Worry Time

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6

Our thoughts, like our actions, reap results. If we think critically, we will reap those criticisms. If we think anxious, fear-filled, worried thoughts, we will reap that anxiety. If we want to live a joy-filled life, we must keep our thoughts fixed on things of God. It is hard to live of joy when we live with worry.

Do you ever wonder how to sow good thoughts when you feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulder? Do you really desire to dwell on positive joy-filled thoughts but have serious problems that seem to take front place in your mind? Do you really want a joy-filled life but know that you have issues that you must sort through?

Have you ever considered scheduling “worry time” in order to deal with pressing issues?

The July 2011 issue of the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reports on a study done in the Netherlands involved a technique called stimulus control. Participants were taught to compartmentalize their worry by setting aside a specific half-hour each day to think about worries and consider solutions. They were to deliberately avoid thinking about those issues for the rest of the day. Researchers found that the participants who used this technique before they began therapy regimens reduced their anxiety, stress, and depressed symptoms significantly more than those who only used standard anxiety treatments.

Patients were taught four steps to less worry.

1. Identify and realize when you are worrying.

2. Set aside a time and place to think about these worries.

3. When you begin to worry, postpone it, and focus on the task at hand.

4. Use the “worry time” to try to solve the problems your worries present.

This process is a proactive way to focus on the problems that worry you and address them through problem solving. The “worry time” is not spent wringing hands and agonizing on issues. Instead, it is spent dealing with a solution.

I encourage you to add a time of prayer and meditation to your “worry time” in order to allow God to reveal to you discernment and direction. God wants to carry our burdens and give us a life of peace. Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you (Psalm 55:22).

Giving our worries to God is an important step in reaping a joy-filled life.

Traits of Mature Faith

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Corinthians 13 tells us that when we were children, we talked like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child. But when we become adults, we are to put away our childish ways. How can we turn that childish traits into mature traits?

In the book Boundaries with Kids, the authors describe 8 aspects of character that we should try to instill in children. They say that these 8 traits are the ones that mature adults have.

Eight Key Aspects of Character

1. Loving

2. Responsible

3. Free

4. Initiating

5. Respectful of Reality

6. Oriented to Growth

7. Oriented to Truth

8. Oriented to Transcendence

I think these traits describe mature Christians also.

1. Loving - to self, God, others

2. Responsible – takes ownership of feelings, attitudes, words, behaviors. Ownership of life.

3. Free – Free people are free to make choices and take control of their life.

4. Initiating – We can begin new things. We don’t wait for others to do the work for us. Christ has done a new work in us and we are called on to act upon it.

5. Respectful of Reality – A dose of reality means that we experience the consequences of our actions in the real world.

6. Oriented to Growth – We learn to face the obstacles of life with an orientation toward growth. We learn to move through situations and move forward.

7. Oriented to Truth – Walking in truth is a hallmark of the Christian faith. We walk in the light.

8. Oriented to Transcendence – Transcendence implies that we transcend or go beyond self. We order our lives around God and his values. We understand the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Let us also mature in our faithwalk as we go from childish ways to mature ways.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who doesn't love an upgrade? Airline upgrades,  computer upgrades, stock upgrades, telephone upgrades, software upgrades! We love upgrades because usually we get something addtional at no cost.

God is in the business of giving us upgrades. He wants to upgrade the quality of our lives. He wants for us to experience his peace and his joy. While he doesn't charge us for upgrades, there may be a slight cost to pay. We might need to make some changes.

 Are you due a upgrade? Is there an area of your life that God wants to really bless but you haven’t been open to? Does God want to show you immense favor in an area that you are holding on to?

You might ask yourself some "what if" questions to see how you might make a few changes in your life that could produce some joy upgrades.
What if you made a few changes in your life? Would that possibly bring you a joy upgrade?

What if you intentionally pursued God’s plan for your life? Would that bring you an upgrade?

What if you replaced negative thoughts with positive ones? Would that bring you an upgrade?

What if you chose to shine the spotlight on solutions instead of problems? Would that bring you an upgrade?

What if you practice a new morning ritual? Would that bring you an upgrade?

What if you replaced negative emotions with positive ones? Would that bring you an upgrade?

David was searching for an upgrade during a time of discouragement. In Psalm 43 we see that David was being driven out of his country by the violence and tyranny of his enemies. He called on God defend him and then moved from negative emotions to positive emotions. David found that he could get an upgrade in his life by fixing his eyes on God.

Psalm 43

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God—

soon I'll be praising again.

He puts a smile on my face.

He's my God.

We too can experience an upgrade when we fix our eyes on God!

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