Your True Selfie – The Relentless Pursuit of Who God Created You to Be

Day One

Our family had just completed our cross-country move from Los Angeles, California to Nashville, Tennessee, driving through rain, sleet and snow with five children under ten years old, a packed minivan and pet bunny. Whew!

After one month on the road, eating way too much fast food and living out of various hotels, everyone in the family (including the bunny) had frazzled nerves, testy tempers and fragile emotions.

To escape the cramped quarters of our hotel room (yes, ALL seven of us were staying in ONE room), one night we thought we’d head out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. Why we dared to venture to a semi-nice restaurant at this point of the trip, I have no idea – we were clearly borderline delirious.

Your family has probably never had this kind of experience, but at the risk of being vulnerable – my pain will now become your pain.

Our three boys conveniently chose to expend an entire month’s worth of energy during this one-hour restaurant break, making LOTS of noise, bouncing up and down in the restaurant booth, wrestling, arguing… you get the picture. As I was getting the “stink eye” from the other restaurant patrons, our one-year-old daughter conveniently chose to this moment to produce her own “stink” in the form of a toxic poopy diaper.

Yes, we were THAT family.

On the verge of tears, I ventured out to the bitter cold to scrounge the floor of our minivan hoping to find a diaper hidden amidst piles of toys, luggage, and fast-food trash. My husband, Gregg, in an exasperated tone, handed me the keys told me,

“If you don’t come back, I understand.”

We laugh about it now, but at the moment, we were second-guessing our decision to uproot our family from a comfortable house, stable job and close friends to venture into this unknown territory of big belt buckles and country music.

This wasn’t what we had signed up for. The picture didn’t look as glamorous as we thought it would. In fact, it didn’t look appealing at all.

It would have been easy to give up, turn around and go back to what was familiar.

This was difficult.





As a little girl, I remember having lofty aspirations and dreams of what I would someday become. I had big plans to change the world and high hopes for what God would someday use me to accomplish.

Yet, that stormy night, I unexpectedly found myself in the middle of a snowy parking lot in an unfamiliar town, searching through my incredibly messy minivan for a clean diaper while my other four kids wreaked havoc in a neighborhood restaurant.

Did God forget that I have a college education?

What happened to my plans to be different, my aspirations to make a difference? Where did the passion and determination that I could do or become anything go?” What happened to this wonderful plan God had for my life?

Perhaps you can relate. Have you ever felt sidelined, left out or overlooked by God, wondering what you have to contribute? Feeling stuck? Thinking maybe you missed your opportunity to make a difference? Or perhaps you feel your mistakes disqualified God from using you?

You’re not alone in your thoughts. In fact, throughout scriptures, we see many sincere God-followers ask the same questions. Read the love and tenderness God expresses to his children through the prophet Isaiah…

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:14-16

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands... Isaiah 49_16

As God tenderly reassures the nation of Israel, God persistently affirms his love towards us, gently, continually reminding us of his care and faithfulness. Prodding us to look to him.

God has not forgotten you. He created you, knows you intimately and has a great plan for your life – one that will bring glory to his name. As you seek him and allow your life to be shaped by him in an increasingly greater way, He will lead you.

Things may not always turn out the way you expected, and you may find yourself trapped in a restaurant during a winter storm with energetic toddlers, but you can trust that He is good and He hasn’t forgotten you.

Take a moment…

  • When have you experienced a season when you felt a little empty on the inside? Feeling that you were made for more than you’re currently experiencing?
  • What does this verse say about God and your incredible value to Him? How can knowing and meditating on the fact that God loves you and never forgets you breathe hope into your weary soul?

Oh No! Not YOYO Night!

My kids are hungry – A LOT. In fact, I think they’d be thrilled at the prospect of me staying in the kitchen all day aspiring to be the next Pioneer Woman.

Pioneer Woman’s kids have it made. Think about it. They have the Food Network’s test kitchen in their house every day! A teenagers’ dream.

But I’m not Pioneer Woman. I have a job, things to do, errands to run.

You probably do, too.

When my kids were younger, it was essential for me to feed them several times every day. If I didn’t feed them, they didn’t eat. If they didn’t eat, they wouldn’t grow and become healthy.

Now they’re getting older and it’s important for them to learn to feed themselves because I can’t accompany them to college to pour their milk and cut their meat.

I’ve been feeding them their whole life – they’ve come to expect it. They desire it. So when they don’t see me in the kitchen by 5:30pm, a look of dread melts across their faces. Their eyes become glassy and the color begins to drain from their faces.

Eventually, one of the kids will sheepishly ask, “Mom, are you going to cook dinner tonight?”

And if I reply, “Nope. It’s YOYO night!” their response usually resembles, “UGH! Not YOYO night!” (Insert gigantic sigh with the dramatic tossing back of their head.)

Because in our house, YOYO night means, “You’re On Your Own.”

In other words, I’m not cookin’.

AKA, Feed Yourself.

For the kids, this usually means throwing something from the freezer into the microwave or cracking open a can of soup. If they’re feeling particularly ambitious, they may pull out the toaster.

But by their reaction of despair, you would think I was asking them to kill and prepare the fatted calf from the family farm! (No, we don’t live on a farm and no, we don’t have any fatted calves. Just the occasional feral chicken, but I digress.)

They don’t want to do the work of getting their food. They want me to feed them.

As Christ followers, I think sometimes we have a similar approach regarding our relationship with God.

We love it when our pastors, books and small group leaders feed us. And they do. And they will.

But they can’t be the primary source of our spiritual food.

Your church, your small group, your friends have an important part to play in your spiritual growth. They build into your life, but they can’t be the sole caretakers of your spiritual life.

You have to do that. You have to take responsibility for your spiritual growth.

Eating a great meal once or twice a week might keep you alive, but you won’t flourish. You won’t be strong. You won’t grow very big.

In Jeremiah 17, the prophet Jeremiah tells of a tree that was planted by the riverbank.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear whe

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

The tree was intentionally planted by a water source.

The tree did the hard work of digging its roots down deep.

The tree never failed to bear fruit, even in times of heat and drought.

The tree wasn’t looking for someone to water it. The tree took responsibility for its own health and growth.

The Bible is the power of God. It has the power to transform your life. It has the power to cause your life to flourish even under adverse circumstances. You have to plant yourself by this healthy water source and do the hard work of digging your roots down deep.

When you’re physically hungry, you go to the kitchen for food. When you’re spiritually hungry, you go to God’s Word. (Not Netflix or social media) 🙂

Spiritual growth doesn’t happen from a distance. It happens as you dig your roots down deep.

Dear friend, feast on the abundance of God’s Word. It’s rich, fully satisfying and will never leave you wanting.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water… Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you… I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1, 3, 5

What would your life look like if you gave God the first of your day? Your time? Your thoughts? Before you looked at your phone to check for messages, you paused and gave the day to him and said, “Thank you.”



The Struggle is Real

The end of January. To be honest, the zeal and enthusiasm with which I started the year have begun to wane.

Just three weeks ago, I was filled with hope and motivation. Filled with thoughts like, “This is my year!” “This year will be different!” “This is the year of big dreams and even bigger accomplishments!”

The burst of energy that surged with the beginning of the year has slowly faded and I’m in a fight. A fight to move forward. A fight to maintain some of the strides I made the first three weeks of the year.

My to-bed early, up-early, healthy eating, exercising, voracious reading aspirations aren’t what my flesh craves. My flesh wants to quit, throw in the towel, eat a box of Oreos, hit the beach, push the snooze button and gradually drift back to comfort.

But if I don’t give up, perhaps these tiny steps forward – if I keep persevering – will get me closer to where I hope to go.

There’s a story recorded in the Old Testament book of Zechariah that gives me great encouragement when facing the end-of-January weariness and staring at the long road ahead.

Many years earlier, the temple where God people worshiped had been destroyed and the people had been taken into exile. A man named Zerubbabel was given permission to lead a remnant of people back to their homeland.

Here’s what God spoke to Zerubbabel in Chapter 4,

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Zechariah 4:7

I love this! In other words, you can try to do this on your own. You can fight, work, strive and strain and you may see a little progress. But if you will learn to trust God and tap into his unlimited power, you will discover a source of strength you’ve never experienced or even knew existed.

God’s message to Zerubbabel continues,

Then another message came to me from the Lord: “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. Zechariah 4:8-9

If you study about the rebuilding of the temple detailed in the books of Ezra and Haggai, you’ll find the initial phases of the construction went slowly.

In fact, after 18 years all they had done was laid the foundation. Talk about being behind on a building project! They had work needs, family needs, distractions and opposition from other ethnic groups living in the area.

With all they had to do just to keep their daily life moving forward, when would they possibly find time to do what God was asking them to do?

The work was hard…long…not going as they planned. So they eventually stopped.

Isn’t this how we sometimes feel, too? Things aren’t moving as quickly as we hope. We’re not seeing the progress we wanted.

  • You’ve been exercising, but haven’t seen the weight loss
  • You’ve been eating healthy, but haven’t seen your health improve
  • You’ve been working faithfully at your job, but haven’t received the promotion or financial compensation you expected.
  • You’re trying to save money, but your debt is still growing.
  • You’ve applied everywhere, but still haven’t found a job.

It’s slow…tiresome. We want to give up. But before you do, listen to God’s encouragement to Zerubbabel,

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,

Isn’t that exciting? The Lord rejoices to see the work begin! You’ve got to place one foot in front of the other, one stone upon another stone. You have to start where you’re at and keep moving forward.

God rejoices to see you be faithful and consistent in the small things.

Perhaps this is where you’re at right now. Whether it’s your diet, your exercise, your budget, your devotional life,…

The yearning to start something will always be greater than the desire to finish.

Here’s my encouragement to you,

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Don’t give up! Jesus is walking alongside you every step of the way. And I’m gonna guess that He gets greater joy out of watching us along the journey than the actual finish line.

Small consistent steps forward will eventually get you to your desired destination.