Check The Tag

“Something is wrong…. Something is really really wrong” I said to my mom from behind the fitting room door.

“What do you mean? Let me in.”

I welcomed my mom into the overcrowded stall with me, stepping around the clothes on the floor like hot coals. She looked at me. Up and down. Down and up. I did a little turn and stretched out my leg.

“That just isn’t right. Take em off. Let me see” she said through giggles.

I handed my mom the colorful, silky goucho pants (remember that terrible fashion trend from 2005?). One leg was too tight – the other too loose, and they seemed to crawl up in a way that isn’t flattering on anyone.

She held up these pants that I was convinced had a manufacturing flaw. We looked at the pants, then to each other, then we burst into laughter. What I thought to be a pair of goucho pants, turned out to be a single-sleeved blouse.

We laughed and laughed until we cried. It was truly one of those “stop it before I pee” moments, and to this day my mom and I retell that story with just as much laughter.

As I smile back on this moment, I can’t help but make a connection to our expectations and disappointments in life.

That blouse didn’t work as pants because it wasn’t designed to. I was asking them to fulfill a need that they were never meant to fulfill.

And isn’t that true for so many other items and areas in our lives?

You’ve got the sweet boyfriend, but still deep feelings of loneliness.

You’ve worked off the freshman 15 but still feel inadequate.

You’re approaching the first anniversary at your dream company, yet still feel a sense of discontentment.

What were once good gifts have spoiled, due to unmet expectations. This world has gotten us to trust in the illusion that we’ll be satisfied by receiving our hearts’ desires. And if we aren’t satisfied, there must be a flaw with the manufacturer. But I’m here to tell you something different: that boyfriend, the career, the ideal body weight – they weren’t designed to serve your deepest needs.

Like pre-teen Kelsee in the department store fitting room, we’ve overlooked the tags, and have mistaken the manufacturers design.

So what is the truth?

God gives us good gifts, not to satisfy our needs, but to bless us. The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). God is our provider – our Heavenly Father – who loves to gives us good gifts and treasures. But He also desires for our satisfaction to come from Him, and for the real treasure of our heart to be found in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).

I’ve heard a number of good Bible teachers say that we each have a God-sized hole in our hearts that only the Lord can fill. Your boyfriend might fill some of the hole, but not all of it. Your favorite foods to binge might fill up the space for a little while, but the satisfaction does not last.

Not only does the Lord give us good gifts, but when we seek our satisfaction in Him instead of other people and things, He will not only fill that God-sized hole, but He will leave it overflowing (Psalm 23:5). He alone has the ability to satisfy us fully and abundantly.

We’d be less disappointed if we sought satisfaction in the Giver or good gifts, rather than the gifts themselves. We’d also be less disappointed if we acknowledged the intended purpose of those good gifts in the first place.

If I had looked at the tag on the “pants” I tried on, I would have realized what the manufacturer had intended them to be- not pants at all, but a blouse.

In addition, I would have discovered where they came from, what they were made of, and how to take care of them. Everything I would need to know about those pants would have been right inside the tag. If I had taken a step back and read the tag, I would’ve missed out on a good story (that’s for sure) but I also would’ve saved myself some disappointment, because I really liked those pants.

Likewise, if you were to look at the tag inside of whatever person, or object, or life circumstance you are seeking satisfaction in, you would discover the intended purpose of the item, how to care for it, and where it came from.

I believe this tag would have the words from Romans 11:36 printed on it:

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36 ESV)

 You see… that job offer, those good grades, the sweet relationship…you didn’t receive those on your own. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

These riches are made possible through Him – through the grace of His Son, which makes the unworthy, worthy enough to receive good gifts. Hold them with an unclenched fist and a grateful heart.

And finally, the purpose: The purpose of these things, stated clearly, is to give glory and honor to the Lord. Not to satisfy the hole in your heart, but to point a spotlight of honor towards the Giver of good gifts.

When we have this awareness and conviction about the good gifts we have in our lives, we begin to see them as such- good, underserved gifts. We don’t expect these gifts to satisfy us- rather the One who gives the gifts instead.

So next time you’re feeling dissatisfied and something just feels “really wrong” check your heart and check the tag, and give glory where glory is due.

View More: http://katherinemei.pass.us/kelseereneekeitel

 

 

 

Help My Unbelief: The Link Between Jealousy And Doubt

“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 ESV).

These were the words of a desperate father, seeking help for his child who was tormented by an unclean spirit. This man had heard stories of the miraculous Jesus. He may have even seen a miracle or two firsthand. He knew that if anyone could help his son, it must be this powerful man who proclaimed to be the Son of God.

But he did not approach Jesus with confidence. “…if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

“If you can?” said Jesus. I imagine him saying it more like, “IF you can? IF? I am the Son of God! There is no IF.”

Jesus continued, “All things are possible for one who believes.”

The man replied, “I believe; help my unbelief.”

I believe; help my unbelief.

In saying this simple phrase, the man was confessing to Jesus that he believed in him and his power, but only to a certain degree – that while there was great belief within him, doubt also filled his heart.

Isn’t that so relatable? I think it especially rings true for a girl with her heart caught in a cycle of comparison – jealousy – bitterness – shame.

She wants to believe God is good. She even confesses His goodness with her mouth. But like the man in this story, her heart is filled with doubts.

When we look to the left and wish we lived a different life, or when we gaze over to the right and resent the gifts of others, we ask questions that give birth to doubt.

Is He really good?

If He is good….then why don’t I have this job?

Why am I single? Why can’t we conceive a child?

Why is my life less exciting and joyful than so-and-so’s?

If He is good, then why am I facing this adversity?

Why is my nose shaped like this? Why can’t I keep the weight off?

Why can’t I please others around me? Why am I lonely?

Why are my thighs so spongy?

If only I had ___________ like _______________.

I believe; help my unbelief. 

What I love about this encounter with Jesus in Mark 9 is that Jesus still answered the man’s request, despite his doubts. Jesus rebuked the impure spirit in the boy, casting it out, and healing him.

Although scripture doesn’t tell us exactly what happened to the man after Jesus cured his son, I like to think that witnessing this life-giving miracle gave the father a lot more faith and a little less doubt.

The Bible teaches us to ask, seek, knock; and we will receive (Luke 11:9) according to God’s good and perfect will. So here’s my challenge to you:

Approach the throne with confidence.

Confess your insecurity.

Pray for a faith that’s unwavering.

And look – not to the left or to the right, but straight forward with eyes that expect to see His glory.

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

View More: http://katherinemei.pass.us/kelseereneekeitel

From Fear To Freedom: Trading A Jealous Heart For An Abundant Life

 

That woman is so much more beautiful than me. Her skin is soft; her waist is slender… I wish I could carry myself with the same kind of natural elegance.

Why can’t I be as organized, smart, and successful as that lady?

She is the life of the party. If only I were as funny and quick on my feet as her…

If you analyze these statements of comparison and jealousy, you’ll notice an underlying presence of fear in each one:

The fear of worthlessness… of not being seen as attractive

The fear of failure… of not being a top performer in your field

The fear of loneliness… of not being accepted for who you are

If you remember the last time you felt jealous due to comparison, I’m sure you’ll notice the same kind of underlying fear. The moment we start to compare ourselves to others, we invite fear to dwell deep within our hearts. This fear takes root, and begins to grow something green inside- jealousy. And before long, we begin to take action on the jealousy in our heart.

The bitter fruit of jealousy can take many forms:

It shows itself in our attitude and the thoughts we have toward an individual.

It can be seen in our habitual behaviors, like drawing on perfectly symmetrical eyebrows each morning and cutting out carbs.

It wiggles its way into our interactions with others – the way you suddenly developed a new laugh, one that might draw a little more attention to you in the midst of your funny friends.

What seemed to be simple nuances that are very normal in our culture, become the jealous habits of a woman who is living out of fear.

But we weren’t meant to live this way. I mean, draw your eyebrows on if you want, and hit the gym of few times a week if that makes you feel good, but the moment you start to do these things out of fear, you are locking the shackles of slavery around your ankles, restricting yourself from experiencing an abundant life. The Lord has good things in store for his people. Therefore, the fear of man is not from God.

Timothy writes, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

According to God’s word, we weren’t meant to live out of fear, but out of power, love, and self-discipline.

So what does it look like to live this way, in a world that has convinced us we have to compete for our self-worth?

Living in power: Living in the power of the spirit means proclaiming truth, with authority, over the lies you hear. It means declaring the victory you have in Jesus, and boldly condemning the Father of Lies (John 8:44) back to Hell. Living in power means not living as a victim to “the typical experience of womanhood,” but living victorious, as a gal who knows her worth and stands in biblical confidence.

Living in love: Living in love means reminding yourself of the gospel everyday – that you are incredibly broken, but even more loved. It means trusting that despite your imperfections and flaws, the Creator of All Good Things calls you “my beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Living loved means finding your hope, confidence, and security in God’s love for you – rather than striving for worldly approval. Living like you’re already loved eliminates the hunt for acceptance because you’ve already found the love your heart longs for.

Living in self-discipline: Living in self-discipline means taking strategic steps to live loved, live powerfully, and live free. It means penciling in the time for quiet meditation on God’s word. It means praying before making a decision that is fueled by emotions. It means choosing God’s love over a hook-up that’ll give you a brief ego boost, and trusting more in your divine acceptance than what the number on the scale can provide. It means not stooping to the level of competition, but living in humility that is birthed by a confidence in Christ.

You see, when you live from a spirit of fear – you’ll be a slave to mankind, media, and the culture we live in. But when you live from a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline, you will be free – able to enjoy every blessing God has for you.

So my challenge for you today is to choose one: power, love, or self-discipline. Choose one attribute of the spirit to intentionally start living in, and notice how your fear begins to dissipate, and the abundance begins to flow.

With Love & Freedom,

Kelsee

2 timothy

Want to learn more about your self-worth as a woman in Christ? Check out my new devotional workbook, Worthy: 10 Days of Remembering Who God Says You Are, now available on Amazon!