You Don’t Know My Heart

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This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.

But the Lord said to Samuel,
“Do not consider his appearance or
his height, for I have rejected him.
The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day Four… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

The Scripture verse for Day Four has to do with God’s coming appointment of David as the future King of Israel. God directed the prophet Samuel to where he should go to find this King, but God did not outrightly inform Samuel who would be the chosen one.

Before Samuel even had begun his review of Jesse’s sons, God cautioned Samuel with the Scripture verse for today. Samuel was a great prophet, respected by many and led by God, but even so, Samuel only knew what God revealed to him, and God reminded Samuel that He, Himself, did not see people the same way the world did.

We can’t see what’s going on in other people’s hearts, but God can. He knows.

The flip side to this is that other people can’t see what’s going on in our own heart, but God can. He knows.

We are so quick to judge others, but we judge them based on what we see from the outside as we try to look into their heart. In real time, we aren’t capable of seeing their heart before we start to make our judgments. Our judgments so often miss the mark, and we can cause a lot of damage with our presuppositions toward others.

Sandra takes us into the intentional game of grace-giving… of making up a justification to take the bite out of our initial reaction to being cut off by another driver because he might be rushing to meet his just-about-to-be-born baby; of gawking enviously at the enormous engagement ring which might just be a family heirloom; or eying up the big, fancy SUV which may have been bought for safety’s reasons after a scary car accident.

Instead of looking at others from my point of view, could I look at them from my choice of view? Am I willing to change my perspective, since I really have no clue what might be going on in some else’s heart? There is a choice, and it can make an impact on others.

It can be uncomfortable to be on either side of this trap of comparison.

You’ve been there… you’ve been on one side at some point, and you’ve been on the other side at another point in your life. Sometimes we eye someone up just wondering (with scrutiny in our own heart) what the real story is. Sometimes we know someone is eying us up (with scrutiny being reflected in their glaring eyes), and we just want to scream, “You don’t know me or my circumstances!”

God knows their whole story, and He knows ours. He knows our heart… no matter which point of view we CHOOSE to take. Be cautious in comparison.




Transforming the Web of Comparison

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This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—
his good, pleasing and perfect will. 
~Romans 12:2

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day Two… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Sandra Stanley just jumps right in and hits Day Two’s devotional hard as she warns us about the tangled web that awaits in comparison:

The struggle with comparison is really a struggle with lies.
It’s a lie that we don’t measure up to those around us.
It’s a lie that what others have diminishes what we have.
It’s a lie that the pretty photos we see of our friends’ accurately depict their everyday reality.”

It’s imperative that we renew our mind. Before we can renew, we have to be willing to admit that culture often swings us in a way that is contrary to the path on which God would lead us. Once we’re willing to admit this, we’ve got to make the choice to do something about it. This is necessary if we’re really going to be serious about renewing our mind.

Sandra defines renewing our mind as an ongoing process of identifying the lies we believe and culture bombards us with, and then replacing those lies with God’s truth. We’ve got to get into the Word to do this. It’s imperative.

One of my favorite parts of the Comparison Trap study and devotional book has been the daily Scripture reminders. For those of us going through the study, we’re finding they make us think!!

One of the struggles I hear from women is that they want to know more about where God is leading them and why He’s got them on this particular path at this point in their life. I ask Him the same questions, and I often feel as though He’s trying to transform me… to really transform me, my mind, my choices, my perspective, my obedience, my submission to Him, my hopes, my journey and my relationship with Him.

When I’m more in tune with Him, I’m more in tune with where He might be leading me. Being more in tune with Him is best accomplished through a relationship with Him. That’s best accomplished by spending time in His Word to hear His truth.

I’ve written about this verse before during a time I was searching for authenticity and searching for His leading through some of my own challenges in needing to be transformed.
You can read about it here.

Romans 12:2.Pattern from Death Valley
This photo and artwork belong to me. I took the pic on a trip to the salt flats of Death Valley a few years ago, and while I was dwelling in the desolate beauty of the land here, I couldn’t get this verse out of my head.



The Struggle with Choosing What Matters Most

Photo and artwork belong to

This is a continuation of a previous post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating. 

Better one hand with tranquility
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:6

The Comparison Trap:  Week One, Day Four… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the devotional include:

I’m totally guilty of having two handfuls with toil and feeling as though I am chasing after the wind. Totally guilty. I have a lot of tranquility in many areas of my life, but I’ve been guilty of compartmentalizing certain segments of my life, too.

In today’s devotional, Sandra Stanley asks a few questions based on the childhood game, “Would You Rather?” The first question really made me think. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it before… this time, though, I think I was supposed to think about it in the context of today’s Scripture verse. That is something I’ve consciously avoided doing before today.

Sandra writes, “Would you rather get the promotion that everyone in the office is vying for or have consistent nights of dinner around the table with your family?”

I don’t think a promotion like that exists at my job, and if it did, it probably wouldn’t take me away from dinner with my family, but the concept of increasing my work time and realizing how that could impact my family did hit me square in the head when Sandra asked that question.

I was an at-home momma for 18 years. I’ve homeschooled all three of my kids, volunteered as a team mom in every sport or activity in which they’ve participated, have enjoyed serving at my church, have helped my husband with a home-based business, and I’ve found fulfillment in cooking great meals for my family and caring for my home. A few years ago, circumstances with my husband’s career changed, and I knew the time was coming when I’d need to consider re-entering the outside-the-home work force. Sixteen months ago a door opened to that possibility, and fifteen months ago I walked through that door.

I enjoy it, but almost too much. Other than now having only one child left to homeschool through high school, none of my family responsibilities have been lessened over the last year or so, even though I do now work outside of the home, too. If I’m really honest with myself, my home-based responsibilities have actually increased in this timeframe.

But I like my work. I work in an aspect of ministry, and being able to do so does my mind and soul some real good! I really cherish the opportunity to help people build personal relationships with God and with others. It’s hard for me to look at what’s written on the photo above, because my job in ministry does contribute to that which lasts… those relationships and bridges I’m helping to build really could last well into eternity.

In this season of my life, there’s another ministry to which I’ve been called:  I’ve been called to care for and minister to my family as the primary caretaker, teacher, and source of income. The ministry of lovingly caring for my husband and my children is important, and I need to make sure I’m focused and available to meet those needs. The relationships and bridges I help to build here are also an investment which will last well into eternity. It’s just not time for me to be spending more mental and physical time at my job than I do in my home-based job.

Based on the Scripture verse for today, the photo with the artistically-crafted reminder, and the insight-filled Challenge of today’s devotional, I really do need to focus upon and dwell upon more of what matters most, because one has a shorter season left than the other. Even though my work time and my home time are both spent “ministering” to how I’ve been called, my primary ministry is to my family. It won’t be long before my youngest child graduates from high school. It won’t be long before my husband will, once again, be able to help to support our family.

My “someday” for whatever is to come will be here soon enough, and when it does come, I can trust that God will open the right doors through which I can walk. In the meantime, it’s important for me to stop toiling in my mind, worrying about the money I need to support my family, and chasing the wind that challenges my contentment in the ministry of being fully present for them.

It’s a season, and soon enough, the wind will change. For now, I need to focus on the tranquility of that one open hand, find a way to help to open up the clenched fist in the other one, and breathe in the peace and satisfaction of knowing that finding balance for all of us is what matters most. The “more of what matters most” is them, and today’s devotional has been a reminder for me.





Whatever Should We Think About?

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This is a continuation of a previous post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating. 

Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
~ Philippians 4:8

The Comparison Trap:  Week One, Day Two… My reminders and my takeaways for today include:

Oh, yes! I agree with you, Sandra Stanley! Sandra starts off Day Two by saying she’d like to anchor this verse deeply in her heart. Wouldn’t that change so many things if this were an anchor in our hearts?

Maybe, yes.
Maybe, no.
We’re human, you know.
The object on the opposite end of an anchor can break loose and be lost on the water, or it can be held firm and in place by an unmovable and unshakeable strength.

I don’t want to be lost on the water, and I do want to be anchored in the Word.

Sandra goes on to say that “what we allow to linger in our minds will influence our words and actions. This is true for the good stuff and for the bad stuff.”  

Yes, I agree with her. I need to be conscientious of where I’m lingering.

My choices,
deeds and

They influence me and will determine what I choose to do with the free will I’ve been given. I’ve written about this before.

When I compare my circumstances and my life to others, I do find discontentment. I find it in myself, and I find it in the others around me. And, yes, the discontentment that is tossed on the waters of life will leak out to others, and it will also leak into the ship of Self. I’m responsible for that ship.

I can choose what I think about, and I can choose to think about the excellent and praiseworthy things in my life. They are there. All the time. No matter how rough the waters get, things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable exist all around me and within me. And those same things exist all around you and within you, too.

So whatever should we think about? We should think on these things.





Love Does Not Envy

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This is a continuation of a previous post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating. 


Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4

The Comparison Trap: Week One, Day One…

…”does not,” “does not,” “is not”…

I read it again, this time emphasizing the “is” and “is” before following it up with an emphasis on the educationally-effective, negative commands.

In the devotional book, Sandra Stanley writes:

“When I compare myself to someone who seems to have more, I lean into envy. When I compare myself to someone who has less, I open myself to the temptation of boastfulness and pride.”

My reminders and my takeaways for today include:

…I can be patient
…I can be kind
…I do not need to envy others
…nor, do I need to boast to them
…I do not have to allow pride to puff me up
…stop comparing my perceptions of having more or having less
…I need to focus more on genuinely loving others as He desires me to do so
…real love = real growth in me through Him.

In the Challenge for today, Sandra reminds me that it’s easy to allow thoughts to drift in the direction of envy and pride. She also says that “it’s so much more difficult to intentionally speak words of kindness and patience.”

Intentionally speak…

Not only do I want to intentionally speak words in this way, I want to be able to naturally think this way. Wow, I have a lot of work to do on the inside, so that what flows outward is true and genuine.

The Challenge helped me to take the words from the verse, and it made them real and action-oriented in relation to getting me to think about how I will embrace them as I grow my walk with God and with others.

I want to move toward being more of who it is He is calling me to be.