When Your Mountain Won’t Move

photo by ron-manke- Unsplash

If you have been struggling to hear God, to know where He wants to you go, what He wants you to do, and you have been praying, seeking, and patiently waiting, then maybe there is something wrong.

If you are standing at the foot of a mountain, but in spite of your trust and faith in God’s power to move it on your behalf, it remains in your path. Then there may be something else in the way of your prayers and the answers you desire.

I was hurt by a friend recently. She doesn’t know she hurt me, but she did. And I’ve struggled with it for months now. I knew it was unintentional and deemed it unworthy of the instructions outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 for confronting an offending brother or sister.

I had forgiven this individual and felt free from the anger I had previously felt in my heart. But then something would happen and the anger returned. She hurt another friend of mine. Little things here and there reminded me of her offenses and my list of grievances grew and grew.

The Power of Forgiveness

xavier_sotomayor – Unsplash

Both women had experienced inexplicable pain in life. Margaret was angry and bitter over yet another divorce and had accepted that her only recourse was to toughen up and protect herself. She became demanding, paranoid, and quite lonely, not to mention, an extraordinarily difficult co-worker. Most could guess that her caustic personality was the result of many hurts and betrayals she had suffered in relationships both professional and personal.

Grace was sexually abused by her father for over a decade despite her reporting this abuse to the one person she could trust, but who had ultimately failed to protect her— her own mother.

Banishing Anxiety From Your Heart

Getting to the Root of It

You lay in bed, trying to sleep, but you can’t. The minutes fly by and soon the hours, but you can’t stop thinking– your brain is going a million miles a minute playing out scenarios, ideas, replaying past events, wondering where you went wrong. You ask why this is happening to you and what you will do about it. You see no answers or easy path forward. You are dealing with anxiety.

Photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash

Anxiety is worry, impatience, restlessness, unease, or eagerness to see things happen— and if left unchecked can have disastrous effects on our health, relationships, even our faith!

To root out this issue, we have to dig deep.

Most of us believe anxiety is driven by our circumstances – financial instability, conflict in relationships, uncertainty about the future, feeling a loss of control, etc…but those are just circumstances. They are still part of the surface. What is the root problem when I am experiencing the financial instability, a broken relationship, or uncertainty about the future?

The Foundation For a Life of Wisdom

Four Key Elements

We all enjoy stories of hope, success, overcoming the odds, and victory over our struggles. Most of us do not see ourselves in those stories, however. They are usually other people’s stories- at least in our minds they are. We rarely see our own life story as one of overarching hope, victory, and blessing.

But that doesn’t have to be the case- it mustn’t be the case– because God’s wisdom gives us everything WE need to accomplish those goals and experience transformation. Wisdom guides us in our relationships, in management of finances, our parenting, taking control of harmful habits and destructive thought patterns, and much much more!

But most of us don’t know where to begin. Most people do not know the foundational elements  to a life of wisdom and sadly, they miss the countless rewards that come from it!

Taking Thoughts Captive

How to Guard our Heart and Mind

A dear friend of mine was expressing exasperation at her constant influx of defeating and destructive thoughts. In fact, as I speak with many women, it is shocking to hear the negative, accusatory, and hopeless thoughts that plague their minds. I must admit, I struggle with this to some degree also, but depending on one’s past, or even their present situation, the enemy often uses that as evidence that we don’t deserve better anyway.

 

Ashim D’Silva – Unsplash

Is it any wonder that many women, Christian women, are overwhelmed and incapacitated, like being a prisoner trapped in our own minds?

 

It is critical that we do something immediately to turn this around! Our future hope depends on it!

 

The critical action– we must take our thoughts captive.

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

My dear friend knows this verse, as do I, and probably you too. But knowing what we should do and how to do it are two different things.

 

I want to quickly share just a few steps in HOW to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, essentially freeing ourself from the prison of our own thoughts.

 

 

Wisdom Brief

Forgotten Benefits of Correction

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“You are coding your clients’ time incorrectly.”

“There is a better way to address this problem with your toddler.”

“This expense is not allowed…”

“You are manipulating your husband…”

“The word you are using does not mean what you think it means.”

“Reconnecting with this person is a bad idea.”

“Be careful about how you approach this topic with your teenager.”

 

Most of us do not enjoy correction. I will be the first to admit, I personally struggle the moment I realize that someone is correcting me in some way. Why? It’s probably that I am an adult, but when someone tells me that I am doing something wrong, or simply extends a caution, it makes me feel like a child. I begin to feel inadequate or incapable and I immediately become defensive.

Do you feel that way too?

 

What I often fail to remember is that correction, most of the time, is for my benefit. It is to set me on the right course, to help me get the results I want, or what others in authority expect from me.

But my attitude and pride often get in the way. Or maybe I do not like or respect the person who is correcting me.

 

That’s foolishness of course.

 

Proverbs 12:1 (NIV) states, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Yikes! That’s strong wording…he who hates correction is stupid??

 

If we appreciate knowledge and understanding, we must also appreciate correction.

 

Correction (or a rebuke, warning, chastening, instruction, or even discipline) leads to knowledge.

 

And if we love (value or appreciate) knowledge, we must learn to love correction.

 

Otherwise, we become brutish, (wasteful, consuming, foolish,) like unthinking, unreasoning animals.

 

Scripture tells us that it is outright stupid to hate correction because it benefits us with valuable knowledge.

It also gives us understanding(Prov 15:32)

And honor, instead of shame. (Prov 13:18)

Furthermore, it is rewarded(Prov 13:13)

And shows others the way to life(Prov 10:17)

 

It’s stupid of us to hate correction. If we can get past our initial response, the tendency to defend or dismiss, and recognize the valuable knowledge that we gain from correction, along with understanding and honor, we can expect greater rewards and show others the path to life.

Let’s stop being so stupid!

 

 

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Letting God Be God

I must confess, I think small. I think about limitations. I focus on weaknesses rather than strengths, and I often pray puny, wimpy prayers. Why? Because I often forget who God is and what He is capable of doing. My limited thinking limits what I think and ask Him to do. It keeps Him small to me.

When things are going well, that’s not much of a problem— we don’t need much, so we don’t ask for much.

But when life comes at us, when that medical diagnosis is grim, when the resources are all spent, when that relationship is broken, the job is lost, or the enemy has surrounded us like a lion ready to attack, we need God to be bigger. We need God to be more powerful. We need to understand that He is without limits and that with Him anything is possible.

ANYTHING.

Who Should YOU Listen To?

Qualities of a Great Advisor

Laslett John Pott [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Laslett John Pott [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We all need advice from time to time. We need people in our lives that can speak into dilemmas or challenges we must confront to give us insight, a different perspective, or direction. Proverbs talks a lot about the importance of having advisors and asserts:

 

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Prov 19:20).

In Managing Oneself, Peter F. Drucker states that some people need advisors to force themselves to think, “then they can make decisions and act on them with speed, self-confidence, and courage (pg 20). That’s me. I often need someone who knows the right questions to ask to help me order my thoughts and priorities without necessarily trying to give me “the answer.”

But how do we know who to listen to? How do we recognize someone who we can trust to give us wise counsel?

A MUST READ book for YOU!

I have not had the opportunity to finish my post this week for YOU, my readers, but I do have something wonderful to recommend to you as you continue you on the path to wisdom.

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Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel is a MUST READ for every Christ follower searching for understanding of the impact of our choices, decisions, and the paths we take. Sounds like a lot of OUR conversations, right? Ha-I hope so!

Craig writes about the 7 Decisions that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and incorporates Biblical wisdom to deepen our understanding and motivation so that we can find the right path and live a story worth telling EVERYONE about!

I know, it’s hard to find time to read some days…I get it, I have a 2-year-old toddler who like to rearrange my pantry and kitchen cabinets in the blink of an eye, so my reading time has to be intentional and sometimes even scheduled. If this is you too, make the time to read this book! Get up a few minutes early, take it to work and read it during your break or lunch, or after dinner before you clear the table- whatever works for you. You will not regret this small investment that will yield enormous results in your life, faith, and your search for wisdom!

I am even including this link to make it easier for you to order!

Happy reading and I hope to have a new post for you next week!

 

 

 

She Wasn’t Pregnant, It Was a Gluten Reaction

This and other cringe-worthy moments...

Do you ever feel like no matter what you say, it’s going to come out wrong, or worse, not at all? Like when introducing your friend and editor of your very first book to a gathering of women at YOUR church and you forget her name in front of God and everyone?!? Nothing says “I love and appreciate you for your tireless effort of cleaning up my writing and rambling” more than, “Oh my gosh, what is your name!!!” Talk about wanting to run screaming from the room….

Even our best intentions at encouragement, comfort, or reassurance often take flight only to drop with a nearly audible thud right in front of us. Like when you’re at the funeral of say, a former pastor that you love and respect, who is grieving the loss of his wife, and say something like, “She is finally well again, at peace with loved ones…waiting for you!”

No.no.noooooooo!