Extra Strength: Don’t Buy the Lie {Hyacynth}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Pressure Points: Selfie: Whole {Sunday, April 12, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

By all standards, my life feels pretty full.

Our family calendar, although now a more-tamed beast than in years past, lends evidence to its fullness.

I call much of what makes up the fullness of my life blessings.

The family I love. The hobbies I enjoy. The job at which I work. The friends with whom I commune. The home in which I live. The food we eat. The passions that burn brightly in my soul. Each is a gift, a blessing to me.

But there’s a problem when the blessings, the fullness of life is mistaken for a wholeness, a completeness in our souls.

Fullness doesn’t mean wholeness.

And I think we’re often deceived into thinking just the opposite — that the fullness of a life can complete us, that the fullness of a life can make us whole.

And when fullness leads into inevitable busyness? Well, I think we’re often left aching and limping our way through these lives chocked full of blessings.

Add to that the busyness of going from one thing to the next in the fullness of life, that often we don’t even realize that we’re trying to fill a hole … we often don’t even see depths and width of that hole.

“We never stop long enough to figure out what we are trying to fill.” Pastor Josh Petersen

But there are signs everywhere of that hole we’re trying to fill.

We fill the holes in our homes with more treasures than what our bank accounts can account for.

We fill the holes in our schedules with serving and helping and feel exhausted just looking at our packed calendars.

We struggle to make the button meet the hole of our jeans after too many handfuls of snacks.

When we finally recognize the holes, we stare at the gaping spaces in our lives, shake our heads and wonder why we can’t get it together … Wonder why there is so little within our easy reach to fill the holes that seem to only grow wider and wider. 

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Photo courtesy of Danny Lagunas

“It’s gotta come from someplace else — wholeness only comes from the outside, but you better choose wisely. You will have to add something, and it’s probably not what you think. You’ll have to add carefully.” Pastor Josh Petersen

We are full, yes and yet, we are aching for wholeness.

We look for it in the desserts we eat and the gadgets to which we upgrade and the drinks in which we drown our sorrows and the service we extend in the overextension of ourselves.   

And yet we still ache so we go back and do it all again, mistaking fullness for wholeness over and over. We buy the lie time after time. 

“That outside thing that’s worth your time and energy is Jesus.” Pastor Josh Petersen 

The first step in trying to remedy a problem is admitting there is, indeed, a problem, and my very problem is summed up quite easily in admitting that all of my attempts to make me whole haven’t ever completed that aching empty in the depths of my soul.

I can’t eat, shop, serve, create, perfect myself into wholeness.

And the second step? It’s replacing the lie with truth.

When I am tempted to try and eat myself into wholeness, I can choose instead to feast on truth: Jesus is the bread of life.

When I am lured into trying to perfect my way into wholeness, I can choose to recall that His grace is sufficient for me.

When I am desiring for someone to assign me worth with their words, I can choose to remember that God so loved *me* that He sent His only son to give me life.

As we walk into the fullness of a new day, let’s not buy the lie that fullness is wholeness. Let’s not fill the holes with more stuff. Let’s instead fill it with Truth.

Let’s choose wisely, friends.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.


Be Challenged:  This week, when you feel tempted to buy the lie …

  • Identify the lie

  • Replace it with God’s truth

  • Remember and declare that you are #wholeinone!

Extra Strength: Silent Retaliation

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Pressure Points: The Pressure of Retaliation {Sunday, March 22, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

During those lonely days of adolescence, as I was growing into a new body with a big heart and tenderly thin skin, I realized the power of words after my good friend’s mom nearly spat some from her mouth, something that’s stuck with me for years:

“You are so bossy! Stop being so bossy, or no one will want to be your friend.”

To a kid who was exceptionally good at organizing ideas and events, but was still working on the intricacies of organizing people in relationship to ideas and events, her words were like a razor to my heart. It was the first time I could recall being so wounded by something someone said.

Shortly after that realization, I discovered a parallel revelation; while words could really cut deep the opposite of offensive words was just as dangerous of a weapon: silence. After those hurtful words were spoken, I retreated away from the relationship and stopped speaking with my friend for quite some time. I was so hurt by her mom’s words and her agreeing with her mom so fervently, that I simply stopped speaking to her.

If hurtful words can be a razor blade to the heart causing it to bleed out, silence in retaliation can be a sneaky paper bag that smothers our relationships into silent death.

To be clear, I’m not talking about holding our tongues so as to not say something we might regret; I’m talking about those intentional times when we choose to let the offender of hurtful words or actions suffer in the aftermath of our purposeful silence.

Though I was young, I learned a powerful lesson: I held great power in inflicting suffering through my silent retaliation.

I’d like to tell you when I left childhood that I also left behind my way of retaliation. My husband is so gracious with me that he’d allow you to believe that and never call me out. But even as an adult, I’ve recognized I’ve sought retaliation after I’ve been hurt by remaining silent, within my marriage, friendships, relationships and even my relationship with myself and with God. Though my retaliation of silence is now much different than the whole, “I’m not talking to you,” feel it had in my childhood, it still is rooted in the pride: “I’m not letting you in. No matter what you say or do or how you apologize, you are not getting in here: no way; no shape; no how.”

3.23.15 blog Patient EnduranceWhat began as a reaction to hurt had become, as I grew older, a thought-out response, a response that leaves only loses and never wins.

Because as an adult, I’ve realized that in the silence of retaliation, it’s not just the other person who suffers; the one who inflicts the silence suffers in it as well.

The retaliation of silence as an adult looks most like quietly shutting down, denying the other person any insight into our pain, denying anyone the ability to come close to the deep hurt that’s been suffered, denying anyone the ability to come comfort us as we hurt. With our own conscious selves. With our closest relationships. Even with God.

There’s a song I’ve listened to probably a hundred times because it hits me so square in the hear that I’m drawn to it time and again. The chorus says,

“It’s a fight between my heart and mind
No one really wins this time
No one really wins this time
In the endless fight of grace and pride
I don’t want to win this time
I don’t want to win this time.” (Copeland)

With the silence of retaliation, no one really wins, and even as I internalize this truth more and more, I still often find a war going on inside of me after I’ve been hurt and wronged, a fight, it seems, between grace and pride.

I’m learning now that I can let grace win because I can trust in a God who promises to make to make all things right.

And to be quite honest, if grace doesn’t win out every time, no one really ever wins.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.

 

 


Be Challenged:  This week, when you feel you’ve been wronged, remember this:

  • “When it comes to retaliation, our choice is not a difficult one to understand but it is a difficult one to obey. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit in you to choose patient endurance over retaliation.” -Pastor Joe Boerman

 

Extra Strength: Let’s All Get a Little More Beautiful in Our Lives {Hyacynth}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Pressure Points: The Pressure of Temptation {Sunday, February 22, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

In the past, it’s been the pint of cream sitting in the freezer, the spiteful words sitting on the tip of my tongue and the promises of love sitting heavily in my ears.

Temptation has followed me all of my life, though the specifics are ever evolving and changing. While the tempters in my life have morphed the root of temptation remains the same: I’m consistently trying to satisfy an insatiable hunger.

If we’re going to get real about talking about temptation, though, I think we have to acknowledge and accept what Pastor Josh Petersen said this past Sunday about temptation:

“The key to dealing with temptation is understanding the desire of your heart. The key is grappling with what we have set our heart on by asking, ‘what have we allowed to fill us?'”

These are the kinds of questions that invite us to dig deeper. And you know what digging deep requires, right? Vulnerability.

Brene Brown says, “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

If what Brene Brown says is true and if we really want to get to the root of temptation, I think we all need to get comfortable with getting a little more beautiful in our lives. So here goes:

After thought and prayer and reflection, I’ve grappled at my very own marshmallow, my very own major temptation in my life right now and what He revealed took me by surprise. My marshmallow right now is perfectionism, and the desire at the bottom of it is security and love. I want to feel that I am deeply loved and that I am safely held, so I try to muscle my way into both.

Be it trying to eat a perfect enough diet to obtain stellar health and stave off disease or peacefully and perfectly parenting my children all the hours they are awake so they will turn out well or maintaining poise in front of friends when I feel like sobbing, I have consistently been trying to earn love and security in ways that cannot satisfy my deep desires for both. And it’s as exhausting as it is impossible.

Admittedly, none of those admissions feel very beautiful. But what is beautiful is that this vulnerability, this realization and acceptance of these deep needs of mine draw me closer to the only One who can really satisfy my deep hunger for deeply-rooted love and security.

So are you ready to get a little more beautiful in your own life?

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.


Be Challenged:  This week, when you feel tempted:

  • Stop – identify the desire

  • Spot – place it appropriately and invest it wisely; temptation becomes an opportunity to express our desire for God.

  • Set – Set your eyes on God.

Extra Strength: Something Greater in Mind

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge.

Extra Strength for Pressure Points: The Pressure of Trials 

Sometimes life is hard.

I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone. Sometimes, people go through things they would rather not. We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control how we react to them.

Blog 2.16.15Think back to the last time you dealt with a hard situation. Were you hurt? Angry? Depressed? On the surface, those are all justifiable reactions. But when was the last time you praised God in the midst of the storm?

Truthfully I couldn’t even think of a time. Pastor Josh spoke Sunday about trials. He reminded us that God doesn’t call us to throw ourselves a pity party; He calls us to rejoice! One way our faith can grow is when it’s being tested.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-4‬ NLT).

Did you catch that? James is challenging us to see our hardships as a time of rejoicing! I don’t know about you, but that does not sound ideal to me. If I’m struggling with something, no part of me wants to be thankful.

But then I think back to that passage. I remember that I’m going to go through hard times. I’m going to experience trials. And God is going to make me a stronger, wiser, more humble christian because of them. He’s going to do that for all of us! So even though the situation isn’t perfect, and sometimes it’s horrible, God has something greater in mind. And if nothing else, that is something that is worth joy.

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Gracie Adamek attends school at College of Lake County. When she’s not at school, she can be found on the worship team at Immanuel, among other activities. 

 


 

Be Challenged:Bottom Line 2.15.15

  • Whenever you find yourself growing frustrated and upset about a trial, physically change your angle to remind yourself to change your perspective about the trial. Ask God to help you see the perspective He wants you to have!

Extra Strength: The Wisest Decision You Could Make {Hyacynth}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

Ask It: Based on Current Circumstances, What is the Wise Decision {Sunday, January 25, 2015}

By Hyacynth Worth

If it’s not one decision it’s another.

Maybe it’s the season of life we’re in, maybe it’s our special circumstances of international adoption or maybe it’s just  … life, but we have found ourselves in the midst of making rather important decisions on a weekly basis for the past few months especially.

See, we just keep getting these life curve balls thrown in our direction, and it keeps making us ponder the question — what on Earth is the wise thing to do here?

If I’m being honest, as I ponder this question, I have to say that sometimes the right thing actually seems unwise at first glance. Sometimes, at first look, it seems downright foolishness.

Take Abraham for example. God instructed him to take Issac, the son for whom he waited so very long, to the sacrificing table.

Or Moses. God told him to go to Pharaoh and ask Pharaoh to release the Israelites.

Or Gideon. God told Gideon he had to continually dwindle his number of fighting men to battle a rather large and rather ominous enemy army.

At first look, it all looks like foolishness.

Why would Abraham sacrifice Issac on an altar when Issac was the long-sought after heir?

Why would Moses, an alien who had been fled from Egypt many years prior, think he could walk up to the most powerful Pharaoh and ask for the Israelites to be freed?

And why would Gideon think that God dwindling his numbers to go fight a large army would work out for his people’s benefit?

Simple.

Because God was the One doing the orchestrating; God was the One behind these outrageous requests.

This morning after my normal quiet time, my oldest son requested I stay out of the kitchen for five more minutes. In my copious amount of free time, I went into another room and thought I’d check into Facebook. But then I saw my Bible sitting nearby, and for some reason I just felt the need to open the pages. I turned right to a verse in Psalm 9, specifically verse 10.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

And it made everything clear.

The decisions with which I’ve been wrestling, the whys behind Abraham, Moses and Gideon’s stories, the “wise” thing to do is all the same thing in every circumstance; it’s all clear: seek the Lord, and trust Him.

Pastor Bryan Bicket summed up this very idea Sunday during his message by suggesting that the most wise thing we can do in any circumstance is first submit our very lives to the Lord … and then submit to Him our every circumstance.

We can trust that God will “course correct us,” as my mentor says, if we are whole-heartedly following after Him.

We don’t have to make the perfect decisions if we’re intentionally seeking Him in what we do because seeking Him is the perfect decision. We don’t have to question if the very decision we’ve been lead to while seeking the Lord is wise because seeking the Lord first is the wisest decision.

He’ll continue to guide us if we continue to seek Him.

So this week, as I ponder the humanly “unwise” things I’ve been called to go forth do, I’m trying to remember I’m actually making the wisest decision of all — I’m trusting in the One who’s leading, the One I’m seeking and remembering it’s the wisest decision any of us could make.

headshotHyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and author of Undercover Mother. She also works as the Online Communications Coordinator for Immanuel Church.

 


 

Be Challenged: 

  • Seek the Lord in prayer this week and submit your circumstances to Him. Ask Him to help you do what He’d have you do.

Go Deeper:

  • Answer the questions in the Conversation Starter of your Immanuel Life with a friend, spouse or small group.