Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘emotions’

Healing Relationships

Messy relationships are part of life and…

Loving others is our spiritual service as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1)!

Continuing with our focus that Relationships Matter,  let’s begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love so we can have healthy relationships!

The heart of man reflects a man…that is why it is critical to understand and utilize our emotions.  The pure in heart see God; if I am seeing ‘yuck,’ my heart needs some purifying!  God seeks relationship with all of us at all times.  He looks to who we were created to be, not who we are at the moment.  My relationships with others are a tool He uses to transform me because they expose my heart!

Living from emotions as if they were truth is a deadly practice.  Learn to listen to emotions not as ‘truth’ but as indicators of heart issues.  Emotions come before actions and words, but they follow thoughts.  We are not at the mercy of our thoughts; in fact, we are commanded to manage them.  Thoughts can be true or false; we are responsible to know the difference and choose Truth!  Freedom to choose responses instead of being enslaved to reactions requires digging through the dirt and building your life on Truth.  The work is worth it; here’s a tool that helped me!

Resentment, anger and rejection are common relationship issues.  Understanding the Truth Roots of each is a powerful shield against destructive reactions.

Resentment often flows from expectations that have not been met.  We establish a standard that we live by for ‘right actions’ and expect others to accept our definition.  Our standard may be ‘right’ but imposing our expectations on another is not right. Other times our expectations are unrealistic, sometimes faulty—and often even unspoken.  Regardless, our expectations are ours.  Any problem arising from our expectations means we need to take them  to the Lord.

Journaling helps me in this process.  If I find resentment blocking me from the presence of God, I immediately stop and ask for clarity on what I am resenting.  The Holy Spirit is a real presence who helps us!  (John 14:26)  Simply writing down my resentment often improves my perspective.  Other times I have to ask God to heal a hurt from a loved one.  The wounds of our friends are precious; we need not fear the pain.  Our Savior is acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53) and our faithful healer.  Taking my resentments to God is part of His plan for purifying my heart.  His healing love is a priceless treasure.

Relationship struggles remind us that our hope is in God alone.  It is He who works in others, setting the expectations for them (as well as us).  It is He who grants us favor with others (or not!).  He orchestrates all!  We can trust His standards and His work in us and others.

Please note: expectations are not boundaries.  Boundaries are healthy and necessary in every relationship.  Asking something of another is part of every relationship.  What we ask will always be for the good of both participants in the relationship…and it will always be an ask not a demand.  Asking allows for a no that does not generate rejection or bullying.  The softness of our heart—and our reactions to wounds from another—should not be sharp or edgy when our ‘ask’ is refused.  Unconditional love has boundaries, but that love is not given based on whether the boundaries are honored or ignored.  The love remains despite the actions of the other.  

Anger develops from unmet expectations that grow into rights.  The perceived violation of those rights generate anger.  In anger, two pathways emerge: one masquerades as strength, the other as weakness.  Both are deceptive paths of destruction—personal and relational.  The path of pride produces presumption—arrogance and disrespect for others (and God).  The other path offers despair and hopelessness.  It cries victim and weakness…and often manifests as depression.

Rejection—both the feeling and the act—brings death to the relationship and decay to the individuals.  Separating from another person may give an illusion of relief but does nothing to resolve the underlying issues.  Resentment and anger continue developing roots in the soul.  They are the ‘bitter roots that defile many.’  Rejection is not the way of God; not His desire for us or others.  The roots of rejection must be eradicated; the love of God is the only power capable of victory!

To know the love of God

is to be filled with the

FULLNESS OF GOD!

Loving others requires that we first be loved by God.  All of life has the potential to guide us into greater knowledge of God, but all of life seeks to draw us away from Him too!  The choice is ours to make when we know Jesus Christ.  In the next entry, we will explore choices and living with intention!  Don’t miss out:   Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.

 

 

Real Relationships are Messy

Love.  Family.  Friends.  There is nothing like the holiday season to expose the imperfections of relationships.  Our ideals are so high; our desires grand.  The television commercials and social media shares leave us thinking everyone else has more love and better relationships than we do.  Take heart!  Real relationships don’t always look beautiful…and sometimes they don’t feel lovely either.  The truth is:

Real relationships are messy!

I believe they are meant to be…and God wants to transform the mess into a beautiful message of real love and real relationship.

Our lives are meant to be full of relationships. God, who is love, created humanity in His image for connection.  His image is marred in each of us but His loving pursuit of us is unfailing.  The vast difference between ourselves and the heart of God is revealed when we are in relationship with others.  Relationships show us where we are not like our Creator and inspire us to know Him more—and be more like Him.

God is the author of relationships, and the only source for success in relationships.    He is Creator and Sustainer.  His fervent, faithful love for each of us reveals our need for Him and shows us what it looks like to love others like He loves.

Committed, connected relationships don’t just happen.  Connection with others inevitably leads to hurt feelings and difficulties.  Relationships require attention, intention, effort and even sacrifice.  That is as it should be!  When relationships cause us distress—as every relationship will—there is a beautiful opportunity unfolding.

Do you recall how Jesus’ response to the accusers of the adulterous woman transformed the lives of all involved?  He simply wrote in the dirt.  As we walk through life, we must let Jesus write in our lives…whether we are the accuser or the accused.  Nothing anyone has done to me is greater than what I have done to the Lord of Lords.  In fact, when we sin against another, the sin pierces God first.   In relationship with others, we must train our eyes to look at Jesus first.  When we come to Jesus with our relationship issues, whether anger or hurt, He will reveal something within us that still needs transformation!

Rather than look to Jesus, our natural response to relationship problems is to lash back, make accusations, or hide in shame or self-protection.  Hurt people hurt people but healthy people help people.  The law of sowing and reaping is a vital relationship principle, but it is one that Jesus can alter!  In the natural realm, seeds of resentment produce a crop of resentments.  Anger breeds anger.  Seeds sown from the flesh and unholy spirits destroy lives and relationships.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil — and taking offense is a bait straight from Satan!  Refuse the bait and partner with Jesus to destroy the devil’s plans.

Scripture tells us that vision and understanding give us restraint.  Restraint is a powerful tool to employ in relationships.  Those tv commercials and Facebook posts are an idealistic vision.  Real vision comes from the Word.  Even in this godless age, many know John 3:16…

”For God so loved the world, He sent his only Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

The Father loved that Son whom He sent…that’s a bit harder look at love to embrace.  We like love that rescues.  We shirk love that sacrifices in such a profound way.  Even those who are willing to receive hurts to themselves resist allowing their loved ones to suffer.

We want loving relationships that give us only sweetness, and that is neither realistic nor beneficial.  Sincere love for another involves sacrifice and suffering on both sides FOR eternally good purposes!

Loving others is the spiritual service of a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

Relationships matter!  As 2016 comes to a close and a new year dawns, let’s spend some time looking at God’s plans and purposes for the relationships we enjoy in our lives.  We’ll begin with exploring how to expose roots of bitterness to the light of love!  Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice of the next entry.

The Value of Emotions

Feelings are good things–even when the feelings are bad.  It has taken me a lot of years to truly understand that truth in my heart.  The only comic strip I have ever cut out was a Lockhorn comic on feelings:  the grumpy husband said, “I am in touch my feelings.  I just don’t happen to like them.”  I related to him…and I know many others do as well.  We risk damaging ourselves with that approach though.

We need to value emotions as a gift from God.  Mixed Emotions by robom8

If you have struggled with emotions, you may find it hard to even label what you feel.  Extra ‘feeling’ help is available in this blog piece that highlights The Feeling Wheel. 

Why do I have to feel them instead of just manage them?

Emotions are ‘real things.’  They are movements of energy in our mind.  Limiting hard emotions also limits good emotions.  Control cannot be exercised on just the negative side.  We limit our lives by controlling instead of feeling emotions.  God is wise and kind.  Emotions have peaks (or valleys); they will subside.  And Jesus controls the life of the believer…one sweet quote that a friend uses is:  “I will feel it, because Jesus will heal it.”

Scripture admonishes us to take control of thoughts.  In fact, it says take them captive to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)  What that means it that we intentionally consider what thoughts are in our mind and determine if they line up with what Christ tells us.  Thoughts come from our beliefs…thoughts based on TRUTH bring health.  Thoughts based on LIES deliver death–literal physical ill-health comes when our thoughts run amok.

Two other aspects of ‘Thoughts’ worthy of mention.  Thoughts can also originate in the Spirit World.  The Holy Spirit gives thoughts, but so does the enemy.  ALWAYS ask yourself, ‘Does this sound like my loving Father?’  God is LOVE; He does not shame, criticize or belittle.  He does convict through the Holy Spirit.  Conviction is pure sorrow and sadness for having hurt our Lord.  The devil produces shame and guilt with his prods.  Learn the difference and enjoy the mind of Christ we have received!

The chemicals produced by emotions have direct physical impact on our bodies.  God wired us to be at peace.  When we walk outside of His will–or when we let our minds wander there–we suffer.  Dr. Caroline Leaf, a brain neurosurgeon, has incredible resources on the biological impact of emotions on the brain.  I highly recommend her materials.  A brief look at Thoughts and Emotions is available here.  Full length shows can be found on the broadcast link.

Fresh Look at the Past

Just like the important individuals in our lives, circumstances and traumatic events of life shape us.  What one finds traumatic, another may not; this is personal feeling and is not right or wrong.  Healing comes by spilled milkplacing the past in the hands of Jesus.  There are folks who do that easily–but truly letting Jesus into the memories enlarges your capacity and understanding of His presence.  We cannot give to others what we have not received.  The more we accept of His love in the details–the more we have to give to others.

Current medical research finds that ‘unhealed’ childhood traumas surface in a vast array of medical issues.  In fact, studies indicate that 80-95% of all medical and psychological illnesses originate from unresolved trauma.  Christ still heals and He is the Mighty Counselor.  You can trust His love to re-frame anything you have, do or will face!  Consider which of the influences have impacted your life in the past (or in the present):

Poverty
Family Fighting/Divorce
Alcohol/Drug Abuse
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse/Rape
Prejudice
Prison
Illicit Sexual Activity (promiscuity, homosexuality)
Abortion
Rape
Death of a loved one
Other addictions:  gambling, food, pornography
Abandonment (including adoption grief)
Other trauma:  fire, accident, major illness/injury etc

There is often fear involved with even looking at difficult things of the past.  That spirit of fear is a tool the enemy uses to hold you captive.  Discipleship Coaching aids in finding the treasures buried in the dark times; God never allows what cannot be transformed.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  (1 John 4:18)

As you look at the INFLUENCES, write a list of the top three stressful influences in your life.  Prayerfully consider the following questions as you journey toward God in those areas.

  • What feelings rise up for each…list specific words as best you can.  If you need help with identifying (or being persuaded to feel emotions), visit:  Discipleship Coaching:  Emotions.
  • How did/does each experience influence how I see myself?
  • How does this experience influence how I relate to others?
  • How did/does this experience influence how I see God?

Finally, assess (on a scale of 1-10) how ‘healed’ do you feel from these experiences.  0 being “I feel the pain as sharply today as then”, 5 being “I survive” and 10 being “God is using this for great glory in my life.”
Life does not happen without hard, painful things.  In fact, the greatest opportunities lie in those dark times.  However, a barrier to blessing is unforgiveness.  True forgiveness is rare–and incredibly difficult.  It does not excuse wrong behavior but it does not use wrong behavior against another.  Forgiveness is the foundation of the Christian faith and such a major topic, it demands focused attention in its own right.

The forgiveness of Christ gives us life; our forgiveness of others is also life-giving.

Spiritual Journaling

There are many ways to keep a ‘spiritual journal.’  Each has its own merit; recently I have had the joy of exploring a particular method with a small group of ladies.  I am overjoyed with the potential.  I have kept prayer journals, Scripture insight journals, diary journals, photo journals—and various combinations of all those.  This

Would you like to explore the tool of spiritual journaling for yourself?  

You don’t have to be a writer!  You simply have to want to hear from God!

f601f-hubpicThis style of journaling offers a powerful tool for becoming aware of the presence of God.  It doesn’t ‘bring’ God to your life—He is already there!  It opens your eyes that you can exclaim like Jacob:

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”  Genesis 28:15

The type of journaling we will explore is ‘real people telling stories of real life.’ It has several powerful potential outcomes:

  • Helps us viewing weaknesses, flaws and failures as a necessary part of growing.
  • Aids us in taking the details of life and connecting them to beautiful—but abstract—principles of faith like: love and truth, sin and salvation, atonement and holiness.
  • Exposes and eliminates the pretentious habit of using ‘laws’ as a spiritual girdle to create god-shaped lives.
  • Allows us to celebrate the powerful uniqueness of individual lives…lives that are scarred, blemished and sometimes even embarrassing. Lives that tell a story of redemption by a loving heavenly Father.

Journaling takes us beyond our perceptions to God’s view of our lives.  We know at the core of our being that we are not always correct with what we think…but we live as if we are always on target.  Journaling helps us pause so we can recognize wrong thinking, because it is vital that you:

DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK!

Journaling helps us hit the pause button and truly evaluate our perceptions.  Not everything we think is correct.  Not everything we believe is correct.

Beliefs can be TRUE or FALSE!  Much of the time, we don’t stop long enough to figure out what our actions actually reveal about our beliefs!

 BELIEFS ⇒  THOUGHTS  ⇒  EMOTIONS  ⇒  ACTIONS

The Word of God is the only source of Truth.  Journaling helps us quiet the noise of the world and ourselves and expose the lies that threaten to destroy us!

If you are interested in being a part of an upcoming group, please complete the form below.

Emotions–the nerves of the soul

Emotions are a blessing from God.  Scientific studies show that individuals with damage to the brain in the area of emotional response have great difficulty making decisions and thinking clearly.  Most of us are tempted to believe that we can manage our emotions or suppress them effectively.  That is not the case.  Just as ‘toughing’ out physical pain causes lasting physical damage, developing emotional callouses (or prisons to stuff emotions into) creates physical and relational devastation.  God gave us emotions to develop us into the design He intended!

Identifying the message we are receiving from our soul nerves (our emotions) can be tricky.  When I first began to accept I had to deal with emotions, I needed an Emotion Chart such as the one on the left to help me identify them. I ignored them so long, I didn’t recognize them. The silly chart placed on my refrigerator helped me expand my vocabulary about emotions.  We cannot think beyond the extent of our vocabulary.  Knowledge and understanding walk hand-in-hand.

From there, I moved onto the Feeling Wheel and studied how emotions relate to one another.  Another helpful tool is recognizing the phrases that indicate deep emotion–either in yourself or another.

God designed humanity for the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23a)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

In fact, not living in the Spirit creates disease because it is dis-ease within our bodies.  Not living the Spirit creates dis-ease in our relationships.  Emotions are God’s tool to help us live in health and harmony!  Embrace them.

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