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.
We are like a cup in which energy both fills and drains. But we can grow by paying attention to the cup and understanding the fillers and the drainers.
It was always a challenge to get them to care for themselves. They were always giving out to others, and I could see that life was being sucked out of them.
I explained that you can’t give out of an empty cup, but self-sacrifice and martyrdom had been drummed into them from childhood. They remembered that Sunday School song – J.O.Y. Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in between sung to the merry little tune of Jingle Bells.
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
We can get into thinking ruts, but the right word at the right time can lift us out and move us into new and better thinking. So we need to be searching for the Rhema words.
It was only a short sentence that he said, but the words seemed to have power behind them. It was like a new path had opened up for me that gave me some encouraging hope. They were the right words at the right time. I quickly wrote them down in my notebook so I could reread them later.
Words can have that effect. They some times jump out of seemingly nowhere and say ‘This is for you’.
Do you keep making the same bad choices over and over again? You can change, and it all begins with a decision to change the way you think and act.
It was New Zealand’s worst airline disaster. On November 28th, 1979, Air New Zealand Flight 901 flew into Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica. All 237 passengers and 20 crew died.
I remember the first news reports coming in on TV in the evening, saying that the flight was overdue and that contact had been lost. We woke the next morning to a tragedy.
Initially, it was concluded that it was pilot error, but a Royal Commission was set up to dig deeper. It found that two factors caused the accident. A correction made to the coordinates of the flight path the night before the disaster and a failure to inform the flight crew of the change. Continue reading “Change the way you think and act”
Stress can add up to be too much, and we can have a mental health breakdown, but when we break it down like in the story of David and Goliath, we can find a way through the chaos.
Stressful times can feel like a massive avalanche of overwhelming pressure. The keyword in that sentence is ‘feel.’ You have a feeling of living in the overwhelming shadow of something that could crush you.
There are times we feel stress, but there is the hope of reassurance when we meditate on some Bible verses.
One of my favorite bible characters was someone who seemed to need consistent reassurance when under stress. He was anxious, unsure, and seemed to want to argue with God. I like that because it means he was much like many of us.
Cast your bread. You can hold it to yourself, that special thing about you, but it is better for everyone if you ‘Cast your bread.’ Focus on the micro gifts of today.
Even in winter, the children still ask if there are strawberries to pick.
I manage a large vegetable garden at a primary school here in Auckland, and it always amuses me when the children ask me if there are any strawberries. They don’t yet fully understand the concept of seasons and having to wait.
That there is a time to sow and a time reap.
I enjoy harvest time. It’s so good to be picking fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden. One of the delights at the school is to pick some fresh ripe tomatoes and then slice a section and give it to a young child.
The taste is so much better than store-bought. Maybe because it’s been grown in soil, without vast amounts of chemical fertilizers and sprays, but also perhaps that the children are involved in the planting and the picking. Continue reading “Cast your Bread. It’s vital you do”