Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

How Sanctification Gives Us Hope ~ So Great a Salvation Series

It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?

The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.

In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!

We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.

We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.

So-Great-a-Salvation, preaching-the-gospel-to-yourself, gospel series, sanctification, justification, reconciliation, adoption

How to use this series:

To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.

Gospel Words:

Justification by Arabah

Sanctification by Jen

Redemption by Rebekah

Reconciliation by Kathy

Regeneration by Marci

Atonement by Leah

Adoption by Kerry

Consecration by Kimberly

Sanctification

In the Old Testament, there is little mention of the word sanctification. In fact, the NIV doesn’t use that particular word at all, while the NASB mentions of sanctification refer to only a single Hebrew word “qadash” (kaw-dash’). Qadash mostly described objects which were “set apart” for use by God. These were not ordinary objects meant for everyday use, but special items such as those used in the tabernacle by the priests (ceremonial items, the ark of the covenant, etc.). Thus, qadash refers to the uncommon, those things or people (mainly priests) set apart strictly for the Lord.

In the New Testament, we see a different sort of sanctification. Two Greek words are used by both the NIV and NASB: hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo),  the verb form which means to make holy or to sanctify, and hagiasmos  (hag-ee-as-mos’), the noun form which means sanctification or holiness.  Both words also relate to hagios (hag’-ee-os), the adjective form used to describe us as Christians.

In essence, to sanctify means to make holy.  However, the New Testament version of making holy describes a process, the process by which the common (mankind) is set apart and made uncommon!

Sanctification can be broken down into 3 P-words:

  1. Position – In Christ, we are considered sanctified before the Lord. We are already perfect, already uncommon, already complete because of Christ’s blood covering over us. When the Father looks at us, He sees not the work that still needs to be done; instead, He sees only the blood of his perfect Son. The work of positional sanctification takes place the moment we accept God’s free gift of forgiveness through His Son’s death on the cross in payment for our sins. So, for those of us who are in Christ, positional sanctification is in the past – it’s a work already accomplished.
  2. Progress – Although we are positionally perfect in Christ, realistically we know that sin keeps us from perfection. Thus, progressive sanctification refers to the process of growing in Christ-likeness. It is the present and continuing form of sanctification, that work in progress that I speak of so often here.  As we grow in Christ-likeness, His image reflected in us becomes more and more clear!
  3. Perfection – There is also a future component to sanctification. One day, when life on this earth ends for us, we will be made complete in Christ.  At that point in time, the work in progress will be finished!  Sin will mar us no more. We will bear the Father’s image perfectly, and the view God has of us on behalf of His Son will match our true character! Just imagine – no more struggling to do right, no more guilt, no more frustration with self!

How-Sanctification-Gives-Us-Hope, sanctification, set-apart, identity in Christ, preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-series, gospel words,

How does sanctification apply to everyday life? 

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  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.”

While we know our position in Christ is secure, we recognize the need for continuing change, for progress.  We know we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we allow the Lord to mold us into His image.  Therefore, sanctification is a combination of our willingness to follow Christ in obedience and His powerful work in our lives to free us from sin.  According to the verses above from Romans, we offer our bodies and minds; God transforms them. The evidence of the sanctification process in us? The fruit of the Spirit. 🙂

This quote from J. I. Packer defines it well.

“God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14).”

The worst thing we can possibly do as Christians is to relegate our Redeemer to the work of salvation, yet bar Him from the work of sanctification. If we trust Christ for eternity, but not for the day to day, then we limit His power. We fail to find freedom and the abundant life He has planned for us.

My sisters, the power of Christ in us is real. His promise to make us into new creations is not just for some distant future when we become complete in Him, but it’s for today! Right now! Moment by moment.

Our Savior came to free us from sin, not just from the guilt of sin, but from sin itself.  This is the goal of sanctification – freeing us to become whom He meant us to be from the very beginning – His image bearers.

Perfect.

Holy.

Set-apart.

Uncommon.

So, we can claim the promise of my life verse, Phil. 1:6, which perfectly sums up the 3 P-words of sanctification. (Key verse to memorize!)

“[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)

He began the work (position); He carries it on (progress); He promises completion (perfection).

I’ve been reminded of this truth often this winter. There comes a time in the Midwest when the landscape becomes a palette of brownish gray dead things.  The grass is dead. The trees are dead. And unless there is fresh snow, the roads become ugly gray muck. At some point, it seems as if spring will never come.

But as I looked out our window the other day, I noticed a tree that was budding.  Even beneath the snow, you could see the slight redness of the buds. Although the tree looked dead, important work was taking place beneath the surface of what I first saw.

Growth.

And in several weeks, we will see the fully glory of that work when all of nature bursts forth in colorful re-birth.

Spring. New Life. Hope.

As I contemplated these things, the Lord reminded me of how often this scenario plays out in my own spiritual landscape.  At times, it seems my progress is stunted – there is too much “deadness” about me, too much sin.  I see only gray and become easily overwhelmed and discouraged.

But beneath the surface, He is doing important work in me. I may not see all of the fruits of sanctification yet, but they will come! And when they do, they will be glorious to behold!

So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by your own sin, stuck in a rut, doomed to failure – preach the gospel truth of sanctification to yourself.

“I am God’s work in progress. As such, I aim not for perfection but for imperfect progress (growth and transformation), only by the power of Christ in me. In the meantime, I trust His promise to carry that work to completion.”

This, my sisters in Christ, this is the hope of sanctification.

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Wholehearted Wednesdays, The Homemaking Party

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Reader Favorites ~ 2014

I’m so thankful for you, my faithful readers, my sisters in Christ (and let’s not forget the brothers, too).  You have made this space a friendly zone for sharing my most personal writings, and 2014 was just the year for it.  All year long, the Father has been challenging me to “Take Courage.” and having encouraging readers certainly helps me to do just that!

Often this space is mostly for me, a place to share what is on my heart, what I want to write about and hear about. But today I want to share YOUR favorites from 2014.  If you haven’t read these top posts before, just click on the individual pictures. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite. 🙂

reader favorites 2014, Being Confident of This blog, top posts of 2014, number one posts, grace for the work-in-progress woman

Most time in the #1 spot:

marriage, Christian marriage, how to love an unloving spouse, feeling unloved, want to feel loved, loving a difficult spouse

“I’ll be honest. As a busy mom of four, I wrestle with this idea that God should be my sole supply. After all, God cannot help with the bedtime routine or sweep the kitchen or sign permissions slips or pay the bills, at least not in a physical sense.  I wrestle, too, with feelings of disappointment and unkind thoughts toward a husband whom I truly wish to respect.

So, how can I demonstrate love for my husband even when he’s not demonstrating love for me?”

Most comments in 2014:

confidence, fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy, healthy body image, health

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.  He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a…”

Runner-up for most comments in 2014:

That New Girl: Finding Confidence

confidence, finding confidence, that new girl, no condemnation, identity, loving yourself, identity in Christ, self-acceptance, imperfect progress

“Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies. But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!”

Most comments of all (even though it’s from 2013):

marriage, imperfect progress, perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

“Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord… He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different…”

The Top 5 written in 2014:

#1

big list of energetic indoor fun, high-energy kids, boys with energy, stuck indoors, cabin fever, school break, I'm bored, kids bored, get energy out

Are the kids driving you crazy? Do your boys have too much energy to stay cooped up indoors? Need a cure for cabin fever?  Is the weather outside frightful?  This huge list of ideas for expending pent-up energy while stuck indoors will help you stay sane!

#2

7 ways to teach bible verses to kids, teaching bible verses to kids, memory verse, preschool, toddler, children, homeschool, church, creative ways to learn memory verses, scripture

For moms, dads, Sunday School teachers, homeschooling families, Children’s Church leaders and anyone else who works with little ones – here’s how to help them hide the Word away in their hearts.

#3

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler, preschooling with dollar store deals, what to buy at the dollar store for homeschool

This isn’t just a list of what to buy for the littles at the dollar store. It’s also a list of how to use the items you buy!  Great deals + great activities=happy learners.

#4

Saving money on kid's clothes, clothing budget, frugal, stewardship, single income family, clothing budget, tight budget, saving money, frugal living

This is part one of two posts on how to save money when buying clothes for a large family.  With three boys and one girl in the house, our tight budget really gets stretched when it comes to purchasing clothes and shoes for the kids. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tricks for working within our small clothing budget to make the most of it.

#5

keeping Christ in Christmas, kid friendly advent free printables, The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent activity, homeschool, church, AWANA, youth group, easy advent, flexible advent, advent fun

Kid-friendly Advent with Free Printables!  I created these as a companion to the Christmas ADVENTure Box that we do each year as an advent activity with our children. Our boys especially love the adventure aspect of it.  It’s an easy, flexible way to keep Christ in Christmas!

Thanks for making 2014 a great year for Being Confident of This!  And even though this isn’t a reader favorite (yet!), I want to leave you with one last post as you head into the new year. It’s close to my heart and really sums up what this year has been about for us.

Courage to Face a Giant

courage quote, fail or succeed, take courage in the Lord, be strong and courageous, facing a giant

Take Courage in the new year, my sisters!

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: The Pin-it Party, Grace and Truth,

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Because ~ We’ve Been Falsely Accused

Today I was falsely accused.

And it stung.

It’s happened before but this wound pierced especially deep because I knew.  I knew I was innocent.

I knew the accusations had more to do with the other person’s heart condition than any imagined offense on my part.  In fact, I knew I had been gracious, kind, and patient in spite of the circumstances.

To do right…and be falsely accused.

Have you been there before, my sisters?  I’m certain you have because even when no one else is accusing us, our Enemy is!  That’s even one of his names, the accuser.

So often we find ourselves in need of a defender because we’ve been falsely accused, and we’re just hoping someone will stand in our defense.

Sometimes we look to friends or family members. Sometimes we look to brothers and sisters in Christ.

But only One can faithfully defend us.

I’m learning more and more to hear the Defender’s voice. I’m waiting more patiently for Him to fight on my behalf.  I can trust Him to go to battle for me rather than feeling the need to defend myself because

He has chosen me.

He has redeemed me.

He has declared, “No more condemnation” over me.

He says the same about you, too, my sisters. You, His beloved ones.

So, today I’m clinging to this promise:

 

falsely accused, Satan, Enemy, Defender, Defense, Jesus

 

Yes, we’ve been falsely accused, but praise the Lord, we have a Defender!

His name is Jesus.

He speaks Truth over us.

The Enemy shudders at His name.

And nothing,

nothing can separate us from His love!

Jen 🙂

I’m joining in with my Five Minute Friday sisters again this week (albeit a little late).  We gather together at Kate’s blog and write on a one-word prompt for five frenzied minutes – no planning, no over-thinking, no editing.  It’s fun and frightening all at the same time.  This week’s word is “because.” Come join us!

And if you enjoyed what is written above, you’ll certainly enjoy this perspective from Jennifer Dukes Lee.

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Greater Is He Who Is in Monday Mornings

Greater is He Who, spiritual warfare, spiritual battle, Satan, God, struggle, encouragement

It’s Monday morning, that dreaded day of the week.

The day when we realize it’s back to work, back to “real” life, back to dirty dishes and school schedules and all the things that so easily weigh us down.

But this Monday morning I sit before the computer with a big smile on my face. Why?

It’s not because of the school schedules or the housework that is waiting or even the awkwardness between my husband and I before he left for work this morning.  It’s not even because this Monday morning started out oh-so-fantastic: quite the opposite, in fact.

It’s not because I recognize the Enemy at work, his attempt to gain back the ground he lost on Sunday.  We talked last week about verses that pack a punch and the reality of spiritual warfare. Have you ever noticed, my sisters, how unbelievably difficult a Monday seems after an incredibly encouraging Sunday?  It’s not a coincidence that the reality of a Monday morning so often dampens our Sunday fire!

But today I smile in the face of everyday difficulty and Monday-morning rude awakenings because my Redeemer lives, and the battle belongs to Him!  Before I could be swayed by doubts this morning, here is the goodness He had in store for me:

A reminder from my GREAT blogging friends that we are not powerless in the struggle, neither are we alone.

This beautiful prayer by Jennifer Dukes Lee, that we might keep “in step” with Him as we step into Mondays. Go read it!

This verse from Ann Voskamp, a reminder to put one foot in front of the other, to keep climbing, to persevere. Take a look for yourself at His faithfulness.

This song from Mercy Me, the song I’ve been playing on repeat either aloud or in my head ever since I received a bad-news-wake-up-call last week.  It reminds me that He who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world. It gives me impossible hope in the God who specializes in the impossible.

 

I smile because He knows my name, He knows my pain, He knows my weakness, and He knows exactly what I need to hear on a Monday morning.

It’s like a secret message, just for me,

just for a beloved daughter,

just for my broken heart,

just for my wounded spirit.

But no, it’s for you, too, my sisters in Christ!

Just because He loves us!

He who is in YOU is greater than he who is in the world, don’t you forget it.

The Enemy is prowling, but our Lord is on guard, you can be certain of that.  And His witnesses proclaim His goodness for all of who feel the sting of the fiery darts this morning. He is faithful!

Ephesians 3

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,

15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,

to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Father, I thank you for being in the midst of even the smallest things, like Monday mornings.  I thank you for faithful voices to remind us of Who you are, Almighty Lord, Highest Authority, One True God, yet also, the Lover of our souls.  We need not be afraid, for the battle belongs to You and the victory is ours to share!  Strengthen us as we wait patiently for victory, Lord.  It is coming.

It is coming.

And all the people rejoice.

Jen 🙂

 

Sharing with:

Mom’s The Word, Whole Hearted Home, A Little R & R, Jennifer Dukes Lee

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Fat Girl Insecurities and #TheLoft

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.  He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races.  My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked.  I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.

I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.

I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.

Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me.  How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom?  It didn’t seem fair, somehow.

fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy

During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny.  I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl.  My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range.  But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself.  I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.

I liked my blue eyes and  long, dark hair.  I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves.  I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.

So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town.  Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.

When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful.  Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.

And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry.  I grew depressed.

I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted.  Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food.  I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body.  By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year.  I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.

I just gave up.

Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness.  It was just what I needed.  The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me.  I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you,whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth.  Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh.  🙂

In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy.  My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.

The word still haunts me on occasion, it does.  It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids.  Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.

But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me.  I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).  I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status.  I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!

We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!

We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy.  My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world.  He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities.  Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate us from His love, not even our layers of fat. 🙂

We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.

Let us then live as children of the Light!

Jen 🙂

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

#TheLoft

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth. Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

Then, Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the link goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

To Participate:

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic.

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

The Loft Link Up

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 5 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Leah
Kathy
Kimberly
Arabah
Jen

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)


Next Week’s Topic: “Something Funny” (Laughter is good medicine and after this week’s topic, we all need a belly laugh. Or as one co-host put it, we need to spit in our coffee. Tell us a funny story, share a funny quote, post a funny picture or video, crack a funny joke. Just be careful with that coffee because this is going to be good 🙂 )

Add Your Link Here:

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions, Jennifer Dukes Lee, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Wholehearted Home, Teaching What is Good, Sew Crafty AngelMessy Marriage, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed LifeBeauty Through ImperfectionsRich Faith Rising, Beautiful Ashes, Grace & Truth Christian Living

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Verdict on Your Value Series Wrap-up

Each Thursday for the last few weeks, we have been talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. This Thursday is the final installment of our Verdict on Value series.  If you missed previous posts, be sure to check the schedule listed at the bottom!

Verdict on Value

 

Haven’t we had a rich time over the past six weeks with fellow sisters and the Word of God?! As we wrap up our Thursday series today, we have a final word of encouragement and video to share with you. Please click here to view the video and thank you so much for being a part of this series!

Be sure to catch all of the previous posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free mini Bible study printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This ( Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Ministry Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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Leah’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Insecurity is like an onion. Every layer that is peeled back reveals something stronger and smellier. When peeled all the way to the core, we find Satan lurking there.

Insecurity cloaks itself in many disguises. Sometimes the insecure seem shy and reserved, while others are just the opposite, jealous for attention or envious of other people.

Although insecurity is not mentioned directly, I believe we find some consequences of it in James 3:16 (NCV).

Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.

Your area of insecurity may be vastly different from mine, but regardless of what insecurity looks like, it all needs to be dealt with. May I share from my battle with insecurity?

The Lord called me into a speaking and writing ministry in 2007. The call couldn’t have been any clearer if the heavens had rolled back and a trumpet-blowing angel announced it. I moved forward, writing a weekly email devotional and speaking wherever the Lord opened doors.

Eventually… Click here to read the rest of Leah’s story

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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That New Girl: Finding Confidence

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Sometimes I wish I could go back to my second-grade self, that girl who was mostly tomboy, confident leader-of-the-pack. She could be friends with whomever she wanted, even boys. She wore dresses, but she also climbed trees. She lived free.

She never considered what the scales said about her value.  She never wished to be more like her blonde-headed friend.  She had a little girl crush on a classmate of hers, but never spent her days waiting for him to notice, or worrying what others might think.

She was relatively innocent, that girl God created on purpose and with a plan.

But that girl moved from state to state nearly every year after third grade until she finally moved overseas.  Each new school left its mark, some beauty spots and some ugly scars, and she found herself wearing labels like “new girl” and “missionary kid.” For a while, she learned to hide her true self away in favor of a girl others would accept. She lost her identity, her self-confidence.

I’ve spent much of my adult life learning to force that girl out into the light, trying to help her find the woman she was created to be.  In the process, I’ve searched for her value in family and friendships, marriage and parenthood, status in college and sometimes status at church, often without realizing I was doing so.

On occasion, I’ve even tried to manufacture that girl’s value on my own by living the good girl life, raising the good kids, serving at the good church, creating good things, and so many more undesired, unnecessary sacrifices that we’re all guilty of performing.

But I fail so often, don’t you? And once again, the Father has to remind me that the confidence I’m searching for really can’t be found in others or in self.

If I want to be completely free of others’ expectations and my own perfectionism, to live confident, I must look only to my Maker.  He alone knows the “real” me, the girl he “knit together” in the womb.  The girl He calls “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  The girl He values at the price of a one and only Son. The girl I was born to be.

that girl, new creation, identity in Christ, finding confidence,

He alone knows the attention to detail that often leads to the pit of perfectionism can also be a gift of organization and precision.  He alone knows the smiling face often hides a fragile heart, but a heart that easily lends itself to sympathy for others.  He alone knows that tendency to boss comes from the ability to lead and that often critical voice reveals undaunted optimism.

And so many other flaws that I find so obvious in myself, He has ultimately meant for my good.

You see, we don’t serve a God who creates mistakes, sisters.  And even though sin and Satan have corrupted us, I’m convinced He truly purposed those “flaws” for good.

So how do we overcome the lies we’ve listened to for so long to reclaim our true selves, the free girls we were created to be?

We look to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith!  He shows us our true value: the blood of the Lamb.  We trust in Philippians 1:6 which claims He began a work in us that He promises to carry until completion.

Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies. But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!

no condemnation, confidence in Christ, identity in Christ, position in Christ

With Christ’s help a better version of that true-to-self, second-grade girl is surfacing. I catch glimpses of her from time to time, the new-in-Christ girl. She speaks up even when the voices inside tell her to avoid the risk. She combats those lies with the truth of the Word. She claims victory in imperfect progress.

She is Christ-confident.

She’s learning little by little to tune out the world, the Enemy, and even her own perfectionist thoughts and focus instead on the Maker who continually makes her new.

Because she was born to live free.

And so were you, my sisters.

So were you!

Jen 🙂

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series (every Thursday):

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

Sharing with: My Freshly Brewed Life, Missional Women, Christian Mommy Blogger,

Essential Thing DevotionsWomen of Worship, Mom’s the Word, Cornerstone Confessions,

Time Warp Wife, Rich Faith Rising, Messy Marriage, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wholehearted Home

 

You may also find me at any of these lovely places.

 

 

 

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Fighting Fear With Pre-approval

In just two days time, I’ll be bearing a bit of my heart here on this blog.  I’ll be sharing my story, my part of the Thursday series – Verdict on Value.  And once again, I find myself a little afraid. 🙂

It happens sometimes when you write, especially when the subject matter brings up conflicting emotions. You may feel confident at first, but then you begin to doubt. Will the words really matter?  Will others understand?  Have I handled this subject fairly?

And the worst of all fears. What will people think?

That’s really what it boils down to: how others might receive those carefully penned or typed words, some that brought forth smiles and fond memories and others that brought forth tears and sorrow.  I’ve been learning my whole life it seems how to let go of that pressure, the pressure to be perfect.  And not that anyone ever told me I had to be, because they didn’t, but that I convinced myself it was necessary, like so many other undesired sacrifices.

I wanted to be the good girl, the best girl, and if I’m being really honest there is still some little part of me that wants this, too. I wanted to be praiseworthy, a flesh-strong desire for recognition. I wanted to be perfect lest anyone find a reason to fault me, a defense mechanism of sorts.

I see it now even in one of my young sons.  He yearns for praise.  I often catch him bragging because he yearns for others to see how wonderful he is.  And truly, he is wonderful (at least in this mama’s eyes!), but it hurts me to see him striving so at such a young age.  At the same time it reminds me that I still struggle myself.  So, how can I help him to see the truths that I’m still learning to recognize?

I can only hope that being honest, taking down the facade, and admitting my own failings will help him to recognize that we all fall short, we all do.  Ever since the days of paradise and a forbidden apple eaten, we all fall short.

I can only hope that teaching him of a Savior who turns those weaknesses into strengths, who has a plan for him, who loves him just for who he is and not what he does, who cherished him even before he was born, who welcomes him with open arms when he fails – I can only hope that such knowledge will sink deep roots into his young heart much earlier than those truths began to sink into mine.

I’ve been reading Jennifer Dukes Lee’s posts about our Love Idols (would love to get her new book, too!), and realizing how early it starts, this yearning to be approved by this world when we are already approved by the Maker of this world.

Even from those early toddler calls of “Look at me, mommy!”, we want to be seen, to be valued, to be approved.

 “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?

Or am I striving to please men?”

Gal. 1:10 (a)

Sadly, some of us, yes even us Christ-followers, will spend our entire lives chasing that approval, all the while fearing that we just aren’t good enough. We’ll miss the irony that we are already pre-approved by the most powerful Person in all of creation because of His Son!  If we could only grasp that early on and not waste precious years searching for something we already have in our possession.

fear, approval, self-worth, identity in Christ, worth in Christ

But we can, sisters.

We can begin right now.  We can ferret out those love idols in our lives and hand them over to our gracious and loving Father.  We can cling to the hope of imperfect progress and proclaim the bold truths of Philippians 1:6 (see sidebar).  We can share with others what we are doing and ask them to do the same.  We can speak truth to our children about this pre-approval, bought at the price of a one and only Son.

I’m asking the Lord to help me lay down my love idols, my need for human approval and perceived perfection.  I’m asking Him to work in the hearts of my children, that they will learn early on what it means to be cherished by the One True God, King of Kings, Sovereign Lord, the Most High.  I’m asking the Father to open their eyes wide to these truths.

And I’m asking for you, too, my sisters, that you will see how fearfully and wonderfully made you are in the eyes of your Creator.

We who’ve been painted red that we might be white as snow.

I’m banishing fear for tonight in favor of truth.

Join me, will you?

Jen 🙂

For more information on the Love Idol movement, check out the facebook page!

I may be sharing this with any of these lovely blogs and here:

 The Time Warp Wife, Rich Faith Rising, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wholehearted Home, A Little R&R,

Woman to Woman,Titus 2 Tuesday,Cornerstone Confessions,

 

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Arabah’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Shame has tried to silence me my entire life.

Ever since I was four years old… ever since a man named Jackie… shame’s gnarly fingers have gripped my soul, choked me with its hateful whispers.

I thought this was normal. I thought it was true. And until recently, I couldn’t separate shame from me, my personhood.

Shame has been my closest companion, weaving itself so intimately with me that I thought it was me. On dark, lonely nights, shame was there. On cold days and warm summers and in crowds and by myself, shame has always been there. Shame was happy to bring his friends too: insecurity, fear, and inferiority.

Let me tell you about my companion: Shame tells me something bad’s wrong with me. I’ll never be worth anything. That no one will listen. That I don’t have anything valuable to contribute. Ever. That I’ll never be enough. Together, shame and friends have worked to squelch my individuality, limit my creativity, mold me into a conformist, keep me silent and stagnant, and rob me of real intimacy.

{Click here to finish reading Arabah’s story}

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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