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Evangeline, my daughter, came home from school one day and nuzzled into my side and said in a small voice… this was the worst day ever…

I held her close for a moment and then asked, honey, what happened.

They made fun of my name Mum, they called me Evil Eva…

Oh.

Words can crush can’t they?

They hurt.

I got her to look up at me, into my eyes.

Remember sweetheart, when you were one day old, when God said YOU ARE DELIGHTFUL…?

Yes, I remember

That is who you are Evangeline.  You are not evil.   You are delightful.   Your name means giver of life, messenger of good news.

I know Mum.  They kept on saying it. It was hard but I kept on ignoring them.

Whose voice do you need to listen to sweetheart?

God’s voice and your voice Mum.

Such truth from my youngest. A fearless young one, learning courage and wisdom in the classroom of life.

Often we have an internal dialogue which is ripping us off and defeating us… we have an inner voice – our soul, our mind, that can depreciate our assets, rationalize a situation or just plain speaks with unbelief in our own abilities and more importantly the God we serve and that empowers us.

Lies.

Excuses.

This voice can be like the voices of my daughters classmates, telling us we are worthless when the truth is that we are very precious and God delights in us and loves us so much that He gave His only son to ransom, rescue and save us.

What shapes this voice we listen to?

  • our past
  • our parents
  • our peer groups
  • the media
  • the enemy

Our voice can often tell us that we won’t ever be able to do anything to help or be very god at anything – but God calls us his partners and calls all of us to work with Him and promises to work through us.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  ~Winston Churchill

My voices says:

  • who do you think you are?
  • no one will listen to you
  • no one wants to listen to you
  • you’re just a …
  • nothing is going to change – why bother?
  • you’re a proven failure
  • you’re not good enough
  • you’ll never be good enough

The voices in my head tell me everything that I don’t like about myself, the remind me of my flaws and failings.  They however are silent when it comes to reminding me what God says about me and His promises and unfailing faithfulness.

“Regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” Jon Acuff

Fear is going to tell you you cant. It’s going to lie to you and make excuses so you stop in your tracks.

Fear and insecurity partner with the enemy to limit us and restrict us. To kill the dream.

But God is great.   He is good.

He wants us to rip that negative self talk out of our heads, to change the cd so to speak and to hear HIS voice of hope and faith and truth.

God qualifies us for anything we dream and attempt.

What does the Bible say?

Let the weak say “I am strong”

Greater is God in me that the enemy in the world

Those that know their God will be strong and do exploits

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

This is why God tells us to renew our mind, to be transformed and to fix our eyes (and ears!) upon Himself. To listen to His voice. We need to listen to the truth that God speaks. We need to listen to HIS voice in our head and hearts and let the voices in the playground fall away into silence.

There is an enemy who wants us to think we are defenceless, useless, hopeless weaklings. If he can shut us down he shuts us up.

Can we see beyond what people say about our limitations to the fact that we serve a God who doesn’t even have that word in His vocabulary? To the God whose capability doesn’t rise and fall with our own inability? Can we see beyond what people say about our dreams and plans to the God who has actually given them to us and is fully competent to bring them to pass? Steven Furtick

Become master of your own voice – take every wrong thought captive. Don’t just think and believe every thought you have. Not every thought we have is correct. This is why I think it is important to read the Bible – to learn what God says about us.

Then we can reprogram our heart and override any untruth (from the enemy or ourselves) with the truth of God.

Remember, we are loved with an everlasting love. We are children of God. Servants of God. Strong. Mighty. We carry the living God within us – a great powerful treasure in jars of mere clay. God calls us and anoints us and uses us. He works in us and through us. Despite our flaws and failings He is great and great in and through us for His glory. He chooses the weak and the foolish, the ordinary, to demonstrate His extraordinariness.

“Don’t underestimate what God can do through your life. God has a very long, proven, and consistent history of using foolish and broken things for His glory.” ~ Eugene Cho

He is our great healer, our great strength, the one who saves us.

“The best way to get rid of the negative thoughts is to crowd them out with something else bigger and more beautiful: worship of the One who holds everything in His powerful and capable hands.” ― Jocelyn Green

So how do we change the voices in our head?

Read the Word of God and transform the way you think (Romans 12:2)

Take control of the thoughts – when the lies and doubt come, change your mind, change the topic. Stop passively agreeing with the negative voices.

Replace the negative thought with a positive one. Change the tone of your thoughts.

Don’t play the victim, take control and make some changes if changes need to be made.

Find someone to encourage you, share your fear and ask for intentional help.

Analyze what you’re thinking. Is this really true?

Line a new truth up against the lie.

Give yourself grace. Remind you that God’s grace is sufficient.

“I’ve tucked those negative thoughts in a drawer, and for the most part, though I know the drawer still exists, it never gets opened.” ― K. Martin Beckner

What else do you do to stop the voices in your head dragging you down?

Who are you listening to?

"Don't compare your beginnings to someone else's middle"... keep your head up, stand tall & work hard for what you want

How Goals Can Help You Define Success – 

  1. Define your success. Let’s say you have a “priority” of family. Fine. But what relationships make up that family, and how would you define what success means for those relationships? More specifically, ifyou are married, what would having a “successful” marriage look like? What characteristics would it have? Think about it and write down your thoughts.
  2. Make an action plan. Go over what you’ve written down and be honest about what needs to take place for this success to happen. Continuing with the example of marriage, if success is defined as having clear communication, quality time, and deeper intimacy, you need to choose actions that foster the growth of those attributes. In this case, scheduled date nights, family business meetings, and other ideas specific to your marriage will make this success a reality. Be sure to communicate clearly with those who will be helping you make these changes. It is really important to have support from others. You can’t just change an important area of your life overnight.
  3. Put it on the calendar and do it. Jerry Seinfeld became a better joke writer by writing daily. To maintain discipline he used a wall calendar which has the whole year on one page and hung it on a prominent wall. After he did his work, he used a big red magic marker to mark each day he’d done his task. Can you do that? Or something similar in your own life?

 

 

How Do You Know When You’re ‘Successful?’

How do you know when you’re ‘successful?’ Is ‘success’ internal or external (i.e., a feeling or recognition)? Is it a journey or a destination (i.e., a process or an event)? Though my search for answers admittedly continues, here are three truths about success that have helped me wrap my head around the concept and be more appreciative of my own accomplishments. I hope you find these ideas helpful and encouraging too!

 

 

THE SECRET PART OF BRAVERY PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH MOST – Michael Hyatt

Jon Acuff Explains Why We Need to Step Out When We Feel Like Holding Back

  • Bravery is a choice, not a feeling.
  • Being afraid isn’t failure, staying afraid is.
  • Bravery has two parts.

 

 

Stop Reacting and Start Responding

Virtually all of your thoughts and feelings are conditioned responses to past experiences. It’s a normal strategy for dealing with new opportunities. But if your strategy is flawed, you’ll continue to get low returns on your efforts — both in your personal and professional lives.

Eventually, something will pop up and push you out of your comfort zone. If you don’t have a strategy to deal with new challenges, it won’t be long before you buckle under the pressure.

Stop reacting and start responding.

 

 

 

FIVE POWERFUL “C’S” FOR LEADERSHIP SUCCESS – Leadership Freak

  1. Cultivation: Grow as you go, not before. Find new capacity by embracing inadequacy. Sufficiency is the enemy of growth.
  2. Curiosity: The second solution is often better than the first. But, you can’t find the second solution when you’re defending the first. Stay open minded after you find an answer.
  3. Compassion: Show compassion while getting things done.
  4. Courage. Older leaders often say, “If I had it to do again, I’d take more risks.” The fear of failure motivates. Running from discomfort is the end of achievement.
  5. Celebration: Celebrate the contribution of others. You aren’t always the smartest person in the room, regardless of how smart you think you are.

Attitude determines altitude.

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?

 

Ads on television make motherhood look so easy. The babies in them are so sweet, so soft, so snugly, so sleepy and the mothers… well, they look so beautiful, peaceful and together.

Reality however can paint such a different picture.

My life is not a commercial. Unless its one of those ones for washing powder and mud.
(yes thats my son, now 12, in the photo!)

Read MORE about The Antidote to Anxiety over at New Zealand Christian Mums – where I’m a contributing writer today

 

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Attitude can make a pivotal difference when facing down a giant.

David was the youngest – remember overlooked when the great prophet Samuel came to anoint the next king – at left at home AGAIN to look after the sheep. His brothers go off to war to become heroes and he has to stay home, like a kid. This could of made him feel insecure and insignificant – esp when his dad tells him to go take some lunch to his brothers. Menial. Not very life changing or significant.

But even when his brother insults him David maintains an attitude of self confidence – or perhaps more so confidence in who he is and who he is called to be. His brother’s words were intended to make him doubt and retreat but David was not affected.

He had a different perspective of WHO HE WAS – He was God’s.

He had an attitude of faith and an identity secured in what God said about him.

 

To overcome self doubt we need to get a clear and accurate picture of who God says we are.

BELOVED.
CALLED.
CHOSEN.
EMPOWERED.
ETERNITY CHANGERS.
MEN AND WOMEN OF DESTINY.

To step out and be the person we are called to be and to do the things we are called to be we need to be people of FAITH – having faith in GOD – it is HIM who works in us – I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.

In order to overcome the giants we face we must have an understanding of what God says about who we are. Read the rest of this entry »

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David fought the giant with faith and the Word of God.

Yes, he used stones but his primary weapon was his confidence in God’s Words.

This attitude and faith is evident when he gets an audience with the king.

1 Sam 17:32 – 37 David said to Saul, Let no-one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him. Saul replied, You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth. But David said to Saul, Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. Saul said to David, Go, and the LORD be with you.

To David, the Word of God was that God was always with him to deliver him and overcome.

God had delivered him from the bear and the lion and God would deliver him from the giant. There was no second guessing God. No but if. No doubt. David was unshakable in his faith in God. He had built up a history of seeing God at work in his life and a history of believing and trusting in God. He had a holy confidence because knew God was faithful.

In our lives we can look back at all that God has done beginning with the most significant and life changing : Jesus died on the cross to rescue us and save us.

In this reality and truth we can have faith that because of salvation that Jesus has defeated all the giants we face.

Jesus is the ultimate David.  The ultimate David who had faith in the Word of God and faced the giant and defeated him, not with stones but with faith and the cross.

Today our victory comes not in what we can do but in what Jesus has done.

Faith is in a person.  It is a WHO thing not a WHAT thing.

We can have faith in the promises and purposes of God because Jesus is the YES to God’s promises.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

killing giants

 

The battle of David and Goliath, though played out with a shepherd boy and a warrior is a great picture of the battle of fear vs doubt – with most of the victory happening NOT on the battlefield, but behind the scenes in the lead up to their face off.  It  is one of the greatest examples of how faith overcomes – how faith overcomes the giants in our lives – not just only of the physical great big stinking men type but how to overcome giants on the inside and giants of circumstance and difficulty.

Lets look at how the scenario began for David:

1 Sam 17:13 – 20 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. Now Jesse said to his son David, Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry.

1 Sam 17:28-29 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle. Now what have I done? said David. Can’t I even speak?

In this series in the next few days we’ll explore ways that we can tackle the giants in our life with faith in the One who ultimately was like David on our behalf.

We all have seasons where the giants seem more real and more fierce.

Where the voice calling to us from across the valley seems to shout personal insults and mock our every breath.

It is in those moments that we need faith.  We  need to know, like David, who we are and more importantly, who our God is.

What will win the fight in  your life?

What giants do you face?

 

 

Today I want to explore what some of the roadblocks to vision are and how to counter them.  We have to fight for our dreams and often the fight begins in our head.  Our worst enemy lives between our ears and we have to learn how to dull the noise to win the prize.  Dont let anything deter you or defer you from your destiny.

We can have a Personal Mission Statement but treat it like an “I wish” or “dear Santa” list and not make any progress if we dont know how to effectively deal to the roadblocks in our life.  and by “deal to” I mean: knock down!

The Bible says in Proverbs HOPE DEFFERED MAKES THE HEART SICK… and when we hit a roadblock unless we know how to effectively bust through and tackle it we can become discouraged and heart sick and end up abandoning our vision altogether.

 

 

Misplaced Identity:

Your activity does not define your identity

Our identity is defined by what Jesus has done for us not by what we achieve ourselves.  This sets us free to remember that we can do all things, we are more than conquerors, God works for good etc and that there are no limitations based on failures or past or flaws because God accepts us and welcomes us as sons and daughters of God.

The enemy seeks to disqualify us by what we feel and what we’ve done yet we are qualified by what Jesus feels and what He’s done.  Mike Bickle

 

 

In what ways can you see misplaced identity as a roadblock for vision?
What is the solution?

 

Self doubt:

“How would you treat a friend who lied to you as much as your fears do?”  Jack Hayford

 

 

What causes self doubt?
What are some of the self doubt statements you tell yourself?
What is the answer to self doubt?

 

 

To be continued…

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Don’t Limit Your MinistryPaul David Tripp 

Portions of God’s redemptive plan might be a mystery for us, but there’s really no confusion*about how we fit into that plan. The Apostle Paul writes, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20).

An ambassador only does one thing – represent. A good ambassador will represent the will, desire, work, and agenda of the leader and nation that sent them. For Christians, our only calling is to represent, or reflect, the character of God here on earth.

 

 

The Myth of Passion and Motivation: How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals

Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.

When I was an athlete, I loved going to practice the week after a big win. Who wouldn’t? Your coach is happy, your teammates are pumped up, and you feel like you can beat anyone. As an entrepreneur, I love working when customers are rolling in and things are going well. Getting results has a way of propelling you forward.

But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?

Are you willing to work through 10 years of silence?

It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy that makes the difference.

 

 

WHAT YOU DO IS NOT WHO YOU ARE – Lisa Bevere

Who we are in private much more accurately represents who we really are than what is seen in public does. Poor decisions made in private almost always lead to lack of favor in public. Are the sinful choices to gossip, cheat, or steal made publicly or privately? Such choices begin in the privacy of our thought lives.

The adverse is also true: we have the ability to cultivate our lives in private. Through right relationship with God, our thought lives can be purified. Our motives are weighed and revealed when we spend alone time with Him.

When we don’t spend time with God, we will try to fill the lack inside with other things that do not satisfy, like the approval of others. Only God can satisfy our deepest longings and heal our most painful hurts. When we take the time to embrace His presence, all of our unmet expectations and failures can be laid to rest.

"God is more concerned about who you become as you spend time alone with Him than He is about anything you might accomplish before men."

 

 

Under Obligation – The Ramp

Awakened Ones. Consumed by the Presence of Jesus. Passionate in the place of prayer. Consistent in the Word. This is the life of a Disciple of Jesus, but this is not the whole story. There is another element to every believer’s life on earth that is often sadly overlooked.

It’s Them.

The ones yet to be awakened. The less fortunate, hungry, downcast, nameless, faceless sea of broken people before us. They are waiting for us.

 

 

Some Secret Sauce on Solving Writer’s Block and (Almost) Always Generating Content People Want – Carey Nieuwhof

So you need to write a message, talk, blog post or even a weekly email to your team. But you’re stuck.

And you fear too many people are going to tune you out or simply hit delete when they see what you managed to generate.

How do you solve writer’s block and consistently write content people want to hear or read?

1. Identify the biggest problems/issues/fears people face

2. Address the issues you personally struggle with, but from the listener’s point of view

3. Read widely, and figure out how what you’ve read helped you solve a problem

4. Be helpful.

5. Keep a running list of possible subjects with you at all times

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