What You Need to Know about Your Work-in-Progress Status

It’s Friday and you’ve survived another week, maybe even another month. Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can keep at it, how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life.

And some days, the hard work defeats us, owns us, and we become less than – less of a wife, less of a mother, less of a daughter of the King, less than we truly desire to be.

We’re tempted then to blame the weariness, the dead weight we’ve been dragging for so long, on our hectic lives.

I’m just too busy.

The phrase slips into my mind so easily, yet I know it’s only a half-truth. Yes, I’ve been busy, but not just with the family schedule. My mind has been busy, too – busy with worries, thoughts, plans, dreams, and even dissatisfaction.

We’re weary women, you and me, and we long for some space to smooth down our frayed edges and quiet our souls, yet we’ve somehow lost the way.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that my biggest problem isn’t my hectic schedule, though. No – the biggest problem is that when my schedule is crazy, my perfectionism and need to control kicks into overdrive. I’m tempted to think if I just work harder and longer, then I can keep myself afloat. 

If I just do everything right….

Unfortunately, I’m not perfect and neither are you. No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to fail at something along the way.

And fail, I have.

I’ve been a grumpy mama and a distracted wife. I’ve offended others in my haste and frustration. I’ve neglected to connect to the only Power Source who can really keep me going in the tough times. I’ve been trying way too hard to do something I cannot possibly do on my own, and boy, is it painful!

Why do we do this to ourselves, my sisters in Christ?  Why do we expect the impossible rather than resting in what we already know to be true?

~I’m sharing three of my favorite truths to fight against the pull perfectionism over at my friend Kaylene’s blog today. It would make my day if you’d hop on over there to find out what you really need to know about your work-in-progress status (and how to get a freebie)!

Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life. You feel too busy, like you're always failing at one thing or another. What you really need to know are these 3 truths about your work-in-progress status.

 

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

 

When You Just Want to Be Left Alone

The truth is, I just wanted to be left alone. After all, we weren’t getting along, we were bickering about everything – or so it seemed, and the last thing I wanted was to have to spend time with him. I didn’t want his usual greeting of a hug and kiss. I just wanted him to go away.

As I watched him walk away, shoulders drooped due to my cold shoulder, I felt a twinge of guilt and remorse. Then I remembered the stress he’d caused me, the fear he’d brought into our home, and I pushed the guilt aside. This mess was his fault, and he needed to fix it.

It wasn't someone or something else separating my husband and me. It wasn't another man or woman, it wasn't job stress, or even distance. It was me...   The Time I Just Wanted to Be Left Alone

Sadly, this has happened too many times in my marriage.

I was the one doing the damage that is warned against in Mark 10:9 –

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.

It wasn’t someone or something else separating my husband and me. It wasn’t another man or woman, it wasn’t  job stress, a crazy boss, or even distance. It was me.

I was letting the enemy come between us through bitterness that I was letting take root in my heart.

One day, out of the blue, my husband texted me to ask if we could start praying together. I was confused because we do pray together.

He listed a few things that he wanted to begin praying about, together, intentionally.

I took my time answering because…I wanted to be left alone.

I wanted to just ignore his request and wallow in my own feelings.

But that’s the thing about a covenant relationship – God gently and lovingly reminded me of my part of the commitment while I sat there telling Him about how my husband broke his part of the commitment.

Despite all that happened, I firmly believe God called me to stay in my marriage, to see my husband get the necessary help he needs, to champion redemption inside these four walls.

And that’s why I had to check my attitude. I could not continue to let the enemy weasel his way into the marriage that I was fighting for. I couldn’t write about redemption and then stand in the way of it.

Despite my feelings, regardless of the fact that I really just wanted to be left alone, I picked up my phone and responded to my husband.

Yes, I will pray with you.
Yes, we’ll pray specifically for the things that you want to pray for.
And yes, we’ll move forward trusting God together.

In order for our marriage to grow together, and actually in order for any marriage to move forward, we have to set self aside. We have to be looking out for the best for our spouse and for our marriage.

I’m thankful for the Lord’s conviction in my life, to gently remind me that selfishness really isn’t going to get me anywhere. Even though I wanted to be left alone, even though I set up barriers to connecting with my husband, the Lord gently worked in our hearts to draw us back together.

Friends, if the Lord is working in your heart in this manner, trust me when I say that it’s better choosing His way. Set aside your feelings, even just for a moment, and let Him work in your heart.

 

Rebekah M. HallbergRebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

Look to Jesus: A Review (and giveaway!)

If someone asked me if I trust God, I’d most likely answer yes, but I haven’t always trusted God in every circumstance.  In fact, during certain trials in my life when I felt I was drowning, trust seemed very hard to come by.

I’m certain I have more lessons in trust ahead of me, too.

That’s why Dawn Klinge’s new book Look to Jesus is so important.  My friend Dawn recently shared with us about how trusting Jesus is related to the joy we experience, but her book delves even more deeply into the topic of trust.

Klinge’s suggestion to trust God by looking to Jesus sounds so simple on the surface, maybe too simple. However, Klinge takes the reader on a journey to discover how looking to Jesus through various seasons of life leads to a deepening trust, one not easily shaken.

Along the way, Klinge takes time to explain basic doctrines that even seasoned believers may not fully understand, such as the Trinity.  I appreciate that the author lays this groundwork because if we don’t understand God’s character or how He operates, then we don’t really know God, do we?

And if we don’t really know Him, how can we trust Him?

In the first few chapters, Klinge rightly points out that we cannot generate trust on our own.  She encourages the reader to understand this truth by using her own life experiences.

“I’ve never needed to literally walk on water. But I have had storms in my life. In some of those storms, I’ve kept my eyes on Jesus and in some, I’ve looked around at my circumstances and started to sink – and I’ve called out to Jesus and he has rescued me. He wants to do the same for you.” ~Dawn Klinge, Look to Jesus (pg. 31)

But my favorite part of the book takes place in Chapter 4, when Klinge gets down to the nnitty-gritty of how we become conformed to the image of Christ, yet she also makes an important distinction between legalism and grace.  It’s this grace-filled approach which permeates the book that really resonates with me!

Dawn Klinge's new book, Look to Jesus, gently leads the reader to an understanding of how to trust God even during the painful trials of life.  Read here for a review and enter for your chance to win a copy of this new release!

Throughout Look to Jesus, Klinge supports her own words with a wealth of Scripture as well as well-chosen quotes from other authors and famous people from all walks of life. The reader will appreciate how the author weaves all of this knowledge into her own story of learning to trust God.

Out of all of the quotes chosen, however, the Oswald Chamber’s quote on page 58 is my favorite because it falls right in line with the purpose of this blog. The point of our faith journey is the process – the work-in-progress of being remade into His image, moment by moment, day by day.

I always enjoy a reminder of my work-in-progress status! :)

Another favorite moment took place in Chapter 6 when Klinge speaks to trusting God when life is hard.  I applaud Klinge for being brave enough to tackle this issue by sharing from her own pain.  I also agree with the author on her conclusion that pain has a purpose, one we cannot realize if we try to deny the pain of a difficult season of life.

More than that, I respect that Klinge points the reader to the truth that Jesus understands human pain because He endured pain himself!  Not only does he understand our pain, He wants to sit with us in the midst of it.

What I admire most about Look to Jesus is that any person who reads through the book will find a clear presentation of the gospel and what it means for us. In the final chapter, Klinge writes:

“Think of the high price God paid for you.

You are precious to Him and it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how terribly you’ve failed – because it’s not about you. It’s about Christ in you.  How could we possibly doubt that God would ever give up on us, ever fail us, when we consider what was done to earn our place in His family.” ~ Dawn Klinge, Look to Jesus (p.95)

What better way to close than to remind us that looking to Jesus, trusting God in every circumstance, is rooted in our identity in Christ.  He who paid the price for us will not turn away in our times of need!

Dawn Klinge's new book, Look to Jesus, gently leads the reader to an understanding of how to trust God even during the painful trials of life.  Read here for a review and enter for your chance to win a copy of this new release!

Although the tone of this book is more conversational in nature than some readers might be used to, the nuggets of truth throughout make it a good read for anyone.

If you haven’t already read Dawn’s book, I hope you’ll take the time to do so.I have no doubt you’ll find wisdom and encouragement that applies to your life.

And if you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Dawn’s book (PDF version), be sure to enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also  visit Dawn at her blog, Above the Waves, where she writes on life and faith.

Because of Him,

Jen :)

*A proof copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author for purposes of review. However, all opinions are my own!  Also, this post makes use of affiliate links. For more information on the affiliate links used by this blog, visit Being Confident of This’s homepage.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth,

Learning to Recognize Progress Can Save Your Marriage

Believe it or not, the whole fight started over a pile of clean laundry.  We had just finished family fun night with our children, an evening of homemade, personalized pizzas and fun games and silly antics. After tucking the kids into bed, we were ready for some relaxation, some time to cuddle in front of our recent Netflix favorite.

But as we entered the bedroom, there it sat – a large pile of clean laundry just waiting to be folded.

I sighed.

I hadn’t meant to leave it there all day, but like most moms, I just got busy meeting all. the. needs.  So there it sat, and as I flopped down to fold it, I spotted The Face, you know- the one that means your husband is a little miffed even if he doesn’t say anything.

Every marriage goes through difficult seasons, and in those seasons, we often feel stuck. Here's a way to get out of that rut. Save your marriage by...

Instead of following my better judgment and ignoring The Face, I immediately took offense.

Why in the world should he get mad at me – at least having laundry on the bed means that we actually have some clean laundry, which is no small feat after the week I’ve had!  He should be happy that I managed to squeeze in a few loads here and there today. It’s not like I’m the only one in this house capable of folding laundry, anyways!

He should be thanking me!  

Am I right, ladies?!

Of course, that line of self-righteous thinking led to an ill-timed argument, and what could have been a beautiful end to the day quickly degenerated into angry words and hurt feelings…

To find out how learning to recognize progress can save your marriage, join me over at my friend Becky’s blog for the rest of the story!

Sharing this with: Grace and Truth,

5 Methods for Setting Goals Rooted in Faith

Perhaps you found your way here after evaluating last year’s successes and failures. Perhaps setting goals is new to you, and you’d like a little help. Or perhaps, like me, you hesitate to set real goals in the first place because you’re desperate to avoid any kind of failure.

If you consistently make and break New Year’s resolutions, or if you often find your enthusiasm waning halfway through the year, then these methods for setting goals will help!

5 Methods for Setting Goals

1. Before you make an attempt at setting goals, spend time in prayer.

First, if you have an area of your life that needs improvement, God is probably already nudging you.  The best goals are those the Father wills for us, and to remain aligned with His will requires a little soul-searching and time spent praying. If you already have some ideas about goals you should set, ask Him for confirmation!

Second, after you finish setting goals, continue to pray over your God-dependent efforts.

For example, when working on getting healthier last year, I often asked the Lord for strong lungs and strong knees so that I could continue working out.  I asked Him to give me the desire to eat right and the desire to exercise. I even asked Him for strength to continue in the middle of some of those workouts.

When I quit praying for those things for a time, I struggled and wasted several months going nowhere.

Because New Year's is right around the corner and resolutions so often fail to stick. Why not try a biblical approach to setting goals instead?  These 5 methods will set you on the path to success that lasts!

 

2. Support your goals with scripture memorization.

Often the Holy Spirit reminds me of verses I have memorized at key moments, such as when I’m tempted, struggling to trust, or avoiding obedience.  He even brings to mind verses to encourage me in my efforts.

The more we memorize, the more weapons in our arsenal!

When working on a goal pertaining to a weakness in your life or a desire to achieve something new, find and memorize a few key verses to motivate and encourage you.

And on the heels of scripture memorization…

3. Expect and prepare for opposition.

I’ve mentioned before that as soon as we aim to make positive changes  in our lives, Satan is sure to try us.  When we finish setting goals, we instantly become walking targets!  Doubt easily sets in when we fail to prepare for spiritual warfare.

Even friends or family may unintentionally discourage us because they fail to understand our goals, or perhaps they just don’t agree with them!  Either way, if we expect and prepare for rough seas at first, we won’t be easily deterred when storms blow our way.

4. Start with small steps.

Change isn’t easy, especially if you are trying to undo a life-long habit! Even if you’re simply adding a new habit, real change takes weeks – some experts advise 30-40 days or longer.

Don’t be ashamed of your baby steps!

Use the small start to build to bigger changes.

Starting small after setting goals allows you to focus on one thing at a time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, start by exchanging an unhealthy afternoon snack for a serving of vegetables.  Once you’ve mastered that step you can move on to a bigger step.

The verse below comes from the days of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. God’s faithful were few in number and faced discouragement at every turn. Theses were His words:

 “Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying,  “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:8-10a, NASB, emphasis mine)

Don’t despise the day of small things. Instead, celebrate every small victory!

Goal-setting is no easy task, especially if you don't know how or where to begin.  To plan for success, follow these 5 methods for setting goals that are rooted in faith.  Bonus - one important resource to help you plan goals with grace! 5 Methods for Setting Goals Rooted in Faith

5. Break loose from perfectionism by embracing grace.

I’ve written before about disliking the process of setting goals (and being afraid to get too specific) because I’m afraid to fail. I hate failing! As a perfectionist, I must recognize how this all or nothing mindset limits me.

The only way to break loose from perfectionism’s chains is to view myself as a work-in-progress woman.

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6, NASB)

Rather than avoiding the process of setting goals altogether, I purpose to show myself grace!

I know some current goals are going to be long hauls, especially this weight loss journey.  Whereas a setback might have caused me to give up for good previously, with grace in mind I can see the work in progress rather than individual or isolated failures.

One important tool to help you embrace grace in setting goals:

Grace Goals Course for setting goals biblically
Do you really want lasting, godly change?  If so, I highly recommend  Grace Goals, a new scripture-based goal-setting workshop developed by my friend Arabah Joy (affiliate link).

Grace Goals contains 5 Workshops to help you identify your greatest desires and develop a plan for pursuing them. Grace Goals also targets the tools you need to succeed and (the most important part, in my opinion) helps you understand how faith plays the greatest role in achieving real change!

Here’s what Grace Goals includes:

  • a printable workbook
  • 5 mini workshops
  • practical assignments for each workshop
  • printable pages to help organize your thought
  • access to the Grace Goals facebook support group (so helpful for that accountability and encouragement you need to succeed!)

In addition to Arabah Joy’s lovely writing style, you will also enjoy the thought-provoking questions she asks. These questions get to the root of why setting goals is important and how we can best go about setting goals rooted in faith.

The best part?  It’s completely based on Scripture!

Grace Goals Course

LIMITED TIME OFFER

I hope you take advantage of this special offer, friends, because the content here is extraordinary!

Wishing you a fruitful New Year!

Jen :)

* This post makes use of affiliate links. Jen is an affiliate for Grace Goals and will receive compensation for any purchase made through the affiliate links on this blog.  Thank you for supporting the ministry of Being Confident of This!

The Superwoman Myth Resolved

In the first half of The Superwoman Myth, we discussed how the players of self and others contribute to this myth of womanly perfection.  Today, we finish with the final player.

The final contributor in the saga of the Superwoman Myth  is Satan.

He is the great deceiver and he loves that we fall prey to the myth!

What better way to convince us we are failures than to give us an unattainable goal?

He waits on the sidelines while we struggle and agonize over our own weaknesses, while we look around at all of the women who seem to be living out their faith so much better than we are.

I'm sure you've fallen prey to the lie of the Superwoman Myth before - you know, how you need to do it all and do it all well?!  Learn how to put those lies right in their place with this final freeing truth. The Superwoman Resolved

Debunking the Superwoman Myth

It is then that he strikes – in the middle of that doubt and fear that we’re not good enough, maybe even that we’ll never be good enough.  He knows that if he can get us to focus on our failures, we’ll take our eyes off of Christ.

1 Peter 5:8 warns,

“Be alert and of sober mind.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion

looking for someone to devour.”

But Satan is a liar.

The Father proclaims that we don’t have to be perfect because

Christ.

was.

perfect.

for us.

Amen?!  God knows that we are human and that because of sin we are flawed, but the Good News?  He chose to love us anyway!

Romans 5:8 testifies,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

When God looks at you, He already sees perfection because of the sacrifice of His Son. That work is already complete!

So, how do we become the best version of ourselves (the one we were created to be), without crossing over into the abyss of worry and guilt that Satan wants us trapped in?

How do we show ourselves grace and avoid falling prey to the Superwoman Myth?

The answer lies in Christ.

I'm sure you've fallen prey to the lie of the Superwoman Myth before - you know, how you need to do it all and do it all well?!  Learn how to put those lies right in their place with this final freeing truth. The Superwoman Resolved

 

We can become the best version of ourselves by abiding in Him, by spending time in His word and in His presence.

It really is that simple.

It’s not in the details of our living, but in the attitude and mindset behind the way we live that matters to the Lord. 

When we realize that He purposefully created us with a unique role to fill, we can stop looking down on His creation (self), stop looking around at everyone else, and instead focus on Him and His love for us.

When we relax in His gracious love, we allow Him to do the work necessary to develop Christ-likeness in us.  We can be at peace with ourselves knowing that He will continue the work in us and that our Father God already loves us anyway, no matter what!

…………………………………………

Now, let’s take a peek back at that one personality flaw we chose during part 1 of the Superwoman Myth.  Let me ask you some questions in relation to your flaw.

Did God create you?

In His wisdom, did God create your personality this way?

Consider this:  Does God create by accident?  Does He create things that are inherently bad? (Think back to the days of Eden.)

No!

Therefore, we can safely assume that the things we dislike most about ourselves are characteristics God intentionally gave to us or allowed us to have.

And …

In their purest, God-given form, those personality “flaws” are not bad. 

Yes, personality “flaws” can certainly lead us to sin, but in and of themselves, they are pure, God-given traits meant for our benefit.  He give us these traits,  perhaps to teach us, maybe even to teach others, and in the process, to bring Him glory.

So, now how do you see your “flaw?”

Is it possible that with Christ’s help your flaw can become the thing of beauty He intends it to be?

I believe so.

That’s why my life verse is Philippians 1:6.

“Being confident in this; he who began a good work in you

will carry it until the day of completion in Christ Jesus.”

My sisters in Christ,

                     don’t

                             fall

                                   for

                               the Superwoman Myth.

Don’t believe the lies from self, others, or Satan.

Instead, listen to the voice of your Creator God, the Father who lavishes His love on you!

I'm sure you've fallen prey to the lie of the Superwoman Myth before - you know, how you need to do it all and do it all well?!  Learn how to put those lies right in their place with this final freeing truth. The Superwoman Resolved

He doesn’t ask us to be superwomen.

Instead He just wants us to be the women He created us to be.

Work-in-progress women.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell His Story, Grace and Truth

 

Through My Grace-Colored Glasses

Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone. He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord.

Some days I can ignore him and others I just can’t seem to escape. And I know it’s Perfectionism and not the Holy Spirit because of his voice.  He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different.

You see, my husband and I stayed up much too late because we were arguing about a financial issue.

I felt angry and disappointed and fearful.  The familiar panic of how can I possibly do right in this situation and still get my point across welled up within me, and I knew a battle was swiftly approaching.

I know some of you are chuckling right now, and rightfully so!

It’s the quandary every woman who ever lived on the face of Earth deals with: to obey the Lord and demonstrate respect for my husband or to take control and make my voice heard?

God’s way or my way?

When it comes to submitting to and respecting my husband, I so often feel like Paul in Romans chapter 7. I know what I want to do, what I should do, yet I feel powerless to actually do it.

I’ve believed so many lies for so long.  

I fail frequently.

But the Lord is faithful, and I’m learning to trust His promises to carry that work in me, in my marriage, until completion in the day of Christ (Phil. 1:6).

 

Later on after our apologies were spoken and we both felt at peace, we finally turned out the lights in hopes for at least a few hours of sleep.

And that’s when it happened.  

Have you ever felt stalked by perfectionism or trapped by failure? "Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone. He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord." Through My Grace-colored Glasses

In the stillness of the dark, my husband’s voice broke through Perfectionism’s insidious whispers, “Thank you for being so calm and patient with me tonight.”

Stunned, my disbelieving heart rejected his kind words and earlier tears returned in full force.

“But I wasn’t patient!” I agonized. “I was so angry and so disappointed and I struggled, I really struggled, not to say mean and hateful things.” The weight of my own sin and failure hung about my neck.

My husband’s reply was quiet, yet firm, “Babe, even though you were angry, you were patient with me. You didn’t bite my head off. You maintained control. You gave me space and that helped me.”

At that moment, the truth of his words broke through Perfectionism’s grasp.  No, I didn’t handle the situation as well as I would have liked; I wasn’t perfect.  Yes, there was definitely room for improvement.

Nevertheless, his words rang true. What normally would have developed into a full-fledged, hours-long fight was briefly resolved.  By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, I realized that we were definitely making progress.

That’s when I saw Perfectionism for what he was – one part self, one part Satan.  

Self was prideful, Satan was deceitful, and the combination of the two brought me chains of defeat that I no longer wish to carry.

In Perfectionism’s chains, I so often measure in black and white, success or failure, perfect or imperfect.

Praise the Lord that my Redeemer is teaching me to put on my Grace-colored glasses and see the shades of success, to celebrate even the smallest steps of progress, to proclaim every small victory because of His work in me, in us.

Stuck in the rut of perfectionism? Here's what you need to know! How an argument with my husband led to my very own pair of grace-colored glasses.

I hope I never forget that moment.  My husband spoke freeing words to me last night, and the Holy Spirit confirmed them within me.

Daughter, you are the good that you so desperately want to be, not because your efforts are so grand and your reach so high, but because you are walking a path of progress, trusting in the promise of redemption.  I never asked you to be perfect, just willing. At the same time, daughter, you are perfect, not in yourself, but in my Son because He already carried these burdens with Him and nailed them to the cross.  They died and were buried with Him.  But you daughter, you rose with Him in perfection, a new creation, beautiful to behold, born of His glory.  And now you no longer live as a slave in Romans 7, but in Romans 8 as more than a conqueror, confident in the promise that you will never be separated from His love!

2 Corinthians 5:17 proclaims, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come. (NASB)”

I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be overwhelmed by such truths, such promises, such magnificent grace.  In the midst of my sorrow and my shame, my Savior showed up and handed me a pair of Grace-colored glasses.

Perfectionism, you’re no longer welcome here.

I’m embracing my work-in-progress status

and the grace that has already set me free!

Jen :)

Is there an area of your life where you need to embrace your work-in-progress status rather than the “failure” label that the Enemy would have you believe?  Why not share it here in the comments and we can pray for one another!

Sharing with: A Look At the Book, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Tell It To Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Wedded Wednesdays, A Little R&R Wednesdays, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Fridays

Comfort Eating ~ Grace and Truth Week 8

Hello, readers! No doubt you have noticed some changes ’round here. I’m really excited to have the new and improved Being Confident of This up and running in time for this week’s Grace and Truth link-up.  Now, if I could only learn to use the new and improved features well….  Let’s just say it’s a work in progess. It’s a good thing I have excellent blogging friends to help me iron out the kinks! :)

Last week I featured two bloggers whose posts really encouraged me, but there was one more that I really wanted to share with you all as well. So, this week I want you to meet Rosilind Jukic from A Little R and R. Since I’ve been sharing about my weight loss journey lately, her post about comfort eating fits right in with that theme. I greatly appreciate her candor about such a personal subject!

I am a Comfort Eater, healthy living, healthy eating, weight loss journey, body is a temple, over-eating is a sin, being obedient in what we consume

The Father has been helping me to follow my healthy living plans more carefully the last week or two and I’m starting to see some success! Isn’t it exciting to see the fruits of your efforts?

Trusting Him to continue the good work,
Jen :)

Thanks for linking up with us last week. If you were featured, feel free to grab a featured button below!

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
| FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER |G+

Kaylene Yoder
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

The Brown Tribe
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Arabah Joy
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | G+

A Divine Encounter
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | G+ | STUMBLEUPON

Being Confident of This
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Busy Being Blessed
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Sharing Redemption’s Stories
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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How Sanctification Gives Us Hope ~ So Great a Salvation Series

It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?

The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.

In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!

We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.

We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.

So-Great-a-Salvation, preaching-the-gospel-to-yourself, gospel series, sanctification, justification, reconciliation, adoption

How to use this series:

To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.

Gospel Words:

Justification by Arabah

Sanctification by Jen

Redemption by Rebekah

Reconciliation by Kathy

Regeneration by Marci

Atonement by Leah

Adoption by Kerry

Consecration by Kimberly

Sanctification

In the Old Testament, there is little mention of the word sanctification. In fact, the NIV doesn’t use that particular word at all, while the NASB mentions of sanctification refer to only a single Hebrew word “qadash” (kaw-dash’).

Qadash mostly described objects which were “set apart” for use by God. These were not ordinary objects meant for everyday use, but special items such as those used in the tabernacle by the priests (ceremonial items, the ark of the covenant, etc.). Thus, qadash refers to the uncommon, those things or people (mainly priests) set apart strictly for the Lord.

In the New Testament, however, we see a different sort of sanctification. Two Greek words are used by both the NIV and NASB: hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo),  the verb form which means to make holy or to sanctify, and hagiasmos  (hag-ee-as-mos’), the noun form which means sanctification or holiness.  Both words also relate to hagios (hag’-ee-os), the adjective form used to describe us as Christians.

In essence, to sanctify means to make holy.  However, the New Testament version of making holy describes a process, the process by which the common (mankind) is set apart and made uncommon!

Big gospel words like sanctification can be slightly intimidating.  Read here to find out why sanctification is so important and how it gives us great hope for today!

 

Sanctification broken down into 3 P-words:

  1. Position – In Christ, we are considered sanctified before the Lord. We are already perfect, already uncommon, already complete because of Christ’s blood covering over us. When the Father looks at us, He sees not the work that still needs to be done; instead, He sees only the blood of his perfect Son. The work of positional sanctification takes place the moment we accept God’s free gift of forgiveness through His Son’s death on the cross in payment for our sins. So, for those of us who are in Christ, positional sanctification is in the past – it’s a work already accomplished.
  2. Progress – Although we are positionally perfect in Christ, realistically we know that sin keeps us from perfection. Thus, progressive sanctification refers to the process of growing in Christ-likeness. It is the present and continuing form of sanctification, that work in progress that I speak of so often here.  As we grow in Christ-likeness, His image reflected in us becomes more and more clear!
  3. Perfection – There is also a future component to sanctification. One day, when life on this earth ends for us, we will be made complete in Christ.  At that point in time, the work in progress will be finished!  Sin will mar us no more. We will bear the Father’s image perfectly, and the view God has of us on behalf of His Son will match our true character! Just imagine – no more struggling to do right, no more guilt, no more frustration with self!

How-Sanctification-Gives-Us-Hope, sanctification, set-apart, identity in Christ, preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-series, gospel words,

How sanctification applies to everyday life: 

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

While we know our position in Christ is secure, we recognize the need for continuing change, for progress.  We know we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we allow the Lord to mold us into His image.

Therefore, sanctification is a combination of our willingness to follow Christ in obedience and His powerful work in our lives to free us from sin.  According to the verses above from Romans, we offer our bodies and minds; God transforms them. The evidence of the sanctification process in us? The fruit of the Spirit. :)

This quote from J. I. Packer defines it well.

“God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14).”

The worst thing we can possibly do as Christians is to relegate our Redeemer to the work of salvation, yet bar Him from the work of sanctification.

If we trust Christ for eternity, but not for the day to day, then we limit His power! We fail to find freedom and the abundant life He has planned for us.

My friends, the power of Christ in us is real. His promise to make us into new creations is not just for some distant future when we become complete in Him, but it’s for today! Right now! Moment by moment.

Our Savior came to free us from sin, not just from the guilt of sin, but from the chains of sin itself.

This is the goal of sanctification – freeing us to become whom He meant us to be from the very beginning – His image bearers.

Perfect.

Holy.

Set-apart.

Uncommon.

So we can claim the promise of my life verse, Phil. 1:6, which perfectly sums up the 3 P-words of sanctification. (Key verse to memorize!)

“[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)

He began the work (position); He carries it on (progress); He promises completion (perfection).

I’ve been reminded of this truth often this winter. There comes a time in the Midwest when the landscape becomes a palette of brownish gray dead things.  The grass is dead. The trees are dead. And unless there is fresh snow, the roads become ugly gray muck.

At some point, it seems as if spring will never come.

But as I looked out our window the other day, I noticed a tree that was budding.  Even beneath the snow, you could see the slight redness of the buds. Although the tree looked dead, important work was taking place beneath the surface of what I first saw.

Growth.

And in several weeks, we will see the fully glory of that work when all of nature bursts forth in colorful re-birth.

Spring.

New Life.

Hope.

As I contemplated these things, the Lord reminded me of how often this scenario plays out in my own spiritual landscape.  At times, it seems my progress is stunted – there is too much “deadness” about me, too much sin.  I see only gray and become easily overwhelmed and discouraged.

But beneath the surface, He is doing important work in me. I may not see all of the fruits of sanctification yet, but they will come! And when they do, they will be glorious to behold!

So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by your own sin, stuck in a rut, doomed to failure – preach the gospel truth of sanctification to yourself.

“I am God’s work in progress. As such, I aim not for perfection but for imperfect progress (growth and transformation), only by the power of Christ in me. In the meantime, I trust His promise to carry that work to completion.”

This, my friends, this is the hope of sanctification.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Wholehearted Wednesdays, The Homemaking Party, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R and R

One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals

~One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals~

I’ll admit, I tend to resist goals. You?

My perfectionist nature resists setting a standard for fear that I might fail. It’s one of the reasons I had such a hard time finding my “one word.”

I don’t like to be wrong.

I don’t like to fall short.

But the flip side of that is never stretching myself, never reaching for something more, never giving myself a chance to succeed.

It’s not that I never have any goals for myself at all for; it’s just that I don’t often claim them, don’t voice them aloud, don’t share them with others, and don’t hold myself accountable.  I’m guilty of keeping my goals general rather than specific because that makes them easier to meet.

However, this year I recognize the need to risk a little more, step out in faith while trusting in the God who is at work in us and promises to complete that work (Phil.1:6).

If I get up with this long list of "must do's" each day, I'll be worn out and discouraged before lunch. Setting and reaching goals can be overwhelming for some. Focus on this simple way to meet your goals instead! 1Simple Way to Meet Your Goals from Being Confident of This

One of my goals for the year is to do my part in restoring my health.

I need more sleep. I need more exercise. I need to eat more balanced meals and to take in less sugar. This past month or so of illness has been eye-opening. I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

Pray for me, sisters!

Another goal for the year is to use my time more wisely through better planning.

Time management affects so many areas of my life, but to be specific, I plan to spend at least two mornings a week writing and working on this blog.

Previously, I’ve squeezed writing in here and there, but I’m finding lately that if I don’t plan time to write, it just doesn’t happen. And then I lay awake at night with all of these great ideas and phrases and sometimes whole sentences or paragraphs swirling around in my mind. Anyone else? :)

I want to obey the Lord in best using this gift of writing. I don’t want to put that on hold unless He asks that of me, and lately He seems to be asking more, not less in this area.

Women everywhere understand this pull to be involved in ALL of the good things, but often in our attempts to do so, we miss out on the best things. If I want the best for me and for my family, I have to learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and not man’s wisdom.

I make it my goal to please Christ.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Gal. 1:10

If I get up with this long list of "must do's" each day, I'll be worn out and discouraged before lunch. Focus on this simple way to meet your goals instead! One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals from Being Confident of This

A final goal is to love my husband as Christ does.

It’s been a really tough year for both of us. The trials have been nearly constant and there is always the temptation to withdraw into oneself in order to survive the refining fires. But we cannot! For the sake of our marriage and our family, we must learn to suffer together, to support one another even when we already feel the weight of our own burdens.

I see already how the Father is working that understanding into us, teaching us a better way. I know He will be faithful to complete the work in our marriage, as well.

he makes all things beautiful verse, goals in marriage, setting goals for the year

One practical way I can love my husband better is to consistently reach out to him, whether through words or actions or touch. I can hug and kiss him when he leaves for the day and when he comes home. I can look at him and ask him how his day was even if I’m busy when he comes in the door.

My goal is to intentionally seek connection with him, to encourage him, and to help him feel loved – every day.

The simple way to meet your goals

When I read all of the words above, I am easily overwhelmed!  I see all of the flaws, the areas that need work. There are so many and I…

well, I am only one.

Do you feel that same lacking, sisters?  That same inadequacy?

However, the Father reminds me that I can accomplish these goals by doing one simple thing: abide in Him.

It’s true! If I focus on abiding in Him, I will be sensitive to His leading and these other areas of life will fall into place so much easier than if I try to work towards these goals all on my own.

If I get up with this long list of “must do’s” each day, I’ll be worn out and discouraged before lunchtime.

But if I get up with the goal of abiding in Him and following His leading, I can be at peace. You can too!

That’s the simple way to meet your goals – make it your goal to please Christ.

It comes back to that work-in-progress truth, my sisters in Christ.

He promises.

And I believe Him.

Jen :)

 

More to read on goal-setting and goals:

5 Methods for Setting Goals Rooted in Faith

3 Fears to Overcome When You’re Feeling Stuck

How to Persevere in Life

Need help with goal-setting? Here’s my favorite faith-based goal planning resource: (affiliate link)

For those ready to embrace change, but uncertain where to start. This method helps you plan from a faith-based approach. Grace Goals

Sharing with: The Loft, Grace and Truth,