By: Ariadne Crane, MA, APC, AMFT
If we were to compare deities from various religions, we would notice that the God from the Christian Bible is the only God that left his throne and met his people face to face. He literally came down from the high mountain to meet us and interact with us. We were created to be in relationships with others, modeled by God. Not only is it important to Him to relate to us, He also desires for us to relate to Him. He came to live among His people to model how to relate to one another.
One of the most significant versus in the Bible is in Matthew 22:37-40: "Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.
The second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
The word love has been used and abused throughout the centuries and thousands of books have been published interpreting the significance of love, so let's introduce a few questions that help identify the love demonstrations between a couple.
Often Marriage and Family Therapists begin a session with a focus on how the couple interacts and shows affection. Is there a friendship between them or a connection at all and if so is it purely physical? Do they trust each other? It is important to know how they connect or bond with one another. Do they feel protected as well as respected and do they feel they can count on each other no matter what. How the couple communicates is vital. How they solve conflict is also important. In most relationships there will be disagreements, but how they are worked through is critical.
What God models best is that being in relationships can be difficult because it often means having to give up our wants and needs. Being in a relationship takes sacrificial love to forgo one's own goals and dreams. This goes beyond being united or part of the team. It is the selfless act of wanting the other to succeed, to be part of the same team fighting and defending for the same objectives. This sacrificial love is not an obligation, but a desire to serve one another due to the commitment to the relationship, even if there is no benefit to the giver.
We can rely on His Word for guidance, though not everything is spelled out for us in the Bible. Jesus Christ demonstrated the ultimate sacrifice when He laid His life down for all of us. I believe that there is only one God; He is also known through Jesus Christ (our Advocate) and the Holy Spirit. No verse in the New Testament describes sacrificial love better than John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
In order to put the relationship ahead of the individual one must put his or her needs and desires aside and follow Christ's example of sacrificial love. This is love in its truest manifestation.
Photo Credit: Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash
M. Diane Pearce, Ph.D., LMFT
When doubts creep in or we grow tired and weary, God has some advice for us. Abba Father knows best the ‘what’ and the ‘when’ of my needs more than I. Whether I am in want of recognition, comfort, or guidance, He tells me what to do, in no uncertain terms and with no candy coating. He is ‘to the point,’ time and time again! In Deuteronomy 10:20, He says “HOLD FAST”! We will be at peace if we can listen to His advice to us as His children.
H - Humility In the Soul
Humility puts into perspective how very little power I have & how much power He has. (Deut. 9:5-6)
O – OBEY GOD’S WAYS
Observing & Obeying His ways gives us strength to do what He has called us to do. (Deut. 11:8-13)
L – LAY CLAIM TO WHAT HE GIVES
Laying claim and holding onto what He calls us to do (and where He provides for us to do it), no matter how small the territory or how big, is an act of obedience. (Deut. 11:24-31)
D – DEFENDING and LOVING THOSE IN NEED
Because we all have been or will become weak, poor, aged or alone, He asks us to defend and love those who are in need, following His example and command. (Deut. 10:17-20)
F – FEAR GOD ALONE
Having a fear of God that outweighs our fear of a circumstance or a person is the path to ensuring that I will not lose my way. (Deut. 6:13 and 11:12)
A – ASSURANCE COMES FROM GOD
Being assured by God requires that I see that my strength comes from His mighty power and outstretched arm. My confidence does not come from my own skills or integrity. (Deut. 9:3-4)
S – SERVE GOD’S AGENDA ONLY
Serving God’s agenda and being careful, lest I get distracted by what may even appear to be good, will ensure that the responsibilities and territory that God wants me to manage will be given to me by His strength. (Deut. 11:16-24)
T –TRUSTING IN HIS WAYS
Trusting in God’s redemption of myself and those I care for, more than I trust in my own logic, requires that I believe in His plan and in His Great Power. (Deut. 9:23-29)
Love the Lord your God, walk in His ways and Hold Fast to Him!
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.