Tag Archives: self-worth

Do: Workmanship

fall leaf

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).

You are saved by the rich grace of God. No matter what you’ve done in your life, his grace is enough.  No A-pluses, no good-enoughs, no extra credit required. You don’t need to dig yourself out of your hole or pick yourself up by your bootstraps or overcome your failings or earn a golden ticket because it’s not about doing good works to get God’s approval. This grace and faith and salvation miracle? It’s all God’s.

 But . . .

. . . here is where we so often stop. We’re fantastic at quoting (and arguing about!) Ephesians 2:8-9 . . . and we stop there where Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, didn’t stop. God had more to say about this grace and faith and salvation miracle!

Let’s consider again how he brings this idea of grace and salvation to a climactic, purpose-full conclusion:  Continue reading

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The Poetry of Grace

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

potteryAhhh… Thank God for the beautiful words of Ephesians 2:8-9. Grace to save us. Grace to build up faith within us. Grace as the most generous of gifts. Grace that is freely given — not earned, not accomplished, not awarded like a merit badge. And this grace makes us whole. Even in our brokenness and our ongoing struggles, this grace shapes us, builds us, forms something in and out of our lives.

And this grace is the context within which we understand the verse that follows. Read it all together: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

“Handiwork” is the word poema–it’s something made, something crafted, a masterpiece. It’s the word from which we derive “poem” and this idea of poetry can give us a unique way of understanding God’s beautiful working in our lives.

mosaicYou are divinely, intentionally, handmade by God. You — your story that includes pain and brokenness and areas of weakness and failing — You are God’s grace-shaping masterpiece. The Artist can create stunning and divine beauty even out of the broken pieces of one’s life! In Christ, you are whole and are being made whole (the journey isn’t done!) . . . and it’s for a purpose: to do the good work of God that he’s prepared for you to do in this world! God desires to work his goodness and love and healing and grace in this world through you. Even today, in whatever is on your plate, God has goodness — blessing — to give to the world through you.

Being “whole” doesn’t mean you’ve got it all figured out or that you’re earning “perfect-Christian” merit badges from God! It means you’re wholly-reliant upon grace, you’re wholly-immersed in God’s love, you’re wholly-dependent upon God for your identity and life’s purpose.

How is God shaping you with his love? How is he writing his poetry of grace in and through your life? How are you now, and how are you continually becoming, his masterpiece?

Thank you God for these words of truth that defy the darkness and confound what we, at times, believe about ourselves! Help each of us us more deeply embrace your truth at the core of who we are: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

God Wants You To . . .

. . . embrace your God-given worth!

So often we struggle with self-image. Who am I? What am I worth? At times, many of us battle low self-esteem or even self-hatred.

But is this what God wants for us? Is this dark and crushing struggle what he made us for? Why he’s sustaining our life every day?

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Embrace Your Worth-CVR1This common struggle and Scripture’s resounding answer to it compelled me to write Embrace Your Worth. If you want to dig into Scripture and explore ideas like self-worth, God’s grace, spiritual gifts, and God’s unique calling and purpose in your life, I encourage you to use Embrace Your Worth as a 30-day personal Bible study. Gather friends around you to go through the study together (and find a free discussion guide here). Or consider giving the book as a gift to women you care about – women who you want to develop a strong sense of identity, purpose, confidence, and, ultimately, their value in Christ.

Whole . . . From Broken

In the face of our own brokenness and failings, in the shadow of past trauma or current hurts, in the midst of woundedness or the perpetual swirl of confusion about who we are and what we’re worth . . .

broken glassWhat does it mean to be whole? How does God’s grace, God’s love, God’s healing change us, shape us, bind us up and weave us together into something new, something healed, something integrated, something complete? Into someone whole?

It starts with facing, first, our brokenness. In honest courage, looking squarely at the stain of sin in our lives. Join me in this month’s exploration of wholeness by first considering this excerpt from my Flourishing Faith devotional study Embrace Your Worth (Wesleyan Publishing House):

* * * * *

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8).

In your mind’s eye, imagine Adam and Eve, hiding away in the trees of the Garden of Eden. Sin has entered the world—and the immediate human reaction is shame (“We’re naked! Hurry, cover up!”) and hiding.

Can you picture Eve, crouched down, trying to hide herself away from her Maker? Trying to be smaller, to be invisible, to disappear?

Before the fatal choice to disobey God, Adam and Eve walked in confidence and joy and security. But now they’re completely different—isolated, insecure, ashamed.

When sin entered the world, it shattered the self. Continue reading

Embrace Your Worth

Embrace Your Worth-CVR1Thanks for joining in on the exploration of “Calling” during the month of March! If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, check out my new book Embrace Your Worth. Along with themes of calling and vocation, Embrace Your Worth delves deep into critical issues in our lives like self-image struggles, self-worth vs. self-esteem, seeing yourself as God sees you (You are his masterpiece!), embracing the giftings given to you through God’s Spirit, and discerning the good God gives you to do in your world.

Starting next week and for the month of  April we’ll explore Creation Care (environmental stewardship). Though Christians may have different political opinions about hot-button issues like environmental policies, I strongly believe that Christians of all political stripes can find unity around the biblical themes of receiving the good gifts of God’s created world with gratitude; learning more about God and experiencing his presence through his created world; loving the least of these by protecting human life from environmental degradation; and embracing Scripture’s call to be a wise and faithful caretaker of God’s good, very good, creation.

So whether you’re green at heart, curious but tentative about “green” issues, or even a skeptic about faith & environmentalism, please tune in during April. I’d love for you to be part of the dialogue!

Your Daily Work: Does It Matter?

Work. Many of you, my readers, work outside the home: at an office, in a classroom, in a lab, in a cubicle, in a factory, or somewhere else. Others of you, my readers, work within the home: as stay-at-home moms, as homemakers, as household CEOs. And some of you work in the way I do: as a hybrid of a stay-at-home-mom and a part-time employee.

woman workingWhether it’s outside the home in a career you’re paid for or inside the home in the hard work of mothering, the truth is we ALL work. Our lives are filled with tasks that we set out to accomplish. We put in hard work and determined effort. We do thankless jobs. We create or contribute to something excellent. Our work takes up a large percentage of our time. We may derive a lot of our identity and self-confidence from our work, or we may simply work because, financially, we have to. We may love our daily work . . . or we may hate it.

So does our work really matter? And how does it relate to calling? Consider this post about the theology of work that I wrote for Gifted For Leadership back in 2007:

•   •   •   •   •

We recently had a “worst or weirdest job ever” conversation among the adults in our Sunday school class at church. One friend had spent two years collecting umbilical cords for research (i.e. personally picking them up, packaging them, and taking them back to the lab in her car); another had worked the graveyard shift at a cherry-packing factory, quickly grabbing rotten cherries off the line . . . all night long.

My contribution to the discussion was one of my first jobs ever — a regular babysitting gig as a young teen. After several afternoons with the three kids and their “adorable” shih tzu named Buddy, I reported to my dad how cute it was that Buddy kept hugging my leg all the time. Needless to say, I nearly puked when my dad explained to me what all the “hugging” really was!

All joking aside, we all know from experience that sometimes work can feel frustrating, monotonous, exhausting, and unsatisfying. Whether you’re leading meetings in a boardroom or are at home washing dishes, your “work” consumes at least a third of your life. 

So what does it have to do with your faith? Continue reading

Woo Hoo!

Photo 1031I just wanted to share my excitement with you! The 2 newest books in my Flourishing Faith series arrived at my door this week. Woo hoo! If you’re local and would like a copy, just email me (trujillokelli@yahoo.com). If you aren’t in the Indy metro area, you can find them on amazon or through my publisher via my web site, www.flourishing-faith.com. Thank you, readers, for your support!

Re-Envision Identity

Afraid. Average. Beautiful. Cog. Creative. Cutie. Daughter. Determined. Directionless. Employee. Empty. Energetic. Enough. Enthusiastic. Exhausted. Extrovert. Failure. Fat. Fearful. Flailing. Follower. Friendly. Gifted. Hot. Incompetent. Introvert. Leader. Mother. Old. Plain. Quiet. Servant. Sexy. Short. Shy. Sister. Skinny. Small. Special. Successful. Talented. Tall. Tired. Ugly. Unimportant. Unique. Unnoticed. Valuable. Victim. Wallflower. Weak. Wife. Worker. Worn-out. Worthy. Wounded.  YOU.

From the moment of your first breath, people have spoken words into your life—words that have shaped your identity, your sense of who you are, your sense of what you’re worth.

For some, they are words spoken with profound love.

For some, they are words spoken from profound brokenness.

For some, they are words echoing in silence and absence.

And then there are the words we speak to ourselves—what we sense when we look at ourselves, when we choose how to spend our time, and even what echoes in our mind when we’re alone with God.

Sometimes these words are TRUTH, but other times they’re black-hole words, lies that suck us into darkness.

Re-envision who you can be. Peel off false labels and shrug off the heavy burdens of others’ judgments and misperceptions. Let it all fall away.

You don’t have to live up to others’ expectations, fake your way into others’ good graces, or cram yourself into others’ cookie-cutter versions of beauty or womanhood or faith. Continue reading

A matter of lighting?

There are moments in my life when I realize our bathroom mirror has inadequate lighting. It’s visually warm and cozy. I can apply make-up in a jiffy and feel great.

But then I walk into a bathroom with a different type of lighting–like at the movie theater or an airport. (You know the lighting, don’t you? The brutally honest lighting?) Suddenly I see things I didn’t see at home. Maybe I didn’t blend in my cover-up and there’s a big opaque splotch on my face. Or maybe there are big bags under my eyes or a plethora of pimples and assorted blemishes I somehow missed. Or perhaps there are other horrors too ugh!-ifying to type on this blog.

This different lighting is not the warm and inviting light that I choose to live in, and for good reason. But the brutally-honest lighting has it’s place. It’s critical not just for our appearance, but similarly for our souls. There are times when we benefit from a cold, hard, horrifying look at ourselves. When rather than a mere glance, we stare into that spiritual mirror and really see who we are, blemishes and all. Continue reading