Growth Process

For the past two decades I have been journaling during my quiet time.  Recently I started to feel like I should go back and review those journals and type out the lessons.

  • There are many things that I have learned over the years that are engrained in my life, they have become part of who I am.
  • There are some lessons, that like the parable of the seed, fell on bad ground.  At the time in my life I was not in a place that those seeds could take root.  I need to be reminded of those so that I can continue to grow.
  • There are some lesson that I am still learning.  Things I know that God continues to show me time and time again, like the children of Israel because I need them to move forward in my journey.   I need to review them so I can move forward.Growthprocess

These journals are not in order.  I will do my best to date them as they happened, even if they are not typed in that order.  I am hopeful that my journey may help others.  Help others to see:

  • It is okay to start somewhere.
  • That God meets us right where we are
  • He speaks to us in a way that we can understand.
  • Sometimes it comes in waves and other times in a single sentence.

For me, I grew up in church but never learned about a personal relationship with a heavenly Father that loves me.  I could quote the scriptures and tell the stories, but they were just that words and stories.  I had to start with learning lessons in general.  Grand ideas found in the scripture that were applicable to lives in general.  Then I started to learn how to apply them to my own life.  Now I am able to help others apply the lessons to their life.  If nothing else, I hope that it helps you to grow in faith because for the most part, the person who wrote these journals, is a life transformed.  The Growth link at the top will house this journey through my journals.

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Confessions of a Cranky Christian

I would love to blame it on

  • The full moon,
  • Mercury being close to the earth last month,
  • Not enough sleep,
  • Working too much,
  • The behavior of those around me,
  • Circumstances outside of my control
  • The series of unfortunate events that played out in just a short span

Anything to take the blame off for my crankiness over the past three days. I certainly could make the above excuses.  I could gain some sympathy from those around me to my unfortuante plight. However, while all of the above might be true, the only one responsible for my attitude is me.

CrankychristianIt is easy to make an excuse for my actions; it is much harder to accept responsibility. It is even harder to take action to change things, especially when every ounce of your being is cranky right down to the core. That is where I have been the last few days. So cranky, I didn’t even want to be around myself.

I admit, a lot of people around me didn’t realize how cranky I was.  I do a pretty good job of masking it, much better than I used to when even the dog next door could sense my crankiness.  I have learned over the years to not express the full extent of what I am thinking.  I realize I am better at hiding the crankiness, because I found myself wanting to apologize for my snappy attitude, which I did to two of my coworkers.  It was met with a “You were not snappy.”  and a “I thought you were funny.”

However, I also am not good at hiding it with those closest to me.  By the end of the third day, I had provoked my husband with my attitude to the point he asked if I wanted a divorce.  That is a word that neither of us has mentioned in over a decade.  I would not typically allow myself to take responsibility for his words or actions, because I am not.   I will certainly say that I really provoked his response in this small time frame, and that he resisted most of my cranky instigations.

I knew that my focus had been on all that was wrong in the moment.  Nothing life shattering, just small inconveniences in the larger spectrum of life.  On day three, I finally decided to stop walling in my crankiness, and reluctantly give it to God. I recognized it as a spiritual battle, because any other time I can count my blessing, naming them one by one, with a gratefulness that allows me to proudly proclaim, “I am blessed and highly favored.”  I had given away my joy, by allowing myself to focus on the things that I am discontent with, not on the amazing things that I have seen and walked through.

So here is my confession, I know the secret to fixing crankiness, especially as a Christian; although I know that it works for non-Christians too.  Crankiness, can be fixed by changing what you are thinking about.  If the focus is the negative, you will always find it.  If the focus is on the good, you will find it too.  The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.   What we think on has a powerful ability to steer our behavior.  So if you need an attitude adjustment, change your focus.

I will be the first to admit, it is easier said than done.  However, if we keep taking the thoughts captive that are not true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise, we will eventually find our attitude changing.  It took a few hours once I started doing it for my attitude to change, but it was a complete makeover, not just a mask I put on.

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Offerings

I reached into my pocket and found the folded paper that I had taken abruptly just a few hours before.  I am always amazed at how loudly some lessons come across.   It probably spoke louder because I had been praying the day before on a passage in Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  I unfolded the two crisp dollar bills and held them in my hand.  It was suppose to have been the grandchildren’s offering at church.  Instead, we were back home and I had just pulled it out of my pocket. 

What part of my life do I offer as a living sacrifice?  If I am honest, although at times I may sacrifice time, or comfort, or convenience, or control, I do not live a life of sacrifice.  I live a blessed life.  While I don’t take for granted that I am blessed, I feel God calling me to sacrifice my comfort, to spend more time with Him and to be obedient to the call as He shows me what steps to take.

What do I present to Him that is holy?  Christ has made us holy, so when I surrender to His will, it is a holy offering.  

What do I present that is acceptable?  As I reviewed the scriptures, His Word reveals that there are several acceptable ways to live for Him:

  • With righteousness ( Proverbs 21:3, Romans 14:17-18),
  • With justice (Proverbs 21:3),
  • With joy (Romans 14:17-18),
  • With peace (Romans 14:17-18),
  • Living a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and reverence (I Timothy 2:2-3),
  • Living with a renewed mind (Romans 12:2),
  • Learning to show godliness to their own family (I Timothy 5:4)

Living as He designed is our reasonable worship to Him.  I have found myself the past few weeks pondering how I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable.  What am I offering to God?  Here I stood with a small offering in my hand, a child’s offering.  I often feel like what I have to offer is small, childlike in the scheme of God’s great plan.  I question if my offering would make a difference, and yet I know that God takes small things and can do big things.  All we ever have to offer is what is in our hands, that is all God asks for from us.

OfferingsMy grandchildren always want to make sure they have offering for class.  However it often fails to make it to the intended destination because they don’t have pockets or hand it to me to hold.  If I remember, I will take it to them.  So often we seek the gift we want to be able to give, but yet never allow it to be used for its intended purpose.

I had taken the grandkids offering for safe keeping because the were distracting me during pray.  My granddaughter had taken out her dollar, and my grandson saw it.  He started getting upset, saying that she had taken his offering.   I thought about how many times I had discounted what I had to give because I thought someone else had that gift.

A wise friend reminds me often that it is in the expression of the gift that transformation occurs.  I know often in speaking with my kids I can repeat the same thing over and over and it seems to have little impact.  Then someone else can come along and say the same thing in a different way and they receive it as a fresh revelation like they have never heard the concept before.  The message may not make sense to me, or even to everyone, but to that one person that God means it for, they need to hear the gift as I express it, no someone else.

When my grandson reached into his own pocket, he realized he still had his offering.  He took it out and started playing with it.  He eventually dropped it.  I thought about the times that I have just dropped my offering.  Unwilling to acknowledge the gift. Unwilling to believe that God would use me.  Unwilling to express it.   I’ve left what God placed inside of me right there, hopeful that someone else would pick it up or that God would be willing to bring to opportunity again for me to pick it up and be obedient to Him.

Eventually they both gave their offering to me.  I thought about how many times I have wasted what I have to offer, giving it away for something else.  I don’t give my offering because I would rather waste time watching television, or on social media.  I busy myself with things that are good, but not things that God is drawing me to in that moment.  I choose comfort over sacrifice.

  • As I stood there looking at the offering, both grandchildren realized it was what they had intended it give.   God also sees what we are holding in our hands.  He knows sometimes we are going to miss it.  He knows when we are going to make an excuse and say someone else has it, when we will drop what we have to offer, and when we are going to waste what He has given us on something else.  Yet, in His grace and mercy, He gives it back to us.  He gives us other opportunities.  He redeems the time.

 

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Talents and Gifts

I have spent much of my life questioning how I can use my talents for God’s glory.  I think much of the time I have confused my God-given talents with His gifts.  He asked for us to increase or at least invest our talents, but His gifts are for the building up of the Church (I Corinthians 14:12).  They may complement each other, but they are not the same.

In the parable of the talents Jesus shared in Matthew 25, there is an important lesson:

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

While the talent was a form of currency in Bible times, God has also entrusted His people with talents.  In the parable above, He praised the servants who took the talent He gave and increased it.  He asked the one who did not increase it why the servant did not at least invest it.

God has asked me to increase and invest the talents that He has given me.  The talents that He has given me can be enhanced through education with worldly knowledge.  Talents can be fine-tuned through application and experience over time.  God gifted me the talents, my gift to Him is how I grow them where He has placed me.  I have to be faithful to build on what God has freely given.

Gifts on the other hand, are a spiritual gift from God that can only be developed through time with Him.  They can only be fine-tuned through obedient expression.  They are meant to build up the Church, both locally and globally.

gifts and talentsHe asked for us to increase or at least invest our talents, but His gifts are for the building up of the Church (I Corinthians 14:12).   I have spent much time cultivating the talents He has given me, while at the same time resisting the use of His gifts outside of those talents.  I am thankful that He allowed to grow in Him and be comfortable in some of His gifts as I invested my talents.  I recognize that the success I saw in those I was brought along side of, the transformed lives and miracles, were His working of gifts through me.

However, I recognize that I have not been faithful in the obedient expression of His gifts because I have withheld them outside of that comfort zone.  I may have shared them with members of the Church, and in such helped build up members of His body.   I have not always been faithful to use those gifts where He has planted me.

His Word says in I Corinthians 3:17 that whatever we do should be done in His name.  That thought really brought me conviction tonight.  I have been praying for years that the Church would rise up and not just go to church, but really be the Church.  I long for the day when the needs of our communities are met not by nonprofits and government subsidies, but by the Church as it was at the beginning of the Church.  I know that it will take every person doing their part, and yet I had to admit if I was honest, I hadn’t been doing my part.  In the world, yes.  In the church, no.  I pause on the brink of action, and yet want others to jump the hurdle.

I reflected on my own life, and I am grateful for those people who answered the call “Here I am Lord.”  Those who share their gifts to build up the Church.  I wonder where I might have ended up if it hadn’t been for the gifts of encouragement shared with a little girl in a messed up home.  Or the gift of teaching that planted God’s Word in a real way so that when I strayed the Holy Spirit would have something to draw me back through.  Or if some had said no to the expression of the gift of mercy, how a homeless mother of three might have taken a different path.  Or if the words spoken through the gift of prophecy over my life had not pulled out what the world had tried to bury in me where I might have gone.  I don’t want to stand in the way or be a hinderance to another who is walking down a path that God has called me to minister to through His gifts, and I know my talents aren’t usually enough.

Are there areas in your life where you rely on your talents and hold back His gifts? How are you investing your talents?  How are you allowing God to grow your gifts? What keeps you from using your gifts to build up the church?  How can you give God your whatever and surrender both your talents and His gifts to be used in Jesus name?

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Pray for more…

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:35-39

Prayformore

People were drawn to the Jesus and the gospel, but there were not laborers to shepherd them. Sheep without a shepherd are prey to many things. I read a book on Psalms 23 about four months back that discusses the many pitfall of sheep without a shepherd. I never realized how much care they need. Some of the things that I remember are they easily go astray because they follow others, they are stubborn, and they are easily distracted. They will also tend to stay in a place to long and starve because they eat up everything. They also need special tending to because it is easy to get stuck upside down if their coats get to heavy. And they are prone to infestations. No wonder God calls us His sheep. And no wonder Jesus was so concerned about all these people following Him and learning but not having a shepherd to tend to their regular needs.

As I read this passage I pictured a surgery. I have never been in surgery, so I sought out a friend who worked in surgery. I asked her who all was in the surgery room, and I was actually surprised by how many people are needed. As we talked a student who is training to be a scrub tech joined our conversation.

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I noticed

I didn’t hear it and it would have been easy to miss it completely with everything else there is to see. A single leaf falling from the tree. I dont know if an animal had knocked it off, or if a wind gust had brought it down. It caught my attention, despite the other leaves on the ground because July is not the time for falling leaves, it is summer!

It silently floated down, gently swaying back and forth as it fell until it finally landed on the ground beneath.  There on the ground, it will eventually die because it is no longer connected to the branch and tree that brought it life.  Did the other leaves notice it’s absence?  Did the branch feel it detach?  Did the  tree feel a piece of itself die?

I am reminded in John 15 of Jesus’s words:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  John 15:4-6

NoticedWithout disciple, it is easy to slip away from the relationship we have with Christ due to the busyness of life, the distractions of the world, and the competing interests for our attention.  One day passes and turns into two, and then a week, and then we find that months have passed and our relationship with God has faded into the background.  We find ourselves with our backs against the wall and needing His help.  We call out to Him and He answers, but we could have avoided the situation all together if we had just abided with Him continually.

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The walk of life

For the past few years, when the weather is nice my husband and I walk at our community walking trails. We have a few favorite trails, especially since we moved back home last year. We have three trails that we frequent whenever the weather is nice. We had gotten out of the habit for a while, and this week decided to get back to the trails.

However, he bought a new bicycle and really wanted to start working on building up his endurance. I am not a bicycle rider. I never learned as a child, and while a close friend taught me how; it is not something I feel I have mastered enough to want to do in public. I encouraged him to ride and I would walk the trail, it would give him more time to build up endurance.

The first night, I forgot my headset, so it was just me and my thoughts except when he would loop around me on his bicycle. I would pass other walkers with a friendly “hello” or nod of acknowledgement if they were with others. The rest of the time, it was just me, the sidewalk and nature around me.

I started thinking about the walk of life and how my walk that day mirrored it. At first, I was a little upset that my husband was able to go faster than I was. His mode of transportation was meant to take him farther faster. Sometimes in life, we start looking at where we think we should be.  Usually farther along in a particular journey than we are, maybe in a spiritual sense or in our careers or a specific relationship. People often start looking at where others are and let envy set in.  Or start to make excuses as to why the other person is farther along.  Or excuses as to why they are in the spot they are and not where the other person is.

walkoflifeI remember when a close friend was walking a similar journey as me. She was a newer believer and her husband was not attending church with her. Our back stories were also similar, especially in regards to our husbands. Shortly after our journeys together started, her husband started attending church.  He was really getting plugged in and serving God. I admit that really caused me pause because I had been walking the journey for about twelve years at that time. It was easy for me to start looking at how quickly things were happening for her, and compare it to the stalled progress I felt in my own life. It took a lot of soul searching and prayer to get me past that state of envy. During that time, I also realized that having my husband by my side at church was not an end all that I had built it up to be. Continue reading

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Wavering or “Wisdoming”

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5‭-‬8 NLT

I sometimes ask God for something, and then when He delivers I find myself questioning “Is this really you?” Wisdom is one of those things. We all need it. God has it. And He wants to give it to us. James makes it clear in the passage above “He will give it to you.”. God not only wants to give wisdom; He gives it “generously and without reproach” another version says.

Our part is to ask and then trust. God is not going to disapprove of our request. He wants us to receive His wisdom and use it. Why then do we doubt?  Maybe it is just me. When I receive a word of wisdom or knowledge, that is in line with a request from my heart and in line with His Word, I still find myself wavering “Is it really from Him?”

When I ask for something tangible and God delivers, I have no problem accepting it and giving Him glory. If I ask for healing and receive it, I know it is from Him. When I ask for provision and it comes, I know it is from Him, regardless of the source that hands the provision to me. When I ask for anything I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, I don’t doubt. When I have tangible proof that what I asked for is received, I believe.  I don’t ever remember not believing those tangible answers were from God.

wisdomYet Hebrews says: Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT  It is not faith when I am receiving what I can see.  Yes, there are things that I stand on in faith, that I have not seen yet – my whole family loving the Lord with their whole hearts using their gifts and talents to further His Kingdom or seeing the tangible needs of my community met through the Church servings as God’s hands and feet.  I long for a day when the spirits of perversion, greed, poverty, pride and the anti-Christian spirit is no longer prevalent in this nation.  These are things I can not see yet, and until then I will continue to stand in faith for.

Wisdom however, can only be received in faith.  I can not see it.  Sometimes I may see the result of worldly wisdom in the solving of a larger problem, or the facial expression on one receiving it, but I can not actually see wisdom.  So if I ask for wisdom, I have to have faith that God will be true to His word and provide it.  I can not then sit on that wisdom, I must begin to act on it.  God will back it up wisdom with the Word.  He would never give knowledge that is contrary to His Word.

Even when He gives worldly wisdom to His children, it will still line up with the Word.  An example immediately comes to mind, I was helping to raise money for a non-profit once.  It was an annual fundraiser and we seemed to be capped on the amount that we could raise.  We talked about switching venues, raising ticket prices, or sponsor amounts.  We just kept hitting the same amount when we discussed the barriers to each idea.  Budgets were already created for the sponsors they would choose to go down a tier or pick another non-profit.  Venues were already booked up for the year.  Charging more when we were not really changing anything really seemed unfair to the faithful supporters.

I prayed about it for a while, knowing the goal we wanted to hit.  In the midst of brainstorming with the team, I threw out a change to what we provided the sponsors, not changing the dollar amount, but just the seats that we provided which often times would go empty.  When we worked it up, that small change actually got us over the goal.  Needless to say, we raised more money that year, even though there was a slip at the end and there was not a direct ask for additional donations.  It was definitely wisdom given by God for the moment.

For me, I find I waver more when the wisdom that is given is a spiritual wisdom.  Spiritual “wisdoming” is outside my comfort zone (I know God is suppose to be my Comforter, not a zone where I need to stay for my own security), especially in my spiritual circle.  In my sphere of influence, outward, I usually have no problem “wisdoming”. I don’t even mind sharing one on one when I am with others.  When I get in a group, like at church, I really have to push myself to share anything that is placed on my heart by God.  He literally has to confirm, and reconfirm, and still at times I have quenched the Holy Spirit instead of sharing the wisdom He has placed, even though I asked for Him to give it to me.

As I read this passage in James, I realize the risk I have run by quenching His Spirit. I repent of not receiving and releasing His wisdom when He shares it with me.  I understand why James uses the picture of  an unsettled wave, but when I have resisted it, I feel so unsettled, blown and tossed – not just in the moment but for days after.  It literally divides me because I get to the point that I stop wavering and realize I should have just done a little “wisdoming.”  God convicts me of it in love, but it becomes an open door for the enemy to walk through with his condemnation.

When we ask God for wisdom, we have be believe that He will give it to us.  We have to receive it in faith and act on it with obedience.  We can look for confirmation in the Word of God when we feel we have received wisdom in a matter because whether it is worldly knowledge or spiritual wisdom, it will never be contrary to His written Word.  Wavering not only causes internal conflict, but opens the door for the enemy to bring in condemnation.  Instead of wavering in our faith, we need to be “wisdoming” in faith!

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Butterflies of Change

The other day while I was on an evening walk with my husband on one of  our local community trails, we came across a bridge flowing over a creek. Down on the bank of the creek was a mother and her toddler daughter, there was  another woman at the top of the bank by the bridge. The little girl was crying hysterically trying to climb up the bank to the bridge to the other lady.  The mother was trying to let the child know butterflies don’t bite. The little one wanted nothing to do with the butterfly.  I smiled at the scene and we kept walking.

As we walked that same spot again tonight, my mind went back to the little girl’s drastic fear. Butterflies to me they are a symbol of change.   I thought there are times in my life, that just like the little girl I have an adverse reaction to what I fear might happen if I change.

There are times that change does not bother me in the least, I have a motto “The only thing constant is change.” However, that mostly applies to my work life.  When I worked for the state, one thing I could always count on was change.  Change to the work flow, the policies, and leadership.  Every job after, I kept the same mantra.  I don’t get worked up over change that impacts me but that I have little control over.  I realized a long time ago it does not help at all.  I generally will just go with the flow, although I may grumble a little if it doesn’t make sense.  I can move on rather quickly.

butterflyofchangeThere are also times when I do have some control over change, even in my personal life.  There are times that I can press in to the change.  I can prepare myself for it and move successfully through it without problem.  I think of my children growing up and moving out and away.  Or my mother passing away, job changes, and moves these were changes that I navigated.  Although there were hiccups along the way, I have never found myself fighting those changes.  They are changes that are part of the circle of life, they still happen to me.  With the exception of moves and job changes, I have little control over the change they would inevitably happen

Yet with the butterfly, there are changes that happen to and around it – the cocoon that it spins, the time inside, the struggle to get out, but the changes are also personal.  They transform from a simple caterpillar into a magnificent butterfly. They go from crawling to flying.  The personal process can not be short changed.

To often I am terrified of the change that lies before me personally.  When I feel called to step out of my comfort zone in a particular area, I would say especially spiritually, that irrational fear creeps up.  Every ounce of my being can fight that change.  Unfortunately, God will not go against my will.  So while He like the mother is trying to convince me that the butterfly of change is good, I am scurrying away from the change trying to get to the bank of comfort zone.  I am working against His efforts.  I don’t want that cocoon around me.

Even though eventually I will step out in that change, I often make it much harder on myself than He ever designed it to be.   It is not that changes that God asks me to make are completely pain free, there are times that there is a struggle and it is God ordained.  However, His change and process is always for growth and always for good.  He is looking for me to trust Him, to not scream hysterically or run irrationally away, but to press in and let Him bring me to the place of safety even as I walk though the change.  He will walk with me as I learn to adjust to the new circumstances He is calling me to.  I have to be willing to let Him help me be where He is calling me and stop resisting the change or even the notion of change.

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I Could Never Do What You Do!!!

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.  And I will show you a still more excellent way.  I Corinthians 12:1-31

God apportions different spiritual gifts to each person, but all the gifts come from God. We are one body, not each individual church, but The Church as a whole, we work together as a whole to function completely as God designed. We need each other, individually and collectively. We should care for each other in sadness, joy, and honor.

dowhatyoudoAs I read this passage, I immediately thought of work. I would guess that most places, regardless of the skill-set often have similar conversations, but as a Social Worker at least once a month or so, I have someone say to me “I could never do what you do.” Or something along the lines to imply that they could not or would not want to have my job duties and responsibilities. I have had nurses, patient techs, and even doctors make those comments.

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Transference

There is a process in therapy called transference. Basically the person needing counseling transfers feelings they have for someone in thier life towards the therapist. In a positive role, the therapist will have clear boundaries and will be able to help the counselee learn a different coping mechanism for handling the person they really have the feelings towards so the counselee can move forward. In a negative role, the counselee will self destruct and try to get the therapist to fulfill the role in the same manner that the person they have the feelings toward does. In a more determental role, there is a countertransferance where the therapist tries to work out thier own personal issues in the therapy session putting thier feelings on the client.

I am not sure what brought this to my mind, as I am not currently providing counseling, nor am I in counseling. However, I was thinking this is what we do with God, I realize my thoughts oversimplify the matter, but the revelation was good for me. In transference with God, Daddy issues become God issues. Spouse issues become God issues. Trust issues become God issues. Anything that works itself out in relationships becomes a God issue.

I have seen this play out in my own relationships. There have been times where I have felt rejected by God. Yet the root of that rejection is feelings of rejection from childhood. I have felt unloved by God because I allowed how I was feeling towards my spouse to influence how I felt God was responding to me. When I have felt left behind by friends, I have at times put that on God also feeling as if He was leaving me behind. A deeper look is that how I relate to others is often a reflection of how I am relating to God. I transfer my feelings towards others to God.

I am grateful that my great Counselor has perfect boundaries. He knows how to work on my heart and mind to help me work through my issues in other relationships. I remember when God showed me how I was relating to my husband in an unhealthy manner. He taught me to talk to Him before I started complaining to or about my husband. Once I was able to work through my own emotions I was able to go back to my husband and have a good conversation about the underlying issue instead of reacting to the immediate circumstances which were just symptoms to which we were responding.

And when that feeling of rejection comes up, I traced it all the way back to childhood. I had a limited understanding of things from childhood. My childhood self took on rejection, and then my adult self just ran with it. Until I went back and processed some of the things that lead me to feel rejected with a God-sized lens. It changed my thinking, but there is a lot of junk that God is still having to strip away from all those years of distorted thinking.

The really cool thing I was thinking about with transference, is that when I transfer my feelings on to God, He knows what to do with them. If I let Him, He will help me work them out. He is not gonna get frustrated and fire me. He will really set those boundaries, and even when I push them He doesn’t give up on me. He knows that I am a work in progress and He won’t quit on me. He is the best Counselor.

The other thing is, with God countertransference is a good thing! When I can let Him work things out through me, that is what the Kingdom of God is about. When I let Him love through me, others get real love. When I let His fruit grow in my life, it impacts the world around me in ways that I can not even begin to explain. When I really let His light shine in me, others are able to encounter Him.

I know that teansference happens. I realize that my view is over simplified. I can let God help me work out negative emotions, and let Him guide my healing process. He can teach me to let His healing power work through me and flow into the lives of those around me. He is an amazing God and counselor.

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