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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

Friday, August 30, 2019

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing!

Friday, August 30, 2019 @ 6:07 PM

Summer is coming to an end and the new fall routines are starting. Now is the time to reflect on Main Things. These can be different depending on your family culture and values. Remember, don’t let the small stuff elevate to Main Things status. In families, as in the corporate world, you have to be aware of “scope creep”. This happens when things grow bigger and bigger and get more complicated until you lose sight of the original Main Things! For example, early in my married life the small thing of folding towels got elevated to Main Thing Status. Really?! I lost sight of the real Main Thing which was the towels were “folded” and put away by my husband so I didn’t have to do it. The Main Things were Kindness and Acts of Service. I had to let go of “my way of folding” and practice flexible thinking. To this day, we still don’t fold towels the same way…

For me and my family, the three Main Things are God, Family, and Service to others.
God

God

Whether we recognize God’s presence or not, He is around us. The work I do just can’t get done without focusing on this big Main Thing. I realize I am uniquely gifted with talents and learned skills to work with children, couples, and families.To maintain a balance, I keep my “spiritual cup” filled. I intentionally spending time reading, being still to reflect on blessings and being grateful for lessons I’m learning. This last one is particularly difficult for me. There are lessons to be learned when I mess up and I work hard on self-compassion and keeping things in perspective. Not everything is a crisis. I remind myself that my God still loves me despite the mistake. Do I like suffering the consequences of a mistake- NO! I do try to correct and do better next time- YES!

Read more on our blog page or call Dr Pam today! 940-222-8703

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Breakaway Couples Mini-Retreat

Monday, August 12, 2019 @ 12:40 PM

Have you found yourself experiencing an uncomfortable distance in your relationship? Many couples are often unsure of how to approach the situation with their partner and avoid further conflict or possible harm to the relationship. I can help you and your partner learn how to talk to each other, and both of you feel heard and understood. You will understand and develop a deeper appreciation for your partner.

During this all-day retreat, you will learn ways to
communicate more effectively,
build a stronger relationship, &
create an ever-evolving supply of intimacy

Retreat Date:
September 21, 2019
November 16, 2019
January 25, 2020
To learn more and register, visit my website!
https://www.rosalindsmithcounseling.com/mini-retreat

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Managing for Future Generations:The 10 Levers Needed To Steer A Family Business

Wednesday, August 07, 2019 @ 2:50 AM

King Solomon talks about the importance of leaving an inheritance for our children but remember that interference can mean so much more than money.

1. Shared Vision & Values: Regarding strategy, relationships, work ethic, money, and success

2. Shared Influence: Across generations, among spouses, and among siblings/cousins and geared to individual capabilities

3. Valued Traditions: That are characteristic of this family and set it apart from other families

4. Receptivity to Learning and Growing: Being open to new perspectives and new approaches; embodies a critical orientation that underlies mastering change and overcoming obstacles

5. Investment in Relationship Enhancement: The most robust families have traditions and mechanisms they use to play together and enjoy one another; these accumulated playful experiences serve as a buffer during difficult times

6. Demonstrative Caring: Open demonstrations of empathy for family members during good times and bad; making the clear statement, ”You are important to me.”

7. Mutual Admiration: Earned by building trust, based on a track record of being consistently accountable and true to your word.

8. Being There: Especially at times of grief, failure, or embarrassment; how a family interacts with a distressed family member is highly correlated with long-term family harmony and business success

9. Maintaining Space: Respect for individual privacy and for the privacy of each family unit within the extended family constellation

10. Circumscribed/Managed Conflicts: Feuding members all too frequently bring in ”reinforcements”. The family needs to know how to prevent members, who are tangential to a given conflict, out of the middle and then address the conflict with finesse.

How are you going to make sure that the heart of your original legacy is passed on to the next generation? How do you want to set them up for success? Pulling together this group of positive interventions with outside help can make so much of an important difference. Reaching out beyond the family can give you the leverage to steer all of you in the best direction.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

The 10 Upsides of Family-Owned Businesses

Thursday, August 01, 2019 @ 3:57 PM

Creating, building, and sustaining a family business is not only a fundamental American dream (over 20 million family businesses in the U.S.– 92% of all U.S. businesses), but is also a powerful dream in most other modern capitalist economies (for example, over 75% of all U.K. businesses are family owned). The benefits of family businesses are manifold, genuine, and in many cases psychologically profound. Remember, though as you read this, that Solomon tells us, "It is better to have a friend that is near than a brother that is far away" which means in families and business it's important to have relationships that are from the heart and not just based on role-obligation or expectation.

Consider WIIFF (What's in it for the family). A family business:

1. Creates a heritage for the family and serves as a medium for perpetuating a family's history, traditions, pride, and core values and belief

2. Serves as a powerful testimonial to the success and potency of a family

3. Provides the ultimate career and financial safety net one’s children and grandchildren

4. Offers participating family members greater independence and control of their fate than a more traditional career path

5. Establishes a very special glue (a bonding material, as it were) that can hold a family together around a common set of interests, activities, challenges, opportunities, threats, milestones, relationships, and daily schedules

6. Demonstrates to an entire community (and various sub-communities) that this is a family to be admired and respected

7. Makes it more certain that individual family members will have the fullest opportunities as adults to “stretch“ developmentally and to self-actualize

8. Improves the chances that family members will be able to involve themselves in meaningful philanthropic activities and become pillars of their communities

9. Makes it more likely that financial advantages, non-trivial net worth (a.k.a. wealth), and “security“ will accrue to the family

10. Provides greater stability and welfare for its employees and for the community in which it operates
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Spiritual Leadership in the Home

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 @ 1:33 PM

Marriage Center

In my practice, I hear wives talk about how desperately they want their husbands to lead. This desire usually comes as a result of having witnessed their dad or other significant male figure modeling spiritual leadership in the home and/or learning perhaps in church that being a spiritual leader is predominantly the role of the man. But wives aren’t the only ones who want their husbands to lead spiritually, husbands want it too. So what seems to be the problem?

Communication Do's and Don'ts

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 @ 1:27 PM

Marriage Center

If it seems that you and your spouse have grown apart or are struggling to connect, the problem may be rooted in your communication styles. It goes without saying that conflict is inevitable in marriage, but how you handle conflict can either strengthen or weaken your relationship.

There are certain styles of communicating that will make it extremely difficult for your relationship to thrive and can lead to the eventual destruction of your marriage. Why? Because communication is the key to building and maintaining relationships. When communication is mishandled, every area of your relationship is negatively impacted.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Eight Ideas About Grieving Well In Leadership

Thursday, July 11, 2019 @ 10:13 PM

Loss in leadership is inevitable. Certainly leadership is about gain in so many ways which is why we forget sometimes that it is commonplace for us to have loss in leadership.

What do we lose in leadership? You might be surprised about some of the things that we lose along the way.

1. As John Maxwell says few of us end up with people that we started off with. It is normal and perfectly healthy for us to lose people along the way. Not in the bad sense but because people move on, change careers, move on with their life perhaps to a different area and even get promoted to a different area in the same company or organization.

2. Even if we have members of the same original team sometimes the loss of certain key people may make your team a very different one. There are times when the same team will be given a new assignment or purpose that wasn't the same as the old one and everybody feels loss at the same time.

3. There are also times when you make mistakes or have failures or members of your team or group blow it and you have to deal with the losses that come from that. Maybe even as part of that your sense of ideal around the other person or persons has been hurt.

4. Loss is connected to hurt and anger. It can be all kinds of things like losing a chance or losing an ideal. Maybe somehow you've lost some sort of value or values. Perhaps you or your team have lost motivation at least for a season.

5. Unmet expectations, disappointments and a loss of purpose can help us feel frustrated as leaders but also can cause hurt and grief. The loss of opportunity can be a big issue. Not recognizing these can cause dissonance in our leadership.

6. Of course when you have to let somebody go you can grieve even if it's a mutual agreement for them to leave. The whole process of letting somebody go can be a huge loss too. Your loss feelings might be mixed in with your confusion and your anxiety around conflict.

7. In order to deal with grief as a leader first understand that loss is part of the role. Next make sure you express your feelings to God, others and even yourself. Scripture tells us to "Grieve with those who grieve and rejoice with those who rejoice." Be willing to share. Writing out what comes up can also be very helpful as well as writing out a letter to someone you lost as if they were far, far away. Only send the letter if it is wise to do so.

8. Writing out your ideal if the situation warrants that can also be helpful. For example, writing out how a sales project or team building experience was expected to go after a failure or mission creep makes the whole thing go sideways can be very helpful.

Debriefing and a “post-mortem” with a coach can do much to clarify and reset things. Resolving the grief feelings and renewing a sense of purpose can be very helpful.

Monday, July 08, 2019

You Can't Please Everyone

Monday, July 08, 2019 @ 6:59 PM

A big struggle in life for some people is being a "people pleaser".  I know, I am one.  I try to please people, I do it because I want people to like me.  Now, I have come a long way in this and I have learned my lesson (many times) when I get caught in the trap.  But I have had to learn that being a people pleaser is both bad for others and harmful to me.  Do you struggle with being a "people pleaser"? 
Here are a few quotes I found helpful on this topic:

“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”  – Ed Sheeran

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself.”  – Paulo Coehlo

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”  – Lao Tzu

“If you try to please all, you please none.”  – Aesop

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”  – Aristotle

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” – Lecrae

“The only thing wrong with trying to please everyone is that there’s always at least one person who will remain unhappy. You.”  – Elizabeth Parker

“A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dreams, or your dignity.”  – Dinkar Kalotra

Your Turn:

Do you have any thoughts or quotes about the harmful effects of being a "People Pleaser"?  In 100 words or less please send me your ideas to terry.porter@healthfio.com.  Please remember to like and share this post and follow terry-porter.com/blog.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

3 beliefs that block us from hearing God

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:42 PM

Vector Ministries

God is still speaking to His people.

His communication with us is not simply a thing of the past, a relic of a bygone era.

In fact, God speaks to us all the time.

I work to help people discover more of His presence and power in their lives. That includes learning to hear God speak and discerning how to respond to His leading.

In my time working with people, I have found 3 very common beliefs that block people from hearing what God is speaking to them. I want to share these common misconceptions so that together we can break through the barriers they bring.

The 3 Beliefs That Block Us From Hearing God:

1. The belief that God is not speaking.

Many Christians believe that God only spoke prior to the writing of Scripture. Many others, who believe that God occasionally still speaks assume that they are not spiritual enough to hear Him or that He does not have anything to say to them.

Yet, I find that God is regularly speaking. In fact, sometimes He is quite chatty and He has plenty to say to anyone who wants to take the time to actually listen.

Scripture gives us no indication that God has stopped speaking to His people. In fact, it says the opposite. When Paul said to the Corinthians to eagerly pursue the gift of prophecy he was telling them that it is indeed possible to receive revelation from God that they could each share with the community (1 Corinthians 14:1). In other words, Paul told the entire Corinthian church—who were not known for their stellar spiritual maturity—that each of them could hear from God.

Throughout the history of the Church there are countless stories of men and women of faith that have had incredible encounters with God. Such accounts are given to us to show what is possible.

The same is true for the cases we find in Scripture. Examples of God interacting with His people in the Bible illustrate how ordinary people can have extraordinary experiences with the divine. The stories in Scripture are meant to instruct on what is possible when we walk with God.

2. The assumption that God speaks audibly from outside us

Truthfully, God 'speaks' in a variety of ways, but very seldom audibly. Most of what He communicates to us privately comes from the still small voice within. Since His spirit now resides in us, His voice will almost always come to us from within (as opposed to without). Yet, we often ignore His voice.

If we dismiss our own internal dialogue, we will dismiss the chief way God has designated to commune with us. His voice is often softer, slower and gentler than the world around us. Life in modern society is fast-paced, invasive and loud. So, we have to intentionally cultivate an inner quiet that allows us to be present to ourselves and aware of God’s Holy Spirit speaking.

God honors our freedom to choose, so He rarely speaks loud enough to command us to do something. He seems to reserve that kind of interaction only for the times we are headed for serious trouble.

Instead, His leadings tend to be more gentle prompts, reminders, a series of “coincidences”, feelings and even physical sensations. Sometimes He will bring a verse from Scripture to mind or give us a certain word or phrase. Often, He will give us a certain gut feeling that we can use to discern the situation around us.

Many people have much more mystical and charismatic encounters. But, even if you have not experienced that kind of thing, you can be sure that God has already been speaking to you in a variety of ways.

3. The lie that God is unkind.

Most Christians would profess that God is a loving God. Yet, when it comes down to it, they have failed to really internalize that truth.

Because of that, many people carry the assumption that God is really displeased with them and their choices. They feel that He is disappointed with our sinfulness and really wishes that we would get it together.

Truthfully, God is not as focused (obsessed really) with sin as we are. He has already made provision for it to be paid for upon the cross.

He already knows who and what we are. And, He has chosen to redeem us and set up shop within us anyway. He is under no illusions as to what we have done or what we are capable of. Despite our frailty, He is still pleased with us.

Scripture says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Therefore, any and all words, thoughts or ideas that make us feel bad, shamed or dirty DO NOT come from Him.

In fact, His voice tends to be the exact opposite. He is generally encouraging, uplifting and empowering. He is the warmest, friendliest and most fun Being that has ever or will ever exist! Even when He does convict us of sin He does so in such a way that shows us that we are capable of so much more.

This is relevant because I regularly find that people dismiss communication from God because it sounds too affirming, too encouraging, too friendly, too imaginative, too hopeful and too playful. His words are much more full of life than they are accustomed to. Their own negative self-talk and condemning attitudes tend to convince them that God must share in their abasing self-perceptions and therefore the 'nice' words they hear from Him must be a product of their own wishful thinking.

Now, not every pleasant thought that passes through our heads comes from God. However, it would not hurt any of us to believe that God is more kind and encouraging than anyone we have ever known.

Conclusion

Truly, we all need to examine our thought-life and take our thoughts captive to the love of Christ. Our minds need to be renewed to the truth of His goodness and acceptance of us.

This is truly what it means to have a relationship with Christ—to recognize that we are indeed one of His sheep that hear His voice and to live in constant conversation with Him.

So, here are 3 Great Truths:

1. God is still speaking to us.

2. He speaks in ways that we are meant to understand.

3. His messages to us are encouraging and full of life. When we live from these truths, we will experience a new freedom and exuberance in life.

Help to Hear His Voice:

I have put together some great resources to help you begin to hear God’s voice and to grow in your relational conversations with Him. The AGAPE prayer (https://www.VectorMinistries/resources) is a good place to begin and Spiritual Reading is a great tool for connecting to God’s communication through Scripture.

Be sure to check out the resources page and let me know how they are working out for you.

Blessings!
Patrick

God Likes You!

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:38 PM

Vector Ministries

God likes you.

No, really. He actually really likes... you.

Take a moment and let the words sink in: God likes you. He really does.

Most Christians are accustomed to saying that “God loves us.” It seems that John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” is the most widely recognized verse of them all. We all seem to know it.

Yet, it seems that very few believers actually internalize the truth of it to the point they understand that God not only loves them, but He actually likes them too!

Though many of us know John 3:16, I find that not many of us are familiar with the next verse: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).” God is pleased with everything that He has made—including each one of us. When He made the earth and everything in it, He saw all of creation as being “good” (Genesis 1:1-24). God did not give up on creation, including each one of us, after the fall.

Often people find it hard to believe that God likes them.

Many of us feel embarrassed or even ashamed in His presence. Often we import experiences with our earthly fathers onto God and assume that our Heavenly Father behaves the same way. It may be difficult to believe that God actually likes us, but it is a journey that each one of our hearts needs to take.

The fact is that God likes each one of us so much that He aches to be with us.

Scripture says that Jesus endured the suffering of the cross for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). The joy he was after was the reconciliation and reunion of his people—his friends. Jesus was clear, he considers us his friends (John 15:5). And, so was Father God; He calls us co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), which means that we are brothers and sisters to Jesus. He is our big brother, the firstborn of the redeemed children of God (Romans 8:29).

Christ did not suffer because he felt obliged to put up with us for all eternity. No! He suffered because he could not stand to live forever without us. He died to be with us.

The whole work of God is the reclamation of His creation, including the restoration of His people.

Everything He does is because He wants to be near us. This is what it means that He is a jealous God; He wants a relationship with us. Have you ever pondered over this? God so desires a relationship with us that He burns with jealousy when we devote ourselves to other idols. He so desires our affection that His heart is wounded without it. Christ wanted to be a reconciled family with us that he was willing to suffer and die in order to achieve it.

Why? Well, it seems pretty easy to say that it is because God loves us. But, really, does that explain it? The word love is so convoluted in our culture that sometimes it loses its meaning. I certainly think that in the church it is easy to lose sight of what God’s love for us really means.

Truly, what it means is that God likes us: He likes who we are, He enjoys spending time with us, He likes talking with us, He values our input and listens to our prayers, He plans good out ahead of time: good gifts to give us, and He takes a vested interest in the course of our lives including every detail.

He has stared adoringly at our faces so many times that He has counted the hairs on our head. He knows our every wrinkle, every blemish, every sin and He still adores us anyway. Nothing we have every done will ever change how He feels about us (Romans 8:31).

When we really start to get the fact that God likes us—not just loves us, but actually likes us—our whole world begins to change. For me, it has meant a greater degree of security in who I am, and consequently, more courage to step out into new adventures. It has given me the assurance that no matter what happens in life, and even if I should fail utterly, that God will still be my friend and be proud of me for trying.

Know this: should you fall flat on your face, God will still smile every time He sees you.

I know that this wasn’t something I grew up hearing in Sunday school, but the Bible is clear that God “will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17).” God actually makes us songs to sing over us because He delights in us so much.

Can you picture it? God dancing and singing in Heaven because He so adores His people?

God likes you. Think about it today. Ponder it. And, above all… dare to believe it. It will change your life. It certainly has changed mine.

How do you know that you are following God's path for your life?

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:37 PM

Vector Ministries

I think every one of my clients has asked it in one way or another. Maybe every Christian has asked it. It certainly is a common question.

And, let’s be honest, it’s a good question to ask.

It’s a good question to ask even if our motives are mixed. Sometimes we ask God’s will because we genuinely want to know. Sometimes we ask because we aren’t 100% sure we want to follow His will. And, sometimes we ask God’s will because we really want to try to hedge our bets and mitigate the risk that is inherent in making any choice in life.

Every journey comes with risk. Sometimes we are so scared of making the wrong choice that we want a guarantee that it will all work out. So, we end up seeking God’s will not so much out of a desire to do it His way, but more from a place of being afraid to get it wrong.

But, regardless of our motives—however mixed they may or may not be—I think God genuinely wants to communicate with us. He wants us to seek His will. And, He wants to make His will known!

In most cases, God communicates to us in ways that we are meant to understand.

So, what does it look like to “hear” Him speak to us about our lives? How do we know that we are on the right path, making the right choices?

Generally, the process goes something like this: Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation, Formation, Generation, and Opposition.

Let’s take a look at the process in a little more depth:

1. Inspiration—God inspires you with a thought, idea or feeling. You get an insight or urge to do something. Often, we think that these thoughts are our own and don’t realize they come from God. Sometimes we dismiss them outright as being ludicrous or impractical.

Example: One day, seemingly out of the blue, you get the thought that you should move to Denver.

2. Affirmation—As you begin to think about the possibilities of this Inspiration someone or something gives you encouragement to keep considering it as possible. As you step into the idea, you get more reasons to hope that you are on the right path.

Example: You run your crazy idea to start a business by your best friend and surprisingly she tells you to go for it!

3. Confirmation—As you step forward, circumstances come together to help make a way. Life opens up possibilities and opportunities. You knock on the door and it opens a little bit. It’s like when God did the impossible and parted the Red Sea or when He parted the Jordan—after the Israelites stepped in.

Example: You decide to go back to school even though you can’t afford it. You put in an application, and lo and behold, out of nowhere you get a scholarship opportunity that makes it possible to go.

4. Formation—As you continue to walk the path that you are on, it becomes so natural to you that you simply don’t question it anymore. This is simply what you do, birds fly, fish swim, and you do X and no longer question if it is the right thing to do. It is so clearly the will of God. It’s been Inspired, Affirmed and Confirmed so often that it is now ingrained in you and you have been formed by obediently following this path. This has become second nature to you—or more appropriately, this is your renewed nature in action.

Example: You made a decision to volunteer as part of a ministry. Despite your misgivings you felt God lead you into it and you did it. Now you have been doing it for so long that it has become a part of your life—and it gives you life. Every time you go, you just know that this is where you are supposed to be.

5. Generation—Your life with God blesses others. Your journey and the wisdom you got from walking this path now provides Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation and Formation for others. You generate new life in others as they seek to journey with God.

Example: You have been following God’s leading in your marriage for years. And, now younger couples are beginning to come around you asking for insight on how to do this life. You get to pass on what you have learned to a younger generation.

However, know that if you are really following God, you will make an impact in this world and you WILL face Opposition.

So, there is a sixth principle to be aware of:

6. Opposition—In this life, you will have trouble. There are forces at work that actively oppose the will of God. As you step into following God’s leading, you will likely encounter some push back. This could come at any point along the journey. You may encounter it as early on as Inspiration. It may come to try to counteract Affirmation. It may create counterfeit experiences to try to tell you that the Confirmation you received isn’t legit. It may come to upend your formation and make you doubt your course. Or it may come to condemn your Generation and tell you that you don’t really have anything of value to offer others.

Example: When I felt God’s call to go to Bible college, I told my mentor who I trusted very much. He dismissed it outright and told me that I was arrogant to even consider college. And, he wanted me to abandon the idea of going to a Christian school. In fact, he said that I had too much baggage to ever consider going into any kind of God-related vocation.

I really valued that man’s opinion. But he was just wrong!

Something else was speaking through him—something negative, something that wanted to keep me playing small.

Opposition often comes from up close. Sometimes it comes from those we love.
But, if we are wise, what often is meant to hurt us can actually confirm that we are indeed on the right path.

No Christian gets through life without encountering Opposition! When it comes try to remember that your battle is not with flesh and blood but with dark forces and spiritual strongholds that stand opposed to the will of God.

Now, just because we run into obstacles or opposition is not, in and of itself, an indication that we are on the right path. But when it comes in combination with the other parts of this process it is a good indication that you are headed in the right direction!

Seldom does something worthwhile come easy. But Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not withstand the advance of his people.

As we step forward, bringing bits and pieces of Heaven to Earth, we will see trouble. But we will see victories as well! And, even more so, we will see how God can transform our lives as well as the world around us.

I am sure you have your stories about how God has come through for you. Maybe you could share one today. Can you tell someone about a time that God did something amazing in your life?

I’d love to hear a good story. I am sure that you have plenty of them to share.

What are some of the things God has done that told you that you were on the right path?

How do you know when you are stepping into God’s will or following His leading?

Blessings,
Patrick

Choose Joy

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:35 PM

Vector Ministries

Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the best books I have ever read. If you have not read yet, then you really should. I plan to write more about it in a future post.

But, for now, you should know that the author, Victor Frankl, was a Jewish psychologist who had his world ripped apart when he was thrown into the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Frankl lost everything and everyone he loved. Yet, amid such incredible suffering, he witnessed firsthand how a prisoner’s mindset made the difference between surviving and succumbing to the situation. Frankl saw that a prisoner’s mindset quite literally made the difference between life and death.

In that place, where everything had been stripped from him, Frankl discovered that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s own way.”

Frankl found that no matter what, we still retain the power to choose the way we will respond.

We retain the power of choice.

Isn’t that interesting? Free will—the thing that we are told that God values so much—remains even when all else is lost. Wow!

Now tell me, why is it so hard to believe that we are actually in control of how we respond to life and its myriad of frustrating and unfair situations?

Why does it feel so untrue that we have the power to choose?

I know in my life it often feels like I am simply riding the waves that life sends out while trying to keep my head above water. I generally feel like I am responding, even reacting, to the things that life throws at me.

But then there was Victor Frankl and he discovered the power to choose his attitude even while suffering from being frost-bitten, flea-bitten and while literally starving to death in a Nazi concentration camp.

I suppose if there was ever a place to test whether hope can prevail, it was Auschwitz.

… [selah]…

Now, let me shift gears mentally for a moment.

Earlier today I was in prayer and I asked the Lord what He wanted to say to people in this post. I heard Him respond “Enjoy your life.”

Enjoy your life?

I was a little surprised. I was expecting something that might be a little more helpful for solving some of life’s more pressing problems.

But no, God said “Enjoy your life.”

Intrigued, I asked Him to tell me more. And, to my surprise, He told me a LOT more.

I felt the still small voice of God’s Spirit rise up like a lion getting ready to pounce. He got loud, serious and direct. Inside my heart I heard the Voice of Thunder say:

ENJOY YOUR LIFE. I WANT PEOPLE TO ENJOY THEIR LIVES. I AM NOT A KILLJOY; I AM THE MAKER OF JOY! I CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH TO BRING LIFE. I MADE THE GARDEN A PARADISE OF EVERLASTING PLEASURE AND I AM THE ONE WHO PAID THE PRICE TO REDEEM IT ALL. I WILL BRING THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS. I WILL BRING EVERLASTING JOY. FOR NOW, KNOW THAT BY ENJOYING YOUR LIVES YOU ARE BRINGING A LITTLE TASTE OF HEAVEN TO EARTH. YOU ARE BRINGING THE QUALITIES AND ESSENCE OF ETERNITY INTO THE PRESENT. BRING JOY AND YOU INVITE HEAVEN INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. AND, WHEN YOU BRING HEAVEN INTO THE WORLD EVERYTHING CHANGES!

Wow! Like I said, I wasn’t expecting that. But I loved it!

It got me to thinking…

I think we all want to be happy. And, many of us Christians know that there is a real difference between the happiness of having good circumstances and the joy that comes from deep within.

I think that most of us believers choose joy—at least on an intellectual level.

But, what about on a heart level?

If so many of us are choosing joy, why don’t more of us actually look joyful?

I know that mentally we make the choice to choose joy. But, how do we live it, how do we truly choose it?

So, I asked God again for more insight. This time I did not hear the thunder. Instead, the Still Small Voice came to my heart, speaking barely above a whisper:

… savor your senses… practice gratitude… exercise humility…
… eliminate hurry, worry, pride, urgency and arrogance…
… take down your defensive walls…
… risk appearing foolish and laugh at yourself if you do…
…smile…

All that sounded good and practical enough (albeit not necessarily easy to do).

Then the scripture ran through my head, “We are fools for the sake of Christ”. I received the divine invitation to laugh at myself more, to risk appearing foolish for the sake of enjoying my life in Christ.

In Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, C.S. Lewis wrote that “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” Lewis envisioned life in Eternity as being filled with such a degree of play and dance that it would seem scandalously frivolous to us when viewed through the lens of our overly pragmatic lives here on Earth.

I think he was right.

When we bring a new level of the frivolity and joy to bear upon our world, we bring a little bit of Heaven’s reality into the atmosphere around us.

To choose joy in the midst of toil and suffering is to bring a little bit of Heaven to Earth.

Even to find joy in the small things, in the mundane and mediocre, has the power to shift our entire experience of life.

To exercise our last great freedom—the power to choose our mindset—and choose to live in joy, is to honor God’s ultimate intention for the universe.

For, if we are made to enjoy life with God then it follows that we can start that right now, wherever we are.

In fact, it is a grace and a privilege for us to know joy as we do—to know Christ. Therefore, it is an affront to those who don’t yet know that gift if we refuse to cherish it; if we refuse to exercise it.

So, it seems a mandate—a direct order from Heaven—that you and I must choose joy!

We simply must insist upon enjoying our lives!

What a wonderful duty!

What a privilege to serve a God who is so committed to our joy that He insists that we that we actually practice enjoying our lives!

In fact, many of the Old Testament laws, like the Sabbath and the festival celebrations, bear witness to the fact that God wants His people to enjoy life. And, when Jesus came, wasn’t he always spending time hanging out at parties and having dinner with friends?

So, here we are, left with only one real choice.

As Christ followers, as the people of God, we must choose joy.
We must choose joy and then actively pursue it like someone who is drowning pursues a life-preserver. For that is exactly what joy is!

Joy is our life-preserver.

We have the power to choose our response to life. We have the power to let the joy rooted deep within us come up high and blossom out.

Suffering in life may be unavoidable. But misery is mostly a mindset.

Let us choose our mindset wisely.

Let us choose to respond from the well of Living Water deep within!

Brothers and sisters, let us help each other smile more and become a winsome people.

Let us choose joy!


Blessings,
Patrick Meyers

Monday, June 10, 2019

Should I Use My Medical Insurance For Counseling?

Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 7:12 PM

One of the questions I’m often asked by potential clients is, “Do you take insurance?” I mean, you pay for health insurance for a reason and you want to use it when you can, right? While I don’t participate in direct billing with insurance companies, there are many insurance policies that will reimburse for treatment you’ve received. These are generally known as Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) or Point of Service (POS).

The Seven Myths of Christian Counseling

Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 6:53 PM

There are a lot of myths in regards to Christian counseling. Probably the biggest myth is that Christian counseling is about telling people what God wants them to do! Today’s Christian counseling is not about telling you what to do our believe, but rather it’s about exploring how ones faith (Regardless of what that is) impacts their own identity and ultimately their life story.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Understanding The Always-Angry Boss

Friday, June 07, 2019 @ 7:08 PM

Do you know a boss or leader who is super-confrontational? Lacks tact? Sees everything in black or white? Can win the point, but lose the person? Henry Cloud and John Townsend talk about what might be missing in that leader's life

"Randy, a bright financial manager, had achieved much success in his field. As chief financial officer for several companies, he was valued for his ability to forecast a company’s financial needs. But whenever someone questioned his decisions or opposed him in any way, he could get vicious. He had a knack for turning normal conflicts into win-lose confrontations; matters of simple disagreement quickly became adversarial. His basic orientation was 'for' and 'against.' If someone questioned him, he assumed that person was 'against' him, and he began to mobilize his defenses to fight off the 'attack.'

This leader lived by fear rather than by faith. In early childhood he had not had been able to put his mom's love inside. He could not "....write kindness and truth on the tablets of his heart." His heart was too busy fighting an imagined enemy.

"Randy’s pattern of insecurity interfered with his ability to keep a job. He would do well for a while in a company, his strengths shining and the CEO generally pleased with his accomplishments, until his adversarial mode of operation would divide the management team. Lines would be drawn until finally the president would figure out what was going on and let Randy go. Randy’s insecurity came from a lack of basic trust at his core. Without a mother’s love inside, Randy experienced the world as a hostile and dangerous place. His role in this world was to defend himself."

Consequences and hard work can do much to help this person heal and grow. Accountability, anger management, therapy and executive coaching can help him get the love and integrity in his heart along with deep, real friendship where he can bring his real self with it's needs and hurts to a safe place.

Cloud, Henry, Boundaries And Leaders: How To Be Ridiculously In Charge

Cloud, Henry, Townsend, John. The Mom Factor: Dealing with the Mother You Had, Didn't Have, or Still Contend With (p. 30).

Monday, May 13, 2019

LOVE NEEDS: Discovering Your Top 10 Languages of Loving

Monday, May 13, 2019 @ 1:07 PM

"Love Needs: Discover Your Top 10 Languages of Loving" will help you and your partner take the guesswork out of what "better" really looks like. This book is based on and includes the 30 item "Love Needs Assessment" developed by two skilled therapists, Dr. Mike and Rhonda Garrett. Over 2000 couples were assessed over a six year period to bring this evidence-based questionnaire and guidebook into existence. Every short chapter (30 total) helps the reader learn more about how to give and receive love practically and specifically. Every page is packed with fabulous ideas and tools to help breathe new life into hurting couples and develop a workable plan for maximizing healthy couples. “Love Needs will strengthen the best of marriages . . . Congratulations! You’ve written a winner!”Dr. Henry Oursler, Founder, Bringing Truth to Life, President, LeaderShape“. . . an excellent guide to marital enrichment . . . I would highly commend it to couples and counselors.”Sam R. Williams, PhD, Professor of Counseling,Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC“. . . a resource to share that can breathe new life into hurting couples.” Tim and Joy Downs, Family Life Speaker Team, authors of Fight Fair and One of Us Must Be Crazy“. . . a workable path to a maximum marriage.” Dick Purnell, Cru Staff, author of sixteen Christian books“. . . Well written, easy to read, full of helpful steps.” Sharon May, PhD, Founder of Safe Haven Relationship Center, author of How To Argue so Your Spouse Will Listen“The church and the professional counseling community owe you a big “Thank you”. What a great resource!” Anthony Thomas, LCSW, Executive Director Marriage Menders & Family Counseling, “. . . a spectacular set of tools, wisely applied, that will help any husband and wife.”Paula Rinehart, LCSW, therapist, teacher, author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts and Sex and the Soul of a Woman

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

3 Steps to Protect Your CoParenting Relationship

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 @ 2:11 PM

3 Steps To Protect Your CoParenting Relationship

I know, you just walked out the door and never want to see this person again. But you will. Your shared family, the kids you love, will make sure of that. So let’s protect the one aspect of your relationship that will remain: Your CoParenting Relationship.
Step 1 Choose the method of divorce that gives you the greatest control and the least conflict.

Many newly separated people don’t realize how many options they have for getting a divorce. Each situation presents its own issues, so consult a well trained lawyer to find the right one for you. In my experience, there are 3 basic ways to get a divorce:

Litigation-the one where a judge sets the timeline, and makes the final decisions and the process is very public. This one includes something called discovery, where everyone competes to be the best and to show the other person as the worst.
Mediation-the parties sit down with a third person [and most of the time their lawyers] and hammer out an agreement. This typically has a time pressure of trying to get it done quickly and can be done at any time during a litigated divorce. Discovery may be a part of this option as well.
Collaborative Divorce-the parties each have a lawyer, and some neutrals like a mental health professional and a financial professional, who work in an interest based negotiation to find the best future for the family. This process gives the parties more control over the final product, their schedule, and their privacy. Discovery is not a part of this option.

As a mental health profession who has worked with divorcing families for 15 years, discovery damages the CoParenting relationship in nearly every case. Avoiding that process can increase your chances of a good CoParenting relationship and a stable agreement.
Step 2 Communicate well.

Divorce includes a lot of change and stress. During this time, lots of emails, texts and phone calls can become extremely emotional and counterproductive. Read books on communication [I recommend Bill Eddy’s BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns.] Then apply what you learned. Be brief, informative, friendly, and firm when you communicate. Make sure you put dates on the times when you need replies. When you get a communication from your CoParent, don’t just hit reply. Take a bit to breathe and think about the best way to communicate.
Step 3 Maintain a business relationship with your CoParent.

By far, this advice has helped my client’s parents the most. Reminding yourself that you are no longer managing the other parent’s life and emotions changes how you respond to them. Remembering that most communications will be limited to business arrangements of finances, coordinating schedules, and communicating events can help you not become emotional.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Be Angry and Sin Not

Saturday, April 20, 2019 @ 12:51 PM

The Pastor's Place

I once asked God you said "Be angry and sin not." How can I be angry and not sin? Today He answered. Psalm 42 says that you can pour out your heart to Him and He hears us. Whether it's joy or suffering and pain and in particular, anger. So what's in our hearts that God would actually want to hear about it? He already knows we're angry, and why, but there comes a release of it's power when we take it to God and God can help us and teach us His way. Mercy triumphs over.

It's okay to tell God that you're angry and why. This is the pouring out of your soul as David did. If we can learn to trust God with our feelings, knowing He won't get mad at us that breaks the power of the sin of anger. We often don't think about when we're angry but blurt it out like fire. We may have been angry as a child but didn't know how to process it and a parent may not have taught a child how to handle because they didn't know either. But if we take it to God, it's a whole new world.

We can shout, scream, cry through the situation. This brings the release that quenches the bitterness, the unforgiveness. No root of bitterness can spring up if we avoid it by pouring out our heart to God.

The human heart may hold love, but the heart of man is filled with evil of every kind. God isn't surprised by our negative feelings. Expressing our anger at the wrong we endured or are enduring produces character that maybe God thought it the best way to teach us. Suffering brings an anger, or rage. God is above it all and in it all and He never gets tired of our tears. He never grows weary of us coming to Him. It's in our reaching to Him, drawing near to Him that He can extend His mercy and graciousness. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Mercy is forgiveness. We judge when we are angry. If we learn to forgive the offender, we release them from what we feel towards them, in this case, anger. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. It goes beyond words.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Workshop

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 @ 6:20 PM

Alpha Counseling

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month

You are invited to join Alpha Counseling for a discussion regarding taking your first steps to healing from sexual violence. If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual violence, or if you want to take a stand against sexual violence, please attend.

Speakers to include representatives from North Idaho Crisis Center, Post Falls Police Department Victim's Advocate, as well as Dr. Debbie Nunez and John Huffer, LMHC from Alpha Counseling. Participants will be able to write words of inspiration on the healing wall.

There is no charge for the event and it is open to the public.

Friday, April 05, 2019

What Does Jesus Want From Me?

Friday, April 05, 2019 @ 12:11 PM

A woman in Atlanta called to tell me she is angry at Jesus because she assumes He wants something from her. Her mother abused her and so did boyfriends. She is also angry at herself for thinking such thoughts but also fearful because she may not provide what Jesus wants from her even though she figures it can’t be bad.  ‘Am I right?’ She asked.  I told her the simple truth:  All Jesus wants from you is to become more like Him. And, you can’t do it on your own, you need the Holy Spirit.  But she then adamantly wants to compare Jesus with her  controlling mother and boyfriends.  I told her there is a difference.  Jesus is not controlling.  ‘Why not? My mother and boyfriends were.’ I told her that Jesus created us with free will. We can freely love Him as well as reject Him (Rev. 3:20).  She liked that. Of course. The Bible is the greatest source for the truth.  

 

Rev. Dr. Craig A. Brewick, Christian Hope Counseling

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Freedom In Forgiveness

Saturday, March 30, 2019 @ 7:18 PM

As we near Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, many of us begin to focus more on forgiveness; forgiveness for self and for others. This can oftentimes be a difficult and confusing action to take.

Many people think that when we forgive we are saying that what someone did to us is OK. We believe that forgiveness is a way of letting someone off the hook for a wrongful act. However, let us not confuse forgiveness with permission. When Christ said in John 8:11, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more,” He did not give permission for sin, but forgiveness. He was differentiating between forgiveness and permission.

You see, forgiveness is not for the person who wronged us, it's for ourselves. When we hold on to resentment, bitterness brews within us. Bitterness is a root that grows in our hearts and can negatively affect other areas of our lives. Bitterness takes us down and steals our joy, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Unforgiveness is like carrying around a backpack filled with rotten potatoes, which weighs us down and prevents us from moving on.

Forgiveness does NOT:
...excuse the one who hurt you or did you wrong.
...mean you re-engage in a relationship with the one who hurt you.
...equal trust. Forgiveness is given. Trust is earned.

Forgiveness IS:
...saying goodbye to bitterness and resentment.
...gaining freedom from pain.
...releasing the beauty of peace and happiness.
...letting go in order to move on.

Forgiveness Is Freedom!

Forgiveness is hard, but is it also possible. If you need help forgiving someone, including yourself, I’m here to help. Living with bitterness and shame is not God’s plan for you. Working with a professional therapist can help you process the wrong that was done to you, help you discover the strength to forgive, let go of shame and guilt, and recapture your joy.

Why should you forgive? Because YOU deserve it!

Gretchen is currently accepting new clients and may be contacted by email at gretchen@anxietytraumatherapy.com or by phone at 619-272-6858 x713

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Fixing Your Blind Spots: How To Become More Self-Aware As A Leader at Home, Church Or Work

Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ 12:38 AM

"First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." - Matthew 7:5. Self-awareness can become one of your most powerful tools. Being able to step outside of yourself and see your own junk can be very helpful for leaders and their relationships. Self aware people are largely successful. You can become so self-aware that it becomes neurotic. But this happens in the case where you are judging yourself rather than evaluating what's going on. Here are some ideas to help create more self-awareness as a leader:

1. Invite feedback especially from direct reports. You can use a 360 degree feedback mechanism but it can also help just to have conversations about how you're doing.

2. Pay special attention to how others feel around you. While you don't want to give them too much power, you also want to make sure that you're being sensitive to them while also being independent of their opinion.

3. Ask yourself what you are truly feeling. Get a chart with some feeling words and ask yourself what you're feeling in regards to a situation with your relationships with your associates. 

4. Check your assumptions and your entitlement. These two issues can really get you into difficult situations in relationships in the workplace, home or church.

5. Check out your ideal self or despised self. These two parts can help us understand a lot about what we're thinking and feeling about ourselves.

6. Ask yourself how something happened not just why. Attempt to debrief with yourself and with others exactly how a problem or a success occurred.

7. Understand what you might be afraid of. Know what are real threats or just cues that might be triggering you into anxiety.

8. Shaming yourself will help your heart to hide. Real guilt, as opposed to shame, can be used to learn lessons and make amends.

Be encouraged to take at least one idea here as a first step. Get outside feedback whether that's counseling, coaching, a friend or a mentor and find a small attainable goal.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Learning to Love Yourself

Thursday, February 07, 2019 @ 12:30 PM

There is something about this picture that speaks to me. I see a person who knows who she is, and can accept herself including her imperfections. What if we could all be that way? What if we could all accept ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally, the way Christ loves us? What if we could quit beating ourselves up for all the mistakes we have made? What if we could stop obsessing over just one bad move we’ve made? What if we can stop judging ourselves and start treating ourselves like we treat our best friend? Can you imagine the positive difference that would make? Not only for us, but also for those around us.

ARE YOU AS KIND TO YOURSELF AS YOU ARE TO OTHERS?

More often than not, we can be exceptionally hard on ourselves. We say things to ourselves we would never say to someone we care about, or even a stranger. Yet, we don’t hesitate to tell ourselves:

“I’m so stupid.”
“How could I have been so dumb.”
“I’m fat.”
“I’m ugly.”
“I’m a failure.”

If this sounds familiar, then maybe you need to start to re-examine how you treat yourself. If you are telling yourself things you wouldn’t say to your best friend, then it’s time to start learning self-compassion. (If you are not familiar with self-compassion, then I recommend you read my earlier blog on self-compassion here.) One of the best ways to begin learning self-compassion is to recognize your judgmental negative self-talk, and start replacing those thoughts with positive or compassionate thoughts, such as:

“I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be. The cross covers my sins and mistakes.”
“I recognize that I am suffering right now.”
“I love the person God created me to be.”
“I make mistakes, and my mistakes don’t define me.”

If you find that you are having trouble telling yourself compassionate thoughts like in the examples above, you may be depressed or at risk of depression. When we walk around with guilt and shame, constantly beating ourselves up, we have an increased risk for depression and/or substance abuse leading to disruption in our relationships, work or school performance, and overall sense of peace and being. That’s when it is time to get help. Through self-compassion, you can learn to let go of your mistakes, learn to forgive yourself, and begin to treat yourself with the same tender kindness you give to your best friend.

*Gretchen is currently accepting new clients. If you are in the San Diego area and are in need of services, please call her for a free 15 minute phone consultation at 619-272-6858 ext 713

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Children long for significance and belonging

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 @ 4:48 PM

What to do?
…an adorable baby,
…a teen with attitude,
…an exhausted working parent
…and a fragile nursing home resident

Have in common?
To start with they are all human. And like all of us they have deep longings for love, security, understanding, significance and belonging. These basic emotional needs [...]

This was first published on Courage Counseling on October 14, 2013 by Doris Motte. Visit the Learn More link to read the rest of my article.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Personality Effects Relationships: Pros and Cons

Monday, January 21, 2019 @ 11:22 AM

Personality Effects Relationships: Pros and Cons
By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC
Derived from Tracy Moore's book, Me, You and People in Pew

We have all heard that opposites attract, and rightly so. This is how God made us so that we complete each other to work as one and reflect the image of God, as each human lacks aspects that they need. As we consider Adam and Eve, the first couple of the Bible from the date of creation, we must recall the verbiage of God. Genesis 2:18 God speaks that it is not good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper. The actual word means, a counterpart, an opposite, one that fits him. This not only applies to the physiological differences of male and female; but it also describes the differences of cognition, and even the differences of personality. As we consider Adam, then we see that he most resembles the personality of a Melancholy (an introvert who is most analytical, a perfectionist, organized, loyal, considerate, creative; but also who is given to depression, pessimism, un-forgiveness, insecurity, moodiness, and sometimes critical). He was given the duty to name all animals and woman. Others in scripture who reflects more of the melancholy personality are Solomon and perhaps, Elijah.

Adam blends this with a peacemaking personality ascribed to a Phlegmatic who averts from conflict. Other aspects of this personality includes the positives of humility, adaptability, servant focused, patient, humorous, balanced, faithful, submissive with a negative tendency towards apathy (lack of enthusiasm) internalized emotions and experiences high stress. When Satan came in the image of a serpent and then deceived Eve; note that Adam was not deceived. He was there, he was analyzing, he knew what God had said to them. But, part of this personality is one who is more likely to follow others, and one who dislikes conflict.


Then we consider Eve. She appears to possess more of a Choleric personality (extrovert who often is a leader, driven to achieve, persistent and determined, adventurer, decisive, competitive and bold which often, if in an extreme form-then these would have to deal with pride, controlling tendencies, perfectionism, without much sympathy, tact, and who can be rash and manipulative. An example in scripture who also appear to have this personality is Diotrephes that is found in 3rd John 1:9-10. Paul would also be a candidate to consider for this personality type.

This personality appears to blend with the Sanguine. Sanguine is a life giver; who is more animated, expressive, demonstrative, optimist, excitable and inspiring, cute and bouncy-with a negative tendency to get out of control, overly impulsive, most talkative, quick to speak without listening, forgetful, angry naive, scatter brained, and restless. Some examples of this personality type would be Peter (from scriptures) and Tom Sawyer from a literature example.


Satan used these personality tendencies to entice Eve with power and knowledge and she then became prideful and did eat-then gave the fruit to her husband who ate (although he was not deceived but was following her lead). As we consider the punishment to both we find that God forced Adam to be in a role of a leader which was contrary to his personality, along with labor and the responsibility to be in control and he place Eve under submission onto him to squelch her prideful tendency and gave her pain during childbirth. A fitting punishment for the situation where Adam valued Eve over God and where Eve valued being as wise and powerful as God over God's command. They had everything given to them except only ONE thing but greed and ill-placed allegiance upon their selves instead of to God; caused each to sin against God. Interesting isn't it?

Above, we see the personality types unfold and we see that both the Sanguine and the Choleric are extroverts and that the Melancholy and the Phlegmatic are introverts. People can exhibit one or both of the extroverts or one or both of the introvert personality traits; yet do not exhibit naturally from the total opposites. They learn the opposite and act the opposite during times of trial which will lead to some discomfort due to being out of the comfort zone for the personality that is manifesting. For example, people would assume that I was an extrovert, more of a Choleric due to the many leadership hats that I wear, yet would find it interesting to learn that I actually identify more as a Melancholy with a Phlegmatic blend, and that when in a leader position; there is a continual need to persevere and to work through the anxiety and the discomfort that is experienced outside my personality. I would be under the impression that I operate also from a Choleric personality since necessity requires me to navigate that forum and since I do so with success; but I do so with caution and stress even-though years have dictated my need to be self employed due to my physical health and situations that have arose.

I have found that I can provide leadership and own my business from my personality since it is a position of servitude where I am comfortable, as I attempt to keep the peace which works most of the time to de-escalate the level of stress that I would have otherwise experienced. I married a Choleric personality in my husband who I gladly submit to especially during conflict since he is more at ease taking on the conflicts. Both he and I are analytical and organized yet are different in how we do both. Opposites can make life most interesting as each use their strengths to complete each other. Opposites however that become extreme can also alienate their opposite by then taking their strength to an extreme, attempting to force the other to be outside of their own personality, and then ridiculing the opposite for the very strength that drew each together.


The cute Sanguine becomes a nuisance when he/she talks and forgets, and is impulsive throughout their way through life, throwing caution to the wind. When a Melancholy is wrestling with the need for perfection then the Sanguine would pose a difficult personality. The Sanguine may not comprehend the level of stress and or depression and think that the Melancholy just needs to lighten up. The Phlegmatic may so adapt that they lose oneself to a strong Choleric who is more than willing to be over controlling and who can be unsympathetic. Strengths turn into overly obsessive or compulsive behaviors and emotions become out of balance with fear and anger taking charge with each of these personalities thus causing friction. In addition, when you toss in thought distortions and problems with communication, the two, who were drawn together due to those wonderful opposites, then quickly find themselves pushing each other away. Opposites attract and repel.

Each personality is an awesome personality yet can become toxic and each is not complete alone since several aspects are absent from the comfort level.
Marital or couple problems? Seek a counselor who can administer the Myer-Briggs Assessment of Personality to learn who you are and who they are, and then learn about boundaries and cognitive distortions. With these insights then you can find a place of balance where opposites attract once again which aligns with how we were created.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Beware social media health hazards

Tuesday, January 08, 2019 @ 12:26 PM

Warning. Social media may be hazardous to your health.

The health of your marriage that is.

Start with what Facebook does so well. Connecting you to old friends. When those old friends are ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, high school sweethearts or college heart throbs – reconnecting may be the first step toward a marital crisis. Ditto for texting, e-mails and phone calls.

It all seems so innocent. What could be the harm? [...]

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This was first published on Courage Counseling on September 22, 2013 by Doris Motte. Visit the Learn More link to read the rest of my article.

Friday, December 28, 2018

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Friday, December 28, 2018 @ 8:56 PM

We humans, like spring flowers and summer gardens, are hardwired for growth. The early decades of life are characterized by luxuriant growth as goals are pursued, ambitions formed and challenges conquered.

Think of the phenomenal growth in a healthy baby’s first year. The transformations as toddlers acquire language and muscle control. The delight as they explore their environment encountering everything from bubbles to butterflies for the first time.

Young children can’t wait to be ‘big kids,’ start school, play soccer, learn to dance. They are voracious learners who relish competence.

Teens count the days to the coveted driver’s license. Soon college with all its challenges and assumed freedom’s beckons.

Young adults are occupied with careers, marriage, family. Daily demands keep you busy, focused, happy. Life is satisfying, rewarding.

And then, perhaps, one day you notice something has changed. [...]

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This was first published on Courage Counseling on September 9, 2013 by Doris Motte. Visit the Learn More link to read the rest of my article.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Broken Fences

Thursday, December 27, 2018 @ 9:06 PM

The Pastor's Place

This scene always reminds me of broken fences and the brokenness of life. We often put up fences to keep people out but in that attempt, we often keep ourselves in. We don't express ourselves in an appropriate moment but let it build up and then take it out on someone who really doesn't deserve it, although they may just trigger it.

Broken fences, broken pieces, broken lives. Jesus fed 5,000 people and it is told that they always had broken pieces left over and they picked them all up. I often wonder what they did with them. But it tells me that even though brokenness is a part of life, Jesus will pick up those broken pieces and do something with them. And you can be sure He does all things well.