Wading Through The Tension Of Purpose & Humility

Have you ever felt the tension of preparing for a job interview- wanting to give a vivid and specific explanation of why you’d be awesome for the job, yet not wanting to brag too much? Desperately waving your resume around and shout, “Hire me! I’m awesome!” but at the same time, wanting to give God all the glory? So you give a smile and a “that was all God” response that leaves an awkward taste in your mouth?

The world has cultivated a tension that comes with trying to live a life of both purpose and humility.

We’re told that we can’t have both… that to live a life of purpose, you’ve got to be a go-getter, constantly selling yourself and raving about all that you have to offer. We’re told that a meek or humble individual will always have their dreams snatched up by the loud and proud individual.

So we turn to other humans for affirmation. And without the proper assurance, we find ourselves unfulfilled and in despair.

Why else would someone post a video of his latest random act of kindness? For affirmation and attention.

Why do we broadcast our latest accomplishments all over Instagram? To be affirmed and cheered for.

Before we know it, we’ve got the affirmation of purpose that we needed, but humility has been thrown out the window.

I’m not innocent here…words of affirmation (from The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman) is my number one way of feeling loved, and while that isn’t a bad thing, I’ve definitely teetered the line of receiving love and seeking attention.

But I KNOW that there is a better way.

John the Baptist- or as I like to call him, JB- models how to live a life of both humility and purpose. He shows us that it can be done.

JB was chosen by God to prepare the way for Jesus. He was meant to preach the good news of the coming Messiah, and encourage anyone who would listen to repent of their sins and be baptized.

John’s ministry was thriving. People would travel far from the city into the dessert to see John, hear him preach, and to be baptized by him. He spoke the word of God with conviction, passion, and urgency, and as a result, many people believed that he might actually be the messiah.

But John didn’t take the bait of worldly affirmation.

Listen to what he said…in Mark 1:7 “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to steep down and untie.”

In that time period, untying and carrying sandals would have been the job of the lowest servant. John was saying, “in comparison to the coming Messiah, I am the lowest of lows- not even fit for the job of a servant.”

In doing so, John was living his life like a neon sign, pointing straight to the glory of Christ- not himself. With every blink of the sign, he sent the message, “Don’t look at me. I can’t save you. I’m not the one you’ve been waiting for! But He is coming!”

John prepared the way and proclaimed the way.  But John did not pretend to BE the way.

I think this small picture of JB’s ministry is so rich in wisdom and guidance for us today.

JB’s ministry shows us two things.


The world tells us that in order to live a life full of purpose, we’ve got to build ourselves up. Broadcast our best qualities to the world. Stand tall and confident.

But when we find confidence in ourselves rather than in God…we open the door for insecurity and competition to enter in. We start to view ourselves as earners and deservers, rather than recipients of grace.

But John knew where he stood. He knew that despite his good work and devotion to God’s mission, he was still a sinful man in need of a savior. He preached truth with boldness, yet openly and honestly acknowledged his low stature compared to the coming King- unworthy to untie His sandals.

This was a man who was regularly teaching about repentance (or acknowledging, apologizing, and turning away from sin).

When we are regularly practicing the act of repentance in our lives, we are acknowledging two things

  1. God is holy. I am not.
  2. I need a savior. Jesus is my Lord.

This mindset puts us in our proper place. We no longer feel that we deserve praise, attention, or trophies just for participating (thanks childhood athletics). We realize what it then means to boast in Christ, rather than ourselves, because He is the savior that we so desperately need.

The words of the hymn Come Thou Fount express this mindset so eloquently:

“O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be.”

I am in debt to you, God. You owe me noting. I offer you my life.

Jesus later came to have John baptize Him.

John, being the humble guy that he was, said, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14)

John was essentially saying, “But Jesus…you are Jesus! You are the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah…and I am a poor wilderness man. I am sinful and you are not. YOU should be baptizing ME!”

JB understood that he did not deserve anything from God, except His judgment and redemptive cleansing. The great purpose JB had in his life came from understanding God’s holiness and his own unrighteousness.


We often believe that we need others to approve our purpose. I recently read a quote by Steven Furtick that said, “He who lives by the approval of others will die by the absence of the same” and I couldn’t agree more. Relying on the approval of others often leads to the death of our purpose, not the fulfillment of it.

If JB had soaked up all the affirmation and attention he was getting from the people like a sponge, his message would have likely derailed from preparing the way, to pretending to be the way. And we all know that Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6).

The praise of man could have led to JB’s destruction. But John didn’t let the sweet aroma of worldly affirmation distract him.

John had followers. But He didn’t keep a clenched fist on them. In fact, in John 1:35, we see that JB pointed out Jesus to some of his followers, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

In that moment, his followers left his side and began following Jesus instead.

John didn’t consider this a loss though, because he wasn’t interested in advancing his own kingdom. His purpose was to advance God’s kingdom! And the approval of man wasn’t needed to build that kind of kingdom.

I don’t know about you, but JB shows me that living a life of purpose is all about having our priorities straight: Acknowledging my humanity, praising God for his saving grace, and spreading that message more than advancing my own name and agenda.

John the Baptist shows me that a life of true purpose is spent in the waters and at the feet of Jesus. Doing the good, hard, and intentional work of advancing His kingdom with passion and humility. It’s the most purposeful work we could do with our lives.

I hope this was encouraging to you and gives you a few ideas to consider this week as you seek to live a life of humility and purpose!

If you’re looking for an action step to really bring this truth home, here are some ideas:

  1. Make repentance a regular aspect of your spiritual life. Reflect on your day and admit to God when you have fallen short. Thank Him for His forgiveness, and make a choice to turn from that behavior. This will increase your understanding of humility and help to develop a correct view of man and God.
  2. Regularly praise God for who He is and what He has done. Again, this will help with having a right view of God- placing Him on the throne of your life.
  3. Before you post something on social media, ask yourself some questions about why you are posting and what you are hoping to gain from that interaction. If it is for your glory, attention, or affirmation, wait 24 hours before posting, and then decide if it is right.

Now go out and live the life of purpose and freedom that God has graciously given you!

With Love & Freedom,




Humble Beginnings: A Year In Review

Hi Friend!

Today I am celebrating the first anniversary of the Detangled & Free ministry! One year ago, after a lot prayer and preparation, I launched this website with high hopes that I would be able to walk alongside women, showing them that they’re not alone in their struggles with comparison and jealousy, and that there is abundant freedom to be claimed in Christ.

All glory and thanks to God, for any good thing that has come from this little corner of the Internet!

As I reflect on this past year of ministry, and all the blessings and refinement that have come, there is one single idea that I think sums it all up:

God uses humble beginnings.

And that is what I want to encourage you with today. I’m not sure when you’ll read this, but I’m writing on January 3, a time of the year where many are promising to pursue a passion that they’ve got hidden in their heart, thinking this is my year.

Whether you’re reading in January, or several months after, I want to speak to that silent dream inside your heart- the “passion project” as my friend Kat would call it, that you’re just waiting to pull the trigger on. The one that keeps you dreaming at night (and in the daytime too). The thing you might refer to as your calling- but you’re still waiting to answer the phone.

Maybe you’re afraid to start. Maybe you’re waiting to have more knowledge, better circumstances, or a few more ducks in the row…

Today I want to encourage you that God uses humble beginnings. Humble…as in imperfect, messy, totally human, a little scary, and maybe unbelievable…humble beginnings.

How can I be so sure? I’ve seen it in my own life over the last year. But if my story isn’t convincing enough, let me remind you of someone else’s beginning.

Jesus: son of God, then son of man.

He was brought into this world on the back of a donkey, by the light of a torch, in the muck and yuck of animals, to two frightened young parents with a strange story.

He had a carpenter for a dad, and a virgin making unbelievable (literally unbelievable) claims for a mom. His family was likely the subject of city gossip wherever they went.

From the earliest years of His life, He was a threat to earthly kings. He was raised in the most humbling circumstances, later to be killed in the most humiliating.

Yet His humility and humiliation are what sat Him at the right hand of God, giving Him the most glory, and granting you and I room in the eternal kingdom of Heaven.

Hallelujah for humble beginnings!

He who knew no sin, became sin. His beginning, humble. His death humiliating.

God uses humble beginnings.

So that passion in your soul, that dream in your heart… would you consider for a moment what might happen if you took the first step of your humble beginning today?

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be fully planned. It doesn’t have to be pretty. All it takes is faith- faith as small as a mustard seed in fact.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, but would like some encouragement, I’ve got 10 Tips, Truths, and Encouragements from my first year of pursuing my own passion project to help you pursue yours. Click Here To Download.

I’m rooting for you, friend. And I’m celebrating because of you.

Thank you for reading, liking, subscribing, sharing, and supporting over the last 365 days. Together we can accomplish so much more, and I know that more women are experiencing freedom and newness in Christ because of our co-laboring together.

With Love & Freedom,



Comment below what passion project you’re going to begin! I would love to pray over you and your own humble beginning!

P.S. I’m doing a quick year-end survey, and would LOVE your feedback, so that I can serve you even better this year. Here’s the link!

Merry & Meek: How To Ditch The Dining Table Brag & Stop Competing At Christmas

“I was sitting across from my cousin who just started his med. school residency, and next to my newly engaged sister, thinking about how my latest accomplishment was finishing an entire box of mac-n-cheese while clicking Yes I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy.

“I’ve got to start emotionally preparing myself for the annual, why are you still single questions”

“It’s the baby interrogation for me!”

“What do we want? Grandkids! When do we want em? Now!”

My friends and I giggled as we joked about the dining table conversations we’ve grown to expect over the holidays. You know the ones: your cousins share their latest accomplishments, the aunts raise their eyebrows all in-synch while chiming “So when are you having kids,” and the perpetually singles dodge every mention of new dating apps. While we all roll our eyes and chuckle at this common experience, I think there’s a sting that we’d all like to avoid.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…that often brings with it a hinge of pressure that seems to sit heavier and heavier, as you grow older. As the years go by, you can’t help but to compare your life to those of your loved ones, hoping this year you’ll have something noteworthy to share- that this year grandma will be bragging about you.

Some of us internalize this comparison, taking on an identity of “family fav” or “the late bloomer” while maintaining a chipper outer appearance to mask a wound of insecurity, and an unraveling of contentment.

Others see it as a challenge, striving for the approval and applause of those who mean the most to us- loudly proclaiming our latest success, begging for affirmation like the family dog snooping for crumbs.

Regardless of which camp you belong to, wouldn’t you agree that we’d all just like a little affirmation? No one wants to feel behind and everyone wants to feel accepted.

But what if we changed our approach? What if we ditched the self-brag and left behind competition between cousins? What if instead of measuring UP to one another, we measured OUT big helpings of love and humility? How would that change your dining table dynamics?

When Jesus walked the earth, he taught his followers a revolutionary way to live. He taught that the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 19:30). He literally flips the tables on how to come out on top in the world and what true success looks like. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, he says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been conditioned to believe that meek is a bad characteristic. But biblically, that isn’t so. The Crossway ESV Study Bible describes meek as “ those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength.” In other words, a meek person doesn’t compete with the man across the table from him. A meek lady knows her identity in Christ, plants herself there in humility, and invites others to be their best selves. She isn’t intimidated by another person’s success, but celebrates the goodness of the Lord as she see’s it in others.

This Christmas, I want to challenge you to approach the dining room table talk with meekness, humility, grace, and love.

Here are 5 tips to dish out love and ditch the brag.

  1. Shift The Spotlight. We are so quick to talk about ourselves. We openly spill all that is share worthy- not sparing any details of our most exciting moments. We are quick to speak and very slow to listen. Instead of bringing every conversation back to yourself this year, ask questions.

Try: Tell me what is new in your life? How is your job going? I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to. 

  1. Celebrate Others. We’re really good at celebrating ourselves, but not so much at celebrating others. Whether you have something to celebrate or not, perhaps it is someone else’s year to be in the limelight. Instead of lamenting what you don’t have, celebrate what your family member does have. This can be difficult- especially if they’re living out the very circumstance you long for. But imagine for a moment what it must be like to be in their shoes. Celebrate God’s generosity and goodness to your family. It’s nearly impossible to praise God and be bitter simultaneously – speaking from experience.

Try: I love that God has provided you with that blessing. Wow, praise God for that! It is so neat to see what is happening in your life. I can imagine how happy you must be. I’m happy for you!

  1. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due. When given the opportunity to share about what is happening in your life, use this as a moment to point a florescent, neon sign straight to the Giver of Good Gifts. When we act as the heroes of our own story, we leave still wanting more: more praise, more wins, more good things. When we remember our place, and the Father who provides for us, we feel increasingly thankful for His grace. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” James 1:17

Try: God has been so generous to me. I’m so thankful and blessed. Yeah, I worked really hard, but God definitely provided everything I needed. 

  1. Remember Your True Identity. When reputations and bragging rights are on the line, it’s easy to lose sight of your real home and true identity. But this place is not your permanent home. It’s a stop on the way to your real residency- the one where you inherit your place in the kingdom of God. You are not Jenna, Best Student Of The Clark Family. You’re not Sam, The Family Disappointment. You’re not Alyssa, Child Of A Damaged Family. While those might be pieces of your story- they are not your identity. You are a child of the one true King, resident of the eternal heavens, and heir of the kingdom of God. Live in that identity and you’ll be less disappointed by mishaps, misjudgments, and measuring up.

Try: Yeah, I’m bummed I didn’t get the job but I know God has a plan for me. Sure, I wish things would’ve worked out with that guy, and my heart is still hurting; I’m trying not to find my identity in relationships though, so I’m not that concerned about [latest dating app]. Thanks for asking though.

  1. Prepare You Heart. If you’re reading this, and you haven’t sat down to the dining room table yet, take some time to prepare for that day! You most likely know what kind of questions you might get asked, and which siblings you might feel inferior to. As you pack your toiletries, bring along some simple answers to those hard questions. Prepare some questions of your own that shed the spotlight on others. And pray. Ask the Lord to give you grace and patience, as fragile spots might get pushed.

Try: Heavenly Father, Help me to give You glory this holiday season. Give me words that are sweet to Your ears, that build others up, and worship Your name. Humble my heart, that it would be grateful. Help me to celebrate others above myself and remove any entitlement within my heart. Remind me of who I am in You. Let Your image be sweeter to me than any identity I could create for myself in this world. Help me to lay my life down in love for those around me, just as You did for me on the cross. In your beautiful, powerful, redemptive name, Jesus. Amen.

I hope these have been some helpful tips and ideas to remember.

If you give others the spotlight, King Jesus the glory; dish out love and laughter and grace, and remember your place; I’m confident you’ll get up from the table feeling fuller than ever.

Merry Christmas! With Love & Freedom,


measuring out

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,


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