There is a mask or even a mist that we can see something quite wondrous when we see behind or through, but it takes awareness to see the vision of what they are becoming.
There is a drive I take every week to a farm and garden out in the countryside. I leave home early in the morning when it is dark and often arrive at daybreak.
It’s a beautiful drive going over hills, through valleys, and besides a stream with sailboats nestled into wooded banks. But it’s particularly beautiful on those mornings when there is a little bit of mist just sitting above the paddocks and on the river. I have to stop and quietly soak in the beauty.
As the sun begins to light up the sky, the darkness starts to retreat.
It’s light, its movement, it’s a time of transition from night into day. The fog sits and clings to the trees, and I know that within a few minutes, it will be gone.
It’s a special time of day, and so many people miss it. They are asleep to the glory and beauty around them. Or perhaps they are busy with getting ready for the day.
By the time they on the same road that I have traveled, the beauty has moved on, never to be seen quite like that again.
We hurry by, don’t we? It takes a conscious decision to slow down, stop, and take it in.
Being formed like a little child is something Jesus wants us to do, but how are we to do this as adults? Perhaps it’s by surrender to the potter’s hand.
Probably the most joyous gift to our family over recent years has been the addition of a new family member. Twenty-two months ago – in May 2019, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful little girl called Eliza.
We have so delighted to see her grow and develop as a beautiful little child.
Why you get so angry can give a clear direction about who you truly are. It’s a matter of the heart. Your anger can indicate what you hold most dear.
As they became more whole, the anger started to simmer, then boil, and then it flowed over the containment of their life. It was, in a frightening way, beautiful and needed to happen.
Anger can be highly destructive. But flowing out without constraint can damage and burn. We all have this capacity to pour out our emotions of being hurt, mistreated, abused.
Some of the deepest hurts come from those we are in the closest relationship to. Those who we would hope and expect to know our hearts are often the ones who will not listen and show love and respect to our tender places.
I think of the patterns we set up so young to defend that tender heart. A little bruise, and a little slight, and we begin to build a fortress.
Criticism can hurt, bruise and extinguish our hearts, but learning how to handle criticism can build new strength and resilience.
I could see the hope drain out of him as I watched both the subtle and not so subtle criticisms land upon him.
I was in a meeting with a guy I was supporting, and we were problem-solving.
Every solution he suggested was shot down. It was one little cat scratch after another. He would say a few words, and the critic would speak five hundred back.
The poor guy, I thought. I wondered what it was like when he was alone with this woman. No wonder he was depressed, anxious, and stuck.
Criticism can strangle a heart till it gives up and doesn’t try anymore. The words of a critic start to be believed as a truth in your own being. Your inner critic starts negating you. You’re on a downward spiral. Continue reading “When You Have to Handle Criticism”
You might be helping them too much and hinder any progress for them and yourself, but we can learn new ways of helping and see the change we want for them and ourselves.
She was helping too much, and the person she was helping didn’t mind one little bit. In fact, he was very adept at throwing guilt trips and manipulations to keep her supporting his lifestyle.
It wasn’t that she was doing anything wrong. Many people thought she was so wonderful how she took care of him and others. She was so generous and kind. What a lovely Christian woman, they said.
But underneath that mission of martyrdom, there was a dying soul. Life was being sucked out of her, and resentment was taking a foothold. For all the help, she was giving out, and nothing was coming back. Continue reading “Are you helping too much?”
In our spiritual life, we want to know if we are making progress, but much of growth and formation is intangible, so we have to look deeper than a mere measurement.
It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but when we dug a little deeper, I could see the wisdom.
I was talking with a counselor, and I asked him how do we know if we are growing spiritually or not? There isn’t any objective measuring tool where we can say we have moved 5 points ahead or back. That would really open us up to feelings of pride or failure.
Words said, have power. Self-deprecation is to pray against the self, but we can learn to pray for the self and so develop healthier thinking patterns.
It was the words at the end of his sentence that caught my attention.
‘I’m so stupid; I always do things like that’.
You learn to notice them—little words used as qualifying comments that disempower the self.
I think that many of us have little words or sentences that we probably tell ourselves and others. Sometimes they slip out in conversation.
Maybe they are offered up as an excuse or reason for things being the way they are.
Most of these thought sentences are kept quietly to ourselves, where they can continue to shape and poison our thinking. We say them so many times that we become used to them. They are our default thinking regime.
As a child, I was taught to ‘not think too highly of oneself’ Romans 12:3 and that ‘pride comes before a fall’ Proverbs 16:18