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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Which Story are You Living in?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 @ 5:11 PM

Vector Ministries

Have you ever been in a conversation where someone completely misjudged you?

Over the last few years I have had a few very challenging situations where somebody I respected misinterpreted my actions, and my heart behind them. Surprisingly, they got all the facts of the situation right but somehow came to a very different conclusion about what those facts meant.
Even though they viewed the same events, they somehow managed to tell themselves a very different story about what it all meant. And, it hurt our relationship.

In the end it was the story they believed, not the actual events that happened, that damaged our relationship.
It made me wonder, how often we do this to God?
When God looks at our lives, He certainly sees the same things we do. But, how might the story He is telling be different than the one we believe about our lives?

Everybody has a story. Our life story shapes and perhaps even defines our lives.

But, what kind of story is it that you are living in?

The kind of story that we tell ourselves will determine how we live our lives. In many cases, the stories we tell ourselves will be a matter of life and death.

When we examine our lives, when we reminisce and look back over the whole beautiful mess of sorrow and joy, beauty and ashes, what story do we see? The facts of our lives remain the same but the relevance and meaning take on epically different dimensions when we discern the story that God is telling.

Likewise, other voices want to shape our story. Other voices, who do not have our best interests at heart, spin the facts of our lives in favor of the half-truth version of our story that brings us only pain and death.

Is your story about the traumas and challenges you have faced? Is your story about heartache and disappointment? Is your story about how you became a realist and are just trying to get by? I hear these kinds of stories a lot. In fact, I have lived under the weight of these kinds of stories.

But I have a better story to live in today and so do you.

Frederic Buechner said, “Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.”
No matter what terrible trials we face in life, we look forward, clinging to the promise that God will make all things right.

For us Christians, our story always has a happy ending, for even in death we are victorious!
The story we choose to live out of today will determine the kind of day we have. And, in turn, the story we tell ourselves will determine the kind of life we have.

Some facts about our lives cannot be changed. Some tragedies are real. Yet, often we are in dire need of a redemptive reframing of the narrative we tell ourselves. Too often, we blame God for not sparing us from the challenges we have faced when truly we should be blaming evil for coming against us—for attacking us. We should place the blame of our pain, trauma and grief squarely where it belongs; on the evil of a fallen world.

Is your story one where God failed to protect you from harm? Or, is your story one where God gave the strength to overcome the evil that came against you?

I have grown too tired of living out the story of a victim. Instead, I choose to live from a victorious story where, by God's grace, I am an overcomer.

I choose to live my life from the real story, the one where God has pursued me, He is for me, He will continue to lift me higher and higher, and not abandon me to fall. Jesus is the hero of my story and he always comes through!

The story I tell myself makes all the difference in my life.

Are you living out of a great story where our great God is actively pursuing a deeper relationship with you? Or are you living from a story where everything in life is really up to you to figure out and do all on your own?

The story you tell yourself makes all the difference in your life.

I see clients all the time who have legitimate pain because they have experienced real tragedy and loss. Life in this fallen world can be savage and brutal. Yet, what often happens is their pain becomes amplified when they buy into a false narrative.

God has a story too.

God is the author of the greatest story ever imagined!

It is a story so big that everything that ever was or ever will be is a part of His Grand Narrative.

But, is that the story that you are living in today?

I confess that most of the time the story that I live out of is… well… much smaller. Smaller and more centered on myself.

But my faith demands that I admit that I, myself, am not meant to be the focus of my own thoughts, much less the author of my own story.

I am not the primary hero of my story. My story involves a greater Hero than I could ever be.

When I get caught up in the small story—the one where I am the focus—it begins to wreak havoc on me. Small annoyances begin to pile up and form serious grievances. Challenges seem to abound that get in the way of accomplishing my goals.

And, I will tell you another thing: it is much harder to forgive people who offend you when you are the focus of your own story. Worst of all, when I am living in the small story, I tend to blame God when things don’t go my way.

Living in the small story is no small thing—it begins to bring death.

It’s too much pressure to be the center of your own story.

I ache for purpose. I think we all do. I think we all ache to know that our story is a part of a greater story.

The Good News is that it is! Your life is a part of the Grand Narrative that God is telling. You have a part in that amazing story.

No one was ever destined for eternal mediocrity.

No, your live has an integral place in this great and never-ending story that God is unfolding.

Will you live from that story today?

I want to see each of us—each one of God’s people—make the choice to live out of a larger story. And, to interpret our story in light of the goodness of our God who promises to never leave us.

This is why gratitude is so essential to our lives.

Gratitude forces us to look back at the facts of our lives and recognize the hand of God in them. Practicing gratitude and thanksgiving shapes the story that we tell ourselves.

Gratitude is an essential practice. Perhaps it is the greatest spiritual discipline.

It certainly has the power to impact everything in our life because it impacts our mood and it shapes our understanding of the story we are in. And, in turn, the story we tell ourselves impacts how we experience everything that happens in life.

We must become a grateful people. We must deliberately cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Living under the weight of a false narrative will rob our joy and kill our connection with God.

So, what story do you choose to live in today?

Turning Transition Into Triumph

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 @ 2:37 PM

Jeannine Gambles, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate offers support and resources for parents and teens during crucial times of the family life cycle with an emphasis on the adolescent in the family. Parents come to one session, teens come to another. Each week has the same focus to encourage discussion within the family.

Email, call or schedule your intake session online today to reserve your spot.

Session 1
Communication
Session 2
Technology and Triggers
Session 3
Peers and Partners
Session 4
Sports and Family
Session 5
Religion and Rebellion: Balance
Session 6
The Whole Family

When

Beginning October 14th, Each Tuesday 6-7 PM Parents
October 19th, Each Saturday 10-11 AM Teens

Where

Acorn Counseling Education Services
1430 Robinson Rd #430 Corinth, Texas

Specifics

*$30.00 per group *Snacks provided *Certificates provided *Guest Speakers

How to Sign Up

Contact Jeannine Gambles at Jeannine@acorncounseling.services. Each family will have an intake and then be able to attend the very next group. Online scheduling for intakes is also available at acorncounseling.services.

acorncounseling.services
1430 Robinson Road #430 Corinth, Texas 76210
940-222-8703 | 940-239-9867 fax
.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Walking On Water: Eight Questions For Leadership And Life

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 @ 4:47 PM

What can we learn about adversity and risk taking in leadership and life with this passage from Matthew 14:24 - 33? Research indicates the winds blew down the valley that formed the Sea of Galilee at a pretty good clip. It's very possible all 12 of the disciples got into a rather small fishing boat with a sail rig and were trying to tack back and forth against a strong wind and rough sea. Write down answers to the relevant questions that speak to your leadership and life.

1. 24 “”But the boat was already a long distance from the land”,

Where in leadership and or life are you a long distance from land? Where in life does it seem you are far away from a solution?

2.“[n]battered by the waves;

Where are you being battered by waves? What's knocking you back? Or battering you?

3. for the wind was [o]contrary.

What is contrary in your work or home life? What does your opposition look like?

4. In the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea (this was the latest night watch)

Where does it seem late in your work or home life? Too late? Where does seem too late on a project or with a person? Where are you tired?

5. They were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out [q]in fear

Where might you be mistaking God a for a ghost? What problem are you seeing as an opportunity or as a defeat?

6. Jesus said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

The dark and narrow passageway: Can you recognize a comforting voice in the dark and confusion?

7. Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!”

Where is it possible that God is asking you to come forward? Where might risk -taking be worth it? Can you invite others along?

8. And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Where or how do you get distracted from God and what he has called you to? Are you majoring in the minors? Are you leading by fear or by faith?

Getting someone along side you to help you take calculated risks and walk by faith can help you grow at home, church and work.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Hope in Unhappiness

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 @ 2:27 PM

When you hit a bump in the road, you may feel a bit jostled, but most of the time you can probably recover quite easily and quickly. However most couples will reach a point in their marriage when it doesn’t feel like their relationship has hit a minor bump; it feels like a major pothole. If you’ve ever felt stuck in your marriage, or if you’re feeling that way right now, you are not alone. While there are lots of reasons why couples feel dissatisfied, no marriage is always happy. The encouraging part is that potholes can be filled.

You have more than just two choices: stay in a miserable marriage or get divorced. The idea of a third option can be so freeing! We love to talk about being intentional at Marriage Reclaimed, and a situation in which one or both spouses are feeling stuck in the relationship is no exception. Marriage is no passive or zero-sum endeavor. Your actions, or inactions, will affect the outcome of your relationship – and the beauty in this is that change is possible!

At this point, you may be thinking – yes, but she doesn’t know what we’ve been through. And you’re right – I don’t. What I do know is that if we do nothing, we are choosing option 1 (stay in miserable marriage) perhaps without even knowing it, or realizing that we have a choice in the matter. What follows are some foundational ideas for taking a step forward, being intentional, and making a choice to – if I can borrow from Ghandi here – be the change you wish to see in your marriage.

1. Do some self-reflection
Explore the root of your unhappiness. Are there mental health issues at play? Are you still dealing with baggage from your past, or your partner’s? Are you experiencing stress from your current circumstances or worry about the future? Do you have a lack of spiritual or emotional connection with your spouse? Further, consider your expectations and desires – and whether they are realistic. After all, often it is not what life offers, but what we believe that life should offer us that circumvents our happiness.

2. Exercise humility
It’s easy to say to ourselves, “I’ll change when he/she changes.” But if we continue to rely on someone else to start the change process, it’s more than likely that change simply will not happen. We must take some personal responsibility for our part in the state of our marriages. Regardless of what our spouses may have done, we cannot continue to blame them for being the problem and at the same time expect them to be the solution to our misery. Further, we must notice the positives and love unconditionally. We all said vows which, in one way or another, stated “for better or for worse.” So if you’re experiencing the latter, love through it. In doing so, you will begin to create a culture in which your spouse wants to change.

3. Start the conversation
This is possibly one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have with your spouse, but it is important during this time of doubt to be genuine and to share honestly. There is too much at stake here to hide behind fear or embarrassment or apathy. Finally, know that you are not alone and that you’ll need support to get “unstuck.” Whether this comes in the form of a wise mentor or a clinical therapist, my encouragement to you is to take this action sooner rather than later.

For more information and/or support, check out these resources or visit our website for services that we offer to couples at our practice:

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/marriage-challenges/the-unhappy-marriage

www.wynnsfamilypsychology.com 

https://marriagereclaimedwfp.wixsite.com/marriagereclaimed