Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

Correct With Love

photo credit: Kurdistan Photo ???????? kurdistan via photopin (license)

 

The next time someone is wrong on the internet, let’s try to remember that correction requires a loving relationship, or it won’t be received well. Usually, it is best to just stop and pray. If God does ever ask us to correct his children for him, it is wise to first connect with God’s children and positively and nurture them, meeting their needs in a loving manner. If we take time to do that, we will be much better received. In this context, correction is a positive affirmation of relationship instead of the negative rejection it is when it is disconnected from a warm, nurturing relationship.

Let’s also remember we need loving correction ourselves and seek nurturing relationships where we will get nudged into the right direction safely. We can get through bad days by relying on a nurturing relationship with someone we can trust to lovingly, gently correct us while praising what we get right more frequently and patiently listening even if we don’t say everything as respectfully as we should. I strongly recommend we all have that relationship with Father God and Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you happen to have a good parent or spouse who qualifies, too, great. However, we need to keep the Lord as our first go-to person or our loved one will become an idol. Three reasons to avoid that. One, idolatry hurts God like our spouses committing adultery would hurt us. Two, even the best people won’t always be there for us, but God is always with his people. Three, idols often will fall off of their pedestals, but God will never fail you. So spare God and yourself a lot of pain and keep God first.

Now, some of us have conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder which cause rejection sensitivity. When triggered, it produces a physical anxiety that some would call “negative energy.” Whatever we call it, we are often tempted to think this comes from the person triggering us, blaming them. In reality, it comes from our own flesh’s response to our own perception of rejection.

Perception is not reality. Nonetheless, our flesh reacts to our perception. Our flesh’s reaction often triggers more negative behavior in the other person. And it can cause rejection where none had been. This cycle can be broken, if we can change our perception of others’ negative behavior. For example, what if, instead of perceiving rejection, we saw an indication the person is hurting and needs help? How would we respond differently? How might our more compassionate response improve their disposition?

This is far from easy, of course, and we do all need to be careful if someone truly means us harm.

Still, God can help us if we pray, acknowledge our weakness, and ask him to give us his eyes. He can also help us to treat others with respect and love even when we still find their behavior disrespectful and unloving. Again, abuse survivors, this does not mean we must let abusers keep hurting us. It means to set boundaries with respect and love. Typically, an abuser will decry any manner of boundary-setting as rude and unloving, so don’t allow them to be the judge. Let God show you how to love and respect the abuser as you also stop enabling them to keep sinning against you.

Finally, when you or a loved one is honestly struggling and truly wish to do better, give yourself or your loved one grace. Recognize where your and/or your loved one is at that day and set reasonable expectations of what can be accomplished. Lower the bar clear to basic safety levels, if necessary. Decide together on three baby steps in the right direction and take those steps together. Little by little can accomplish much and build confidence for more tomorrow.


8 Biblical Meditations For Anxiety

Guidelines for Christian meditation available in Comfort for Anxiety, please, hold the guilt trip.

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Bonus Prayers for ADHD patients and others looking for a Christian alternative to New Age clearings: 

General:

Father God, I come before you in the name of your son, Christ Jesus our Lord. Please remove every weight that besets me and keeps me from serving you effectively. Please break every chain that restrains me likewise. Please extinguish every fiery dart of the enemy. In your perfect timing, show me every hindrance, every thought of the heart that holds me back. Show me how to take it captive and bring my heart and mind into conformity to you and your truth. Transform me by the renewing of my mind. Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free. Thank you for showing me the truth. Thank you for helping me to walk in your ways. Your will be done. Amen.

For Overwhelm:

Father God, I come before you in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. I thank you that you are with us always, even to the end of the age. Deliver me from all that overwhelms me. Show me the source. Cover me in the blood of the Lamb. Anoint me with your spirit and shield me from all enemy attack. I thank you, Lord. Please break the chains of the overwhelm in my life. Please remove every weight that overwhelms me and keeps me from running a good race. By your spirit, Lord. Thank you so much that Christ died for my sins. I rest in your son. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for setting me free. Thank you that I can lay at your feet all that overwhelms me and rest in you. I lay it down now, Lord. I give it all over to your hands now, Lord. Your will be done. Amen.

For Financial Provision:

Father God, I come before you in the name of your son, my Lord Jesus Christ. I thank you that you are with me. Thank you for knowing my need even before I speak it. You are YHWY Yireh, my provider, and your grace is sufficient for me. Deliver me from every enemy attack on my fiances. Give me wisdom, please, to manage your property well, Lord. By the precious blood of Jesus Christ, break every chain and free me from every weight that hinders me from being a good steward of your resources. Show me anything else that gets in the way. Make a way for me, Lord, where there seems to be no way. Thank you that Christ came to give me abundant spiritual life. I thank you that you will never forsake me, for the sake of Christ’s righteousness in me. Thank you that you provide for all of my needs according to your riches in glory. Your will be done. Amen.


Comfort for Anxiety, please, hold the guilt trip.

photo credit: Big Grey Mare Tree Planted By The Water via photopin (license)

Meditating on God’s word is an effective way to counter lies both from our own anxious minds and spiritual attacks. When tempted, Christ himself defeated Satan by countering with what it was written in the Bible. I am a student of the practice, not a teacher. And please continue any medical treatment you are on, but I’ll share what I’m learning with you.

The basics are to recognize our emotional states, identify the lies influencing us, and pick verses that effectively contradict them. When it is the devil, say it loud, with authority, and he will back down if there is no other factors at play.

When it is physical brokenness or our own wounded hearts, that is another story. Christian Meditation still can calm our minds and soothe our heart, but you have to repeat your chosen text many times, really chew on it to get it worked down into the hurting places where God is working.

In selecting texts, many of us tend to go to a concordance named Google, who reports back its top-ranked online lists of verses. “Bible on Anxiety” turns up some excellent websites. That said, nigh any list of Bible verses on anxiety includes verses with some variant of “Don’t be anxious.” For our purposes, that may not be the best choice.

In the proper context, “don’t be afraid” is a soothing reassurance. But “don’t be anxious” typically is a command, and the law tends to provoke anxiety, not relieve it. Now, if you commanding yourself to not be anxious a thousand times or so does relieve your anxiety, great. If it only heaps a guilt trip on you and makes you feel condemned, though, please skip that one.

So what does work?

First, read the most infamous verse in context. It begins Paul’s recipe for defeating anxiety. The full passage is far more helpful. However, it is not a text to meditate on, it is instructions for countering anxiety, which includes instructions on meditation. It doesn’t have to be God’s word, though God’s word is most powerful. An effective Christian meditation is “whatever” is in line with Biblical truth and is good, just, honorable, pure, and lovely. It can even be a visual from God’s word and/or of the good things of God’s creation. One image from the Word that I find helpful is of a tree planted by water, with its roots plunging right down into the stream. Secure in God’s steadfast love.

Second, get specific. What exactly are you anxious about? What provokes it? When it isn’t strictly chemical, persistent fears often arise from negative core beliefs about ourselves and others. A negative core belief is a false belief your heart harbors even when your conscious mind knows it is a lie. This subconscious fear will still influence you so long as it remains buried in your heart. It can backfire to answer your own heart the way you should answer the devil. As a wounded heart feels things, anything said in a harsh tone is speaking death. To speak life, swap out strong rebukes for a gentle, loving tone as you counter old lies with the corresponding truth about your identity in Christ.

Third, don’t rush yourself past the stage of identifying the lies your heart is holding onto to avoid “speaking death.” God can still hear you “speaking death” in your heart. It is still manifesting in your life. Face it. Admit it out loud. It is okay. You must grab hold of it to get it out. What to be wary of is latching onto it only to wallow in it. Meditation, speaking life, is more effective if we first identify the lies embedded like thorns, confess them to the Lord, and get him to remove them.

Fourth, sometimes God says no to removing such thorns in the flesh. That no is nothing to be ashamed of; it happens even to the best of us, namely the Apostle Paul himself. What God did through Paul was phenomenal, yet the man was never able to overcome the shame that had him declaring himself “the worst of sinners” over his actions before he was a Christian, despite his own teachings on the grace of God. There are times when God has a reason for our struggle, such as making his strength perfect through our weakness; in some cases, God is using our very weakness to strengthen us in his power.

Finally, here are seven Bible passages that work well as verses to meditate on to combat various kinds of anxiety. At least they comfort me and the Facebook friends who answered my short survey. Feel free to shorten these as needed, but read them in context the first time. The exact wording isn’t vital for meditation purposes, so long as it reflects the Bible’s intent and meaning.

Psalm 62 Meditation: God is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. God is a refuge for me.

2 Timothy 1:5-12 Meditation: God has given me a spirit of power, a spirit of love, and a spirit of self-control (which promotes the sound mind some translations mention.)

Matthew 19:23-29 Meditation: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Isaiah 26:3 Meditation:”You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 41:5-13 Meditation: The Lord is with us and he is our God. He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us by his righteous right hand. (From Isaiah 41:10)

Psalm 139 Meditation: God knit me together in my mother’s womb. Praise you, God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, including myself. (Bonus prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart. Show me what grieves you. Lead me in the way everlasting.)

2 Cor. 4. 7-10 Meditation: I am afflicted (or hard pressed) but not crushed. I am perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken. I am struck down but not destroyed.

Psalm 4:8 (ESV) “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (This meditation is perfect for anxiety at bedtime.)

Again, you can’t breeze through this. You have to chew on the truth; sustain focus on the verse or the Bible-based meditation for several minutes at least. Try pairing it with instrumental worship music, relaxing nature sounds, or visualizing the beauty of God’s creation. Also, keep your breathing slow, deep, and rhythmic, as if you are breathing in the truth of God’s word. And feel free to let me know what works for you and which verses are your own favorites. Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus!