2 Steps to Ponder When Our “Picture” Cuts Us Off From Reality

Thinking business woman looking up on speech empty bubble isolated on white background

I have always created pictures in my mind of the outcomes I want to see that weren’t what was really happening.   I created pictures of my situations in life in my mind that were not reality and I lived that way off and on until only just recently.    I thought I had a handle on it, but still found residue of this ability I had so carefully constructed in so many areas.  

The mind is a powerful thing, and is the source of all our battles with the enemy.

How many of you know that God heals us and corrects us in layers?  

Like pealing an onion…one layer at a time.  We can’t handle it all at once.

 

1 Corinthians 13: in the message says:

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

  I wrote about my ability to create my own reality in my first book,

51u5NRnNcGL “Climbing Out of the Box.”   (Which you can find on Amazon)  

It started when I was a victim of incest as a child and I learned to remove myself from what was happening and would create a happy and safe environment to dwell in that wasn’t reality.   I was forever being disappointed when my picture didn’t line up with what was really happening.   It was a way to cope.   As an adult it is an easy and tempting thing to slip back into and I have to be on my guard most of the time.   But I am a grown up now, not the child victim.  

 The problem comes when we convince ourselves that we need a certain outcome — and that it has to happen on our  timeline, in the way we’ve pictured it.

 sb_passiveagressive2When we try to control outcomes, and make them fit our pictures, we cut ourselves off from the loving protection of God  and let fear begin to rule our thoughts.

Fortunately, in any given moment you have a choice to change.

 

You can choose to reconnect with the reality of overcoming our circumstances instead of living in a false reality,  thus enabling the enemy to continue to cause us pain in lives.

 mind-clutterHere are some  steps to follow to remind yourself of your  powerful connection with Jesus so that you may begin to walk in the power to overcome that He has provided for you.

Step 1:

Be determined to see your circumstances with God’s eyes.  Ask Him for His eyes to see clearly…not what you have created for yourself to see. eye

What are you saying, out loud or to yourself, that’s disconnecting you from your power?  

thumb_colourbox1908348Identify your story. 

Once you’ve identified your real story, take a moment to get real about how it makes you feel. Recognize the way your words and beliefs block the manifestation of what you are praying about to begin to occur in your life..

What is the number one negative story that you have on repeat in your brain, and how does it make you feel?

Your honesty is what will open  the door for you to remember and accept the power of God to change your circumstances or enable you to accept the place you are at in this part of your season.

Once you’ve identified your story, immediately say out loud: “I am more than an conqueror in all of my circumstances”    You, my friend are a child of the King of Kings.

You have to let go of your fear.  1209389_575103479218871_301732771_n

 Step 2:

Turn it over to the Lord of your heart, Jesus,  and be patient.

Talk to Him with certainty and thank Him for giving you a clear picture of your life and a clear picture of what He wants to accomplish in you.  Be patient within His fruit of patience.

 Try not to control your picture, but let Him create a new picture for you.   Your sign from Him will be crystal clear if you’re going in the right direction.  He will show you His will for you right now.   And remember that if it’s not clear, it is time to trust Him and be patient and learn what waiting on Him really means.

 There may be some personal fears you need to clear up, or perhaps faith you need to strengthen, before you can get it.

 When you try to control an outcome or even a time frame, you cut off your ability to be patient for the outcomes and disconnect from all the infinite possibilities that could occur.

 potter-pottery-art-handicraft-indiaSurrender to the Lord  and remember that nothing can take away your true power that is yours in Christ and His love and peace within you.  Let Him mold you into who He has created you to become.

 What would happen if you chose to be thankful and content in the place you are in right now?   

 Or if you are in a really trying, and grief filled place right now, asking Him to strengthen and hold you up while you navigate the waters of pain?    He promises to surround you with Himself every minute of the day.   And nothing ever stays the same.   You can endure until change comes within His strength.

 But you have to invite this to happen..

 or you could ignore it….

or forget that it is yours….and walk in defeat and fear.

 

brokenchainsIt is all a choice on your part. 

 

“God Told Me You Had a Gun”…..Lisa’s Story

praying-womanRecently, my ladies bible study group has been discussing the many aspects and types of prayer available for us to pray.  I really prefer the words, “talking to Jesus”, over prayer.  It becomes so much more personal to me when I think of prayers being a continuous conversation with Jesus every day.  It enhances my intimacy with Him and my awareness of just how interested He is in every part of my life.  And it isn’t just me speaking all the time…..He gets to talk too!  And most of the time, I write down what He says, and go back and read His words from time to time as a reminder.

We are never more anxious to receive from God than He is willing to provide.  Let’s quit acting like we are bothering God!  Beth Moore said, “Prayer is accepting a royal summons to the throne room of the king for breakfast with your dad.  He says, Come here child, I’ve got something to give you today.   And it’s just what you needed and sought and you are so relieved.”    gods glory

We don’t know what the direction will be but we know our father will give it.

When you have this kind of prayer intimacy with God, you will learn to recognize when He is wanting your attention and wants to teach you new avenues of prayer, such as warfare against a very real enemy.

So, I am going to tell you of my experience with “Lisa” a number of years back that I find amazing still, even today.   I have written of this experience before in my blogging, but I have even more revelation to it now and am still just as amazed.

 This is the story:

For weeks every time I grew contemplative or was talking to Jesus,  a picture of a hand gun would materialize in my mind.  If I was walking by a television and a program was on where a gun was being shot, I would jump as if I was the one being shot at.  A picture of a gun on a billboard would seem to be pointed right at me.  gun shop

 

The eerie feeling just wouldn’t go away.  

 At first I thought my imagination was working overtime but somehow I knew this was a puzzle I obviously was missing a piece to. I began to live every day in expectancy of finding out what this gun consciousness was about.

At the time I was leading a weekly women’s bible study and doing some lay Christian counseling as a result of reaching out to the community with my bible study. 

His gentle Spirit was teaching me how to totally rely on Him during these times for I felt so insignificant in the enormity of so many problems that women and men face.  I never wanted to do anything without His help and in my own reasoning’s as I felt inadequate within myself.  I felt it was imperative that I set “me” aside and listen to what the Holy Spirit would say in how to handle each one. 

Sometimes, I would be perplexed at what He would have me say to a woman and even more amazed when I would see her set free in areas of her life to move forward.

One particular woman, whom I will call Lisa, was a real challenge.  I learned many things as I counseled with Lisa on a weekly basis.  This middle-aged-woman had many problems and desired the Lord’s healing and direction for her life.  I would just listen to her many issues and offer support and pray for her.  Sometimes I would simply counsel her in the many challenges she faced in her sad life.

The counseling went on for many months with Lisa.  Then the visions of the gun began.  As I prayed and asked God about it I started feeling that the gun issue was somehow connected to Lisa.   

I couldn’t help but start to get nervous when she would come to our meetings carrying a backpack, wondering if the gun was in her backpack and she was going to go crazy and shoot me.   I listened to her intently in our private meetings to see if there would be a mention of guns but there never was. gun

I thought about the gun almost continuously for at least 3 months while I spent time with this woman. The feeling really began to shake my faith and I wondered if I was being warned by God to stay away from Lisa.   I noticed every gun shop in any place, in any town, and it seemed like they were on every corner, though that wasn’t the case.    

I continued to pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what this meant.

One night I had a dream that someone was in my front yard with a gun and it was night.  Lisa pulled up in a car and got out and this unknown person shot her and she fell dead on the lawn.  I was horrified but went to her and began to pray earnestly. 

To my amazement she was raised from the dead.  Needless to say, I prayed all the more for Lisa after this dream and wondered where all this would lead. Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200

Counseling her became a strain on me and I had to fight fear as this revelation became more pronounced.  I has this sense of  awareness and just “knew” that Lisa owned a gun and as I saw her growing more despondent I gave way to much prayer on her behalf (and, truth be told, mine too!)

Then one evening the most astounding revelation happened.  I was teaching at my bible study and was quite tired as the staff took over with passing an offering basket to pay for overhead costs of the study.    I sat on the stairs in front of the group of ladies preparing myself to pray for those who would come after the meeting was dismissed. 

As the offering basket was being passed I looked up just as I saw Lisa drop something into the basket that wasn’t money but something else, but I could not tell what it was.  After the meeting was all over and most of the other women had left Lisa walked over and sat beside me on the steps.

“Did you see what I dropped into the offering basket?” she asked.  I told her I had seen her drop something but didn’t know what it was.  She got up and went over to the offering and took the mysterious object out, walked over to me, took my hand in hers, and dropped a bullet into it. man-holding-bullets-hand-two-30433144

I just sat and stared at it with my mouth hanging open.

“This is your bullet isn’t it?” I whispered.

“Yes, it is for my gun,” she replied.

“God told me you had a gun,” I told her.

“I know” she said with resignation.

Lisa then began to tell me her story.  The reason she brought the bullet and gave it as an offering was because of something that had happened the previous Thursday night.

She had felt totally despondent.  She had taken her revolver, and the one bullet she kept for it,  into the closet with plans of taking her life. standing-bullet-1138905_960_720

She said as she sat on the floor of the closet she lifted the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.

It would not go off.  She tried for half an hour to get the gun to discharge the bullet, but, mysteriously, it would not. 

She then broke down and cried and Jesus spoke to her heart, revealing that the ladies of the bible study were praying and the prayers had broken the bonds of death that had a deep grip on her.  

She literally could not kill herself because of the power of God and the power of obedient women to pray.  God’s overwhelming love then flooded her as she sat in the closet and broke and wept before the Lord for hours. 

She declared her life was totally turned around at that moment.

women prayingAs I thought back to that  same Thursday night, I remembered that was the night I had met with our staff to pray for the ladies of the study and I was again overwhelmed with the image of Lisa and a gun.  We all then began to pray in earnest for Lisa, especially, and someone even mentioned a spirit of death over her.   

I remembered feeling a relief as we prayed that night and believed that whatever it was with the gun and Lisa, it was taken care of in the spirit that very night.  The gun awareness seemed to vanish.

I realized when I spoke with Lisa that while we were praying for her, it was the same night and at the same time that she was in the closet trying to pull the trigger. 

I have often wondered if we had not prayed what would have happened to Lisa.

I think back to this time often and use it in teaching obedience when we feel the urgings of God to seek His face on another’s behalf. 

And how to wait and trust when He is revealing something we need to see as we are praying.

I have been talking to Jesus for 45 years now, and I am still learning so much more about the many facets of communicating and obedience in the spirit realm of communication with God!

Do we ever stop learning?  I think not.

As His children He wants to teach us true Kingdom living.  He wants us to know how much He wants to use us, move through us, love through us, and reach others through our obedience and transparencies. 

woman-571715_640In our obedience to live in Him and obey when He impresses us to move on what He shows us, we can witness mighty things happen in the here and now.

When He Whispers My Name

jesus-womanGod longs for you to know that He is more than enough in your troubled times.   He desires you to rest and fully embrace that where you are is exactly where God plans for you to be. 

Even in situations like you have never faced before.

It  has taken me so long to be able to write again.   I was frozen in time it seemed–for the last  3 months of 2015.   But the last 2 weeks I could feel it rising up within me again and now I think I can verbalize somewhat of what I have learned in the very hard and trying year of 2015.

I have learned that when I feel like my faith has been shaken to the core that I become~

~stunned and “shell shocked”…

sharksThat it’s a tumultuous venture, this walking by faith. At one time or another, you encounter the completely unexpected followed by the unthinkable.

 

And when it happens, the impact of it brings you to your knees, able to utter only one desperate word – “Why?”

It’s an intense battle when you’re that overwhelmed. First there’s shock and anger, then comes denial, 

 “This can’t be what my loving Jesus has planned for me – not me, not His beloved child.”

 thumb_COLOURBOX1908348You wonder why God doesn’t see that you need a different outcome. Perhaps if you just go slow and lay out the alternatives for Him – each and every one of them – you’ll help Him figure out how to reverse what’s been put in motion… 

But…..

 He whispers my name~~and I feel His presence~~and it is more than enough.

  • When I finally realized that our steady income from investigations was gone for good due to California laws, and if we were to survive in life it would be a miracle…..

He whispered my name…akiane-kramarik-jesus-painting

…and said that I was to take no thought for tomorrow for He would sustain us as a mother sustains her babies life by giving it sustenance from her own body.   He would be our life giving force.  From that day forward we watch daily as He brings in the finances we need from various sources.   He never fails and I have found I can just rest in it and not have to be hyper-vigilant and afraid that maybe today it won’t happen. 

Philippians 4:13 Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

  • When my precious daughter had a ruptured appendix and I stood over her bed, helpless, watching her in agony as a result of poor medical care, and fear wanted to grip my heart and squeeze the life out of it;

fear

He whispered my name…

..as I stood there over her bed I felt His hand on my shoulder and his voice in my ear saying, “Dixie, I have this, she will be okay.”

I John 3:22 We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him.

  • When the horror and shock and fear came when my ‘adopted’ son was in a freak accident, while intoxicated, that took someone’s life ….the father of my grand kids…and I had to tell my babies that their daddy was going to prison. 

  • As I sit in the court room weeks on end gripped by anxiety, unable to breathe– and watched the judge, moved with compassion for a lone veteran gripped with PTSD, miraculously lessen his sentence…  I felt Jesus in the fire with me and with him…and I knew God had a plan.


mary-w-jesus-2He whispered my name….

His plan has unfolded, in the midst of the pain,  in opening huge doors of prison ministry for my adopted son and has brought healing to him in areas that was never able to be reached…but in the midst of the deep valley He has found a very real Jesus.

426__550x413_jesus-and-peter-walking_on_waterI Corinthians 9:8 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.

  • When my father, (who molested me for years) on his death bed, told me he could not forgive ME for exposing  “our” secret to my mother and that I ruined HIS life…and Mom’s life, before she died.   Realizing there would be no closure with my abuser before he left this earth– when my picture was always of his saying how sorry he was for his crime against me and my little girl.  There I was, sitting in his hospital room, with, strangely, no one around, next to his bed, while he told me he could not forgive ME


Jesus-By-My-Side-342x200Jesus whispered my name
~~ I felt Him in the chair beside me and felt His breath tickle my ear as He whispered, “Dixie, I’m right here and I am not going anywhere.  Just lean into me.”    I knew I could endure the pain and shock of it all.  It was the last conversation I had with Dad. Jesus’ presence got me through the funeral of confusion and distress at being so removed from all feeling,  just numbness,  as my husband performed the ceremony.  

Matthew 21:22,23  But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.

  • When I read my parents trust sent to me after my dad’s death, and realized that in 2006, my mother and my father stated that they, in full disclosure, and with full knowledge did NOT want their daughter, Dixie, to have one thing that belonged to them; I felt the ultimate abandonment and full force of their anger towards me for stopping my father from molesting again after he molested my daughter.   I was the black sheep of their family and was pretty much hit with it on their deaths.   I had to admit to myself, finally, that I didn’t want their “things” but what I had wanted was their love, and would never find it here on earth.

487580_424694517593102_1292768395_n (1)He whispered my name~~ “Dixie, you have a new name that I have given you.  I will be both mother and father to you. I take the sting away of their earthly rejection. This is the end of years of torment for you and though you didn’t hear what you needed to hear from them, you will hear it from me and I am more than enough for you.”

Ephesians 3:20,21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

And you know what, HE IS more than enough.  Better.  No comparison.

God wants you to know that He is so much bigger than all the desperate and tragic situations in this life. He wants you to know He is always with you and for you.

His blessing isn’t found in what He gives or takes away. You find it as you abide in Him. 

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n (1)Ask Him to align your heart with His. Believe His Word. Trust Him. 

Count it all joy.

In my journal to Him, He speaks to me too…in one recent one Jesus said to me,

“Don’t count on what you feel but continue to allow me to fill you where you are lacking and believe Me when I say, I know what you lack, and I am more than enough for you…..I am doing a work you cannot see!”

 

Embrace Him as your absolute EVERYTHING.

 

He is, indeed, all you’ll ever need.

 

He whispers your name~~

The King is Enthralled by Your Beauty…My Cinderella Story

 

cinderella_2015_movie_hd_wallpaper_desktop_a8sy2Today I want to address women. 

Men, don’t stop reading because I think you can learn something from this story when it comes to us women, so read on if you dare.

Sometime between the dreams of our feminine youth and yesterday, a treasure has been lost it seems in so many of us, if not all.  And that treasure is our hearts, and how we were created to be.  God has set within us a femininity that is powerful, tender, and alluring.   

ella_and_the_prince_in_cinderella-wallpapers (1)I think every woman secretly longs for that Prince to come riding in to rescue her from the woes of life.  In unveiling the mysteries of a woman’s soul, I find that we were all created to long to be desired.  We all long for romance and intimacy.  He created us that way.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  

It’s just that we have gone to great lengths to satisfy that longing in all the wrong ways.

The longings God has written deep in our hearts actually reveal to us the life He wants us to live.  For so many of us, those desires have gone unmet and long neglected.  Many of us live in fantasy worlds of addictions and men to try to fill that unmet need for escape into being valued and desired.  We try to numb the aches in our hearts.  But our hearts are still there crying out to be set free and to find the life we desire.  

Jesus is the only One who can fulfill our deepest need and longings whether we are married or single.

Last week, my granddaughter Savanna and I experienced a disappointment together when we traveled to a place that we had planned to go, and found we could not continue with our plans due to extenuating circumstances.  As we left to return home, we both began to share our love for Jesus with each other and decided instead of being sad our plans were thwarted, that we would go see Cinderella instead.  

What a plan, right?

Then as we arrived, we challenged each other to see the story in a different light.  We would watch it with the idea that Jesus was the Prince in Cinderella’s story and she would be us.  And the wicked stepmother and the 2 evil step-daughters would be Satan and his evil spirits trying their best to convince Cinderella she was not beautiful, desirable, or loved…but instead a worthless woman who would never amount to anything.  

Hmmmm…how many women really, deep down, feel that way?

Do you long for your own Cinderella story?

Who doesn’t long to rise from her humble past, discover the best in herself, and be appreciated by a true, lasting love.

Yet, her own efforts to fill the yearning often ends in tatters.  And no man can rescue her.

The Cinderella fairy tale provides a powerful allegory for women’s deepest hopes and dreams and the God who longs to fill them.  For all of us who have wrestled with disillusionment, abandonment, our own limitations, and the lies that whisper we’re not beautiful, there is someone who longs for us the same way we long for Him…and if we learn to follow his lead every promise He’s ever made proves true.

Cinderella was a beautiful woman with great potential, but she was bound by an environment and wickedness coming against her, and that constantly put her down and tried to reduce her to nothing! 

One day the Prince knocked on her door.

il_fullxfull.522314485_19nlWe know about the Ball, the Prince and her Slipper.  The Prince never forgot her; she was unique.  He did not give up his search until he found her.   

There are a lot of women today living like Cinderella, bound to situations, living in insecurities and addictions that are robbing them of their peace and joy.

Maybe you have met the Prince of Peace, but you have fallen into emotional bondage or other traps of the enemy.

There is HOPE!

akiane-kramarik-jesus-paintingJesus, the Prince of Peace, knows where you are and how long you have been there.  His desire for you is that you walk in the freedom of His presence and provision and an intimacy with Him that has no end.

I believe that women today are waiting for something external to come along and transform their lives.  We may venture into the world, travel, go to college, or make money.  But underneath it all lurks a wish to be saved, a deep yearning for dependence on a rescuer.  These largely repressed attitudes, I believe, are holding women down because they don’t yet know we already have a Prince standing before us…waiting for us to take His hand.

There are so many parallels in the story of the Prince seeking her out with fervor.  He could not go on until he found her.  He had eyes for only her, and when He saw her He knew she belonged to Him.  

dancing cinderellaHe swept her off her feet.   

We can see this as the church itself in more general terms.  For we are the Bride and He is the Bridegroom, and He longs for intimacy with His Bride.  He seeks us out for relationship with Him.  But we are so busy trying to find that one thing to fill our deepest longings that we miss Him standing there with His hand outstretched for you…and that He is that ONE thing.

But in an even more personal light, as an individual, He has eyes for only you.  Can you even imagine it?

sho123234LARGEAt the end of the story, both Savanna and I were amazed, since we were looking at it from a Jesus-as-our-Prince viewpoint, that when the slipper fit her foot, and the Prince took her in His arms, she knew she was to go with Him…her heart’s desire.  

And there standing on the staircase was the wicked stepmother with a look of shock on her face.  She was looking through the bars of the staircase.  It was the appearance of Satan bound behind bars, defeated once again in keeping the Princess from her Prince.

And the two evil step-daughters?  They were running around trying to look like the perfect sisters all along, chattering and looking like fools…just as the enemy always ends up looking.

Cinderella turns and with a look of fulfillment on her face, simply says to the step-mother and the 2 step daughters, “I FORGIVE YOU”…. 

Powerful words of freedom from the enemy.  No more lies.  She now knows who she is and knew that this was the plan all along for her life.

The King is enthralled by your beauty.”  Psalm 45:11

A few months ago I went to a classical concert with a friend.  The orchestra was lovely and I enjoyed the music but soon became bored as I need more of a visual to entertain me.  Don’t judge me.  I just do.

I decided to close my eyes and let my imagination run with the music. 

And there I was in a beautiful ball gown entering the gates of glory.  My Prince was standing there in the most beautiful tuxedo I had ever seen.  It was white and shimmered like tiny diamonds sparkling off water.  He had eyes that drew me in.  Our eyes met and there was a depth of  love I had never experienced before…as I stood there breathless and in awe. 

He only had eyes for me.

I walked over to Him and His arm was reaching towards me and He smiled.  I took His hand and He swirled me into a waltz that seemed to consume every inch of my being. 

maxresdefaultWe danced around and around and He lifted me higher and higher until we were dancing on mountain tops and over the seas.  The crescendo of the music kept rising to the plateau of complete immersion into Him as it swirled around us.

“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:3

 As He motioned for me to look down with his head, there before me was the throne of God glistening with the colors of the rainbow and shooting off ceaseless jewel colored rays of piercing light that overflowed into the atmosphere around us.  I looked into His eyes and the love that filled my every longing was there and that was all that mattered.  I rested my head on His shoulder and felt safe.

His fragrance filled my soul.

I became lost in HIM. 

Oh, the joy of it. 

“The LORD your God among you is powerful — He will save and He will take joyful delight in you.  In his love He will renew you with His love; He will celebrate with singing because of you.”  Jeremiah 3:17

1506500_619449268111523_2092771554_nHave you met your Prince in this way yet?  He is standing right there.  Open your spiritual eyes and behold 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 

Life Interrupted

life-interruptedMy sweet 38 year old daughter was struck with a ruptured appendix 2 weeks ago.   From the point she went into emergency I was with her.  It was so frightening.  The ER doctor sent her home on pain pills without ruling out appendicitis.  It ruptured and became an extreme emergency.  Everything in my life stopped and took a back seat while we sat long hours in the ER and surgery; and I prayed nonstop as she writhed in pain…and after surgery as the road to healing began in the hospital and as she went home.  She needed me.  It was a scary and unnerving thing to watch my child in so much pain.  My life was just was put on hold.  Everything took a back seat.  Now that she is on the mend I now feel scattered and am having trouble getting back into things that were part of my everyday life, from writing to coaching and even exercise. 

But, suddenly I realized I have grown spiritually, in finding God in the midst of the suffering.  There comes a recognizable depth of character when you come out of the fire of suffering, and when you are still in it you find Him in places you’d never thought you’d be.

picture of Linda My dear friend Linda has been told her brain tumor is back.  Her life will now be on hold while she has it removed….again.  Since her last surgery, while recovering, she has obtained her Masters in Psychology, been maintaining her own practice in psychotherapy, is writing a book, and is doing a host of wonderful things God has called her to do.  Now, her life will be interrupted again, indefinitely, to undergo another surgery on her brain with the outcome uncertain in earthly terms.  But not to God.  He knows.  We are all  believing for God’s divine hand to reach down and heal her swiftly and easily this time with no side effects.   Linda would share with you how her suffering has put her in touch with a Savior that never leaves her.  Even while her life is on hold.  You can read Linda’s whole story of traveling this perilous road on her web site at: http://lindalochridge.com/brainsurgery/

I just read Michelle Cushatt’s blog this morning.  She is an author, experienced keynote speaker and emcee.  I love her writings and sweet spirit of thankfulness.  Now after years of fighting cancer and walking in God’s healing power she has just learned the cancer is back…and her life will now go on hold for extended medical treatment once again to rid her of the invasion on her body.  She is fearless and undefeatable.  You can read Michelle’s story here http://michelecushatt.com/red-sea-moments/

All around me I see people going through sudden and great trials…some have been hit very suddenly and their life has taken an abrupt turn and they just feel like the wind was knocked out of them.

As I contemplated these things and wondered what God has to say in the midst of sudden trials and sudden fear I think I found truth. 

The truth is, God sometimes allows us to be placed in situations (sometimes difficult, even painful ones) where we can glorify Him; where His presence and power are displayed with clarity, and where fellowship with Him is the sweetest spot we could find ourselves in.

thumb_colourbox1908348God wants us to experience His gift of total reliance on Him…of letting go of our own pride and self sufficiency….our own power….and show us that in our own weaknesses He is made strong….to bless us by giving the gift of relying solely on Him.

In our trials we find His presence.  You see, God’s blessings and healing and perseverance come with His presence.  No matter what trials we face.  It is His presence, His Spirit that ushers in His strength, encouragement and power…..it is what develops His character in us so that we reflect Him in all that we do. 

The worst part about not being OK when a sudden change comes to our lives is that once you are there, you tend to temporarily lose your vision. 

raging-seaBut as Michelle explained in her  blog, when you run up against the Red Sea, you feel blindsided.  There is no place to turn but to ask for His mercy and grace and a miracle.  

You sometimes become profoundly nearsighted.

You can lose the ability to see any further than that horrible not-being-okay feeling right in front of you; to believe that outside of all of it, just beyond the fear and the sadness and the failure, there’s another place.  That is where He is.

At that moment of darkness, it’s nearly impossible to see what you are capable of enduring….if you can withstand it all just a bit more, if you can weather the winds and storms and the wounds and the worry, you’ll end-up stepping into that  place of peace, softly and securely, and you’ll feel the weightless lift of hope again.

You will gain new insight into the unchanging Jesus, while your world is turned upside down.  You will see into places that never occurred to you while all was well and they’ll all seem like wonderful love letters directly from the Lover of your soul; words of truth spoken directly to your heart, telling you that life is given by Him and He has your name written right into His nail scarred hands.

PeaceI promise you He will…He is the great I AM.

But in the meantime, before you get there, I want to tell you one more important thing about where you are right now:

It’s OK to feel.  He knows you are human.  Tell Him your fears and worry and everything that swirls around inside of you.  Talk to HIM!!

He already knows anyway.  Acknowledge that.  Bring Him into your journey and let Him walk with you there.

It’s alright to admit your feelings to yourself, and to say it to someone else, too.  In fact, doing so isn’t admitting defeat at all.  It isn’t giving-up.  It’s simply consenting, to fully feeling the reality of the despair and the pain of the moment.

So that you can move on.

As you do, just remember that you won’t feel like that forever.

One day, you’ll feel well enough to share your journey with someone else who is not so well, and you’ll perpetuate the hope that He gives to you in your own suffering.

So today, friend, for what it’s worth and for what you’re worth (which is immeasurable), know this:

As dark as it seems, as difficult as it is, as much as it hurts…He knows right where you are and He has a plan that you sometimes just can’t see.  Hold onto Him very tightly in these times.

It may seem like it but it won’t last forever.  You may have to make changes…but He said, actually promised, that He would not ever leave you nor forsake you.  

Take Him with you whatever comes.  He only wants His very best for you and will go to battle for you as you hold on for dear life.

Life is an adventure with a destination.  jesus and me

Just Shoot Me Now! 2 Ways to Heal Shame Wounds

hidingYears ago I was at Santa Barbara City College to witness my friend’s graduation as an X-ray Technician.  The campus was teaming with people that day for there were many students getting various degrees and licenses in their particular fields.  The event was outside and I sat down on the cold metal chair and then realized I had a while to wait so ventured off across campus to find the restrooms.  

I wore a long skirt that day.  After using the restroom hurriedly, I started the long walk back to my chair.  The whole way there people were staring at me weird.

Some had smirks on their faces and some looked away in disgust.  I couldn’t figure out what their problem was and one time I even shot a dirty look back at some guy, like he had a problem or something.  I passed many people on the way back to my chair and they all looked away when I would smile at them. 

When I finally sat down I felt intensely cold metal on my back side and glanced back.  My skirt in the back was completely tucked inside my underwear and my entire back side was exposed to all the ‘millions’ of people that I passed on the way back.  No one had the nerve to tell me! 

Just shoot me now!

I find it very funny now.  Add it to my list of escapades that have provided many chuckles in my story telling on myself. 

But back then I wasn’t as healthy, and had not dealt with much of my denial and secrets of years past born out of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  I sat there the whole event cloaked in shame and embarrassment.  I felt exposed and uncovered the whole day and I felt like a child inside with no self esteem who just wanted to run. 

64658_465671946828692_1306119874_nShame is an emotion in which the self is perceived as defective, unacceptable, or fundamentally damaged.  Shame is often confused with guilt, which is a related but distinct emotion in which a specific behavior is viewed as unacceptable or wrong, rather than the entire self.

Brene Brown says, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 

Shame is darkness to our soul.  We need to learn to recognize it and then let it go into the light of His presence in us.

People who experience traumatic events, mostly in childhood, are prone to shame, particularly if they blame themselves for the event.

Shame gives you a desire to hide, disappear, or even die.

Have you ever done anything you’re not proud of, like feigning a headache to get out of a dinner or snapping at your partner in a heated moment?  You mess up, like we all do, and when it happens, you probably feel guilty and convicted to make it right.

Guilt is a normal emotion that people experience when they believe they have caused harm or actually done something wrong.  We all make mistakes and those mistakes often affect other people, therefore we feel guilt. 

Or there is unfounded guilt, the worst kind.  We could come from a family that used guilt to manipulate us all of our lives.  Such as, “Okay go the movies son, but if I am dead in my chair when you get back, just bury me out back.”

Now that evokes guilt.  Any dutiful son would cancel his plans so that he won’t be responsible for causing Dad to die.  The motivation is guilt.  But that son will carry anger in his heart, and left undealt with, will be with him through adulthood.

Or how about going to see an elderly parent.  The first thing they say to you is “Where have you been?  Why haven’t you come to see me?”  More guilt, instead of rejoicing that you are there now.  The guilt can be so horrible it makes you not want to visit them at all.

But, If your feelings of guilt cause daily anxiety or are out of proportion to the actual mistakes you have made, you might be suffering from an even more toxic emotion:

Shame.

Shame is what I felt that day I was exposed to the world.

Shame is commonly confused with guilt.  People who experience shame often feel bad for every little error they make, and are in a constant state of fear of making more.  For this reason, they feel fear around authority figures, judge themselves harshly, and have a low sense of self esteem.

Guilt says I have done something wrong.

Shame says I AM something wrong.

553486_415888875110718_1880467937_nShame is toxic.

Shame can strip away the joy and freedom that you deserve to experience in your walk.

Shame most often stems from a wounded part of you that was convinced in childhood that you weren’t enough.  Though this is not the truth, it may feel that way, as beliefs that you carry for decades become your reality.

Shame can play a very powerful and negative role in your life, but it doesn’t have to.  God can heal your feelings of shame and you can start living a happier and more empowered life. 

One of the most powerful techniques to healing shame is to practice self compassion.  We need to love ourselves.  How do we do that?

  1. We begin to treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with the same kindness, caring and compassion we would show a good friend or a beloved child.  We find out what God says about us as His precious children and begin to confess that over ourselves in spite of what we feel.  We will eventually begin to believe it.  It will sink into your mind and renew your mind to truth rather than what you have believed all of your life.

When we practice this, it helps us to feel less isolated and alienated from others.  The more shame we feel, the more deficient we feel and in turn, the more separate we feel from others.

  1. Now say those words out loud to yourself.  Take a deep breath and really take in those words.  How does hearing yourself say those words out loud make you feel?  Can you feel your faith grow in your own value in the Kingdom of God.  

The more you practice this the more you will believe it.  Oh, there will be triggers, (like my skirt incident), that will bring back those old familiar feelings, but pay them no attention…pull out those scriptures and start saying them over yourself again.  Sing them over yourself if you feel inclined.  Get them into your spirit and renew your mind!

brokenchainsYou deserve to be free to allow God to lead you into a life of freedom you truly love and to feel worthy of having it.

dixie1For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Eph 2:10 NLT)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!   Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.”  NLT(Psalm 139:13-15).

For help with shame issues I would be honored to coach you into freedom.  You can contact me on this web site from the home page.