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See yourself

Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself –  perhaps round the corner in our walk through time zone – and all you see is the big zit on your forehead, or the clothes your mother dressed you in (what was she thinking!), or the naff haircut that was all the rage in 1999 (what were you thinking) – or how young you looked only to look in the mirror now and see the wrinkles that weren’t there 20 years ago…

We are our own worst critic.  We see the flaws like the have huge neon signs pointing at them… and I don’t just mean in photos or to do with our faces and fashion choices.

We compare ourselves to other people, especially in this social media age.

We devalue the gifts and talents that God has given us.

Or we are simply unaware because our self vision is blurry and it can be hard to bring ourselves into focus because we’ve been conditioned to compare for so long and there is also that kiwi culture thing of self depreciation and not being a tall poppy.

In Judges 6 we read about how an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and calls him a mighty warrior, a mighty man of valour.  Gideon literally says who me?

Gideon is sure that God has the wrong guy, that His angelic gps is off.  He lists all the reasons why it oculdnt possibly be him.

Im from the weakest family in the weakest clan.  God, you’re wrong.

But God is never wrong and He sees the gold in who we are.  He sees the potential and He has created you on purpose with a purpose.  God has in fact written into the very fabric of who you are the gifts and talents that He can use to change the world.

2 Cor 4:7 says We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.

When we see ourselves with supernatural vision, as God sees us, we can step out in confidence because we’re aware and living in that reality that the power and awesome sauce comes from God.

Having supernatural vision of ourselves means we can appraise ourselves with honest eyes – none of us are perfect, but we are loved by One who is.  We all have flaws, but we have a God who forgives and is transforming us day by day, from glory to glory.

We can accept the good, the bad and the ugly because we know how greatly loved we are by God and that we are on a journey of becoming more like Jesus.

Having a wrong view of who we are can so hold us back because we may feel that what we have to offer isn’t enough. We are like that one boys lunch.  We may evaluate ourselves as insignificant but God uses what we bring and surrender to Him.  With God it is more than enough.

We have to accept the flavour of who God has created us to be and run with that.  You are you because God created you to be who you are meant to be.  He wanted one just like you.  You will reach people that only you will reach.  You will communicate the gospel through your words and your life like only you can.  You will serve in unique ways and the world needs the gift that you are.

Confession time… I come across, I think, like a mostly confident person.  But there have been times when insecurity battled within to shut me up and shut me down.  My greatest fear growing up and into my 20s, apart from spiders, was singing in public and dancing in public.  But as many of you saw in our highlights video last week and can look around the corner I ended up in a lead role playing an 8 year old brat, singing and dancing on stage, in the Ultimate Gift.  I had auditioned not to acutally be in the production but to make friends as I had only recently joined the church.  There were many times that I said to peter I cant sing that note and he would tell me yes you can and you will.  There were many times I was shaking on the inside but had to step out and do it anyway.

Even with preaching and leading I often battle the insecurity that I am not enough.  When I was 19 I did a personality test with a group of other youth leaders at my church and they all came out as Cholerics – powerful leaders – or Melencholics – deep thinkers.  And then there was me. Sanguine.  Funny popular.  Light and fluffy.  Again when I was in my late 20s I did a preaching course and everyone in the course were deep and spiritual, or theological and wise sounding and then there was me.    On the outside it looked like I had it together but on the inside I was questioning if what I brought to the table was enough.  God in his graciousness continues to encourage me that my voice is His voice and that everyone needs superhero pop culture references and gun noises from time to time.

Your life is telling a story. There are people who need your brave, courageous steps forward in faith, beyond pain, disappointment, or challenge, coming through with a smile on your face, joy in your heart, and purpose in your step. There are people who need your story of hope, redemption, healing, forgiveness, victory and courage! Your story – your life – it matters.

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If we knew the people that God had worked through in the past we would be encouraged about His ability to work through us.

Think about it…

Mary was an unwed mother.  Oh the shame.

Matthew was a tax collector who ripped off his own countrymen to line his own pockets.

David slept with someones wife, got her pregnant and the murdered her husband.

Jonah ran away from God.

Elijah was depressed and suicidal.

Jacob was a liar and a cheat.

Peter the disciple and first leader of the early church was flaky.

Paul, who wrote at least ½ of the New Testament, orchestrated the genocide of Christians in the early church.

Lazarus was dead!

In fact God doesn’t often pick the most intelligent, qualified person in the room. God often chooses the least qualified so it’s evident they’re not doing things out of their own strength but out of His.

Insecurity robs not only us of the reward of serving, the reward of making a difference, but it robs those we are called to minister to and connect with.

We’ve got to stop comparing our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.  Comparison involves constantly worrying about what people think about you and it is a really fast way to forgetting what God thinks of you.

We have got to deal insecurity and its BFF comparison a death blow.

The way to do this is to counter the lies they tell with the truth of God.

I am a son of God.  I am a daughter of God.

I am called and chosen and equipped and empowered.

The Holy Spirit lives in me, the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in me.

God gives me wisdom.

It’s not by my might, nor by my power but by the Holy Spirit.

Every time that negative thought creeps in, every time it tells you that you don’t matter, or that you’re not important, or that you cant do that like they can, or you’re not good enough, counter it with the Word of God just as Jesus did in the desert when the enemy questioned his identity and purpose.

“It is written” and “the Bible says” are 3 of the most powerful words you can ever say and they will change your life.

About 12 years ago I did a preaching course run here at church by our previous pastor.  Everyone else in the group was deep and meaningful and spiritual.  And then there was me.  Comparison tried to make me conform to how everyone else did it.  But gun noises and Lost references kept on popping out of me and I had to embrace who I was, give comparison and insecurity a punch in the face and be myself.

It’s the same situation Gideon faced himself in.  The angel of the Lord appeared and said “Mighty Man of Valour” and Gideon said who me?  Insecurity answered instead of faith.  Thankfully Gideon allowed God to transform his identity and self image so that he could play his part in the deliverance of Israel from the MIdanites.  We know Gideons highlight reel, we can read it in the Bible, but once upon a time he stood at the beginning of his story with the challenge to play his part.

Goodness, stepping out can be a scary thing.  Being real and giving something of yourself can be vulnerable.    But if we stopped every time we felt fear or insecurity then we’d be living very dull lives.

David in Psalm 53:6 says When I am afraid, I will put my trust and faith in You.

He’s saying when I’m insecure, I will put my faith and trust in You who is greater, in You who have called me.

He’s saying when I look down on myself, I will put my faith and trust in You God.

When I compare myself to others, I will trust you God.

I will do it afraid.

There is a powerful scene at the end of Cinderella – the 2015 live action movie – where Cinderella looks at herself in a mirror as she goes to meet her prince charming… not dressed in the ball gown but in the rags of a servant.   The narrator asks this question.

Would who she was really be enough? There was no magic to help her this time. This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take—to be seen as we truly are //  Cinderella 2015

That is the big question.  Will you take the risk?  God loves who you are, He likes who you are and I think we do too.  Kick insecurity and comparison to the curb.

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I went to bed the other night with a list of comparisons running through my head.

I’ve written on comparison before.  It steals your joy and rips you off.  It’s a brutal attack.

It is a trap.

Even as I re-read the words I have penned previously my heart begins to argue.

Yeah, but.

Yeah, but.

Yeah, no buts.

It’s unfair to us because it limits God’s plan for our lives. Comparison says to God, ‘I want to limit Your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.’

But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring. Joyce Meyer

It’s unfair to place limitations on myself based on my comparison to someone else.  It’s unfair to what God wants to do to and in and through my life based on the shadow someone else casts.  I am not called to fill someone else’s shoes, I am called to walk worthy the call of God for MY LIFE.

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received Ephesians 4:1

I charge you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12

God has uniquely wired and gifted each one of us.  He has created us on purpose with purpose.

Each person has their own purpose and their own aspects that God will work through to complete the good work He has begun, in our lives, in those we lead, in those we reach.

When I compare my life, my calling, my reach, I fence in what God can do.

I shrink back, into myself, and take my eyes off the great power that God has placed within me.  I look down, at my limitations I entrap myself, instead of remembering I am just a jar of clay so that the all surpassing power be shown to be of God.

When I compare my life to others something inside of my slumps.

God would have us instead keep our heart encouraged in His love and grace, in His power and His faithfulness.

Comparison robs us of that joy, encouragement and the experience of living by faith.

To silence the comparison I remind myself of these 2 things:
1.  I am called.  On purpose, with purpose.

2.  I am created.  On purpose, with purpose.

I am growing.  I am learning.  I am stretching.  But in all of those things I am completely His and complete in Him.

What helps you beat the comparison trap?

Comparison is the Thief of Joy Gold Foil Poster Print

When my son was about 1 I was part of an awesome preaching course our church ran.

The course taught us how to prepare and preach, but the most important lesson it taught me was to embrace who God had made me to be.

As classmates stood up and shared their messages it seemed like everyone was gifted to be deep and theological or teacherish with 5 points all beginning with the letter E… and then there was me.  I couldn’t speak with the same eloquence that they did.  I couldnt speak or read or think Greek.

I have my own voice and style.  I’m me.  I love Jesus with everything and in my *own way* I am deep and theological.  But I am probably more encouraging and dare I say it (because others have!) funny.  I use pop culture references and make strange noises.  I have used a Power Rangers segment to get a point across, and even *blush* a clip that had swearing in it (that I swear I didnt know about!)

I had to embrace that this was and is how God made me.

I had to quit comparing myself to others because this is who I am and what I bring is what God wants to say through my expression.  Comparison is a brutal attack on one’s self worth… and more importantly on God’s creativeness in creating me.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone has their place and their role.  If we get stuck in a comparison trap then we put a guard up and restrict what God can do to and through us. We put walls up.  We devalue ourselves and our Creator. When we’re comparing ourselves with others we’re attributing value to their offerings and talents, and dismissing the value in who we are and what we offer.

We need to refrain from comparing ourselves to anyone else because God doesn’t want us to be frustrated and feel unworthy of the blessings He desires to give us. Read the rest of this entry »

Whom must you please?

Whose opinion of you counts?

From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection?

Whose value system do you measure yourself against?

In whose eyes are you living?

Whose love and approval do you need?

Most of us have the desire to be liked by everyone. The problem is that desire can never be filled. Even Jesus, the only perfect person to ever live, was not liked by everyone. Actually, He was hated and killed by a mob of people. If people hated Jesus, you can rest assured that from time to time someone may not like you. That is okay. Really! Come to grips with that—it is okay if other people don’t always like you. This is often the hardest thing to grasp because we place too much value on the opinion of other people.

“They put everyone else before themselves,” she said. For some, saying “yes” is a habit; for others, “it’s almost an addiction that makes them feel like they need to be needed.” This makes them feel important and like they’re “contributing to someone else’s life.”

People-pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their “personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,” said Linda Tillman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, GA and assertiveness expert. Thus, at the core, people-pleasers lack confidence, she said.

They worry how others will view them when they say no. “People don’t want to be seen as lazy, uncaring, selfish or totally egocentric,” Newman said. They fear “they’ll be disliked and cut from the group,” whether it’s friends, family or co-workers.

What many people-pleasers don’t realize is that people-pleasing can have serious risks. Not only does it put a lot of pressure and stress on you, Newman said, but “essentially you can make yourself sick from doing too much.” If you’re overcommitted, you probably get less sleep and get more anxious and upset. You’re also “depleting your energy resources.” “In the worst case scenario, you’ll wake up and find yourself depressed, because you’re on such overload because you possibly can’t do it all,” she said.

people pleasing is like comparison – a thief of joy.

it robs us of the ability to relax into who we are, to experience and express life through who we are meant to be and called to be

it labels us and limits us

and often the attempts we make to please people fall short and then we fail anyway.

when we try to please everybody, we end up pleasing nobody.

But the fact is, people pleasing isn’t about pleasing others, but fending off our fear of rejection.  Those of us who would consider themselves people pleasers are generally individuals who feel the need to be accepted by the world around them.  And not just a general acceptance, but that of each person they come in contact with.

its good to want to live a life that enriches those around us, to have friends and family that we value.

but when we mask who we really are to please them we are slowly losing ourselves.

We need to refrain from comparing ourselves to anyone else because God doesn’t want us to be frustrated and feel unworthy of the blessings He desires to give us.

Comparing our lives with other people’s lives is unfair, to them and to us. It’s unfair to them because if we become jealous of what they have, what they know, how they look, etc., we start to resent them. Then we can no longer appreciate them as the wonderful person God made them to be.

It’s unfair to us because it limits God’s plan for our lives. Comparison says to God, ‘I want to limit Your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.’

But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring.

by Joyce Meyer Youversion Devotional

the challenge is to live authentically.  settled in our own skin, quirks and all.

Know your priorities and values.  This can help put the brakes on people pleasing.

Who are you at the core?  What is your purpose?  What is your vision?  What are your strengths?

Who does GOD say I am?

God does not love you because of your performance; He loves you because of your position as His child.

What gives us our identity is not colour or culture, wealth or relationship status. But chosenness.

You aren’t loved because you’re valuable. You’re valuable because God loves you.

You please Him.

I read this great, aka challenging, post the other day (10 Things Pastors Absolutely HATE to Admit Publicly) and began applying it to my own life in the circles of influence i have.

For myself i have added number #11 to the list

#11 : I worry that i’m not ____________ enough and can’t provide the help you need (fill in the blank: good, qualified, smart, compassionate, wise, cool, relevant)

#11 is my biggest worry, fear, whatever.

There is even a phobic name for it.

atelphobia

#11 is the one i need to punch in the face, shut it up and nullify any limitation it could place on me.  i will not live within its boundaries or restrictions.

It looks back at me in the mirror and whispers nasty things, chattering away with untruths, half truths.

You see the reality is that sometimes I’m not blank enough.

But WITH GOD nothing is impossible.  WITH GOD I can do all things.

I am just a jar of clay to show that the all surpassing power is of God (2 Corinthians 4:7)

The fears forget those promises of God and that He makes me blank enough.

The most effective way to deal with those trash talking voices is to replace them with a truth.  The Truth.  Remove the lie and speak the truth.

We have to refuse to live with atelphobia and to live in the freedom of God’s acceptance and power.

Rewrite the script you live by and know that God graces and empowers you to serve Him.

How do we rewrite the script?

1.  know what God says about you – find specific personal verses in the Bible that God makes personal to you – highlight them, write them down, meditate upon them

2.  stop the fear in its tracks… change the way you think but stopping the thoughts before they become a negative downward spiral

3.  talk to someone about how you feel.  let them give you a new encouraging script and perspective

4.  step out and help someone – use the gifts and talents God has given you and watch Him work His wonder THROUGH you.  a few positive experiences under your belt is evidence you are blank enough

5.  make a list of all the ways you are enough – your talents, your values, your attributes

In myself I am nothing, but with God I am everything.

He qualifies and equips the called.

My job is to say YES to the things He is calling me to do and He will enable me to be a best fit in that moment, for that role.

In Him I am blank enough.

Do you ever struggle with feeling not blank enough? Or is this just me?

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ever flick through a magazine and wish you had hair like… lorde (oh i love her curls), eyes like lea michele, a body like anyone in hollywood?!?

even though we know media has such an agenda when it comes to image, we’re buying.  even unintentionally.  we allow these thousands of images to determine and define what we, the collective “we”, say is beautiful.

and its unrealistic.

and for most of us unreachable.

even if we worked out 3 hours a day and ate lettuce dipped in protein juice.

 

 

have you seen the Dove True Beauty Evolution clip… where it takes a “normal” woman and turns her into a supermodel for a billboard ad?

yeah.

Read the rest of this entry »

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"When comparison sneaks in, it can be hard. Worse than hard. It can just quite simply make me forget all the strengths I do have. And when we forget, our hearts shift. We stop being thankful and instead become consumed by that little thing we don’t have. What a dangerous place to be.

So, let’s realign our attitudes. What can you whisper a prayer of thanks for today?” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

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youversion bible reading plan with joyce meyer today:

Whatever you’re facing in life, or whatever is coming in your future, God has already given you the faith for it. It may not look like it, and you may not feel like you have what it takes to overcome, but faith in God isn’t based on our circumstances or how we feel.

The enemy would like for you to believe that you don’t have a chance in life, that you’re too weak, too poor, too whatever. But God has a different view of you. God sees you through the eyes of love. He sees not what you can be, but what He has invested in you, not what you or others may see.

Seeing yourself the way God sees you leads to a life of overwhelming victory.

But it takes faith. You can’t just hear that God loves you and sees you as His child, you have to believe it. It takes faith to move forward and overcome the challenges of life. And faith does you no good if you don’t know how to release it. You have to release your faith in order for it to work.

We release faith through our words, actions and, of course, through prayer. It’s up to us to act.

1 John 4:4 is a scripture we quote a lot, and almost anytime I say this verse in a church or meeting, everybody claps and cheers. But how many people really believe that "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world?"

The truth is, the One in you is greater and He loves you. So stretch your faith today and see yourself the way God sees you. It doesn’t matter what the enemy wants you to see or how things might look. Our faith overcomes through the One who lives in us!

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i so understand this one.  when my son was about one i was part of an awesome preaching course our church ran.  but it seemed like everyone was gifted to be deep and theological or teacherish… 

 

and then there was me.

 

i have my own voice and style and usually like to *try* to be real and just didn’t think i was deep and theological COMPARED to the other people in the group.  people even said i was funny. which would be good if i was trying for that.

but i had to get over that.

this was and IS how God made me.

this is who i am.

i cant speak with the same eloquence that they did.  i make strange noises and sound effects.  i have used a power rangers youtube clip to illustrate a major point.  i’m me.

and i’m reconciled with that now.  in fact i try to embrace it. 

because that is who i am and what i bring is what God wants to bring through my expression.

one of my housegroup girls gave me a great compliment the other day – about my preaching – but i wont repeat it here because it was so priceless and funny.  but it reminded me, that if i dwelt on trying to compare myself to everyone else, and if i tried to modify my style and put myself in a box… well… not worth contemplating.

 

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt

 

Intimidation has no power unless you allow it to

we have a choice

will we limit ourselves based on what we think of ourselves or what we think others may think of us?

will we limit GOD THROUGH US?

comparison and intimidation can take root in our heart when we’re feeling insecure about who we are and who God has called us to be. 

we need to be secure in how God has wired us and secure in His call

whatever that looks like

whoever you are

God extraordinarily works thru very ordinary men and women – He uses ordinary vessels to spread His good news.  How remarkable is that!

 

comparison and intimidation will rob you of the joy of serving God

you’ll second guess His work in and through you

doubt His ability to use you

look for others to step up into your place

remember God has called YOU, anointed YOU, appointed YOU. YOU are His masterpiece, created to serve Him (Eph 2:10)

 

intimidation will rob us of the ability to minister and the ability to receive

if we’re always feeling like “grasshoppers in our eyes” (numbers 13:33) then we’re not going to step out and tackle giants and enter the promised land

 

 

 

We need to refrain from comparing ourselves to anyone else because God doesn’t want us to be frustrated and feel unworthy of the blessings He desires to give us.

Comparing our lives with other people’s lives is unfair, to them and to us. It’s unfair to them because if we become jealous of what they have, what they know, how they look, etc., we start to resent them. Then we can no longer appreciate them as the wonderful person God made them to be.

It’s unfair to us because it limits God’s plan for our lives. Comparison says to God, ‘I want to limit Your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.’

But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring.

by Joyce Meyer Youversion Devotional

 

Galatians 6:4  Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,

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