While I was thinking, praying and looking through scripture on how to begin this article, I began to catch myself comparing my writing and thoughts to others before myself. Comparison can be a dangerous rabbit trail that can be hard to get off of. It sometimes becomes our everyday thought process where we go through each part of our day comparing ourselves to others. Comparing two different people is like comparing apples to oranges because God created each human being in a unique way with certain personality traits, characteristics and behaviors.
One that always gets me is “Ugh why do I have to wake up so early?” “Can’t I sleep in like my husband?” That silly thought of that comparison goes through my mind every morning as my alarm goes off. It becomes hard to be content with our schedules, routines, lifestyles, and everything that goes on around us. Comparing houses, jobs, people, children, material things or even faith can be a tough thing to break free of.
Looking back on our lives, we have so much to be thankful for, even when we lack the things of the world. God has proved his faithfulness over and over by providing for our needs and He desires for us to be content with what we have been given. That is the big word that gets me everytime. Contentment. Today’s world tells us that you can never be content with the material things you may have and to always want the newest product.
As I am writing this, my thoughts turn to everything that I have been discontent with, especially in my adult life. I still find myself displeased with certain aspects of my life such as my job and house but always have to remind myself, what really matters? Does it matter that I please friends or that I am pleasing God with my thankfulness to what He has given me?
Galatians 1:10 says “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If we were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Every time I compare myself with others, I remind myself of that verse and ask myself, am I wanting to please God or others around me in this world? That is a difficult thing to grasp and to change.
Today, I am here to encourage you with something I feel God has put on my heart recently: The gifts that God gives are endurance, peace, perseverance, strength, salvation, love for others, faith and much more outweigh the material objects in this world. What God gives you far outweighs what the earth can give you and God’s gifts last an eternity. His gifts are like precious jewels that can never be repaid nor replaced and I am so thankful for what He has given my family and I. He is ENOUGH for you, for me, and for all of us. His love and grace and forgiveness is nothing that can be compared with. We are so blessed to be a part of his kingdom and we get to share those gifts with others!
Now as we move forward together in this, God calls us to be thankful for what He has provided us with, not what we lack. Instead of comparing ourselves with others, we can have this attitude of acknowledgement and thankfulness that God has placed a gift within us that is far greater than any material or earthly object.
Daily, I remind myself to THANK God for His goodness, His faithfulness and provision in my life and others around me. He is more than enough for us and everything we have is from Him, so it makes sense for us to use it wisely and be appreciative of everything that we have. Honor comes to mind as I am writing. Honor the One who paid the price for OUR sins. Honor the One who gives us all that we need. Honor God by thanking Him and giving to others in generosity, because He is enough.
This is my prayer today:
Thank you for your faithfulness in our lives. Thank you for giving us all we need, and when we are in need, let us remember that You are enough and Your goodness will satisfy our needs. Let us remember that You are the great provider and no one else. Let us remember that You provide us with everything we have, and let us be thankful for that. We know that you are enough for us! We love you,
Written by: Savannah Moore
“Did God REALLY say…?” Remember when the serpent said that in the Garden? His whole hope was to convince Eve that her relationship with God was holding her back. He wanted to invoke and awaken desires in Eve… desires for something other than God. He wanted Eve to become dissatisfied with her life and believe her current existence wasn’t enough for her.
Dissatisfaction inspires doubt and opens the door for twisting of the truth. Look ahead to Eve’s response to the serpent…
“We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
When we start getting dissatisfied with our lives, we start lying to ourselves. We look at the truth (You must not eat the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden) and start adding to it our own truths which just continues to fuel our dissatisfaction.
“My husband should treat me better… so I’m justified in leaving him.”
“We live under the new covenant… so I am free to (insert a flesh-gratifying choice here).”
“I should be happy… so I can make this choice even if it hurts other people.”
“God’s rules are restrictive… therefore He is antiquated. I live under grace.”
When our chief desires are for anything other than God, we compare our current status to what we should have, we become dissatisfied with what we do have, and then we fall into sin trying to gain what we don’t have.
Girl, you were made for happiness… through the avenue of holiness which is only found when our chief desire is for God alone.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
We become convinced that some sinful behavior or attitude of comparison and dissatisfaction while give us what we really long for. We look to outside influences for wisdom and understanding before we look to Scripture. We listen to preachers or speakers or pastors or activists or friends or family and are tempted to accept what they say if it doesn’t challenge our current lifestyle instead of God’s Word.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”
Before this moment, God was the supreme desire in the hearts of men. For the first time, mankind looked for fulfillment OUTSIDE of a relationship with God. And it started with comparison.
When we become dissatisfied, we begin to look to our surroundings for fulfillment instead of God. The fruit was good for food, HOWEVER God wanted to provide their food. The fruit was beautiful HOWEVER God is a greater beauty. The fruit gives wisdom HOWEVER God IS wisdom and gives himself to us. The dissatisfaction opens the door for the enemy to slide his foot into the door jam and whisper through the crack, “Did God really say…?”
Today, intentionally check your spirit. Are you choosing to believe a lie? Are you looking for satisfaction and fulfillment outside of God? Ask yourself “Did God really say…?” And then tell yourself the truth!
Did God really say I am so valuable?
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Luke 12:24
Did God really say He has given me a destiny full of hope?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Did God really say He would take all the bad in my life and make it work for the good?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Did God really say I could come close to Him and He would help me when I’m in need?
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Did God really say I am righteous because of Jesus? I don’t have to do anything to make myself good - only have faith in Jesus and HIS goodness?
Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness combined with our faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
Did God really say He favors me?
Did God really say He honors me?
Did God really say He is giving me every good thing when I am righteous?
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
He really is enough, sweet friend. All your satisfaction will be fulfilled in Him alone. All your hopes and dreams are found in Him alone. All your greatest needs and desires are fulfilled in Him alone.
Quit comparing your life to the one you want to have. Quit letting dissatisfaction creep in. Don't let the enemy of your life have any room to make you question God's goodness with any "Did He really say...?" questions.
He is enough.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
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Recently I found myself standing right next to this super beautiful woman during a time of worship. And as I stood there next to her, suddenly, I wasn't so sure about my outfit choice and I was instantly aware of my old, worn out sandals, my long neglected eyebrows and my long hair that just always seems to get real tangled and crazy looking. I mean, just immediately, I was consumed by these inward laments of my outward "lack".
I came to worship. I'm standing in the presence of the King, to worship His Holy Name- and there, with my dusty old sandals kicked to the side and my bare feet standing on Holy Ground- I'm looking around me and then looking at myself and I'm feeling small and like maybe God should just use someone a little more... MORE, ya know? And it's like... What am I looking at? My God or my lack? How can I possibly think this way when I'm standing before the One who created me?
This has been a constant battle for me, not just in light of comparison but in light of being enough. And I think to a certain extent, it's okay. I'm keenly aware of my weakness and my desperate need for my God to fill me with His strength and His power for what He has called me to. I pray that He is most glorified in the places where my weakness is clearly evident and His glory shines all the brighter.
But then.. there's this place where I get stuck when my eyes remain on my inadequacy. If there's not a shift and if my gaze does not stay fixed on the might of God and the purpose of God and the miracle of the mere presence of Christ in me, that's a problem.
And just now, my husband began speaking to me about Gideon and the tears just started welling up because I can't tell you how many times the Lord has brought Gideon to me.
"The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." (Judges 6:12)
Lord, how? Me? I am inconsequential. My family is the weakest and I am the least.
"But I will be with you.." (Judges 6:16)
Isn't that enough? To stand before the angel of the LORD and to hear who the Lord says you are, the call He is giving you and the promised presence of the Lord with you? "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" (Judges 6:14)
But I'm hiding in the winepress and You're telling me to go and save Israel. Like, thatIsrael? Israel, Israel?
I can't tell you how many times I have uttered or thought the phrase, "I'm such a Gideon." And even there, the focus is on the inadequacy and not God. Because God called Gideon, He purposed Gideon, to do something impossibly big- AND HE DID. God said and he did. And I'm over here concerned with everything in between, like, well, I'm just like Gideon because I'm unsure like him and I'm constantly asking the Lord to confirm like he did.
OKAY, but what if I said, "I'm such a Gideon" as in: God came to me in my weakness and in my hiding and He gave me this call that is so much bigger than me. It's so, so crazy great and enormous and, uh, not to mention crazy, but the Lord Himself said that I am ____ and that He will be with me and He reassured me that HE HIMSELF CALLED ME.
I guess this place of inadequacy I have been stuck in is a little like my very own winepress. And I'm constantly hiding or looking to the left and to the right but God meets me right there. He is looking right at me and saying to me: I am with you. I have called you (insert name that is so outrageously not anything I in see myself and comparable even to 'mighty man of valor') and I have called you to this. You are not inconsequential; I created you with great, specific purpose.
And what if I also changed how I view the ways that Gideon asked the Lord to show him, to reassure him? Instead of, "Oh, that Gideon!" maybe I should think, "Oh, MY God!" Because in his wrestling to reconcile how he perceived himself and what the Lord was saying to him, Gideon asks for a sign- and God says, "I will stay till you return." (Judges 6:18) He was patient with Gideon and willing to work with him and work this stronghold out of him. And later in Judges 6:36-40, Gideon asks for another sign two nights in a row. And still the Lord reassured Him with miracles and His anger did not burn against him, even though he asked to test the Lord in this way.
AND THEN. THEN. In Judges 7:10, right before Gideon is to attack, the Lord says to him, "If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp." Look at what the Lord arranged for him, y'all:
"Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”" (Judges 7:13-15)
Okay, be right back, crying. God didn't have to do that. He didn't have to do that.
But He did.
Why? Why was he so gracious with this man who struggled so deeply? Why was He so patient with a mere man who feels, even in the presence of the Lord, that he needs to test the Lord to be sure? Why would He even care?
"What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:4-9)
We should absolutely stand in awe of our God! Look at what He did in and through Gideon! He took this man who hid himself and who perceived himself as the lowest of the low in comparison to all the men and the clans around him. This man who needed confirmation when maybe we think he shouldn't have. God was patient with him and kind and gracious. And finally, Gideon rose up and proclaimed the victory God had promised him. The one who himself struggled to get up out of that winepress called out to those heading into battle with him: "Get up!"
Get up. The Lord SAID.
Who does the Lord say you are, sister? Who are you in Christ?
What is it that He has called you to? That thing that seems impossibly big? That thing that has you like, "Me, Lord? Surely not me? I'm not anywhere near enough for this."?
Don't look to your left or to your right; don't you dare even go on looking at yourself through those human eyes of yours.
No, no. Shift your gaze. Dare to see what the Lord sees. Dare to believe what He says.
Maybe even ask Him to show you, like Gideon.
And then get up, beloved.
Does not the Lord send you?
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
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From early in life we start looking to parents, caregivers, and other important people in our lives to answer a question that burns deep within us. Am I worthy?
As a mother, I see this question being asked in my daughter’s beautiful blue eyes as she shows me a picture that she made at school. I hear this in the voices of my students as they tentatively ask how they did on an assignment or if I like their essay or poem. I hear it in my own voice as I ask my husband “How do I look?” in a new outfit I picked out. But looking to all of these places will only bring us temporary feedback. Don’t get me wrong, it is not incorrect to look for approval with people that are important to us. It is something that helps us grow and understand ourselves and others. NOT having this approval can really hurt us deeply. When we don’t get it we start to compare ourselves to others and a destructive cycle begins.
In his book, “Search and Rescue”, Michael Thompson is talking about the value of items. He says that antique items are “...reassigned a “real” value because of its story. It is in the story - who made it, who owned it, what it has been through, what it represents - that establishes its worth.”
For a moment, let's think about ourselves as antiques. Not in the sense that you are old (I wouldn’t DARE say that about you!) but in the sense that you are an item. Take a moment and picture yourself as one of those beautiful antique vases, chairs, knick-knacks, or framed mirrors. But instead of showing up on Antique Roadshow or some similar situation, you are presented to the Maker. God himself. Jesus at his side. God gently picks you up and looks at you from every angle.
“See here? There is a scratch.” He says.
Jesus replies, “That happened when she was little. It was the first time she felt unloved.”
He continues to turn and look. “Oh look, a crack.”
Jesus answers, “Yeah. That was a bad chapter in her life. She felt very lonely. That relationship really did some damage.”
This continues through your appraisal process. “What do you think? How much could this possibly be worth?”
Jesus’ answer is filled with love and confidence. “This one? This one is worth everything. I gave my life for this one. She might have scars and cracks, but she has a beautiful story of trusting me, persevering, and strength. The story is amazing because it mirrors my own. This one is priceless.”
Sweet, beautiful sisters, this is what Jesus says about YOU. YOUR worth. The answer to your question: Am I worthy? Is a YES that has been shouted from the mountain tops through time and space and across history. The moment that Jesus gave his life for you is the moment your value was established. You are priceless.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy,” Titus 3:5
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16
If ever you doubt your worth because of something that someone has said or done - stop asking. It is not an answer that we can find when we compare ourselves with others or ask an earthly person. If we do, we will be disappointed and feel that we need to be rescued and revived. But Jesus is there to play the hero of our story. To align with us and save us. Our real worth and value are written forever on the nail-scarred hands of our savior. Lean in, believe in what HE says about your true self. Allow His perfect love to write your value as He writes your story. You are worthy, loved, and valued - prized - because He says you are.
Written By: Angie Reese
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I have had the very recent privilege of serving on a church planter assessment team. This was a team of 3 women and 9 men from various backgrounds of service in ministry, plus one. The ‘plus one’ being a licensed psychologist, also with a background in ministry.
When I first received the email asking if I would participate on this team, I wondered...why me? While it’s true that my husband and I have experience in doing both a new church plant and a replant, I wondered what I was going to bring to the table in working with this team. I think I was the oldest assessor on the team. You know...with age comes wisdom. So there’s that.
Still, I began to question if I was cut out for the task. Even though at that point in the conversation, I wasn’t exactly sure what the task would require of me.
I tend to analyze things. It’s an integral part of my personality. So, in spite of the fact that I can be self-confident and secure in knowing who I am, I can be a second-guesser at times. How about you?
I think we all at one time or another question ourselves:
Am I enough?
Am I equipped for the task ahead?
Can someone else do this better?
Is someone else already doing this better?
Why would I even think that I can do this?
I am not enough...or am I?
Have you ever found yourself asking any of these questions? I think if we are honest, we would all admit to questioning ourselves. We question our own abilities. We question the intentions of our own hearts. We question current callings in light of our past accomplishments.
It becomes a spiral of questioning that leads us down a cluttered path to unrest. Unrest. Because while the world tells us that we are enough, we recognize in our hearts of hearts that we are lacking in some way...we are not enough. Many times we see our own weaknesses. Or we see someone else ‘doing it better’. And so, in that place of unrest we find ourselves looking for help to shore ourselves up under the weight of those weaknesses so that we can be enough.
And honestly, just this longing to be enough can be exhausting. In seeking to be enough we tend to compare ourselves with others. If we want to feel good about ourselves we compare ourselves to someone who is not doing as well as we are. If we are feeling down on ourselves, it is often because we are looking at someone who is experiencing success in an area where we are feeling like a failure. Comparison in this way leads to exhaustion and it does indeed steal our joy.
Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
You may be asking, “if it’s true that I am not enough, then why does everyone, even my sisters in Christ, tell me that I am enough?”
Maybe it’s just me or it’s just semantics. But if we want to understand why we are not enough we need to understand first what it means to be enough. So let’s quickly explore the word: Enough
The Cambridge English Dictionary tell us this:
Enough: determiner, adverb, pronoun
as much as is necessary; in the amount or to the degree needed.
So if enough is as much as is necessary or to the degree needed, how does that apply to the statement that you are enough? It would seem to imply that no matter your circumstances or what you are facing, you have what it takes within yourself to do whatever that situation requires of you. Whatever is needed to the degree that it is needed...you have what it takes to be or do what is before you.
Okay, so at first glance this seems to be very encouraging. If I am enough, then I can do basically anything I am called on to do.
Except, I can’t. Not really. I’m not superwoman and the thought that I am enough now becomes a pressure filled reservoir of expectation with fear of failure thrown into the mix. No thank you!
Being enough implies that I don’t need you or anyone else to help me be all I need to be. In order to be enough, I am required to be all and do all...and I’m just too old and too tired for that!
So what do we do when we question ourselves or our own abilities in a given situation? How do we become enough?
For me, being asked to serve on this church planting assessor team as a team leader was one of those moments. Since it seemed to come out of the blue, I believed it was a God thing. For whatever reason, He wanted me on the team. So, in spite of my own self doubts, I said yes.
Let me tell you that after two rather intense 12 and a half hour days of leading a team of two other women as we conducted interviews, took notes, made observations, and recorded scores while meeting with three different couples(church plant candidates), my brain was fried. On the afternoon of the third day we were to let the candidates know our recommendations.
On the night before that last day as I settled back into bed I knew that I did not have the brain-bandwidth to go back over all of the information to be more prepared for the next day. I couldn’t even keep the names of the candidates in my head at that moment. How was I ever going to remember the details of their stories? If I couldn’t remember that, how could I encourage them or speak into their life?
At that moment, I was not enough. I knew that I was lacking and I could not do this on my own. And so I prayed and slept.
The next morning as I prepared myself for the day, drove to the meeting, and sat in the room for instruction for the last meeting with our couples I prayed, “Lord, you know I am not enough for the assignment ahead. I’m tired and my post-covid brain is tired and glitching. Give me the words that You want them to hear. They need to hear from you and not me. If I hear from you, I will speak up. But if I don’t...I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us this is the way forward to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
So I leaned into the Father, confident that even though I was not, He was...enough. His wisdom, His counsel, and His direction is enough. I wasn’t sure if He would lead me to say anything at that moment. But as each couple sat before us He gave me a vision and words to say that were specific to each person. Particularly to each woman. I was amazed at the words coming out of my mouth. His wisdom...not mine. I didn’t have to wonder if it was the right thing to say. He can be trusted.
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on the last evening they spent together, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Unless you abide in me, you will bear no fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Do you get that? Nothing! If we want to be enough, we have to be connected to the One who is enough.
I lean into Him because He is enough. He enables me, gives me strength, to do all the things He calls me to do.
Are you a second-guesser? Do you question yourself in your role in the workplace? In your home? As a wife, or mother? Lean into Him. Follow hard after Christ. Get into the Word and let it get into you. Talk to your heavenly Father throughout your day. He is your source of strength and courage to step out in confidence. The confidence that through Him and only through Him you are enough.
Written By: Gay Idle
For more from Gay, head to her website: www.gayidle.com
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