Sunday, September 21, 2014

When Our Best Efforts Are Not Good Enough

As a wife and mother, I really don’t like the times I have to admit that my best isn’t good enough. In fact, I wonder how often I really do admit it because as I think about it, it seems like I keep trying an awful lot. That’s our reality though, isn’t it? Don’t quit. Keep trying. Work harder.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not for giving up after one half-hearted attempt. I believe that we can’t succeed if we don’t bother to try. And we definitely learn a lot from the mistakes we make.

But sometimes…our best efforts are simply not good enough.

We can live in guilt and regret over this fact, or we can accept it. I accept it for others without smothering them with a guilt trip. I suspect you do to. We extend grace.

But grace for ourselves seems to be so much harder. So, we keep trying. We work harder. We keep beating ourselves up.

And yet, our best efforts still will not be good enough.

It sounds depressing, but it’s not—it’s freeing.

Because God extends to us His grace—His free and unearned favor proffered to us.

Where we are not enough, He is more than enough. Always. (<==Click to tweet.)

Our determination, strength, energy, and hard work will never be enough to restore our relationship with God—and we don’t have to—because God already has.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
God offered the sacrifice we could never offer. He did the work we cannot possibly do.

He gives us grace.

And through God’s grace, we are able to extend grace to others—and ourselves.

Grace is freedom.

Freedom to no longer live in guilt and shame.

Freedom to accept that while our efforts are not enough, God’s grace is more than enough.

Freedom to stop trying to do—and live in what’s already been done.

Freedom to breathe a sigh of thankful relief and live in His grace.

In Christ,

[This post also be read in its entirety at Gloria Dei / Photo credit: Stock photo: Alone by lake]

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Wild Fire of Negativity

One day last week, I woke up in a lousy mood. I did not want to get up, but had to. I was tired, not feeling well, and cranky. As I felt myself getting annoyed over the smallest things, I knew I needed to keep to myself until I could snap out of it.

Because negativity spreads like wild fire. 

It quickly takes on a life of its own, targeting everyone in its path—grumbling and complaining, expecting the worst, and projecting a bad mood on to others.

Everyone has bad days and sour moods can be temporary. But left unchecked, they go on for too long, becoming less occasional and more the norm.

I’ve been on the receiving end, trying not to let someone else drag me down, even removing myself from that person’s company.

But that day, I knew it was my mood that had the potential to invade someone else’s day, and I didn’t want that to happen. So, I kept to myself for the beginning of the day while my head cleared and I felt more awake. I stayed out of any conversations that might encourage my negativity and distracted myself until my mood changed.

Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to stop the wild fire of negativity from taking over, and then ruining someone else’s day, as well.

It’s the effort to spend some time alone and shift focus…the effort to not send that email until later when it can be reread from a different frame of mind…the effort to stop grimacing and start smiling. The effort to get. it. under. control.

The black cloud finally lifted that morning. My mood improved and my attitude started to turn around…and then I ventured out of my seclusion.
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad [or angry, cranky, unhappy] heart makes it hard to get through the day. Proverbs 15:13 The Message
How about you—how do you identify when negativity is moving in, and what do you do about it?

In Christ,

Photo credit: Stock photo: Danger

Friday, September 5, 2014

Setbacks and Relapses


One step forward, two steps back.

That’s the way it seems to go sometimes, doesn’t it? I've just recently been there, and it is so frustrating. The encouraging buildup to change becomes short lived. Progress is fleeting, and patience is in short supply.

So, what do we do when our slow movement forward quickly slides backwards?

I'm at 5 Minutes for Faith today sharing four things that helped me remember...setbacks are normal, but we can still move forward with hope for the future. Please join me there to continue reading.

In Christ,

Photo credit: Stock photo: all alone

Linking up with Everyday Jesus, Faith Filled Friday, The Weekend Brew

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The God-sized Dream of Living Life for Him

It’s been over a year since I had the privilege of being on Holley Gerth’s God-sized Dream Team, where I met a group of wonderful dreamers. Many became friends and their big dreams inspire me to dream.

But, I have to confess…sometimes I still struggle with what my dreams are. I should know, right? But, I don’t.

What I thought were big dreams, God told me to lay down. So, I have…or at least I think I have. Sometimes I just feel lazy for not giving them much thought anymore.

But lately there’s a thought taking hold inside of me…a seed of understanding that’s beginning to take root…

Perhaps living my life in a God-pleasing way is, in and of itself, a God-sized dream.  (<==Tweet this.)

Maybe that sounds too ordinary, and not like a big dream at all. But think about it…Everyday life. Is. Hard. And some most days, I don’t do such a great job of living the way I know God wants me too.

Last year, I described a God-sized dream as a dream God plants in our hearts…one that seems impossible—and would be…if it were left up to us to fulfill.

Over the years as my faith has grown, so has my desire to live a life that pleases Him. But, let’s face it. That is a daunting challenge.

I'm so pleased to be guest posting at God-sized Dreams today! Please join me there to continue reading.

In Christ,