Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Get Over False Guilt Part II

Determining the Source of Our Guilt

Much of our false guilt is from people who indicate their lack of satisfaction with us in some way. It is natural to feel guilty, but we need to check it our mentally every time it happens. When someone says, "Why weren't you..." or "Why didn't you..." and you immediately start to feel guilty, remind yourself that you may be dealing with false guilt.

Learning to Manage False Guilt 

The first and most important step in learning to manage false guilt is to recognize it. We must develop the practice of examining our guilty feelings and determining if they are true or not. That will do more than anything else to rid your mind of false guilt, because once you know the guilt is not deserved, it's much easier to put it our of your mind.

The second step is to replace wrong thinking with right thinking. When you're dealing with false guilt, you must by choice, or by a set of your will, push that wrong thinking out of your mind. I emphasize "by a set of your will" because your feelings will take you in another direction. This is done by faith and in obedience to Scripture.

One way to do this is through praise to the Lord. Start counting your blessings. Begin thanking God for the good things in your life. Refuse to allow the thoughts of false guilt to have a place in your life.

There is No Condemnation!

I love this passage from Romans 8:33-34, from Phillips' The New Testament in Modern English
Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us!

Only Christ is qualified to accuse us of wrong, and after we become Christians, He doesn't! Do we have a right to condemn ourselves if Jesus doesn't condemn us? Can anyone else truly condemn you if Jesus doesn't?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Get Over False Guilt Part I

Feeling guilty is so common to most of us that I believe it is a universal emotion. Something that everyone will experience at one point in time or another during their lifetime. False guilt is such a heavy, unnecessary burden and if you're carrying around all that false guilt, I really want to help you get over it. You will be amazed at the freedom you will know when you can learn to put false guilt behind you.

What is false guilt?
False guilt is a guilt we impose upon ourselves. We allow it to take root in our minds, to start causing all kinds of bad feelings, to feed us all kinds of lies, which we begin to believe. Here are some examples of false guilt. It is:

  • What we feel when we keep remembering what God has forgiven and forgotten
  • What we feel when someone appears to be disappointed in us 
  • What we feel when we have to say "no"
  • What we feel when we live with unrealistic expectations of ourselves 
  • What we feel when we allow others to dictate what and who we should be 
Notice that each one begins with "what we feel." It's a feeling, not grounded in truth, but nonetheless strong and real. Guilt feelings are very similar, whether true or false, and our challenge is to learn how to discern the difference. We must learn to quickly analyze any guilt that comes our way: Is this true or false guilt? 

One of the first signs that you are dealing with false guilt is that you just can't pinpoint why you feel guilty. It is a strong feeling that engulfs you and discourages you, but if you had to state why you feel guilty, you'd say things like, "Well, I just never seem to get it right," or "I don't know, I just should have known better." Notice how general these statements are. When you cannot pinpoint a specific reason for your guilt you are probably dealing with false guilt.

Perhaps the false guilt we suffer from the most is guilt over our past. We all tend to go back and remember the sins of the past, and even though they are forgiven and God remembers them no longer, we don't seem to be able to purge our memory.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Get Over Putting Yourself in a Box

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That's a familiar question that most young children are asked at various stages and ages, and you'll hear answers like a doctor, a fireman, a teacher, an astronaut. I just wonder how many people actually fulfill those childhood dreams when they grow up. Children are far more likely to "think outside of the box" than we grown-ups are, don't you agree?

Today you would be hard pressed to find any job or occupation where women are not involved and in most cases flourishing. Ask yourself what box or boxes you have put yourself in. Here are some common ones:

  • I'm too old to do that—or too young
  • I don't have the right education
  • I don't have enough money
  • That's not my gift
The list is virtually endless. Think about it: what have you been telling yourself you cannot do for some reason? It's time to get over it!

Ephesians 2:10 says : "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." I'm convinced that many of us are missing out on the good works God prepared for us to do because we've allowed others to put us in a box, and we can't believe that God wants us out of the box and will equip us to do what He intended from the beginning of time for us to do.

Proverbs 29:18 says: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." If you've never had a vision of what you could do, if you've never aspired to something so big that it sacred you, then you may be perishing on the vine. In the parable of the talents, Jesus taught us the principle that if we don't use what He gives us, not only will He not give us more, we will lose what we have! (See Matt. 25:14-30) Without a vision , we begin to shrivel up and settle for mediocrity. That inward deterioration occurs subtly and could go unnoticed, even by yourself, but eventually it catches up with you when you begin to see your life as humdrum or boring or meaningless. What is the vision that Christ has given you, and how can you begin to utilize your God given gifts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Get Over Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic Expectations of People

Undoubtedly our most common unrealistic expectations are the ones we have of other people. Most relationship struggles are created by our expectations not being met, and when those expectations are unrealistic, it puts a strain on that relationship that can be deadly.

All too often women think that husbands are going to make them happy all the time. They believe that a husband will speak their "love language," whether that be daily showers of words of love, gifts, and celebrations, acts of service without being asked—or whatever. Then they discover that their expectations irritated him. And the tugs of war begin , leading to nagging, tears, angry words, etc. In a word, disappointment. Of course, it works the other way too. Men are prone to think their wives should always look lovely, cook great meals, maintain a spotless home, be supportive of them—whatever their idea of what a perfect wife should be. And before long they discover that their expectations are not met.

People disappoint us—from parents and relatives to husbands and children, co-workers and managers, friends and family. We expect more than they deliver, and therefore our happiness is affected because they don't live up to our expectations.

There is no person on earth who can deliver on every promise and be everything we want him or her to be. People will always disappoint us; that's because we're all sinners and the best of us fail miserably at times.

If you've never experienced the pain of unrealistic expectations or comparison, it's either because you don't truly know God as your Lord and Savior or you're looking to other things and people to meet you needs, and not spending time getting to know Jesus.

I encourage you today to get over your unrealistic expectations by fixing your desires on Jesus Christ. As He fills you up, the other things that don't live up to your expectations will not affect your joy and your contentment nearly as much, because Jesus promises, "Never will I leave you; nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5b), and He can and will keep that promise. There's no disappointment in Jesus, and the more you make that truth a reality in your life, the better you will be able to get over your unrealistic expectations.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Get Over Worrying

The most useless and unproductive thing that most of us do very often is to worry, and unfortunately, we can do that anywhere and anytime, employed or unemployed, in school or retired, young or old, single or married—it is universal. It just seems to be the place where our thoughts go when we experience any level of uncertainty or fear or lack of control.

All of us are aware of how worthless and harmful it is to worry, but the challenge is—how do we get over it? Is it really possible to come to a place where we truly don't waste time worrying?

Jesus fully understood our propensity to worry and He addressed it strongly in His Sermon on the Mount:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?... But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:25-29, 31-34)

Since Jesus devoted this much of His Sermon on the Mount to the topic of worrying, we know that it is a common mental trap, and we know that He wants us to get over it.

Surely the knowledge of how much God loves us, how deeply He cares for us should cause us to stop worrying. After all, our Heavenly Father is sovereign over everything and everyone in our lives; He is always in control, and because we are His children, He had pledged to take care of our needs. He will never leave us or forsake us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Get Over Petty Fears

How many times has someone—usually a woman—told me what she can't do because of some fear? From fear of flying, to fear of the dark, to fear of speaking in front of a group, to fear of not knowing how to dress for an occasion, I've encountered so many who have missed out on many good things because of what I term "petty fear."

Fear is a very common enemy for all of us. The Bible is full of admonitions to "fear not," " do not be afraid." " do not be anxious," etc. You can hardly turn a page in Scripture without some reference to fear. Obviously, fear has plagued mankind from the beginning of time. So it's no surprise that fear is something all of us need to "get over."

Fear comes in many shapes and sizes. Some fears are good for us; they prevent us from sticking our hands in a flame, or walking out into traffic, or driving carelessly on icy roads. Of course, the Bible teaches us to fear God, with a reverential awe that should keep us from wandering away from biblical principles.

There are big fears that keep us in bondage and smaller ones that eat around the edges of our happiness and enjoyment of life. Often those larger fears are the result of traumatic experiences or childhood memories that need some special attention and counsel in order for us to be free of them.

In many cases, the petty fears don't rise to the level of phobias or fixations, but they interfere with our everyday life, they limit where we go and what we do, they keep us from experiences that are often enriching and delightful.

You may think that petty fears aren't a big deal but they actually can indicate that you aren't trusting God enough in that area. Fear is a red flag that indicates a lack of faith, a lack of trust. And without faith, it's impossible to please God. Fear and faith cannot coexist. Petty fears are symptoms of our refusal to learn to trust a trustworthy God.

I'll leave you with this quote as you try and navigate through your petty fears.

"The will of God will not take you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Get Over Wrong Attitudes

My online dictionary says it is "A settled way of thinking or feeling, typically reflected in a person's behavior." Another one says it is "An organized predisposition to respond in a favorable or unfavorable manner toward a specified class of objects."

We all have attitudes toward life, toward certain people and circumstances, toward work, and health and truth and these have been shaped by our personalities, our life experiences, our education, and by people who have influenced our attitudes, and that includes the words we speak, the looks on our faces, our body language, how we spend our time and money. Our attitudes have a profound effect on every area of our lives.

Yet I dare say that many Christians, and people in general, are like the way I was: totally oblivious to their attitudes, rarely, if ever, thinking about the condition or state of them. I'm convinced most of us see ourselves as having positive attitudes in general because we've just never taken a measure of our own attitudes.

In order to help us get over some wrong attitudes that are keeping us mired down, we need to take an evaluating look at our general attitude, our attitude towards our lot in life, our attitude toward our work, and our prejudicial attitudes. The truth is we can have good attitudes in some areas and not-so-good attitudes in others. However, with a little focus on our attitudes, and some intentional steps to make you a more positive, upbeat person, you should see some pretty dramatic improvements in your stress levels, energy levels, and productivity.