Where Your Muffins Are, There Your Heart Will Be Also

A few months ago a friend asked me for my special almond cherry muffin recipe. These muffins are fabulous: perfectly moist inside, with a light, toasty top. I danced around her question, said something about emailing it to her later; and never actually got around to it, crossing my fingers that she’d forget about it.

I can’t share this recipe. I’ll be giving away something that makes me special. And what if she makes them better than me? I can’t risk that.

I refused to share this muffin recipe (which I found online…that’s right…I didn’t even develop it myself!) because that would mean giving away something that makes me special. More than my stomach, these muffins were feeding my ego, giving me a sense of value with every “Mmm these are so good!”

It’s a silly example- maybe even a little overdramatic- but the truth is we’ve all got our own muffins- a little something that makes us feel special.

Maybe it’s a make-up technique that makes your skin a special kind of flawless.  Perhaps it’s a work out regimen; if you share it, you’ll no longer have the best physique of your friend group. Maybe you have a special study strategy that helps you ace your exams every time. You can’t risk sharing this with your little sister, for the risk of losing your spot as the smart one.

We cling to our cherry muffins for dear life because what makes us special makes us valuable. And what makes us valuable makes us worthy of taking up space in the world.

We treat these specialties like they are our treasures. And God’s word has a thing or two to say about treasures.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shows the dichotomy of our two choices: worldly treasures and heavenly treasures. We can hold onto treasures of this world, such as materialistic items, work, success, money, and the opinions of man, OR treasures of heaven such as God, the Word, kingdom work, eternal relationships, worship, etc.

According to Jesus, our earthly treasures will fade. They have no eternal value. When God calls us home, my muffins and your gifts will be left outside the gates of heaven. We can’t take those in with us. But amazingly, we won’t even miss our earthly treasures because the moment we see the face of God, His glory will full-fill our every desire forever and ever.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We think we’ve got a tight hold on our treasures, but along the way they’ve constricted a death grip on our hearts- stealing our joy with every breath.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my heart to be consumed with the anxiety and pressure of maintaining my earthly treasures. I don’t want to be obsessed with competing against my sisters to be special and valuable. I want to be a woman who is so amazed by God’s treasures that I joyfully loosen my grip on all earthly things.

So to my sister with white knuckles, grasping your tray of cherry muffins, praying to God that they’ll give you the value you so desperately seek:

Loosen your grip. Take the Father’s right hand in yours, and free up the left to reach all that He has for you. You don’t need special muffins to be worthy of taking up space in His world. You’ve got a stamp of approval, sealed with the blood of Christ, and that’s more than enough.

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

P.S. Just for fun, I thought I’d share my treasured Almond Cherry Muffin recipe by Pretty Simple Sweet for you to try! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Shiran has got some great treats in store for you!

Next time you feel your fists tighten up on your special treasures of this world, consider sharing them with others and enjoy the freedom of loosening your grip and watching a friendship flourish from your self-less giving. Then you’ll experience joy in the Lord- one of His finest eternal treasures.

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Photo: Pretty Simple Sweet

 

Dear Jealous Girl, That’s Not Your Name Anymore.

I promise I wasn’t trying to click-bait you. But I knew this title would keep you reading because I see the way you label yourself. I see it in you the same way I’ve seen it in myself over the years. The stickiness of shame has your label glued so tight, that it makes opening a pickle jar look easy. This label of the past, or even the present, is restricting you from having any hope for your identity in the future.

But I’m here to tell you that the label you’re grasping onto doesn’t accurately define you.

You are not the jealous girl, the lonely girl, the depressed girl, or the pudgy girl. You’re not the damaged girl, the weak, annoying, or dumb girl.

Where do these labels come from anyways?

I think we pick up these labels as we are climbing and striving to become somebody. 

You work hard to be the pretty girl, the smart girl, the successful, funny, and likable girl. You try to be the best, or at least measure up to the girls around you, but along the way you’ve fallen short. Instead of becoming somebody, you look at the other girl’s who seem to have “arrived” and call yourself jealous girl, living as a slave to that label.

But here’s some good news: You don’t need to become somebody because you already are somebody in Christ.

If you are in Christ and have accepted Him as your Lord & Savior, you are free from those labels and can only be defined by Him. God calls you His daughter, His heir, His beloved child. You are God’s girl, and there is nothing you can do to achieve that. There is no special formula. There’s no competing or striving. He has claimed you.

God spoke through the prophet, Isaiah and said, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43)

This one sentence is so rich in its meaning and implications for us.

In the chapter just before this, Isaiah told the Israelites about the wrath that they deserve. They should be afraid because of how sinful they are, but God says do not fear because He loves and them and will redeem His people. Similarly, He won’t leave you stuck to your label or your struggles.

The wonderful thing about the word redeem in this verse is that in its original language, redeem is often used to refer to paying a ransom.

There is a price to pay in order to free a slave. God used this word to show that He would pay the highest price- which would be sending His one and only, perfect son to die a painful and humiliating criminal’s death on a cross- in order to free you and me from bondage of this world that we deserve.

When you accept the payment of Jesus, your sin no longer defines you. Instead, the grace of God, who says, “you are mine” is what defines you.

Jesus died so that you wouldn’t have to strive and fight your way to the top. He died to give you freedom from the burdens of trying to become somebody in this world. Jesus died so that you may lay that jealous girl label down at His feet and take on your title as Daughter of the King.

Lastly, He summons you by name. Not, “Come here jealous girl!” or “Hey you.” He doesn’t even holler at you by your first and middle name- you know, the way your mom did when you were about to be in big trouble. Instead, your redeemer says,

“Sweet daughter, whom I love. I have something to offer you. It was expensive for me, but it’s completely free for you. I want to give you redemption from you broken and ugly pieces. I want to give you freedom from what limits you. I created you for so much more than this world and its labels have to offer. I am giving you eternal life, which will be your hope from this dark place. And while you may still suffer here on Earth, when you meet me in eternity you’ll never cry or hurt again. You live on and on in my kingdom with my glory and my joy forever. You don’t have to accept this gift; the choice is yours. But I want you to say yes because you are my daughter and I love you.”

So jealous girl, will you exchange your sticky label of shame for your title as Daughter of the King? I think it suits you well.

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

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Loud & Proud: Celebrating Her Strengths

On this International Women’s Day, I want to tell you that your words to other women matter.

About a month ago I received a message from a girl -we’ll call her Hannah- on Instagram. Hannah is an acquaintance from high school. I can probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve interacted. Now flash forward 5 years later and that is the relationship context in which I received this message:

“You are so lovely! Keep it up with the blog, I love it.”

Contrary to what this message reads, Hannah’s words say a lot more about her than they say about me. Between the lines, I see a girl who understands her own value to the extent that she can dismiss competition and freely point out the value in others.

To me, this is what Detangled&Free is all about: It’s feeling secure enough to celebrate another woman’s strengths without fearing a personal loss. That is freedom!

I know that you notice the strengths of other women. I know, because I notice them too.

  • Every Wednesday morning I observe the strength, humility, and respectability of one of my managers at work. I notice it. I think about it. And then… like the mess in the microwave, I forget about it until the next time I’m face to face with her. But I don’t say anything.
  • I notice the poise of another woman at Target, but I pass by assuming she already knows just how beautiful she is.
  • I admire a friend’s intentionality in planning times to hang out, yet I keep that to myself.

Why don’t we share our admirations?

Giving a compliment to another, means redirecting our self-centeredness. And I’ll be the first to admit that my ego is needy! It’s easy to believe the lie that building another woman up somehow pushes yourself down.

The qualities that make her lovely…they don’t make you unlovely! That girl is not your competition. Her strengths take nothing from you. In fact, if we humble ourselves just a bit (or maybe a lot) we would see that our lives could be enriched by the strengths of others.

We could benefit from what she brings to the table. But instead, some of us are getting up from the table and finding a new one where we can reclaim our seat at the head.

I can tell you from experience, that is a lonely life.

You see, Hannah’s message meant the world to me, not because of what she said, but because of the hope I saw in her action. She had 50 good reasons not to message me. But in that moment, she recognized the importance of sisterhood and the strengths that we have in numbers.

So my challenge to you is to stay at the table, embrace the women sitting next to you, and proclaim their strengths loud and proud. I promise you’ll gain more than you could ever lose.

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

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Battle Strategy Four: Treasure The Word

“Honey you’re beautiful just the way you are.”

“You HAVE to say that; you’re my MOM.”

We’ve seen this script play out in movies, sitcoms, and our own lives. No matter how well intended and genuine a mother’s encouragement, it’s never enough to truly heal the wounds of insecurity in a daughter’s heart. Why is that?

Man’s reassurance is never enough because we were made for something divine. We were made to be satisfied by the Word of God.

You see, the battle against The Knot of jealousy, comparison, and shame is, at its core, a battle against lies.

I’d be happier if only I had what she has.

If I were like that girl, I’d be more loved. More wanted. More cherished.

If my life looked like that, I’d finally be content.

She is more valuable, more special, more pure.

When we compare ourselves to others, we open our heart to hearing these lies and digesting them as truth.

In fighting this battle, we must be prepared to combat the lies with truth.

I wish I could say that your mom’s “Honey, you’re perfect,” is enough to combat those lies. I wish I could tell you that your husband’s compliments and your best friend’s encouragement would be all that you need. I want to nod my head and say your professor’s praise, your mentor’s approval, and that cute guy who swiped right will satisfy your insecurities.

But it’s never going to be enough.

Deep down I think you know this too. You’re aware by now that no amount of human words will quench the thirst for love and security that we so desperately need to combat the lies brought on by comparison. If those words actually worked, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.

This human approval, rooted in fickle opinion and well-intended, yet imperfect love might bring temporary comfort…but like a plastic Band-Aid that wavers under a stream of water, it won’t last. Only eternal Truth can heal the deep sting of lies.

This Truth we need to fight this battle is found in the Bible, the Holy Word of God. It is so important to submerge ourselves in it day in and day out if we ever want to rise above jealousy victorious.

Even Jesus needed the Word of God when he walked the Earth as a man.

He used the scriptures of the Old Testament to fight his own battle when he was tempted in the wilderness. Check out Matthew 4:1-11 (emphasis added).

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.   “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The highlighted pieces are all excerpts of the book we now call Deuteronomy. Jesus knew the scriptures and he used them in his battle against the adversary. What an example! We can do this too!

When you start to believe that you’re less valuable than the next girl, and you wonder why you can’t be more like her, you can open your Bible and transform the script in your heart with Truth. The Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were knit together in your mother’s womb with love and purpose and value before you were born. God thought of you before you were even conceived and decided it would be good for you to be born. Unlike human opinions, these Truths about you cannot be debated. But you won’t know these truths if you don’t open your Bible.

In this battle you can rely on the waxing and waning shallow opinions of mankind, or you can believe the firm, everlasting, true word of God. The choice is yours.

But I have to tell you something that may be hard to hear: The word of God isn’t going to change your life if you aren’t studying it consistently and intentionally. Googling “encouraging scriptures” whenever you feel down isn’t going to bring you through battle. Only opening your Bible on Sunday’s isn’t going to do very much for you. Reading just Psalms or chapter 8 of Romans isn’t going to sustain you through the struggle of jealousy.

You’ve got to be in the Word consistently and intentionally. That doesn’t have to feel like homework though. Reading the Bible can actually be an act of worship! And it’s pretty difficult to dislike yourself and envy others when you’re busy worshipping the God who made you.

Here are some practical action steps you can take to start treasuring the Word:

Commit to Reading Everyday: Even 5-10 minutes a day can transform your heart. The First 5 App from Proverbs 31 is an amazing resource for getting those 5 minutes in every day!

Read a Devotional: A devotional is a great way to supplement your Bible reading and remind you to get in the word every day. One of my favorite devotionals is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Do a Study Plan: You can buy book studies at a bookstore, or you can find them online. Again, The First 5 app is great for this. I also love the She Reads Truth app!

Memorize Scripture: Find a piece that resonates with you and hide it in your heart so that you can use it when you need it most! For my personal, 3-Step Strategy of how to memorize, click Here.

Join a Bible Study or Small Group: Community provides a great opportunity for discussion and accountability in reading the Bible (amongst other benefits, like an Army of sisters)!

I hope you can take one of the action steps above to get yourself in the Word this year! It can be challenging at times, but the benefits are endless. Like Jesus, you can walk out of the wilderness of lies and deceit, full of victory and joy, one step closer to conquering the battle!

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

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