Tag Archive | Joy

“It Was the Love,” He Said….

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“It Was The Love”

I just heard a man’s testimony on the radio this morning that struck a chord with me.  He said that he grew up Muslim.  However, through a lot of adverse things in his life, he became an Atheist.
At one point a couple of years ago, he decided he was tired of all of the anger and hatred that you hear in today’s music.  So he started searching for ‘clean music’ that his kids could listen to.  He stumbled across the Christian radio station K-Love.
Fast-forward to now and he is a Christian.  They asked him what was it that finally did it for him.  His answer?  LOVE!
He said that it touched him that there wasn’t all of the fighting and arguing being spewed.  It was the love that everyone talked and sang about.  He initially thought it had to be phony…but with time he realized it was real. And, he studied the bible and discovered that Jesus showed love to everyone regardless of who they were or what they had done.  He realized it was real.
For me, that brought to mind something else.  I have had friends and met people who are excited about sharing the Word.  So much so that you almost can’t carry on a normal conversation because they are busy quoting scripture to you in response to everything.  Half the time what they quote doesn’t even apply (or at least the person they are talking to can’t see the connection).
I’ve even attended a church in the past that is full of very loving people who desire to do God’s work.  However, if you are new or a visitor and happen to have a version of the bible that differs from the King James – then they hound you about it.  They try to ‘kindly’ give you the ‘right’ one.  They have been known to corner you and tell you how wrong you are because you grew up in a different church.
None of that wins the lost, people.  As a matter of fact – it turns them off and sends them running.  Which honestly, I don’t blame them!
I think that in our effortts to ‘win souls’ – we forget the most important thing:  show God’s love.  It’s not supposed to be the human effort anyhow.  All we are to do is let His love show through us.  The rest is between God and that other person.  It’s God’s love shining through us that attracts the lost.  They want what we have – just like that man mentioned earlier.
Jesus did not run after people and judge them.  He didn’t make them feel guilty.  He simply loved them where they were.
So I believe we should stop preaching at people.  Stop arguing your point.  Stop trying to show them how wrong they are and how right you are.  Stop quoting words that don’t mean much to the non-Christian.  Just love them.  Let God’s love shine through you in how you live your life.  Not through your efforts/works – but by being open to God’s will.

Fear, Anxiety, Worry – Consumers of Joy

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Let me first say I’m not one to go around saying ‘God told me this’ or quoting scriptures to people.  But I have chosen to seek a closer relationship to God and I am learning (slowly) to quiet down and listen for God’s voice.  So, this is a bit about what I’m learning in that journey.

 
As many of you know, I’ve been through a lot over my lifetime.  And it’s been quite a rough ride over the past couple of years in many ways.  But I also want to praise God for walking through it with me and showing how to have peace and happiness along the way!

 
Today I listened to a message about fear, anxiety and worry.  While listening I felt like this was just for me.  I have been living under chronic stress for many years – of course that is another way of saying that I’ve been a worrier and anxious about way more things necessary.  It’s like it is my character – I’ve always been that way.  
 
I always felt that some of that was a good thing in that it made me a hard worker (fear of failure).  It made me to be sensitive to others’ feelings and situations (good until you take on their burdens).  It made me keep going no matter what came along (fear of failure again). That fear of failure is what has driven me in a lot of areas – even as far back as making good grades in school.
 
But, as we all know – life is full of trials and part of that includes failure – otherwise how do we learn?  But I couldn’t ever see it that way.  So, when something came along that I viewed as a failure, I spiraled into depression.  And that had been building for many, many years.
 
Along with that went my health.  I cannot even begin to tell you all of the ways that it has negatively impacted my health.  Many see that I am overweight and assume I’m lazy or that I eat too much.  But truth is, it is more directly related to my overall health and the inability to do much about it.  
 
When I was finally diagnosed a few years back with Fibromyalgia, I was somewhat relieved to be able to put a label on many of my unexplained symptoms.  However, I also started getting hard-headed and decided that there had to be a better way.  I refused to take prescription meds for my ‘condition’ – instead I started really paying attention to what was triggering the pain.
 
My progress has been slow – but through a lot of prayer – I believe God is leading me to the solution.  I am seeing positive outcomes with small changes and as long as I continue to speak with Him through prayer and tears, He is faithful to lead me to the next step.
 
Through this process I believe that all of this is directly related to what I have been calling chronic stress – but can now say it boils down even further to fear, anxiety and worry.  I believe that my chronic issues have greatly manifested to a point where it has taken my quality of life away.  It has contributed to failed marriage.  It has impacted my kids and my relationship with them.  It hinders friendships.  I could go on and on.
 
As this has become more and more clear to me I now know what I need to work on – right?  Well, sort of….  
 
You see, for many years, I knew what my problem was (to an extent) but tried to correct it on my own.  Wrong.  Can’t do it.  It’s temporary.  I have to keep reminding myself to rely on God….it’s not ‘habit’ for me because I am a survivor and part of that requires me to be in charge (Ha!) – so I’m still working on it, trust me!
 
So after working through my failed marriage and divorce.  After changing jobs from one that I invested everything I had into only to be betrayed by people who ‘claim’ to care about others to something much less stressful.  After working to straighten my finances up after the long, rough marriage.  I can now say I am on the right track!
 
I seldom have fibro pain – though I do find that it will flare right back up as strong as before when I let anxiety and worry creep back in.  My mind is clearer.  I have slightly improved energy.  I’m no longer depressed.  
 
Most recently, I was talking with God on the way to work.  I was telling him that I just knew there had to be more to life.  I know with every inch of me that He did not put us on this earth to be miserable.  I long to have energy and health to be on fire for Him.  I want to live the life He had planned for me.  So I asked Him to show me the way.  Show me how to get there, what He wanted me to do.  I asked Him to change me from the ‘inside out’ so I could be healthy and full of life.
 
From that moment on, I have seen changes in me like nothing before!  I have actually felt better physically – not that I’m ready to run a marathon – but more like I have energy at the end of the day to spend with my beautiful son.  I can concentrate more and I am now ready to do whatever it takes to keep progressing.  This is new for me folks.  Prior to this, if it required much energy or effort – it wasn’t going to happen.
 
I have many more things to say about things I have come to realize in the past few weeks – but I will save it for another post.  Bottom line is that I keep hearing over and over from various unrelated things/people etc that one must remove stress and anxiety from your life in order to maintain your health and quality of life.
 
As we have all heard this many, many times – we almost laugh when we hear it.  But really, when you stop to consider exactly what has it done for you or to you….it makes you pay attention.  And for me, because I was to the point that I just assumed I would always live my life unhappy and miserable.  I was about to accept it for my norm.
 
Not anymore!  I CHOOSE to be healthy and live!  I CHOOSE to make the changes now to have a better tomorrow!  I CHOOSE my friends and family over my ridiculous need to be in control of something that obviously was way out of control in my life!  I CHOOSE quality of life!
 
If you would like to hear one of the most important messages of your life click this link and choose ‘I Changed My Mind’ (Part 2).  http://www.tfc.org/sermons