Finding God When I Feel Mean

By Heidi McLaughlin:

When I feel mean, seeking and finding God can help change my attitude.

Here are 5 tips to help you do just that… plus a bit of humor from Igniter Media.

 

Stock photo by ecerroni

Stock image by ecerroni

I know we all want to be nice so that people will like us. Sadly there are days when our feet hit the floor we can’t wait to rip someone’s head off and let them know how they made us “so mad.” What makes us so mean?

I believe that many of us are mean because we have been hurt, or use it for power to control people and events, we feel threatened, or we are too afraid to stand up for ourselves and it makes us angry and resentful. Then we become mean.

Lynne Hybels is the author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World  and she became mean to herself and bottled it inside of herself.  Lynne was so nice that she tried to become everything her husband, her children, her church and the world wanted her to be. As a matter of fact she was so nice that it made her lose herself, her purpose and it drove her to deep hopelessness and depression.

When she stopped to find out who she really was, not the niceness of what the world expected her to be, she became free and a dangerously beautiful spiritual woman. She became who God created her to be, not who her husband and family wanted her to be. She became bold and courageous, and is changing the world in Africa by helping the Aids orphans.

We have the ability to be mean to others, but even more often, we are mean to ourselves. By being nice out of obligation, and through covering up our own pain, feelings and desires, we sabotage our freedom to be who God created us to be.

I believe there is a balance between mean and nice, and that is called “GRACE”. Accepting ourselves for who God created us to be, and accepting His grace for all the bad stuff that has happened in our lives.  So how do we do that?

ARRET (STOP!) and ACCEPT God’s Grace:

  1. ACCEPT our angry, hurtful feelings. As author Rick Warren says, “Revealing our feelings is the beginning of healing.”
  2. ROOT to fruit. Agree to look back at the words or events that made you mad, hurt you or threatened you. This is probably the root of your meanness.
  3. RELEASE the people or circumstances that have hurt you. Forgive them. No one can be perfect and no one is the Savior of our life other than God.   We all hurt people and we must forgive and release those who have hurt us.
  4. EMBRACE yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others and diminish who God made you to be. When we compare we begin to criticize, and then compete.  That makes us ugly and mean.
  5. TRUTH.  Go to God’s word (the Bible) and find the truth about who you really are. The truth is that you are nice, lovable and delightful. Some of the things that have happened to you have made you mad. God can replace and restore all your hurt and wounds and set you free to be nice and lovable.

I choose to be the kind of woman that is nice and beautiful from the inside out; beautifully, spiritually dangerous to do something meaningful and helpful to God’s Kingdom here on earth. I can be that woman if I follow those five simple, outrageously difficult steps.

© Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at www.heartconnection.ca, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

Enjoy this video about not being mean to your spouse: The Don’t Song, from Igniter Media.

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Find God: Love Notes to Your Teens

By Heidi McLaughlin:

Have you ever written love notes to your teens to encourage them?

 

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Thanks mom,” was all he said, but the big smile on my son Donovan’s face expressed unwritten words of pleasure and gratitude. I saw him pull a piece of paper out of his pocket. He’d found my love note!

Every stage of my son and daughter’s growing up years was fulfilling, but I especially loved the school and social activities in their teenage years.

It got a little frantic at times though, as we began to eat fewer meals together and often left messages on our kitchen counter because schedules didn’t allow us to talk face to face. I could feel our closeness slipping away. I also felt my children’s friends were becoming more important to them than their family.

This is when I dug in and made intentional efforts to let them know I loved them, that I would continue to be their place of comfort, trust and above all, love. 

 I started to write them love notes. I tucked love notes into every imaginable place.  When I knew they were writing a test, I would leave a note in their lunch bag that said, “Please know your mom is praying for you today.”

I wrote prayers and reassuring promises of my love and tucked them into their shoes or pockets when I knew they were going through tough stuff at school. I left funny, silly cards on their pillows and in their books when I wanted them to laugh. I filled their pockets with messages of love. They became accustomed to the notes and did not say much about them, but every once a while they would pull a piece of paper from one of its hiding places, wave it in front of my face, and smile wistfully. They knew they were loved.

During this time, my husband Dick and I had to take a business trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. After flying for twenty-five hours we arrived in that huge city absolutely exhausted.  All I could think about was getting to a hotel room, slipping into a comfortable bed and sleeping for a few hours. I opened my suitcase to look for my toiletries and found love notes – tucked everywhere!

Wrapped around my sun tan lotion were the words, “Be careful of the hot sun and wear this lotion – I love you!”  I pulled more notes out of my pajamas, my clothes, my wallet, my shoes and all my pockets. Although I was thousands of miles away, their love transcended time and space and invaded my heart. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I continued to discover notes in every conceivable place.

With exhilaration I realized that my messages of love, prayers and promises that I tucked in their pockets had carried them through their struggles in their teenage years. Here was the proof. Those notes kept our love relationship secure.

When struggles and disappointments show up in my own life I need to be reassured I am not alone, and that I am still loved.  God’s love notes in the Bible give me reason to stop and celebrate that His love is unwavering, relentless, and transcends all time and space.

“…and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves..” (Ephesians 3:18 TLB).

Why not try this little exercise with me. Let’s write down this message of love and stick it in someone’s pockets. You never know when they will need to pull it out.

© Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at www.heartconnection.ca, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

Here’s another way parents send notes, via text: enjoy this cute mini-movie from Igniter Media. Even if it is a Mother’s Day video, it’s a good fit for any season. And it offers a great illustration of how a teen who is encouraged will grow up to be a man (or woman) who encourages others, including Mom and Dad.

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Find God and Pray on Flag Day for Military Families

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

I hope you will seek and find God today on Flag Day, to pray for and encourage military wives, children and teens.

 

Today, June 14, is Flag Day.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

On Memorial Day we honor deceased veterans. On Veterans day we honor all our solders. But what about the sacrifices of their families?

I’d like to take a moment today to honor those left behind, in particular the children. I realized this week that I don’t often stop to think about the kids growing up without fathers who sacrificed their lives, in honor of our flag and country.

Take a moment this week to pray for grieving wives, children and teens. God knows who they are.  Pray that they sense the presence of their Heavenly Father and feel His comforting arms around them.

See this powerful video produced by Igniter Media, titled The Sacrifice of One. 

Grab a hanky before you watch it.

Resources for Military Families

Fleet and Family Support Program (for Navy family members)

Family Support Services (Military.com)

Operation Military Kids (Army)

Faith Deployed: Encouragement for Military Wives (Jocelyn Green)

Ft. Campbell Military Ministry (First Baptist, TN with Ron and Marilyn Leonard)

Military families: if you have found another organization offering great support for you, please let us know. (Click Leave a Comment at the top of this page.)

© Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie edits Finding God Daily, and is an author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentingByFaith.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com.  Join her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent.

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