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FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO ESCAPE THE LAND OF INSECURITY

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If I was conducting a survey and asked all of you whether you would rather be confident or insecure the rest of your life, I would be wasting my time. Nobody wants to be insecure. Nobody likes to feel insignificant. Nobody wants to always question or compare themselves. Nobody enjoys avoiding life or just watching it go by. Nobody desires to sabotage their own success. Nobody can handle being self-absorbed 24/7. And yet the land of insecurity is where so many of us women live, both young and old.

However, most of us have never been given a map or directions on how to get out of the land of insecurity. There aren’t any education courses out there titled “Becoming Confident 101.” Nor do I know of any reality TV show called Miss Confident Woman.

So where or how do we start? Let’s start with the definition.

Confidence is defined by Webster as “the feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of one’s reliance on circumstances; the quality or state of being certain.”

Don’t be mistaken! When we talk about being confident, we are not talking about arrogance, superiority, having an overbearing personality, being a know-it-all, or being pushy…but we are talking about “being certain.”

“Being certain” of what is the key question?


Over time, I’ve gained my own conclusion of what we need to be certain of in order to be confident women. I believe a confident woman can say:

• I am certain of who I am
• I am certain of who God is
• I am certain of who I am in God
• I am certain of what I need to change in order to become all God intends me to be


Answering these questions take time and soul searching, which honestly, in our culture of busyness and superficiality, doesn’t happen. Only you can courageously look in the mirror and the Word of God to ask yourself these questions, as well as figure out the answers. But ladies, when you can rattle off the answers with conviction to each of these questions at any given time, watch out! There is one beautiful, confident woman on the loose!

You have to know why this issue for women is so close to my heart — it’s because I have lived it. I had a huge dwelling place in this land of feeling worthless, invaluable, and ugly. Growing up, I felt like the poster child for insecurity and like I ran the advertising for all the mistakes “to do” in order to make it worse. But God lead me on a journey through answering each of these 4 questions and growing me to the place that I am absolutely certain of each answer. I no longer question them. That doesn’t mean I never battle thoughts or feelings of insecurity, but God sets me straight pretty quickly by anchoring me to what I know to be true.

Let me offer you a road map of questions that will help you find the answers needed in order to leave the land of insecurity for good.

I am certain of who I am.

So, who are you? If you know yourself well, then you should be able to rattle off the answers to the following questions.

What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? What most motivates you in life? What triggers stress for you? What type of confronter are you and how do you handle conflict? What do you need most from your relationships? What are your spiritual gifts and favorite ways to use them? What are your core values? What kind of a woman, wife, mother do you desire to be? How do you desire to influence and impact this world? What do you want your legacy to be?

Knowing yourself is not only an essential life skill, but it is necessary for security.

I am certain of who God is.

How well do you really know your God and His heart? Can you introduce Him to others? Are these easy blanks for you to fill in?

God has proved Himself faithful to me when He _____. I would explain God’s holiness as His _____. God’s love can’t be embraced without understanding His _____. God is most passionate about _____. The 7 things God says He hates are ______. The only sin that God can’t forgive is _____. God absolutely loves it when I _____. God wants me to view this world as _____. God thinks it is far more important that I _____ rather than _____. God would rather me be _____ than _____. 

Please note the God is beyond my blanks, beyond our minds, and beyond the time we have on earth to come to know completely. He is beyond all. There is none besides Him. And yet, He longs to be known by us. Ladies, we love Him by making every effort to get to know Him better.

I am certain of who I am in God.

Your identity in Christ Jesus as His child is the foundation of every choice you make. You must take the time to dig into the pages of Scripture and discover every facet of your identity in Him. Here are a few websites that could help you get started — but please don’t let them do the work for you. Look up each passage surrounding the verse and study it.

Who Am I in Christ

100 Bible Verses – Who I Am in Christ

Never forget that your life should not determine you identity, but that your identity should determine your life.

I am certain of what I need to change in order to become all God intends me to be
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If you are aware of who you are, who God is, and who you are in God, the gaps in your life that don’t match your Christ-given identity become very clear. You now must open your eyes to where you are not making healthy or holy choices. You even ask others to help you recognize the patterns of unbelief and habitual sin that need to be dealt with. You spend time with God begging the Holy Spirit to search our heart and make you aware of immature or rebellious issues that need to be addressed. You can use Galatians 5 to check in how Spirit-controlled you are living or 1 Corinthians 13 to check in how well you are loving.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to changing and growing so that you an be all you were created to be.

No more excuses for living in the land of insecurity. Grab the road map, spend a whole lot of time with God, and let His truth lead you out of there.

Just remember that confidence isn’t perfection or arrival. It’s being certain of who you and where you are going.

Come on, find the confidence you were born to live with.

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WANT CHANGE? START WITH YOUR BLIND SPOTS.

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I remember when our youngest child was in driver’s training, and as he practiced driving in his momma’s car, I kept reminding him about the blind spots. I would instruct him that you can’t drive safely if you aren’t aware that you have blind spots in every vehicle. Then I pointed out to him that it was his job to discover where those blind spots were at and his responsibility to make the necessary adjustments.

Similar to each vehicle that we drive, we too have blind spots in our identity and character. And it’s still our job to discover what they are and it’s our responsibility to make the necessary adjustments if we are going to travel through this life and our relationships in the healthiest and safest way possible.

CAUTION: If we continue to live with our blind spots, we will always feel insecure and hesitant. Not to mention, the ignorance of our blind spots could be damaging to ourselves or others. What if we are causing pain, embarrassment, discomfort, or even avoidance of spending time together? How sad that we are unaware of it. But even sadder is that we don’t have the option to make changes because we aren’t even aware of them yet.

NOTE: While these blind spots are unknown to us, they are apparent to others.

Facing our blind spots has the potential to breed confidence. It is an amazing thing to become aware of a personal weakness, choose to grow in this area, make intentional changes, and experience the difference those changes make. This confidence gives us the courage to grow as a person and address even more areas in order to navigate through our lives and relationships far more maturely and effectively.

“So, how do I find out what some of my blind spots are when I can’t see them?”

I’ve been waiting for you to ask that.

You go to those who know you best. (Remember that your blind spots are visible to others.)

You go with a teachable heart and ask those who are closest to you to help you become aware of your blind spots. Here are some possible questions to use as you ask for honest feedback:

  • Are you aware of any of my habits that could be perceived as annoying to others?
  • What are my prejudices?
  • As I interact with people, how do I usually leave others feeling? Respected, valued, subservient, invisible, incompetent, etc.?
  • Where am I most inconsistent in my behavior?
  • What do you see as my 3 greatest character traits?
  • What 3 areas of weakness would you suggest I work on?
  • What strengths do you perceive  that I have but I am not using or exploring or growing in?

 

Once you get the feedback —

1) Have a soft heart & open ears. If you are like me, you will need to ask God for this. Ask the Holy Spirit to protect you from becoming defensive and justifying yourself for each of the answers cited. Make sure you communicate your genuine thanks to each person who took the time to help you grow by giving you an assessment.

2) Choose 1-2 blind spots that you want to change or grow in. Share them with one trusted person who would be good at keeping you accountable to your desired growth.

3) Make a plan. Without intentionality, you will have wasted all the effort and time taken so far. Write down two specific and measurable steps you can take to address your blind spot. (If you have chosen two to work on, do this for each.) Make yourself accountable for your plan.

*If this is too challenging for you to do on your own, then incorporate your accountability partner to help you with steps #2 and #3.

My prayer is that in the very near future you will be able to say, “I WAS blind, but NOW I see, and I have CHANGED!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I WAS A SINGLE WOMAN WITH THE WRONG LIST

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I began journaling in college and fell in love with it instantly. What a cool place to translate my heart and thoughts onto paper, especially when I was having trouble sorting out what my heart was really feeling or what my mind was really thinking.

I even used my journal to dream – especially about my wedding or what kind of a man I wanted to marry. It wasn’t long before I drafted The List…What I Wanted In A Man. Being quite organized and analytical, I began the list with the “must have” qualities, continued with the “it would really be cool if” qualities, and wrapped it up with the “bottom line.”

The List was surrounded by pages of magazine ideas for my future wedding gown, some dried rose petals (I do have an artsy/creative side as well), and an article I found, Proverbs 31 For Husbands. 

No, this blog isn’t about what was on The List because after 28 years of marriage, I can tell you that it was the wrong list!

While it is great to have your eyes set on the type of spouse you long to marry, it is far more important to have your eyes turned towards a mirror, the Mirror of Truth. I believe you need to be far more concerned about yourself than your future spouse. You should be focusing on whether your own emotions are healthy and your own spirit is mature…that your heart is in a place prepared to commit to unconditional love and God’s covenant of marriage.

Singles, please hear this loud and clear:

Healthy people attract healthy people.

Mature people attract mature people.

Your emotional health and spiritual maturity need to become The List. Evaluate where you are at in both of these arenas and begin to take steps towards growth according to what you find. Let me help you get started:

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

  • Are you aware of what causes you stress? Do you understand the root of your reactions to stress?
  • How do you resolve conflict? Hit it head on, avoid at all costs, ignore? Are you successful at resolving conflict?
  • Do you make yourself vulnerable with those whom you deem trustworthy? How quickly do you trust others?
  • How effective are you at expressing your feelings, opinions, or beliefs? Is every conversation a competition, an opportunity to build relationship, something you suffer through, or a way to talk about yourself?
  • What kind of emotional baggage are you carrying around? Do you know? Have you processed through each piece?
  • Would you consider yourself free to give love and free to receive love? What makes you hesitate or uncomfortable?

 

SPIRITUAL MATURITY

  • Do you consider yourself an insecure person? Or are you confident in your Christ-given identity? Do you know what that new identity is?
  • What priority do you place on sending time with God alone? Are you a student of His Word or a reader? Do you love to dialogue with God daily?
  • Do you struggle with fear, worry, or self-righteousness? Does Satan have a stronghold of sin over you?
  • Are you consistently involved with a group of believers? Is there mutual encouragement, prayer, and accountability?
  • Have you discovered your spiritual gift given to you at salvation? Are you using it to build up the body of Christ?
  • Are you able to serve others? Can you put other people before yourself? How do you do that on a consistent basis?
  • Do you know how God has hard-wired you? What your purpose is and how He wants to use your uniqueness to bring him glory?

 

*Please hear this caution as well – health and maturity don’t equate perfection!

 

As you create your new list, remember that you are wanting to grow in these areas. You want to be purposefully moving in forward motion towards your goals. You want to be able to say that you are getting healthier and healthier…more mature and more mature. But you and I will always be a work in progress; God just asks that our progress makes us look and act more like His Son, Jesus.

My prayer is that you throw away any wrong list you have created on paper or in your mind and focus on the one that counts – where you are at emotionally and spiritually and who you are becoming in Christ.

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3 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL IF GOD IS YOUR TRUE LOVE

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Valentine’s Day is known for being a celebration of true love. It’s a time when we lavish love on those we care about. We give gifts to express our affection.

What do you suppose God might want for Valentine’s Day this year? After all, He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. So what would He want as the Recipient?

I think the answer is simple – He wants “all” of each one of us who call ourselves His followers. He wants “all” your heart, “all” your soul, and “all” your mind.

 

Does He have your heart?

The heart represents the center of man’s inward life–the place of human depravity or the sphere of divine influence. You are created to be influenced by God in the deepest part of who you are…the throne of your motives. And God desires all of your heart.

Jesus warned us about getting caught up in thinking that loving Him meant being concerned with the outside of us and how we behaved, while ignoring our hearts and its evil intentions. He clearly instructed us that He is concerned with changing us from the inside out. Christ desires to start with our heart. He wants to begin with your core.

  • Do you ask God to continually keep your heart soft towards Him?
  • Do you try to change your behavior by changing your outward actions first? Or do you try to change your behavior by changing your motives, working from the inside out?
  • Have you ever asked God  to make your heart beat for His Name & His Glory alone?

 

Does He have your soul?

The soul is synonymous with your emotions, attitudes, and will. Your soul is exposed in every breath you take. When Jesus commands us to love God with all our soul, He is saying to recognize His presence in every breath…it’s a full-time command.

Can you not see how much easier it is to breathe out love for God when life is going your way? And can you not relate to how much harder it is to exhale your love for God when you feel like you are literally struggling for air to survive? My exhales have been known to be filled with anything but love at times. For it is in the storms of life that our souls are tested.

God also warns us about trading our souls for what this world has to offer. This world can only peddle vain things for the moment. It cannot and never will be able to offer forgiveness, mercy, or security–the very things our souls crave.

  • Are you exhaling love for God in every situation? Even as you walk through storms?
  • Where is your soul doing its shopping? Are you buying your things in the “world market” or straight from God’s truth?

 

Does He have your mind?

Your mind is your intellect–the place where knowledge and understanding are analyzed and manipulated to bring about a conclusion or decision. To love God with all your mind means that you align your conclusions and decisions based upon the written Word of God in all situations.

Our thoughts precede our actions; therefore, the battleground is in the mind. That’s why the apostle Paul instructs us to be mentally “transformed” (Rom.12:2) until we have the “mind of Christ.” (Phillip. 2)

If God has your mind, then you live at the highest level of integrity, the highest level of morality, and the highest level of motivation. Your behavior doesn’t contradict your thought life.

  • Is God’s Word your absolute authority? For everything?
  • Which do you think first – culturally or Biblically?
  • Are you a student of the Bible?

 

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“Is God your true love?”

God never expected a perfect gift from us, but His commands in Scripture make it clear the direction we should be moving towards and growing in. Even as we struggle, our love for Him should be marked by going deeper in some way.

For this and every Valentine Day to come, God desires a soft heart moved by His Spirit that chooses to breathe out love in spite of circumstances and keep its mind anchored on the truth of His character.

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I WANT TO BE A FREEDOM FIGHTER

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REVEREND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM ON MANY FRONTS

I have had the privilege of traveling to Washington DC and visiting many of our nation’s famous monuments. As I stood in front of countless marble remembrances and read the chiseled inscriptions, I found myself in awe. Who were these men and women who gave their lives in pursuit of freedom? Where did they find their courage? How could they sacrifice everything?

I know I will never have a statue created to remember my life’s contributions, but I will have a tombstone…and what will it say? How will I have fought my fight? Where will my courage take me?

Let’s consider 3 of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous mantras and how each could make us a bolder freedom fighter:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Silence is merely agreement. My unique voice will be used for what I deem valuable and important because my soul shouts for what I am passionate about. I cannot remain stoic or quiet in regards to what I am consumed by.

  • What matters to you? What really matters in light of eternity?
  • Then ask those closest to you what you are most vocal about. The answers should be the same.
  • If not, what needs to change?

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

I am striving to live by a new rule. It goes like this — do what is right and then deal with the consequences. I no longer want to make decisions based upon what the outcome will bring…no longer based on how others might react…no longer based on the excuse that it doesn’t change anything anyway. This is especially hard in relationships, but if I am to be true to myself, then I will do what is right and affirm my core values.

  • Ask yourself some questions and don’t let yourself off the hook – find the answer for each one:
    • Why do I need to feel safe?
    • Why do I need to be popular with those important to me?
    • Why do I need to be seen as politically correct?

“I have a dream.”

You have a dream too and, like King’s, it’s been given to you by your Creator. Your dream is what makes your influence unique. You see, we all have the same purpose according to Scripture — to bring God glory. But how we go about doing that is completely individualized and original. No one else could ever live out your dream the way you can. So, no pressure, but the world literally needs you to live up to your greatness for His glory!

  • Do you know your dream?
  • Are you living it out?
  • Is it God-sized? This means that you could never accomplish it on your own.

 

Freedom fighters will not remain silent.

Freedom fighters do what is right.

Freedom fighters have dreams that won’t let them go.

Almighty God, I don’t type these words lightly. They are the hunger of my heart. Strengthen me to be who You called me to be. For Your glory alone, amen.

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MOM WANTS BETTER GRADE AT LAUNCHING #2 INTO ADULTHOOD

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Mom and her firstborn son at graduation

(aka The Story Behind Mirror of Truth)

From the time I began school, if I was given the chance, I wanted to get a better grade. So, it’s no surprise that this carried over into motherhood for me.

“Of course now that I’ve done this once, I can do a better job at launching my daughter than I did with my firstborn son.”

Hunter had settled into college a few states away, and after I released a deep breath, I began asking myself what had I forgotten to teach him? How could I have prepared him better to live on his own or make wise decisions? Did he clearly see my love for Jesus lived out each day? Could I possibly have prayed more or differently for him and his future?

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Mom and daughter at graduation

Simultaneously, our daughter Taylor was beginning her junior year of high school and beginning to contemplate her college plans. After evaluating my job as “equipper of all and preparer for adulthood”, I realized that I could greatly improve upon this role. That, in turn, got me praying for new insights as a mom.

It was in the middle of one of those dialogues with God about what would be the most critical truths to make sure Taylor had grasped when she left home that He proposed I write the answer to that question in the form of a Bible study! Knowing I heard wrong, I changed the topic, but He kept bringing it up over and over. And I kept clarifying over and over that I was hearing Him correctly. His Spirit affirmed, “Yes.”

That began my journey of a million questions. Like all loving mothers, I wanted her to be further down the road of wisdom than I was at her age. So I asked myself…

  • Which truths would benefit Taylor the most during this season of “leaving home and getting to know herself?”
  • What Biblical foundation would set her up to make the wisest decisions at such a critical time in life?
  • What could be her biggest hurdles in life as a woman?
  • What might keep her from loving God with all her heart if she didn’t understand it?
  • What could possibly help unleash her on this world to do some incredible change for the good?

 

I was reminded again how healthy it is to ask ourselves questions and then take the time to answer them.

The answers turned into an outline which evolved into chapters and was completed in the Bible study, Mirror of Truth. 

No, not every mom is called to write a Bible study for their child — that goes without saying! But let me throw out a few things for all moms to consider:

~ Always keep asking yourself how you can grow as a mom

~ Network with moms who are further down the road than you are

~ Take your strategies for each child straight to your Heavenly Father for insight

~ Be obedient to the things that God calls you to and lays upon your heart so you don’t miss out on something really special

Mirror of Truth is a result of God and God alone. Every question, word, and thought written was this beautiful, mysterious weaving of His Spirit and myself. I could never have taken one step of this journey on my own. Although this road has stretched me to the point of breakage, I am closer to my God than ever. It has been a testimony to the truth that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (and I would add that He is everything In Between!)

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“God, You Want Me to What?!?”

Courage“Lord, did I hear You correctly? You want me to write a Bible study?,” asked the woman with little faith.
Can I just be honest?  It has been three years of my faith being stretched beyond where I thought it could go, a multitude of childish temper tantrums, a few all-out pity parties, some very lonely times at my desk, having my mind and heart messed with by the enemy, and an embarrassing amount of reaffirmations needed from my Lord.
But… it has also led me on one of the most raw, vulnerable (in a great way), and intimate journeys of seeking to bring glory to my God. Where God and I are with each other right now, I wouldn’t trade for anything this world has to offer.
Now, I pass the baton on to you.  I am praying that you will have the courage to be uncomfortable, to be challenged, and to be inspired by looking into His Mirror of Truth.  I am praying that every participant of this Bible study has her own unique and authentic life change… all for His Namesake!

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