Inner Conflict? Now What?

stressed-mouse

Several times during breakfast today, my husband Kevin checked out of our conversation and stared into an unknown region of his mind. “Are you okay?” I said. He told me he was fine, but there was simply too much going on in our lives right now. No wonder . . .

  • Our daughter’s car was in the repair shop and Kev had assumed the role of chauffeur for getting her to work and her three kids to their schools.
  • Two members of the congregation he pastors were in different hospitals with serious health challenges.
  • His turn to take my 92-year-old mom for her monthly eye injection–a major undertaking–was  coming up in a few days.

Everyone has problems. The issues above represent outward circumstances that need our attention. But what happens when the problems we wrestle are inside us? 

inner turmoil brain overwhelmed_pixabay

  • We have conflicts or communication issues with family members and friends
  • We don’t understand ourselves–we do and say things that baffle or bother us
  • We have fears, doubts, and confusion that tie our brain in knots

These are inner conflicts, not as easily solved as the outward issues. But neither are they impossible to get through. With God’s help, some time, and work, we CAN overcome all the turmoil inside us. We CAN live in victory. Here are a few places to start:

Cast your cares upon the Lord Jesus with man

  • Talk to God about what bothers you. Get alone, get quiet, and ask hard questions. WHY do I behave like this? HOW can I overcome this habit? WHAT is the root of this fear? It may take some time to hear the answers, and we may need to revisit our issues many times. That’s okay. God wants to help us more than we need help.
  • Read, read, read–in the Bible, online, and in books and magazines that address the inner conflict you’re experiencing. Discover how others found solutions to their problems. Educate yourself. Open your mind to the sweet possibility that you don’t have to live with this turmoil.
  • Create a Support System, whether a few close friend to confide in and ask for prayer help, a trained counselor, a 12-step program, or a trustworthy pastor. When we surround ourselves with others who are willing to help, we gain hope for positive change. We begin to see ourselves, rather than victims, as victors.

lady.praying.DanielReche

Have you experienced inner conflict lately? What are you doing to help God help you overcome? 

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Bad Advice on Love, Relationships, and Health

Need some adviceBad AdviceWe’ve all received it:

       “Marry the first man or lady you fall in love with. You’ll save time. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always get a divorce.”

It’s better to say what you think than to stuff your feelings, even if you hurt someone. It’s just as bad of a sin to think something than it is to say it.”

You only live once. You may as well eat whatever you like. You have to go sometime; why not go happy?”

What is the secret to sorting out the bad advice? How do you respond to tacky, even harmful suggestions by well-meaning or misguided people?

Bible.starburst.charlotte         First. pray and seek God’s will in his word, the Bible. Of course, the Scriptures aren’t going to have detail about what color car to purchase or what town to move to. But they contain God’s life, so reading them will prime your mind to think His thoughts.

         Second, ask someone who’s had more life experience than you have, especially if the matter involves a relationship or the outcome of your future. The more input we receive from godly, wise sources the more likely we are to make excellent choices.

       Third and last, read as much as you can about the topic at hand. With the plethora of information available to us at a keystroke, there’s no reason to not inform ourselves of all the knowledge we can.

Have you ever received Bad Advice on Love, Relationships, and/or Health? How did you respond? 

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Low-fat Caramel Bars for Fall Baking

Golden Goodie bars

Would you rather cook, or bake? If you said “Bake,” you might enjoy this recipe for low-fat caramel bars, one of our favorites for fall.

Each 2”x 3” square contains only 2 grams of fat, and it’s a breeze to put together.

I sometimes add oatmeal or chocolate chips*, but my husband likes these caramel bars just as they are–simple and yummy.

Golden Goodie Bars

2 ¼ cups of Bisquick® or other baking mix

1 ½ cups brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend baking mix, eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Stir until mixed well. *
  3. Spread dough in greased and floured (or sprayed with non-fat cooking spray) oblong pan, 13 x 9 x 2. I like to sprinkle fall colored cake decorations on top before baking, to give it a festive look.
  4. Bake about 30-35 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

*You can blend in 1 cup of chopped nuts, coconut, or chocolate chips, but this will add to the fat content.

kids baking

This is a fun, fast recipe for little ones to help with, since it only has four ingredients, and it’s nearly impossible to ruin!

Do you have a favorite fall recipe that your family loves?

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Hope for Your Self-image

cat bad hairAs I curled my wayward hair this morning to prepare for a speaking gig, I heard myself say, “I have too much product on my hair to expect it to curl the right way,” and “my hair is too long.” Worse yet, I caught myself thinking, “Will anyone listen to me if my hair looks ugly?”

OOPS! I need to read my own book, Hello, Beautiful! Finally Love Yourself Just As You Are. Although I’m the principle author, I wrote it as much for me as for anyone.

Hello, Beautiful cover

Women in our society wrestle with feeling good about ourselves in spite of our size, shape, and social status. This is why I and co-author Beth Gormong, wrote Hello, Beautiful! From the introduction:

We want to see women take Jesus’ words so seriously that they are set free from the erroneous thinking that they are never good enough, they must be perfect to be loved, and that skinny equals pretty. We want to help women break free of faulty teaching and bask in the reality of God’s high esteem and deep love for them, so they can love themselves without guilt or shame. If women catch the Master’s meaning of true love, starting with themselves as precious ones made in Gods’ image, there will be no end to what they can achieve to make this world a lovelier place.

            Because once women realize a truth and act on it, no power in earth or hell can stop them.

“Forgive me, Lord, for criticizing myself and for thinking You can’t use me unless I look perfect. Help me see and love myself the way YOU do: with forgiveness, grace and kindness.” 

We need to improve, that’s the truth. But if we accept and love ourselves, we’ll improve faster. Do you love yourself just as you are? 

lady.praying.DanielReche

Look in the mirror today and say, “Hello, Beautiful!”

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How are “Ouch!” & “Thank You” Related?

Ouch free image  “Ouch!” and “Thank you” are rarely used in the same sentence, unless we’re receiving an immunization or a chiropractic adjustment. But I recently discovered how “ouch” and “Thank you”
are related. 

A few years ago in a brave moment I asked the Lord to show me places in my life that needed to change. Almost immediately, I wanted to tell God, “Just forget it!” But he remembered. And he started showing me things like:

  • Pride (Isn’t this life all about me?)
  • Selfishness (I want what I want when I want it)
  • Gluttony (Not always food, but shopping, TV, talking)

And many other ugly elements of my soul that made me say “Ouch!” But as I’ve prayed, wept over my sins, repented (again and again, sometimes daily), I’ve reached the place where I can finally say “Thank You!”

thank you kid with bow tie

Thank you, Lord, for:

  • Helping me see where I need to change
  • Giving me the power to say “NO” to old habits
  • Providing me with the grace to start fresh every day and develop new habits.

One of the best, most hopeful things about being “In Christ” is the freed from from having to sin. Because Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit, we have the same power Jesus had to say, “Get behind me, Satan!” I love that. 

Even on days when I see ugly places in my heart that are far from perfect, I can also say Hope“Thank You.” Because the same God who shines his light of gentle conviction also pulls me up with his mighty hand, enabling me to stand tall and victorious.

Have you experienced an “Ouch/Thank you!” moment recently?

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Cats: Love ’em or Hate ’em?

lots of cats with hatsCats: most people either love ’em or hate ’em. The haters contend that felines ruin furniture, kill song birds, and consider people their slaves. The lovers argue that cats control rodents, relieve stress, and cover up their own poops.

I find my “spoiled brats in fur suits” brimming with wisdom. Here are some insights I’ve learned from the devilish angels:

  • If you fight with the family cats, you won’t have energy left to ward off enemies.
  • Look for a patch of sunshine and stay there.
  • Naps are cool.
  • Don’t fuss about your food, or the one who feeds you may start buying a cheaper brand.
  • Purring will get you everywhere.
  • Master the “Shocked and Innocent Look” if someone laughs at you. Better yet, stick your nose in the air and saunter away, pretending you don’t care.
  • Naps are fun.
  • Act as if you know what you’re doing even if you don’t have a clue.
  • Convince your humans how blessed they are to live in the same universe with you.
  • Refuse to give up. If one bird escapes, climb another tree.
  • Naps are refreshing.

Solution cartoon cats and mice

Similar to cats, people are a mix of aggravating and endearing qualities. When I’m tempted to dismiss someone as too ornery to tolerate, I remember how God bears with my faults and stupid mistakes. Receiving His unconditional love frees me to love myself and others, focusing on positive qualities.

Now if I could convince my husband to see the good in our kitties…

 

 

 

 

3 Secrets to Add More Hours to Your Day

When I told someone “I’m too busy” for the thousandth time this week, I heard that wee, gentle Voice in my heart say, “Quit saying you are too busy.” Oops. I knew the Lord was trying to help me out of my time crunch pit–a place I seem to fall into way too often. 

You too? Okay, let’s work together on overcoming those nasty time-stealers. I’d like to share 3 Secrets to Add  More Hours in Your Day. These are helps I’ve discovered over the years that work every time… when I work them. 

Three Easy Secrets

1. Start the day with prayer. When we put God first, He makes sure we get everything done that needs to be done. Notice I didn’t say “everything we want to do.” Sometimes I have lists of items He never told me to do. I have to be careful that I seek Him, or I bite off more than I can handle, then wig out when I feel pressured to do it all. 

2. Identify your challenging areas that trip you up most often and waste your time. These could be watching too much TV, overly-long phone conversations, or hours on social media sites. None of these are wrong; they might be eating more time than we realize, though, leaving us with not enough to do what really matters in our lives. 

3. Ask for help. It’s okay to hire someone to clean your house, bathe your dog, wash your car. If you have kids at home, they can help with chores and cooking, even run errands once they start driving. We do our families a disservice when we try to be supermom or super-dad and do it all. When we work as a team, things get done faster. Then we can concentrate on relationships more. 

Ive got a secret

Do What Works

I know, I know. These aren’t really secrets. But they work. Try them and see if you don’t have more hours in your day. Then let me know if you have other ways to get out of the time crunch pit we all seem to put ourselves into from time to time. 

What is your favorite way to save time at your house/workplace?