By Amanda Carter, MA, LPC
We as Christians are now in the season of Easter, the 50-day period staring on Easter and ending on Pentecost Sunday. It is a season of celebration and renewal as is the natural season of Spring. Also, in a possible season of renewal – our world. To me, there appears to be a renewed sense of hope among us that perhaps we are coming to the end of the pandemic that has gripped the world over the past year.
What can you and I do to both guard and guide as we move into this season of renewal? Here are some practical ways to practice renewal/celebration which are meaningful:
My encouragement to you is to engage in some of the above practices and experience the renewal your heart likely desires.
Happy Season of Renewal!
By: Chip Carter, MA, LPC
A question for each of you – How many times do you think you’ve prayed ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (1) in your life?
A dozen? A few hundred? Close to a thousand or more?
Those sixty-eight words Jesus spoke are some of His most famous, and are meant to guide us in our prayer lives. Often, when I’ve had no words to utter to God because of grief, sadness or weariness, I will pray that prayer because I know it by heart and because I know that it is good.
But on the flip side, I can also speak those same sixty-eight words with little meaning in my voice or movement in my heart. Things that I tend to lean on when I’m down can also be the same things I go to when I feel indifferent or, honestly, would rather be doing anything besides praying. It can, and has become at times, the prayer I pray when I want to check ‘prayer’ off my to-do list for the day.
When I get to that point, I need to do something to shake things up and look at what Jesus was trying to teach me. Here is how I’ve broken down the Lord’s Prayer to help me get back on track and get my heart in alignment with His.
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be Your Name
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day, our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever.
And so be it, good readers. I hope this has helped remind you that God is for you, that He knows what He is doing, and that He desires to bring Heaven to Earth.
Let’s go after that…
By: M. Diane Pearce, Ph.D., Marriage & Family Therapist
“BE CAREFUL, KEEP CALM & DO NOT LOSE HEART!” This is the soundest psychological advice of our time! This advice is challenging to follow when the order that we all grew accustomed to is nowhere to be seen. In a gloomy & distressful environment, it is natural human instinct to begin looking around for something predictable & a sense of order. Chaos seems to surround us, in the news, social media, government and even in relationships.
Order and predictability become my quest….
A quote from the movie Spiderman, “To whom much is given, much is expected” resonates in my soul because I have been given a great deal. Therefore, I am somewhat ashamed to admit to you, my reader, that I am afraid of the unknown. In my younger & seemingly braver days I marched into the unknown & I did it alone and afraid. Yet, I walked in faith and took one step at a time, having only my faith in God and what scripture tells me is His purpose for me as my motivation. As God often does with us, He did not make clear to me the path set before me but He always made clear the next step to take by making available to me one & only one step at a time. Now years later, I find myself fearing the unknown, when I know from years of experiences that He is predictable though the path laid before me is not!
So, we must ask ourselves, as we start a new year with the chaos, what step can I take today? Though I will feel lonely and afraid, wisdom tells me that I only need to know how to take the step laid before me today.
How to be Strong enough for One Step at a Time in today’s Chaos…….
“Be Careful, Stay Calm & Do Not Lose Heart” is advice that is psychologically sound for our current culture & it comes from scripture! This advice was stunningly appropriate to the environment that is recorded in Isaiah. The people were in gloom and distress & needed a Prince of Peace, an Everlasting Father! He told Isaiah to not call conspiracy what the people call conspiracy & do not fear what they fear. He told him to Be careful, Stay Calm & Do not lose heart! May we each stand firm in our faith with Careful Calm!
(Scripture adapted from Isaiah 7:4, 9, 8:12-14, 9:1,2 6,7)
By: Chip Carter, LPC, Co-Director Legacy Strategy
I believe most, if not everyone reading this, can agree on one thing – 2020 has been one of the most challenging years ever. And Isn’t it nice that we’re all agreeing on something for a change?
Not much more needs to be written about the year 2020 and the difficulties it has brought. We could all most likely recite a litany of challenges, frustrations and losses. It has been draining. It has been exhausting. It has been, just simply, hard.
Many of us are counting down the days to January 1st, 2021. People so badly want this year to be a distant memory and just want to stop saying ‘2020’ like it’s both a diagnosis and a punchline. I imagine firework sales for New Year’s Eve this year will be record breaking if only for a symbolic ‘see ya’ to many of ours ‘worst year ever’.
But here’s the thing…once we cross into the new year, the pandemic, political polarization and racial unrest…they aren’t leaving. They will be here with us on New Year’s Day whether we like it or not.
So if the countdown to ‘end the misery of 2020’ isn’t going to provide some long-lasting relief, what will? What does? Can anything help redirect our thoughts and our prayers to point towards some semblance of hope? In my life, I have found two things that, when done consistently, put hope back front and center where it belongs – reflection and gratitude.
Reflection – if you’re like me, sometimes all you have left in you at the end of the day is enough energy to crawl in the bed and maybe turn off your bedside lamp. But on my better days, here’s what I do. I get out an old-school day planner and write the highlights of my day. It’s short, it’s typically in bullet form and, to be honest, some days have fewer entries. But the act of recalling and reflecting on my day challenges me to find moments that are worth remembering. These can be conversations that mattered, a complement you received, or even unexpected time to binge a show on Netflix. These small acts of recalling and naming the best parts of our day puts our hearts into a more open place for…
Gratitude – You didn’t think you’d read a blog post during this time of the year and not have that word discussed, did you? But…it’s 2020…and it’s never been more important. Here’s how I start my heart and mind into a time of gratefulness. I grab my phone and find a worship song in my music library. I then put the phone on top of my chest (I’m laying down) over my heart and hit play. For four or five minutes, I let the song play and I give thanks for the people, the opportunities and the wonder in my life. I also pray into things that are going on my own life and the lives of those I know and love. I can honestly say when I start my day this way, it makes a difference. And to be a difference-maker, to not let this problem or that problem, this year or that year get you down, that’s what I’m shooting for.
My encouragement to each of you it to bookend your days with gratitude and reflection and put 2020…or any other year that may come…in it’s place. There is still much to be thankful for; we just have to make the time to remember.
BY: TRAY TANKERSLEY APC, NCC, THM
A few weeks ago I heard a memorable quote, part of a larger statement made by the leadership of Boeing, an American aerospace bellwether and the manufacturer of the 737 MAX plane. Responding to Congress’ damning investigation of a series of 737 MAX plane crashes, the leadership of the company stated:
Change is always hard and requires daily commitment, but we as a company are dedicated to doing the work...
I second that - change is hard and requires daily commitment. Those who seek therapy, whether they can articulate it or not, are seeking change. This sounds good, until the changes are articulated: I need a different spouse; I want my children to change their behaviors; I wish my manager would leave; can I get a new mom or dads. It’s human nature, isn’t it? We all want change. We just want someone else or something else (besides us) to change.
Our role will be to bring our best, most empathetic, patient, understanding self to help others make the necessary changes. Ok, hopefully you are chuckling with me.
We find as therapists that, at some level (usually on a “surface” cognitive level) clients believe that they have opportunity for growth and change. And, I find that clients believe that the other (fill in the blank) still possesses MOST of the responsibility for the problem and most of the needed change!
In the therapy room it sounds like this:
Client: “I know I don’t do everything perfect and I need to make some changes...”(long pause) “BUT YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT HE/SHE/THEY DO...”
Be that as it may, you do not have enough anger, manipulative skills, anxious activity or enough facts, logic, data and reason to make anyone else change.
The ONLY person you can change is yourself. The only responses you can change are yours. The only facial expressions, eyebrow raises, frowns you can change are your own. The only thoughts you can control are yours. The only emotions you can regulate belong to you. The only words you can command come out of your mouth.
Change is always hard...because it requires something from you. It’s always easier to require something of someone else.
But requiring change from someone else keeps you from the TREAT of change. It’s a treat to learn to respond differently. It’s a treat to grow as a person and learn the skill of grounding and emotionally regulating yourself without having to rely on someone else to do it for you. It’s a treat to find new words and new ways of expressing emotions and vulnerability.
The TRICK is embracing the well worn rule of life - you’re the only one you can change!
Legacy strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.