Monday, June 27, 2011

Change Your Life with Your Thoughts

OK, I'm stealing another article from someone else....but this is too good not to post.   I said in my last post that is we could just get our thinking about ourselves in the right place it would change our life, this post from Joyce Meyer is along the same lines.  It's understanding the huge connection between what we think and say - and what our life looks like.  

Change is hard but this kind of change is so worth it because it is the difference between being happy in whatever situation or circumstances you are in or being unhappy and constantly looking for someone or something to make you happy and fulfilled, which is so sad because that "something or someone"  will never be found -  happiness comes from within ourselves and it is our choice with God's help to make that happen.

by Joyce Meyer
The longer I live the more I realize how strong a connection exists between our thoughts and our words. I honestly believe that this connection is one of the most important things we can learn in our lives.
So many people's problems are rooted in their way of thinking, which can actually produce a lot of the problems they experience.

How does that happen?
Well, a negative mind produces negative words and, consequently, a negative life. Our words can actually become traps that cause us to continue our cycle of negative thoughts and actions.
Yes, we're all tempted to speak negatively, but we don't have to give in to that temptation.
To turn our words around, we need to start thinking about what we're thinking about, and then make some real changes.
Let me show you how.

The Trap of Negative Thinking

Because I allowed many years of negative thinking and speaking in my life, I became an extremely negative, sour person. My philosophy became "if you don't expect anything good to happen, then you won't be disappointed when it doesn't."
Have you ever felt that way?
Because I had encountered so many disappointments, I was afraid to believe that anything good could happen to me. I had developed a terribly negative outlook on everything.
If I had continued to believe those lies about never getting over my past, I never would've gotten over my past.

New Thoughts, New Possibilities

With God's help I am continually reminded that my past doesn't have to control my future. I don't need God's help in my life to give up; I need His help to keep going!
I now know how important it is for me to understand the fact that my life would not have gotten straightened out until my mouth did…
And since the two are linked, my mouth wasn't going to get straightened out until my mind did.
Changing your words and thoughts is definitely not an easy thing to do, but with God's help all things are possible.

Be Patient with Yourself

We have to choose to think and speak positively. It doesn't come naturally—and it doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it takes a lot of practice.
There will be days when you have setbacks, but just get back up, dust yourself off, and start again.
When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before he gains the confidence to walk. Failing from time to time—which you will do—doesn't mean you're a failure. It simply means that you don't do everything right all the time.
Well, neither does anyone else.
If you've been consumed with negative thinking and speaking, the pathway to your freedom begins when you face the problem without making excuses for it.
Be patient with yourself. As you change your thinking, your words will change and so will your life!

This article is taken from Joyce's audio teaching, Change.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I received an email from the director of one of the Counseling Centers that I work for and thought it was worthy blog material.  As I see many different people each week in my counseling practice - I see so much of what we as people struggle with is how we view ourselves and the messages we give ourselves. So I hope that if you have been beating yourself up for any reason or if that is just how you do life, I hope this article will give you a different perspective on God see you and how He wants you to see yourself.   These negative messages we allow in our head are called "ungodly beliefs" and they are lies according the Word of God.  Take those "lies" and replace them with "Truth" - God's Truth. 

The Discipline of Self-Compassion
by Mike Adams, PhD

What is "self-compassion"?  When I first heard the term, I thought it was some disguised term for selfishness.  But selfishness is when we meet our own needs at the expense of another's needs.  Self-compassion deals is extending compassion or grace to ourselves in areas that we are hurting, deficient, or suffering.  It deals with matters of the heart rather than whether I treat myself to that extra helping of ice cream or hit the snooze button two or three more times than I should each morning.  Just like compassion towards others, self-compassion is the giving of warmth, care, patience, and encouragement to our own mind.  Self-compassion is not about meeting our needs; it deals with the voices inside us.  By "voices" I mean the thoughts that run through our heads, the things we say to ourselves, and that thought process that seems to provide constant commentary on our lives.  In the Bible, the apostle Paul prays that the churches in Ephesus would grasp how wide, and long and high and deep the love of Christ is in their inner being (see Ephesians 3:14-19).  Self-compassion is allowing Christ's sacrificial grace, forgiveness, and ...well...compassion to permeate how we speak to ourselves.

Self-compassion is speaking to ourselves the way Jesus might speak to us.  Being compassionate to yourself does not encourage a selfish or self-focused way of being.  In practice, self-compassion frees us up to not be as obsessed about our needs.  Self-criticism seems to have more of an opposite effect in causing us to become more needy and demanding of the environment.  You see, inside of each person is an internal conflict, a war if you will, between a self-critical, debasing, devaluing voice and a compassionate, gracious, positive voice.  Self-compassion is learning how to give the encouraging voice more air time.  This voice doesn't excuse the areas of our lives that we need to grow but instead encourages us towards greater connection to God and greater connection to becoming more like Christ.  So, what types of things do you say to yourself?  Are they negative, discouraging statements?

Here are several questions to ask yourself:

1.  Do you find it difficult to accept that God has forgiven you for your shortcomings or past mistakes?
2.  Do you block yourself from being as compassionate towards yourself as you are towards others?
3.  Do you tend to be your "own worst critic"?

If the answer is yes to these questions, then you may struggle considerably with self-compassion.  When self-compassion suffers, we become bitter towards others and even judgmental at times, especially of those who are close to us.  We can only give the amount of grace that we have allowed ourselves to receive (see Luke 7:47).  If this is the case, work on bringing those critical thought patterns "captive" and create a series of more compassionate statements to replace them.  Can you imagine what life would be like without a frequent internal critic sitting on your shoulder?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rating the Way You Were Raised

I always feel like I need to put a disclaimer on these types of posts.  I always want to stress that looking at family background is not to blame or stir up anger toward our parents or caregivers.  If we have lived for any amount of time and especially if we have our own children we are very aware that most parents do the best they know how for their children and most of the "dysfunctional" traits that they exhibit come from their background.  So we look at these types of things in light of information and education not blame or criticism.  As I looked at this list I know I scored pretty badly as a parent - the goal is that each generation continues to get healthier than the last and works on those areas that are known to be unhealthy.

As discussed, unhealthy relational patterns tend to be passed down from generation to generation unless someone makes a conscious effort to change the course.

The ten questions in the inventory will help you judge where you've been so you can better judge where you are and where you should be in terms of relational health.

On a scale of 0-10 use the following statements to rate the way you were raised (0=not at all; 10=all the time)

My parents were:

_______1.  Like dictators, wanted obedience
_______2.  Rigid, forceful with strict rules, values, beliefs and expectations (shamed if we were different)
_______3.  Critical, judgmental with harsh punishment.
_______4.  Closed to talking about certain subjects; sex, religion, politics, feelings.
_______5.  Poor listeners about my thinking and feelings
_______6.  Like a machine with many demands (you should and you should not)
_______7.  Degrading with names such as "stupid" "lazy" "no good"
_______8.  Cold and indifferent toward me
_______9. Resistant to changes and learning new things (It was not easy to disagree with them and stay "safe")
______10. Distant (not close, not invited to do things with them regularly)

_______Total score.   Add up the numbers of your ten responses.

The higher your score (the closer to 100) the higher the potential for your having been raised in an emotionally unhealthy home,. 

Questions for further thought: 
How much "old baggage" do you still carry?  Does any of this "baggage" affect your current relationship to your spouse or children?

Some of the content of this blog post was taken from the book, "Making Love Last Forever" by Gary Smalley