Getting Rid of Picture Perfect

Getting Rid of Picture Perfect

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Do you struggle with perfectionism?  Are you able to be transparent and share with others that your life isn’t picture perfect?

When I was in high school, I had quotes and signs all over my room.  Two signs I made said:

Nobody is perfect, but that is no excuse!

&

Practice makes improvement.

For years upon years, I lived my life trying to achieve the best. I would practice extra hours on the track.  I would redo and rewrite papers and projects as much as needed until I had my projects and papers as close to perfect as I could get.  I remember in college one of my professors commenting that I should have turned in my first draft instead of the 5th, because it would have worked too.

Part of me was doing it because I love a challenge and knew I could do better.  The other part was doing it out of fear of failure.  We need to distinguish what drives our need for perfection and take hold of it, if the root cause lies in fear and not love.

Now, I’m not saying that we should not try our best, but I’ve learned that we can waste a lot of time trying to be perfect.

What are we afraid of?

Sometimes, trying to reach perfection keeps us from taking action!  It causes us to freeze in fear of messing up. What exactly are we afraid of if we do mess up?

  • Doing it wrong?
  • Feeling like we might be ridiculed?
  • Feeling that we won’t be valuable?
  • Believing God’s grace is insufficient for us?
  • Thinking that we won’t be trusted if we can’t get it right?
  • What????

We are called to live like we are loved not like we are perfect!

If we live in fear of messing up and not being perfect then we are like the one who was given a talent and instead of doing anything with it, hid it in the ground! He made no profit, didn’t even try.  Instead, he did absolutely nothing productive.  He froze in fear.

When the master returned to find that he didn’t even try to do anything with it, he was punished.

Matthew 25:24-30

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

We should never allow fear of imperfection keep us from working in God’s kingdom.  God has put us right where we need to be, has given us access to what we need to accomplish the goals He has set before us, and doesn’t ask us to rely on ourselves. Instead, the Lord asks us to rely on Him.  He will get us through any situation and will even use our weaknesses to bring about his glory.

Are you willing?

Are you willing to allow God to use your weakness or are you too scared to show others that you have any?

When we mask our weaknesses, we are not only being deceitful but we are hindering God from using them for his glory.  Satan then can use this to make others feel alone, like they are the only ones having to fight this battle.  Here’s the truth:  You are not going through anything that someone else has not already gone through!  You are not alone in your weakness!

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
– The Lord to Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Christ died for our imperfections.

Let’s not pretend like we don’t have any.  And let us be gracious as we see the imperfections of others.

I still believe practice makes improvement and that we are not all perfect.  But I am trying to no longer waste time in achieving absolute perfection.  Not everything needs to be 100% perfect.  Sometimes, we need to just do our best, not stress over potential failure, and trust that the Lord can use any weakness we have for his glory!

Every time I hear this song by Hawk Nelson called Live Like You’re Loved, I double check myself and see if I’m wasting time running after perfection because of fear.  Are you ready to get rid of the picture perfect life?

 

“I can’t eat that!” Refusing to Eat at God’s Table

“I can’t eat that!” Refusing to Eat at God’s Table

Jayne M

Jayne Michener has been married for over twenty years to a "son of thunder" and is mother to two adolescent daughters, one delightfully immersed in nature and another humorous, artistic girl who is devoted to cats.The better days are spent developing Christian culture and character with the educational principles of Charlotte Mason in mind.The worse days are spent with lightly held sanity, tightly gripped coffee, and semi-vocalized prayer.She is on a journey depending on the Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth, whether unseen spiritual realms or earthly ventures, such as education, healing arts, nutrition, neuroscience, and art.Oh, and her children would be horrified if she did not mention that they live with two cats, Blacksmith and Beauty.
Jayne M

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Falafel, known as the hamburger of the Middle East, is the most popular fast food in the region, and one fine Saturday in January, it was considered a good option for lunch…or so I thought. I attended a pan of cooking falafel while my family enjoyed some sunshine outside. My eldest daughter soon pressed her presence beside me, making the benign operation of a spatula a more challenging maneuver. She immediately spoke the mantra familiar to most mothers, “Mom, I’m hungry.”

Spatula raised as well as eyebrows, I gave a meaningful glance toward a plate which held five freshly made falafel patties directly in front of my apparently famished child. I bemoaned, “If only there were food directly in front of you.”

“Mom,” my daughter responded matter-of factly, “You know I can’t eat food like that.”

Immediately, I realized, this is how we sound to God. We play in the backyard of His world, feel a need, and then come into His presence. We begin our conversation with need and end with complaint. He has in fact been thinking of us all the while we had no thought of Him. He knew as we were playing we would become hungry, and he has prepared food for us.

How often do we complain of hunger, but refuse to eat the meal set before us? A meal full of nutrients and diversity of flavor? He sets before us self-denial. “I can’t eat that!” He sets before us forgiveness. “I can’t eat that!” He sets before us patience. “I can’t eat that!” We ask for our desires and needs to be fulfilled immediately, but with a palate that would leave us soft and weak.

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It is the Lord’s playground; it is the Lord’s kitchen, and we indeed are called to be a part of His beloved, cherished family. He has every thought of us and wants us to come eat with Him. I even think He delights in sometimes serving us cake and ice cream, knowing it doesn’t build strength, but enchants the soul. However, He loves us too much to allow us to live on these.

 

After my daughter rejected the food I set before her, I asked myself, “What has God provided that I am refusing to eat?” As we eat at His table, grimacing at new and unusual flavors, our tastes will begin to expand in epicurean measure. What we once could not tolerate begins to make us feel deeply nourished, and to our surprise, we even begin to crave it. The Lord has been known to me as my Creator, Redeemer, and my Great Physician, but now I know Him also as my Master Chef.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good!”I Can't Eat That! Thing I Refuse from God

Verses to hold onto when you are Suffering

Verses to hold onto when you are Suffering

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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As Christians , we do not walk through life with “rainbow eyes,” only seeing what is good, but instead we see and feel the pain around us. Sometimes we live deep in this suffering.  We do not feel this suffering any less simply because we have decided to follow Christ, but when we go through painful times, we can hold onto the hope-filled promises God gives us.

This past year and a half has been an extremely painful year for our family – physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It’s been a blessing but a difficult one all at the same time. During this time, I have tried my best not to ride the roller-coaster of emotions.  The pain has been there and so has the hope, even though at times it’s hard to see.

Truths & Verses to hold onto during the painful struggles of life

Christ understands our pain and suffering.

He has experienced it all and can sympathize with us and encourage us through it.

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
Hebrews 2:18

We are never alone.

No matter how much Satan wants us to believe we are alone, God is always with us and never forsakes us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

We have hope.

Especially in times of suffering, hope can be hidden.  Of course, it is always there but sometimes we have a hard time seeing it through our situation.  Hope encompasses all the promises that God has ever made and keeping those promises in front of us can help us not focus on the pain and suffering as much.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

We should not mask our pain and sufferings.

If we try to numb ourselves or mask our pain, there will come a time when all those emotions will come flooding out. Plus, we will miss out on one of the great blessings God has given us through the church body. We are not called to hide what we are going through but to let our brothers and sisters in Christ help us to stand when we cannot.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

This pain will not last forever.

Although it might seem like the emotional or physical pain will never go away, God promised that he will comfort and heal us.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 174:3

God can use our pain later to encourage others.

Although we don’t think about it in the midst of our suffering, God can use what we are going through to bring others who will go through the same thing hope too.  In the process of our suffering, he can even use it to bring people to know Him who would never walk through a church building’s doors.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Focus on Christ, not your suffering.

There are times when the suffering is overwhelming and the rough waves of the situation can keep us from seeing the truth.  That truth is Christ will hold us safely.  One of the main verses I held onto with all my might during this time is:

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Pslam 16:8

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Music to Encourage the Heart – Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcomb

This past weekend, while attending a Local IF:Gathering, I heard this beautiful song, Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcomb.  As I listened to the verses, my soul was literally overcome by how absolutely faithful God has been to us in the midst of our suffering.  He showed up time after time, keeping his promises, reminding us that he was walking with us, and lighting our path along the way in the midst of our darkness.  God is truly amazing and this song will encourage your heart too during the difficult and trying times of life.

Read then listen to these beautiful lyrics:

God knows we ache when He asks us to go on
How do we go on

We will sing to our souls
We won’t bury our hope
Where He leads us to go
There’s a red sea road
When we can’t see the way
He will part the waves
And we’ll never walk alone
Down the red sea road
– Red Sea Road  by Ellie Holcomb

 

Gifts from God

Gifts from God

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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As children we eagerly awaited Christmas morning, so we could tear our presents open and see the marvelous gifts that had been hidden under the tree.

As adults, do we still eagerly await our chance to open gifts?  Do we get excited to see what God has in store for us?  God is THE BEST GIFT GIVER of all he doesn’t need to wait until Christmas to bestow gifts to your soul.  He does it daily. Sometimes these gifts come wrapped in packages that we might not want to open.  Other times, we become like children at Christmas time unable to wait any longer until we can open those most wanted gifts.

Our Creating a Great Day team came together and created a special gift for you.  It’s a gift that we pray will open your hearts to the many wonderful gifts God may have in store for you or has already blessed you with.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but a wonderful way to dig into God’s Word for 5 minutes a day and refresh your mind, spirit, and soul to what the day holds.

Every day is a gift filled with amazing possibilities to grow and glorify God!  Our prayer is that you will not miss the gifts that aren’t neatly wrapped and placed under the tree but instead will openly welcome whatever gifts God is bringing your way this year.

So…we are gifting you a special 5 minute devotional Ebook that will help you focus on God’s great gifts!

gifts-from-god-ebook-graphic

In the “Gifts from God: A 5 minute devo book”, you will be encouraged with:

  • a verse
  • a short devo thought around the verse
  • a prayer
  • a place to journal your thoughts and prayers
  • a space for Bible Journaling and
  • Bible verse memory cards

Check out the devos contained within the FREE Ebook:

  • The Gift of Ambassadorship by April Everhart
  • The Gift of Being Chosen by Kristin Jesch
  • The Gift of Immanuel by Kristi Finefrock
  • The Gift of Music by Toni Dennis
  • The Gift of Newness by Melissa Williams
  • The Gift of Refuge by Kristin Jesch
  • The Gift of Self-Confidence by Laura Peoples
  • The Gift of Trials by Kristi Finefrock
  • The Gift of Waiting by Kristi Finefrock
  • The Gift of Weakness by Melissa Williams

This is a great devotional to use now so you can keep unwrapping awesome gifts even after Christmas Day is over

OR

use it to kick off your New Year!

 

Get your FREE Gifts from God ebook now!
(If you are subscribe to our Creating a Great Day Newsletter, check your inbox.  Your gift is there waiting for you!)

Choose Kindness

Choose Kindness

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am a Kindergarten teacher in the great state of Texas and most importantly a Christian. I strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
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So Many Choices Each Day

Every day we make choices: what to eat, where to go, and quite simply how to act.  It is amazing when you think about it just how many decisions you make during one 24-hour period, but they can make or break you with each one.

About a year ago my husband and our two small children went to McDonald’s for lunch before a movie.  While we were sitting there my sister called me with something important she needed to talk about. I was on the phone for a few minutes when I heard a lady start yelling at me:

“How about getting off the phone and take care of your kids!”

Mind you, my kids are not quiet but this was a time when they were actually being pleasant! I turned around and asked her politely, “What?” because I honestly thought I might have misunderstood her. She, along with three older women, kept yelling at me.  I could not believe what I was hearing but I had this incredible urge to leave the establishment and say nothing to them.

I believe that was God guiding me to make the right decision and choose kindness.

Now believe me, I was fuming mad once I got out to the car! I almost got out of my car to go inside and really let them know what I thought but we chose to leave.  After we got home, my heart was heavy.  Not only that I was yelled at, but that a complete stranger thought it was ok to treat someone like that.

Choosing Kindness isn’t Easy

From that point on, I remember thinking how much harder it is to choose kindness rather than choosing to say whatever is on your mind.  It is easy to let people know what you think; it takes strength and character to assess the situation and choose kindness.  Does this mean you let people run over you?  Absolutely not!  You can always show kindness even when you are confronting someone who is harming you.

Jesus has numerous examples of dealing with difficult people and tough situations.  One that sticks out is in John 8 when the Pharisees brought a woman who had committed adultery to Jesus and told him that the law said she should be stoned.  Instead of being furious for the acts they were committing, singling this woman out, he started writing in the sand, stood up, and asked:

“Let anyone who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Of course no one could because all have sinned. Jesus told her he didn’t condemn her either. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I love how Jesus does everything in love and kindness.  He had every right to be mad and let the Pharisees know exactly what he thought of their actions but he chose strength in being silent and making a statement in love.  I am thankful that I have the Word to lean on rather than the world to show me how to be and how to act. Praise God for that!

A few things that help me remember to always choose kindness:

In any situation, please choose kindness.

It takes more strength to do and say what is right rather than wrong.

Live in God’s Word and not of this world.

 

For Everything There is a Season

For Everything There is a Season

McKenzie R

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
McKenzie R

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Season of Change

My favorite season is fall, and I am so beyond thrilled that it seems to be knocking on our door!  Just as January brings a fresh start with a new year, I feel the same way about fall.  Maybe it is because I have started a new school year in the fall for most of my life and now my children’s lives.

During this season of change, I feel the Lord working in me.  I feel Him tugging at my heart to change some things in my life.  Isn’t it hard to listen to that voice?  Even though I love the fall, change is hard for me.

Seasons are Meant to Pass

I knew I wanted to do a fall-themed Bible journaling entry for you guys, so I went on the search to pair my fall inspiration with a verse I connected with.  When I came across Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 I knew it was perfect.  By reading this passage, I realized that there are all types of seasons and phases in life.  Seasons are meant to pass, not to linger.  When I feel stuck, I look for the healing phase to come.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

— Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)

@theLetteredLight

acrylic paint and black pen

Make the Sandwich

Something my husband and I say when we need to make some changes is, “We need to go into the kitchen and make the sandwich.”  This is based on an illustration we heard once: “If you ask the Lord for a sandwich, He will feed you.  He will not make food magically appear. You must go into the kitchen and make the sandwich.”

Perhaps it’s kind of silly, but for me this works in so many areas of my life.  Maybe I want to lose some weight. God won’t do the exercise for me–I have to!  Or I want to eat healthier. God won’t cook the veggies for me–I have to!  Maybe I want to be a more present mother. God isn’t going to turn my phone off–I have to!  I want to start a women’s Bible study. God isn’t going to invite people–I have to!  Be sure and ask yourself these questions regarding the seasons in your life…especially the last one 😉

Do you feel stuck in a rut, ready for the next season of your life?

Are you ready to do your part to make the change happen?

Do you feel like the Lord is using you and your story to speak relief into someone else’s season?

P.S. Have you started your Bible Journaling adventure? We would love to hear about it!

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for-everything-there-is-a-season-bible-journaling

Check out these other Bible Journaling Posts:

Start Bible JournalingE Faith Bible Journaling Heart of Bible Journaling Sacred Home

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