If you’re already struggling to keep that New Year’s resolution, maybe you should take a step back. Think about why you are wanting this new change. Does it include God’s purpose for your life?
As people of God, our purpose is clear. It is simply to please God. But, how do we start? Proverbs 3:6 encourages believers to acknowledge God in all your areas of your life, and God shall direct your paths.
WHY SHOULD YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION INCLUDE GOD?
God is your creator. You were created with a plan for your life. God’s plan for you is your life’s purpose. This may sound complicated, but it’s not. Chances are, you’re already living it. Keep in mind that your purpose includes every aspect of you: your health, your job, your education, and your relationships. Spend time in prayer and meditation about each area of your life. Then, create goals that move you forward in living out your purpose.
God understands your motives. You’ve accepted that you were created for a purpose. You’ve made plans to achieve certain goals. Now, you must re-examine your motives for pursuing them. Your motives must be greater than a desire for fortune or fame. Your motive for success is to please God. There is no higher goal than this.
God is your help. You’re fired up about your purpose! However, it’s important that you don’t attempt to work out every detail by yourself. Remember, God is in the details! Again, you must pray about how to live God’s plan for you. Meditate on scriptures. Believe that God is intervening on
your behalf as you attempt each new step.
God knows your future. Continue to make plans. However, be aware that God knows your future. When life hits you hard and knocks you off your feet, God will pick you up!
When you know your God-given purpose, the direction of your life is made clearer. From your purpose, you set your goals. From your goals, you plan actions to succeed in every area of your life.
Finally, be at peace.
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This is a dreadful day for you. You may have some difficult decisions. You may be failing. Perhaps you have suffered a loss. You want out.
How do you get through this day? It will not be easy. However, there is a way out – go through it.
You may not be able to control what’s facing you today. But, there are 4 areas of daily care that you can control today. Take a little time to consciously practice caring for yourself in each area. Before long, you will have come through this challenging day.
4 Areas of Daily Care
Care for Your Spirit. Your inner person or spirit deserves the best care possible. Make prayer a priority each day. Prayer does not have to be a formal event. It simply involves communicating your heart to God. You can do it at anytime and anywhere (I Thessalonians 5:17).
Care for Your Soul. Your mind, will, and emotions all make up your soul. Strained relationships can cause strained emotions. Take an occasional break from the demands of your day. Avoid negative behaviors and people(Colossians 3:8-9). Find help with a counselor or pastor if you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
Care for Your Body. Your body is the outer layer of you. Just as too much attention to it may result in shallowness, not enough attention could be detrimental. Eat a healthy meal. Take a nap. Enjoy a relaxing bath. Your body is worthy of respect(I Corinthians 6:19).
Care for Someone Else. You’ve taken the time to care for yourself. Now, look beyond yourself to care for someone else (Philippians 2:4). It could be a kind word to a stranger. Send an encouraging text. Give someone a hug. Remember that you are here for a purpose that is much larger than yourself!
Thank you for visiting SDT for Transformation. Because of you, we have experienced tremendous success for our first year. You can look forward to our continued efforts to share the Good News about God’s transformation power!
We wish you peace as you celebrate the birth of Christ, and blessings for the New Year!
By now, at age 62, I thought I would have my weight problem under control. Not so. I’m still working at it!
Like me, you could be feeling, “By Now,” about a personal challenge. You think, “By now, I should be able to forget about that.” “By now, I should be making more money.” Maybe, after so many years past, you are still struggling to overcome a soured relationship.
There is good news! Our “By Now” moments lessen as we learn to “Live Now” in God’s grace. Join me on this journey of grace. Read on to find out how.
3 Ways to Live Now in God’s Grace
Accept God’s gift to you. Grace is a gift from God. This gift is his love in action to you. He offers this gift to you. But you can never benefit from a gift unless you accept it. To accept the gift, you must believe in God’s salvation plan. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9)
Live one day at a time. A Christian counselor recently reminded me God gives us grace for each day. We often make the mistake of carrying today’s grace into tomorrow. Jesus taught us not to worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own! Plan for tomorrow, but live for today. (Matthew 6:34)
Share your gift. You are created in Christ Jesus to do the good things He planned for you. Get busy extending the grace you receive to others. Forgiving is at the top of my list because it can be very difficult. Sharing your time and resources are also ways to share grace. When we help people in need, we focus less on ourselves. (Ephesians 2:10).
My weight may not be ideal yet. However,my goal is much larger: to achieve my best health each day. Also, I am totally thankful for the great things God has done in my life: no more focusing on what should or could have been.
It’s important for you to continue planning and setting goals for your future. You have God’s grace to live out those plans and achieve your goals one day at a time.
Join those of us who have said goodbye to “By Now.” Make a decision right now to start living in the gift of grace granted to you for today. Then, you will find yourself growing in that grace each day. ( 2Peter 3:18)
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Before our first hurricane experience this year, my family had already survived at least two blizzards, two tornadoes, and two earthquakes!
The earthquakes happened without warnings. However, each storm was predicted with warnings issued in advance. In the end, each natural occurrence left some level of damage behind.
Like storms and earthquakes, toxic relationships create fear and leave emotional damage behind. But, you can prepare for, survive, and recover from toxic experiences.
Read on to see how toxic relationships can affect you like dangerous storms.
Hurricanes are big wind events known to destroy large, coastal areas. Likewise, human hurricanes are destructive to everyone around them. They are extremely self-seeking and resistant to change. Furthermore, they blame you for their misery. Maybe it’s time for you to evacuate away from the human hurricanes
Tornadoes are usually spawned from severe thunderstorms. They pass through territories leaving damage to whatever is in its path. Do you know someone who likes to stir up trouble and care less about who gets hurt from it? That’s a human tornado. Take shelter from it!
Blizzards are severe snowstorms. It is difficult to drive or walk in a blizzard. The human blizzards make it difficult for you to move forward with your life. They storm you with fault finding, criticism, and calloused remarks. You are left feeling rejected, discouraged and defeated. Get out of the path of cold blizzards.
Earthquakes are not storms. They are, nevertheless, natural hazards that happen with little warning. It’s the same with human earthquakes. You’re minding your own business. Then it happens; the earthquake shakes you up with unnecessary bad news or gossip (usually about you). Run from earthquakes!
As with natural occurrences, you have no control over the actions of toxic personalities. However, you can control your responses to them.
Pay attention. Look for the warning signs. Dark clouds and strong winds warn of an approaching storm. Disrespect, anger, and mistrust in your relationships indicate trouble ahead. Do not ignore the red flags. You are worthy of respect and trust.
Prepare yourself. We prepare for natural disasters by keeping food, water, and flashlights on hand. A healthy lifestyle will equip you for the upcoming storms of emotional turmoil. Exercise regularly. Eat healthy. Pray and meditate daily. Avoid drugs and alcohol abuse.
Protect yourself. We seek shelter during severe storms. At times, evacuations are mandated to save lives. Likewise, you must protect yourself from toxic people. Remove yourself from their destructive paths. Stop making excuses and covering for troublemakers. Refuse to believe the negativity that keeps you from moving forward.
After the storm, residents can repair some storm damage. However, they may need professional help with larger issues.
You can repair your heart and spirit after a stormy relationship. But, you may need help. Go online to find a support group. Seek professional counseling. Talk to your pastor. Remind yourself every day that God loves you.
Question: Have you ever been the toxic person in a relationship? How did you change? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
You Can Flip Off the Switch to Your Negative Thinking!
There is at least one conversation you will have each day. It’s the one inside your head. So, what have you been saying to yourself lately?
Are you gripped by persistent, negative thinking?
If you are bombarded with negative thoughts, you did not get that way overnight. A lifetime of fear, shame, and other harmful emotions can lead to persistent, negative thinking. Here are just a few examples of what could be fueling your negative thinking.
Unresolved anger, shame, and other harmful emotions.
Becoming too consumed with what others are doing that may not concern you.
Mistreatment from others or being in an abusive relationship.
Frequently rehashing past mistakes and wrong decisions.
The need to always be right.
Get to positive thinking by flipping the switch!
A therapist once taught me how to turn off my negative thinking and excessive ruminating. She encouraged me to “flip the switch” and turn off the negative thoughts. Here is how it works:
When you become lost in negative thinking, stop the negativity by flipping an imaginary switch in your mind. You can literally make the gesture with your finger as if reaching up to flip off a light switch. (Soon, you will not have to go through that motion. Flipping the switch will become a mental habit.)
Think of a loving word or phrase to silently replace the negative thoughts. Some examples are: love, peace, Jesus, “Rejoice in the Lord. “It’s a good day.” I suggest you use the same loving word or phrase each time. Watch how other positive thoughts will follow your loving word or phrase.
When negative thinking returns (and it will), start the process over. Flip off the negative thoughts and think of your loving word or phrase.
This silent, mental exercise can be done anytime and anywhere. You may never be free of negative thoughts. That is okay. Certain negative thoughts can actually protect you from harm. But God has given us the ability to live in peace. You can begin today.
If your thinking becomes dangerous, you need to seek professional help right away. This technique is not for individuals suspected or diagnosed with a mental illness without approval from your doctor or therapist.
Question: Can you share a technique that helps you stop negative thinking? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Are you selfless? You probably spend a lot of energy making your bosses happy. You spend most of your time making your families comfortable. Without a doubt, you are a loving and caring person.
But there is a problem that happens too often with loving, caring people like us. We become so selfless that no “self” is left for us.
There is a better way to love and care for others. Start by putting you first.
Should you always put yourself first? Not literally. However, your spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being must become a priority. By practicing excellent self-care, you will think clearer and have more energy to care for others.
Devote some time each day to care for your spirit, mind, and body. There is no one way to do this. You have to discover what best works for you.
Here are the 3 priorities for putting you first.
The Spiritual You– Start each day with prayer and meditation. Talk to God about your problems and concerns for the day. Trust God for guidance with your tasks and decisions.
The Emotional You– Whatever is going on in your mind drives your emotions. Let go of past hurts and disappointments by practicing forgiveness. If necessary, find a professional to help you let go of emotional pain. Find a way to relax each day.
The Physical You– Practice good health habits each day. Eat healthier. Get a regular exercise routine. Get enough sleep. Start by making small changes and set goals for yourself.
You deserve to be your best self. The people you love and serve will greatly benefit from a healthy and stress-free you!
Question: What changes have you made recently to take better care of you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Fear can be a healthy emotion. It serves us in a good way by making us aware of danger. Because of fear, we avoid dark allies and teach our children to beware of strangers. It’s healthy fear that reminds us to wash our hands.
Fear is also a toxic emotion. Fear rules over us when we allow personal setbacks, bad news in our communities and negative world events to steal our joy. Eventually, we develop a fear of living.
When you have a fear of living, you only cleave to familiar people and places. You live with unfounded paranoia and distrust. There is little or no joy in your life.
However, when you live free of fear’s control, you experience joy.
If you have become fearful of living, you can break free. Here are 4 steps to help you take back your life. These 4 steps are taken from my earlier post, My Cycle for Healing Toxic Fear.
4 Steps to Lose the Fear and Take Back Your Life
Own Your Fears – Fear originates from many sources. Certain events in life can embed fears. For example, fear of water could stem from an incident in the water during childhood. Be honest with yourself. When and how did your fear begin?
Look Upward for Help – You will need help to recover from toxic fear. I encourage you to look to God for help. You should also seek professional help as needed. There are many books and online resources related to coping with fear.
Give Up Your Fears – To stop living in fear, you must be willing to give it up. Fearfulness may have been your “normal.” But once you make a decision to let it go, the fear will begin to leave.
Change Your thinking –Negative thinking accompanies fearfulness. I found help with negative thinking through prayer and meditation, counseling, joining a support group, and studying literature on emotional healing.
The four steps are just the beginning of your journey to freedom. As you begin to lose the fears, you will discover your purpose in living. You were given one, beautiful, life. Live it with joy and peace.
Snap out of it! If you are suffering from depression, it’s some of the worse advice you can get. If you are attempting to help someone with depression, it’s one of the worse things you can say. Why? Read on.
Depression is a serious illness. It can be life-threatening. According to WebMD, if someone has the following symptoms for two weeks or more, it could be depression.
Feeling sad, hopeless, or tearful nearly every day.
Loss of interest or not getting pleasure from most daily activities that they used to enjoy.
What do you say to someone with depression? Here are 4 comments to avoid, and some suggestions for what to do or say instead.
This is just a phase. It will pass soon . Yes, it is a phase, but it may not pass soon. In fact, without treatment, the depression could get worse. Instead say, “I hope you feel better soon,” or “How can I help you?” Encourage them to see a doctor.
Just give it to God. They have. People dealing with depression are desperate for help. They may even question their faith because of their feelings of defeat. Worse, some religious groups may equate mental illnesses such as depression as demonic. Remind the depressed persons they are dealing with an illness. Reassure them of God’s love for them. Offer to pray for them or with them.
Happiness is a choice. Given a choice, no one would choose depression over happiness. Depressed people struggle daily to put on a happy face, but they are hurting deep inside. Allow them to share their feelings freely and openly. However, it is okay to let them know they can choose to get well or remain sick.
You should get out more. On most days, depressed people struggle to get out of bed. Their appearances may begin to suffer. They may not have the energy to keep the house clean. They can become withdrawn. Again, encourage the depressed person to see their doctor. Better still, offer to drive them there.