Phases #10 Deliverance…again

sir_peter_paul_rubens_-_daniel_in_the_lions_den_-_google_art_project
Peter Paul Rubens, between circa 1614 and circa 1616

   By now you must be wondering if the Christian life is like going ‘round in circles— deliverance, delight, discipleship, discouragement, decisions, & now, deliverance, again. In many ways, you would be right. For a life of faith is not a straight line to the future, with no kinks, knots, bunny trails, or temporary suspensions. It has all of that and then some. Maybe even a lion’s den for some of us.

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     No Christian is perfect. We are always in process. [Although, I must admit to being PERFECT in 2004, for about 5 ½ minutes, in April. Most of the time, I am not even close.Our faith journeys are not set in stone, even though our salvation is. We all doubt, wander, reject, reaffirm, and celebrate over and over again. Our faith is set in the context of who we are designed to be as individual Christians, in the context of the whole Body of Christ.

     So in times when we need yet another deliverance from our anguish, our pain, our sin, it is good to have fellow journeymen around you who can attest to the power of God to free you from yet another mess you’ve made of your life. Christian community…, remember?!? I’ve often wondered if we go through these cycles so God can remind us we are fickle beings and must constantly rely on Him. Deliverance has a definite recurring role in our journey of faith.

     There is another side effect of deliverance. It is the reminder that we are also forgiven for our sins (READ— no condemnation!) Many of us never lay hold of this reality; instead, we wallow in the Dark Night of the Soul believing we will never get it right, never be good enough for Christ, never be worthy of heaven. Seriously!?! Can we be so stupid to believe that Christ’s work of the Cross was not sufficient to cover the price for all of our sins? Even the ones we have not come up with yet?

     You ARE in a state of grace. You have been declared holy. Get used to it. Get on with it in your journey and believe that you are truly forgiven— past, present and future. No defeatist wallowing allowed.

     AND, when you mess up again, again, and again…, and need the deliverance of the Father, know it is already there; and the forgiveness to go along with it as well. Seek forgiveness wherever you need it; then get back on track. Our Lord has all your bases covered.

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

~Psalm 32:7 [NIV]

 SMILE, Gary

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Phases #8 Decisions

Gary Davis, decisions, despair, depression, life, journey

     Rising above despair, or crawling your way out of it, is not easy. It might take more time than you initially thought. And you may never fully find yourself completely clear of it. Some pains leave deep scars.

     If there is one tool in the fight against deep, enduring despair it is this— make decisions. It will require every ounce of strength and determination you can muster, and then some. And you will get it wrong sometime. Fine! Try again. Don’t let failure defeat you; learn from it; grow from it. Get mad at your situation. What did Sir Winston Churchill say during World War II? “We will never give up! Never, never, never give up.”

     So also it must be with you.

     At some points you will not even have a hint of what those decisions are. That’s OK. But there will come a day, a moment, a tipping point when a decision, a resolution will become clear. You must make it. Right or wrong…, MAKE IT. It’s better to be engaged in doing something than to lie there sullen, mired in your own solidifying concrete.

     First, a disclaimer. I am prone to depression; to deep spirals; to feeling empty and useless. So, these thoughts do not originate from a book on counseling or self-help. They are real, just like the anguish you are now enduring.

  1. One, I’ve already mentioned— get mad at yourself. This will at least awaken your ire and challenge you to start fighting.
  2. Don’t over-analyze. Mulling the same think over ad infinitum has a way of breeding reptiles of the mind that gnaw at your soul and cramp your emotional/mental capacities.
  3. Pray. If you do not have faith in a God who created you and has your best interests at heart, then this idea doesn’t apply to you: but it should anyway. Call it external processing if you must. Unburden your heart to someone who can help. I vote for God.
  4. Seek medical help. Whether to get through your pain, or, to gain a sense of stability once again. God’s healing is both natural and supernatural; it’s hard to tell which is which sometimes.
  5. Eat the right stuff. Even though chocolate and coffee are essential food groups you still need a source of meat (cow, fish, protein), vegetables (fiber & vitamins), grains (bread, oatmeal, fiber), dairy (yogurt, cheese, hit fudge sundaes).
  6. Exercise. Brooding bloats the brain. Get out there and burn off some endorphins, stress, and calories.
  7. Again, talk to a wise friend. Or, pay a counselor. You need an external perspective.
  8. Make decisions that give you hope and a clear path of resolution and restoration.

Never give up! Never, never, never give up!

  Gary

Trouble Transitions

Gary, Davis, Christianity, Change, Trouble, Transitions          Far too frequently we hear the cry that our society needs more change agents. The implication is that the way things are presently just isn’t good enough. Pick a field— politics, business, transportation, medicine, religion (especially Christianity), finances, yadayadayada. Everything needs some form of change.

            The problem with change is that it invariably dumps us into a transitional time where even more things become unclear, unsteady, and iffy. O joy. Just what we need— more instability. Well, actually, we do.

Transitions in any segment of life move us out of the predictability, safety and definitions within one life-phase into an arena of uncertainty, a transition.

Transitions aren’t necessarily marked by growth. Though most people would hope they grow within a transition, many people, and businesses flounder, unable to set a new direction, given the changing global circumstances or personal situation. But without the cloudiness of a transition, things would stay too-much-same.

When you think about it, the cycle of phases and transitions, phases and transitions, is constant throughout your own life, or the life of a company, or country. The shifts are marked by what Malcom Gladwell has declared as tipping points— literally, those events or experiences that push us right over the edge and force us to consider something else in the future…, or tomorrow, or next week.

So when you consider becoming a change agent also consider how it will affect you, personally, your business, your family, and the greater good. Do you want to create the circumstances that lead you and those with you into a transition?

Transitions are uncertain times. Just make sure you are ready for the fog that lies ahead. But, by all means, keep moving forward. Besides think of all the fun constant predictability takes out of the adventure we call life?!?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

choosing what is right…choosing what is easy

Our society seems full of people who refuse to choose. We put it off; hoping someone else will take the responsibility of making the decision. Thus are we able to comply or complain. Keeping our options open is always the preferred path. Heaven forbid that anyone should hurt anybody else.

If the choice should come to a ethical issue, choosing what is right too often gives way to that which is easy. Choosing what is right often involves moral judgment, even if it be between the lesser of two evils. Doing what is right can bring criticism and condemnation from any and all who disagree with our idea of what right is. [… and where do we get our ideas of right and wrong, anyway?] We can be viewed as narrow-minded, intolerant, “conservative” (never liberal, by the way), dogmatic, and certainly as prejudicial. God forgive us for actually believing humanity has an innate moral consciousness that underlies our ethical sensitivities, religious beliefs, and public actions.

If you’ve lived long enough you well know that all choices have consequences, one way or another. Some choices are life threatening; most are not quite. Whatever choices we make, right, or easy, they add up to forge our path in life with all its blessings and/or curses. That’s just the way it is.

I end with a poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963), to remind us all of our intrinsic responsibility to choose wisely.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Did I mention that not to choose is also a choice? Easier? Maybe. You cannot just sit there.

Have a nice journey,

Gary

weapons of self-destruction

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, We’ve all met someone who seems to have a built-in self-destruct button. They make consistently bad decisions; some of them life threatening. We worry about these people; we try to help them; and, sometimes, we stay as far away from them as possible. Their personal annihilation often drains the life out of those around them.

Much more delicately, however, each of us fabricate our own weapons of self-destruction. Not intentionally, of course, but we do it nonetheless. Here are a few WSDs I’ve observed in people.

·  Over-commitment · Short-changing on sleep · Peopled-out
·  No time alone, down-time · Work is life: life is work · No time for even one friend
· Afraid to adapt, change, grow · Constant headaches · Loss of life’s excitement

There are more WSDs, to be sure. But these are the most obvious to others; if we’re honest, we’ve all sensed some of these signs in ourselves at one time or another. The question is what we DO about them. Here’s my next list for defusing some of these devices and lessening the extent of damage they can do in our lives.

1.       Take stock of your life. Not just a cursory band-aid review, but a full-fledged assessment of who you are and what you are doing. You may want a sounding-board person to help you establish an honest perspective on yourself.

2.       GO TO BED! Sorry, you DO need 8 hours. Talk with your doctor about a sleep-aid if necessary.

3.       For a time, limit the people in your life to a balance of feeders and drainers. i.e.- you need to be fed as you give out.

4.       Get away. Go for a walk (daily, alone), go to a hotel (no TV), get out in the woods…, something.

5.       Create a life that is separate from work. Anything. Take up knitting! Snow-football. Watch-making. Anything.

6.       You have to have at least one friend with whom you are completely safe. Find ‘em, feed ‘em, laugh with them.

7.       Start by brushing your teeth differently, then shift from boxers to briefs & vice-versa. Try doing something completely unusual for you. Hug people you’ve never hugged before. Smile at your enemies; send them gifts. Anything!

8.       Headaches are our body’s cues that we are pushing too much. [Some people can push more than others.] Go to a medical doctor and get some perspective…, and some proper medication.

9.       If nothing in life excites you any longer you are in the grasp of some form of depression. You need to talk to a professional counselor, psychologist, etc. more than anything the loss of a zest for life will destroy you. DO NOT let this WSD run its course.

Remember, it is never too late to regain your equilibrium in life. Our Creator did not make us to fall apart; that’s our doing. Let Him help rebuild your life into something remarkable, full of life, and maybe a little outrageous!

Have a nice week.

Gary