Puzzle Pieces

“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-16 NIV

The urge to compare starts early in life. It’s a fight we battle throughout life, and often leads to envy, bitterness and dissatisfaction. Pride thrives off of comparison, dually, in that it strips our confidence and blinds us to our unique abilities. More than obvious arrogance, pride seeks to disqualify us is such an extreme way, that we can begin to mistake humility for it. 

“Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.” 1Corinthians 12:15-16 NIV

We each have unique gifts, given to us freely by God in order to fulfill the purpose we were created for by Him. Denying these gifts exist, or acting like we’re not as good at them as we are, is pride in reverse …not humility. Humility is acknowledging our gifts and celebrating them in honor of God, and working hard at what we’ve been given to be good at to glorify Him and accomplish our purpose. 

“As the human body must have diversity to work effectively as a whole, so the members of Christ’s body have diverse gifts, the use of which can help bring about the accomplishment of Christ’s united purpose.” NIV Study Bible Notes

Knowing this truth isn’t enough to fight the pride that fuels arrogance nor the pride that burns down our confidence. Living this truth is the key to unlocking a Christ-led life of freedom. Through Christ, the Word of God comes alive, living in us with every breath we breathe. Through His Spirit, we are strengthened in godly confidence, and restrained with holy humility. Anything worth doing takes work, and our faith in Christ is no different. We are on a constant trajectory towards eternity, daily growing in our faith (sanctification). It’s important to keep fighting the good fight of faith, because we are all so radically important to God.

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:4-8 NIV

God places people in our lives purposefully, not so we would compare in pride, but be encouraged in community with each other. Pride runs rampant, in church communities just as much as agnostic. We can wisely ask God to search our hearts for it daily. Christ is the only One powerful enough to keep pride at bay. The only one powerful enough to conquer the impossible, Emmanuel, God with us. Knowing the Truth ignites our faith, but clinging to Him daily allows us to live it. 

“The emphasis is on unity within diversity.” NIV Study Bible Notes

Communities experience unity through diversity. We were not put on this earth alone. Love truly does conquer all. In the end, Love does win. Love has already won, defeating death on the cross. If we could only see each other as He did, hanging there on the cross …One body, all of us. Imperfect, broken, world a mess …He died for us anyway. Our Creator is intentional. He created me, you, and all of us with specific purpose. There is only one me, one you, one of us all. None more important than the other. Neither loved less than the next. It’s a choice to see everyone that way. As a child of God, whom He loves and created for a purpose. 

Each puzzle needs every piece to be complete.

Happy Piecing,

Megs


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The Window Birds (#jammed daily devo, day 219)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 219: Right there.

No one is righteous—not even one.August 7
 There is no one who understands the truth;
 no one is seeking after the one True God.
 All have turned away; together they’ve become worthless.
 No one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12 (VOICE)

They were back. Those early birds that chirp in the dark hours of morning, to announce a day on it’s way. It’s always the first thing I hear when they’re there …even before my alarm clock. In the North, they disappear for a while, and the silence is kind of sad. I miss their happy little conversations before the traffic picks up and the day drowns them out.

Today’s Scripture reminds me of the silence left behind when the birds fly South. For some, the silence has never been broken by the Voice sent to save us all. The conversation hasn’t started and they simply don’t know. It’s as sad to me as the silence of a cold winter morning …void of life.

The return of the birds doesn’t make life better or easier, but it does take our minds to a cheerier place.

A Christ-led life doesn’t make life any easier, but it does make life worth living. He grants us Peace, Hope, and Light. On the dark, cold, and quiet days of winter He warms us and encourages us.

Today’s verse reminds us that none of us seek what is good without Jesus. We are incapable of it, and blinded by pride when we think we’re just fine without Him. IF that were true, He would not have come here …would not have died on the cross.

“No one.”

When we are tempted to compare, let’s remember Whose we are and Who we follow … and that without Him, we are simply lost.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for creating us to rely on You. Thank You for the way You guide us out of our own peril and into the arms of Christ. Forgive us for comparing ourselves to others …thinking even for a second that we are better or worse than anyone else. You are able to love us all perfectly. Help us to know You better each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Bird Listening,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Comparison Book. (“Why Her,” by Nicki Koziarz, Book Review.)

Why her?

Too much stock in another person’s life can deplete the amount of joy we are able to extract from our own share. How do we combat comparison in a social media driven age, where we can simply sit and scroll into a dissatisfied abyss from the comfort of the couch? It seems like an impossible pitfall to avoid, let alone cope with or climb out of. But Jesus reminds us, “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NIV)

A follow up to her first book, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, Nicki Koziarz tackles a difficult topic through Why Her?: 6 Truths We Need to Hear When Measuring Up Leaves Us Falling Behind, determining to deliver the message on comparison that God laid on her heart. Her faithfulness to do it authentically and honesty will undoubtably help readers flick the chip of comparison off of their shoulders.

I highly recommend this book!

Through the story of Rachel and Leah in the book of Genesis, Nicki Koziarz guides her audience through six truths to understanding and overcoming comparison. A topic that everyone struggles with, her approach and guidance is practical and authentic. The lessons that Nicki introduces and teaches are fresh from her universally relatable, everyday struggles. From common regrets to PTO problems, this book will have readers laughing and wishing they could high-five Nicki!

“The Bible is always relevant, because it reveals deeply rooted truths that never expire.” -Nicki Koziarz, “Why Her.”

Old Testament Biblical stories can be difficult to navigate through, but Nicki takes her readers on a journey that is unbelievably relatable to the time we live in now. In a society saturated in social media, comparison can easily creep into our comfort zone. Empowered by Scripture, and who God says we are, readers of “Why Her” will be able to scroll through news feeds and walk through life aware and prepared to deal with comparison in a positive way.

“If we’re honest, we’ll realize some parts of our own stories are still being written. And if we rush to cover up those pieces of our lives that lend themselves the most to comparison, we’ll miss the powerful story of redemption that God is in the middle of writing.” -Nicki Koziarz, “Why Her.”

Of the rich revelations uncovered in this book, my person highlight was realizing that being offended was a stance that I was choose to take. Another rich truth that sunk into my soul was the revelation that just because I don’t always get what I am aiming for, doesn’t mean I did anything wrong. It just isn’t always mine.

“God’s promises are not only for reading and meditating on. There are times when we must fight to believe them and receive them for our lives.” -Nicki Koziarz, “Why Her.”

In a rough moment on a hard day, I recently found a letter my Grandma wrote to me when I was thirteen. “Keep your standards high, as they are now,” she encouraged. “Stay sweet and beautiful.” The constant strive to keep up with my busy life had left little time to reflect on who I was anymore. Through tears, I prayerfully admitted that I had not kept my standards high at times, and it cost me dearly, every time. But the beautiful thing about Christ is His personal love for us. His grace washes away what I cannot take back, leaving the sweet and beautiful, innocent thirteen year old girl to shine through once again. 

Reading through the last of the six truths of this book, Nicki’s words rang with God’s affirmation of my Gram’s encouraging letter. In a rush to strive and achieve and impress, I fail to pause and glance at my own reflection. Maybe out of fear, or disappointment, in what could have been or I wish would be.  But this book has given me practical steps and vivid reminders to help me shut the comparative chatter down.

” I don’t know why it feels so hard to see the goodness of God in our lives. I don’t know why we’re often only able to see it in others. I just know if we’re not careful to stay in the reality of God’s love and goodness, we’ll slip into a place where our souls become unwell and we’ll miss what’s right in front of us.” -Nicki Koziarz, Why Her.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell into house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 

This book is a quick and fun read, because of Nicki’s relatable tone and fun real life applications. Yet, it’s deep and rooted firmly in Scriptural, life-changing, truth. I highly recommend this book to women who struggle with comparison, or maybe just feel an emptiness or uneasiness about an area of their lives. 

Happy Reading!

Megs

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

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The Legs (#jammed daily devo day 18)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 18: God’s OK with you.

“How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of artist’s hands.” Song of Songs 7:1jammed-day-18

Today’s verse comes from the Song of Songs, a book written all about the “privileges” of
marriage, if you catch my drift. Listen, if it’s in the Bible it’s important, and the application of grace in this verse is endearing.

 “Graceful legs” in this verse describes a curvaceous woman. (NIV Study Bible.)  Even in a modern society full of acceptance,  every type of body and personality type has a cynical platform that can be Googled. We’ve all been stung by the remarks of the wrong eyes.

God embraces us, not our laziness or our athletic prowess …not our plastic parts or our stretch marks …He loves us. Yes, our bodies are important, but more important is our relationship with Him. That’s what Jesus died for.

jammed-tweet-blueGod’s endearing grace has no weight limit or mental capacity.  It’s not a ticket to sloth-life, or a pass to the Olympics sans the sweat and sacrifice. God’s grace is the hope of total acceptance, without any effort that isn’t already built into our skin. To receive grace is to live beyond a realistic capacity.

Father, Praise You! For we are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) Thank you for the encouragement packed into this passage today. We confess we do not always gaze into the mirror and see what You created. Bless our eyes to see beyond what the world sees, and onto Your gracious gift to us through Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What are you most self-conscious about? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Self-embracing,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Window Birds (#jammed daily devo, day 219)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 219: Right there.

No one is righteous—not even one.August 7
 There is no one who understands the truth;
 no one is seeking after the one True God.
 All have turned away; together they’ve become worthless.
 No one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12 (VOICE)

They were back. Those early birds that chirp in the dark hours of morning, to announce a day on it’s way. It’s always the first thing I hear when they’re there …even before my alarm clock. In the North, they disappear for a while, and the silence is kind of sad. I miss their happy little conversations before the traffic picks up and the day drowns them out.

Today’s Scripture reminds me of the silence left behind when the birds fly South. For some, the silence has never been broken by the Voice sent to save us all. The conversation hasn’t started and they simply don’t know. It’s as sad to me as the silence of a cold winter morning …void of life.

The return of the birds doesn’t make life better or easier, but it does take our minds to a cheerier place.

A Christ-led life doesn’t make life any easier, but it does make life worth living. He grants us Peace, Hope, and Light. On the dark, cold, and quiet days of winter He warms us and encourages us.

Today’s verse reminds us that none of us seek what is good without Jesus. We are incapable of it, and blinded by pride when we think we’re just fine without Him. IF that were true, He would not have come here …would not have died on the cross.

“No one.”

When we are tempted to compare, let’s remember Whose we are and Who we follow … and that without Him, we are simply lost.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for creating us to rely on You. Thank You for the way You guide us out of our own peril and into the arms of Christ. Forgive us for comparing ourselves to others …thinking even for a second that we are better or worse than anyone else. You are able to love us all perfectly. Help us to know You better each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Bird Listening,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80.