Sunday, June 30, 2013

Understanding our identity is so important. Our identity informs our moral, ethical, and legal compass. It shows where we place our value and principles.

Let’s see what labels we put on ourselves or allow others to put on us.

Can you relate to any of these?
• I am insecure.
 • I am a screamer.
 • I internalize everything.
 • I am a worrier.
 • I am a bickerer.
 • I am always late.
 • I always mess things up.
 • I am messy.
 • Things will never get better.
 • I’ll never lose weight.
 • I’m a loser.
Many labels come from our personality traits.
Do your personality weaknesses become your labels?
  • Compulsive talker 
  • Exaggerator
  • Egotistical 
  • Loud
  • Forgetful
  • Undisciplined
  • Fickle
  • Bossy
  • Quick-tempered
  • Impatient
  • Inflexible
  • Unsympathetic
  • Manipulative
  • Demanding
  • Argumentative
  • Moody
  • Insecure 
  • Martyr  
  • Critical 
  • Unforgiving 
  • Hard to please 
  • Withdrawn 
  • Remembers the negatives
  • Unenthusiastic
  • Indecisive 
  • Self-righteous
  • Un-motivated 
  • Indifferent
  • Sarcastic 
  • Lazy 
  • Selfish
 Labels that come from our life situations can either make us victims or victorious. Do you have any of these labels?
  • Widow
  • Divorcee 
  • Single mom 
  • Adopted 
  • Neglected as a child 
  • Sick 
  • Abusive background 
  • Unemployed 
  • Fired 
  • Childless 
We often make excuses for our labels. Have you ever made these statements?
  • This is just part of my personality.
  • This is the way I was made.
  • I can’t change the past. 
  • What will be will be. 
  • God made me this way.
  • This behavior has been in my family for generations. 
  • I just have that “gene.” 
  • I can’t change now.
Labels are very much a part of your personal identity. Your personal identity is the way that you see yourself. It is very important to you because it will affect the way you feel about yourself and how you behave in challenging situations. Your personal identity includes:
• Who are you?
 • What makes you unique?
 • What is your God-given purpose?
 • What do you value?
 • What drives your moral compass?
 • What is your physical identity (what you think you look like to others
 • What is your internal identity (who you think you are in terms of your personality and character, values, etc.)
 • How do you see yourself in relation to others?
• How do you identify yourself?
 • What are the labels you use to describe yourself?
 • What are you personal goals?
 Your own identity is much the way others see you.
• Do others see you imprisoned by your labels?
 • Do they see you as God sees you or as you see yourself?
 • Do others see labels that you do not even recognize?
 • Are you blind to the labels others put on you?
Before you can make positive changes in your life, you need to devote time understanding your personal identity. Then you will better able to move closer to where you want to be.
Are you stuck – imprisoned – by your label? If you are stuck in your labels, you are limiting what God can do in and through you.
To become a victor instead of victim of your labels, find your identity in Christ. Consider yourself first a Child of the King. If you don’t like yourself, if you live in negative labels, how can you ever reach your God-given potential in life?
 2 essential questions guide our identity
 • Who do you say you are?
• Who does God say you are?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he crated them.” Genesis 1:27
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14
 “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for use to do.” Ephesians 2:1
 Decide which labels are appropriate for you and which ones need to go. Let’s focus on ourselves as God’s workmanship and the good works we can do for him.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keeping our perspective is a key to controlling our emotions. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we don’t see the whole picture. We only see a portion of the picture. Sometimes we need to change the way we look at things.

Look at these two arrows. Which horizontal line is the longest?
 They are exactly the same size. However, the top one looks longer than the bottom one. It is on optical illusion tricking us into assigning a different meaning to what we see.

What do you see in the image to the left?

Do you see a vase or do you see two faces looking at each other? Both are there! These graphics remind us that we don’t always see things from different perspectives. We often give situations a cursory glance and then make false assumptions.

The meaning of something will change when you look at it differently.

Motivational speaker and author, Wayne Dyer says “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change“.

Our perspective affects our perception of situations. When our perspective is off, we can perceive situations incorrectly and then overreact. Our emotions follow our perspective. Can you change your perception of situations? Can you change your perspective? Of course, you can. We need to take time to grasp the truth of situations before we react. Sometimes we feel put upon, hurt, left out. Sometimes we don’t understand why others act the way the do to us or to others. At those times we need to ask God for a better perspective so that we can find the good in situations we don’t understand fully. God sees the full picture; his perceptions are perfect.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

The old fable "The Elephant and the Blind Men" provides another example of perception.

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.

"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.

"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?"

They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like.

The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features you described.”

"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

The moral of the story is that there may be some truth to what someone says. Sometimes we can see that truth and sometimes not because we may have a different perspective. In each case the person had a limited perspective that led them to the wrong conclusion. They each had only a piece of the information. No one was able to understand the whole truth about the elephant.

Let’s learn to control our emotions based on getting a full perspective instead of a limited one.

Coming Unglued

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Years ago when I was teaching a book to my 11th grade English class, it became apparent that only a handful had read the assigned pages. I always prided myself on having engaging class discussions and could always tell if students were prepared. After a few minutes of what became a monologue with a few prepared students making insightful assertions, I came a bit…unglued. I told them that if they did not come to class prepared, they would not have the benefit of my engaging and delightful interaction. I asked those who dared enter the hallowed walls of my classroom ill-prepared to collect their book and exit out the back door and find themselves in a quiet spot alone where they could become one with the book. Those who were prepared were invited to stay and be the great beneficiaries of my insight, repartee, and enchanting banter. Not a word was spoken as the little stinkers slithered from my sight.

What ensued with the remaining students was a pleasant exchange of ideas and insights. The incident became a humorous tale about the importance of showing up prepared.
Think for a moment about the changes you want to experience in connection with your emotions and reactions. Let’s figure out what causes unglued moments and then determine a goal to address them.
Determine a raw emotion or reaction that has reared its ugly head recently and consider using that as your impetus for change. You need to know your starting point. In Life Coaching we always find out from the client where they are and where they want to go and then we create a plan to get there. So… determine what you really want to change when it comes to your emotions.
You may need to collect some field data before we can set a goal. Sometimes the goals we set are easy to measure. If you have a goal to eat healthy and lose weight, you can easily measure that, but goals concerning our emotions and reactions are hard to measure. You can make observations about the food you’ve been eating and you can state your exercise habits. You can do something similar with your emotions. Think of a time when your emotions got the better of you.
  • Did you lose control in front of others? Strangers? Your Friends? Your family?
  • Did you rant and rave? Vent?
  • Did you choose to hide your feelings and then regret not sharing how you really felt?
  • Who was the target of your emotional outburst? 
  • In what setting do you have strong negative emotional reactions?
  • Is your “negative emotion arena” always the same? For example, do you only come unglued around family members? Co-workers? Students? A certain person? Spouse?
 After you have made some observations and figured out your “negative emotion arena,” write a statement that describes your goal.
For example:
 • I would like to express my emotions with a calm tone.
 • I would like to express my feelings instead of suppressing them.
 • I would like to keep my emotions under control when my kids are out of control.
In the next few weeks I’ll explore with you strategies to help you move from negative reactive emotions to positive proactive emotions. Keep in mind the promise of scripture:
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:17 NLT

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