How to Get Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

th “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone—a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”  John 12:24

Just the word dying sounds like it’s the end of life.  The end of anything that’s good.  Jesus is telling us here if we want to find real life, we need to put others ahead of ourselves.  We may be thinking, “I am comfortable and I enjoy my time off and frankly, I don’t want to change anything.” I totally understand that! I love my time off!  I love relaxing and just spacing out!

When we moved from California to Oklahoma in 1989, it was to get involved in ministry.  I jumped in and started helping out in bus ministry and with the 4 and 5 year old class.  My husband on the other hand, felt he had not heard from God on what he was supposed to do, so he did the logical thing . . . nothing!  He just kept praying about where God wanted him to get involved.  He felt with something that important he surely didn’t want to make a mistake. In the mean time, he was really enjoying his time off.  You see, we had owned a business and sold it along with our home, so we had enough money to take a long rest and really get God’s heart on what we were supposed to do.

At least until the day I conned him into helping me out in the 4 and 5 year old class.  After the first day, he realized that “he hated working with kids!”  His feet hurt and he felt like it was a total waste of his time.  He felt his time would have been better spent in the adult service or praying about where God wanted him to get involved. However, I was pretty persuasive and before he knew what hit him, he found himself helping out again the next week.  He kept telling himself that maybe it would be better this week, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know how I did it, but there he was in class again for week three.  I wish I could tell you how amazing I am, but I’m pretty sure the real credit belongs to the Spirit of God; He was setting him up for his destiny!!

Sure enough, this day was different.  There was a young boy in the class who never paid attention to anything or anybody. He would crawl around the classroom or lay under the chairs and totally ignore you when you spoke to him.  He would never look anyone in the eye. This particular day would be a turning point for my husband and Clarke.  Kip got down on the floor with him and asked him if he could help him listen to the lesson.  He got up into his chair and helped my husband listen to the lesson.  From that day on, Clark and Kip were buddies.  He was hooked!

The last time we saw Clarke he was in fifth grade leading an altar team and praying with a group of kids to receive Christ. Kip’s life was never the same from that fateful day.  The rest is history that led to Bible School and 20 years as a Family Pastor.  Before this time, he lived on the emotional roller coaster.  One week, he’d feel great about life and the next he would be depressed.  The cycle was a downward spiral that repeated itself over and over again. It turned out that when he got his eyes off of himself and onto others his life leveled out. He has never been on that emotional roller coaster since that day!  Plus, it opened the door to God’s plan for his life.

The key was just what Jesus said, “You find your life when you lose it.” Many people think that only the pastors make a difference.  The truth is, everybody has the power to make a difference.  Get off the roller coaster and really start enjoying the ride!

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 10

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Never Stop Dreaming

Children are dreamers, they see themselves doing great and noble things.  “When I grow up, I’m going to be . . . a firefighter, a policeman, a nurse, a princess.”  Yet, as the realities of life sink in around us, it is all too easy to give up on dreaming.

Is it because dreams involve risk? I don’t know, but I do know that I sit and counsel with way too many people who have quit dreaming.  Without dreams we do not live, we exist.  Without dreams there is no passion.  Without dreams there is no vision and as it is written, “Without a vision the people perish.”  Don’t let the comfortable and the convenient rob you of your destiny.  You were created for greatness, but before greatness comes dreaming.  Chose big humongous impossible dreams that challenge you.  Take the risk, dare to dream again.

This is one of the greatest things that you can model for your children.  Make dreaming big be the norm in your family not the exception.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 – God has great plans for you and your family!!!

How to Have the Family You Always Wanted – Part 9

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Keep First Things First

“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life. ” ~ David Jakeilo

Sometimes life controls us instead of us controlling our life.  It is vital to periodically stop and take an accounting of our priorities lest we fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent.  When we allow this to happen it is usually effects those closest to us in a negative way.  Your priorities will be determined by your value system.  However, I would encourage anyone to think long and hard before they put their career at the top of their priority list.  Life passes all too quickly and you know the old saying, “You never see a hearse towing a Uhaul.”  The “stuff” stays behind.  Our real legacy remains behind in the lives of those we impacted along the way.

For me, my priorities are my faith, my marriage, my family, then my career.  It seems when I keep things in that order, my life is really great.  When my priorities shift, my life can go into a tailspin in nothing flat.  When I see the very first tell tale sign that I’ve gotten myself out of sync, I stop and do a quick self evaluation and invariably I find that my priorities have gotten misplaced.

Keeping your priorities in order is like a pilot keeping his eye on the Altitude Indicator to make sure that the plane is flying level.  Remember to do regular “Priority Checks.”

How to Have the Family You Always Wanted – Part 8

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Put Others First

It’s not all about you.  In our “take care of number one” culture, this goes cross grain with our logic. Humans by nature tend toward self-centeredness. After all to give is to lose – right?  This philosophy can create such a fear of loss that if we aren’t careful, we can get swallowed in a vortex of selfishness.  Then, we lose sight of the simple fact that true joy comes from giving not from getting.  When we decide to put others needs before our own, something almost magical happens, our soul feels truly fulfilled.  Over the holidays we experience a microcosm of this truth as we exchange gifts, or when we hand out Christmas dinners at a homeless shelter.  Giving just makes us feel great.  The truth is, at the very core of our being we were designed to find our life when we give it away.  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 6:25

So how does this apply in our family?  First, let me make it clear, I’m not talking about taking your kids to the homeless shelter, although that’s not a bad idea.  What I’m trying to bring out is, putting others first through random acts of kindness should start at home.  Nothing says, “I love and believe in you,”  like a demonstration of putting another family member’s wants, needs, and desires before your own. Maybe the next time someone in your family wants to go one place and you want to go to another, you could defer to them and put them first by doing what they’d like to do.  Here’s an assignment if this whole idea strikes a chord with you.  Take some time and jot down a list of ways you can put each member of your family first, and then start doing your list this week. You might be surprised to see a love revolution in your family.  Please share your best ideas with us so we can spread the love.

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 7

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The Number One Key to Peace in Your Home

Be quick to forgive. Easier said than done until you realize the incredibly high price of a grudge.  Failure to forgive has destroyed more marriages, families, interpersonal relationships, and lives than any other single poor life-choice. Unforgiveness is a personal prison you sentence yourself to, and the good news is you are the only one who has the key to let yourself out.

For our family, holding a grudge against anyone for anything was not an option. This policy was one of the biggest keys to harmony and peace in our family. We called it keeping “short accounts.”

Forgiveness has nothing to do with how we feel, it is a choice we make. It’s not an emotional decision, it’s a heart choice.  Sometimes we have to make it, and make it, and make it, as many times as it takes until it sticks. Your choice will bring you the life-changing freedom that only true forgiveness can bring, if you stay consistent in making good choices in the thoughts you keep and the ones you discard.  Then you train your kids by your example.

We taught our kids that when they realized they did something unkind to one another, they needed to immediately go to the person involved and ask their forgiveness.  We taught them to say, “I was wrong for ________, will you forgive me?”  And hopefully the response would come back, “I forgive you.”   Remember, there is creative power in our words.  Important: once we forgave, we never brought it up again.  Just like Jesus.

We all lived by, when you blow it, man up and own it.  Ask forgiveness quickly so bitterness and unforgiveness never have the chance to take root.  “I was wrong, but you . . . “ just didn’t get it.  That was blaming – not owning in our household.  Any time you put a “but” in a sentence, you can forget anything that came before it.

Are you in a self-imposed prison of unforgiveness?  Now you have the key, use it and set yourself free.  Your example also holds the key to keeping your family free of this plague as well.

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 6

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For some of us, it’s easy to focus on the 10% others do wrong instead of focusing on the 90% that they do right.

Unfortunately, what you focus on tends to get bigger. I believe a common reason people fall into the trap of focusing on the 10% deficiency is because that person is making them look bad.

This is especially common in the parent child relationship. The parent feels their child’s actions are a direct reflection on them. Basically, “You make me look bad.”

This was one I struggled with for a long time as a parent.  It boiled down to I was more concerned about what others thought of me.  I felt like my kids actions short of perfection reflected negatively on me.  It was not only selfish, I cheated my kids out of some valuable growth experiences.  If the truth be told, I probably added some scars to their souls as well.

The Bible flat out warns us not to go there.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” msg

What helped me to get over this, was when it happened to me.  It’s probably happened to you too.  I’m sure you can think of examples of when someone, a parent, a spouse, a boss, tended to focus on what you did wrong and never or rarely praised for what you did right.  What happened? I bet you felt defeated, or maybe it made you angry? Or, worst of all, did it make you want to give up?

Now, a little heart check, do you do to others what you hate having done to you?

I’m not advocating overlooking positive correction, but I’m recommending in all your relationships you focus far more of your energy on encouraging others in what they do right.

Proverbs 12:25 tells us, “Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!” TLB

We all have enough sources telling us everything we do wrong. The really great thing is when we focus on the 90% right, the 10% usually self corrects. So make a choice to affirm what others do right daily and tell them.

How To Have The Family You’ve Always Dreamed Of – Part 5

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Our Words Have Creative Power

When God created Adam, the Creator taught the created how to create.  He said, “Adam, name the animals.”  And, whatever Adam named them, that’s what they were called.  Today, our words hold the same power, what we name things is what they become.

Here’s an example: a young man, we’ll call him Fred, is offered an opportunity.  What does Fred call it? “That’s impossible, it is way too hard.  I could never do that!”  Another young man, we’ll call him Bob, is offered the exact same opportunity.  What does Bob call it? “This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for all my entire life.  I must be the luckiest guy on the planet!  I can do this!”

Now let’s take this “Name It Principle” into our personal lives, what are you naming your relationships?

Are your kids, “Can’t you ever do anything right?” “How many times do I have to tell you?”  “Do you have anything between those ears?” “You’ll never amount to anything.”   Or do you name them, “You have amazing potential.”  “I can’t believe how bright you are!”   “There’s an amazing plan for your life that’s better than anything you can imagine or dream.”

Our words are etching themselves onto the very souls of our kids.  Their subconscious minds are gathering up every word and storing it as an impression to filter future information through.  The old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” could not be further from the truth. I don’t know about you, but I can quote verbatim hurtful words that were spoken to me 20 and 30 years ago.  It’s not that I sit around and think about them all the time, but I can pull them back up like a stored computer file if I decide to do so.  If that’s so, how much more is my subconscious effected?  Did you know that 80% of the decisions we make come out of our subconscious mind?  Make a conscious decision to think before you speak.  Take time to consider the future impact your words may have on your child’s life today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now.

This principle holds true for all our relationships, not just in our parenting.  How about your marriage, your job, your finances, what are you naming them? Here’s one to ponder, what do you name yourself?  Be careful what you say, you can rest assured you are creating something.  Make sure it is what you want.  #parenting  #leadership