Declare Who You Are

I once heard a message that Andy Stanley gave about comparing ourselves to others. The main point of his message that stuck with me was “There is no win in comparison.” Isn’t that the truth? Still, it can be challenging to not re-visit the comparison carousel; especially in this era of social media where the majority of posts we see would appear as though everyone around us is living a Norman Rockwell or Leave it to Beaver life. For the record: they’re not.

If you find yourself struggling in this area, make a copy of the declaration below. Keep it handy and read it over and over until you have freed yourself of this joy zapping craziness. The Creator of Universe made YOU just as you are for a reason; and He doesn’t make mistakes.

DECLARATION:

I am a person.

I am not a machine, spreadsheet, agenda or résumé.

I have a heartbeat, skin, scars and a soul.

I am a person.

My worth isn’t calculated in efficiencies, results or ladders climbed. I am not the sum of my accomplishments — or the sum of my mistakes. I am not my ambition, energy level, approval rating, mass appeal or worth to the company store. I am not an A-plus or D-minus. I am not a mess or a miscalculation.

I am not a mistake. Rather, I am a miracle. And so are you.

Because I am a person, made of love in the hands of God.

I will be a person today. I will be me. I will resist the urge to believe I’ve got to fight for my piece; God says there’s more than enough to go around.

I will see the best in others and recognize the best in myself.

I will reach for virtue more than trophies, dignity more than stardom. I will choose encouragement over envy. I will rejoice with those who rejoice.

I will stand tall on the inside, even if I’m feeling weak on the outside.

I am a person, a citizen of the Kingdom, where there is unending grace for me. Because I am a person, and I belong to Jesus.

as written by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” Galatians 6:4

Don’t Follow Your Heart – Jon Bloom

 An exerpt from the book “Don’t Follow You Heart” by Jon Bloom
(Your Heart)…..Is This the Leader You Want to Follow?
“Until you consider that your heart has sociopathic tendencies. Think about it for a moment. What does your heart tell you? Please don’t answer. Your heart has likely said things today that you would not wish to repeat. I know mine has. My heart tells me that all of reality ought to serve my desires. My heart likes to think the best of me and worst of others, unless those others happen to think
well of me—then they are wonderful people. But if they don’t think well of me, or even if they just disagree with me, well then, something must be wrong with them. And while my heart is pondering my virtues and others’ errors, it can suddenly find some immoral or horribly angry thought very attractive. The “follow your heart” creed certainly isn’t found in the Bible. The Bible actually thinks our hearts have a disease: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus, the great physician, lists the grim symptoms of this disease: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt. 15:19). This is not leadership material. The truth is, no one lies to us more than our own hearts. No one. If our hearts are compasses, they are Jack Sparrow compasses.1 They don’t tell us the truth; they just tell us what we want. If our hearts are guides, they are Gothels.2 They are not benevolent; they are pathologically selfish. In fact, if we do what our hearts tell us to do, we will pervert and impoverish every desire, every beauty, every person, every wonder, and every joy. Our hearts want to consume these things for our own self-glory and self-indulgence. No, our hearts will not save us. We need to be saved from our hearts.
1 Jack Sparrow, a fictional character in Walt Disney Pictures’ Pirates of the Caribbean major motion-picture series, possesses a compass that points to whatever its owner desires most. 2 Mother Gothel is a fictional character in Walt Disney Pictures’ animated film Tangled (2010), who dishonestly and manipulatively “guides” Rapunzel for Gothel’s own narcissistic ends.
This Is the Leader You Want to Follow
Our hearts were never designed to be followed, but to be led. Our hearts were never designed to be gods in whom we believe; they were designed to believe in God.”

The Peace Prayer

A beautiful prayer to keep close at hand:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error; the truth;

Where there is doubt; the faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen

It’s in “THE BOOK”

bible

Throughout this entire school year, a few members of our family took their turns  helping our 18-year-old son with his College Spanish homework. During these times, when we encountered a challenging lesson (which was quite often), we would ask him:  “Isn’t there a book that you can reference to help you?”; or “Didn’t your teacher cover this in class?”  The answer was always “No”.

I know, I know, the fact that we would accept that answer seems like a crock; but since most of our help time took place when we all wanted to be doing something OTHER than Spanish homework; we accepted the answer and continued to struggle with how to help; quite often resorting to “googling” for the answers.

Finally, while working on the last assignment of the year – frustration ensuing –  I asked the all important question once again…”Didn’t you get a book at the beginning of the year? There has to be a book!?!?” This time, instead of responding with the  usual “No”, our son rose from his chair, walked away; and within moments returned with THE BOOK! (Shocking, I know!)

When I saw that our son brought out the very book that could have been helping him this entire school year, my emotions quickly ranged from being elated that he had finally brought the book “into the light”, to feeling frustrated with how much prior time had been wasted because we had been trying to do it all on our own.

If he would have simply used the resources available to him from the get go, he would have been able to know where to find the answers more readily and maybe, just maybe, even LEARNED a few things in the process (HELLO). Still, setting all my emotion aside, we opened the book, flipped quickly to the appropriate chapter; and proceeded to breeze through the assignment like never before.

It was then that God pointed out to me the undeniable similarity of how, as Christians, we often approach seeking answers to our Spiritual questions in the same manner.  We try to figure it all out on our own and ignore the very book that has ALL the answers: our BIBLE.

Hmmm…sound familiar?

Think about it: When is the last time you did this? Are you using the “figure it out on my own” way in a current situation?

Or, there’s the times where, if we’ve gotten no closer to the answer on our own, we reach out to others for help. This in and of itself it not a bad thing, however; even then,  if we’re not careful, these moments can become more like strategic brainstorming sessions where we bounce thoughts and ideas back and forth with one another until a consensus is reached on what we”think” is the right answer.

Again, sound familiar?

In either case, we forget we have access to THE BOOK.

I hope the mere fact that you are reading this today will cause you to rejoice in the reminder that there IS a better way…that the ANSWER to ALL of life’s questions and challenges are available to you each day in HIS LIVING WORD.

And, even if you’ve been DILIGENT in:

1.Your studying of the Word;

2. Your relationship building with God;

3. Your active learning from spiritual teachers and mentors; and

may often know exactly the right verse or verses to reference without ever opening your BIBLE, I would encourage you to open it anyway.

Truth is HIS WORD IS ALIVE and BREATHES NEW WISDOM into our beings each day we turn to IT and to HIM. Because, though, HE is NEVER CHANGING, through SANCTIFICATION, we are. And, it’s through this sanctification that HIS WORDS become NEW to us and we become better equipped as HIS STUDENTS to comprehend the VASTNESS & DEPTHS of HIS TRUTHS.

So, I would encourage you to do the work: meet THE TEACHER and continue to:

KNOW HIM daily

STUDY HIS WORD daily; …and

when ANSWERS are sought, remember, there is no need to struggle,

just

open

THE BOOK. ♥

 

 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17