Chip Carter, MA, LPC
I wish I had the boldness of Jesus in so many ways. Here are just a few…
-How He called a spade a spade, or more accurately, a Pharisee a Pharisee when He observed their legalism time and time again.
-How He knew when to rest, even amidst the storms
-How He met people where they were - ravaged, hurting, embarrassed, desperate - and sent them off with a completely different perspective and belief system
-How He asked others to come along on His journey, even though He had all the power in the world and could commune with God whenever He wanted
Jesus knew people, knew how they operated inside and out, and still – STILL – asked twelve to join Him on His mission. Surely, He did this to teach and model what God wants and desires for His children. Absolutely, He knew what was coming three years down the road and needed to have them in place to carry out his mission long after He was gone. But, I believe, He did this also because He was a human being, He didn’t want to be alone while His mission unfolded, and knew that having community in his life would bless Him in ways that spoke to His soul.
Jesus sought community. Thus, community must be a good thing.
Not so fast you might say. In Jesus’s gang of twelve, one betrayed Him in such a huge way it was a crucial step that led to his death. Knowing this, what did Jesus do?
He washed his feet.
Another publicly professed he would never deny Jesus, that he was His most ardent follower and then denied Jesus not once or twice, but three separate times. In turn, what did Jesus do?
He called him a ‘rock’ and stated this future thing He labeled ‘the church’ would be built on him.
Have you ever been at your doctor’s office and they bring out that instrument that looks like a hammer to test your reflexes? And then the doctor bangs your knee and it automatically springs up. That’s what they're looking for – that your reflexes are sharp; that they’re working; that they’re doing what they were made to do.
Jesus had the best ‘reflexes’; always sharp, always working, always moving towards God’s redemptive plan. He served where I would have been really angry and scared. He encouraged and empowered where I would have scolded and brooded.
Isaiah 55, verses 8 and 9 are familiar verses to many of us – ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways…for as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways. And my thoughts than your thoughts.’
And, if you’ll allow me a little room here… ’For my reflexes are not your reflexes.’
But here’s the ticket: He wants us to be more like Him. He wants our ways, our thoughts, our reflexes to be like more like His. He wants us to serve when instead we want to say ‘Get out!’ He wants us to encourage and validate when we would rather point fingers and be hurt. What blows my mind and heart though is He did these things within His community, a community of his choosing. He would not have had these examples if He had not brought others on his journey.
The truth is this: people are going to hurt us, especially those we know well. The truth is also this, many of us (hand raised here for sure) have shied away from community because the hurts have hit us hard. But now, when I look back at times when I’ve been hesitant about allowing people in, I look at it from the lens of whether my reflexes were sharp or dull. The hammer is going to hit us eventually; let our reflexes be more like His.
The other day I was sitting at a red light. I wasn't in a particular hurry. I wasn't running late. Both nice changes of pace for me. But what I noticed was that my immediate reaction once I had stopped was to reach of my phone and see what I had missed, or better yet, if anyone had missed me and reached out. It's like I'm afraid to be alone with my own thoughts sometimes, so I just start flexing my thumbs for their workout.
Later that day, I was at the gym. I was pretty proud of myself - I was running hard, sweating...you know, doing things I pay a gym for...and I was in the moment. I was not running while staring at my phone. I was not lifting dumbbells while replying to texts in between reps. I was just in the moment. It was awesome. Better yet, it was freeing.
I had this thought - "I'm here training and conditioning my muscles, but it's my actual thumbs (Are there muscles in there? There has to be, right?) that need the most help. It's my thumbs that reach for the apps (Hello, Facebook!), for the notification of new emails, and for the keyboard letters to respond to a text. It's those dang thumbs fault I'm so addicted to my phone.
But it's actually not their fault; it's mine and no one else's. I'm the culprit who manipulates my thumbs to respond to the slightest break in my schedule to see what the world has been up to since I had last checked (no more than 12 minutes ago, I'm sure). It's my fault, and mine only. So me and my thumbs have got some work to do. Actually, I've got some work to do. My thumbs...they actually need a break.
We live in peace when daily we….
If we live in this way daily, we will feel the embrace of our Maker’s arms as we live a life that pleases Him.
When we delight in knowing our Maker, We will live in Peace…..
Derived from NIV Holy Bible, I Thessalonians 5:8-24
By: Dr. M. Diane Pearce, Ph.D., LMFT
The ‘RELATIONAL’ aspects of preparing for the Holidays can be the most overwhelming portion of all seasons of busyness. There are times we may wonder….’Where is my Holiday Spirit?’
When faced with the relational challenges that lie ahead of us, these few ‘Soul Care Habits’ can bring it all into focus!
When Expectations abound = Practice Flexibility!
When Rudeness abounds =Practice Protecting Dignity!
When Crankiness abounds = Practice Affirming Others!
When Negativity abounds = Practice Speaking Positives!
We all will find these habits a challenge! Christ abounded in Love in the face of being misunderstood, mistreated and abused to the point of death. Perhaps this season, we can share just a little ‘Christmas Spirit’ by practicing love in the midst of our circumstances.
When Boundaries are crossed - Can we give the benefit of the doubt & protect dignity as we speak truthfully to others?
When others are moody – Can we look for the good in them & tell them the good that we see?
When others disappoint us – Can we take it in stride & tell them we miss their sweet side?
When we are overwhelmed – Can we slow down, be quiet and practice being our best self?
When we are tempted to use Alcohol to self soothe – Can we restrict our intake so that we do not lose control over self?
When we feel lonely – Can we prompt intimacy with others by telling them what we admire about them?
Let us all remember….we have all been cranky, weak, negative, moody, rude and we all have disappointed someone. Can we act towards others the way that we would want them to act towards us?
Let us be the 1st to:
May you find Peace & Hope as you practice loving others with a true ‘Christmas Spirit’.
Merry Christmas to us all.
M. Diane Pearce, Ph.D., LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
By: Dr. M. Diane Pearce, PH.D, LMFT
Originally posted: January 2009
As we encroach upon the beginning of a new calendar year I am reminded that each of us are looking ahead to new opportunities of influence or we may be looking back on missed opportunities. Here at Legacy we believe that the decisions we make daily results in consequences that can last an eternity. Most of us certainly believe this, however, we get bogged down in the business of daily routines, the demands of the workplace, the kids, the uncertain economy, etc.
What is it that enables us to live differently than what the mundane responsibilities prompt within us? Judy Suiter, Author & President of Competitive Edge, Inc., a Human Resources consulting company, tells those under her influence to "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. And dance like no one is watching!" Embracing the power of our influence requires us to first commit to avoiding the mundane, status quo way of living. By breaking free of our standard involuntary tolerance of the many moments of the day, we will more fully embrace the experiences of life.
In the process of breaking free of mundane living, we can then fully see the power of our words to others. My pastor is frequently reminding us how we all need a word of encouragement and the affirmation of being told "a job well done" or "we appreciate you and all you do". We can have an everlasting influence on those around us if we can just stop the treadmill of activity in order to affirm those around us. This should begin first with our family who is affected by our words more than anyone else. It is easy to
exchange accolades with our co-workers, clients, customers, business associates, etc. It is much more meaningful to exchange them with our family. Some may say "But you don't know my family!" You are right. I don't know your family. However, I guarantee that they would feel a little more loved and attended to, if you stop long enough to find something that they are doing right and pay them a compliment.
If you choose to invest yourself in this way with those around you, you will likely see them change before your eyes, their hearts will melt maybe just a little and they will feel cared for. You will be blessed because you will see your legacy taking root and blossom into an influence that will outlast your presence here on earth. With such little effort, we all have the power to influence someone. Who could you influence today?
"Above all, love each other deeply
Legacy strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.