Why Doesn’t She Like Me? {When Hints of Haman are Hiding in My Heart}

When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.” Esther 3:5

I want to identify with Esther. Purpose-filled and created for such a time as this Esther. Humble, strong, beautiful Esther.

But how many times am I found with hints of Haman hiding in my heart? Haman. A man whose blood boiled to the point of plotting the destruction of all of the Jews in the kingdom of Ahasuerus simply because one man would not bow to him.

And I can’t help but think of the times I have gotten hurt, offended, or even angry because people haven’t loved me like I thought they should… responded to me like I thought they should… honored me like I thought should… jumped on board with whatever I was doing like I thought they should.

And, oh, how it makes me cringe to even type out a single one of those words.

Because I don’t want to be that prideful.

I don’t want to admit I’m easily wounded when I feel ignored. I don’t want to admit that my whole day can get thrown off when I feel neglected, unnoticed, unappreciated. But I realize I need to call it what it is so I can deal with it. Because it’s pride. It’s sin. And it’s dangerous to let it set up camp in my heart.

And I’m not saying I’m as bad as Haman. I’m not saying anyone else reading this is either. But I am saying we had better check our hearts.

Because while we certainly aren’t doing anything as extreme as plotting murder simply because someone won’t notice us, we need to know that envy and pride will absolutely kill our joy and steal our peace.

Sometimes all it takes is one quick scroll through social media. Next thing we know, the joy is leaking right out of us. All because we don’t understand why this certain person won’t friend us or why that person always likes “her” posts but never ours or why so-and-so never seems to care about what we are up to.

{Hello, Haman.}

And we can’t miss this. How it was one person.

Haman’s undoing was ONE person.

Even though he had great riches…

Even though he was blessed with many children…

Even though he had been advanced high above many others by the king…

Still he paved the way to his own death because of one man.

Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate,” (Esther 5:13).

Who is your “one person?” Who are you driven to distraction by because they won’t notice you? Won’t respond to you. Won’t love you.

I know mine.

And while I’m not “filled with wrath” like Haman was, I do know how forgetful I can become when I feel slighted by her. Forgetting about the blessings of a family that loves me like crazy, friends who pray for me and encourage me continually, and a life overflowing with the goodness and love of the Father.

So why exactly is it that I need her attention?

{Sigh.}

Oh, friends. This isn’t how we were made to live. Blind to the blessings that are already ours. Ungrateful for the love that we already possess. Demanding of attention that will never in a million years fix us or fill us up.

And so we must fix our eyes on the Lord once again and ask Him to fill our hearts to overflowing with HIS love.

Because if we are filled with the Father’s love, it really won’t matter if people like us. And if we are bowed in worship before Him, we won’t even be able to see who is and who isn’t noticing us.

Lord, forgive us for any and all of the places in our lives where we are basically demanding to be worshipped. You and You alone are worthy of worship. And forgive us for being shortsighted. For focusing on one person not liking us instead of being overwhelmed by the breathtaking scope of Your love that is immeasurably high and wide and long and deep. We say today that we love You and that Your love is enough. Root out every bit of this sin, every hint of Haman, hiding in our hearts. Because we don’t want it stealing from the beauty and the purpose You have tucked into this day. Amen.

For the Pelicans Among the Eagles {Soaring Above the Temptation to Compare}

ofjKX8aIt trips me up more than I care to admit.

Comparison.

And I end up apologizing – to the Lord, to the world – for everything I’m not. For how my faith doesn’t look quite like hers. For how I don’t do things quite the way she does. For how I feel slow and lumbering while she moves about the things of God with such poise and grace.

And I didn’t expect the Lord to encourage me through a bird. Through a long-legged gray heron patiently watching the water for fish. I was simply out for my morning walk. He was simply looking for his breakfast. And I couldn’t help but smile. At his grace. At the slim black mask over his eyes. At the way he would cock his head to make sure I wasn’t going to disturb his hunting. 

My mind wandered to other hunters of fish. Smaller birds like the brilliantly colored Kingfisher. Swift and powerful birds like the bald eagle. Elegantly plumed birds like the snowy egret. And the list goes on and on with glorious variety. Birds like the puffin and the spoonbill and the pelican. Each one a fisher of fish, yet each one designed so differently by our God. Designed perfectly for their own style of fish catching.

And we, we are called “fishers of men.” Those who follow Jesus and make Him known to the world. Those who help the world taste and see that He is good. And I sensed the Lord reminding me… correcting me…

If He delighted in creating such variety and beauty among the fishers of fish – all of those many kinds of birds – how much more did He delight in creating beauty and variety among His fishers of men?

Oh, that we would rest in the knowledge that we are who we are for a reason. Each with our own unique personality. Each with our own beautiful style of doing things. Each with our own God-designed way of making Jesus known. He isn’t longing for us to be more like other fishers of men. He simply wants us to follow Him, to know Him, and to love Him. He simply wants us to let Him fill us up and let Him flow right back out, making Him known to every person we come across.

Today, you can be you and I can be me.

No comparing. No apologizing.

Even if we feel like squat little puffins in a world of graceful egrets. Even if we feel like awkward pelicans surrounded by soaring eagles.

We can simply know we are exactly who we need to be. And we can choose to believe there is beautiful purpose in who God designed us to be.

May our hearts soar today with the knowledge that we are perfectly loved and beautifully purposed.

Much Love,
Kimberly

What if Your Dreams DON’T Come True?

Image-1 (3)Have you ever felt offended on behalf of someone in the Bible?

I know. That sounds like straight up heresy.

Because shouldn’t we read every line of Scripture through the lens of “God is good. God is sovereign. And who am I to question how He does things?”

But when it’s just you, the Word of God, and all of your hurt and mess, sometimes your gut-reactions may not be so neat and tidy. I confess that was me as I sat with the story of Moses not too long ago.

Me, Moses, and my messy reactions.

In the portion of Scripture I was reading, Moses was speaking life and encouragement over Joshua, the man who would get to lead God’s people into the Promised Land instead of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-8). Telling him not to fear. Encouraging him to trust God and keep on keepin’ on. And I found my insides starting to feel a little bristly.

Honestly, I would have struggled with that assignment. And not just the part about being an encourager in the face of my own disappointment thing. I would have struggled with not getting to enter the Promised Land. Because while my head knows a case of disobedience on the part of Moses is what kept him from entering in, my heart cries out, “But he worked so HARD. He deserves to go into the Promised Land.” {Yikes. Entitlement issues, anyone?} 

And Moses had worked hard. He had gone in front of hard-hearted Pharaoh again and again and again. He had led a stiff-necked, complaining bunch of people for forty years. But did he pout, shake his fist at God and throw in the towel when he first found out he wouldn’t be the one to officially lead the people in? Nope.

He. Still. Followed.
He. Still. Led.
He. Still. Encouraged.

And I felt the Lord impress some motive-checking questions on my heart…

Kimberly, if I told you right now that the dreams you are holding onto will never come to fruition, that the things you think you want, even think you deserve, will never come your way – would you still follow Me? If I told you that you will never reap for yourself some of the things you are sowing, would you still obey Me?

And while I wanted to immediately answer, “Yes, Lord. Of course!”… the truth is, I know my heart and flesh would struggle. In great big ways.

This struggle demands I take a closer look at Moses. Search for clues about what kept him following and serving the Lord in the midst of a disappointment that could have shut him down. And what I discovered are truths that I believe will help me keep pressing on with God no matter what too. Truths that make me ask a few questions of myself.

Here is what I discovered:

1 – Moses had truly experienced God.

Not someone else’s story. No. He had his own burning bush, sea parting, mountaintop meeting, face glowing story. Am I experiencing God for myself? Not just once in a while, but continually?

2 – He trusted God.

Seriously. If you read all about Moses, you will see that God asked Moses to do some crazy things. And Moses obeyed. There was obviously a deep level of trust there. Do I really and truly trust God, His plans and His love?

3 – He cared more about God’s presence than “arriving.”

See Exodus 33:15 – I will not go without Your presence. What is it I want most? God or a certain place/achievement/position?

4 – He made God’s will his goal instead of his own personal glory.

Not only would he not be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land, he had to purposefully encourage the next leader. Am I encouraging people who may go farther than me?

5 – He was willing to carry a vision that was about someone other than himself, thinking and acting generationally instead of selfishly.

Ummmmm… Wow. Am I willing to sow where I may never see the harvest this side of heaven?

How these truths challenge me in the best of ways. They tell me that Moses wouldn’t want me to be offended for him. He would want me to learn from him. Because this life? It’s not all about me and my own personal pursuits. And there is no destination, no dream, and no personal desire that will ever fill me like an intimate, daily walk with my God.

Father God, how thankful I am that You love this stiff-necked woman. Forgive me for all of the times I have pulled back from You when things haven’t gone my way. Help me to be more like Moses, Lord. Help me to follow You even in the midst of disappointment. Help me to willingly sow into others – even when they’re doing what I long to do. And help me to delight in You daily instead of living with my eyes fixed on some distant destination. I want to live a life where I am less “entitled” and more obedient and faithful, less “arrival”-minded and more right now presence enjoying, less about me and more about Your Kingdom, less grumbly and more life-speaking no matter what. Today, I say “yes.” Even if the dreams I am carrying right now are never realized, I will follow You. Amen. 

Praying for us all today. That God would indeed be our deepest desire and our greatest pursuit. Because the promise of His presence is far sweeter than any “promised land” where we may long to go.

Much Love,
Kimberly

Three Things You DON’T Have to Do When It Comes to Your Calling

Image-1 (1)Sometimes life can feel like one great big, unending to-do list.

You have to do this.
You need to do that.
You must finish all of these things.

And on top of all of your daily stuff, you also have dreams tucked away in your heart.

Things you want to do.
Things you long to do.
Things you feel called to do but are fearful you may never get to do.

So I thought I would share a list with you. A list of the things you don’t have to do today. A list that is gently ushering peace and rest into my soul. And I’m hoping it will do the same for you. Because God doesn’t want us to be frantic today. Especially about the good things He plans to do in and through our lives.

Three Things You DON’T Have to Do When It Comes to Your Calling:

1 – You don’t have to apologize for it.

If God has called you to paint? Paint. If He has called you to write? Write. If He has called you to crunch numbers, teach, serve overseas, or nurse people back to health? You can simply do those things – all to the glory of God, no apologies necessary, no worrying that some other call is greater or nobler.

The enemy wants you to think you are “less than” because he knows your life matters. But God created you on purpose and with purpose. And who He created you to be is lovely and needed and good (Psalm 139:13-16).

So no more apologies for who He designed you to be, okay? (And if you need more help with celebrating who you are instead of apologizing for who you are, you can read THIS post.) 

2 – You don’t have to compete for it.

Your calling is your calling. “Her” calling is her calling. There’s no competition. Even if your callings are similar. You have a unique personality, a unique life story, and a unique set of people only you can reach.

God didn’t place something on your heart only to say, “Oh, wait… she does it better than you. So sorry. I’ve changed My mind.” No! He placed you where you are and made you who you are on purpose. And He will work through your life in His own timing, in His own ways, as you stay surrendered to Him – no competition needed.

3 – You don’t have to be anxious about it.

God tells us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7). NOTHING. That means not even our callings.

Because God knows what He’s doing.

He knows how to develop your calling, and He knows how to develop you. He knows what connections you need to make, what doors you need opened, what doors you need closed and what provision you will need along the way.

His every “yes,” “no,” and “not yet” are perfectly timed and can absolutely be trusted. He wants you in His will even more than you want to be in His will, and so your heart can be at rest as you trust Him day by day. Trusting Him with every single detail and feeling released from the need to manipulate any of those details.

***

I don’t know about you, but I love having a list of things I DON’T have to do. With all that I do have to do today, it gives my heart such peace to know I don’t have to apologize, compete or be anxious about the dreams God has placed in my heart. I can simply press in, follow Him and delight in His presence as He leads the way. And I can let all of the places where I feel frantic about my calling clue me in to the fact I may be trying to make things happen on my own.

May we let our hearts rest in His love, in His ways and in His plans today, friends. He is for us. And He has great purpose tucked inside of each and every one of us.

Much Love,
Kimberly

Why You Can’t Keep Lions on Leashes {For When God Doesn’t Feel Very Safe}

Lion

“Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

So, there are these days where you realize maybe you’ve been trying to walk the Lion on a leash.

This Jesus.

This King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This Lion of Judah.

You realize you’ve been trying to tame Him, to control Him, to crack your whip and make Him do what you want Him to do.

But then you run hard up against the truth that He can’t be tamed. And He isn’t here to perform tricks for us. He isn’t here to jump through our hoops or to sit at our command. He isn’t here for us to use Him to show off. To show others just how great we are.

And then you end up feeling not quite sure what to do with Him… because while He is utterly safe, He’s also wholly and wildly unsafe. As in, He isn’t going to do what we want Him to do just to make our lives happy and easy. He is good, but He is also sovereign. His ways and His thoughts, they are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And I had a day like this yesterday. One where I was feeling heartbroken over things I can’t fix. Over things I can’t change. Over circumstances I can’t control. Over pain I just don’t understand in the life of a dear friend. And when I asked Him, “What do I do with You now?”… the only answer that immediately came was to let Him roam free. To give Him free roam of my life.

No trying to control Him.

No trying to manipulate Him.

No trying to use Him for my own glory.

Simply following His lead. Resting in His love. Trusting in His plans. Believing He can protect me so much better than I can protect myself.

I don’t know who else needs this. But maybe someone does. Maybe you need to repent like I have had to do. Maybe you need to humbly hand Him the leash, the flaming hoops you keep trying to get Him to jump through to prove Himself to you, or the impressive Lion-taming get-up you keep putting on to try prove to the world you are a somebody. Maybe you need to hand it all over and simply let His mighty and His loving ROAR go out across the whole of your life.

I don’t know exactly what this is going to look like other than a whole lot of surrender and a whole lot of trust. So thankful to know that, at the end of each and every day, He really is worthy of our trust.

So Much Love,

Kimberly

When You Aren’t Where You Want to Be or Where You Think You Should Be

Paul could have been angry.

He could have been wounded.

He could have pouted and refused to do a single thing for God until He agreed to move in mighty and obvious ways on Paul’s behalf.

Instead, Paul ended up writing letters that would become the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon in the Bible. All while he was in prison.

In PRISON.

There the enemy was, working overtime to try to shut Paul up and to keep him from preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ, and what did Paul do? He chose to be still, to listen, to receive, to pen some of the most powerful words known to man. Words I turn to continually in my own walk with the Lord.

Words of freedom written from a place of captivity.

And Paul certainly could have been offended about his “sidelining.” He was doing great things for the Kingdom. But instead of complaining, instead of pouting as I have been known to do, he sought God right where he was. And here we are, still being blessed by his surrender and his seeking to this day.

I don’t know where you are in your life right now. Maybe you’re feeling sidelined. Maybe you’re feeling forgotten and abandoned by God. Maybe you’re nowhere near where you hope to be or where you want to be. But I want you to know this…

Wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, God can redeem it. God can use it – in your life and in the lives of others.

And He is right there with you. In the midst of what feels like the end of your dreams, His Spirit is there. His goodness is there. His peace is there. His wisdom is there. His hope is there. He is there {Psalm 139}.

I confess I laughed a little as I turned to Psalm 139 for encouragement about His unending Presence. Apparently He also wanted to offer me a little side-helping of convicting truth. Because He also tells us that He knows us. As in, He knows us knows us. Knowing every word we are going to speak before we even speak it and being well-acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:1-4). So if He allows us to be sidelined, it may be for that very reason.

Because He knows us.
Because He knows the best way to reach us.
Because He knows what the stillness will work in us and then bring out of us. 

You see, Paul wasn’t being punished by God. He wasn’t forsaken by God. He was actually perfectly positioned to receive from a God who had never left his side. How crazy to think that he may have never penned those mighty words had he not been forced to be still.

He was, quite literally, a captive audience to the Holy Spirit.

And maybe, just maybe, in our places of obscurity and in our own places of hiddenness, He wants us to be a captive audience too.

May we relax in the Father’s embrace. Even if we aren’t where we want to be. Even if we aren’t where we think we should be. May we press in to Him and simply sit with Him – fixing our gaze squarely upon His face instead of straining to see how we can get to wherever it is we think we want to go.

May we ask Him for treasures in the dark places, in the hard places, in our hidden seasons. Not that we stop praying for God to move in our circumstances. It’s just that we decide we are going to seek Him right where we are until things do change. Because who knows how far the ripples of our surrender and our seeking may reach one day. What the enemy intends for evil in our lives? God can use for good. For our good and for the good of others.

So keep seeking Him, friends. And keep holding on to hope.

There is great purpose in your present position.

And these places that feel like captivity? They may hold the keys to incredible freedom… if only we would be still and listen for His voice.

Much Love,

Kimberly

Why You Don’t NEED a Body Like Hers

Image-1-2Let’s face it, ladies.

You are probably going to see women you are tempted to compare yourself with today.

Women on magazine covers. Women in movies or on TV. Women in your Facebook or Instagram feed. Women you walk past during your day. Women who have bodies that you feel like put your body to shame.

And you may mentally start making lists. Lists of all of the things that are wrong with your body. Lists of all of the things you wish you had like “her” body.

But I want to share a question with you. One I felt the Lord ask me last week as I started to fall headlong into the body comparison trap. Standing in a grocery store checkout line, magazine covers staring me down, I sensed this gentle, but corrective whisper – “Wouldn’t I have given you that body if you NEEDED that body?”

Oh.
Yes.
I guess He would have.

Because our God?

He is a NEED meeting God.

He is a generous supplier.

He is a perfect provider.

Verse after verse in the Bible tell us that He supplies all of our needs. That He knows what we need before we even ask. That He has given us everything we need to live a godly life. That He who did not spare His own Son gives to us graciously and freely. {See Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:8; Matthew 6:32; Romans 8:32; 2 Peter 1:3; Psalm 23:1; 2 Corinthians 9:8.}

And so we have got to stop buying into the lie. The lie that He held out on us, that He cheated us, that He messed up on us when He knit us together. We ARE fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We HAVE the body we need. And we aren’t talking weight loss here. We are talking about those things that no amount of diet and exercise can ever change. We are talking the head to toe basic design that makes you… well… you.

You don’t need “her” body to be a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better daughter, a better anything.

Because if you had needed it, God would have given it to you. He would have designed you with it. 

So when we are tempted to compare, let’s not give the enemy or our own often foolish hearts one inch of room to make us feel less than. Let’s choose to start declaring today, “I don’t NEED a body like hers. My gracious and generous God gave me the body I need to live a life of love for Him, and HE says He made me well.”

I love you, beautiful friends. May He work it deep into your heart today just how beautiful you are.

Kimberly