Palms Open

Palms Open

That whole fear of not being good enough drove me to a workaholic faith. The thought of never being good enough translated into never doing enough. I would look at other people’s lives (playing the comparison game) and think they were doing so much more eternally worthy things in their lives. I would go into panic mode and start analyzing what I was doing and what else I could be doing. All the while, I was working so hard to make everything in my life look perfect (which obviously is impossible). And if I wasn’t perfect, I thought something was wrong – so something was always wrong and I was constantly trying to fix myself. And I thought my faith was just “not enough” (there are those two words again). I was totally over-thinking the “faith without works is dead” thing (James 2:26). This morning, I was reminded by my daily Bible verse on YouVersion, that it is so much simpler than that. “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) The more I tried to will myself to do work for God’s good pleasure, the more circles I ran around what really matters. Pretty soon, I would run myself into the ground. Thank the Lord, He does not leave us where we are. And thank the Lord for Bob Goff. It was in his book, Love Does that I was introduced to the “Palms Open” way of living. I’m sure God has tried to run this idea by me several times, but it finally clicked when...
The Guilt of Falling Short

The Guilt of Falling Short

I was so strange as a child. If I thought I had done anything deserving punishment, I would tell my mom and send myself to my room. Most of the time, it was my own rules I had broken. This was at 5 years-old. That’s when I began chasing perfection. And it got worse. I was reading self-help books in middle school. I wanted the perfect life. I was taking it a step at a time. I could always be better than I was yesterday. (Anyone with me?) But I was impatient. I would plead with God to make me “better”. That’s not a bad prayer, but better leads to perfect and that’s really what I was after. A few years ago, I realized that my ultimate subconscious goal was to “make myself perfect.” And when I fell short of that, I would become engulfed by guilt. I was so sick of feeling guilty for falling short. I knew in my head that ultimately God’s grace covers all of me – good and bad, but in daily life I just didn’t embrace that grace. I just wanted be free – to live as I am, love God and love others. I can gratefully type now, God has freed me and is healing me from the years of the imprisonment. It really was like being in a jail with the door wide open, but I was telling myself I wasn’t good enough to be free. That’s the first thing he has revealed. My Biggest FEAR: I am not good enough. See how the goal of getting “better” plays into this?...

Imitation without love = Flattery

They say, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” As Christians, we are called to imitate Jesus. But imitation without love is just flattery – i.e. meaningless empty excessive praise. There’s a constant struggle between my head and my heart. Love for God should come first and the imitation will follow. But there are moments, days and even weeks when I’ve flip-flopped these two. I join the chase for perfection and trick myself into thinking I must appear perfect so I can point to God. What?! That is so silly now that I see it in print. But it’s really the lie I let myself believe. History shows that He uses the most imperfect and unlikely band of heroes to save the world. His own son was born in a stable smelling of manure for crying out loud! So my house doesn’t need to look like it belongs in a magazine and my dishes CAN be dirty! And every picture on my Instagram feed doesn’t need to have perfect light and kids with their hair and make-up……. did I just say kids with make-up!? Wow. (I’m not saying anyone does that, it was actually a slip, but sometimes kids on Instagram do appear like models…how!? My daughter wears mismatched clothes everyday and her hair looks like a bird nest half the time.) …AND my schedule doesn’t need to be full of speaking engagements in exotic places and meetings with publishers who want me to write a book. That does happen for some. And I know a few of them and God is using them to change lives…mine included....
Selfish Strength

Selfish Strength

Confession: Sometimes I pray for selfish strength. I love this verse and have said it to myself hundreds of times. The problem is that when I read or say this verse, what I am really thinking is “I can GET THROUGH all things with the strength He gives me.” Most of the time when I pray for strength from God, it is because I don’t like my circumstances. I am frustrated. I am bitter. I am discontent. Like when I hated my first “real” job and where my husband and I lived for the first 2 years of our marriage. Or when I was potty-training a two-year-old with a newborn and a hormonal 4 year-old. Or when I am fighting temptation to “chase perfection.” Or when I’ve said yes to too many things and wish I could crawl under a rock. My motive is completely wrong when I do this. I want to cause change with my prayer. I want my “bad” circumstances to come to an end…really soon. I want it over. I want to survive without shattering everything I’ve worked for. Today’s daily verse on the You Version App is Philippians 4:13. This morning I read it and realized I’ve never considered the context of this verse, so I read the entire chapter. Paul is writing to the Philippians, people in a church he helped start in the city of Philippi. He has gone through physical beatings and faced adversity from religious and political leaders. He has gone hungry and sat in prison unjustly. He misses the people he loves. And this is what he says, “11...
My One Word for 2015

My One Word for 2015

Our house faces due west, so the sun rises over our back yard. This morning, as I sat in my chair facing a window into our front yard, I could see the beginnings of a pink reflection on our street. I took my tea and went straight to look out a window into the backyard. The sun was just peeking over the fence-line. Breathtaking. I don’t care if you like nature or not, a sunrise like that is better than any Monet or Rembrandt. Mornings are my favorite time of the day. I was born a morning person, but after I had kids, I lost some of that super power. Now, I set 3 alarms, and I still cannot seem to swing my legs around the side of the bed by 6:30am. But God is so good, He makes the sunrise later in winter so those of us who miss it in the summer, get to see it in the winter when we need more hope that the sun is up for at least a few hours each day. In the morning, I find quiet. Peace. Distractions are on “do not disturb.” There are few interruptions. I can FOCUS. People 100 years ago did not have so many obstacles to mental focus. True Story. For the past 4-6 months, God has been calling me to slow down. I stepped down from the Board of Directors of Toloha Partnership and I started to hone in on a few things, rather than spreading myself so thin. When I started the One Word to Change Your Life reading plan from the You...

Live as though I have none…

I’ve been reading through the Bible from cover to cover… since 2010. Don’t laugh! I’ve had 2 kids since then! I’m set to finish this May!  I did take some breaks to go through some other studies in the tough parts… you know the parts that go on and on with so and so beget so and so, etc. so I’m pretty excited. And to tell you the truth, I want to go back and do it again! I started with our house church (a small group at church that meets in each of our homes) after reading Radical by David Platt. Personally, I figured, I’ve been a christian for… 20 years (25, now…gasp!) so I should probably have read the whole entire Bible. I’d read a lot of it, but there were definitely parts that my eyes had never gazed on. Anyway, right now I’m in 1 Corinthians – I love Paul’s letters, but chapter 7 has caught me and confused me. I’ve read it before and I know I’ve wondered about the words every time. In verse 29, he tells husbands to ” live as though they had none…” (as in wives!). What!? Before my heart began to race, I thought back to Ephesians 5 and other passages where Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church…okay, okay…what did he mean then?! So, to Google I went. I know, not the best place to search for something as specific as this. I plan to study into it much more with some trusted authors, but with the few moments of quiet I have in...