Friday, September 28, 2012

Self care? Let’s Unload a Loaded Concept by Linda Maynard

Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourselves”

So, does that infer that it is OK to love/care for ourselves?

Diving around this morning, a light bulb went off for me about self care. Love and care for others, as you do yourself…as you would want others to do for you.
Caring for oneself is an OK thing.

What do I do for self care? I’ve never had a massage…a pedicure…a spa vacation. If I received a gift certificate for one, I wouldn’t refuse it. (Hint-hint!)

Self care involves eating right…getting exercise…keeping up with medical and dental appointments…getting adequate rest.

To some, twisted as this thinking is, self care can be “having a drink or three”…going to hidden and dark places…eating to excess…buying “things”.

I wonder though, Do you think it is harder for a woman to practice self care and be OK with it? Women are givers/nurturers. Does being so, lay a foundation of probable guilt? I don’t think I see too many guys feeling guilty when they “do their thing”. I am not jumping up and down on an equal rights band wagon. Tell me, am I wrong?

 If I am not, then the Lord never mean for it to be, as there is no male or female in God.

The paramount way any believer can practice ultimate self care is by spending time with the Lord. Call it quiet time…alone time…a time set apart. No matter what, it is a place to not only disengage from the clamor, but more importantly to engage with the Lord. It should not be a ritual but a time of shared communication. A place to be loved and to give love.

Can we ignore the fact that Jesus Himself went away to a quiet plaace to commune with His Father. Can we do any less?

It is precisely in this place, I have chosen the very best self care I could ever have.

During my very early years with the Lord, a concept of loving the way the Lord loves took root, deep within my soul. It is this…

Give away the very thing I need at the moment.

I heard a testimony of a woman whose daughter had serious medical and emotional issues. Listening, you would agree and say “Yep, this woman needs some encouragement and support, BIG TIME!”

That is precisely what Susan thought that day. “Lord, I need some encouragement. I am drowning here!”

The phone rings soon after and she is thrilled for such a quick answer to prayer.

 “Thank you Lord…bless You Lord!” is all she could say. She was about to be loved on.

“Hello” she answered in her most expectant voice. She was sure it was Sally. Sally always lent a hand and had an encouraging word

“Susan? Susan can you hear me? It’s Millie. You are not going to believe what happened!”

Susan had often exclaimed that the Lord had the greatest sense of humor, but no …this was NOT funny! Not one bit!

The “answer” to her prayer for an encourager, was a woman who probably taught WHINING 101, some time in her life.

She was downright ticked. SHE (Susan herself) had REAL problems and this Millie lady’s cares just could not compare.

“Lord how COULD You?”

She dug in her heels more and said “I don’t think so!” No sooner did she say that did she realize that YES, she did need to encourage Millie. She was being entertained at her own pity party for too long.

Sometimes the Lord hits us on the head with a 2x4 and other times He gives us a revelation.

And this is like a tongue twister. The very thing she thought she needed. was the very thing she needed to give, because the very thing she thought she needed, Mille needed more.

I have taken this model of living since then.

Do I do it 100 per cent? Nah, but it is something I do more than not.

I have been working on sets of cards to give out. The Lord highlights people who need a boost. I draw and write personal messages for each person. There are 31 cards in each set.

Jesus never lied when He said “It is more blessed to give than to receive

The very act of doing these cards has been self care for me. As I focus on others, I can get off the table, at the pity party, that I have been dancing on.

Take Care 'a You- by Amanda Elder Silvers

I'm borrowing the title of this blog from a movie quote.  A movie, in fact, which has nothing to do with the topic at hand really other than it came to mind when I was considering how I self care and how important it is that we all take time to do so.

In "Pretty Woman" there is a scene where Julia Roberts is moving away and leaving her best friend Kit.  Kit gives her an awkward hug and says that she hates goodbyes.  When she steps away from Julia she tells her to take care- to which Julia replies, "Take care 'a you." 

In this fast-paced world in which we live I feel it is imperative that we all take a moment to do something good for ourselves.  We need to remember to feed our spiritual selves as well as our physical and mental selves.  We burn on all 4 cylinders and very often may run out of steam before we've finished our unending tasks for the day.  As a mother and a woman who has recently reentered the work force I see firsthand how easily the hours of each day can quickly trickle through our fingers.  It seems we get up and rush out the door in a flash and somewhere between breakfast and bedtime we're expected to accomplish every goal set forth that day.  It can be overwhelming.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture is "Be still and know that I am God." That exquisite verse is found in Psalm 46:10.  What a wonderful statement, but what a seemingly impossible feat most days.  Life can be so loud.  My life seems to sit on volume level 96.  It's challenging between kids, and life, and money most days to quiet myself long enough to just breathe and listen to Him.  It's something I'm currently working on. 

I can't speak for the entire human race, but I'd be willing to say that most of us wear a lot of hats during our day.  We are mother, father, sister, brother, boss, employee, referee, taxi driver, sport fanatic, teacher, leader, play mate, judge, and policeman.  Each of us play a variety of roles from sun up to sun down and it can be taxing.  It's important that we each take time to replenish what the world drains from us each day.  How do we do that?  The first place to start would be in the Word of God.  He has provided us with the perfect manual for daily living.  There is no better salve for the ailments we suffer from the scrapes and bruises of life.  There is no situation we experience that He can't lead us through. 

The Bible as the inspired Word of God is our lighthouse in the storms we experience. In my Christian walk I find that I have times of really digging in and staying in daily communication with the Lord in my prayer life.  It is during those times that I feel most at peace and calm.

Another way I take care of my well-being is by talking with my closest friends.  I am blessed with a wonderful circle of people I can go to through anything. It is so helpful to be able to share my stresses and concerns.  Sometimes we just need to vent or bounce ideas off someone.  Many times what inwardly seems an impossible situation may look very differently to someone a little removed from the problem. 

I hope in the days to come we all will take time to spend a few minutes recharging our batteries.  Whether it's taking a nap, getting a manicure, or soaking in a bubble bath- let's let our bodies catch up with our minds.  Our spiritual beings must be nurtured as well.  While we're taking our quiet time let's grab a Bible and allow ourselves to be still...

Have a wonderful weekend. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I Strengthen Myself in the Lord by Jenna Vick Silliman

When I find myself in times of turmoil, trial, or testing, I don't give way to them, but PRESS into the Lord more than ever. He is the Prince of Peace for peace to be restored in my life. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter when I need comfort. When things look dark, I go to Jesus for He is the light of the world. His light illuminates my path. I run to my strong Tower, my Fortress and my Rock, as David wrote about in the Psalms. God has all wisdom, knowledge and understanding, so if I have questions He has the answers. I belong to Him and He knows me and loves me better than anyone else; so He is the Person to go to when I need help. When storms hit, I know the One who calms the sea! I am hidden in Christ, a little bird in the cleft of the Rock, in the secret place with my almighty God. I can do everything through Christ Who strengthens me. In the Amplified this verse says Jesus infuses inner strength into me! (See Phil. 4:13.) 

Many times the battle is in our minds. We need to take every single thought captive. The enemy wants to distract us and get our focus off the Lord and onto the trial. When I am down-hearted, depressed, discouraged or any of those awful ‘d’ words, I like to go to be alone in my closet—my prayer closet that is. I turn my thoughts heavenward and tell God all the things I am thankful for. The Message Bible says “Thank you is the password to His presence.” See Psalm 100. When we dwell upon whatever is positive, lovely, beautiful, noble, of good reputation, and worthy of praise and let our minds dwell on all the good gifts and all the awe-inspiring things of the Lord, it lifts our spirits. (See Phil. 4:8.)

A friend told me whenever she is feeling down she will call ten people and give them encouraging words and it lifts her right out of the dumps and she feels encouraged herself. A guy I knew about twenty years ago shared that whenever he felt lonely he went and found someone more lonely and needy than himself and befriended him and then he wasn’t lonely anymore.

I know I need to constantly turn my eyes, my heart, and my thoughts to God and steadfastly fix them upon Him. There are many Scriptures on looking to the Lord and trusting in Him. God is first love, He said to seek His kingdom first, and He said to love Him with all we’ve got. I like how Isaiah says it, “I set my face like a flint.” Jesus tells us to abide in Him, live in Him, and stay with Him. (See John 15.) He cries out in prayer that we would be one—inseparable. (See John 17.) God is my BFF! I want to be habitually walking in intimate fellowship with the LORD of my life 24/7. (We are even right with Him when we sleep, for the Bible says He gives to His beloved in sleep.) This is how Enoch lived and also his grandson, Noah. (See Genesis 5:24 and 6:9 in Amplified Version of the Bible.) This is the life that pleases God. If we live this way as a lifestyle, and not just in times of crisis, we will be ready and right close to God, when stormy times hit.

Three practical things I do when I am struggling. First I put on praise music and start singing my heart out. (Usually I dance too and dancing ALWAYS makes me feel better. Hahaha! A brisk prayer walk with praise music on my ipod/headphones works the same way.) The enemy hates it when we worship the Lord because He knows God inhabits the praises of His people. (See Psalm 22:3.) When we draw near to God, God draws near to us (See James 4:8.) AND that means the enemy exits in a hurry. Yay! Usually while I am worshiping with dance and singing I experience a shift in my thinking and the Lord gives me a new perspective on my life.
The second thing to do is to pray in tongues. In the book of Jude verse 20 it says that we build ourselves up in our faith when we pray in the Spirit. The enemy comes against praying in tongues because he hates it when we start praying in our heavenly language those sweet, spirit-filled prayers! Our prayer language is a powerful weapon we have ready to use at any time.

Thirdly, I read and meditate on the Bible—when I’m struggling I read it more. When we think and meditate and mull over the Word, it washes us and renews our minds to be thinking truth and living in faith and trust and hope—the ways of the Lord. Ephesian 6:17, “Take and use the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” We are His children of light and it is His will that we have the Word so much a part of us that we are literally “brainwashed.”  Sometimes a thought creeps in that is ugly, suspicious, negative, or downgrading in some way. I try to ask myself, “Is this from my beautiful, loving Papa God?” If it is not something HE would say, then who is saying it? Ah ha! I smell a rat! The enemy is a sneaky, lying, scheming, and accusing snake that tries to steal, kill, and destroy. (See John 10:10.) Let’s never give him any room in our thoughts and be sure to extinguish his little darts. We crush his head under our heel and quickly raise our faces to the beauty and splendor of the glorious, love-filled eyes of Papa God once again.

Romans chapter eight in my Amplified Bible is a favorite to read when I need to strengthen myself in the Lord. Verse 6 says to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Verse 15 talks about what bliss we enjoy as His adopted sons and daughters, chosen to belong to Him. Verse 31 says, “When God is for us, who can be against us? Verse 35 says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” Verse 37 says, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!”

I also like to dwell on how we are dead to sin and instead we get to enjoy eternal unbroken fellowship with Papa 24/7. (See Romans 6:11 Amp.) Eternity is now! Heaven is on earth right here with us! Whooohoo! The Kingdom of Jesus is right here and now and we can reach out and touch it (Jesus said it is “at hand” right?) and we can enter right in, if we haven’t already.

In Acts we read how God’s people seemed to be drunk. The fullness of the Holy Spirit is right here for you and I to tank up on and enjoy. Don’t let the enemy tell you any different. Papa has everlasting joy for each one of us, no exceptions! My favorite verse of the Bible is in two places. “You show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (See Psalm 16:11 and Acts 2:28.)


Heavenly Father, we come to You and praise You for power and dominion over darkness and for Your joyful presence that makes the enemy flee. We thank You for the privilege of being Your sons and daughters. We love You, Papa! Thank You Papa for giving us victory in the battles of life!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Prescription for Self-Care

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

Every counselor has an ethical responsibility to practice self-care. It sounds contradictory, since a good counselor’s concern should be for the client first and foremost.  Yes. And no. A counselor who is impaired--burned out, exhausted, overworked, depressed, anxious--will lack the energy to be effective, will make mistakes, use work to block out problems, disrespect the client, use the client to meet her own needs. So, every counselor needs to take time out to replenish her unique well of energy, strength, creativity and joy.

Sounds like a plan for each one of us, no matter the role we have in life. I nearly lost my mind the winter of 1995--endless snow, housebound with young children, my husband having a long commute each day in our only vehicle. I can’t say that I practiced good self-care that winter. Instead, I told myself I didn’t have time to read a book or the ability to spend time with friends (both critical elements of my current self-care). Staying home with my kids was a choice I had made five years before--not an easy one for someone who really wanted a professional career. But as soon as the maternity nurse handed me my son in the delivery room, there was no way I was giving him to anyone else to raise.

But that winter, I knew I needed some breathing room. So, each Saturday for four hours I became the person who accosts you at Macy’s with perfume samples. I loved it: I was paid well to look nice, talk to people, and not a diaper or messy living room was in sight. Working part-time for me was self-care. It helped me to replenish the well and to be a better mom and spouse when I returned home that evening (thanks to my sister-in-law Michele for getting me that job!).

Ethically pursuing our roles is crucial for each one us: loving others as we love ourselves.  But let's not forget the first part of the Great Commandment: when we turn to our Creator and worship Him and pray, putting our circumstances and strife and anxiety in His hands, that is the very best in self-care!

Monday, September 24, 2012

How Do You Self-Care?

If you’re waiting for a nice life, buy a comfy La-Z-Boy, grab a long book and be prepared to wait. But know this, it’s not gonna happen because while you are waiting for our nice life, real life is happening and often, it’s not nice. Not counting how often we sabotage ourselves, stuff (crappy stuff) happens to us – stuff that threatens our peace, our sanity and even our safety. So what do you do when life happens? What’s your secret to self care? What are your habits?

Daniel had a lot of crappy things happen to him – he was [probably] forcibly removed from his family and taken to another country, in school he was taught evolution theories instead of creation, and whenever he thought he was getting ahead, his colleagues manipulated the King and tried to have him killed. What would you do? Probably what most of the young exiles did – conform to the pattern of their world by worrying, fretting and seeking self preservation (there’s a reason only 4 of the thousands are named). Daniel didn’t do that. Daniel 6:10 says when he learned about the new law (to worship King Darius only for the next 30 days), he went home and prayed on his knees, just as he had done before.

He had a holy habit – to pray. No matter what was going on around him, he did as he had always done. We all have habits and we all have our ‘go-to’s when life throws a wrench in our direction. Some console themselves with food, some with drugs or alcohol, some with pornography, some with TV, some even with scrapbooking. Me? I worship.

It’s true. Don’t hate me because I’m spiritual (just kidding). I wasn’t always like that but I can honestly say, over the past 3 years I’ve worshipped my way through problems. For the past year we’ve been dealing with relational issues with close family, job issues which will affect our future, and financial issues. I also help carry the load for others but I can’t carry it all without unloading and I do that through my worship. My Man knows it; when he tells me about [yet] another problem, I listen to him and help him unload and then I go outside and worship for as long as it takes my heart to become still.

A while back, I wrote a post, Offering a Sacrifice of Praise, and I recapped the effect of continual praise and worship even when it’s a sacrifice – it’s the fruit of lips that continually confess that his name, Jesus. It becomes a holy habit, just like Daniel. Do you have any holy habits? Do you want to develop some? Habits are habitual – keep doing them and they become a habit.

It’s been my joy and delight to write with other talented writers on Kingdom Bloggers for almost a year and a half. I marvel at the unity we share even though we’ve never met (except for Jenna Silliman) because there is one Spirit that works among us all. Tony C. will be back in the saddle, this time in the Monday spot.

Be blessed, and God keep you, Andrea York

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

“I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high (on the Holy Spirit of course) with a little help from my friends
Mm, Gonna try with a little help from my friends.”
The Beatles

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-7

This week, on Kingdom Bloggers, we are exploring who each of us would choose for our Board of Directors.
For me, each one would have to have a specific strength and expression of their faith.

I would want a person who operates in the gift of faith. For that position I chose Joni Eareckson Tada.

Joni suffered a catastrophic injury during her teens. She dove into a body of water, hitting the bottom; she became paralyzed in an instant. Initially, right after her accident, she had a crisis of faith. She was able to reconsider after being ministered to by a friend. She then became determined to continue following the Lord. In that crucible of pain and suffering, she gained incredible strength and faith. She founded Joni and Friends, a ministry whose emphasis is to provide hope and assistance to handicapped people. For my Board, she would provide unwavering faith.
The next gifting I would look for is the gift of Wisdom. Instead of being one person, it would be a compilation of three sisters in the Lord. They are Robin, Joyce and Candy.
They each hold the office of Pastor. They each are extremely smart, yet have humility. I know if I would go to any one of them, they would speak the truth and sometimes the hard thing, rather than provide me with counsel that I wish I could get, if it is not God’s best for me.

The third person would be Heidi Baker. Heidi and Roland are missionaries in Mozambique. They are committed to the children there She loves the Lord with her whole heart and soul. She unabashedly expresses this in public and is not shy about it.  She would be an example of what passion for the Lord can accomplish. The Holy Spirit would be the “silent partner” in all proceedings.
 I would definitely angle to have someone on the Board that has a sense of humor. For that position, I have chosen my daughter Melanie. She and I can be responsible members of the family of God. Yet at the same time, we observe the absurdity of life. She would be vital in expressing lightness in situations that have become heavy and unmoving. Her relationship with me is honest and fruitful. We are not afraid to express our opinions on issues to each other, even when they are opposite. But when it comes to humor, we are often in sync.
Lastly, I would choose Jill Austin. She was a child of the Jesus Movement. She was creative and lived outside of the box. She often expressed the nature of her friendship with the Holy Spirit.  She expressed herself uniquely and even at times, in a quirky way. I feel like she jolted people into looking at the Lord in different ways.
So there you have it, my all woman Board of Directors. I didn’t preplan that either!

I see this Board with lively Board Meetings, as we together express the multifaceted nature of the Lord Jesus.

 I see in each one, a spirit of humility, along with a teachable spirit and with u together we could accomplish much for the Kingdom Of God

To me, it would be an honor to serve alongside them.

Linda Maynard

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

God Speaks by Jenna Vick Silliman

Sometimes God has a booming voice. At times, as it says in Psalms 18:12-13, His voice is like thunder. However, sometimes He has a still, small, whisper of a voice. Sometimes He speaks through a donkey. Sometimes He speaks through circumstances or through something someone says to us. Sometimes He speaks through the Bible or many other ways. The point is that God speaks. We must not be so busy or so distracted by the things of this world and the activities we pour ourselves into, no matter how noble and worthwhile they may be, to listen to what He has to say to us.
God wants to be in constant fellowship with us—in an intimate moment-by-moment relationship. Jesus said, “I am with you always.” See Matthew 28:20. He NEVER leaves us and never slumbers. It is us; WE don’t stay in touch with HIM. The Bible says if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.

There are many examples in the Bible of God speaking to His children, even in dreams. Are we listening? Do we desire to hear from Him? Are we asking, seeking, ready to receive a word, a dream, a sentence or two, or a “download” from our Creator?  James Goll writes, “The way we tap into this source of inner life, peace, strength, and confidence is by learning to quiet ourselves and wait on the Lord.”

God wants us to YADA Him, which means to intimately KNOW Him. He wants us to delight in Him and His awesome presence. In His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore! See Psalm 16:11. He wants us to enjoy love-filled, joy-full lives because of Him. The Bible says to be continually filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, the intoxicating, blissful, “ new wine” of His presence!

In Genesis 6:9 we read (in Amplified version of the Bible) that Noah walked habitually with God. What if he wasn’t listening? We would have missed that boat! Noah built an awesome ark with detailed instructions and even when people probably ridiculed him, and thought he was a crazy man wasting his time, he LISTENED. God may have some strange and different stuff for us to do too. He is an “out of the box” kinda guy! One person walking habitually with God, tuned in to Papa God like Noah, may make a gigantic difference in the world!

Are we tuned in to His sweet voice? If He spoke to you right now, would you hear Him? He who has ears to hear will hear what the Spirit says.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”  See 1 Samuel 3:10. 

I want to be like Samuel and Noah and hear You, Papa. I want to know what You are thinking and hear what You’re saying. I want to walk with You and BE with You, Papa. I want to walk with You habitually 24/7. What would You like to say to me right now, today, Papa? I love You Papa and I love it when You talk to me! “Speak, Lord. I’m listening.” ♥

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A wise but strange group

I've been busy working these days.  I felt that I had to shed a few things from my life, and unfortunately, blogging has been one of them.  However, at long last, I have a job.  I'm teaching at a Technical College and I find I love it!

The idea of naming your Board of Directors as a topic for Kingdom Bloggers had actually come from me a few months ago.  The KBers have graciously allowed me to contribute on this topic. 

Okay, whose on my personal Board of Directors and why?  My Board includes mostly people who are no longer with us.

My first member would be Charles Wesley.  He was not known for his pleasant personality, but his combination of personal piety, and practical help to people is something I wish to emulate.  Such a great theological mind and yet, someone who also built schools and provided for the needy all the time sharing the gospel and discipling individuals.  I would imagine he would be quite outspoken, opinionated, yet, filled with wisdom.  His connections might help me find my place in ministry.

The next member of my Board of Directors would be Aimee Semple McPherson.  McPherson was an early Pentecostal preacher/pastor.  She founded a large church in Los Angeles as well as the Pentecostal denomination, the Church of the Four Square.  She was a forerunner in media, was known to be quite flamboyant, and yet fed the poor in amazing numbers during the depression.  She would bring zeal and provide a how-to model for moving forward.  Her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit is something I could use.

The next person is the most important person on my Board of Directors.  Its my dad, Olav Johannesen.  He just had a birthday yesterday.  He would have been 113 had he lived.  I was very short changed in being able to receive guidance from him as he died when I was a teenager.  His most outstanding characteristic was I never heard him say something bad about anyone.  And I mean NO ONE... NEVER... EVER.  He would provide balance and wisdom that is tempered with gentleness and compassion.

The next two people are people I met in South Dakota.  For those of you following this blog for a while, you know how I hated living in SD.  However, part of the purpose of that crucible was to meet these two individuals.  The first one was my theology professor, Philip Thompson.  If you were to put a picture next to the word Grace, you would see Philip. He is a superior theologian whose kindness and ability to inspire and encourage surpasses anyone else I have ever met.  He would bring moderation and focus.

The other person is a woman who provided me guidance and support.  She has the ability to ask tough questions and helped me sort out the past from the present to move to the future.  

Finally, I would have Deborah from the Book of Judges on my Board of Directors.  She is one of two people in the Bible who were both prophet and judge.  She is the example of strong female leadership.  She would help dispel the myth that women are not capable.  I've been planning and moving toward my destiny in ministry, she certainly would be a huge help to me as I continue to move forward.  I imagine she wouldn't let me ever whine.

So there they are... my personal wisdom counsel.  Who would you choose?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wise Counsel

Have you ever considered who you’d pick for your own personal advisory board? This week on Kingdom Bloggers, we are hand picking our own board of directors. Who’s on your list?


It would be great to have my own personal board of directors; trusted people who have various gifts and perspectives. My first pick is John Paul Jackson. He’s a seasoned man of God, has integrity, plus my Man thinks he looks like God (movie portrayals), and who wouldn’t want God on your board of directors. What appeals to me most is he is a modern-day prophet. I need prophetic people around me, and who better to direct you than one whom God has given foreknowledge to?

My second pick is James Maloney. James knows and can teach scripture as well as anyone I’ve met. He brings the Scripture alive, and what’s more, he is able to aptly apply the truth in Scripture to life. Not too mention, he has unique supernatural gifting. He is also prophetic with a strong seer ability.

Next, I would pick Danny Silk. Danny cares about people and relationships. Where a relationship needs mending, Danny offers wise counsel to restore and reconcile broken relationships, at the same time making everyone involved feel empowered.

My board of directors is a little male-dominated so to even things out I’d invite my two friends, Janice & Nancy. Nancy has known me a long time, we have history; she loves me and has walked through many tests with me. I trust her judgement and listen to her counsel. Janice is the wisest woman I know. She’s also fearless and encourages me to trust God and take risks.

Finally, I’d invite Oprah Winfrey to my board of directors because I want someone with deep pockets to bankroll all the things I want to accomplish.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Devil Made me Do It!!!

One of the things that I learned in A. A. years ago is that as alcoholics, we tend to blame people, places and things for our drinking.

“Well if he didn’t act so angry, I wouldn’t drink.” Or, “If we still lived in New York rather than in this crummy state of New Jersey, then I’d be happy”. (Sorry New Jersey inhabitants). Then there are those legos. “I keep stepping on them.”."If it happens one more time, they all go into the garbage!” (Hopefully, it’s only the legos who would end up in the garbage) 

“This type of discourse goes on and on. “I am sick of people acting that way.” “I deserve a better house.” “Doesn’t anyone, besides me, try to keep order?”

Truthfully, none of these pass the muster of losing self control.
“Sorry, your days of finding excuses and blaming are over” I was told in A A.

 I learned so much in A.A. I know Christians sometimes put down A.A. I actually think if more Christians lived out the program’s principles, life would be lived more honorably. A huge factor in A.A., is that you are not allowed to wear masks. It is a program of honesty. You don’t get away with playing charades. (You know like “playing church”)

The Lord was after something in me, having to do with self control.

The other day, multiple buttons of mine were pushed. It was like BAM BAM BAM. I thought of those big red buttons from Staples Stores. I wish I could say I exhibited self control…NOT!!! I was too busy pointing my finger.

I was blaming people= my husband and a friend who let me down. Places= my cluttered and small apartment. Things= unhealthy food that just happens to be in our home. It causes me to overeat. 

See what I did? I dug my own grave. 

God wants me to admit that blaming people, places and things is not something I only did in the past. Rather it is something that I sometimes, still do.

I didn’t resort to drinking… thank God. And I do mean THANK GOD! I was convicted though.

I apologized to my husband. I need to forgive my friend. I can gratefully accept where we live. I can start organizing things, rather than talking about it. I can determine to eat better and stop buying tempting snacks.

Self control is so similar to discipline. I sometimes feel when the discipline gene was handed out; I must have been in the ladies room and missed getting it.

I am one of those creative types who are in dream land at times.  I can go from doing a project, to going to check mail, to texting a friend, playing with crafts and then realize that 3 hours have passed and I missed a dentist appointment. It’s not always that bad, but I have my days!

Without looking this up in the Dictionary, discipline and disciple have to have a connection. With that being so, to be a true disciple of Christ, discipline/self control is something to be achieved. 

However, God does not just zap me with a stun gun of condemnation, when I fall short. No, He is there to correct me and encourage me. I am always learning how to yield to His love.  This self control is what He is teaching me.

I have always been bothered by something I have heard on numerous occasions.  In essence, it is said, when there is a list in the Bible i.e. “Love is patient, love is kind etc. or the fruits of the Holy Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace etc” the first one on the list, must be most important ( and that they descend the list according to their importance. I ask, when the situation calls for self control, how can we say it is the least important? 

When my buttons were being pushed and I was reacting in kind, I had to rein myself in and show some self control. I could just say, the whole day was really a case of the “Devil made me do it!” 
Then Linda’s New and Revised version of the Bible would have self control totally obliterated. Or we can imagine that self control is for the other person.  

Of course, that is absurd, but we sure can think that way sometimes, can’t we?

Linda Maynard