Seeking Him for Your Happiness

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Sometimes happiness feels like it is out of my control.

It’s at this time that I’m tempted to put the responsibility for my happiness on the shoulders of another person.  Or, to blame someone for my dissatisfaction.

Truth is, I’m basically saying that I don’t control myself – someone else does.

This is an untrue statement.  I can choose my attitudes and responses.  It’s actually one of the things that no one can take from me – I give it of my free will!

Knowing these things brings peace, and righteous power.

Still, it’s easy to fall into the trap that Satan fashions.  He wants me to be angry at those I love and live with when they don’t give me what I want.  He tells me that it is their fault if I am not feeling awesome.  If I’m alive for myself, if I live for me and not for Jesus, his lies are easy to believe.

There is a way that I can escape his schemes, and it has to do with building a memorial in a sacred space.

In my house, there’s a place I go to.  I have set up a little corner to include meaningful objects that signify to me who God is to me.  He is 3-in-one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In all the experiences of my life, He has walked with me.  He has shown His nature to me in every challenge.  He has made known an aspect of His character and His name to me.  He is a genius – He is building relationship with me.

In my memorial space, I have placed objects like a heart (reflecting Jesus, the Lover of my soul), a little banner to represent how a flag waves when the breeze blows across its surface (symbolizing Holy Spirit), a dollar bill (symbolizing the provision of the Father), and so on.  When I am feeling needy, and when I am tempted to lean on another person wrongly for my own happiness, I am training myself to go to this place.

This is where I seek out the One who is my “very great reward” (Genesis 15:1).  This is where I take hold of the object that reflects the aspect of the Lord that I need, whether it is His affection, His security, His provision, His healing, His guidance.  As I hold onto this object, I am praying, talking with the Lord, pouring out my heart, giving Him my need.  I DO ask Him for fulfillment in my earthly relationships as I am there.  But the very act of me sitting before Him, seeking His face, is a declaration that He is the only One who can perfectly meet my needs.  And I am recognizing and prophetically declaring this in my actions.

Once I have poured out my soul to Him, I wait, and listen.  A conversation with the Lord must be like that with anyone else – both speaking and listening.  He has things He longs to say to me.  I desperately need to hear His voice like I need the oxygen which continually fills my lungs.  In that space, I encounter Him.

Encounter.

There’s nothing like encountering the Living God, Yahweh Himself.  It is thrilling.  It is life-giving.  He is life!  At this point, I am transformed, and the Word states that I am going from “glory to glory” as I engage Him this way, as I walk in obedience, as I am open to Him.

Having had my deepest needs met by Him during this holy, real moment, I can now leave to go about His business, with my center rightly fixed.  He is the center.  I will not have another person in this place.

This is the secret of controlling the state of my happiness, in choosing it.  Now I am free from me – He has met me in every area of deficit that I have lifted to Him.  This puts me in a position to be honest, loving, and unselfish toward you, because I now do not look to you to meet my need or to bring me happiness.  And, when you do, it’s just “cream on the top”.

Improve Your Communication

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Do you want to be a person skilled at communication?

Do you want to be able to bring peace into discussions instead of inflaming others around you?

The good news is, communication is a learned skill.  Some people are blessed with personalities and dispositions that lend themselves to peacemaking.  However, for the majority of us, learning to communicate well comes with time, experience, and connection with the Great Communicator Himself.

Schramm’s Model of Communication

Schramm's Model of Communication

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from Schramm’s Model of Communication, it’s not as simple as “You tell me a message, and I understand it immediately, perfectly, exactly as you intended to share it.”

If only!

When I share a message with you, those words go on a trip through various filters and then are received in a particular way by you.

There’s skill in relating a concept, and there’s skill involved in receiving and interpreting it.

The point that so many miss is to hear the message as the speaker intended it,  not as we’d want to hear it.

Good communication is worth pursuing, as it sets the tone for unity, helps those we love feel cherished and appreciated, and brings glory to God.

9 steps you can take NOW toward gaining GREAT Communication:

  1.  Refuse to interrupt.  Let the person finish.  If the speaker is someone who tends to overtake conversations, you will need to step in at some point and gently ask if you could share some thoughts.  Feel free to set the tone at the beginning of a discussion that helps everyone remember that interruption is not welcome.
  2. Repeat words (to encourage explanation) and rephrase what the speaker says.  This way, they feel that you are really listening.
  3. Use phrases like, “It sounds like…” or “I think I hear you saying…” or “It seems like…”.  Again, it will build satisfaction and trust in the speaker.  They will sense that you are there to get the gist of their point, rather than just working on your next soliloquy.
  4. Affirm them and build them up verbally.  This need not be fake – give genuine praise, and watch your listener bloom with newfound joy.
  5. Seek to understand, not be understood.  You can’t control whether or not you are understood – never give that power to someone else.  No one should have the power to make you happy.  Happiness is a choice you alone have to make.  Ironically, when you seek to understand someone else, you receive the joy of walking in love.
  6. Take a breather if conflict intensifies.  Before getting into an unproductive argument, kindly excuse yourself for a brief getaway to the next room to collect your thoughts.  Never continue out of an explosive, passionate anger.  If you start to feel triggered (shutting down, angry, defensive, etc.), ask if the other person would pray for you.  Also, pray for them.  If you’re at a point where you struggle to pray for them, you need to have a brief separation so that you can be in control of your own emotions and words.  Proverbs 16:32 says this: He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules (has control over) his spirit than he that takes a city. Did you catch that?  Wow.  God is saying that, if you are a person who does not fly off at the mouth whenever you’re angry, you’re better than someone who takes a whole city by force!  It’s easier to affect destruction by sheer emotional determination than it is to bridle your tongue.
  7. Have an attitude of belief toward children.  Give “the benefit of the doubt” when talking with a child.  This one may seem out of place.  But, as adults, we have a tendency not to understand the communication of children and want to pass it off for convenience’ sake, or because it may seem silly.  But kids are trying to communicate subjects that may be hard for them to articulate.  They also are in a developmental place of life where they need much encouragement, not shut down.  Their spirits and hearts are tender.
  8. Apologize and forgive.  Do this as often as necessary, as is appropriate.  Keep your dignity, but be humble.  Apology clears your heart from harboring offense.  We make mistakes along the journey to maturity in Christ.  Instead of expecting ourselves and others to be perfect, we walk in holy grace.
  9. 9.  Pray to be a better communicator.  Pray God’s Word.  Actively claim it and decree it.

 

Sowing LIFE with Words & Actions

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2 Corinthians 9:6, 10:  He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.

What we choose to do with anger, fear, frustration, and upset will determine our health and our relational health.

It is true that you can eat all the right foods in the world and miss many of their helpful benefits because your emotional and spiritual health are not good.  How can we be healed if we harbor anxiety, anger, fear inside?  Here is where we can make the connection – diseased minds equal diseased bodies.

Jesus bought our peace on the cross.  He paid for us to enter into Hebrews 4 rest.  While the world tells us to STRIVE to gain peace and happiness, Jesus says, “I have already accomplished it legally.  You can never earn a place of rest.  Rest comes by being in right standing with Me.  Come to Me, for my yoke is easy, and My burden is light.  I do the ‘heavy lifting’ so that you don’t have to!”  These promises from the Lord give us the ability to kick out destructive emotions and oppressions.

Anger and unforgiveness actually produce poison in the body that not even superfoods can totally eradicate.  Anger signals a personal goal that has been blocked.  Additionally, anger causes great inner tension and turmoil, which leads to pain.  Our bodies can manifest this issue as stomach ulcers, reflux, heart disease, and more.  Fear is also devastating, and has been shown in the research of Be in Health ministries and other Spirit-filled ministries to be a major contributor in the lives of those battling cancer.  We are 3-fold beings, and we can’t separate our physical self from our emotional and spiritual selves.  It’s part of God’s design.  If you think about it, the design is ingenious.  It allows us to know when we’re not living in total freedom, so that we CAN receive what God has in the way of His perfect release.

Worry also robs us of our wellbeing, in ways both subtle and obvious.  Worry and fear aim to lower the immune system’s function.  Spending time worrying is like biting into a sugary donut – it feels desirable at first, but ends up putting us at risk for sickness.  Resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness are not our friends, either.  There’s a saying that goes, “Bitterness is the poison we drink hoping that someone else will be harmed”.  It’s so true!

Jesus is really the example we look to when assessing how to conduct ourselves while on this planet.  Being human in form, He experienced weariness as a result of the normal day-to-day activities and travels.  At the end of the day, He certainly felt that He had spent Himself and given of His physical energy.  Yet He never suffered with the bad health brought on by anxiety, fear, worry, and the like.

Did you know that even less than 15 minutes of ungodly anger can sap you of a large quantity of strength that you could have applied toward productive living?  It’s true.  God has blessed us with the ability to help grow His Kingdom, and if we spend our vigor on unworthy, ungodly things, we are actually holding His grace in contempt.

But, not to invite condemnation, for there is NO condemnation for those in Christ, who cling to a life surrendered to Him.

If we sow to self-pity and selfishness, we will reap a harvest of them.  If we say “YES” to God and the life He has given us, we will reap the fruit of the Spirit.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of frustration over our situation in life, and we are tempted to be ungrateful, angry, frustrated, and unloving.  It’s understandable.  However, we cannot give the darkness free reign.  We must “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.  We have been given divine authority, and we must choose to use it.  Using it requires a choice to exercise our will and our discipline, which we cannot freely do without the supernatural empowerment of Holy Spirit.

Be blessed as you begin to agree with God and line up with His heart for you.

Are You a People Pleaser?

FOOD is really only a secondary nourishment.  Our PRIMARY food is our relationship with God and with others.  I believe we need to focus more heavily on relational healthiness than on anything else.  Do what is good with food – but really focus on the relationships with those significant people in your life.  The first Person to grow close to is the Lord, the Lover of your soul.

Most of us who are aware of the detriments of attempting to co-dependently please others seek to grow away from people pleasing and into God-pleasing.  This is how we rightly fulfill the call of Deuteronomy 6:4.

Trying to unhealthily please another person is related in some ways to trying to offer what only the Savior can.  Attempting to be anyone else’s savior is sin (by default), and it will drain us completely.  On the opposite end, trying to get our happiness from another person is also idolatry – these things can be so subtle and sneaky, staying under the radar for years – I know!

Our ability to first see and perceive what is going on is huge!  It is the beginning in the journey of wholeness.

What is Jesus saying to you about your relationship with those closest to you?

What is Jesus directing you to let go of concerning your closest relationships?

(Don’t worry about HOW to do this – just…what do you hear.

What does Jesus tell you you will gain out of allowing Him to be the daily Savior and Lord?

What does He tell you are the burdens and drains that you get to SHED by releasing people-pleasing?

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Some of the biggest lies the enemy has over us before we change an unhealthy relationship with someone are:

1) “I can’t handle the relationship if it changes”

2) “This person will not love me anymore”

3) “This person will be angry with me and never speak to me again”

4) “I can’t bear the outcome of my decision to release them – it will be too painful/unpleasant/guilt-inducing/etc.”

Most of these lies are rooted in the need to be loved and accepted, I’ve noticed!  Thank you, Jesus for this insight!

So, you can see that, if you feel fear in breaking off codependent relating, it shows a need for more love from the Father.  And, breaking off rejection, unloving spirits, and other related spirits of abandonment and fear.

The truth sets us free!  And, the truth is, if a person is manipulating you and requiring you to be there for them (“or else”), then they were never really giving you love to begin with.  In other words, you have nothing to lose – absolutely nothing to lose – in the way of authentic love.  What you’re really craving – you can’t lose!  Isn’t that SO GOOD!

What do you stand to lose?  Depression that stems from being someone else’s savior.  Anxiety and fear from people-pleasing.  Stress and strain on the body.  Fatigue.  A weight on your soul.  Feeling bad in your body.  A restriction over your life and social life.

What do you gain?  Peace and life.  Love from the Father.  Increasingly good health in your body.  The ability to help the co-dependent friend or family member gain a healthy life for themselves!  Rest.  A lack of feeling rushed and hurried because of toxic relationships.  Ability to love yourself better at the food level, at the relational level.  Ability to attract a healthier spouse – remember, like attracts like, when it comes to emotional and spiritual health (and, usually in terms of physical health)!  Boundaries that will translate into future relationships, bringing peace and sanity to all.  The chance to model healthiness for your kids and/or those who learn from your life.

It’s never too late to grow and be transformed!

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