Yesterday, we let go of the lies that keep us from finding our truth and purpose in God. Today, we embrace the fullness of who the Lord created us to be!
Please know, this is a tricky subject and I want to present it in a way that doesn’t leave room for misunderstanding, so I’ll do my best and pray for God to fill in the rest. (While rhyming like Dr. Seuss!)
Deep breath… here goes:
I believe God often speaks to us through other people’s affirmations and the kind words they say to us. However, when he really wants our attention, he surprises us. Looking back, I’ve received some praises that shocked me a little, but He ended up using those words to guide or correct my path, motivate me, and make me curious about my next steps.
One example from my life was when administrators at work told me I had leadership potential. I was like, “Huh?” and tried to look behind me to see if they were talking to someone else. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone because I didn’t see that in myself at all.
That bunch of awesome weirdos kept putting me in leadership roles, empowering me, and giving me opportunities to make a difference. They even mentored me! Those strange, wonderful people helped me develop my public speaking, teaching, and event coordinating skills. By building me up, they gave me the desire and ability to do things I never imagined! They were even wild enough to PAY me for it!
When I took their affirmations and ran with them, I said yes to God. When I trusted him enough to go where he led me, he equipped me with a host of skills I never dreamed I’d possess. Their encouragement set me on a path I’d never choose for myself – an incredibly fulfilling one that also gave me the ability and background needed to do this Overflowing Women stuff. How cool is that?!
Friend, that’s how God works!
Now, I encourage you to explore your own gifts with two caveats: First,the Lord must guide you on our paths and you need to ensure any steps you take are based on Biblical truth. It’s vital to pray for wisdom and discernment and avoid distractions and diversions as you work for him. We can’t presume God is speaking directly to us every single time someone compliments us, but if there are enough kind words for you to notice a surprising theme, your heavenly Father might be up to something.
Second, we must guard against going into unhealthy territory, such as a girl with an eating disorder using compliments on how thin she looks as motivation to stave herself. Please use the following rules to guide you:
- No appearance-oriented affirmations unless they inspire you to help someone else. If people’s words are along the lines of, “Wow! You’re always so put-together,” or “Dang girl! You’re in great shape,” you might be able to use your know-how to help others get healthier or feel more confident. If you feel the encouragement you receive is pointing you in this direction, pray about it and go for it!
- They must be biblically sound. If several so-called friends sincerely tell you, “You know what?! You’d be a great drug dealer!” it’s not a compliment and means it is time for you to find a new squad.
- Any action you take in cultivating your gift must put God first, represent him well, benefit others, and have a potentially positive impact on your family.
- Finally, ask yourself, “Could this increase my joy? If the answer is yes, go for it! If not, don’t pursue it.
Overflowing Jesus Journal: Day 39
Pray for the Lord’s wisdom, guidance, and discernment as you do this exercise.
First, choose your affirmation. You can either use your Day 37 compliment or comb your memory bank to recall a series of instances where multiple people’s affirming words had a similar theme and caught you off guard – something nice they said that made you question their sanity a little bit.
Bear in mind, this could be anything! People might rave about how encouraging you are, your ability to make people feel like they matter, or how well you love others. The masses might tell you you’re a great cross-stitcher or awesome at Sudoku. Don’t blow those things off! Cross stitching builds patience and helps you excel with fine detail. (Plus, hand-made gifts are a blessing!) Sudoku teaches problem-solving skills! God can use those things. He put them in you for a reason!
Once you determine which encouraging words to use, read the following verses and let them sink into your soul:
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Romans 15:13 (NIV) – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 3:23 ESV – Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
When you’re ready, grab your journal and write the following as a prayer:
- What could God be trying to show you through other people’s affirmations?
- List three things you’re good at in that arena. (I know, I know. Acknowledging the things you’re good at is uncomfortable. That’s the point. We must recognize a gift, or at least the potential for a one exists if we ever want to cultivate it.)
- Write one thing you will do to purposefully grow that talent and a plan for how you’ll do it. No excuses. You could take a class, read a book, join a group, enroll in an online course, or whatever! Pray for courage and guidance on your next steps and then get moving on it within 24 hours. After all, God can’t steer a parked car!
- Pray for someone else by name.
- Thank God for three blessings from the last 24 hours. Remember, no repeats from previous entries.
Phew! That was another big one. Thanks for hanging in there with me!
If this is your first time here, or it’s your first experience prayer journaling and you can’t wait to get more journal prompts, welcome! Start with Day 1. It explains the whole concept. If you like, you can do the posts after the Day 1 post, in chronological order, to get the full healing experience. To move through them, just scroll toward the bottom of the post until you see “Next Post,” and click the accompanying link.
No pressure though! If you’re crunched on time, you can treat them like a buffet and only write on the ones that inspire you or tug at your spirit. Let the Lord guide you through your process. This is your journey and I’m thrilled that this little blog is a part of it!
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Thanks for reading and have a beautiful day!