Archives for September 2012

Thursday Tips: Staying Sharp

Genesis 1… God looks over EVERYTHING that He had made and says that it was “very good.”  Chapter 2 says that everything was completed and God rests.  God places Adam in the Garden and tells him to tend it and watch over it.  The garden is beautiful, there is no sin, and yet, note what God says… “IT IS NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE.”

We were designed for community. We all want to belong. That is one reason why social networking has been so successful: we want to be known – to feel a part of something. Fellowship is HUGE component of our journey.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another…” (Proverbs 27:17, NIRV)

In order for consistent growth to occur, we need to be sharpened on a consistent basis. So who challenges you? Who stands beside you?  Who do you challenge? This level of accountability won’t happen over night but there are lots of different relationships that can help us spiritually. A mentor, someone to disciple you, an accountability partner- they have different titles, but the goal is the same… to keep you sharp. S.H.A.R.P.

1. S = Seek out the right “THEY.”

I pinned the following on Pinterest last week…

Consider your “go-to” numbers in your cell phone. Are those numbers people who challenge you? It’s easy to play it safe and surface, I would challenge us all to surround ourselves with relationships that will sharpen us.

2. H = Honor the commitment.

Life is hard!  School, work, homework, conflicts and even friendships can even be a source of the load we carry.

Spiritual commitments take an effort to maintain. We usually either forget about them after a while or simply break them.  It’s hard to manage life and our own relationship with God, much less continued relationship with others. But remember, the Bible says we need one another!

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT)

3. A = Ask hard questions.

As hard as it can be to share, it can sometimes be just as hard to be the one asking the tough questions.  Trust me, it’s hard to find someone who will commit to keeping you accountable. I tried several times in high school but I didn’t know what to do with my set “accountability” time.  Sometimes it starts with one person being able to ask the hard questions like: “I know you’ve been really down lately. I want to help, what’s going on?” Or, “How are things going with your step-dad?”

You can talk about anything and everything that relates to your journey. The time doesn’t always have to be about the tough subjects, but it should include them. Talk about the things God has been teaching you or the victories you’ve had in your struggles.

“The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you, but the kisses of an enemy are nothing but lies.”  (Proverbs 27:6, NCV)

4. R = Respond honestly.

It can be embarrassing to reveal your deep, dark secrets to a friend, especially the first time. “She’ll think I’m gross, stupid, unchristian.” The fear of a friend perceiving us in a negative light keeps us from taking that step of admitting our weaknesses.  While most people act like they have it all together, everyone is struggling with sins and weaknesses of their own.

-Sin has LESS power once we confess and bring it to the light!
-Keeping things secret causes them to grow and fester like infected wounds, bringing more pain until the wound is treated.
-Accountability is only effective IF it’s truthful.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a, NIV)

5. P = Pray together AND for each other.

Once you’ve both had a chance to talk make sure to pray while you are together. Maybe even say a short prayer before you start sharing to get focused on this time together. Also, pray for one another in-between your meetings. Consider texting to say, “Praying for you today!”

“Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (Romans 12:5, NLT)

Remember – quality friendships don’t just happen, they require intentionality.  Since we are all imperfect, even good friends will hurt one another.  Forgiveness is a must!

Following,
Ginger

Smokey the Bear

Dramatic, yes. Drama, no.

Yesterday we discussed the makings of authentic community, so I thought it might be prudent to talk about the ways that we can keep the drama at bay. Say it with me…

Only you can prevent relationship drama. (Did you hear Smokey the Bear saying it? That’s how I hear it in my head.)

Relationships are imperfect because the people involved are imperfect. And while we cannot control the behavior of others,(wouldn’t that be lovely?!) we DO get to choose our responses and reactions. Let’s tackle the drama…

1. Ditch the unrealistic expectations.

-People will disappoint us.
-When someone fails you, don’t be stunned.
-The people closest to us have the greatest ability to hurt us.
-When a person does let us down, it is usually not intentional.
-Two options: Cover an offense with love or Confront in love.

Most hurts are not a reflection of the person’s dislike for us, but rather a reflection of a hardship in the person’s life or a character flaw. For the forgetful friend I could text “Are we still on for this afternoon?” rather than demanding something she cannot give.

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Proverbs 27:5 and “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” (Proverbs 27:6)

2. Run from gossip.

This should go without saying, right? Even if the world says that this is one vice worth indulging in, the Word says otherwise.

“Don’t spread gossip and rumors. “Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger. I am GOD.” (Leviticus 19:16, MSG)

“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?” (Proverbs 18:8, MSG)

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

“When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil away to defeat you.” (Ephesians 4:26, NCV)

And while we are at it, how about: But in your anger, do not post on facebook. Let’s avoid airing thinly veiled shock on social media. “Sarah cannot believe how careless some people can be.” Don’t hate. Communicate. WITH that person.

3. Abandon grudges.

“Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13b (NIrV)

“Relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful.” – Max Lucado

Don’t simmer. Be a communication winner. Bitterness destroys people. Give grace. Just because someone doesn’t act or respond in the way I think they should doesn’t mean they don’t love or care about me.

Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12, NLT)

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)

4. Make peace with rejection.

FRIENDSHIPS are seasonal. People come in and out of our lives for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes you just have to bounce the ball and see if they bounce it back.

If you truly believe this:“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT) …then you see rejection as the reset button.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

“The dynamics of a relationship can feel like a ‘source of life’ – Then, when that person withdraws slightly, it feels like death. But instead, this is bondage. Only Jesus is our source of life…” The Friendships of Women – by Dee Brestin

5. Add relationships that bring life.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT)

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NIrV)

Ever tried to cut with a dull knife? Frustrating! Properly sharpened knives take that which was dull & ineffective and makes it highly functioning and highly effective! Tomorrow we will talk at length about cultivating friendships that keep us sharpened!

Until then, say it with me: PROUD TO BE, DRAMA FREE.

Following,
Ginger

Authentic

Most of us have plenty of friends on Facebook, contacts in our phone, and Christmas cards to send. But how many of us can honestly say that we have deep and authentic community right now in real-time? I love my girlfriends from college and camp, but I feel God calling me to love the people I interact with on a weekly basis. How do we move from acquaintances to friends?

What brings authentic community? I’m sure there are a ton of answers to this question, but I’m just going to touch on three today.

1. A humble heart. The opposite of a humble heart is a prideful heart. When I have judgment in my heart, I stop listening and begin doing all the talking. I have all the answers. Or I shut down and begin making my grocery list – determining that I’ve heard this before, thank you very much.

Instead, I should focus on listening. A good listener…
-asks intentional questions
-leaves space for an answer
-responds with interest
-remembers

Struggling with how to move a friendship from surface level to one with depth? Try out this set of 5 questions below:

-Who are your Heroes? (Who do you admire?  Who has shaped you into the person you are today?)
-What is your Heritage?  (Tell me about your family, life growing up, your heritage of faith.)
-What are your Highlights?  (What are the high points in your life story? – the things that thrilled you, still put a smile on your face)
-What are your Heartaches? (What has hurt your heart in this life?)
-What are your Hopes? (What are your hopes, dreams, goals, or vision for the future?)

2. A willingness to share. Sometimes I just don’t want to describe the blackness in my own heart. Five other people have already spoken and I find myself thinking, “Ginger, no one needs to hear what you have to say.” And yet, I know that in order to feel connected to my groups I am going to have to be vulnerable with my heart. I can’t live in the land of “I’m fine.” The best times of community that I’ve experienced this past year have come about when someone is willing to say, “I’m not fine and I need you guys to pray for me.” Vulnerability hastens connection with others.

3. A patient spirit. I want things to run on my timeline. They should begin and end as I see fit. This leaves little room for God to move in HIS timing. This also leaves little room for connecting, listening, and growing closer as a community. This can also refer to how quickly I want community to be created. When things don’t happen the way I want, I begin to think that maybe this group isn’t for me. False. Maybe I’m the very reason that things don’t feel complete!

These three items tend to be huge roadblocks for me when it comes to deepening relationships. Relationships are messy and require a lot of effort and energy. I’m not going to get super close to ten people all at once, but I can take steps to know more about the people in my small group than just who is flying out-of-town this weekend.

Random suggestions for making friends…
1. Ask someone to lunch.
2. Be intentional when you see them. “How was your trip to see your family? I remember you mentioned that the last time I saw you!”
3. Compliment and encourage.
4. Take the first steps to share in your small group.
5. Text or call someone from your Bible Study and follow-up on mentioned prayer requests.
6. Offer up an “extra” ticket to something. “We just happen to have two more tickets to the ball game on Saturday and wondered if you guys would be interested in going?
7. Find common interests and run with it. You better believe that the next stranger to mention their love for Public Radio is going to be my new BFF. ;)
8. Pray that God would bring important relationships into your life this year.
9. Be AUTHENTIC.

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. (Romans 12:9-21, MSG)

Following and learning,
Ginger

Hi. Do you want to be my friend?

At small group last week we started talking about how challenging it can be to make new friends, especially when you get out of college. Every season of life has its own challenges when it comes to friendship, but honestly, making friends as an adult has been the biggest challenge yet. My husband pointed out that this isn’t like science camp when he was six. (Science camp at six?! Who did I marry?) He remembers a boy running up to him and starting a conversation with “Do you want to be my friend?”

That doesn’t work so well when you are 25 and talking to the person on the treadmill next to you. Awkward, much.

So what are some practical steps for growing friendship at any age?

That’s what we’re talking about this week and I hope you’ll stick around for the conversation.

Following and friending,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Products worth Pinning!

I am a big fan of pinterest. My husband can attest to that fact as I’m pretty sure I’ve made a new pinterest recipe just about every single night for the past year. Thanks, PINTEREST. Nom. Nom.

Rather than pinning and hoping someone catches these, I wanted to be sure and put some of my favorite things of the week front and center! If this was a new board I would title it “Things I like LOVE on Friday.”

1. Signs by Aimee Weaver! I’m crossing my fingers and saving my pennies for one of these lovelies. I am hunting the perfect color combo for a wall in our bedroom. She has a blog and a facebook page that I would encourage you to explore because her stuff is gorg-e-ous.

2. Pine Cove Videos. Ok, so maybe I’m biased, but these program videos make me laugh. This camp in Texas holds a special place in my heart. Check out all their videos… and maybe… check out all of the amazing camping experiences they offer. (P.S. If you are a college student check out THIS page!!) And also… there’s this gem.

3. Emily Freeman’s new book “Graceful.” You know I’ve talked up “Grace for the Good Girl” but LADIES, this one is so lovely. I’m reading it over my lunch break every day and I just don’t want to put it down. I have so many sentences underlined. The by-line says “Letting go of your try-hard life.” Let this soak in and then put this book on your list of must haves… “Life isn’t about trying hard to be good, it’s about trusting God to be graceful in us.”

 

4. __________________________.

Fill in the blank! What’s on the radar that I’m missing. What do you recommend this Friday?

Happy Weekend!

Ginger

No Comparison

Jennifer Roth

 

 

When I attended the She Speaks conference in North Carolina this summer I met hundreds of passionate, talented, and driven women. Jennifer Roth was one of those women! But more than just another face in the crowd, Jennifer was refreshingly friendly and engaging and I am so glad to say that I know her!

I received an e-mail from her last month asking if I would contribute a post to an on-line Bible Study she was hosting on her blog. I happily agreed and am excited to say that the post is up today. So I would love to encourage you to do three things. Here they are…

1. Check out Jennifer’s Blog and her “Stress Point” series from it’s beginnings. If you are looking for a great study this fall, this just might be the one for you!

2. Check out Sarah Francis Martin’s blog and book, “Stress Point”!

3. Check out the guest post inspired the self-image chapter of “Stress Point.”

Here’s a taste…

In the last verses of the gospel of John we find another interesting story about my favorite disciple, Peter. Peter the “speak first, think later” disciple was given a unique and individual call.

“Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

I don’t know how I would have responded, but Peter makes me wince.

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:20-21, NIV)

Keep reading HERE.

Thanks for following, friends!

Ginger

Killybegs the Cat

We walked through the large parking lot and onto the little road behind the hotel. After a small debate on the route to take, my husband and I started a stroll around Lough Eske, a lake near Donegal, Ireland. We had the whole afternoon to explore the surrounding area. Our hope was to circumnavigate, get some exercise, and snap some more photos for our vacation album. Although we failed to get much of a lake view, we enjoyed the cooler temperatures so different from the Arizona heat we had left behind.

We chatted about our adventures and paused to take way too many photos of yet another field of sheep. Then somewhere about an hour into our walk he appeared. I almost tripped over the striped kitten that yelped as it rushed between my feet.

You should know that I’m not really an animal person. I unfollow Pinterest boards taken over by pictures of animals. But in my defense, I’m allergic to the point that even cuteness doesn’t have a hold on me… usually. If push comes to shove I would probably list “baby” animals as my favorite animal.

Because I had a kitten following me rather than a cat I was less than annoyed. I didn’t really mind it. D and I smiled at each other and the silly creature that followed us for miles. We didn’t give it too much thought until the first car drove past us on the tiny road. The kitten freaked out. It ran straight for the car and just stopped. The driver looked at us as if to say, “MOVE YOUR KITTEN, IDIOTS.” So I did it. I walked over and picked up the kitten… and I felt it’s little heart beating rapidly and then my own heart began to grow bigger and bigger… just like the Grinch. I was a goner from that point. I did wash my fingers in some wet grass as my eyes had already started to water from our encounter, but I made sure to keep checking on the kitten as it followed. Any annoyance with our traveler quickly turned to concern. The kitten had no collar or tag. It had no mother nearby.

My mind began racing with alternatives. Why did the cat have to find ME rather than my veterinarian sister-in-law who was running somewhere nearby, or my mother-in-law who has never met a creature she didn’t love? WHY ME?

I turned and looked at my husband, “Well… what should we call it?” He shook his head at me and said, “That heartbeat did you in.”

I proudly proclaimed, “His name shall be Killybegs.” I’d been fond of the little town’s name since discovering it on my map of Donegal county. I smiled and walked contentedly as Killybegs followed us.

And then another car came around the turn in the road.

We tried to care for Killybegs. We made a protective wall with our boots so Killybegs could feel safe, but what did Killybegs do? Killybegs ran straight toward the car and then into the woods. There was no sign of him, so we resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d lost our companion and began walking.

I had a long discussion in my head about why it might be ok for us to leave a kitten in the woods and had just about convinced myself of that very fact when we heard a soft meow about 20 yards down the road. We started calling the cat. We made noises and kisses and acted like the animal people we claim not to be. And finally Killybegs joined us again and we proceeded on our journey. We were a happy little family.

And then the same scene repeated itself over and over again.

Car comes.
We try to protect Killybegs.
Killybegs runs away.
We eventually start walking, only to have a soft meow beckon us back.

We knew we couldn’t keep Killybegs, but we certainly cared for that little creature. The plan was to lead him to our hotel and hope that someone on the staff would care for him. We had seen other domesticated animals on the premises and thought this might be his best chance for survival.

But the dang cat just wouldn’t see to reason. He couldn’t seem to realize that we had a plan that was so much better than living in the woods. We wanted to take him to a CASTLE. Rather than trusting us, he chose to fear the noises and sounds coming down the road.

So we began to hurry in hopes that he would just try to keep up. And it worked. As soon as we came near the front drive to the hotel he made a bolt past the doorman and we made a dash around to the garden. I prayed feeling a little silly, “God – I know Killybegs is always yours, but now he’s really in your keeping. Keep your eye on him like you do the sparrow, please.”

On the flight home I kept replaying the scenario in my mind. The God who sees to the sparrows and kittens is the God who cares for each of us. But I am SO like Killybegs. I let fear dictate my life rather than trusting the One who has the plan to bring me safely to His castle. Instead, my hope this week is that I would follow the Lion of Judah rather than running to the woods like a scaredy cat.

Instead of living like Killybegs, let’s try claiming this promise from Philippians 4:6-7 in the Message:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Following closely,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Truth for the Road

Yesterday we talked about K’s question and the proper way to respond/steward our emotions. Here’s a snippet…

“I know God gave me emotions and the ability to feel deeply, but He also gave me a head on my shoulders and oodles of truth in His Word.  As much as I don’t want to admit it or live it- my reaction is my choice.  The feelings will always be there, but hopefully I’m allowing them to be interpreted by a Master translator and guide.”

God does have tons of truth for us to claim in His Word – but the power comes when the Word is in our hearts and not just on our shelves.

Thursday Tips: On the Go…

Thursday Tips: To Go from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Thankfully, “I don’t have to live in a state of reacting to whatever my emotions tell me. I can make choices based on the truth and watch my emotions change.”

Let’s fill up on truth!

Following,
Ginger

*A Retro Post from July 2011

 

I Second that Emotion…

Dear Ginger,

I had a young girl ask me the other day, “What do I do with my emotions?” I told her that it would not be wise to let them be the driving force of our decisions, but rather, they can be the caboose that follows our engine of truth and action. But then, I thought, there they are, still holding up the back of the train – for what purpose? I love what Elisabeth Elliot says about emotions being given by God and for God – simply as more fodder that we may offer back up unto Him in complete surrender. Tim Keller shed some light on the situation in a series on “Praying Your Tears” as an honest confession and cry for help. However, I struggle with what that means on a practical day-to-day basis. For instance,

The boy and I broke up last month.

When people ask me, “How are you doing with that whole boy thing?” here is what goes through my head:

-I am sad because I miss him.
-I often feel lonely because I am no longer living life right alongside someone as closely as we were, and don’t ‘feel’ as known.
-I am resolved and peaceful, though, that the Lord is his God, not me, and accordingly, I choose to rest in His sovereignty.
-Because of the current stage in life and transitions that it has involved, “how I am” is a very conditional, fluid concept.
– But I am FINE. Positionally, I am redeemed! delivered! held, comforted, loved, known, and never alone. So that truth clearly changes the way I view all of my feelings. . .

Then I am left here – a place where I know the truth, but still suffer the feelings of loss. Do I acknowledge the feelings, preach the truth, and act accordingly – meaning I view my day as if the truth were the only reality I knew and trust that the feelings will eventually change?

Basically, I am wondering how we, as Christ followers, properly steward our emotions. How do we simultaneously and appropriately validate their placement, but treat them as simple feelings rather than huge road signs that determine our future directions? -K

Wow. Wow. Wow.  This question and explanation give such a window into your heart… and what a beautiful heart you have!  K, thank you so much for letting us all take a moment to explore what it looks like for us to properly steward our emotions.  You’ve obviously taken the time to study this on your own.  What a great list of resources you already have at your disposal.

First things first.  Change brings grief.  I’ve always enjoyed leaving home and adventuring, I’ve just never understood why I tend to have a breakdown the day before I travel.  I recognize now that I anticipate a change and grieve even in advance.  Is this an area of distrust?

I agree with your quote by Elliot – that feelings are given by God and are for God.  Feelings can influence, but you’re right, we walk into dangerous territory when we let our feelings lead.

Disney would have us “follow your heart” and “let your heart be your guide,”  while Scripture reminds us in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”   Our flesh and the Spirit are opposed.  Galatians 5:16-24 goes so far as to explain why they both can’t lead at the same time.

 So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want.17 Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law.

The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins,20 worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom. But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do.

And yet, emotions are a very real part of humanity.  During his time on the earth, Jesus displayed anger, joy and even sorrow.  He felt and experienced emotions deeply when it came to relationships.  C.S. Lewis discusses the cost of living as relational beings.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

So, how do we walk in the Spirit when it comes to our emotions?  How do we keep from becoming hardened by hurt and change?

1.  We recognize that apart from Christ we can do nothing.  (Romans 7:18, John 15:5)  Any ability to continue to give ourselves over to the possibility of being hurt is going to come from the Lord.  He has the power for us to live and move confidently even amidst our changing tides of emotion.

2.  We continue to communicate with God.  Psalm 51:10 in the NCV says: “Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again.”  The Psalmist asks that God would give him a pure heart and a right spirit.  He actively pursues health and righteousness even on an emotional level.  The closing of Psalm 139 has become one of my daily prayers: Search me, know me, test me, lead me.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  If we are to find victory even in our feelings, it begins with an open line of communication with the Father.

3.  We rely on God.  We trust in Him.  (Proverbs 3:5)  Certainly we want to discipline ourselves in this area.  I’ll be the first to admit that I often don’t want to change my feelings when I’m having a rough go.  I want to be sorry for myself.  I want to feel hurt and angered.  I want to feel the loss.  I know that He has what I need, but the temptation (at least for me) is to turn to gossip, self-pity, and temporary fixes with food, shopping, and even escape through movies and tv.  The moment I choose to rely on anything else other than God I am denying Him the opportunity to work in a mighty way in my life.  It’s a forceful act of reason sometimes, but in hindsight I know He is the only one who can heal.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
   because the LORD has anointed me 
   to preach good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
   to proclaim freedom for the captives 
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor 
   and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn…  Isaiah 61:1-2

4.  We must learn to react out of truth.  K, I think you answered much of your own question when you said:  Do I acknowledge the feelings, preach the truth, and act accordingly?  Yes.  I think that’s a huge part of what our response should be.  As C.S. Lewis says in his novel The Silver Chair“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”   I really and truly believe that sooner or later we have to decide what to do.  In our case, I believe that’s clinging to and reacting to truth rather than just emotion.  We plan ahead.  We have to be proactive and acknowledge that there will be bad days.  There will be crumple to the bathroom floor nights.  And there will be pull up your knees and sob at your steering wheel moments.  Those challenges are coming.  But what we choose to do “sooner or later” has everything to do with where we have placed our hope and if we are grounded in Truth.

“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, The Message)

I know God gave me emotions and the ability to feel deeply, but He also gave me a head on my shoulders and oodles of truth in His Word.  As much as I don’t want to admit it or live it- my reaction is my choice.  The feelings will always be there, but hopefully I’m allowing them to be interpreted by a Master translator and guide.

You will keep in perfect peace 
   him whose mind is steadfast, 
   because he trusts in you. 
 Trust in the LORD forever, 
   for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3-4

Please chime in on this one!  This feels like just the tip of the iceberg.  Share you thoughts for K below.  K- I hope it’s a start to answering this deep and meaningful question.

Following,
Ginger

*A Retro Post from October 4, 2011.

Remould

“Don’t deny the feelings, but realize it takes no faith to stay in the feelings. They are like the screen saver that comes up when the computer is inactive. It is the automatic response, the natural response. You cannot set your mind on two things at once. Thoughts may come fast and furious, but they only come one one at a time. Feelings generally follow what our minds are set on. We get to choose.”

-Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

re-mould

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Romans 12:1-2, JBP)

Praying He would re-mould our minds this week through His Word, His people, and an attitude of thankfulness!

Following,
Ginger