Passion for Your Purpose: Go Where it’s Deeper

Hey Friends,

As we wrap up the the theme of passion for your purpose, this week’s blog is all about moving forward and trying again in the wake of failure and disappointment. We’ve all experienced before, but what do we do when we feel nudged by God to give it another go?

I hope you enjoy this post and most of all, I hope it’s as encouraging to you as it has been to me.

x KC


One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. Luke 5:1-9 (NLT)

Go out where it is deeper and let down your nets…

Have you ever hit a wall in your pursuit of a dream? Have you ever experienced disappointment when going after the things you know you were meant to do, things that you know to do well? I have. In the passage above, we can see that Peter and this group of fishermen definitely did.  Jesus meets Simon Peter and his crew as they were washing their nets after a long and unproductive night fishing. This group of knowledgeable, seasoned fishermen–doing what they knew well to do–had come back empty-handed when Jesus met them on the sea that day. They were probably tired, disappointed and feeling like they’d wasted their time. I’m sure most of us can relate because, let’s be honest, doesn’t life feel just like this sometimes? Especially in moments when, like these fishermen, we do the things we know how to do well–moments when we are operating in our gifts and talents, doing the things we know that we were purposed for–and still somehow after all that fishing, we come back with nothing? I love that this story opens with Jesus coming across them washing their nets because many times I’ve been found washing my nets feeling like giving up, disappointed after trying hard and seemingly having caught nothing.

I also love that the story doesn’t end there.

I’ve been looking at this passage for a while now and there’s just so much there that it’s been hard for me to find a place to start. But in these past few months in my life where I find myself feeling like I’ve been fishing all night to no avail, what sticks out to me is Simon Peter’s response to Jesus’s instructions; he essentially says, I’ve been there. We’ve done it already. I already tried. We already gave it all we had. BUT, If you say so, I will. “If you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

Sure a story like this can sound like a good example of the importance of persistence and perseverance, but what happens when even after we persist and persevere, we come up with nothing? I could rattle off a laundry list of things that I have at some point tried and been persistent and hopeful about, only to feel the sting of disappointment. You know, those shoulda happened by now types of things. Those, I’m doing everything I should, but this isn’t working type of things. Those, no matter how hard I try, this still hasn’t happened type of things.

These guys fished all night. They were hustling. They were grinding–they put in the work. I think they had the persistence game in the bag, but persistence didn’t get them the big catch–obedience did. Peter’s “If you say so, I will,” posture of obedience put him in the right place for the haul that God had already prepared for him, but he had to go out and cast his net again. Our obedience puts us in the right position for receiving the promise. The haul is His to position, but the net is ours to cast. 

My Pastor says something that I think about often in moments when I’m feeling defeated. He says, “Sometimes a set-back is just a set-up for a miracle.” Peter didn’t have a “reason” to follow Jesus’s directions about going back out where it was deeper and casting his nets again. Their experience told them there was nothing to be caught that day, but Peter didn’t let his experience dictate his obedience to Jesus’s instruction. If they would have left based on their experience, they would have never received the bounty that they did.

So, in light of this, I look at my own life and I encourage you to look at yours. Think about those areas where God has been calling us to go deeper. Think about where God is telling us to get back in the boat and cast our nets again. Even now, there are things that we need to choose obedience over discouragement and persistent faith over fear where it may cost us a bit more because we’re tired and already washing our nets in disappointment.

Where can we go deeper?

Where can we cast our nets again?

I want to encourage you, friend. Cast again in obedience. Cast again in faith. Cast again in surrender. Cast again even if it costs.

Peter’s obedience to go out where it was deeper and cast again didn’t just benefit or bless him; both boats were filled to the brink of sinking. What’s more, I think it’s fair to assume that the guys in the other boat didn’t even go out and try again as Jesus directed. The passage tells us that those in Peter’s boat had to call out for help from the other boat when they made their big catch, which likely means that they had stayed behind. But isn’t it like God to do a lot with a little? In fact, Peter tells Jesus, “Leave me, I’m too much of a sinner,” because he was so amazed at what Jesus could do. But Jesus goes on to tell him, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will fish for people.” Friends, God always wants to do more with our lives than what we expect. Peter caught the haul of his life because Jesus allowed him to, but beyond that, Jesus invited him into something even greater. Something that would last longer. God wants to bless us where we’re at and our obedience will be the catalyst for it, but believe that he has even more in store for us than we can imagine. He is inviting us into building his church, into being fishers of men in our workplaces, in our communities, in our schools, in our families, in our homes, but it requires us to go deeper, it requires us to obediently cast our nets again in the things he’s called us to–even when it makes no sense and even if others won’t come along with us.

So I ask again, where is God calling us to go where its deeper? Where is he directing you to cast your net again? Maybe you tried on your own already. Maybe you did everything you knew to do. But go where its deeper, cast again, try again, let out your net again, dream again, pray again, get into the Word again, take a chance on that business again, have faith again, believe again, engage in relationship again, forgive again, create again, get healthy again, do what you’ve been called you to do again, because guys, there’s a haul that he’s set up that’s too big for just you or for me, there are others who’s lives will will be changed by our obedience as well.

Passion for Your Purpose: Where Are Your Roots?

These next few weeks on the blog will be a series about passionately pursuing our purpose. This week I’ll be kicking off the series talking a bit about the importance of being well-rooted in the Word and in relationship with God. I pray this series is a blessing to you as it’s been to me!

x KC


Purpose.

What do you think about when you hear that word? For a long time I thought purpose was a destination of sorts, or a title. It was something ahead of me that I was meant to do. Like…be a teacher, an artist, an engineer, a doctor, a preacher, a parent, an officer. By that definition it was essentially a singular thing; a role to be played. But when we take an in-depth look at the word or the idea of “purpose” it becomes more and more obvious that our purpose or our calling isn’t a title or some singular thing, but in fact it’s a way to live. I believe there is an overarching purpose to be pursued in our lives to love God and love our neighbor with all that it entails on the day-to-day basis: loving well, serving well, stewarding our lives well, being generous, etc. I also believe there are individual purposes that God has called us to specifically, whether long-term or short-term, they were designed specifically for us to do.

Every aspect of our lives is dripping in God-purpose. Psalms 37:23 says, The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way (ESV). The NLT version puts it this way: The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. God orders our steps and cares about every, little detail. If that’s the case, whether I’m temping as a receptionist for the summer or starting my own company, there is purpose to be found and walked out where I am. We can live out our life’s purpose in every season, every situation and any role we find ourselves playing, whether permanent or temporary because our purpose isn’t just a title, its a life-style.

We’re called, gifted and anointed to do certain things specifically, but ultimately our purpose is an all-encompassing calling to live reflective of the heart of God in whatever sphere of life he sets us in, in whatever season we’re in and in the things he’s particularly graced us to do.

Paul, in his letters to the early church, touches a lot on God-defined purpose:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  Romans 12:6-8

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12: 1

From these verses we can conclude:

  1. We all have God-given purpose—the reasons for which he’s laid hold of us. Philippians 3:12
  2. We all have gifts/talents/strengths that God has given us to be used for his glory. Romans 12:6-8 We have been created and graced for these particular things. Ephesians 2:10 & 2 Corinthians 9:8
  3. We should all  diligently and persistently occupy our God-given, Kingdom-purposed domains (the race that he’s set before us). Hebrews 12:1

Knowing this, we should then occupy our domains with:

  • conviction: a fixed or firm belief 
  • zeal: fervor for a person, cause, or object; enthusiastic diligence; ardor
  • confidence: full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing

which are rooted in having a revelation of who Christ is, in his unchanging truth and knowing that he has called us all to this.

One key to being steady in our pursuit of living a purpose-filled life is to have an understanding of the “why behind the what,” in other words, having an authentic relationship with God. To live our God-purposed lives, we need to be rooted in God.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

There’s a story in the New Testament about some of the happenings in the early church. Acts 5:1-10 tells us that many were being saved and were getting a revelation of the heart of God. Because of that, they were selling their land, property, etc. and pooling together their profit to make sure that everyone was taken care of; they made sure the poor were fed and clothed and that the widows and orphans had what they needed. A husband and wife duo named Ananias and Sapphira, seeing this, were inspired to join in to be a part of this movement. They didn’t really get it, but they wanted to be in In order to do so, they sold their land, but unlike the others, they decided that they would keep a bit of the profit for themselves and deceive the leaders about it. When they presented the money to those in charge and said that it was the entirety (rather than just a portion) of their profit, they were both stricken down.

The problem here isn’t that they only gave in part–Peter specifically says that they were well in their right to give only what they wanted–their problem stemmed from this: they were inspired by the people’s revelation without actually getting the revelation for themselves. They had no roots. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to give the appearance of something on the outside that hadn’t happened on the inside. They would’ve crushed it on Instagram! Ha!

One of the lessons we can learn from Ananias and Sapphiras’s mistakes is the importance of being rooted in revelation, not just inspiration, because revelation will take you much further than inspiration ever could. Many things can kill inspiration, but nothing can kill revelation. Discouragement, disappointment, hurt, set-backs, rejection…all these things can kill inspiration and send us on a different path (think of all those failed new year’s resolutions). But revelation, when we truly are rooted in the truth of God, keeps us getting up after we stumble, it keeps us coming back after we’re disappointed. We live purpose-driven lives when we are rooted in revelation of the heart of God because our hope is anchored in him.

Revelation comes from being planted in the Word. It comes through getting to know who God is for ourselves, authentically. We have open access to him through the Bible, prayer, worship and through our Church communities. When we have a revelation of who God is and of who we are in him, we find that we don’t have to pretend to be anything, looking for opportunities to “play the part”, instead we are able to do so much more than we thought we could, living out our actual purpose in every day of our lives. If we know who he is and who we are in him, no matter where we are in life, no matter the circumstance or the title we hold, we can live a life full of purpose, just like he intends.


“Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught. Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever.”  -Tim Keller

You’re Welcome #roomatthetable

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Matthew 9:9-11 ESV


Every year for as long as I can remember, my family threw a party on Christmas day at our home. The tradition started a year before I was even born and we did it every year without fail for 26 years. I grew up part of a very tight-knit church community where we were more family than friends and everyone knew that the Wallace household would be open to all on December 25th. People brought their family, friends, neighbors–everyone was welcome.

Growing up, I remember the weeks of preparation that went into making this party happen. My dad would buy toys for all the children of our family and friends who came every year and he always bought extra gifts just in case we had unexpected visitors show up with children. My mom would spend hours cooking a ton of food the day before the party–enough to feed the at least 100 people who were sure to show up and any guests they might be bringing with them. We never sent out invitations. We never planned for seating arrangements. We knew there would be people every room. Everyone just came because they knew our doors would be open and they would be welcome.

Ending our 26 year tradition was definitely bittersweet, but we decided as a family that we would do it. The kids had all grown up, people had moved away and we were all part of a new church community. Instead, we decided we’d have a family brunch and spend the day together watching movies and playing games.

Hospitality is BIG in my family and we also knew that there would inevitably be unexpected guests showing up every year anyway and we were determined to always be ready to receive them.

One year in particular, one of my childhood besties told me that she wanted to stop by to spend a little time with the family. She asked me if her co-worker, Emily, who was new to New York and didn’t have any family or friends to spend the holiday with, could come along. She warned me that she didn’t know her very well, but that she didn’t want her to spend the holiday alone. When I gave my mom the heads up about Emily, she was determined to make it the most welcoming experience possible for her.

When they arrived, we greeted them enthusiastically with hugs and words of welcome–which in retrospect was probably a bit overwhelming for poor Emily, ha!–my mom also told Emily that she was family, that she was welcome and that our home was her home. It felt good to be able to show love to her in this way. What we intended just as a warm reception ended up being a whole lot more. You see, Emily didn’t come from an affectionate or close-knit family. At some point during the evening, she’d pulled my friend aside almost in tears saying how she’d never experienced anything like this–a family that loved each other and that actually made her feel like she was a part of it.

What Emily experienced that day obviously effected her in that moment, but it also marked me for life. I don’t tell this story as a pat on the back to my family, not at all. I tell it as a reminder and as encouragement to myself about the power of a welcoming posture. I tell it to remind both you and me that generosity of love, of welcome and of grace is what changes our life and its what can change the lives around us. We never know the weight of what someone else is carrying until we open up and offer our arms and hands.

Jesus himself is the very model of this generosity and welcome. The passage above paints us an image of a reclining Jesus. I can picture him casually kicked back at the table, surrounded by his disciples and people he’s maybe never even met, some with not so great reputations. Right? There he is, among people who were used to making others feel uncomfortable just by being around them, and he’s totally at ease, unfazed by their history, unfazed by the way society perceives them—so much so that the Bible says that tax collectors and sinners came and felt welcome to recline with him as well. How welcoming his posture must have been that people, seeing him there, felt free to come and join him at the table…that people who maybe felt they didn’t fit in anywhere else, felt right at home with him.

I love that to this very day, we can always find Jesus reclining at the table, welcoming people, cozying up to the likes of you and me: his disciples and the tax collectors and the misfits all finding their place at the table. And I love that WE get to be a part of setting that table; WE get to be a part of making room for others to join in at the table of Jesus’s grace and freedom when we open our lives, our hearts and even our homes to the people in our world.

You know, in a city like ours it’s so easy to get lost in the fast pace, in the dog eat dog culture. It’s easy to feel lonely and isolated. As we go about our everyday lives this week, let’s be thinking about how we can be generous–with our lives, our time, our finances, our friendship, our kindness–because when we give generously of our lives, we set the table for others to come RECLINE, to take a load off and find rest, community and freedom with Jesus.


“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:48‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Let’s Just Agree to Agree

There is a story in the Bible about a woman who spent 12 years of her life suffering from an inexplicable disorder that caused her to hemorrhage. Mark 5:25-34 details her ordeal–years of doctors, medicines, holistic remedies and most likely, desperation. Verse 26 says that she’d “endured much at the hands of many physicians and had spent all she had…but had grown worse.”

Could you imagine what it would be like to live 12 years suffering from a constant hemorrhage? I can’t. I mean, let’s be honest, I can barely stand having a cold for a few days. She must have been so weak, probably not able to do much on her own. Not to mention the psychological effects of the social stigma of being considered an “unclean” person.

I picture this woman searching tirelessly for remedies. Maybe having her hopes raised when she would go to a doctor who promised her a cure. Having people tell her about a new remedy that would be sure to heal her situation. I could also imagine her utter disappointment, frustration and despair when nothing worked. Doctor after doctor telling her this or that, health experts, family remedies, etc. and yet nothing changed for the better. In fact, the passage states that she’d only grown worse. I imagine her thinking to herself each time, maybe this is it? Maybe this is what will fix me?

Then Jesus came along. There was so much chatter about this man, this Rabbi, who had become so well known for performing miracles. A healer. A prophet. The real deal. Jesus. He’d been traveling and healing people. Forgiving them. Freeing them from their afflictions. Giving people with no hope a new lease on life. She, like many people in her time, was determined to meet this man who could very well be the answer she’d been looking for.

Stop and picture it for a minute…Jesus was a sensation. No one had seen anyone like him. Wherever he went, he drew crowds of hundreds and thousands. He preached messages that turned people’s ideology and theology on its head. The last would be first, the least of the these were the greatest. He spoke about loving enemies and turning cheeks. Picture this woman, unclean by Jewish standards–a pariah. Socially she was unqualified, seemingly undignified and certainly undeserving of any particular attention. And yet, here was her chance. This Rabbi who had dinner with tax collectors and had ex-prostitutes as friends….well, just maybe he’d have mercy on someone like her?

And then it happened. Verse 27 says, “after hearing about Jesus, she went up in the crowd behind him and touched his cloak.” I imagine her making her way through the obstacle of the multitude: falling, crawling, pushing and wrestling her way through the roaring crowd, with the sole intention of touching this man whom she knew to be her healer. Consider the intensity of her intention. She had to get to Jesus. She had to, because he was her last hope–her only hope.

What a remarkable moment, right? The story goes on to tell that after all the pushing and her relentless determination, she gets to Jesus and touching his cloak she was healed instantly. Jesus tells her that her faith had made her well. There’s so much at work here, but what always strikes me the most is that there was an interaction of faith–an agreement of sorts–that literally changed the course of her life.

Agreement seems like a strange word to use to describe her act of faith, but “agreement” by definition means: harmony or accordance in opinion; the absence of incompatibility between two things; consistency. You see, this woman had spent a whole lot of her life agreeing with, or in harmony and accordance in opinion with the wrong things, the wrong diagnoses and the wrong healers. That is, until she found the healer, the savior and then actively aligned herself with his truth and by faith received her healing.

Her agreement, her belief and her conviction lead her to act. She didn’t just believe, she pressed, intent on experiencing for herself the things that he said he could do. And what is faith if not taking God at his word? And as faith without works is dead, then what is faith without acting on it, living by it and pressing forward because of it?

Her’s may seem like an extreme case, but I think we find ourselves in similar situations, don’t we? Desperate for relief and seeking answers, we sometimes come into agreement with the wrong things. Thoughts like: I come from a poor family, so I’ll never experience financial health. My mom, her mom and her mom before that, suffered with depression and anxiety; that’s why I’ll always suffer with it, too. I can only attract men with emotional issues, that’s why all my relationships have failed. I’m not worthy. I can’t do better.I can’t have better. In need of an intervention, in need of healing, financial provision, hope, love, peace, inspiration, we search for a remedy everywhere.

Even as Christians, you know, “the people with all the answers” (HA!), we can often find ourselves running down a rabbit hole of faith-sucking thought processes. Thought processes that skew our view of God, our view of ourselves and those around us. Thought processes that, a lot like the woman in our story, leave us depleted and spent, yet in no better shape than when we started. But Romans 12:2 says:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What does this mean for us? We get to renew our minds by replacing our flawed thoughts with the truth of his word. We get to renew our minds and exercise our faith by aligning our thoughts with his truth, by coming into agreement or harmony with his word. Leaving behind those things that leave us feeling empty, depleted, desperate, and worse off, we get to grab hold of the “hem” of Jesus’s life changing truth.

So, this week, let’s begin to consider our agreements. Where can we be more intentional about believing God’s word over anything else? What does God say about you? What does he say about the situations that you’re in? What does he say about who He is in your life?

Here are just a few Biblical truths that we can start to come into agreement with this week:

-You don’t have to back down or retreat in the face of a challenge or difficulty. You are more than a conqueror. Romans 8:37

-There is no illness or diagnosis he can’t heal. By His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

-You aren’t alone or forgotten. He’s always with you. You are never forsaken. Deuteronomy 31:6

-In times of grief and pain, loneliness and hurt, he comes to our aid. The Holy Spirit is your comforter. John 14:26

-You are worthy. You are seen. You are enough. You are the head and not the tail. Deuteronomy 28:13

-When you feel alone, abandoned or rejected, He is closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

-In moments of anxiety, worry, despair. When you don’t know how you’ll make it through. His peace surpasses all understanding, all reasoning in every situation. Philippians 4:6-7

I believe whole-heartedly that there are agreements that need to be made in every area of our lives. God has said a lot of things concerning you and I. Let’s start agreeing with God on these things, even if it feels like no one else agrees with you for it. Agree with God for your health. Agree with God for your marriage. Agree with God for your children. Agree with God for your financial situation. Agree with God for your family’s salvation. Agree with God for your dreams.

But understand that agreeing is more than a yes, it has to be active. The woman with the issue of blood had to actively push her way through the crowd, through the naysayers, through her physical and emotional fatigue to get to the hem of Christ. For us, that can look like stepping out in faith into something you feel God has called you to–a business venture, an act of generosity, forgiving someone, taking on that new assignment, committing to getting healthier…it can also mean hoping against all hope that he’ll reconcile that relationship, heal that illness, open up doors for that dream job. Truth is, it doesn’t matter what our “issue of blood” is because at the end of the day there is a timeless truth that we can come into agreement with and grab the hem of, and that is that everything we’ll ever need is in Jesus.

So, friends, I just want to encourage today to lean in, press in, push past the obstacles and grab hold of his truth. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond what we can ever hope, dream or imagine–let’s agree with him on that and live like it.

COLOUR YOUR WORLD

Hey Friends,

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This past weekend was Hillsong Colour Conference here in NYC—it’s a global gathering of women that meets annually all over the world. Colour is always my very favorite because the heart of it is to champion, empower, equip and value women. I mean, what’s not to love, right?!⠀⠀⠀

On my way to the conference venue I got a glimpse of this stunning mosaic water tower while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge (Tom Fruin: WATERTOWER). The tower immediately caught both my eyes and my heart. This beautiful piece of art made up of different pieces of colorful glass reminded me a lot of what God can do with our broken lives. It reminded me of how he is constantly making beautiful all the broken pieces of my own life. It was also a picture of the gathering of women that I was about to walk into: a colorful room of women from all different backgrounds, ages, sizes, ethnicities, nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds, coming together like a beautiful mosaic and in so many ways forming a metaphorical water tower. Gathered together catching everything that God would pour out on us that weekend…catching it and being filled so that we can in turn pour out into our own unique worlds.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry a teensy bit as my heart absolutely leapt in anticipation of all that would take place over the weekend—it felt like actual summersaults in my chest! I love that God tugs at our hearts that way and that he meets our anticipation and exceeds our expectations. I look forward to sharing some of what God did in my own life this past weekend with you all soon.

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x

Just a Girl #SheBrave

I never really thought of myself as brave. To me, brave meant being daring–jumping out of planes, enjoying the stomach churning fright of a rollercoaster, bungee jumping…If you can’t sense the theme yet, I’m really afraid of heights. How afraid, you ask? Let’s just say I don’t even like climbing ladders.

Brave were the people who’d fearlessly run in the direction of their dreams. Brave were the confident people. Brave were the people who with no notice, were able to stand in front of a crowd and speak. I was just ordinary. Brave was definitely not me.

I didn’t consider myself to be a coward, but I just didn’t see myself as brave. Brave people had themselves figured out. They had their lives figured out. I really wanted to be like that, but there were a ton of insecurities standing in the way. The funny thing about insecurity is that it seeps into the way you portray yourself. My insecurity stemming from feelings of inadequacy made me self-conscious. So to combat the self-consciousness, I did what I could to avoid being “seen”. For me, that meant putting up a wall: a well-decorated facade that was just thick enough to keep others right where I wanted them–on the outside, unable to see all the things about me that I felt were so inadequate.

I was pretty good at it for a while, but at the heart of it, “facade” is just a fancy way of saying something’s inauthentic. And, guess what? Inauthenticity is exhausting. I wanted so much to live my ideal I-have-it-all-together-life, but what I didn’t realize was that it was coming at the expense of being who God actually made me to be.

I remember having a particularly rough time one day, I don’t even remember what it was about, but I remember I was being really hard on myself. Sometimes our instinct when we are feeling vulnerable and insecure is to be hard on ourselves, isn’t it? I remember in that moment God speaking to my heart these words that literally stopped me in my tracks and honestly changed my life, he said, You’re just a girl.

Hear me out…He wasn’t saying that I was just a girl in some backhanded, dismissive way hinting that I was inadequate, unqualified or unworthy. He was telling me that the opposite was true. He was saying, you’re just a girl…you don’t need to be Superwoman. You don’t need to have it all figured out; you don’t need to have all your ducks in a row at all times. You’re just a girl. You don’t need to be perfect–you can stop trying to be. You’re adequate just as you are.  It was a defining moment for me because not only was it freeing in the way that only God’s truth can be, but it also set me on the path to that brave life that I always wanted.

You see, I came to understand, not only on that day, but many days since, that being brave is less of an outward thing and more of an inward decision. Being brave, for me, became about giving myself the grace to be transparent and being ok with people seeing what is on the inside of me. It meant knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully and purposefully made. That God invested in the world when he made me (and when he made YOU). Being brave meant being ok with being vulnerable and even embracing my vulnerability because, after all, I’m just a girl!

Empowered by that truth, I decided to take up arms against my insecurities and areas of non-braveness by flexing my “brave” muscle and I’d do that by embracing everything that God made me to be. I’d do it by embracing all the different parts of me: the gifts he’s given me, my weird personality quirks (I’ve got a quite a few, ha!), my strengths, my weaknesses–all of it. I wasn’t going to run and I wasn’t going to hide, instead, I was going to set my life to do the things that I was made for.

It’s a journey that I’m on and its still unfolding before me. I’m learning new ways to be brave every day. I’m fighting against the urge to retreat and let old insecurities intimidate me. I don’t always win, but I’m committed to the fight. Why? Because I know there’s so much at stake and I know there’s so much on the other side of my brave.

There’s a saying that goes something like: Do it scared. If you’re not scared, you can’t be brave. I love this because it means to be brave is to overcome something. Brave is  accepting a challenge. Brave looks like saying yes even when saying no may be more comfortable or more “safe”. Brave looks like fighting to love someone who’s difficult to love. Brave is not backing down when things don’t go as planned. Brave is being willing to be flexible enough to go on the adventure with God that isn’t always what we planned for ourselves. Its accepting that there isn’t always an itinerary with dates and times and details for your life-story, and it’s learning to be ok with that! It means accepting that something may be difficult to do, but doing it anyway.

As I’m continuing to learn how to embrace brave, I’ve decided that one way I’m going to do it is by saying “yes.” I’m saying yes to the things that scare me and intimidate me–particularly to the things that are going to grow me and are a part of what God is wanting to do in my life. NO, you won’t find me bungee jumping or sky diving any time in my future–I do not believe that is God’s plan for my life, ha! However, I will embrace and exercise brave by stepping out of my comfort zone and by using my unique gifts, my awkward personality, and my God-given passions in life. I know there is no way I could ever do this on my own. I also know that I have and will fail many times, but guess what? Brave is also getting up after we fall. Brave is dusting ourselves off when we trip over our own feet. Most importantly, though, I know that God is the one who’s making me brave because he’s the one who’s called me to this life he’s set before me. He’s called you to yours too! Brave is knowing when to stop striving and learning to lean into the momentum of God’s grace.

Not long ago, I was talking to a friend about some leadership goals that we had for a group of women we were leading. I shared with her a few passages that I think are particularly encouraging for the season we were heading into:

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” Galatians 5:25MSG

I love that we not only choose this life of the Spirit, but that we get to live out the implications of it in every detail of our lives. In other words, this isn’t just a notion or a lofty idea, but rather we get to live this out authentically and empowered by God. Working out the implications of our brave, working our “yes”, working our conviction and commitment to being who God’s called us to be into every detail of our lives. How can we do it? I think that’s something we can learn from the process of sowing and reaping.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided (CHOSEN) in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 

In this context, we usually look at this when talking about our financial giving, but I believe the principle holds true across all areas of our lives. If we reap bountifully what we sow bountifully and reap sparingly what we sow sparingly, then I think we should be asking ourselves: What have I decided (chosen) in my heart to give (sow)? And how have I been sowing it? Everything I’ve been given has been given to me for the sole purpose of giving it back. Whatever God puts in me has to come through me and he doesn’t want me to sow it sparingly! He knows that he’s placed great things in all of us, beautiful things, unique things, but we need to be brave enough to sow it bountifully–not allowing insecurities or fear to hold us back from giving it all.

It’s going to look different for all of us. My brave won’t look like yours. It doesn’t have to and it shouldn’t! We all have our own facades to tear down and our own insecurities to overcome. But, we also get to sow our brave (our gifts, our talents, our creativity, our yeses, our dreams, our lives, our finances, our surrender) bountifully and cheerfully knowing that our brave makes room for things to grow and makes room for others. We can bountifully sow our brave because we’re promised a harvest that’s just as and even more bountiful.

So friends, what does brave look like for you? How can you flex your brave? How can you sow it bountifully? Can I encourage you today that you don’t have to have it all figured out, you don’t have to try to measure up to any ideal or standard, you don’t have to have all your ducks in a row–after all, you’re just a girl, and there was a girl, around two thousand years ago, who’s brave “yes brought about the biggest blessing our world has ever and will ever see. Let’s choose this year to find out just what’s on the other side of our brave.

Don’t Stop Believing!

Have you ever felt challenged to do something, like God was sending you a message loud and clear and he was using everything around you to do it? Let me give you an example: On Mondays I attend an evening class on Biblical doctrine, theology, etc. Our professor, who’s also a pastor at my church, is this super brilliant, hilarious, genius, Bible-ninja and every so often, he’ll hit us with a challenge. As we were discussing John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full,” he challenged us to write down three things that we would dare to ask God for this week. He spoke about how too often we don’t ask God for things and when we do ask, we ask for a toned down version of what we want either because we feel unworthy of the thing, unworthy of even asking or because we feel like the ask itself is just too big. Guys, that’s me in a nutshell!🙋🏾‍♀️

I started trying to think of some things that I would ask God for, but I found myself struggling to make that list, so I told myself that I’d do it later. That evening after class while preparing a SOAP that I was asked to share with my Connect Group the next morning, I found myself being challenged again. I was looking through some scriptures that I had highlighted in my Bible (well…in my Bible App, which totally still counts!) and I came across a note that I’d made about Matthew 8:5-10,13:

5When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6″Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith….13And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

The words, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” stirred me deep down inside and I was hit with the thought: If Jesus were to say to me right now, “Go and let it be done for you as you have believed,” what exactly would be done for me? For the centurion who believed in Jesus’s authority and healing power, his servant’s healing was on the other side of Jesus’s words. What would be on the other side of His words in my life? What are you believing for? Message received, God!

I believe whole-heartedly that God wants our faith (Hebrews 11:6) and that he is absolutely doing miracles everyday, but what are we believing him for? What are we asking him for? We forget that God wants to do miracles in our lives and in the people around us, but he’s asking us to believe and he’s asking us to ASK.

 ask

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. Matthew 21:22

 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:14 

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

I think its important to note that believing is more than “name it and claim it”, its more than “good vibes” and “good thoughts”. Faith is believing what God has said and responding to it with hope and expectation; its believing that Jesus is who he says he says he is and does what he says does and that he’ll do what he says he will. And because God is who he says he is (our Father, our provider, our healer, our help, our friend, our way-maker, the list goes on…), we can ask him for what we need with total confidence and even audaciousness.

Recently a famous music artist, in anticipation of an album release, took it upon himself to do a series of philanthropic deeds. One of these deeds was going to a supermarket and announcing that he would pick up the tab on everyone’s grocery haul. Sweet deal, right? Super generous! There was a lot of buzz around it and before long there were memes about how people should have made a mad dash in the supermarket picking up the most expensive items and filling their carts to the brim (a la Supermarket Sweep). Its funny, but its also exactly as it should be with our faith! Its the perfect picture of the challenge before us to have a “God is going to pick up the tab on this, so let me fill up my cart” mentality. He’s got the unlimited resources to cover even my most “extravagant” prayers–I can believe him for this!

As we wrap up this month talking about intentionality (and in this case, being intentional about believing), I’d like to share two things that we can all be believing as we move into the rest of this year:

1-We can believe that he is not finished: THE BEST IS YET TO COME: He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). The latter will be greater than the former (Hag 2:9). There’s more for all of us–this isn’t just a feel-good slogan, y’all. God is doing more and wanting to do more. There’s more fruit to be produced in our lives. There are more people he will use us to influence. There are more dreams to be realized. More people to be saved, more lives to be changed. We get to partner with him in faith, walking in the abundant life that he has for us. We can ask for more because thereis more and because he’s not finished! Let’s believe for more and for greater!

2-We can believe that he is not wasteful. THERE’S NOTHING HE CAN’T USE. He’s the ultimate redeemer of our life, of our time and of our experiences. He works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). No matter where you are in life, no matter your experience, no matter your age, there’s nothing that God can’t redeem. There’s no wasted time in God. We can believe despite disappointment and we can hope against all hope, because no moment spent waiting will be wasted!

So, friends, what are you believing for? What are some things that you are choosing to have faith for? What are some things that God has spoken over your life that you’re choosing to believe today? What are some things that you’re going to ask for in faith? Luke 1:45 says, Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promise to her. John 11:40 says, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God. What would happen if we ALL started asking and believing? How different our world could be! Let’s commit today to be audacious askers and audacious believers and let’s watch as God far exceeds anything that we can ask for or imagine.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)