Jennifer, (not her real name), came to me for coaching… a broken person, chained to a very unhealthy relationship, unable to break free; trying to make peace with her abusive childhood and years of abuse to follow–in a place she thought she would never be free of, and miserable inside.
I discerned right away her servant’s heart and her desire to reach out to others that were hurting or needing to know that someone cares.
You see, God used her past to equip Jennifer to have a heart of not only empathy, but true compassion towards a very broken world, and He led her to seek deliverance from her past. Her loyalty, dedication, and obedience were so evident for all to see.
After a few months of coaching, Jennifer found the courage to walk out of her pain, break all ties with a very controlling and consuming relationship that was toxic to her, and begin her process of healing. She saw her value in the Kingdom of God and became eager to get on with it. It was amazing to watch!
Her potential was evident from the beginning and to get to witness her freedom break forth first hand is a privilege I never grow tired of.
What a joy to watch this woman of such faith and heart truly share the real essence of Jesus wherever she goes. This week I received the following message from her that I share with her permission. When asked if she minded if I shared her journey with thousands, this was her response:
“Well, to me it is important to keep you posted since YOU had such a big part in my healing process. I wouldn’t be where I am at this point if it wasn’t for all those sessions. And yes, I’m proud of what I’m able to work on at this point and am happy to let you share with others. It’s those stories that help the lost ones to see there is a light if they just open their hearts and mind to it!”
So here is her report. For the record this was written while she was recovering from a knee replacement and eager to get on with her business in the “ministry.”
“Good morning, thought about you when I was making my weekly to do list.
I wanted to share all the serving opportunities that came my way the last couple of months!
I’m waiting on my first assignment from Hospice and Mary and I are involved in a couple of special events at the church. We’ll be part of an Easter egg hunt at our church as well, and we are helping to feed the homeless at a shelter in the city. This is a great time for the two of us to spend some time together!
I’m also helping at the food basket and hope we get a chance to feed the homeless here with a hot meal if I can get enough interest. As soon as I can I’m going to check with the Chamber to see what is available and find out if there are others in the community who want help.
I had a lot of time to pray for guidance and different opportunities just presented themselves, all in His timing I’m sure!
Thank you again for helping me out of my hurt and confusion, I’m happy to be part of the world around me! I forgot the most exciting part cause the dog started digging out of the yard while I was E-mailing you… A few days ago one of my friends from the old church put a request on her Face book page. She started a ministry to go visit and pray with women in jail at the prison nearby. Well I guess they also write them and I signed up to be a pen pal for a young lady who just accepted Jesus as her savior! The girls got me some stationary a while back and now I can put it to good use!”
Jennifer is finding her completeness in just stepping out and praying for Jesus to allow her to see the opportunities and she grabs them up.
The opportunities are endless, friends! The more the world seems to be going crazy the more the church needs to get free of the strongholds that bind them and start looking for those opportunities to be His arms extended!!
What a privilege to help others know the love of the Father. Someone said people who are loved well, love well. And you can help those around you right now in whatever life you’re already in.
Most true ministry is performed person-to-person in our spare time among friends, family, work contacts or people we know. I believe it is best if we don’t try to make it vocational and try to create the opportunity for ourselves…true ministry is not where you have to quit your day job or leave your kids and husband to go out to a mission field…(though some may be called there). But most true ministry is right where you have been planted.
I’ve known many people who grow unsettled in their jobs or their motherhood and think that it is God leading them into “full time” ministry. Away from the ministry field of their family standing right in front of them. This, though, is often laced with a personal need to find fulfillment and feel significant in his kingdom. And they sometimes DO quit their job and jump into a ministry and then struggle financially trying to figure out a way to do it and pay the bills.
Some people will try to raise support from their friends, or create some kind of product to sell to others, hoping it will finance their dreams. It rarely does. Instead of serving others, they will spend significant time getting others to serve their vision.
A friend once said, “Sharing the life of his kingdom is a way of living first, not a vocation.”
When the opportunity is there, so will the resources be.
What is on your heart today to do for the Kingdom? Pray for the Lord to open doors for you and then pray you will be alert and willing when He does. Don’t think He won’t answer. He is looking for those he can use in a lost and dying world. If YOU are broken then find the ministry from someone you trust to help you heal first. Start your journey today!
If my friend Jennifer can do the work it takes to find her healing and be so thrilled to serve when she has spent so many years suffering and holding her head above water, then you and I can do it too. He is not a respecter of persons!!
Be encouraged, my friend. Jesus is not done with you yet!
When I posted this picture on face book a few days ago it so resonated with my soul–my life has been so like this illustration and I know yours has too….the more I thought about it however, the more I kept asking myself if I, indeed, can consider my life pure joy. Or have I been caught up in looking at the depth of pain and the depth of trials and sometimes pure craziness in my life, and thought, “Why the heck me, Lord.” Have I not sown into your Kingdom? When is my time coming?
Yes, I am really being transparent here.
“Haven’t I served you all my life? Why so much suffering. Starting from my childhood of abuse and ending up here, years later….still struggling for a reprieve.”
Woe is me.
Don’t we just get so wrapped up in ourselves sometimes?
I like what Michelle Perry says: “Storms are invitations to dance with Jesus. When you get high enough above the squall, even the most turbulent storm has beauty. And every storm has lessons.” Michelle Perry!
The scripture is actually in James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The answer is yes, I have, at times, been caught up in feeling sorry for myself at times and even justifying my right to do so.
We have these preconceived notions in our heads as to how our lives will be, and when it doesn’t fit our pictures we feel frustrated and defeated. Have we ever considered that the Lord has a different plan for us than what we thought?
Maybe the very trials we are in now are what is training us for the journey right into His plan for us in the next season……
“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Galatians 6:9
Jesus tells us over and over in this life we will face many adversities and trials and temptations.
We cannot get through this life without Jesus, friends. I don’t know how people who have no trust in Him do it. Do they just give way to fear?
Yes, I think so.
Without our faith in Jesus to guide, protect, and rescue us…without Him to rush to in times of pain and grief….without knowing His extreme love for us, who do we turn to?
And what about this scenario? When it looks like everyone around you is being blessed and seeing the fulfillment of God’s blessings in their lives and yet, you are still struggling and nothing is happening. What do you do with that. Well, in Psalm 37: 1-11 it says:
Do not trouble yourself because of sinful men. Do not want to be like those who do wrong. 2 For they will soon dry up like the grass. Like the green plant they will soon die. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good. So you will live in the land and will be fed. 4 Be happy in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Give your way over to the Lord. Trust in Him also. And He will do it. 6 He will make your being right and good show as the light, and your wise actions as the noon day.
So, we hold on and bear up under the pressures of life and make a choice to put on perseverance…which is a fruit of the Spirit that He freely gives us when we ask for it.
We WILL reap what we have sown if we don’t give up!
And look at this as Psalm 37 continues:
Rest in the Lord and be willing to wait for Him. Do not trouble yourself when all goes well with the one who carries out his sinful plans. 8 Stop being angry. Turn away from fighting. Do not trouble yourself. It leads only to wrong-doing. 9 For those who do wrong will be cut off. But those who wait for the Lord will be given the earth. 10 A little while, and the sinful man will be no more. You will look for his place, and he will not be there. 11 But those who have no pride will be given the earth. And they will be happy and have much more than they need.”
Do we believe this? This is why we have to be diligent in His word and in talking to Him.
It boils down to a choice. Not a feeling!
I choose to believe that in due season I will reap if I faint not…
I can feel it in my very bones. How about you?
Are you ready to give up?
Hebrews 12:2 in the Message says it this way: “ Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
I was driving along a country road one day with a heavy spirit. It seemed hard for me to articulate to the Lord what I was feeling. You know those days when you just want to say to Him,
“Lord just hear my heart.”
I began to sing to Him what I was feeling and I kept singing this chorus over and over….
“Lord, do You see me? Do you hear my heart?”
From the depths of my pain.
After about 30 minutes of singing to the Lord I felt the urge to sing new words. So, I just yielded myself to it.
To my amazement I began to sing His words back to my own spirit, right there in the car.
Yes, that is correct. He began to sing to me through my own voice. Yet, to me it was directly from Him. It is hard to explain but definitely a supernatural experience.
He sang back to me,
“My child, I see you. Dixie, my child I love you. I will never leave you. I will perform and deliver. You will see.”
I can’t even describe how penetrating His love became to me as His words were delivered to my spirit.
I felt buoyed up and exhilarated, full of joy and hope, and overcome with a love that saturated my very being from the inside to out.
He is our King with power, and He gives us the power to love as He loves. Imagine it! We cannot love the unlovely without His anointing to see them through His eyes. He sees the heart. In our own power, we cannot.
Did you know He pursues us far more than we pursue Him. Yet we still struggle with making the time to meet Him. I don’t know how many times I have known He is sitting at my place of pondering, prayer, and meditation, waiting for me, and yet, I find a hundred other things I must do first. The whole day passes and I have put Him off again.
I pray my days of walking past Him grow less and less as I continue to realize that my strength to walk with Him and to fight the battles of my warfare only come from Him and Him alone.
No area of Jesus’ supremacy and power and authority is expressed or experienced more than when His love is manifest in us. It fills us to capacity and changes us from the inside out!
Jesus Himself announced that God loves us in the way that God the Father loves God the Son. The Father feels the same intensity of love for us that He feels for Jesus.
Wrap your mind around that fact!
The God of the universe longs for relationship with you. He wants to walk and talk with you as He did with Adam and Eve when He created them.
That is so hard to imagine in our finite minds, but true none the less.
The ultimate statement about our worth and value is that Jesus has the same measure of love and affection towards us that His Father has towards Him.
It gives us all the right to view ourselves as “God’s favorite”.
This is a gold mine of truth that deserves our focused attention continuously.
At the last supper, Jesus emphasized this truth to His disciples just before their failures in denying Him.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love…These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (Jn. 15:9-11)
Did you realize He said this to the disciples while already knowing they would fail Him? His love for me and you does not depend on how ‘good’ we are….anymore than your love for your child changes when they are not ‘good’ kids. He loves you because you are His child. And you have accepted Jesus which means your unrighteousness has been exchanged for the righteousness of Jesus and He sees you as His precious child.
How do we find this place of divine love and stay there?
Stay focused on God’s love. By abiding, beholding Him, and living in this truth, we position ourselves to experience it more. Don’t be distracted from this truth.
Go deep in it…… Surrender to it without resisting or negotiating with God about it.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us. (1 Jn. 3:1)
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord… (Jude 21)
When we experience Jesus’ love for us, it changes how we feel. Feeling God’s affection for us exhilarates our hearts with joy—a deep sense of well-being.
Jesus is telling us where satisfaction and emotional transformation are best found.
The revelation of God’s love for us gives us confidence before God, even in our weakness.
It reveals to us our value and dignity in God’s eyes…
Empowers us to walk in deep partnership with Jesus….
It gives our lives relevance in knowing that we are loved, not based on how we perform, but because we belong to Him.
Such love overwhelms me, how about you?
….to share His heart, home, throne, secrets, and beauty.
An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence.
Jesus is not the religious guy in white robe and sandals that you are afraid to approach or be yourself with.
But He is the Jesus who gave us oceans and rivers, beauty and laughter, sunlight and love……His penetrating love that will transform you.
There are millions who try to relate to Jesus but experience him only occasionally, rarely knowing the joy of hearing his voice, feeling his presence, receiving his powerful, healing love.
We need Jesus, Himself. And you can have Him.
You can experience Jesus, intimately.
You were meant to.
You can know the comfort of his actual presence, hear his voice speaking to you, receive healing of your brokenness.
You can live as he did.
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.
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.
When 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?
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!
Deep, 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.
Gazing 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 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.
So, 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!
Being 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.
I’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.
Joy 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.
Unhappy 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”.
Happy 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.
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.
Unhappy 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.
Unhappy 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.