Category Archives: Emotional Intelligence

The Trio: Worship While Waiting

trio of chairs

image courtesy of satit_srihin at freedigitalphotos.net

This one is a hard one to write! I wanted to save him until last–because I wanted to figure out what was going on here before I wrote about it. That did not happen. But I actually believe it’s fitting to put my former worship leader in the middle of the trio blogs. Of the three, he’s my favorite. But he’s also the most confusing.

The Introduction

The first time I saw worship leader (WL) was my first visit to the church when I moved here back in May. I immediately looked at my friend and said, “Who is that guy?” And she said, “One of the worship leaders.” And I said, “He’s a mercy gift. Trouble.” I know my history with mercy males–I wanted to avoid at all costs. He was young–only 21, and those younger mercy males are always drawn to me, which makes my life infinitely more difficult. So I made note and decided to keep my distance. WL was a great guy–he loves Jesus more than anything, always seems willing to learn, and did a pretty good job of transitioning into a leadership role when our former worship leader left abruptly. Knowing that he was a great guy AND a mercy gift, I stayed away from him for the most part, even after joining the worship team. But he did not do as good a job on his end (lol). And besides, no one can really stop the mercy-prophet magnetism. It just is. And the magnetism intensified once I stopped praying for my coworker. But I was careful to guard my heart and stay accountable in my interactions with him.

The Involvement

I was unsure what God wanted of me in this situation. I would pray for WL intermittently, but not like I was praying for my coworker. I didn’t feel called to pray for WL as much–he seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, a pretty solid relationship with the Lord, and he was a growing role model and leader in our church. Not to mention, he has great parents and a solid, Christian family and framework. But WL kept showing up in my dreams. Sometimes, he would just be standing there, sometimes he and I would have a conversation–it was nothing inappropriate or ridiculous, but my mind would not let him go. So I did what every smart pushy prophet girl would do in that situation.

I switched church campuses.

Now, before you go and say that I ran away from the problem, let me explain. No, it’s too much–let me sum up. (Name that movie!) I moved further away from my church right around the time I joined the worship team last fall. Then at the beginning of this year, I joined a small group at a campus right down the street from my house. While I was struggling with these emotions related to WL, I was also struggling with whether I should even be at that campus in the first place. I had found my PEOPLE at the campus near my house…women that I was really connecting with, serving at the food bank there…and when I visited for worship one Sunday, I just felt at home. It’s not that I did not love the campus with WL, it was just that this one near my house felt like the perfect fit. So after a lot of prayer, I made the switch. I told WL that I was leaving, and he said the most perfect mercy male 21-year old leader things in return, and I left.

The Importance

I am still dreaming about WL. In fact, this morning, I texted my friend and told her I wanted a lobotomy. What does this mean? Honestly, I don’t know. All that I know is that despite the fact that I no longer talk to WL, don’t see him at all, and have zero interaction with him, the Lord still puts WL on my mind both while awake and while asleep. So I have taken to praying for him a great deal, and praying for what the Lord wants to show me. I most certainly miss WL–he is good people. But I also miss my mom, and I don’t ever dream about her. So while I figure that out, prayer seems to be the best option–and in this case, it’s the only option. I can’t figure this one out on my own–and I might never figure it out. Perhaps there is something going on with WL that only God and WL know about, and I am supposed to pray for him when God injects him into my mind. Whatever the reason, it’s up to God to reveal them to me. It’s up to me to pray and worship while I wait for the answers.

Isn’t it funny when God keeps hammering the same lesson into your heart? (Maybe not!)

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My First Love

Success. Everyone wants to tell you how to get it. In the business world, companies that made it big want to tell you how to succeed—even if they are Christian. Recently, I have been struggling with the idea of success. A few months ago, I was doing all the things that everyone told me to do to be successful: I was doing my social media posts, I was writing blog posts, I was talking to people about my business, I was scheduling events. I had a business plan for 2015, a brand new calendar to write my new business stuff in, and a head full of steam. I was “hustling,” as a friend of mine and I started saying about ourselves.

love sky by winnond

image courtesy of winnond / freedigitalphotos.net

 

I planned a brief vacation with my mom, with full intent of “getting back to hustling” when I returned. I couldn’t work on vacation—I was in another country and wanted to be present with my mother. So I put away my cell phone, my blogging, and all the nice new habits I had acquired. When I returned, I picked up my cell phone…and some weird virus that left me mostly incapacitated for the month of November. Then my father died in early December, and I spent the rest of that month mourning and recuperating. I realized that I was exhausted. I had been doing a lot. But save for one week in November, I had forgotten how to BE.

The seven letters to the churches in Revelation are one of many lists of seven in the Bible that correspond to the seven spiritual gifts in Romans 6. As a prophet spiritual gift, the first of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2:1-6 has always beckoned to me. I was recalling this over the holidays, thinking about where I am and what it means. Here’s what it says:

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5)

More than ever, this passage spoke to me. Of course God knows my deeds and my toil and my perseverance—that I have endured for His name’s sake and have not grown weary. But soon after my father’s death, I realized I had left my first love. Was I spending time in prayer? Sure. But I was spending more time “doing” God’s work than I was “being” with Him. For the same reason that I put away my cell phone while I was on vacation to be with my mom, God wanted me to put away these deeds and get back to my first love—being with Him.

So what does that mean? Does that mean PPG Ministries is no more? Of course not! But it means that I have to give up some of the “comforts” in my business for now, like posting on social media. I’m trading those things in for quality time at the feet of my Master. I want PPG Ministries to be filled with God, not with me. My business really belongs to God, anyway—so I know I can trust Him with it. And I’m finding that this is its own purity challenge—the challenge to bring holiness into all areas of my life, not just my sexuality.

Maybe you’re out there, having forgotten your first love, and you need to hit the reset button. Maybe God is asking you to give something back to Him so that He can refine and purify it and you, and make you both better than you ever knew. My challenge to you today is this: will you let Him? Will you trust God enough to give back to Him what is already His? If so, join me on this journey of purification. I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but I do know that God’s plans for us are for good and not evil, to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). And as further proof of that, here’s how that passage in Revelation ends:

To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

So are you ready for this year? Or more importantly, are you ready for this God? Ready or not, here He comes. 🙂

Good Grief

crying doll by Theeradech Sanin

image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / freedigitalphotos.net

My father died today. I don’t think that there’s three points that I can give you in a blog format to help you learn more about yourself through the death of my parent. So I’m just going to unjumble my thoughts and let them flow here, and I pray that God will bless you in some way as you read.

If you’ve read my testimony, you know that I didn’t have a great relationship with my dad. Celebrate Recovery helped me do a lot of grieving and releasing, but especially with my father. It was good to grieve the father I didn’t have, the father I always wanted…to let go of expectations and begin to accept the reality of who my father was. To release my feelings of rejection and revel in the acceptance of my heavenly Father. I continued to do that for the next five years, never really desiring a full-time relationship with him for many reasons. As more and more information about the man I called “Dad” has surfaced in recent weeks, I know that God has been protecting me by removing that desire from me. Instead, I have accepted him as the flawed, sinful man that he is and loved him from an appropriate distance. I am thankful that God indeed protected my heart and gave me the strength to set healthy boundaries.

A couple of things happened as I began to grieve a few weeks ago when I was alerted that my father was on his death bed. The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t stop thinking about this one person with whom I had unfinished business. Death tends to bring out those unresolved situations in our lives, making us uneasy with leaving loose ends. Eventually I realized that what was on my mind was, “If I died today, is there anyone to whom I would need to make amends?” There was. I guess because my own father never realized the “error” of his ways and never sought to make amends with his children, I wanted to break that cycle. I could say “I’m sorry” and I could make amends. I wanted to start a new kind of cycle—one of grace and pure love modeled after Christ. And while I had been concerned because there had been no one to talk to about my situation (other than God), I eventually realized that I didn’t need to talk to someone else about it. I needed to talk to the offended party. So I sent an e-mail today. It was hard, and I cried more over that e-mail than I have cried for my deceased father. But I felt a burden lift once I pressed “send.” Life is too short for unfinished business, unforgiveness, and loose ends.

Second, I realized that I wasn’t carrying any burden towards my father. Finding out a few really terrible things about him in the last few days, I thought I would feel heavier about things. When I confessed his deplorable acts to a friend, she assured me that who my father was is not who I am. I reassured her confidently that I didn’t feel that anyway—and it was true. I felt disconnected from that because I had forgiven him. But I also felt disconnected from that because my identity is not in my earthly father anymore. I have secured my identity as a princess of the King and a crazy but amazing pushy prophet girl, and because of that, there is no burden for being my earthly father’s daughter. Whatever heinous acts my father may have committed, they do not belong to me…I have been cleansed and forgiven. I am my Father’s child.

Third, I realized the significance of sexual sin in my generational history. Numbers 14:18 says, “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’” I know that my grandfather and father’s iniquities have visited the generations below them and through me, and that is important for me to accept and understand in my continual quest for purity. Indeed, though I am my Father’s child, I now have some idea as to why I have struggled so mightily in the area of sexual purity. However, what grace and love the Father lavishes on us, that I can not only call myself His child but that I can receive forgiveness and cleansing from the sins of my forefathers. I am ready to break the cycle and bring forth a generation of purity. My tears have not been wasted; they have been collected by a loving Daddy who intends to use them to cleanse future generations as they walk in their PureID™. What joy that brings me!

So I stand here not crying, but instead praising! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow, and I thank You, Jesus, for the opportunity to experience this blessed, good grief. Amen!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Boundaries

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I was at my family’s house for the week helping to take care of my uncle. My normal schedule includes a lot of solitude, very little television, no pets, no children…lots of quiet time for my thoughts and prayer, and always a good night’s sleep. At my family’s house, however, there is a loud 8-year old, three barking dogs, a television running 24-hours a day, and two other adults. It’s chaotic and lacks quiet—completely opposite of my normal routine. One night, after I went out and got dinner, I went into the kitchen to enjoy eating quietly. My dinner wasn’t even open before someone said, “Did you see the latest news report?” I sighed and calmly (but firmly) said, “Can I please just have some quiet time?” I was granted my request, albeit grudgingly, as they left the house. I then retreated upstairs to write and enjoy that quiet time—and the enforcement of necessary boundaries in my life.

I’ve blogged about boundaries before, so I won’t repeat what I’ve said (check it out, though!). However, in light of my recent experience, I do want to note a few positive things that boundaries do for you:

  • Boundaries keep the bad away. You should set boundaries in your life for your own protection, because while they definitely keep out things like bad people and bad circumstances, boundaries also keep out bad attitudes like anger and frustration. What begins in your mind as anger can easily build into other unhealthy emotions and actions, so having healthy, firm boundaries keeps you away from bad habits, bad feelings, and bad interactions with others. I may have waited a bit too long in my experience with my family, because I was already feeling frustrated when I communicated my boundaries. However, I knew I needed to say something, so I did and then I stuck to them by retreating to the bedroom for some solitude. When you are creating boundaries, ask yourself, “What bad things am I keeping out by setting this boundary?”
  • Boundaries allow the good to stay. Boundaries are not just about keeping the bad out. You don’t put a fence up just to keep the wild animals out; you do it to keep the kids inside the yard and out of the street. I wanted to be in a good mood for my family; I am not a nice person when I don’t have alone time or when I don’t have enough sleep and peace. I wanted to set and communicate my boundaries so that I could be in a good mood and be useful to them, instead of tired and cranky. I wanted to have joy and peace when dealing with them so I could show them Jesus. So when you are creating boundaries, it’s also good to ask yourself, “What’s good things will stay in my life if I set this boundary?”
  • Boundaries, when communicated, remove anxiety. Quite honestly, I was stressed about going to stay with my family before I even left my home. I knew that their routine and environment was incredibly different from my own, and that I might not be able to operate in the same fashion that I do when I’m at home. If I had discussed those issues with my family, set the standard, and shared my boundaries, I would have enjoyed myself and accomplished more while there. I realized that once I communicated my boundaries, I felt less anxious about staying there—but it was almost too late, because by then, I was already sleep deprived and bothered by the noise. So now I know that the next time I go to help my family, I will ask myself beforehand, “What stress can be removed from my life by communicating my boundaries from the get-go?”

Ephesians 4:15 says, “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Boundaries involve speaking the truth about ourselves in love to others so that we can grow and mature as Christians and become more Christlike. And being Christlike means practicing emotionally healthy habits—and spiritually healthy habits, as we will begin talking about next week!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Forgiveness

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I was depressed this summer. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I literally felt as if the entire world was weighing down on me. My brain was in a fog, my thoughts were cluttered, and all I wanted to do was cry—in fact, all I did was cry for two straight months. I couldn’t do it, I told myself—I couldn’t get out of bed and get going in life. Even though I had been on a pretty nice first date the evening before, even though I had plenty of friends to care about me, even though my life was going well (despite some rough circumstances), I couldn’t get out of the funk. I couldn’t move forward because I was holding on to some hurts that others had dealt out to me earlier in the summer. I was deeply depressed because I couldn’t forgive.

Forgiveness is a choice, and probably the most difficult choice we have to make when it comes to emotionally healthy habits. I still struggle with it! But every time I practice forgiveness, I realize three important things happen:

  • Forgiveness releases you. The moment that I prayed to forgive, I felt the burden on my soul lift. The heaviness that I was experiencing, the weighted sense of doom, the cloud of darkness that had hovered over me—these all disappeared immediately. But I didn’t just get released from the weight, I was also released to receive forgiveness from God. In Mark 11:25, Jesus says, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” In order to be in right standing with God, we are also encouraged to leave our offerings at the altar and go work out our issues with others—including forgiveness—before we make an offering to God. So forgive—so that you can be released and receive from the Lord.
  • Forgiveness heals you. Psalm 38:3-4 says, ‘…there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.” Does this sound familiar? It should—it is exactly the way I described feeling when I was harboring resentment and unforgiveness. And in case this isn’t clear, let me reiterate: unforgiveness is a sin, because we are choosing our anger and our hurt over the forgiveness that the Lord offers to us. And when we are sinning, we can’t be healthy! But once we choose forgiveness, we can begin to experience healing from the Lord. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. But cleansing and healing can’t happen until you choose to forgive.
  • Forgiveness challenges you. If one of our main goals in life is growth in all areas, then forgiveness meets that criteria. We don’t just want to forgive to be released and healthy, we want to grow from our experiences as forgiving people. It is against our natural desires and flesh to want to forgive others; we are carnal beings who, without God, are focused solely on ourselves. We believe that withholding forgiveness from others harms then, when really, it harms only us. That is why we choose forgiveness. It stretches us in every way to forgive—the emotional darkness within clears, the physical heaviness lightens, and the spiritual sins are cleansed. That is the challenge in forgiveness—to act against our sinful nature and choose life through forgiveness. That is also why forgiveness is always a choice and a challenge that results in your growth.

The moment I realized that I was harboring resentment and unforgiveness, I prayed to the Lord and asked for forgiveness and then offered it to those who had hurt me—without ever speaking to them about it. Sometimes, forgiveness is about them, but mostly, forgiveness is about YOU. Seek to practice forgiveness not only for release, but for healing and growth as an emotionally healthy person!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Unoffendable

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I’m extremely sensitive. In fact, for a pushy prophet girl, you would be surprised at how easily I get hurt by others. Because I’m so honest and forward in my dealings with others, people often think that it’s okay to treat me the same way—which it should be, but my sensitivity finds me taking offense all too easily. In addition, I also find myself quite hurt by God’s activity (or inactivity) in my life—because it doesn’t seem like He’s listening to my needs and wants and doing things my way. “God hates me!” is one of my favorite phrases to scream when I’m feeling sorry for myself and offended by His ways. But what I have recently learned is that in order to be Christ-like, I need to develop an unoffendable spirit.

Having an unoffendable spirit is one of the most overlooked traits in the Bible. In fact, we often believe that we have a right to be “offended” by the people and circumstances in our lives. But here’s a two things that I’m learning about being unoffendable:

We should strive to be unoffended by others. In our offense-driven, self-centered society, this is also very difficult. We tend to make things all about ourselves, and then we get offended when our expectation of a “me-focused” world isn’t met. Even Christians striving to be less “me-centered” will find themselves offended by others. In our desire to be Christ-like, however, we have to look at ourselves when we feel others have offended us. As Francis Frangipane notes, the best question to ask yourself when you feel offended is, “How can this produce more Christ-likeness in me?” Recently, I had a conflict with someone who said a few things that were quite rude and pious. I was quite offended, but because I know this person very well, I expected that response and also knew that responding to every single offense would just lengthen the conflict. Instead, I overlooked most of the offenses and only responded to the issue at hand, and I did so with love—the other person even commended me for my loving response! I chose to be unoffended, and I was able to resolve the conflict easily. This is a small first step we can practice in being unoffended by others.

We should strive to be unoffended by God. This is the biggest culprit for me. Quite often, I will have a plan in mind that I may or may not run by God, and if it doesn’t turn out the way I expected, I immediately go into prayer and question God about why this did or didn’t happen. But the Bible says that the ones who do not take offense at Him are BLESSED (Matthew 11:6). The context of this verse is that Jesus sent these words to John the Baptist, who was waiting on Jesus to rescue Him from being beheaded while in jail. It’s important to know those circumstances because sometimes, we are waiting on the Lord in dire circumstances and situations, and the only word we might receive from the Lord is Matthew 11:6. The question is, will we be offended by God or will we choose to be blessed? I’m not speaking as someone who is great at this, because I’m not. Often, in the dire circumstances, I will take great offense because God hasn’t answered a prayer the way I think He should. I try to take things into my own hands. I try to act outside of the will of God. And every time, when I quiet my soul, I feel God asking me to not be offended, but instead to trust His perfect plan.

It’s not easy, but having an unoffendable spirit is a serious step towards Christ-likeness and being emotionally healthy—because being unoffended means we are less likely to carry grudges. And if we are less likely to carry grudges, we are less likely to suffer under the weight of unforgiveness (which is our next post topic!).

What are some ways that you can practice having an unoffendable spirit?

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Failure

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my past, particularly with my career and my relationships. I was a youth pastor for about 10 years, but not a “successful” one by any means (if you are looking at numbers, particularly). I have been a worship leader at my church, but never a “successful” one by standards that I would use to measure success. I had one long-term boyfriend, but have only dated inconsistently in the past 10 years. Even at my job with the school system, I have never quite gotten up to the level that others think I should. I often look back at my life and see that it is riddled with failure in these two areas. And of course, my two biggest concerns are whether my business will succeed and whether I’ll ever get married. I’ve experienced enough defeat in these areas to last a lifetime.

Failure comes in many forms: rejection, watching others succeed in areas where you didn’t, trying new ideas that don’t work, outright defeat. But even with its different looks, failure can be an emotionally healthy habit, if we can remember these three things about failure in our lives:

  • Failure is inevitable. Everyone fails at something, because failure is a part of life. You don’t get every job that you apply for, you don’t date every person that you want to date, and you don’t get picked for every team you want to be on! From the beginning, we are destined to experience failure and suffering. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.” This means that I should expect failure, honestly. He didn’t say that we might, He didn’t say only some would—He said that we all would experience tribulation, and that includes failure. God knew that I would experience a lot of career failure, and He knew that I would experience failure in my relationships. And once we accept that failure is a normal, natural experience, we can move forward.
  • Failure does not define you. Failure is not who you are, it is what happens to you. I have failed at many endeavors, but that does not make me a failure. I have received many words of encouragement from former youth, people who felt God’s Spirit in worship experiences, and friends who felt loved by me. I know that the Lord used me in many of these instances to bless others, even if the overall impact was less than I or others expected. In addition, I realize that my identity is not tied up in the things that I do—which means that failure does not determine my identity! My identity is instead wrapped up in the person of Jesus and everything that He says that I am—and Galatians 3:26 says I am a child of God—through faith, not success!
  • Failure is a great teacher. Romans 5:3-5 says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” When we fail and suffer, we learn a great deal about endurance, character, and hope. We develop wisdom through failure that we cannot learn through success. (I guess this means I should be really wise!) In addition, God uses those failures to encourage us and others. What have I learned from my failures? That I am a great administrator; that I work better with adults; that I should not compromise what I’m looking for in a mate. As such, my failures have contributed to me knowing my passions and purpose just as much as my successes have.

Some of the greatest successes have come because of great failure, and in order to be greatly successful in God’s Kingdom, we must understand that failure is unavoidable! But once we accept that and reject the idea that failure defines us, we can learn from our failures and thus grow in our emotionally healthy habits!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Conflict

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I had just gotten back to the east coast from coordinating my uncle’s post-rehab care in Phoenix. I was tired and emotionally drained as I read an e-mail from my supervisor asking me to stay late the following day to interview candidates for our admin job. I responded to my supervisor with a very direct and factual e-mail about what my office hours were and what my life was like after hours (owning a business). He was angry for hours before finally calling me in to his office. At that point, he began to tell me that my e-mail had rubbed him the wrong way, that they had been very “accommodating” of my schedule this past year, and that he didn’t appreciate the tone of my e-mail. I responded only to what was appropriate: I apologized for any “tone” that might have come across and reiterated my inability to stay late. What could have been a larger argument was toned down because I chose to practice emotionally healthy habits in conflict.

Conflict is one of the hardest things for people to handle. In fact, I’m still looking for ways to improve my conflict resolution skills. But here are three ways I am always trying to improve my handling of one-on-one conflict:

  • Listen actively. This means not just hearing what the other person says, but listening with your heart. I didn’t speak much in the meeting with my supervisor because I wanted to listen to what he was saying, and because I didn’t want to say something I would regret. When I listened with my heart, I realized that I had hurt him with my directness. How did I know? Because when I apologized and assured him that I was not upset with him, he was fine! James 1:19 says that everyone should “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” You can’t talk and listen at the same time, so make listening your priority. And once you’ve listened, when you do speak, don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify what the other person means. Listen to understand, not to respond.
  • Fight fair. Stay focused on the topic at hand. “You always do this” is not a fair statement about what is happening now. Make sure that you only address the present, not the past. When my boss noted that they had been so “accommodating” of my schedule over the year, I wanted to respond with some snarky comment. But I quickly realized that was not the issue, so I let it go. Part of fighting fair is also remaining as calm as possible. Do you like dealing with angry people? Few people do. No one likes to be attacked, physically or verbally. So treat people the way you want to be treated, especially in conflict. As Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Fight fair by staying focused on the present and remaining calm.
  • Consider your part. It takes two to tango, and two to engage in conflict. Is this the third or fourth person that has mentioned that you’ve hurt them in one specific way? Then perhaps what they are saying is truth. How are you feeling? This also affects how we treat others, so be aware of yourself! With my supervisor, I realized that being emotionally drained, I should not have responded via e-mail but instead I should’ve just spoken with him. I also realized that I was too direct and lacked positive emotion in my response. I even thought about ways I could have worded my e-mail that wouldn’t have come across so strong. I noted the latter to my boss as we were talking. Matthew 7:5 reminds us that we all have faults and issues; so before we start in on someone else’s, we need to check our own.

Conflict is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy! In fact, conflict is one of the healthiest things we can experience—if we practice emotionally healthy habits. So fight fair, listen actively, and consider your part the next time you have a conflict—and watch yourself grow exponentially!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Acceptance

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

“Why can’t he just see the truth?” My mom and I were pondering this on the telephone this week as we thought about my stroke-ridden uncle’s health crisis. He wasn’t really getting better, and he seemed to think that ordering expensive health products online—instead of working hard in therapy—would help him to regain his pre-stroke “fitness”—which wasn’t that great to begin with. He had already been kicked out of one therapy for not doing the work; now there was a chance he would be kicked out of another. It just seemed like he didn’t want to accept anything about the situation—including his limitations.

One of the biggest keys to emotional health is acceptance. It’s not about others accepting you—that is a path that leads to death. Instead, it’s about walking in emotional health and with the joy that comes through Christ. And if there’s anything I have learned about life in Christ, it is that you must practice acceptance in the following three areas to create emotionally healthy habits:

  • Accept yourself. Sometimes, accepting ourselves means accepting where we are right at this moment. It means taking a hard look at ourselves from a Biblical point of view and recognizing our current sins and struggles. It means swallowing our pride and understanding that we are beautifully broken people. We may not be physically broken, but we are all spiritually and emotionally broken and weak because we live in a broken world. As I watch my uncle resist accepting himself and his condition right now, I am forced to ask myself, where am I being prideful and not accepting my weaknesses? Proverbs 19:8 says, “Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” Do you have sense? Are you trying to keep understanding yourself so that you can discover good?
  • Accept others. This is my biggest struggle. For most people, accepting themselves is the hard part, but for me, it is accepting that other people are exactly the way God made them. Why can’t my coworker learn things as quickly as I do? Why can’t my uncle see the truth about his condition? I tend to bring these complaints to God instead of accepting and seeing others as His creations as well. After all, I need to accept that God didn’t just make ME, He formed others uniquely as well (Psalm 139). And I need to accept others, flaws and all. I need to accept my family’s flaws—including my uncle’s—and realize that as I am growing in Christlikeness, I need to show no partiality as God does. How can you accept others as they are?
  • Accept circumstances. My uncle had a stroke that incapacitated him. He is no longer independent, but is dependent on my family even to use the bathroom. He can no longer drive an 18-wheeler, he can no longer live a bachelor’s life of doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants to. Those are his circumstances. Maybe your circumstances aren’t as grim; maybe you simply don’t like where you are living. Maybe you don’t like your job. Maybe you aren’t married and you want to be. Can you change your circumstances? Of course. But the better question is…can you accept your circumstances and wait patiently on the Lord to use them to mature you? As James 1 notes, our circumstances—trials and testing especially—lead to perseverance, which makes us mature. So are you willing to accept your circumstances so that the Lord can produce in you His fruit? Am I?

Acceptance can be difficult, but it is a great step towards practicing emotionally healthy habits. When you begin to accept yourself, others, and your circumstances, you begin to change your thinking, your actions, and eventually your outcomes. And that is the beginning of total health—mind, soul, and body!

Fall Into Healthy Habits!

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Pornography addiction is a habit that takes up quite a bit of your time. It’s just like any other addiction—once you get into it, you need it desperately and spend most of your time trying to fill the void of time with your addiction. But substance abuse and pornography addictions are not the only bad habits we accumulate. Last September, I was just beginning my coaching ministry, and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle my new part-time status at my job and starting my business from the ground up. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing and not enough time doing it! I built some incredibly unhealthy habits—sleeping too much, trying to work at home from my bed, not exercising—and in return, I did not create many healthy ones. This summer, I decided that I would do things differently. I would find ways to be healthier—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

September is a great time to begin anew—summer has ended, school has started for the kiddos, and change is in the air. Over the next three months of autumn, Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries will be talking about how we can fall into healthy habits in the three biggest areas of our lives:

Emotionally. In September, we will explore how to create better emotional habits in our lives. Being emotionally healthy is one of the most important steps you can take—so building good emotional habits is one of my ministry’s focuses! This month, we will discuss our hang-ups—forgiveness, anyone?—and how to better handle our hurts. How can you overcome that spirit of being offended? The Word frequently talks about compassion, but in what ways do we live that out in our daily lives? How do we practice responding to others in loving ways, even when they aren’t being loving towards us? We will talk about these things and more this month.

Spiritually.  Pete Scazzero says that you can’t be spiritually mature without being emotionally mature first! That’s why we will talk about our spiritual health during the month of October, after we have addressed our emotional habits. What are some spiritually healthy habits we can begin to practice? When can fasting help our spiritual life? What is worship—is it just what we do in church on Sundays? How does giving to others affect us spiritually? Our spiritual lives consist of more than just prayer, attending church, and reading Scripture. While we will talk about those things, we will also discuss many more spiritual habits we can practice in healthy ways.

Physically. We mature and grow from the inside out! Once we have thoroughly discussed our emotional and spiritual health, we will focus on our physical health habits. We will look at the different aspects of our physical bodies and how caring for them is not only a Biblical command but a necessity in this day and age. How does eating healthy become a habit? Where does sleep fit into your fitness regimen? If your body is a temple, are you caring for it the way God wants you to? I am always seeking to improve in this area as well, so I can’t wait to begin talking about these issues and more in November.

Today is a brand new day, and I am here to help you and cheer you on towards being fearlessly fulfilled. Are you ready to fall into emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthier habits? Then contact me today to get started on a personal coaching journey and keep checking my blog this fall for ways to become the best you!