Friday, September 29, 2006

Storing Up Hate

Where do you think all that anger goes when you're upset with somebody? What do you suppose happens to the rage, jealousy, spite and antipathy you feel towards another person?

Ever think about it?

Ever wonder why sometimes you can't sleep, overeat, over-indulge or are all too often depressed?

Let me tell you where all those emotions go - absolutely nowhere.

You store them all up in your body, in your spirit and sometimes in your mind.

You ever notice how something will happen and then, once you've played it over and over in your mind, you can't seem to let it go? You ever notice how after becoming angry with someone, you have a headache, feel sick or all of a sudden become depressed? You ever notice how you can't seem to get a prayer through, and putting down that 'ought' (grudge) you bear against your brother won't come easy?

You have to learn to let go.

What most people don't acknowledge (or seem to care about) is that you do more damage to yourself than to another person when you let things go unresolved. When you plan revenge for some imagined wrong. Or when you replay that event over and over in your mind (or keep re-telling that same 'ol story over and over again). The short-term damage is bad enough (bad nerves, frayed temper, vague and amorphous pain), but the long-term effects can be deadly - stress contributes to so many illnesses that you risk your very health by choosing to hold onto that grudge instead of letting it go! Not to mention the spiritual fallout - you can't seem to 'hear' from God, you find your prayer times falling by the wayside, and no amount of rejuvenative efforts seem to be able to rejuvenate your spirits.

Here's what I want you to do if you have things you need to resolve:

Let them go!

And how do you do that?

1. Pray and ask God to help you be delivered of these problems.

2. Review the incident or problem in your mind and see if there's anything (positive) you can do about it. If you can do something, then do it. If not, then go to step 3.

3. Acknowledge the problems you can do nothing about. Release it to God, ask Him to remedy the situation and then let it go. Letting go means you give up your right to keep thinking about it repetitively, talk about it to your friends for the hundredth time, call that person up and lay him out on the carpet, or (and this is the important one) continue to harbor negative feelings about it. Letting go means giving up your right to remedy the situation and leaving it in God's hands. Period.

Feel better? Okay, now breathe....And go on to Step 4.

4. Replace all that negative energy with good and happy thoughts. Every time you are tempted to re-visit it, think of something good instead. Studies have shown you can trick your brain into thinking you are in a good mood by smiling. Try smiling as you think these happy thoughts.

Repeat as necessary.

And - the next time you encounter a situation or problem that gets your dander up - choose to act in advance. Before you even get good and angry about it, resolve within yourself to let it go. Don't even allow it to take root in your heart. Don't allow yourself to dwell on it. And resist all inclinations to pitch a fit. LET.................IT.................GO!!

You'll feel much better in the end.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stunting Your Spiritual Growth

Ever wonder why you find it so hard to grow in God? Do you ever feel frustrated by your level (or lack) of spirituality? I can't give you all the reasons you might not be growing in God, but I can definitely point out one: You.

If you've been a Christian for any length of time, you know how hard it is to 'go through'. How hard it can be to face trial after trial, tribulation after tribulation. How long sleepless nights lead to long empty days until you finally feel you've HAD ENOUGH! That if this 'season' wasn't over, it was definitely time for it to be over. So you take matters into your own hands.

You begin to pray a little less. And hang out with your friends a little more. Or watch a little more tv. Or pay a little more attention to that cutie who sits across from you at work.

Anything to avoid doing what you need to do: spend more time with God. Get through these circumstances. Spiritually grow.

I find that many of us cut off our spiritual growth in one of two ways. We either begin to neglect our spiritual activities (prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting) or throw ourselves into physical activities to avoid thinking about those things. Our bodies (or our flesh) can operate in direct opposition to God in many ways, and we often pursue physical activity in order to avoid the things of God. You know what I mean - you start to eat a little more or tv becomes oh so appealing suddenly. You engage in more sex, do a little more drinking or hang out more than usual.

Here's a sad truth to all that activity: you can delay, but you cannot deny. You can avoid what God is trying to tell you, detour from your trial or tribulation, but it is never going to go away.

Until you deal with what is required of you, you will have to re-visit that territory again and again - until you get it right.

So next time you find yourself in a tough spot, learn to bear it. Go through what you have to go through, cry when you need to cry and....get past it. God truly designs trials to bring out the best in us, so be assured that the 'you' that waits on the other side of the circumstances will be well worth the pain you had to go through to get there!

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Monday, September 04, 2006

What is 'True'?

I was praying the other day while I was feeling overwhelmed by everything that was going on in my life. Between school, work, friends, family, ministry, etc., I was beginning to feel like it was all a bit too much.

So I prayed and went through this whole griping and moaning routine about my life, trying to get God to feel sorry for me and maybe do some type of miracle so that I could maybe feel better about myself (admit it - you do it, too!). And somewhere in the midst of my self-pity, I learned a pretty interesting thing:

What is true? That's the questioned that was presented to me. What is true, I wondered. Well, it's true that I am tired and run-down and can't remember my mission or focus half the time. Okay, I was asked then, what is 'True'? And I'm thinking, what's the difference?

The difference, I discovered, was the difference between what was technically going on in my life (true) versus the spiritual lessons I was learning ('True'). Yes, it was true that I was often tired and run-down from trying to manage multiple obligations, but it was also 'True' that I was learning patience, endurance and long-suffering. And, yes, it was true that things had not worked out exactly the way I had planned, but it was also 'True' that I had learned to have greater faith and greater trust and had more confidence that God's will for my life was much better than any of my own plans.

So, the next time you're having a tough day, just remember to compare your 'true' with your 'True'. God is still working in your life and you can find the lesson in almost every experience.

Be Blessed!

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Friday, September 01, 2006

About Me....

Let me say first that I am not one of those bloggers who feel like you probably want to know every detail of my life, my relationships, my dreams, my mom, etc. There are many very good personal blogs out there that cover those subjects very well and I am in no way disparaging the journal-blog genre.

But I started this blog to focus on God and use my personal experiences to highlight the way God can work in an everyday, ordinary Christian's life.

But, like you, as I read the posts of my favorite bloggers, I find myself becoming just a little bit curious about who they are, how they've turned into this person that I read every day and just simple things like, are they married, do they work full-time, etc.

So I thought I'd write just a little bit about me ---- just in case you were curious.

I am a 34 year old single woman. I formally committed my life to God at age 24, after I got tired of dating, running around and pretending like I could make it on my own. I am employed full-time by the Federal government and currently live in Michigan. I am in a very happy relationship with a wonderful guy about whom I cannot write (because he would kill me!). Suffice it to say that he is, in many ways, the man I've always dreamed about and I'm very happy God brought him into my life.

Other than that, I just started going back to school this fall (finally!). I am pursuing my degree in Psychology, because I'd like to have the paper to back up what I am passionate about. Are degrees necessary in ministry? That's a subject we could debate all day long - I just felt that since this will (eventually) be my full-time calling, it would benefit me (and you) to get as much knowledge as possible. But of course I know just as many wise people who have never been to anybody's college. Maybe that will be the subject of a post some other day....

Mostly I just wanted to tell you all that I'm really lovin' this whole blogging experience! I had started a website about a year and a half ago, but blogging is so much more immediate and connecting. I've enjoyed every single person I've met and I love reading what my brothers and sisters have to say about life, love and God.

I hope that you all have benefited in some way by visiting me here and I promise to do my absolute best to pass on the knowledge that God has so graciously imparted to me.

If you get nothing else out of this blog, I hope you know that GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD! He Does answer prayers and He Does hear our cries.

And that's it.

Talk to you all soon!!!!

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