Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our world is full of opposites that happen at the same time:
Even though our world tries to drag us down into the darkest pit because of all the anger that rages around us, it still boils down to our perspective.
Each day we have the choice to allow the world to cause us to live in the downbeat pull of negativity and never measuring up, or we can choose to take the perspective of what is good.
So choose and don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world, as the Bible verse above says. Then God will show you what to do with your day, and it may just surprise you, when you find yourself more and more living on the upbeat. Society would want us to conform to its own perspective instead of seeing life in a more positive perspective. Preusscoachleader.com, in their article, “It’s a Matter of Perspective” talks about how perspective can change your life. We can fall into perspectives that keep us closed to possible opportunities or find opportunities that open a path we hadn’t thought about before.
Sometimes all it takes is to change your location. If you’ve lost sight of where you’re going with a project, it may help to take your laptop and move your “office” to a park bench. This may be just the change that it takes to move forward and complete the project you’re working on. But sometimes you can’t move to a new location. Try to put up some beautiful pictures around you. Then you can still gain a new perspective even though you haven’t left your office. Then when you but heads with opposites in our world, you can find focus on the positive approach instead of being sucked into the valley of conformities.
Job 29:24 – When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.
I believe what you sow, you will reap. We may be inflicted by severe emotional pain, yet we can still find ways to share some kindness with others.
For one thing, if you are grumpy, and if you aren’t nice to others, such as your family, they will get grumpy with you.
How you treat people even in those difficult, dark valley moments of your soul can influence not only the life of your friends and family, but yours as well.
How we treat others is a reflection of what’s being held in our hearts. So when someone is mean to us, we're not to be mean back. What we can do is find a reason to say "thank you" about what they've done for you in the past or you could say, "I can tell something is going on in your life that's difficult. Is there anything I can do for you?"
All it takes is to smile and say thank you, showing your gratitude to those around us and not just those who are kind.
Tinybuddha.com in their article, “4 Ways to be Kind When You Don’t Feel Like It.” The article talks about acknowledging that you should be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato. Also, horrible people usually do horrible things because they are hurting. Deep down, they already feel horrible about themselves. The article also has suggestions on how to not treat people horribly and to ask yourself why you feel the need to be mean to someone.
The smile you give to someone may be something they truly need and is precious to them as the Bible verse above says. So, exercise your face and smile more. It’ll do your body good.
Exodus 18:18 – You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you can’t handle it alone.
Getting back at it. There is much joy when we have the opportunity to get back to what we enjoy doing our hobby, gardening or our jobs after circumstances have prevented us from doing them. It could be an illness, or an injury that kept us from working.
I’ve recently gotten back to writing after almost three months of being in and out of hospitals and care facilities. It’s great to be writing again, but I’ll have to admit, it was a bit difficult jumping back into the water.
For one thing, I can’t seem to find some of the documents I’ve been working on. I have so many files with names that are close so that it’s difficult for me to find the most recent file. The computer no longer has saved files listed because I haven’t worked on things for almost three months.
But the only way to solve these problems is to write any way. It doesn’t have to be a long document. It can be just some thoughts put on paper.
Tbihealth.co.nz has an article title, “Returning to 'Normal Life' After an Injury.” The article talks about returning after an injury, but it can also apply to an extended illness. The article discusses when expectations and reality don’t match up. It also lists common misconceptions, such as when your doctor says that you can return to work but you don’t feel that you’re physically ready to do so.
Getting back at it may seem like a monstrous task. It doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to try to make it on your own. Take a look at the Bible verse above. It was written during the time when the Israelites were in the wilderness. When people had problems, they would go to Moses for help. But there were too many people and Moses’s father-in-law took note of it and told him that if he continued to do so he would wear himself out. So Moses appointed men to handle the smaller problems and only the bigger problems would go to him. We can also wear ourselves out if we aren’t mindful of how our body is feeling after we get back at it. It’s good to have things you enjoy, but even this can get out of hand if you try to do too much too quickly.
2 Samuel 22:29 – You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Depression is like a dark bag placed over your head. It causes darkness to encircle your world. You know the light is out there, but you can only see things in shadows.
The bag is scratchy and irritates your forehead and eyes. It weighs heavily upon your head and causes your face to bow down toward the ground. You try to take off the sack before you start your day, but there’s no way to grab the ends or slide it off your face.
What’s worse is stepping out your door and going to work. As you drive along, the glow from the sun is stunted. Each traffic light you come upon is always red making you have to stop.
You stumble around in your day, because you can’t fully get into your work. It’s hard to do such a thing with a bag over your head making your computer display a hard thing to see clearly.
Your boss walks by your desk, takes a quick glance at you, and then asks you why you haven’t finished the report that was supposed to be on his desk hours ago? You try to give reasons why it’s not done, but your boss doesn’t care. He leaves and once again you try with all your might to pull that bag off your head.
Somehow you make it through your day and stumble home. You throw the files you’re supposed to work on at home tonight on the couch and head towards your bedroom. All you want to do is sleep.
But then you think about your family who are waiting patiently for you to join them for dinner. You don’t want to. So you head for your bedroom. They must understand; it would take so much energy to eat. And the bag over your head would make it impossible to eat and you wouldn’t want your family to see what a failure you are. It’s easier to climb back into bed.
The darkness of depression is hard to shake. It doesn’t just exist on the outside but pushes its way into every chamber of your heart. Tonyrobbins.com, in their article, “How to Deal With Depression,” has some ideas on how to get out from under depression’s hold on your life. One idea is to, “Change your physiology. Being mindful of your body and making adjustments to how you carry yourself can be key to getting out of depression. It can be as simple as lifting your chest.” Another is to, “Change your words. Your words matter – both the words you say out loud and the way you speak to yourself internally.”
When darkness encircles your world, remember that you can lay your burdens down at Christ’s feet. Trust that God sees depression’s bag over your head. He will lift it off and give you back your strength when yours is gone. God can be your lamp and turn your darkness into light.
Romans 13:7 - Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Sometimes when we are ridiculed and criticized by others it can dig a hole deep in our hearts which causes pain. But as hard as this may be to hear, we’ve taught people how to treat us whether with respect or criticism.
If you are an aggressive person, then you push people around to get your way. You yell. You stomp your feet. You pretty much act like a two-year-old who’s being blocked from getting his way.
Does this describe you? Then it’s time to grow up. People may appear to respect the one who is a bully, even at fifty years old, but they keep their thoughts to themselves for fear of the consequences.
If you are a passive aggressive person, then you also try to push people around in order to get your way, but you do it by way of manipulation. You pout. You give people the “silent” treatment. You speak with a wine in your voice. You feel sorry for yourself. And, you’re still acting like a two-year-old.
Does this describe you? Then, yes, it’s also time for you to grow up. Nobody even tries to hide that they have no respect for a passive aggressive individual. And, it makes for a life with few friends.
If you are an assertive person, you don’t have to bully or manipulate people to do what you want. That’s because people are willing to help you even before you ask. They see how you treat others with respect. They see how you are willing to see both sides of a story and are open to receive advice.
You can see how each personality type teaches those around them how to treat them. This is not to place guilt on you, but to help you open up your thoughts to see that you might be at least partly responsible for the grief you receive from others.
Let’s correct that problem. Today, begin treating yourself with respect.
Here are a few more ideas on how to begin to respect yourself on thehopeline.com in their article, “How to Respect Yourself More.” Here’s a good one, “Don’t let other people’s opinions about you control you.” If you’re an approval addict this may be hard to do, but you, “must break free from the grip of others.” Another suggestion is, “Don’t let anybody force you to be or do anything you don’t want to do or be, simply to gain their approval or friendship.”
I believe that if you start treating yourself with respect others will soon travel in that direction, too. You can retrain others to believe in the gifts and talents that you have to offer. And just as the Bible verse says above, God also wants us to not only give respect to others, but to ourselves.
1 Kings 19:3, 4 – Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
You sit alone in your living room.The blinds are shut as if you could shut out life. And rolling around in your head is the last conversation you had with your son.
It hadn’t gone well, and he had hung up on you.
You start to cry. Then your cry turns even deeper and from your lips escapes, “Woe is me!”
The more you think about your life, the stronger the cry from your heart. But if you’re really honest with yourself, you are simply feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve had disagreements with your son before. You just need to give him some time.
Yet still you feel it’s not fair he treated you this way. On and on you rationize that you hadn’t done anything wrong. And from somewhere down the line the train of self-pity is coming to pick you up.
But does it help you to feel sorry for yourself? Is it going to make you feel better? In most cases no.
Self-pity is a choice to simply feel sorry for yourself and to wallow in it. The more you wallow in the mud, the harder it is to come out of it. You must grab a hose and wash the mud off of you. As you do, you’ll feel the weight of self-pity lift off.
Let’s find some ways to stop thinking, “Woe is me.” Psychologytoday.com in their article, “9 Ways to Get Past Self-Pity,” gives us some clues to help us wash off self-pity. One way to do so is to “reserve your resources for productive activities.” “Every minute you dwell on self-pity is 60 seconds you delay working on a solution to your problems.” Another one is, “They refuse to complain.” “Venting to other people about the magnitude of your problems fuels feelings of self-pity.”
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Elijah was a great prophet in Bible times. He had just watched God win a victory and perform a miracle, yet when someone threatened to kill him, he ran. He was in the middle of self-pity and said in affect that he was done. But God didn’t take Elijah’s life for feeling this way. He fed and cared for him and helped him wash that pity away. God will lift you out of self-pity too. You just need to turn towards him and believe things will get better.
Proverbs 29:11 - A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Anger can turn ugly fast when you’re in situations you have no control over.
Anger in itself isn’t bad. The trick is to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.
When you go beyond your thoughts, and begin to take your anger out on others, you know you’re in trouble. Everyone is different in what will make them feel extreme anger. So it’s important to be a student of your body and mind and watch what triggers your anger. This way, you have a chance of diffusing your anger before you come in contact with someone else who may push your anger button. You may have a valid reason for being angry, but be careful.
How do you stop your anger before it gets out of control? Gizmodo.com in their article, “How to Prevent Your Anger From Spiraling Out of Control,” suggests to, “remind yourself that anger on its own (it’s just an emotion, after all) is not the solution to the problem or situation, and in fact it may make things worse.” Also, using some humor could help. “Humor can be a powerful tool to diffuse a stressful or annoying situation, and it can do wonders in alleviating negative feelings in our own minds.”
Remember, God is always ready to talk to you. He’s safe to explain your situation to and diffuse that anger. He will bring you comfort and guide your mind back into the safe harbor of peace and help you avoid pushing the anger button.
Romans 15:5 – May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.
Disappointment. It’s here again.
It may hurt when disappointment greets us at the door, but it doesn’t have to permanently live with us. It’s all about attitude.
When we ask someone to do something for us and they back out or say “no”, we can let it simmer underneath the surface. We may act like it doesn’t bother us. Many times though, disappointment builds. However, we must examine the other person’s situation:
Don’t close that person out of your life. Life is full of two sides. We’ve all experienced both needing help and being ready to help. Let’s take a look at this:
When someone needs help it can be confusing to know how to help. This in turn can lead to disappointment. Kristineinbetween.com in their article, “How to Deal When Friends Disappoint You,” has some thoughts on the subject. They suggest that disappointments are often a result of not having your expectations met. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings when you’re disappointed, and speak your mind with grace. Tell them exactly how the disappointment affected you and why you feel the way you do.
Here’s another thought: We must remember to take a look at the situation from all sides. If we don’t, disappointment will begin to eat away at our heart and our relationships with other people. It may help to ask the friend who can’t help you if they know someone who might be able to. Getting someone new’s help may open the door to a new friendship. So keep that attitude in check.
Remember to keep in mind the attitude that Jesus had. He was willing to lay down his life for his friends. We may not be asked to lay down our life, but we may be asked to lay down our disappointments, and be thankful instead. God will indeed give you the endurance to live your life as one who forgives others when they let them down, and help you lend a hand to someone else.
Proverbs 15:13 - A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Do you allow yourself to be happy or do you blame yourself for all that’s wrong in your life?
I was stuck for years in the muck and mire of blaming myself for everything wrong in my life.
I think you can see the pattern that my life followed: I was treated like I couldn’t make decisions on my own and that I was a failure, so I guess I was. I didn’t see that I could have made other choices. Choices I wanted to make.
And what did I want? Happiness.
However, I felt that I might as well expect the worst, because I didn’t deserve to be happy. But that was a lie others told me and one I told myself.
Psychologytoday.com posts some helpful tips on how to deal with unhappiness in their article, “When You Feel You Don’t Deserve to be Happy.” One way that may be causing you to feel you don’t deserve happiness is to have a critical self-image. Those who are perfectionists and hard-driven are constantly critical of themselves and are stuck at the bottom of a well with little or no way to get out. Also, it may be that you feel guilty if you’re happy. When your unhappiness has become your new normal, your view of yourself and what you present to others, can feel unsettling and confusing.
I felt guilty and stuck for a lot of years. However, I had a few friends scattered throughout my life that wanted me to be happy. They wanted good things for me, and strength for the heartaches I’d endured. They also were the ones who offered me a smile and their friendship.
No one can earn that kind of happiness. Money won’t last. You won’t be healthy forever. People will walk out of your life. Sometimes there are floods and sometimes there are droughts.
If you base your life on believing the sun will never shine, you will fail to lift up your eyes and see the rainbow that is over your clouds. God sees our heartaches and wants us to find happiness in him and in the many ways he has blessed us. Know this, no matter how bad it gets the sun will rise tomorrow. So smile, and don’t be afraid to be happy.
Psalm 73:26 - My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
We all make mistakes from time-to-time, so why is it so difficult to admit when we’ve blown it and then move on?
I think people with type “A” personalities have a hard time when they make a mistake because they need to do everything perfectly.
But what they don’t truly grasp is that by pretending to be right all of the time, it pushes other people away.
It’s great to strive to do a good job, but we can’t always do that whether we’re a type “A” personality or not.
> Sometimes we need a little help.
> Sometimes we’ve taken on too big of a job for one person.
> Sometimes, we set ourselves up for failure by trying to not only do the job perfectly, but in record time.
A lot of time, the type “A” personality is under a great deal of pressure. They have a reputation to uphold, but that’s not the only reason. They may have parents who expect them to obtain to a certain standard. After all, when the parents were younger they were able to handle the pressure and reach success. Type “A” has to reach it, or they fear their parents won’t love them.
And let’s not forget that holding yourself to a high standard doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as type “A” doesn’t think that they’re better than everyone else, and they’re willing to ask for help when they need it. True success isn’t a one man show. It takes a collection of people working towards a goal.
Whether we have a type “A” personality or someone else we know has one, how can we help them avoid failing and get a better shot at reaching their goals? Take a look at the article, “How to Set and Achieve Goals Based on Your Personality Type,” on fastcompany.com. One of their thoughts is finding and commiting to a goal isn’t the problem. It’s reining them in to ensure that what they’ve chosen is reasonable. Also, they have trouble letting go of a goal when it’s a bad fit, they let one goal take over their lives until it hurts others.
Also remember, you always have someone who can strengthen you if you fail and will be with you through success or failure. God will always be your strength.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.