Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Hard Shell

Last week, by daughter got a bee in her bonnet to go and sleep at Granny's house for the night.
Now for my daughter, who doesn't even sleep at friends houses or go to anyone else, this was quite surprising. Since her brother was born, I think she could be a little insecure and would not go anywhere.
Nevertheless, we took her on Monday to Granny's house for the sleep over. She was so excited to be there. We left and went shopping and got home - nothing much different. In fact I was glad that she has finally got the courage to venture out again.

Let me tell you, I was beside myself. I walked around my garden thinking about her, I went to bed thinking about her and what she was doing.
Now when she is at home, she is normally screaming outside, making a bunch of noise, running around, watching television or whatever, but it normally involved noise.
How I missed this when she was gone!
My heart was crying out for her to be back home, but I didn't say anything. I didn't want her to go in the first place and now it felt like she was gone for ages.
Now when she is at home, we go about our lives in an everyday routine. I get home from work, tired and she wants to do stuff with me and I often push her off.
But when she is gone, my heart falls into a ball of putty. Its like crying inside!

Isn't this like some of our Christian lives as well? We call ourselves "Christian", We try act "Christian", inside we are "Christian"....but we just don't get it right. We act like we are the worst people around, we sin, we don't help others, we swear, we do lots of "un-Christian" things.
But when it hits home, for example when we go to church or have a profound Christian event, we realize what we have done and try change it.   But does it ever happen.
Its all a big circle.
Its like we have this hard "unchristian" shell around us but inside, we actually are these awesome people, loving, caring, giving etc.
I am generalizing here because I would like to think that all people are like this deep down. I know there are people who aren't, but surely every single person on this earth has a part of them somewhere that is good and "like Christ".
Its the hard shell around us that blocks this good part of our hearts.
But there are so many really good people around that seem to have this "Christian" thing down to a tee?
We can all be like that. We can all give, love, care and do......its how to break away from the bondage's of this world and break into the mercy of Christ.
Its when that hard shell is compromised, is when we get our backs up and start to protect our fragile heart inside.
Inside of being reactive, maybe be proactive.
These last few lines are so like me. I sin, I swear, I don't love as much as I should, I often don't care about the things and people that I should an I get angry at things that I shouldn't.
Do you find yourself in the same boat?
Its when something you take for granted is away from your heart, its like that's when God talks to you and says "Now see, look at what you have taken for granted, Look at the beauty I have given you and what you have done with it".

But you know what, God does not condemn us, He never tells us that we are failures, He always believes in us and supplies us with endless grace and mercy. We don't have to do something to win Gods love - its already in abundance.
Here's the Gift from God - take it - and spread it!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Anger Circle

So again I write this because its a daily challenge for me. I hope this makes sense, because it is a little involved.
I struggle with anger all the time and also struggle to find the best way to stop it.
The problem is, that I have a split second in which to allow hundreds of signals going through my brain to stop and take another path - and this is the challenge.

For me, Anger had become more of a nasty habit than anything else and I think most of it is based on a quick temper.
After serious thinking and thought and worrying and wondering, I think I have found a good flow of what happens in that 'anger' moment.
We need a trigger, first of all. Something triggers our anger. Yes, there are many things that could do this and this is not the problem, its what happens afterwards which causes the problem.
Once the trigger happens, your brain directs a signal down a specific path to pick up your belief on what has just happened. The path that your brain picks is the same and is so ingrained because of the way you acted in previous situations and every time you get angry about something, you brain knows exactly where to send the signal to get a reaction.
Your belief on the situation is most probably a thought that you had previously on the same situation.
Once your brain has sent that signal to the "thought", then a consequence happens. A consequence could be anything from an angry outburst, bitterness towards someone, harsh words or slander against someone or rage.

So here it is:    TRIGGER  -----  BELIEF  -----  CONSEQUENCE

But it doesn't stop here, because this whole thing works in a circle because the consequence and the belief work hand in hand. They both feed each other for the next time you get an anger moment. It grows stronger and stronger, making your belief more 'stubborn' and your consequences more 'outrageous'.
This is the trap I am in and I believe it is the trap that many of us get into.
We have to get out!

Now what I am leading to is Ephesians 4:31:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.

This circle of rage that I mention above is completely against Ephesians 4:31, word by word (well I made it that way :))
But the point is here that anger turns to bitterness, bitterness turns to people not wanting to be around you and thus you get more upset, your beliefs strengthen against someone or yourself and then the consequences become worse. In fact, you end up looking for anything to be angry about! Your brain is too aware of the triggers and cant wait to start signaling your beliefs.

How do we stop this?
We need to create a new path for our brain to start signaling through. We need to stop feeding the old aggressive bitter path and start creating a path which leads to
Ephesians 4:32:
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

How do we create a new path? Well I believe that we need to change our beliefs on certain things. To me, the whole core of this bitter circle is the belief part and it ends up like "What we belief is what we are!"
And changing our beliefs on certain things, we need to look at Jesus. Look at how Jesus acted, what He said, what triggered his emotions and anger and what the consequences were.
Ephesians 4:23: Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

Yes, its difficult. Yes you are going to fail 90% of the time. But that 90% will come down to 40%  on so on, and soon you will look back and notice that things that you used to get angry about and things that flared your temper, just wouldn't excite you that much anymore.
But remember, Anger is still a God given emotion and there are still times that we should get angry.

Does this make sense. I don't know if I have relayed my thoughts properly here as it is one of those "write as you think" things...
Let .me know

All thanks and praise to God for His Word.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Angry Christian

This is a topic very close to my heart as it is something that I struggle with everyday of my life and it eats away at me continually.
First lets get this misconception out in the air....ANGER is not a evil thing. Christians do get angry, Jesus got angry, God got angry, we get angry!
By getting angry does give anyone else the right to question your belief and your Christian ethics, in fact it just shows how little the other person understand about Christianity.
There is a BUT here.
There is Good anger and bad anger.
Good anger you ask?

Anger is an emotion that we were given by God. It is not a satan thing. But it is one of the easiest emotions for satan to turn around and use as an evil thing. Satan turns anger to control us instead of us controlling it and when ager controls us it becomes out of control and spirals into hurt, more anger and sin.
Anger is not sin when used in the correct manner.

I often get angry about ridiculous things and then after my little episode has passed I think to myself, "Was that really necessary?"
We should be getting angry at sin, not sin from anger!
For example: I get angry at someone cutting me off in the traffic and almost causes me to swerve out the way because they think they are more important.
But then when I hear on the news that 4 year old girl gets raped and is hung in a tree to die, then its just news.
I have got this anger thing totally wrong!!!
We should be getting angry at sin, at things that we have control over and things that we can change.
By me getting angry at someone swerving in front of me in traffic, is not going to change anything. That person is not going to sit and  re-think that they did.
They probably don't even care and possibly don't even know what they did. By me getting myself into and absolute fit about it is not going to change what they do next. In fact, it often leads to fingers being pointed at each other, a few prize words shouted and high blood pressure.

When we express anger in the wrong way and shout at someone and let them have it, we tend to think its a sign of power and strength. Big 'ol me, the powerful! but in fact its a sign of weakness because you cannot control your emotions. Satan has taken that situation and has quickly made you think that screaming at someone will make you a better person.
(Note to self!)

We may also suppress anger, but this also leads the wrong way. If we bottle up anger, we tend to become depressed and bitter. People see this and then don't want to be around you anymore. Then you become more angry at being alone and it goes around and around....

OK now heres the difficult part! We need to confess our anger to God!
My question  here is "But how does that help me when I am just about to blow up at someone? How do I stop the anger before it happens?"
The answer???  I don't know truthfully! Because I struggle with this emotion and my anger gets offset extremely quickly, I would think that the offsetting of my anger is my temper (discussed in next blog), what I am going to try faithfully everytime now before I feel anger is arising, is think to myself the old but true statement "WWJD" (What would Jesus do?)

Would Jesus get angry at what I am just about to lose my temper about?
Is me getting angry going to change the world and the current situation?
Am I acting like Jesus did when He was on earth?

You thoughts?