To Be Or Not To Be – Why Do I Sometimes Feel Like A Fraud?

When I encounter a moment in time where everything in me is in sync with that moment, I face a choice – enter the moment by jumping wholeheartedly into it OR retreat, stepping back into fear. I could be reading a book, watching a movie, or talking to a friend when I feel that I what I am doing at that moment is linked with my very destiny inside. Everything seems to resonate within me that I am encountering life, true abundant life.

While reading The Artisan Soul, I reached a point where I felt the words leap off the page. It was as if these were my words, my passion to be creative and to encourage those who are. I saw possibility, destiny, and adventure to be me, as God created me to be. Yet, what I did not tell you was what also happened at that moment inside of me before I jumped in to the belief that I am creative, that I will mentor creatives, and that I will move forward in this promise. Let me back track a bit.

creative-sparkThe words leapt off the page and into my being, confirming all that God placed in my heart. It all happened in a moment and I felt as if I would soar in that reality. I knew it was right, something I dearly believed in and wanted with all of my heart. BUT, at that same moment, something else also rose up. Accusations that I was a fraud, a fake, a hypocrite and I would be found out, exposed for all to see. What is that?

I faced two realities, or at least I thought they were both true. One said to jump into the belief that I can be and do all that is in my heart. One said to retreat back a bit because believing that would only reveal the fact that I was a fraud, not all that, somehow lacking. Have you noticed how often that can happen to you? Right at the moment of inner breakthrough, we are often confronted by our own feelings of being an impostor?

I sat in my office, at my desk, realizing I had been at this place before. What did I do? I was so frustrated. I didn’t want to be at this place anymore. I closed the book and did the only thing I knew to do. I worshipped God, pouring out my heart to Him for a long time. I was searching, scanning my internal life, wanting answers that would hit this problem right at its core.

The inability to believe in my own creativity was right there in that moment. I absolutely hated the feeling that rose inside of me. It was as if I was sabotaging my very existence. I knew that if I continued to own a false narrative, I would never move ahead. At the same time, I did not want to just verbally spew out shallow words that meant nothing. God was going deep and I was the one leading the charge.

Why do I not believe whom you, Lord, say that I am?

Why do I feel like a fraud inside, unable to truly measure up?

Why is my greatest fear the fact that people will actually find out that I am not really who I believe or say that I am?

This is crazy but oh, so very very real.

Who do I think I am?

What am I doing?

to_be_or_not_to_be_by_sharp_negative-d3f1qr5This went on for the good part of an hour. Then I had to make a decision. Against all odds, I had to jump because there was no other option for me. Risk it all. Be brave. Be courageous. Be me. Reading The Artisan Soul, I jumped into believing who I am in Christ. I realized that for years, for so many years, the words out of my mouth were real and true but deep inside, I could not grasp or hold onto the revelation that He who called me is faithful and He would take my life, despite what anyone thought or said and form me into His image, His flow of creativity through my being. He does choose the foolish things of the world.

Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, 28 chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? 29 That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. 30 Everything that we have––right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start––comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. 31 That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God (1 Corinthians 1:27-31 Message)

Why do so many of us believe ourselves to be a fraud? Many are constantly trying to cover up an inner deficit, externally seeming to have it all together while internally living in defeat. It holds us back. It’s too much work. I don’t have a handle on it all but I do know one thing. There are constant accusations coming our way as creative people wanting us to believe we are actually frauds, waiting to be exposed as an impostor. Why is that?

Yes there are fears of failure, traumatic childhoods, and more but it’s deeper than all that. These fears attack our very essence and being, who we are created in Christ. These insidious attacks keep coming and coming and coming. Again, I want to say that people handle it by just avoiding looking deep inside to see what the root of the matter really is. I always believe there is more to life than meets the eye and to solve things, we have to get at the heart of where this is all really coming from.

Well, didn’t I tell you that I would not come to conclusions at the end of a blog post? I meant it. I will think about this and pray about it today. I may be breaking all the blog rules by doing this but I decided that this year, 2015, these blog posts would concentrate on JOURNEY, ADVENTURE, and PROCESS. Will write more very soon.

DebraIn Christ,

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

God Sees – People Don’t

With Brave Wings, She FliesHow can I be hidden in plain sight? Isn’t that a contradiction? God sees all and knows all. Yet, people don’t. I am not hidden from God. I am hidden in God in Christ.

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3 NKJVS)

His hand hides me in the midst of people. Strange but true. The ways of the kingdom are contrary to the wisdom of man. In other words, God seems to do things that we don’t always understand. That’s a good thing. I am never hidden from God’s sight. He knows me intimately through and through.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well (Psalms 139:13-14 NKJVS)

Knowing that God sees me makes it a bit difficult to reconcile why a God that loves me beyond measure would set me in a hidden place. It does not make sense does it? Yet, I see so many gifted, anointed people just sitting and waiting while the chosen few seem to get ahead, pass us by, get lifted higher and higher in being seen, build bigger ministry platforms, and have great favor among the people. Many followers run here, there and everywhere wanting to be part of something bigger than themselves and they see that they can receive that from these ministries. This all seems to be a bit askew to me. This story comes to mind.

The story is told of an occasion where St. Thomas Aquinas was walking with a prelate through one of the grand cathedrals of his day. Referring to a coffer filled with precious coins, the prelate remarked, “Behold, Master Thomas, the church can no longer say, as St. Peter, ‘Silver and gold have I none!’” St. Thomas was apparently quick with his retort, “Alas, neither can we say what follows, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.’”

My father, raised during the depression of the 1920’s, used to tell me. “Honey, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” So what about today in the world at large and in western Christianity? The middle class gets smaller and smaller and smaller. The rich are getting richer and richer and richer. The poor are getting poorer and poorer. One calls it income inequality or an unfair distribution of wealth. Confirming this reality is a book I am reading called, Plutocrats. The rich are building their own kingdoms amidst the reality of increasing poverty, holding numerous passports AND paying homage to no country. In fact, they create their own countries among themselves. For whatever it is worth, I can see some similarities in what is happening in the world  and in the church at large. Why don’t you give it some thought? It seems to me that these iconic ministries, formidable church structures are creating their own kingdoms, enjoying the wealth, prosperity and fame it brings to them. They create a kingdom among themselves. There is so much to say about this. Let me go on. 

Amidst the grandeur of what is around us in Christianity, it seems good to get back to simplicity in Christ. In this transition before those who are hidden are pulled out into leadership, many stay hidden in plain sight. What does that really mean for me? I am choosing to submit to God’s way for me in this season. I can tell you that I tried to get out of this hidden state but no matter what I tried or did not try, I stayed hidden in plain sight.

Over and over, the gifts in me, any talent within me, the anointing of Holy Spirit, purpose, and passion was passed over in a myriad of ways. Choices had to be made. I could cry from the rooftops, hand out resumes to every conceivable ministry or church,  and force people to see me. Tried some of that. Didn’t work so I was more frustrated

So I did the opposite. I sat back and served. I was a good girl not rocking the boat. Again, despite my best efforts to conform to the church’s standard at large, I stayed hidden.

Perhaps you are wondering: What’s the difference? Why all the tension? Aren’t you making this harder than what it really is? What’s the big deal? Just get out there and do something.

Do we realize that as we mature in Christ, that this is NOT an option? In the process of maturing in Christ,  it is no longer an option to choose our way, whatever that looks like and however we can get it to work. Maturity brings with it a conforming to the image and the hand of God for my life. I don’t want just anything. In this season of my life, I want ME, the best me in Christ for this next step of the journey. What is God up to?

Well, it is twofold. He is teaching me to walk in the simplicity of Christ in complete trust so that His glory will be seen in my life, not me. He is teaching me to trust Him for His timing and purpose. And, at the same time, He is preparing his church at large, the Body of Christ, to look past the externals, the big names, etc. to open their eyes to see that there are many filled to abundance being passed over right in their midst. He is working on the church or the Body of Christ (whatever you want to call it – Christendom)  to accept ME and YOU for who we are, not trying to conform us to the current Christian standard or trend so that community and authentic Christianity can be built true to form and fashion in Christ.

Some Christian leaders can have people sitting in their midst, precious, creative, full of wisdom and grace AND what do they do? Nothing, Absolutely nothing. They proceed to take the same path that they always have, not willing to change or to see. Christians seem to want to grab hold of a sure thing, be part of some existing ministry or movement, rather than move into something creative and new and fresh. OR others want to stay in the same rut, the same way that they have been doing it for many years. There are problems to numerous to focus on. One thing is clear. Great shifting is taking place, great change is upon us and God is moving in our midst, His way. For that I am grateful for all that is happening and will happen in my life.

DebraIn Christ,

Rivers of Eden Ministry would love to speak at your next conference, home group of gathering. Contact me on our Contact Page. Get to know me on Twitter, and by going to Our Timeline of Life.

What’s Love Got To Do With It? Devaluing Its Meaning (1)

Is there a ‘trade deficit’ in the church? I believe so. Our ‘currency’ is being devalued on a daily basis and we are importing more from the world than exporting into the world at large. What is our ‘currency’? Love. As Christians, we move in love, flow in love, act in love – love is our life and love and life is in Christ. In Christ – this is the fullness of the very substance and essence of love. Love finds its consummate meaning in Christ in God, in the Trinity. Love IS God. God is love.

Love is not some nebulous vacuous word, constantly bantered about as if it can stand alone, outside of the very essence of love – God, in Christ, in Holy Spirit.

Love-And-Christian-Free-Wallpaper-Colossians-1-27-678x508In its very substance in Christ, love flows into the deepest places of despair while also confronting the ultimate platforms of arrogance, greed and pride. It moves in various ways, though unique platforms, and into diverse places through the lives of Christians who have Christ in them, the hope of glory. I see love in its confrontational strength destroying paradigms, shaking nations and uprooting people in pursuit of their greatest purpose in Christ. Yet, there is a war going on – the devaluation of love and its very meaning and outflow. Has the church lost the essence of love, true love in authentic Christianity?

This week, I am going to talk about love and its devaluation in western Christianity (of which I am a part) and how the world views love, somewhat askew and very distorted.  Follow along with me. I believe you will find the journey quite interesting. I do not propose to have all the answers. I do not want to be problem oriented. I want to put all this forth and seek the solution which resides in me as a Christian.  Perhaps this blog will cause you to think more than give you concrete answers. We all desperately need to learn to think, to reason and to walk in wisdom again.

The Light Goes OnHow did I even start thinking about this? Well, it all starts in my own inner stillness wherever I am, practicing His presence.  While sitting on the beach, watching people in Starbucks, or driving. Even in the midst of intense noise or chaotic circumstances. Not just observing, but actively watching people and discerning as the Spirit of God speaks to me about the current state of affairs in my own little corner of the world.

I kept pondering how the word ‘love’ is bantered about nowadays, yet in all this banter, there is little substance to it all. Have you noticed? How can you not if you are breathing? The very people, who say that they love you, leave you on a whim, in the blink of an eye with no prior notice. Or what about people who consistently say “I love ______” (fill in the blanks), without any substance to their words because when the going gets tough, they run like crazy in the opposite direction. There’s so many more examples. I am sure you are thinking of some right now.

Over the course of a few days, I sensed Holy Spirit opening my ears to hear. This little four-letter word is undergoing intense devaluation all around us. So I did some research on Google which tied some things together in my mind. I learned a few things about basic economics.

Here are a few facts in the natural that can easily be applied to the spiritual realm in my Christian life.

Currency devaluation (love for us) – a country allows the devaluation of its currency to drop in relation to other currencies. Hmmmm…………..I see the church at large devaluing its purpose under the guise of being more relevant or culturally acceptable all in the name of love, adopting the world’s standards along the way. In this process, loves loses its substance and strength in Christ alone. Love is strong, substantial and often confrontational in its essence.

Devaluation – a reduction of value and status. Hmmmm…what’s love got to do with this one? I paraphrase something I read –  “When one loses faith and trust in something or someone (Christ alone) one stops believing in it (Christ, His power, His anointing, Holy Spirit) and hence, doubt and self-reliance comes into play (leaving us searching for new techniques to attract people to our church or conference). And all in the name of loving people………….soft, sweet and syrupy.

A trade deficit ensues when a country imports more than we export. Hmmmm…I walk into so many churches that look to entertain in their quest to be relevant. What happened to the power of God in His kingdom dynamic flowing through the church? The norm – don’t offend, don’t rock the boat – let’s all be nice and love everyone, singing Kumbaya as we hold hands, smiling. We are importing the ways of the world to enhance a religious culture and in the process we are losing substance. Are we afraid to love? Looks that way to me.

Love is the answer. Real love. Authentic love. Love that confronts, challenges, gets messy, may offend and alienate as well as gather and build up. Love is multifaceted in its substance. Love is focused. Love is real.

I look to the problem and search for the solution in my quest for authentic Christianity. I don’t want to gripe or complain, yet I want to speak forth the reality of the current condition so that change my flow in Christ. Throughout the church at large, leadership is in flux – discouraged, depressed, compromising, losing vision and momentum. Stop trying to please man and live to please God. It all starts with love and its substance in Christ. There is a way out and it is in loving Christ alone. In Him there is life and in that there is focus.

My voice and inner convictions will shine forth, without trying to be popular or relevant.  I believe that after years of being forgotten, overlooked, rejected, and passed over I have finally stumbled upon a great truth.

When I have nothing to prove, I have nothing to lose.

I love and I love deeply and I see that it looks a lot different from how the world at large portrays love ( and maybe even the church). How does love play out in your life in Christ?

DebraIn Christ

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The Prophetic Word – Centered and Focused on Christ Jesus

I heard this prophetic word: “Contend for the new thing!”

I love the prophetic. I am prophetic. Yet, why do I feel that many of the prophetic words lately sound flat or feel like a remix of words that seem to be overused, over and over and over? I am thinking that perhaps – or quite possibly – or better yet – or assuredly in my heart – we need a change in language to convey prophetic thoughts and revelation. I hear the words currently out there and I don’t reject them. But, I also don’t accept them right away either. I pray. I wait. I discern. I ask for wisdom and understanding.

Heart MonitorWhat does “Contend for the new thing!” actually mean? Many years ago, I would jump in, accept, and shout amen without actually taking the time to consider. I don’t jump that quick anymore and that is a good thing.

Isn’t it good and right to ask for wisdom and understanding? It is for me. So what does it mean and should I receive it? I want what is truth and truly prophetic. But what about this word?

To contend: to grapple with, to strive, to struggle, to deal with, to face, to go head to head with.

So, for me – to “contend” implies that I must fight to achieve or receive something. In this case – the new thing. This suggests to me that I must be on the lookout for that place in which I will comprehend or apprehend this new thing. I should possibly do something to keep myself alert and able to catch it, in order not to miss it. Sometimes these prophetic words just make me tired thinking about all that I should or could do.

What if my life is in flux or I am a bit out of the mix? Will I miss it? There are any numbers of reasons why I may be out of sorts? Is my God greater than all of that? Is my forward momentum into a ‘new thing’ conditioned upon what I do? It seems like that when I read this word.

I am not being funny here at all. I am quite serious. I have too many words in my life that never came to pass because the prophetic was simply not held accountable in years past to any kind of credibility. And, yes, I gave out a few words myself to others that may have been a mixture of my own desire and my own flesh. That is the reality of the prophetic so I am not asking for perfection. I am seeking wisdom in the maturity of the prophetic coming forth in these days. It is time.

Words Words WordsFor years I have listened to hundreds of prophetic words. I have read thousands of words. At times, it caused me nothing but confusion with words flying in different directions, sometimes in competition with each other in order to be heard or noticed. So, it is right and good at this point in my life, having walked in the prophetic for many years to actually look close and hard at what is being prophesied. Not going to the next word and the next word but looking closely at this word and asking “Is it accurate. Can I trust that it will be fulfilled?” I would like nothing more than to see a new thing in my life.

Contend for it???? Well, let me think about what that actually means in light of grace and the finished work of the cross. It may take several blog posts to do this. It may help those who are thinking the same way as I am processing here.

So what about this word ‘contend’? Contend: strive, grapple with, go head to head with. What am I ‘contending’ for? I realize that there is a battle going on. According to Scripture, our battle is against a real devil but that real devil has already been defeated by Jesus Christ and I am in Christ– totally, completely secure and victorious. So with that being said, I don’t actually contend in my eyes, striving for what is already mine. So, there it is. I stand, fully secure in a position of righteousness, love and grace in Christ to know that He contended on my behalf so that I may rest in the realization of His victory. Having said that, I cease striving and rest – in a position of victory, not hoping to achieve one through some outward performance on my part.

So is “contend” a good word for me as a Christian who believe in the finished work of the cross? (Still processing here for a bit.) The finished work of the cross is reality. It is finished. What new thing am I contending for? What am I going head to head with or grappling for that has not already been defeated in Christ?

I acknowledge that evil and the devil exists and will attempt to try (I say try) to get me out of focus, out of position or confused through consistent accusation, lies and deception. Yet I don’t believe that I must contend to shout him down as if he is a power that trumps the finished work of the cross. The cross does not fight the battle. Jesus has already won the war.

So there it is for me. Contend for the new thing? Not quite sure. Perhaps I will stand, actively waiting, watching, believing and receiving – living life in Holy Spirit for specific directives that show me a way in a new direction in Christ.

So for me – I will not contend, or strive but I will stand. That is a powerful word to me for it determines that I trust, rely on, believe in Christ Jesus to BE in and through me. Now on to what it means to stand, looking for a new thing and what is this new thing anyway……….next blog post.

I am determined to sound forth with what is stirring in me, being vulnerable to write and process – to get it right and to get it wrong but in the process being me, in Christ. I no longer receive everything that comes my way like I used to – especially in the prophetic. Again, I will say that I do not despise prophecy and will continue to prophecy but I want it all centered on Christ, in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ. I do believe we need a fresh language in conveying what is on the Lord’s heart. I do believe that our eyes and ears need to be open to receive some ‘new’ things – new to us, not to God, of course.

Much more about this over this week. All in process and would love your comments. The journey begins right now. My imperfect blog in the midst of an imperfect life wholly complete in Christ, yet growing in His revelation day by day by day. Arriving is highly overrated to me and can be a bit boring. Enjoy the journey.

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

Debra NapaRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to a life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in July in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.


Story Week – Part 3/5 A Young Man with an Ear to Hear – Discordant Sounds

Subliminal sound strikes deep and prides itself on its consistency to wear a person down. That is exactly what the universal sound intended to do in the young man.

Constantly hearing a mantra of hopelessness, the young man would often repeat to himself exactly what the universal sound was saying. “It is what it is.” In the young man’s mind, thoughts of acceptance and escapism worked side by side to keep him from hearing the voice of the I AM. Rather than confront the universal sound head on, he simply retreated from it, yet did not bother to try to defeat it. He was tired and weary. So, in his retreat he disengaged from its reality and escaped into another reality that was more tolerable to him, but equally subversive.

Light TextureThere was a source to the sound that played out in words pummeling the mind of the young man to get his focus off centered from Christ and onto the enemy’s lies and deceptions. It is demonic in nature. It is discordant in essence.

The discordant sound of the enemy lacks harmony and unity. It sustains an atmosphere of conflict, divergence, and confliction. That is what the enemy wanted to draw the young man into – a discordant sound. A spirit of death masks this sound. It will kill dreams in a life filled with promise and hope. It will abort destinies that can change history. It is not compliant but forceful in its own right.

It is illusive in nature and captures the minds and hearts of young men everywhere on the planet. Lyrics of death, visual media that entangles the heart in violence or worse yet, apathy. Rage and anger that lie dormant waiting to be healed in Christ but instead fueled by the discordant sound, finding its expression in the young man’s life. These sounds pull on him with a tight grip. These subversive sounds attempt to kill destiny and purpose in Christ.

God, the great I AM, in Christ Jesus by the power of Holy Spirit takes no heed to subliminal sounds. Truth and perfection in Christ orchestrates and ordains all the sounds on earth. He does not retreat from discordance. By His hand, He lets them play out until that perfect moment when He interjects the sound above all sounds. The sound of goodness, purity, wholeness and healing. The sound of love, destiny and purpose.

Walking towards the lightGod Himself waits in the midst His revelation of light, life and truth – ready to pour forth into the young man’s heart when all other sounds bring him to the point of intimate extraction. Extraction into what? Extraction into the discordant sound itself. This evil sound is not willing to just come in the young man’s life to exploit and divert. This evil source waits to conquer and pronounce itself lord.

God draws young men out who are willing to look at the source of the sound and be willing to move into another way, a more excellent way. This comes at a crucial point in the young man’s life when all seems out of reach, without reason and purpose. Only truth can lead Him away and only light can bring a young man into its presence.

There is indeed a clashing of sounds issuing forth in this day. Make no mistake to think it is cultural, environmental or sourced in the natural. It is a clashing of kingdoms to capture a generation of young men who are destined to do mighty exploits for Jesus Christ. This is indeed truth and truth is absolute – absolutely engaging, absolutely life changing and absolutely able despite all of hell trying to block its path.

Jesus declares loud and strong into the heart of a generation held captive by the discordant sound of chaos. He speaks with simplicity and grace. He speaks in the midst of light, love and life. He speaks.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5 NKJV)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63 NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6 NKJV)

The clear sound of Christ coming forth in the midst of darkness. There is no reason for any who are concerned about the condition of young men everywhere to be dismayed or in despair for Christ is alive and speaks forth in clarity and truth. Even though at this point in his life, the young man does not appear to be listening, yet the words of life pierce through the darkness, intent on reaching his heart. Do we underestimate the power of light in Christ to overcome and be victorious in a generation that seems in many ways to be held captive by a discordant sound? Christ has triumphed over principalities and darkness. We only need recognize that the battle we fight has already been won even in the midst of knowing that the darkness does not concede that easily.

More to come…..

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to a life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in July in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.