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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Get Over Needing the Approval of Others

Let me ask you a question. How do you respond to criticism? Do you take it in stride and learn from it? Or do you wither under any criticism? If your response is more like the second option that's a sign that you might have an approval addiction. We need to seek to replace our approval addiction with something much better; a desire to stand before Jesus at the Judgement Seat for believers and hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Why do we need the approval of others?

We all need approval, but how do we become addicted to this need? It often begins in our early years. If your parents withheld approval from you, if they were more focused on punishment and correction than affirmation and approval, this could be a major cause of your approval addiction. Likewise, if you never received recognition from other authority figures in your life, such as teachers and bosses, that could also fuel your intense desire and addiction to approval. It's always helpful to understand the source of our struggles, but using them as excuses does nothing but keep us powerless, in bondage to them. We're adults now; it's time to get over it and live free from needing other people to validate us.

How do we get over our need for the approval of others?

You don't! It's a basic need that's born in us. Some of us have a greater approval need than others, but we all need approval in order to survive, to thrive, tp be motivated and affirmed. Instead of asking other people to meet our need, and finding that it is never completely satisfactory or never quite enough, we need to live our lives for the approval of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This requires us to have a clear assurance of our personal relationship with the living God. And that begins when we become His child through faith in Jesus Christ. Once that is firmly established, then we become more and more confident of God's approval, and of our assurance in how He sees us as we delve into the Word of God, learn it, love it, study it, teach it, read it, memorize it, and obey it. If you wanted a quick fix, sorry, I don't have one because there aren't any.
Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent (John 17:3).
 All that we need for life, including approval, is ours through the pursuit of knowing God and His Son, Jesus. It is a by-product of seeking first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.