When Comparison Kills Confidence


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

If there’s one thing I know it’s this: The measuring stick will get you stuck! Comparison is the devil’s tool that has stopped many of us gals from stepping into our God-given destinies…and it’s time to stop!

You know I’ve been camping out with Moses by the burning bush for over a year while writing Take Hold of the Faith You Long For. When we meet up with him in Exodus chapter 3, he is an insecure, stuttering recluse. He argued with God and told Him that he was not a good speaker.

But, Moses hadn’t always been so insecure. Look what Stephen said to the Sanhedrin: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). He was powerful in speech? That’s what The Book says.

So what happened? Moses failed and bailed and ran away to Midian. Thought he deserved to be there. Got stuck there. He forgot his pre-ordained preparation and his God-given ability.

Oh, I wish I was sitting right there with you and we could just chat and throw around ideas. For now, I’ll just ask you this question and maybe one day we’ll sit and have a long talk.

How do you think that Moses came up with the idea that he was not a good speaker? Here’s what I think. I think that Moses came up with the idea by comparing himself to other people he thought were good speakers.

It’s the same way with you and me. Comparison opens the door for sabotaging lies to steal our confidence, stymie our courage, and stand in the way of our contentment. Comparison puts up roadblocks along the path to fulfilling our God-given calling by setting an undefined standard of approval and acceptance.

We fear the REJECT stamp will come crashing down with wet ink that mars all of life. We fear that we are perhaps fatally flawed as confidence seeps through the holes of insecurity punctured and punctuated by comparison.

We compare our abilities to someone else’s and come to this conclusion: I could never do it like she does it. And you know what? You were never meant to! God doesn’t need two people just alike. He has uniquely and precisely created you with specific gifts and talents to do exactly what He has called you to do. So get good at being you!

David wrote: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:13-14 emphasis added).

He knew what full well? In these particular verses, David wasn’t praising God for the way He flung the stars in the night sky, set the spinning earth on its axis, or stocked the oceans with sea creatures of every kind. David was marveling at the magnificent masterpiece called David. Me. You. He knew that full well.

You are God’s workmanship. His masterpiece—His grand finale of all creation. Do you know that full well? You are amazing!

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Gal. 6:4–5, MSG).

Listen; if God didn’t put it in you, then you don’t need it to do what He has called you to do.

If God didn’t make you eloquent, then you don’t need to be eloquent to do what He’s prepared for you to do.

If God didn’t make you a good speller, then you don’t need to be a good speller to do what He’s prepared for you to do.

If God didn’t place you in a home where you were the apple of your daddy’s eye, then you don’t need to be the apple of your daddy’s eye to be all God wants you to be and do all He has planned for you to do.

One pastor said: “One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity is that we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.” I promise to show you the film on the cutting room floor. See, I cut them out, but God picked them back up, brushed them off, and inserted them back into the reel. “These are some of my favorites,” He explained. “The scenes you would rather no one see are the very ones that will help women see Me.”

God knows your inadequacies and your insecurities. He knows what caused them and who caused them. He saw you before you even had them. Yet He chose you before you were born for a purpose—to fulfill a plan in a predetermined point in time (Acts 17:26).

So let’s let go of comparison and take hold of our God-given uniqueness!

You’re amazing!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Living Love When We Disagree

Thank you Melissa Spoelstra for today’s message:

Living love when we disagree sounds good on paper, but it isn’t easy. We’re different—we have different personalities, preferences, and perspectives. And we can struggle to get along, especially when we don’t see eye to eye. In the course of a day, we can find ourselves disagreeing or debating with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers on social media about everything from food choices and parenting styles to politics and religion. Often we find ourselves divided—even as Christians. How can we work out our differences with humility and grace, always showing the love of Christ, while still remaining true to what we believe?

So who has been irritating you the most lately? Keep that person in the back of your mind and we’ll come back to them in a minute. Paul urged the church in Corinth to “be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10). He essentially called them to live love – even when they disagreed. Chapter 13, known as the love chapter, wasn’t included to be a nice poem for weddings. Instead, it was written to urge Christians living in a pagan and diverse culture to approach one another with the love of Christ. God’s Word calls us to do the same.

Regrettably, we often exercise the opposite of that kind of love, choosing instead to keep a record of wrongs or make rude comments—whether in person or on social media. Jesus prayed that we would experience unity as his body. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:20-21)

In His prayer, Jesus asked that His followers would be as united as He and the Father are! We can never demonstrate this supernatural love and kindness with those who disagree with us apart from Jesus. Paul acknowledged this truth, mentioning the name of Jesus eight times in the first nine verses of his letter! He knew that we desperately need Christ at the center of our personal lives, including our interactions with others. Our unity comes only through Christ and His love.

Here are some of the main questions the concept of living love has brought up for me:

How can we?

  • Deal with our differences in a loving way without compromising our convictions
  • Achieve harmony while maintaining our diversity
  • Consider the ways that the surrounding culture impacts our beliefs
  • Agree to disagree on matters of preference and opinion
  • Humbly listen to others with views different than our own
  • Embrace ambiguity in some areas, acknowledging that our view is often partial and incomplete
  • Demonstrate to all that love is the greatest thing, which never fails

How have you worked through some of these issues? Have you noticed that sometimes Christians can behave unlovingly towards one another, especially online?

Now let’s bring it a little closer to home. So who was that person that came to your mind when I asked who has been irritating you lately? Think about that person right now. How is God calling you to live His love toward them today? We can’t do it without Jesus at the center of our lives can we? Know that I am praying that every person who reads this post would have supernatural power to live love in their midst of their disagreements!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unlocking the Power of Praise

Thank you Rachel Wojo for today’s message….

My 21-year-old daughter, Taylor, stares at me as she sits propped up in her hospital bed. Not many young adults would ask for a hospital bed in their room, but she hasn’t been able to ask me for anything in 15 years. I attempt to read the communication in her eyes and will her body language to reveal her needs and desires. She’s been a frontline disease fighter since birth and since age 4, we’ve faced the eventual outcome of no cure and no treatment. My thoughts turn to prayer, an instinctive reflex I’ve cultivated for all these years, but somehow, I can only be silent.

Though I can find no words in the moment, I long for God’s presence. Just as my girl will move her leg over to touch mine so she can simply know that I am here, so I find myself seeking moments to be still and know that He is God and yes, He is here. I remind myself that prayer begins with praise. Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name.

How do I find words to praise God when my child, my heart existing outside my body, is suffering? Limbs that once ran everywhere have withered down to skin and bone. Hands that once grabbed with lightning speed can barely hold a sippy cup to her mouth. Voice box that once chimed “Mom-my” is lost, never to be returned on this earth. Though together we’ve practiced gratitude day after day, frankly, we are running out of things to be thankful for.

But Jesus didn’t begin His prayer with thanksgiving. And the praise didn’t begin with things God has given. Nor did it begin with God’s work. Jesus first reminded God of Who He is. With this epiphany, the prayer that I couldn’t begin starts to form as I grip my girl’s hand. Just as Jesus began his prayer with words of adoration, so my prayer reflex is stimulated to follow his model.

Praise is the most powerful tool in our prayer arsenal. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15, NIV) As today’s truth explains, the blood of Jesus sacrificed on the cross provides our direct access to God. As a result, we are privileged to enter the presence of our Father and whisper praises directly to Him! When we stand before the Almighty God, we come as we are. It doesn’t mean we have a complete understanding of His work in our lives. It simply means our hearts are trusting and believing Him to be the ever-present, never-changing God who loves us beyond our comprehension.

When we can’t find praise in our hearts because we don’t understand what God is doing, we can always praise God for Who He is. He is the God Who never changes and has loved us since the beginning of time. Praise Him!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Love Lives Here

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message…

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid  ~ John 14:26-28, NIV

For years, home was not my happy place. There were tense words, loud conversations, lots of noise, and a whole bunch of chaos. I remember thinking, “When these kids grow up…When my husband is nicer…When we have more money…things will calm down.”

But peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances. God sent His Son so we could experience peace, not just in the quiet of life, but also when chaos hits.

If you are approaching your home with dread at the end of the day, perhaps your place needs a peace makeover, like mine did. Here are a few things you can be intentional about when it comes to creating a peace-filled home:

Speak Words that Build Peace

So much of what determines our level of peace is the choice of words we use in our home. Are we speaking words of respect and kindness? Are we lifting up the people we live with? How can you build into the lives of those you love with an “I love you!” and “I’m proud of you!” A “You make me happy!” and “I forgive you”?

And it is not just the words we speak, it is the words we allow into our home. Carefully consider TV programs, music, and especially sites you visit on the internet. All of those words that come into your home can promote or tear down peace within your four walls.

Create a Home that Promotes Peace

One of the main biblical definitions of peace when translated from the Greek includes “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.” A home that promotes peace is one where healthy food is served, clutter is controlled, systems are in place and people are cared for. These may feel like the everyday acts of a woman just keeping her home running, but really, they are the hundreds of small decisions we can make every day to promote peace and live whole lives in our homes:

  • Create meal plans for healthy eating.
  • Put things away when we are done using them.
  • Balance our bank account.
  • Pay our bills.
  • Invite others over to share a meal.
  • Serve our neighbors when there is a crisis.
  • Tend to a garden.

Be a Woman Who Promotes Peace

When someone insults me online, on the phone, or even in the line at the grocery store, I need to commit deliberate, defiant acts of peace toward that person. Those acts of peace can be, depending on the situation and the person, quick forgiveness, kind words to quench the hurt, or praying for them instead of responding. Peace is not powerlessness but refusing to give someone else the power over your response.

As you drive home tonight, think about what feeling you have as you approach your front door. Is it relief that you are finally home and have a soft place to land, or do you hesitate because inside your house carries the same amount of chaos as the rest of the world?

If peace doesn’t meet you at the door, make the decision to be someone who doggedly pursues peace in your home starting today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The Hope Button

Thank you Arlene Pellicane for today’s message….

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a hope button? Something you could just press when you felt pessimism and misery weighing you down?

Friend, you have a button like this available for your use. It’s nestled in between despair and the dawning of hope recorded in the book of Lamentations. The writer, Jeremiah the prophet, is utterly broken. Jerusalem, the City of David, had been attacked and destroyed. Jeremiah sees no hope of restoration, wholeness, or safety.

He cries out to God with many complaints such as “he has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship” (v. 5), “he has weighed me down with chains” (v. 7), and “he has trampled me in the dust” (v. 16). Jeremiah is remembering all that went wrong and his soul is depressed and despondent.

Yet somehow, he reaches for the hope button in verse 21 and it becomes his turning point:

“Yet this I call to mind and there I have hope…”

What is the “this” that Jeremiah is calling to mind? We find it in verses 22-23:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Jeremiah is shifting his focus from the rubble around him to the fact that he is still standing. He remains unconsumed because of God’s great love. “Compassions” is plural illustrating how God showers us with new compassion every morning. Even though Jerusalem laid in ruin, the Word of God lasts forever.

When Jeremiah pressed the hope button – recalling God’s great love and compassion – he could say in the midst of grief, “I have hope. God is my portion and He is enough.”

Have you felt hopeless in a particular area of your life lately? It’s time to press the hope button. You’re still here. God’s mercies are for you today, and they are waiting to bless you tomorrow.

When I went away to college, I was discouraged and miserable because I felt lost without my family, friends, and all things familiar. I cried most days for the first few weeks. I did however have a Christian roommate with a flair for art. She painted our dorm room walls with Bible verses. Guess what she painted? Lamentations 3:22-23 which reminded me every morning when I opened my eyes that God’s compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.

The next time you find yourself sitting in a heap of discouragement, press the hope button. Surround yourself with the promises of God. Recall His faithfulness and refresh your faith.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!