The Gnawing Ache of Our Restless Discontentment

o-WOMAN-WRITING-facebookMy prayer:

“I’ve been in a slump Lord and wondering why I feel bored with my life and finally realizing the One I miss is You.  Interesting because I feel You with me all the time.  But You are teaching me that if I don’t take the time to sit and listen to You,  my intimate needs of connecting with you will wane.

You are who I miss.  It is You I need. 

When I can’t put my finger on what I’m lacking then I can always know it is You.  Oh, for the body of Christ to learn this truth!  There wouldn’t be so many needy people. 

So, here I am my Love.  I long for You in the deepest places.   In the depth of my soul. 

Fill my cup back up Lord.  Fill me up and make me whole.  Give me energy again, and health, and vitality.

Hope and vision.

Thank you for Your patience with me and your long-suffering.  Thank you also for the vision of me as an uncut diamond that You are in process of chiseling away the dark coal–which is causing the light of Yourself to shoot off of me in so many ways. 

Wow!  I can see it!

As I waited on Him, He replied,

jesus-christ-widescreen-wallpapers-04Yes, my love it is about your depletion of me.  This is the next step of intimacy.  You already know that I walk with you every moment, but now you must remember that when you are feeling lonely, sad, bored, and have a lack of vision it is me you are being called to connect with.

Your reserves are depleted when you give out of yourself so much of the time and you get distracted.  You forget to move all distractions out of the way and just sit with me, so I can fill you up.

I am your very life line.

Instead of turning to everything else, including connecting with people, you must turn to Me.  If you do this, you will find your rest and peace and restored hope for the life I have called you too. 

diamond 2Yes, you are My diamond. The rays of My light shoot off of you as I have been chiseling away on everything that obscures my light.  This will continue to manifest more and more as you walk on in the face of the chiseling.  Your suffering for me has not gone unnoticed and your maturity in rising above the flesh in the many hardships you have faced has made Me delight over you with joy. 

Feel My smile, Dixie.

Feel My love, Dixie.

Feel My presence enveloping you, Dixie.

I love you!”

 I have shared with you my most recent conversation with Jesus.  This came out of a time when I was needy and not realizing what it was I needed.

So I asked Him!

Do you stop and just ask Him what it is you need at those confusing moments.  Sometimes we just don’t even think about asking Him what our problem is.

 Jesus sees you as His precious treasure….. and He longs to have a close relationship with you.

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nMore than anything He wants you to have an intimate love relationship and friendship with Him. God wants you to spend time with Him and intimately communicate with Him, to enjoy fellowship with Him, to trust and follow Him, and to give your life meaning and purpose by giving you the privilege of joining Him in His life here on earth.

All of humanity, can be defined as a vast, gaping need. Looking across the globe of this generation we witness men and women, young and old, throwing themselves into entertainment, recreation, technology, food, music, friends, and a host of things as they grope for the answer to the riddle of why they are alive and seek to silence the screaming voice of yearning in their souls.   

has-gaming-lost-its-humanity-20110927075056174And throw in these troubling times of terror and the unknown of what we will face before we are taken out of here is gripping people with fear…and distracting them from the very One who can give them peace when our world is seemingly falling apart.

No matter how much we buy, who we know, or what fleeting pleasures we experience, we find that none of it can quench the insatiable thirst in the depths of our being. So it is that day after day we go about panting and groaning for something that will satisfy the desires that dominate our inner man.

sadIt is in the gnawing ache of this restless discontentment so familiar to us all that the subject of intimacy with God finds its significance.

Intimacy is a word being thrown around a lot in our day, both inside and outside of the Church.

 Some of us are afraid of it.

 We all know that we want it because, on some level, we believe that only God can fill that void in our hearts. Still, for most of us, we don’t know quite how to get it, and what it actually means when we’re referring to intimacy with God Himself.

 We must realize that it is not just a certain way of speaking about God nor is it merely a feeling we experience.

 Intimacy with God consists of relational knowledge – we are most intimate with those whom we know at the deepest levels. Jesus stands at the center of this pursuit because in His face we see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God and that is what intimacy is really all about.

 One of the most common disillusions  relates to how He feels about you.  From years of various and sundry teachings born out of our organizational churches, deep inside we think that Jesus is mostly unemotional and distant, except for how disappointed He is with us – that is the one feeling many of us are convinced He does actually feel.

 Yet the truth is that His heart is full of love and desire for you. This isn’t just an idea or a sweet sentiment, but a reality that He put on display in every moment of His life.

 545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1In drinking in the wild beauty of this Man, your soul will at last find its rest. This is intimacy, and this is what you were created for – to enjoy and adore the splendor of His glory forever.

So forgetting what is behind, let us press on to know Him.

Sugar Coated Anger….15 Ways to Recognize Passive Aggressive Behavior!

7699943_f260My belief has always been, when the dark and hidden areas of our minds are exposed to light and truth, the darkness has to go.  Light and darkness simply cannot dwell in the same place. 

So, as a Life Coach, I endeavor to ask the right questions that will uncover areas in ourselves that will ultimately answer our questions and set us free from bondage.  Or to help us see the truth within relationships that perplex us, that also sets us free from the actions of others.

Sometimes our communication and conflict management patterns can be out of whack.  

This can be for a variety of reasons based on our background and learned behavior.  Those patterns can change with some insights, skills and relationship help.

And if you want it to change. 

You have to want it to change. 

It is always about a choice, isn’t it?

So, if this post helps you see your own passive-aggressive behaviors, you will understand why others find it difficult to be around you, trust you, and respect you as you would like to be trusted and respected.

passive-aggressive-spouse (1)You confuse them.  People move away from folks who purposefully confuse them — if they are smart.  It can be such a drain.

Or if it answers your questions or rings a bell in some of your relationship conflicts with the other people in your life who have these traits this will help you realize you are not really crazy–and it is not you!

Just becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that our behavior patterns change overnight.  The minute we become believers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are born anew.  We get brand new hearts, alive unto God.  And we are saved by His grace, not by our own goodness, but by His. 

But our souls, (mind, will, and emotions) have to be renewed on a daily basis by a continued pursued relationship with Jesus.  His spirit helps us to change and it is never ending growth.  We have to learn how to recognize old coping skills from the past and allow the Lord to show us how to move past them and find our security, comfort, and value from Him alone.

So, I am offering you a list of what you can look for in a passive aggressive person, or to even recognize some of the traits in yourself.  If so, I hope you find it home-hitting and immediately revealing and you start the journey to correct it.

passiveaggression1If these traits describe you as you usually are, I invite you to sit up and take notice.  You likely do not even realize you are doing these things.  Once you read them and ponder your own behavior, you may finally understand why you are having difficulties having the relationships you most want, at home and at work or in the church.

More good news, the more willing to work on yourself you are, the greater your chances of having the life with others that you crave.  When you realize how you are pushing them away by your crazy-making behaviors, you can change things within yourself. When you are trustworthy within yourself, you will be perceived as trustworthy by others.

Although men and women express their passive-aggressive behaviors somewhat differently, generally, you are behaving in passive-aggressive ways if you are regularly:

1. Unwilling to speak your truth openly, kindly and honestly when asked for your opinion or when asked to do something for someone.

How this shows up in communication is being “assertively unassertive”.  You say “Yes” (assertive) when you really mean “No way” (unassertive).  Then, you let your behavior say “No way” for you.  People become confused and mistrusting of you.

2. Appearing sweet, compliant and agreeable, but are really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath and your actions are just off enough to the point that those close to you sense it.  It makes those around you annoyed and confused.

sb_passiveagressive2People who do not get along with others are interested only in themselves; they will disagree with what everyone else knows is right.  A fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is. Pro. 18:1&2 NLT

 3. You fear direct communication because you fear rejection. You then often push away the people you care about because you don’t want to seem in need of support.

relationship difficultiesAll the while, you are afraid of being alone and so you want to control those around you so they won’t leave you.  Very confusing!

4. Complaining that others treat you unfairly frequently.  Rather than taking responsibility for stepping up and speaking your truth, you set yourself up as the (innocent) victim.  You say others are hard on you, unfair, unreasonable and excessively demanding.

5. Procrastinating frequently, especially on things you do for others.  One way of controlling others is to make them wait.  Ouch!!  I know that speaks to so many of us.  You have lots of excuses why you haven’t been able to get things done.  You even blame others for why that is so.  It’s amazingly unreasonable, but you do it even though it destroys relationship, damages careers, loses friendships and jobs.

And, you tell others how justified you are in being angry because, once again, others treated you unfairly.

6. Unwilling to give a straight answer.  Another way of controlling others is to send mixed messages, ones that leave the other person completely unclear about your thoughts, plans or intentions.

Then, you make them feel wrong when you tell them that what they took from your communication was not what you meant.  Silly them!

depositphotos_21157319-Man-telling-spooky-story7. The silent treatment.  Passive aggressive behavior is recognizable by the disconnect between what is being said and what is being done. Nothing highlights this more than the famous silent treatment. Silence generally signifies agreement but not in this case.  When you are on the receiving end of the silent treatment, you realize that the other person is far from agreeable.  They have a big problem with you and just to allow themselves the victory, they have no intention of telling you what that is.

There are 2 other common versions of the silent treatment.  One is to answer the question ‘What’s wrong?’ with ‘nothing’, when there certainly is something wrong.  The other is to answer any question with just one word.  This is intended to signal that there is a problem, without you having to say it.

8-Examples-of-passive-aggressive-behaviourBoth expressions say “You poor confused person. You’re not worth talking to.”  But the real reason for their behavior is that they have not, cannot, or will not take responsibility for their own behavior.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 ESV

8. Frequently feeling inadequate but covering it up with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity. 

bully-free-workplacesWhether you set yourself up to be a self-sabotaging failure — “Why do you have such unrealistic expectations of me?” or a tyrant or goddess incapable of anything less than perfection, “To whom do you think you are speaking?”  You are shaking in your boots from fear of competition and being found out as less than perfect.

9. Often late and/or forgetful.  One way of driving people away is to be thoughtless, inconsiderate and infuriating.

And, then, to put the cherry on top, you suggest that it’s unrealistic to expect you to arrive on time, or, in your words, “think of everything”.  Being chronically late is disrespectful of others.  Supposedly forgetting to do what you have agreed to do is simply demonstrating your lack of trustworthiness.  Who wants to be around that for long?

Pro. 16:7   When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.

10. Making up stories, excuses and lies.  You are the master of avoidance of the straight answer.  You’ll go to great lengths to tell a story, withhold information, or even withhold love and affirmation in your primary relationships.  It seems that if you let folks think you like them too much, that would be giving them power.  You’d rather be in control by creating a story that seems plausible, gets them off your back, and makes reality look better from your viewpoint.

11. Constantly protecting yourself so no one will know how afraid you are of being inadequate, imperfect, dependent or simply human.

12. Complaints of injustice and lack of appreciation

13. Dragging your feet to frustrate others.  Again, a control move somewhat like procrastinating, but the difference is you begin and appear as though you are doing what you said you would do.  But, you always have an excuse why you cannot continue or complete the task.  You won’t even say when it will be — or even might be — done.  Do you know anyone like this? 

people-running-scared-clipart-1044249-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Fearful-Man-RunningEverything is viewed as an attack on you.  When something doesn’t go your way, it is seen as unfair or an injustice.  It’s all about how the world impacts you.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1-20 ESV

14. Disguising criticism with compliments

At first, passive aggressive people may seem pleasant and warm.  They often appear to be complimentary.  It is only after they have left that you realize that the compliment was actually disguising a cheap jibe.

15. Always getting in the last punch.

Passive aggressive people love to throw the last punch.  So much so, that even when an argument has been reconciled, they slip one last insulting remark into the conversation. This remark is often more subtle than the ones which went before but it is still an insulting remark which allows them to feel victorious.

gods-willWe belong to God.  It is time for us to step into maturity and begin to face truth about the strong holds in our lives that hold us back from producing His fruit in us. 

The answer always lies in Jesus.  Our renewed minds will flow out from Him if we are willing to admit the truth of our actions to ourselves and then to Him.  It is not in our own power but in His.  In our weaknesses He is made strong, but we have to be willing to get out of denial and face our truth.  He will help us with the rest! 

loveLove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

5 Things I Know By Experience About Actively Letting Go–And the Agony of It!

Letting-go21Actively letting go is a little more pro-active than when you are forced to let go. 

It’s a practice.

It’s being awake.

It can bring great relief.

Except for the agony of it!

It is not the same as “passively letting go”.  Like when you have no choice…whereby life rips stuff out of your grip, or you paint yourself into a corner, or life gets suddenly interrupted by a sudden loss.

gi-letting-go-butterfly11I’m talking about a decision to let go of something that only Jesus can heal or take care of. 

We are not saviors.  He is! 

5 Things I know by experience about actively letting go:

1. There’s always more to let go of.  Our life is a journey of surrender.  The sooner we realize we are not the fixers, the sooner we are released from the burden of trying to figure it all out.  And sometimes we have to let go of the same thing 100 times or more.

2. Letting go is painful – in varying degrees, and it is going to stretch you until you feel pain.  It leaves an emptiness, a place that the thing took up,  that you then have to ask Jesus to fill up for you.

3. When you find the strength in your spirit to be tough enough to let go, you cross over a sacred line.  And on the other side, His tenderness is waiting for you for He has just been waiting for you to release it, (or them, or whatever it is that you were holding onto).

4. Baby steps are okay, but you can’t avoid the pain that surfaces when you commit to the letting go and the longer you wait, the longer it takes to see Him fixing the thing you had a vice grip on.

5. Acceptance is obedience and obedience means intimacy with the One who stands there waiting patiently for you to get there.

emotional-painWhen you just accept that the pain of letting go is part of the deal, your let-go wound will heal faster.

I’ve had to let go of a dizzying amount of things in a relatively short amount of time:  

Our joint investigation business, a steady income as a result, my picture of what my ministry should look like by now, my books selling as fast as I wanted them too, adult children (whom God-is-doing-amazing things-in-their-lives-but-only-after-I-gave-up-trying-to-make-it-happen by-myself, and got out of His way), my house, my mother, our joint income, vacations as I knew them, Grandbabies growing up, a lifestyle I cherished, friends moving on…need I go on?   

Painful things. 

But I’ve surrendered to the endlessness of it.  And it’s a resolution that softens my spirit.  It is a solution of surrender…which means growth and trust and intimacy with the One that I trust to handle it all for me; the things out of my control…

Where I got in the way!

cupped handsDeep, deep, deep in my soul, beneath limits of time, and fantasies, and things I “captured” along the way that I thought I could fix, is the freedom that has been pulling me forward my whole life.  Forward right into His lap. 

jesus-and-meGazing into His eyes with my spirit, even though each and every time it is like cutting off an appendage, I let go of my priceless treasures that are outside of my control, and give it all to Him.

So I’m still shedding — taking deep breaths and actively letting go.  I’m not waiting until I’m ready to let go.  I’ve waited long enough.  Carried stuff long enough.  Longed long enough.

For lightness.

For that tender place, dancing with Him, on the other side of courage.

And you know what?  In each and every case after actively letting go, I have found the reality of truly living by faith…for He has never let me down.  

And I have delightfully discovered that He does a much better job of fixing than I can. 

378095_526317080764178_826390852_n-3So, take a deep breath, and as an act of faith, share with me those things you have truly let go of too! 

I would love to hear from you!

Who Has the Power in Your Life~Boundaries!

She sat in my office crying her heart out seeking an answer for depression.  A young mother of 3 children who just coPerson-under-doormatuld not seem to get it together or define why she was so unhappy and miserable.  She said she loved being a mom and her marriage was just fine.  I was stumped and began to just call on the Lord to help me, help her!  

Finally, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Ask her about her mother.”  Up until that point her mother had not been mentioned.  So I said, “Tell me about your Mom.”

She looked at me in shock and literally crumbled into a sob that went on for quite a while.   She finally was able to tell me that her mom controlled her entire life.  She had no freedom to make her own choices with her own children.  Every day her mom showed up at her house to come in and make sure she was handling her life according to what her mom wanted.   She disclosed she was not free to go out with her husband unless her mom approved and was the babysitter and knew what she was doing every minute.  It was causing problems in her marriage and her husband hated her mom for it. 

I could see the guilt and shame come in as she talked, and the little girl qualities emerge.  This girl had spent her entire life letting her mom rule everything she did.  Her mom never let her grow up and she allowed it.  She hated her weakness for not being able to tell her mom no, or being able to just grow up and take care of her own children or make her own decisions.

She was stuck.

I wish I could say I was able to help her.  Once I began to share with her about boundaries and how the power was hers to learn to say no, she began to back track and make excuses.  Her fear of her mom was palpable and it wasn’t long before I got a call that she just couldn’t afford any more sessions.  I knew she just could not handle making this shift of saying no to her mother. 

door matHow sad we give others so much power over us!

Being set free is being willing to learn to let go of controllers in our lives. 

Even when it is family. 

There are plenty of people out there who live their lives through controlling others.

Self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit. When we have self-control, and you get it from being with Jesus and asking for His self control to fill you, by faith, we maintain the ability to stand up to aggressive controllers who try to tell us who we should be and what we should do.

Do you have any controllers in your life? 

Consider the following situation in the Bible where Peter, Jesus’ disciple, acts in a controlling manner:

Mark 8: 31-33 “Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

bourndariesOne of the most important benefits of having boundaries is that we do have the ability to stand up to others when they try to control our lives.  It is hard to confront but it is absolutely necessary if you want to move forward with God at the helm of your life.

It does take courage.  But God has given you all you need to step out and take control of your own life. 

Peter wanted to impose his own design for Jesus’ life onto Jesus, but Jesus had good boundaries; he stood up to Peter and rebuked him.

Jesus showed that he was in control of himself and would not be defined and controlled by Peter, no matter how good Peter’s intentions might have been. The truth is that Peter was thinking, not of God’s purposes, but of his own agenda. Peter was trying to rescue Jesus instead of turning the situation over to God.

Are you defined by controllers or by God? 

Although we are wise to listen to others and be open to their feedback, we should never allow someone to be in control of us and define who we are.

Setting appropriate boundaries with people helps us to retain that kind of freedom and self-control.

gods-willOur actions have consequences, but If you take responsibility for things that aren’t yours–by not having boundaries, for instance–you put a roadblock into one of God’s best teaching instruments He has for His children.

The young mother I was coaching said her mom was prone to anger if she stood up to her. So, in her timidity, she walked on tiptoes around her mom, trying to placate her, and then when the mom would be pushy or tell her what to do the little-girl-mom-herself would apologize and try to repair the relationship with her mother..thus letting her mother have her way once again. 

She was the one who was reaping the discord in her home, not her mother.

 Enabling someone to control us is NOT walking in the love of God with them.  They do not have to confront their own issues as long as you give them control over you.  Their issues become yours.  How can God work in their life if you are reaping the consequence of their choices and not they themselves?

 That is why they can throw major manipulative fits when you finally say NO to their demands!

We aren’t meant to reap the consequences of the controllers actions of disobedience.  We are supposed to let people bear the consequences of their own actions.

We are each responsible for our own stuff.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus set limits on Himself. He didn’t heal everyone all the time; often He left areas where there were still people who needed His help because it was time to move to the next place. He carved out time to pray, away from His disciples, to spend time with God.   He carved out time away from the masses, just with His disciples, to train and minister to them.

 If Jesus had let His schedule be determined by what people needed Him to do rather than by what He was called to do and what He was able to do, His ministry would not have been as effective. He needed time alone to rejuvenate and time alone with God, and He took it. He knew that He couldn’t do everything–even if other people needed Him.

 He had His limits.

 

Support Groups PicWhen people join support groups for other family members of those suffering from addictions, such as Al Anon, one of the first things they are told is that you can only change yourself, and you must not take responsibility for changing another person.

But at the same time, you must also allow that other person to reap the natural consequences of their actions, or they will not change. You must stop enabling bad behavior.

 Why is it that Christians think that being a pushover, or letting others get away with wrong behavior, is Christ-like?

doormat He didn’t call us to be door-mats.

God’s will is that we look more and more like Christ.

loveIn your family, are your actions encouraging others to look more and more like Christ, or are they covering up and enabling others to look more and more un-Christlike?

 

If you aren’t setting healthy boundaries of responsibility in your own life, then it’s quite likely that others who are allowed to control you will be looking less and less like Christ, rather than more and more like Him.

Queenism photo posted by permission from http://QueenofYourOwnLife.com/

7 Behaviors of a Persistently Unhappy Person….It is a Choice

Unhappy-PersonBeing a Life Purpose Coach has opened my eyes to so many things in my own life. One of those things I have learned is that I am responsible for my own happiness-no one else is responsible for me.  So, I often coach about happiness being a choice and the one responsible for your happiness is YOU! 

Six years of coaching has shown me there are some definite characteristics of a chronically unhappy person.  It may take a few sessions but invariably it becomes clear to me the areas we need to work on.

Mostly as we grow spiritually and mentally we tend to bounce back and forth between happiness and unhappiness in the course of even one day.  But there are those who are blinded to the fact that they can change the course of their life by allowing God to show them how to renew their minds and what tools to use to do that.

mind-clutterI’ve learned there are certain traits and habits chronically unhappy people seem to have mastered. We all have bad days, even weeks when we fall down in all seven areas. 

But, the difference between a happy and unhappy life is how often and how long we stay there.

And I must say a few things about the difference in happiness and the Joy that comes from Jesus.

Happiness is fleeting.  It can claim your full attention for the ten seconds it takes to sing a fun song.  Or it can stream through your being for weeks on end.  But happiness can’t hold the same space as sadness, or anger, or the range of so-called “negative” emotions for very long.  This is why it’s transitory and subject to your choices.

praying-womanJoy is the foundation of your Soul (mind, will, and emotions), and since your Soul can never be annihilated, your access to joy never vanishes. Because joy is so foundational to your true being, every other state or emotion can rest on top of joy, it can accommodate everything.

This means that it’s possible to grieve with your whole heart, and still sense your joy.  You can feel rage, suffering, and pain and still be aware of joy waiting patiently for you to return, and you take deep comfort in that.

It has never failed that when I have been through the most heart-breaking passages of my life — betrayal, financial hardship, divorce, dreams dashed, deep loss — the pain brought me to the floor of my spiritual being and what did I find there?  His presence….and then His joy in the midst of my sorrow.

♥  Happiness.  Has to be a choice you make.  You are the only one responsible for your happiness.

♥  Joy.  It’s the love from His character that lasts no matter what.  You walk into it by faith and He gives freely.

So, with that said here are 7 traits of chronically unhappy people that I have noted.

1. Your core belief is that life is hard all the time.  You think there is something wrong with you, as opposed to others, that makes your life hard.

Happy people know life can be hard and tend to bounce through hard times with an attitude of curiosity versus victimization.  They know who they are in Christ and realize that though life may be hard they take responsibility for their thought lives and focus on moving forward to better times.  Perseverance towards problem-solving versus complaining over circumstances is a symptom of a happy person.  Unhappy people see themselves as victims of life and stay stuck in the “look what happened to me” attitude versus finding a way through and out the other side.  They tend to think God is a respecter of people and has ruled them out when it comes to happiness.

2. You believe most people can’t be trusted, thus limiting your vulnerability to those who can truly help you see truth.

Healthy discernment is important, but most happy people are willing to trust.  They believe in the good in people, versus assuming everyone is out to get them.  They are generally open and friendly towards people they meet, and happy people foster a sense of community around themselves and meet new people with an open heart.
walk in the lightUnhappy people are distrustful of most people they meet and assume that strangers can’t be trusted.  Unfortunately this behavior slowly starts to close the door on any connection and thwarts all chances of meeting new friends.

3. You concentrate on what’s wrong in this world versus what’s right.

There’s plenty wrong with this world and all you have to do is watch the nightly news to open the door to fear, yet unhappy people turn a blind eye to what’s actually right in this world and instead focus on what’s wrong.  It can and is addictive to fill your mind with the negative, day in and day out.

They are usually the ones complaining and responding to any positive attributes of our world with “yeah but”.

loveHappy people are aware of global issues, but balance their concern with also seeing what’s right.  They allow their focus to be on Him rather than what they see in the world.  Or as the word of God tells us:  Philippians 4: 6-9 says this:

Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.  Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

However, unhappy people tend to close one eye towards anything good in this world in fear they might be distracted from what’s wrong.  Happy people keep it in perspective.  They know our world has problems and they also keep an eye on what’s right.

4. You compare yourself to others and harbor jealousy.choices

Unhappy people believe someone else’s good fortune steals from their own.  They believe there’s not enough goodness to go around and constantly compare yours against theirs.  This leads to jealousy and resentment.

Happy people know that their good luck and circumstance are merely signs of what they too can aspire to achieve.  Happy people believe they carry a unique blueprint that can’t be duplicated or stolen from –which is true…we were created unique and special and God has a plan for each of our lives.  They believe in unlimited possibilities and don’t get bogged down by thinking one person’s good fortune limits their possible outcome in life.

5. You strive to control your life.

There’s a difference between control and striving to achieve our goals. Happy people take steps daily to achieve their goals, but realize in the end, there’s very little control over sufferings and trials that may come…it is those trials however, that perfect our faith and draw us closer to Him.

happinessUnhappy people tend to micromanage their lives in effort to control all outcomes and fall apart in dramatic display when life throws a wrench in their plan.  Happy people can be just as focused, yet still have the ability to go with the flow and not melt down when life delivers a curve-ball.

The key here is to be goal-oriented and focused, but allow room for growth when the best laid plans go awry- because they will sometimes. Going with the flow is what happy people have as plan B.

 6. You consider your future with worry and fear.

people-running-scared-clipart-1044249-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Fearful-Man-RunningUnhappy people fill their thoughts with what could go wrong versus what might go right.

Unhappy people are usually deluded with doubts and allow themselves to daydream about what they’d like to have life unfold for them but are always disappointed things didn’t go as planned.

Unhappy people fill their souls with constant worry and fear.

Happy people experience fear and worry, but make an important distinction between feeling it and living it.  When fear or worry crosses a happy person’s mind, they’ll ask themselves what choices they can make to rise up over their adverse circumstances and how they can fight the good fight of faith to prevent their fear or worry from happening (there’s responsibility again) and they take it.  If not, they realize they’re rooted in fear and they lay it down.

 

7. You fill your conversations with comparisons and complaints.

lonelyUnhappy people like to live in the past.  What’s happened to them and life’s hardships are their conversation of choice.  They are sometimes so stuck in their past pain they just can’t get to a place of letting go.  It actually becomes their identity and like an old friend (foe?) to stay in the pain.  And sometimes when they run out of things to say, they’ll turn to other people’s lives and compare.

Happy people live in the now and dream about the future.  You can feel their positive vibe from across the room.  They’re excited about something they’re working on, grateful for what they have and dreaming about the possibilities of life and what wonderful things the Lord has for them in the future.

Obviously none of us are perfect.  We’re all going to swim in negative waters once in a while, but what matters is how long we stay there and how quickly we work to get ourselves out.  Practicing positive habits daily is what sets happy people apart from unhappy people.

dixie1If you need help in identifying the tools to help you become a happy person, Life Coaching can help tremendously.  But again, it is a choice.  Just read some success stories on my web site: http://www.reflectionsofgracehome.com/#!success-stories/c24vq to see how God’s perspective has helped countless others to make this transition from unhappiness to being happy!

Queenism photo posted by permission from http://QueenofYourOwnLife.com/

First Day of 2015: Talking To Jesus and What He Told Me.

happy-new-year-cards I found myself alone on New Year’s   day.  On New Year’s Eve I felt the call to start the year with inviting Jesus into the year, and by morning I knew I had a date.  I came with a list of requests to lay down at His feet.  But as I began talking to Him I was overwhelmed with His presence and could not get any of those requests past my tongue.  I could only sit at His feet and love on Him with my whole heart.  His response to me seemed to take on a message for His church as well.  I knew He wanted me to share my intimate moments of this day with you in the context of my blog.

Me:

“Happy New Year, dear Jesus.  You are so precious to me.  I love You so much.  I have gone through so many emotional ups and downs over the last quarter of 2014 and always those ups and downs direct me back to my Center–YOU!! 

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1You are the One who fulfills my every need–no matter what the circumstances are, You are there.  You are…

my Anchor,

my Companion,

my Universe.

It’s amazing Lord to witness You in the lives of those I’m vulnerable enough to share my own weaknesses with–and how You take my weaknesses and inabilities and use then to show others they can do it too!  I marvel at Your workings in the lives of my husband and children and grand children…all that pertains to me You are exceedingly interested in and are very much involved in their lives because of our love for each other–me and You–and because Your Word does not return to you void of accomplishing all that you promise–because YOU are the Word!  How could you ever deny Yourself.  I think of what I wanted to ask of You today on this first day of the new year, and my requests pale in comparison to my deep need to…

praise You,

extol You,

glorify You,

worship You,

thank you,

rainfallSoak in Your essence and Your sweet undeniable presence here in this spot of the Divine.

I can’t seem to stop the flow of words of admiration and joy at my delight in You, my Lover and my King. 

I came with requests but somehow I have sensed as I pour out my heart in sweet communion with You that those requests are already taken care of in Your time for You know my heart and what I have need of before I even ask….and because I’m talking to You all the time about those issues that my heart seeks for.

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nToday, the first day of 2015, I just want to absorb You, love You, and dance the dance of love with my beautiful, all consuming King. 

I sense a shift in the atmosphere, Lord–something I am not clear on– and I can only trust as I wait expectantly on You.  I know this year will be restorative for so many, including me, and countless others who love You and who seek You with all their hearts. 

Let the rain of Your presence fall on me Lord…let Your glory shine through my countenance…and all the angels of heaven with me….at Your absolute, infinite, and all consuming love. 

You ARE Love Himself.  Let that Love shine so forth through me that it blinds the evil hearts of those who seek to destroy and let that love burn out all deception and wrath of those I meet.  Let that love break down even the most stubborn and fearful hearts and bring Your light into the darkness.

I love You, Jesus!”

akiane-kramarik-jesus-paintingJesus then replied:

“Dixie, I delight in your praise and you have touched on my heart in such a way that I indeed am smiling and dancing the dance of joy with you.  Remember the vision you had of Us dancing above the mountain tops and into the stars?  I see it as our dance of unity and faith and deep love….and all that we have shared this past year. 

But this year of 2015 will hold new depths of dance for us my love.  We will soar into the heavenly sphere of the supernatural.  There indeed will be a shift in the spirit in your life and in the lives of those who seek Me with all their heart. 

When they realize that serving Me is not about where they ‘go’ or who they talk too, but really knowing Me in the truest sense, and is finding the time to talk to me–allowing me to talk back–allowing Me to speak to them in the midst of their business.  Those who desire Me above attendance, works, pride, self absorption, family, friends, obsessions, addictions…in spite of those things, they will still reach out to Me alone….then they will find Me.

530443_10150790377567355_563857079_nI feel such sorrow when my children say they love Me but they don’t pursue this kind of intimacy with Me.  For I have so much more to give them but I don’t because they wouldn’t recognize my voice.  Unless they begin the journey outside of their complacency, their doubts, and their busy lives–those parts of themselves that consume them…they will either forget Me or just be too busy to take a moment to meet with Me.

I will never, ever leave you My love.

The year ahead holds much uncertainty and fear and dread for those who focus on the evil reports of this world.  And they will come, those evil reports.  These days are ones of unrest…of the earth groaning with birth pangs, as if ready to give birth to a new heaven and a new earth.  There is so much destruction, so much pain, so much evil, and so much deception.  Without Me as their Center they will give way to the enemy and be tormented and uncertain.

I am raising up a remnant of the church body to be examples in these last days of what true relationship and intimacy with Me really means in their lives.  They will be the forerunners of strength and faith that my weaker body can run to find hope and example of what the reality of knowing Me can bring them through.  They must learn to turn to me in adversity and trials for it is there they will find my presence and deliverance and stabilization in the uncertain times.

JesusI am not just a ticket to heaven, though it be so.  But I am also here to lead my sheep into eternal Kingdom living.  This, my child, is the beginning of becoming eternally minded and how you can all learn to live IN Me, within My Kingdom.

You are my bride.  I AM your Bridegroom.  I love you, My Dixie, with an eternal, all consuming love.

I love My body with this same love.  I long for them to know it.”

♥♥♥

Oh, Mama Mary! Did You Know?

mary The virgin birth of Jesus touches me in a very female way in relating to sweet Mary as a mother.  Any mother beholding those scenes of recent Jesus movies of Mary watching her beloved Son tortured and murdered on that cross can’t help but feel the deep emotions and horror that Mary felt as she watched and fell at His feet sobbing.

It really happened!

No words to describe it!

So many questions.

We don’t know much about her.  We know she was young and poor and a devout believer in God.  And at the time of the angels announcement of her pregnancy she is in love with Joseph.

What God asks Mary to do will change her life forever.  She was just a teenager.

Gone are the happy dreams of a beautiful wedding; gone are the days of sweet anticipation; gone are the carefully-thought out plans for the wedding feast; gone are the hopes for “the most beautiful wedding to the most wonderful man who ever lived”; gone are all her girlish hopes of a quiet life in the home she would personally decorate.

She will be married, but not before rumors spread through the countryside.  There will be a wedding feast, but not the way she planned.  She will have a home, and it will be filled with children, but over her family will rest an uneasy cloud of dark questions.

It will all happen, but not the way she expected.

7_mary-gabriel“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary quite simply did not know what to make of it.  It’s as if someone you’ve never seen came up to you and said, “Good news.  This is your lucky day.  God has chosen you for a special blessing.”  How do you respond to that?

CONGRATULATIONS!  YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!”

But that’s not the half of it.  Without a pause, Gabriel proceeds to tell her something that–to use a 21st century term Mary almost certainly wouldn’t have used–blows her mind.  He tells her she’s going to have a baby.  And not just any baby.  She’s going to give birth to the Son of God.

She only has one question, a technical matter she would like cleared up: “How can this be”, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  This is a perfectly natural question.  Mary is betrothed but not formally married.  She has never had sexual relations with any man.  How then can she become pregnant and bear a son?

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”

The key point in Gabriel’s explanation is that what is about to happen to Mary will be the result of the direct intervention from God.

The Holy Spirit is the agent of the Virgin Birth; overshadowing is the means of the Virgin Birth; the Son of God is the result of the Virgin Birth.

7296601_f520NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD

In the history of the church, Mary has often been portrayed as a kind of misty, other-worldly figure.  If you look at some of the great paintings of Mary, they make her look so peaceful and beatific that you almost forget she was a real person.  But Luke makes it clear that she was very real, with very real doubts, very real questions and very real faith. Nowhere is this seen with more clarity than in Luke:

“I am the Lord’s servant”, Mary answered.  “May it be to me as you have said.”  Then the angel left her.

Mary said Yes.  Yes to God, Yes to the impossible, Yes to the plan of God.

And all these things were just the beginning.  Mary could not know what the future would hold.  Before it was all over, she would experience heartache, opposition, slander, confusion, anguish, despair and loneliness.

In the end she would face the greatest pain a mother can endure when she would watch her son die on a cross.  She was changed when she conceived Him through the power of the Holy Spirit, but, I believe, nothing could have prepared her for that horrific night of watching her first born baby boy, who only loved, die a tortuous death. 

10363854_377819679023936_7543693983379870990_nShe would never forget it and it changed her….but, then again, not as much as three days later seeing Him come back in all of His glory!

What a story!

Mary didn’t know the full cost of saying yes that day.  But having made her decision she never looked back.

When God said, “Are you willing to believe the impossible?”, Mary said, “Yes I am!”  Without that Yes, there would be no Christmas.

A WOMAN GOD COULD TRUST

What about your ‘yes’?

Mary said Yes to shame and glory; she said Yes to God’s power; she said Yes to the impossible.

If somehow Mary could be here today and we could ask her, “Was it worth it?”, she would say “Yes”, I am sure of it.  Because now she knows that because of her obedience we are free– because she allowed God to use her to bring our Savior. 

So then, how do I relate to Mary’s example in this century?  What can I learn from her today?  How can I live my life through her example?

♥  She is a model of openness to great possibilities.  Can I be open to great possibilities in my life?  Supernatural possibilities?

♥  She is a model of faith in the face of many natural doubts.  Can I believe God when the natural way of things look like there is no other way?

It’s still true that “Nothing is impossible with God”.  That’s as true today as it was 2,000 years ago.  It’s also true that somebody has to say Yes or else the impossible will never happen.

I have no doubt that some of you reading this…

Are carrying heavy burdens today.

And Christmas will be lonely this year.

  • Some of you are facing a financial crisis that looks hopeless to you right now.

  • Some of you are out of work and don’t have a single lead on a good job.

  • Some of you are looking at a marriage that seems worse than hopeless.

  • Some of you are estranged from members of your own family.

  • Some of you have children who are far away from God.

  • Some of you feel lonely and far away from God yourselves.

The list goes on and on.  But all these things have this in common:

gods gloryThey seem impossible to solve by any human means.  If human means would have solved your problems, they would have been solved long ago.

But, if nothing else, allow Mary’s story to revive your faith this Christmas season to the God of the impossible.  He is not oblivious to your pain and your need.  Live in the realm of the supernatural because we are spiritual beings.

Focus on His capabilities and not your own.  He loves you and you matter!

kids Bible story of Jesus born in BethlehemChristmas is all about miracles.  They happened 2,000 years ago; they still happen today.

*”Mary did you know, that your  baby boy will someday walk on water?  Mary did you know, that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?  Did you know, that your baby boy has come to make you new?  This child you’ve delivered will soon deliver you. 

Mary did you know, that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?  Mary did you know, that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?  Did you know, that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?  And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know, that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know, that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM.”

 

*Mary Did You Know; Mark Lowry: wrote the lyrics in 1984, and the music was written in 1991 when he gave it to Buddy Greene.