Our feelings can affect our physical health, often more than we realize. Here’s how to manage your emotions the way God intended.
We all know health isn’t just a physical thing. God created us as holistic beings with a spirit, body and soul. But how many of us truly connect the dots on a daily basis and realize the direct impact our emotions have on our physical health? When we aren’t feeling well, often our instinct is to relate the problem to a physical illness, what we’ve been eating and drinking, or whether we’ve been exercising and getting enough rest. But sometimes the deeper part of the problem—the root of it all—stems from negative emotions that we permit into our life.
So while you’re reading this article, I’m going to ask you to be honest with yourself about the kinds of thoughts and feelings you permit into your life. God wants you to feel strong and healthy. He also wants you around for the long haul. And for many of us, taking better care of ourselves emotionally needs to be just as important as how we care for our physical needs.
Seeing the Symptoms But Not the Problem...read more
Joyce Meyer is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. A New York Times best-selling author, her books have helped millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ. Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, she teaches on many topics, with a particular focus on the mind, mouth, moods and attitudes. Joyce has authored nearly 100 books, including her latest, Trusting God Day by Day (FaithWords). For more information, visit joycemeyer.org. This blogpost was written for Charisma Magazine.
"You would think that with all the communications gadgets we have at our disposal, we’d be better at, well, communicating," says Anita Bruzzese, contributing author for Quickbase.com Blog.
Then why is it that colleagues show up at the wrong time for a meeting? Or we become increasingly frustrated when an exchange of a dozen emails with a teammate leaves us more confused than ever?
Although this blog post is written for the workplace, it could easily have been written for the church. We all need a little help sometimes in getting our point across, making ourselves heard, and/or being more confident when we speak.
Do you have room for improvement in your communication style? How could using some of the pointers below improve your communication with your family? People in your church? People you work with? What other areas of your life could improving your communication affect?
Last week we were asked, "Where are you going in 2017?" In keeping with this new year's theme, we have asked Jerry Harris to help us find our way. Rev. Harris, a big proponent of setting goals, gives us sound reasons why we should set goals, and practical, reasonable action steps to get those goals accomplished. It's with pleasure we welcome Rev. Harris to Refresh.
guest post by Jerry Harris
“He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.”
(Proverbs 12:11) NIV
This scripture tells us to “work our land.” What is our land? The writer was referring to the plowing and sowing of their land so they would have plenty to eat. They didn’t have a local grocery store to stop by and pick up some milk on the way home. They had to plant and plan so they would have food to live on. This was vital to their well-being and existence. If you didn’t plan ahead, you would be begging in harvest time.
“A sluggard does not plow in season; so, at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.”
(Proverbs 20:4) NIV
If we want to get ahead and stay ahead of the game of life, we must develop a “working our land” attitude. Since we are not farmers, what is “our land?” Remember that the land was vital to the farmer’s well-being and existence. What is vital to our well-being and existence?
If these things are vital to me then how do I prepare or “work” my land? There must be an intentional attempt to make my land better. Just hoping for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but desperation. Just praying for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but frustration...God won’t answer my prayer! He doesn’t care about me!
“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12) KJV
The “number” means to weigh out, to allot, and to prepare. How do we do this? By examining each area of our life and setting goals for the future.
1. Why must we have goals?
Because it is just as difficult to reach a destination you do not have, as it is to come back from a place to which you have never been. In other words, you can’t hit a target you don’t have. A person without a goal is a ship without a rudder. He will drift and float. He will likely end up on the beach of despair, discouragement, frustration and defeat.
A goal is a faith statement! I can’t see it but I believe it!
2. Why don’t more people have goals?
a. Most people have never been convinced they are important.
b. They don’t know how to establish them.
c. They fear they won’t reach their goals and consequently, are embarrassed.
d. They don’t take time to set them.
I would rather attempt to do something great and fall short, than attempt to do nothing and succeed.
3. What are the characteristics of a good goal?
a. Will I be able to know when I’ve reached my goal?
b. With God’s help and a lot of effort on my part, is it within reach and within the time period I’ve set?
c. When I achieve this goal what will be the benefit to me or to others?
Our problem is not the lack of time, but the lack of direction (focus). Our problem is not the lack of time, but our failure to effectively use the time we have.
We must not confuse activity with accomplishment, and we must stop counting our hours and start making our hours count. Consider how Jesus lived His life.
He knew what he had to do and he did it!
“My food (well-being and existence) said Jesus,
is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work.”
(John 4:34) NIV
He knew He only had so much time to do it, so he did it!
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.
Night is coming, when no one can work.”
(John 9:4) NIV
You’ve got to start sometime to give direction to your life.
Use the Adjust My Daily Life, Lord worksheet. Now is the time!
Rev. Jerry Harris is Director of Church Planting for the AG Southern MO District Council, and President of Inner City Ministries of St. Louis and Reach Missouri Network. He and his wife, Lisa, have 35 years of pastoral experience, leading churches in rural, metropolitan and city environments.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
For me, being an aunt has been a lovely surprise. Not the actual day it happened - I had nine months to anticipate the event - but the unexpected joy that's followed.
These little creatures kept springing into the world, crawling into my house, then strutting through the kitchen demanding juice boxes. Suddenly there were five of them! Actual humans. All with distinct personalities, cherubic cheeks and germs.
I remember when my youngest niece Holland was born. Her 6-year-old sister's excitement bubbled over. But her 4-year-old big brother Emmett was not nearly as amused. For him meeting Holland was a real yawner.
Emmett's speech was still developing and he routinely switched "she" and "her" for "hers?" As in, "Mom, will you tell hers to stop." So when Emmett learned the family was visiting his newborn sister in the hospital two days in a row, his response was, "We have to go see hers again?"
After my sister left the hospital, the new family headed straight to collect the older siblings from school. They skipped across the schoolyard, and Emmett punched the button that opens the minivan. It slid open like always, only this time newborn Holland was there. Emmett lamented with utter shock, "You mean HERS is still here?"
"Buddy, get in the car," my brother-in-law said, "Hers is going to be here for the rest of your life."...continue reading
Kelly is an author, musician, Bible study creator and teacher passionate to see women impacted by Jesus and His Word…read her bio here
In the middle of a busy day, I found myself having a mental “conversation” in which I was telling off a member of our congregation. Can you relate? I was angry, defensive and offended over a comment he made. This member was bothered that our pastors were allowed to wolf down a meal at our Wednesday night fellowship supper without paying (before running on to complete a 16-hour day of ministry). He even tried to “Jesus” up his criticism by equating our pastors to the sons of Eli the Bible says cheated God’s people. It was eating me up. A situation that did not even concern me was rattling around in my brain, creating all kinds of unwholesome emotions and distracting me from what was my actual responsibility.
Imagine how costly a lifetime of allowing this kind of mess to accumulate and take root could be.
Over the course of a life devoted to ministry, there are bound to be more than a few perceived offenses. But I’ve learned that allowing them to build up in our hearts can render us bitter, paranoid and ineffective. In the middle of this moment of growing resentment, I was reminded of a proverb that spoke directly to my heart.
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
The inner part of us—not our eternal spirit, but our inner individuality of mind, will and emotions—can have a huge impact on both our physical and spiritual well being. Emotions are powerful. They are not sinful in and of themselves. They are merely a response to stimuli. But it’s never good to just let them run wild. This proverb reminds us that this three-fold inner world (mind, will and emotions) can be regulated. This allows us to be able to use our will to rule our emotions and not the other way around. It’s done by surrendering our will to the truth.
The problem is that we don’t always have the truth in file folder number one in our minds. Instead, we keep this relative, subjective, emotional information in the top drawer ready to be perused and mulled over all day, every day. These patterns of dwelling on the negative can become ingrained. The result is weakness, instability and loss of self-control. In other words, it either consumes us from within or propels us into an outburst. Both are counterproductive to our calling.
What is called for is a daily renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We need to recognize these mental patterns and immediately take them captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We need to reload file folder number one with information that is true and worthy of our meditations (Philippians 4:8). In other words, take your mental focus off that one knuckle-headed remark, and set it firmly on the truth of God’s Word and what He is doing all around us.
This proverb speaks of “taking a city.” Plowing over a city or a person, even if it is just in your mind, is far inferior to ruling your spirit so that you remain Spirit-filled and accomplish what God has for you. Let’s be reminded of the spiritual discipline of ruling our spirits through renewal of our minds. It will make you more mighty than an army!
How do you fight to become slow to anger?
Never in my lifetime have relationships been so critical for leaders. Our culture is crying out for authenticity, community and transparency.
As leaders we must realize that:
Show up with intentionality
Relationships begin by just showing up and having something in common.
Relationships are made when working, playing, eating, learning and praying together. Relationships are made while conducting business, getting chemo treatments or sweating in spin class. Even during difficult and painful life moments inside an ICU waiting room or grief class, relationships can be forged. When we share something in common with those around us, there is potential for relationship.
If God has strategically placed us in a time, space, place or experience with others, we must believe He has purpose there. The purpose might just be the people there with you.
Showing up is good, but intentionality says, "There is an eternal purpose in this moment." Intentionality says, "I want to seize it."
Connect with intentionality
Of course, we must do more than show up. We must connect. We must seek a way to not just be present with someone but also actually engage him or her, intentionally. This may require making the first move towards conversation or asking the person out to lunch.
Confession right here ... I've missed many opportunities to connect because of busyness or overly compartmentalizing my life between the sacred and the secular. Such discrepancies are traps that potentially narrow your focus on ministry. We must remember that all of life is the mission trip. Every moment matters.
Our moments invite a wide array of purposes into our every day, from building a bridge in order to share Christ to pouring into young leaders or bearing someone’s burden. Even if the moment is brief, it is a missional opportunity to shine for Christ.
I’ve gone back to school on this in two unconnected, yet relatable, situations. One is my involvement in the local gym where I work out. The second is at our children’s camp with Ed. Yes, showing up was the first step. But, the more critical step was being intentional with the “eternal purpose” of that moment.
While training for a triathlon with a group from our local YMCA, I got to hear the hurtful journey from a new friend. Just one gentle, purposeful question opened a painful door she willingly opened. We were on a long training ride, so time and space was created for honesty and vulnerability. New intimacy was formed as I listened to her hurt, her wounds. One question and one honest answer moved our relationship down the road immensely.
We need to be willing to pursue intimacy with compassionate curiosity. Yes, when we ask "why?" or "how?" or simply say, "Tell me about ...," hearts may open, and walls may come down.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ed and I whisked away all senior high school student leaders serving in our middle school camp for a midmorning Krispy Kreme run. There, some helium balloons proved to be too tempting. I watched the students go crazy as Ed succumbed and started singing in a "munchkin" voice as well. The students were laughing so hard. Was that sacred? You bet it was. The man who storied the prodigal son and discussed shame the night before could suddenly be silly—wearing a Krispy Kreme hat, his lungs full of helium. The distance from pew to pulpit got shorter. His vulnerability in that moment was of a different kind, yet, it also created a new moment of intimacy.
We need more balloons and helium. They bring laughter and a child-like perspective back into our lives, sometimes creating a type of shared moment that a serious sermon could not. Trivial yes, but still sacred.
As busy leaders, it takes work with great intentionality and yielding comfort to get to places and people that our Sunday morning lives will never easily touch. Yet, life and the world is so much bigger than Sunday mornings, and many of the people we need to touch most won’t be Sunday morning people or be in Sunday morning settings.
Look around you. Where do you need to be more intentional? Where is God telling you to show up and create connection?
To impact means to have a strong effect on someone or something. As leaders, there are two approaches to impacting the lives of the women around you. It can happen accidentally or it can be deliberate. In this video by Charlotte Gambill for Leading and Loving It, we can learn what it means to impact other women deliberately.
If you are like most women, you are your own worst critic. Being hard on ourselves is what we do. If you live your life never feeling like what you do is enough, then read on, friend! Finding freedom from our own expectations is not impossible.Here are some questions to ask to help find freedom from your own expectations.
Let’s just cut right to the chase. We all have the propensity to heap unhealthy expectations on ourselves. Certain events and influences from our past can increase that tendency. Ultimately, visiting those places in our lives can bring healing, but there are a few truths that we can all grab hold of now that can help us begin to break free.
Do I know my purpose?
Sometimes, we have expectations of ourselves that are outside our purpose. If I was a photographer, but I struggled with nagging thoughts like, “I don’t rescue enough people from burning buildings,” you would tell me to stick with my pictures and leave the rescues to firefighters. If I know clearly my purpose, then I can weed out other demands that inevitably fight for my attention. Are you clear on your purpose? If not, you may feel like you should do everything to cover your bases. That’s exhausting. Find your purpose.
Am I pressured by the success of other women?
Comparing can overwhelm us. Social media compounds that issue by constantly bombarding us with a filtered version of everyone’s best. Somehow, we think we should not only reach our goals for our own purpose, but do what other women are doing, as well. Besides not being realistic, that’s not healthy. The result? We live splintered lives, unable to do anything well as we attempt to do it all. And we’re exhausted. Run your race without comparing.
Do I know that the world will keep turning if I stop?
Ever find yourself thinking, “if I don’t do it, nobody will” ? Perhaps, like me, you say it out loud, taking on a superwoman voice as you do. When we believe we are the only one who will or can do something, we might have an inflated view of ourselves. Yes, there are things that we have to do, but, based on the truth that “I” cannot do everything, there are others that must go. Someone else will and can. This might mean recruiting, and even training, your replacement. Perhaps an unrealistic expectation you placed on yourself is part of someone else’s purpose. Let them have it.
Is God expecting this of me?
It would be cruel of a father to demand something from a child and then not give that child the time or resources to do it. If God has given you a task or responsibility, He will also equip you with what’s needed—including time. We beat ourselves up thinking, “if I could just figure out how to manage my time better, I could get it all done,” when in reality we are overloaded with things never given to us by our Savior. He is a good father who is not trying to work you to death and is certainly not demanding perfection. In fact, He wants you to rest.
At times, we are overwhelmed by demands in life we cannot control, such as an illness or loss. During these times, our expectations of ourselves change; they should change. Our focus becomes rest and healing. Yet, even during these times, we can expect too much of ourselves instead of walking in His mercy and grace.
At other times, we heap unhealthy expectations on ourselves unknowingly. Our desire to nurture, to help, to love and to be needed clouds our vision. We try harder and harder to do more than we were designed to do. Outside of God’s purpose, we find defeat and exhaustion.
Jesus reminds us that He wants us working alongside Him—not running around trying to impress Him. When He tells us that His yoke is easy, He is giving us a picture of being yoked with Him, as two oxen were when plowing. Together, moving forward together.
I believe He has the field already picked out and the seed ready. Are you where God wants you, or are you busy with work you heaped on yourself? Are you exhausted from trying to get it together? Ask the Father for clarity.
For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
This post originally posted here.
Marianna Dollyhigh is a pastor's wife and mom to six. She blogs at Messy Journey where this blog post was first featured and shared by Flourish.
I had noticed her looking at him, laughing a little too loud, practically swooning over the brilliance of his sermons and cleverness of his insights. But she was my good friend, and I didn’t consider it flirting, especially since my husband paid no attention to her whatsoever. She was just vivacious and outgoing. My Bible study leader in our church (I’ll call her Ruth), was a trusted mentor and friend to me. She was the age of my own mom and had unusual spiritual maturity and discernment. So, I wasn’t surprised when she spoke very directly to me one day about my friend’s behavior. She had noticed and picked up on it instantly. I remember sitting at Ruth’s kitchen table with her eyes staring into mine, saying “Susie, you have to help your husband. You are his “safeguard” – your very presence can diffuse situations like this. Your relationship with him is God’s provision of protecting him from temptation. Don’t be foolish and ignore this, you need to bring it to his attention, talk with him about it and decide how you will handle it.” I thought about Ruth’s comments all day and have replayed that conversation in my mind hundreds of times since then. How wise and discerning she was and I am forever grateful for her directness and exhortation to a young and sometimes naïve pastor’s wife.
The word “safeguard” is defined as something that serves as a protection, defense or that ensures safety (www.dictionary.com). Ruth was right on target, as usual. Husbands and wives are each other’s “safeguards” against the temptations of the enemy. Make no mistake about it – Satan is the prowling lion seeking to destroy testimonies and lives, especially of those in ministry. Paul supports this concept in 1 Cor. 7: 1-6. Our bodies exclusively belong to one another, and our physical relationship is designed to bring us fulfillment within the boundaries of marriage. Guarding that is our charge, so that Satan will not have an opportunity to tempt us (vs. 7). I took Ruth’s warning as a wakeup call to be more intentional in being my husbands “safeguard”.
That evening my husband came home from the office, with a large box of homemade cookies, delivered by my friend to the church office that morning. (He had mentioned in his sermon on Sunday how much he loved chocolate chip cookies). Well, something happened to me when I saw that box. I was suddenly livid! I ripped the top off and said, “You want cookies? I’ll give you cookies!!” I proceeded to smash every cookie in that box with my fist until the entire box was tiny crumbs. My husband was staring at me and when I finally stopped, we burst into hysterical laughter. I’m not sure if what I saw in his eyes was relief or fear! But it quickly led to a very honest talk about this situation and how we would handle these things in the future. I was ready to send her a note saying,
Hey, my kids and I loved the cookies! Oh and by the way, YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH TO TAKE MY MAN!
But I calmed down - and learned an invaluable lesson that day. I must be intentional in guarding and investing in my marriage. I am my husband’s safeguard against the schemes of the enemy, he is mine, and we will do everything within our power and God’s to protect our relationship and our testimony. I did learn one other thing – maybe I need to bake chocolate cookies a little more often?...read more
Susie lives in Dallas, TX with her husband OS Hawkins. She is the author of From One Ministry Wife to Another: Honest Conversations on Connections in Ministry and writes for Flouish.me. She has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren, keeping her life full of craziness and joy.
For many small-group leaders, one of the more intimidating things we do is facilitating a group discussion. Very few of us feel like we'll have all the right answers, or that we can handle whatever curve balls will be thrown our way (and there will be some!). To make matters worse, it's even challenging to gauge whether we're doing a good job or not.
But here's the good news: that's not what facilitating a group discussion is really about. We don't have to have all of the right answers. We don't have to lead the perfect discussion every time. We don't even have to get through all of the material in each meeting!
When we're facilitating in our small group, our main goal is to create discussion. We want to challenge people to think about the topic at hand, and to create a safe environment for people to share their thoughts—to help everyone feel valued about the input they've offered.
That's all we've got to do. Thankfully, there are some established practices and principles that can help us accomplish those goals.
Asking Good QuestionsOne of the most important skills in small-group facilitation is not having all of the right answers, but asking the right questions. Here are a few secrets to good question-asking:
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
Interested in joining a Bloom Group?
Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.