You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you. (Isaiah 43:4, NIV)
All it takes is an instant for me to forget my royal identity and start labeling myself with lies. Like the time I froze up over a spatula while hosting a baby shower. I’d opened the doors of our tiny rental house, keenly aware of the four-foot scrape on the linoleum floor, and other dings and dents left by previous tenants. The pressure of playing hostess to a bunch of southern belles who knew how to act at a baby shower (way better than I did) was stifling. That’s when it happened. Someone asked for my cake server. Knowing I didn’t have one in the wedding-gift stash, I rummaged around in the junk drawer for an alternative. When I finally produced a semi-melted, black plastic spatula, I saw what looked like disdain as the other ladies scrutinized it.
And that’s when I froze. My spirit crushed as I accessed my most painful memories of being bullied in junior high school. In an instant, I was that sixth grade girl, fearful, weak, a nobody. I harshly labeled myself:
“You don’t fit in.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
How God Sees Me
Elijah knew his unique identity in the Lord. But he also knew labels. A prophet of God, he had a special message. One filled with heart for God’s people. And yet, King Ahab, with all his royal clout, labeled Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” Ouch.
I love how Elijah dealt with this, and the general dejection of running for his life:
- He took care of business – divine business. Read the story of Elijah praying for fire down from heaven in 1 Kings 18:21-39. It’s awesome.
- He got alone and took his heart to God. “I have had enough, LORD.” (1 Kings 19:4)
And what did God do? He provided for his needs. He fed him bread for the journey ahead.
So what can I learn from Elijah, who was human, just like I am? (James 5:17)
- When I feel unloved, I take my hurts to God. He holds my hand and collects my tears in a bottle. (Isaiah 42:6, Psalm 56:8)
- When I feel like nobody, I remember that I am precious and honored in God’s sight. (Isaiah 43:4)
- When I feel like I don’t fit in, I remember He has not rejected me. (Isaiah 41:9, 10)
Friend, take your hurts to God. He’ll give you bread, sustenance, for the journey.
One Small Step
What lies are your inner bullies telling you? Are you listening to and affirming them?
Prayerfully write down who you are in God. Post on your bathroom mirror, your phone background, and above your kitchen sink. Let these beautiful truths sink in as they become louder than the mind clutter bullies.
Kelli Pavlovec draws from her experience as a work from home mom to help smart moms get unstuck and find their best self at www.twohourmom.com. For a free worksheet on 7 Ways to Pursue Your Life Dreams, Even While You’re a Mom, click here.
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours (Isaiah 61:7, NIV).
Before I could change my mind, I scooped up my bathroom scale and tossed it into the box labeled, “Goodwill.”
I took a picture of the giveaway box containing a perfectly good bathroom scale (one I’d used daily, sometimes multiple times) and sent it to my friend, Melissa. “Goodbye, bossy box!” I captioned it.
Though technically not house clutter, it did represent a whole heap of heart clutter.
After sharing with Melissa my struggles about shame over my weight, I realized I had become a slave to a digital number. My mood each day depended on whether that number went up or down.
“Has it been working for you so far?” Melissa had asked. I had to agree with her; it hadn’t helped me lose weight or have a healthy relationship with food. It only added to the weight of shame I’d been carrying. I plunked the box into the garage and decided to focus on other markers of health success.
Since my decluttering session, my mood has been a lot lighter. I have the freedom to engage in self care (exercising to feel better and sleep better, rather than punishing myself for a number on a box). I base my success on how good and healthy I feel rather than a fluctuating number.
Shame only serves to weigh us down rather than to help us grow and serve the purpose God created us for (Ephesians 2:10). Before we can ever deal with the exterior problem, we have to throw off the heart clutter holding us back.
Often, items cluttering up our home are tangible evidence we’re carrying around too much shame in our hearts. To the naked eye, it looks like a bathroom scale or 50 bottles of lotion you’ll never use or 6 old phones sitting in your top drawer. But down under the useless stuff, there’s shame involved. Your clutter might represent bad financial decisions, abusive relationships, or other poor choices—any number of things we chronically kick ourselves over.
Once we recognize an item triggers shame in our hearts, it’s easier to toss it. We can’t change whatever caused the shame in the past, but we can make positive, nurturing changes that help us live in a joyful present. Without the weight of shame, we are free to go out and do what we were made to do in the world.
One Small Win
Think of one item in your house you keep, not because it serves you well, but out of shame. Imagine the feeling of lifting the weight of shame off of you when you get it out of your house. Take a deep breath, and do it!
Lyneta Smith and her husband Doug live near Nashville, TN. When not entertaining their adult children or caring for a mischievous Boston terrier and opinionated tortoiseshell cat, they’re typing away on their computers or doing teaching/mentoring ministries in their church. You can read more from Lyneta at LynetaSmith.com.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
I’m ready to throw out all of my jeans. Nothing reminds me of the extra weight I’m wearing than a pair of jeans. My skinny jeans really are a paradox. As I tug, yank and wiggle out of them after a long day, I feel trapped in guilt. Suffocating guilt traps them like a denim straight jacket onto my hips. Why haven’t I lost weight yet? How could I have let myself get this heavy? Why do I keep insisting on cramming my body into these jeans? I can’t shed these jeans fast enough. Unfortunately, those extra pounds don’t make fast an option.
Eventually I peel off the jeans and throw them in a heap on my closet floor. They lay there, mocking me. I might have removed the jeans from my body, yet I still don’t feel free of them. There’s another layer squeezing me, my heart.
The guilt. Oh the guilt.
That’s much more difficult to remove. And today it’s almost impossible to shimmy out of.
I quickly grab a pair of leggings and pull them on, their softness and comfort enveloping me. Oh how I long for the same feeling in my heart.
Deep in my heart, I hear a whisper. A reminder. My worth is not found in how my jeans fit, the number on the tag in my jeans, or the number on the scale.
My worth is in Jesus.
For me to wear the peace of that statement, I need to not only shed the too-tight clothes, but the guilt, the shame and the disappointment that comes with them.
Hebrews 4:16 reminds me that because of Jesus, I can approach the throne of God’s grace with confidence. Not with guilt, shame and fear. With confidence. No matter the size of my jeans. The number of the scale. God wants me to come to Him with confidence, but what waits for me there is so much better than confidence! He’s waiting for me, for you, with grace and mercy. And as I find His grace and mercy, I can begin to extend it to myself.
And today, that looks like adding that pair of jeans to the bag of items I’m going to donate later this week. And since I’m already in my closet, I might as well go through some other clothes that don’t fit me. They’re just clutter anyway.
As I let go of clothing that doesn’t fit me, I also let go of the guilt that God never designed to fit my heart.
One Small Win
What’s one item that you can give away or throw away today that will not only release you from physical clutter but from the emotional clutter of guilt? Once you think of it, go do it! Bag it up and put it in your trunk for the next time you’re near a donation spot or throw it away if it’s trash. As you get rid of it, say goodbye to the guilt about it too!
Melissa Mulvaney is a wife, triple-boy blessed mama, writer, certified life coach and lover of her loud and joyful life. She’s known for her cowbells skills, only writes with pink pens, has the loudest laugh in the room, uses 10 exclamation points instead of a period, and cheers her people on literally and figuratively. If cheering people on was a sport, Melissa would win the gold! You can connect with her at MelissaMulvaney.com.
It all started in the garden with Eve…doubt and comparison crept in with the question, “Did God really say….?”
We see it in the Bible with the story of Rachel and Leah too. They didn’t need social media to allow comparison to grow a wedge between them. We need to decide who’s truth we are going to align our lives with, ours or God’s?
Join Kathi and Nicki Koziarz as they talk about comparison and how we have the false perception that to do something great for the kingdom of God, we need to go viral, live big or have thousands of followers. Nicki urges us to see how what God is doing in each of us is so special and unique, that we can’t dare to put a classification on what He’s doing in our lives.
Nicki Koziarz is a wife and mom to three girls plus a handful of barnyard babies. They live just outside of Charlotte, NC. She is an inspirational author, Bible teacher, and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Nicki leads from her own brokenness that somehow God is making meaningful. www.nickikoziarz.com
In this episode Kathi chats with Kristen Kill, author of Finding Selah, The Simple Practice of Peace When you Need it Most. After the birth of her oldest daughter, before post-partum depression was widely diagnosed, Kristen remembers the fog that surrounded her. Rather than cry out to God, she retreated, tiptoeing around God, afraid to speak.
Kristen shares the need for us to create a space of rest, a space of quiet in our lives so we can re-sync with Jesus throughout our day.
Join us for this thoughtful episode and be encouraged!
Kristen has generously offered a Free Download Print by Rachel Jacobson from Portland, OR for our listeners. Click here to download.
Three giveaway copies of the book to 3 random people who comment the answer to this question in the comments section below: “How today are you going to create just a place of selah in your life?”
Kristen Kill is a woman transformed by the delight of God. A contributing editor at The Better Mom, and co-host of At Home, a popular podcast with Sally Clarkson, Kristen is passionate about encouraging women who feel stretched thin with the truth that, even in the tension, God is singing over them with love.
After spending the last seven years in the hustle of New York City, Kristen and her husband, Josh, are learning to go slow as they raise their five kids in the Pacific Northwest. Her days are filled with homeschooling, walking her slightly anxious hound dog, and putting off the cleaning for one more day.
Find Kristen writing at kristenkill.com and follow her on Instagram @kristenkill.
Maybe it is the new year, but I’ve plugged along with decluttering my cupboards. Then one day, while at a friend’s house, she asked me to grab something from under her kitchen sink. Upon opening the two doors I found literally five items (if that) inside a bare white cupboard. It was beautiful. My jaw dropped.
I immediately envisioned opening the doors underneath my own kitchen sink. Cue the shower scene music from the movie Psycho. Eek, eek, eek… I have a billion items under there. I own every cleaner under the sun and then some. My heart was deflated. I left her house feeling completely terrible about my own organizing capabilities. Wondering, what is wrong with me?
The next morning I was ramping up to work on a design project but my organizing ability was spilling over into my work and making me feel insecure. I read my daily devotional. It talked about how God uses us best when we are operating in our “sweet spot.” In fact, the devotional quoted my go-to verse.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
This verse always reminds me Christ gives me the strength I need, especially whenever I approach a challenge and in spite of all my weaknesses.
But this time when I read it, in light of the words in the devotional, it occurred to me: Christ accomplishes much when we need his strength, He can accomplish so much more when we are leaning into our strengths and operating out of our sweet spot. The place where we are supposed to operate as opposed to operating out of this place that isn’t unique to us, it isn’t where we are gifted.
I sat down to start the design project I felt to inadequate to accomplish. I ended up painting a picture inspired by flowers found on my morning walk. I must admit, I have not painted a true watercolor in years, and I was scared. What if it didn’t turn out as I envisioned? I am guilty of not even doing something if I don’t think the end result will turn out perfectly.
But this time, recognizing only Jesus is perfect, I mustered up my courage and his strength. I sat down to actually do the work I was called to do. God sparked in me my passion, my very own “sweet spot.” When I witnessed his creation through me I knew without a doubt I was doing what he called me to do.
I cried, tears of joy that resonated in my heart. “I am an artist.” I had been so defeated about not being organized and I hadn’t embraced my true calling in a really long time. I am an artist. I work great in organized chaos. I may not have a completely bare cabinet, but I am truly gifted in art. Now that I found my sweet spot, I will be brave with my God-given talents and no longer wish I was someone I am not. Someone I was never created to be.
One Small Win: Christ accomplishes much when we need his strength, He can accomplish so much more when we are leaning into our strengths and operating out of our sweet spot.
Julie Landreth has a passion for healthy and thriving relationships – especially in marriage and friendship. She is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage. She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA, through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband.
Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her nine-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. Follow her on Instagram: @julielandreth.