3 Myths About Dysfunction That Keep You STUCK

If you’re anything like me, at one point in your life dysfunction has served some sort of role in your life.  Maybe for a short while, or maybe it’s still a struggle.  Whatever role dysfunction has played in your life, our dysfunction doesn’t disqualify us, make us incompetent or inadequate, it makes us human.  We all have had dysfunction in our lives and most of us probably still do.  But that doesn’t mean we are less than or unable to still be used by God in a mighty way.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve had so much dysfunction in my life, I could write a book about it.  Growing up when we had problems we didn’t really talk about them.  God and good counselors have helped me so much in my journey in learning how to deal with my problems in a healthier way.  I actually didn’t know I had developed an unhealthy coping mechanism of codependency as a way to get my needs met.  I was very dependent on people to receive my approval, praise, and worthiness.

'For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.' Galatians 1:10 Click To Tweet

At one point I was a big time people pleaser.  I also felt very validated if I could rescue, fix, or solve someone else’s problems, because then I didn’t have to focus on my own problems.  Along the way I found some eye opening discoveries about my dysfunction that kept me stuck in my circumstances.  Here are 3 myths about my dysfunction I would like to share with you.

3 Myths About Dysfunction That Keep You STUCK:

 MYTH #1–Dysfunction is functional- This is very true for someone who lives in dysfunction.  Dysfunction serves us all well until it doesn’t.  In fact, sometimes we don’t even realize something is dysfunctional in our lives, until it is no longer functional!  The enemy would like nothing more than to keep us hidden in our patterns of dysfunction and tell us these patterns are totally NORMAL. These patterns keep us stuck and hidden from God’s plan for us.  Dysfunction keeps us in chaos, making it hard to hear God’s voice and plan over our lives.  It’s not until dysfunction starts crumbling all around us and we slowly get out of the chaos can we hear and see more clearly, that dysfunction does not serve us well over time.  Over time, dysfunction can become very comfortable for us, making it difficult to detach from it because it’s what we know.  Learning how to separate from your dysfunction can be one of the most loving things you do for yourself.  Detaching from the chaos will help one learn  healthier ways to deal with problems instead of reverting back to unhealthy dysfunctional patterns.  Letting go of codependency or dysfunctional patterns may feel overwhelming at first, but this is the first step in allowing God to refine and renew us for His eternal plans.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

MYTH #2–Dysfunction is Absent from my life.  Can we say denial?  The absence of dysfunction doesn’t mean dysfunction is absent.  I’ll never forget a forensics file episode I watched.  The detective said, ‘the absence of evidence, doesn’t mean that evidence is absent.’  That statement was so profound to me–just because we don’t see the evidence doesn’t mean someone didn’t try to wipe away or clean up the evidence.  Trying to get rid of evidence doesn’t negate a crime happened.  Just like our lives, we can become really good at hiding and ‘cleaning up the crime scene,’ to look really good on the outside but that doesn’t mean dysfunction isn’t still lying underneath the surface.  We can fake it till we make it all we want, but that doesn’t mean our dysfunctional problems will go away if we don’t address them!  Just because we can’t see or recognize our dysfunction, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  The enemy uses dysfunction in our lives to keep us blind and deaf, to not really see or hear God clearly.  This is why it’s so important to stay close to God.  Draw near to Him by reading the Bible and praying.  Knowing what His truth is will set us free every time.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

MYTH #3–I’m too dysfunctional to be helped- This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If this were true, Jesus would have never came and died on the cross for us.  No one is ever too dysfunctional to receive mercy and forgiveness from our Savior.  Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed in our dysfunction, that we don’t even know where to begin, and think why bother it will never get better.  This is a lie the enemy would like us to believe, that we are hopeless, not worth rescuing or saving, that we will never be good enough.  It may be true we have dysfunction and make mistakes, but what we do isn’t who we are.  Our dysfunction is an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.  Our dependence in Him in what He’s able to do, helps us rely on His strength, not our own and trusts He is able.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Stepping into a place of vulnerability where our dysfunction is revealed can be a scary place to be!  Because that means we have to deal with ourselves and may have to do a lot of work to unravel the mess.  There is no one else I’d rather unravel my mess and peel back the layers of dysfunction with than Jesus.  He knows how to refine, restore, and renew me.

When we allow Jesus into our messes and dysfunction we become crucified in Him. It is no longer us who lives, but Him who lives in us. You are loved, friend! Click To Tweet

Are there dysfunctional patterns that have served you well?

How has dysfunction kept you stuck?

What is one action step you can take today that steps out of dysfunction into God’s presence?

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3 Reasons Why You Should Join A Book Club

Who are my avid readers out there?  What do you like to read?  What is your favorite genre of books?  This year one of my goals is to read 40 books in one year, which means I have to read 3 books a month.  I’ve been reading 1-2 books via audible, 1 book via kindle, and 1-2 hard copy books a month.  If you like to read, I would love to have you join me on the journey to read and discuss some of these books.

That is why I started my first book club, The Healing Book Club! (Click on link to join the FB Group)

We will read faith based books and books written by experts such as doctors on topics such as mental and emotional health, healing from pasts hurts, inspirational stories, and social injustice.  I love to learn and have conversations about books I’ve read and learn where I can grow and do better.  I’m excited to share this upcoming month’s book pick She Writes For Him, “Black Voices of Wisdom,”  written by a couple of my friends Kennita Williams and Carol Chisolm.  This May they will join us for the book club discussion.  We will be able to listen to their stories and ask them questions.  If you’re anyone like me, you’re probably thinking, I don’t have time to read a book and talk about it.  When I set my goal, I knew I needed accountability.

Click image to buy

Here are 3 Reasons Why You Should Join a Book Club:

 1.  To Be Intentional–  Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Nothing Changes, when Nothing Changes?’  When I’m doing the same thing over and over and expect something different to happen, that is the definition of insanity.  We can’t expect to have something new or different in our lives when we’re only viewing life from our own singular perspective.  Reading books from different authors and backgrounds, allows us to view life through the lens and eyes of someone not like us.  It allows us to hear their heart and what concerns them.  James tells us, “my beloved brothers:  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  (1:19).  Committing to reading a book a month, helps us to be intentional, and engage in interesting conversations about new topics.  It helps us to step out of our comfort zones and engage in new things.  Something always changes when we try something new.

2.  To learn and grow.  I’m always amazed how inspired I am when I learn something new about a topic.  I always feel so inspired after reading a book, and to make changes from the things I’ve read and learned.  That’s why I like to read the Bible, God’s instructions help keep me straight and identify where I am lacking and need to grow most.  2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”  You will never regret being in a place of humbleness where you are willing to grow and learn.  I love to read books that make an impact and challenge me to do better.

3.  To engage, connect, and make new friendships.  Whenever I join a book club, I meet so many new people, and have engaging conversations I never would have had before.  Connection and togetherness is God’s design for our lives.  Reading books from the perspective of someone else who is different than us, broadens our sight and hearing beyond our own lens.  It allows us to walk across the street and move beyond the four walls of our homes.  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  We need each other to grow.  The connections and conversations we have in book clubs are life giving and something we can always take with us.  You never know what a conversation might spark or connection you will make in a book club that God will use for what he has for you next.

If you want to join the conversation and be a part of this next book club click on the link to join!  

Here is a description of the next book from Amazon.

Hear the Voices and Hearts of Your Sisters.

In these turbulent times when the ugly stain of racism is at the forefront of our society bringing rampant division and mistrust, we desperately need ways to come together.

To build bridges of understanding between all in the body of Christ, we bring you twenty-three voices of Black Christian women, authors, ministers, educators, leaders, and mothers. Their powerful life experiences and heartfelt wisdom will shake you, open your eyes, and help you understand your sisters in Christ.

From the ways women of color are treated in our society, to raising Black daughters and sons, how a Black woman can have a white supremacist attitude, to how to respond as Christ would have us, their life experiences will be a link in bridging the gap between us with love.

May this powerful volume be a part of the bridge of love and understanding we need to walk across with our sisters.

 

Other Books we will possibly read:

The Gift of Pain-  Phillip Yancey                                        Permission to Feel-  Dr. Marc Brackett

Be the Bridge-  Latasha Morrison                                     Together-  Dr. Vivek Murthy

Clean Up Your Mental Mess-  Dr. Caroline Leaf              The Power of Vulnerability-  Dr. Brené Brown

Get Out of Your Head-  Jennie Allen                                 Outliers-  Malcolm Gladwell

Oneness Embraced- Tony Evans                                      The Power of Moments-  Chip and Dan Heath

How to Fight Racism- Jemar Tisby                                   Boundaries-  Dr. Henry Cloud


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What Do You Want To Be Known For?

What do you want to be known for?  A Habakkuk Bible Study By Dannah Gresh

Isn’t it interesting what’s revealed when our world is in chaos, going through extreme circumstances?  Somethings not so good, but there’s other blessings that come out of hardships one would never expect.  I’ve been studying the book of Habakkuk, what a perfect book for these unprecedented times.  It’s a book about uncertainty, feeling forgotten, wondering if God is ever going to intervene.  Sounds a lot like what we’re all going through right now.  

The meaning of Habakkuk means to ‘embrace,’ or to ‘wrestle.’  Seems appropriate in the times we are in.  We can either embrace our situations and make the best of them or wrestle with them and suffer.  In the beginning of the book, Habakkuk cries out to God and asks,

“O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?”  “Or cry to you, “Violence!” And you will not save?”  “Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?”  “So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.  For the wicked surround the righteous;  so justice goes forth perverted.”  Habakkuk 1:1-2, 4.  

In other words, ‘God where are you?’ ‘There’s a lot of messed up stuff happening right now, why are you allowing it?’  

Sometimes waiting for God’s response when he seems silent can be excruciating, and an arduous process.  We can question, why isn’t God DOING something about all the violence, suffering, and injustice?  But here is some truth while we wait for those answers.  God is an eternal, faithful, mighty, holy God who is good all the time (Habakkuk 1:12-13).  No matter what is going on the world we can trust He is coming back and there will be a day where there is no more pain, suffering, or death (Revelations 21:4).  

Something from the study CONVICTED me.  Dannah Gresh talks about the book of Daniel and how he chooses to be resolved in front of king Nebuchadnezzar and not partake in their feasts.  Resolved means to settle or find solution to the problem.  One of the reasons why is because their feasts partook in idol worship in which Daniel would only worship his one true King, God.  King Nebuchadnezzar’s tantalizing tactics to seduce Daniel into a life of worshipping luxury failed.  Was it because Daniel was more faithful than the rest of us?  I mean who wouldn’t want to indulge in some steak and wine nightly and engorge themselves?  But Daniel referred back to what had kept him grounded, God’s TRUTH.  

What we're known for and what we WANT to be KNOWN for can be two different things. #known #LovedClick To Tweet

What Are You Known For?

Have you ever heard of the 10,000 hour rule?  A book written by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers addresses what sets people a part from being average to excelling at something.  The short answer is being disciplined.  They become experts by spending more than twenty hours a week learning their craft.   We are what we invest ourselves in.  What activities do you invest your time in?  I admit during quarantine there was a lot of Netflix binge watching, baking, and maybe even the mindless scroll through social media, because there wasn’t the other daily activities of life to keep me busy. 

Here’s the shocking reality of what on average other American’s invested their time in: Scrolling through social media per week (21 hours), shopping on-line (20 hours), watching Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (20 hours), Eating, food prep, thinking about eating (15 hours).Click To Tweet  

This kind of makes me feel like a sloth!  

I’m also guilty of not being intentional during this time.  The shutdown highlighted areas of my life where I lacked discipline.  It was important as ever to stay in a workout routine even though the gyms were shut down, to keep eating healthy even though restaurants were closed, to stay in God’s Word (have no excuse for this one).  It was easy to get out of the routine when one wasn’t established.  I had all of these high hopes of things I would accomplish with my family.  Some got done others did not.  

Wherever you live right now we don’t have to stop gathering together just because things shut down.  We can still gather just in a different way.  I am excited to do this Bible study with other women in my neighborhood some of us through zoom and some are in person, but we are still studying God’s Word TOGETHER!  It’s so important to still gather (in the safest way possible), stay connected in God’s Word, and BUILD RELATIONSHIPS!    We don’t have to stop growing just because things shut down. 

I don’t want to be known for my bad habits or things I regret from my past, or how many hours of Netflix I watched.  Does it really matter how many miles I run, or how many sit ups I do?  None of that makes me valuable or worthy.  I want God’s love to be known in me and to others so they know GOD LOVES THEM.  I FEEL like I’m failing at that right now, I could do BETTER.  

Spending time in Scripture allows me to hear God’s voice for what He wants me to prioritize and how to be intentional right now.  In my prayer time I’m asking God, ‘how can I love others well right now?’  ‘What do you want to be focused on?’ ‘How can I serve you when things look so different?’  

What do you want to be known for? What are you known for?

Are you struggling with being disciplined in any area of your life right now?

One of the ways I can do better is to be apart of the healing of our nation/world by educating myself about the wounds of racial diversity and unity.  I’m reading the book “Be the Bridge” by Latasha Morrison.  How can I say I want to do better if my life doesn’t reflect that?  I can say the words all I want, but if my actions don’t support it, then I am just a hypocrite.  The only way to have unity in diversity is to LISTEN, show empathy and compassion, get to know others who aren’t in my circle of comfort and LEARN  from them.  If your desire is to do better consider reading Be the Bridge, or start studying God’s Word and make it apart of your healthy habits.  

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How To Heal From Hidden Hurts: Half the Battle Book Review {& Giveaway!}

Have you ever faced a battle in your life and wondered ‘why me?’ or ‘when will this ever end?’  Well today you are in the right place.  I’m excited to share with you a book written by Dr. Jon Chasteen, Half the Battle:  Healing From Hidden Hurts.  A lot of us go through life discrediting the hidden hurts and trauma of our past, stuffing it down to hidden areas where it can’t hurt us anymore.  We tell ourselves lies, ‘they don’t matter,’ or ‘I’m fine, that was the past,’ when in reality we keep those hurts hidden away, not healed from them, just put in a different area of our hearts.

Funny thing how the body works.  It wants to heal.  Although this method of suppression will serve you well for probably many years, it never lasts.  God has a way of surfacing those hidden areas we’ve managed to keep ‘safe,’ by nudging us into areas of His eternal healing.  It’s our choice whether we want to be healed or keep sitting on our mats like the paralyzed man.

“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.  It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time thee will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”  Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  John 11:38-40 ESV.

In biblical times, the dead weren’t necessarily buried but put in caves with large stones to seal them (cave burials were for the wealthy).  They did this so there wouldn’t be the horrific odor from the dead that was buried there.  The odor was kept hidden by the stone.  Dr. Chasteen calls this the ‘stench behind the stone.’  He uses this example as a parallel of our undealt with pain.

'Jesus is not okay with permanently sealed tombs.' #quote Dr. Jon Chasteen #HalftheBattle #healingClick To Tweet

How To Heal From Hidden Hurts

What’s so amazing about the story of Lazarus is, everyone had started the mourning process, there was no possibility of a miracle, their loved one was dead, end of story–Jesus entered the scene and changed everything.  So why allow Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, and all his loved ones go through all that pain in the first place?  To show us what it looks like to invite Jesus into our pain.  Dr. Chasteen, uses the story of Lazarus to paint the picture of what we do with our pain.  How we try to bury our pain and seal it off in a grave without truly healing from it.  He wants us to see what happens when we invite Jesus into our pain, how miracles and healing happen when we do.

Jesus can resurrect any pain and bring it back to life Click To Tweet

Our pain is Jesus’ pain.  You’re pain matters to him.  “Jesus knows where you’ve hidden your pain” (quote, Chasteen).  He wants us to take Him to that exact place where we stopped believing and gave up hope.  Healing isn’t healing if it’s done half-way.  Jesus knows the way to heal because He is our Healer.

Maybe your pain stems from the pain of rejection.  Or from the pain of being abandoned or forgotten.  Maybe you’ve been the victim of abuse or racism.

Whatever the root of our pain, 'God can take whatever pain, whatever rejection, and whatever shame you carry and use it for His glory and for your good' #quote Chasteen #halfthebattleClick To Tweet

The enemy will always use our pain for his evil plan.  He’ll whisper lies it’s better to keep our pain hidden, attach shame to it, not allow Jesus in to help us, and to carry this burden on our own.  We can’t change the pain of our pasts.  We can’t pretend our past didn’t happen.  We can only take steps towards allowing Jesus to have access to all areas of our hearts so He can heal the forgotten hidden areas of our heart.  What the enemy uses for evil God will use for good (Genesis 50:20).

I will never forget when God did this for me in my life.  I knew there were areas of pain and hurt I was holding onto.   I knew God was nudging me to deal with them and allow Him to lead Him to the root.  I kept saying, ‘no,’ until one day I couldn’t say, ‘no,’ anymore.  He had brought me to the very place our son died in the hospital, when our daughter had broken the tip of her finger.  God asked me in this moment, ‘Do you want to heal?’  I finally said, ‘yes.’  He then nudged me to walk into the place that caused so much of my pain, the room where our son died.  The moment I stepped into the room, God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace, letting me know, you don’t have to hold onto your pain anymore, I have your son, I’m taking care of Him, you will see him again one day.

The key to healing is our willingness to heal.

Healing is hard but so worth it.  Half the battle is being willing.  Our willingness allows for places of honesty and vulnerability places where Jesus will do His amazing work in us, when we allow Him.  We don’t always have to know how only trust that God knows a better way.  We will never find healing and restoration in shame and pride.  Everlasting peace and freedom will only happen when we partner with Jesus and let Him in, not when we try to carry our burdens on our own.  We were created and made to have a holy dependence in God not a holy independence (kind of never works out when we do).

God doesn’t always provide the front door approach to our pain, because He knows many of us won’t walk through it!  Sometimes He uses the back door approach, allows us to go through the battles, pain, and struggles so we can draw closer to Him and invite Him in.  If you struggle with allowing God to have your pain, Half the Battle will help lead you to those place where hidden hurts reside.  Dr. Chasteen will help you roll the stone away so you can deal with those hidden hurts that don’t allow one to heal.

Do you invite Jesus into your hidden hurts?

Where do you keep hidden hurts?

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3 Ways to Have More Joy in 2020


 

“The best news in the world is that there is no conflict between your greatest possible happiness and God’s perfect holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus magnifies him as the greatest treasure and brings you more joy—eternal, infinite joy—than any other delight ever could.”  John Piper

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday.  I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing and it’s been nice.  We all could use breaks and rest to be able to recharge and be refreshed.  How has your new year been shaping up?  Have you set goals, made resolutions?  Whatever your aspirations are I pray they are blessed beyond measure and filled with joy.

I’ve been reading a YouVersion Bible Reading Plan by John Piper called 15 Days in the Word with John Piper.

He talks about the secret of invincible joy and how our greatest rewards are in Jesus.  This message is something I’ve heard before, but never had I heard joy described as rescued.  Nothing can destroy or take away our joy, even in our suffering when it’s anchored in Jesus.  It is possible to keep our joy protected and safe even in the most painful of times when heaven is the reward.

'Great is your reward in heaven. And the sum of that reward is enjoying the fullness of the glory of Jesus Christ' quote John Piper (paraphrased John 17:24).Click To Tweet

Our greatest fulfillment will always come from what God can provide.  Nothing in this world could ever compete or compare to the eternal joy in which only God provides.

3 Ways to Have More Joy in 2020

1.  Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and not beat yourself up over them.  To all the perfectionists out there write this down on a notecard and put it somewhere you can see it.  Say this to yourself everyday until this sinks in.  If there is one thing I struggle with, it’s being gentle with myself when I don’t make good choices.  I have a constant message in my head on repeat on how I could have done things better.

Thank goodness for God’s grace.  His grace was never meant to be abused to continue with bad behavior over and over but to help refine us and mold us through Him, not ourselves.  Joy will always be found in what God does in us.  Our mistakes don’t make us bad, they make us human.  God can do so much more with our mistakes when we surrender them to Him, then we could ever do ourselves.

2. Learn how to be emotionally honest with yourself.  Let’s face it, if we struggle with the ability to give ourselves grace when we mess up, we probably struggle with being realistic with our emotions.  Our emotions and mistakes don’t define us but what we do with them matters.  If we’re being honest with ourselves we’re able to own our own stuff and not constantly use blame or criticism to take the focus off ourselves.

Are you critical and judgmental of others?  Do you like to point out others mistakes in front of others?  Do you create chaos?  Looking within ourselves we might  discover when we’re critical of others we’re probably critical of ourselves.  Pointing out others’ flaws, doesn’t make your flaws as bad and then you don’t have to focus on yourself.  When you point out others mistakes, you probably aren’t secure with yourself and when other’s mistakes are magnified, no one is looking at your messes.  When patterns of chaos are created, then you don’t have to deal with your own problems when chaos is around.  If you want to have more joy in 2020, learn how to be emotionally honest, it’s the best gift you can give yourself.   Emotional honesty allows us to be emotionally available for others which is very enriching for relationships.

3.  Learn how to ‘BE’ instead of always doing.  Girl, if there’s one thing I could write to my younger self this would be it.  I’m ashamed to say how much of my energy has been wrapped up in doing, performing, and achieving.   Again if my focus was on the accomplishment I didn’t have to focus on myself.  Somehow my identity got tethered to these things and life became about doing.  God didn’t make human doings, he created human beings.  We were created ‘to be.’    We can be free in how God made us when we learn how to be.

We don’t always have to be the solution to every problem, the rescuer or savior (roles that were never meant for us in the first place).  Learning to be, means learning how to have balance when there are problems in your life.  Being means learning how to have more empathy for others when they are going through hard times.  Learning empathy allows for more compassion to be in our lives.  God wants us to learn how to BE love not DO love.  When we do, we put our own efforts into it and bypass God.  When we be, we allow God to work through and within us so His love overflows not the other way around.

Do you struggle with giving yourself grace when you make mistakes?

Are you able to be emotionally honest with yourself?

Do you struggle with being instead of doing?

Me too.  You’re not alone.  I struggle with every single one.  This is the beauty in our journey when we EMBRACE THE PROCESS.  It’s not about being perfect, getting it right all the time, it’s about learning to be well and allowing God to use EVERYTHING in His time.

How about you?  Do you desire to have more joy in 2020?  I do.  Learning to trust in the process God has put forth will always allow for His abundant joy to fill us, satisfy and complete us more than we could ever imagine.

Are you able to receive God's joy in your life?Click To Tweet

How can you have more joy in 2020?

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

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I will be taking a little break from blogging to be able to work on a project that God has been pressing on my heart.  In order to be obedient to what God has for me, I need to be realistic with my time.  I may post a new post from time to time, but it won’t be weekly.  I will keep you posted on what I’m doing and thank you all who read and subscribe to the posts, it means so much to me.  I am grateful.


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Why Do We Struggle with Being Authentic?

Have you ever struggled with being honest with yourself?  And wondered why is it so hard for me to be vulnerable and real?  Chances are you are not alone.  Many of us struggle with showing the world our real selves (me included) for fear of being criticized or judged.  For fear of not being liked or even outcasted from circles of friends.

If you work in any kind of team setting chances are you’ve already taken a Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, or HSP personality test to determine where you fall in the spectrum of being a team player or coachable.  How we perceive and receive information is vital in how we respond and grow.

Knowing who we are helps us to be the truest version of ourselves and not try to be something we’re not.  Most recently I’ve taken the Myer-Briggs test and discovered I’m an ENFJ which means I’m an extrovert, I’m intuitive, I process things through feelings and I have good judgement.

I actually scored very low on the extrovert making me closer to an introvert than I realized.  I get recharged by retreating to a quiet place by myself instead of throwing myself into a big crowd of people.

On the Enneagram I’m a 1 with a 2 wing.  And on the Highly Sensitive Person test I scored a 13, meaning a process information at a higher degree of emotion than others.

To not know who you really are, is a lonely place to be.  Chances are if there is a struggle in your life, maybe your struggle isn’t about what you’re really struggling with but a deeper conflict of denying your own self in how God made you.

Why Do We Struggle With Being Authentic?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of authentic is:  true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.

Ask yourself these questions.

Do you allow others to see your real self?  Do you allow them to see not just the good parts about you, but the broken pieces, flaws and everything in between?

Are you a ‘doer’?  Meaning do you play the role of a ‘fixer’ and try to ‘do’ compassion for others by doing things for them, or can you just ‘be’ compassion for a friend?

Are you a chameleon and try to blend in a crowd (depending who’s there) or do you let your real personality come through no matter what situation you’re in?

Do you allow anyone to see your emotions when you’re happy, sad, frustrated or annoyed?  Or do you only share emotions with certain people you consider safe?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.  They are merely to probe a deeper response to ‘why’ do we do what we do?

Chances are many of us are afraid to show our real selves for fear of not being accepted or wanted by anyone.Click To Tweet

Sadly I think many of us adapt our personalities depending on our situations, to conform to the worldly ‘normal’ of what’s acceptable.  We deny who we are at the cost of fitting in.

We struggle with being authentic because……….

We don’t give ourselves the liberty to be honest and real.  When are busy being busy, we’re not able to sit and peel back the layers of what really lies beneath.  When we do we’ll be surprised to find there is a lot of good stuff under all those layers!  There is nothing under those layers God can’t mend!

We become human ‘doers’ instead human ‘beings.’  When we ‘do’ love instead of ‘being’ love, we become the rescuers and Saviors, two roles that are meant for Jesus, not us.  When we become love, we become a vessel for God’s love showing others the love that could only come from Jesus.

We hide our brokenness, keep our flaws hidden.  When we protect our flaws from being seen and not allow them to be brought into the light, we deny the essence of who we are, broken.  I’m not saying stand on a stage with a megaphone and shout to the world all of of your ugly secrets.  What I am saying is exercise wisdom by having people of accountability in your life that can help be a voice of wisdom.  Someone you can share your junk with who can pray for you and keep you straight.

To hide our brokenness is to hide Jesus.

Jesus didn’t come to die on the cross in secret.  He died on the cross for all the world to see to let them know salvation is a FREE gift for EVERYONE.  

To deny our brokenness is to deny Jesus.

We can never be authentic or live in God’s original design in our lives when we aren’t able to be honest with ourselves.

Do you know your TRUE self?

Do you feel like you have the FREEDOM to live how God created you?  Why or Why not?

Do you struggle with being authentic?

How can you be more authentic today?

If you struggle with being who you are, try taking a personality test.  Try writing a letter to yourself, telling yourself it’s okay to be you.  Write down your personality traits.  Which ones do you allow others to see?  Which ones do you hide and ask why do you hide these traits?

Or find an accountability partner, a wise mentor, or a life coach to help in your journey in getting back to your TRUE self.  Start journaling and seeking God in prayer of what He desires for you.

When we deny who we are in how God made us we are missing out on God's original design and purpose in our lives. Click To Tweet

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:12

Praise God, when we embrace God’s purpose for us, we will always be able to live in our most authentic selves.

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When You’re Identity Isn’t You’re Identity

In case you haven’t noticed, anyone you talk to nowadays has had their DNA tested by some sort of DNA testing company such as ancestry and 23 and me.  These companies make it so easy, just swab or spit into the container they provide and ship off the specimen in the mail.  They are not only able to test what your ancestral composition is but your genetic health as well.

People choose to have their DNA tested for all sorts of reasons.  It could be they were adopted and want to know more information about where they came from.  It could be to find out if their ancestral heritage is really what they’ve been told.  Or they just want to know if they have a variant for a certain genetic disorder.

Whatever the reason, people are curious about what makes up their genetic DNA, because that makes us who we are.

When You’re Identity Isn’t You’re Identity

I recently had my DNA tested and was very surprised to find out what I discovered.  I knew I was Scottish and British and was told my whole life I was Native American.  Well, DNA is DNA and evidence does not lie.  My DNA did not show one drop of Native American blood.  In fact it showed I was 8% African American and 5% Ashkenazi Jew among 13% French German and 2% Scandinavian and Spanish/Portuguese.

I was quite surprised to discover my DNA didn’t show what I was told my whole life.  What I’ve discovered on this journey, is creating a family tree to trace back who your ancestors really are helps.  I have found there is some truth to what I’ve been told and what my DNA shows.

The only problem is once one starts digging into the past and building family trees, one might discover there’s a lot of skeletons in the closet that some don’t want uncovered.

We all have messed up and broken pasts that may reveal ugly parts of our past.  Even Jesus did.  Check out this short video done by Bible Gateway that shows the messed up past of Jesus’ genealogy.  He was related to Rahab the prostitute, King David a rapist and murder, And King Solomon a big time polygamist. Click here to watch the short video.

One might think how can Jesus our Savior, who never sinned have such a messed up past? Click To Tweet

We may want to dismiss our own broken pieces of our past to somehow make us more ‘holy’ if we didn’t have these things as a part of our lives.  But the Bible doesn’t cover up the brokenness of Jesus’ past or anyone for that matter.  In fact, the Bible leads with the brokenness of the most highly esteemed people in the Bible.

To cover up the broken pieces of our lives is to cover up Jesus.Click To Tweet

We miss out on our true purpose and identity when we deny how God made us.  We may not like our flaws, our idiosyncrasies, or even our past mistakes, but it is how God made us and will use everything for His greater plan.

Our brokenness and past mistakes don't define us, our choices and who God says we are does.Click To Tweet

What’s so amazing about Jesus’ history is no matter who we are, no matter what our past reveals he can identify with our messes!

Our identities will never be found in our past.  They will never be found in what we wear or even how much money we make.  They will never be found in titles, the more we have or how many people we know.

Our true identity will always be found in Jesus in who he says we are.  Hallelujah praise God for that!

We all have different genetic DNA, but when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we all have the same spiritual DNA making us all apart of God’s big family.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:5 NLT

We obtain a new identity in Christ when we accept Him as our Savior.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

We no longer want or desire our old ways.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:24

We become a new person in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

Our old selves are no longer. 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  Philippians 1:21

To live in Christ is to gain.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Phil. 3:8 ESV

Friend, you were made for this.

Your past does not need you, your future does.

You were made and created just the way you are for God's bigger plan and purpose. Praise God our identities aren't in what this world says but in who God says we are. Click To Tweet

Have you ever believed something about your identity that wasn’t true?

What part of your identity do you struggle with?

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What Are You Most Thankful For?

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s a season for giving thanks, fellowship, serving one another and sharing a meal with each other.  It’s a time we can enjoy each other and share what we are thankful for.

Or maybe it’s not.  Maybe Thanksgiving reveals everything we don’t have and haven’t accomplished.  Thanksgiving may be like a magnifying glass examining the little details of our lives that expose everything we are not.

To cover up our flaws, we assemble the perfect table and meal, making it seem like we have it all together, but really we’re falling apart on the inside.

Can you relate?

What are you Most Thankful For?

Of course, I am thankful for my family, our health and how abundantly blessed we are.  It’s so easy to thank God when things are going well in our lives.  It’s not so easy when they are not.

When things are falling apart and I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread, I am most thankful for Jesus.  I am thankful that even in my messes, I am complete in Jesus.  Even in my suffering, I am blessed.

It’s amazing when Jesus meets us in our messes, our storms, and flaws–He turns them into life’s greatest blessings.

If I never experienced failure, I would never know the deeper meaning of perseverance–How God makes the impossible, possible.

If I never trained for a marathon, I would never have known the power of God’s strength.

If I never went through the loss of our son, I would never experience the deeper meaning of God’s love and His glorious plan that one day we will see him again.

If I never had trials in marriage or as a parent, I would never have realized the value in growing my patience and building a stronger foundation in Jesus.  

To remove our messes, our struggles and flaws are to remove God’s glorious blessings.  


What am I Most Thankful For?  Jesus.  

I am not thankful for my trials but am thankful to have Jesus to walk with me in my trials.

When I struggle, I think of Job.  When his cattle was destroyed he still gave thanks.  When his family was killed he still gave thanks to God.  When his crops were destroyed he gave thanks.  When his health was at stake, he gave thanks.

When everything was taken away from him, he never stopped thanking God.  His thankfulness in his devastation produced a greater blessing he could have ever received than if he focused on everything he didn’t have.

No Jesus + Everything = Nothing.

Jesus + Nothing= Everything

Even when I have nothing, I have everything in Jesus.  There is always something to be thankful for.  I am nothing without Jesus.
  

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18)Click To Tweet

Behind every trial, there is a greater blessing.

When we GIVE THANKS in our trials, it helps us focus on God’s GOODNESS and that His LOVE endures FOREVER.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1)Click To Tweet

A Thanksgiving Prayer-  

THANK YOU, Lord Jesus, not only for our family, our health and the food we will eat this THANKSGIVING But also for our TRIALS we have endured this year.  We are not thankful for our suffering, but thankful that you are good and know what is BEST for US!

THANK YOU for giving us what we NEED not what we WANT.  You Always have the best plans ever!  THANK YOUfor going AHEAD of us and PREPARING  a place for us, even in our STRUGGLES we know this is only our TEMPORARY HOME.

THANK YOU for our circumstances that are beyond our control, they TEACH US to depend and lean on you making us closer to YOU.  THANK YOU for unanswered PRAYERS, they help us to TRUST in you, in your PERFECT PLAN.

THANK YOU for WALKING with US in the fiery furnace.  If you we didn’t have your hand to hold onto we would never know you are ALWAYS with us and will NEVER leave US.  THANK YOU for your FORGIVENESS when we fail and make bad choices.  THANK YOU for your LOVE and ALWAYS being there even in our MESSES.

THANK YOU for our DESPERATE Moments when we feel like we have nothing left, we can always depend on YOUR STRENGTH.  THANK YOU for our roadblocks and detours, they show us that when we follow Jesus, He knows the WAY!

THANK YOU for our failures and losses, they show us there is no greater reward than Jesus.  THANK YOU for your perfect gift of ETERNAL LIFE!  No matter what we go through it does not compare to the glorious reward of HEAVEN when we accept Jesus as our Savior!  THANK YOU for your PERFECT LOVE AND PLAN!  AMEN

What are you Most Thankful For this Thanksgiving?

Do you give thanks despite your trials?

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What To Do With Unsolvable Problems

“The thing I love about God is He intentionally guides people into failure.”  Bob Goff, Love Does

Do you ever struggle with having unsolvable problems in your life?  You know those problems that keep coming up over and over that don’t ever seem to get solved?  The more I’m getting to know myself the more I realize, I can’t stand having unsolvable problems in my life.

You know what I do with those problems?  I try to solve them myself!  Yup.  For some reason I think it’s my job to attach myself to the solution, the outcome, and the problem itself and try to fix it!  I try to control these things I have no control over.

As a result of me trying to exert my non-existent authority and weakness over these matters a mess happens.  Why do I think I can do a better job than God?   I don’t know, but it never works.  God doesn’t need my help, yet I interfere to offer my services where they don’t belong.

Have You Ever Been There?  

What To Do With Unsolvable Problems:

We’re not the only ones who struggle with problems in our lives we can’t solve.  The Israelites had A LOT of problems and they ALSO tried to take matters in their own hands MANY times.

In Exodus 32:1-2, The Israelites went before Aaron, Moses’ brother and said, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us.  As for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”  So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”

“So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.  And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and make a golden calf.  And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”  (Exodus 32:3-4).

If you have been following my posts we have been following the Israelites through their journey of their captivity, deliverance  and waiting.  In Letting Go, Letting God The Israelites had to let go of their expectations of how God was going to deliver his promise of The Promised Land.  Here once again, The Israelites were waiting for Moses (which seemed like forever) to return from Mt. Sinai with the 10 commandments.

They got impatient, seeking an alternative to God.  And instead of seeking their one true God, they looked elsewhere to a less than false god with their own belongings.

What a mess they had made when they got impatient, taking matters into their own hands.  Instead of waiting for God’s greater and better plan, they decided their plan was better and went ahead of God.

How many times do we do this as well?  We think we know better.  We think we have a better way.  And then our fruitless efforts of making God’s plans better become an entangles mess.

If only The Israelites took their unsolvable problem of wanting to worship a god NOW was taken to their one and only true God FIRST. Click To Tweet

If only when we have Unsolvable Problems we take them to God FIRST instead of trying to solve them OURSELVES with our own accord and strength.

“For I know the plans for you, declares the LORD, Plans to Prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you a Hope and a Future.”

God does not need my help, nor did He ask for it.  Yet I run ahead and involve myself to try to ‘fix’ or make it ‘better.’

We all have unsolvable problems.  The balance is learning how to live life WITH these unsolvable problems.  It’s okay to have problems, because I know the one who can solve them.  I know the one who has the solution for them.  I know the one who has the answer to them.

When we allow God to have our unsolvable problems, He’s able to mend, to mold, to refine, use them, restore, redeem, reconcile them into something so much greater.  The only problem to the unsolvable problem is US when we continue to get in the way and don’t allow God to do His thing.

His ways are greater, His plans are better.

What should we do with our unsolvable problems? Give them to the one who is able. Click To Tweet

What do you do with your unsolvable problems?

Do you try to ‘fix’ your own problems?

The best thing we can do to allow God access to our problems is to GET OUT OF THE WAY.  When we do, we give God the authority to solve our problems in His power and in His way.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, I know I have unsolvable problems that only you can fix.  I know that I’ve been guilty of trying to fix my problems my way and have been getting in the way.  I know I’m not the authority in my problems but yet I try to take control and fix my problems my way.  Please forgive me Lord, for taking the steering wheel out of your hands.  Take my hands off of anything where they don’t belong.  I pray I will allow for your timing, your plans to mend and restore my problems.  Thank you God for caring so much for me and walking through this with me, I pray this in Jesus name.  Amen

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Dear Lord, Even If You Don’t……

Have you ever heard the lyrics to the song “Even If” by Mercy Me?

I know You’re able and I know you can, Save through the fire with your mighty hand, But even if you don’t, My hope is you alone…..

Have you ever felt like these words?  Ever felt like giving up thinking to yourself, what’s the use?  What good is it to do what I’m doing?  Or It’s hopeless, my situation will never change!

Maybe you’ve prayed the same prayer a thousand times and never seen any results.  Or maybe you’ve been on the crazy cycle doing the same thing over and over, not getting anywhere.

In the midst of it all we are never hopeless, we are never powerless when we have the one who is able with us.

Sometimes the road of devastation we walk can seem like an endless road to nowhere but I can promise you these roads of brokenness are always paved with his glory.

Even If you Don’t…….

“On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.   The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout!”  For the LORD has given you the city!”  (Joshua 6:15-16).

What if God told you I will give you everything you could have ever imagine (and then some)?  How would you respond?  What if He told you, The Promised Land I’ve promised you is right at your fingertips.  But first you must………

Ahhh, there’s always a catch right!?!?  Yes and No.  Last week’s post Letting Go and Letting God addressed Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and wandering the desert for 40 years.  At this point The Israelites had already crossed over the Jordan River and were thinking, ‘Yes! We’ve made it!’  Well not really first they had to face some giants a whole army of them.

So God gives Joshua the instructions to march seven times around the ginormous walls of Jericho for six days.  And then the seventh day march 7 times around!  For six days the Israelites marched in silence until the seventh day.

Can you imagine after marching for 7 days straight in a row their surprise when those walls of Jericho came tumbling down?Click To Tweet

I think I would have been feeling quite tired and weary of marching around a huge city for 7 days straight to see nothing happening.  Not being able to speak and just march in silence day in and day out.  It makes me think how heavy their feet felt, each step they took.  How heavy their hearts felt each day that passed, thinking why must we keep doing this?!?!?

Haven’t we’ve been through enough Lord?!?!?!?

I can’t imagine the thoughts that must have ruminated in their minds as they marched.  What if God doesn’t do what he said he would?  What if God isn’t going to come through?  What if this is all for nothing?

How glorious it must have been to see those walls fall, after enduring everything they had been through year after year and to have the faith to keep on marching!Click To Tweet

Maybe you are running out of fuel and have nothing left.  Maybe you can relate to The Israelites, the trials they endured in the waiting, in the wandering, in the when will this end?!?!  Even in their despair, in the unknowing they kept placing one foot in front of the other and kept on marching.  When they did, they saw God’s amazing plan unfold, the indestructible city of Jericho’s walls fall down.

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Have you ever felt like what you go through is all for nothing?

Every road of brokenness is paved with his glory, we just have to stay on it.  Don’t give up. Whatever road you are on towards healing, restoration, redemption, reconciliation stay on it, it’s so worth it.

Even if you don’t Lord, I know you are good.

Even if you don’t Lord, I know your are faithful and keep your promises.

Even if you don’t Lord, you are still my Maker, My Creator, My God in whom I love and am Thankful for.

Even if you don’t Lord, you are MY God in whom I trust and know your ways are greater and better.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, 

I know you’re able and I know you could just wave my pain away right now and that hurts.  I know that you can see me And have been watching me year after year go through what I’m going through.  I know you have heard every prayer I’ve cried.  Even if you don’t answer my prayer, even if you my sorrow doesn’t subside, I know you are faithful and good. My hope is in you alone, Lord.  Despite what I’m going through I want to believe there’s a better way, a better outcome, you’re glory refined.  I know you don’t need me, but you chose me. I know your way is better, your plans are amazing.  I pray for your unsurpassed peace to supersede in the midst of the chaos, in midst of the pain. When my hope is in you, your glory will arise and make the most beautiful masterpiece ever out of my situation.

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The Jericho Prayer


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