Really Bad Advice On Your Love Life From a Good Friend

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A wise perspective…

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Bad Advice
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When it comes to your love life, let me offer you some friendly advice, don’t take friendly advice, because your friends give the worst. Let me explain.

Tyler’s relationship guarantee: Someday, before you die, you’ll have at least one … ehhhh… maybe two “disagreements” with your significant other. I know that’s hard to believe for you folks dating out there (and I know you’re out there, you compose a significant percentage of our readership), because you found Mr. Right. And she’s perfect. He’s amazing. Cue Canon in D and call Stephenie Meyer because you two aren’t vampires, but your love is something to behold.

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Should I make the first move: I don’t even chase my shots, what makes you think I’ll chase after you?

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In the cat and mouse game of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and they live happily ever after, we see that the gentleman tends to be the protagonist, it is rarely ever girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, and then they live happily ever after. I stress the importance of looking at this traditional model of how a couple comes to be, because it seems that our ladies want to take charge of what should be male dominated and motivated chase for love. If a guy is interested in you, you won’t have to do anything, he will let you know, it is innate in a man to hunt and that characteristic does not only apply to hunting for food, but also with respect to hunting for the woman who will be his life long mate. Ladies, men enjoy the hunt, the chase, the pursuit of their female counterparts, some are even more motivated after having been rejected. The male species accepts the challenge presented to them when their particular love interest does not give into their charming words and suave demeanor so easily, rather it puts them on alert, they feel challenged to step their game up, and this is when they tend to show their best hand. Besides wouldn’t you prefer a man that thinks you are worth it enough to work hard to get your attention? I say if he is not willing to make the effort, then he certainly is not worth my time. God instructs us,”Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10. Given those words of wisdom, these men should very well know if they are pursuing a love interest, they should do so excellently (yes that’s a word). So ladies don’t waste your time trying to win the affections of a man who does not even notice you, instead continue to grow into a virtuous woman, complete with all the Godly characteristics which The Lord requires of you so you can be the wife and companion God desires you to be. Remember, the right plan forced to happen at the wrong time, could turn out to be a disaster  re: Abraham and Sarah.

                                                      

Let’s do a case study of some successful unions of long ago:

When it was time for Isaac to marry, he didn’t go, but he sent his servant loaded with fine gifts, silver and gold to present to his wife to be, he sent his servant to proclaim his intentions and explain his family’s background and reputation as servants of God, his servant made it clear  that God had led him to her. Important to note is that Rebekah and her family were impressed by such an elaborate proposal but more so by the fact that this was God-directed more than anything else, so she said yes. Upon their return Isaac greeted her and immediately they were married (Genesis 24)

 

Now let’s look at Jacob and Rachel, this was a man who really loved a woman, you know the song says “When a man loves a woman, he’ll trade the world for the good thing he’s found.” Well Jacob traded 14 years of hard labor to be able to marry Rachel even after her father duped him into marrying her sister. His love for her was so great that fourteen years seemed like days (Genesis 29). What a labor of love! Now that’s a man who showed true determination and effort to win the love of his life. If Jacob could do all of that, why would you…yes I’m talking to you women out there, settle for less??? Stop letting these men who make no effort to impress, pursue, or woo, and who bring nothing to the table, come into your hearts. In the words of Sweet brown “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

 

Last but not least we explore the joining of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz was a kind and thoughtful man, he showed Ruth great kindness as she worked in his fields, he provided her water when she was thirsty, food when she was hungry, and protection as she worked. He even took the time to learn about her and her family’s history. Boaz showed himself to be an honorable man, first talking to the other suitors of Ruth before pursuing her himself, he let them know he was serious, and that he intended to marry her (Ruth1-4). There was nothing shady about Boaz, he kept true to his word, he did not tell Ruth one thing in the dark then profess something contrary to the public; rather he stood by what he said and took care of the woman he thought to be virtuous and worthy of his love.

So ladies, do not undervalue yourselves, you are a child of the king thus you are a princess and should be treated as such. If a gentleman is genuinely interested in you and has good intentions for beginning and maintaining a relationship with you, he knows what he has to do. Do not be fooled, even players know how to treat a woman right, they just choose not to. So bottom line DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS, because we all know anything worth having requires hard work. 

Love Ms. B

Marriage Isn’t For You

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Not what I expected…. very true though 🙂

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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To Cheat or not to Cheat!!!

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When one cheats, someone always gets hurt

This morning you made me cry
Not because something was stuck in my eye,
but because I realized you were interested in another guy
It started off as innocent conversation and jokes between a mutual friend and I
But I soon got caught up and began to entice
My mind wandered with thoughts of what could be, and no sooner creeped the thoughts of infidelity
My thoughts they were stronger now, plaguing my brain all the time
That no later had I seen her face, had I wished for a sweet embrace
I could no longer tell which girl was mine to be faithful to,
Mine to hold dear and true
Soon my true love or what she should have been
Caught a hint that someway, somehow, I had grown distant
She pondered, she questioned, and tried as hard as she could
To please me in anyway that was imaginable
But you see my brain so confused by what started out as innocent
Could not give her a hint of my allegiance
To our love, our story, our happily ever after
So she sat there sad and alone wondering what If she too found some new attracter
Slowly but surely she drifted away, this is when I started wondering had I made a mistake?
Entertaining all that The Lord had not ordained
My, my, my why did I have to start that conversation with my buddy that day
Now what was once a happy home has a distorted end
I’ve lost my love, I’ve lost my wife, I’ve lost my true happy end
All because I because I just had to entertain my friend.

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Many have experienced the emotional pain that devolves from infidelity or a cheating partner. If you choose to be in a relationship, you do stand the risk of getting hurt, but some hurts can be avoided. When two people commit to be in a relationship, they undertake the obligation and expectation of being faithful to each other. Being faithful requires a little more than the words, “I will be faithful” but more so requires great action and responsibility on the part of each partner. For instance, if I were to see an attractive man, and I see him actively trying to engage me with his eyes, I avoid eye contact and try to get as far away as possible just like my boy Joseph did in the face of great temptation with Potiphar’s wife. In some cases, one might find themselves actively staring at an attractive person, to you I would say avoid this! Simply program your mind not to look so hard, besides it being rude, such an action is just the beginning of the future manifestations of our sinful nature. 

God’s word already warns us of the consequences of such actions. In Matthew 5:28- But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. We must be careful what we allow our minds to dwell upon because, soon our thoughts turn into actions. I know you may think this is easier said than done, but if you take a step back, and really think about how much you value your spouse, partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend, and your relationship, you will not do anything or think anything that would threaten to destroy such. Before you take the step down the narrow winding road of infidelity think of the expected end, it never ends well. In the other hand, if you are the type of person whose eyes can’t help but stray, it just might be best for you to stay single. As the good book says, “do unto others as you would like them to do unto you,” – Luke 6:31. So my friends today I say go forth and flirt…not with anyone else but with your partner, do a double-take when you look at him/her, remind yourself of why you are with him/her, admire your partner’s physical attributes and say to them (and mean it), “Babe I’m hot for you and you only!”

Love, Ms. B

P.S. Please take our poll about infidelity below. It is anonymous. 

 

Self-help Part 2 – Determining God’s will

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In Self-help Part 1 I talked about the quote “God helps those who helps themselves”.

The main points were:

  • This quote is not from the Bible,
  • We shouldn’t and can’t really help ourselves outside of God’s plan, and
  • We shouldn’t sit back and do nothing while waiting on God to make His move.
  • Finally, the quote was updated to the more correct “God helps us to help ourselves

So the question still remains:

How do we know what God wills us to help ourselves with?

The issue of doing God’s will is a challenging one for a lot of people, myself included. I’ve been asked by at least two friends recently how we can tell what God wants us to do. I personally have never heard God explicitly say “Beloved child, do X” That would make life super-easy, but would result in no maturation on our parts! For me personally, I have a few principles I try to apply in determining what God wants me to do in a situation:

  1. If the Word explicitly says what to do, do it.

    This one is pretty easy in terms of knowing if what you are doing is right or wrong. Knowing what is right is easy, doing it is tough! Often I know what is the right thing to do but don’t feel like doing it. We should try not to live by our feelings though, but by our principles. For example: you might not feel like being nice to a person who hurt you deeply, but God’s word says to love your enemies. No matter how much this person hurt you, shower them with love (note God isn’t asking you to go out of your way to be nice to the person or to even like the person, just to love them and be a good neighbour if and when the situation arises.)

  2. Let peace decide.

    If you don’t have peace about doing something, don’t do it. I like the amplified version of Colossians 3:16

    And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually)
    in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds,
    in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live].
    And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

    Whenever I have a tough decision to make, and I really am torn about what to do, I look for that feeling of peace. You may not like the decision but it’s the right one when God sends peace after making it. The last part of the verse is important too. Continue to be thankful no matter what situation you are in. Thank God for all the things that are right in your life instead of focussing on the difficulty of your decision.

  3. Pray for wisdom specific to the situation.

    Here’s a prayer that is guaranteed by God to be answered once we ask in faith.

    If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6

    When I have no idea what to do in a situation, when I’m unsure about something, or when I feel totally lost, I always pray for specific wisdom. For example, I’m in the process of preparing a huge document but did not know where to start. I asked God specifically for wisdom concerning where to begin and how much time to spend on each part of the project. Thankfully, my prayer was answered almost immediately. However, this verse does not say when God will send his wisdom. Sometimes you may actually need to go through a process to gain that wisdom. The process is useful because you learn and mature along the way, which is usually preparation for future promotion. Other times you miraculously just wake up with an answer. In both cases, God will grant you wisdom in perfect time once you prayed faithfully.

  4. Loving God, loving yourself and loving others.

    This one is just a bonus. Sometimes we just don’t have the answer. We have no idea what to do. In some difficult situations, I have felt like the Bible does not say something specific to my situation, no decision seems peaceful, and I’ve prayed for wisdom but have not received it yet. The situation thus becomes a waiting game and an exercise in patience. What do I do while waiting? I go back to number 1…

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

    If you are going to do what is right, it hangs on loving God and loving your neighbour. While waiting for answers from God, take your mind off the situation by going out and doing something nice for someone. Be a blessing to a person in need, or a person close to you that you might be taking for granted. In my experience the answers usually come when you’re distracted in being kind, which is a double reward.

    I hope this helps with the tough decisions coming your way!
    Angie

Potential

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Window to Dreams

It is Saturday morning. I’m standing at the window of our house. I had moved in one week ago; half unpacked boxes were strewn across my living room floor, bordering the heavy blanket and limp pillow where I had spent the past 5 nights. I bought the house one month ago, a short sale, the day after I accepted the supervisory position to the job I initially applied for. I guess the interviewers saw my potential. My monthly salary would be more than I had made in the past 6 months.

Three weeks ago I bought the ring. It was a simple band of Tungsten. The jeweller said it was scratch resistant and so hard that in case of emergency you would have to destroy the ring or destroy the finger to remove it. I remember thinking “Are you really trying to sell this ring?” Somehow his tactic worked.

Two weeks ago, I called my parents and told them my plan. I even called his mum and asked for her blessing. They laughed at the unconventional idea, but secretly began planning the details of our wedding.

One week ago, I packed the box in my purse, dressed in a simple white tunic and a clean face, and headed to his apartment. He had just come home from a three-week assignment abroad. I simply asked, without flare, without drama. He was an undemanding and straightforward guy. So straightforward that his answer was “No. I can’t marry potential“.

It is Saturday morning. I’m standing at the window of my house.

~o~

Just another short story… it’s been awhile. Leave a comment if you liked, leave a comment if you didn’t like 😛

Angie

Parenting your child leader

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Sooooo my friend Darryl WROTE A BOOK!!!

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I’m so proud of him and what he’s accomplished at only 28.
(Are you 28 Darryl? LOL).

It’s available from amazon if you are interested in picking up a copy and here’s their description…

“Darryl Bodkin has written a wonderful treatise on child development and leadership. He writes from a child’s perspective on parenting and provides invaluable insight on the subject of leadership growth and development… I commend Darryl Bodkin’s book to you for your enjoyment and personal growth. I believe every parent who reads it will benefit from the lessons taught on parenting and will gain an understanding of how to encourage the development of leadership qualities in children. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a sterling reminder of the potential for vital Christian leadership within every child that is born into God’s big world. Dr. Stan A. Toler Bestselling Author Oklahoma City, Oklahoma”

Congratulations D!

~Angie

How I Know My Wife Married the “Wrong” Person

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Wow this was really interesting … there’s also a Pat 2 linked in the post
🙂

CROSS-SHAPED STUFF

wedding 2
Photo Credit: Suni Danielle Photography

Today my wife Lindsay and I celebrate our two year anniversary. Two years ago, we tied the knot and took the plunge. Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! Two years ago, we launched the beginning of the rest of our lives. Two years ago…

And after two years, there’s no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie façade of dating life any longer. I can’t buy enough flowers to conceal it. I can’t open enough doors. I can’t say enough “I love you’s.” She knows (and painfully, so do I) that she married the wrong person.

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Self-help Part 1 – God helps those who help themselves

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“God helps those who help themselves”

I trust many of us have heard this saying, and probably use it subconsciously or deliberately as a life principle. I have been thinking about it a bit more critically as despite popular belief it is not a quote from the Bible yet  it is often thrown around in Christian forums as if it was the word of God itself!

First, the extreme interpretations:

Extreme 1:

God won’t help you if you don’t help yourself first.

I believe this is directly contradictory to Scripture, especially the gospel of grace (unmeritted favour from God). We do not have to perform tasks to earn credit in God’s bank of blessings and help.

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly,
their faith is credited as righteousness.- Romans 4:4-5 

Moreover, as believers, we should trust that God will help us at the times when we cannot help ourselves (which is all the time).

But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…
– 2 Corinthians 12:9

For example, when the 75 year old impotent Abram was told he would be a father of nations, his barren wife Sarai did not believe she would be the mother of these nations but she did believe God’s promise. So she set out to “help God”.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.
But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar;
so she said to Abram,
“The Lord has kept me from having children.
Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
– Genesis 16:1-2

In the end, many years later, Genesis chapter 21 says

 Now the Lord was GRACIOUS to Sarah as he had said,
and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.
– Genesis 21:1 (emphasis mine).

God’s grace, not Sarah’s scheming, helped Sarah! God did not help Sarah because she “helped herself”, He helped her despite helping herself!

Lastly, we cannot really help ourselves without God enabling us. This is explicit in the gospel message from John.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.
– John 15:5 (emphasis mine)

English: "A Helping Hand". 1881 pain...

~

Extreme 2:

Helping yourself is ungodly and we should sit back and wait on God.

 I believe that this is also contradictory to the Word; Specifically, the “sitting back”, not the “waiting”. There is merit in waiting on God. There are many scriptural references to patience but the one that comes to mind is:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
– James 1:2-4

Patience is important for our maturity. It takes a really mature and humble person to truly believe that “God’s timing is better than mine” (*my struggle*) and to wait expectantly.

On the other hand, there is no merit in doing nothing at all while waiting. Think of a good waiter in a restaurant.

While he is waiting for your order, he busies himself serving other customers (blessing others), maybe he’ll pour you a glass of water (service) or converse with you about the options (prayer) until you finally at the right time place your order (God’s order in your life). A waiter who disappears in the back for a smoke break will probably miss when you are ready to order, but a waiter who genuinely serves well and expects your order, will be ready for that order… and may even get an unexpected tip!

A Waitress taking a breakfast order at Kahala ...

~

So we’ve dealt with the extremes of the quote “God helps those who help themselves”. We’ve found that we should not and cannot truly help ourselves without God; neither should we sit back and do nothing. While waiting, we should pray and serve God and others genuinely. Though it leaves to be explored how do we know what actions we should take, which I’ll discuss in Part 2!

Thinking about the extremes, though, has inspired me to modify the quote:

“God helps us TO help ourselves!”

Have a great day,

Angie

Live with a Vision!

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On the surface God’s power is not always visible, but the person of faith knows that God is there, no matter what!1

After all…

 

His glory covered the heavens,

And the earth was full of His praise.

His brightness was like the light;

He had rays flashing from His hand,

And there His power was hidden.

Before Him went pestilence,

And fever followed at His feet.  

(Habakkuk 3:4,5)

One can persevere by living with a vision1. If you had a vision of a savior that could do this: 

He looked and startled the nations.

And the everlasting mountains were scattered,

The perpetual hills bowed….

The mountains saw You and trembled;

The overflowing of the water passed by.

The deep uttered its voice,And lifted its hands on high.

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation;

At the light of Your arrows they went, At the shining of Your glittering spear.

(Habakkuk 3: 6, 10, 11)

But then, when you heard the voice of the almighty this happened:

My body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice;

Rottenness entered my bones;

And I trembled in myself,

That I might rest in the day of trouble.

(Habakkuk 3:16)

“Looking back at how God brought me through”

But I remembered how you have brought me through before so I declared: 

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls—

 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength;

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.

(Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.

Love, Ms. B

1. Goldstein, C.R. Remembering God’s Fame. Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.Pacific Press Publishing Association, Idaho. p.68.2013.

Fifty Shades of Gray

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Fifty Shades of Gray—— I think these are the hues through which women see, we blindly enter into dark, uncharacteristic, I must have lost my mind, relationships that have no future, and during the relationship (-is sinking), there is no true depth or profundity, in fact there is a complete lack of quality. The relationship constitutes and reflects an overwhelming color block exhibiting a blur of gray areas that we make excuses for. Loneliness is no excuse to drop your standards so far below the baseline that your virtue electrocardiogram blasts the familiar loud monotonous sound of  one’s values and principles flat-lining. Women  have we lost our self-worth so that we are no longer objective, logical, or sensible for that matter when choosing our mates?  Rather than allowing such a crucial and potentially life changing decision be heavily influenced by a sure, firm foundation of guiding principles, we allow something as transient and capricious as our feelings to be the strongest determining factor in choosing the one with which we would invest large amounts of our time, we instead listen to our deceitful  and untrustworthy hearts as the compass through life’s inevitable season of useless relationships? The word of God warns us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.  

So ladies can you really trust your heart?

If we compromise our principles, values, and standards which we have held for the majority of our lives for the sake of someone who comes into our lives for a moment, a minute, a miniscule amount of time relative to how long we’ve lived with ourselves, it begs to ask the question have I really thrown  away who I am for what might be a visitor.  One can liken such behavior to breaking down your home of 10 years, even changing its foundation, to rebuild another one so as to fashion it to the standards and liking of an out of town visitor whom you have known for less time than you have had your home.  Our relationship choices do not only affect us, but it can certainly impact others of whose lives we are a part. Think about the examples we would be setting for  other young ladies and young men looking toward us for guidance? Messages that echo ‘women take what you can get while you can get it’  and “men treat us anyway you like, it won’t make a difference, we will still bow to your every whim just because we rather have a partner than our self-respect’. …well I sure hope after you ladies read this, the buck stops here, because it is a disgrace to see the acts of folly and foolishness we women are willing to tolerate today. When you find yourself altering your behavior and carrying out inconceivable actions as a result of the presence of a new mate to which your friends and family respond negatively and with deep concern, then you must take a step back and really check yourself.

Before one decides to date, they should carefully evaluate the character of the individual; ask some poignant and explicit questions that would remove the layers and reveal the true character. Inquire about his past record, observe his behavior around friends and family or if possible in the work place, observe how he treats you (of course) – does he open the door?- does he walk on the outside of you closest to the traffic?- does he speak to you with courtesy? But most importantly, does he have a relationship with God? E.G White says, “Listen not to the proposals of a man who has no realization of his responsibility to God.”   This is absolutely true, because if the person whom you choose to invite into your life is not led by God, then you just never know what you’re gonna get… “take heed, lest what you now think to be pure gold turns out to be base metal (1). Now ladies and gents that statement right there is overflowing with wisdom, no one ever wants to get a six for a nine, or cubic zirconium rather than a diamond so please avoid the shades of gray and carefully screen before you decide to date. Do not be fooled by a pretty exterior….many red apples look rosy and nice till you bite into the rotten core.

When we date, risk is always involved, but it can be a wonderful process connecting with someone with whom you never knew before, developing a deep and fulfilling friendship by sharing numerous enjoyable experiences with each other, however in the midst of cloud nine, be aware, be vigilant, guard your character, and consider if this individual will allow you to preserve your individuality (1) or will he or she compromise your very character. Avoid the shades of gray because when it comes to your character and dignity there’s only black and white.

Love,

Ms. B

(1) White, E.G. The Adventist Home. Review and Herald Publishing Association. 2001

Tapestry

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Detail of Woodpecker tapestry designed by Will...

My life’s a woven tapestry, I so often fail to see,

The perfect weaving of the loom at work inside of me.

Everyday, I look unfinished, and find it hard to understand,

My tapestry’s great splendor seeking all my Lord has planned.

In times of pain and suffering when trust and pain collide,

I long to see the finished work, but only view the underside.

A tangled web of knots and threads, caught up in such a mess,

I know His works unfinished, and in His tender hands, I rest.

His needlework is perfect, in every stitch His love is told,

The crafting of His handiwork in priceless threads of gold.

I must trust the master weaver, who knows my life’s great plan.

So I’ll let Him sow his perfect will, though I may not understand.

My life’s a treasured tapestry that I shall walk in faith to see,

As I feel the nails as needles sow his tender love through me.

And when His work is finished on the topside may I see,

The perfect image of my Saviour, on my life’s great tapestry.

– Allan Mitchell

Source: Our own transformation by Donna Mitchell

Thoughts on “It isn’t good to be alone”

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I’ve been reading a lot these days and came across an interesting article called “It isn’t good to be alone”. Perhaps I should explain why I found it was interesting, besides that absolutely tantalizing title!

I’ve been single for a while and still struggling a bit with being rejected by someone I care deeply about. The whole situation led me on a very introspective journey. For a while now I have been praying for God to help me address deficiencies in my character. To be clear, I don’t mean deficiencies in any self-deprecating way. I mean that I have realized that as long as I live, there are things I can improve about myself; I’ll never be perfect but I can still aim for optimum.

A woman thinking

During my character-building journey, I realized that I had developed a subconscious idea that God would not bless me with a good man to love until enough of my deficiencies or attitudes have changed i.e. until I was “good enough”. For example, on the days I was depressed and just couldn’t pull myself together I used to tell  myself “God wouldn’t let you meet anyone if you continue with this ungrateful crying” or “No one would like you like this” or  even “You are not ready for any relationship if you can’t even be normal by yourself”. But after reading this article and some Bible scripture, my mind has drastically changed. (Thank God!)

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Heaven knows God didn’t wait until I had it all together in my singleness to give me my husband. And I know many women experiencing infertility who struggle with the same idea. “What is the lesson I have to learn before God will give me a child?!” No, friend! Your sisters in Christ with husbands and/or children did not EARN that good gift by their obedience or faith…”

What a revelation! I was so glad to be reminded that I do not earn blessings with my works! And what a relief it was to realize that God can still bless me in my mess.

And then I remembered so many Biblical examples of how God used people who seemingly weren’t “ready” or “suitable”. Abraham and Sarah were ancient and barren when God said Abraham would be the father of many nations. Moses wasn’t a very good speaker yet God made him leader of the Israelites.David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons, with no royal blood, yet God had him anointed to be king. Peter was a fisherman, not a theologian, yet Jesus called him to be a disciple. The list goes on and on.

So I hope my little epiphany helped someone out there who needs to hear it. God loves you unconditionally, not dependent on where you are right now. I’ll continue trying to be a better person every day with God’s help and armed with the knowledge that He sees my effort and doesn’t reward me because of it but blesses me despite it.

Love,

Angie

My testimony

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My blogging friend, Robin over at “A Christian Overcomer“, recently asked me to share my testimony for her blog page. I never really gave much thought to how I came to accept Christ as my Saviour. I have always heard awe-inspiring stories of former drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, abusers and abuse survivors, accident survivors, and the list goes on. The theme was that something really challenging in your life brought you to understand that you need God. Well, that wasn’t me. I had no “story”.

However, I’ve been thinking about my life off-and-on since Robin asked me for a testimony. I grew up in a Christian home, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour at a very young age while at a Bible camp. My parents were married and together and owned their own house. My brothers and sister treated me well enough (sibling rivalries existed but it was all in good spirit). I never went to bed hungry. I did well in school and went to a prestigious school. My tertiary education was free. I had time for co-curricular activities and made a lot of friends as a result. Yes, an immediate family member died in a car accident, but my family is all the more closer for it.

The point I am making is that my testimony is that God protected me from a challenging life. So Robin, this post is for you. I hope anyone out there who feels that they have no testimony because they did not have a dramatic turn around, realizes that they do!

Love,

Angie

Reining in thoughts and emotions

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I’m an emotional person. It’s always been my excuse for my mood swings and uncanny ability to summon tears at the drop of a hat. In the past, I have let my emotions get away from me… and I am not talking about happy emotions. Being moody or throwing a pity-party is no fun for us or for people around us. Sadly (or sometimes happily!) emotions are here to stay. God gave us emotions, but He also gave us some important information and advice about managing them.

English: Emotions

First, we must recognize that our emotions come from our heart and our mind, which are sometimes described as two different but very intertwined elements of our inner person. As I understand it, our heart is where spirits live; in a born again Christian, it would be where the Spirit of God lives [1]. Our minds are our thought and memory centers. [2] It would follow that in order to manage our emotions, we must manage and be responsible for the thoughts in our minds. How can we go about doing this?

Start with a promise

Earlier this year I wrote my self a contract. It simply said:

“With God’s word to teach me and His Spirit to help me,
today is the day I will begin to take responsibility for my thoughts and emotions”

I signed it, dated it and kept it close to me. That was the beginning of a conscious effort to control my thought-life. Because the contract starts with God’s Word, the next step is…

Renew your mind

Renewing your mind involves studying God’s Word [3]. It is not a one time action, but a daily renewal. The wording of my contract implied that in order to be taught by God’s word, I had to study my Bible every single day. For me it meant getting up earlier (and I disliked being up super early), for others it may mean struggling through the old style text, and still others despise reading in general. My advice is to pray for God’s grace to help you with whatever sacrifice you have to make to make this happen. With time it will become easier and a habit. (I heard it takes about 3 weeks to 2 months to form a habit, so aim for at least 3 weeks of consistent reading).

If you’re new to regular Bible reading, a good place to start is the gospel of John. You could also start with the “story books” like Ruth or Esther, or if you like bite-size nuggets of faith, try Proverbs. Alternatively, you can do a search for verses that speak to what you have particular difficulty with e.g. Google “Bible verses peace” if you want to know what God says about peace. The point is just to start somewhere and let God guide you. It may be a good idea to have a close friend keep you accountable as well by offering to read with them daily, but make sure they are as committed as you are to this lifestyle change.

Use the knowledge and be on your way

When we’ve been reading the Word for a significant period of time, we build up a knowledge and memory of what the Word says. However, we need to actually do what the Word says [4].

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me,
or seen in me— put it into practice…

Philippians 4:9

One morning I woke up and immediately started to cry because my uncontrolled thoughts immediately went to a situation I was facing. I opened my Bible to 1 Samuel 16. Lo and behold God spoke immediately in verse 1.

The Lord said to Samuel,
“How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?
Fill your horn with oil and be on your way;
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem.
I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
1 Samuel 16:1

I was convinced that God was saying to me to take action and STOP my incessant crying because he had something more suitable in store for me than what I thought I had lost and I should “be on my way” and MOVE ON. I have to admit that I felt embarrassed and since then I decided to purposefully try my best to BE joyful and not just read about being joyful or know I should be joyful in all things.

Keep your peace

For me this is by far the most challenging part of controlling thoughts and emotions. Peace is a huge topic that I’d like to write about if God lets me. As Christians we can have peace whenever we want because when Jesus left, he left His peace [5]. Though the peace is a free gift, we are encouraged to actively pursue it [6]. When are we most at peace?

  • When we do not have conflicting beliefs or thoughts, or a nagging conscience

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. – James 1:8

  • When we trust God because we know that He is all-knowing, can handle all our problems and will protect us from harm

Be still, and know that I am God… – Psalm 46:10

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

  • When we are doing what God has asked us to do

The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” – Judges 18:6

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. – Psalm 119:165

  • When we make wise decisions (God-wise not world-wise)

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. – Proverbs 3:17

  • When we are grateful for God’s blessings and mercy

…with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

My favourite reference to peace is this:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose
minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3

It pointedly tells us to keep our minds steadfast, firm and unwavering. The only thoughts that can be perfectly unwavering are true thoughts. The only thoughts that I know that are ALWAYS true are  God’s thoughts, so we feel at peace when we align our thoughts with the Word.

Focus! Focus! Focus!

Finally, do not lose focus. We need to consciously avoid the triggers of our unpleasant emotions by “Girding up the loins of our minds” [7]. Anything that distracts us from God’s Word and truth, makes us disobey God, or makes us lose our peace needs to be avoided as much as possible. If  it can’t be avoided, remember that God said that you can do all things in Christ no matter what your situation is [8]. He can help you to focus in the midst of storms [9].

I hope these strategies help if, like me, you battle with fluctuating emotions. Remember God wants us to be stable, so we need to trust and hope in Him and banish any thoughts that make us do otherwise.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8.

 

Keep smiling, Angie

[1] See Romans 8:272 Cor 1:22, and Galatians 4:6. We should note however, that our mind is not always in communication with our heart/spirit (See 1 Cor 14:14).
[2] See Ezekiel 38:10 and Jeremiah 3:16.
[3] See Romans 12:2.
[4] See James 2:17.
[5] See John 14:27.
[
6] See 1 Peter 3:11.
[7] See 1 Peter 1:13.
[8] See Philippians 4:12-13.
[9] See Psalm 50:15.

Quote

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on attitude adjustment. It’s all about taking your focus off your circumstances and putting them on God’s grace. It’s about being responsible for and taking control of all your thoughts. It’s about being grateful for every unseen mercy and every blessing God has bestowed on us. And sometimes it’s about removing yourself from a situation that is bringing out the worst in you. As such I share this quote:

“Suffering only has meaning provided that the suffering is unavoidable. If it is avoidable, the meaningful thing to do is to remove its cause for unnecessary suffering is masochistic rather than heroic. If on the other hand one cannot change a situation that causes his suffering, he can still choose his attitude”

Victor Frankl, Jew, neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor

Check out a really short old post on this topic: God’s trial or my trial

Angie

Suffering