When You’re in the Battle Line…

And no, I am not talking about the lines for Black Friday shopping.  That is one battle I’m choosing not to fight this year – LOL!

However, if you’re breathing …. sooner or later you will experience a battle for your very soul.   The enemy in this battle will try to rob you of your joy, peace, and maybe even your sanity.  But the good news is:  You don’t have to go into that battle unarmed.  And when you put on the whole armor of God, not only will you survive what you never thought you could – you will also conquer and become a glorious story of grace.

So, I would encourage you….  If you feel like you’re in a battle line today, do not be passive.  Instead, actively engage in worshipping God – not only praising Him, but also declaring words of truth over yourself, your heart, and your situation.  This quote from Holley Gerth says it well:  “Worship is an act of War against the enemy of our hearts.”
worship warrior gerth

 

 

Recommended Reading: “Are You Setting Boundaries Or Just Being Manipulative?”

The past year has been an intense year of strength, growth, and healing for me.  One of the things I have been learning is how to set healthy boundaries.  I’ve been shifting from a life-long pattern of people-pleasing to, instead, a life driven by God-pleasing.  (Which is a real good thing because what I am learning is that God is already pleased with me!).

My new found ability to set boundaries is giving me a new strength and lease on life.  But, as with anything, even strengths have a “flip side”.  As I am learning to live a healthy life, I must exercise caution and not allow the enemy of my soul to take a good thing (healthy boundaries to protect my ability to live out my calling, serve God, and love others well) to manipulation (unhealthy attempts at control simply to get my way and feed selfishness).

So, if you are also learning to set healthy boundaries – I strongly recommend that you click this link to read an excellent article by Leslie Vernick:  Are You Setting Boundaries Or Just Being Manipulative?

Becoming who I already am,
heart smile sig

How to have an AMAZING Thanksgiving: Advice from a Friend

I have so very much to be thankful for on this and every day.   But one of most favorite blessings is being surrounded by amazing people.  So, rather than my own words this morning, I’m sharing  thoughts on this Psalm shared by my friend/mentor, Edna Roberts. Thanks to her, there’s some loud happy singing happening at my house this Thanksgiving morning!

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WOW! I saw this scripture this morning and it gave my soul delight! I am singing in my heart today. I am sooooo thankful for Jesus because without His love for me, I would have, and be Nothing! I am just going to sing and think and praise My God for His Goodness towards me! (On second thought, y’all know me….  I am going to be singing Out Loud today with songs of Thanksgiving! Sooooo join me today, whenever you think of the wonderful things that God has done for you…Break out in song! Let’s fill the earth today with voices of Praise)!!!!
Edna Roberts
Bout That Lemonade Life
www.erboutthatll.com

When the Holidays Aren’t So Happy

During this time of year, I know it’s not all turkey and tinsel for everyone.   The stark contrast of the celebratory season to some of our painful realities is a lot to bear.  Some friends of mine going through a difficult season right now are asking, “How do I manage the {emotional,  mental, spititual} pain?”.

There are so many ways to manage pain…. Some are not so good – like numbing the pain with substances, food, activities, and so forth.  Other ways of managing pain are much healthier – like relaxation techniques, praying, talking things through with a counselor or a friend, and journaling.

But for me, personally, what helps the most is thankful worship to my amazing God.  So, as we enter in to this Thanksgiving season, let me share one of my favorites with you.  It is a song by Bethel Worship called “Come to Me“. I love the lyrics (I’ve emphasized some if my favorites below).  I especially like the conversational feel of this track.  It begins with God singing over us and then we sing back to Him in response.

Will singing this or songs like it make your pain instantly go completely away? Of course not.  But it will definitely shift your soul in the direction of healing.

Worship will help you cultivate a thankful spirit. And where there is thanksgiving,  hope is easier to embrace.

COME TO ME – LIVE
CCLI# 6147419

Written by Jenn Johnson

© 2013 Bethel Music Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

VERSE 1

I am the Lord your God
I go before you now
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away
I am closer than your breath
I am with you, wherever you go

VERSE 2

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
Oh let your faith arise
Lift up your weary head
I am with you, wherever you go

CHORUS 1

Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m everything

BRIDGE 1

I am your anchor
In the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast
So don’t be afraid
If your heart and flesh fail you
I’m your faithful strength
I am with you, wherever you go

BRIDGE 2

When the storm rages
I won’t be afraid
I have locked eyes
On You face to face
Your voice I will follow
Your eyes I will see
I’ll come a little closer
Come close to me

BRIDGE 3

You are my anchor
In the wind and the waves
You are my steadfast
I won’t be afraid
Even in the darkest night
I know You are there
So I press into You, Jesus
And lose all my doubt

BRIDGE 4

You are my anchor
In the wind and the waves
You are my steadfast
I won’t be afraid
If my heart and flesh fail me
You’re my faithful strength
You are with us
Wherever we go

CHORUS 2

We come to You
You’re all we need
We come to You
Our everything

#LunchtimeInspiration: Where’s Your Center?

A friend just shared this verse and quote with me that made me reassess where my “center” is today.  Great stuff – so I thought I would share!

“…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

vernick quote1

Who is Your Soul Anchored to?

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Who is your soul anchored to? And, more importantly,  in which direction are they pulling you?

If a relationship (friend, family member, significant other, colleague) consistently hooks you in to reactions of anger, fear, guilt, or shame – this could be a sign that your soul is more anchored to that relationship than it is to God. 

Even the most wonderful human is subject to gravity and is naturally pulled in a downward motion. But God defies gravity and a soul truly anchored to Him cannot help but be pulled higher. So where you attach yourself determines your direction.

So if you find that any other human has a great deal of control over your feelings and reactions, it’s time to detatch.  Does this mean a physical detachment? Not necessarily – however, in severe cases a season of physical distance may be necessary to facilitate emotional detachment and healthy rebuilding of the relationship   You see, attachment is not love and healthy relationships do not nourish a sense of attachment (or deindividualization). Just because you emotionally detatch/disentangle yourself from someone doesn’t mean you do not love them. On the contrary,  this disentanglement is the only way to love them well.

When you detatch, you still love –  but you do not assume responsibility for their individual actions. 

For instance, if a good friend at work is in a bad mood because she is having conflicts with other coworkers, it is neither my job to get her back in a good mood nor is it my job to “fix” things with the other coworkers. Yes, I may try to uplift her spirits with a kind word, cup of coffee, or her favorite candy bar – but if her mood does not improve In spite of my actions – I am still OK and I go on about my day. I don’t get pulled into any bitterness or anger she may be harboring.  Additionally, though I may offer advice on how to improve her coworker situation  – but whether or not she follows that advice – is completely her responsibility. 

Also, if my friend’s sharing of her less-than-ideal situation morphs into gossip and ongoing bitter venting – things that don’t benefit anyone – my relationship with her in no way obligates me to become her emotional dumping grounds for bitterness she has allowed to fester.  It is healthy to say “Since this conversation doesn’t seem to be moving toward solutions or talking with the person rather than about the person, I am going to have to end this conversation {hang up, walk away, etc} for now”.  And an individual who is healthy relationally will understand and respect your decision and it may very well move her to a healthy perspective of her situation.

If you are unhealthily attached to someone, however, you will allow yourself to participate in a conversation or activity with them that causes a great deal of discomfort, concern, and/or conviction in your spirit. (See God’s advice in Psalms 1:1-2 about pulling away from people who are pulling you down). The only one you should anchor yourself to no matter what they do is God, because on His actions are always good and right.

This unhealthy sense of attachment that will eventually erode your mental, social, and spiritual health is called codependcy by some.  But God calls it sin. You see, if you allow anyone or anything to rule your life but God? You are participating in idolatry.

Bit if you acknowledge, repent, and release this unhealthy weight from your soul, God is standing by faithful waiting to disentangle your soul fron all thay weighs you down. And in exchange, He will bind your heart to His instead amd together you’ll soar to new heights.

So, today… If you find your emotions in a mangled mess. It may be time to do a heart check and make sure your soul is anchored only to the One True Hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.” – Hebrews 6:19-20a NIV

I find, the quickest way to realign my soul with God’s truth and His heart for me is by worshipping with great music. So here’s a little something to help disentangle your heart if you find yourself weighed down by relational drama: