Reflecting on what it may mean for me to live out a more genuine and true Christian Faith. It meant experiencing all that life offers. The suffering, the abundance, the blessings, the famine - all the seasons of my own existence. It meant shedding myself of all the fears, doubts, and insecurities. It is a progress of moving forward to be complete and whole.
True and healthy communication is that which good and edifying where it ministers grace to the hearer.
Rising to my own personal potential means that I put the plan in action. That I take the necessary steps and follow through. This requires my level of motivation and commitment regarding my desire and intent. By putting forth my best effort - my Heavenly Father will bring about those blessings.
To become the hero of my own personal story and life - I need to take up my own hero's journey and place my faith in God and trust in His will and divine providence. Through my faith and confidence, labor and toil, fellowshipping with others, being held accountable, seeking after wise counsel, and following the directions - my extraordinary adventure and story may be among many heroic journey's that inspire people.
My own spiritual journey and recovery has shown what true masculinity is all about. The character and integrity. Finding joy, since happiness requires right circumstances, means to come to a place of experiencing life - regardless of the good, bad, and those ugly moments.
Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash From Hazelden's Touchstones Daily Meditations for Men Anyone who lives art knows that psychoanalysis has no monopoly on the power to heal...Art and poetry have always been altering our ways of sensing and feeling - that is to say, altering the human body. ~ Norman O. Brown A man can lead a healing life … Continue reading Recovery leads to Healing and Genuine Love
I learned that to fully heal from the wounds of childhood experiences - I must embrace and speak my truth without feeling a sense of betrayal, blame, or fear. To speak my truth means embracing what I have experienced as part of my heritage and legacy. Accept the truth that my parents carried on the legacy of their own dysfunction learned growing in a home environment lacking care, validation, autonomy, and healthy perceptions and perspectives.
If any truth of my own personal journey and recovery holds validity it is the idea that I still feel inadequate. Still feel that I am not the man I have wanted to become. And I sometimes forget that my recovery and spiritual growth are a personal journey of becoming complete in Christ.
We come to accept the good, the bad, the ugly, and the indifference of our own sense of being. There is a stark contrast between love and hate. Either we love ourselves, love others, and have a love for life; or, we hate ourselves, hate others, and hate our lives. Love and hate are polar opposites. Where there is genuine love hate has no room to grow. Where there is hate there is no real genuine love. This is true with genuine and mindful forgiveness.
I need to know this when I wonder whether or not my pursuit of Godliness is worth the cost. It always is. I may not see it right away, however, I will eventually see it. God has never withheld blessing from anyone whose heart was humble, contrite, and lowly before Him. Never. That would contradict His character and it would violate His sovereign promises. He blesses the righteous and surrounds them with divine favor.
The ability to mindfully and critically read information is to objectively learn new ideas and concepts. To accurately take notes is to translate what you have gained insight on and share that with others. What you do not want to do is to develop content that is merely copy-and-paste of other peoples writings. This is only done when you are quoting from another person.
One hinderance, I have found, to a fruitful life of prayer is approaching God on the wrong basis. He is often portrayed in my mind as a debtor- God owes me blessings - as if He is obligated to care for me regardless of my attitude. It's true that He promises to care for each one of us. But, it is not according to our will, our desire, our means, and specifications. He has, time and time again, straighten me out on this. He has taught me to approach Him with His true nature - love and mercy - in the forefront of my mind.
This psalm provides wisdom to change my attitudes. It shows the way out of the wilderness of misery and discontentment. Instead of affirming my areas of need, it turns my focus to those blessings I've already received. It tells me to acclaim Him, to verbally acknowledge who He is. When I do, His presence becomes a greater reality to me - greater than it once was, and greater than all of the sources of my dissatisfaction. Those who learn to acclaim Him learn the reality of the God of all sufficiency. In short, I become joyful and blessed.
With my natural eyes, I often see my struggles as huge obstacles and my chances of overcoming them as slim. I am easily overwhelmed. I know my limitations, and God's omnipotence seems distant. When I acclaim Him, as the psalm says, I shed those earthbound illusions. My worship brings me into the light of His presence and reminds me of who He really is. It radically alters my perspective. Where I once thought my struggles were real and my God might be illusory, I realize that my Heavenly Father is real and my struggles are illusory.
Think about your emotional tendencies. Don't most of our behavioral problems and psychological flaws come from an insecurity deep within? Yet if we, the redeemed, were thoroughly convinced of God's love - the unflinching goodness which He has shown us since the dawn of creation - then we would lose the basis of nearly every one of our insecurities. Those who have immersed themselves in the immeasurable love of God are wise indeed - and extremely secure. They have no need to envy: no desire for revenge; no reason to fear; no time for pettiness; and no cause for self-promotion.
In my own spiritual journey - I have found that deliverance comes twice. First, a worshipful heart has risen above oppressive circumstances, even when those circumstances remain. It is an inward liberation that I find deep joy regardless of what's happening on the outside. Secondly, a resolved, singing heart finds deliverance in a God who responds. He frequently invades circumstances and scatters our enemies, sometimes dramatically. The wait may be long and the victory is sure. God does not remain silent in His love when I do not remain silent in my worship.
When we are sick, unhealthy, and feeling less than adequate - we suffer depression, anxiety, and even spiritual deprivation (meaning, lack of meaning and purpose - feeling unfulfilled). Any casual research will show that there is a definitive link between unhealthy eating habits, sleep, and depression and anxiety.
As meaningful as our desire is to reach out to those who are lost, and specifically more so to those suffering from active substance use and mental health disorders; we do well to remember the wise and therapeutic recommendation to do no harm. And erroring on the side of ignorance is not cutting it anymore. What I propose is for the Christian community at large, and each individual Christian personally, to come to understand some things when engaged in ministry work. That is, to become aware, educated, and understand the true nature of recovery, the healing process, and the restoration of an individual to a meaningful and purposeful Christian life and relationship. Not just with our Savior, Jesus Christ, but also in relationship with others that are supportive, understanding (through empathy and compassion). A sanctuary that is considered safe.
I know that our Heavenly Father's promises allow each one of us to go ahead and consider the mansion down the road as being ours. The Savior even told his disciples "In my Father's house there are many mansions...I go and prepare a place for you." (see John 14:2).
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 12:2 ~ The mind has a “spirit.” In other words, our mind has what we call a “mindset.” It doesn’t just … Continue reading Our Renewed Mind
There are oft times when I found myself needing guidance regarding given situations. My usual tendency was to pray for direction. However, I have come to learn that my Heavenly Father has a better way. I no longer seek direction. Instead, I seek wisdom and the direction before me becomes clear. Merely praying for direction limits God to providing information. Pray to seek wisdom and God grants one a Godly mindset. As Peter says, we become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Part of that divine nature is the mindset of God.
The solution in getting unstuck from our grief is attending meetings, seeing a counselor, and giving ourselves permission to let go. The willingness to allow ourselves to be vulnerable lessens our need to resist and lower those defenses. It is difficult in the beginning. And when we willingly allow ourselves to be vulnerable, keep ourselves in a community and fellowship of others, we begin to grow in trust with God, ourselves, and others around us.
Isn't this idea easy to forget? I tended to approach life with a certain autonomy. Live as though I am an independent individual with a responsibility to acknowledge God in worship and sacrifice. My Heavenly Father wants a deeper worship in my own personal life. Rather than living independently of Him while giving Him my respect, I honor Him by living dependently on Him with mindful awareness that every action, every thought, every impulse is to fit into His purposes. I must never act - or even breathe - without this awareness. I have been bought at a costly price. I am His.
Seeking after my own interests begins when I mistrust God's wisdom and guidance. This is what I have come to understand about my own personal sinful nature. When I give over to choose my own will over God's I am essentially mistrusting him and trusting in my own self motivations. Such idea has become quite absurd since I have come to understand the basic teachings of scripture: God's will and care for my life is in his best interest.
Knowing that I am driven by my own internal impulses and reasoning, I am merely settling for second best. Even if such were shaped by years of discipleship, they are still subject to sin and deception. I can use them to God's glory, yet can't bring myself to trust them. I must always submit myself to the guiding mind of God and trust in His will and care for my welfare and spiritual well-being. I must trust in God fully and wholeheartedly.
I had to not only reach out to my Heavenly Father. I had to reach out through sincere brokenness of spirit. Mourning my own demise. Experiencing what scripture refers to as Godly grief over my own sins and transgressions. Detach myself from my own will and desire. I had to learn to listen and recognize his voice. I had to learn to live differently. Put aside my ego. Put away my own selfish will and desires.
Often times I feel like I am not receiving what I desire from others because I am not willing to allow myself to be open enough to receiving. It's as if I have a little shop set up for people to come in and yet maintain locked doors.
What exactly am I following then? Simple and most profound spiritual truth is the Savior's example. It is a higher spiritual calling for those who are brought to the depths of humility. Touched by the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. Convicted of their present condition, and then the volition and willingness to surrender all that one is and to give their very lives and will over to God's care. This is exactly what the savior had done numerous times. He submitted his will, his life, over to the care of the Father. And yet he was the Son of the Most High and the Only Begotten of the Father. If it was as important for the Savior of humanity to give his life, will, and authority over to the Father's care - how much more important is it for me to do the same?
I had often resorted to lesser means of wisdom because I stood unaware and ignorant of the mind of Christ and how accessible it truly was. I did not have the courage and willingness to accept the reality of such extravagant promises. Because I did not believe, nor accept its reality, I did not possess it. The mind of Christ is available to each of us through the Holy Spirit, who comes to us only through faith. The spirit searches the deep things of God and reveals them to His people. Such things are foolish to the world, yet they are truth nonetheless - truth that I am able to know and base my life upon.
I will keep always in mind that today is my sole concern and that I will make it as good a day as I am able to. This one small span of time is mine, and I will use it to do the things that need doing, and have a little time over for enjoyment and reflection.