Not Letting Failure Destroy You

If you have suffered a failure or sinned, the most important thing in the world is that you make your amends and are honest with God. Don’t allow the guilt and shame of spiritual failures to destroy you, and cause you to sink into depression. Never let people’s negative opinion of you become your reality. The only person or people that matter at the end of the day is God. It’s Him that we must all stand before to be judged and God is never looking to destroy us if we are looking to Him.

 

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Forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forward to the things that are before, I press toward the mark  for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ   Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14)

PAUL

Paul, who wrote these words, is  often thought of as one of the greatest apostles, if not THE most accomplished apostle in terms of his works.  Paul had to face his past failures and people’s hatred of who he was.  Continue reading “Not Letting Failure Destroy You”

Overcoming Anger

In our walk with God, there comes a pivotal moment where you have to decide. Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy and move on with my life? The times I’ve been in those situations. I’ve always found that it’s better just to move on. Why? Here are the problems with trying to show people you’re right.

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In our walk with God, there comes a pivotal moment where you have to decide.  Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy and move on with my life?  The times I’ve been in those situations.  I’ve always found that it’s better just to move on.  Why? Here are the problems with trying to show people you’re right. Continue reading “Overcoming Anger”

My Own Journey to Self -Worth- Finding My Value in Life- Part 2

Is it noble to think less of yourself?  The bible does tell us we should not think more highly of ourselves that we ought to think (Romans 12:3).  I think God values us and the gifts he gives us to help others.  We all know that our abilities and gifts come from God.  That we are only vessels for his use.  However, as vessels, we are worth a great deal to God.  How would you treat precious china?—with great care!  We are just that precious and valuable in his sight.   Yet,Christians are more valuable than what we do between the 4 walls of our churches on Sunday. God means for this close church community to be a fueling station to go out and win the world, not a place that would drag down our motivations.  Sadly though, the same community that can make us feel safe and secure, can also stagnate us when come to the will of God and finding our value in God.  Church communities that have no focus can have the opposite of their intended effect and slow us down and dim our vision.

When we find our sense of self-worth only in the church walls, we will be of all men, most miserable.  This is akin to having hope in this life only.  I heard an old saying ” don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.  I know so many Christians that seem to live to be patted on the back as a “good brother” or “sister”.  They only seem go to church and then come home and start the process over again.  However faithful this may be, it has been my experience, that these same people can become victims and focus their sense of self-worth in their church community’s acceptance of them, and not in God’s acceptance of their lives.  When we do this, if that community rejects us for any reason, valid or not, we feel we’ve lost everything.   I don’t think the bible teaches that outward attendance and church activities is the only way to keep your heart from “forsaking” and “departing” from God. I’ve seen too much of the opposite.

When I came to the Lord, I was a teen-ager and didn’t have a good sense of who I was, so it was easy to fall in closely with people who were seen as pillars in the church.   But it was confusing because while I wanted spirituality from them, I also encountered jealousies and juvenile behavior from the same people who were perceived as pillars.  I went through the period of admiring people and wanting to be like them and  be seen as “good” to them.   In fact, at one point it became more important to please the people I admired, than please God.  Although that sounds horrible, I saw many others stumble around under the influence of prominent people until it seemed like church was  just a cult of personalities.  Whoever had the most charisma was the most righteous and whoever could make their case the loudest, or most convincing, or had the most influence with the leaders got what they wanted.

I’m glad God pulled me out of that mentality early on, and showed me I was going the wrong way.  I was being influenced by people who were well thought of in church, but were not that strong in their walk with God. God’s tap on the shoulder saved me from allowing their convictions to replace the Spirit of God in my life.    Many of them were saved longer than me, and were very tight with one another. Some of them were tighter with one another than they were their standing Pastor who was supposed be mentoring them. Although they claimed to be extremely close with one another, that they did not always correct one another, and seemed to assume each other’s spirituality was based on being part of the “clan”.   Among this group were preachers or exhorters but I noticed that they, as well,  all seemed to try to outdo one another –but not in a good way.  As time went on, very few of them seemed to grow spiritually even though their positions in the church grew.  Seeing this, I was glad God shook me lose from wanting to be part a church “in” crowd.

When you are truly seeking God, you cannot reach God’s true potential for your life and try to be part of an “in” crowd in the church community. It doesn’t work.  Bottom line–there are cliques and groups and then there is the church.  The church being the people who don’t care about your background good or bad, who know that they don’t need to “approve”  of you as long as you are “approved” by God; the people who are not looking for you to agree with them all the time, but just want to see God’s will done.  You know—the church—whose visibility is teetering.

I came to the ministry at a very turbulent time in our religious groups’ church history.  One Pastor had passed on and a group that I spoke of above, that had been close friends came into power.  From my observation, most of them seemed to feel that they had to be pastors somewhere—anywhere– in order to have a sense of personal value.    Why do I say this?  I saw the results of their “calls”.  I am seeing the fruit of it.    It was as if they felt they had not graduated unless they were anointed with this title when the bible teaches no such thing about ministry (Ephesians 4:24).  I just watched.  I was not a good thing to see.  I can see how people fall into this need as a sense of self-worth because among our group that title is held extremely high in public affirmation, and positive reinforcement.  As a result, sadly, some have titles but no heart for the work itself and too many of their fellow ministers are unwilling to pull them aside to correct them.

From the time I was “officially” acknowledged as a minister, I saw very little love, trust, care or spirituality among leadership.  That might seem harsh, but it is, what it is.  It was disappointing, but not discouraging because the bible says this would happen. If I were to base my self-worth on being  “accepted” by my peers, I would be miserable. Most people tend to dwell in whatever reality feels comfortable to them anyway.  I just want to do my part to live what I know to be right regardless of how others conduct themselves.  I just want to be a help wherever God allows me to.   I believe there is a reason that I have little connection or close bonding to the group mentioned above.  It’s easi er for me to speak my heart with fear of being ostracized or someone not liking what I say.  I was never part of the “in” crowd anyway.

Especially as a female minister I had to look to God and not men.  I never had anyone take me under their wing because our group tends to focus on male leadership but it turned out to be good for me. No one taught me the ins and outs of preaching, no one taught me how to do a communion, or funeral and I had minimal help with the common ministerial functions because “where there were men around, why use as woman”.  Our group does not have formal ministerial training but simply mentoring by older ministers.  So I had to seek out training on my own.  I certainly remember growth in my preaching and when God taught me how to adjust my preaching and how to order my messages.   Now, I’m not so caught up in the “me and God” thing ask for help when I need it, but this is just an observation.  I believe our current group would receive more acknowledgment from God if they would respect and acknowledge everyone that God uses.  I had to find my own self-worth.  I receive inspiration from reading about other female preachers https://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/i-received-my-commission-from-him-brother/  and the good sister ministers that I know.

Along the way, I began to understand my own value and embrace it.  At this point in my life, aside from having a good report “within” and “ without” for the sake of the gospel and doing what God allows me to accomplish, I tend to concern myself only with God’s will for my life and keeping focused on Him.  In this religious jungle that we live in now, where it is difficult to tell who is sincere and who is not, I just keep looking up.  I find my self-worth in what God gives me openings to do for his kingdom, and whether I am pleasing God as a mother and wife and follower of Christ.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the past good or bad.  God has helped me to move on with good rear-view vision of where I have been and a good front view of where He wants me to go, and I can’t ask for any better sense of self-worth than that.  I still sometimes fear being misunderstood, but I realize that most people prefer to think what they wish anyway.

Finding Self-Worth

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And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Exodus 34:6

As a spiritual counselor, I have found that even after being a Christian and confessing and forsaking all their sins, there are voids in people’s lives that they are trying to fill with other things. It usually lands them in some spiritual trouble. The enemy– Satan, can take our needs and desires and take advantage of them, using them against us.

Continue reading “Finding Self-Worth”

Wait! We’re Having a Discuss-ment (*a discussion that’s turning into an argument)

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As a Christian couple of 26 years, my husband and I have been majorly successful in keeping our emotions together and not saying inflammatory things even when we disagree.  We have truly tried to remember that we are brethern in Christ first, then lovers.  What that means is the bible, and what is says about how to treat one another should take first place in our married life.  We have learned how to disagree with one another and not start an all-out war.  We call it in our house a discuss-ment. Meaning we’re having a serious discussion that is really close to an argument because are views are so different, but we are keeping calm. Discussments do not involve yelling!    Here are some things I’ve learned about conflict with your mate (or anyone actually):

  • Listen to the other person before you speak;
  • No really, LISTEN.\
    • Often we are quiet, but only see a mouth moving in front of us.  We think about maybe the first thing they said and then, ONLY think how to defend ourselves.  Next we think about all the arrows we can throw at our mate, and not really listen to what is being said about this matter.
  • Don’t go to other people you need to confront with an accusation about them.  The situation may not be at all what you think. Simply tell them how you feel about the matter or how the matter makes YOU feel. “When you said…” or “When you did XYZ… it made me feel hurt (less than a man, attacked, angry, confused etc.”. 
  • In connection with the point above.  I’ve realized in life that a person can hurt you and still feel they’ve done nothing wrong.  Yes, even after you explain how much it hurt. There are times you can’t make the person see “you should not have said  or done that”.  So rather than remaining angry at them,  try to make them simply understand –it hurt.
  • Sometimes we approach a person hoping almost that they break down and cry with us (Ok. So take the next ship off of FANTASY ISLAND!) Most people only see things from their own perspective anyway. More often than not, that other person has not lost an ounce of sleep about what they’ve said or done.
  • Try to turn down the DEFENSE-O-METER. We all have it. Some more than others.  That thing that keeps you in defense mode, refusing to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe YOU did something wrong or at least that you may be partially at fault for the misunderstanding.
  • Don’t always assume that because someone is giving an explanation of their actions they are saying you are wrong about your point of view. This will usually cause us to turn the  DEFENSE METER way, way up.  A person’s opinion and point of view can be a very close second to talking about who they are as a person. It’s a touchy area. They may understand perfectly what you saying, but if you attack they belief system or how they perceive things you can often be begging for an ongoing battle.  Listen to people’s point of view, acknowledge it, and consider.  LEARN TO CONVERSE about points of view, not just tear them down.
  • Everyone doesn’t communicate the same. Try to learn  the other person’s mode of communication.  My sweetheart is a very emotional person.  He can get loud and not mean any harm at all.  I am not a loud person at all.    He hits high notes.  I don’t.  I use my hands a lot, he doesn’t.   I’m the stone-faced one in the relationship. He is extremely expressive facially.   He is very careful though, about his words.   I’m not so much.  I’ve learned that I can be too blunt, and I’ve learned to curb that and get the same point across without my samurai sword.

The other day, hubby did something that sent me into the anger zone.  As he was trying to explain his thought process over the phone, all I could think of was MAN, “I’M ANGRY!  It was a mistake on his part, but he proceeded to lecture me, how my initial reactions of questioning him about what had happened was not a word fitly spoken.

Now is our many years of marriage we’ve learned one another.  He could tell I was purposely saying nothing.  He says “you’re holding back aren’t you?”

“Yup”, I said.

“Okay honey, I know you’re angry about the situation, but I appreciate you not letting this escalate because I’m still trying to cope with the mistake I made”.

While he was talking, I went into La La land of prayer and asked God to help me because I wanted to say some things that I KNEW would start the zombie apocalypse.  As a Christian, you know what to do, but that old man is begging to come out and play.   I prayed while he was talking, because in my book, this was a time that listening may have been dangerous.  What was more dangerous was the storm brewing inside me.

 It was like God, blew out a candle.  I could feel the tension leaving and a peaceful feeling washed over me because God helped me in my weakness.  I simply said, “well honey, there’s nothing we can do but pray anyway

Bottom Line:  Learn to discuss problems and come to a point of conclusion in an agreeable manner.