Emotional Survival Isn’t Living

emotional survival isnt living Praise and Coffee

Galatians 4: 4-7

4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Orphanages have an overwhelming task of caring for young ones that need individual attention but lack the numbers of loving arms to adequately meet the needs of all the children. A child raised in an orphanage usually suffers from some level of attachment disorder due to neglect and sadly there are times of abuse. This means they do not get the necessary bonding with one loving adult, so they struggle with relationships. If they have not found the world to be trustworthy to meet their needs they will not let themselves be vulnerable, instead their instincts tell them to provide for themselves and control their world as much as possible to avoid the pain of rejection. They turn on an emotional survival switch in their brain and respond with whatever means possible to get their needs met, be it; anger, rage, charm or manipulation.

Many Christians have this same experience in our journey of faith. We begin our walk with the Lord though a set of rules and regulations and possibly even spiritual abuse or neglect. We build a relationship with God on our good behavior and works all the while struggling to grow closer to the Father. Often we don’t even realize this until we notice that we’re overwhelmed with comparison, jealousy and/or fear. We won’t let ourselves be vulnerable to God or others and will go to great lengths to avoid rejection. Many of us find ourselves like a gerbil on a wheel of performance and obligation that keeps us busy but never provides the peace we are lacking.

We won’t let ourselves be vulnerable to God or others and will go to great lengths to avoid rejection.

Just like orphans with attachment disorder, we need bonding. We are God’s own children, Daddy’s little girls. He wants a relationship with us that brings us peace, comfort and rest. A child learns to bond by trusting in a loving caretaker to meet their needs, over and over again; then slowly releasing their grip of control (which is really no control at all, only fear) until a mutual love is shared. Once a child can learn to rest in that love, they will heal and grow naturally.

The same goes for our relationship with the Father. There is no magic prayer to experience a deep relationship (attachment/connection) with Him, it is a result of leaning hard into Him…and letting Him love us over and over again. No more running to empty vices or emotional fixes, no more performance (DO-ing for approval) and good deeds to give us false satisfaction. Emotional survival isn’t living. Unconditional love poured out by God and received by us. Resting in His amazing love is the only way to build a deep and authentic relationship with the Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine.

Would you say that your current relationship with the Father is one based on rules, guidelines and survival or is it built on trust and resting in Him?

Earning God’s Love ~When Minstry Gets In The Way

Gods love praise and coffee The story of Mary and Martha used to fill me with guilt for being busy until I realized that it wasn’t a story about a woman who was busy. Jesus basically (in my paraphrase) said, “Martha, you’re a worried mess and you need stop trying to get everything perfect for me. I want you, not your performance.”

Whether or not she was trying to earn His approval, love or just impress everyone; she missed the point and I know that I have too.

Anybody else?

Mary knew that the most important thing happening was at His feet. Listening, learning and resting in His love.

Shouldn’t this be easy??

Shouldn’t it come naturally??

Yes, I think it does, but many of us have forgotten how to live instinctively. We know in theory that we should put our family first, that God has given us the gift of family and they matter most. But we are busy meeting everyone else’s needs, sometimes even at the expense of our own families. We’ve lost touch with His still small voice that is always speaking to us about priorities.

When my grown children were younger, I spent so much time away from them doing church activities and it grieves me to think that the church even used to pay our babysitter so we could do the work of the ministry. I left my own children OFTEN, too often, and even though they were in good care (excellent in fact), they were not with their parents. I thought I was honoring God, but now I think I was looking for His approval through performance. I thought I would be a better Christian if I did more for Him. And yes, I enjoyed the accolades and approval of others, though it took me a long time to admit it.

I did not know how to be anything but busy. I did not know how to rest at His feet. I was striving to earn His love.

Yes, I was doing good things, God things. I would compare it to having the whole family home but busy in different rooms doing different things and never spending time together. You can call that family time, but without connection, we’re just existing together.

Of course there are busy seasons, but I encourage you to ask yourself:

Why am I doing this?
Who is benefitting?
Does it strengthen my family?
Does it draw me closer to God?

Our walk with God will not grow while we’re trying to earn His love. God’s love for you is not based on your performance, you can securely rest in His love when you stop trying to earn it.

Gal 2:19-20 The Message
 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God.

Don’t Give Up

A piece of what I’ve been working on…

Don't give up praise and coffee
Some days the pain is so deep, we can’t see over the edge of it. The day Mary watched her son beaten and crucified had to feel like the absolute end. But the mourning turned to morning and He rose. In the darkest of our days we dare have hope because light will not be kept under darkness and life will burst forth again. It could come through earthquakes and stones rolled away, it could be the tiny sprout of new life that breaks through the thawing ground or the person who wakes up and decides to start living again. The deepest of pain becomes a memory as the infant’s cry fills the room like a gospel choir.

It’s new life, a new day. It’s hope.

Please don’t give up.

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. Romans 4:18 The Message

And be careful not to paint hope with one just color and brush, often new life looks different than we imagined it would.

 

I have experienced this kind of hope, I’d love to hear your stories of new life if you want to share.

I’m Still a Recovering Pharisee

I’ve noticed something lately. I suppose it’s not a recent “thing” but it seems to be ramping up, or at least I’m just seeing it more.

NickMom calls it “Other Mothering.” Jon Acuff calls it Jesus Juke. I refer to myself as a recovering Pharisee. It takes on many forms and has been around since the dawn of man but I think that social media has propelled it to a whole new level.

It’s that attitude of needing to right all the wrongs (or in the Christian community-spiritualizing everything). It’s the desire to interject your opinion and make sure that others know how misled, misinformed or mistaken they are.

It’s as if Facebook has given us carte blanche to blurt, spew and puke our opinions out when we disagree with what someone says. It feels like we’ve become a world full of Lucy’s from the Peanuts cartoon. We’re the crabby, complaining know-it-alls putting up ‘The Doctor Is In’ sign and blurting our opinions out on flat screens around the world. It wouldn’t be so bad if we did it with the motive of actually helping or encouraging someone, but it appears to be more about attacking a different view than ours.

lucy-the-doctor-is-inDon’t get me wrong, I have no problem with dialogue of opposing ideas. I love it really. Let’s hash it out! I enjoy talking about the different ways we process life and what we believe. I am open to the discussion, but I want it to be a discussion, not an immature shouting match while hiding behind a computer screen. I think we’re a lot more gutsy behind the keyboard than across the table from one another, which doesn’t lead to connection, only division.

It feels fruitless and empty to me.

I shared a picture recently on Facebook of a deer that my Father-in-law shot. He was told just a few months ago that he may not ever walk again, but he is walking and he was able to go hunting with his son and shoot a trophy buck. I was so proud knowing that this was a big deal to him and what it represented in his life.

I posted a picture from my phone because I knew that so many of our family friends would be thrilled for him.

But.

Those who disagree with hunting felt it more important to share their opinions than allow me to celebrate this great moment. I was going to just ignore it until it got to the point that I knew when my hunting friends saw the comments they would rally back and a full-on argument would break out on a post that was supposed to be about my Father-in-law… so I pulled it down. I didn’t regret that I posted the picture or feel that I was wrong but I took it down because I was so irritated with those who high jacked my FB to tell the world their opinions.

I heard a conservative Christian leader say that we have to be extremely careful who we quote and make sure that we know that the person we are quoting is reputable and that we agree with everything they say or it will come back to bite us. I understand the philosophy behind his statement, but I disagree with him. Although I admit I have been bitten, especially when quoting someone like Oprah in the Christian community.

Why are we so afraid of different opinions?
I can remember when I was researching my challenged beliefs…I felt guilty for even questioning what I had been taught.

Rachel Held Evans, Elizabeth Esther, Rob Bell and Wayne Jacobsen are just a few who are stoking the fire and waking us up to conversations that we need to have. This doesn’t mean that I agree with everything they say, but I love the dialogue they are inspiring.

I can’t think of one person whom I agree with 100%. Does that mean I can’t listen to what they have to say? Does that mean I have to argue every point they make that I don’t like?  No. The Lord spoke though a rooster when he crowed 3 times but I don’t agree with everything roosters say. Same goes for donkeys.

I enjoy Beth Moore and Anne Lamott’s books. Quote either of them and you’re sure to tick someone off. Mother Teresa tends to be quite safe, and usually the Bible is too, but be careful with the Message translation because the King James Version only people are sure to let you know that you’re skating on thin ice.

Our world gets really small when we limit the voices around us. You don’t have to agree with everyone, and you don’t have to tell them when you don’t. But if you can further the conversation and be ok with not always coming to an agreed conclusion, than please do. I’ve found that the things I was once so belligerent about were usually based in my hope that the loudest voice wins. I was so wrong. But don’t be surprised if I blow it again…I’m still recovering.

Can we care about each other enough to listen?

 

You might like this one too…Is It Our Job to Point Out Sin.

Introducing An Online Study


This 6 week ONLINE study begins October 7, 2013…
Becoming Me copy

Do you ever struggle to know where you fit? 

Do you feel like your relationship with God is flat and you want more?

Are you tired of religion as you know it and ready for a deeper walk with God?

I want to invite you to join in an online study that I will be leading:

“Becoming Me Through Him”

Unashamedly waking up to the woman God created you to be.

I’ve shared this message for about 5 years at retreats (and I’ll be sharing it again this weekend), it’s based on the story of Rahab and woven with the stories of other women in the Bible. These women compel us to lean in and learn from their courage and tenacity to have more than a wallflower life.

In this study we will talk about labels , comparison and that we shouldn’t run from the past but instead let God redeem it and use it to bring a deeper understanding of the women He created us to be. We’ll explore how fear and anxiety set us off course and how living in a loving relationship with God will bring rest for our souls.

The entire study will be done on a Facebook group page. This is a new adventure for me so I’m not sure how it will all unfold but I’m planning on posting notes, videos and posts beginning on Oct. 7th. Your participation and comments will fuel the discussion and I encourage you to share your thoughts if you are comfortable! If you would rather just sit back and take it in, feel free. You are not required to do anything.

All women are welcome, (there is no cost and nothing to purchase) click here to join:
Becoming Me Through Him

Also…I’m just thrilled that my ministry partner Ronel Sidney will be flying in tonight from California to road trip with me to a retreat that I’m speaking at in Northern Michigan this weekend! Would you pray for us as we unpack not only our shoes, but also exciting new ideas for the future of Praise and Coffee?!

Keep up with our shenanigans at @PraiseAndCoffee and Ronel Sidney on Twitter.

Ladies, I hope you’ll join us on this study! I’m praying that it opens all of our hearts to a better understanding of the Father’s love and how living loved will change us and shape our journeys in ways we never imagined.

It certainly has for me!

Hold On To Hope, Even In The Deep Stuff


we are larger

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Hold on to hope, even in the deep stuff.

 

Overcoming Fear

take flight 2copy

How many decisions do we make based on fear?

What will they think?

What if I fail?

What if…?

There is only one solid way to overcome fear…

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
1 John 4:18

“…not yet fully formed in love”

That’s the key to finding freedom from fear.
Well formed love banishes fear.

When we live loved, knowing each day that no matter what, we are loved by the Father, we live differently. We are free.

Are there still repercussions from sin and poor choices? Absolutely. But even that does not change how much He loves us.

Dare to believe that He loves you right now today, before you change one thing. Live right there in that love.

And take flight.

The Summer 2013 Praise and Coffee Magazine, Our Last Issue

The Summer Praise and Coffee Magazine is here!

Click here to read: Summer 2013

It’s filled with great articles by amazing women. The topic is freedom, and we tackle it from all angles.

Freedom from our past, freedom to forgive, freedom from debt and more.cover summer 2013

Our last issue…

It was a little harder to press “publish” on this magazine. As you will read, it is the last magazine for an undecided amount of time. I tell you about the decision on the last pages of the magazine.

We’ve had three great years publishing this magazine! I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who submitted articles and poured their hearts out on the pages over the years. I’ve met some wonderful ladies along this journey and connected with women that have become friends in real life.

My focus is shifting and I have some other projects that have been calling for my attention for a long while and I’m hoping I can make some forward motion in those areas now.

The topic of “Freedom” was decided before I decided that this would be the last issue, but it is quite fitting. I don’t mean to say that I’m ‘free of the magazine’ because I’ve loved doing it. Loved it! But it is freeing to know that it’s ok to lay down something you love doing when you do it while trusting that God is leading you and has other things on the horizon.

It’s easy to go with the flow and once a system is started, just keep moving but the past few years I’ve learned to enjoy the fluidity of a relationship with Jesus. The message stays the same, but the vehicle changes. Freedom brings peace, but it often has to be fought for. We have to fight the voices and disappointments of others. Don’t expect everyone to love or understand the changes that God calls you to do.

But bravely step out, or step back, whichever you’re feeling the tug to do. Peace is the signature of a walk with God. I did not say quiet or calm or even easy, but I said peace, that inner sense that you’re on the right track and the contented rest that comes with trusting the Father’s love and leading.

I hope that even this move to stop publishing the magazine will encourage and inspire you to follow close to what God lays in your heart because His ways are always better than ours.

 

Here are some of the article pics if you would like to Pin them for us! And we would love it if you did!

diema freedom

espresso

farewell

forgive

freedome julie

grace

israel

mel capture melanie

tracee article

tricia capture

Finding Happiness

What will make you happy? What do you really want?

More of __________________________.

Less of ___________________________.

And how much more or less will be the indicator of your supposed happiness?

If that which is outside us could fulfill and bring us joy, it would be evident in those who have so much and are so happy. No, we see a world filled with an excess of things and yet empty of joy.

The only true source of joy is found within. It’s found in the quiet place of our heart that doesn’t have to run from the pain or noise of this life.

Peace is what’s lacking.

We will scratch and claw our way through life, blaming others and ranting about injustice until our hearts find this place of peace.

I don’t believe it can be found until we rest in the love of the One who created us.

When we find Him in our loneliness and experience that He is enough, we will have touched the eternal.

It’s not a process, it’s not a physical place, it’s not a person and it’s not a church or group.

It’s Him.

When we believe that we are loved and have been put on this earth for a reason, even without fully understanding that reason, we begin a journey that is evidenced by peace and then joy.

The question is not “what” will make us happy, but “who” will make us happy?

It’s the One who left the stones on the ground and embraced the rambunctious children.
It’s the One who never promised an easy road but promised to walk the stormy journey with us.
It’s the One who walked away from the righteous to embrace the mess of humanity.

It’s the One who loves you. Yes you, mess and all.

When bad Guys Change the Day

trust Him

What a beautiful awful mess of a world we live in.

A thousand miles away, bad guys change our day.

I learned of the terror walking into a restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday with our 8 year old. It was impromptu so our grown kids were not there. It was just the three of us, hoping for some great steak.

We watched the screens from our booth and the questions poured from Lauren’s quivering lips. We distracted as best we could, but our eyes were nervously drawn to the screens. A lump in my throat welled as I saw service men rush to the scene while others ran away. I jumped on Facebook to see if our friends in Boston we’re safe, a sigh of relief as we learned they were unharmed.

We asked Lauren about soccer and school, but her little eyes peaked up to see the bloody mess unfolding. Our nation was again under attack by an unknown enemy and our sinking hearts told us that we would never be the same.

Lauren leaned out of the booth to reach across and pick up a crayon when she fell to the ground. She was not hurt but burst into sobs and tears, reacting much deeper to the fear on the screens than the fall to the ground.

I stuff the pain and fear, I’ll be fine. I know that life will go on. That’s what I tell myself. It’s how we numb.

The raw reality is that we are all changed. We flinch faster.

I pray. I trust. Truly I do, but not naively.

I will not pretend that if we pray hard enough, terror will stop. There will be pain, there will be sorrow; we will hurt. But my faith in the fact that God is with me and will never leave me, keeps me from suffocating as I watch the images and hear the sirens.

Jesus never said that the world as a whole would be safer if we prayed longer and harder.

John 16:31-33
Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

This side of heaven we will have trouble, but He also promised that if we trust Him, we can be deeply at peace. If we let the noise of Korea, or the voices on the left and the right, dominate our minds, we will be shaken and live in a shallow place of terror.  Please don’t.

Yes, be alert, follow the leading He gives, but remember that we can live with unshakable peace if we trust that He is with us- He will not abandon us.

I do watch the news, I am vigilant, I am aware or the dangers, but I will not be a hostage to the fear.

I will choose to lean on the One who promised me peace. I pray that you do too. Religion won’t get you there. Following the rules alone will not bring you peace. If the ‘do’ing was enough, Jesus would not have chastised the religious leaders of the day. He came to reveal a relationship that was no longer about rituals and buildings made of stone, it is about relationship with a Father that loves us. It’s about orphans (you and I) finding forever homes.

It’s about finding peace in a world of chaos, terror and disorder.
It’s about recognizing that He love us, He is with us and will never leave us.

Only then can we see the beauty and miracles around us and let gratitude fill our wounded hearts and homes.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” Hebrews 11:1

Our lives are a reflection of who/what we trust.
Bad guys can change our day, but trusting in God makes life worth living.

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