Encouragement for Today

Duration: 365 days

Lysa TerKeurstOctober 13, 2020When Things Get Worse Just Before They Get Better
LYSA TERKEURSTLee en español

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)

Home renovations are so very similar to heart renovations.

This is something I’ve been learning over the last couple of years as I’ve watched my nearly 30-year-old home undergo several renovation projects. They are not for the faint of heart. These projects cause a mess, the results are sometimes slow to take shape, and the process can feel never-ending.

With each floor that’s torn up, wall that’s removed and plan that’s put in motion — I’m paying attention. As I’ve seen portions of our home demolished beyond recognition and put back together again, I’ve jotted down some important lessons I’ve learned. And I want to pass them along from my journal to yours.

1. You have to tear some things down before you can build back up in new and beautiful ways.

It’s impossible to see true transformation unless you remove the damaged and unhealthy portions first. Houses and people are alike in this way. Sometimes we have to remove what was so we can move on to what can be.

2. Working on the foundation isn’t the most appealing or attractive work, but it is some of the most important.

Jesus spoke of this truth in Matthew 7:24-25“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

I especially love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases our key verses in the Message translation: “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit — but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.”

Building our lives on anything but God’s Truth will result in a shaky foundation — a detriment to any building project before it even begins. We must put in the necessary, hard work of building our lives and our faith on the solid ground of Scripture through the consistency of daily seeking God.

3. Not everyone is going to like what you’re doing.

Change invites both compliments and criticism. Sometimes people criticize what they don’t understand. My counselor, Jim, often tells me, “People are down on what they aren’t up on.” While change is good, people who don’t like change will be the last to call it good. Just remember what comes out of someone else’s mouth is a reflection of their heart, not yours.

People criticize what they don’t understand.

4. It’s good to stay humble enough to realize sometimes you need to get the professionals involved.

Some things you can do on your own, and some things you can’t. Many small repairs can be handled without the help of a professional, but most large renovations that require major work must be handled with care by those who are skilled and experienced. The same is true with the deeper emotional work in our lives. There are doctors, Christian counselors and therapists trained to bring renewed health and restoration to both body and soul. My family and I have benefited greatly by bringing in the professionals in seasons when it was necessary, and we’re so grateful we did.

5. Those who don’t lose sight of the progress being made will find joy in the process.

And it’s always a process. Renovations often make things worse during the tear out and early construction phases before things start to get better and more beautiful. The same is true with healing the human heart.

Heart renovations, like home renovations, take diligence, patience and a whole lot of prayer. But with God as our Master Carpenter, we can live assured in the process … we are a beautiful work in progress.

Renovations often make things worse before they get more beautiful. The same is true with the healing human heart.

Track the progress you do see. Be patient with the setbacks. Celebrate the wins, even the small ones. Stacks of small wins turn into big wins. And eventually, you’ll be so glad you pressed through the renovation when you see the beauty of all the hard work.

God, thank You for the work You are doing in my heart and life. Help me have patience in the midst of these renovations. And help me see the beauty that is taking shape and the joy that can be found even here in this season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Get honest about the relational hardships preventing you from being emotionally healthy with 12 questions to help you move toward healing now with the help of Lysa TerKeurst’s FREE resource, “Stop Dancing With Dysfunction: 3 Days to Setting Better Boundaries.” Sign up here today.

What if forgiveness is the necessary step to finally experience the peace we desperately want? Discover what the Bible really says about forgiveness and the peace that comes from living it out with Lysa’s new book, Forgiving What You Can’t ForgetPreorder your copy now.

CONNECT:
Keep up with the latest from Lysa TerKeurst when you visit her website.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which point from today’s devotion encouraged you the most in the midst of your own heart and life renovations? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

GOD HEARS HER

If Our Hearts . . . As I watched a rig I’d contracted drill a well for seven hundred impoverished villagers in rural Uganda, an elderly man approached me. He grasped my hands and in broken English said, “If you could open my heart and view inside, you would see happiness on top of happiness on top of happiness for this water God has provided.” Those words gave me insight into the overflow of this dear man’s heart: gratitude, humility, meekness, and reverence for the Lord were evident. “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of,” Jesus said. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart” (Luke 6:45). If our hearts are full of bitterness or hatred, broken relationships and isolation will follow. If our hearts are full of love, compassion, and gratitude, we’ll tend to have healthy, edifying relationships. What’s in your heart? —Roxanne Robbins, God Hears Her Contributor

How to Be Confident When Your Partner is More Attractive

Shake off the judgmental haters.

By Megan Bailey

The internet erupted when the singer Lorde posted a photo of her and her boyfriend. The selfie went viral – and for a terrible reason. People believed that Lorde was dating someone seemingly less attractive than her.

“Was this supposed to make me feel something?” Lorde classily responded to her relationship haters. But while she asked it rhetorically, it begs a real answer. Why as a society are we so obsessed with couples in which one partner is significantly attractive than the other?

While the most universal measure of attractiveness is a symmetrical face, there are lots of other factors at play. From your mood at the time to the color someone’s wearing, a lot of attractiveness is contextual and not set in stone.

Despite knowing this, being in a relationship where your partner is more attractive than you can be pretty difficult to navigate. It might affect your self-esteem negatively, and cause strain on your relationship.

There are some truths about attractiveness in partners you need to hear that will help you be more confident.

Is it affecting your partner negatively?

You might be completely undervaluing yourself, and you could be alienating your partner in the process. No one enjoys being with someone who has low self-esteem, and if you continue to self-deprecate yourself and presetting yourself as sub-par material, your partner might began to believe it too.

Stop tearing yourself down, especially in front of them. That person likes you, you like that person – that’s all that you need to know. Do not overthink it, do not plunge into “Am I worthy?” questions – by doing so, you disrespect that person as if they had made a bad decision. You would not want it, would you?

Are they actually more attractive?

There are two distinct reasons you might find your partner to be more attractive than you. First, you might be dating a person that is objectively attractive to other people as well (someone that is considered a “hot commodity”). Alternatively, you might be dating someone that seems overly attractive to you personally (due to being in love with them, their personality, etc.).

In the second case, because you are infatuated with the person you find them to be better looking than they really are. All the while, no one else is giving your relationship a second thought. To you, the person is heaven on earth. Two studies from University of Texas at Austin have supported the idea that we become more attracted to people once we like their personality — and less attracted to hot people if they turn out to be jerks.

Have you asked your partner for emotional support?

If you believe that your partner truly loves you, despite whatever negative feelings you have about yourself, you will feel more confident in the relationship. Figure out what specific things they do that make you feel wanted, loved and appreciated. Then let them know you desire more of it! Maybe cuddling makes you feel very secure with your partner, so ask them if you can set aside 10 minutes each day specifically for more snuggles. Spending just 15 to 20 minutes of quality time with your partner each day can instantly improve your feelings of self-worth because it reconnects you with your partner, emotionally and physically.

Do you continue to talk negatively about yourself?

Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself within your mind. Every time you think something like “I am not worthy of him,” replace it with something positive such as “I’m blessed to have them in my life.” The key is to step out of yourself and look at your self-talk as an outsider. How would it make you feel to hear someone sitting next to you say “I’m so ugly compared to my partner?” You would feel horrible that they felt so bad about themselves. Nurture yourself within your thought life, just as you would with someone else. One smart rule of thumb – never say something to yourself you wouldn’t want your best friend to say to themselves. In addition, tell your partner you want to work on being so harsh on yourself. They can help call you out when you say something self-deprecating, and watch you grow!

Hopefully you know what your insecurities are and you’ve reflected on how they developed. From here, you can take the steps to keep your insecurities in check and work on improving your self-esteem. This will help you feel stronger about yourself, so that you can shake off the haters that say something about your attractiveness difference.Megan Bailey is the Social Media Specialist and Content Producer for Beliefnet. She attended James Madison University where she received a degree in psychology.

NITELIGHT FOR PARENTS

Something For Nothing? The highway of the upright avoids evil. Proverbs 16:17 When parents of a twelve-year-old Connecticut boy caught him stealing twenty dollars, they suspected he might have a problem with drugs. But they discovered their youngster was stealing from his own home to feed a different addiction: betting on basketball games. Gambling among adults, and even teens and younger children, has proliferated since our state governments began embracing lotteries as a “something for nothing” source of revenue in the early 1990s. Buying a lottery ticket has become an almost patriotic act. Yet the apostle Paul warns what happens when we are careless with God’s money: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Indeed, gambling addictions have been linked to substance abuse, suicide, and child abuse, resulting in the destruction of families. The easiest way to protect your family from the ills of gambling, of course, is to refuse to play the game. For instance, we have traveled to Las Vegas without ever putting a nickel in a slot machine, even though two rolls of coins came with our hotel reservations. As Scripture says, “Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:27). Sometimes the obvious solution is the most effective one of all. Before you say good night… Do you play the lottery or dabble in other forms of gambling? If so, what impact do you think it has on your kids? How does God feel about these activities? Dear God, we admit that we sometimes act without considering the consequences of our deeds. Grant us strength to resist foolish ways and to protect our families from the evil that surrounds us. Amen. From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.