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5 “Reasons” Why I Don’t Read My Bible Every Day

INSIDE: You know you are supposed to read your Bible and pray every day but life never slows down long enough for you to make it happen. You have your excuses…I mean “reasons” for not spending time with God every day – so do I. But it’s time to move past them, friend!

We gathered around tables in the fellowship hall waiting to find out why we had all been asked to meet after service. Our church didn’t have an official women’s ministry, but the female biblical counselor was kind of the spiritual mamma bear of us all. She genuinely cared about our families, our friendships, and, most importantly, our souls. 

So when she called this meeting, we came even though no one knew why. She didn’t leave us wondering for long. As soon as we were all there, she sat in front of the group and opened with a very direct question, “How much time do you spend in your Bible every day?”

And I just couldn’t resist the chance to pop off.

In a half snarky, half teasing tone, I responded, “What time?”

Without missing a beat, she looked in my direction, pointed her finger directly at me, and said, “You been on FB today, friend?” and then turned back to the group and kept right on talking.

If a crater could have opened up in the floor and swallowed me at that moment, I wouldn’t have screamed for help. I was so embarrassed.

Here’s the thing, I knew that reading my Bible mattered but, at that time, I had plenty of excuses as to why I didn’t read it and I bet you have used at least one if not 2 or 3 of these yourself. 

(Want to get all this helpful information sent directly to your inbox where you can print it out? Click here.)

If I asked you the #1 reason you don’t spend time with God on a daily basis, what would you say? “Because I don’t have time!” If that is true for you, then you are just like most women I know…BUSY!

You will always find time for things that you enjoy. However, when the initial excitement of a new habit wears off, it suddenly becomes a lot harder to “find” time to keep up with it.

This is true of working out, eating healthier, saving money, and it is definitely true of reading your Bible and spending time with God.

How do I know? HA!! Girl, I have been there!! (You are not the only one with half-completed Bible studies and partially filled prayer journals.)

So right now, instead of finding time for God, you will make time for God.

#1 PLAN AHEAD. MAKE IT EASY.

Decide exactly which 5 mins of your day you will spend with God tomorrow and set an alarm on your phone. Then, grab your Bible, a notebook or piece of paper, and a pen. Put them where you will be spending that 5 mins. If you are at home, pause the episode and do this right now! This simple first step is small but powerful because it is you taking initiative towards making time with God a priority in your day. 

How to PLAN AHEAD:

  • Set your alarm for 5-10 min before you plan on sitting down so that you can snooze the alarm 1 time and finish up whatever you are doing.
  • Consider when you are most likely to be successful at actually having these 5 mins available and the energy to make them count.

    If mornings are hectic, don’t schedule your Quiet Time for the start of your day. If you know you usually hit a wall at 3 pm, don’t choose that time of day to try and focus. Be realistic!
  • Consider how much time you scroll FB, IG, TikTok, Twitter, or playing solitaire on your computer… whatever time-sucking addiction is. before you open it, remember that 5 min with God matters more.

I told you what a gut punch was to me when I was called out during that meeting, but only because it was so true and I knew it. So do you, friend.

How to MAKE IT EASY:

Rather than fighting the friction that makes your Quiet Time hard, reduce it.

  • If you chose the perfect spot to spend 5 min with God but your supplies are likely to get displaced during the day because they are in the way, grab a cute bag or basket to keep them in and tuck it away nearby so they are out of the way without being too far out of the way.
  • Understand that you don’t have to plan for the same 5 mins every day! If mornings are better on Mon and Wed but not Tues, Thurs and Fri, do what is best for your schedule that day and set as many alarms/reminders as needed.
  • Finally, if you find that you are constantly getting distracted by notifications on your phone, consider putting it on silent or sticking it in a drawer to make it less tempting to pick up. (Does this make you anxious? As hard as it is to imagine, the world will keep on spinning without you being available for 5 min. Promise 😉)

Trying something different is better than giving up so tweak your plan and keep going, even if that means missing a day and getting back on track the next.

Here comes excuse #2. Do you have a neverending To-Do List? You know the one that you never actually cross anything off of because the tasks are all reoccurring:

  • By the time you get the laundry done, there is more to be washed, folded, and put away.
  • You get everything prepared for this week’s meeting, but there is always another one coming up.
  • And why, oh why, does your family insist on eating dinner every single night?!

You may have learned that adding “Quiet Time” to this list never works. Why? Because when it is just another thing you need to “get done,” you don’t prioritize it the way you should.

God’s not going anywhere, right? So it makes sense to take care of the more immediate needs and get to your Bible later…maybe…but probably not. Or, if you do sit down with your Bible, your ToDo list is fighting for your thoughts, making it impossible to actually get anything out of your Quiet Time.

And at the end of the day, either you feel guilty for choosing chores or work instead of time with God OR frustrated that you didn’t get anything out of the time you did spend reading your Bible.

U-G-H! It’s like you can’t win!! Though you may not have verbalized quite in this way before, you know it is how you feel. So how do you get past it?

Your WHY is what will motivate you on the days you don’t want to do what you need to do. This is true no matter what the goal is and that means it is true of growing your relationship with God too.

#2 ESTABLISH YOUR “WHY”

During your 5 min tomorrow, sit down where you gathered your supplies, grab that notebook or sheet of paper and write down an honest answer to this question…

“Why do I want or need to grow my relationship with the Lord? Why does it matter to me? Pour your heart out, friend. It doesn’t have to sound spiritual! How will being closer to God help you become the mom, wife, and woman you want to be?

Your reason doesn’t have to be pretty. It just needs to be honest. But the motivation behind growing your relationship with God can’t just be about “getting it done.” It has to come from being honest about who you are without Him and who you want to become through Him.

Now we can tackle what is likely the most frustrating struggle we busy moms face — squirrel brain!

Has this ever happened to you?

You read the verses, come to the end of the passage, and realize you haven’t taken in a single word. So you go back and start again but it is the same result. You want to pay attention, but you are thinking about the errands you need to run that day. Or maybe you are reliving a conversation (or fight) you had yesterday.

Or you didn’t sleep well last night and there isn’t a cup of coffee in the world strong enough to make you feel alert!

One of the biggest struggles many of us face is not being able to quiet our minds long enough to focus on what we are reading in our Bibles. Hello excuse #3!

So should you just give up? Unfortunately, I often did until I discovered the solution. How do you beat excuse # 3?

#3 WRITE OUT THE SCRIPTURE

Why write it rather than just read it?

The process of writing helps slow your brain down so you can focus on the words and help you actually connect with the Scripture you are studying.

Reading, writing, and rereading what you wrote will make it easier to understand and recall the verses later, even if you don’t remember them word for word.

How do I know it actually makes a difference? Besides my own personal experience, responses from women who have applied this practice to their daily Quite Time through my Find Your Faith study tell me they agree. I will put some of their comments in the show notes just in case you don’t believe me.

While you are on my website checking out the legitimacy of my claim that writing scripture is a huge help, you can sign up for the FREE 5 day email series that walks you through all the excuses we are talking about in this episode along with actionable steps to get past them. To make this particular step even easier, I also provide you a PDF download with 33 verses broken down by topics like stress vs peace, contentment, relationships, and more that you can choose from.

Okay, now we are going to dive into what I believe are the 2 most painful excuses we face when trying to grow closer to God —

Excuse #4 – not understanding what the Scripture means.
Excuse #5 – not knowing to actually apply it to our daily lives. 

Friend, I have cried in frustration over these very struggles. My heart has desperately wanted to understand God’s Word but the Spirit just wasn’t moving in me.

The verses I was reading were just words on the page instead of life-giving nourishment for my hungry soul and I didn’t know what do to about it. And if I didn’t understand the Bible, how the heck was I supposed to live it out while caring for my family, serving in my church, running my business, and fostering friendships with other women?!

Can you relate?

While it is true that the Holy Spirit opens the Scriptures up to us, I have come to learn that He often requires us to put in a little effort.

Answering three simple questions will help you to be more sensitive to what God wants to reveal to you and will help you beat these excuses of “I don’t understand it” and “It doesn’t apply to my life today.”

#4 Answer the questions: WHAT? SO WHAT? NOW WHAT?

What does this passage of scripture say? Just summarize it in your own words. You don’t need to rewrite the Bible, just jot down the main idea of the verse.

If this is still hard, circle words that stand out to you. Look up their definitions and use some synonyms for them. You can also read the verses that come just before the passage you are studying and just after it for context and comparison. 

The Bible was written by men but inspired by God and there is not a single word in it that doesn’t have significance to you right now, in your daily life, right in the middle of the chaos.

So next, answer the question “why does (or should) this passage matter? Why do I care?”

Need some help connecting those dots? Use one of the following prompts:

  • The example here that I should follow is…
  • The error here that I should avoid is…
  • The Truth about God that I am learning is…
  • The Truth about man (humans in general) that this passage reveals is…
  • What I see God doing for His people is…

Again, all of this is in the 5 day email series so if you like it but won’t remember it 5 mins from now (my hand is up), there is a link in the show notes where you can sign up to get this all sent directly to you!

Finally NOW WHAT? Once you know the main idea of the verse and understand why it should matter to you, answer the questions:

  • If I believed that was really true, does my life reflect that?
  • IWhere’s the proof? If not, what needs to change about my life today so that I can live it out?”

Friend, this might be a hard question to answer, but not because you don’t know the answer. It may be hard because you might not like the answer you come up with.

But this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where the transformation happens.

This is spiritual growth.

There was a time in my walk with God that I was so spiritually dry, I had absolutely nothing to draw from. I would stare at the Bible page in front of me and beg God to show up because I couldn’t hear Him.

If this is you today, be encouraged.

Satan would absolutely love to convince you that God’s Word is irrelevant. He wants you to believe that it is just an old book that was intended for the people of “old times.”

Satan wants you to believe that the Bible doesn’t apply to your life. DON’T BELIEVE HIM!!!

One day at a time, with a few verses at a time, and really awkward prayers most of the time, I started to gain small insights and started to catch brief glimpses of God.

Like drips in an empty bucket, slowly, oh so very slowly, He began to fill me up.

When you sign up for the email series and get the pdf that breaks up this process that I shared today into little 5 min “pow-wows” with God, 5 days a week, it may not seem like you are doing much, But the small intentional choice you make each day will have a huge impact over time.

Developing this habit that will affect more than just your life, but the lives of those around you.

When you are close to God, you will feel the Holy Spirit working in your heart:

  • affecting your decisions,
  • shaping your responses,
  • and changing your perspective regarding your circumstances.

And others will take notice. The transformation that occurs in you as God moves you from where you are now to where He wants you to be spiritually is impossible to ignore.  It is the kind of transformation that saves marriages, breaks generational sins, and shines the light of Truth into a culture that is covered in darkness.

Remember, spiritual growth is not a destination, it is a journey. And while we are on it, God will continue to remind us that His grace is more important than our perfection.

2 Ways God Cares for You During Hard Times

Transcript for Special Series Episode 1: Hagar’s Story
We all experience trials and challenges in life. It is easy to wonder if God sees what we are going through. In this podcast episode, I share what we learn about how God takes care of us during times of struggle. Rather listen? Click here.

Meet Hagar

I sat there under the tree feeling too exhausted to take another step. My back ached from walking for hours. I was far enough along in my pregnancy that the weight of my belly made almost any movement uncomfortable, let alone the journey I was on. Last night was horrible. My mistress had been so cruel and I am afraid for myself and my baby. I decided I had no choice but to make a run for it. So I waited until everyone in the household was asleep, gathered what little supplies I could carry, and fled.

My name is Hagar.

Not too long ago, my mistress came to me and said she was giving me to Abraham to be his wife so that I could bear him a son. This wasn’t the life I chose for myself, but as a foreign slave, it’s not like I had a choice. 

So I became the wife of my master, was taken into his bed, and became pregnant. At first, I was excited by the news, I was going to give Abraham the heir he desperately wanted. But as my pregnancy wore on, I became more protective over the baby that was growing inside me. Why should I continue to be the servant? If Sari couldn’t conceive her own baby, clearly she didn’t deserve one. This was MY child and I wasn’t willing to just pass it over to her to claim as her own.

More than that, I am capable of bearing more children for Abraham and she isn’t. I didn’t see why should I continue to be considered beneath her. I had hoped Abraham would see it this way too, but he has never stepped in to defend me when Sari treats me as if nothing about my status had changed. In fact, he avoids me and she just kept treating me worse and worse. I couldn’t bear it another moment. I had to leave.

So here I am. A young, pregnant Egyptian, in the middle of the desert far from home. I have nowhere to go and only enough food to survive a day or two. I have no idea how my baby and I will survive.

The following is an excerpt from Session 1 of the audio devotional series Six Things God Cultivates in the Midst of Hardship

Has God turned His back on you? Does He not see your struggles? Not hear you crying? Does He not care about your hurt? 

Have you ever asked God if knows what you’re going through? And if He does, why He isn’t doing anything about it? 

I have. In fact, one day, I abruptly asked this question of my friend, who is a biblical counselor. She just smiled and said, ”You know friend, the Bible says…”

And then she brought me to Romans 5:3-5

More than that, we REJOICE in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Wait…what? Did that verse say what I think it just said? That we can REJOICE in our sufferings? I’m confused. Last time I checked, suffering was miserable, painful either emotionally or physically or both and I’d much rather avoid it whenever possible. And rejoicing means finding delight and even celebrating something. So what Paul is telling us in these verses is that we can celebrate our pain and misery. Is that right? Can that seriously be true? 

Well, no, not for everyone, but for Believers in Christ Jesus, yes, it is completely true.

In this devotional series, we will unpack these verses so that you can see what God has to say about your current situation and how He is using your circumstances to grow your relationship with Him. I don’t know exactly what you are going through right now, but He does. And, no matter the details, God is faithful and he NEVER turns His back on His children. He is good and His plans for us are good – even when we don’t understand them.

These verses from Romans reveal 6 specific things God is cultivating through your hardship, did you catch them? If not, don’t worry! That is what we are going to do together. And as we take this time each day, my hope is that you will feel God begin to work in your heart.

Now, please notice, I did NOT say that God would work in your circumstances because that is not a promise I can make nor one that God makes. He does not promise to make life easy or to make difficult situations less difficult. He does not promise to change your circumstances. But what He DOES promise is that He will change you and THAT, my friend, changes everything else.

Want to hear more? Be sure to check the show notes to learn how you can listen to the rest of Session 1, along with the entire audio devotional.

So what happened to Hagar? Let’s read Gen 14:7-10 and find out.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”

This was a short conversation but there are two incredible things we can learn about how God cares for us amid trials.

First, notice that God came to Hagar.

The Bible says that the angel of the Lord FOUND her. Time and time again, we read in the Bible that God comes to women in the middle of their mess. While there a number of reasons for that, in this case, He comes to Hagar because she doesn’t know where to go. Hagar is lost and desperately needs to be found. 

Has this ever been true of you? Maybe not physically, but you come to a point of grief or pain or mental exhaustion where you finally collapse and are ready to give up because you have no idea how to climb out of the pit you have fallen into? Have you ever heard God call out to you in this moment?

In the first episode of the Grace Over Perfection podcast (The Day I SCREAMED at God), I share the morning when I reached my breaking point. For me, it wasn’t exhaustion brought on by sadness or worry, but by anger. You can listen to that episode to hear my story about the day I screamed at God and how He responded. No matter our reason for being lost, the good news is that God comes to us when we can’t find Him. Sometimes His presence is loud and clear and other times it is hard to hear His whisper but He is there, friend. You may need to quiet your soul long enough to hear Him.

Second, He asks Hagar a question, but not because He doesn’t know the answer.

He wants Hagar to be aware of her actions, the part she has played in the current situation she finds herself in. In her response, she both admits and defends herself with one word. She describes her actions as “fleeing” which means that she willingly left but it was because she felt she had no other choice. 

Perhaps you have walked through or are going through a hardship right now that is completely autonomous. There are certainly cases that cause us immense pain that we could not have prevented. 

But have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation that you kind of, sort of, maybe just a little bit had some responsibility creating? And perhaps you would argue, like Hagar, that you had no choice but to take the actions you took that landed you where you are. This could be a marriage that is falling apart. A job that is unfulfilling. A relationship with someone who was once close is now slipping away. A ministry that is failing. 

What is God’s response to us in any of these situations?

What was His response to Hagar? “Return and submit.”

Ugh! Really? Go back and willingly be subject to the misery? Is that really what God says to Hagar? Yes. And He is saying it to you and me too. Provided you are not in danger of physical harm, God is telling you to stay put right in the middle of the sorrow and the suffering. Stay in the storm. But that is not ALL He says. 

The Lord makes Hagar a promise for the future. A promise that she can cling to in the midst of the misery and He makes a promise to you as well. Friend, just like Hagar, God sees you. He knows what you are going through. There is a purpose for the pain you experience in this life and there are blessings on the other side of it if you are willing to trust and obey Him.

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing, for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

Genesis 16:13 English Standard Version

I hope you were blessed by Hagar’s story today. You can read her entire story in Genesis here. Stick with me all month as we meet 5 more women who each experience their own hardship and learn how God meets the needs of each one in her unique circumstances. 

Remember, spiritual growth is a journey, not a destination. And while we are on it, God will continue to remind us that His grace is more important than our perfection.

3 Simple Questions That Will Help You Stop Avoiding Your Call to Serve in Ministry

INSIDE: You know you are supposed to serve in ministry, but does it seems like a burden rather than a blessing? Do you avoid it altogether? Learn how to get past these feelings and serve with joy!

The pastor had just dismissed us from service. I quickly gathered up my 5 children and headed home for lunch. There was a Children’s Ministry Volunteer meeting after church that I did not want to attend. Later that afternoon, my husband and I were attending a church leadership class and the Children’s Ministry leader approached me. “I missed you at the meeting today. But no big deal, I have copies of the papers for you.”

Uhmmm…this was about to get awkward.

“I’m sorry, but no thanks. I didn’t attend the meeting because I don’t have any desire to serve in the Children’s Ministry right now.”

While he was visibly shocked at first, he handled it graciously and assured me he didn’t want me to be a part of it if I wasn’t truly interested. He never brought it up again and pleasantly took my children off my hands each Sunday with a smile on his face. 

Whew! Dodged that bullet, right? Well, maybe.

Was I wrong to not want to serve in Children’s Ministry?

Was I being selfish? After all, I have 5 kids who are all being taken care of each week. Aren’t I kind of obligated?

On the other hand, why it is always assumed that I should be serving in the Children’s Ministry just because I have 5 kids?! Maybe, just maybe, I need a break!

Why is it that women, mom’s in particular, are the ones that are always asked to teach the kids SS class, run Children’s Church, and hold babies in the nursery?  But this isn’t just about changing diapers and passing out Bible hero coloring sheets. 

Many women struggle with this sense of obligation and end up serving in ministry out of guilt rather than calling.

Are you one of them? Or are you one of the ones that ducks out quickly to avoid being roped in like I did that day after church?

The fact is, friend, serving is not optional.

As a Christian, you are called to serve your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17 English Standard Version

Now, we know that when we read these verses in context, they are definitely NOT saying that you must do works in order to be saved. But rather that if you are saved, it will be your natural inclination to want to do good works. In other words, if you are saved, you should serve because you should want to serve. 

So why don’t you feel that way?

There are 2 main reasons.

The first is that you are worn out! Whether it is physical exhaustion or illness, emotional weariness, or spiritual emptiness, there are times in your life where you cannot pour out anymore because you need to be filled back up. And that is okay. Sometimes, you just need to step back, take a break, and rest up.

But the 2nd reason can often be the root of the first. 

Here is what I mean:

The reason I hadn’t wanted to serve in Children’s Ministry in our new church was that I had served in this particular ministry for so long in our previous church and really didn’t enjoy it. I served because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to. There was some guilt mingled with some pride and, though I didn’t do a bad job, I wasn’t joyful and certainly didn’t have a servant’s heart about it. 

Can you relate?

But God doesn’t just want you to check the boxes, He wants your heart.

It is not what you do so much as why you do it that matters! When you serve for the wrong reasons, you do it on your own strength which means that it is only a matter of time before you can’t do it any longer. And if you are foolish enough to continue serving once you are out of strength, like I did, you will become ornery and even bitter. 

Can this really be avoided? I mean, the verse in James is just one of many that affirm our need to serve. So what can be done if you don’t want to serve in ministry?

3 Simpe Questions that will help you stop avoiding your call to serve in ministry

1 – What am I good at? 

Now don’t go shrugging this question off like you aren’t good at anything so there is no point in asking!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

1 Peter 4:10 English Standard Version

The Bible tells us that God has given every person gifts that He intends for them to use to His glory.

Are you musically inclined? Can you teach? Are you a good cook? Do you have a knack for making others feel comfortable? Can you write, sew, or change a light bulb?

Maybe your gift isn’t just a talent, but something more tangible. Do you have spare time? Room in your car? Extra income that can be shared?

Set a timer for 5 min and make a list of anything and everything you can possibly think of that you are naturally good at or physically have that you can share.

2 – What am I excited about? And what am I not?

Now, this may sound similar to question #1, but it differs in an important way. For example, two gifts God has given me are my ability to teach and my transparency. Combine this with my excitement about being in groups of people and you will find that I am a willing and able Women’s Ministry leader or ladies Bible study teacher.

That being said, I really don’t enjoy being with groups of kids. In fact, other than my own, I rather avoid this at all cost! So serving in children’s ministry has never been something that I have really enjoyed. That was why I only lasted a short time before regretting taking on that responsibility. 

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Romans 12:11 English Standard Version

So what is it that you genuinely enjoy doing? Are you a people person who feels energized by large groups or is one-on-one more your thing? Are you someone who doesn’t mind being in front of the assembly or are you more of a behind the scenes gal? Do you feel a deep sense of compassion for a particular age group?

Take another 5 mins and jot down things that you really like doing in general. Then try to think about how they might be used as your serve in ministry.

3 – Where am I needed?

Okay, this is the last question that ultimately ties everything together. Once you have combined your gifts and talents with what you are passionate about, it is time to see if there is a ministry for that combination. If there is, ask if they are in need of your help! Easy peasy, right?

If there isn’t currently a ministry that fits your gifting and passion, but you feel like you are up for taking on the weight of starting this ministry, talk to your pastor.

I have a friend who feels passionate about foster care but cannot foster herself so she started a closet ministry for foster parents in a spare bedroom in her house. She collects clothes and supplies for all ages, organizes them, and stores them. Then, when foster families in the area have needs, they reach out to her and she is able to help.

But what about when there is no ministry and you don’t want to or can’t start one? Or when the ministry you would love to serve in just doesn’t need your talents at this moment? Or, worse yet, what if there is a BIGGER need in a ministry you don’t want to serve in?

Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:4 English Standard Version

A mere 6 months after that conversation with the Children’s Ministry leader, Covid hit. Our church, like many others, had to stop meeting and many staff members had their responsibilities reduced or shifted in a new direction. As the reopening process began to take shape, it ended up that our small church campus had no one to run the Children’s Ministry. 

Can you guess what happened next? 

I was approached by one of the pastors and asked to step up. My experience leading this ministry in my previous church, along with my organizational skills and teaching ability made me an obvious choice. I kind of saw this coming and had already felt a softening in my heart from the Lord so I accepted the position. I then began to pray that God would give me the heart to serve for His glory and He has!

Will God keep me here for the long haul? I don’t know. I would still love to be a part of leadership in Women’s Ministry someday, but as long as God has me with the kidos, I will serve to the best of my ability because it is not about me and what I want.

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.

1 Sam 12:24 English Standard Version

Ultimately, serving in ministry is about Him and what He wants for you!

What is that exactly? For you to die daily to your desires and seek His will for your life.

So, do you love to sing, but carry a tune in a bucket? Don’t feel confident about teaching or leading? Not called to head out on the next mission trip?

The most obvious ministries are not the only places there are opportunities to serve. Here are something other ways you might consider serving:

  • Printing and folding bulletins
  • Preparing meals for group meetings or freezer meals to be passed out when members are in need
  • Volunteer with the finance committee
  • Work with the tech people (Seriously, you don’t have to be very tech-savvy! They often just need someone who can press the spacebar to change the slide.)
  • Seasonally deep cleaning the building
  • Visiting those that cannot attend church for some reason or provide transportation to a member that cannot drive, whether that is to church, doctor appts or just the store
  • Writing notes of encouragement to members (I STILL have a card that was sent to me years ago just letting me know I was a good mom and to keep doing what I was doing even on hard days.)
  • Open your home up for a place where groups can meet (That doesn’t mean you have to be the leader, but being the host helps to lighten the leader’s load.)
  • Offering to babysit for a mom with young kids so she can have just 2 hours to herself once a week, or just offer to visit to have coffee and chat so she can interact with an adult

Though our call to serve should start in the local church body, it isn’t limited to there alone.

There are lots of community ministries like pregnancy centers, battered women’s shelters, soup kitchens, and similar organizations that are often in need of extra hands. Just because your church isn’t affiliated with a particular organization, it doesn’t mean God can’t use you there so be open to whatever opportunities He provides!

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 English Standard Version

Are you already serving in a ministry and feel like it is failing? Check out this post 3 Terrible Ways to Measure Your Ministry for encouragement.

Friend, you and I are called to serve our fellow Christian brothers and sisters as well as a world that does not know Jesus but that may come to know Him because of the works they see you doing.

So let your light shine before others as you point to the source of the light that is within you, Jesus.

Learn more about the Discover Your True Identity Journal
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Do you feel like you need to be in control ALL the time?

Inside: Being organized, making plans, writing lists, and having routines are all good things until we take them to an extreme. It’s time to get to the bottom of why you feel the need to be in control of everything all the time and then do something about it.

I was so proud of myself. It was the beginning of a new school year which meant getting back into a predictable routine and I love routine! Kid #3 was entering the 1st grade that year and, because she is a bit of a daydreamer, I thought it would be helpful to create a chart for her to follow each morning, afternoon, and evening. Read the list, complete the tasks in order, and BOOM! She would stay on track and things would go smoothly day after day. I even included times on the chart so she could make sure she was progressing quickly enough.

GO MOM, right?!

Can you guess how this turned out?

Have you ever tried to herd a swarm of butterflies? Of course not! Who would take on such a foolish and frustrating endeavor?! Well, my chart proved to be equally foolish and frustrating. It’s not that it wasn’t a good idea to provide her with structure. The problem was that I gave her zero wiggle room. If she deviated from the chart in any way, I freaked out. I had created the “perfect routine” for her and demanded she stick to it exactly.

My need to be in control of her every move was keeping me from enjoying what made my daughter special. I wasn’t enjoying her.

And it wasn’t just my daughter I wanted to be in control of. I had a schedule blocked out for myself each day as well. I predetermined the days I would run errands, do laundry, and see friends. My meal planning process took 3 days and involved 5-6 cookbooks, weekly ads from 3 different stores, and a grocery list that was organized based on the aisles at Walmart.

If my day didn’t go as well as I wanted, I just assumed it was because I didn’t maintain control over some detail. I was determined to do a better job the next day and the day after that. My entire life was one massive checklist and my happiness was solely based on how much I was able to achieve. Days when I accomplished a lot, I was on cloud nine! Days when I didn’t, I was miserable.

Can you relate?!

What is the source of this need to be in control all the time?

The Bible tells us that, as Christian women, we should strive to be self-controlled and disciplined. And these are good things, but when we take them to an extreme, they actually become sinful!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 English Standard Version

Our need to be in control of our children, our marriage, and our circumstances, in general, is rooted in the fact that we just don’t trust God to do what He says He will do! Our fear of giving up control is based on our lack of trust in the creator of the universe to be in control of the universe He created!

We don’t believe that He is capable of making good things come from the mistakes made by ourselves or others.

Have you ever said (or thought), “If I don’t get it done, it won’t get done.”
Or how about, “If it doesn’t get done my way, it won’t be done good enough.”

(GUILTY!!!!)

When we do that, what we are really saying is that God is not able to make things right. We have to do it ourselves.

The problem is we end up demanding perfection from ourselves and others. And that is just not possible! Then our need for control causes us to act in sinful ways that bring out the worst in us.

We get frustrated and then angry. Instead of cultivating peace in our circumstances, we increase the stress level of a situation because we don’t extend grace and mercy to others, particularly our husbands and children. We may be loving on the “good days” but our affections depend on our mood, not on the recipients’ needs.

So what we do about it?

It starts by confessing our need to be in control as sin, and accepting God’s grace and forgiveness through His son, Jesus. Then we repent, that is, we commit to turning away from our controlling behavior and ask the Holy Spirit to change us.

Sounds easy enough, right? HA!

If you don’t hover over your kids, will they misbehave or become lazy? What if you aren’t nit-picky about chores and routines, will your house become dirty and chaotic? What if you don’t obsess over your budget and you run out of money before month?

Is the idea of giving up control scary?

Friend, this is not an overnight process! Change takes time. There will be some areas where you are able to give up control more quickly than others. Some days you will go with the flow and then there will be days you will freak out over insignificant details. But, little by little, you will come to accept that you do not need to be in control of your circumstances all the time.

Eventually, you will even learn to find peace in the midst of the struggles because you are fully trusting in God to work everything out for your good.

So friend, confess your sin. Pray for strength to change. And remember that being organized, making plans, writing lists, and having routines are all good things as long as you live by grace and not perfection.


You can watch my video post HERE to hear more details about my personal story and my fear of not being in control.


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How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

INSIDE: Does the fear of failure paralyze you? It doesn’t have to! We can learn from Joshua how to overcome this fear by relying on the Lord. (Adapted from the 60 Day Journey through the Bible Challenge: Day 17)

Have you taken the Enneagram personailty test? I did and the results crushed me. It’s not that it told me anything I didn’t already know. I am a 3, an Achiever. This came as no surprise. However, the way the report laid out my personality with such black & white certainty made me feel so “pegged.”   

It’s not everything it said about my personality was bad.

The hard part was when the report revealed my biggest fear…the FEAR OF FAILURE. 

NAILED IT! Ugh!!

Actually, the truth is that I wasn’t always afraid of failure. In my 20’s and 30’s, I didn’t even think it was an option. I was constantly setting goals and working towards them. I overcame obstacles with youthful, and perhaps foolish, resilience. There was no mountain too high that I didn’t think I could climb!

Now I am in my 40’s and I’m finding that I am much more afraid to fail than I ever was before. But why?

It is because I now understand that God has a purpose for me and each step that I take that is not in the right direction will lead me away from His plans for me.

I want to be careful to follow the right path, make the right choices, and pursue the right calling so that I can bring God glory in all that do.

Do you feel this way too? If so, you are in good company (and I don’t just mean me!).

After 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness and then mourning the death of Moses, it is finally time for the Israelites to head into the Promised Land.

But first, Israel needed a new leader.

You may recall a man named Joshua.

In Ex 17, he “did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek.” God specifically tells Moses to write down the results of that battle “in the ears of Joshua.”

Then, Ex 32, Joshua is with Moses when he comes down the mountain and discovers the people worshiping the golden calf.

In Num 13, we discover Joshua was among the 12 spies that Moses originally sent into the Promised Land. 10 of the men report back that the land is full of giants that cannot be defeated. It is Joshua and Caleb who encourage the people to obey God and go into the land.

Clearly, Joshua has been shadowing Moses’s leadership and has been watching him closely for a long time. So it really isn’t a surprise that in Deut 31, God tells Moses to commission Joshua as his successor.

And though Joshua doesn’t shrink away from this honor and accepts this new responsibility willingly, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t afraid he might fail.

Think about what Joshua has witnessed Moses go through for the past 40 years. The fickle moods of the people along with their complaints and their rebellion, not to mention the level of personal obedience Moses was held to.

Leading the nation of Israel was not an easy job!

The good news here for Joshua is that God makes the same promise to him that He gave to Moses.

“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” 

Joshua 1:3 English Standard Version

The fact that God is declaring this land will belong to the people does not negate Joshua’s responsibility to lead them well!

In the next 15 verses, we hear God tell Joshua to be “strong and courageous” three different times and then the people say it to him as well. If we jump back to Moses’s conversation with Joshua when he is commissioned, we see that Moses says the same thing in Deut 31:6.

That is 5 times that Joshua is told to be strong and courageous!

When something is repeated over and over in the Bible, we should take notice and ask why. In this case, leading the nation of Israel in the Promised Land was going to be a daunting, if not a terrifying task.

Remember, Joshua was a real man with real insecurities and fears. Even if he does not expose them as Moses did, Joshua needed this reminder!

Joshua is no more capable of success than any other man without the Lord’s instructions and promises to help him!

What exactly are the promises God makes?

  • “I will be with you.”
  • “I will not leave you or forsake you.”
  • “I am with you where ever you go.”

Joshua prepares the nation of Israel, which is roughly 2.5 million people, to cross the Jordon River, following the Lord’s specific instructions. And again, when the Israelites face Jericho, Joshua does not attack without first asking God what the people should do.

Joshua believes in God’s promises and seeks His will before moving forward.

How do you overcome the fear of failing?

Friend, when you go to God seeking wisdom and courage in humility, He will be there. You constantly put yourself before the Lord and ask, “What is the next step? You lead me! I won’t move until You tell me what to do.”

Watch the IGTV Episode on Instagram

You do not have to be controlled or paralyzed by your fear of failure! It is not a question of IF God will be there for you when you need Him, but will you go to Him in your time of need?

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