Lifted Book Study | Week 5, Chapter 13

Love keeps no record of wrongs. 

You may know that truth from 1 Corinthians 13 well, having heard it at countless weddings. You may have the passage hanging on the wall as a piece of art in your home. You may even be able to recite the words by heart. 

But there’s a difference between knowing something and actually living it out . . . especially when it comes to the way we think about ourselves.  If love keeps no record of wrongs, why are we so good at remembering our failings  and past mistakes? Or as Lindsey asks in the final chapter of Lifted,

“Why am I quick  to believe  what  the  Bible  says  about  my  sin  but slow to believe what it says about my forgiveness?”

In your quiet time today ask yourself . . . 

  • What mistakes do I remind myself of (berate myself for)?
  • What do I need to do to forgive myself?
  • Do I need to apologize to anyone?
  • Am I willing to feel the transformation that comes with forgiveness?

If you are a Believer, you might also ask yourself if Jesus is able to forgive any mistake—no matter how big or small? 

(Spoiler alert: He is.)

Freeing yourself from the fog of fear, obligation, and guilt often begins with forgiveness.

It’s time to clear the slate. 

Lifted Book Study | Week 5, Chapter 12

You were created for something good!

Let’s start today by taking a look at our verse for the week from Ephesians 2:10:

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

You, friend, are loved. You are cherished.

And you were created with your unique talents for a purpose.

God doesn’t paint with broad, indistinct strokes. He has used a fine-tipped brush to detail every hair on your head. He knows you. That’s why living “your” best life isn’t about being like anyone else. It’s about living the life God has called you to—uniquely and individually.

God has good works planned for you to do. And there’s something that only you can do. If you are open and available to Him and are seeking to know Him and His will, He will make those right opportunities clear to you.

One of my favorite quotes from Chapter 12 in Lifted is,

If God made an opportunity for you, He will keep it for you.”

It’s okay to take a minute—or  a few days!—to pray about an opportunity. If it’s the right opportunity for you, it won’t be something that you feel pressured into doing.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy or even that it will feel comfortable; in fact, as Lindsey points out, stepping into a new assignment often feels uncomfortable. But if you feel pressured, pause, take some time to pray about it, and be willing to pass if it really isn’t right for you.

Let’s talk . . .

What “great” opportunities have you jumped at only to later regret accepting?

What opportunities have you turned down because fear of failure or judgment held you back?

Lifted Book Study | Week 5, Introduction

Hi Friends!

Welcome to the final week of the Courageous Heart Community Book Study featuring Lifted  by Lindsey Hale. What a journey this has been! If you’re anything like me, Lindsey’s book has challenged you and cheered you on to living a more intentional and authentic life.

Part of living more authentically is doing what you’re called to—what you were uniquely created to do. And that means you can’t do everything; there simply isn’t enough time! Figuring out which opportunities and invitations to decline is essential if you’re going to make space in your life for your true calling.

That’s where we kick things off in this week’s video intro. Lindsey talks about the filters we can use to determine if we are actually called to do something—or if we’re just capable of doing that thing. The truth is, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Click the image below to watch the video, or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://youtu.be/ke6Jt6H9RAs.

As we wrap up the Lifted book study this week, why not practice being more intentional about the invitations you accept? How do you feel about saying no to a few things?

We were each designed with purpose for a purpose. This week’s verse reminds us of that:

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” —Ephesians 2:10

What are the “good things” that you need to make space for in your life? 

Before you go, be sure to download the Week 5 reading plan here.

Here’s to a great week!

Lifted Book Study | Week 4, Chapter 11

Is not playing “pretend” a sin?

“Each of us only has a limited supply of energy, and spending energy on guilt wears you down. It drives you to walk around all day feeling like you are not enough . . . . It pulls you in directions you never meant to go and leaves you running on fumes . . . .”

Can you relate to that feeling of running on fumes?

Do you feel guilty about not being enough or not being great at all the things like everyone else seems to be?

Does that guilt make you say yes to things you’d really rather say no to? Like playing pretend? Or making cupcakes for the entire third grade? Or watching SpongeBob for the ninth time—in a single day?

Do you look at others’ social media or Sunday-morning lives and feel guilty because you really don’t have it all together?

Guess what; they’re probably feeling the same way about themselves.

So instead of letting mom guilt wash over you—again—do a reality check to see if what you’re feeling is condemnation or conviction. Condemnation comes from the enemy, and its purpose is to make you feel like “not enough” so you’ll stay distracted. Conviction comes from Jesus; its purpose is to help you grow in character.

Lindsey writes:

“In order to evaluate whether my mommy guilt was condemnation or conviction, I asked myself if I was sinning by not wanting to play ‘make-believe’ with my kids. I wasn’t feeling lust, anger, greed, or jealousy. I wasn’t gossiping, slandering, lying, or swearing (even though I want to while I play dolls) . . . . Satan was condemning me, making me feel guilt and a sense of unworthiness, and frankly, I was done letting his lies run my confidence dry.”

Maybe playing pretend isn’t your thing. That’s okay.

Maybe you can’t make it to every game. That’s okay too.

Maybe you don’t have time (or frankly, the skill) to make four dozen treats for the school fundraiser. Guess what? That’s okay too.

Your job is to use the unique gifts, skills, and talents that God has given you. Use them well. Share them liberally. In doing so, you’ll create moments that fill you with energy. That’s how you can best serve everyone—including yourself.

What should-dos cause you to feel mom guilt?

Lifted Book Study | Week 4, Chapter 10

Don’t Believe the Lies

Confession: When I first read this chapter, I immediately Googled “Underoos” to see if they are still a thing. They are. And they have some for grownups! I’ve got a Wonder Woman set picked out for my Christmas wish list this year. ?

When I was a kid, my best friend and I played “Wonder Woman” for hours. I’m not talking about a Netflix binge; Netflix didn’t even exist way back then. No, I mean we played—outside. I’d race around the yard in my invisible jet, we’d use our lassos to get the truth out of people, and deflecting bullets with my bracelets? Piece of cake.

In Chapter 10 of Lifted, Lindsey shares her own superhero story. Her fave was She-Ra. This tough beauty, too, could do it all.

Lindsey and I grew up thinking we had to do it all—perfectly—just like our superhero role models. Maybe you did too.

But that’s a lie. You are amazing and strong and capable, but you don’t have to be everything to everyone all the time to be worthy of love and acceptance.

In this chapter, Lindsey talks about some of the most common lies women believe about themselves. Lies like . . .

  • I rarely meet the expectations others set for me.
  • The more I do, the more I’m worth.
  • I can please others by going along with the crowd.
  • I have to give 100 percent to my children and husband at all times.
  • I’m failing.

What’s interesting is that we are unlikely to believe those lies about anyone except ourselves. You would never tell your friend, sister, mother, or daughter that she needs to do more if she wants to be worth more to you. And if someone told your child that their personal value was measured by their accomplishments . . . my guess is that lie would make you angry enough to set the record straight.

So isn’t it time that you ditch the lies you tell yourself?

I love Lindsey’s advice here:

“Just show up, give what you have to give, and trust that God will multiply your efforts when you are faithful to Him. Even as you give and grow, keep in mind that who you are to God has nothing to do with how good a wife / mom / business owner / volunteer/ chef / caretaker /   (fill in the blank)  / you are. In other words, stop trying to earn God’s grace and love. It’s already yours—if you are willing to accept it.”

Jesus lived a perfect life so you don’t have to—because you can’t.

That’s a truth you can rest in.

What truths do you need to remind yourself of?

Lifted Book Study | Week 4, Chapter 9

Is it time for a relationship reset?

In the intro video this week, Lindsey comments about how easy it is to bond with people over negative experiences. You know the adage: Misery loves company. That’s what makes complaining about your husband, your boss, your kids, or your life with others such an easy way to connect with people. But that isn’t the best way to build a strong, positive relationship.

If your relationship with someone is dragging you down, the reality is you may not be able to simply sever ties. You may need to stay in touch or interact with that person regularly. If that’s the case, you may need to set or reset some boundaries. If you’re lucky, the relationship just may change for the better. And even if the other person doesn’t change, you will change in ways that make you a healthier and happier person.

Here are a few steps to take when you know something needs to change in one or more of your relationships:

Start with prayer. Lindsey writes, “I started with simple prayers, not big, beautiful, thought-out prayers—just tiny cries of my heart any time I felt the effects of the poison our relationship had left behind.”

Talk with your friend about how you feel. If your friend consistently says or does something that hurts you, let her know. It could be that she doesn’t realize that her words or behavior is hurtful.

Change the conversation. Refuse to gossip. Just stop it! If your friend wants to bash someone, do not fuel the fire. You may feel brave enough to say something like, “I really don’t’ want to talk about so-and-so behind her back.” Or you may just want to say something nice about the person your friend is badmouthing.  Or just ignore the negative comment and abruptly change the topic.

Be the kind of friend you would like to have. Even if your so-called friend’s behavior doesn’t change, you can choose to live with integrity. Use the tips from Chapter 8 to find new friends who challenge you to be the kind of person you want to be.

Standing up for yourself in relationships isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. Let us know what other thoughts or ideas this chapter brings to mind.

 

Lifted Book Study | Week 4 Intro

Hi Friends!

Welcome to Week 4 of the Courageous Heart Community Book Study featuring Lifted by Lindsey Hale. This week, I think you’ll be empowered by the insight Lindsey shares.

We kick off this week with a video conversation between Lindsey and me about the danger of toxic relationships—and how to connect with people who inspire you. Click the image below to watch the video or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://youtu.be/qxxctdSznvg.

We’d love it if you’d leave a comment on the video to let us know what your thoughts are about nurturing positive relationships. Near the end of the video Lindsey makes the comment that if people are talking about others with you, they are probably talking about you with others. Have you found that to be true?

The verse to guide our thoughts this week is one of my favorites:

Philippians 4:8:  “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Let this advice direct your conversations as you establish new friendships or nurture existing relationships.

If you’re wondering what’s in store this week, download the suggested reading plan here. I’m looking forward to a great week with you!

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 8

Will you be my friend?

Do you remember the days when it was acceptable to walk up to someone and say, “Wanna play?” or even “Will you be my friend?”

When you’re in preschool or even junior high, making friends is as simple as finding someone who likes what you like and spending time doing that together—whether it’s playing with LEGOs or Barbies, listening to music way too loud, or hanging out at the mall.

As an adult, though, it would seem a bit awkward to walk up to someone with an offer of “Wanna play?”

In Chapter 8 in Lifted, Lindsey shares a few thoughts on friendship—from evaluating our relationships’ health to finding friends that build us up rather than tear us down. As you read this chapter, think about your own friendships:

  • Who makes you better?
  • Who pulls you down?
  • Who inspires you?
  • Whom do you want to inspire?

If you look at your life and think I need some new friends, check out this summary from the tips Lindsey shares in Lifted.

5 Simple Tips for Finding New Friends

  1. “Put down your phone, book, planner, or whatever else you stare at when you are at kids’ events or the park,” Lindsey writes. If you’re using those things so you don’t feel or seem lonely, know this: your book or phone may be acting as a force field that prevents people from talking to you. Put it away, look up, smile, and engage in conversation with the people around you.
  2. “Choose your seat wisely and change it often at all events you attend regularly.” Sit by someone new!
  3. Connect with the people you meet in real life on social media. When you meet someone whose company you enjoy, tell them! And then ask if you can connect online to stay in touch.
  4. “Join the club, meeting, Bible study, or new gym in town.” Go to places where other women are already meeting. Chances are, they are there because they crave connection too.
  5. “Stop waiting for someone to invite you to something and instead create your own event.” Plan a girls’ night out. Keep it simple! It doesn’t have to be a huge group; in fact, it may be easier to get to know people in smaller settings of two or three.

For more on finding friends, listen in on one of Lindsey’s most popular podcasts: “Making Friends as an Adult.” (Evidently, there’s a lot of women who need friends! Why not be the one to make the first move?)

 

Share your thoughts! How do feel about making new friends as an adult?

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 7

How Praying for Your Enemies Helps You

Here’s your fair warning: Grab a Kleenex for this chapter. (If you’re anything like me you may need to just go ahead and grab the box.)

We are designed for relationship. As humans, we crave connection. And when our most important relationships are damaged by hurt, betrayal, misunderstanding, or neglect, mending them can be almost painful as the event(s) that caused the damage. But if we are able to get past that pain, something beautiful awaits on the other side.

And that’s where prayer comes in. Prayer helps us get through the hurt. When we pray with hearts that are open to God’s leading, we are changed in the process; our fears are stilled, and our hearts are softened and strengthened.

Praying for those who’ve hurt us—be it a parent, a spouse, child, friend, or stranger—isn’t a natural response to pain. But as Lindsey discusses in this chapter, it can lead to forgiveness of others and of oneself.

As she shares the experience of reaching out to mend the hurt in her relationship with her father, she says, “By taking that one step toward forgiveness, I began to see more clearly how fears had crept into my life and tainted everything.”

Deep pain affects every area of our lives. We can try to compartmentalize our pain—but the fact is that pain will always bleed into other relationships. Moving toward forgiveness, even if we’re only able to take one baby step at a time, puts us on a healthier path.

Staying on that path is the trick. Lindsey writes:

“Leaning into and living in forgiveness rather than fear, however, wasn’t a one-time decision; it’s a daily action. You can decide to forgive, just like you can decide to lose weight, but until you put a meal plan and a workout regimen into action, it’s just a decision. To lose weight, you have to do the work of exercising and eating right—and it takes time to see the results. The same is true of forgiveness.”

Take some time today to journal and pray about someone in your life whom you need to forgive. That person may even be you. Ask God to help you experience the forgiveness and peace that only He can provide.

Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 6

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Lindsey starts this (almost) PG-rated chapter with a mortifying moment that will make you either laugh out loud or groan in sympathetic embarrassment.

If you’re a parent, you know the dread of hearing a child’s voice in your room at precisely the wrong moment. Even if you’ve never been in the exact same scenario that Lindsey shares, you can empathize with her, because you know how you would feel.

The point of this chapter is that the vulnerability of authenticity and corresponding empathy connects us all. Lindsey writes:

“The real, awkward, embarrassing, imperfect moments of life are what draw us together and make us think, I can relate to that! I really like her. She’s just as goofy, messy, or messed up as me! When you show up as you—imperfect, flawed, unsophisticated you—online or in person, you can capture people’s hearts and maybe even make a new friend.”

Letting down your guard and sharing your real life with your friends—and those who would be your friends if they really knew you—is scary and empowering. Scary in that you wonder or worry what people will think. Empowering in that . . .

  1. It doesn’t matter what people think.
  2. Your courage to be authentic may will inspire others to take off their masks.
  3. Your authenticity will open you up to new relationships with real people who like you—for you.

So what do you think? What does being authentic and vulnerable look like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.