Category Archives: Soul Care

On Comparison

Last week, I was visiting with a friend about the similarities she is seeing between herself and her mother. She said the older she gets, the more she is like her mom. This reminded me of one of my own mom’s favorite quotes, “Mirror, mirror on the wall… I am my mother after all.” Can you relate? As I began to think about that funny quote, I remembered the origin of it.

Snow White was one of the first Disney movies ever made and one of the first I recall seeing. In it, the wicked step-mother was so consumed by her own beauty that she regularly asked the magical mirror to validate her as the “fairest” in all the land. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Things are smooth sailing, day after day, until the mirror reports there is another fair maiden, none other than her step daughter, Snow White. This brings fear to the heart of the wicked step mother and she does some very bad things in order to once again be the “fairest of them all”. Interestingly enough, the way she acted was neither beautiful nor fair.

Consciously or sub-consciously, we’re all a little like the wicked step-mother. We compare ourselves with others – our looks, our talents, our smarts, our abilities, our children, our ministries, and on and on the list goes. When we feel superior to others in any of the above, it makes us feel good. When we feel inferior, it makes us feel terrible, doesn’t it?

At its basic level, comparison is caused by pride. A simple definition of pride is thinking about yourself too much. Consider the following quote by C.S. Lewis: “It’s the comparison that makes you proud; the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”

Comparison and pride go hand in hand. It makes sense then that if you want to walk in humility rather than pride, you need to stop comparing yourself to others. I have struggled with comparison in the past and I know firsthand how it grips your heart and paralyzes you from becoming the person God designed you to be. As I look back upon how I gained freedom in this area, here are some suggestions that may help you as well.

  • Take a break from social media. I was one of the first people I knew to have a FB page. I realized, however, that I was comparing my day to day life with the highlights of others. Because this was an area of immaturity in my life (and consumed WAY too much time) I decided to get rid of FB. Now that I have freedom in this area, there may come a time when I start FB up again.
  • Thank the Lord for others gifts and abilities. Don’t be threatened by them, be grateful for the excellence in other’s lives. God made us all so unique and He wants us to work together to reach the world for Him! It is an amazing & beautiful thing when people work together, offering what God has given them, to see lives changed for God’s kingdom!
  • Realize you don’t have to be THE BEST at everything. God is simply calling you to do YOUR BEST for Him. Once I got this truth deep in my heart, I was able to walk in true freedom.
  • Meditate upon or memorize this verse about comparison – “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Cor. 10:12

Comparison will get you nowhere, but stuck in fear in bondage. Stop comparing. Be secure and confident in who God has made you to be. You are His valued workmanship. He didn’t make a mistake. As you continue to walk with Him, He will smooth off your rough edges and mold you into a beautiful vessel through which He can do some amazing work! I believe the best in you and for you.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Ever Feel Abandoned?

This week I had a weird feeling in my heart, a feeling that was unfamiliar and hard to distinguish.  It was a type of sadness, but much deeper.  As I thought back upon the previous weeks, I realized I was feeling abandoned.

Abandoned is a strong and dramatic word.  It means to leave somebody behind for others to look after.

Some of you are all too familiar with feeling abandoned.  Loved ones have left you, for one reason or another, and you are left behind trying to pick up the pieces.  Abandonment gives way to feelings of fear and insecurity.  Who will take care of me?  Who will love me?  Will others leave me too?  If left untreated, feelings of abandonment can take over your life and cause you to become wounded and closed off from building healthy relationships.

As I processed my feelings with my husband, I was grateful I had him.  I enjoy great security in our relationship.  (In fact, whenever we go through something, whether in parenting, ministry or life, he always says, “At least we’re going through it together.”)  As I found comfort in my husband, I sensed the Holy Spirit reminding me that although we are committed to death do us part; some day one of us will leave the other behind.  I was tempted to go to the depths of despair over that thought, but The Comforter was quick to speak these familiar words, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

These words are first found in Deuteronomy 31.  They’re the words of Moses when he tells all of Israel that they will have a new leader, Joshua.  In Deut. 31:6, he tells the people that God will never forsake them.  In Deut. 31:8, he tells Joshua, in the hearing of the people, these words:

Deut 31  8

As far as Deuteronomy shows, these are the last recorded words of Moses to Joshua.  What life-giving words for a leader to hear.  Moses assured Joshua that God will lead the way and be with him.  As Israel’s leader, all Joshua had to do to succeed, was follow the Lord.  God would never abandon Joshua.  Moses didn’t make that promise of any other person, only God.  Moses knew from experience that others would abandon Joshua, but not God.  Therefore, Joshua is commanded to not be afraid or discouraged.

The words given to Joshua are given to you and me as leaders as well.  God goes before us and will always be with us.  Others may leave us, but GOD. NEVER. WILL.  When others leave, it is human nature to be afraid and discouraged.  When that happens, we need to change our perspective and focus.  Yes, others will leave us, but God will be with us forever.  He will never leave.  He will never forsake.  He will never abandon!  Never.  Never.  NEVER!

I am letting the truth of God’s Word penetrate my feelings.  Although I am still feeling sad, I’m also awash with fresh peace, contentment and underlying hope.  No matter what life brings, I will always have Jesus.  He is enough.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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The Power of Surrender

Soul care is a non-negotiable for those in ministry.  Since a big part of ministry is caring for others, sometimes it is easy to neglect caring for yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Soul care is intentionality in caring for your own soul.  Your soul is the deepest part of you that no one, but God, can fully see; it’s also the part of you that needs to be healthy in order to be effective in the ministry God has called you to.

Soul care practices include scripture, spiritual friendship, solitude/silence, journaling, prayer, simplicity, surrender.

Surrender.  What comes to your mind when you think of that word?  Chances are your mind goes to something negative, such as being held by gun-point, or something similar.  Some days, it may seem like we are being held at gun-point to serve in ways we don’t want to (-smile-).  Yet, that is not God’s heart or His goal.  He is not forcing you to serve Him or others, He is asking you to do it of your own volition; your own choice; your own desire.

One definition of surrender is – “to give the control or use of (something) to someone else”.  Practically speaking, surrender is a life given to serve Christ.  You are giving the control and use of yourself to God and you do it of your own free will.  You agree to stop fighting His call on your life.  You realize that resistance is futile; you will not succeed in anything but giving complete control of your life to Christ.  But, trust me when I say, you don’t want it any other way.  I know . . . I’ve tried.

The reason surrender is the way to go is because of the “great exchange” that takes place.

  • Your weakness for His strength
  • Your inability for His ability
  • Your foolishness for His wisdom
  • Your chaos for His peace
  • Your inadequacy for His perfection
  • Your flesh for His Spirit

When you think of surrender in this way, you are quick to give God control.  Yet, no matter how “surrendered” you think you are, your human nature fights your spirit to regain control.  The most helpful way I have found to surrender on a daily basis is found in this simple prayer, “I can’t.  You can, so I will let You.”  In fact, I have put those words on my ceiling over my bed so that it is the first thing I see when I open my eyes each morning.

Surrender

As I pray this quick and simple prayer, the “great exchange” takes place.  I am strengthened with His ability, wisdom and peace through the power of His perfect Holy Spirit.  In surrender we find all that we need to please God and live a life of service to Him.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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