Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

Thanks for stopping by!

{Undivided Heart and Humility}

I held my new Bible study workbook under my nose and let the pages fan open and then shut while I breathed in a deep breath. The new book smell is my favorite. My anticipation for this study was off the charts. I settled into my favorite spot with a cup of coffee, my Bible, the workbook, my favorite ink pens, and a brand new notebook spread out on the floor around me.

See, for quite some time now, I've been asking the Lord to rekindle a fire in my heart. My prayers have been raw and full of frustration and sometimes forced. Do you know what I mean? It's been a "What in the world is going on? Where are you!?" kind of season in prayer. The timing of this study isn't an accident. So, yes, I was anxious to dig in after the intro. I flipped my book open to Lesson 2: Humility.

While humility has everything to with how we relate and engage our world, I had forgotten that it first starts with how I relate and engage with God. It's perspective. It's not just how you see yourself, though. It's how you see yourself in light of a holy, all-powerful, perfect God who created you, who loves you, and who sent Jesus to die to save you. Here's the thing: we can't see anything clearly until we clearly see Him and know Him. Until we realize the magnitude of His grandeur and majesty, until we are keenly aware of His perfect holiness, we will never have an accurate picture of anything else. That includes our self and our sin and our hell-bent inclination toward pride. When we don't have an accurate picture, we find ourselves underwhelmed by God rather than undone and overwhelmed.

Underwhelmed. By God. Um, just no. But that's what happens when we get wrapped up in self. Self-conscious. Self-reliant. Self-protective. Self-serving. Self-righteous. Before you know it, you're spiritually drowning in an ocean of pride, struggling to keep your head above water and breathe. Never mind trying to see clearly. I can't tell you how many times I closed my study book and walked away because I just couldn't process. It was a hard week of study. But, it's what I need, and God knows that.
Lean in for some real talk. It's important. We don't have the right to demand anything of the Lord. Not even the answers we desperately think we need. And this relationship that we've been invited to have with Jesus? It's a privilege, an honor. We are so very undeserving.

Humility isn't about self-deprecation. Humility says: I saw the Lord. I am nothing without Him. I desperately love Him. I realize my utter need for Him. Just, yes. When we see the Lord, He transforms our hearts and our lives. I'm praying still that God will rekindle a fire in me. I've added confession and repentance to that prayer, though. And, I'm praying it from a place of brokenness rather than frustration.

May I encourage you today? He is matchless in glory and beauty. May He continually open the eyes of our hearts and fill us with awe and wonder as He reveals Himself. And, may we be forever changed. He wants nothing more for us than to see Him clearly and know Him deeply.

{Five Minute Friday | Purpose}

It's Five Minute Friday. That means unplanned, unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you just write whatever comes out based on a word you're given. If you have five minutes, you should give it a try!  Find out how here.

This week the prompt is {PURPOSE}.

Ready? GO.

Finding purpose is a game changer. And, every person walking the planet has a purpose pre-determined and assigned by the Creator before birth. I love that. We all have gifts; we all have purpose.

I've been studying 2 Timothy. It was the last letter written by the apostle Paul. There are a lot of things happening in this letter, and I love it! One of the things I relish most in Paul's writing to Timothy is the charge Paul issues. He's reminding Timothy of his purpose and challenging him to finish well. He says "fulfill your ministry." (2 Tim. 4:5) Because sometimes we get sidetracked, or afraid, or preoccupied with other things. But Paul's words jump off the page and plead with us to do whatever it takes. It doesn't just happen. It requires endurance, perseverance, intentionality. It means walking and living in the power of the Spirit. It's hard. But, Jesus is so worth it. The Gospel is so worth it. Through Christ, God entrusted us (revealed to us) the single, most powerful and life-changing truth in all of history.  That's something we all, as believers in Christ, have in common. We share a common purpose in that our priority is the spreading of the gospel. Our lives were meant to point back to the One who created us. That's purpose.

May I encourage you today? There is no higher purpose than this. What's God asking you to do with your gifts? Here's the thing: No one else can do what God has asked of you the same way that you can do it. He created you and gifted you precisely for what He's asking of you.

What if we, the church, responded to Paul's exhortation to fan into flames our God-given gifts and go with boldness, in love and truth, proclaiming the hope found in Jesus? Yeah, what if we did that.


{The Hard Stuff}

Confession: I am brokenhearted. Desperate. Needy. I've been looking in the wrong place for the remedy, thinking if I can just wrap my words around what's happened in my church life over the last 18 months, I can help put it to bed. There's nothing I want more than to be free of it. It's like a terrible break-up. Do you know what I mean?  

It's like what happens when you watch a scary movie, and you get spooked. Then your house comes alive with eerie noises and shifty shadows that linger long after the show is over. The only fix when that happens to me is my favorite sitcom. I have to replace the old picture with a new one.

It's not that I'm sitting around feeling needy and brokenhearted all the time. That's not who I am. But, when something comes up that points backward, that's what bubbles up in my soul. Confession 2: I haven't fully and honestly dealt with it. Mostly because I still feel stunned when I recount some of it. Then disappointed. I opted for a move forward and never look back approach, which served me well in the immediate weeks following, but now the Lord is saying, "Hey, let's redeem that for good. Let me at your heart."  

 I'm three weeks into a new Bible study (it's called Seeking Him, if you're wondering), and it's abundantly clear: what I need is a revival. Renewal. Refreshing. How about you? How's your heart? How's your soul? How are you doing, for real? It's okay to fess up and own our imperfections. If I've learned anything at all, it's that I'm not the only person walking the planet with this kind of struggle. This is the hard stuff, and none of us are exempt.

Want to come along over next twelve weeks for some real talk, to process through some hard stuff? (Yay! A new blog series!) I'd love that. There's something beautiful that happens when we can come along side each other and say, "Hey, me too." So, what do you say?

I'm starting here:
Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name. I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths of the grave.(Psalm 86:11-13)

That's what I want. An undivided heart.

Can I encourage you today, sweet friends? God is infinitely good and deeply concerned for your heart. Invite Him into the hard stuff. It becomes something beautiful when we put it into His hands.


Y'all. Last week was my birthday. If you know me in real life, you know how I love birthdays. You also know that I like to count down to my birthday. I'm sorry. Thank you for you loving me anyway. {Sigh}

This year marked my fortieth birthday celebration. Remember when forty was old and a lifetime away? Yeah, not so much anymore! Goodness, when I play back through the last twenty years of my life, well, I get bowled over with all kinds of feels. I am overwhelmed at the perfect faithfulness of God. All the moments pieced together paint a picture of His unfailing love. All my missteps and mess-ups highlight His unyielding grace. Had it not been for Him, my life would look . . . how can I say it. . . like a hot mess. But, God created us with the capacity to learn and think and gave us the ability to grow and change. I am grateful for His willingness to patiently correct and teach us along the way. With that in mind, what would I say to my 20-year-old self?

On Jesus:
He’s everything. Get to know Him at all cost. Make Him a priority. The center. Your treasure. There’s a difference, you know, between knowing about Him and knowing Him deeply, intimately. Make space for Him. Know Him. Love Him. Live for Him. Do it on purpose. Yeah, be known for loving Jesus like crazy. That's the mark of a life well-lived. When you get this piece, these other things will fall in line behind Him. And, don't ever let Him become "old news." Let your heart be full of awe and wonder because of who He is and what He's done for us.

On Making Choices:
Learn to ask these questions when you’re making a decision: Will this still be a good choice tomorrow? What about a year from now? Is it a best yes? Every decision you make sends a ripple through your story like a pebble tossed into a pond. Be forward-thinking. Make choices that move you toward your end goal as often as you can. It may require a sacrifice at the moment, but it will be one that will payoff. If you want to be strong and healthy at forty, then eating fast food for dinner every night won’t be the best choice. You get what I mean. You won't always get it right. There's lots of grace for that. Just keep getting back up and moving forward.

On Life:
Give yourself room to breathe. Create space. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to rest. Hold loosely to the things that don’t really matter and fight for the things that do. Be intentional. And above all, live life open-handed. That means saying “I’m good no matter the circumstance.” It’s contentment. It’s not easy. The ability to live with open hands comes from unyielding faith and trust in God’s sovereignty. Cultivate a heart that trusts God no matter what.

On Your Heart:
Guard it. Be careful where you look for truth. Culture is screaming - and I do mean screaming - ideas, its own version of truth. Be careful what truth you let sink in. Study Scripture. Memorize it. Hide it in your heart. Measure truth by using God’s Word as the standard. Guarding your heart doesn’t give you a pass on loving people well. Quite the contrary! You love like crazy because your heart is safe in the hands of Your Creator, and you belong to Him. You love well because you know that you are fiercely loved. But, you will learn that setting your heart on things that bring you closer to the heart of the Father is the most important. Cling tightly to that stuff.  

On People:
Don’t be afraid of people and don’t be afraid of conversation. Learn to talk and listen. Learn boundaries. Some people will creep in and suck the life right out of you. So, a boundary. Some will be there one day and gone the next. Learn which ones to let walk and which ones to chase down. Not everyone gets a spot in the inner circle, meaning not everyone gets the privilege of speaking into and over your life. Every person need not be privy to the inner workings of your heart. BUT, always love. Always grace. Always truth (even the hard kind when necessary).

On The Big Picture:
It’s not about you. Let your life be hidden in Christ. Let it be about Him first and foremost, in all things. It's pretty cool to live for something bigger than yourself. Stop striving, because, guess what? You can’t measure up. You can’t be enough, and you don’t have to be. Because Jesus. He is enough.

You guys, I am forever thankful for do-overs. There have been loads of opportunities for growth and correction. Thankfully, God doesn't leave us to figure it all out on our own. Nevertheless, we have to invite Him into the picture. Here's the thing: there will always be more learning and growing for me to do. That's true for each of us. And, God is quite capable of growing us into something beautiful and good. That truth brings a sigh of relief! I belong to Him. I trust that whatever He has for me in this next season has meaning and purpose. Aren't we all searching for that? Meaning. Purpose. Significance. It's in Him. Let Him write that truth on your heart.

May I encourage you today, sweet friends? You matter. He put you on this planet, in this space in history intentionally. Your life has meaning and purpose, whether you are twenty, forty, or sixty. If you're still trying to figure it out, ask God to show you. If you're tired, maybe you've taken to relying on your strength instead of His. But whatever you do, lock eyes with Jesus. Keep going. Keep loving Him. Keep trusting Him. Keep following His lead. He knows what He's doing. And, He's SO worth it.

Knowing God.png

{Five Minute Friday | Breathe}

It's Five Minute Friday. That means unplanned, unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you just write whatever comes out based on a word you're given. If you have five minutes, you should give it a try!  Find out how here.

This week the prompt is {BREATHE}.

Ready? GO.

Just. Breathe.

It’s a signal to pause, to wait, to focus. It seems like there’s not a lot of space to breathe these days. Everywhere you turn, seems like people are reacting quickly, impulsively, irrationally. Perhaps it’s because fewer and fewer people have a built in pause button. Culture doesn’t glamorize thoughtfulness. Oh no. Culture says throw thoughtfulness and careful consideration out the window, feelings and emotions, those rule. We don’t value sound judgment. Instead, we base our ideas on things as flaky as the weather and as untrustworthy as the media. We don’t value absolute truth. Instead, we push relative truth, which is no kind of truth at all. We don’t value human life or human rights. Our fellow man, if he disagrees with us, makes an enemy of us. At least that’s what it looks like some days.

And the church? We need to take a collective time-out, a deep breath.  We need to be thoughtful. We need to respond to the goings-on around us rather than react from a place of fear, offense, frustration, or disgust. There's a difference, you know. Here’s the thing: The church keeps looking outside of herself for solutions rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to rise above the noise and move toward people and engage them with love and truth and hope. Always love and always truth. Not either/or, but both. And always grace.

Just. Breathe. Saturate your heart with God's love, truth, goodness, and grace. Then, go and do and be a representative of those things. We just have to. What’s happening is not ok.

Come on then, let’s do it together. Ready? 1 - 2 - 3 and BREATHE.

Now, what’s one thing you can do today to push back against all the chaos with love and truth? Do you have an idea? Well, then, do that.