Be the Right Kind of Warrior

Instinctively, I am one who loves to fight back. I resurrect walls to keep others from hurting me. I walk with a shield to keep things from getting past me. I respond with defensiveness to make sure the fortress stays secure. I grab my weapons so others know that I am a well-protected woman. Bottom line, I am a fighter. I am a regular defender of my own causes. But God is calling me to surrender. He is calling me to wave my white flag. To lay it all down. It’s not so much that he doesn’t want me to be a warrior, but that I have been going about it the wrong way. While I have thought arm up, he says, “Lay it down.” While I have thought keep safe, he says, “Go risky.” While I have thought protect, he says, “Let me be the protector.” He requests one position of me that is the ultimate military gambit.  It is one condition that changes the whole battlefield. He calls me to it. Will I lay down my plans, my armors to make this change? Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD.  (2 Kings 22:19) What is this condition the Lord desires? It is an open, vulnerable, humbled and receptive heart. It is a heart where walls are down,  weapons are abandoned and doors lay wide open so the Lord can...

The Hard – But Freeing – Truth

I say I want to share truth. And, I do – until it gets into that really scary zone.  I know God says the truth will set me free, but in the moment, it holds me and makes me afraid to speak for fear of judgement. Have you ever felt this way? Truth is under attack.  It’s under attack for good reason.  It is under attack for the very reason explained above –  truth is painful to hear and even more painful to live out.  It means that we have to stand for something and standing for something means that we can’t fall for everything.  Not falling means that we may be left the only ones left standing in a sea of people bowing down to the lies of the world.   Standing for truth can hurt. It can feel overwhelming. It can leave us vulnerable. Sometimes it is easier – and less painful – to fall like everyone else. Then, we won’t stand out as much.  We fade in.  It’s easy.But, God never said it would be easy.  And, the greatest lies, the ones that stand most ready to threaten us today, are the lies that a come in shades of grey.  They are easy to bend towards. They appear to be neither black nor white on face value.  They leave questions.  They are sometimes hard to see. Left without close inspection against the Word of God for validity, they could easily lead us astray. They say, “Everyone else is doing this. This won’t hurt anyone.  No one will know. It will make people happy.  It will fulfill others or you. It will make others like you.”The devil...

Stand Firm When Your Ground Gets Shaky

What are you going after? This is a question you do not ignore. Instead, it is one you put a pretty design around and then get tattooed on your hand. It is that important. You wear this question as if it is a badge of your dedication. You return to it often. During my days in corporate America, I tried really hard. In my mind, I did really well. I responded to emails with lightning speed. I came up with proactive ideas before my boss even voiced word of the problem. I arrived not just with plans but complete SWOT analyses of the whole situation. I was always a step ahead. After a long day at work, I’d run to release some steam. I’d run and think, “I wonder if my boss sees all I am doing. I wonder if his boss sees too.”  I assured myself, “Kelly, you’ll go places. They’ll uncover you and say, ‘Wow, what a gem.'” Between striving and running. I was exhausted. I was going after the wrong thing: the desire to be the star. I wouldn’t have admitted this, but: People were often a casualty in my race. Problems were my ticket to a Kelly-solved-it phone call up the chain. Work was a means to my end. I didn’t feel good unless I looked good. A woman dedicated to self-exalting ways will run with skinned knees and deep discontentment. What is your end? Not the one you try to convince yourself that you’re after, but the one you live for daily by your actions? The one that makes you feel cruddy? Are you after people...

When You’re Not to Blame

I sang and danced and swirled and twirled. I had no care in the world. I paid no attention to my foot caught on the hem underfoot or my strap halfway down my young arm. None of that mattered. What mattered was that I felt alive, beautiful and one with creation. What happened to that little girl? The one who gave no care to her off-pitch high notes?  The one who heard not catcalls of criticism, but simply her voice of freedom? The one who gave no merit to outside perceptions, but just God’s wild affirmations?  Somewhere along the line, she got buried. It’s always easy to blame others, “They broke me.” They broke me with pointed words, “What’s wrong with you, Kelly? Wake up, you self-absorbed one.” They injured me in ways that people don’t talk about over coffee. They pointed out my big nose, loud voice and my bouffant hair. They made it clear I was destined to be a loser. In school, I remember things. We all had a papier-mâché project. You put a little something in your balloon, you’d shove in a little figure of sorts, then blow up the balloon. After that, you’d add doused paper on top – lots of doused paper. You cover that balloon right up, layer upon layer. The balloon got hard. I am like that balloon – 3-inches covered by guilt and shame. You too? “People stole care-free from me.” I yell to God. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Ro. 12:2 God speaks to me, “Kelly, you can relive...

Beating the Pains of the Past

When I was in 3rd grade, I was so self-conscious.  I don't know what it was.  Maybe it just the weird stage between girl and woman. Maybe it was because my frizzy hair was too big to go unnoticed.  Maybe it was because my reading skills were lackluster. It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason. But, what I do know is that I sat at a very vulnerable place of life – a place where the prick of another's words had the power to wound deeply. Today, I can't remember the majority of the words that hit those dark places, but I do remember the feelings and my actions. I remember that I felt less than, not as good as everyone else, hurt by degrading words, unappreciated, left out because I wasn't as smart, scared to go to school, made fun of, punished and angry. I remember those things. I remember sitting on the side of the sidewalk alone while others jumped rope. I remember wandering around my yard wondering if God saw me.  I remember faking sickness to get attention.  I remember others laughing at my big nose. I remember lying to gain approval from my classmates. I remember the fear of another school day. Those things I remember. The thing about the past is – it lasts. Somehow as a child, we are under the delusion that when we grow up, we grow out of these feelings.  But, what happens is these things grow up with us – and then they grow inside of us. They grow bigger and bigger in our mind as we replay events, words and circumstances that hurt us....

How to Win an Argument Every Time

I didn’t want to do it, but there I was stuck right in the center of my kitchen, in the mess of it. I leaned in, my temperature boiling. This woman just was not understanding my point. “There’s no changing a mind like hers,” I thought. “She’s impenetrable.” I glared. I guess God was going to have to teach her the hard way – and I was certain I wasn’t going to be praying blessings over her life anymore! Take that! She is not understanding me. She is hurting me. This is all her fault. Isn’t it funny how we think? We can even know our thinking is faulty, that we are some small iota in the wrong, but still, we grab onto our small point as if it is a helicopter dropping down a life-line. We think it will get us to battle won, but we usually much more feel like it is battle done as we are left stranded at the top of a building, waving our hands. Helpless. Uncertain. With no one around to fix our aching heart. Her words approached me strong. Her defensiveness writhed. So did mine, for that matter. Do your arguments go round and round, making you feel like the loser? Do you start to look at the person like an enemy rather than a friend? Usually, I figure, the other person: Will never listen. Doesn’t care enough to listen. Doesn’t get me. Thinks wrongly about me. Is always going to win. Just admitting what you believe about the other fighter is helpful, I find. Light bulbs go off. Light bulb 1: When you’re in self-protection mindset...

5 Ways to Fight Back When Under Attack

We each have a repeated and specific lie that the devil loves to spout. He whispers this truth so we whisper to our heart that we really can’t make it in this thing called faith.  His goals are to: Steal: To run away with our dreams, hopes and passion to immobilize us as unable orphan children. Kill: To ruin us through the power of sin’s ability to drive us to death. Destroy: To destroy our faith, through doubt. To destroy our family through unchecked lies that lead to unchecked emotions.  To destroy our intimacy with God through circumstances. But, God doesn’t leave us like abandoned children, without strategy, security or certainty. He gives us a direct and clear action plan for how to approach the one who wants to approach us like a devouring lion. Why? Because God’s light makes darkness flee. His ways are the opposite of steal, kill and destroy: the way, the truth and the life. A deceiver can’t deceive a person wrapped up in complete truth. The murderer can’t stand to be around the one who offers new life. Fakes are obvious when God’s Word magnifies their flaws. The opposer knows who will one day truly oppose him – and win. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7 5 Ways to Submit to God and Resist the Devil 1. Be truthful, vulnerable and open. Those who are real before God allow a real God, not a fake duper, to run to their rescue. Liars want to get up and flee with truth takes the stand. Let your truth take stand before God and he will take stand for...