Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lies/ Teling Ourselves the Truth: Truth #5, #6

Telling Ourselves the Truth

Last week we learned that pain is good.. this week we will seek to embrace the truth that….

The Truth #5 & 6:   There is no gain without pain. And..
                 :   You don’t ‘have to’ do anything!

Truth #5 There is no gain without pain.

“One cannot get through life without pain.” ~Bernie Siegel

Hometown newspaper article

Review last week…
check engine light
Fire Alarm story (check back.. there will be a separate blog for this story - a portion is in the audio)

A.      There are no quick-fix solutions
B.      It takes some painful effort


exertion of physical or mental power:
an earnest or strenuous attempt:
something done by exertion or hard work
the amount of exertion expended for a specified purpose

If we want anything to be easy, we have to work hard.
1.    If we want a quiz to be easy, we have to study hard.
2.    If we want a couple of hours on the tennis court to be easy, we have to train hard.
3.    If we want our marriages/ relationships to be easy, we have to work diligently on them and ourselves
4.    If we want life to be easy, we have to put our ALL into it, painfully so.

Truth #6:   You don’t ‘have to’ do anything!

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. ~George Bernard Shaw

WRITE IT DOWN!   A ‘have to’ attitude toward life makes you a bitter victim while a ‘choose to’ attitude makes you a healthy victor!

-         You always have a choice

Deuteronomy 30:19
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

-         The only way out is to see options & accept responsibility

Joshua 24:15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Walking through an example:

Event – asked to _______ family event
“have to”?
New self-talk: don’t have to say ‘yes’

Evaluating our Thought Closet

Philippians 4:8

New International Version (NIV)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
The Message (MSG)
 8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. 

Remember the game ‘I spy’? 
This will be a fun way for you to remember to keep your thought closet full of the things that God wants you to dwell on..
I spy something true.  Example: I spy something true because I can embrace God’s promise to give me strength no matter how tired I am.
I spy something honorable..     
This exercise will help you become mindful of the things that are valued by God and…the Holy Spirit will enable you to see if you will ask..

I spy something right, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent…

If we will make an effort to do this with the leadership of the Spirit, we will be trading our destructive, self-defeating thoughts for His thoughts – the things that are worthy of being in our thought closet.

Telling Ourselves the Truth # 5 & 6
Group Work

Do the pain; get the gain! 

1.    Discuss quick-fix solutions you see that are prevalent in ‘the church’ today.  Your life?
2.    Share about a process of change you have been in and the effort it has taken to see growth & change.
3.    What is God’s response to our avoidance of pain?
4.    Discuss a scenario that most of us would interpret as a ‘have to’ and walk it through the exercise. 
5.    What is your hesitancy in embracing the ‘choose to’ attitude rather than the ‘have to’ attitude?
6.    What are the things that you dwell on the most in your thought closet?  Your needs, your body, your plans, insecurities, fears, pride, your future, family, your rights, your failures, needs, your past, your situation(s)?   Pray for each other that you will be able to apply and practice Phil 4:8 this week.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lies.Truth&Trusting by Robbie

Truth and Trusting God

Before moving on to more truths that are essential to our spiritual, emotional and mental well-being, I’d like to pause and spend a few minutes reflecting on how we can embrace the truths we are learning.  It is one thing to ‘know’ the truth and it’s another thing to embrace it and act upon it.  I believe the former is infinitely easier than the latter.  So, how do we refute the lies and embrace the truth?  Ultimately, it is Jesus, who is Truth Himself, who gives us the ability to embrace truth.  But we can take a few practical steps in the right direction as well.  And it starts with asking yourself this question:  Am I trusting God – really?

Recent events in my life have shown me that I am not trusting God as much as I thought.  Persistent worries about what might happen, gnawing regrets of past choices, endless ‘task lists,’ constant planning and a prevalent sense of burden and discontent proves to me that I am not trusting every aspect of my life to God.  During a recent LifeCare Great Exchange weekend ‘seminar,’ I had the opportunity to symbolically put my heart at the foot of the cross.  My heart was represented by a paper heart torn into pieces by the world, my sin nature and circumstances.  I found I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t give Jesus my heart, even though a whole, healthy heart was waiting at the foot of the cross for me to pick up in place of my own.

Why couldn’t I do it?  Plain and simple, I don’t really trust him in all areas of my life.  I still find myself trusting in lies rather than the truth.  I still find myself knowing but not embracing the truths we are learning.  My friend and mentor, Joann, has helped me see that I am trusting in something - but unfortunately it is not God.  It is worldly idols.  And they come in all shapes and sizes:  food, career, fame, leisure, physical image, t.v., people (children, spouses or movie stars), envy of perceived Hollywood lifestyles, things (bigger house, new car, latest clothing styles), and on and on it goes.

And we look to those idols to fill those empty holes:  loneliness, insignificance, rejection, need for approval, acceptance, love…you fill in the blank.  They don’t, of course, fill the need.  But it often seems there is no other place to turn, especially if you are going through a season when God’s presence in your life is not obvious to you.  And those things do satisfy the desire to ‘feel better for the moment.’  That’s why idols are so dangerous - they give the illusion of filling the need because they make us feel better for an instant.  But the need returns and we turn back to the food or the shopping or an ‘A’ on our exam for another ‘fix’.  Unfortunately, the ‘fixes’ never stop. 

So, sometimes we need to step back and look the idols directly in the face and say ‘Enough!’  Stop.  Step out of denial.  Look your need square in the face.  One need at a time; one idol at a time.  Then, when some of those idols are cleared out of the way, we can begin to move from merely knowing the truth to embracing it - because we’ve cleared the way so that God’s voice can speak to us. 

Back to the weekend….I realized that I couldn’t give my whole heart to God because I don’t believe he is trustworthy.  It is an overwhelming thought to give your whole self to someone you’re not 100% sure you can trust.  But I do know he is the only hope for filling those holes of need, so I want to trust him.  But how?  One step at a time.  As the truth comes to us bit by bit, piece by piece, so I can give him my heart to him one broken piece at a time, one idol at a time.  One obstacle at a time, as 1 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT) says, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

My friend, Joann, shared with me a tool for learning to trust God, and I want to share that with you.

A Practical Way to Trusting in God
While Joann was contemplating how to trust God, she went to the Random House Dictionary and found this definition of trust.
  1. unquestioning belief in the integrity, strength, or ability of a person or thing
  2. confident expectation
  3. a person or thing that can be relied upon
  4. the responsibility of a person in whom confidence or authority is placed
  5. charge or custody

I encourage you spend some time pondering the different aspects of trust in relation to God and to idols.  When you find yourself relying on the lies and worldly idols to soothe your pain and fill your needs, think about this:
    • Is this idol something I believe in without questioning its integrity, strength or ability?
    • Can I rely upon this idol?
    • What will happen if I give this idol the authority to handle this problem or need?
    • What will happen if I give this idol custody of my thoughts and feelings?

To go a little deeper, contemplate the following Random House Dictionary definitions in relation to the ‘idol lies’ that are so hard to demolish:

  1. an image, as a statue, worshipped as a deity
  2. any person or thing devotedly admired

  1. zealous or ardent in attachment
  2. consecrated or dedicated

Do you really want to be zealously attached to a lie?  None of us do, but it is hard to ‘turn off’ a lifetime of coping mechanisms.  We can, however, move the mountain one stone at a time.  To start the dismantling process, ask yourself the questions outlined above each time a lie or an idol rears its ugly head. 

Let’s take an example: you are feeling lonely and craving a piece of cake to soothe the immediate pain.  Before taking that cake, ask yourself these questions:
  • Do I have an unquestionable belief that this piece of cake will make me feel less lonely?
  • Can I rely on this piece of cake to make me feel less lonely?
  • What will happen if I give this piece of cake the authority to help me?
  • What will happen if I give this piece of cake custody of my thoughts and feelings?

It seems silly, doesn’t it, to give a piece of cake custody of our thoughts and feelings?  But isn’t that what we do – rely upon it to make us feel better, feel less lonely? 

Perhaps another example will help:  you are feeling inadequate and want the approval of your boss to make you feel better about yourself.  Ask these questions:
  • Do I have an unquestionable belief that my boss’s thoughts of me will make me feel better about myself?
  • Can I rely upon my boss to make me feel significant?
  • What will happen if I give my boss the authority to help me feel competent?
  • What will happen if I give my boss custody of my thoughts and feelings?

In view of these questions, it no longer seems reasonable to hand over your feelings about yourself to your boss, friend or spouse.   That is giving them power over your feelings, your thoughts and your life. 

So, let’s turn to the One who can meet all our needs and ask those same questions in relation to Him:
  • Do I have an unquestionable belief that God will make me feel less lonely / better about myself?
  • Can I rely upon God to make me feel less lonely / significant / competent?
  • What will happen if I give God the authority to help me?
  • What will happen if I give God custody of my thoughts and feelings of insignificance?

One final definition:  custody means guardianship or care.  Re-read the last question.  What will happen if you give God guardianship and care of your thoughts and feelings?  Your response to that and any of the other questions will help illuminate where you are on your trust-journey.  Perhaps you don’t think things will change if you give God authority to help you.  Or you think things will get worse.  Start there.  Talk with him about it.  Explore the bible, seeking verses to support or refute your answer.  Talk to wise counsel.

Sometimes we are able to wholeheartedly place our trust in God, but more often than not, it is bit by bit, one piece of our heart at a time.  But I believe this is the type of sacrifice God desires, as stated in Romans 12:1-2a (The Message):  So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.”

If we begin to apply this to each and every situation involving lies and idol worship, we will feel the joy and peace of God come into our lives – situation by situation.  Always remember, God is please with every effort you make toward right-thinking.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  Jeremiah 31:3

  1. Imagine yourself giving the pieces of your heart to God.  How does that make you feel?
  2. Discuss what struck you the most on the definitions provided (trust, idol, devoted).
  3. Identify some of the idols and lies that you are currently battling.  Choose one idol and walk through the questions provided – first using the set of questions where the idol meets your need and then using the set of questions where God meets your needs.


Telling Ourselves the Truth

NOTE: The majority of the content is on the audio

The Truth:   To Err is Human
                 :  You Can’t Please Everyone

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average. ~M. H. Alderson

~ Do you believe it? 

Truth #1 - To err is human.

negative self-talk

~ Mistakes and Anger go hand in hand

James 1:19-21

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

~ How human is making mistakes?

“To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of your pencil, you’re overdoing it” ~Jerry Jenkins

Truth #2 – You can’t please everyone

I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure – try to please everybody. ~Herbert Bayard Swope

Song -  Garden Party - 'can't please everyone, so you, got to please yourself'??

Galatians 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

~ Childhood & Approval

Approval Addiction vs. People Pleasing - there is a difference

The way out….  The cure

Steps 1 – 3 and… I can't. God can. I'll let Him.

Things that help in overcoming:
1.    List priorities – renewing love for God needs to be at the top
2.    Start nurturing a close, intimate relationship with those that have been negatively impacted by your approval addiction
3.    Reach out and develop new healthy friendships and mentors
4.    Make a commitment to balance your life better: work, rest, diet, exercise, spiritual development, fun!

The only way to get your life back is to risk not receiving the applause from others! 
Homework:  3 assignments

Telling Ourselves the Truth
Group Work

1.    To err is human.  Discuss your self-talk when you make a mistake.  What do you say?

2.    As we consider having the truth in our minds about mistakes, how does our self-talk change?  What do we say?

3.    Do you see any connection between your anger and/or depression as it relates to a lack of embracing this truth in particular?

4.     Where did your desire to please others come from?

5.    How much of what you do is about pleasing God – and how much is it about pleasing others?

6.    Go over homework assignments again for this week – which will be the hardest for you and why?