Hosea 2:23 Passion Bible
Warning: long post ahead. Hopefully your attention span is longer than the average person’s (eight whole seconds) because this is really good stuff. Grab a cup of something and take a minute.
I.Love.Sparkles! Anything is better with sparkles–clothes, nails, shoes, jewelry—shoot, I’d wear sparkles on my face if I could do it without looking like I’m trying to be a three-year-old princess.
And sprinkles? They are like sparkles. Sprinkles make things like cupcakes, cookies, and doughnuts better. They are the icing on the cake with an upgrade. Sprinkles are like confetti and make us happy. The colorful bits of sugar look festive and make us feel like life has a bit of special added.
And that, my dear, is you! You are amazing with a side of sprinkles. Not just a few on top but a whole side dish of sprinkles that you shower on people like a fairy godmother. You give our lives sparkle—like “here’s some for you, and some for you, and some for YOU!”
You bring joy and make us feel festive just by being you.
Don’t believe it? Perhaps you feel that you have never, ever added joy, festivities, and sparkle to people’s lives? I understand. I did too. But you won’t believe it until you realize what a gift you are—what a delight.
And here’s the wonderful thing. You don’t have to be anything different from what you are. In fact, when you are truly real and honest, when you are able to understand your heart and longings, your gifts and abilities, and embrace your character and passions, the better able you are to spread those sprinkles around into people’s lives.
Our world needs you—the real you. You are a gift to us. You bring delight into the lives of those around you.
But. Here’s the deal (you were thinking there was a catch, huh? You thought this was too good to be true, I know.) The deal? The big trip-you-up-and-make-you-stumble deal? You have to BELIEVE it.
Oh, well then, just forget it. Right? Because there is no way you are ever going to believe that you bring delight—and sparkle, for goodness sake—into people’s lives. There are days you can hardly stand yourself. I’ve felt like that too. But remember, it’s not about your behavior; it’s about who you are. You are loved by God. Period.
I felt like such a flawed version of myself. It all boiled down to not being enough. I was pleasing people so I could be worthy, seeking the approval of others, and living afraid that I was saying/doing/being the wrong thing. Tense all the time and highly alert.
Finally, one day I just decided I was plenty tired of the suffering caused by listening to lies that ran through my brain on a constant loop. I decided I was going to choose to do something about it. (The whole process is written here if you’d like to read more.)
Because, there was this verse in the Bible (you knew I was going to bring God into this, right?) that I just couldn’t get past. It was the big trip-me-up deal. It seemed daring and unbelievable, too good to be true. That verse?
It says that God delights over us with singing! He WHAT? Not only does He find delight in us but He SINGS about it? Whooee, can you even imagine a thing?
What kind of verse is this? Can it be real?
Read this, dear friends:
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.“
(English Standard Version) Zephaniah 3:17
And in this translation from the Brenton Septuagent Translation:
“The Lord thy God is in thee; the Mighty One shall save thee,
He shall bring joy upon thee, and shall refresh thee with His love,
and He shall rejoice over thee with delight as in a day of feasting.”
Now do you see it? God feels about us like we might a party we have looked forward to. But this isn’t just a party—it’s a feast with lots of food and dancing with abandon and singing—lots of singing and music. Joy, such joy!
“Delight” means to please someone greatly, a strong feeling of happiness, and a great pleasure or satisfaction.
Can you even imagine such a thing? Our God–the creator of heaven and earth–is strongly satisfied with us! So much so that He takes great pleasure in us and has strong feelings of happiness when He thinks about us. And when we take time to go to him and seek his company I imagine that he’s ecstatic!
It truly boggles my mind. I am so flawed. I have been so broken. How (or why) in the world would God feel that way about me? About us?
Because He loves us. Honestly we have no clue what God’s love is like, because we only have humans to illustrate love. And goodness, is that ever a distorted picture of pure, unconditional love!
After years and years of reading God’s letter to us, of trying to listen to His voice, of seeking Him with my whole heart and asking Him for truth, I am thoroughly convinced that the words in this verse are for real.
To me it’s one of the most important (and often overlooked) scriptures in the Bible. It illustrates the essence of God’s love for us:
He will save us
He will calm and quiet us
He delights in us
Talk about got it covered! Not only is He a warrior who fights for us, rescues and saves us (delivers us from the hand of the enemy) but He also is like a nurturing mother who calms an afraid and distressed child. I visualize the soothing arms as she gently rocks her child, whispering consoling words and reassurance that she is there and will take care of whatever is frightening them.
And then there’s the part of delighting in us. I don’t know about you, but my heart always longed to be cherished and unconditionally love, to be enjoyed for who I am. And yes, for someone to take delight in me.
When I finally realized that God, my Abba Daddy, felt all those thing for me, and began to receive that truth into my spirit, my search was over.
Yes, I’d heard the scripture for many years. But I hadn’t internalized its truth. And just like with the John 3:16 verse that tells us God loved us to much He sacrificed His precious son in order to give us access to Him and eternal life, I had to choose to believe and receive this verse too.
I had to make the choice to embrace the truth of it.
I had to allow its truth to change my life and thoughts regarding myself and who God is.
Was it easy? IS it easy? Nope, my brain still wants to return to my flaws, sins, and disappointing behavior. It continually blows my mind that God, in all His holiness, would find great delight in ME!
And please, do not for one second think that He can take pleasure in me because I’m such a good person. Remember that God sees the heart. And y’all, no matter what I do, thoughts that aren’t loving, kind, and generous pop into my brain. I do things that hurt others. And though I strive not to, I sometimes sin. I’m a flawed human, just like everyone.
So just because I’ve managed, for the most part, to clean up my act over the years, that doesn’t make me better than you or more loveable. That’s the beauty of God’s gift of love—it’s a gift. Nothing we do could ever win His love. He just loves us, unconditionally. Definitely mind-blowing!
And what about me, the person who was always “too much” this, and “not enough” that? I’ve come to realize that not only am I okay, but absolutely enough and very worthy (as we all are). What is the truth that fills me with joy, puts a bounce in my step, and allows me to be unconcerned about what others think?
That the Almighty God who created the universe loves me and takes great delight and pleasure in me!
Mull that truth for a minute. Meditate on it and allow its truth to permeate your spirit.
And if that isn’t life-changing for you, then I surely don’t know what is! Perhaps nothing ever will be.
“I am truly His rose, the very theme of His song.”
Song of Solomon 2:1
I know this was a long one, and thank you for reading all the way if you got this far. My prayer is that these words will change your life.
Many blessings, Mimi
It doesn’t matter what is being said about you.
It doesn’t matter what others think of you.
What matters is what you think of yourself!
And if you believe lies about yourself, then you will act on those lies instead of the truth.
Any words that make you seem “less than” the amazing person you were created to be is a LIE!
Those words may come from the chatter in your brain, just regurgitating things you have heard.
They may come from actual people who are small-minded and have their own agenda.
But whatever the source, you need to STOP listening to the derogatory lies and begin to speak truth to yourself.
Because when you believe lies, you think small about yourself.
It’s pretty hard to launch out of your comfortable, ho-hum, dream-draining life by thinking small.
You can barely rise to doing those things the world needs from you–your purpose for being here.
“But I don’t WANT to leave my comfort zone! It’s comfortable.”
Ummm, yeah. And it’s restricting and limiting. (Redundant, I know, going for the effect.)
And leaving your comfort zone is like jumping off the high dive.
But don’t you want to be the best you can be?
Don’t you want to realize amazing and wonderful things about yourself–things you never knew?
When we rocket ourselves (because that’s what it takes!) outside of our comfort zone to do those things that our heart really, really longs to do, all kinds of new worlds and information opens up to us! It could become quite an adventure–mine has!
And the wonderful thing is that our hearts and spirits become more fulfilled as we begin to venture out and try things our heart is leading us to do.
**Things the lies make us afraid to do.**
“I am not smart enough for that.
I could never go in front of people.
I really do not have the “look” required for that.
I don’t have the time for that.
No one needs me.
I’m not qualified.
I’m just a ________.” Oh how I hate that word!
The lies (excuses) are limitless.
But so are YOU!!
The only thing holding you back is you.
Stop believing lies and restricting the amazing, capable, beautiful person you are!
You CAN do this! I know, because I did.
Love and big sparkly hugs!
I speak from experience!! Seriously!
If you would like to read more, here are some older posts on the subject.
To Dream (when I jumped off the high dive myself!)
The Lies That Bind Magazine Article (a much longer article in more detail)
My shame can’t separate,
my guilt can’t separate,
my past can’t separate,
I’m Yours forever.
My sin can’t separate,
my scars can’t separate,
my failures can’t separate,
I’m Yours forever.
You’re the God who stays.
You’re the One who runs in my direction when the whole world walks away.
You’re the God who stands with wide open arms.
And you tell me nothing I have ever done
can separate my heart
from the God who stays.
This is so reassuring! You may think that with my history I’m such a “good” person. Truth is, I have failed so many times.
Maybe at some point I’ll reveal some of my sins here, but regardless of what they are, of what the “really big ones” were, just know that we all sin, even if just in our hearts.
How many times do you hate, or cheat, or lie, or lust after someone who isn’t your partner? Be honest. Our society does not openly speak about or label these as characteristics to avoid (except lately, there’s been a lot of talk about hate–with good reason). In fact, it seems at times that these things are actually revered. You know what I am talking about.
For those of us seeking to live a godly life that honors our Lord Most High, the scripture is very plain:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
See where I’m going with this? And here’s another truth:
Whatever we think or commit in our heart is the same as actually doing it! Whoa, what? Look at this:
Whoever looks upon a woman with lust has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28
Whatever a man thinks in his heart so he is. Prov. 23:7
I’m not singling out immorality. I’m just stating a truth. What we believe controls our behavior. It’s the core of who we are. So everything is about the heart of the matter. (This has nothing to do with positive thinking, but shows that our heart will reveal our true nature.)
Who we are is deep within our hearts, often only seen by God. We can present ourselves as one way to the public, but what lies buried within?
I could carry guilt, shame, and failure as a heavy burden. There is cause to do such, and believe me, the enemy tries to shove my past into my face. But, praise God we have a Redeemer who loves and forgives!
Instead, I can live as a forgiven child of God. I can live as one who is set free and healed from my past. Jesus paid the debt for my sin. And He has healed my wounds and set me free from the shame I carried.
No matter what I’ve done, He forgave me. That’s the power of His great love, my friends. He forgives, transforms our hearts, delivers us of our past, heals our scars, and makes us whole. No matter what we have done, no matter what we have been, no matter what we have said or thought, His love is unconditional.
Do you need Him? He is there. Period. Do you want to be delivered and healed? He is there. Plain and simple. No voice of the enemy condemning you. No matter what people have said about and to you. No matter if you have given up on yourself, God has not. He is calling you, seeking you because He longs for you to be whole, to belong to Him, to live fully.
He is your Savior too. All it takes is starting the conversation:
I’m sorry God.
Please forgive me.
Please cleanse and heal me.
I want to be Yours.
Thank you for your love.
He’s waiting for you with wide open arms.
What the enemy meant for evil, God turned it for good. Gen. 50:20
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
I am praying that the eyes of your heart may be opened to God’s great love. Talk to me!
If you’d like to listen to the song that spoke to my heart this morning, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPwd_TQpsHY
You may want to look up the rest of the lyrics, too.
Focus! It seems we are always hearing how important focus is to reaching our goals and bringing our desires to us. However, sometimes our focus is totally off. We work hard, do what we think we should, spin our wheels, and run faster on the hamster wheel, only to remain stagnant. Why do you suppose this is? Well, one possibility is that when we are determining our focus, our brains are actually numb.
To explain what I mean, here’s an illustrative story from my own archives of experience. Picture this: my husband is sleeping soundly, snoring a bit, only to be awakened by me, legs and arms jabbing him in uncomfortable places, doing the army crawl across his body. I was determined to get to the other side of the bed and out of there. And I was intently focused!
When my husband raised his head, protesting loudly at the irreverent way I was traipsing across his body, I patted his cheeks and said, “Sh, sh, sh, it’s okay,” and continued with determination on my way. But once my feet touched the floor on the other side of the bed, I promptly started my return back across him, telling him to shush, and that it was okay. Then I settled down into my spot and resumed my somewhat-normal sleep.
Was I focused? Very. Deeply asleep? Yes.
So, besides the humor in this story, why am I sharing it? Because it illustrates what many of us are doing. While somewhat “asleep” we are fully intent and focused on carrying out our daily lives, getting to the “other side”, even attempting to achieve goals or dreams.
Sometimes, our minds and hearts have become numb and we are making decisions based on survival, rather than fully living.
Perhaps you are living fully, with a clear brain, consciously aware of life and your choices. However, for those who think “living numb” might apply to you, here are a few of the many ways numbness can occur:
when we suppress our emotions and don’t allow ourselves to fully feel.
when our busyness keeps us from having precious time with family or close friends and our hearts become resentful and lonely.
if our over-spending has driven us to live until the next paycheck in worry or stress, causing our bodies to become overworked and our brains overloaded.
when we are trying to do it all, feel as if we are “not enough”, and suffer self-condemnation.
when there are so many difficult things that happen to us that we just can’t allow any more feelings in order to survive.
Many of you have no choice in some of this. Having limited resources or being without a job and just barely making your bills—or not being able to pay them at all—creates a horribly stressful situation. And I truly do understand how one could stuff emotions because of being so overwhelmed by the things that happen in our lives! Please do not feel pressure or criticism from me if you are a bit numb right now. I get it because I’ve lived it.
Another life-point: things hurt and it isn’t easy. Life is hard, contrary to how some people believe it should be. I hate to go all “old school” on you, but for 99% of us,
most of what we have gained in life has been through hard work, making correct choices, and learning from our mistakes!
I don’t really see any other way around it.
And if you are someone with the idea that you shouldn’t have to feel pain, disappointment, grief, loss, disillusionment, and other less-than-desirable emotions, then realizing these are all part of the fullness of life might help you. Otherwise, after experiencing all of these you could be setting goals and choosing your focus while angry, hurt, and numb.
So if being numb means being dazed, dead, senseless, or asleep, what is the opposite? Being alive, awake, responsive, sensitive, and compassionate.
Wouldn’t you rather live like that? But how?
For me, it meant taking care of some personal and emotional business. It was a process (oh how we hate that word) and took time (what? you mean it isn’t instant? I want INSTANT!). It also meant I had to deal with my tendency to believe lies and not let others influence how I felt about myself. You can read about that process in my post, Are You Believing Lies?
Ways To Awaken
Contentment and gratitude. These are some of the most important ingredients to living fully! Simplistically, being grateful for what we have rather than lamenting what we don’t have can really change our lives. This is such an important element that many have adopted the habit of writing a list of things they are grateful for each day. Doing so directs our focus toward our abundance rather than our lack. (For starters, if you are able to read this you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all.)
It takes time to rid ourselves of limiting lies and behaviors, but it’s so very worth it! We also need to take the time to sit quietly and reflect. I know that we are filled to overflowing with tasks and expectations and burdens, but might I suggest that you take even ten minutes a day to merely sit and reflect? Or meditate and let your mind rest. We all know that thirty minutes of daily exercise is benefiting to our physical health. Likewise, time to sit without distraction and turn inward to our feelings can bring us mental and emotional health.
Read. Research. Get outside of your own abilities and let others guide you. In my case, I had no idea my spirit was dying and my brain was numb. I knew I was miserable, but wasn’t conscious of why. There are many authors to help you.
Perhaps you have heard the illustrative story of the frog in boiling water. The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water it is perfectly content to hang out. Start heating up the water and the frog is still just fine. But eventually the boiling water will kill the frog, when it could have jumped out at any time to save its life.
How does this relate to us? Many of us don’t even realize that we are like that frog, in a pot of rapidly heating water. What we need is someone to alert us—to turn off the flame for us and help us save ourselves. And that is why I suggest that you seek out available resources or find a friend to help you.
4) Talk to someone. Find someone in your close circle of friends whom you trust and can confide in.
It wasn’t until my friend identified the abusive situation I was in that I realized my life was slowly killing my spirit.
And at that point, there wasn’t a whole lot of life left in me. I was performing all of the expected tasks—mom, wife, teacher, daughter—but my spirit and self-will were dying, and my shining light had become quite dim. I had become numb.
Give your friend permission to tell you what they see in your life and habits. Listen with your heart, not a self-condemning agenda. Love yourself. Give yourself grace. You are amazing, and the fact you have made it this far in your journey shows that you are a fighter!
Perhaps you want to do something different in your life. I realize my suggestions are minimal, but they are intended to be a launching pad for your actions to become more fully alive. Select some of the items listed to incorporate into your life and make the determination toward regaining consciousness instead of numbly living. You are worth that, and the world needs your shining light.
Why is it so important to live fully alive, and not numb? Because we need to make choices as our true and authentic selves, rather than as a replication of others’ expectations and opinions of us.
To be emotionally healthy, we need to allow time for our emotions, and our brains, to settle and heal. Instead of being a shriveled up version of ourselves, we need to be the full, glorious person we are created to be. Then we can experience authentically and make sound choices. Then we are more able to direct our focus and reach the goals we desire.
We all have a unique light to shine, a place in our world that only we can fill.
Our wisdom, experiential knowledge, gifts, talents, and abilities are needed. But most of all, you deserve to live with a spirit that is fulfilled and alive, not one that is slowly dying and has become numb. That’s a waste of a very good, precious, and worthy life–yours.
So what about you? Have you ever experienced being numb? If so, will you please tell me about it?
You are so important!
Love and big hugs, Mimi
I read a great article I wanted to share with you. Do you struggle with rejection and what it does to you? Read this:
Oh yes, I struggle with it all the time!!
When I first released my cards on Etsy, it was with great trembling and gasping breath! lol Same with when I speak.
But knowing your truth will help immensely.
My truth is that I am called to speak and write truth and to encourage and empower.
Once you KNOW the path you are to travel and use that as your plumb line, it gets easier.
Because then, it really doesn’t matter so much what others think.
And I have learned to laugh at my mistakes, even incorporate them into my writing and speaking. 🙂
Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from doing something you love. Or keep you from taking the next steps that will get your gift out into our world. Everyone has an opinion, and many don’t hesitate to tell us what it is!
(thank you Terry Cole-Whittaker for your book on this!).
But GOD’S opinion is all that matters. You can do great things. Don’t hold back because you fear rejection!
What about you? Do you find that fear of rejection holds you back from something you want, or feel called, to do? Discuss in the comments. We are all in this together!
And I’m here to encourage you!
Love and big hugs, Passionista
“Be filled with the fullness of the Spirit of God
and your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord.
Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture,
singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit!
Always give thanks to Father God for all things and every person he brings
into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And out of your reverence for Christ, be supportive of each other in love.”
Ephesians 5:18-21 The Passion Translation
I’m here, sharing my heart with you,
If you had known me for the last several decades, you would know that I’ve walked though some pretty deep valleys.
There has been an awful lot of loss in my life. Both my parents and both of my siblings died of cancer. So my whole immediate family is gone. I lost my beautiful home. I lost my twenty-eight-year marriage and all the dreams of growing old together and sharing sweet milestones with our late-in-life-adopted children. I’ve lost close friendships and I’ve lost relationships that devastated me. I became a single parent when my two special-needs children were only seven years old, creating huge demands on me, both physically and emotionally. I lost my ex-husband, the papa of our children, when they were only ten years old. I have suffered extreme heartache and been in deep depression. I’ve faced fear, anxiety, inadequacy, hopelessness, and still battle loneliness.
Do you ever wonder how I do it? How I live this life?
How have I made it through those hard times to where I can be full of faith, pray for others, remain positive, and fulfill my purpose in spite of setbacks?
There is a war for ownership of our hearts. Only Jesus can defeat–and HAS defeated–the enemy who bombards our wounded hearts with hopelessness, depression, anxiety, fear, abandonment, and many more debilitating emotions.
So I pray, in His name,–“Jesus!” There is power and peace in His name.
This, this song, expresses how I pray over people, my family, the babies, our future. I speak Jesus. Only Jesus.
“I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power,
made available to you through faith.
Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you.”
Oh yes, I want my life to advertise God’s power. In order for this to happen, I have to NEED His power, have to be desperate for Him. And that takes walking through some pretty tricky times, which others happen to witness. Being able to call on God and have Him rescue me has shown me His immeasurable greatness and given me much faith!
There is power in the name of Jesus!
“Your name is power, Your name is healing, Your name is life.
Break every stronghold, shine through the shadows, burn like the fire.”
Do yourself a favor and give this song a listen. It could change your life.
I’m so grateful there are people who write things I feel! That write music which allows me to worship. There are so many gifted writers and musicians! And I praise God for His creative power in them!
How about you? Have you ever heard this song?
Did it speak to you? What do you think of it?
I’d love for you to comment so I know how you feel.
Until next time, may you be hugely blessed by the One who holds the world, and I hope, your heart–Jesus!