Quote from Billy Graham with woman gazing toward the horizon.

We can always find a reason to discount the things of God. Especially if there’s a call to action attached. We love the miraculous, to know that the God of creation loves, provides, and cares for us, so long as He comes on our terms. 

And if not, we can find plenty of reasons to close our ears. We all have this tendency, and when we step out in faith, we’ll probably, on occasion, experience negative or dismissive reactions from others. 

When that occurs, we can become offended, feel defeated, or remain focused on Christ. 

When God first called me into writing and speaking, my “credentials” were far from impressive. Though I had earned my GED and taken nearly two years of college classes, I was a largely uneducated high school dropout, former homeless girl. My love for Scripture certainly didn’t qualify me as a theologian, nor would the hours I spent doing housework and homeschooling my second-grade daughter appear notable in an event brochure bio. 

In fact, I can’t remember how I was introduced the night I delivered my first paid presentation. It was that unimpressive. And while God overwhelmed me with His presence, His Spirit, and perhaps most beautifully of all, His pleasure, once the event concluded, everyone left, I reflected on all that had occurred. 

The positive… 

The peace I felt once I began to speak.

The awe of knowing knowing, despite my lack of experience and education, Christ had chosen to use me.

The joy of experiencing His Spirit flowing first in me and then through me. 

But I thought about the negative as well—the sting of shame I felt after one presumably successful and prestigious man, with a word and look of disdain, discounted everything I had to say. 

Leaving me feeling discounted, like a fool who should have stayed home doing dishes. 

“Why did that church choose me, Lord? Out of all the people they could have booked? Those with bachelor degrees, decades of ministry experience, and a string of titles behind their names? They probably had plenty others much more qualified in the audience while I spoke.”

God’s inaudible response swept through my soul. “You are their excuse.” 

His statement, though undeniably clear, stung and left me confused. Like He’d given me a directive of some sort without any indication as to how to live it out. Scripture speaks of God choosing the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Did that mean I was to remain untrained and inexperienced? 

And yet, I knew in my soul that wasn’t the case. 

Now, over a decade, a college degree, and years of ministry later, I now understand. God’s statement–and that man’s discounting behavior on the night I felt so insufficient–hadn’t been about me at all. God was helping me to see mankind with new eyes, with His vision. 

Our eloquence and evidences won’t matter to the one who’s already determined to reject God’s truth. 

Quote from post on cloud background.

As Jesus told His disciples, and therefore, us as well, “If the world hates you”––mocks or rejects you or disregards and minimizes what you have to say–– “keep in mind that it hated Me first” (John 15:18).

There were many who saw the miracles He performed. Who were there when He fed thousands from one boy’s lunch. People who had watched Him cast out demons, bring sight to the blind and mobility to the lame. Men and women who were amazed by His teaching, but ultimately, found ways to discredit the deepest and most transformative truth He shared:

That He was God’s Son, the long promised Messiah, who came to bridge the gap between God and man. 

In John chapter 7, midway through one of the most joyous and reflective festivals on the Jewish calendar, Jesus stood up and began to teach. Verses 15-17 state, “The people were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’ Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not Myown. It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own” (NIV).

This was a powerful and telling invitation. The questions Christ evoked within His listeners would drive some to investigate further, ultimately leading them to life. But those same questions would cause others to turn away. 

As a good number of them did, some vehemently speaking against Him while others chose to remain stuck in their ambiguity. ​​They “began to ask, ‘Isn’t this the Man they are trying to kill? Here He is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to Him. Have the authorities really concluded that He is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where He is from.”

Here’s what I find sad. The people could’ve easily found answers to all their questions.  Their doubts and uncertainty could’ve drawn them to unshakable, life-changing truth, to the One who is truth. Instead, they let what could’ve been an avenue to faith become a barrier between them and Christ. 

Largely, out of fear. (v. 13)

Unfortunately, there are times when I act the same. While I’ve accepted God’s big truth regarding salvation, I can stumble on His leading in my day-to-day. When my fears rise up, I’m tempted to discount that nudge from God, that call to obedience, to sacrifice. Allowing myself to be held captive by the unknowns and uncertainty instead of accepting Christ’s invitation to step out in faith.

Lord, help us to see every question, every doubt, and every unknown as an invitation to greater understanding and deeper intimacy with You. 

Before you go, today is the last day to get entered into the book giveaway drawing!

Snatch a photo of my latest release, Chasing Her Dream, on the shelves, share it on social media, tag me, and tell us where you found it, and I’ll enter you into the drawing to win all of these fun books!

Books in giveaway bundle

And if you haven’t had a chance to catch the latest episode of the Faith Over Fear podcast, you can listen to it by clicking below. In this episode, author Grace Fox shares a practical and biblically sound resource to help you fight your fear with faith.

Embracing Risk When We Feel Ill-Equipped (with Sarah Hamaker) – Ep. 115 Faith Over Fear

It takes great courage to embrace risk, especially when we feel ill-equipped or unprepared. But God never asks us to tackle hard or frightening circumstances alone. In fact, He encourages us not to, because our greatest strength, wisdom, and purest love are found not within ourselves but rather in Him. Find Sarah Hamaker at:https://sarahhamakerfiction.com/https://www.facebook.com/authorsarahhamakerhttps://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Hamaker/e/B002TIARBS%3FrJennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.facebook.com/jen.pheobus/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/Find Wholly Loved, at:https://www.WhollyLoved.comFind out about Wholly Loved’s small groups at:https://whollyloved.com/resources/online-studies/Join the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion Questions:1. What resonated with you most in today’s episode? 2. When has God asked you to step into a new, uncertain, or challenging role you felt ill-equipped for?3. How did you respond? 4. What are some ways God has equipped you in the past for difficult situations? 5. Consider your convictions. How often or consistently is your agenda consistent with your convictions?6. What are some truths regarding Christ that can help you courageously embrace God-assigned risks?7. When accepting God-ordained risks, why is it important to remember that it was God who assigned the challenge?8. When has your obedience led to spiritual conversations with someone who doesn’t know Christ?
  1. Embracing Risk When We Feel Ill-Equipped (with Sarah Hamaker) – Ep. 115
  2. Living in the Victory of Christ – Ep. 114
  3. How God Brings Beauty through Our Pain – Ep. 113
  4. How You Can Break Free from People Pleasing – Ep. 112
  5. How to Increase Your Resiliency – Ep. 111

puddle of waterFor years, I was a stale and stagnate Christian. Christ had deposited His living water within my sole, but it was more like a trickling creek than the gushing river He desired.

I wasn’t thriving. In many ways, I was barely surviving. Then one weekend, I went on a women’s retreat and heard the account of the Samaritan woman (John 4) who’d gone through a string of relationships and, I felt certain, lived as empty as I was. She may have been widowed numerous times, abandoned by her past husbands, or she may have chosen divorce. Regardless, she’d engaged in and lost five relationships, and that had to leave emotional scars.

Jesus saw her pain and He sought her out. Knowing she’d soon reach the community well, He arrived first, sent His disciples away, and waited.

Just as, each day, He patiently waits for us. Once she arrived, He initiated a conversation by asking for a drink of water, triggering a deeper thirst than any liquid could quench. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks for a drink,” He said, “you would have asked Him, and He would’ve given you living water” (John 4:10, NIV).

In Ancient Palestinian, water was rare, precious, and necessary. Rain only fell during a few months each year, and when it did, the previously brown and barren countryside became lush and green. Against this backdrop Jesus said, in essence, come to Me to come alive, fully alive. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, He later said, “Whoever believes in Me, as image of a stream in a forestScripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-39, NIV).

This felt confusing. I’d already entrusted my eternal salvation to Christ. But I had never learned to truly live in Him, for numerous reasons, many of that took over a decade to unpack. However, much of it came down to this: I didn’t know how to live loved. Past hurts, fears, and a continual blanket of self-loathing covered my heart in scar tissue, and it blocked me from fully receiving the grace God continually poured upon me. Equally depleting, I spent so much time attempting to fill all my empty places in my own strength—through alcohol, social functions, food—I routinely distanced myself from the only One who could fill me completely.

I hadn’t a clue how to hold authentic relationships—with anyone, let alone the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present yet invisible Creator. So I asked Him to show me. To teach me. To heal me. And He did. For the next fifteen or so years, He soothed my hurts, removed my distrust, and helped me discover the freedom of living love.

Of living filled.

We receive God’s living water, the Holy Spirit, the moment we trust in Christ for salvation. But our experience doesn’tend there. As we deepen our relationship with Christ and our surrender, the streams God deposited within us grow stronger, filling us so completely, His Spirit pours out in like a refreshing, life-giving fountain.

Let’s talk about this! Have you experienced God’s living water? How’s your stream? Is something slowing the waters of God’s Spirit? How can you give Him more access to yourself so that He can flow within and from you unhindered? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and make sure to connect with me on Instagram or Facebook.

If today’s post encouraged you, make sure to check out Wholly Loved Devotional, Drawing Near:

Drawing Near Daily DevotionEach day, God beckons us to Himself, calling us to rest in His love and grace. As we do, He heals our hurts, overpowers our fears with love, and restores us to the women He created us to be. This 90-day devotional, written by women who are learning themselves to live anchored in God’s grace, will help you deepen your faith and grow your relationship with Christ.

You can buy it HERE.