There is always more than meets the eye. Yet often we fail to realize this. Instead we notice . . .
A “look” from another woman. She is angry at me because I didn’t sympathize enough with her problems.
The lack of texts from a friend. She doesn’t really think I add that much to our relationship.
The expressions on our kids’ faces at dinnertime. They hate all my food and think I am a horrible mother.
The welcoming interest of another woman. She already has a million friends, I am sure, and would never really want to hang out with me.
The ordinary comment of our husband. He thinks I am not doing a good job.
The random remark of a family member. She is trying to send me a backhanded message.
But what if we’ve translated these things wrong? Maybe the “look” is because she is thinking about her own difficult life at home. The lack of texts is because all of us are busy. The faces at dinnertime are because the kids are tired. The interest from that woman is because she really likes you. The ordinary comment is just an ordinary comment, and the random remark was never directed at you.
Perceptions, assumptions, and judgments prevent us from seeing the heart of the story. But the heart is always what God cares for most. So we write a person off, labeling her offensive; meanwhile there is a whole lengthy, tear-soaked backstory that had nothing to do with us and everything to do with the deep pain in her. We miss the depth of relationship God was prepared to bring. We miss a ministry opportunity, many times. In nearly every case, faulty translations see one angle, our own.
But there are other angles to see from:
1. When you look in the mirror, you notice the deep wrinkles, the age spots, and the droopy eyes. You depressively tell yourself you’re expendable.
New angle: You laugh a lot. You smile a lot. You’ve lived life with all your heart. You have wisdom to share with the world. You wear life well.
2. You work as a waitress to put yourself through school. Yet all you can think, as everyone else is getting their master’s degrees and PhDs is: I’m dumb. And you’re missing out on life because you’re not doing more.
New angle: You are investing in your future. To get somewhere requires sacrifices. There is a purpose to where you are today, and God has plans to use you right where you are.
3. People hurt your feelings again. People always let you down.
New angle: People are people. They are not perfect. God is. I can choose to let God’s Word define me in such great magnitude that other people’s actions and reactions don’t injure me so.
There is more than meets the eye. It is all about our perception.
Kelly Balarie is the author of the book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright © July 2018. Used by permission.
Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You'll gain practical wisdom, like how to
· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters
Visit www.iambattleready.com for a free prayer journal.
Kelly Balarie, an author and national speaker, is on a mission to encourage others not to give up. Through times of extreme testing, Kelly believes there is hope for every woman. She shares this hope on her blog, Purposeful Faith, and on many writing publications such as Relevant, Crosswalk, and Today's Christian Woman. Kelly's work has been featured on The Today Show, 700 Club Interactive, Moody Radio and other television and radio broadcasts.
Photo Courtesy: Pexels
The greatest gift you can give the world is your love. Love brings life everywhere it goes. I must confess, I used to be one of those people who condemned and judged people based on what their circumstances looked like. But I have learned the hard way to stop doing that. And when I feel like all the judgment and condemnation has been beaten out of me, another situation comes around the corner, and I find a new log sticking out of my own eye.
Jesus said, “How can you take the speck out of your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own eye? First take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (see Matt. 7:3–5).
We can help people find clarity to certain degrees, but not until we have stopped condemning and judging and showing prejudice. And when we have been thoroughly humbled and humiliated and freed from thinking we know everything, then we can finally help bring some clarity to others. I like to let God be the judge. And then I can be his witness. Just tell what I’ve seen. Easy!
Choosing love is the only reason I can find for how, in the past five years, I’ve managed to keep two children alive and growing in their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.
Choosing love grows my marriage in these same areas.
Choosing love is why we released a full-length album, and I believe why it is selling so well. My husband and I chose to love God by obeying his nudges to our hearts to write music and share it, even when it was inconvenient and expensive and had no guarantees of success or financial return. We chose to love the fans by responding to the thousands of emails I received asking for new music and writing music for them that addressed many of the things they were struggling with and wrote to me about. We chose to love our kids by teaching them that instead of hiding from the dark in the world, we face it and shine our light into it and bring the love for Christ into places where people don’t know that they are loved.
Choosing love is why I released my first book, The Reason, about overcoming suicide. I chose to love the fans by answering so many of their questions about depression, suicide, and my faith in Christ. I chose to love my husband by honoring his suggestion that I should write a book.
Choosing love is why I released my second book, The Mystery, about finding emotional purity and health in my romantic life. I chose to love God by honoring the urgency he put in my heart to share how he defeated the enemy in my life in all these areas. I chose to love the fans by writing The Mystery in response to the many emails I received from people in abusive relationships or affairs, or who just wanted to know about healthy ways of dating.
Choosing love is why I’ve gone on four national tours and taken numerous speaking appearances. Each time an opportunity arises, my husband and I pray and seek to obey the leading of God on each invitation.
Because when we choose love, the ripple that comes from that choice is life. Life and more life. It turns into a wave of life.
And when there is a great wave about to crash as a result of all your choices to love, it often looks like everything is lacking. The shoreline pulls in. The bigger the wave, the farther the water goes out.
In those moments, people can look around and call it a desert. And if you don’t condemn yourself for what looks like a desert around you, there are certainly those who will.
And my testimony is just what I have seen personally, in my own experience. It might not relate to everyone, but it also might help some stand up with more confidence in their purpose and coast with more freedom and peace into their destinies.
I don’t remember asking to be born.
None of us do.
But we have been given this gift of life by our powerful, beautiful Almighty God. Figuring out how to steward this gift of life I have been given is one of the greatest adventures I have ever been on. I’m still learning about it every day.
This article was taken from The Return: Reflections on Loving God Back by Lacey Sturm. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (2018). Used with permission.
Scripture writing plans are incredibly simple, yet incredibly effective for helping us read, interpret and absorb the Word of God. Rather than simply letting our eyes pass over a verse and perhaps miss its full meaning, writing Scripture down helps us absorb each word and really think through what the passage before us is saying.
Each day in June you'll have opportunity to write down a verse. We suggest using a journal where you can add any additional mediations or prayers that the verse brings to mind.
If you want to download a full year's worth in advance, you can do so here.