The Battle in Your Mind

Bible Study: Fight Well Week Two

Do you ever feel trapped in your own mind? Do you ever feel lost in a sea of wandering thoughts that you can't seem to control or emotions that overtake you in a moment's notice?

Fear, insecurity, shame, guilt, unworthiness, comparison... it all begins in the mind. Sure our circumstances can assist in bringing these thoughts to the forefront of our minds, but the battles themselves are fought, won and lost right in our own heads. This is one reason why I believe the bible is so adamant about us renewing our minds.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.
— Romans 12:2 MSG

This world has it's own way of thinking and by default, that is exactly how you will think, respond and be conformed to, unless you decide to take action with your mind. The Christian life is not a passive life, but it's an active life where we are constantly moving forward, allowing what is in our new spirits to bleed out into our soul, and into our daily lives. But too many of us don't take our thoughts that seriously. I mean, they're just thoughts right? How serious could this battle be?

Well let's just say it's serious enough for God to declare that our transformation in the Christian life is dependent on the degree that we renew our behavior? No... Choices? No... Church attendance? No... To the degree that we renew our minds.

I know this seems like a lot of extra effort just for our thoughts. I mean, aren't we supposed to be casting our devils, waving swords around and beating demons to the ground? We give WAY too much credit to the enemy! The only true power he has is deception, which means he can't get his grimy paws on you without you yielding your mind over to him. Because you see your thoughts lead to your emotions, which lead to your life choices, which ultimately lead you to your destiny. That's why he tries to get in your head first, then he'll have access to your journey. 

Don't give him a foothold in your life. The truth is you don't have to! You don't have to stay saved and stuck in the same old lame thoughts and tired emotions. Know the truth, take authority, and begin to act in faith, even before you feel it in the natural. That is the way the Kingdom of God works anyways. He spoke and then it became reality. Walk after the nature of your Maker and be a Daughter of Faith and Wonder, who calls the Spiritual realm into her earthly reality. 

Take up your sword and fight these battles well. You have what it takes and your journey awaits! 

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A Royal Identity

Bible Study: Fight Well Week One

What one does when faced with the truth is more difficult than you’d think.
— Diana Prince, Wonder Woman

I’ve never felt like I was much of a fighter. At least not when it came to spiritual things…

Fighting the enemy, spiritual warfare and casting down thoughts were just phrases I would hear in a Sunday sermon but never really were a part of my everyday life. To be honest, I think I used to be a bit scared to “fight the devil.” I mean, it’s the devil. I don’t want to make him mad, right?

But I believe this happened because I had the wrong focus when it came to these things. I had to stop believing that I was fighting to get something or to find something or to prove something. I had to stop thinking that I just wasn’t as strong as other women who seemed so passionate and confident. I had to stop looking through the lens of myself and start looking at what the word of God actually says. And what I found changed everything.

When we realize who we are, and Whose we are, then we are finally able to tap into a deep power that we can’t find on our own. We pull from an ancient strength that doesn’t care how holy or perfect you feel in the moment. And we finally see our enemy for the small, pathetic and un-intimidating opponent he really is.

The problem… most of us don’t know who we are! Or at the very least, we have no idea how that relates with fighting well.

This summer, I want to get into the word and take a look at the battle strategies of a Royal Daughter and how this applies to every single part of our daily lives.

You don’t need to live in fear, anxiety or worry. Instead, you can live free, confident and strong. It’s all within your reach.

Join me for video one of the Fight Well Bible Study and let me show you who you really are.

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6 Truths About Your Identity

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I’m the Kingdom’s lost Princess... Aren’t I?
— Rapunzel, Tangled

This is perhaps one of the greatest moments in all of Disney’s movies, when Rapunzel realizes she’s not a lost girl destined to live out her days in a lonely tower, but she is in fact the lost Princess, beloved, cherished and desperately needed. It’s through this revelation that she finds the strength to stand up to her captor, embrace her true identity and walk out of the prison that held her back for years.

It wasn’t because she was a woman, or because she had a spunky personality. It wasn’t until she realized who she truly was - a Royal Daughter with purpose, power and authority – that she was truly set free.

And this gets me thinking, why are we spending so much time defending ourselves as women, when all of our power comes from something much deeper, more powerful and infinitely more divine than mere gender. What if the keys that could set you free weren’t in how confident, creative, feminine or talented you came across? What if it starts from the inside, discovering Royal roots that tied you and your Heavenly Father together in unbreakable ways? Then, you would walk in all of the freedom, confidence, power, authority, creativity, and purpose than you ever have on your own.

So let’s talk about this. Who are we? What truly lives on the inside of us and how can this help us in our everyday, moment-by-moment lives?

Here are 6 truths about your identity that will bring you into the freedom you long for...

 

1. You were created in God’s image

Isn’t it such a cliché? We mumble off “I’m made in the image of Christ,” without really believing it or, perhaps, not truly understanding what this means.

In the Ancient Near East, it was believed that images actually contained the essence of that which they represented. In fact, ancient kings would put images of themselves in places in order to claim their territory, control, and rule, so their essence would be represented. So the fact that you were created in the image of God means that you are meant to bear God’s essence wherever he has placed you. You were designed to represent God and act on his behalf to this broken and hurting world. You were created to display the character and nature of God to the people He has placed in and around your life.

Being an Ambassador of Christ doesn’t just mean that you’re saved. It’s a mission. It’s an assignment. When people experience you they are meant to experience Him. This isn’t some high and lofty standard that we have to meet or God is displeased with us. No! You represent Him because He lives in you! You bear His image and if you cling to this truth and allow Him to flow through you, the image on the inside of you will begin to impact and touch everyone around you.

It’s not about how good or holy you act. It’s about who’s image you bear. Nothing can or will ever change that.

 

2. You were created in God’s likeness

Usually, we think of the terms “image” and “likeness” as basically the same thing. However, image means essence (God’s character), while likeness means a physical similarity. To put it plainly, somehow, you look like God!

But wait, how can this be true! After all, when I look in the mirror, the last thing I usually think to myself is, “oh, hey God. I didn’t notice you there.” No, usually I’m picking and prying, scrubbing, detangling and moisturizing my heart out, trying to get a different kind of image to appear. But even if you don’t have bouncy locks that tumble to the floor, remember, that never made Rapunzel a Princess.

You are who you are because of who He is. He is good. He is Royal. He is Lord. And He chose you.

Before you did anything right or good, before you were even born, God designed you to resemble him. That should give you a sense of great dignity. You are not a mistake. You are not an afterthought. In fact, it’s been said that a great work of art is a masterpiece when the artists put themself into the art. In the same way, you are a masterpiece of God’s own making.

 

3. You were created with purpose

Ever noticed that everything God made was for a purpose? The sun, moon, and stars were created to light the skies and govern the days and nights. The land was created to produce vegetation, and those plants were created to bear fruit. Even water was created with purpose—to keep us alive, and be filled with living creatures.

In the same way, you and I were created with a specific purpose in mind. If you don’t know your purpose yet, don’t worry. God isn’t trying to hide that from you. But don’t forget that this life isn’t just about the destination, for then it would be over. But it’s more about the journey ahead. And Your Father is far more interested in who you become along the way, than simply how fast you get “there.”

But living with a sense of purpose will give you the courage to move forward when other people would rather you stay put. It will bring you peace when this world says worry. And it will be your constant guide when others are loud with their plans.

Like Mother Gothel singing to her dear Rapunzel for fear of her leaving, she reminds her of all the things she is not. How she isn’t anyone important, stunning or of interest and it would be better for her to stay put where she’s safe. In the words of American Author John Augustus Shedd, “A ship at harbor is safe – but that’ s not what ships are for.” Don’t let fear, worry or other people’s opinions keep you from living from your sense of purpose.

 

4. You were created with authority

Did you know that nothing in this world can overtake you if you don’t allow it to? I know that can sound a bit harsh, and I don’ t mean it to! Life is real and it can knock us off our feet sometimes. But I think we’ve gotten a little too comfortable with the idea of being the victim that we hardly ever see any other option.

I’ve got news for you girl: if you’re stuck in that tower (whether it’s with insecurity, brokenness, gossip, envy, strife, stress, unforgiveness...) no one is going to let you out. They want you to stay there. People will support your decision to be the victim, safely locked up away from the world. It takes courage to believe by faith in who you really are, walk out of that tower and live your life free from it’s grasp.

Remember that you are worthy of the authority you possess because He is worthy. Every name must bow to the name of Jesus and you carry His name. Walk in confidence that His authority lives in you. And you are worthy to wield it.

5. You were created for great things

Too often we view the future before us through the dim lens of our spotty past. We take one look at our track record of mistakes, misunderstandings and chapters we wish we could rewrite, and then we project what we feel we deserve into our futures. Or worse, we dream of a bright future full of possibilities, but ache as our troubled hearts condemn the mere thought.

You must believe that you were created for great things despite whatever mistakes might be overwhelming you. It’s not based on what you do, but who you are. After all, this is about your identity, not your performance.

Stop limiting your own future because of your past, your fears, your worries, your doubts or your unbelief. If you believe you aren’t meant for greatness, then your life won’t go very far. Not because God is holding out on you, but faith is the substance of things HOPED for. If you don’t have any hope for a grand and meaningful future, then your faith has nothing to bring into your reality.

The attacks on your life have far more to do with who you might be in the future, than who you have been in the past. After all, Mother Gothel didn’t keep Repunzel locked in that tower because she did something bad. She was the Royal Daughter and Gothel dreaded what would happen if she were to find that out. Don’t be deceived. The enemy doesn’t attack what he is not threatened by and there something on your life that terrifies him.

 

6. You were created for your King’s delight

Have you ever thought about that? You were created to bring joy and delight to your King. Again, not by what you do (although faith does please God) but just simply because you are His daughter.  Did you know if you never did anything FOR God in your entire life, He would still love, cherish and delight in you exactly the same as He does a famous minister? If you can’t believe this, then you will always strive to be good enough to get God’s “special” attention.

You have to know that Your Father, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, delights in the mere thought of you. You are not an accident or an afterthought. You are a carefully crafted work of art that God has poured His very image, likeness, purpose, authority and great plans into. He longs to just spend time with you, hearing about your day, your hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations. He wants you to be real, open and honest. He cares about your heart and wants so desperately for you to let Him in.

In a world that is frantically looking for a source of acceptance and love, it’s more important now than ever to know who you are. But you will only find out who you truly are by getting to know who He truly is. When the world says this is who you are, that’s when you punch back and say, “No, this is who I am.” You stand up, walk out of that tower that’s been holding you back and pursue all of the great chapters that are ahead for you.

Rapuzel’s story is so inspiring because she chose to leave her tower. After all, that’s when all the greatness can begin.

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
— C.S. Lewis

Let’s leave the tower and take the Kingdom. Know who you are, stand in your identity and you will write the story of your life well.

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The Struggle to Really Be Good Enough

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Upon hearing that, her accusers slowly left the crowd one at a time, beginning with the oldest to the youngest, with a convicted conscience. Until finally, Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there in front of him. So he stood back up and said to her, ‘Dear woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?’

Looking around, she replied, ‘I see no one, Lord.’

Jesus said, ‘Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.’
— John 8:9-11 TPT

The beautiful words of Jesus never cease to amaze me.

His kindness, his generosity, his goodness, his faithfulness. He meets us right where we are and yet because he loves us so much, he refuses to let us wallow in our mess. Like a good Father, he picks us up, dusts us off and leads us down a much better path, one that will lead to happiness, joy and peace.

But that’s not quite the story that’s painted for us Christians today…

Like Martha in the kitchen, we leave our Sunday services with a conviction that the more we do for God, the more we are accepted by Him. This may feel fine when we’re doing everything we think is good, but once we make a mistake (whether big or small) the overwhelming stress of unworthiness floods our minds and hearts, to the point where we start to disqualify ourselves from the plans and even the love of God.

We have to stop thinking that it’s what we do that determines how God sees us. In fact, it’s the other way around. What you do affects how you see God. When we mess up or go off in sin, it tends to distort our perception of God. The enemy will use your mistakes to paint a blurry image of a distant God, whose ready to scold your every misstep.

This is toxic thinking and it has to stop before it takes you down a road of bitterness and resentfulness.

When I first got married, I was a never ending mess of tangled insecurities, fears and unmet expectations. The longer I wallowed in my fears, the more of a burden I felt I was to God, to my husband and all of my friends, who had to put up with my insecure mood swings and eye glares.

All along I thought I was the victim but in reality, I was doing all of this to myself! The self-defeating thoughts and attitudes were in my mind by my authority. I chose to hold on to them. I chose to accept them and ultimately, I chose to suffer in my insecurities until one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I thought to myself, “This isn’t working. I’m miserable. Either I need to change or it’s only going to get worse.”

Falling into insecurity and fear is a tricky thing, because the more time you spend as a prisoner in it’s chambers, the more you start to doubt if you’re worthy of being rescued. The freedom you long for so desperately is the one thing you discredit yourself from every receiving.

Mistakes don’t define you, but they can refine you… but only if you let them.

You weren’t saved because of something good you did or some merit you received, but because of who you put your trust in. The Christian life is a continuous journey of learning to trust on him for everything you need, want and dream about, not because of what you’ve done, but because of whose you are. “Grace” isn’t just a five letter word that got you on the nice list this year. It’s a deep magic that bound your tired soul to God’s everlasting peace and life. You are sealed by His love, bought with His blood and cared for by His faithfulness. Nothing you do will ever change that.

Should we want to do great things on this earth for Him? Of course! But not so that our picture can earn a more prominent spot on His fridge. You do that and your life will be full of stress and worry, never really knowing where you stand.

Don’t put your trust in something as fickle and uncertain as your performance. We all have bad days, seasons, years… God knew we couldn’t do it all on our own. That’s why He came on the scene and established a plan to get us back to Himself.

Like the Pharisees did with the woman caught in the act of adultery, this world will always try and tell you who you are. But if you’ll listen (or read His word) you’ll see someone else on the scene, whispering what He thinks about you. The question is, who are you going to listen to?

One condemns you without offering any solution to help, but the other bends down, lends a hand and gives you the power to live a life bigger than you could ever imagine. Jesus’ words to her are His same words to you, “Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.”

This doesn’t mean you won’t EVER sin. We all make mistakes because on this side of eternity, we’ve still got some old ways, thoughts and habits to deal with. He’s not expecting perfection from you. It’s an invitation to a life fully trusting in His ability, and not your own. He’s asking you if you’d like to join Him on the journey ahead, instead of sitting in our mess.

You make mistakes. You are not a mistake.

Stop caging yourself in to what other people have said you can and can’t do and start listening to the one voice that truly matters. Allow Him to untangle you from what’s held you back and start writing the story of your life well.

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Is Modesty Meant for Modern Girls?

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Be a girl with a mind, a woman with attitude and a lady with class.
— Anonymous

It’s a tricky line to walk.

On one hand, we all, deep down perhaps, want to be a lady, or at least know we should. Sure we can be dramatic, emotional and a bit silly but at the end of the day, those inspiring quotes we post on our bathroom mirrors in blushing pink lipstick point to the serious, sophisticated and womanly way we wish to see ourselves.

We praise girls in the church who seem strong and feminine and criticize and judge the ones who’s hem line is a bit too short. We laugh at the ones who’s outfit reminds us of that amish movie we saw on Netflix and secretly hate the girl who’s outfit is everything we want to be and more… but would never wear!

Does anyone have any earthly idea what we Christian gals are supposed to be striving for when it comes to modesty? Do we have any thought whatsoever what the word “modesty” even means in our modern world? Is it even a word we should apply to ourselves because come on, we’re not in bible times anymore, right?

How do we walk this delicate tightrope between holy and hot? What’s a girl to do when she get’s dressed in the morning and wants to look attractive but not a bimbo… do we still say that? And is it wrong for a godly gal to even WANT to look good? Where’s the dang guide book on this thing!

I believe the first place to start is in debunking the myth that modesty is strictly about the clothes you wear. For it starts far from anything you put on.

Think about it, everything in the Christian life is about transformation from the inside out. The Jews were full of laws, do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs. They were plagued by a list of rules and regulations that when Jesus came to teach them a new way to live, they kept reverting back to what they DO, when Jesus was speaking to who they WERE.

Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times? Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!
— Matthew 18:21-22 TPT

I know what you’re thinking… What the heck does forgiveness have to do with how I dress? I know, just give me a sec.

Peter thought he was going to impress Jesus by how much he was willing to forgive (an action) someone who had wronged him… seven times. Jesus was like, “Peter, come on now. You’re missing the point. There should be no end to how often you extend forgiveness to someone because it is no longer an action you must take but it will be an overflow of your identity in me.”

Everyone kept pointing to what they must do and Jesus kept pointing them back to such a high standard, it would take someone with beyond human abilities to be able to live like that. Enter, the Holy Spirit.

When you became a Christian, you didn’t just enter a club that has it’s set of rules (like in those really strict Facebook groups) about what you can and cannot do, and you are now bound to an endless life of frustration between what you really want to do and what a good Christian girl “should” do.

NO!

You were changed from the inside. Your old spirit was done away with and you were given a new spirit identical to Jesus. Yes, you are identical to Jesus… in your spirit. It’s our souls we’re workin’ on. So wouldn’t it make more sense to assume that modesty (like everything in this life) begins at a heart level and works it’s way out into how we dress, act and treat others?

It doesn’t take a skimpy outfit for a girl to be dripping with lust in her heart. A girl who’s heart is set on God while lying in a bikini on the beach, can be more modest than that girl in the maxi dress who’s heart is full of lust. Yes I said it… LUST! It’s not a dirty word but it dirties our souls. It keeps the life of God from flowing through us and hinders our growth, joy and peace.

So before we get dressed (or after, I don’t care) let’s take a quick heart check. Because if Christianity is all about the inside flowing out, then we might want to make sure our insides are lining up with what we want reflected on the outside.

If we want to live lives that represent God and become women of strength, dignity and power, then we must begin to look at what’s going on in our hearts. Because there will never be a set of rules for what clothes you should and shouldn’t wear (I think we can use a bit of common sense here too!). You weren’t called out of darkness and into His marvelous rules, but into his light. Become so familiar with it that it starts to shine out of you in everything you do, including your clothing choices.

The more time you spend in His presence, the more your soul will be conformed into His image and the more wisdom, maturity and understanding you’ll have to make the right decisions at the right time.

I’m NOT saying clothes don’t matter. But I believe the solution isn’t found in the closet, but rather in the journey our hearts are on. Spend more time focusing on what’s going on there and you’ll arrive at the place you want to be… beautiful, powerful, and inspiring other girls there’s a better way, too.

Write your story well… and hey, look good while doing it ;)

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