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Buying the Lies and Shame

Jen Jantzen


Genesis 1:27  "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."


“Moon face”, “buffalo hump”, “grows facial hair like a man”... I’m not trying to brag ladies, but those are just a few of the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome... and very much a part of my life. It also brings along anxiety, sleeplessness and so much more. Sounds like a super fun party, right? Ha!


I’ve had PCOS since I was a teenager, but the more severe symptoms hit fast and furiously in my late 30’s. I was overwhelmed, scared, stressed and gaining weight as easily as I took a breath. Everything about me was changing quickly and nothing I did changed it.

I was ashamed of what was happening to me, how I looked, how I felt, all of it. I felt defeated. And, just to keep it real, I was so ashamed that people would see me and think I was doing this to myself. That I was failing.

Very quickly I bought into the lie that my value had lessoned.


Y’all. Even now, it stings.


Never once has God said we’re not enough. Never once has God said to be ashamed in our struggles. Never once has God said our weight, or our height defined us. Never even once. But what do we do anyway? We buy in to the lie that all of those things defines us. We believe our value comes in perfection.


When the woman at the well snuck out of her home in the middle of the day, her plan was to stay hidden away. She was so wrapped up in shame of her choices and the weight of how everyone saw her that she avoided being seen, believing the lies that she couldn’t be good enough.


But Jesus saw past all that. He saw her hurts, her shame and her future. He saw who she was created to be.


When God called Moses to speak and lead, Moses saw an inadequate man. Moses saw his deficiencies as a leader, and lack of confidence in his speech. But God saw past all that. He saw a bold leader that people would follow. He saw a man that would fight for his people. God saw a man that could believe in who He was and in His promises.


When Saul’s life was a whirlwind of violence and hatred, God saw the future of a man who would preach to the nations. God saw a man strong enough to keep his faith in the worst of times.


Friends, right now, no matter what, God sees you and sees your potential.


This world has created great value in the mirage of perfection, and we buy it. Photo shopped lives with picture perfect marriages and families. We see smiling faces on screen, but miss out on the tears when the camera is away. We’re convinced that bumps and struggles make us failures. We believe that tough seasons in our lives make us look weak.


Those are lies. There’s no other way around it.


All the way back to the beginning of earth, God’s word is clear... we are created in HIS image. God does not make mistakes, ladies. God created YOU in HIS image.


Let’s read this again... God created YOU in HIS image.


Even on the days it doesn’t seem like we’ve got anything together, God sees all He has called us to be.


My heart is in a great place in this season of my life. I know there’s a reason and a purpose for me, and God has given me people that love me despite me. Even so, I still have days that it’s hard to seek God’s promises. I can still struggle with “what I wish I looked like”.

Sometimes, I really wish I could tell you this was someone else’s battle. But I can’t. I have tough days, and likely will have more to come.


But here’s the good news friends, I also have days that I am so filled up with Jesus I can’t hold it in! I have peace and joy. I have people to pray for and with, to love on and to serve. I have so much good!!


Right now, today, what lie are you believing about yourself?


Hold tight to this, friends.


You are enough. Your family is worth fighting for. Your children are worth the tough days of discipline and exhaustion. Your marriage has value. The work you love can be used to grow God’s kingdom. The prayers you pray are heard. Your anxieties and fears will not win. Asking for help is okay. Your sin is not bigger than God’s forgiveness and grace. Your past doesn’t define you, Jesus does.


Genesis 1:27  "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."


Lord, thank You for seeing the good in us. Thank You for choosing to give Your life for us, despite us. Give us confidence in YOU. Fill us up with purpose and drive to grow Your kingdom. Leave no room for doubts this world will throw our way. Let us see through the lies and focus on Your truth. You created us and You do not make mistakes.

Amen


That's too Heavy. Put it Down.

Jen Jantzen

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30


Just before my first year of college, the university I attended offered a weekend camp for all incoming freshmen. It was called Rookie Bridge Camp, and was a fun way to meet other incoming freshmen. On the first morning of camp the counselors had each of us find a rock. That was all the instruction given, so in typical 18 year old style everyone set out in search of the rock they were certain was a winner. The catch came after our rocks were selected and we had written our names on them... those rocks stayed physically with us at all times of the camp. I had selected a rock that could easily be held in my hands, but some of my new classmates had chosen rocks that were nearly too large and heavy to carry. Over the next two days, at random, counselors would require us to show them our rocks. Those rocks took on a life of their own.


On our last night of camp, we were encouraged to take a long look at the rocks bearing our names. The counselor told us to let that rock represent our past, our fears, our unrealistic expectations and anything else standing in the way of a successful new beginning. After some time in thought, we each crossed a creek on a makeshift bridge, and tossed the rocks into the water below. Essentially tossing out anything standing in the way of our success.


So simple. So powerful.


I am loving our Advancing the Gospel sermon series. I am loving the biblical examples of service, and ministry. As I listened on Sunday, my heart caught at the mention of joy. Such a small word, but it can truly bring big things. The truth is, life doesn’t always make having joy easy. Hits come, they knock us back, and as we’re struggling to gain our ground it’s often replaced by the need to survive. Joy comes fairly naturally for me, and I’ve still had times where finding the joy inside me seemed nearly impossible.


Let’s just be real here, joy wasn’t the only thing I couldn’t find. Sanity, rest, peace, connection... my list could go on, but you get it. The things I love most were suddenly too heavy to enjoy. The people I love most were too much too. And Satan saw right through my struggle and made sure to remind me, every chance he could that I had all that weight on my shoulders and in my hands. That heaviness, that feeling of burden... girls, it’s rough. I know without doubt you’ve all had your own heavy burdens too.


God knew we’d face these struggles. He knew we would hold tight to our hurts and fights, so He gave us Jesus.


“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30


Jesus said He is our rest.


Right now, we’re wrapping up a year that’s tried desperately to destroy the good. It hasn’t been easy, it’s brought on stresses we didn’t see coming, it’s created situations we weren’t certain how to navigate and has been nearly too heavy to carry.


What else are you holding onto right now? Anger? Resentment? Fear? Grief? Uncertainty? Loss of trust?


Our burdens may not be the same, but anything in the way of Jesus is too heavy for us to carry.


Friends, right now, together, let’s toss the burdens aside and make room for the JOY that is Jesus. Let’s give our struggles to Jesus and learn the peace that He brings. Let’s choose today to see the good in God’s work, even when it’s not the way we would choose. Today, together, let’s choose JESUS.



Lord, thank You for a joy that can only come from You. Right now, we need You. We need to feel the Joy, and see the good in the midst of our struggles. We need more Sunday’s full of laughter like this week, sharing the goodness of You. Give us wisdom to lay down the hurts, anger, fear, grief, pride... and anything else standing in the way of You. Take our burdens Lord, and give us peace in You. 
Amen

Just Do Our Job

Jen Jantzen


“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.  Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” - Matthew 4:18-22


This past week I was visiting with one of my girlfriends who’s daughter recently signed to run track in college. Such an exciting time! The daughter was discussing her place on the team, and being vulnerable by admitting she wasn’t certain where she’d fit in comparison to the other runners. The coach stopped her and told her, without hesitation, I chose you to do your job and only your job. That job is to do your best right where you are. The rest of the team will do theirs, and that’s when we’re successful.


God bless this coach.


As we’ve been studying our work in advancing the gospel, I’ve had lots of thoughts about my place in all of this. Am I doing the right things? What should I be doing instead? Ohmygoodness, do you know how many people can do things better?? Friends, please tell me I’m not the only one that’s questioned my place? My role? My sanity?? (Okay... that last part is the momma in me breaking through! Ha)

The vulnerability that comes with putting ourselves out into the world is real and can be frightening. For some, that fear can be paralyzing. So much so, we stop. We change course, and choose an easier option. We opt out of what we know we’re called to do, and instead do what we know we can do without any mess.


I’ve considered the apostles often in my lifetime. These men, without hesitation, followed Jesus. I know their journey wasn’t without bumps, but in the moment they were called, they went. In my full and open vulnerability, let me tell you I don’t know that I would have done the same. In fact, I’ve stalled, deflected and tried to ignore calls before. It seemed easier to me at the time. But the truth is, God wins this. He will get us right where we need to be, no matter our efforts to run.


Why in the world do we do this, friends?


Right now, let’s all take a minute and consider our role in advancing the gospel. Just as Jesus sought out those men fishing, He sees you too. He chose them, and guided them in doing their job. He didn’t expect them to be anyone else than exactly who He created them to be. The same goes for us, my beautiful friends. We were created to do our job, and no one else’s.


We were created, in His image, for His purpose. We’re not meant to live in comparison and doubt of our place in this work. He’s called us to do our job, and only our job to the best of our ability. And we’re successful when we do this as a team.


What’s your calling? Feeding your people? Showing up for your people? Speaking life into those around you? Being a safe place for people to land? Right now, own that God created you with that in mind. No one else.


Sometimes we view vulnerability as a weakness. I believe that’s when our strength grows most. When we go, without hesitation, no matter our self doubts, in the full confidence of Jesus.


Lord, thank You for believing in us and choosing us for Your work. Thank You for the encouragement to follow where You lead, and go where needed. Today, give each of us power in our vulnerability to own the calls we’re ignoring, or convincing ourselves that we aren’t right for that work. Remind us that we are YOURS, created with purpose to carry Your legacy to those around us. In Your Holy name, Amen.


Fizzled Out

Jen Jantzen

“And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" - Matthew 8:25-26


I had just returned home from my first week at Falls Creek. I was excited, motivated and couldn’t wait to talk about Jesus! A week with no distractions and scheduled time in the word does that to a gal. I was having a real “on fire for The Lord” moment. So cool! And then... after wrapping up our camp service at the church I had gone to camp with, a man commented that this excitement won’t last. I think the words he used was... “just wait until this camp high wears off.”


Just like that, my fire fizzled and my plans deflated.


I know that wasn’t his intention, and if the same was said to me today it wouldn’t have the same effect. But in that moment, the first time in my life I was feeling this connection, it wrecked me and filled my mind with doubts.


Isn’t that just the way life goes? We’re doing well, life is good our confidence in who we’re called to be is evident in the way we live... then BAM! Seemingly out of nowhere something knocks the wind right out of our sails and our fire fizzles.


Friends, if you’re fire is dimming or even fizzled completely out, you are not alone.


“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" “ - Matt 8:23-27


These men had Jesus in their boat, He was literally underfoot and a storm fizzled their confidence in Him.


“But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." - Matt 14:26-33


Peter was looking into the eyes of Jesus, and water under his feet fizzled his confidence in Who he was trusting in.


How many other stories have we read about in God’s word of other’s doubts and uncertainties getting the best of them? These stories are there, because the human in us fights desperately to win... just like it did when Jesus walked this earth. God knew, when He ordained the writings in His word, that we would need to see and know others are just like us.


Man. Powerful truth.


We all know Jesus. We all know His promises. We all know His power. Still, we all have moments of unbelief.


In my life now, I have a different relationship with Christ than I did then. I’m more confident in my faith, and Who He is. But even today, things can come along that seemingly knock me off track.


This beginning of our new year, let us all take a minute to reset the fire for Jesus in us. Let us set aside the doubts and worries

of this world, and let us hold tightly to Him.


What’s fizzling your fire right now? What’s telling you lies and making you believe Jesus isn’t bigger? Struggles at home or in your marriage? Jesus is bigger. Job struggles, or lack there of? Jesus is bigger. A friendship you’re burdened with? Jesus is bigger. Illness? Anger? Fear? Jesus is bigger.


Friends, hear these words: Jesus IS bigger. He wants our fire blazing hot.


In our Sunday School class we studied Stephen this week. If there was ever an example we should model, it’s him. The elite leadership of his time are doing all they can to question Jesus, to cause doubts and sizzle his fire... but Stephen holds fast and in the midst of turmoil he boldly proclaims Jesus is the Messiah!


Lord, ignite a fire in us! Give us the courage to seek You above all. Let us see You in everything. When questions come, help us find answers in You. When burdens hit, help us seek power in You. When sickness comes, when the world seems to spin opposite of us, when people in our life dampen our spirits, give us eyes that still see You. Lord, let us feel You. We love You, even when we struggle Lord.

Amen