Category Archives: Cross-Life Coaching

One of three primary divisions under Heartsong Ministries: Writing; Education Initiatives & Cross-Life Coaching.

What is my purpose?

It’s a question many ask…an answer many pursue…and some give up seeking.  The Bible is the guide book that helps us find the answer and live on purpose!

The New Testament tells us that God created good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  The Prophet Jeremiah tells us that God intends good for us in His plans (Jeremiah 29:11). Colossians 1:27 helps us tie those together as we read of a grand mystery described as:

” …Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jesus Christ in me is the key to knowing my purpose and living in the light of glory.  It is His life in me that can walk in those good works the Father created for me to do.  It is His life in me that produces the good plans of God spoken of by Jeremiah.  My purpose about the life of Jesus that now pulses in me—and we’ll see that life is about others and the Father!

Jesus knew and lived His purpose.  He came to do the will of the Father.  He came to destroy the work of the enemy that separated the ‘very good creation of humanity’ from the Father.  He came because the Father loved the rebellious creation He made…He loved the ones who rejected Him and found themselves lost.

Announcing his ministry, Jesus quoted the Prophet Isaiah:

 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.   Isaiah 61:1-3.

There are powerful truths fortifying Christ’s announcement of His ministry…powerful truths that remain truth for the life of Christ within me.

The LORD, Jehovah, the Great I am, consecrated Jesus as a messenger of good—fresh, full—tidings to those with a heart ready to receive it.  Christ’s purpose was specific in action and in audience.

Christ’s messages were for those:

  • able to hear – those with a poverty of spirit that comes from broken-ness;
  • those drawn away from the Father;
  • those mourning the loss of that connection.

While salvation is available to ‘whosoever will, not everyone is ready to receive the Word.  Jesus never wasted time forcing His message on those not ready to hear. In announcing His ministry, Jesus explained the Father sent Him out…the word choices imply the Father sowed Him like a seed.  Jesus saw His purpose as being the vessel the Father used to reach out to a lost and dying world.

Christ in me is still on mission.

Are His purposes being realized in your life?

Knowing Christ’s purpose is the key to knowing and living your purpose!

 

Want to know more about those purposes? Check out:  Christ in Me – Living my Purpose.

Finding The Answer to Anxiety

Anxiety now ranks as the Number One mental health disorder in America.  Nearly 20% of the population are being treated for anxiety-related issues…many more receive no treatment or are unaware of the root cause of problems.  As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, but we can’t always figure out how to let him reign over our anxieties.  Pet-Assisted Learning sessions improve knowledge application.

“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you….”  Job 12:7a

Horse-Powered learning sessions help move things we believe from our head to our heels.  The truth is that we only believe what we actually live.  Saying that Jesus has given us peace but living with anxiety is painful, destructive and even dishonest. The abundant life is ours to enjoy.  Let the animals help you learn how!

P.A.L. Path to Peace: Answering Anxiety

Traveling on the path to peace requires awareness and action.  Participants will begin by observing the animals & surroundings, and consider their own anxiety level.  With attention directed to physical signs of anxiety and active thoughts, participants will then gather their learning partner and begin. 

Leading their partner, participants will travel a pre-made obstacle course to explore:

  • what causes anxiety for horses
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  • what anxiety looks like (and creates)
  • what can be done about it

Understanding the fear nature of a horse helps participants see more deeply into their  own ‘flight responses.’  After completing the course, horses will be allowed to move freely about as participants reflect on the experience and insights gained.

Participants will then build an obstacle course that reflects their personal anxieties and how it feels to navigate through those anxieties.  They will then gather their horse partner and prepare to journey through their course together.

Before that obstacle course is navigated, participant and partner travel a path of peace to gather Scripture truths that will help them conquer the obstacles.  Armed with the knowledge gained in the previous two paths, participants will then face their personal path to peace.

Sunday, January 28 – 3:30 -5:00 PM

Chester County, SC

Limited openings.  $25 per person

P.A.L. Sessions can be scheduled as private sessions or sign up for Glory Glimpse to receive notice of community sessions.

Skip the Resolutions & Set Some Goals

More than half of Americans (60%) refuse to make New Year’s resolutions…which isn’t a bad thing since 80% of those who do make resolutions won’t keep them.  In fact, Jesus said, ‘simply let yes be yes and no be no.’

ct studd only one lifeOn the other hand, setting a goal is a slightly different venture.  Life is the gift God gives to us; what we do with our life is the gift we return to Him.  Instead of setting a resolution, consider goals as the gift you prepare for the King of Kings.

Check out these verses if you need some convincing that plans and purposes are  supported by Scripture.

As the New Year zooms in, perhaps this little acrostic can help you outline some plans to ‘be your best for God’s glory’ in the coming days!  The goals we set must be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & with tangible value.  As you consider your goals, keep in mind we are triune beings:  body, soul (mind), and spirit.  Why not prayerfully seek a SMART goal for each area?

S.M.A.R.T.

SPECIFIC

Goals must be Spirit-led and specific.  Nice ideas are difficult to press toward.   Specific plans happen–vague, ‘let’s get together’ plans do not.  It is the same for goals.

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”  Romans 13:11

MEASURABLE

Specific goals lend themselves to measurements.  Celebrating incremental progress helps you stay the course to the destination.

“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”  Proverbs 14:23busy yoke

ACHIEVABLE

Success inspires success.  Goals that are beyond reach bring discouragement quickly.  Evaluate your plans and don’t press to the limits of possibilities.  

“When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.  Deuteronomy 24:19

REALISTIC

Goals need to be more than wishes;  you must truly want to invest time and effort–as well as make sacrifices–to achieve goals.  

  “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”   Luke 14:28  

TANGIBLE VALUE

Goals that do not add to your life will not hold your commitment.  Consider how the goal you have set adds value to your life…how it contributes to the priorities God has placed in your heart.  

Let’s spur one another on to good works.  What will you aim for in the coming year?

Building Relationships

“There is no beauty in domination. Control is a cheap substitute for partnership.”  

Anna Blake

 Relationships matter!  We have shared before some principles taught in an equine coaching program that offer solid wisdom for our human connections.  In a relationship:

  • If it’s not good for both, it’s not good for either.
  • A healthy relationship is a safe place…even for ignoring or resisting.
  • Asking clearly aids in building communication–and ultimately connection.
  • When you are being ignored, gently increase the pressure until you are heard.
  • When you are resisted, quietly stand your ground.

Practicing those theories is HARD WORK.  It requires self-awareness and self-restraint.  The first is our job; the latter is a fruit of the Spirit!

My horse, Gretchen is a good instructor for someone like me who doesn’t like to push people; she ignores me really well.  She’s not rebellious or even ‘resisting’–she simply does her own thing.  Allowing her to stay in her isolated state is unhealthy for her–and creates a potentially dangerous situation for both of us.  So, I have been investing time in our relationship.  Learning what to ask and how to ask with firm gentleness is part of my curriculum.  As we work, my conviction for the potential of learning relationship skills with animals grows:

Our world is full of unhealthy, broken relationships.  Failing to connect with God has eternal ramifications.  Failing to connect with family and friends robs us–and them–of the richness God intends for life.  God has given us all things that we might enjoy them…and give honor and praise to the Giver!

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS – HORSES, HOMES & HEAVEN!

Relationship requires give and take, communication, and sharing.  Our world increasingly promotes isolation and self-gratification.  Technology simplifies the stuff of life and complicates the connections of life.  Abundant living, though, can only be found in connection:  first with God and then with others.   God created humanity because His nature is love–and love has to have expression and reciprocity. We love because He first loved us…all love that does not originate in Him finds its roots in self-satisfaction.

True relationship involves meeting the needs of both.  Before that can happen, there has to be shared communication and respect.  The horses help us see the components of healthy connection with greater clarity.  In the Lifemanship model, “Ignoring” is described as an attitude that says (in response to a request), “Not really interested, and I can take this amount of pressure all day.”  “Resisting” includes any number of behaviors…but there is no doubt that neither cooperation or ignoring are in progress.  Relationships require cooperation to reach a connection that benefits both and meets needs.

So, here’s a quick run down of how Miss Gretchen is teaching me to relate more effectively to her, to myself, to others and most importantly to God:

TIME together is a necessity.  The fact that I want to connect with her has no bearing on the reality of getting to know one another.  Thinking about her while I am busy doing something else does not build our relationship.  That same truth applies to marriage, parenting and friendships.  It applies to our relationship with God.  Relationships require investing ourselves.  Establishing priorities that honor our relationship commitments is no easy task.  We live in a busy world always calling us to do more.  Time connecting deeply–first with God, then with others allows us to enjoy life more abundantly.

AWARENESS is another critical component of relationships–and abundant living.  It is so easy to live without awareness.  Being ignored is the extreme of no awareness on the part of the one we seek to connect with.  But that is just an extreme:  a lack of awareness happens all the time!  My stress or perceptions of how we are progressing have a direct impact on how I relate to Gretchen.  Whether I am afraid, insecure or distracted by something else changes how I interact with her.  On her side of the equation, awareness about her signs of stress and confusion are also vital.  Tuning in to my part in a relationship–and diligently seeking to look through the eyes of my partner is key to connection.  God cared so much about it, He came in human flesh.  Jesus knows our struggles; He can relate to us.  In Him, our awareness of others and ourselves increases.

COMMUNICATION is individual, and clarity necessary.  Gretchen and I are learning one another’s language and misunderstandings happen.  Sometimes I am not always certain what I want…and when I am unclear, she will share my confusion.  The first guiding principle of Lifemanship helps me here: ‘Whatever I ask must be good for both of us.’  That principle gives me a goal and courage.  I’m not as timid about asking for what I believe is best for all.  The same is true in our relationship with God and others.  Every instruction of God is for our good and His glory.  It is a beautiful model for relationships!  Learning to speak with consistent clarity is a challenge to aspire toward.

GOALS are a destination to move toward, not a requirement to demand.  Building relationship is a journey toward shared goals.  What I ask of Gretchen, I ask for the purpose of growing our relationship.  The length of time it takes to get where I want to go is part of the journey.  In our connections with God and others, the same is true.  I want to spend time with the Lord not to gain some new insight that I can share–but to know Him more fully.  I want to spend time with my husband…my children…my friends, so I will know more of what is on their heart.

COURAGEOUS HUMILITY is a powerful concept Gretchen teaches me over and over again.  I don’t like to be wrong–or ask for what is unreasonable–or do things poorly.  But I’m learning right alongside her.  I don’t know her well yet; there’s tons I don’t know about horsemanship.  BUT relationships don’t require perfection; they do require courageous humility.  Being willing to be wrong…willing to be a fool for the purpose of growing your relationship is RIGHT!  Forgiving mistakes is part of bonding.

To learn more about how horses can help you sing the song God has put in your heart more clearly, check out:  Heartsong AART!

What one aspect of this can you apply today to your connection with God…with another?

 

Danger & Devastation: Fire Insurance

We buy fire insurance with the hope that we never need it.  In the natural realm, it works reasonably well.  Even if the policy is not that good, fire insurance works well to gives us peace of mind and even a poor policy will mitigate the devastation if a fire happens.  So, a fire insurance policy is a solid investment for our earthly concerns.

Kilroy fire
December 19, 1976 – childhood home

Eternally, though, fire insurance is another story.  In fact, it is a false hope based on deadly deception.  Faith as a ticket out of hell is really a ticket to a dead end.  On earth, fire insurance is bought with hope that it will never be used.  In the spiritual realm, there is no such hope.  Death is a certainty.  It makes sense then that much more care be given to eternal insurance…assurance.

Just as earthly death is certain, Scripture reminds us that faith without works is dead.  (James 2:17).  That verse is not speaking about earning salvation.  Salvation is not based on us; it is faith in the completed work of Christ that saves.  But faith is evidence of what we believe; if we don’t act as if we believe, where is the evidence.  James 2:17 is saying that the way we live reveals the faith we possess.  Faith is belief…our actions reveal what we believe more than our words do.  Our minds can agree to something but unless we actually believe it, our hearts will not feel it and our feet won’t walk it.  Fire insurance faith gives mental assent…living faith gives united assurance.

Walking out faith

The shoes we are to wear as armored believers are Good News Shoes!  Our walk is to be one of peace…restored to a loving relationship with the One True God.  Any time our lives have ‘compartments’ or places where the sweet peace of God is not felt, we need to stop and seek the face of God.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God–unless we allow it to.  James tells us that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  The cry

max and marie hands fire
Picture from my in-laws living room after their home was destroyed by fire.

of the Father’s heart is ‘come to me’ — Christ’s prayer before He endured the cross was that we would be united with Him because He was united with the Father.  Total immersion in the holy goodness of God is the desire of God for each of us!

No matter what the battle feels like…the raging war and waves of horror…the end is sure.  The life of faith requires the death of self.  And death is not pretty.  Have you walked in the valley of death with a loved one?  The physical and emotional toll is great.  Scripture says Jesus endured for the joy set before Him.  That is our hope as well as we battle through to confident assurance of our unity with Him.

Engaging in Battle

Make no mistake:  spiritual battles are real and necessary.  Putting to death the old man is not easy.  There is a deadly, dangerous self-protective deception that can keep us from ever seeing the depths of our own depravity.  We can study the Word and love its beauty–and think that our studying and appreciation for it is enough.  It is not.  Appreciating art does not make me an artist.  The Word is pure and holy–but we are not.  Mental assent does not create unity with God.  Fire insurance faith is not assurance.  It is a deception that can kill.

So, how can you know?  Eternal life is the gift of God Himself.  Read that slowly.  It is not a gift of God…it is God.  Eternal life doesn’t start when we die; we live it now.  We live it when we receive it.  When we receive the gift of God, there is a war between good and evil.  It is a war that is won but it is not one we can excuse ourselves from.

But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses. I Timothy 6:11,12

And never give up.  It is always too soon to quit!  Press on for victory by renewing your mind with Truth from God…and then committing to act.  Strongholds come from conditioning of the past…negative thoughts & actions that you cannot control are conditioned responses.  What you have conditioned yourself to do can be changed as you remove anything that does not align with the Word of God.  Seek unity with Him and the double-mindedness that kills will be eliminated.  That is the death of self…that is participating in the crucifixion.  It will be painful…but it is the only way to life.

Seek to know God.  Surrender to His way.  Sacrifice to obey Him.  

And see the miraculous ways He works.  God is faithful.  Christ is victorious.  

Have You Seen It?

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“Pride cannot live beneath the cross.  Let us sit there and learn our lesson, and then rise and carry it into practice…

…Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purpose drops by which you have been cleansed…And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it:  if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know Him.”  Spurgeon

 

What is Cross-Life Coaching?