Category Archives: identity

Am I Okay?

righteousness2This morning after Church was one of the moments where I’m giving a girl a piece of advice, and the words of wisdom coming out of my mouth I realize are meant for me (and hopefully for her to), and something I need to process more.

So, I’m processing with you on this blog post as more of a journal entry in the hopes that my processing might be helpful for at least another person as well.

My girl was talking about the need to set the pace in confrontation; starting by leading out confessing where she has failed the girls she’s leading. But as I listened to her, it sounded like her failings were more performance issues and not sin issues. So I said something to the effect of “God isn’t concerned about your day-to-day performance and nitpicking that. He is concerned about the sin in our lives and the need to confess that.” As I spoke, it struck a chord with a thought I’ve been processing for a few weeks now.

If you were to ask me if I’m satisfied with my life, in terms of the big picture, then absolutely yes. I’m satisfied with where I’m at in my life, in my career, my marriage, my family, my walk with God, who I am, etc… However, in the small picture, day to day, I feel inadequate most days. That I’m not using my time wisely or well enough. That I fall short of where I should be every day. And as I talked with my girl, I realized that she and I are each asking the wrong question.

It isn’t about the day to day performance, it’s about the motivations behind it. If I fail to complete a task, is that a sin? It depends. I need to ask a deeper question of Why (or if you are a QBQ reader, “what caused me to not complete the task”). Maybe it’s something that didn’t need to be accomplished. But maybe I wasn’t trusting God (the true sin issue).

I get down on myself for not accomplishing my to-do list. Truthfully, I tend to put more on my to-do list than I have time or energy to accomplish. But the bigger issue, the actual sin issue, is that I look to my to-do list not as a guide, but as a measure of my “okayness”. Instead of believing in what Christ has accomplished on the Cross in order for me to be right with Him, I look to my performance, and measuring it in terms of tasks successfully completed.

I look for my value by how much I can get done instead of recognizing I already have my value in Christ. I look for my “okayness” in my use of time rather than believing I’m already accepted in Christ. I look to myself to figure out and direct my days rather than looking to Christ to direct my day. Or I push on, trying to accomplish all the things instead of trusting Christ and His invitation to rest.

I don’t need to confess my failings in my performance. I need to confess the sin behind it. Because in confessing that sin it sets me free the trap it has become, and it opens the door for a better relationship with Jesus.

It’s Spring Break and I have a mighty massive to-do list of all the things I want to do over the next 10 days. But right now, I just want to rest. I want to sit, read, think, pray, nap, play with Aurora, and hang out with Micah. Maybe energy will come later in the week to do some of the things on my list. Here’s where Faith comes in for me. I have seen God come through for me in the past. As I trust Him with my time, schedule and to-do lists, He provides energy and bends time in my favor. So, today and for the next several days, will I trust Him? Will I trust His invitation to rest? Will I trust that knowing & loving Him is the far better option than trying to get all my have-to’s and want-to’s done? I could muster through and try to get things done this week. But past experience tells me I will just exhaust myself. And past experience also tells me that choosing Christ has ALWAYS been the life-giving option.

Christ didn’t die for me so I could continue to be under the law, including the law I put onto myself of expectations. He died for me and clothed me in righteousness. I am already righteous, which is way better than just being “okay”. I am already right with Him whether or not I get my tasks accomplished or use every minute well. He didn’t die for me so I could keep trying to fulfill the law. He died to set me free! So I could live life fully! In Him! (Galatians 3).

So, for the next few days I’m letting go of my to-do list and I’m going to trust Christ and His invitation to rest and to enjoy Him. And I’ll trust Him if He wants me to get anything done on my to-do list later this week.

 

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Crushes: Crush Them, not the other way around

Guest post by Brandy, one of the young ladies I mentor

he loves meI’m going to be completely honest with you gals, writing this was kinda difficult. At first I was so honored and excited to write this that I completely forgot that it meant sifting through the tender parts of my heart, the deep parts where my desires are held. Some of what God’s been teaching me has been a ‘hindsight is 20/20’ kind of thing, but, for the most part, this is very real, very new, and hard to work through. I’ve found that when God asks you to do or go through something, most of the time He isn’t asking only for your benefit, but for others as well.

So, here is what God is teaching me about how to cope with crushes in a way that protects the heart and grows our relationship with Him at the same time. Let us commence at the beginning.

Once I’ve unearthed my crush on someone, I’ve noticed certain tendencies to always be present. Here is what it looks like:

  • It looks like striving for my crush’s approval.
  • It looks like comparing myself to other women who my crush is giving attention to.
  • It looks like wondering if I’m enough, and tearing myself down when I’m convinced that I’m definitely not enough; all because I don’t hold a monopoly on my crush’s attention and affection.
  • It looks like changing who I am to be someone I think my crush will like.
  • It looks like plotting:
    • How can I sit next to him?
    • How can I bring up a conversation with him?
    • How can I bring him up in conversation with friends?
    • How can I spend more time with him?
  • It looks like reading into every single thing my crush says and does.
  • It looks like reading between and outside the lines (you know, daydreaming).

I think you know what I’m talking about here, ladies. Our hearts are in turmoil! We feel at war with ourselves, bullying ourselves, believing the enemy’s lies, and changing ourselves, all because some guy isn’t pursuing us. But what if I were to tell you that this isn’t how it has to be? What if I said there is a way to receive life and hope in the midst of a heart-wrenching crush?

I want to share a story with you. I recently messaged a guy I had a crush on. He responded, asking me how my evening was. So I dove, head-and-heart-first into what was sure to be an earth shattering conversation! But, after a few messages back and forth, it was obvious that I was the only one holding the conversation. It was completely one-sided. Then, our wonderful God impressed upon me this truth:

I am worth someone asking questions to. I am worthy of someone taking the effort and time to have a two-sided conversation with me because God says I am worthy. He, Himself, takes time to pursue me, love me, and ask me questions, and I should expect no less from man. Especially from a man that I desire to hold my heart.

With this truth safely tucked into my belt, I allowed the conversation to end. I did this trusting that God had my heart in mind, and would provide for my desire to be pursued and have meaningful conversation through some other avenue.

You see, you, yourself is enough, just the way you are. Whatever God is having you do right now, this very moment, is enough. No need to change who you are, or what you are doing to (maybe) appease what you believe a guy wants. You don’t need to be burdened with trying to figure out how to “make” the guy you’re crushing on like you, or what you’re “doing wrong” that’s “making” him not like you. FYI it’s not your responsibility to “win” a guy’s heart.

You are enough. Your heart deserves better than what you’re giving it. It is a treasure, and it is high time you start to treat it that way, because this is the truth that our Father desires you to know and believe about yourself! You are worth so much! You are pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, _______ enough! You have the God of the Universe, the King of Kings, the Rescuer of your soul pursuing you! He loves and desires you. He has your absolute best in mind and wants to give it to you, His beloved! We only have to believe this and give Him the hurt, the pain of not being pursued by an earthly man at this moment. Give God your desires and allow Him to provide for them. Place your hope firmly on God, not imperfect man, to provide for what you want. Choose God, not self. Choose to see yourself the way He does, not the way the enemy is trying to trick you into seeing yourself, and treat your heart the way He died to have it treated. Just treat yo-self right girl!!

Story time. I was getting fuel and was just beginning to pump gas when I saw a familiar car pull up. One of my guy friends hopped out and told me that he had seen me pumping and had to stop to say hi! We talked for a few minutes while I finished pumping and then he departed. Now I could take what happened here one of two ways. The first is the way of wishful thinking; seeing it only how I’d like it to be: He stopped, just for me. He must like me. He is pursuing me. That’s the only explanation. What should the colors be at our wedding? The second way is to view it as it is, not reading into it, and seeing how God has orchestrated it. God, who loves me immeasurably more than I could ever imagine, has chosen to show His love by having this man come up to me and notice me. Because God notices me, He saw me pumping gas and sought a way to encourage me even there, and He did so through this man. No reading into it; it’s in God’s hands. My guy friend was the vessel that God choose to show me how important and loved I am by Him. Praise Jesus for His love!

This is what a crush can look like when you choose to crush with God by your side, believing the truth of who He says you are, and giving and trusting your desires and hopes to Him:

  • It looks like giving God the desire for your crush to pay attention to you.
  • It looks like letting God fulfill your desire to be pursued and seen.
  • It looks like being open to seeing how God is pursuing you, and letting him.
  • It looks like putting your hope in the One who loves you and your heart.
  • It looks like rejoicing in the Provider when your crush pays attention to you, or does something admirable (after all, most of the qualities that draw you to your crush are qualities that God also possesses, so why not praise Him for that!).
  • It looks like being who you are and doing exactly what God asks you to do without the fear of what your crush will think (because we should pursue pleasing God, not man, right?).
  • It’s sprinting to God when your heart hurts, giving the hurt to Him; allowing Him to heal and comfort you.
  • It can also look like plotting:
    • How can I see God provide for me today?
    • Where is God at that I also need to be?
    • How is God pursuing me?
    • How can I spend time with the Lover of my soul and allow Him to encourage me?

We need a focus change from focusing on us and what we’re feeling to focusing on God and what He is saying, about us, who we are, why He loves us, what He has for us to do. It’s safe to give God your desires. He wants to give you life and life in the fullest. He knows and loves you. Secure your hope, your desire, in Him who gave up everything so He could be in relationship with you. Give Him the chance to reveal how He can provide, and experience the real relationship that comes from allowing God to invade the deepest parts of your heart, the part that desires, the part that hurts when your crush doesn’t notice you, or rejoices when he does. Jesus loves you, His bride. Trust Him. Give Him the chance to provide. Embrace Him.

A Daughter of a King

daughter of a kingWhat does it mean to be a daughter of a king? What does it mean to be the Daughter of THE King? Some of us have distorted views of God as Father because of our experiences with our earthly ones. Even the best fathers aren’t perfect. And the enemy of our souls takes the hurt we experienced and runs with it to destroy our view of and our relationship with our perfect Heavenly Father. Thankfully, God gives us so much truth in Scripture that we can cling to instead of our experiences.

I encourage you to allow God to change your view of Him to who He truly is and how He truly sees you, His Daughter. It takes time to renew our minds with truth, but as you do, you will see and love God more than you ever thought imaginable!

We spent some time doing just that during one of our Women’s Bible Study, and here are some of our discoveries.

You are a Princess! God is the King of Kings and he chose you to adopt you as His Daughter. And He WANTED to! He was pleased to! There is no sense of obligation here. He’s not feeling obligated to be your father and to do fatherly duties, He wants to be your father. And you have a great inheritance as a Daughter of the King.

For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 1 Tim 6:15

 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Eph 1:4

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

 

You are lavished on like a beloved Princess should be. Our heavenly Father doesn’t hold back His love, attention, or gifts. He gives you good and perfect gifts; He gives you everything you need for your enjoyment! You are provided for with the best care. There is never a shortage of resources.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. Eph. 1:7-8

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Ps. 84:11

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Tim 6:17

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. Ps. 92:4

For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me, as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills. Ps 50:10

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary,     and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isa. 40:29-31

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matt. 11:28-30 (MSG)

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (ESV)

“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 (NLT)

 

You never need to be afraid of bothering your Father, the King. You can always approach His Throne with confidence. You can come to Him with anything and He is always available to you to give you His full attention. He is never distracted by anything else. He never grows weary of you. He loves you! You can talk to Him about anything, and you never need to fear asking for things, or even wanting things. You can count on Him, He is dependable. He comforts you when you are distressed, and wraps you in His loving arms.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb 4:16

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Phil. 4:6-7 (MSG)

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary,   and his understanding no one can fathom. Isa. 40:28

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isa. 40:11

 

A lot of time, care, thought and planning has gone into your upbringing as a Princess. You have a purpose for your life. You are a significant woman.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:10

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jer 29:11 (MSG)

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Ps 139:16

 

You aren’t just a “trophy child,” a “feather in His cap.” He never ignores you. He knows you! He knows you even better than you know yourself (He even knows how many hairs are on your head). Plus, you are invited to join along with what your Father the King is working on. You get to work with Him! And He wants you to know Him as well.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matt. 10:30

But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. 1 Corin. 8:3

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corin 3:9

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

 

He is always with you! Always! He will never leave you. He will never forget you. He won’t leave you alone to face your fears, instead He is right there by your side.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you; Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isa. 41:10

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Ps. 139:7-12

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Ps 27:10

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands!” Isa 49:15-16

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isa 46:4

 

You are valuable to God. So valuable in fact, that he paid your ransom to get you back with Christ’s blood, not just mere gold and silver. Gold and Silver aren’t valuable enough. You are so much more valuable!

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days. 1 Pet. 1:18-20

How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Matt 12:12

So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matt. 10:31

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isa 43:1

 

He watches over you and valiantly fights for you with a King’s fury! He is never passive.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—     where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,     the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—     he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel     will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord watches over you—     the Lord is your shade at your right hand;  the sun will not harm you by day,     nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—     he will watch over your life;  the Lord will watch over your coming and going     both now and forevermore. Ps. 121

But the LORD says, “The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved. For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.” Isa 49:25

 

He forgives you! He doesn’t hold your mistakes over you. In fact, He forgets them!

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Ps 103:12

Love keeps no record of wrongs 1 Corin 13:4