over poor ones. Instead of fixating on self, focus on serving others. The more intently you focus on meeting the needs of others, the less you will be consumed with your own (Hebrews 10:24). 

 

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No Second Chances: 9 Ways to Jumpstart the Call on Your Life

No Second Chances: 9 Ways to Jumpstart the Call on Your Life

Let’s say you’ve felt the call to ministry in some form. Or maybe you just know that you’re meant to do more with your life than just survive at a nine to five job.

But there is no obvious path to take. You feel apprehensive about moving forward because the unknown is frightening at times.

On the other hand, you don’t know if you’re wasting the precious time you’ve been given. Let’s face it, our time is a limited resource. After all, when we see Jesus face to face we aren’t going to say, “Wait, Lord. Can I go back? I didn’t do that quite like I wanted to.” We get one life. There are no second chances.

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Consider the Source

Consider the Source

Have you ever felt like you are supposed to flourish but you’re just stuck?

You tell yourself you don’t have the time or you’re too busy or it’s too hard right now to do the things you know you’re supposed to. Maybe you can start later or next week or on a Monday.

I was once in a relationship that became super dumb. Those are the nicest words I have for it.

At first it was not dumb. It was great and fun. We laughed and frolicked in fields with daisies.

But then it happened. You know those people who get a boyfriend or girlfriend and then they disappear? That was me. I became needy and insecure. That, my friends, is not cute.

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Destroying Porn: This One's for the Guys

Destroying Porn: This One's for the Guys

**Note: While this post is intended to educate, challenge, and inform, it is of a particular graphic nature. Please read at your own risk.** 

Lets take the gloves off; porn is ubiquitous. 

As technology progresses, so has the consumption of pornography. As a result, porn usage has ruined families, marriages, businesses, churches, and many, many young lives.

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6 Ways to Seek Excellence and Grow Through It

6 Ways to Seek Excellence and Grow Through It

A few years ago my husband and I started attending a very large church that, to some, might seem to have it all together but I think they would be the first to admit they don’t.

We are so thankful for our time there. We learned so much and we got to rest and recover.

But some of the typical things that people encounter with larger churches were things that we found to be challenging, and at times frustrating.

  • It was hard sometimes to feel connected.
  • At times things felt a little too well rehearsed.
  • And we wondered if we were “cool” enough.

Shocking, I know.

I have a tattoo. Matt wears skinny jeans. What more could you want?

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Kill the Clutter. Reclaim Your Life.

Kill the Clutter. Reclaim Your Life.

I really thought adulthood would be a certain cure to procrastination.

I thought I would arrive to a place where I could inherently muster myself to a place of responsibility, never to leave any of my work undone again.

I was wrong.

It's delusional to think that things will organize themselves.

Have you ever thought this?

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Dear Self

Dear Self

Now you’re in it.

You've set a plan into play and you’re watching it grow.

Maybe it’s just a trickle for now, but it’s been enough to peak your interest.

It’s enough to determine that what you’ve began you should at least continue.

This is just a plug, a nod, a nudge to tell you to keep going.

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7 Ways to Ensure You Don't Self-Destruct

Have you ever shared something you’ve labored over for a long time? 

I mean, have you ever really extended yourself to show the fruits of your labor in a way that’s almost uncomfortable? 

For several months now, I’ve been working on a side project, and now, it’s finally ready.

Let’s talk for a second. 

So, you exposed your ideas to the entire world, but have you ever had a conversation with yourself that went something like:

“Okay, time to write this paper!”

You sit down to write the paper…nothing. Crickets. The thought train has derailed and the memory bank is closed. 

 

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Fighting Back

Fighting Back

For the past 3 months I have barely left my house.

Back in December our only car got totaled and it left this stay-at-home mom totally stranded with two small children.

Now, before you start to feel sorry for me let me tell you the truth. I didn’t mind it. For someone who is supposed to be a sanguine extrovert I was oddly comfortable inside my little house for entire weeks at a time. And then it happened... 

 

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The Gift of Failing Forward

The Gift of Failing Forward

Failure is the greatest educator I know.

Nothing sticks or stands out as much as missing the mark. Wins in life are good. But, for me, as an achiever, it’s not long after a high mark that I start looking for another moment to conquer.

Failure, however, reveals ways that I’ve missed the mark. It gives me a chance to get better.

 

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The Battles We Fight

The Battles We Fight

Seeds of discipline sown in times of adversity will be reaped as discipline’s reward in times of harvest.

You may have read my husband’s post about how we didn’t kiss until we were married. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

Shortly before I met Matt, I decided the next person I kissed would be my husband. And to me there was only one way to ensure that was the case. Our first kiss had to be on our wedding day.

I had kissed other guys before and after thinking about it I realized I was sowing seeds of commitment that could never be reaped. It was time to sow seeds of discipline.

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5 Ways to Spot Spiritual Junk Food

5 Ways to Spot Spiritual Junk Food

I like “Sour Patch Kids.”

You could even say I’m passionate about those little, chewy gummies. The sweet and the sour hit me with a combination that I really enjoy. Sometimes, I even experience a sudden rush of blood to my face when I eat them. My wife knows  these are my choice movie snack while watching a good film. I know for her, it’s “Milk Duds.” I’m sure in the proper setting you have your preferred snacks and “go-to” junk food, as well.

Junk food is like momentary fun, disguised as food.

It’s the stuff that’s high in calorie, but has no real nutritional sustenance. It’s the kind of food that hits you hard, but leaves you empty. For a brief moment, you get elevated and your glucose level spikes to provide a burst of energy, then the wave settles and you’re left just as empty as when you first consumed [insert choice junk food here], and aside from the short-lived high you discover that there was really nothing in what you ate to help your body long term.

So let me ask you, have you ever experienced this while sitting in church?

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