A Race We Can Never Win

A Race We Can Never Win

Hi! I grew up on a farm in Kansas but moved to Oklahoma when I got married and have been a city girl ever since. I’ve been married for 36 years to a generous, loving, hardworking Christian man (who is currently an elder in our congregation), and we have been blessed with 2 children, a son and daughter. Both are married, and our son has 2 little girls (so much fun being a grandmother!). I enjoy running, hiking, reading, playing the piano, and singing. I’m passionate about my family, personal spiritual growth, teaching God’s word, mentoring, and serving others.
Pam J
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Comparing ourselves to someone else is a race we can never win.

We will always lose – we lose relationships, we lose contentment, we lose the ability to see anything good in our lives, we lose spiritually, and we lose emotionally.

How do we feel when someone else has an ability, a characteristic, or material goods that we want? When does that wanting turn into jealousy?

Envy – Jealousy – Coveting

“Envy/jealousy/coveting is best defined as a tendency to hate other people for having what we want. Envy says, ‘What is inside me is bad. What is outside me is good. I hate anyone who has something I desire.’” (from “Safe People” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend).

Envy can taint our thinking so much that the loving and generous people in our lives become the “bad guys”. We end up hating people who are really good to us, good for us, and who love us.

How twisted is that?

Those who want the best for us become our enemies because of the extreme jealousy we have over their abilities.

Jealousy Destroys

Comparing ourselves to others and wanting what they have will result in jealousy. Jealousy kills relationships, and it destroys us.

This truth is evident in the relationship between King Saul and David. David is just a young shepherd boy when he’s sent to the Israelite camp to bring supplies to his brothers. When he arrives, he sees Goliath, the Philistine giant, taunting the terrified Israelite army. David takes his sling and a bag of rocks and kills Goliath, crediting God for his victory. David becomes a war hero, and Saul eventually puts him in charge of his soldiers. They have a good relationship.

Then in I Samuel 18:6-9, that relationship changes because of Saul’s jealousy. The Israelite army comes home from war, and the people are crediting David as a greater warrior than Saul.

After that time, Saul saw David through this fog of jealousy, and he was never able to shake those feelings. He’d try to kill David, then he’d be sorry, then he’d get jealous again and try to kill him. His jealousy started as a tiny seed and grew until it defined his entire life. David could have been Saul’s greatest friend and trusted general, but instead Saul allowed his jealousy to see David as a threat and an obsession.

Glorify God with Your Gifts

God has made us all unique, and gifted us with abilities for us to use, for His glory, not ours. Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created to glorify God:

…“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.”

We need to use the abilities God has given us and do them as best as we can. We can fine-tune what we are good at and keep learning something new (we might be really good at that, too), because we are each individually filling in a gap that someone else can’t do.

We need to look at other’s abilities and rejoice that their skills are glorifying God in ways that we can’t do.

What do we do when we have jealous feelings?

 

Pray about it and stop feeding those jealous thoughts.

Self-control over our thoughts is possible. We don’t have to entertain thoughts of jealousy, we can yell “stop” in our heads (or out loud!) and do something else. By entertaining jealous thoughts, it’s like we invite them in, give them a coke and some popcorn, and put them in the guest room. They will never want to leave!

We need to run the race we can win.

We need to do what we can do for God’s glory, to the best of our abilities, and let others do their best for God’s glory. In this way, God’s family is being built up, and we achieve the purpose that God has set out for us.

More Encouraging Posts

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Changed by God’s Word

No Longer a  Fly By Friend

No Longer a Fly By Friend

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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Have you ever labeled yourself in such a way as to isolate your feelings? I did that when I labeled myself a “Fly By Friend,” but I have decided to call myself that no longer.

What is a “Fly By Friend”?

I dubbed myself this after realizing I had a tendency to gravitate to those who seemed to really need a friend or felt left out in some form or fashion and then would fly off as soon as they found someone else. It may sound silly, but in a child’s mind, even in an adult’s mind, we find ways of coping, when we have relationships that are no longer close like they once were.

So I dubbed myself a “Fly by Friend” and I honestly didn’t mind being one at all. I love being able to be there for people, to encourage them, and motivate them on their journey. And although I may have wished for the relationship to last longer, I knew it served a good purpose in their lives and I was content with that.

I understood that each person came into my life for a purpose, even if only for a time, so I didn’t mind only being there for the time they needed that encouragement.

A part of me, held onto this identity because then it was easier to encourage the person to fly onto their next growth phase and not be hurt or offended when we weren’t as close as before.

No Longer a Fly By Friend!

As I was speaking to my husband today, I realized that I hadn’t thought of myself as a Fly by Friend in a long time. I am no longer a Fly by Friend!

And you know what I realized…I have more deeper relationships now than I had before!

I had begun to pray a part of Psalm 68:6 over myself and my family.

Lord, we trust you wherever you take us. We know “you set the lonely in families” and so we pray you will bring us to those who will be like our family wherever we go. In Jesus’ holy name – Amen!

I was ready to receive deep friendships and God provided them!

Yes, there are still people that will only be in our lives for a certain time, but now I’m ready for these deeper relationships and I realize that I wasn’t completely ready for them before.

Watch What We Speak

What we speak to ourselves or others becomes our truth, whether it should be a truth or not. This is not to say there isn’t an absolute truth! No, God proclaims absolute truths.

It is to say that what we think and say becomes our reality often times. This is one of the reasons why I believe God tells us to guard our hearts.

Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
– Proverbs 4:23-26

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 10:5

Capturing My Thoughts

When I believed I was a “Fly by Friend,” that is exactly how my relationships looked.

But in not identifying with that idea for the past several years, I have been ready (mentally, physically, and emotionally) to have deeper, long lasting relationships.

And you know what?

God, has answered my prayers! And in his mercy, He is teaching me how to be a better friend to those I have the blessing of calling friends and family!

Question to Prayerfully Ponder

Have you ever labeled yourself in such a way to isolate your feelings?

Is there something in your life you would like changed?


Consider how you are talking to yourself about that area of your life and then take those thoughts to God in prayer.

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, you are holy and awesome and beyond compare. You teach us the meaning of true friendship. You do not force us to love you. Freely, you gift us your friendship and allow us to choose how we engage or disengage from you.

You encourage us to love and be friends to others as you have been with us. As you have walked with many physically and spiritually, you know the heartaches and the blessings that can come with befriending others.

May we not allow our fears to keep us at arms length from others, but trust that you have a purpose for each interaction.

May we seek your guidance as to whom we allow to walk closely with us so that these close friendships would encourage our faith and not steer us away from you. We pray that as we walk with others that we would bolster their faith in you too!

Lord, we trust you wherever you take us. We know “you set the lonely in families” and so we pray you will bring us to those who will be like our family wherever we go.

In Jesus’ Holy Name – Amen

Be Encouraged by these Posts as well…

Souls Informed by Truth

Trees are the Answer: Questioning Adversity

Let Me Live That I May Praise You


Letting Go of Guilt

Letting Go of Guilt

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Clinging to our past is drenching, isn’t it? It keeps us from experiencing the fullness of the present.

Sometimes we just need to let go.

Perhaps it’s pride from past successes, insecurities that we’ve allowed to define us, pain from hurtful experiences, or crippling guilt from our mistakes.

Is there anything from your past that you need to let go of?

I’d like to share a little bit of my personal story with you, and why I am learning to let go of the guilt and shame from my past. 

First, let’s consider the following scriptures.

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 17-19a)

 

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

 

There is beauty in the letting go of our past. 

The source of this beauty is God and his love for us, his chosen and dearly loved children. In his great grace, he forgives our sins and offers us a life filled with hope and assurance in what truly matters.

He wants us to let go.

 

My girls and I often walk in our local arboretum. Recently we’ve been enjoying the changing leaves and crisp autumn air.

I believe it reflects God’s grace. He paints the trees such glorious colors as they prepare to let go of their leaves. They let go of their leaves in order to sustain themselves through the winter, and so that they will be able to produce new life. I’ve been pondering this and reflecting on my own story, particularly a chapter I haven’t been able to turn the page on. 

 

During one of our evening walks, I watched my daughters giggle and play. I soaked in the sweet thoughts my five year old was sharing with me. I gave recognition to the value and blessings in this season of my life, and I knew it was time.

It was time to let go.

If I was going to flourish in the here and now then I needed to let go of the old parts of my story that left me feeling insignificant, stuck, and unfit for kingdom work.  I wanted to embrace the new chapter God was writing.

The specifics of my guilt aren’t really that important. In our selfishness, we all give way to sin. We all have reason for guilt. 

Dwelling on our past or how we thought life was supposed to be is a useless waste of energy. We can’t go back and do things differently. We can however, look to our past and see how God has worked in our life. We can remember lessons learned. We can consider where God’s brought us, and look for ways to bring him glory here, in our current circumstances.

We can’t grow in the past, but if we let go of what’s holding us there we can grow in the present.

 

It’s easier said than done. Letting go of guilt is especially difficult when we are living in the consequences of our sin.

There may be other people involved, you might be dealing with mental health issues, regular health issues, or you might have suffered loss. You might have a cost to pay.

Through this, it’s important to keep an eternal perspective.

Yes, we have to deal with the results of our actions, but we don’t have to wear the shame as our label.

We can let go and grow!

Doesn’t that sound better than clinging to our past mistakes, and wallowing in our guilt?

Which response will cause us to be more effective for the Kingdom?

Life is certainly filled with hills and valleys and some people face more difficult times than others. These chapters are hard, but even in them we can serve the Lord.

The purpose of bringing God glory exists in all of our chapters, not just the easier ones.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

 

 

“Letting go” isn’t about forgetting all of our bad memories or ignoring what other people think about us.

It’s not even about feeling happy. It’s about letting go of our sin and guilt, experiencing the fullness of our salvation in Jesus Christ so that we might be fruitful. 

So how do you do this?

Well, I don’t have all of the answers for you, but I know a good place to start. Fill your heart and mind with scriptures that speak of the assurance of your salvation. The above scriptures are wonderful ones to meditate on and memorize if you are struggling to release your guilty past. 

Here is the truth, friend:

If you have accepted salvation in Jesus then God intends for you to live with joy and freedom.  Without Christ we were headed toward death, but with him we are forgiven of sins, made clean, and headed toward heaven!

So let go of your sin and guilt, and live in the light of your eternity!

 

 

 

**

If you have not received salvation in Jesus and you would like to know more about God’s life changing grace then please reach out to our Creating a Great Day team. It would be our privilege to talk about the Gospel with you. 🙂

 

Blonde Brunette Ambition

Blonde Brunette Ambition

Follow Susan
Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
Susan
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Ambition

Even as a newborn, I knew I was destined to be a blonde. Yet somehow fate gave me a head full of bushy, dark hair. So, I spent the time in my crib rubbing my head against the mattress until all the brunette fell out.

My hair grew back in golden blonde, my destiny. I was blonde all my school years, although at some point, I realized my hair had darkened. I had become more of a dishwater blonde, but still blonde. My identity remained intact.

Sometime after my son was born, my husband and my brother-in-law engaged in a discussion on the color of my hair. (Why they were discussing my hair has been lost to history.) My husband contended I was a blonde, while my brother-in-law insisted I had, at best, light-brown hair.

I took a good look in the mirror.

Had I really gone to the dark side? Let’s just say, my hair wasn’t as blonde as I’d have liked it to be. Easily rectified, and for the next 25 or so years, I rectified it.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about going natural.

This isn’t as easy a decision as you might think. I’ve worked a lot of years at being a blonde. I realize in this era of changing your hair color to suit your mood – pink, brown, purple, blonde – it’s become more spur of the moment fun, than a life changing decision.

My choice shouldn’t be that monumental. But you have to realize, I grew up in the “blondes have more fun” era, Farah Fawcett flanked by two brunettes, blonde ambition, etc.…

Invested or Involved?

Lately my ongoing hair debate has made me think.

Do we sometimes face an identity dilemma as Christians?

We carry on as always. But is it really “us” anymore?

We are involved; no one can say we don’t do our part. But sometimes I think we use the word involved when we should use the word invested.

Are we invested as Christians?

You can be involved, but not invested:

  • You teach class because someone has to do it.
  • You attend a Small Group because your spouse wants to go.
  • You are in the pew at worship time because it’s your duty.

But does God only want us to scratch the surface as Christians?

When you are invested:

  • You teach because you are helping grow a new generation of Christians.
  • You attend a Small Group because you want to get to know your fellow Christians on a deeper level as you study God’s word.
  • You are in the pew at worship time because you are honoring and praising God.

As with anything, it comes down to attitude.

As we constantly search our hearts and minds, ever guarding against becoming complacent in our worship of the Creator, we need to not only be involved, but be involved because we are invested.

As for my hair, am I still invested in being blonde? My hair dresser and I will let you know.

Be encouraged by these posts as well…

Changed by God’s Word

Praying Luke: Glorifying the Lord in the Big & Small Details!

When Church Doors Close

Waiting on the Lord

Teaching and Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit at Home

Teaching and Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit at Home

I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
Elizabeth P
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Guest post by Kelly Finstrom & craft by Elizabeth Patton

Galatians 5:16-17,22 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with one another, so that you are not to do whatever you want…. But the fruit of the spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL.”

Teaching and Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit at Home

We all as moms experience these traits off and on, generally when our children are behaving at their best. But what happens when they are NOT behaving like we have trained them to do? What happens when WE as moms stop behaving as the Lord has so clearly trained us to? Our flesh all too often stands in the way of the Spirit’s work.

Romans 8:5,6 ” Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is LIFE.”

Walking by the Spirit

When controlled by the Holy Spirit we die to ourselves but are given life!

Bearing fruit is completely unattainable by our own strength or our children’s. It is only through the Spirit’s work inside of us that we will be able to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to our families. It starts with us.

Think about what fruits of the Spirit are or have been taught well in your home. Which fruits are you or your children most struggling with?

The Bible is clear. Walk by the Spirit. Hold fast to God’s Word.

How can we practically do this? Focus on one fruit at a time.

Is kindness a struggle for you or your child? Find specific verses relating to kindness and pray for that fruit to grow over the course of a year or for however long it takes to take root.

You may ask, “What if my child doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ yet?” Is it possible for these fruits to be developed in their lives? What a relief that God’s control far outweighs our own. He will ultimately work in your child’s heart, but we as parents can train responses to life. Even unbelievers can benefit from the principles in Scripture.

Fruit of the Spirit Craft

You might also try this fun craft to help your kids learn these or incorporate one for a real fruit at breakfast or snack.

Love could be a red apple,

Joy could be a “smiling” banana,

Peace a pineapple,

Gentleness grapes and so on- whatever your kids will eat!

Here is a craft that your family might do to keep these in the forefront of your minds:

Make a construction paper tree- mine is about 18 inches tall but it can be as big or small as you want. You can even just draw a tree on a dry erase board OR your chalkboard OR hang them on a string. Then fold a piece of colored paper in half and make a fruit shaped “card”. This can be lots of different fruit or just one type for the whole tree. We used apples! On the outside I wrote a Fruit of the Spirit and on the inside I found a Bible verse that talked more about that Fruit. I tried to pick shorter verses for my young kids.

For example:

The kids got into it by helping trace the apples and cutting them out. We also ended up with a banana and a watermelon.

We spend time regularly working on pointing out and memorizing these verses as a family which are in a really visible place in our home so they can easily be part of the conversations we have on a daily basis.

Waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Vivid memories still linger from my childhood of those aching days before something exciting was going to take place. Perhaps it was spring break or a birthday. In my teen years it was summer camps.

Countless times I’d count down the days. Those periods of waiting might have felt unbearable at the time, but they were also exciting because I knew it would come to an end. The activity was marked on the calendar and I knew how long I’d have to wait.

Waiting on the Lord without a Set Date

Oh, but there are many times when what we desire isn’t marked on a schedule or calendar. Recently our 4 year old cashed in $5 worth of allowance quarters for a small Minnie Mouse doll- an item she’d spent months longing for.

Every time we went to the store she’d ask us if she had enough. We counted her money over and over, but without a clear concept of the value of money, she didn’t really understand. To her it felt endless. We were all weary from her waiting and it was a time of rejoicing when the wait came to an end.

Why Is It Taking So Long?

We can so relate to our children in their times of waiting, can’t we? Waiting is a life long experience in one way or another. Sadly, even as adults we don’t always handle it well.

I’ve had a particular request that I’ve been lifting to the Lord for years. At times I’ve been in such distress over it that I’ve found myself in doubt and anger.

“Where are you God? Why is this taking so long?”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

The Opportunity in Waiting on the Lord

In the last year I’ve been challenged to consider my desires a little more closely. Could it be that God has withheld this good thing from me because he wanted me to draw closer to Him?

While I can’t know for certain the reasons for my situation, I can (and should) analyze the status of my heart. In the past, I’ve held this request as something that is of the upmost importance for my happiness and worthiness on this earth.

Through this time of waiting, I’ve grown closer to the Lord and found more of the happiness and worth that comes through Jesus. He’s given me comforts and answers in other areas. He has blessed me with the assurance of his presence in my daily life. In this time of waiting I have been able to more fully know the joy that comes from God alone.

God’s Faithfulness While We are Waiting

“Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, ‘The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” –Lamentations 3:22-26 (CSB)

I’ve always loved this passage from Lamentations 3. It was written in the context of waiting for an earthly deliverance, but it is a reminder for all of us that God is merciful to us and that He is enough. Our joy today is that He offers us salvation through Jesus. We have an eternal deliverance from our sin, and the gift of His Spirit.

My Heart While I’m Waiting on the Lord

I will continue to offer up my request to the Lord. He knows my heart and He tells me I can bring my burdens to Him. I will not complain to Him though, as if he hasn’t already filled me with the greatest joy I could ever know. My happiness and worth do not depend on my unmet desires, my happiness and worth is set in Christ alone. “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:24 KJV)

Encouragement for Your Heart

Are you waiting on the Lord in an area of your life?

Sweet one, I know that it is not easy. Waiting never is. I encourage you to draw yourself closer to the Lord when you are tempted to back away and doubt. Open your Bible and read it’s accounts. Start a prayer journal. Fill your soul with songs of praise. Feel His gentle whispers on the other pages of your heart.

What we long for we may never receive. May our true joy come not from our earthly circumstances but from our eternal destination. Praise Him, we are rescued!



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