Uncategorized

Getting Unstuck

Maybe you’re stuck in a job that you don’t like, or you might be unemployed and feeling stuck.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a season where it feels like nothing is moving in a direction we’d like.  It may not seem like it, but regardless of how stuck we may feel, there are some things that we can do to get through until the change that we desire comes.

What is it that you want to achieve?  Having clear vision about what your goal is, is important.  So often, I’ve spoken to people who simply say, “I just want to be happy.”  While I do understand this thinking, it’s better to instead think about what it means to fulfill your God-given purpose.  Those who understand that they are in the process of fulfilling their God-given purpose may not always be happy, but they have peace and joy.

Living for God clarifies our purpose.  Apart from him, pursuits in self-fulfillment will be hollow.  However, our relationship with Him gives us the insight and clarity to know what our real purpose is.  It’s also important to note that His purpose for us never results in us being the only beneficiaries.

Nevertheless, even those who feel confident that they know what their God-given purpose is, seasons come where the vision seems to be stuck.  So, what do you do when you have the vision, but for one reason or another, things aren’t moving forward?

First, be sure that you know the state of your flocks (Prov. 27:23).  Aside from knowing and taking care of your financial business, it’s also important to an overall assessment of yourself, especially in the area(s) where you’re feeling stuck.  For example, if there’s constant conflict in a relationship with someone, be sure that there isn’t something that you can do (or not do), to move the relationship forward.  Whether it’s getting to work on time, practicing more, working harder, talking less or more, honing your skills, etc., it’s important that we honestly examine ourselves and our situation to make changes, if necessary.  Yes, there are times when we can cause ourselves to be stuck.

Getting unstuck requires prioritizing, discipline, and determination.  Even in the midst of frustration, we can’t lose sight of the vision.  When we feel stuck, sometimes it’s overwhelming, and it feels like everything is of equal importance.  However, when we pray, God has a way of putting things in proper perspective and order.  When this happens, we simply must be determined to remain disciplined, resolved to stick to the plan as much as we can—no matter what it looks like.

Finally, we have to take as much action as we can.  For instance, I may not have my second novel published yet, but I can write a blog postJ.  Do all that you know to do that is right, good, and in line with fulfilling your purpose and vision.  Pray, and I promise that God will show you something that you can do with what you have, whether it be much or little!

Finally, be adaptable.  The vision will happen, but maybe (probably) the journey won’t be exactly the way that you expect it.  There may be setbacks, disappointments, and standstills, but it will all work together for His and your good.

Getting unstuck requires that we change our mindset.  When we allow our minds to be like the mind of Christ, we won’t feel stuck.  Read His Word, and believe it.  The enemy wants us to worry and be in a state of despair and hopelessness, but Christ has made us free! We have to stand strong, trusting that our feelings of being stuck are just that—feelings.  What’s true is that the feeling of being will pass eventually, and we should not cave to it.  Instead, we should look to Him and for others who are well-equipped for opportunities to better ourselves.  In the end, He will be glorified for many reasons but for also being the God who is in the business of getting us unstuck!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  Galatians 5:1

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Setback or Setup?

Image

Have you ever been left out of something you’ve desperately wanted to be a part of? 

Whether many of us will admit it or not, most of us know what it feels like to be left out—and like they say, if you haven’t experienced being excluded, keep on living.  On a personal level, I have experienced this many times, and as painful as it is, it’s even more painful when your children go through this kind of rejection.  As a true mama grizzly, I imagined getting back all those folks who would dare exclude any of my babies.  Yes, this week has come with its share of disappointments, but thanks be unto God who causes us to triumph—no matter what it looks like!

We all experience setbacks and disappointments, but so many times, we bottle them up, not sharing our experience, fearing that we’ll be judged as unworthy or not good enough.  However, I’ve found that when we refuse to let our worth be measured by our acceptance into a group, clique, relationship, etc., we are free to be who God created us to be.  We are not in the bondage of always trying to fit in, impress, and please.  When our worth is anchored in Him and His promises, even when/if we are excluded or held back, we still win—every single time.

Most of us get it.  People can be fickle.  We change.  We are often influenced by things that have no business influencing us.  We have a basic human need to be included and accepted, but when God’s order of importance is out of whack in our lives, we crave a sense of belonging that comes from other less stable, importance and impactful people and things.  When we have and keep our relationship with God first, all other relationships dim in comparison.  Suddenly, everything comes into its proper perspective when we stop and remember that He is in control.

My sweet and dear mom reminded me of the truths in God’s Word.  He knows the desires of our hearts, and He also knows us and what we need (or don’t need) to get us where we need to be for His glory, not our own.  He knows our disappointments, and like Mom said, “It’s all for our good.”

Trusting Him is our only real hope of having lasting peace and joy.  When disappointments come, we have to resist being embarrassed, depressed, or giving up. 

We also have to be prepared to respond the “right” way when others experience rejection, reminding them that God has not forgotten them.  His promises are true, and the answers to life’s obstacles are found in His Word.  When its dark, and we can’t see our way, His Word reminds us in Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  When we don’t know which way to go, His Word will illuminate our path, giving us direction and guidance to move forward.

Finally, Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected, but He became the chief cornerstone!  Our disappointments and setbacks  are not the end of the story, only the beginning.  We are His people, and we have already won.  Our responsibility is to trust Him, knowing that in spite of who rejects us or accepts us, our true identity is in Him, not in positions, organizations, or any other exterior things. 

Joyfully Submitted,

MaRita

 

Uncategorized

Can Thoughts Kill?

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

Did you know that our brains are predisposed to be more responsive to negative information than positive?  A study conducted by Dr. John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago called this phenomenon “the negativity bias” of the brain.  This is why criticisms and offenses hit us so much harder than positive ones.  It’s also why things like negative campaign ads, news, gossip, etc., are so much more effective than positive or happy information. 

Have you ever noticed how much more difficult it is to hold on to positive information and feedback than negative?  Well, the study also found that “negatives increase disproportionately over positives.”  In other words, if you tell your child that you think he or she is great, but then tell them, “You forgot to make up your bed,” the negative completely erases the positive.

Why mention all of this?  Well, according to a UCLA study, the average person has about 70,000 thoughts a day.  That’s a lot of thinking!  These thoughts can translate into inactivity or action.  These thoughts can also translate into our state of well-being, physically and spiritually.  When we focus on the negative, our brains actually slow down, and we can become clinically depressed.

On the other hand, positive thoughts cause the brain to produce chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, growth hormone, and oxytocin, all ones that can heal us.

Can thoughts really kill us?  Can what we think about make us physically or mentally ill?  Yes, as most of us already know, negative thinking can affect us physically, making us prone to disease and even death.  We can also quench the Holy Spirit in our lives with negative thoughts.  Dark and light can’t occupy the same space, and Holy Spirit can’t reside in a temple filled with negative thoughts.

Too often, we don’t really take authority and responsibility for how we decide to occupy our minds.  In turn, we latch onto what’s out there, which is usually a whole lot of criticism and negativity.

I might add that when we don’t have our minds made up and postured towards the positive and good, outward circumstances, people and things will decide for us.  When this happens, we are open, exposed and vulnerable to be tossed to and fro emotionally—up and down, never stable and constant.  Choosing to dwell on the negative, or not making our minds up to think on the positive and good in life, will take us on a downward spiral, which will impact us spiritually and naturally.

The remedy, of course, is to take authority over negative thoughts and choose not to dwell on them.  We do have power to change our thinking, no matter how predisposed or hardwired our brains might be towards the negative, but we can’t do it ourselves.  We need to live a life surrendered to Jesus Christ.  We need to live an obedient life, humbly submitted to His Word.

Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus Christ.”  We have to “let” or allow the mind of Christ to enter.  We have to make the choice.

Romans 12:2 explains that  we “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Again, we have the responsibility of not being conformed to the world.  We have to choose to be transformed and to allow God to renew our minds.

Yes, we’re constantly bombarded with negative people, issues, and situations, but we don’t have to be overtaken by the negative.  Seeing the glass half full doesn’t mean that we don’t see that the other half is missing; it just means that we’re making an conscious choice not to dwell on it.

Philippians 4:8 instructs us on how we should think: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

No matter what it looks like, join me in putting on the whole armor, choosing to combat negative thinking with the overcoming, victorious power that comes from thinking on the good.

“A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22