The Best News for When You Feel Unqualified

I was reading in Luke 5 the other day and thinking about that interesting reaction Peter (at this point he’s still called Simon) has when Jesus teaches from his boat, and then asks him to put out his nets again.

He’s kinda like… “Uh… we’ve been fishing all night but alllllrightttt….” [cue Peter slowly beginning to move toward deeper water to put nets out while he waits for Jesus to say “Oh, really? Then never mind.”]

And you remember what happens next, right?

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Luke 5:10b-11

They do of course catch loads of fish (because, Jesus, y’all!) and it’s such a great number of fish their nets are breaking and they have to get help.

When Peter sees it all, he knows something miraculous is happening, right? His next move kind of fascinates me, though. He falls down at Jesus’ knees and says:

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord!” 

It seems like Peter was so painfully aware of his own shortcomings he was certain they disqualified him from even being in the presence of Jesus.

Maybe you can relate?

Have you ever felt too painfully inept, too woefully unqualified, so very less than that you are just sure you need to go ahead and find the B Team that is going to warm the bench because that’s where you belong?

Maybe you think your past disqualifies you.

Maybe you think your education disqualifies you.

Maybe it’s your speaking skills, your people skills, some physical, mental or spiritual limitation you can’t quite see past… 

Whatever it is, maybe you’re convinced you do not earn a spot on the Jesus team to do the big, the great, the glorious and miraculous things.

But make no mistake, there’s a reason this is also right there in Luke 5 – in case you didn’t catch the message when Peter made the cut – that Jesus also calls Matthew and people start voicing complaints about the unusual team Jesus is putting together. Do you remember what He says?

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

So there’s this paradoxical truth at work here. Do you see it? 

It’s our very awareness that we don’t deserve to be on the team that qualifies us to be on Jesus’ team.

It’s our awareness that we are sinners, we fall short, we are not deserving of the gift of forgiveness or the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that means we’re ready to be filled up.

Our awareness that we’re jars of clay is what makes us ready to hold the treasure!

And the closer we get to Jesus, the more, like Peter, we’ll probably feel aware of our own sin and shortcomings. 

Last week we talked a little bit about what goes on inside our heads when we make mistakes, and in a way I want to ask that same question again. 

What’s the narrative going on in your head? What’s the story you’re telling yourself?

Do you trust that your ability to serve God in great ways has nothing to do with your qualifications and everything to do with God’s power? 

You are on the team. You are in the Beloved. You can do GREAT and glorious things for the Kingdom of God. 

Your prayers have power.

Your words can make amazing things happen.

There is no second string in the Kingdom of God, my friend.

Like Peter, you and I can keep turning our hearts toward Jesus, honest about how unqualified we feel – but also trusting that He is everything we need, and He has everything we need, to make it possible to do all the great things He created us to walk in.

Let’s get out of the boat this week (and every week) and walk like we believe it.

P.S. Could you use a weekly pep talk like this, or some daily guidance to help you find your way into a deeper walk with Jesus?

When You Mess Up: Two Things to Think About

I mess up a lot. I’m hoping you can relate.

Lately I’ve been thinking about two questions related to mistakes that relate to one another. I often need reminding about the answers.

Question One: How should I handle my mistakes?

Two: What should I believe about myself based on those mistakes?

For godly sorrow produced repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world leads to death.

2 Corinthians 7:10, NKJV

If there was a flow chart for mistake handling situations (see below), I think the little box with the word mistake inside of it would have arrows pointing to three possibilities:

  1. Brush it off as no big deal and move on.
  2. Consider yourself a failure for making a mistake and wallow in self-loathing.
  3. Admit you’ve made a mistake, confess it to God (and others when necessary), repent, and ask for forgiveness.

If you believe Jesus went to the cross for your sin, then option one – brushing it off as no big deal doesn’t really make sense, right? Because it was a big enough deal for Jesus to go to the cross for you.

With option two, if you believe Jesus went to the cross for your sin but you wallow in self-loathing because of your mistakes, once again your choice makes no sense. Yes, you’re a sinner, but Jesus has paid the price for your forgiveness. 

Why park the car outside the gates when He gave His life to give you your very own space to pull into inside His glorious garage of grace?

All roads seem to point to option three then, right? We take our sin seriously – we examine our lives and turn to look at what God has asked of us. We look at what we’ve done or left undone, and we ask for forgiveness, for grace to cover us, for strength and wisdom and help to walk the line differently next time.

This is the way, as believers, we walk through a mistake and into the light of God’s goodness.

And yes… I decide to make a flow chart to think it through… so here ya go.

Once we’ve walked through this process, there’s one more step I want to point you toward this week – because this is the thing I keep needing to be reminded about.

There are different things we can believe about ourselves after we’ve made a mistake. 

Guilt is a healthy thing to feel when it leads us to repentance. But shame is a different story.

Guilt says “I made a mistake. I can ask for forgiveness and try to do it differently next time.”

Shame says, “I am a mistake. Something is totally wrong with me and there’s no fixing it.”

Guilt might say, “That was a mean thing you said. You should should apologize to that person and ask for forgiveness. You can handle it differently next time.”

Shame says, “You are a mean person. End of story. Bummer. Stinks to be you.”

While those might seem like small distinctions, how they play out in the real world is basically the difference between covering ourselves with fig leaves and hiding or saying “Here I am, just as I am” and letting God cover us with His forgiveness and grace.

Which narrative is running through your head these days?

I hope you can fully believe and trust that God is for you and longs to cover you, forgive you, and help you write a new chapter, no matter what the last one looked like.

So if you mess up a lot, I hope you know you’re in good company. Could you take a moment to think through how you’re handling things when you fall short? It’s what you decide to do with those mistakes that makes all the difference.

P.S. If you’re new around here and would like words like these to land in your inbox once a week, or you’d like additional resources for helping you find a deeper relationship with Jesus, click the button below.

How Arabella and I Made a Beautiful Altar

You know how they built altars in the Old Testament to commemorate and remember significant moments in the stories of their lives? 
I kind of feel like my eldest daughter and I have one now, and I’m ridiculously grateful.

As long as Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed;

but when he lowered them, Amalek prevailed.

When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and

put it under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur

held his hands up, one on each side, so that his hands

remained steady until the sun went down. …

And Moses built an altar and named it

The LORD Is My Banner.


Exodus 17:11-12, 15


My sweet Arabella started violin a couple of years ago. I didn’t have a great track record of being a consistent parent when it came to helping my kids learn musical instruments. 
As it turns out, violin is apparently one of those instruments where the basic requirement is: 

Show up. 

Show up today. 

Show up tomorrow. 

Just keep showing up.

At first, because we didn’t keep showing up, things were rocky. We’d gain momentum, and then lose it. She’d get close to gaining a skill, but then kind of falter.
All that rockiness led to days where she wanted to quit. And I wanted to quit. And it felt like probably the world would be a better place if we did quit.
But something deep in my soul was saying “Not yet. Just keep showing up.”
Would you believe that once we started consistently showing up, everything changed?
It wasn’t overnight – but day by day, line by line, you might even say note by note, she began to gain skills and proficiency, and her improvement has made her teacher (and her family) very proud.
Reflecting on this, I see myself, and the desire in me to avoid the doing of the things, when the things which must be done are hard things.
When things are hard, I get overwhelmed, and I want to quit.
Maybe you can relate, dear one?
But our decision to press in and overcome the hardship of learning the violin has given us a thing I never expected: a stack of memorial stones, that have become a beautiful altar.
(And I kid you not, just as I read the words I just typed, the thought has just now dawned on me that part of the beauty of all this is the meaning of Arabella’s name: beautiful altar.)
When Arabella struggles with a hard Math worksheet, I can encourage her. “It’s just like the violin, you play the song one note at a time. You do this work one problem at a time. You can do really hard things! Just keep showing up!”
And when I struggle because the work I feel called to seems hard to me, I can remind myself: “You aren’t supposed to have it all perfect right here, right now. There is powerful in faithfulness. Just keep showing up.”
So I’d love to ask you – is there something you need to be encouraged to keep showing up for in your life right now? Do you need to keep showing up by opening the Word in the morning? By continuing to grow or heal a difficult relationship one conversation at a time?
It may not all look perfect overnight. Sometimes the answer to our prayers is God giving us the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other – to keep showing up.

P.S. Could you use some weekly encouragement to help you walk in a deeper relationship with Jesus?
‘d love to invite you to sign up for my weekly email (at the link below).


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How to Fight the Mental Swirl Parties

Sometimes, when I try to look too far into the future and I can’t see what’s coming next, I can get anxious. (The example of having a kid with an MRI scheduled for next month comes to mind…)
I get into these anxious circles of trying to decide what I’ll decide to decide. So my mind will start thinking something like this:
“If X happens, then I’ll Y, but if A happens, then I’ll B. But gosh, what if C happens… would it be better to D or E?”

…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,

who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,

despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand

of the throne of God.


Hebrews 12:2


But once my brain is finished rehearsing contingency plans for each possible future reality, I don’t actually feel any better than I did before.
I just feel like I’ve spent a lot of time worrying… and I still don’t really have an outcome to cling to.
If I’m laying awake at night and my mind is spinning through all these possible realities, there’s usually only one thing that solves the problem.

I can only stop the mental swirl if I change my focus to Jesus.

If my mind is like a bicycle wheel, spinning through these series of thoughts, worries and plans based on things that haven’t happened yet, turning to Jesus is like putting a stick between the stokes. He makes the spinning stop.
One of the most powerful things about taking our eyes off our own circumstances and putting them on Jesus is that we remember how He has been faithful before, and it helps our hearts to start trusting He will be faithful again.
So I just begin praying, in my heart, “Jesus, I’m scared about this possible future reality. But I know you already know about it. I trust You. I trust You are good. I trust You can work all things together for my good. Please remember me. Help my anxious heart find peace.”
(And if as soon as I finish praying the swirl starts up again, I go right back to praying, or I try to recite scriptures I’ve memorized in my mind until I fall asleep.)
Is there anything you’re letting your mind swirl around this week, dear one?
Let prayer put a stick between the spokes of that spinning wheel. Bring it all to Jesus. The big and the small. The good, the bad and the ugly. You are welcome and you are beloved. Fix your eyes on the author and finisher of your faith… because He is truly committed to finishing the good work He’s begun in you.

P.S. Did you hear what I made for you? I created a new resource called Guided Sacred Space. It’s a series of Scriptures with prompts for prayer that are meant to invite you into a quiet moment with God, perhaps differently from how you normally meet Him, or perhaps for the first time if you’re new to spending time with God. I hope this resource serves you well and welcome your feedback!


Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

Part Homeschool Mom, Part Screech Owl

It was a rough morning at the Collie house. 

I was frustrated. I felt like I was raising my voice too often, and I felt like I was goading everyone to do every. single. thing. they needed to do.

When I asked a-kid-who-shall-remain-nameless to do a tiny twenty second task for the thirdtime, I may have sounded part Mama bear, part screech owl. 

Yes, I’m just that classy.

For the bread of God is he who comes down
from heaven and gives life to the world.


John 6:33


Last week we discussed something Jesus consistently did in conversations that involved disagreements:

Jesus asked great questions.

I hope you tried it this week – asking a question does so much to help the person across from you let down their guard instead of putting it up. Questions build bridges while hasty responses burn them. 

Questions also lead into another skill we can practice to help find middle ground in the middle of our disagreements.

See, when I think back to why I wanted to screech and throw large objects after that long ago rough morning at the Collie house (okay, it was this morning) I realized I could encapsulate all my frustrations inside a four word statement:

I didn’t feel heard.

I wanted someone (well, everyone, actually) to listen.

And once we’ve started the journey of asking questions and trying to build bridges, we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus in another way:

Jesus really listened. (And still listens.)

Jesus listened to the ruler who came and worshiped Him, saying “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” {See Matthew 9}

He listened to the woman at the well as she asked her questions. And when she changed the subject, He still found a beautiful way to share the truth. {See John 4}

He listened to the heartache of the man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus asked if he wanted to be well and he said, “I have no one to help me when the pool is stirred up!!!” {See John 5}

And He listens to me, and to you, dear one.

Do you believe God listens to you?

We believe in a God that hears all our prayers, right? We know we don’t know everything – we know we don’t have it all right – but He doesn’t immediately correct us. 

With time, His kindness leads us to a better understanding of His goodness, His world, and our place in it.

What if we extended that same grace to each other – and tried to practice that a bit more this week? What if we used our two ears twice as much as our one mouth, and helped the people around us feel heard? 

Dear one, it’s impossible that no offenses will come. Until this world is made perfect and we know even as we are known, we are not going to see eye to eye on everything. 

We can build bridges for truth to cross if we’re willing to set aside the desire to “say our piece” and instead seize the opportunity to listen with peace.

This week let’s add to the practice of good questions the practice of listening to the answers, and trying to really hear the heart of the person across from us.

You might just save someone from going screech owl and throwing things. 

P.S. Did you hear what I made for you? I created a new resource called Guided Sacred Space. It’s a series of Scriptures with prompts for prayer that are meant to invite you into a quiet moment with God, perhaps differently from how you normally meet Him, or perhaps for the first time if you’re new to spending time with God. I hope this resource serves you well and welcome your feedback!


Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!