Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Faith Dare

I have not always been a woman of spiritual faith. Truth is, I grew up very much afraid, a child in an alcoholic home who learned how to be nice and agreeable in the hope that life would remain calm. I also learned how to live in perfection, performance, and pleasing other people--and was afraid of failure, rejection, or conflict.

I learned from a young age to put my faith in myself, my performance, and other people's opinions of me. This type of faith is the dead-end existence  many Christian women are living today. We go to church, we recite the creeds, learn the verses, sing the songs, attend the classes--but we apply little of what we see, hear, or say that we have learned. We paste on our smiles and act full, when inside we are empty and unfulfilled.
                                                                       ~The Faith Dare by Debbie Alsdorf

As I cracked open another book to review this week, I was met face to face with someone I had not wanted to meet or even admit that was still around. The opening lines of this book grabbed me from the beginning. I see myself as the perfectionist, the people pleaser--the one who is afraid of rejection and doing things that disappoint others. I thought for a long time that this person was gone--had been gone for many years, but as I read those opening lines, I began to realize that this person is still here. She shows up quite often and I am struggling with how to get rid of her. I also realized at this moment that my faith is not what it used to be. As I read the words that Debbie had written, I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to shout--THAT'S NOT ME!

Surely this cannot be me, right Lord? Because I love You more than anything in this world.

But yet, this is me at this moment. I am the one who walks into church and smiles and acts all full when right now I seem to be struggling with where I belong. I feel like this picture here:

I am barely hanging on. However, I know that God has me right where He needs me and He will not let me fall. That is where The Faith Dare comes in. I am taking this thirty day challenge.

I read the first two chapters yesterday and now I am ready to begin the thirty days of restoration. I cannot wait to dig in each morning and learn something new. Debbie says in the introduction of this book that through this process this is what she learned:
  • I have to let go of self-strength, self-effort, and trusting anything of self. I am still learning.
  • I have to set my heart on the pilgrimage, which is an extended journey with a purpose. 
  • I have to accept the valley and desert places and choose to embrace them and trust God in them.
As I do this challenge, I will share with you my thoughts and the things that God has shown me. If you would like a copy of this book, you can purchase one here:
About the book:
What would happen if you lived out your faith every day, in every situation?
Jesus came to give us abundant life. So why are so many of us living with worn-out faith, struggling just to get by? What if there was something more? What if we could be set free from worry, fear, and the constant cycle of searching for significance?
The Faith Dare is a 30-day challenge for women who want to develop a new habit of focusing on God's ways and daily awareness of his presence. It is for women who are tired of ho-hum living and want to break the pattern of self-reliance and people pleasing by putting their trust in God alone and living to please him. This personalized study guide, including daily readings, affirmations, and challenges, help you live in the power of God's Word.
Whether you do this with a group of girlfriends or by yourself, the next 30 days can change your life. If you're ready to discover what it looks like to live out real faith every day, open this book and take the challenge.
I dare you.
"Faith--we all want more, but we're not sure how to get it. Whether alone or with others, dare to grab hold of this book to take you farther on your faith journey."--Elisa Morgan, publisher, FullFill,; president emerita, MOPS International,
"I've had the pleasure of working with Debbie Alsdorf not only as a speaker but also as someone I call a close friend. I dare you to go through this 30-day challenge. I know you will be encouraged and strengthened in your faith."--Renee Johnson, Devotional Diva; speaker
"Debbie Alsdorf's heart is to see women's lives transformed by the power of Jesus and The Faith Dare is another tool to accomplish just that--life transformation through Christ. You will gain much from the incredible challenge Debbie has laid out for us."--Kelly Minter, author, speaker, singer

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