That New Girl: Finding Confidence

Sometimes I wish I could go back to my second-grade self, that girl who was mostly tomboy, confident leader-of-the-pack. She could be friends with whomever she wanted, even boys. She wore dresses, but she also climbed trees.

She lived free.

She never considered what the scales said about her value.  She never wished to be more like her blonde-headed friend.  She had a little girl crush on a classmate of hers, but never spent her days waiting for him to notice, or worrying what others might think.

She was relatively innocent, that girl God created on purpose and with a plan.

But that girl moved from state to state nearly every year after third grade until she finally moved overseas.  Each new school left its mark, some beauty spots and some ugly scars, and she found herself wearing labels like “new girl” and “missionary kid.”

For a while, she learned to hide her true self away in favor of a girl others would accept. She lost her identity, her self-confidence.

Life has a way of changing our identity, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. As Christians, we know there is only way to find confidence that truly lasts!  Here's how e to become a Christ-confident woman.     Christian women, confidence in Christ, identity in Christ, finding identity in Christ, devotional thought, Christian encouragement

 

I’ve spent much of my adult life learning to force that girl out into the light, trying to help her find the woman she was created to be.  In the process, I’ve searched for her value in family and friendships, marriage and parenthood, status in college and sometimes status at church, often without realizing I was doing so.

On occasion, I’ve even tried to manufacture that girl’s value on my own by living the good girl life, raising the good kids, serving at the good church, creating good things, and so many more undesired, unnecessary sacrifices that we’re all guilty of performing.

But I fail so often, don’t you?

And once again, the Father has to remind me that the confidence I’m searching for really can’t be found in others or in self. If I want to be completely free of others’ expectations and my own perfectionism, to live confident, I must look only to my Maker.

He alone knows the “real” me, the girl he “knit together” in the womb.  The girl He calls “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  The girl He values at the price of a one and only Son. The girl I was born to be.

Life has a way of changing who we are, our identity, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. As Christians, we must learn where our true identity lies. It's the only way to find confidence that truly lasts!  Here's how to change your perspective on who you are so you can become a Christ-confident woman.

He alone knows the attention to detail that often leads to the pit of perfectionism can also be a gift of organization and precision.  He alone knows the smiling face often hides a fragile heart, but a heart that easily lends itself to sympathy for others.  He alone knows that tendency to boss comes from the ability to lead and that often critical voice reveals undaunted optimism.

And so many other flaws that I find so obvious in myself, He has ultimately meant for my good.

You see, we don’t serve a God who creates mistakes, sisters.

And even though sin and Satan have corrupted us, I’m convinced He truly purposed those “flaws” for good.

So how do we overcome the lies we’ve listened to for so long to reclaim our true selves, the free girls we were created to be?

                  How do we reclaim confidence that lasts?

We look to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith!

He shows us our true value: the blood of the Lamb.  We trust in Philippians 1:6 which claims He began a work in us that He promises to carry until completion.

Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirm the lies. 

But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!

Life has a way of changing who we are, our identity, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. As Christians, we must learn where our true identity lies. It's the only way to find confidence that truly lasts!  Here's how to change your perspective on who you are so you can become a Christ-confident woman.

With Christ’s help a better version of that true-to-self, second-grade girl is surfacing.

I catch glimpses of her from time to time, that new-in-Christ girl. She speaks up even when the voices inside tell her to avoid the risk.

She combats those lies with the truth of the Word.

She claims victory in imperfect progress.

She is Christ-confident.

She’s learning little by little to tune out the world, the Enemy, and even her own perfectionistic thoughts and focus instead on the Maker who continually makes her new.

Because she was born to live free.

And so were you, my sisters.

So were you!

Jen :)

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

 Life has a way of changing who we are, our identity, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. As Christians, we must learn where our true identity lies. It's the only way to find confidence that truly lasts!  Here's how to change your perspective on who you are so you can become a Christ-confident woman.

 

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up video at Arabah Joy’s place

 

Sharing with: My Freshly Brewed Life, Missional Women, Christian Mommy Blogger,

Essential Thing DevotionsWomen of Worship, Mom’s the Word, Cornerstone Confessions,

Time Warp Wife, Rich Faith Rising, Messy Marriage, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wholehearted Home, Grace and Truth, Tell It To Me Tuesdays

 

 

Fighting Fear With Pre-approval

In just two days time, I’ll be bearing a bit of my heart here on this blog.  I’ll be sharing my story, my part of the Thursday series – Verdict on Value.  And once again, I find myself a little afraid. :)

It happens sometimes when you write, especially when the subject matter brings up conflicting emotions. You may feel confident at first, but then you begin to doubt and fear. You face your own insecurity.

Will the words really matter?  Will others understand?  Have I handled this subject fairly?

And the worst of all fears. What will people think?

That’s really what it boils down to: how others might receive those carefully penned or typed words, some that brought forth smiles and fond memories and others that brought forth tears and sorrow.

I’ve been learning my whole life it seems how to let go of that pressure, the pressure to be perfect.  And not that anyone ever told me I had to be, because they didn’t, but that I convinced myself it was necessary, like so many other undesired sacrifices.

I wanted to be the good girl, the best girl, and if I’m being really honest there is still some little part of me that wants this, too.

How do we fight back against this fear that we are not "enough"?Lately, I'm realizing how early it starts, this yearning to be approved by this world when we are already approved by the Maker of this world.   Even from those early toddler calls of "Look at me, mommy!", we want to be seen, to be valued, to be approved.  identity in Christ, Christian Women, seeking approval of others, women of faith, believing what God says about us

I see it now even in one of my young sons.  He yearns for praise.  I often catch him bragging because he yearns for others to see how wonderful he is.  And truly, he is wonderful (especially in this mama’s eyes), but it hurts me to see him striving so at such a young age.

At the same time it reminds me that I still struggle myself.

So, how can I help him to see the truths that I’m still learning to recognize?

I can only hope that being honest, taking down the facade, and admitting my own fear and insecurity will help him to recognize that we all fall short, we all do.  Ever since the days of paradise and a forbidden apple eaten, we all fall short.

I can only hope that teaching him of a Savior who turns those weaknesses into strengths,

who has a plan for him,

who loves him just for who he is and not what he does,

who cherished him even before he was born,

who welcomes him with open arms when he fails – I can only hope that such knowledge will sink deep roots into his young heart much earlier than those truths began to sink into mine.

I’ve been reading Jennifer Dukes Lee’s posts about our Love Idols, and I’m realizing how early it starts, this yearning to be approved by this world when we are already approved by the Maker of this world.

Even from those early toddler calls of “Look at me, mommy!”, we want to be seen, to be valued, to be approved.

 “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?

Or am I striving to please men?”

Gal. 1:10 (a)

Sadly, some of us Christ-followers, will spend our entire lives chasing that approval, all the while fearing that we just aren’t good enough.

We’ll miss the irony that we are already pre-approved by the most powerful Person in all of creation because of His Son!

If we could only grasp that early on and not waste precious years searching for something we already have in our possession.

fear, approval, self-worth, identity in Christ, worth in Christ

But we can, friends.

We can begin right now.

We can ferret out those love idols in our lives and hand them over to our gracious and loving Father.  We can cling to the hope of imperfect progress and proclaim the bold truths of Philippians 1:6!

We can share with others what we are doing and ask them to do the same.  We can speak truth to our children about this pre-approval, bought at the price of a one and only Son.

I’m asking the Lord to help me lay down my fear and insecurity, my need for human approval and perceived perfection.  I’m asking Him to work in the hearts of my children, that they will learn early on what it means to be cherished by the One True God, King of Kings, Sovereign Lord, the Most High.

I’m asking the Father to open their eyes wide to these truths.

And I’m asking for you, too, my friends, that you will see how fearfully and wonderfully made you are in the eyes of your Creator.

We who’ve been painted red that we might be white as snow.

I’m banishing fear for tonight in favor of truth.

Join me, will you?

Jen :)

For more information on the Love Idol movement, check out the facebook page!

I’m sharing this here:

 The Time Warp Wife, Rich Faith Rising, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wholehearted Home, A Little R&R,

Woman to Woman,Titus 2 Tuesday,Cornerstone Confessions,

 

Arabah’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Shame has tried to silence me my entire life.

Ever since I was four years old… ever since a man named Jackie… shame’s gnarly fingers have gripped my soul, choked me with its hateful whispers.

I thought this was normal. I thought it was true. And until recently, I couldn’t separate shame from me, my personhood.

Shame has been my closest companion, weaving itself so intimately with me that I thought it was me. On dark, lonely nights, shame was there. On cold days and warm summers and in crowds and by myself, shame has always been there. Shame was happy to bring his friends too: insecurity, fear, and inferiority.

Let me tell you about my companion: Shame tells me something bad’s wrong with me. I’ll never be worth anything. That no one will listen. That I don’t have anything valuable to contribute. Ever. That I’ll never be enough. Together, shame and friends have worked to squelch my individuality, limit my creativity, mold me into a conformist, keep me silent and stagnant, and rob me of real intimacy.

{Click here to finish reading Arabah’s story}

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

Painted Red: The Significance of the Passover

Paint.

It covers whatever is beneath it, each brush stroke blotting out all that came before.

It covers nail holes and cracks in the walls, the scribbles of a toddler and the spills of a preschooler.  It covers poorly chosen colors and other such mistakes.  It even covers rust and mildew, evidences of time and neglect. Paint masks all imperfections.

Paint makes old things new again, clean again, perhaps even beautiful again.

Yet at that first Passover, the paint was hardly beautiful – fresh blood splashed red across door frames painted as a covering, a protection over what was to come.

The people of God believed, and so they painted, each household, the blood of an innocent lamb across their door frames.  They splashed ugly smears of musky red in faith that Yahweh would keep his promise to them.

Then they waited…

This is what it means to be painted red.  All of the mistakes, ugliness, and scars that were ours before are blotted out by bold, beautiful strokes in the hand of a Master who loves us enough to give a one and only Son. Painted Red What the first Passover means for us today.  Christianity, Easter, Passover, Passover Lamb, Jesus, Christian Women, Devotional, Bible

 

… as death passed over them, leaving their firstborns untouched, an act of mercy.

And again over a thousand years later, only days after the Passover celebration, a one and only Son painted a cross red with his own blood, spilled it willingly for a world full of undeserving sinners.

The bloody mess of his tortured, nail-driven flesh was gruesome, but the promise, the promise was a thing of beauty beyond comprehension.

Once again mankind would be passed over because of the blood of the Lamb.

Once again, salvation would be freely offered to those who chose to believe the promise.

This is what it means to be painted red.  All of the mistakes, ugliness, and scars that were ours before are blotted out by bold, beautiful strokes in the hand of a Master who loves us enough to give a one and only Son. Painted Red What the first Passover means for us today

Now we who believe are painted righteous by faith, passed over, wiped clean.

All of the mistakes, ugliness, and scars that were ours before are blotted out by bold, beautiful strokes in the hand of a Master who loves us enough to give a one and only Son.

Romans 5:8-10

 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been

reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Thus, the ugly red paint brings forth new life and along with it, joy and peace and beauty.

So those once black with sin

are now washed white as snow,

painted red

by the blood of the Lamb.

Jen :)

Do you understand the significance of the Passover? Jesus is our Passover Lamb!

I’m joining the brave and lovely Five Minute Friday writers again this week over at Lisa-Jo’s place.  She chooses a word prompt and we all write fast and furiously for five(ish) minutes, no planning, no editing, no over-thinking.  All are welcome, so come on over and join us!

Kerry’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

A wise woman once told me, “You can only promote one reputation at a time; yours or God’s.”

When I strive to be recognized by others, then God looks small to the world (while I appear haughty and desperate). But if I seize every opportunity to spread God’s fame, then I fade into the background and His glorious kindness shines brightly.

It boils down to this. God is the all-powerful, sinless Creator… so His reputation is more important than mine. Yet because He loves and values me unconditionally, Jesus died to pay the price for my redemption. I am valuable to God! Does anybody else’s acceptance really matter?

When I rest in belonging to Him I can throw myself into Kingdom work by promoting God’s reputation. My every decision will be filtered through the question, “Will this action of mine show the world how great God is?”

On the other hand, if I doubt my value to God…then proving my worth through accomplishments, possessions, or my appearance becomes my full-time career. No resources remain for pursuing Christ and sharing Him with others.

Let’s look at two women of the Bible who illustrate these contrasting ideas. Hannah, who promoted God’s reputation instead of her own, and Miriam, who coveted more accolades for herself. {For a refreshing dip into God’s Word, click over to Kerry’s post.}

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

Bad Guys Are Real

Bad Guys Are Real, sin, grace, eternal life

I love how she chatters when it’s just her and me in the van, her sweet, soft voice breaking through the unusual quiet as we travel. I point out two military jets flying overhead and she asks if they are carrying a lot of people.

“Well, no, these jets are carrying soldiers who work hard to protect us, protect our country,” I explain.

“They protect us? Like from bad guys?  Mommy, are bad guys real?”  Her voice gets quiet.

I want to tell her, “no.” I want to make her feel safe and secure, but the truth is that bad guys are real.  “Yes, they are real, sis. Some people want to hurt others and do bad things.”

From the front seat, I imagine her eyes growing wide with this information. “Because they don’t love God?” She questions, so smart yet so innocent for all of her five years.

daughter, are bad guys real?, good vs. evil, sin, Jesus, grace, eternal life

I want to tell her, “yes.” Yes, bad guys are bad because they don’t know or love God.  They are bad because they hurt others.  They are bad because they have evil inside, and they do unspeakable things.  That would be the quick and easy explanation, right?

But it’s not the whole truth, is it, this idea that some are bad and some are good?  The truth is we all have evil inside.  We’re all bad in a sense; it’s called sin.  So once again I stop myself from making it sound that simple in favor of telling her the truth.

bad guys, none righteous, we all sin

“Well, yes, some bad guys probably don’t know God or love Him.  But really we all have the ability to be bad.  We all have sin inside of us, and we all make wrong choices sometimes.  It’s only because we believe that Jesus paid the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross that we can choose good instead. That’s the only real difference between the bad guys and the good guys – Jesus.  Without Him we would all be bad guys.”

She falls quiet then for a while, and I know she’s thinking about what I said. I hope and I pray that she really gets it.  That there is nothing good in us, nothing deserving, nothing “better than.”  

Because more than anything I want my sweet, dark-haired beauty of a daughter to know that she cannot, she cannot, be good on her own. She needs Jesus. She needs grace.

bad guys, wages of sin, unrighteous, sin leads to death, eternal life is a gift

Even more than that, I want her to realize that we all need it, this grace, this unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unfathomable gift from a Father God who deigned to love us, a bunch of bad guys, enough to sacrifice His one and only Son.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,

in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom. 5:8

Yes, my daughter, bad guys are real.

But praise be to God,

Jesus is real, too.

Jen :)

Sharing with: My Freshly Brewed Life, Managing Your Blessings, Mom’s The Word, Wholehearted Home, Messy Marriage,

Jennifer Dukes Lee, Rich Faith Rising

You may find me linking with any of these lovely blogs.

 

 

An Interview With the Author of Love Idol {and a chance to win!}

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

As part of our “Verdict on Value” series, today we have the privilege of interviewing Jennifer Dukes Lee and giving away a copy of her brand new book, Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes

Here is a snippet of the interview, which you can read in it’s entirety here. Here’s Jennifer:

“Approval is a powerful force in our world. We want to be loved, and liked, and known and validated. And sometimes, we want all that from people – more than we want it from God.

I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy since I was a child – even though I was a perfectionist child with the As to prove it. I had always hoped that my good performances would fill the desire for significance and value. I wanted the approval of parents, peers, and pastors – of everyone.

Retraining my heart would take years. But I knew it was worth the fight – not only for me, but for our daughters. Children are mirrors, reflecting what they see in us. I’ll never forget one Thanksgiving several years ago. I found one of the girls crying in the corner of a bedroom. She had drawn a self-portrait and labeled the parts: “Boring brown hair. Stupid glasses. Dumb freckles. Bad teeth.” She had scrawled across the top of the paper: UGLY.

So many of us – as girls – feel like we’re never enough. And we grow up into women who feel the same way.

I sat on the floor next to my daughter that afternoon and held her for a long time. I vowed that I would provide a firm foundation for my girls to know that a woman’s identity is found in Christ alone. But I would need to live that truth out. I would need to model my Christ-identity.

My girls and I started saying these words out loud: “We’ve had enough of the not-enoughs.”

I started journaling my experiences, writing on my blog, and speaking about the issue of approval. On paper, I could see how my life had become a long journey of seeking approval in the classroom, the corporate cubicle, and my own family tree. After talking with women across the country, I’ve learned that my journey is every woman’s journey – even though the details of our stories differ.”

Click here to read the entire interview and a chance to win Jennifer’s just released book!

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place