Godly Living

Be an Oreo, A Lesson From a 16-Year Old Girl About Overcoming Comparison

When I was younger, back in 4th grade, I used to run cross country.  Now based off of my reputation nowadays, some of you may believe that it was voluntarily and that I was happy about it. Only half of that is true. My best friend at the time was huge into running, and she was really good and loved it. She was the type of girl that everyone loved because she was athletic, fun, she worked hard, and was herself, and I wanted to be all of those things. So she persuaded me to join cross country and I thought that through doing it, I would become more like her.  In the spring, the cross country season had started and I was ok with running. Didn't love it, didn’t hate it, but what I really did start to hate was the fact that my friend would always beat me. We ran approximately 2.5 miles and she would always get ahead of me by about 15-30 seconds, so everyday during the run I would start to cry. I would cry that I wasn’t fast enough and that I wanted to be faster but my legs hurt and I felt like I was never going to win. I started to hold on to some bitterness towards her because I was jealous of her success and that began to build a wall in between us. Once, I had praised her for her success and was genuinely happy for her, but throughout the seasons of cross country in 4th, 5th and 6th grade I began to hold them against her in a way.  I wasn’t happy for her anymore, instead I would look at her almost as an enemy because she had everything I wanted and was better at it. This not only hurt me but also our relationship. 

Often, when we see other people and their success and realize we want it for ourselves, it can create an obstacle between you and that person.  It hurts the chance that you may be able to become good friends with them in the future. Comparing yourself to others also can cause you to create doubt in yourself until that comparison comes true, to where they are better at whatever it is because you have chosen to waste time focusing on why you aren’t where they are yet.  Maybe you are someone that compares yourself to others based on their appearance, or maybe if it’s not about looks, maybe you compare yourself to others because they are smarter than you or at least you may think they are.  Maybe you compare yourself to the success of your siblings, or the money so and so has.  Maybe you compare yourself to who has more happiness or joy than you.  And often you may even begin to focus so much on how to get what they have through outward things, instead of evaluating yourself and learning how you can grow yourself in the relationship you have with God and His goals for your life.  God specifically talks about this in Galatians 6:4, where He says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” So let’s tackle the first part of this verse first, and to remind you it says, “Each one should test their own actions…” now you may be thinking to yourself, what does this mean? Or maybe what the heck is she talking about? But hold on, because this will make a lot of sense as we go through it.  We need to test our own actions by examining ourselves, and doing this inside and out. Look at outside actions first and ask yourself, what am I choosing to spend my time on that is either getting me to this goal or isn’t getting me to this goal? Also, look on the inside and ask yourself, how is my attitude about this person or about their success holding me back from getting there or doing those things? Is my attitude creating a barrier between me and that person? This, then, opens us up to the rest if the verse, “Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” So by examining ourselves, it allows for us to see where we need to grow in order to acknowledge our own achievements and gratefulness because God is who made those achievements possible, and this would allow for us to do that without lusting over someone else’s success. This will not only allow for us to be happier for others, but also it will bring us inner joy that can only come through Christ because when it is just you and God working together without the obstacle of jealousy (because God has a plan for all of us that is very unique), we can soar in joy in both ourselves and others.

Oreo

In fact, when I was thinking through this, I thought of an Oreo. In an Oreo, there are the two outside sides of the cookie and the inside is the good stuff, now some of you can disagree with that but the inside of the Oreo is definitely the best part.  But instead of thinking of this cookie like the typical Netflix snack, picture this… (holding an Oreo) this side represents when we are content in ourselves and our own success, and this other side represents when we are happy for others, and when those two are together, what it contains on the inside is the sweetest, and best part of the cookie. When we celebrate others and not look at them through eyes of jealousy and hate, it starts to form an inner joy and peace in our hearts that fills the inside. Now, God also talks about this in 1 John 4:7 as He is speaking through John He says, “Dear friends, let us love another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” When we love one another, that love is not coming from our human nature because that is very much unloving, we actually are loving by the one Who is love. The love we give others is the love God first gave us and when we love others with this love, it says we begin to know God and that we have been born in God. In knowing God, we also know that God has a lot to say about us that quite sadly we forget about or we take it for granted. We, instead, think way too much about what others think of us. This feeds the issue of comparing ourselves to others because others’ opinions can shape how we act, dress, or carry ourselves which can also have a huge impact in what we choose to focus on in terms of our goals. I was like this a lot last year while I, as many of you already know, attended a public school.  I was so concerned about what others thought of me and how I could be like everyone else, or how I can “better myself” to be more acceptable or more celebrated amongst my peers. This caused me to go through a whole series of changes. I changed how I acted, I changed how I talked, how I carried myself, how I thought, I changed my values, morals, and I quite honestly reshaped my goals and completely changed my reputation. I did this all for the cause of wanting to be like everyone else to achieve the amount of friends so and so had and the list went on. I was so obsessed with achieving the happiness and fullness I thought they had that I nearly lost myself and who I was through the process. I lost sight of my goals and where I wanted to go.  I had tunnel vision.  So, now having left that public school and having the summer before coming here to find who I wanted to be and rediscover my values and goals, I have grown tremendously, and none of this could've been done apart from God. He told me all throughout this process by showing me that I was loved and that I was enough.

So instead of being so concerned about what others thinks about us, we need to change that to what does God think about us because His opinion is the only real opinion that matters. It will change our whole perspective on what we are living for, lives will be changed, and you will begin to experience the joy and freedom in all the areas of your life.  In 1 John 4:16 it says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” When we live this out and love God, it shows our genuine happiness for others’ success and achievements. But it also shines a light about who God is through us and can leave a lasting impact on that person as well.

Now, another thing that came to my mind when writing this, was the song “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. In this song, Lauren sings about trials and things we can feel about ourselves but immediately backs it up with what God says about her. She goes from, “I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough, every single lie that tells me I will never measure up…” and in the chorus she immediately goes into “You say I am loved when I cant feel a thing” and “You say I am strong when I think I am weak”.  You can see clearly how she immediately combats these negative thoughts about herself that for many of us are the reasons behind our jealousy for others.  In the same way that Lauren Daigle combats these thoughts in her song, “You Say," we need to be combatting our negative and toxic thoughts with what God says as well.  So when you feel like are desperately reaching for the success, money, looks, smarts, friends, that someone else has, immediately begin to think to yourself what God says about you.  That you are loved.  That you are strong, and that you belong.  Also, if you feel like you are the one that has to keep fighting the voices in your head that say that you aren’t enough, or that you’ll never measure up... I would tell you, because this has helped me, to count the blessings in your life. All the things that you’re grateful for.  It allows for you to feel so motivated and grateful towards what you already have and really how capable you are of achieving the goals you have always had at heart.  And if there is a person you are jealous of or lusting over them in the things they have in life, pray for them.  That can be so hard to do, but when you begin to make it a habit, it will get easier and easier. I also bet you will find yourself happier for that person and maybe even find yourself in a better connection with the Lord who always gives you joy and can help give you humility, love, and perseverance.  When we grow close to God, it creates in us a feeling of fulfillment and wholeness.  It creates this feeling in our achievements and in our day to day lives, so that we can be genuinely happy for others’ achievements and success, allowing for us to get closer to people and finally, allow for us to receive that joy and fulfillment God always meant for us to have.

Written by Katelyn Shaver 




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Are You a Joy-Robber or a Joy-Giver?

As I hung up the phone after listening to a litany of complaints from a friend who’s a self-described ‘stress-mess’, I was aware that the lengthy conversation that solely focused upon her ‘trials and tribulations’ had a draining effect upon me. My heart certainly went out to her as she’s gone through several challenging ‘life issues’ in a short period of time, and I definitely understood why she felt so down and discouraged. As she shared, I imagined her as a person who’d been swept up by the ocean’s undertow who comes up for air, thinks they can finally breathe and get solid footing again, but instead gets taken under by the next crashing wave. Maybe you’re feeling that way too. Are you someone who has become weighed down by the trials and tribulations in your life and feel that you have lost your joy? Or, do you know of such a person?

 I don’t know anyone in the world who would ask to be put through really tough situations or experience a lot of suffering, do you? And most people are far more adept at finding things to complain about—even when things are going well overall in their lives-- than they are at finding things for which to be thankful. So it is truly a rarity to find a person who is full of joy in the midst of suffering. 

 This past weekend I was blessed to attend a ‘celebration of life’ service for a precious 48 year-old woman who lived her life fully for the purpose for which she was put on this earth—the glory and praise of her Savior and Lord Jesus! She battled ovarian cancer for over 3 ½ years, experiencing excruciating pain during the last several months of her life as her entire body was riddled with cancer. Despite her pain, she always wore a huge smile that radiated her love for the Lord and for others. She didn’t waste her time complaining about her health, on shaking her fist at God for ‘cutting her life short’, on grumbling ‘Why me, Lord?’ or on succumbing to despair and depression. She knew her life ‘was not her own’ and her purpose was to glorify God with her whole life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), so she entrusted it completely into the almighty and always loving care of her Heavenly Father. Her focus was upon glorifying God and serving others even in the midst of her pain and suffering. All of those who knew her well testified that she exhibited joy throughout her life, joy which could not be extinguished by her diagnosis, or her pain and suffering. 

 Her life testified to the truth of the statement made famous by John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. She was fully satisfied with God, even when her life didn’t go as she would have chosen, and her satisfaction and joy in Him led others to experience joy in her presence, and caused them to draw near to and glory in the God whom she loved. Her joy in the Lord also brought comfort and peace to her husband of 25 years, her beloved mother-- who is a dear friend of mine-- and to her three brothers and countless nieces and nephews, her church family, and her countless friends. Her joy and praising of God in the midst of her suffering not only gave her strength to carry on till the end of her life on earth, but it also was uplifting and life-giving to all those who knew her! 

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 God longs for us to praise Him-- not because He is an egotist, but because He knows that when we fix our eyes and thoughts upon Him we will be ‘lifted above our circumstances’ and realize that there is nothing too big for God! He inhabits the praises of His people; when we praise God we are taken into His Presence, where there is indeed fullness of joy! (Psalm 22:3; Psalm 16:11) We need that joy at all times, but especially when we are going through tough times! We must press through and overcome our natural tendency to focus upon ourselves and our circumstances and lift up praises to God—even, and especially-- when we don’t ‘feel like it’. When we praise Him and enter into His presence, we will find that the joy of the Lord will be our strength that will enable us to endure amidst the trials and tribulations we face. (Nehemiah 8:10)

 You might say, “But Julie, you don’t understand what I’m going through!” Perhaps your marriage is rife with conflict. Or you have a prodigal child. Or you have financial difficulties that you can’t see how to solve. Perhaps you’re in poor health, or even have a terminal diagnosis. Maybe you’re feeling like the world’s falling apart all around you and there’s nothing you can find for which to be thankful and to praise God.

 I’m sure I don’t understand all that you’re going through, nor do I need to. But I can assure you that God understands your situation completely, He’s there by your side, and He’s bigger than whatever is overwhelming to you. He longs for you to BELIEVE that truth so you will go to Him, so that you will praise Him, and so that you will find joy in His Presence…the joy that will be your strength to carry you through your circumstances, and the joy that will be contagious and cause others to look to God, the Source of your joy! 

 There is so much wisdom in the expression, “What you focus upon expands.” If your focus is upon how horrible your circumstances are, that thought will begin to consume you and ‘take you under’, like the undertow in the ocean. Being consumed with thoughts of yourself and your circumstances means you can’t simultaneously be focused upon God or upon serving and ministering to others. The reality is that if you are self-absorbed you won’t have joy yourself, and will be a ‘joy-robber’ instead of a ‘joy- giver’. Newsflash: no one enjoys being around someone whose sole focus is on him or her self, particularly if they spend a lot of time complaining and grumbling about their life! People love to be around people who are full of joy, not full of woe! For our good and God’s glory we are commanded to love God and to love others, which means being God and other focused rather than self-focused, (Matthew 22:36-40) We are also commanded to continually praise God, for our sakes as well as for His glory-- and there is always something for which to be grateful! (Psalm 34:1; 104:33; 113:3; Philippians 4:4)  I am so inspired as well as convicted by the story of Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie who praised God for the fleas in the beds in the German concentration camp where the sisters were taken, because the fleas kept the guards away and allowed them to share the gospel with other prisoners. That is definitely keeping a ‘God and other focus’ instead of succumbing to self-focus, and a clear demonstration of rejoicing in the midst of ‘trials and tribulations’!  How could she have such joy in the midst of such suffering? Because she firmly believed and stated: "There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still." (from the book The Hiding Place)

 Would those who know you best say that your focus is more on yourself and upon your circumstances, or upon praising God and serving others? Are you a joy-robber, or a joy-giver? How joyful are you when your focus is on yourself and on your circumstances?  Contrast that to the joy you have when you are keeping your eyes fixed upon God and praising Him and serving other people. 

 What are some things for which you can praise God, no matter what your circumstances are? 

 Praise Him for Who He is: consider His attributes…like Almighty, Beautiful beyond description, Creator, Deliverer, Everlasting, Faithful, Etc. Something I love to do and encourage you to do is to praise God for an attribute of His for every letter in the alphabet.

 Praise God that you are not alone: that He is your constant companion, with you at all times and He will never leave or forsake you. And nothing is impossible for Him!

 Praise Him for His gifts to you: Think of all that you do have because He is the ‘giver of every good and perfect gift’! (James 1:17) ! Thank Him for things like the air you breathe, your ability to see, smell, touch, hear and walk; for a roof over your head; a warm place when it’s cold or a cool place when it’s hot; running water; a bed with a mattress; food to eat; freedom to worship; medical care; your family and friends; etc. Try to come up with 5 different things every day for which to thank and praise God and you will become more aware of the myriad of blessings all around you…which will ‘keep your head above water’ and you won’t feel so overwhelmed when the waves come crashing on you…you will even be able to praise Him for the waves, and the strength He gives you to surf upon them rather than to be crushed by them! 

 Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixed upon You, and not to fix them upon my circumstances and myself. Help me to see all around me the blessings that I daily take for granted; train my eyes and heart so that I see something new each and every day for which I can praise You! And when I even begin to grumble about my circumstances, immediately turn my eyes back onto You, the giver of every good and perfect gift and remind me that You know, are bigger than, and are able to meet my every need! Thank You for the trials and tribulation in my life which I know You can use to conform me into Your image if I will keep my focus upon You and praise You regardless of my situation. May I be found faithful to rejoice at all times, and especially in the midst of suffering, so that others will see that You are the Source of my strength and be drawn to You, the One Who is worthy of all honor, praise and glory!

Written by Julie 


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A Challenge This Week to Overcome Insecurity!

Do you sometimes feel insecure?  

Have you ever found yourself comparing yourself with others? Or ‘keeping score’ in your mind about what others have done or accomplished?

Do you feel like a victim sometimes?  Or feel that you are owed compensation for your losses?

Are you self-consumed and trying to outdo others for attention?  Or judge others and find yourself in self-pity or full of conceit?

Lastly, do you ever determine that you must take charge, protect your interests and manipulate the situation to get your way?  

Insecure people will often experience one of the above situations on a regular basis.  Insecurities come when we make ourselves an idol instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  When we are thinking about promises Jesus makes (the Word), the lessons His Spirit wants to teach us (the truth), or the person of Jesus (the way), we do not compare…because we recognize that we have been bought with a price.  That we are not our own, that God takes care of our interests, that He is in control and that even when you are not able…God still is!  There is always hope when we take control of our thoughts and align them with Jesus’.   

So what do you do if you want to reduce personal insecurities?  

There are several things you can do and I’m going to focus on one of them today.  

  1. Build your identity in Christ, not your performance.  Your performance does not define who you are, God does.

  2. Allow God to work in your heart and ask Him to reveal where you are too self-sufficient or self-promoting.  Ask Him to help you be more God-sufficient and Jesus-promoting.

  3. Discover & practice your God-given purpose in life, not someone else’s (stop trying to act, talk, present, or do anything the way someone else does it…do it the way you were created to do it!)

  4. Learn to give and receive affirmation.  


Giving compliments is a gift

When people are insecure, they have a hard time accepting affirmation even if they are good at giving it.  If I say, “I love your shirt, it’s really cute.” I will get a response that removes the value of the shirt or compliment that sounds like this, “Oh not really, I’ve had it forever…I got it on clearance…” as if to tell me, “it’s really not that cute, I’m not worthy and neither is this shirt of your compliment.”  If I were to tell you that a compliment from another person is like a gift that they bought and wrapped to give you on your birthday, would you still totally reject it?  When your insecurities keep you from accepting compliments, praise or affirmation at face value then you are rejecting a gift that another person wants to give you.  

In working with people over the years I have learned that often insecure people are insecure because they judge others harshly and therefore feel as though the internal thoughts of others are equally as harsh toward them.  To overcome this I want you to practice giving genuine compliments to others wherever you go.  Find something truthful, that is positive to say to brighten someone else’s day.  Your challenge this week is to genuinely compliment someone each day.  God tells us that it is a greater blessing to give than to receive.  The second part of this challenge is if someone compliments you, that you simply say, “Thank you so much,” with a big smile and receive the kindness.  

God loves you so much that He holds nothing back!  He was even willing to give His very own Son!  “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  

Thank God for all that He has done for you, and receive His love and then share it with others.  You can have security when you live your life from the outpouring of His love for you and for others.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you have been given the mind of Christ~

Love ya,

Jamie

Romans 8:32
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The Life-Changing Difference that Asking Makes

I am the mother of four adult children—plus three wonderful daughter-in-laws, all of whom I love dearly. I’m very grateful to God for the relationship I have with each of them, and I try not to be an interfering, overbearing mother or mother-in-law—although they might tell you that my ‘trying’ needs some improvement! I admit there are occasions when I’ve had to ‘bite my tongue’ so I don’t overstep my bounds and give unsolicited advice. I readily admit that because I love them, want to help them, and have ‘been where they’ve been before’, there are things I’d love to share with them that I think could be helpful to them…in their marriages, as they parent, and for their life in general. But I haven’t shared a lot of that advice. Why? Simply because they haven’t asked me for it! 

 I’ve also thought back and can now realize how much heartbreak I could’ve avoided in my own life if only I’d asked my parents for their advice…on things like boyfriends, peer pressure, marital problems, parenting, and financial decisions. I also have thought of times when I might have avoided pain if I’d only asked a godly friend for her counsel before proceeding to do things I chose to do, and later regretted. What about you? Can you think of times when you might have avoided poor or painful choices if only you’d asked someone for advice?

 What is it that kept me from asking my parents or others for advice, or causes you to not ask for others’ counsel? When it gets right down to it, like most things, doesn’t it come down to the big ugly thing in all of our lives… that thing called ‘Pride? I thought that I knew what was best for my life and didn’t think I had a need to confer with anyone else. Or, when I did seek advice, I think I often sought it from people I knew would agree with what I’d already decided I was going to do; I usually wasn’t looking for advice as much as for affirmation. There were also times when I operated in ignorance. I didn’t even realize that there was another way of doing things so I didn’t even think to ask anyone for their advice. I just presumed that I should do what I thought was best without ever seeking counsel from my parents, my pastor, godly friends, and most regrettably, God.

 I’m not the only one who didn’t ask for advice and suffered the consequences of not doing so. Courageous, God-fearing Joshua had been told by God not to make a treaty with any of the people in the Promised Land, lest they be a snare to the people of Israel and turn them away from God. Yet, he made a binding treaty with the Gibeonites who were natives of the land because they pretended to be foreigners who had come from a long distance. Joshua disobeyed God’s strict instruction because he failed to inquire of God before making the treaty with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:14). He and the leaders did what was right ‘in their own eyes’ and presumed upon their own understanding rather than asking God for His wisdom, guidance, and counsel that would have kept them from sinning against Him. 

 In contrast, it is frequently recorded in scripture that David, who had a ‘heart after God’ (Acts 13:22) often asked God for His counsel before taking action. For instance, David asked God whether he and his men should attack the Philistines who were fighting against the people of the town of Keilah. In response, God told David that He would give the Philistines into his hands; and it was because David asked and obeyed God that he defeated the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah. David could easily have presumed that since God gave him that victory—a victory that resulted in the people of Keilah being saved--that the people of Keilah would in turn save him from King Saul who sought to take his life. Yet, rather than act on his presumption, David once again inquired of the Lord. The Lord told him that the people of Keilah would indeed turn him and his men over to Saul, so David and his men fled Keilah and escaped to the desert. David’s asking of the Lord saved not only his own life, but also the lives of the approximately 600 men with him (1 Samuel 23). How important is it that we ask for God’s counsel? It literally can be life saving! 

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 How about you? What pain have you unintentionally brought on yourself or others because you failed to inquire of the Lord before taking action? Perhaps you have had a failed or miserable marriage because you married the person of your choosing without inquiring of the Lord. Or, maybe you’ve had financial problems because you made purchases without asking God if He wanted that money (which is really His money since everything we have belongs to God) to be spent on those purchases.  Or, perhaps you have a wayward child and you’ve experienced great pain and wish that you had sought God’s counsel on raising and responding to him or her. Whatever the situation, it’s important to realize that it’s never too late to seek God’s counsel! He is an ever-present help for you and for me and He longs to give us His wise counsel! God is more than able to make beauty from the ashes we have made! (Isaiah 61:3)

 Can you also think of a time when you sought and obeyed God’s counsel and He spared you--or others- from pain because you asked and obeyed Him?

 As much as I would love my children and their spouses to come to me and ask for my advice so that I might help them avoid making mistakes they might regret, my FAR greater desire is that they daily go to their Heavenly Father and inquire of Him, ‘What is it, Lord, that You would have me to do?” I hope and pray that they ask the Lord for His counsel—and obey His leading-- on such decisions as: “Should I marry this person?” or “Should we buy this house?” or “Should I take this job or volunteer assignment?” or “Should I go into business with this person?” or “Should I invest Your money in making this home improvement, or on buying this car?” as well as on things such as, “Whom should I contact today to encourage them?” or “What would You like me to do this weekend?” and especially to ask Him, “What would You like me to do with the gifts, talents and abilities that You’ve entrusted to me?”

 God is the wisest Person in the Universe. As His children, we have the amazing privilege of being able to come before Him each and every day and ask Him what we should do regarding the ‘small’ as well as ‘big’ decisions in our life. Wouldn’t we be foolish not to take advantage of the incredible opportunity we have to ask the Greatest Counselor in the World for His perfect, all-knowing counsel? Especially when He is the One Who knows us best and loves us the most?

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5- ESV

 The more we read God’s Word, the wiser we become, and the wiser we become, the more we realize that we desperately need God’s wisdom in every area of our life if we desire to be protected from harm and live a God-pleasing, regret-free, joy-filled, abundant life. 

 There is a cost to obtain that wisdom. It requires us humbling ourselves, exercising self-control so we don’t just act upon our own understanding-- as Joshua and the Israel leaders did when they made the treaty-- and taking the time to ask God, to really listen to Him, and then to obey the counsel the Holy Spirit gives to us. 

If we inquire of God and obey His wise counsel we will be able to eliminate regret in our lives and the worry that often comes from wondering if we made the right decision, because God’s counsel is always right, and He always has our best interest in mind!

 Lord, forgive me for the many times when I have acted as if my life is my own and not Yours, and I have done what I have thought was best without inquiring of You. I believe that You always and only want what is best for me, and You alone know what the ‘best’ is! Help me to always look to You and ask, “What would You have me do?” Give me ears to hear Your voice, and a heart willing to obey whatever it is that You tell me! Thank You, Lord, for always being available to me and for loving me! Amen.

 Written by Julie

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Past Experience Creating Fear Today and How To Overcome it!

It was in March 2013 that I was diagnosed, treated and miraculously healed from flesh eating bacteria in my left arm, and many of you reading this were a wonderful part of that story through your prayers.    That was a very traumatic time in my life and I thought I was going to die.  I have often found that times when I experience fear can be related to painful things I have had to endure in the past.  Is the same true for you?  For instance, when I feel an ‘odd’ pain in my body I often will think, “What’s that pain?  Is it ‘flesh eating bacteria again?” 

And if I don’t catch my thoughts, then the next thoughts will roll in like a storm cloud of worry, “That would be terrible if I got it again! And what if it was in my chest cavity this time?  Doctors said I could get it again, and nobody knows how I got it the first time.  How would I know?  Doctors said I was in such excruciating pain early on in the infection last time because it was in my arm where there was not a lot of space; imagine if it were in my chest? I’d surely not have the same outcome as last time. What if they wouldn’t catch it this time?”   

When I have entertained those thoughts for too long, instead of taking them captive like scripture tells us to do, then I find myself in a gown at the doctor’s office!  I can admit to you that I have gone to the doctor’s office twice in the last six years because I wanted them to assure me that I didn’t have ‘flesh eating bacteria’ again.  Upon arrival and after I share with the nurse and the doctor why I am there, all I can say is, “It’s a good thing I don’t have much fear about what other people think because they all looked at me like I was a crazy person!”  

doctors office



While in a hospital a couple years ago, I felt myself begin to have terrible anxiety and I began to cry just seeing the equipment and smelling the distinct ‘you’re in a hospital’ smell.  The familiar sounds of machines and the carts full of medical supplies triggered something in my mind that caught me off guard.  At first it seemed totally out of my control, I was just cyring, but then I practiced CPR and ‘True Viewed’ the situaton (tried to see it from God’s perspective based on His Word) and this is what I realized:

Confessed: I’m scared right now because this place reminds me of the trauma you let me go through God. 

In your situation you could say: I’m scared, I don’t understand why you allowed or are allowing _____________ (fill in the blank).

I Professed truth- Your ways are higher than my ways. You are love, God. God, you have an eternal perspective…You alone know what eternal rewards are waiting, and You alone are perfect in all of Your ways.  

I had to Reset my thinking- What we focus on does get bigger.  I had to set some goals to reset my mind “on things above”, not on earthly things.

I realized in resetting my mind that I was believing a couple of lies:

1)  I was believing the lie that God is not trustworthy because I experienced something difficult in the past that I would not have chosen for myself.

2) I also believed the lie that I am more just than God; I would not allow these difficulties into my life or the lives of most others if I were Him.  This is making myself the idol or the ‘god of my own life.’  I want to believe for myself along with my awesome family, friends & neighbors that we all do not deserve ‘bad things’ to happen. Only terrorists and ‘bad people’ (which I will define based on my understanding) deserve ‘bad and challenging things’ to happen to them.  

I often need the reminder that God’s Word tells us that because of our sin we all deserve death, hell and damnation.  Hmmm.  I don’t like that truth, skip.   No, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it is not true.  I need a reminder sometimes of what is true.  What is true is that while we were yet sinners and deserving of death, hell and an eternity separate from God, that He died for us, so that whoever believes in Him would never die but would have eternal life.  That He will never leave us or forsake us, that He has taken on human form to be with us, that He is a living God who sees, hears and fights for us.  That He sees and knows the end from the beginning, that there is a plan and purpose for our lives, and that He can be trusted.  The same God who formed the stars, set them in place and calls them all by name, and holds the world together is the same God that is holding my hand and yours.  Trust Him.  Faith your Fear!  

Written by Jamie Shaver

For more reading on this topic of who God is compared to who we are I encourage you to read below Job 38-40:5 ESV.  After an onslaught of horrific loss and devastation to a degree to which I cannot even comprehend in Job’s life (a righteous man) he questions God.  God responds by reminding Job of Who He is, that His ways are in fact higher than our ability to comprehend or understand.  In the end, which I’ve made bold for you below, Job agrees that he will proceed no further to question God.   

The Book of Job



Chapter 38

The LORD Answers Job

1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

3Dress for actiona like a man;

I will question you, and you make it known to me.

4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Tell me, if you have understanding.

5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

Or who stretched the line upon it?

6On what were its bases sunk,

or who laid its cornerstone,

7when the morning stars sang together

and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8“Or who shut in the sea with doors

when it burst out from the womb,

9when I made clouds its garment

and thick darkness its swaddling band,

10and prescribed limits for it

and set bars and doors,

11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,

and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

12“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,

and caused the dawn to know its place,

13that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,

and the wicked be shaken out of it?

14It is changed like clay under the seal,

and its features stand out like a garment.

15From the wicked their light is withheld,

and their uplifted arm is broken.

16“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,

or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17Have the gates of death been revealed to you,

or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?

18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?

Declare, if you know all this.

19“Where is the way to the dwelling of light,

and where is the place of darkness,

20that you may take it to its territory

and that you may discern the paths to its home?

21You know, for you were born then,

and the number of your days is great!

22“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,

or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,

23which I have reserved for the time of trouble,

for the day of battle and war?

24What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,

or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

25“Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain

and a way for the thunderbolt,

26to bring rain on a land where no man is,

on the desert in which there is no man,

27to satisfy the waste and desolate land,

and to make the ground sprout with grass?

28“Has the rain a father,

or who has begotten the drops of dew?

29From whose womb did the ice come forth,

and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?

30The waters become hard like stone,

and the face of the deep is frozen.

31“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades

or loose the cords of Orion?

32Can you lead forth the Mazzarothb in their season,

or can you guide the Bear with its children?

33Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?

Can you establish their rule on the earth?

34“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,

that a flood of waters may cover you?

35Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go

and say to you, ‘Here we are’?

36Who has put wisdom in the inward partsc

or given understanding to the mind?d

37Who can number the clouds by wisdom?

Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,

38when the dust runs into a mass

and the clods stick fast together?

39“Can you hunt the prey for the lion,

or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,

40when they crouch in their dens

or lie in wait in their thicket?

41Who provides for the raven its prey,

when its young ones cry to God for help,

and wander about for lack of food?

Chapter 39

1“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?

Do you observe the calving of the does?

2Can you number the months that they fulfill,

and do you know the time when they give birth,

3when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,

and are delivered of their young?

4Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open;

they go out and do not return to them.

5“Who has let the wild donkey go free?

Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,

6to whom I have given the arid plain for his home

and the salt land for his dwelling place?

7He scorns the tumult of the city;

he hears not the shouts of the driver.

8He ranges the mountains as his pasture,

and he searches after every green thing.

9“Is the wild ox willing to serve you?

Will he spend the night at your manger?

10Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes,

or will he harrow the valleys after you?

11Will you depend on him because his strength is great,

and will you leave to him your labor?

12Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain

and gather it to your threshing floor?

13“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,

but are they the pinions and plumage of love?a

14For she leaves her eggs to the earth

and lets them be warmed on the ground,

15forgetting that a foot may crush them

and that the wild beast may trample them.

16She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;

though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,

17because God has made her forget wisdom

and given her no share in understanding.

18When she rouses herself to flee,b

she laughs at the horse and his rider.

19“Do you give the horse his might?

Do you clothe his neck with a mane?

20Do you make him leap like the locust?

His majestic snorting is terrifying.

21He pawsc in the valley and exults in his strength;

he goes out to meet the weapons.

22He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;

he does not turn back from the sword.

23Upon him rattle the quiver,

the flashing spear, and the javelin.

24With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;

he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.

25When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’

He smells the battle from afar,

the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

26“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars

and spreads his wings toward the south?

27Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up

and makes his nest on high?

28On the rock he dwells and makes his home,

on the rocky crag and stronghold.

29From there he spies out the prey;

his eyes behold it from far away.

30His young ones suck up blood,

and where the slain are, there is he.”




Chapter 40

1And the LORD said to Job:

2“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?

He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

3Then Job answered the LORD and said:

4“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?

I lay my hand on my mouth.

5I have spoken once, and I will not answer;

twice, but I will proceed no further.”







Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Can I Really Trust God...with My Children?!

This week I was on the phone visiting with someone I love dearly who’s battled cancer for the past 4 years and will be undergoing surgery next week to remove several tumors. We were discussing some of her concerns regarding the surgery and what would happen if something went wrong during the surgery or if it isn’t ultimately successful. My friend said to me,  “I do trust God. My issue is just with my kids.” She has two unmarried children in their 20’s; understandably, she desires to live to see them get married and have children of their own. She also would like to be around so she can make sure that their lives will turn out all right. 

 I’ve known her for years and we always speak frankly to one another, so I said, “The kids really aren’t the issue. The root of your concern is: “Can you really trust God?”  

 Whenever we say, “I trust God, but…” we reveal that we really do not trust God. Not totally. Not in the way that He’s called us to trust Him. And not in the way that will enable us to experience total peace—regardless of the circumstances that we face. The ‘but’ shows that we believe one or more lies that stand in the way of our seeing God for Who He is—totally, completely, at all times and in all situations, trustworthy

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 Our children are a priceless, precious gift from the Lord! However, they also can be ‘idols’ in our lives and the greatest stumbling block to our fully  putting our trust in God and His Word. Anything we love more than God is an idol in our lives, and we’ve been commanded to love and put our trust in Him above anyone or anything else, including the love we have for our children. We must dispel lies about our children and our relationship to them, and embrace the truth, if we’re going to ‘let them go’ and be able to experience the freedom and peace God longs for us to have. It is only in knowing and believing the truth that you will be set free from your fear, worry and anxiety regarding your children! (John 8:32)

  •  Lie 1: That our children are ‘ours’. Truth: Our children are first and foremost God’s-- Who created them for His ‘pleasure and glory’ (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 139:13; Isaiah 43:1,7; Colossians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).  God has entrusted us with raising our children so that they will come to know, honor, love, and obey Him—which is for their ultimate good--and so that He will delight in them and be glorified through them. Yes, God wants us to take delight in our children too, but it is important that we remember that ‘our children’ are really ‘His children’.

  •  Lie 2: That we know what is best for our children. Truth: God is the wisest Person in the world and He always knows what is best, including everything that pertains to our children. His knowledge and His ways are infinitely higher than ours. (Job 12:13; Romans 11:33; Isaiah 55:8-9) He is also Love, and everything that He does is based upon His love for His creation. So not only does He know what is best, unlike us, God never has a selfish agenda. He always and only wants what is truly in the very best interest for ‘His’ and ‘our’ children. We can trust God Who knows all, and Who knows them best and loves them most! This syllogism always brings me joy: God is Love (1 John 4:8), and Love never fails. (1st Corinthians 13: 8) God= Love; Love never fails…therefore, God CANNOT fail. He can’t fail you, and He can’t fail your children! 

  •  Lie 3: That we can control our children’s lives and that we can keep them safe from all harm. Truth: God is Sovereign over all things, and He alone is all- powerful and able to keep us as well as our children safe from evil (Psalm 41:12; 91; 121:7; Proverbs 12:21; 18:10). Like me, you’ve probably heard countless stories of God’s divine intervention in situations-- like the person who miraculously survives a tragic car accident, escapes a home fire, or misses getting onboard an airplane that crashes. It’s easy to believe that God is Sovereign in those situations, as well as in the ordinary day-to-day issues of our lives.

    But what about when ‘bad things’ happen to people and/or their children? Have you wondered, where was God then? Have you questioned whether you can trust your children to a God Who allows ‘bad things’ to happen? I can assure you that He’s also Sovereign in those situations, situations you and I likely wouldn’t have chosen or allowed! Have you ever noticed that some of the ‘bad things’ in your own life were the very means God used to draw you—or someone else-- closer to Him? God is able to work all things together for good and for His glory for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28)! He longs for you to believe in your heart—not just in your head— that even what you consider to be ‘harmful’ , He is more than able to use for good! Consider Jesus. He learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). And it was His very suffering and death that made possible abundant and eternal life for all Who put their trust in Him! God is able to make beauty from ashes! Even that which we most dread; our death, and especially the death of our child! A very close childhood friend of mine had her life ‘cut short’ in the opinion of many when she died of cancer. However, her prayers that her father would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus were answered through her ‘untimely death’. There is nothing that God cannot use for His divine purposes, and He always has an eternal perspective, something we all too often lose sight of. When we keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus and upon eternity, we will be able to trust God to use even death for good and the glory of His Name! (2 Corinthians 4:18; Colossians 3:1; Romans 6:5) You can rest assured that you and your child will not live one day more or less than has been foreordained for him or her (Job 14:5;Psalm 139:16).

    You can’t control many things that you might like to regarding your children. However, there is something that is essential that you do if you want to protect your children from ultimate harm and evil and help ensure that they live a truly abundant life: Choose to love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and model that kind of love for and trust in God before your children. Obey Him even when it’s tempting not to do so, teach your children that God gave us His commands to protect us and to ensure freedom from the bondage of sin, and instill in them a love for His Word and the assurance they can trust His every promise! Walk in humility and reality by letting them know that you may fail them, you cannot always protect them, and as much as you love them, that Jesus is the only One Who ‘will never leave or forsake them’, is always and only ‘Faithful and True’, and loves them with an unfailing, everlasting love! (Deuteronomy 31:6; Revelation 19:11; Psalm 107:8;Psalm 103:17)

Knowing-- and most of all believing--the truth about God and His Sovereign and Loving character—will lead you to the revelation that You can trust God with what matters most to you—whether it is the children that He’s entrusted to you, or anything else. Believing that truth with your heart, soul, and mind is the key to your experiencing the peace, joy, and true freedom God longs for you to have, regardless of the circumstances in your life.  That is your inheritance as the dearly beloved child of your all powerful, always loving, all wise, Heavenly Father, and the legacy He longs for you to pass on to the children He’s entrusted you to raise for His glory! May you find your rest and joy in fully trusting Him Who alone is fully trustworthy!

 Assignment: Write down on a list everything in your child’s life that causes you to be fearful, worried or anxious. Then scratch out everything you can’t control. Set goals around the things that you can control/manage. (Jamie and I will be happy to help you learn how to set measurable, achievable goals for those things you can control/manage—such as the time your children go to bed or come home from curfew, having a Bible study time with your kids, their screen time, etc. If you are interested, reach out to us at https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact.)

 Lord, help me to let go of the fallacy that I love my children more than You do; that I know what is better for them than You do; that I can control their lives or provide for them better than You can. Increase my faith in Your Wisdom, Goodness and Your Power so that I might truly ‘let go’ of my children—or of whatever else might be standing in the way of my fully trusting in You. I love You, Lord, and I long to please You by surrendering my will and desires completely to Your perfect will; may my will be consumed by Yours! I profess that I CAN and WILL trust the Man Who died for me with my greatest treasure…my life, and the lives of my children and other loved ones!  

Written by Julie

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4 Lies You May Believe if You Have Fear of a Bad Health Diagnosis

It was a Saturday morning when my husband called on his way home from our chiropractor, and his tone of voice was serious.  “I have to come clean with you about something,” he said.   Oh great!  What bomb is he about to drop?! I thought as my heart rate began to rev up.  My husband is ‘Mr. Happy Go Lucky’ type of personality, when things are bad he makes jokes, what could this be?  That’s when he begins to explain that for the last 6-8 months he has had excruciating pain in his stomach that was radiating to his back and he thought he had stomach cancer and didn’t say anything because he did not want to worry me.  He then proceeds to tell me that he even looked it up online and figured based on that information that he had about a month left to live!  

“So for the last 6-8 months you thought you were dying of stomach cancer?” I asked as if I did not hear him correctly the first time.  “And you never thought about going to a Dr.?”  

“Yeah, I didn’t want to get that kind of news,” he responded solemnly.

“Ok, but instead you have been worried about it non-stop for months?  You know stress, worry and anxiety actually MAKE people sick!  Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked trying to be sympathetic although my feelings were hurt that he hadn’t shared this with me sooner.

“I just thought if I could ignore it long enough it would go away, I kept telling myself that I didn’t have stomach cancer and that’s why I’m calling.  The chiropractor mentioned that I’ve been in to see him more than ever before and was shocked to see me again this morning.  I finally broke down and told him about my stomach problems and the way it’s radiating pain to my back and that’s when I got the news…after asking more questions he told me all my symptoms were ‘textbook’ gall bladder problems, so I’m calling with good news…I’m not going to die!  I don’t have stomach cancer!”  He’s laughing now and I could literally hear the smile on his face.  (In case you’re wondering, I was not laughing.)

What makes faith-filled people so afraid of going to the Dr. and receiving a diagnosis?  We know we have heaven, we know who God is, we know God can bring healing, so why the fear?

All of our fears have lies at the root of them.  Lies about who God is, what He promises and life in general.  So what lies were at the root of his fear?  


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Here’s several I came up with:

LIE 1)- That telling me would cause me to worry.  No, it would cause me to pray!

LIE 2)- That hearing bad news, like “you have stomach cancer” would mean he was definitely going to die.  No, God could choose to heal.

LIE 3)- That ignoring the situation would make it ‘go away.’  No, ignoring situations usually makes things worse.  We are to face situations boldly, especially situations where we feel our life is being threatened because we have a God that fights for us.  He will never leave us or forsake us.

LIE 4) If you did die from cancer, that dying is bad.  I understand that we don’t need to be excited about dying, however, God has told us in His Word that ‘to die is gain.’  We also know that we never really die, we just get a new body and reside in a new location.  

Is there something going on in your life that you need to ‘come clean on?’  I challenge you to write a list of some of the fears you have that are causing you to live in secret pain.  After you write the list of fears you have, write the lies that you’re believing about who God is and what His Word says. Perfect love casts out all fear.  Do you really know how much God loves you?  

Written by Jamie Shaver

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