Finding Christmas Admist the Chaos

ChristmasChaosFrontPostcard1

Even before the turkey graces the Thanksgiving table, it is an all out sprint to Christmas. The retailers begin lining the shelves with Christmas ornaments, trees and gift-wrap before the Halloween candy has even been passed out. Not to mention, the countless preparations you need to take care of around the house. Continue reading

Fun House Mirrors: Don’t Trust What You See

funhouse-mirrors2

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, NIV)

Growing up I remember going to the carnival. I can still hear the screams from the rides and smell the elephant ears.  But mainly I recall the thrill of going through the fun house.  It was kind of funny to see myself in the crazy mirrors. Depending on the mirror I would look thin, fat, short, tall or have a big head; you get the idea.

The fun house mirrors take our reflection and distort it. What is fun and humorous at the carnival can be destructive in the real world, but it is something many of us do — sometimes daily. We judge ourselves. We are looking at our own lives through a distorted lens. It is so easy to focus on our faults, both inside and out and start down the downward spiral of condemnation.

You and I start thinking we are less valuable or even completely worthless because of our past. We can be our own worst enemy. However, when condemnation comes against you, let me encourage you to quote Romans 8:1–2 as a word weapon. These two verses are so powerful because no matter what you have done or will do, there is no condemnation in Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict us when we have sinned, so that we can repent. Condemnation, on the other hand, comes from Satan and ourselves. Therefore we need to remind the Enemy and ourselves that we do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Walking after the flesh is depending upon ourselves; walking after the Spirit is to depend upon God. When we fail, which we all will, that does not mean we are failures. It simply means we do not do everything right. We all have to accept that we have strengths along with weaknesses. Let Christ be strong in our weaknesses. Let Him be our strength on our weak days.

Allow Christ to transform the distorted fun house lens you are seeing yourself through into the pure reflection of His love for you, getting rid of the guilt and shame.

 

Your Turn: I challenge you to leave the fun house mirrors at the carnival. Sit down in front of a mirror this week and have a conversation with yourself about what you see in your life – inside and out – using Christ as your lens.

 

Lord, I pray for all those reading this post today that they would stop looking through the distorted lens and judging themselves. Help them to draw close to You and repent, but then leave it all at Your feet and begin to view themselves through Your eyes not their own. In Your Precious Name, Amen. 

 

All About Perspective

Pebble-Beach-4cdb1eafcec2d_hires

Imagine for a moment that you were to pick up a pebble. Now hold it right in front of your face. It looks so big. Okay, now hold it out in front of you. Not as big, but still noticeable. Finally, toss that pebble to the ground, it appears tiny and insignificant.

Obviously, it all comes down to perspective. When the pebble was up by your face, it was all you could see because it was where your focus was. However, your focus shifted when that same pebble was on the ground. From your elevated perspective you could see the big picture and realize it wasn’t that big after all.

This very same principle can be applied to our lives. For example, you believe God is calling you to step out of your comfort zone and say yes to Him. At this point, you have a choice to make, will you focus on your insecurities and doubts about the task before you or will you focus on God, trusting Him to lead and equip you for what He is asking you to do?

It is a matter of perspective. View this as an opportunity to see God work in and through you.

Dear friend, just like the example of the pebble, God sees the big picture and has a perfect purpose and plan for each of us. Keep your eyes on Him and He will certainly equip you for what He has called you to do.

Step out in boldness, He is right beside you.

Your Turn:

  • How is your perspective? Do you focus on circumstances or your Savior?
  • What is holding you back from following God’s leading in your life?
  • How can I pray for you today?

Changing Perspective

Pebble-Beach-4cdb1eafcec2d_hires

Whether we are focusing on the present, past or future, if our perspective is off, we can turn a small incident into something monumental. We must have God be our focus, so things are in the correct perspective. Sometimes the life lessons we all need to learn are seen in children.

Having kids is an adventure, to say the least. More times than not, they are the ones that end up teaching me. For example, our youngest son, Quintin, came in the other day from playing outside to say that he needed a band-aid. However, when he came over to show me, I could barely even see that there was a scratch. Quintin, on the other hand, could not see anything else, but the hurt. His focus was on the boo-boo and what I might be able to do to make it feel better. Later, that same day, our middle son, Ethan, was working on his math homework and having a difficult time. He just kept saying that he could not do it; it was simply too hard. When Ethan’s focus was on the entire problem, instead of looking at it one step at a time, he could not see that he was ever going to figure it out. His focus was on all the problems he had for homework and not simply taking one step at a time. It is easy in these situations, as a mom, to step back and say, “Boys, this is not really as big of a deal as you are making it.” In these instances, they needed me to help give them perspective on the situation.

It reminds me of a pebble. If we hold it up close to our eye, it is all that we see. However, if we hold it out farther. We can examine it and even classify it. To take it one step farther, if you would throw that same pebble at your feet, then it is seen in its true setting. It becomes just one tiny bump along our journey, instead of being the only thing we can see.

For the longest time, I had a real issue with pain from my past. No matter what the Bible said, I was so focused on my pain, my hurt and my past that I couldn’t see anything else. I couldn’t imagine ever getting beyond this point. In fact, I became so focused on this one circumstance in my life that I was missing out on everything around me. I was turning this pebble into Mount Everest. In fact, I was beginning to be crushed under the weight of my past, feeling like I could not more forward and certainly could not be used by God.

God began to work in and through my life to see that in His eyes sin is sin and Christ died on the cross for all of it. It was the enemy who wanted to keep me trapped in the past – distracted, discouraged and defeated. God lifted me up to see that I was loved, valued, important and needed. The very same thing is true of you dear friend. Don’t let the world lead you to believe anything different. God lovingly created each and every one of you for His purpose and plan.

Therefore, when the past comes to haunt us, it is so easy, just like with the pebble, to be solely focused on the circumstance. Like my sons, who were consumed with their problems, we cannot begin to see anything else. It was all they could see and think about. When this happens, life’s circumstances begin to overwhelm us. However, just like the pebble, we need to throw all of our troubles at our feet. The distance helps to put things back into perspective. God is right there, just like I was for my boys, to help us see things clearer. We simply need to take the focus off of the circumstance and throw it at God’s feet and let Him help us. It is mentioned in First Peter 5:7, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (NKJV). God cares for us and wants to, not only help us, but to also put things into perspective. If you are feeling overwhelmed by a situation in your life or pain from the past, take a moment to give it all to God and let Him take care of it all.

How is your perspective today? Are you looking at your circumstances or your Savior?