Becoming…

Failure often makes me want to give up, mainly on myself. On Wednesday, I heard from woman after hurting woman saying they had given up – mainly on themselves.They were ready to quit. They were beat down. But that day, they felt God reaching down for their hand offering to hold it and help them get up – so they wouldn’t give up!

Aren’t you tired of wanting to give up?

Somehow discouragement becomes our go-to emotion. It became mine as a young girl and followed me into my adult years.

But one day, I decided I was tired of letting the enemy win. I was tired of allowing defeat and discouragement to set in. I was tired of feeling like failure is final.

God challenged me to believe that “greater is HE who is in me” than the one who was trying to defeat me.

Although Christ rescued me from the pit when I was 21, it took me ten years of being a Christian before I realized I was saved, but I wasn’t completely surrendered.

I am convinced so many children of God walk in discouragement and defeat because they are saved but not completely surrendered moment-by-moment to God’s thoughts, God’s will, God’s perspective, God’s power. They are still trying to change and live in their own strength. And nothing changes so they give up – on themselves and God.

And that is just where the enemy wants us! If he can’t separate us from God’s love, he’ll do all he can to keep us from experiencing Love’s transforming power.

What does Love’s transforming power look like when we fail forward? I don’t have all the answers for sure, but I have some thoughts that are tumbling in my soul that have helped me surrender to Christ’s life in me, so that I could experience victory over the darkness and discouragement in different ways each day...

At work – When I fail to meet other’s expectations, I just need to stop and ask myself– what am I responsible to do? Is there anything I am not doing to fulfill my commitment? If so, what do I need to do to live up to my promise? What do I need to say no to so that I can say yes to be an excellent employee who is working “as unto the Lord” in all that I do?

We need to stop the habit of beating ourselves up with so much critical thinking. What are we doing talking to a child of God the way we talk to ourselves? When criticism comes, if we have done our best, we can rest in knowing that we did the best we could. You can say, “I was faithful with the little things and I am believing God to entrust me with a little more. And I will trust His timing. If He doesn’t provide the way I want, I will not accuse myself of disappointing Him. I will remind myself of what I have done and I will keep being faithful and watching for His faithfulness.” If we didn’t we give grace to ourselves and try again – moving in forward motion.

At Home – We cannot keep up with all that it takes to cook, clean, care for kids and husbands, serve our families and everyone else that needs something. We need to sit down once a week and acknowledge God in all our ways by sitting down with Him to plan out our days. We need to plan them in such a way that we can “smile at the days ahead.” Most of us have completely unrealistic expectations of ourselves. But God doesn’t!

What is realistic for you to accomplish in one day? Write it down and leave room for the unexpected. If you find that you weren’t able to do as much as you thought, then the next week plan less.

Say no to all those requests for your time. Yes, we need to serve others, but if you can’t take care of your family in a healthy balanced way, thenyou have no business trying to serve in a ministry outside your home. Your family is God’s number one assignment/ministry. Don’t let anyone guilt you into doing something at the church or at the school if it costs you your family. Look for creative ways for them t serve with you so they learn the value of servanthood, but balance is key.

Marriage/Parenting
None of us had any idea what we were getting into when we got married or had kids, did we? I know I need lots of help and guidance every day in these departments. I have got to fill my mind with God’s Word and become familiar with all His ways to be able to love my husband and my kids the way He loves me. And that is the goal. To surrender to God loving them through me.

It’s not about shaping and molding them into who I want them to be so I can get the life I always wanted. Although, believe me that was my goal early on. But a few years ago God got a hold of my selfish ambition and showed me that my pursuit of the “happily ever after” isn’t about me – it’s all about HIM! He gave me this man to love and these kids to nurture so that they can become all that God created them to be.

So, I do the best I can. And when I fail, I apologize. Almost every day I am saying I am sorry, will you forgive me? for something, to somebody. Asking for forgiveness humbles me and releases me from guilt because I know I walk in God’s forgiveness and grace.

Spiritual Growth
I read my Bible regularly and memorize God’s word so that I know His thoughts towards me and can run into His arms to be assured of and guided by His truth each day. And I read a lot of solid Christian growth, marriage and parenting books. I look for ways to apply what I am reading and learning. I don’t just read to gain knowledge, I read to be changed. I don’t want to stay the same. “God loves me just the way I am but He cares about me too much to leave me this way. He wants me to become just like Jesus.” (Max Lucado)

And when I fail, I choose to fail forward

Because I am a woman who is becoming all God created her to be.

A woman who is growing.

A woman who is getting better and better each day.

A woman who is not perfect – but who is trying to surrender to God’s perfect love and perfect power at work in her, one day, one moment at a time. What about you?

____________________________________________________

Give-away winners

Renee and Cullen is the winner from last Friday – which includes 2 copies of The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson. One for you and one for a friend.

Cheryl at brian_n_cheryl@hotmail.com is the winner of Wednesday’s give-away, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. One of my favorite devotion books!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Lisa V. says:

    Oh wow, this is a most powerful post Renee. What spoke to me especially (almost like slapped me) and I had to read over and over (and just wrote in my journal) is your point that “He gave me this and kids…” I think sometimes (fearfully I say) I have this mentality “if only my husband did this or acted like that…” but the truth is God gave me who I have (and love so dearly). HE gave them to me and I dare be disappointed?? Oh no Lisa, step back lady. And I was grumbling to myself this morning that I’m so tired of being the “manager” of every aspect of our home, and am actually quite discouraged. But Renee you’ve given me a light to see. HE GAVE me this … and it is nothing BUT GOOD. Oh Renee thank you.

    P.S. Using that quote about reading to be changed as my signature quote on my personal emails. Wink.

  2. Oh, thanks Renee! The road was a rocky a few days earlier this week…and I had to humbly keep my heart before the Lord and not become defensive about a situation where I made a mistake.

    And yes, I had to securely fasten my “big girl panties” and move on in His grace, mercy and love.

    This encouragement was so timely!

    Hugs,
    Sharon

  3. Renee,
    What great words!! They spoke to me in a big way this morning. I’d hate to think how often I’ve told my husband, “I feel like a failure over the last couple of weeks.” Life can take over and circumstances change, which then impact my outlook, attitude and perspective. Thanks for the wonderful reminder of what it’s all about. This truly is a journey!
    Blessings to you – it’s great seeing who you are becoming!
    Jill

  4. Stephenie says:

    Renee, that was an awesome post! I love how you wrote about being saved, but not surrendered. That was me for many years. May God continue to make Himself known to you in mighty ways!

  5. Your words and knowledge continue to give me the guidance I need.
    Although I am not a new Christian, I am new to a relationship with God. And I do find Satan keeping me from experiencing all the transforming Love offered to me through doubts and discouragement.

    Because I do want to change, I do read, searching for answers. I have found that I do have a lot of knowledge in how to change. How to become the woman God created me to be…I just don’t have the wisdom. It is all in my head, but not in my heart.

    Total surrender is what I pray for.I am a strong willed woman that finds it hard to ask for help. I AM realizing that I can’t do this without Him and total surrender is where it has to start.

    Thank you for this encouragement!!

    (((hugs)))
    Angie

  6. ConnieH says:

    Thank you, Renee, for sharing what God had put in your heart and “tumbled around in your soul”. You are so right, we women are much too hard on ourselves, our own worst critics. It is nice to find that others struggle with the same thoughts and feelings that I so often hide away because I would be embarrassed to share or admit that I have.

    Know that you are being used by God to bring a fresh word we need to hear. From His heart, to your fingers, to our eyes. Thank you for listening and responding to his call.

    It brings encouragement to us out here in the cyberworld. : )

    Connie

  7. Great post. Strongly agree w/ConnieH’s comment about being my own worst critic.

  8. Thank you, Renee. What a powerful post…powerful words. Been living through some pretty dark days lately. Your words are precious reminders.

    Deb

  9. So good, Renee! I have to remind myself of this all the time. I think we are hardest on ourselves. Thanks for a good reminder!

    -Michelle

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing such true and powerful words this morning! It always amazes me how we can feel like we’re the only one who is experiencing so much doubt about ourselves. I’m glad you exposed the lies that we sometimes believe. May God continue to use you in a mighty way!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Renee
    Thank you so very much for picking me to receive the devotional book. Just let me know what I need to do to get the prize. And thank you for words today. You are such an encouragement.
    Cheryl
    brian_n_cheryl@hotmail.com

  12. Renee
    I am currently serving a short term mission in a rough neighborhood. I have been feeling like I am just not fulfilling the purpose that God has for me here. Like I am not doing enough. Perhaps I am called to be doing more, however I will rely on God to tell me what to do and not allow my own expectations get in the way of His work. Thank you for this wonderful post. I do know that I need to be spending more time with me Heavenly Father because I can never be with Him enough.

  13. Thank you Renee for this post! I am really bad at trying to do things in my own strength, and then getting frustrated and disappointed in myself when I can’t handle it all. I need to remember that God created me to lean on him and find rest in Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” First and foremost I need to rely on God to give me strength to do the good works that He has prepared in advance for me to do. I also need to remember that my husband is a gift from God and treat him as such. I sometimes get way too focused on me and what I want, instead of showing my husband the love that God wants me to show him. Thank you again Renee, and God bless you!

    Jolene

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the reminder of constantly turing to God. Getting my priorities straight is something I struggle with on daily basis. I remember wanting to strat a moms group to help encourage other mom, the problem was I needed to spend more time with my own family. As I have begun to proper prioritize my obligations God has opened the door to other ministries I never thought of.

  15. Angela T Ramsey says:

    Thank you for sharing. As I was reading your post I felt the Lord speak to me when you wrote about your children being who God created them to be. Oh boy if I did not feel like I just got soccer punched. We just had an episode right before I read your post. I am going to go and have a little meeting with my children. I need to apologize and lift them up to the Lord. This is definitely where I need prayers and the Lord’s guidance. Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Renee~

    I just wanted to stop by and leave you a link to my blog. I wrote about your P31 devotion from last week and how it really has played a big role in getting me pointed back in the right direction.

    If you have time, please stop over and check it out.

    http://focused-on-the-center.blogspot.com/2009/05/but-when-he-says-it-twice.html

    When your ministry efforts seem to not make a difference, and you feel like you are just marking time, a devotion like the one I got last week are a true and literal God-send.

    Thanks so much for being a servant of our patient Lord, and for putting your talents to work for Him.

    Shannon (SeeSaw Faith)

  17. Renee, I loved this post!! Thank you so much! It truly spoke to my heart! I spent time with God this morning talking about some of the items that you mentioned!! Love His timing!

    Have a wonderful day, my friend!!
    Hugs,
    Susan

Share Your Thoughts

*