Heart Check

Heart-Cross-Image0420111

If every inch of your home is in order and your schedule mastered, but your heart is empty, I would have done you a disservice with this book. Glynnis Whitwer, I Used to Be So Organized

This quote was on the opening page of Chapter Four. Naturally my highlighter made its pretty pink line over the words. I continued reading Glynnis’ story as she laid out her heart onto its pages. I chuckled as she described playing CEO with Barbie and Ken; Barbie playing the part of the CEO. My heart felt a pang as she shared her struggle with infertility and rejoiced as their family grew. Then there was the move to North Carolina and that is where Glynnis really opens her heart to us and shows us just how empty she was feeling.

In Charlotte, no one knew any of her gifts or talents, they meant nothing. For some of us, we would rejoice in a fresh start, an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. However, for Glynnis that is the opposite of what she wanted. She had spent years building herself, her family, and reputation. Now she would have to start from square one all over again. She defined her existence by her list of talents and accomplishments. Without them…she was left a shell. A house of cards crumbling in the slightest breeze…but God had other plans for her.

I almost missed those three words on pg 51. “Being versus doing.” I highlighted the passage she referenced from No Ordinary Home by Carol Brazo, but I didn’t catch those words. Then I read the passage again…

He created me, He loves me, He will always love me. Nothing I do will change who I am.

Like many of us, Glynnis’ priorities were flipped upside down. We focus on crossing of things from our list and no matter what we get done it’s never enough.

  • We wash all the laundry, but there’s still the dusting, mopping, and dishes to be done.
  • We satisfy our client at work only to find five more waiting in line impatiently.
  • We grade all of our papers and still find that students don’t understand the concept.
  • We finally get that new {blank} to discover that it’s now out of date or in need of repair.

In the end we are left worn out and frustrated. We’re stuck on that hamster wheel running as fast as we can but ending up in the same place we started. Something has to give…something has to change…otherwise…

We will be like addicts looking for that next project to feel good about ourselves. We will overload our schedules, over-commit our resources, and leave a path of regrets. Pg 53

For Glynnis, her wake-up call involved a move to North Carolina and a God-placed book. From there she was able to realize the truth and see herself through God’s eyes and not her own…or the world’s.

We close this Chapter with a snippet from David’s life. This is after King Saul had fallen from God’s favor and the prophet Samuel was commanded by God to anoint the next King whom God had already chosen. As Samuel examined the sons of Jesse, God spoke to his heart, reminding Samuel that no matter what he sees it’s the heart of the man that God is most concerned with.

Each of Jesse’s sons was an impressive man, hard working and strong. However, David was the youngest and therefore the least important of all his brothers. Because he was so unimportant, he was given the lowliest job! He was a shepherd. Shepherds were outcasts in those days, they smelled {sheep don’t smell nice and many shepherds would sleep in the sheep’s pen to keep watch and warm at night}, and were considered…what we would say nowadays…“hillbillies.” God didn’t care about David’s job, He didn’t care that David had the lowest rank in his family, nor did God care about how young David was. What God did care about was David’s heart and when needed, God gave David a heart check of his own.

David sinned against the Lord in II Samuel 11 when he slept with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, then tried to hide his sin by getting her husband drunk, and when that didn’t work King David arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle. It was time for a heart check. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront the King. David confessed and repented of his sin, returning to the Lord.

Has God tried to give you a heart check? Has He brought someone into your life to speak the Truth? Has He led you to a Bible study or Bible passage that struck a chord, and shown you that same truth over and over?

On page 54, Glynnis gives us a little checklist, some “red flags” that can indicate a heart in need of a wake-up call:

  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Being overly concerned with what others think or say.
  • Putting tasks over people.
  • Entertaining resentful, unkind thoughts about others.
  • Unforgiveness.
  • Believing that you’re the only one who can get things done.
  • Judgmental thoughts.

Take a few moments and talk to God about your heart. Ask Him to show you anything that is out of alignment with His will and His view of you.

I know for myself I need to work on “putting tasks over people.” There are many times I get so stuck on my to-do list that simple things like writing someone a thank you card or calling to wish someone Happy Birthday gets pushed down and eventually off my list.

Father, we know that an important part of being organized is focusing our hearts on You before anything else. You define us, not our jobs, our accomplishments, nor our rank. You created us from the dust of the earth and filled us with Your life-giving breath. From there, You could have simply released us into the world to fend for ourselves, but You are LOVE. You love us abundantly more than we can ever imagine or comprehend. It is because of Your love that You, the Lord of all creation, call us Your children. You have made our hearts Your home. We ask You now Lord to invade our hearts and clean them out. Show us where we need to sweep the dust from the corners and empty ourselves so that You can fill us with Your presence. Open our heart and eyes to Your instruction. May it be a word of Truth spoke gently by a friend, or Your Word put before us over and over until it sinks into our heart. If there is anything on this list that has become a stumbling block for us, reveal to us in such a way that we sit up and pay attention. We ask this in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ, Amen.

So how about it? If this is the end of the day for you, how have you seen God at work in your life? Do you see something on this list that you need to work on?

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61 thoughts on “Heart Check

  1. Thanks Heather, this chapter is really working on me….it’s like pieces of a puzzle that were missing are now visible. Printing out the prayer and inserting it into my journal!!!!

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  2. I’m so confused! I am very torn on how to change these things in my life. I know I should do all of those things however it’s so much easier said than done. Is my heart that hard that I won’t allow God to work in me & change? It’s the same things all the time. I don’t speak kind words….I just never feel like anyone cares what disorganization is abounding in our house! They could step over the same piece of paper on the floor 5 times & NOT pick it up. Then I get mad & huff over, pick it up, make some snide comment & throw it away! HELP!!!

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    1. Yea Holly. Sometimes my flesh leads me to feel that way too. But God lead me to look at it in His perspective. He’s always cleaning up my messes. Turning messes into miracles and teaching me along the way. I’m right there with your frustration. Sometimes I have to stop take a deep breath and look at things a little differently. Don’t get me wrong I mess it up a lot! Have a blessed day.

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    2. I hear you, I can be the same way. It’s a process-When I’m consistently in the word I catch myself faster. Not in the word and prayer and my attitude about the house stinks! For me the grumbling is totally counterproductive- no one wants to help or please the grouchy monster I become! Hardest thing ever to humble myself and extend grace to other family members, but that’s what I was being asked to do. I argued with God, “but they don’t…blah,blah,blah” and God showed me how to speak kindly as I set my boundaries, then what I myself needed to work on in order to have any credibility. An example- nothing gets washed by me unless it’s put in the hamper. Too many years of picking clothes off the floor was making me nasty and resentful, yet I allowed it to continue. I really had to pray and wait for the right attitude in myself before explaining my new method so it would come out matter of fact and not like a rant! But I had to take a hard look at what I was slacking on that led people feel like they could slack off too. On that note, must go clean up the kitchen! Pardon the length, hope that made sense.

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      1. Mel, your words spoke right to me! I get so frustrated and can be so mean to the people in my family. It does no good, then I am mad and stressed and they have no more motivation than they did before to help me. I get selfish and throw myself a pity party because I feel like all the tasks in my life are so mundane and no one helps me with them. Oh, how I need to hear this. It is also nice to know I am not alone in how I feel. Thanks for the words and the practical example.

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    3. One thing I have found that works for me is to pick just one area where I want to make improvements on myself. If I try to work on too many things at one time I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and I feel like a total failure.

      You mentioned that you “don’t speak kind words,” why not focus on that one thing for a while? Here’s a Bible verse that you can keep close to your heart and pray throughout the day. I read it in a devotion yesterday:

      Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

      Here you are asking God to help you with your words. I pray that He would work through this in your heart and help you then take the next step.

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      1. Mel mentioned above about being in God’s word. I’d love to hear how you all do that. Heather, as I read through the posts you quote the Bible countless times. I’d love to be able to get that deep into the Bible and have those verses to reference. I have a daily devotional that has daily readings to read and then a reflection, but I still don’t feel like I know the Bible like I wish I would.

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        1. Amy, I have been pretty up and down with this. I was involved in a great non denominational Bible study group this year with BSF international- they are open to all, free, and meet in many cities in the US and overseas. Several parts to it, but there is a Bible reading you do on your own daily and the discipline of just doing it was so helpful. It encouraged me to read the Bible myself more and pray for the Holy Spirit to help me understand instead of turning to someone else’s notes or a book about it first. Obviously there’s a lot to learn from others too, like in this study! Sometimes there were things I didn’t understand, but knowing I had a supportive group of ladies to discuss it with made a big difference. Maybe even finding one person in your church who has a similar goal and working through a devotional book at the same time and discussing it? I know I do better with some kind of support, even when we just check with with one another.

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        2. Like Mel said, it takes time. Tomorrow I will actually be sharing with y’all one way we can all learn more Scripture :). I don’t have all of these verses memorized, but it’s amazing how God shows you what you need at just the right time! Like the verse above, I read it probably for the first time yesterday, but it was fresh on my mind today so I was able to use it here 🙂

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      2. I so needed to hear this. I get so overwhelmed. I think I have wasted so many years while walking my own walk and now that I’m trying to find God’s will for my life, It’s like I’m trying to cram for a final. lol The more I get to know Him and His character, I just see all the different areas of my life that I want to work on. Things that I didn’t even realize were negative. I’m so glad my eyes and heart are open to seeing, but it can be quite overwhelming. I will take the advice you gave here and work on each thing one at a time or when God presents an opportunity to handle something differently. The main thing is that I need to stop beating myself up. Those thoughts are not from Him and they are being used to detour me from my goals and rob me of my joy! Not going to mention any names….but get behind me! lol

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  3. At one time or another, I’ve dealt with all of those red flag issues in my life. Sometimes it felt good to hold on to some of those things, but it never ceased to damage my intimacy with God. I’m so very thankful for His open arms waiting for me each time He called me back into intimacy to release the junk and live for Him.

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    1. Don’t you just LOVE the fact that God NEVER abandons us? Even when we come to Him with all our junk? He even invites us to bring it to Him! Talk about a truly loving Father!

      “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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  4. This chapter was a reaffirmation of a conversation I was having on Friday. “Being verses doing” jumped off the page because that was what the discussion was. I am trying to be more like Mary and not Martha, but man is it hard.

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    1. I know what you mean! At times we get so caught up in the doing that it becomes the norm for us and we forget how to just be. When we get on a roll we also get afraid to stop because we don’t want to lose our momentum! Thanks be to God that He reminds us to “Be Still and know that {He is} God” Psalm 46:10

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  5. As I read yesterday, I realized that I am suffering from not one or two, but all of the issues listed at the end of the chapter. I try to fill every spare minute with something to do, yet my home is a wreck. The strange thing is that since most of what I fill my time with is for the church, I thought I was doing what God was wanting me to do. I am now starting to totally re-evaluate the things that I have done and the things I am doing now to determine how I might better use my time to do those things for Him, but still make the time that I need to for my family.

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    1. I loved the quote Glynnis used in chapter 3 from Rick Warren “If you can’t get it all done, it means you’re trying to do more than God intended for you to do.” Those words really hit home for me because I’m one who says yes even when I should be saying no! Like you, I’m saying yes to GOOD things, but in the end I wind up drowning in all the “good things” on my to-do list! I pray that as you look at your own list of responsibilities, God will help you see what needs to be laid aside so that His tasks for you come first.

      I have to remind myself of this verse often…

      ““Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.” I Corinthians 10:23

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  6. This chapter was hard to read becaue it hit so close to home for me, but also good to read, because there is hope for me…if God can help change Glynnis’ heart, He can do it for me too! Like Ronda, I think I have all those things going on in my heart and the “being versus doing” leaped off the page for me. When I was doing my laundry, and my kids were wanting to go out to play, instead of grumping at them about all I still had to do, God reminded me of those words in time to catch my tongue and they helped me get everything in the machine and then we went out to play for an hour and had a wonderful time. And somehow, I still managed to get everything done later in the day that I had hoped to accomplish….not sure how that happened, but what a difference having that attitude made! I’d far rather have days like that! I’m so thankful for this study…reading about those attitudes I need changed and actually doing something about it with the Lord’s help is hard, but if my day was a sample of what God can do, then those hard things to read and change are so worth it! Not to mention the lack of guilt afterwards!!!

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    1. What you’re saying reminds me of a devotion I did when I was in high school. You get a jar, large rocks, pebbles, sand, and water. When you try filling the jar with the little things first, you can’t get the large rocks to fit at the end! However, when the big rocks…our biggest priorities like spending time with God, our spouse, and our kids are taken care of first the pebbles fill in the gaps, followed by the sand and water. In the end, EVERYTHING fits!

      Sometimes the hard part is deciding what priorities come first, then second, and so on. That’s an excellent time to ask God to show you what He’d like for you to do :). I pray you have more days like the one above!!

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  7. OH WOW!!!
    I get IT now. God has been trying to tell me something for awhile. Everywhere I turned and every book I read was trying to tell me something. You will never guess what the verse from VBS was last night! 1Samuel 16:7 – guess I better sit up and pay attention because just perhaps he has told me enough times now that I might just be getting it! Praise Jesus!

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  8. Thank you, Heather. I,too, struggle putting w/tasks over people. And w/comparing myself to another….the woman I compare myself to & constantly come up short against is the woman I was before a life changing physical disability that occurred 5 yrs. Ago. It keeps me feeling frustrated, anxious, discourageed & ungrateful to God for all He is blessing me with everyday. I could have written chapter 4 but changed Glynnis’s unwanted & unyielded to move to the Carolinas with my unwanted & unyielded to physical changes/pain. I, too, had built my reputation, family & position for decades & was suddenly unable to be that woman. In fact, when this book first came out I told my daughter & best friend that MY book title would read I used to be so organized and good at everything and now I stink at life. I thought I was the only woman of God who had had this experience so reading about Glynnis was like, WOW. Like her I wouldn’t accept the changes and thought it was only temporary! Thank you, Glynnis, for helping me realize that everything about my new life is beautiful except for my heart. I will keep on trying but it is really hard. Each time I grasp God’s peace it quickly slips through my fingers again. I am overwhelmed & still cry a lot. Suzi pblapere@att.net

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    1. Life’s changes can certainly feel overwhelming when they take us so far away from our “norm.” I have a feeling that Chapter Five is REALLY going to hit home for you and give you a whole new perspective. Praying that God works through those pages to reach you in a whole new way, that you would see yourself as He does. A woman whom He has a plan and a purpose for. After all, if you already accomplished the good work He began in you, He’d take you home to glory! He’s not done with you yet sister, there is still plenty for you to do for His kingdom!

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  9. The part that resonated most with me was the move Glynnis made and her reaction to it. That was my reaction in 2000 when my husband and I moved to NH from NY. The move was permanent and because my children were grown up (youngest was 22), I moved without them. Unlike Glynnis, I did not manage to go without complaining. I argued, just as Glynnis did, before the move and, though I went for the same reasons she did, i did not go quietly. Our marriage was strong enough to stand the turmoil, but I wasted over a year of what turned out to be the last 8 years of my husband’s life in being crabby and hard to please because I hated the move. I too looked at what I did not have rather than what I had. When my husband suddenly went home to be with Lord in 2008, I was so blessed by the friends I had made here that I finally began to feel totally at home, so at home that I am still here and have remarried. It never dawned on me that part of the trouble I had in the beginning was due to feeling like Glynnis that no-one knew what I could do. I too stockpiled accomplishments, pulling them out to look at when I had to prove to myself that I had some worth. What a revelation that God loves me no matter what I do or do’t accomplish and He doesn’t look at me with disgust, saying, “Well, I’ve made the bargain,so I have to love her, even if she’s a mess.” He loves me just as I am without condition.

    As to the list, I too have problems putting people ahead of tasks. I will willingly help someone if I can schedule it ant pencil it in on my calendar, but a last-minute emergency? i may do it, but I’m unhappy about it. There are several others I need to work on, but that is probably the worst.

    Thank you again, Heather, for your help with this study and for today’s great post.

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    1. Isn’t God’s love AMAZING?! He takes us as we are, refines and purifies us through life’s trials and joys. Even when we mess-up, He still takes us in His arms and loves us all the same!

      Sometimes those “emergencies” are “divine interruptions.” However, if you feel like people are taking advantage of your willing heart, you may need to step back and ask yourself. “Is this person genuinely needing my HELP, or are they wanting me to do this FOR them?” I pray that God would move in your heart so that you will know when it is appropriate to step in and help and when someone else is needed for that situation.

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      1. Thanks, Heather, for the question to ask myself regarding whether the person needs my help or wants me to do it for them. I’ll share this with my friend as well, who, I suspect, is a bit of an enabler. Of course, I may be one too; it’s hard to see it in yourself!

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  10. Excellent post toady Heather. Wow It just really spoke to me. the “He created me, He loves me, He will always love me. Nothing I do will change who I am.” especially spoke to me to. It is a hard thing to get through my head at times. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It is so comforting to know I am not the only one that feels the way I do.

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  11. This chapter didn’t hit home until I read your heart check then it just opened my eyes. I put tasks over people as I try to do and do and never finish and I am missing precious time with my family and my wonderful 4 yr old. I also need a heart check and prayer for my relationship with my stepdaughter that lives with us that is 16 as our relationship needs much improvement.

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    1. It warms my heart to know that my words helped you connect more with the chapter. Putting tasks over people is so easily done! I pray that as you spend some time with God and with His help He will show you how to overcome!

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  12. Thanks for posting this one today. I chuckled at the same spots in the book, but doesn’t all of us go through the same thing? We “play” what we are going to do when we are young then when we grow up the priorities get all screwed up unless we know where we are going and what we are doing.

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  13. This comes from a friend’s Dad…Don’t worry what people think about you, because they don’t think about you very much.

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  14. Heather, Thanks so much for sharing today. It was great re-reading some of the highlights that really hit you in Chapter 4. I found that in re-reading them, it helped make them even more meaningful. My prayer for today is that I can be a “human being” not a “human doing”.
    When I started this study, I really had no idea how much of a Heart Check the study would be. But as I am doing it, it really makes great sense that when my heart is really right with Him, then other things truly will be in order.

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    1. You know, I wondered the same thing when I picked up this book, but wow!! God has really been speaking to me through its pages! I look forward to seeing where else God intends to take us!

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  15. I feel like it is so easy to compare myself with my peers. The problem is I either come up short and feel defeated or I find that I don’t come up short which leads to judging someone else or thinking too highly of myself. Either way, I lose. We are all different, but no one is better. The older I get, the better my understanding of how God sees me and everyone else–Lost children in need of a loving Savior.

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  16. Ouch…the “to do” list person is SOOOO me. I have GOT to check that last thing off the list before the end of the day, or I find myself in a bad mood sometimes. In my heart of hearts, I know I need to let go of this obsession, and I do on some days. But it is still a struggle!!! Thank you for this great lesson, Heather. God always gives you great wisdom that speaks directly to my heart.

    Love you,

    Wendy

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    1. I have those days when I feel sooooo guilty if I didn’t finish everything I put on my list. I get home and have a whole new list of “to-dos” to be done. It can be so overwhelming the tasks we expect ourselves to be able to accomplish in a day. But God, through His Word and through others is always reminding me to give myself a little grace, grace, grace ;).

      I’m so glad you stopped by Wendy and I bet Chapter Five would hit home for you! It certainly hit me like a ton of bricks!

      I love you too sister, see you soon!

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  17. It wasn’t until the last paragraph that a chord struck with me! “putting tasks over people” writing notes/cards “falling off the list” oh boy!!! I am the worst friend when it comes to correspondence! I can text I can email but an actual note? A phone call even? Not happening… I actually have a stack of about 20 thank you notes that I sat down to write all ready to go that just need addresses and stamps! When did I write them? Two months ago! My excuse: I’m a first time mom of a 5 month old.. It’s my newest excuse and people are a lot more forgiving with this excuse over my last ones! But I don’t ever want my son to be an excuse or cop out. I want to be an example to him.. If I can’t be a good friend through correspondence he won’t ever learn how.
    I’m so convicted now!!!

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    1. I have been there girl! I remember trying to get all of my wedding “Thank Yous” done…it took me MONTHS to get them all written and even then, I ended up not having everyone’s address! Thursday I’ll be sharing a practical way to get tasks like that out of your way :). I hope it will help you!

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  18. Thanks for your words today, Heather. This checklist does raise some red flags for me, but I am glad God loves us enough to help us sweet those corners clean. I know He is stretching all of us and enlarging our territory to fulfill His greater purposes in and throught us. Growth is not always pleasant but the fruit it produces is so sweet 🙂 Happy to be walking this journey with all of you 🙂 xoxo ~Shelly

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  19. The thing that spoke to me the most in the chapter is her opening up about her anger, low self-esteem and depression (points arrow at self). I have found that I as I get to the end of my time at each place I am leaving, these wonderful emotions creep in even stronger than before. I doubt my friendships. I become angry, that I have to leave wonderful friendships behind. This life is not ever what I anticipated. But, I also said yes. I pray that God may help me be who I am supposed to be.

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  20. Definitely need to allow God to help me In two areas, putting tasks over people and judgemental thoughts. I loved this “If my insides don’t match my outsides I will always be out of alignment.

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  21. I need a wake-up call in every area listed on pg 54. Is that even possible?! Don’t answer that!! I find comfort knowing that no matter what I do or sat, God loves me. No matter what I feel like I need to change or do differently, God loves me. “Nothing I do will change who I am.” People look at my “mess” and pass judgement…despite it all, God loves me for me because God is love!!

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  22. He created me, He loves me, He will always love me. Nothing I do will change who I am.

    There’s my heart check along with our verse this week and another study that I’m in which has me searching my motives for why I do the things I do. I learned at an early age the value of adaptibility in making a group work. It started with my family and has taken me into a good career… my ability to read people, assess how to make things flow efficiently and to put aside my own preferences if it works best for the group. THe only problem is that I lost some boundaries along the way and I know the LORD is really working with me to set up some new fence. I don’t have to bend to their ways all of the time…. and I need to stop thinking that the priorities of others are my priorities as well. I got so wore out being on the team that I’m burnt out and cranky. I just went to school so I could start a new career that reduces this need from me and in the mean time I am starting to apply boundaries and finally am feeling some room for ME (who He created me to be) in there somewhere. This is something that I will have to be in control of (with Divine help) and am really looking into why I do it? Is it to please others? Is it because it avoids conflict? Has it kept me from seeing something in myself that I don’t want to recognize?

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  23. Thanks for your words of nudging. After reading chapter four I’ve been prayinv and asking God to show me places I’m struggling. I’ve felt peace the last few days since i did that.

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  24. Wow, I really don’t like this chapter, especially that list on the end. I can count 5 on there that apply to me and I’m not too happy with that. That is a TON of work that needs to be done in my heart and I’m not sure where to start. The other thing is, will I like myself or feel like myself is probably a better way to put it, when all is “said and done”. Will my family know me, think I’m being a “Jesus Freak”‘ want to be around me? Been there, done that in high school. Very scary for my pea brain to comprehend. WHERE TO FROM HERE LORD?

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  25. i don’t know where i fall into all of this as my life doesn’t seem to be filled with much other than I work 40-50 hrs a week…My last child just graduated and although there are a few things there i still need to deal with it seems i had it more together when more stuff was going on then i do now. i can’t seem to motivate myself to get things done at home. Thank you for doing this bible study – i read Glynnis book once and i’m finding that going thru it again is shedding more light on the matter. You are truly a blessing.

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  26. I know that I’m late on this subject but I’m catching up! I just had my heart check and my condition is called “Being concerned about what others might think”. I’ve been behind on this study because my family just arrived here from Puerto Rico and my initial thoughts when I found out they were coming was “what are they gonna think of my home?” so automatically I went into crazy-cleaning mode trying to get everything ready (which is not a bad thing) but in my case the issue was not about being a good hostess but really finding approval in their eyes. It turned out that they didn’t even care about my house, they care about ME! Nothing I DID matter to them only how I was doing and feeling. I’m really connecting with this chapter!

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  27. Really enjoying the study. Feel like I have a lot to learn in this area. Learning not only from Glynnis’ book but also from everyone’s comments. I so often compare myself with others and always end up feeling like I doCn’t measure up. I know God created me and loves me just like I am. I know God has different plans and purposes for us all so I don’t always know why I feel this way. This is an area I am working on with God’s help as well as resentful thoughts towards others. Thanks so much for your message. Love that God doesn’t even really look at our outwardness. Love that that part doesn’t even really matter to Him. Working on the inside.
    Thanks again.

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