The Paradox of Serving Others

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The best remedy I know for worry, anxiety and stress is the gift of serving others. The best cure for the tired soul is the risk of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great paradoxes of life is this: When you serve others you almost always benefit more than those you served.

Metaphors Of Our Relationship With God

God Loves You

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If you spend any time with me you will eventually hear me talk about the metaphors that God uses in scripture to explain our relationship with Him.  I am fascinated with them.  They are a beautiful picture of God’s love, care, provision and affection for us. I have been pondering the idea that God really does want and enjoy us for several years.  Take some time to look over the metaphors that I have listed below.  Ponder them, ask God questions.  If you allow them to take root they will bring a confidence as you deal with life.  The lie that most of us struggle with is that we are alone.  It is all up to us, we have no one to help us or be with us along the journey.  The metaphors of scripture will help combat or erase that lie.  Imagine how much different your life would be if you were absolutely confident that God was with you.

Here are some of the metaphors that scripture uses to describe your relationship with God.  This is a good start and guide to help you understand your relationship with God.

To Love At All Is To Be Vulnerable

Love is what we are born with

The typical response to physical or emotional pain is to self protect.  When you are hurt physically self protection is wisdom.  Emotional pain is different.  When you have been hurt emotionally with shame and rejection you have to be willing to risk to find healing.  Risk by trying to love again not self protect. Reaching for and responding with love toward your spouse, children and friends will bring health and healing.  Physical or emotional withdrawal can work in the short run but can be toxic in the long run.  Learn to risk by loving those around you again.  You have a choice.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable – C.S. Lewis

Marriage Is Not 50 / 50

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You must realize that marriage is not 50 / 50.  If you think that you just meet in the middle and he wins or she wins bitterness and keeping score will set in.  Marriage is 100 / 100.  You must be willing to go all the way to their side not just meet in the middle.  The best marriages understand that having the the heart of a servant is a key to happiness.

Philippians 2:4 MSG – Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Easter

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I love Easter and the joy of spring.  Watching the world come alive with daffodils, tulips, beautiful dogwood trees and green grass.  These all bring the hope and joy that newness can bring.  My hope and prayer is that you will enjoy and experience the wonder of new beginnings this Easter season.

Do Something

5 ways to proactively bless your spouse and family

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Every day you should begin with a vision for where you want to go.  The goal is to be proactive not reactive.  This is a common business idea – Begin with the end in mind – Stephen Covey.  Does this idea work in relationships?  Here are five small things you can do that will proactively bless your spouse and family:

Comparison

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A heart of gratitude is open, receptive, living in growth and satisfaction.  This is why exercising gratitude is associated with positive outcomes in mental and physical health.  When you get stuck in comparison you are calculating, measuring, and categorizing life and people.  Comparison makes you more narrow and rigid, inhibiting growth and good positive relationships.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 MSG

Learn to cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. and because all things have contributed to your life, you should include all things in your gratitude.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

How to Stop Obsessive Worrying

Worrying Has Become A National Pastime

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Worrying has become a national pastime. Whether you’re worrying about the upcoming election, your health, having job stability, getting a job, or making sure your kids are taken care of and getting everything they need, there’s no shortage of material for anxiety and worry.

The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America, states that anxiety disorders are the most common mental diagnosis in the United States. They cost the country $42 billion a year, and usually when you find anxiety you find depression. People with an anxiety disorder are also three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for a psychiatric illness.

For those stuck in anxiety and worry, it can almost feel tiring to be told the importance of “letting go,” “relaxing” and “unwinding.” While this advice is ultimately right, we struggle to “get there.”   Here are some ways to help:

Everyone Has A Story

Give each other patience, kindness and love

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Everyone has gone through something. They have a story. When you look at a person remember that they have gone through something that has changed them.  We are all in process.  Give each other patience, kindness and love.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears – Philippians 1:6

No Matter where you are in your story, know 2 things

  • God is with you – You are not alone.  Let that sink in.  Live in that awareness every day.
  • He will complete what He has started – God is involved in your life.  He has started something that He will complete.  It is working… Trust Him

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you – Deuteronomy 31:6

How You React

Learn To Respond Not React

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Sometimes are reaction to the mess creates an even bigger mess.  Your reaction to any event determines the level of growth that happens in you and the people you love.  Learn to respond not react.  The difference is attitude.  When you react it is from pain and fear, and that is usually what you give to others, pain and fear.  When you respond you are being proactive with the desire to give solutions, hope and love.  Learn to put a few seconds pause in and respond not react.