Looking for God in the Right Places

Gina Butz expectations, faith 2 Comments

When we search in the wrong places, we miss what God is doing

photo by Pawel Janiak

There’s so much we miss if we aren’t looking for it.

One morning last week my husband told me there was a hawk in the backyard. I glanced out the kitchen window and observed nothing. Later, he came in again and asked, “Did you see the hawk?”

“No,” I replied, assuming it had flown away.

“It’s still there. It’s been there all morning.”

I looked out again, scanning the trees. No hawk. Maybe he was blending in with the trees. Erik led me upstairs to our 2nd floor deck and told me we should look with the binoculars. “Ah,” I thought, “it’s probably way back in the trees and that’s why I couldn’t see it.”

Nope. That hawk was right in the middle of our backyard, pecking away at bugs in the grass. Turns out I couldn’t see it because I wasn’t looking in the right place. I wasn’t looking hard enough.

And right there is how I miss so much of what God is doing in my life.

That hawk, on the other hand, wasn’t missing a thing. Between pecks, he hopped up on the soccer goal and stayed alert, scanning the ground. Every minute or so he jumped down with lightning speed and pulled up a frog or a worm. He was focused, and it was serving him well.

I want to be like that hawk. I don’t want to miss what God is doing because I’m not looking for it. Twitter I don’t want to hold so tightly to what I believe his goodness should look like that I miss his actual blessings. I don’t want to be someone who loses hope, who does not expect God to work, simply because he isn’t conforming to my plans.

Last spring, I spoke with a good friend about how easy it is for me to do this though. I have been in a long season of loneliness, brought on by a number of factors mostly beyond my control. While I have cried out to God to ease this pain, it seems he has been
silent on the issue.

But when I stop and look harder, I see ways that God is providing relationships for me. My life may not look like an episode of Friends (and let’s face it-whose does??), but I have people. Yes, it’s hard to grab the quality time I would love to have with them, but I am thankful for the moments God does give me. I know there are people I can call on when I am in need (whether or not I choose to call is perhaps fodder for another post). Each week I am surprised by what ends up in my calendar-a last minute serendipitous lunch with a friend, an unexpected phone call, a canceled appointment that gives me sudden time with someone else. It’s not so much that I am alone-I am simply so focused on what I think a lack of loneliness should look like that I miss what he is giving me.

That hawk, it appears, has made our backyard his home. He’s learned there’s life here for him. He’s learned where to look. He trusts that this place will provide for him.

You and I, we know where to look. Life is here, being given to us day after day. He is with us, giving us what we need, but sometimes it’s in ways we wouldn’t expect, so we miss it. Let’s pry our hands from the preconceived notions we have of how life should be so we can grab hold of what he is offering. He’s at work-we just have to search in the right places. 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13Twitter


My hope is that people who come here are encouraged to live and love God and others well. If you subscribe to my blog, you can get that encouragement straight to your inbox each week, as well as my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul. Just enter your email in the box on the right. Thanks!


Related posts:

Looking for Jesus

Doubting in the Darkness

Gina Butz faith, truth 6 Comments

Don't doubt in the dark what you've seen in the light

Remember paper maps? Ah, the good old days, when we navigated ourselves from one place to another, like pioneers! I loved paging through the giant U.S. atlas we kept in our living room, imagining myself traveling unknown routes.

I remember the first time I had to make use of that atlas on my own. I was living in Mankato, Minnesota (famous for being the place Pa Ingalls took his lumber in the Little House series). I was driving home to Rochester for the weekend, then to Eau Claire, Wisconsin (my alma mater) for a party one Saturday night. I had to drive straight back to Mankato after the party to be at church Sunday morning.


For the visually minded – here’s what it looked like

I had never driven from Eau Claire to Mankato, but I read in my trusty map that at the border, where I normally turned south to go to Rochester, I could continue straight on highway 60 all the way to Mankato and save time. (I was disproportionately proud of myself for discerning this. Like seriously, seriously proud).

So, armed with this information, I set off in my Ford Festiva (read “glorified bumper car”) at 9 pm after the party. In the dark. In a Wisconsin winter. Deer season. Brilliant.

Sure enough, I had a near miss with a deer that left me a little shaken. Shortly after, I arrived at my fateful turn. I could turn left and take the longer, known route through Rochester, or I could follow what I’d seen on the map and plow ahead. I plowed.

The first 10 miles of that road were a winding path through dark, snowy woods. No houses, no streetlights, no civilization at all. It didn’t look anything like what I had expected. Within minutes, my mind began to run wild with thoughts like:

What if this is the wrong road? Maybe I’m driving to Canada. This is going to take forever, and I’m going to fall asleep in the car, then crash. Or what if I hit ice and go off the road? There’s no one here to help me. I’ll die alone in my car. They’ll find my body two weeks from now, gnawed by wolves (lots of potential death in these scenarios). What have I done?!?

I doubted in the dark what I had seen in the light. 

But every once in awhile, I drove past a sign that said, “Highway 60.” I was on the right road, whether it seemed like it or not.

I finally had to mentally grab hold of myself and say out loud, “Gina! You are ON highway 60! And the map said that if you stay on highway 60 you are getting to Mankato, so Just. Keep. Driving!”

And sure enough, I made it to Mankato.

I think of this story often when I navigate life. I can be so sure, when I spend time with God and his word, of what is true. I walk out confidently into the world, and then it looks anything but like what I expect. It’s harder. Darker. There are twists and turns I didn’t expect.

I can be gripped by anxiety and doubt. I question if I heard right. I wonder if the truth holds in this circumstance. I can think he’s led me astray.

When we lived in Singapore, I lived by my Singapore road guidebook. Singapore is not a driver friendly country, laid out on an easy to navigate grid. If you miss your turn, good luck-there’s no block to circle. So many times I pulled over and whipped that book out of the glove compartment to reorient myself.

This is how we need to live. We have to be people who live close to the truth about who we are and who he is. We have to keep reminding ourselves that he knows the way, he is our guide, and it’s true whether or not it looks like it’s true. Sometimes that means stopping again and again to reorient ourselves so we don’t end up wandering aimlessly or getting lost in lies. Pull over and ask for directions. It might take longer, but we’ll stay on the right track and go with confidence.

Bottom line friends: don’t doubt in the dark what you’ve seen in the light. Twitter

“But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take.” (Isaiah 42:16)


Related posts:

Just Enough Light 

When Faith Happens


Peace and Hope Amidst the Storm

Gina Butz faith, hope 6 Comments

Finding peace in the storms of life

photo by J Scott Rakozy

For the last 24 hours, my phone has been filled with tweets about the coming hurricane in Florida. My friends and I are checking with each other to see if we’re prepared. One of them left this morning for a trip, worried about the family she’s leaving behind. Another has sent her kids to safety further north. I breathed a sigh of relief to hear that a childhood friend in Haiti is safe. We don’t know what to expect here, but we know it is coming.

It’s been a week of storms. Our daughter tried out for a developmental soccer program, one for which she’s been intentionally preparing these last few months. No one’s got more grit than this girl to press toward what she wants, yet she didn’t make the cut.

A good friend is experiencing the effects of past wounds marring a current relationship. She did what she thought was wise to avoid a storm, but it has come anyway. Another finds herself blocked in her work by factors out of her control and her faith is being tested as never before. I read in my newsfeed about unexpected divorce, the tragedy of a miscarriage, a father leaving a family far too soon.

We spent a day of prayer yesterday as a ministry, and heard reports from around the world of people persecuted for their beliefs. We spoke of the Pulse shooting, of personal struggles to make ends meet, and of fears for safety as the world becomes an increasingly more dangerous place for many.

I consider the storm swirling around our country. We watch and wonder what direction it will turn with the turbulent presidential election looming on the horizon. It all feels so huge, so beyond our control.

The storms, they just keep coming. 

With every story, my heart sinks. How much can we bear? My arms are not wide enough to encompass these people I love, to shelter them from all the storms in the world. There is so much trouble. So much heartache. So much that threatens to take away life as we know it, as we want it to be. Some of it is our own making, but some of it is just life in a fallen world.

So we feel helpless. Frightened. Discouraged. Distraught. Disappointed. Angry. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. We want life without storms. We want sunny days and blue skies and happiness. When we don’t have it, we are so tempted to doubt his goodness and purposes.

But he never promised us life without storms. Jesus said to his disciples just before he died, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”Twitter

So herein lies our hope, friends. The storms are unavoidable. But we can take heart, because whatever comes, he has overcome the worst of it.

Now that doesn’t mean our trampoline isn’t going to end up in our trees. Or the relationship will be mended. Or the cancer will go away. Or the child will come home.

But it does mean that we do not respond as the world does. Yes, we feel the fear and sadness. But then we hope. We hope because we know that we have life beyond all this. We hope because we know that no matter what this world takes from us, it cannot take away our peace, our joy, or our salvation.

It can’t take us away from Jesus.

So in our storms, may we be people who talk about where our hope is. Our hope is in the one who is greater than the storms. He commands them, quiets them, and walks with us through them. He is our lifeboat, our anchor, our refuge. And at the end of the day, even if the storm overwhelms us, we still have him.

As one of our staff said yesterday, “When we have nothing and we have Jesus, we have everything.” Twitter Let’s rest in this today.


If you’re new here, stick around! If you click on My Journey above you can read more about why I write. If you need more encouragement today, check out my related posts below. And don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss a post! 

Related posts:

Having Hope in a New Season

Hope in a Broken World 

To Truly Be Still

Gina Butz stillness 1 Comment

learning to be still when the world tells you to move

(disclaimer: I wrote this in the spring and never posted it. It’s still true though, so I pulled it out to share with you).

It’s completely quiet in my house right now. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I have had a week alone.

My husband took our two kids to Vermont this week to ski, and I opted to stay home, work, and take care of the dog. Skiing to me is an expensive exercise in trying not to kill yourself in cold weather.

Truth be told, this introvert heart jumped at the possibility of time alone. I love it. My soul can breathe again. Or it could, if I would just be still.

I’ve realized, through the past few years, that there is a big difference between being alone and being quiet.Twitter  There might not be anyone around, but I can still keep my soul from settling in to any sort of stillness. I write, I work, I clean, (just kidding, I probably don’t clean), I walk the dog, I watch TV, I read, I do a million activities with my alone time, but the real challenge for me is to actually be still.

Still enough to feel my own soul. Still enough to experience the emptiness, the sadness, the anxiety that I use all that activity to avoid. Still enough to reflect on my life and make more purposeful decisions. To maybe do less but do it with more meaning. Still enough to hear His voice. Still enough to let Him minister to me in all those emotions. Still enough to let Him guide my activities.

I know why I struggle to be still. It scares me. I’m afraid if I stop producing I stop having value. I like feeling I’ve made the most of every day. And yes, it is important to use every moment wisely. But what if the greatest wisdom for me in a given moment is to simply be?

When I do slow down, and allow myself the freedom to do nothing more than exist, my soul can rest. It can loosen its grip on the lie that I have to do anything to warrant praise. In stillness, I am reminded that all my activity is no substitute for the bread of life He offers me. It cannot feed my soul like stillness can.

So yesterday was a “just be” day. I slept in. I lingered in the Word. I was caught off guard by unexpected tears I couldn’t explain other than, “I think I just needed release.” I let them fall.

I pushed aside the “should do” and “ought to” of my never ending to do list and determined to just enjoy a non-productive day. I took deep breaths. I napped. I pursued stillness.

Be still and know. I feel like this has been the theme of so many of my posts these last few months, but it’s a hard lesson to learn in a culture that does its best to push and push us beyond our limits, that doesn’t invite us to slow down. So I will keep saying it, to myself and others.

Consider this your invitation. When was the last time you gave yourself permission to be still? What messages rise to the surface when you try to practice stillness? Is it the same “productivity=value” lie I am inclined to believe? Is it guilt about setting aside responsibility? Is it fear that your carefully crafted world will fall apart in your absence? Whatever might try to hold you back, don’t forfeit the peace, joy, strength and rest God longs to give you in the midst of a busy life.Twitter


If you’re struggling to slow down, you need my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul, which is all about finding what our souls need to thrive. It’s yours for free when you subscribe to my blog by entering your email on the right. Wow, that sounded totally like a commercial. Sorry about that, but really I’d love for you to join me on the journey. Invite your friends to come as well! 

Related posts:

Why We Fear Sinking (and Why We Must Do It) guest post at On Leading Well 

Cease Striving 

Let Go and Let Him Hold You

Gina Butz faith 4 Comments

let the redeemer redeem

These last few months have been tough. I’ve ventured in to new areas that make me uncomfortable and scared and bone-weary, and the result has been a lot of anxiety, and at times, depression. Being the get ‘er done girl that I am, my gut reaction to seasons like this is, “Ok, so what do I need to DO, God?” 

Give me the formula to get back to awesome. Show me what scriptures to dwell on, what truth to grasp, what prayers to pray. Show me my error and I’ll fix it. Tell me what to think and do and I’ll do it.

But maybe instead of doing, we’re supposed to stop trying to save ourselves and just let go. Twitter

I was reminded last night of a poem I read years ago, back when I first started to realize what a winding road faith can be. I read it like God is speaking to me.

First Lesson
by Philip Booth

let go and let God

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

Have you spent much time floating on water? Can you picture yourself like this child, trusting her father to hold her as she’s learning to swim, when she’s scared and tired? There’s something so freeing and relaxing about it, if you can let go of trying to keep yourself afloat and just let the water hold you. He reminds her to look to that which is bigger than her. It’s the definition of “Be still and know.”

Know that He is there.

Know that nothing is wasted, every tear is caught, every sigh is heard.

Know that He knows what He’s doing with you.

Know that He knows the way out of your wilderness, and He will lead you in His timing and His ways.

Know that the places that seem the most stagnant are often the places where He is preparing you for something you cannot see.

Know that His love will hold you, when you let go.


Welcome to my blog-I’m so glad you’re here! I’d love for you to stick around, so please subscribe to getting my posts to your inbox by entering your email at the right. New subscribers receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! 

Related posts:

I Don’t Need Rescuing (Except I D0) 

Get Quiet Enough to Listen

The Battle Belongs to Him 

Grace for the Less Than Ideal Days

Gina Butz grace 2 Comments

Grace for the less than ideal days

Some days, you end up eating dinner with a My Little Pony fork. And that’s ok.

It’s the time of year when a lot of activities start up again and with them, adjustment of schedules and coordination of details. It’s who’s driving who, and when will we eat, and oh right, we have a dog-did anyone feed the dog today? (answer: probably not. That could explain why she’s staring at me so hard).

Strategic is one of my Strengths Finder top 5, so when I must make many pieces fit together, I tackle them like I’m playing a game of Tetris. Sometimes, I’m just not fast enough to make them fit right.

Like Wednesday. It started out well, but when I got home at 4:30 and realized all that needed to occur before taking the kids to youth group by 7, I thought, “not gonna happen.”

In my ideal world, I would have had dinner planned and ready by 6. My husband would have been home to eat it with us, at the table, with real plates and silverware, and engaging conversation. Someone would have taken the dog for a walk and the sheets would have been out of the dryer and back on our bed. The dishwasher would have already washed our dishes and been unloaded. Homework done and checked.

Instead, dinner was eaten in the car out of plastic bowls on the way to youth group, so our car smelled like onions the rest of the night. My husband had to walk in the door, change, help with two pre-calc questions, and walk back out the door. The neighbor had to walk the dog. The sheets stayed in the dryer. There was still homework to be done. The last half hour before leaving I bordered on Tasmanian Devil mode. Which brings me to the My Little Pony fork-it was the only one left.

We all have pictures of our ideal life. We know how we want our relationships to be, how we want to conduct ourselves, run our homes, succeed at work and parenting and ministry and whatever fills our space.

But some days reality doesn’t match our ideals. For those days, there’s grace.

It’s tempting to stress when my ideals crumble to pieces. But as Anne Lamott says, “Perfectionism will keep you insane your whole life.” So it’s life-giving to remember that especially when our lives take a different shape, there’s grace. We need lower expectations. We need to breathe and laugh and know that it will work itself out eventually. We need to pick up the My Little Pony fork and call it good.


I’m a journey of finding more grace, and I’d love for you to join me! Please subscribe to get my weekly posts straight to your inbox by entering your email in the box on the right. You’ll receive my free 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you, plus I’ll think the world of you too. 

Related posts:

Let’s Be the Grace Givers

We Need to Stop Hitting Ourselves


Having Hope in a New Season

Gina Butz transition 4 Comments

Having hope in a new season of life

It’s September. The pumpkin spice lattes are back, and the Halloween candy is out, which is how I know it’s autumn (Orlando weather doesn’t really give me any clues). Can I just point out that if you’re buying Halloween candy now, you’re either a great planner AND highly disciplined, or let’s face it-it’s never going to last until October 31. Just sayin’.

It’s exciting to see the fall décor, the warm colors of sweaters and pants hanging on the racks, the everything scented cinnamon. It’s a new season.

New seasons bring exciting new possibilities, but they can also bring the unknown. They can bring “I’m not sure how to do this” and “what will happen?” and most of, “will this be good?”

Last Friday marked 4 years since we moved back to the U.S. from 13 years overseas. We came back to many familiars, but also so many unknowns. We left a place where we were deeply known, deeply rooted, deeply seen. We had yet to see how God would provide in this new place.

Now, I scroll through my text messages and I see name after name of people I did not know then. I have my favorite places, my favorite things (the library delivers, friends. To. My. House). I, the nobody-would-guess-introvert, linger after church because there are so many people I love and want to see. Our roots are not as deep as they were in the last season, but they are sinking. We are claiming ground here.

And He saw it all before it ever came to be.

A year or so into our time in Singapore years ago, God gave me this same kind of awareness of what He had done there. I realized that if I could have had a conversation with Him when I was hesitant to leave our home and move there, He would have said,

“Oh but Gina, you’re going to meet Wendy, and Krisi, and Fiona, and so many others. You’re going to have great memories with your kids at the wobbly train park and the zoo and the children’s library. They’re going to talk for years about the Nutella waffles you get at the market. It’s going to be so good!”

Friend, maybe you are in a new season that looms much larger than new latte flavors and décor. Maybe it’s a new location, a new stage of life, a new role. You can’t see much through the fog right now. You’re wondering if it’s going to be good, if you’ll be known, if you’ll find your place. Remember this:

Every season that is unknown to you is known to God.  

God’s got good in store for you. He has people for you. He has moments of laughter and joy. He has valleys and mountains of growth. Just like I told my kids when we first moved here, “You might just meet your new best friend.”  You might be entering a season of amazing blessing, or it might be your greatest place of transformation. Either way, He knows it. He’s got you.

Friday night we went out as a family and celebrated these four years. It was a time to pile the Ebenezer stones, to claim the goodness of God in this season He’s given us, to look back and see all that He knew He was going to give us here.

It’s a new season. There’s good to come. He goes ahead, preparing it for you.

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” –Jeremiah 29:11 The Message


If you’re in a new season, I’d love to walk with you. Join me by subscribing to my blog! Subscribers will receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you, as well as other good stuff along the way. I’d love to connect with you on social media too-join me at your platform of choice. 

Related posts:


Who Will You Be? 

Feed on Faithfulness

Focusing on the Right Goal (I’m talking to you, sideline parents)

Gina Butz kids, parenting 0 Comments

It’s that time again, when we parents get to drag our camp chairs to the sidelines and cheer on our future professional hopefuls in various sports. A few weeks ago I got a taste of this again when I spent 2 hours in the rain with a 104 heat index (thanks Orlando) watched our daughter play an end-of-soccer-camp scrimmage. Based on the reactions of people around me, though, I might have thought I was at the World Cup finals and there were endorsement deals riding on the outcome of the game.

Friends, we have got to take it down a notch.

As we enter another season of sports, can we all just keep a little perspective?

We were not put on this earth to play sports. We are here to learn how to navigate the world with confidence, grace, and character. We are meant to learn how to live as loved people, and to love others well.

The vast majority of kids will not play sports beyond high school, even middle school. They are going to be doctors and salespeople and teachers and baristas and parents and a host of other roles. They are meant to discover their gifts and talents, most of which will not be sports related, and to use them to His glory.

Our job as parents is to help them become these loved, confident, grace-filled, gift-sharing people of character. 

So the one question we should be asking ourselves is:

Do my actions and words in watching this game reflect that goal?

If that’s our goal, then we will celebrate who they are more than what they do. We will praise teamwork and good efforts. We will point out how we are proud of their attitude more than their skills. We will build them up with our words. We will refrain from blame and criticism. We will catch them with grace when they fail. We will help them see how what they are learning through playing this sport translates to living bravely in the world. We will remind them, afterward, that is it just a game, and there’s a whole big other world out there.

Let’s keep the big picture in mind, fellow sideline parents. There’s a goal we’re aiming for and it’s not the one on the field.


I’m just trying to keep it real here, friends. Join me on the journey by subscribing to get posts by email. I have a bonus 8 day devotional called It Is Well with My Soul that I’d love to send you as a thank you when you sign up! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

Why It’s Good When We See Olympians Fail 

What Being a Soccer Mom Teaches Me About Parenting


When You’re Starting the Week Weary

Gina Butz faith 2 Comments

when you're starting the week weary

A friend of mine texted last night to see if I had any time this week to get together. Everything in me wanted to say yes, but the reality was that looking at my schedule this week was already making me tired. No margin. No white space. Mostly self-imposed, but it all feels necessary (feel being the operative word there).

Anybody else staring down a week of “I’m not sure when I’ll sit down” or “so much for cleaning the house?” (I say that like I actually would have cleaned the house if I had time. Ha).

Maybe it’s not that your schedule is too full, but that the activities that fill it ask so much of you. You’re trying to balance home and work and relationships and goals, and it’s enough to wear down the soul.

I opened my email this morning and saw this great post about walking away the Monday blues. What encouraged me most from it was this version of Matthew 11:28-30 from The Message:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I want those unforced rhythms of grace. Too often I live try too hard, doing too much, one more task, one more activity squeezed in until there’s no space left. No grace. If it’s heavy or ill-fitting, maybe it’s not what He’s called me to do.

Whether it’s a quiet walk or 10 minutes of silence (maybe in the bathroom cause that’s the only place you can get away) or just a moment when you stop and take some deep breaths-He’s calling us to come and remember that He can show us how to walk freely and lightly in the midst of busy. He knows how to stare down a busy week-a week full of ministry and demands and conflict-and do it with a rested heart. He can teach us how to do it too.

Get away with Him. Get His perspective, His strength, His peace, His power. Keep company with Him this week.


If you haven’t subscribed to receive my posts by email, today’s the day! I’ll happily send you my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you. Just enter your email address in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

Keeping a Sabbath Heart 

When You Just Have to Do One Day at a Time 

We Need to Stop Hitting Ourselves

Gina Butz identity, personal, wholehearted 0 Comments

be kind to yourself - thoughts on how we can be our own worst enemies

If you have siblings, at some point you played the ‘game’ where you forced a family member to hit themselves with their own hands, while saying, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” This was really only funny for one of you, am I right?

Too often, though, we play this game all by ourselves. We are the ones hitting ourselves, beating ourselves up over failure and weakness, berating ourselves for being less than. We speak harshly, demanding more, demanding better, rarely letting ourselves off the hook. I know. I’m really good at that game.

This summer, I’ve seen levels of anxiety in my soul I didn’t know were there, and my natural inclination has been to pour contempt on it, willing it away. Instead of sitting with it, I want to run to a place of condemnation for what feels like weakness, failure, a lack of faith, as if that’s where I’ll find the salvation I seek.

Recently, a friend introduced me to this song, Be Kind to Yourself, by Andrew Peterson:

The line that gets me is, “How does it end when the war that you’re in is just you against you against you?”

We can live like our own worst enemies. We speak contempt to our own souls in a way that we would never speak to another. We shut down emotions that we think are unacceptable. We tell ourselves we just need more faith. When we mess up, we are the first in line to call it out and condemn. We admonish ourselves to suck it up and deal with life, rather than listen with grace to that in us which needs a voice. Who wins in this scenario?

So what do we do? For starters, we remind ourselves that we do have an enemy, and it’s not us. 

We can chose to side with him against ourselves, or we can chose to side with the One who loves us. He never speaks harshly. He never condemns. He is patient with our weaknesses. He always speaks with compassion, grace, truth and acceptance. He expects more failure from us than we expect from ourselves, and yet it doesn’t change the fact that He’s wild about us.

So tell yourself it’s ok. You’re doing the best you can with what you have. Cut yourself some slack for your mistakes. Forgive yourself when you sin. Encourage yourself to get back up when you fall. Speak grace. Speak kindness. Speak compassion. Love yourself where you are, because He does.

He is kind to us. He invites us to be kind to ourselves. Stop hitting yourself. Lay down your weapons and rest.


Subscribe to my blog and we can do this battle together, you and me. If you enjoy what I write, please sign up to get new posts and other good stuff directly to your inbox – just enter your email in the right column. I’d be happy as a clam if you would follow me on social media too!

Related posts:

How to Swimsuit Shop without Shame

When Fear is a Dictator