The Only Thing That Counts

My daughter, Hope, is one of those people who knows how to dress.

She’ll put on a blue and white striped shirt, throw an army jacket on top, black stretch pants on the bottom, finish the look with some little brown ankle boots and look like a fashionista.

I get all stuck in a garanimals state of mind. Did you ever wear garanimals? It seriously scarred me for life. And made me resistant to the delight of the unexpected.

Matchy matchy became the curse of my closet.


Hope set me straight one day. “Mom, your outfits need a little pop!”


She started whipping my outfits together in a way I’d never dream.

An orange necklace with an outfit that had not a stitch of orange.


Leopard flats with a dark blue shirt, teal necklace, and black skinny jeans.


A grey and white striped shirt with a patterned black and white scarf brought together with a bright red jacket.

Are you sure?

She was more than sure. With great confidence she introduced me to the world of adding a pop- a little something unexpected. A new way of expressing myself. And it has been delightful.

So, I started thinking, what if I did this with other areas of my life? Other places where I’ve slipped into the “same old, same old” ruts.

Might the delight of the unexpected make other aspects of my life more fun?

Galatians 5:6b says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Might this be an invitation to discover another new way to express myself? Express my faith? Through unexpected acts of love?

Yes. I think so.

So, I did a little experiment. I started reading Bible verses by adding on a little question/challenge to myself at the end: “…. So that I can love who?”

For example, Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” … so that I can love who?

There is someone in my life who needs my love but I’ll only be able to do it if I let God change my mindset. I need to add this little pop- this new expression of my faith through love.

Philippians 4:19, “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” … so that I can love who?

There is someone in my life who needs something that I think I can’t give. But I can give when I realize God is supplying me in abundance. He is the supplier. I just have to open my hand and channel some of my blessing in this person’s direction. I need to add this little pop- this new expression of my faith through love.

Why not try this yourself? No, not the leopard flats and teal necklace… although that is quite the charming combination. But rather adding the question, “so that I can love who?” to the end of the verses you read this week.

It will certainly give you a new way to express your faith. A way that God says is the only thing that counts.


Why I’m Breaking Up With My “Quiet Time”

I’m taking a break from having a quiet time. Because sometimes I can get in a rut. Even with good things. And having a daily quiet time is a good thing. Until it becomes more about routine than actually connecting with God.

When God becomes routine rather than revival, it’s time to switch things up.

Otherwise, I might start seeing this time as less important. It becomes the second or third thing I do. After other things. Seemingly more pressing things. Before I know it, it’s been days since I connected privately and personally with Truth.

And then my soul feels a bit off and sluggish. Like when my stomach has been denied food, a desperation starts creeping over other parts of the body. That happens with soul hunger too.

Only the triggers for stomach hunger are much more apparent. My brain quickly reminds me, “You feel awful because you need to eat.”

Sometimes my brain isn’t as quick to pick up on soul hunger. So I just lumber forward but wonder, “What’s wrong?” I think of a list of reasons… I’m tired, I haven’t had enough fun, girlfriend time or my butt looks big in these jeans.

And while some of those things may be true — it’s not why I feel off.

I need more time with God.

Not more quiet time.

More listening time.

This morning as I sat with God with nothing but willingness to listen, three things popped into my mind. I can’t say “God spoke to me” but it felt right. I need to do some new things as I listen. Listen. Listen.

* Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday.
Ask God to reveal “my verse” for the day and think of ways to apply it. I listen.

* Read something from someone I admire.
I need to study leadership right now. So, I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen.

* Read something from someone I trust.
There’s a book I’m reading right now that is whimsical and grounded all at the same time. It makes me feel like this writer gets me. They get my struggles and offer up advice I know I can trust. I listen.

Maybe you think all this still sounds like a quiet time, but to me it’s different. It’s a listening time. A time to shake things up a bit and get outside my normal routine. A time to listen to God speak. And He does speak… through His book of wisdom, through someone I admire and through someone I trust.

And this morning? My soul felt that thrilling and comforting full feeling. Complete. Satisfied. Deeply nourished.

What do you need to break up with so you can connect more closely and listen more intently to God?

If the topic of relationships and conflict is something you’re wanting to study right now, my book, Unglued, will help you have better reactions. This might be a really good thing to study as the holidays are approaching. To find out more, click here.


Mean Girls

The plastic seats were green. The desks a dirty beige. The perfect pale color to make pencil marks easy to read. Really easy.

That’s how I saw what was making the group of girls sitting in front of me laugh. They turned to look at me. And then added to Jennifer’s desk art.
It was a frizzy-headed stick figure with huge buck teeth and crazed eyes. I knew even before I saw the name scribbled below, she’d drawn me. Me. An awful caricature of me.

It’s been years since I sat in that green seat with a dirty beige desk. But it hasn’t been years since I’ve had those same feelings of rejection and hurt. Of course, they aren’t from girls drawing pictures. But meanness hurts, no matter what age and no matter how it’s delivered.

You can take girls out of middle school but you can’t take the middle school out of some girls.

If you’ve been hurt in this way, you know what I’m talking about. In Unglued, I talk about the ways stuffers and exploders react. If we’re a stuffer type person, we want to withdraw and get away from the source of our hurt as fast as possible. If we’re more of an exploder person, we want to attack back so they’ll feel as bad as we do.

I’m not proud to say I understand both of these reactions very well.

But here’s where things get a little complicated. Jesus flies in the face of conventional wisdom and says for us to “love our enemies.” What? Are you serious?

Something deep inside us whispers, “Don’t you dare love this person. This situation is the exception.”

Let the internal battle begin.

This is tough stuff.

But what if I were to assure you that Jesus isn’t being cruel or naive in His command for us to love. He’s actually showing us how to get free from the sting of another person’s wounds. When we’re wounded we can either pursue healing by extending love back. Or, we can refuse healing and allow the “rejection infection” to set into our wound.
In our relationships, we have the choice to seek freedom in tough situations by choosing to pursue love instead of hurt. www.lysaterkeurst.com

Here are three things to remember:

The Command

My job isn’t to fix my enemy. My job is to be obedient to God in how I deal with them. “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44).

The Caution

If there is abuse, we must learn to love from afar. How? By forgiving the person that hurt us-releasing their offense into the hands of God. Trusting God to reveal to them their wrong and deal with their actions from here.

But we must always remember forgiveness and restoration don’t have to go hand-in-hand. You can forgive someone but not do everyday life with them. Ask God to give you discernment to know when and how to love from afar.

The Catalyst

So, back to Jennifer and the awful and hurtful pencil drawing. I wish I could go back to that moment and relive it with the knowledge I have now. Jennifer drew that picture because of her own haunting insecurities. And while it’s tough to have compassion for someone who’s hurting us in the moment of rejection, it is possible to have compassion for their obvious hurt. Hurt people, hurt people.

Dig beneath the surface of a mean girl and you’ll find a girl riddled with self-hatred.

Romans 12:20 says, “On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Jennifer was hungry and thirsty for affirmation of any kind. And the only way she could figure out how to get it, was to make those around her laugh at me.

What might have happened if I were to have walked by her desk, leaned in close, and given this desperate girl a drink from the living water? “Jennifer, you are beautiful. Do you know that?”

Not in a million years could I have done that in middle school. But I’m not in middle school any longer.

And now’s a good time to remember that.