comparison-trap-blog

THE COMPARISON TRAP

It is so easy to fall into this trap!  It doesn’t matter how spiritual you are, nice you are, trained you are, we all are susceptible to the lies that entangle  us when we compare ourselves to others.  I’ll give you a current example from my life.

My family and I have recently moved and started attending a church where we live.  We are not on the worship team right now, because we are having a sabbatical break.  The first couple of weeks I was just so happy to be apart of the congregation worshipping Jesus.  However, when I finally decided it was time to see if I could serve, I started mentally gauging where I would fit in, comparing myself to the other worship team members leading on stage.  Lies filled my mind like; you are much older than they are; your voice doesn’t sound like any of theirs; I don’t like the way I look on camera; I lead differently than they do, and so on.  It was because of these lies that I began to shut down and become fearful.  I was allowing these lies to cloud my judgement and push aside the knowledge of WHOSE I was; that God had made me uniquely the way I am for a purpose and I didn’t have to apologize or compare myself to anyone else.

Satan is extremely sneaky.  Scripture says in John 8:44 that he is the “father of lies.”  He will do whatever he can to make us ineffective for God’s work.  When we start comparing ourselves it leads to pride and selfishness.  In God’s Kingdom, He is not looking for what the world looks for, no, He is looking for someone after His own heart.  Yes, we need to do all we can to train and condition our voices to be the best that they can be, but that is not the most important factor in God’s eyes.  He wants us to reflect His character and traits by the power of the Holy Spirit.  He also wants us to be submissive to His leading.  As worship leaders, we need to be ready to serve our church in any way we are asked.

It might be more glamorous to be asked to lead on stage in front of the entire church, but God might need you to lead at a funeral, a bible study, a moms group, a youth service; who knows.  We need to be ready with a “yes” God.  He needs worshippers who are servants first!  This is such an important lesson to learn.  The sooner we learn this the more effective worship leaders we will be.  Plus, God has hidden blessings in the places He asks us to serve in.  I was asked to lead the music at a memorial service for a dear friend today.  I was honored and extremely blessed by the experience.  Was it in front of thousands?  No.  Was I on camera, surrounded by lights and smoke?  No.  I was in the exact place, at the exact time, with the exact people God wanted me to be with.  And because I said yes, I was able to sense God’s incredible love and presence.

Is comparison worth it?  NO!  When we have those thoughts creep up on us we need to speak out scripture and fight back with the sword of the Spirit.  We need to remember we are God’s servants, fulfilling His purposes not our own.  His ways are ALWAYS higher than our ways.  Let’s get excited about where God will have us serve next and say, “Yes God!”

Embrace Me

This is the second song I wrote.  You see, I was a singer, not a songwriter in 2005, however through a sequence of events, God specifically asked me to write.  Because I was a singer and I never, ever ran out of things to say, I thought being a songwriter was exactly what I needed to do!  One thing I love about this song is that I was child-like and expressive with my lyrics and delivery.  You can listen/buy it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beginnings/id438824578

 

Embrace Me

© 2005 Lara Marriott

Walking up the stairs, casting all the world’s cares

Upon my shoulders

Searching for a place to find a peaceful state of mind

to get away

I shut the darkest door to hide for awhile

I need You Lord to comfort me

I close my eyes and try to think about You

Oh Lord, what should I do?

Embrace me, taking

all of my fears, my worries, and my tears

I’m feeling inside

Embrace me, flowing down

the warmest of Your love

reflecting from above

Embrace me

Gazing at the sky nature’s calm I find

that You’re all around me

The sun glistening the trees, clouds are changing what I see

a place of wonder I’ll never leave

I find a shady place to stay for awhile

I know You Lord are here with me, yeah

I close my eyes and start to dream about You

Is this what heaven’s gonna be?

Embrace me, giving

all of Your joys, Your wonders, and Your glory

I need inside

Embrace me, shining down

the warmest of Your love

reflecting from above

Embrace me

Day or night, by Your side

You have revealed

You are real and I feel you inside

Day or night, by Your side

that’s where I’ll always be

You are real and I feel alive

Embrace me, shining all of Your love, Your love

Embrace me, fill me up with Your love, Your love, Oh how I love You

Hate & Love Come In All Forms ~

My husband came home last night and asked if I had heard of the riots that were going on in different states around the country.  I had intentionally decided to stay away from the news to focus on the tasks that were in front of me.  When he shared the synopsis, I turned on the tv to find an active shooter who had targeted, killed and wounded police officers, with a bomb in a parking garage in Dallas, TX.  My heart became heavy with a deep sadness. As I watched live as well as recorded video footage, I saw a multi-colored, peaceful protest frantically disbanded into a multi-colored police force protecting their city.  This situation was not about color or culture.  This was about good in a standoff with evil.

This morning I woke up to find out the latest reports through the news outlets, Periscope, and Facebook.  I was intrigued by all of the opinions and prayers I scrolled through on my IPhone.  One stood out to me among the rest.  It talked about the fear for the safety of a black family.  As I read the post, I related on a different level.  There was a fear for my family’s safety, but we are white.  I realized at that moment, that this wasn’t a battle against color.  Our country is fighting a battle against the dark forces of this fallen world.

You see, hate is able to come in all forms; within a police uniform, an american citizen, a teacher, a doctor, a mom with her child, a dad, a cleric, a government official, a neighbor, a family member, an employee, an employer, an organization, you get the picture.  I read about the black man being shot in front of his girlfriend and four year old by a white police officer.  What a horrific situation.  That poor mother and poor child.  The damage that was done to their eyes will forever be etched into their memories.  But I also read about the white officers who were trying to protect the innocent people who were protesting down the Dallas streets, doing what was right and good, being unrightfully targeted because of their color and killed.  The sniper didn’t know who they were, what their stories were, he just chose to be racist back.  I thought about their loved ones and how devastating and frightening that must have been for them to learn that the people they held so dear, who went to work everyday to protect their multi-cultural city, were killed in a senseless act of violence.  Both stories were unbelievable and unjust.

The focus of reconciliation and healing should be directed towards evil being brought to justice, instead of the color of our skin.  Hate is hate.  Love is love.  The bible says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9.  It also says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

multi colored hands

Let us not judge people for what they look like on the outside.  Let us not judge people period.  Love comes in all forms too! What we need to do is love our enemies, love the unloveable, pray for justice and peace.  What would happen if we fought back with kindness.  What would happen if we replaced our fears with faith.  What would happen if we looked past our differences and embraced our similarities? Would these horrific stories fade away?  Would the news be filled with stories of hope, love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control?

I wonder…

Lara~

The Victim

mystery morningby Lara Marriott

My mind is playing tricks on me

even though I’m okay

I can’t be fooled; I’ve got this

Yet a dejavu takes me away

down the wrong path

To a place I wished I didn’t visit again

It is dark and deceptive

cold as sin

 

A spiral staircase leading to black

How did I get here?

I can’t walk back

It is drawing me in

I can’t get out

There is nothing I can do

I am the victim now…

 

No I am not.  I’ve been told a lie

I will take back my life

one step at a time

I can get back out if I climb

I am not the victim

 

I can see the light coming into view

It is getting bigger and strengthening my will

I don’t need to swallow the world

I can’t handle more

There are so many things to be thankful for

 

Just take one day to the next

God says to my mind

I need to trust that He sees;

There is purpose to find

I will not be the victim

I am climbing back up

My resolve is to reflect

my Creator’s love

I am not the victim…anymore!

(this has been revised) 😉

 

Have you ever dealt with mind games?  I have.  I do.  Some days are worse than others.  Today for some strange reason I allowed myself to be down and full of fear.  I felt paralyzed  and unmotivated.  Thankfully, a dear person in my life suggested I did something redemptive and purposeful to take my mind off of myself.  So this poem was what I came up with.  I don’t know if it will encourage anyone else, but it felt great to be creative and get my thoughts out.  If you ever need prayer, please let me know.  It is never good to go through these kinds of things alone.

Blessings,

Lara~

 

438 Words About Fear

My niece wrote this the other day. What she wrote about is so true and needs to be shared. It is a wonderful reminder when fear starts to creep into our lives. Remember fear can never survive around perfect love! ☺️

Lara ~

http://www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Wanderlust Leah

As I was packing this morning for my flight home, I had mixed feelings about stepping onto an airplane. Given recent events, flying from Spain to Germany isn’t my favorite idea right now. Statistically, it isn’t very probable that anything out of the ordinary will happen. But…BUT…if…maybe…

These are the words that plague my mind when I think about it too much. A museum shooting. A deliberate plane crash. What if it happens to me? What if it happens to someone I know?

I recently had the pleasure of sitting next to a priest on a trans-Atlantic flight. (For the second time – what are the odds?) I’m not sure how we arrived at the topic of fear, but we did and I remember he quoted a Bible verse that I knew from my youth. He said “Perfect love casts out fear.” It comes from 1 John 4:18. And as…

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A Spiritual Battle ~

Have you ever noticed that when you are doing what you feel God has called you to do, you get attacked spiritually? Last night I was listening to a Christian speaker give a message while I was drifting off to sleep and all of a sudden I heard a voice say, “Hannah is going to die.” It was so random and fear began to overtake me. That voice said it again, making me even more afraid. I then heard another voice that told me specifically to cast out the spirit of fear from my mind and bind it in Jesus name.

I was almost asleep. I didn’t want to work up the energy to speak that out loud, but the fear I was experiencing was tangible and overwhelming. So I verbally commanded the spirit to leave me at once. You know what? I felt peace right after I said those words and within a couple of minutes I fell fast asleep.

Hmmm…there are truly powers at work in our lives. Thankfully, there is a God who loves us and when we have a relationship with Him, He gives us the strength and the tools to fight off the spirits that come to destroy. Call on Jesus, He will help you!

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Reflecting Back on 2014 ~

Well today is the last day of 2014! That is Crazy!! Have you been reflecting back on your year? What have been some good things? What have been some difficult things? Has God been faithful? What are your hopes for 2015? Are you excited? Are you fearful? Do you have any prayer requests you’d like to share?

For me:

Good things
– I got to minister with my dear friends, Brenda Yoder (http://www.brendayoder.com) & Krissy Nelson (http://www.notaloneministries.com) in Pensacola, Fl. even with a tornado in Louisiana and having to find a place to stay overnight in Ft. Lauderdale Texas (thank you Diana Thiessen!) God proved himself very faithful!
– We had a wonderful Women’s Retreat at our church and God broke through in so many ways and brought the ladies together and closer to the Lord’s Spirit.
– We had a great time in Boise visiting friends and family! Family is so important.
– The kids and I have survived the first half of our second year homeschooling. It has been quite the adventure full of ups and downs, successes and failures, and I wouldn’t change one thing!
– Our band “Not Just Sunday” had the chance to play out at some fun places together. We love gigging and rocking out! Hope to gig more together in the New Year Joshua Roosa, Brian Marriott, and Lee Lipsker!
– Went to a refreshing songwriter’s bootcamp led by Staci Frenes & Kenon Chen (http://www.kenonchen.com). God ordained that time for me. There were so many God moments that happened to me that I am so thankful for. I am planning to work with Kenon on recording at least one of my songs that I can’t wait to share with you. Looking forward to that in the new year.
– Read an amazing book by Staci Frenes (http://www.stacifrenes.com) called “Flourish.” It was so healing for me to read of another creative soul’s journey to accept her creativity and thrive in it for the glory of God! I am so inspired and determined to shine through the creativity God has given me to use. Each one of us are creative! We ALL can do something to reflect our Creator. I challenge you to not be afraid, but to do something creative. You won’t be disappointed. There is no right or wrong. Only you can express uniquely what you want to express. There is no one like you and there never will be.
– It was so much fun for me to share my music with my homeschool mommy friends this Christmas!! Barely any of them new I was a singer/songwriter. Most days are all about our kids. We sometimes dress up, but usually we are without makeup, wearing comfy clothes, and just surviving the variables of our days. So, it was a treat to share something that was dear to my heart with my dear friends. I will treasure that evening.
– I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas time!! I grew up singing in many Christmas productions and events. So this year I was able to be apart of quite a few and my heart was full!!

– Our church got through a very difficult season by the grace of God.  We are now hopeful for the future.

– My family has been healthy and has brought me much comfort this year.  I adore my husband Brian and our two kids, Hannah and Josh.  My extended family always has a special place in my heart and I pray for them everyday.

– God has helped us financially.

– Oh and one more thing, we were able to raise $1000.00 to send to our sponsored child in Uganda to save her working eye.  We are still waiting to hear how it went, but hopefully she will be able to see.  It amazed me how the people of God can come together to do great things!!

Difficult things:

– I had many times this year when I was challenged by the spirit of fear.  Fear has plagued my side of the family for generations.  I have the fear of flying, fearful dreams and nightmares, visions, and future worries, fear of failure, and it usually happens more and more when I am doing something for the Lord, but God’s Spirit has equipped me with His powerful gifts to fight back!   There is power speaking out the word of God.  There is power praying in the Spirit.  There is power calling on the name of Jesus!

– My grandmother has been suffering with alzheimer’s disease.  This has made me sad because my other grandmother suffered with it as well.  I wish I could see my grandparents, but we just live too far away.

– All of what our church has had to go through this year has weighed heavily on my heart and on our family.

– Homeschooling (enough said)

– Situations in our family’s life

– The pain in my shoulder, neck, and leg.  I haven’t been able to raise my right arm all of the way for over a year now.  I miss dancing like when I was young.

– watching friends and family going through very difficult situations

Has God been faithful?  YES!!!!  Through it all, God has been faithful.   I have learned how to rest in Him.  I have learned to give Him all of my fears and concerns and let go.  I have learned to pray in my Spiritual language given to me by the Holy Spirit that has strengthened my heart and has given me a focus and has revealed to me what to pray for.  When you give your life to Jesus, He gives you His Spirit to help you in all things and to comfort you.  I can tell you that it is completely true!  Now, I am human and still struggle.  God never promised to take us out of our problems.  He promised to help get us through them.  So I am clinging to that this year and for next year.  It also says in His word that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

My hopes for 2015 are to get closer to the heart of God and be more disciplined in spending time with Him and listening for His voice and direction.  I want to write more songs and continue ministering to others through singing and worship leading.  I want to teach my kids to love Jesus with all of their hearts and be little lights for Him wherever they go.  I want them to learn to be avid readers, good writers, get better at spelling and math.  I want to instill in them a love for learning!  I want to spend more time with Brian and invest in our friendship and love for one another.  I want to reach out to my family members more often through letters, emails, phone calls, instead of using Facebook to update them on the latest news.  I want my life to reflect God’s love in all that I say and all that I do through the grace and help of Jesus.  Lastly, that I will be equipped to conquer the fears that come to attack me and that God will surround me with His peace.

I don’t know if I’m excited.  I still face fear regularly.  That is a battle I fight everyday.  But, more often than not, I win.  So I am resting in the Lord’s love, His grace, mercy, and peace.  There is nothing better than to be a child of the Most High God.  He truly is a loving Father.

Prayer request: That our family will hold true to the promises of God and that we will walk daily in His ways.

Thank you friends for reading my posts and sharing your encouragements.  I pray God’s love and His blessing will accompany you into 2015.  If you are reading this and God is stirring your heart to want to have that loving relationship with Him too, all you have to do is believe that He sent Jesus to die for all of your sins, that He conquered the sting of death by raising from the dead, and ask Him to come into your heart to transform you into the person He has created you to be.  When you say that simple confession, You will be adopted into His family and will live eternally with Him, but not only that, He will send His Holy Spirit to live inside your heart and help you with everything life throws your way.  His grace and mercy will cover you daily and you will no longer be weighed down by guilt, shame, pride, lust, addiction, hate, fear, etc.  His love will make your heart whiter than snow.  Please contact me if you said that prayer and I will send you a bible and help you get started on your new journey with Your Creator!! = )

Lots of love to you all!

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Wrong or Right Choice?

Something crazy happened to my children and I yesterday. Josh, really was looking forward to being able to scooter at the skate park he so loved. So we planned our afternoon around that. I made sure we parked right next to the skate park because we were planning to be there for at least an hour. As we were walking towards it, a fight broke out between two teenagers who were among about 15 other teenagers. There was a lot of swearing and punching. One of the kids threw a garbage can at the other one.

I honestly do not know what I was thinking. Maybe it was God, maybe it was stupidity, but I decided to sit at the table next to them, hoping that my presence would stop the fighting and they would get over it. They did stop, but not verbally. I asked them if they would please stop fighting so my kids could play. One of the boys sitting down had his hand in his gym bag and pulled out a silver gun half way saying, ‘I could just use this?’ I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I then motioned for my son that we were leaving. He was very disappointed, but I whispered in his ear that one of the boys had a gun and it was no longer safe to be there.

As we were leaving one of the younger boys came up to me and apologized. He said it wasn’t safe to be there and the best time for my kids to come scooter was before noon. That comment angered me. They had taken over one of the best skate parks. Even the guy who threw the garbage can came over to apologize. I looked him in the eye and said thank you for saying he was sorry. About 6 to 7 of the boys apologized to us as we left towards the kids play area.

When we got there both of my kids were so upset that our plans had changed. I looked around and saw many innocent families there that had no clue what had just taken place. I felt impressed to call the police. Within 10 mins. there were two policeman on foot, two to three police cars, 2 police motorcyclists and a helicopter. It was shocking and cool all at the same time.

I knew we had to get back to my car by following the policemen over. We hurriedly got in our car and drove the back way home. A little while later, I received a phone call from the police deputy that they had arrested the fighter, but the boy with the gun got away. My heart weighed heavy for those boys the rest of the day. My kids wanted to fight those boys if they ever did that again, but I had to tell them what those boys needed most were our prayers.

What I realized yesterday was that anger, hurt and fear take away innocence and freedom. Jesus came to set us free from those things. When we accept Him as our Savior and ruler over our lives, He frees us from those evil chains that bind and burden us, so that we can live in peace, comfort and love. I watched my son scooter around while the boys were still steaming and saw innocence and joy. Those boys had lost that. They were still young enough to get away with having fun, playing and being kids, but they choose to allow darkness to complicate their young lives.

Honestly, I wish I could go back and hug everyone of those kids and tell them they are loved and valued by Jesus, and that it was okay to be young and to enjoy their youth before it faded away.

I wrote what happened to us in my devotion journal and this is what Jesus Calling had to say:

“Entrust your loved ones to Me; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me then in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one-as well as yourself. Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac…When you release loved ones to Me, you are free to cling to My hand…I am free to shower blessings on them. My Presence will go wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you, as you relax and place your trust in Me. Watch to see what I will do.”

This comforted me about my decision yesterday. God protected me and my kids and He broke up the fight that could have ended in a devastating way.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes