The Kingdom Building Call (Part One)

Kingdom Building Through the Life of Jeremiah

(Week One)

Today’s blog post is longer than average. This is because I’m providing information on how to use the study, as well as adding an introduction. Please don’t be put off by this. Since you’ll only be receiving blog posts on Wednesdays, feel free to break the study into pieces and take it one small portion at a time throughout the week.

What you need to know before beginning this study:

  • Jeremiah is a very large book of the Bible, fifty-two chapters to be exact. It is also not written in chronological order. This means that for the sake of a six week study, we will be discussing highlights of Jeremiah’s life as it relates to kingdom building, his ministry, how he dealt with his calling, and his interactions with God. We will not be covering the entire fifty-two chapters.
  • It will be helpful to have a journal alongside your Bible as you study. There will be questions to answer, key verses, and prayers along the way that will be worth writing down throughout the journey. (This isn’t required, only recommended in order to gain the most from the study.)
  • Every week as we begin the study, you will see a Key Point of Struggle and a Key Proof of Comfort listed. The Key Point of Struggle is a piece of the study that could possibly stir the most angst inside you as you’re working to seek purpose and live it well. The Key Proof of Comfort is a piece of the study that will help calm your soul as we discover truth together.

 

Introduction

We have each been created by the Maker of the universe – intricately woven with matchless pieces from Himself that gives us just a hint of who He is and the smallest clue as to who we are. Upon creation He fills us with longing that leaks from our souls. Little-by-little from the time we have intelligent thought we begin the lifelong search of figuring out what we were created to do and why.

Those of us who know with all certainty exactly who made us, know the foundation of truth in Psalm 139. We are ready for our assignments, and just like a bunch of small children who want to please their teacher with the correct answer, we raise our hands while jumping wildly from our seats begging, “Pick me, Lord, pick me!” We recognize our gifts have marked us with unique stamps of purpose, and we are ready to own our callings.

Women like us come wrapped in passion. We seek purpose and gain worth from figuring out what we were born to do and then pursue doing it well. Fueled by the desire to use our gifts we pray to thrive where He sends us. But sometimes He sends us to unexpected places and assigns tough tasks that require much more than our talents and abilities can offer. We quickly learn this “thing” He sent us to do is so much bigger than us. And then we realize something even more terrifying: this actually has nothing to do with us at all. We possess zero control and there’s more to this calling than we ever imagined.

No matter your mission, serving Christ is not platforms and accolades. Whether you stand on a stage, feed the homeless, volunteer in Sunday school, or spend each day praying over the feet of your very own children- pleading God‘s mercy as to where they might walk –  fierce callings are filled with weeping, humility, and lots of practice holding tightly to Jesus. It’s the most rewarding life possible, and it comes with a high, high price.

I recently read a book by Dennis Peacocke who said, “The greatest tragedy of our age is an unused life.” So, as we begin our study today, here’s to Jeremiah: a real person with a real calling who experienced a gamut of emotions, and wasn’t afraid to have honest dialogue with His Creator. And, here’s to you: a called woman of God who longs to live your ministry well while learning more and more each day that this mission you’re on has nothing to do with you. Yeah, you’re beginning to see the bigger picture, and you hold the thrill of hope down deep inside.

Key Point of Struggle:

Serving Christ doesn’t always look the way we thought it would.

Key Proof of Comfort:

When we learn to refocus and update our definitions of ministry as it relates to kingdom building, we will begin to open our hearts to the purpose of Christ. His purpose and calling for us often looks differently than we expected. To find comfort in this, we will study Matthew 28 and find out how the Great Commission relates to us.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Kingdombuildingthroughthelifeofjeremiah

Out of every prophet, we can learn the most about the intricacies of ministry, and personal cries of the heart, from the life of Jeremiah. When we read his book, we read his heart. And, because of these Holy Spirit breathed words, we have access into the struggle of an average person called to an above average assignment, to say the least. But, before we can fully dig into the scope of this man’s life, we need to talk about what kingdom building and calling is as it relates to our purpose.

I’m guessing many of you are unsure of your purpose. You have no idea what you’re called to do. Most of us tend to look at purpose in the form of a dream longing to be fulfilled. Or, we don’t really have a dream beyond our day-to-day lives, and that makes us feel as if we are part of an unending search requiring us to look for something we are supposed to have, but don’t. It’s time to change our definitions. It’s time to reevaluate. Is that okay? Here’s why: It’s not about the big dreams. Sorry, it just isn’t. Listen, I’m a dreamer so this has been a hard truth for me to accept. Also, it’s not about seeking out a dream to fulfill. You might not realize this, but right now, at this very moment, you’re living with enormous opportunity to fulfill what you might not even recognize exists. Let me clarify:

According to Mathew 28, Jesus gives a charge called the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

-Matthew 28:18-20

What does the Great Commission mean to you? Consider answering this question in your journal.

The Great Commission is our common purpose. But many of us tend to read it and think that we are all to become missionaries in foreign lands, lead a women’s ministry at a mega church, or become Mother Teresa. We think that if we don’t do those things, then we aren’t fulfilling the call. Some of us might even think that whatever it is we are doing right now isn’t meaningful enough to be titled kingdom work. It is true that some of us are meant to go to other countries, or to minister to large numbers of people right here at home, but not all of us. How we go about fulfilling our common purpose is unique to each life. Some of us are called to show our neighbors love – in the literal sense – like walk next door with a batch of freshly baked cupcakes, or offer to babysit kids who will surely hang on our curtains and tear up our houses. And here’s something else we often forget: our own kids – the ones staring us in the face at 6am, startling us out of that rare thing we call sleep, well, they’re the definition of our Great Commission. And, that job, regardless of whatever else He chooses to give us in the future, will be the greatest assignment of our lives.

We cannot kingdom build correctly if we make up our own definitions of what kingdom building is supposed to be. We have to understand our worth in Christ doesn’t depend on the calling itself, or our definitions of how enormous we think it should be. Our worth comes from His willingness to use us and our obedience in saying yes.  

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples.” So, who are the disciples we are supposed to make? I’m pretty sure you’ll be getting some of them off the bus after school today, feeding them dinner, and giving them baths. I’m guessing you’ll be speaking into the life of your spouse and encouraging him to be who Christ called him to become. I think you’ll say something to a friend over coffee that will change how she processes a difficult situation.

 There is a brilliant ministry inside what seems like a boring mess and we don’t often see it.

Jeremiah was called as a prophet for a huge task and the price was high. We are going to discover more about his initial calling next week. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many words today. You see, before we could really dig into Jeremiah’s life, we needed to adjust our focus and redefine some important principles. That was the point of today.

In preparation for next week:

  1. In your journal, please write Matthew 28:18-20. When you’re done, list the people in your everyday life who you have the opportunity to love and make into disciples. This list can include your children, spouse, friends, neighbors, parents, siblings etc.… after your list is complete, commit to pray for each person on your list throughout the week. (I understand that some of the people on your list may already be serving Jesus, but they do need encouragement. How can you encourage them to keep on keeping on in their journey of purpose?)
  2. In your journal, write down what you think it means to kingdom build and what you think your calling is. Using the Great Commission as God’s definition of purpose, do you think your answers align with His? Why or why not? If they don’t, how can you adjust your focus to get in line with God’s will for your calling?
  3. Between now and next Wednesday, please read Jeremiah chapter one.

Don’t forget to comment under today’s post sharing your thoughts on kingdom building. In doing so, you’ll have a chance to win Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker! If you’re not on my email list, I would love for you to be part of this kingdom building community! (Subscribing makes you eligible for the giveaway. You can unsubscribe anytime.) For more details on how the giveaway works, click here. I’ll be announcing the winner next Wednesday, May 3rd!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Share on Social Media what everyday kingdom building looks like to you! We can find each other by using the hashtag #KingdomBuildingSisters.

Sunday is Here to Stay!

Sunday is Here to Stay!

I often wonder what it would have been like to occupy earth with Jesus before the cross. Would I have followed Him or turned away? In my mind, when I place myself in the multitude, I’m no more than a woman intrigued by a man who looks familiar, yet different. In the middle of my wondering, healthy fear begins to rise because of the uncertainty of who I would have been. I’m overtaken by what ifs…

What if I was overly sensitive or easily offended? What if my very existence defined the word skeptic? What if I didn’t like what I heard, turned around and walked away? What if I never looked back?

Once again, in my mind, I see Him there in the midst of the multitude. He’s preaching and teaching, giving away everything for every soul. I’m still there hanging onto every word while peeking behind a tree, hoping not to make eye contact, because what if He decides to speak directly to me, and what if I don’t want to accept His truth? The next thing I know, my wondering walks me straight into Peter’s shoes. What if three steps on water turned into a three time betrayal of everything holy? Here’s the question: if I were there, one of them, would I have believed?

After the resurrection, there was evidence of an empty tomb and full hearts. To this day it remains. However, we are living in a world wanting to omit what we should amen. Truth can’t be changed and yet we’ve practically made an Olympic sport out of trying.

Today is the Saturday before Easter. Two thousand years ago on this day there was a heaviness of grief that tried to choke out life and hinder hope. But little did those believing souls know what would happen only one day later. Throughout the in between time, inside the solitude of a lonely Saturday, there was a baptism happening. The heavy tears of grief baptized every heart of those who would forever stand for the peasant king, once dead yet coming alive, in preparation of purpose, second chances, and the hope of living holy.

I want to believe that had I been there, I would have given my heart while standing in the multitude, and I would have followed Him to the cross, been dumbfounded by an empty tomb, and baptized by grief in waters of tears so deep that I would have used every last breath in my mortal body to share about the immortal Savior.

Dear friend, Sunday isn’t only coming, it’s here to stay. There will be no more darkness because Light has resurrected. May you amen the hard words in His book so the sweet ones can be sweeter. May you live and love and find freedom in the midst of a world who wants to live for themselves rather than for a God they cannot see. May you know that when deep grief wants to settle inside your bones, you can be baptized by your tears because your Savior lives and breathes. He’s working for you, and He will never stop working for you. But make no mistake, He already won, which means you’ve already won, because Sunday is here to stay.

 

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Your Path of Purpose…

You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.-Psalm 16_11

This morning, I reached for my phone and immediately went to my Bible App looking for the verse of the day. I have to say I’m not big on electronic Bibles. I don’t necessarily like using my phone or any other device. There’s something about tangibly turning pages that connects me to the written words. But, sometimes, one just needs a quick word of encouragement.

You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

-Psalm 16:11

Last week, I wrote to you about digging into the word of God more and how as a community of believers, I want us to do this together. I talked about October being the beginning of a series relating to purpose, and communicated that I want to know if you have questions or study suggestions relating to that theme as we move closer to that time. The response overwhelmed me.

I heard from some of you in the comment section of the blog, and received some beautiful heartfelt emails from others of you who are struggling with questions and difficult life situations. I’ve been praying for all of you and preparing to address  your thoughts in October.

I found it very timely for the above scripture to be today’s verse of the day. “You will make known to me the path of life…” As a body of believers, we must hold tightly to this. With everything we are we need to find hope in those words, refusing to give up when we feel lost. We often find ourselves searching for answers in the midst of hard battles and usually don’t know which way to go. That’s when the word of God takes over and breathes life into desolate circumstances.

Today, I want to encourage you with Psalm 16: 11 and remind you that the word of God is infallible. What is written in that book is truth in its purest form. God will make His path known to us when we seek Him with our whole hearts. It’s possible that we may not see with complete clarity along the way, but when we’ve arrived at our destination, and we will, His fingerprints will be all over the map of our land.

Friend, regardless of how you’re feeling today, seek His presence. You will find fullness of joy in that place. Seek His hand of direction over your life, there are pleasures there forevermore. The Psalms aren’t just sweet sayings meant to tickle your ears; they are words of life from the Father of love, light, and wholeness. Your path of purpose has been forged long before you arrived on this earth. Together, we will discover what this means throughout our October series.

Be encouraged today!

If you missed my post last week, you can find it here. If you have any questions or study topics to suggest, please leave a comment either here or on last week’s blog post. You can also email me at jen@jenniferkostick.com.

Be confident in His word. He will make your path known!

Love,

Jennifer

Surrender Doesn’t Always Mean What You Think it Does…

in Christianity, it is impossible to be victorious without, first, surrendering everything to the living God.(1)

Can we talk surrender? I know that deep inside this culture it seems like a bad thing when the white flag is raised high, or the sweaty towel is thrown in the ring. Surrender is usually declared when it’s time to end a hard fought battle. It comes after we’ve trained hard, taken painful punches, and even thrown a few of our own. That is why surrendering hurts so much. It means a painful loss. However, in Christianity, it is impossible to be victorious without, first, surrendering everything to the living God. Every dream, every hope, every desire must be given freely into the hands of the Almighty. Surrender means humility, and humility translates to grace.

We all need grace.

There isn’t a person breathing that doesn’t need the beautiful gift of grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

-Ephesians 2:8

When our faith skyrockets, His grace falls, and when the two collide there is nothing impossible. All things are possible with God. (See Mark 10:27) And, friend, it takes faith to surrender. It takes faith to tell God that you want what He wants. It takes faith to be able to handle answers from Him such as, no, or not now.  It takes faith to be willing to lay aside your own heart and feelings for the sake of the way someone else feels. It’s only through His pouring grace that our souls can welcome surrender.

Humility and surrender are key in our walk with God. We can’t move forward until we’re ready to surrender everything it is we’re carrying. We tend to hold tightly to what we think we want or need, and sometimes we even hold tight to justification of our feelings. All of these things only end up making our arms heavy and succeed in nothing other than holding us back.

Today, I want to encourage you to surrender to God now. When you feel a dream well up or a desire form, surrender it. Surrender your marriages, children, and friendships to whatever it is God wants to do inside them. Say yes to the call of surrender in moments when your flesh rises up and you want to prove you’re right.  Ouch, I know.

When we surrender every part of us to God, then grace falls from God.

Before the battle begins, there is something we can do. We can surrender to the will of God, let our faith rise, and watch His grace flow down.

Love,

Jennifer

Why Your Dream is Important!

@jenniferkostick

Every time I stand in front of the ocean, I’m more aware of just how powerful God is and how nothing He created was, or is, accidental. We’ve all been given a gift of purpose. Every life has meaning and there’s a specific plan envisioned for each one.

Without a vision the people perish. (See Proverbs 29:18)

Just like God has a vision for our lives, we must have a vision as well. We must be active and obedient in taking steps toward God-inspired dreams. We can’t give up or look back regardless of how difficult the road ahead looks. We have to stand strong, and for inside the moments when it seems impossible, we need to remember nothing is impossible with Jesus. When we can’t, He always can.

And, friend, I’ve had days when I didn’t think I could. I’ve had seasons of feeling He was far, and I was searching to find Him. Believe it or not, those are the times we are actually drawing nearer and nearer to our dreams becoming realities. Those are the moments when our vision aligns with His will, pulling us into our purpose one step at a time. With obedience comes blessing.

Sure, it’s easy to obey when everything looks lovely and the sun is shining on the golden sand beach right next to His powerful waters. But I’m talking about obeying through sandstorms and finding our way through pelting waves. Here’s the thing: the closer you stick to the truth of Christ, the closer He is, even if you don’t feel Him there.

I think we can all agree that the world has gone crazy and those of us who have escaped it thus far are praising Jesus everyday for the blessings He’s given. What I’m suggesting is this: That we thank Him for the blessings which lie ahead, even if we’ve not walked inside the reality of them as of yet. I’m suggesting we throw up our hands in praise rather than fists ready to fight the God who seems too far. I’m suggesting our lives become lights of praise and thanksgiving in the middle of dark, dark places.

Your dream has the power to change lives! (Tweet that)

Let us search ourselves, find our vision, and run toward the will of God. He is big and nothing is impossible for Him. (See Luke 1:37)

Love,

Jennifer

Do NOT Lose Heart

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.-2 Corinthians 4_16

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

-2 Corinthians 4:16

“Therefore, we do not lose heart.” The apostle Paul was a very matter-of-fact kind of guy and when it came to faith in Christ, there was no arguing anything the Holy Spirit guided Him to write. “We do not lose heart.” Translation: there’s no other option but to march full steam ahead in faith.

In the middle of life’s upheaval, that command isn’t easy to follow. This is why so much of our faith in Christ must be rooted in discipline. After all, the word disciple comes from the word discipline. We must discipline ourselves to follow Christ. So, how do we not lose heart? How is it possible to live victorious in the middle of trials and tribulations? It’s a faith journey, friend, and we are all on one.

Faith comes by hearing the word of God. (See Romans 10:17) Hearing, and hearing, and hearing some more! Over and over again we must discipline ourselves in the word of God that we might gain faith by connecting to His message on the pages. (As a side note, I believe in reading the Bible out loud whenever possible. It helps!)

Whatever it is you’re facing today, it’s part of your faith journey and the story of that journey is being written each day as you take steps in confidence that God is big enough, strong enough, and capable enough. He is enough.

Listen, I know it seems ridiculous that my answer to your trouble would be to hear the word  of God and actively pursue a faith journey. But I have no regrets in saying it. As absurd as it sounds, we have no other choice. There is no other road or way that will lead us to peace. There is no other form of healing or help. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.

I love the way it’s phrased in the King James Bible:

My Help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

-Psalm 121:2

There’s no doubt about it, right? My help cometh! It’s coming!

Think about this: What if we all allowed our tragedy to fuel our trajectory, leading us to deeper faith and complete peace regardless of the circumstances?

Therefore, we do NOT lose heart.

Love,

Jennifer

Because I Can’t Keep Track of All These “National Days”

Because I Can't Keep Track of All These _National Days_

Silly picture, right? I’m not big on selfies, but I thought (And this is so not like me.) a little cup of virtual coffee might be a nice way to start today. Here’s why…

According to social media, every single day is meant to be known for something. Doughnut day, siblings day, you name it, there is somehow newfound significance to a regular Wednesday. As of my Facebook feed this morning, I’ve been made aware one day too late that yesterday was National Best Friends Day. (C’mon, Facebook, you’re better than that!) It was also National Name Your Poison Day… I’ll let that one go.

I’m an introvert, and so I have a very small grouping of people I trust with my life. They are special to me and if the chips are down, I know where I can go. But guess what? Sometimes I don’t. Often, because of my personality, I like to pretend I’m okay, put on a smile, and not let anyone see what’s going on inside. I’m guessing there are many of you shaking heads in a resounding amen right about now. Am I right? Sometimes, this behavior is necessary. Other times, God is saying, “Step out of your box; my children need each other.”

God in all His brilliance designed relationships. From our relationships with Him, to marriage, to friendship – we have examples all throughout the Bible of beauty right smack dab in the middle of difficulty. We’re made to love, reach out, and steady another human. We are called to influence, share wisdom, be cheerleaders, counselors, cry partners, and crazy joy dancers with others. We are made for each other. We truly can be the hands and feet of Christ.

Maybe you don’t have a group of girlfriends. Maybe you’ve been so apprehensive about putting your own needs and problems out in front that you’ve not even trusted your closest confidant with your heart’s cry. If that’s true of who you are, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone today. You don’t have to share your deepest problems or most intimate secrets, you can just take this average Thursday to let someone else know you’re there for them. In today’s day, it’s easy to make someone aware you’re thinking of them. A simple phone call, text message, email, or social media post will do the job. And, if you’re a super introvert like I tend to be, maybe you can open your Bible and pray a scripture over their lives. I can’t think of a better way to support someone in this life than taking them to the throne in prayer.

I’ve often found that my deepest needs are met in the middle of serving someone else. (Tweet that.)

On this blog, I tend to get email and Facebook messages over comments. People usually like to share prayer requests privately. And let me tell you, I love hearing from you! Today, though, I thought maybe we can use the comments and encourage each other. Tell a story about a close friend, cheer for someone else, share a cup of virtual coffee together. Is that corny? I think so, but I like it anyway!

I’m not even sure if there’s a way to post pictures in the comment section because my tech skills are lacking. (Shout out to my husband for keeping this blog running!)

Anyway, someone out there needs to hear from you, and you need to hear from them!

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

-Proverbs 27:17

Happy belated National Best Friends Day!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Last year, I wrote this post about belonging to community. You might want to give it a read.

 

The Question You Need to Ask God When Dealing with Anxiety…

The Question You Need to Ask God When Dealing with Anxiety

I’m not always certain what triggers anxiety in me. It’s usually the little things rather than the big things. It can come from a noise too loud or a light too bright. Regardless, it comes. Like a fast train headed down the tracks, it has full intent of taking me on a journey. My heart beats fast while my thoughts focus on nothing else but the feeling of a war waged deep within.

I remember being a little girl when it started. I would wake my mom up in the middle of the night and tell her, “I have the feelings in my throat.” What I couldn’t communicate at that young age was I felt as if I couldn’t swallow. It was as if something was blocking my airway, but nothing really was. To this day, if a bad panic attack sets in, swallowing is difficult.

I’ve often felt ridiculous about being plagued with anxiety. I’m healthy, my family is healthy, we have nothing to complain about. Everyone goes through the mud at times, but we always reemerge and clean up well.  Many times I’ve thought, It’s a shame there are people in hospice care dealing with life better that I can. The whole thing causes guilt. And guilt does nothing more than lead to deeper anxiety.

I’ve asked God the famous question, “why?” The truth is, I’m not sure He’s ever answered specifically.  In fact, I’m not sure He’s ever answered that question at all. I’ve pretty much determined  the “why’s” of life are for Him alone and really none of my business. It’s the “How?”question He tends to answer best and most often.

When I ask, “How?” He answers, “Jesus.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

-John 14:6

Jesus is the how. In every situation Jesus is the answer. Yes, I know, it sounds like a typical cliché Christian remedy with no layer of depth and not one admission to open mindedness. Welcome to the life of a Jesus Lover who knows God can beat any enemy, even anxiety. Having this belief system most certainly doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, and everyone who knows me will tell you I’m nowhere near perfect. The only place my Jesus lover self has an edge is where hope lives.

I’m a hope seeker, and I go to my knees to find it – To find Him.

I don’t battle anxiety nearly the way I used to. However, some days I feel all the old feelings. Today, I’ve been thinking about you who might be feeling panic and anxiety. I’m thinking of you who are waving a white flag of surrender because you feel you have zero control. Well, I’m no medical professional and when I feel it rising up, I often don’t believe I have any control either. And though some may disagree, I don’t think medication is off the table when you’re having proper counseling and medical supervision. However, I need to tell you this: In the middle of your darkest battle, BE A HOPE SEEKER. Don’t stop looking for hope, and don’t let your hope be called anything other than Jesus. Some days are harder than others and if we’re not careful, those days can dissuade us from living our purpose. Anxiety does nothing but work to distract us from hope. It makes us feel as if there’s something terribly wrong, when in actuality, God sent His only Son to make everything right.  No matter what today holds, our ending is victorious.

When we allow anxiety to filter our surroundings, hope becomes distant and freedom doesn’t register a definition. If we are going to battle anxiety with faith, then we must be willing to ask God for wisdom. We have to be patient, ready to take a deep breath and ask the question, how? In most cases, the question “Why?” leads to nothing more than distraction.

How do you deal with anxiety?

Love,

Jennifer

To receive Jennifer’s blog posts in your inbox, become an email subscriber! You’ll receive her devotional, Mercy waits,  for FREE as well as learn about future offers, giveaways, and updates on her upcoming, new book!

You Don’t Have to Be the Best!

Jenniferkostick.com(8)

I’m sitting here this morning completely overwhelmed by tasks on my to-do lists. I decided to write to you, anyway, because I’m wondering what you’re doing and if you feel weighted down as well. Do you?  Also,  when I feel as if I’m drowning, I tend to procrastinate. Here’s what is swirling through my mind: I need to reposition myself in faith. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost faith in Christ, but my faith in what I’m able to accomplish, if I’m going to be honest, is dwindling. I guess I need a good solid reminder to remove myself from the equation and depend fully on Him. I can’t do it alone. No way; no how!

Lately, I’ve decided to strip some layers. Here’s what I mean by this: I need to follow where He leads and stop worrying about trying to be the best at every task He gives me. I need to pour myself into it, because He’s called me, but I’m desperate for Him to carry me. I cannot carry myself. It’s physically and emotionally impossible.

I’m finally okay with not being the best at everything. For three straight semesters, I’ve been studying, writing papers, and reading text books. I’ve yet to receive a 4.0 GPA. I started out with that goal but quickly was faced with a reality check. It came by way of  looking into four other faces with whom I share a residence. In this home I wear the title matriarch. Or, is it maid?  Believe it or not, these people get hungry, expect clean clothes, a clear path to walk through, and, occasionally, they expect me to be available for needs only I can meet. The nerve! (I’m just kidding, I love every minute of it! Well, most minutes of it.)

I’m an okay writer, a decent speaker, a so-so musician, and truthfully, I’m becoming accepting of all of this mediocrity. Why? Because here is what I thrive at being: I’m a daughter of the King, available to be used by Him, willing to do things I’m scared to death to do, and ready to go to battle in prayer for every woman who visits my blog or reads my books. I won’t sell out and be a pretender. I don’t care if the whole world knows me or only you who is reading right now knows who I am. You’re enough for me! I’m not going to try selling you everything, pull you into donating to tons of charities, and I’m not going to schmooze other writers. I’m me! If I promote something it’s because I feel God has led me to do so and that is it! If I connect with another writer it’s because I believe in their ministry. Bottom line.

Listen, I don’t know what your list entails or what you’re going though on a personal level, but I can tell you this. Jesus tells us nothing is impossible and that we can do all things. Will we be the best at everything? Nope. I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m a truth teller. However, if you’re called to do it, regardless of your skill level, He’s going to take you to places you never thought. Some welcome; some not. He’s going to bless you beyond your wildest imagination. That means sometimes you’ll have to work to make sense of the blessing because it’s wrapped in mud and hindsight is 20/20. I bet I’m your favorite encourager today, huh?

Also, God is willing to use your life.  it’s sort of His jam. Did I really just say that? Tell me this: Why in the world would we choose to sit dormant in our gifts when we could be used to erupt passion and purpose? And, by the way, God does nothing mediocre. We might, and He might use us, but He will accomplish greatness… no thanks to us.

If you’re anything like me then all this is a process and it takes time to arrive where I’m finding myself. Don’t be afraid to strip the layers of guilt or condemnation holding you back from doing everything it is He’s called you to accomplish. You might not be the best, but if you live with a heart bent toward Him, you’ll be His best. And, friend, that’s all that matters!

So, reposition your faith and take yourself out of the equation. All faith needs to be in Him. Yes, we all have work to do and we need to do the best we can, but when God calls us, He will also carry us.

And, in everything, be honest and give grace.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

How Learning to be Faithful Leads to True Success…

You don't have to be the world's definition of successful, you only need to be God's definition of faithful.

I have a lot on my mind this morning as I sit down to share my heart with you. I’ve been away from this space longer than I planned. I’m working furiously on finishing a book that God put on my heart to write, and I can’t wait to place it in your hands. Would you remember me in prayer as I finish this process? I’m so grateful for you!

Writing a book can be lonely work, and there’s so much I want to convey. However, I want more than anything to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as I place each word on the page. It’s a letter-by-letter process for me full of backspacing, deleting, and hot tears in prayer to Jesus as I work through my own healing in hopes the words, which are helping me to heal, might aid in healing someone else. More than anything, I pray these words will lead others to the Healer of everything.

I’ve learned that God usually calls us to the uncomfortable: tasks that situate us just outside our comfort zone and then requires an act of faith to succeed in following through.

“God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful.”

– Mother Teresa

Those words by Mother Teresa work letter-by-letter to string together pure wisdom that leads me straight to the center of a spiritual reality. We have to be willing, obedient, faithful, constant, and committed to the cause of Christ. Success is not measured in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of God. His definition is so much different from ours. He has a plan we cannot see and is using us in ways we cannot imagine. God does a lot of behind the scenes work and our main job is to be willing and faithful in whatever way He plans to use us.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

-The Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:10)

You might not be writing a book, but I have no doubt you are called to work in a capacity much bigger than you can imagine. Right at this moment your gifts are being stirred up so that they are ready to pour out.

No matter where you find yourself today, God will use you in the place you are standing to influence someone else. The kindness of your character and the strength you hold in your situation will speak volumes to those around you. You don’t have to be the world’s definition of successful, you only need to be God’s definition of faithful.

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him…”

-1 Corinthians 2:9

 

You are loved and there are amazing tasks waiting that only you can accomplish. Step outside your comfort zone and trust Him in the place you stand today.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

-Ephesians 3:14-20

Love,

Jennifer

To Tweet this post to encourage someone, click here.