Prayer, Creativity & Faith

A month of gifts—and when my greatest obstacle is me

I know Christmas isn’t about things, but it’s also true that anyone who knows me knows that I love to give gifts. So that’s what I’m going to do this month… offer giveaways every week. Just because :-).

This week we’ll kick things off with a guest post from my awesome friend Kristine Brown. At the end, I’ll tell you how you can enter to have a chance to win a copy of her book.

When My Greatest Obstacle Is Me

I stood on the other side of the auditorium door, just steps away from the moment that stirred in my heart just weeks before. I had seen the flyer advertising open auditions, and I wanted to be in the school play more than anything.

There was just one small problem. This wasn’t a play. It was a musical, and I couldn’t sing. At least, that’s what someone told me once, and once was all it took for the words to stick.

I thought I’d moved beyond that self-defeating thought. For the past three weeks, I’d planned and practiced a ballad taught to me by a family friend. A ballad I would be expected to sing by myself in front of total strangers.

I committed to follow through, to open the door and step into whatever happened next. But now, so close to that moment, the doubt came flooding back like a raging storm set to destroy.

I’d like to say I marched with confidence onto the stage and sang my heart out, not worrying about the outcome, but that wouldn’t be true. After staring at the back of that door for a few minutes more, I turned around, walked straight to my car, and drove home. I’d let myself become my greatest obstacle.

“And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind.’ But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, ‘It is his angel!’ But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.” Acts 12:13-16 ESV

Rhoda knew what it took to stop the ugly voice of doubt from invading her thoughts and causing her to lose confidence. Just a young girl, Rhoda served in the house of Mary. Many believers gathered there that night for a massive prayer meeting. Peter had been arrested by King Herod, and Christ’s faithful followers came together to pray for his safety.

When Rhoda heard Peter’s voice on the other side of the door, she knew it was him. They’d been praying for his release all night, and God answered their prayer! No one in the house believed her, but that didn’t keep her from opening the door.

“They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind.’ But she kept insisting that it was so…” Acts 12:15a

From the actions of this innocent servant girl, we can learn an important truth.

We stop words of doubt from invading our thoughts by insisting on God’s promises.

Inside each one of us, there’s an unsure teenage girl still waiting behind the auditorium door. Every day we face circumstances where words from the past creep in and try to build an obstacle inside our very hearts. It’s hard to stay positive when negative words plant seeds of doubt, causing us to lose faith in what we know to be true.

Rhoda’s story brings hope when we’re tempted to give in to self-defeat. So let’s join together today and insist on what God says to be true. We are worthy. We are loved. We believe.

And with the promises of God in our hearts and minds, we become our biggest ally instead of our greatest obstacle.

To enter a drawing to win a copy of this book, leave a comment below. Share with us one of God’s promises, a truth that you hold onto when times are rough. And then, if you would, pray for the person who commented before you. I’ll announce the winner next week.

Kristine Brown is a communicator at heart who teaches about God’s powerful, relatable Word. She is the author of Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan and founder of the non-profit organization, More Than Yourself, Inc. You’ll find Kristine’s weekly devotions and Bible study resources at You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


23 Responses to “A month of gifts—and when my greatest obstacle is me”

  1. Martha says:

    “I’d let myself become my greatest obstacle.” HIT home with me. I realized last year I’ve been standing in my own way for a long time. I cling to Isaiah 41:13 For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you.

  2. Susan Mead says:

    Oh how Kristine’s words ring true, more often than I care to admit. I too was asked to sing as a child and I declined yet thought ask one more time and I will. And he didn’t so I didn’t. To this day, I don’t think I can sing. Yet God whispers, “Sing My love song.” Ok Lord. In my car on the backroads of Louisiana, I belt it out to my King! Let it ring!

    Hugs, Kristine. And thanks for sharing her words Kelly.

  3. Jessica Reno says:

    Wow, love this!!!!! I am this girl

    • Kristine says:

      Me too, Jessica. I am so thankful today that God’s love for us is far more than we could ever imagine, and we can have confidence in His promises. Thank you for the comment:)

  4. Lisa Appelo says:

    I’ve always loved the picture of Rhoda’s stunned gaze as she opened the door to Peter! But what a great reminder, this morning, that we really can be our greatest obstacle.

  5. Such a great reminder, Kristine. Those inner voices shaped by past experience can be so deafening. God’s truth is bigger though, and generally far more gracious than anything I think on my own. Thank you for the reminder to choose His voice over all the rest.

    • Kristine says:

      I still sometimes struggle, when that inner-voice turns negative. I have to make a habit of reminding myself of His thoughts about me. Thank you Tiffany for the comment. So true!

  6. Oh, how many times I have let myself become my greatest obstacle too. What an encouraging post, Kristine. This book is such an excellent resource for a common issue so many of us face. God is teaching me each day to be more like Rhoda and trust in HIS voice. Thank you for sharing and Kelly, thanks for hosting!

    • Kristine says:

      Thank you too Abby for the encouragement! It’s a daily discipline to learn to listen to His voice, isn’t it? But oh, so worth it. Blessings, friend:)

  7. Krist Woods says:

    Oh how those negative words do plant seeds of doubt. I think I was my own worse enemy growing up and even into my younger mothering days. But there’s something about experiences w/the Lord, walking in the incredible strength of His Word. It’s crazy good. Loved that you shared your space, Kelly, for Kristine’s encouraging words. Thank you both, ladies.

    • Kristine says:

      Oh yes, I remember those early days of motherhood all too well! I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. Thankfully, God never leaves us or forsakes us. He created me in His image. Amazing! Thank you Kristi. <3

  8. Noelle says:

    Jeremiah 29:11 helps me. Thanks for giving us a chance to win

    • Kristine says:

      I love that verse, Noelle! One of my favorites. God is always for us, and He has good plans. Thank you for commenting:)

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Noelle, I just did the drawing and you are the winner! Can you email me your mailing address so Kristine can get your gift into the mail? 🙂 Thanks! And congrats!

  9. Kristine, I LOVE the way you so often pull insights and applications out of scripture that I’ve never seen. Yet you’re always so spot ON! I will look at that story of Rhoda differently from now on! (And yes, that teenage girl is definitely inside me today!)

    • Kristine says:

      I love Rhoda’s story. (She will be someone I talk about more often in my writing, as I learn more about her too!) What I like most is that she was a young girl, probably a teenager herself. She had such conviction. We can definitely learn a lot from her spunk:)

  10. Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

    Thank you all for your comments. This is such an important conversation to have and I’m sorry I’ve been kind of checked out… I’m out of town all week for a much-needed vacation and haven’t had much internet access. So grateful that Kristine’s words have spoken to so many of you as I knew they would!

  11. Janis says:

    When I was in junior high school, I signed up for Choir in the 7th grade. The choir instructor told me the same thing: you can’t sing. It’s stuck with me all these years and that was quite a few years ago. The verse I recite to myself in hard times is that God did not give me a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. I enjoyed your post.

    • Kristine says:

      I’m glad you mentioned your experience, Janis. I teach 7th grade, and I see every day how vulnerable these young girls are. Words can stay with us and cause damage, but I love the verse you mentioned. Love, power, and a sound mind. Amen! What an awesome reminder that His Word about us is truth. Thank you!

  12. Sherri Garcia says:

    Enjoyed this immensely. I am walking through this now with writing. Looking forward to hearing more from you! Be blessed!

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