I am not famous (or even moderately well known) for being a gifted chef. In fact, my daughter has told the tale of how I “burned water.” This is a gross exaggeration. I did not burn water. I simply forgot I had put some on to boil, and it all boiled away. This is very different from burning it. Really.
But even though I don’t truly enjoy cooking, I am able to apply common sense when I cook.
For example, when I make a casserole, I know enough to put things in it that I like. I put in pasta, cheese, tomatoes, cheese, onions, cheese, olives, cheese… you get the picture.
I love all those things, so I add them generously. And, no surprise, the result is that I like the casserole.
Here’s the thing I think we can often forget: when God made the recipe of you, He put in things He likes: your sense of humor, your creativity, your talent with numbers, your personality, your love of quiet moments, the way you encourage others, your fascination with puzzles and your love of adventure.
He put things in you that He likes, and the result is, He likes you. Yes. That’s right. He likes you. You’ve been told that He loves you. Now I want you to hear that He likes you, too.
When He was designing you, before He ever began the actual “knitting you together in the womb” process, He selected traits He likes. And He put lots of them in you—just like I put lots of cheese in my casseroles. (Well, casserole– singular. I only make one.)
He put those things in you on purpose, because He likes them. They please Him. That’s right. Even though there may be people who think you should talk more (or less) or who think your sense of humor is strange and your love of plaid a little weird, your Heavenly Father smiles. He likes the things He put in you. And the same way I like my cheesy casserole, He likes you. Well, actually, He likes you a whole lot more than I like the casserole, but you get what I mean.
Here’s an important connection… if you’ve ever wondered if you matter, and whether you’ll make a difference in the world, the fact that He designed you on purpose, with things in you that He likes, means the answer is “Yes!” to mattering and making a difference.
You have a purpose, and that purpose will use the “ingredients” God put in you. Some days, your purpose is to bring delight to His heart. And some days, it’s to notice what no one else notices, and take action. Other days, it’s to use your sense of humor to point a friend in His direction.
One of the most exciting things you can do is to spend some time thinking about the ingredients—err, talents and gifts—your Heavenly Father gave you. Then listen, and watch. And when opportunities arise that match even just one of your gifts, step up.
Here’s the cool part: using your gifts and talents is one of the most joy-bringing, satisfying things you’ll ever do! And when you’re making a difference in His kingdom, it’s even more rewarding.
The inspiration for this was taken in part from Psalm 139:13-18. And by the way, when I talk about His Kingdom, I am not just talking about things you can do in your church!
>Did you just roll your eyes? Listen, “Princess Perspective” has nothing to do with girly-ness. But I know from personal experience that we can sometimes have really skewed self images. So I titled this “Princess Perspective” to remind you of who you really are.
Because here’s the deal: No matter what has been done to you or by you, you are who you are NOT because of you, but because of your Father.
Let me explain… a King is a King, until and unless someone can dethrone and replace Him. Therefore, His daughter is a princess because she is the child of the King; and no matter what happens, she remains a princess until someone can dethrone and replace her Father.
So the question is, who or what can dethrone and replace your Father in Heaven? Is anything powerful enough? If your answer is No (ding ding ding!!!!) then you remain a princess, no matter what is done to you or by you. The end. (I soooo love happy endings! And this, dear friend, is the happiest!)
One of my favorite ways to get a Princess Perspective is to “personalize” scriptures. You know how God says He is no “respector of persons,” (Acts 10:34) what He’ll do for one He’ll do for another? Well, when I started “personalizing” scriptures, my perspective on who I am as His daughter totally changed!
I actually go so far as to write these personalized scriptures on note cards or sticky notes, and say them outloud to myself everyday. Sounds goofy, but what have I got to lose?
Here’s an example of one:
I will trust my Father God at all times.
It’s safe for me to pour out my heart to Him,
because He protects me!
This Princess Perspective actually comes from Ps 62:8, which says: Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. KJV
Try it, the next time you need a reality check—that is, the next time you need a Princess Perspective!
For more on self image, click here.
And don’t get me wrong: I would hear from Him, and even operated in the spiritual gifts He gave me.
But after all these years, I’ve discovered (much to my shock and dismay) that I was letting a human guide me– I pursued God (and sometimes obeyed Him) according to how this human behaved and set the example.
But here’s what is worse… I actually expected that human to get everything right– comments, situational analysis, instruction, behavior: everything. And who can live up to that kind of pressure?
Because– you know me!– if I think something, I generally share it. So, if I look to *you* to explain something to someone, and you don’t do it “right,” then I’ll give you… uh… “feedback” on that lack.
Wow. I had no idea– that was idolatry. (As well as incredibly unfair of me.)
If anyone had asked me if I practiced Idoloatry, I’d DEFINITELY have said NO! (I even objected to the contest name “American Idol!!” 😉 But it looks like I was full-out practicing idolatry–expecting a human to be my source and to get everything right.
Of course, if you’d asked me whether I truly expected someone to be right all the time, I’d have said no– and had all the examples of when this person got it wrong to prove it!
Now, I’ve helped to create a mess. (Terrific quote I heard today: God will use your “mess” to deliver the “message” and will use your “test” to create a “testimony.”)
But my God– the real one, Jesus/YahWeh/Holy Spirit/Jehovah Nissi– has come on the scene.
He has said He will clean this mess up. He will right the wrongs. He will DEFEND & SAVE.
In the meantime, He is walking me through this. And helping me re-focus on Who my Source is.
And I gotta tell you, I have never EVER seen such minute attention and concern from ANYONE as I have from my loving, heavenly Father. It has been astonishing– even though I’ve seen miracles, deliverances and experienced powerful moves of God in the past, I have NEVER seen such minute concern and ministry as I have these last 6 weeks or so.
Now– I gotta go. He’s working on changing me!
OH!!! I must must must recommend the book, Two Fleas & No Dog by Craig Hill. It’s in paperback or on audio CD. Get it asap!!! Really!!!!
Today, I read this on a blog:
“Some of you see this pain as a friend – it gets you the attention you need from others, and the thought of losing that attention can be frightening. To you, losing the attention of others means being alone and that seems unbearable. Still this is another lesson you must learn – to the degree you feel alone is the degree you depend on others for your satisfaction, value, and self worth.”
I know that we sometimes hold on to pain– or anger, or hurt– and I guess I never really thought about why, but now it seems clear.
It’s an Identity issue. (Hey– we’ve just been talking about those!!!)
Pain, Anger… these things help establish to us or to others WHO we are. “I am the one who was wounded– wrongly.” “I am the one who was done wrong.” “I am the innocent– and righteous– victim.” “I am the one whose gift is never recognized because of un-spiritual people are in charge at work or at my congregation.” “I am the one allowed to be suspicious, bitter, angry, selfish… because someone hurt me.” “I am a Christian, but I’m the body part that doesn’t have to be present when the body gets together– because the other body parts hurt me!”
How can you know when you’re holding on to pain or anger and letting it become– or at least shape– your identity?
I know that when I hold on to anger or hurt, it comes up frequently in my conversations… if you’re not as verbal as I am, then maybe you’re experiencing it as the conversations or situations you rehearse mentally, over and over again. Is that happening in your life right now? Has it happened in the past?
Letting go of those hurts and that anger allows us to begin to really believe what GOD says about us, rather than what we or others say about us.
And believing what God says about us opens doors to joy, as we begin to experience Life as He intended us to!
Not to ignore what has happened to us… we must gain the tools that help us to cope and determine to forgive (sometimes daily) so that God’s healing can come to us.
Even after we decide to forgive, the enemy often reminds us of the offense… and if we begin mentally rehearsing it, we’re right back where we started! So… remind yourself (and the enemy) outloud that you’ve decided to forgive, and cast down that vain imagination.
This is one of the toughest disciplines there is. In fact, fasting food seems easy compared to disciplining our thoughts! (Another truth from the previously mentioned blog!)
But the rewards are amazing!
Imagine truly believing that you are an HEIR– inheriting what Jesus does!!!
Imagine truly believing that you are EXPERTLY CRAFTED, of many things that PLEASE GOD!!
Imagine truly believing that you absolutely have every ounce of love He has to give– that no matter how much good you do, no matter how badly you fail or fall, He won’t love you any more than He does right now, and He won’t love you any less!!!!
If you TRULY believed– and behaved– as if all that God says about you is REAL IN YOUR LIFE, how would your life be different?
One thing is for sure: there’s more joy and more peace (wholeness– nothing missing and nothing broken) when I let go of hurt and anger, and make room for what is TRULY my identity.
And to experience it, we only have to trade in our pain and anger… that’s better than the $3k the govt is offering for trade in on cars older than 10 years!!!!!
Have you ever considered what you would do if faced with the choice to deny Jesus as Lord or die?
I think most Christians have, and that they reach the conclusion “yes,” they COULD die for Jesus. I think, if faced with the choice, “Acknowledge Him as Lord and die, but admit He is not Lord and you will live” then most Christians know they could chose Christ as Lord.
But upon further thought, I think the most important question is not whether I could die for Jesus, but whether I could give up my life for Him.
What I mean is, am I willing to give up what I want to do, and spend the time doing what He wants me to do?
Jesus said, He who would gain his life, must lose it! (Matt )
Let me frame it in a real life situation. Should I watch another rerun of That 70s Show, or should I turn the TV off and work on the Bible Study lesson I have? (2 Tim 2:15)
Should I luxuriate in bed Sunday morning, or obey His command to “forsake not the gathering together of Christians, as is the habit of some…”? (Heb 10:25)
Should I complain away about a brother or sister when they have hurt me, or should I clamp my mouth shut and take that concern to the Lord, them and my spiritual advisor if necessary? (Mt 11:25, Mt 18)
Giving up my life is NOT an easy decision. And it’s not a one-time decision. It’s a daily question. In my life, sometimes it’s a moment-by-moment question. Will I walk with Him, giving up my wants and obeying His direction? Or will I do what pleases my flesh?
Sometimes I sound like a whiny adolescent “It’s MY life!!! I should get to do what I want!”
And God lets me. Every day He lets me choose what I want most. Do I want MOST to please myself, or do I want MOST to please Him? Sometimes, I choose to do what my flesh wants; sometimes I choose to give up my life for Him. And that is when I gain everything, and truly lose nothing of value.
When I choose to do what HE wants me to, I usually end up with an almost immediate delight in the outcome! For example, when I go ahead and turn the TV of that rerun, and study to prepare the lesson, then I usually find out that something that study time revealed actually helped a friend! When I roll out of bed and attend worship services, I usually experience His presence during worship or hearing something that truly helps me in a struggle I have.
Give it some thought. After you’ve made the decision you could DIE for Him… consider whether you could give up your life for Him.