Lies, Half-Truths, and Truth that Sets Us Free

There are some friends so dear that you can’t wait to connect them! My precious friend Suzie Eller is someone I’m over-the-moon excited to introduce to you.

Suzie is both funny and wise which is a winning combination in my book, and she’s written a book that will rock your world. The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith without Borders is about the gift that so many of us have missed. It breaks my heart how controversial the topic of the Holy Spirit has become, dividing denominations instead of uniting God’s people. Suzie takes a Biblical approach that will leave you empowered with all that the Spirit has to offer.

Please welcome Suzie to the blog today! (And don’t miss an opportunity at the end to read two free chapters as well as to win a copy of the book.)

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My friend and I sat on the curb, sweaty after a long walk. For the past few days, we had been studying Romans 8. As we walked, she spoke out loud the words in Romans 8:38-39.

Nothing can separate you from God’s love. 

Then it became personal.

Wait, nothing can separate me from God’s love.

These were words that, until that moment, felt like they were for everyone else. Have you ever had a moment when truth is suddenly clear? You’ve tried to figure it out on your own, perhaps for years. It feels as though everybody else “gets it” except for you. That’s how my friend felt until the message in Romans 8 leaped from the pages and settled into her spiritual DNA.

Why did she believe it?

The reason that any of us fall for a lie is that it feels true.

For my friend, a lie had led to an assumption, which become a belief, which produced actions (or inactions) that impacted her life and identity.

This is one lie we often believe.

You can never change.

Maybe an adult spoke that over you. Maybe you started to believe that lie because you tried to change, and it didn’t work. Perhaps that one mistake still haunts you, even though you have changed.

So you begin to tell yourself: This is just who I am. That’s the assumption. It settles into your identity as truth. You hear scripture that tells how much God loves you, and you point out all the ways you don’t deserve it. You try to do everything well, but you make a mistake so you beat yourself up. Or maybe you just give up entirely.

How do we counter these lies?

We counter them with truth. The lie might be, “You can never change,” but this is the truth:

We are free to be exactly who God says we can be.

When I was younger, I didn’t let women get too close. If I was in a grocery store and saw someone I knew, I’d make a beeline for the dog food aisle, hoping they’d go the other way.

Why?

Because of a lie.

The lie was that I didn’t have a lot to offer. I didn’t have anything important to say. I worried that I’d say something goofy. I was shy. I was introverted. . .  the list of my beliefs was long.

Some of these held some truth. I was a little shy. I am an introvert. I might even say something goofy (that can still happen). The problem is that I had accepted the lie that I didn’t have anything of value to add to a friendship. That somehow I was “less than.”

The truth is I am free to be who God made me to be. Sometimes shy. Mostly introverted. But also a really great friend. Loyal. Fun (that’s the goofy part). As I confronted the lies and assumptions with truth, my belief system shifted and so did my actions.

The words I spoke over my own heart changed. As I accepted me, I was able to accept others as sweet friends, because the truth is we all have quirks or differences, and we all have strengths. There is no perfect friend, or perfect woman.

What is that half-truth or outright lie that has weighed you down?

Ask God to help you recognize it. Confront it with truth. As you do, it will begin to shift the way you think, which shifts the way you live, for when you know the truth, you are free to live the truth.

Suzie Eller

Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries writer, a bestselling author, speaker, and blogger. Suzie has written a new book, The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith Without Borders. This book shares that we have a Helper. We have what we need to live with a Spirit-led heart.

Download two free chapters at www.tsuzanneeller.com/spiritledheart

 

The Giveaway

Today we have a treat! Bethany House and Suzie are giving away a copy of The Spirit Led Heart. To enter, simply leave a comment sharing a truth that you’ve used to combat a lie or say “The Holy Spirit leads me to truth!”

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Thankful for a Breakthrough!

I hope you enjoyed today’s devotion, From Breakdown to Breakthrough!

Just for fun, I wanted to add a little follow-up here before we get to the giveaways.

Here’s a pic of my friend Nicole and me about six months after the story in the devotion.

Isn’t she a cutie?! I share this because I want you to know what kind of friend she is. The Saturday before this picture, I dropped by her house to see if she wanted to make a Target run with me. When we were there, we bought the same jacket and decided to wear them to our neighborhood Bible study that week. TWINNING! And totally goofy. So much fun!!!

Can you imagine if I had acted like a brat over our dinner misunderstanding? I would have spoiled our closeness and missed out entirely on this moment with my tender-hearted, loyal friend.

Sisters, life is too short to be short with the people we love. I’m just like you, fighting my flesh every minute of the day. Battling to be kind instead of selfish. Resisting the desire to insist on my own way.

But if we’ll choose to listen for God’s gentle whispers. If we’ll decide to follow Jesus, becoming more like Him in the way He loved others. If we’ll prioritize our people over pushing our plans…

Then we’ll have more precious moments like the one in the photo above.

Giveaways:

In celebration of friendship, I’ve got three giveaways today! To enter to win one of these packages, leave a comment either about a time God helped you with a breakthrough in the middle of a breakdown OR just write a friend’s name that you treasure.

 

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How Can I Be 50 and Still Bad at THIS?

I’ve been sent back to Kindergarten by God AGAIN. In the past, I’ve had to go back to relearn the basics like love and trust and belief.

It’s happening in a new area these days. These new lessons are painful, but I’m thankful that I’m finally learning to listen.

But I’m wondering… how can a woman like me who loves people–I mean really loves people (!)– get to the age of 50 and be such a poor listener?

Several months ago, Lisa Allen, my fabulous leader at Proverbs 31, approached me about being part of a new group at the ministry. It’s a group that’s going through a curriculum called What LIES Between Us by Lucrecia Berry that helps Jesus followers wrestle with issues of race, seeking to create a space where believers of different ethnicities move forward together in unity.

I was thrilled! Lisa’s invitation was an answer to a desire of my heart. “How can I be part of the solution?” I cried out over and over as I’ve watched the news the last few years. I believe racial reconciliation is a place where the church should be leading the way. Love between all believers is something the church needs to be known for when the world sees us as standing against so many things.

I believe it’s true, and yet I’ve been paralyzed, not knowing how to start and being afraid that any move I made would be the wrong one.

God has done a lot in both my mind and heart in the last few months through our group, and I’m excited to share here with  you as things unfold. But there’s one essential element that I’m having to go back and refine an element that I’ve been almost completely missing before I can really move forward. I’m learning to listen even when the conversations are hard. Even when the ideas clash with my preconceptions. Even when the differences seem insurmountable.

Watch the video below“How to Enjoy People Who Aren’t Just Like You” (or click here) for more of what I’m learning such as:

  • The difference between debate, discussion and discourse.
  • A couple of simple scripts to use when you get in a difficult conversation.

Did you catch it? I hope you’ll work on this with me. More to come on this topic as I learn. What is God teaching you about building bonds with people who might see things differently than you?

This is a baby step toward change in me and toward the change I believe I’m responsible to create, but it’s an essential step toward developing a crucial skill.

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Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway packages!

  • Julia LaRue (4/9/18 6:42 am)
  • Myrna (4/9/18 8:22 am)
  • Laura Aranda (4/9/18 9:28 am)
  • Stacy (4/9/18 10:00 am)
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A Celebration of Flops

In my devotion today, I talked about plans that flop, and I know that might be a trigger for you. It sure is for me! I’ve had plenty of plans that flopped… or at least went awry.

A pregnancy that didn’t happen on my time schedule.

A job I wanted but didn’t get.

A dream fulfilled that I thought would be glorious ended in pain.

But here’s what I’ve learned. For every flop and failure, there’s still joy and learning in the journey. I want to flip our flops today and insert a little fun in celebration of the joy along the way.

I’m really visual, so I thought I’d share some of the happiness of the day I described in the devo. Here are some pics of Cheri and I on the day that I didn’t make it to the place where the seals hung out. We still had a great time and burned a bunch of calories to boot!

Cheri and I resting after our battle with the tide. Tired but happy. How can you not smile in the CA sunshine?

The quiet waters in the marina were my jam!

See our cute little otter friends? I was in love.

You can probably see how much Cheri and I enjoy time together, and we’d love for you to join us for serious conversation laced with giggles! After you enter to win a prize package by leaving your comment, click here to listen to the latest episode of our Grit ‘n’ Grace podcast.

As an author, one of the most fun times of my day is to go to the mailbox and find a sample book from a publisher. These have built up at my house beyond my bookshelf capacity, so I’d love for you to give them a good home! There are four chances to win, and each gift pack includes three books, a gift item and piece of jewelry. What girl doesn’t find a little joy in new jewelry? 😉

To enter to win one of these FOUR FABULOUS PACKAGES, tell about a time when you found a moment of joy in a flop OR simply leave a comment saying “Joy in the journey.” 

 

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How to Grow Into Your Calling

Do you feel stuck and frustrated?

 

Is your heart full of purpose, but you don’t know how to get to the dream?

I felt the same way eight years ago, but I’ve learned that calling is more about steady growth than sudden leaps forward. I talk all about it with Mimika Cooney in this interview. There are 3 simple steps I share along with a free handout that I believe will help you move forward.

Click here to access the interview. There are lots of great interviews at the summit page, so check them all out!

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How to Surrender Your Stuff So You Don’t Blow Up

Stuffing our stuff is a recipe for disaster, just like I wrote about in today’s devotion “When What You Stuffed Blows Up.”

It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson, but more and more I’m running to Jesus to surrender my emotions. It’s a better way, sisters! If you’re like me, you need a reminder, so here’s a beautiful free downloadable to print and post someplace you need it. Put it where you process your emotions so that there’s a visual of how to surrender instead of stuffing.

(To download and print, click here or on the graphic.)

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Congratulations to Diane Callahan (3.8.18 11:02 am), the winner of Remember Who You Are! If you didn’t win, I still highly recommend this wonderful book for women in the workplace.

This page contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help defray Amy’s website costs at no extra charge to you. Thank you!

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Conquering Guilt and Worry

Happy International Women’s Day! In celebration of God-given femininity and gifts, I want to share a post that’s for all of us but especially for my working friends. Just last week, I heard a woman say that she felt left out in the church as a working woman. Women’s studies are in the morning there, even though over 70% of American women work outside their home. She feels marginalize, but I want YOU to feel encouraged.

Today, I want to celebrate women’s gifts in the work place! Please meet my friends Lisa Grimes and Paula Stafford. Both are women of faith who have taken Jesus with them into corporate settings because He’s woven into the core of who they are. Their new book Remember Who YOU Are was written to encourage women in the workplace to build each other up not to compete. As you can tell, everyone can benefit from this book. Please welcome my friends, Paula and Lisa! (And leave a comment to enter the giveaway.)

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As wives, mothers, and professionals, we understand the pressure that comes with attempting to fulfill all of life’s demands. If you are like us, it’s all too easy to set a high level of expectation for ourselves – and then feel guilty when something inevitably falls through the cracks. Truth is, though, that we can’t do everything, and we certainly can’t do everything well. But we don’t need to feel guilty. Perhaps we need to set more realistic expectations – and redefine how we view and accept guilt. First, let’s look at the differences between guilt that’s real and false guilt.

False guilt comes from things over which we have no control. Or it’s guilt that is placed on us by others. Or it’s guilt based on not meeting expectations. The list of things over which we can tend to feel guilty is almost never-ending. True guilt, on the other hand,   comes from knowing we have done something wrong or knowing we have made a decision that doesn’t align with our priorities. This means we need to be clear on what our priorities are. Knowing our priorities not only helps protect us from false guilt, but can help us learn from our mistakes and help us make necessary changes. Maybe even help us set more realistic expectations.

We don’t have it perfectly figured out, but we want to share with you a strategy that has helped us be there for the things that matter and free ourselves from false guilt. This excerpt is from our new book, Remember Who YOU Are, which just released two days ago

“The meal was cooked; the table was set; my husband and children were ready to eat dinner. The only thing missing was … me. I said I would be home for dinner by 6 p.m., but something came up at the office and I didn’t get home until 7 p.m. After a few times of this, my husband sat me down and told me bluntly not to promise something I couldn’t deliver. I adhered to that standard at work; certainly my family deserved the same treatment. He was SO right. I hadn’t realized how showing up late for dinner affected my family and stood to affect my children’s ability to trust me. Cue the guilt train. I nipped that in the bud quickly. If I said I would be home for dinner by 6:30 p.m., I would do everything I could to get home by 6:15 p.m. I told them what to expect, and then I did my best to meet it or exceed it. I was rewarded with more smiles and less guilt.

We believe one of the first and most important things women need to do when it comes to expectations is give themselves permission to say ‘no.’ No, we don’t have to do it all. No, we do not need to attend every sporting, musical or academic event in which our children participate. It’s OK to be OK with that – it’s OK not to feel guilty. Children are, for the most part, adaptable and resilient. If your son has eight soccer games, for instance, and you can put four on your calendar (you have just made this a priority), think of how happy he will be if you are able to show up for more than you promised. But if you promise you will come to every game and don’t follow through, your children will lower their expectations of you. Not only are we setting a bad example for our children, we just bought another guilt trip.

Setting realistic expectations allows us to focus our energy on what we are doing instead of what we are missing. This takes a lot of practice, we know, since it seems to go against our hardwiring.”

It’s possible – and it’s freeing. And all of this is neatly summed up in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to Go. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

GIVEAWAY:

Leave a comment today to enter to win a copy of Remember Who YOU Are.

Paula and Lisa are proven C-suite executives and speakers whose first book, Remember Who YOU Are, is available for purchase in bookstores, online retailers and at book.habergeon.com. It shares the wisdom they wish they had known at the outset of their careers and encourages professional women (and men) with immediate steps to more fully experience success, balance, and fulfillment in their careers and personal lives.

Follow them on social media @Habergeon LLC.

This page contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help defray Amy’s website costs at no extra charge to you. Thank you!

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The Simplest Way to Pray Powerful Prayers

There are a handful of people that I know that are known for prayer. I’ll bet you’ve got a list too.

Mona, one of the mentors you’ve heard me talk about often, leads those that I think of as “prayer warriors”, those who approach prayer with confidence. There are others– Jean, Rey and Tara just to name a few– but they all have one thing in common. These are women whose prayers are a fabric of scripture.

Just last night, I spent time praying over an upcoming conference in my area with Tara’s team, and her influence was obvious. The team prayed with their Bibles open, repeating God’s Word back to Him with faith and expectation. They aren’t women who think they can demand and manipulate God with His own words (I’ve seen that version too!). Instead, they’re women who know that God is faithful. His promises are true and dependable. And they know that praying Scripture keeps them solidly in His realm, the place where His will reigns.

I listened, and I participated. The prayers laced with Truth rose to heaven, but they soaked into my bones too. With 2018 being the year of “Pray”, I paid attention and longed. Can I confess to you? I’ve known this truth for a long time.

I’ve known this truth, but I haven’t implemented this truth. This morning I had to take a look and ask why? Here are the wrong beliefs rooted in insecurity that have kept me from praying more powerfully as I integrate God’s Word:

Prayer isn’t my gift.  

I’m going to war on this lie! Prayer is a gift to all of us because it’s simply talking to God who gives us full access. I do believe that some are given a special ability to pray so that they can lead us. Wendy Blight, for example, writes out the most annointed prayers for our Proverbs 31 team, but I don’t have to allow myself to be intimidated by her gift. I want to learn from it! As we pray, God doesn’t expect us to sound like anyone else. In fact, since He created us and knows us better than anyone, He’s probably surprised when we do!

Those people are more spiritual than I am. 

I’ve fallen into the wrong belief that some gifts are more “spiritual” than others. Mine run more along practical, get ‘er done lines, and I’ve considered them less than. Paul tells us, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (I Cor. 12:4-6 NIV) Let’s stand secure in our own natural God-given gifts while growing in others. Prayer is my growth gift this year!

I don’t know scripture well enough. 

This really gets to the root of what has held me back, and there’s some truth to it. I don’t have enough scripture memorized. But I took note of the women last night with their Bibles open. I need to start somewhere, so praying with my Bible open is where I’ll start.

Here’s how I’m fighting those insecurities:

The last two days I’ve written out prayers based on my morning First 5 study. Here’s what it has looked like:

II Kings 18: 5-8, “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory. (NIV)

My prayer: Lord, I want to be a woman who trusts You completely. Make me stand beyond compare in my place in Your story. Help me to held fast to You, never ceasing to follow You and obeying Your commands. I want to be successful in all that I undertake for Your glory. Empower me to resist my enemy, Satan, and give me victory against him. Amen.

II Kings 19:30, “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.” (NIV)

My prayer: Lord, make me part of your remnant with deep roots below and abundant fruit above.

See how that works? I’m just getting started, but I love how God is teaching me simple ways to pray that are do-able for me right where I am!

If you prayed a prayer based on scripture today, I’d love to hear it.

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