When You Lose Yourself


It’s easy to Lose things….Keys….wallet…….sanity. But you might be thinking Mary I always know where I am! As a kid it was a favorite thing for my family to pile into the car on a sunny Sunday afternoon in hopes to get “lost” in our own community. We lived in rural Pennsylvania where once upon a time cows outnumbered people and backroads were a plenty. We even had “special roads” that were only open during the spring, summer and fall. sometimes only summer depending on the weather.

We would always find some new and exciting road that led us to somewhere we already knew BUT it might be a little terrifying in the process. We knew of some hidden roads too. Roads that you only saw when you were on top of them.

It was fun to go on these adventures. There was an adventure to this sad old church. It hadn’t seen a congregation in decades. The cemetary itself was of the thin headstones from long ago. the plots of ground were sunken in where the wooden boxes had deteriorated and turned into mulch. It seemed as though my ad had no idea where he was going at first ut we quickly realized this was a purposeful trip. My dad wanted us to see something specific.

But Let’s Be Honest with Ourselves

As much fun as it is to get “LOST” like that as a kid- getting Lost is a horrible feeling. It’s one thing that both my brothers and I learned about in scouts. it’s a three fold process- 1). How not to get lost and 2). How to stay alive if you get lost. and 3). how to get unlost (yep I just coined that word).

Getting Lost without being LOST

Sometimes we can get lost without physically being lost. This means losing sight of our purpose which is 2 parts, 1) Loving God with all of our Heart Soul, mind and Strength andStrength and 2) Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself (Luke 10:27) I see Christians do this all the time. They compromise their beliefs for a moment of…..you can fill in the blanks. Before long they loose themselves and they start buying a lie that this is now who they are or that they can’t ever get back or that God couldn’t possibly love or forgive them. They also believe that they have to get back on their own (also a lie).

But It’s not just limited to our own personal Choices

The root of this problem are the lies we choose to believe. This is also the case when we may not have made the choices but the choices were made for us. Abuse, illness, an accident, some form of trauma, losing someone close to you, financial problems, mental illness and the list can go on and on and on. We might Geel like this is just how it’s going to be. We lose sight in Who God really is. We can take on the Victim mentality or feel like we are unlovable, unworthy, a failure…You get the picture.

Losing myself

Part of the enemies plan is to distract people from what they are called to do. When we take our eyes off of that we start believing lies. Lies that destroy so much. The enemy wants to keep us from our purpose.

Ever since I was a little girl I could be found writing all sorts of things. Long before Kindergarten I knew my letters. I have a very young memory of my mom in the bathroom getting ready for the day and I was sitting outside the closed door saying “mommy how do you spell……Mom………and my mom would patiently spell out the word. I would write it down. and then I would move on to the next word. I also remember as a middle school student learning that my cousin had this paper to write and I wanted so desperately to have a paper to write too. In high school I found a whole new love that I knew nothing about. Creative writing. I would get lost in my English papers. My favorite was in 9th grade. I had to write to a historical figure and tell them about some modern technology without using words that they couldn’t understand. The possibilities were endless andI was giddy with all the ideas rolling through my head. Clearly I had a bent for writing it was my happy place (it still is). It’s just part of who God created me to be.

The journey Continues

In College is when I hit a wall and gained understanding of who I was. Technical papers were the death of me. I was so frustrated. Now I know that some of those papers I could have changed a bit and gave them more of a creative twist (Kinda like that tabernacle drawing and our Old Testament timelines -I know Dr. S. “Charles Shultz had nothing to worry about”) Let’s just say the prof was less than impressed with our sheep angels complete with wings hovering over the altar- actually I’m pretty sure he enjoyed them.

It was during this time that I learned hat I need to write to clear my brain and that release wasn’t found in papers for class. Creative writing was a release for me The first two years f college I had lost myself actually I had been lost for a while but it became glaringly obvious. It was because I had bought into two lies.

The Two Major Lies

First was this lie that I needed to fit someone else mold SO I became a social butterfly. Yes I had friends in high school but it was different. It was the type of peer group I was in. What did they expect of me? I loved my peer group in College. They were great friends and I am still friends with many of them today. I became a master morpher- all things to all people. I slept a lot. I suffered from horrible headaches. It was just BAD. It was the first time I could explore the many possibilities of ministries too and I threw myself into everything. I tried to do it all and everything came crashing down. I was exhausted. I had no idea who I really was. I just knew that what I was being told is to be successful you had to be outgoing….do lots of things…..be good at lots of things…be around lots of people…..be this…be that……fake it until you make it. Now this wasn’t necessarily the school that said this. Tor my friends. But one group you said this is the ideal and another said that is is ideal and before long You don’t know what to think and you have the extremely unattainable checklist.

Secondly there’s that whole boyfriend thing- which is basically the something as above. And when those voices start in and you let them have control you get distracted from your purpose. And it’s easy to fall in love with idea of being in love.

The Influences I let have my ear were the problem

Between these two things I lost the sense of who I really was- I settled for what everyone else told me to do. Now I am not going to sit here and pretend that I knew who I was or what I was called to do going into college . I mean I thought I did , but I didn’t. I knew I was called into full time ministry and I knew I was supposed to go to the school I was at- and that my friends is all I knew about myself going into college. I had no real talents to speak of .

Understanding my true identity

I think one of the things lacking within the church at least where I was as a teen was fully understanding my identity in Christ and I saw the same thing in other people at college. Matter of fact it wasn’t something really taught at Bible College either. I think it’s the case of everyone thinking everyone else is teaching it. It can be talked about all day long but it needs to be taught. And what we end up with is the Devotions dilemma all over again. We use terminology without explaining what it means. So hundreds of kids hear about the concept of “doing devotions” but in the end have No idea what that looks like. And we can all sit at snow camp hearing about our “identity in Christ and how we should be rooted in that” but until we are actually taught what exactly that is – we go through life grasping at straws. And the two of those problems put together is recipe for disaster.

Finding myself

In college I firmly believed that my identity was in my serving NOT the act of serving but the actual specific ministry I served in. I didn’t know then -that this too was a lie because ministries come and go. I know that we are created to serve God and make him famous. But man when I had to leave that first ministry that I had grown to love so much I was devastated. Then I jumped into a bunch of different ministries that were NOT what I was called to do and I struggled. It’s like a rebound relationship really. (This is repeated later on in ministry on a much bigger scale.)


There have been times over the last 20 years that I haven’t struggled with knowing who I was. I was actively practicing the truths I had learned. It wasn’t easy but what I would later find out is this time was was a preparation for something that nearly killed us as a family. But because I had been applying those truths I was better equipped to trust God. I couldn’t trust anyone else. And as Much as hubby and I were on the same team it shook and tested our team. We too had to trust each other on a whole new level.

A Book that Changed Everything

A number of years later I read a quote that has stuck with me. It was by Renee Swope in her Book A Confident Heart. The quote at the beginning of the book basically says that when you go through something traumatic or a big change we need to take the time to pause and really strive to gain a new understanding of how this has Changed us and who we have now become. This was exactly what my damaged and hurting heart needed to hear. Because I had endured something horrific and horribly damaging and now had no idea how I fit into things: my ministry, my parenting,, society in general. So as I read her book something deep within my soul began to shift like never before and I gained this new thing called God-fidence.

I know that some of my friends think that I coined this term but I didn’t. It’s basically taking my eyes off myself and my own strength and knowing that God ihas got this and that he’s going to use this for his powerful purpose. Ad that meant that I had to be willing to use this horrible thing for his glory. When I did that God opened a whole new ministry- actually two. And I stepped through those doors and things began to happen.

Then the Enemy Stepped In. (AGAIN)

Whenever you take big steps in faith the enemy takes notice. And when he did, he used my biggest weakness…PEOPLE PLEASING. During this time I had stepped out in faith and done some things that were bigger than any ting I had ever done before The first one was something I have always loved to do- public speaking. Yep I am weird like that. God was preparing me to step out in His confidence NOT my own…I did and what ensued was me losing myself to the negativity. The second was being a part of a large conference (as in on the planning team) and the third was to work at a Crisis pregnancy center)

A Misplaced Trust

I had been pushed by people for a number of years to do speak and I was no way ready but through my study of confidence and then influence I knew it was time. I also had been convicted that I needed to speak truth when leading and I became unpopular very quickly. I struggled with this because I was told I needed to be more bold and then when I was it back fired. It’s amazing how quickly people can turn on you. And I let myself be silenced and I began the process all over again. I had to look deep within myself and ask the hard questions. I felt like a complete and utter failure. This was quite the process this go around and it came down to 3 things.

The three things that really changed my perspective

  • First I had to be in God’s Word- and not just for knowledge. had to be reading and searching for understanding- that which changes my heart- not just swells my brain.
  • Second I needed toast my friends to critique what I was writing and saying. Because I was blamed for being a certain way I had to allow people into my life who would keep me accountable for what I was saying. Even now as I write this I know there are two women and my husband who are going to read this and be honest with m. if Ive gone too far or if I’ve come across in an ungodly way. Considering all that had happened this was extremely hard because I had some misplaced trust before.
  • Third- after I had done the hard work of one and two I had a choice to make- Change the way I looked at y writing. I mean I kinda had this perspective before but It HAD to become more solidified if I was going to continue to write- I had to set aside the critics and not let them have power over me……and in that I have to ask myself two questions
    • Why am I writing this?
    • Does this fit into my purpose? (Hebrews 10:24)

And here we are Day 45

I once read that raising kids is a cycle. You keep teaching them the same lessons over and over again but in new and deepening lessons. Isn’t that the truth but the same is true in our lives. We just keep learning the same lessons over and over again in new and deepening lessons. It gets harder and so we need to keep practicing that God-fidence.

We all lose ourselves from time to time. We all go through stuff and it’s painful. In November We are going to dive into “Our Identity In Christ.” I have a mini-series of posts already in place. It is born out of years of learning this. I have definitely not arrived in any way on this Journey. I hit some major moments where this has been a mile marker in my life but each and everyday there is a need to practice practice practice. I am still working through many aspects of this journey. I know there are plenty of people who will tell you (and me ) they have arrived BUT that is a lie.
And as a friend so aptly put it this morning….we are truly never alone. God is always with us…He will never leave us or forsake us! It’s important for us to remind ourselves of the truths we know ….hmmm didn’t I JUST write a post about that!

A Spark of Joy

One of my favorite things is when talking with an elderly person and they share what new thing they have recently learned about God! It shows me that they are being authentic. They are willing to be honest that they haven’t arrived yet. And that is the greatest testimony of all!!

How about you? Did you ever “lose” Yourself? What changed?

Thank you so much for Joining me on Day 45 of Choosing Courage- My 100 Day writing project! You Can check out the previous posts here.

Choosing Courage.: You Never Knew Me


Good evening everyone! Welcome to post #12 in the Choosing Courage project. I hope you have had a great week! I have a very interesting question for you tonight! Have you ever invested time into someone- given them all of your heart (I’m not talking about a spouse necessarily), just to be all of a sudden accused of being a horrible person in some shape or form.? You are left standing there with the pieces of your shattered relationship laying at your feet and the overwhelming sense of “You never really knew me”?

If we are honest we all have (especially if you were a girl in middle school. We also have the tendency to either take offense far too easily or project our own problems on other people (more on this in a future blog post).

Grace upon Grace, Mercy upon Mercy

No matter which side you are on it’s important to remember that our ultimate goal as believers in Jesus is to be Christ emulators. And Jesus was full of GRACE and MERCY. I know some people aren’t naturally bent towards these traits. We need to work very hard to be like Christ. It takes practice and sometimes blowing it and then being able to learn from those mistakes.

It also takes a great measure of humility to admit that we don’t know everything. The only person who really knows our Hearts is God himself. Even we ourselves don’t know our own hearts because emotions can be severely deceptive. We can convince ourselves of lies both about ourselves and our closest of friends and when we let those lies and emotions take over and we lose sight of who Jesus really is and how we are supposed to love! UNCONDITIONALLY!


This is the ultimate act of Christ like behavior , especially if you forgive before you are asked to forgive. Jesus provided the ultimate gift of forgiveness before anyone ever knew they needed forgiving..

Forgiveness is HARD. Especially when we have been hurt whether intentionally and unintentionally! But it is a choice we must make.


When we assume that we know someone’s heart , we are playing God. I know that’s hard to hear. But we all do it. And it’s so important to admit that flaw and move forward to understanding. That’s what we need to strive for understanding and love rather that assumptions and gossip. It’s our job to extend Grace and mercy so we can become the picture of true Christ-like love.

But how ado we do that? It Comes to to CHOOSING…..

It starts with some Courageous choices that goes against the world’s perspective.

  1. Choose to acknowledge that you don’t have all the understanding of peoples motives. When we assume we know their motives we are saying we know them better than God. And in doing that we show that we don’t really know them,
  2. Choose to Die to self. Put others before yourself and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Value other people and their insights I had a history teacher who had a phrase he used to say “There is a world outside of Hetlerville. Yes that’s a real place. But the point is we get so stuck with seeing what is in our immediate location that we lose sight that the world is a much bigger place. The same is true fore us as individuals. When we get so wrapped up in our own little worlds and all the drama in our lives we fail to see what other people are going through. and even sometimes we take the struggles we are having and project them onto those around us.
  3. Choose Grace and mercy. It doesn’t matter of you are good at these things or not. we need to actively choose these! When we do so we will grow and we get better and better. But remember you can’t give what you don’t have.

These three choices are just the beginning! There is a part two of this coming soon…..So what will you be choosing to do? For me it’s forgiveness but more on that in the next post.

But while you wait you can check out the other CHOOSING COURAGE posts here

What Have You Been Settling For?



Settling- it’s what we do as Christians.  We hide it under the blanket of being content.  Being Satisfied.  I hear it all the time.   “That’s how God made me”.   “That’s what I have been given so I need to just deal with it.”   “That’s not what I’m good at.”   and the list of excuses goes on and on and on.

We settle for mistreatment by others under the disguise of love.

We can settle for our attitudes towards other people because we have a justifiable reason for anger or vengeance.

We live in anger bitterness and malice.

We say “Oh that part of the Bible is outdated.  We can live however we want to these days.”

We justify addictions and idolatry.

For almost 2 years this blog post has been rolling around my heart and mind.   I have addressed this topic in both our Ladies Bible Study at church AND through last year’s influence blog posts.   And for two years I have suffered from an uneasy heart and a major case of writer’s block I have prayed, I have journaled. I have read and I have avoided blogging because of this nagging sense of not knowing what to write.  I have deep burdens in this area.   So today HERE is my heart.


For the last 3 or 4 years, God and I have been on a back and forth mission about what real Identity in Christ looks like.   It’s something we are not often taught about.    For me, it began with my review book “I Am” by Michele   Cushatt.   You can find the review here.  Through this book, God impressed upon my hear that before I can figure out who I am I must first understand who God is.  Then the same year I read that book I also read a book by Renee Swope called A Confident Heart.   In the very beginning of the book, she talks about how as we go through various changes and traumas in. our lives we need to re-learn who God created us to be AND sometimes (my addition we need to re-learn who God is !) Not that God changes but through these moments we learn new things about God and ourselves.

Once we have a firm grip on who God is, and who we are in Christ we gain confidence (HMMMMM pretty sure that was my word for 2017!).  AND as we gain confidence in who we are in Christ our influence shifts (HMMMM can you say the word for 2018).  AND when we live within those parameters we are filled with abundant JOY! (YEP THAT”S 2019_. I really didn’t plan it that way.

However, over time our identity can get skewed by little things that we let creep into our lives.  Matt Little, President of New Brunswick Bible Institute (NBBI for short)  in reference to Psalm 73- A Psalm of Asaph “when our faith loses its own reality.”   We need to spend time with God so He can realign our sight.

How I got here. A Little backtracking.

For months now God has been stirring in my heart to get back to this but I have all sorts of excuses.  Busyness being at the forefront. But at the beginning of the summer, I was really praying that God would give me his words to say.  I knew bits and pieces but the words just didn’t come.  Oftentimes I would just sit and stare at a blank screen praying…and yet nothing.   Then we came to our camper at the end of June and within 3 days of being here God released me of the busyness and by that I mean I got hurt.  Sometimes God has to take drastic measure to get our attention I sat in a chair for 3 days with my food up. I was on crutches.  I was stuck…or was I.  See there is this book that has been calling my name since the beginning of the year.  It’s a skinny little thing and despite the nagging feeling to read the book I put it off till camp.  and I read it in just a few days.  I thought it was gonna be an easy read, but the heart work  God did showed me that I really need to take this message to people.    The one thing I didn’t do as I read through the book is the study questions. By the end of the three weeks away, God was convicting me that I needed to head back into the book and do the questions.  I have been taking my time really soaking it all in and then last night I came to Chapter 3 entitled CHILD: LOVED BY THE FATHER written by Courtney Doctor.  I glanced through the chapter refreshing my memory of the topic and settled into the questions. and then I finished question three.   I was then prompted to go read 1 John 3:1-10

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not lovetheir brother and sister.

Pay specific attention to a couple of verses:

verse 4-6  Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

When we are linked to Christ we have this desire not to sin.  We are broken by it.  Yes, we slip up and make mistakes but we have the ability to choose not to sin.    When our lives are gripped by sin we have to start asking ourselves some super hard questions.

Am I really a Christ emulator is top on the list because as Matt Little Said in his message you cannot have one foot on the land and one in the water.  You cannot live as the world lives and be a Christ-follower.

And then there is verses 7-9-Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are

Pay very close attention to what 8 and 9 days

*those who do what is sinful is of the devil (yes we all sin but this is a life defined by sin

And  “no one who is born of God will continue to sin.  meaning they will not actively pursue it- they will not continue it, they will turn away from it.    They won’t justify it and they will no be ok with it.

They will actively seek help and truly repent. and change.  It takes an insane amount of work BUT they are willing to do because of two things.

  • they were to be like Jesus
  • And they want to glorify God in all they say and do

Matt Little said in his message when of the most important things we can do as a Christian is to say NO.  Now, this isn’t about The Best Yes- This is about sin. So let’s define what the Bible says sin is.


Mark 7:21-22-For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

Matthew 15:19 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

But you say Mary: that was then and this is now.   The culture is in a  different place.  And remember I’m not speaking to unbelievers here THIS IS WHAT YOU SIGNED ON FOR WHEN YOU ACCEPTED Christis.  You gave your life to him.  You denied yourself and your desires: It’s not about your rights, what you think, how you feel about something.  You became a Christ emulator.

And Hebrews 13: 8 says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

AND WHO IS THE WORD? John 1:1 says it’s JESUS

This morning’s Eyeopener

So that was last night’s, then I woke up this morning and hit Chapter 4 SAINT: REDEEMED BY THE SON.

YIKES, it was hitting me where we sometimes wallow…in our struggles. I had to read Romans 7:15-8:11. But for the purpose of the blog post, I am going to camp in Romans 8:1-11 which is what struck the deepest chord for me.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sinand death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b]God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

Let’s hone in on a couple of verses:
verse 2 The law of the  Spirit has freed you from the law of sin
Verses 5-8
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
The flesh is our sinful desires- what we want.  It’s selfish. IT IS SETTLING FOR SECOND. not even best.
It says here that if your mind is controlled by the flesh it is death….you are destined to die but the mind governed by the spirit is life and peace.  It’s not rooted in anger and bitterness and hatred.    It doesn’t hold grudges.
Moses wasn’t settling for his best
Sometimes we have a choice that looks great for us.   AND yet that very decision is detrimental to our faith.  The message this morning was all about a decision Moses had to make.
He could stay in Egypt and very likely could be next in line for Pharoah. That’s great for him.  He would live a life of wealth, comfort and prestige.  AND  yet He made the unpopular decision and refused to be called the Son of Pharoah’s daughter. HMMMM Then Matt said something that I hope sticks with me FOREVER.
“we makes our choices and then our choices make us”. 
It also makes me think of another old saying “we make our bed to we must lie in it”
It means that there are consequences for every sin.  You Lie so know people don’t trust you.  You cheat on your spouse- so you get a divorce.  You do the crime you do the time.   In short, we are a product of the choices we make and who we hang out with,  The glorious thing is at any point we can change
Another thing Matt discussed was how it’s ok to own things But it’s not ok when those things own us.    WHO or WHAT is it that we can’t live without?
Here are somethings I’ve heard in my lifetime that people can’t live without.
MY phone
the internet
my computer
my spouse
my children
my dog
my home
my friends
my boyfriend/girlfriend
my cause (this is a big one BECAUSE you can tell what owns you by asking a simple question: When people meet you  which do they know first That you are a Christian or whatever you are currently fighting for?)
That’s just to name a few.
Moses was saying he was refusing to have Egypt own him.
You cannot serve two Masters.  It’s either God or something else. and if you pick something else-it’s idolatry. (Matthew 6:24)
And the last two things that Matt said that really hit home for me was this
“When you say NO to the things that are wrong (AKA sinful)  you clear the way for  God’s amazing blessings- but you can’t have those until you say no.”
 ” God can teach us but we are responsible to learn it”.
This one really struck a chord with me because as a parent I teach my kids all the time.   BUT if they don’t embrace the teaching and learn it for themselves we will have a recurring problem.
So are you settling for a package Satan has set before you?   One that seems like it’s the best? One that you think is the best? OR are you choosing  God’s best?   If you are settling for the first one are you prepared to deal with that choice for the rest of your life?  Are you prepared to have that choice be detrimental to your faith?  What is really most important to you?
Remember we are told in Romans 12: 2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(All verses and Passages are taken from the NIV)

Write 31 Days-Day 12- Choices that Kill Your Positive Influence


Killers of Your positive Influence

The death of our positive influence can be sudden and unintentional.    However we sometimes lose sight of the sphere of influence God has given us and we begin to take people for granted.  We can kill their spirit and our influence on their lives in one fell swoop.  It takes the whole phrase of killing two birds with one stone to a whole new level.

Generally that term is a positive one that alludes to multitasking, and often times viewed in a positive light.  However tonight we are gonna chat about those things that we do that can instantly kill any positive influence we may have had.

(DISCLAIMER: I know that there are sooooooo many more that fit into this category and I assure you we will have a chance to discuss this in the comments below-Just hang in there)

Choice#1-  Don’t be a SNAP-dragon

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and then all f a sudden BAM- you don’t know what you have done but apparently some line has been crossed and you have found yourself  in  line of a SNAP- dragon.   You have no idea what you have said or done but just like that the person bit your head off.   OR WORSE You are the SNAP-dragon.  We have all been on both sides of this situation.

One of the major repercussions of this choice  is that over time people just stop wanting to be around us..   This really affects our  testimony.  I’m not saying that things always have to be good or happy or anything like that.  I want nothing more than people to be real with me, but it is not ok to be abusive in how we talk to each other!

Choice #2 Don’t be a Johnny -Jump -to -Conclusions

RecentlyI was in a situation where someone jumped to conclusions about my motives in something.  They thought they new my heart.  Then I have to chuckle because eI have done the same thing.  Usually it ends with and open-mouth-insert-foot sort of moment.

As I have thought about this, I have really come to realize that this is bordering on a god complex.  Thinking that we know all.   We don’t talk to people or ask questions and instead we assume we have it all figured out.  We can do this with every area of life.    AND if we aren’t careful it can become a habit in which we can literally begin to think that we and God  agree and God has shone us……..You fill in the blank.

Sadly God often has to out us in our place and in the process we have done some hefty damage along the way.  When we choose to be a Johnny-Jump-to-onclusions we can

  • alienate those around us by making them feel stupid or inadequate
  • we unintentionally become judgmental
  • kill relationships by thinking we know it all and have all the answers

#3 The Choice to Run Away

I wish I could runaway from my problems but every time I try I am still there.   Isn’t that the truth.  I have no idea who said it.  I have heard this said so many ways and yet the same sentiment is communicated.  We are really the root of our own problems.

I see it all the time.  No matter who I am with.  Especially me.  We think that so and so is the problem so we ditch that friend and move onto the next and low and behold we have THE SAME problem and so we ditch that friend  and we live in this crazy cycle.  We don’t deal with the problems we just run from them.  We build walls to protect ourselves.  The problem is we are still stuck with ourselves.  And when we do that do you know what tends happen. Bitterness and anger creep in.  and we become more and more upset with how we have been hurt so we keep running with those walls built and   carrying all that baggage.

God doesn’t want us to do that because when we build walls to protect ourselves from the very people he has brought into our lives, we not only put up walls between ourselves and “THOSE” people but we also out up walls between us and God.   Our relationship with Him will suffer greatly   Just look at Jonah.   He got so mad that the Ninevites repented that he went and sat and waited for God to wipe them all out.  He became bitter and angry with God because it didn’t work out the way He wanted it to because those people were literally some of the worst people on the planet. How could God possibly save them?     Contrast that to the Isrealites accepting Rehab a foreign prostitute into the “family”.  And because of her faithfulness she ends up in the line of David and eventually Jesus!   Attitude is everything!

Choice #4- Complaining is not your right to make us miserable

Have you ever read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty McDonald?   Until last year I had never heard of the books or the author!   Well we punched 4 books in the series and I am currently read  the third book (though I am pretty sure  that I have them out of order oooops!)

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle loves children and she is able to cure them of the most horrible ailments.  Our current chapter in Hello Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is “THE CRABBY CURE”. The little girl in this chapter whines and complains about  EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Whether is is perceived or reality.   That child is horrible to live with.   In the first few pages of the chapter she has complained about 6 or 7 different things.  Her brothers and sister can barely stand her and her mother clearly has no idea how to fix it,  The girl even gets called names and picked on at school and according to her big brother “no one likes her”.  In our home we call this being a negative Nancy. And complaining is right up there at the top for being an influence killer.

Two things happen  when a known complainer walks into the room.  First they attract ALL of the other complainers, even if they are normally quiet.  Complainers have the innate ability to draw out the complainer in the most mild of people And secondly those who aren’t complainers- those Pollyannas in the room with leave.   Te room, the party, the house, even the state if possible.   The complaining sucks them dry of joy.  And when that happens, then they too become complainers.

I have seen this in my own life.  It really boils down to a dissatisfaction of life.  They either fail to or refuse to see all the things they have to be grateful for.  All they can see is the negative around them.  Little  do they realize the power they hold to change  the negative into positive just by changing their attitude.

Choice #5- The choice  NOT to forgive.

This is perhaps the biggest and most detrimental choice of all to our influence and really is connected to choice #4, #3, and #1.

Now let me just say this, you can forgive and still not give the same trust level as before and that is really how it should be.

But you cannot give what you do not have and this is where the gospel comes in.   You cannot truly forgive a person without receiving true forgiveness yourself.  I have watched people time and time and time again try so hard to forgive someone and they come back and say “I just can’t do it”.  Forgiveness in a deep heart issue but it begins in the mind.  There are people that I have to make an active choice multiple times a day to forgive.  I am thankful, oh so thankful that God’s forgiveness is perfect and that I don’t have to worry every day about needing new forgiveness.

But there are times in our lives here we consciously or unconsciously say- I’m not going to forgive that person, what they did was :unforgivable”.  Boy am I glad that Jesus didn’t say that about us!

I want to be able to point people to Jesus and that means in the way I forgive people.   Does that mean I won’t guard my heart when it has been hurt.  No, I will  guard it, but I’m not going to tell  God no that person isn’t worth my forgiveness.   That’s a very negative influence.

These five choices are just that….CHOICES.  They are choices that when really gotten down to the bare bones of the matter are about our attitudes.  We all have choices to make.  It might not be about our circumstances but it is certainly about how we look at those circumstances and chose to take positive attitudes or negative ones.

What are some negative attitudes you have seen that have been a negative influence….This is not meant to be a complaining session!

Interested in reading the rest of the Power of Your influence series ?Check it out HERE!





Edify Stupid…..Be Careful Little Mouth What you Say!

It’s so easy to think that you know someone well enough that you can say pretty much anything to them.  Whether it be family, friends…..or *gulp* our husbands or kids!   It’s hard because we say things and then tack on “oh I’m just teasing” or “don’t take things so seriously” but in reality, it only takes once or twice before the person starts to get a different impression of you and  begins to think “well I guess that is how they really view me” even if you don’t

This was the topic of a sermon we heard a few weeks ago as we got a rare opportunity to sit together and her another pastor speak!   He spoke about our speech and what it reveals of our heart.  And it is so very true!

As I thought and prayed over my speech and  I asked God to give me something to share with you, my readers,  I have been  compiling a list .

A person that speaks……

         Complaints, has a discontented heart.

         Harsh words,  has a unconcerned heart.

          Angry words, has a bitter heart.

         Sarcastic words, has a hopeless heart.

          Words that tear down, hasa malicious heart. 

           Teasing words, has a selfish heart.

          Gossiping words, has a tasteless heart.

          Perverse words, has a vile heart.

         Crude words, has a heart lacking  in wisdom.

            Vain words, has a heart lacking control.

             Arrogant words, has a heart lacking in humility.

And I had to ask myself some really HARD. Questions!   Like…

What are my words revealing about my heart?  What are my words conveying to those around me?  It has not been easy but realized that just like most people I was letting things affect me….and then the condition of my heart is revealed!   I listened carefully to the things I was saying to my family.  It’s those little things  that collect in the dark recesses of our hearts and if we are not careful to weed them out, that’s when our hearts become infected!

So what does the speech of a person who has a Christ-centered heart look like? we have to look no further than 1 Corinthians 13 for that answer!

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ESV

So much of what we say is evident by the fruit of the spirit in our lives, and if that fruit is missing or dwindling we need to find out why….the fruit of the spirit are a great indication of what’s going on on the inside.

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  ESV

As I titled this blog post, I thought of how so many times as Christians we can portray one thing and yet our speech/actions reveal our true heart and that made me think of something called an oxymoron…..which is basically two words that are exact opposites, for example “jumbo shrimp”.  Well just like that so is “edify stupid”.Edify is to build up, but stupid is tearing someone down.  And yes we are called to hold each other accountable, but not in a condescending, Blunt, way

As I think about speech too it seems as though bluntness has become a badge, or almost like another spiritual gift, when in reality, BLUNT is hurtful,shows a lack of humility, self control, tact, and grace Of all people Jesus could have been blunt.  He is our picture of how we should relate to people.   Instead Jesus told stories (parables), asked questions, and quoted scripture (not out of context I might add!). He didn’t call for worship of himself, he came humbled to serve, to change lives!  He showed love and grace and pointed ALL to our Heavenly Father!  He didn’t claim greatness, he didn’t boast of who he was or the things he did, was doing or the things he will do!

So I will ask a hard question……what are your words saying of you?  Are they saying she is a follower of Christ? -OR- are they saying look out she is harboring  bitterness in her heart?  If you don’t know listen to yourself, ask your husband or kids AND  pray that God would :

1: open your eyes and show you

2: that he would clean house in your heart, weeding out  those pervasiove weeds!

3: that He would change your heart, continually making you aware of those little areas that need cleaning, and giving them over to him!

And I’ll close with this verse from one of our kid’s favorites songs:

O be careful little mouth what you say

O be careful little mouth what you say

There’s a Father up above

And He’s looking down in love

So, be careful little mouth what you say

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