Finding a Sense of Wholeness After Insecurity

9 09 2019

As a kid I lived in insecurity.  I was insecure in school, in relationships, in trying new things and in my family relationships.  Insecurity is defined as instability, self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence. That was me.  There were plenty of reasons for my insecurity, but at the time it was just life and trying to grow up.

 

Insecurity takes over your life.  Everything is filtered through those insecure thoughts and beliefs. We reinforce our insecurities through our self-talk every waking hour.  I can remember climbing up the ladder at the local lake to attempt to go down the slide and into the water.  It was high; at least it felt that way.  I reached the top and froze.  I had to go back down the ladder.  Insecurity led to fear and fear overcame my ability to try something new.

 

I suppose we grow out of many of our insecurities, but there are those relational ones that seem to forever stick with us.  Author Les Parrott once wrote, “If you try to find intimacy with another person before a sense of wholeness on your own, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself.”  Meaning, insecurity within oneself creates a sense of “un-wholeness,” so we then attempt to find wholeness in others.  Those types of relationships go south quickly because no one on this earth can provide the security and wholeness we are longing for.

 

Jesus once approached a woman at a well that was not married, but He told her she had had five husbands in the past.  Jesus identified the longing in her heart to be whole and He let her know that another husband would not do that for her.  His answer: to draw living water from Him – a spring of eternal life.  His answer to this woman’s insecurities, her longing to find relational fulfillment in men and her insatiable desire for wholeness was met in one encounter with the Messiah.

 

Have you given Him your insecurities and attempts to find wholeness in others?  Here are some truths to help you do just that.

 

You are highly esteemed – Daniel 9:23

You are God’s child – I John 3:2

You are justified from all things – Acts 13:39

You are the righteousness of God – II Corinthians 5:21

You are free from condemnation – Romans 8:1

You are free from your past – Philippians 3:13

You are a new creature – II Corinthians 5:17





How Many Times Have You Fallen in Love?

3 09 2019

Journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin once said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

 

After dating for over three years, Mary and I finally were able to marry. She completed her nursing degree and I was going into my final year of military service.  Our long-distance relationship of me living in southern Virginia and Mary living in Pennsylvania would come to a welcomed end.  We would stop saying goodbye for months at a time and end going to pay phones with pockets full of coins…finally.

 

We were newlyweds feeling as though we were playing house.  Everything was new: living together, sleeping together, eating most meals together and hanging out 24/7 together.  After an amazing two-week-long honeymoon, we settled into our new apartment in Newport News, Virginia, six hours from any family. It was glorious, fun, exciting, new and in our minds, permanent.

 

Yes, we were young and we were inexperienced.  We had no track record of marriage for ourselves, no experienced sexual lives, no marriage mentors or counselors, but we made it.  We prayed.  We found an awesome church home that became family.  We volunteered in ministry together.  We played together and we reached out in love to our neighbors together.  We grew in our relationship day by day, paying our bills, attempting to fill our apartment with furniture, communicating about everything and finding agreement in as many areas as possible.

 

We rarely had a disagreement because neither of us was disagreeable, rather we were happy, elated really.  We were in love.  Discovering the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, finding the one that captures your heart, well, it was remarkable.

 

That was 44 and a half years ago.  What has changed and how are we different concerning all of the above?  We’re gray haired.  (At least I think my wife has gray hair?)  We’re slower; more intentional.  We’re dealing with arthritis.  We’re grandparents.  We don’t hear as well.  We have annual physicals in which the doctor asks us questions we never thought we’d be asked.  But then again, we love doing the same things and have such similar thoughts from long-term agreement and communication.  We’re best friends and we accept our differences as marital strengths.  We love growing older together, still holding hands, still kissing and still saying “I love you” each and every day.

 

 

It’s good, really good and we truly give God thanks for one another. One of the keys to all of this is as quoted above – we just keep falling in love over and over with the same person!





How Far Can You See?

19 08 2019

When the city fathers of New York thought about the future growth of their city, they laid out the streets and numbered them from the center outward. In the beginning there were only six streets in their planning maps, so they decided to go crazy and project growth.

 

Reaching beyond their wildest dreams they drew streets on the map all the way out to 19thStreet!  They call it “Boundary Street” because they were positively sure that’s as far out as New York City would extend.  Wow, were they shortsighted!  At last count, the city had reached 271st Street.

 

I’ve been short-sighted many times.  My vision has been small compared to what God has designed for me and I am often reminded of that fact.  I once entertained the thought that my family of five would live in a small two-bedroom apartment for a long, long time.  Little did I realize God was planning a four-bedroom two story home on land given to us.  My Father’s vision was beyond mine and I had to run to catch up to it.

 

How about you; do you sell your vision short?  How far can you see?  How far do you desire to see and project?  God has vision for you and through you.  Dream with Him!

 

Where there is no vision, the people perish.  (Proverbs 29:18a)





Can God’s Creation Create Healing?

12 08 2019

I recently read a Reader’s Digest article called, The Nature Cure and was totally intrigued.  I will share some of the information from that article below.  It seemed to verify what I have believed and incorporated into my life, certainly appreciating that this periodical would help to validate this belief.

 

The article actually called nature a “miracle medicine for our mental health.” It seems social scientists are discovering that our brains are not machines which do not tire, but rather become easily fatigued and with as little as three days of rest, creative problem-solving tasks can increase by 50 percent!

 

When architect Fredrick Olmsted looked over Yosemite Valley, he urged the California legislature to, “…protect it from development…. that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes is favorable to the health and vigor of men.”

 

Thousands of years ago gardens were constructed for this very reason — rest and mental relaxation.  It seems most kings mentioned in the Scriptures incorporated them.  The U.S. national park system was created because people like Ralph Waldo Emerson built a case for creating the park system stating that nature had healing powers.

 

Researchers today are discovering that people who live in or near “green spaces” suffer less depression, anxiety and migraines.  A study in Japan found those persons who walk in the forest decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  There is healing in God’s gift of nature and yet less than a quarter of Americans spend 30 minutes or more outside in nature daily.

 

Did you know pediatricians are now telling parents with young families to regularly visit parks so the whole family can de-stress and play? When is the last time you went camping, hiking in the mountains, visited gardens, introduced your child to the wonders of a stick, sat around a campfire, watched a sunset, played in a creek, observed butterflies or sat by a lake?

 Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.  (Genesis 2:8

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake.  (Matthew 13:1)





Growing Respect in our Marriages

5 08 2019

Someone once shared with me these words, “I’ll respect him when he starts respecting me.” Still another said, “When she starts acting respectable, I’ll show her respect.”  Really? Since when is respect conditional upon another respecting you?

 

Do you show respect to your boss even when they are not in some way earning that respect?  Do you respect out of a desire to obey God, regardless of what you feel the other is or is not doing?  Were you aware of the fact that there are respect clauses in the Scripture?  Peter wrote that we were to “…treat them [wives] with respect,” and Paul wrote “…the wife must respect her husband.”  (I Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:33) There were no additional words that stated if the husband or wife also showed respect.  Then again, there are no words that state we can demand respect — that’s not how it works.

 

Judas did a lot of disrespectful things as a disciple of Christ and yet Jesus still washed his feet along with the others.  The woman caught in adultery was not the most respectable and neither was the woman at the well and our Savior showed much respect and forgiveness toward them.  Perhaps your wife or your husband has not always shown you respect, but that does not give you license to return the same.

 

I love how author Gary Thomas weighs in on this very subject, “As our partners and their weaknesses become more familiar to us, respect often becomes harder to give.  But this failure to show respect is more a sign of spiritual immaturity than it is an inevitable pathway of marriage.”  He also notes, “When there is mutual respect in marriage, selflessness becomes contagious…. If you want to obsess about them [weaknesses], they’ll grow, but you won’t!”

 

How is respect growing in your relationships, especially within your marriage?





How Long Have You Been Faking It?

29 07 2019

There are those who attend church on Sunday and live according to anything but those thoughts Monday through Saturday.  I can remember as a young teen listening to the minister read the scripture Sunday morning and then close by saying, “Here endeth the word of the Lord for today.”  I remember thinking, I’ve got news for you; here endeth the word for the week for me.  So, yes, I’ve felt like a fake and I’ve been a fake at times.

 

Someone once wrote, “If you were being accused of being a ‘fake Christian,’ what evidence would you present to prove otherwise?”  I thought that to be a fair and probing question to think about.

 

Then there was this story from a devotional by Dennis and Barbara Rainy that my wife and I read on the topic of being a fake.

 

“A young man who had just graduated from law school set up an office, proudly displaying his shingle out front.  On his first day at work, as he sat at his desk with his door open, he was wondering how he would get his first client when he heard footsteps approaching his office.

 

Not wanting this potential client to think that he would be the first, the young lawyer quickly picked up the telephone and began to talk loudly to a make-believe caller.  “Oh yes sir!” he exclaimed into the phone.  “I’m very experienced in corporate law…Courtroom experience?  Why yes, I’ve had several cases.”

 

On and on this green lawyer went in his fake conversation when suddenly at the door appeared a man in work attire.  The young lawyer hung up the phone and self-importantly asked how he could offer his services.  “Well,” said the man with a smirk, “I’m from the telephone company and I’m here to hook up your phone.”

 

When we’re preoccupied with ourselves, we’re not thinking about how we can honor God. When we’re busy trying to look good, we’re not honoring God.  And when we’re faking our “Christian deeds” or trying to use the right Christian clichés, we just might have our charades found out by the telephone repairman.  Or, worse yet, God!





Praise in Public; Construct in Private

15 07 2019

Many years ago, a wiser, older, more mature couple taught us this phrase: praise in public; construct in private.  By that phrase they meant to always provide a word of praise for your mate when with your family, at your work place, with your friends or in any social setting.  They also encouraged us to never, ever put our mate down, shame them, humiliate them or correct them in a negative sense in public.  We took this counsel to heart and have adapted it for our marriage relationship.

 

When in public, it is difficult to be in a conversation with a person who frequently speaks negatively of their spouse.  It is embarrassing and it is often shamed-filled.  When a life mate feels the need to continually place their partner in a negative light, I question their own esteem.

 

Concerning praise, the writer of Proverbs puts it this way, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”  As married persons we are responsible to, called to, encouraged to speak praise of our life mate publicly.  If we do not have words of encouragement, then we should practice not speaking anything.

 

When we bless our spouse before others, we are blessing ourselves and when we speak negatively and put our spouse down, we are putting ourselves down.  How so?  When we marry, two have become one.  What affects one affects the other. Praise in public; construct in private.








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