Fear of rejection, Video Devotion

Moving Past Fear of Rejection–Video Devotion


We were best friends, and then we weren’t. It was as simple as that. My friend’s mom decided I wasn’t popular enough for her daughter, so we could no longer be friends. As an adult, I see that the situation had nothing to do with me—it was about serious issues with my friend’s mom. But at the time, all I felt was…. rejected.

The pain my middle-school heart felt cut deep. This was personal. I was rejected because of who I was—or rather, who I wasn’t. My young mind—not mature enough to handle the emotional complexity of the situation—concluded I wasn’t good enough. In fact, I felt worthless.

That experience brought my confident, self-assured childhood to a screeching halt. From that day forward, I was different. I desperately wanted to prevent the pain of rejection again, so I guarded my heart in relationships, and avoided situations where I might be told “You didn’t make the team”, or “You’re not right for the job.” I strived to prove my worth through hard work, surmising that I wouldn’t be discarded if I was useful. And, I pridefully elevated myself to positions of authority so I couldn’t be eliminated.

Jesus knew deep rejection. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected”—that “we turned our backs on him and looked the other way.” Yet, He never wavered—He knew who and whose He was. (NIV)

After inviting Jesus into my heart, I saw that my fear of rejection stemmed from being dependent on the world to define my worth and identity. I was horribly afraid to be rejected because it forced me to come face to face with my deepest fear … that I lacked value.

I overcame that fear by recognizing that my identity and worth are found in Christ, and that I’m God’s created daughter. Nothing God creates is worthless. And should I ever forget, His love letter to me—the Bible—reminds me.

What causes you to fear rejection? Bring it into the healing light of God’s truth today, as you learn to live Wholly Loved.

Translation used: NIV

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Heart issues, Video Devotion

Avoiding Temptation–Video devotion

The Best Way to Resist Temptation by Wholly Loved's Christa Cottam from Wholly Loved Ministry on Vimeo.

It wasn’t the first time I’d caved in to temptation, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. I ran into the same enticements day after day. Some days I was able to resist, and others I failed miserably.

I knew I’d never escape this hamster-wheel without God’s help.

I love to run outdoors. But I don’t love the summer-time bugs-like swarms of them! Jogging one morning, I neared an area where I’d ingested a mouthful of gnats a few days earlier. I tossed out a lighthearted prayer-more of a thought than a genuine plea: “God, please don’t let there be gnats today” and instantly, He spoke three simple words: choose another path.

My breath caught.

I knew God wasn’t really talking about gnats. He was asking me to think about the temptations I repeatedly encountered. How could I experience a different outcome if I didn’t choose a to think and behave differently?

Proverbs 26:11 says: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”

Blunt? Yes. But true. I was a simpleton to think walking the same paths each day wouldn’t lead to the same shame and frustration.

I wanted God’s strength to help me face my temptations, but in reality, I needed His strength to turn away from them. Sometimes the hardest thing isn’t simply endure your condition but deciding to change it.

For me that meant changing what I watched, read, and listened to. It meant spending more time in God’s Word. It meant grabbing hold of the negative thought patterns forcing my mind to submit to Jesus.

Do you keep running into the same struggles? Perhaps it’s time to choose another path-one God has created specifically for you, and always remember that you are wholly loved.

 

Prayer

Doubtful Prayer

Image of woman thinking

Hi, my name is Christa, and (dramatic pause) I suffer from doubtful prayer. Phew—I said it!

What is doubtful prayer? It means that I know there is no other God above our Creator, that He has unfailing love for me, delights in me—His created daughter, and that He hears my every prayer. But I still doubt sometimes that my prayers will make any difference—that my request will stand out among the billion others God receives daily.

Can you relate? Are there times when you say “Amen” and think: “What’s the point? My prayer isn’t going to change anything.” Times when you can’t shake the nagging feeling that you’re just talking to the wind.

We learn to doubt early in life, likely after the first time we’re hurt by a broken promise, disappointed when someone didn’t keep their word, or let down when something or someone failed to meet our expectations. In an effort to safeguard our physical selves, our “stuff”, and ultimately our hearts, we begin to question, become skeptical, and withhold trust until we receive adequate proof.

Let’s face it, doubt is a necessary part of navigating life in a fragmented world with fragmented Speaker image with quote pulled from texthumans. But, God reigns far above everything broken and hurtful here. When we open our hearts to Him in prayer and bow at His feet, we’re in a safe place to shed all of the earthly protection we cling to. (Can I get an “Amen”?!) We have complete freedom to move from guarded to unrestrained.

Scripture shows us prayer is a gift from God—the primary way we communicate with Him.

But, prayer is also one of the most powerful, effective weapons we have to fight the darkness that longs to snuff out God’s light. So, it’s no surprise that Satan attempts to shake our confidence in prayer with pervasive feelings of doubt.

James recognized our bent toward skepticism, saying: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8 ESV).

Thankfully, even as we question, God is incredibly patient and uses the opportunity to guide us into deeper revelations of His Truth and unwavering character. He ultimately leaves us no reason to peer at Him through squinted eyes and ask, “How do I know that you’ll really do what you say you’ll do?”

verse image of Numbers 23:19“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19 WEB)

 

For me, the antidote to doubtful prayer is this:

• Confession—I confess my hesitation to trust, and ask for God’s grace.
• Gratitude—I thank God for the ways He has blessed and continues to bless me every day.
• Recall—I think back on times when God answered my prayers and showed Himself faithful.
• Read—I immerse myself in the Truth of Scripture, which highlights God’s character and reinforces that I truly have no reason to stand reluctant before Him.

I believe God delights in our doubt. He knows that as we press in to test Him, and find Him trustworthy, we solidify our allegiance and find ourselves more deeply in love with everything He is.

Let’s talk about this. Has doubt crept into your prayer life? Can you recall a time when your questioning pushed you further into God’s truth.

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Living as Imago Dei, Video Devotion

Lord Jesus, Come … but Wait

Patient Evangelism by Wholly Loved's Christa Cottam. from Wholly Loved Ministry on Vimeo.

Crimes against children, human trafficking, senseless violence, debilitating disease and fractured relationships leave my heart pleading: “God, please rescue us from this broken world!”

But I also beg God to wait, because there are so many who don’t know Him yet—the stranger at the grocery store, my neighbor…my brother, and I’m left wondering, what can I do?

Paul states in Romans 9: “My grief is so intense that I wish that I would be accursed, cut off from the Messiah, if it would mean that you, my people, would come to faith in him!”

Let that sink in. He would hand over his salvation if it meant others could have theirs?!

Do I live with that same sort of passionate urgency to reach those who don’t know Jesus?

If we knew Jesus was coming today, we’d desperately proclaim the Gospel to as many people as possible so that no one would spend eternity without Him. But, since we don’t know when He’s returning, and others could die at any time, shouldn’t we live with that same desperation every day?

If you’re like me, the answer is “Yes, but…. I don’t know how”, “I don’t know what to say”, “I don’t know the Bible well enough”. And even if we can get past those insecurities, we don’t want to be that weird Christian who rides their bike around the neighborhood with a megaphone, shouting “Jesus is coming!”, ultimately pushing people further away, right?

The good news is that every Christian is equipped to share the Gospel … we just need to remember two words: Imago Dei.

Our greatest purpose is to represent Jesus as His image bearers. Embodying Him in all that we do—through our words, actions, attitude, work ethic, and demeanor no matter our job title, economic status, health, or age. When we live for Jesus, others will notice. And when they ask what it is about us that’s so special—when we’ve got their attention, then we get to share the Gospel. No megaphones or shouting, no script, not even a list of Bible verses to rattle off…. we just tell the story of how we met Jesus and how He rescued us. Simple, and beautiful.

Are you eager to reach others who don’t know Jesus? Ask God to ignite your passion, and then wear His love daily for all to see as you learn to live wholly loved.

Resting in Christ

Making Time With Jesus a Priority — Video Devotion

The shrill bleating of an alarm clock. A steaming cup of coffee. A brisk run as the sun rises. Or hurriedly serving breakfast, combing hair and stuffing lunch bags in the kids’ backpacks as they head out the door…. How do you start your day?

When my eyes open in the morning, my mind immediately begins whirring at a million miles an hour, laying out the day ahead of me. Sometimes in anticipation, sometimes in apprehension, and sometimes in dread.

But no matter my outlook on the day, I’ve learned that if I allow my feet to hit the floor without first connecting with Jesus, I’ll be heading toward defeat, relying on my own strength to get me through. While my efforts will never be sufficient, my Savior’s always will. If your schedule allows you to spend time with Jesus before you begin your day, that’s awesome. But, if you’re in a season where that’s not always possible, (like me!), simply take a moment to pray and intentionally place your day in His hands. I praise Jesus for the new day and His goodness, acknowledge my need for Him, and ask Him to guide my thoughts, words and actions throughout the day.

God provided food in the form of manna to the Israelites who wandered in the desert. It rained down from the sky each morning, not because He couldn’t rain down a week’s worth in one downpour, but because He wanted them to rely on Him daily. The Bible tells us in Exodus 16 that “Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Each family had just what it needed.”

The same is true for us. God knows what we need physically, emotionally, and spiritually, to get through each day, and He lovingly provides it for us…but we have to choose to come out of our tents, so to speak, and meet with Him.

So instead of pulling the covers up over your head tomorrow morning, spend your first few moments in Jesus’ loving embrace, and entrust your day to Him as you learn to live Wholly Loved.