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Sometimes My Words Get In The Way

shhh

“Just keep your mouth shut.”

This has been my mantra to myself in this season of my life.  I’ve never been accused (by an adult) of using all the words or babbling excessively or writing something in 800 words that could really be written in 200, but…the older I get…I seem to be getting a little more opinionated and I’m catching myself wanting to “fix” things that are broken with my nuggets of wisdom (that’s sarcasm people).

 

More specifically (and most transparently) I’m wading through the waters of watching my grown children make their own decisions.  Some of which I know I cautioned them to make differently.  GASP!!

 

I know I’m not alone in this.  Come on now.

 

I’ve been reading a book this Summer with some other ladies and it is stretching my faith.  It’s challenging me in many areas of my life but this one issue about my words…my tongue…yeah.

 

What I’m learning first hand this season has got me kind of excited though.

 

“Too much talk leads to sin.
    Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”

Proverbs 10:19

The only way I know how to explain it is just to say that the more I keep my mouth shut, the more room God seems to have to work out His plan.

I’m visual…picture this:

We have planted seeds into our children for 19-22 years.

Some have started to break through the soil, others are still being worked underground.

They were quality seeds, they were planted in good soil, we’ve watered them consistently over the years, they will produce vibrant, healthy character traits.

If I try to talk those seeds out of the ground, my efforts are futile.

Sometimes when I’m so focused on waiting for something specific to sprout up, I miss out on something else blooming to my right or left.

Does that make sense?

(Side note:  Seeds are cool, we can learn a lot from them, but that’s another post for another day)

Now, I know that God is much too big to let me get in the way, but there are times that I know I’ve spoken up when I shouldn’t have and I sense that He is sitting in a comfy chair in the corner of my mind saying “go on…you seem to know what you’re doing…let’s see how this works out”…ahem.

While God does care deeply about the details of my life, I remind myself that it’s really not even about me.  As Christians, it’s about Him.

Its about pointing people to what He has done for us (and them).  Pointing people to the fact that He set all of this up down here and His ways are best.  Pointing people to the fact that while we can get so tangled up in the details of raising our children, bettering our marriages, climbing the corporate ladder, and doing whatever we need to do to move past our past regrets or hurts, this life is fleeting.

I’m realizing that this “pointing” is better accomplished with fewer words and more action.

**I love that Chick Filet cooked on a Sunday to nourish those grieving in Orlando recently.  They didn’t announce it in a news conference.  They just did it.

**I love that our dear friends sold everything and moved to another state to feed the hungry.  They didn’t make a 6 month business plan for this, they were serving the poor within their first week.  They just did it.

**I love that my church doesn’t just pray for those in need around us, they actually reach out and contact these people.  They give away free clothes and hygiene items and pet food.  They just do it.

**I love that my husband doesn’t talk about the importance of good work ethic with our children, he walks the walk.  He just does it.

Actions speak loud.

Here’s what I know.

When I feel tempted to use all my words, it’s usually because I’m anxious about something.  The Bible tells me not to worry.  Frankly, this takes practice.  It takes discipline.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…”

Matthew 6:25

The Bible tells me to roll over what’s got me bothered onto Him.

“Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22

The Bible tells me it doesn’t go well for the one with the most words.

“The wise in heart accept commands,
    but a chattering fool comes to ruin.”

Proverbs 10:8

This is just a smattering of instructions along this vein of my mantra in this season.

What I see happening around me is that God has more room to work things out that my words were probably making little impact on anyhow.

When we do things the way He set up before the beginning of time…it just works.

Kinda like this…

I have a burden or strain or a time of confusion…which leads to reminding myself that He tells me not to worry…which leads me to rolling it over onto Him to take care of…which leads to me using fewer words with those around me…which leads to my faith being built up and strengthened in Him…which leads to Him being pleased with me…which at times, leads to  Him using my words to point others to Him.  Humble privilege.

I’m less stressed, less burdened, the people I am so worried about are hearing from God (not me), I’m out-of-the-way, He is leading, He’s more pleased with me and I feel closer to Him than ever.

This is where freedom lies.

He is glorified—not me—and when that happens—it’s really indescribable.  I feel like we’re in this secret club together.

Would you like to join?

What is it that you are trying to fix?

Who is it that you are trying to fix?

Take it to the Lord.  Roll it onto Him.  He not only can handle it but He tells us to do it.  Then, walk away from it.  Seriously.  Don’t talk about it unless it’s in a positive light.  A light that says “God’s got this”…”I’m not worried about it anymore”…”His timing is perfect”…”That person doesn’t need more of me, they need more of Him“.

Our goal as believers should be to grow closer to Him.  No matter our circumstances, that’s the goal.  The ripple effect will include the rest of the Book.

Oftentimes, we aren’t growing closer to God because our hands and hearts are so full of our own stuff.  We can’t grab hold of Him or keep up with Him because we are weighed down.

Let’s roll our burdens onto Him.

Open our hands and release whatever it is we are gripping so tightly.

Trust Him with that thing that has got us so tangled up inside.

Trust Him with that thing that tempts us to babble over and over and over about.

Speaking for myself, I’m gonna work on just keeping my mouth shut.

Blessings,

Kellie

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Fear vs. Confidence-And The Winner Is…..

Ya’ll, I’m a visual person.  Sometimes when I’m letting my fears hold me back, a picture pops into my brain.  Please humor me here, but this is a glimpse of what I see sometimes.  I have a feeling I’m not alone.

You have a goal.  You have a dream.  You feel a calling.  But, fear has kept you from moving forward.  Here we go, ring the bell…

Classic Vintage Boxing Ring

 

Round 1.

Fear steps out of its dark corner.  Approaching the center of the ring, its chin is held high and it’s eyes are wide open.  Fear is a champion.  It’s beat you before.  It’s wearing a big, shiny gold belt to let you, and everyone else around you, know, that it’s got your number.

 

Fear has faced you down before.  It knows your weaknesses, your insecurities, your past regrets, your circumstances and your companions.  It has a history of simply walking your way just to see you slink back to your corner.

If you are a Christian, it knows your potential.  If your owner is God, it knows your resources.  If your trainer is the Holy Spirit, it knows your strength.  If your eternal fate has already been sealed, it knows deep down, you have nothing to fear.

 

But it comes.  It tries.  It makes an effort.  A great effort.  It is standing between you and your dreams.  Your goals.  Your calling.

 

You want to go back to school, but you’re afraid you’re too old for that.

You want to change careers, but you’re afraid of the shift in income.

You want to reconcile with someone, but you’re afraid of rejection.

You want to learn to play an instrument, but you’re afraid you’ll stink.

You want to give to the poor, but you’re afraid you can’t afford it.

You want to expand your family, but you’re afraid you’ll lose your mind.

You want to start a business, but you’re afraid it will fail.

You want to start writing, but you’re afraid you’ll look stupid.

Fear approaches and you run back to your corner of the ring.

Round 2.

You’ve had a moment to catch your breath.  Your nerves are on the very edge.

Your trainer has loosened up your shoulders and wiped the sweat off your brow.  He’s reminded you that you’re bigger than your fears.  He’s reminded you of your previous wins against this very same opponent.

Your owner has already paid a price for you which guarantees that you can beat fear.

Guarantees!

What stands on the other side of that fear is something that you cannot even imagine!

“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,”

Ephesians 3:20

What stands on the other side of that fear is a better understanding of God’s love for you!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

What stands on the other side of that fear is confidence!

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6

Stand up!  Look it in the eye!

Round 3.

The bell rings and you’ve decided to believe what you’ve been told.  You’re going to believe that what is waiting on the other side of that fear is something so great, so wonderful, that it’s worth the temporary feeling of nausea.  You make up your mind that once your bottom leaves that stool, you’re in the match.

No. Going. Back.

Leaving the comfort of your corner, you come out swinging!  Spit flying, sweat dripping, heart racing, feet shuffling-all of it!

That’s it!

Suddenly you realize that you are the only one left in the ring…

Kind of anticlimactic huh?

Listen, I’ve been a Christ follower for a long time and I am still learning this concept.

When we feel a call or have a Christ honoring goal  that has gripped our hearts, sometimes all we have to do is MOVE.

It is that easy.

Seriously.

The Lord honors a willing and obedient heart.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”

Isaiah 41:10

The devil uses fear to keep us from our purpose.  To keep us from growing our confidence in Christ.

When we sense a call from God that involves facing a fear, we’ve got to move.  Even if we do it with fear and trembling.  Even if we do it with one eye closed.

And each time we do this, God’s faithfulness will grip us with such force and assurance that we will learn to trust Him a little more than we did before.

We’ll have experience to draw from.

We’ll know that we know that we know that the fear that kept us from striving towards our goal or calling was just a trap to keep us from the plans that Christ has hand drawn for each of us.

confidence

noun con·fi·dence \ˈkän-fə-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\

Simple Definition of confidence

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something

: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

” So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”
Hebrews 10:35

This is our prize.

Confidence.

Not in ourselves, but in the One that put that dream in our heart.

In the One that called us out of the corner.

Confidence that nothing can keep us from God’s plans for us if we will only move.

I’m facing a couple of fears of my own right now.

I’m in the ring with fear.

Are you in it too?

Can we step out of the corner?

We’re in this together.  Same trainer.  Same Owner.  Same guaranteed total KO if we will only trust Him.

I’d love to hear what some of you may be facing right now.

Praying for you all,

Kellie

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I Have A Confession To Make

It’s a common misconception that because someone is a “Christian”, a “born again believer”, a “________”, whatever you want to call those of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that we are perfect.  That we are trying to be perfect.  That we are holding others to a standard of perfect.

Perfect.
I loathe that word when it is used to describe a person.

perfect

adjective per·fect \ˈpər-fikt\

Simple Definition of perfect
  • : having no mistakes or flaws

  • : completely correct or accurate

  • : having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.

 

 

I’m not perfect.  I will  never be perfect while I’ve got breath in my lungs.  I will never know anyone else who can hang this description on their hat.  Ever.

 

In fact…sometimes…I cuss.

 

We (Christians) are here to point others towards Christ.  To share what He offers.  To tell the news that their creator wants a one on one relationship with them.

 

This should come naturally in our every day living.  We do this through our actions and our attitudes.  We do this through our reactions.

 

In our work places.  At our family gatherings.  At our dentist appointments.  When we buy a car.  In the grocery store line.  When we rock our babies.  As we discipline our children.  While we love our spouses.  When we greet the UPS guy at the door.  As we sit in traffic.

 

 

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Luke 6:45
This is where the rubber meets the road.
“…what the heart is full of.”
You and I have most of the control over what we fill ourselves with.  Most, because we cannot avoid the billboards with scantily clad women and the bosses who manage with control and anger.  Most, because we cannot predict what language will come out of our new friend’s mouth or the pessimistic attitude of someone that we may even live with.
So, how do you and I store up good things in our hearts?
We are proactive.  We are intentional.  We set goals.  We make good choices.
We read books with a good take away message.  We listen to music that reminds us how blessed we are.  We surround ourselves, the best we can, with people who are encouraging and uplifting.  We hang out with truth talkers-people who will not just agree with everything we want to do or say, but will speak up and correct us if we are heading in the wrong direction.
We spend time outdoors, soaking up God’s creation.
We listen to pastors who speak God’s word along with practical application for living.
We talk to God (prayer) and read His word.
 Screenshot_2016-05-18-07-19-38~2
I’ve learned over time that the “do’s” and “don’ts” in the Bible are there for our good!
His directives…they’re not there to make us perfect.  They’re not there to make us feel like children.  They’re not there to make us feel like we can’t measure up and never will.
They are there to teach us about His grace.  They are there to move us into the plans He has for us.  They are there to keep us inside of boundaries where there is safety, freedom and purpose.
Yes, even inside of boundaries, there is freedom!
 
 So even though the Bible tells me not to, why do I sometimes cuss?
Because I’m human!  I’m a normal person just like anyone else!
It’s not often that something slips, but, I don’t mind admitting that sometimes it just happens.
It’s important that you know that there is no one perfect.  If striving for perfectionism is our main goal here on earth, we are going to be sorely disppointed in ourselves.  Over and over and over.
What we should be striving for is simply more of God.
More time with Him.  More of His presence.  More understanding of His word.
If we have a one on one relationship with Him, and we are doing our part to get to know Him more, the rest will work itself out.
We don’t become sinless.  We don’t become perfect.
But, our hearts will fill to overflowing with more good than bad.
More love, less hate.
More optimism, less pessimism.
More inclusion, less exclusion.
More mercy, less mercilessness.
More patience, less rage
More joy, less sadness.
More purpose, less indirection.
More calmness, less cussing
Let’s try it.
1.  Admit we are not perfect (aren’t we all ready to see more authenticity and less acting in ourselves and others?  Can I get an amen!)
2.  Acknowledge that God’s plan for us has boundaries, and they’re for our good.
3.  Choose to at least try things His way.
4.  Celebrate our successes-because when we do things His way-success always follows!
Let’s take our focus off of the thing we want out of our life, and put that time and energy into what’s good.  Holy.  Right.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Phillipians 4:8
Let’s see if filling ourselves with what is good won’t push out that thing which is bad.
Yeah, sometimes I cuss, but I’m working on it.
What will you fill yourself with today?  How will you proactively strive to fill up with good instead of that which is bad?
Praying for you all,
Kellie