Monday, April 8, 2019

God Takes.

     Recently the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me through some song lyrics.  This is not odd for me as this happens everyday, however sometimes He speaks specifically to me about a subject and teaches me something much deeper.  The songs are from a Christian artist named Tauren Wells.  His songs Known and Hills and Valleys have some lyrics that have haunted me in some of my current circumstances. 

"God, you give and take away...Father, you give and take away, Every joy and every pain..."
"And you call me out to pull me in..."

     These are just some of the words, but go ahead and listen to the songs and search up the lyrics and read them for yourself.  The Holy Spirit has been birthing something in me for quite a few months now.  It has felt like its right in front of me but I cannot see it.  I cannot grasp it.  It has been intangible.  I sense its presence and its finality.  This is because my will was invested in MY WILL.  But, these songs have rang in my mind, in my dreams, and in many of my waking hours.  Yesterday, finally it all came togethor with two scriptures from Job 1:21 "...The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord" and from Genesis 22: 1-12, which I will only quote verse 12, " I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son."

     Have you ever had something in your life, a circumstance, person, or thing that was being taken from you? Taken through seemingly earthly circumstances which you have tried and tried to fight but to no avail it just seems, taken? Well I sure have!  Many things. Many people. Many intentions. Many goals. Many, many things that I posessed as gifts, comforts, feel goods, things that allow me to feel "normal" or even above "normal".  

     And I have always had this attitude about loss that if I am losing something, someone is to blame.  Someone did something wrong--namely me!  How impoverished I have become in so many circumstances attempting to resist "losing" stuff, people, and achievments.  What a deception! I have not been losing it.  It is being taken.  And not because I am bad, wrong, or unworthy (necessarily).  It is because it is the divine will of God.  He is not being mean, cruel, angry, harsh, or any other negative judgment of God.  It simply IS.

     Maybe my obsessive desire to latch on to anything I am given thats good came from not having enough when I was young; enough love, money, food, cool clothes, attention, safety, etc. Thats entirely possible.  Maybe my obsessive clinging to blessings is a part of my nature.  That nature that is bound to my flesh and its will that is self-protective and self-exalting.  I think thats also entirely possible.  Maybe, its just the way I think.  Maybe its just the way my mind perceives loss that motivates me to compulsively hang on to my blessings.  That is also entirely possible! My gut tells me it is a combination of the three!

     God gives many blessings, such as: good health, strength, life, love, relationships, marriage, children, success, posessions, pets, family, friends, businesses, jobs, cars, titles, authority, strengths, gifts/talents, vision, opportuniites, etc.  What makes us believe that once we have these blessings that we will not be asked to hand them over?  And maybe even right away after they are handed to us!  God takes, anything He chooses for any reason that He chooses!  I am not saying we should give up without any fight, but if the fight becomes the new norm (insanity) then maybe, we are fighting God Himself!

     Sometimes God takes directly.  Other times God allows Satan and his henchmen to take from us. Even more God allows our sin, choices, and even the sin of others to take from us what He has ordained to be taken.  And when He takes, how do we perceive it and respond?

  • Get angry and stubborn? Even unyielding?
  • Depressed and victimized? Powerless?
  • Focused, solutionizing, controlling, perfect execution?
  • Afraid, walking on spiritual eggshells? Gods a meany?
  • Manipulative, strategizing, making deals, being perfect?

     And all to keep what we have.  When surrendering to God is so much easier, so much less heartache, less wasted time, less fighting, and less frustration.  We will even tell ourselves lies about God and His motivations/intentions so that we can keep believing that we havent already lost what is standing right there staring us in the face!  ACCEPTANCE.  Acceptance, is the key.  Otherwise it will be a lifetime of searching, blaming, and solution attempts.

     Then there is the post acceptance sitting still. Waiting in the acceptance that, "God took."  Now, I wait to hear what He will say is the next response, idea, attitude, and action.

     How good are you at letting God take from you?  Especially the things that you posess that supply your ego with power, importance, comfort, and feel goods.  Are you watching the taking of something or someone in your life?  If God wants you to fight, then fight!  But if God is saying let go then it is time to ACCEPT, God gave and God takes away.  For whatever reason He had.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!  

Friday, February 8, 2019

Step 3, 6, and 7 Prayer

Christian Counseling Coon Rapids, MNGod,
Remove my blindness. Remove my deafness. Open my eyes so I can see my willful behaviors, open my ears so I can hear my willful words, open my mind so I can realize when I am about to or am doing willful actions.  I am willing to be remade to fit your will. Please God, I need a resurrection. I need a revival to who You made me to be.
In your name I pray.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Making "FUN" Your Life Purpose

The purpose of every Christian's life is to please God (Phillipians 2:13, Ephesians 1:5, 2 Thess 1:11, Collosians 1:10, Mathew 25:21, NKJV).  Strangely, realizing that and accepting that is the hardest process of life. Our nature of self is not easily persuaded to allow someone else (let alone an invisible God) to be more valuable than ourselves with every teency tiny thought or inclination that pops into our minds and hearts.  Because we place pleasing ourselves out ahead of everything else humans have a tendency to develop fixations and false beliefs that justify those fixations.
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Have you or someone you know made "fun" the guiding motivation of life?  A fixation.  I have worked with many who have. Oh what a tireless, frustrating effort this is, but one that is hard to surrender. Because there are so many false and validating voices out there in the world around us. What's so bad about fun, right? Well, intrinsicly nothing. For the person who looks forward to their next "fun" time drawing on its hope to keep them focused now, essentially makes the fun they're looking forward to a demand. I MUST feel it and get it!

My thoughts on fun

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It may not be a thought but more of a strong feeling, craving, or impulse.  Its motivating though, driving the person forward to whatever finish line in order to receive their reward (a compulsion). Problems arise in this scenario. First thing I think is, what if the person doesn't complete or achieve the task and doesn't feel as though they've earned the "fun"? Well, then they give themselves the fun out of defiance to their internal driver but feel strong guilt or pressure.  This creates a negative feedback loop from myself to myself. Very destructive.

My next thought is, what if the result in many scenarios is my faithfulness or my commitment or my loyalty? In other words, successful completion may elude me because my definition is under-developed or based on shallow values. Then what? Do I deserve "fun" then? Now I'm back to that negative feedback loop but I might also begin to become angry with people I believe are keeping me from feeling as though I have earned "fun". Fun is not as fun when I do not believe I have earned it, right?!

Another thought is, the attempt to hold on to "fun" as a goal or end result is an attempt to hold on to the carefree status  of childhood making it a fixation. Even further, an attachment to a developmental phase during childhood or early adolescence. A phase in which fun made life sweet and free and memorable. Right here is where your specific idea of fun is defined.  Are your sweetest memories laced with eating? Partying? Being alone? Being devious? Promiscuous? Working?  Fighting?  There will be specific characteristics and environments that will tend to be reoccurring themes of what you consider "fun".

The Maturing Process

Sometimes it may seem clinging to old behaviors is easier than adult growth, the maturing process, and learning and accepting being sober minded. The Bible speaks of putting off the old man (Eph 4:22).  Developmentally speaking, the Bible is right on here! Adults who want to stay in step with healthy development must put off this immature, childish belief that life must be fun. Then in fun's place put on maturity and sober mindedness tempered by Gods love.

Gods love is key to this growth. Without it we may grow rigid, serious, and staunchly pious. Gods love brings an appropriate simplicity, humility, and playfulness. His love gives us the ability to be real and authentic and mature at the same time. We must relinquish our belief in fun and its correlating demand to feel what fun provides.

Fun must be re-conceptualized.  Meaning, we must confront our rigid definitions of fun and become open and willing to experience every day adult activities as "fun".  Essentially redefining what is fun.

Finally, remember a life lived for myself ends up being a psychological tragedy. This is because it leaves me always wanting, never truly filled or content.  Our purpose is to please God, but how? The three loves!

• Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (God himself)
•Love your neighbor as yourself (those outside Gods family)
•Love one another ( those inside Gods family) (John 13:34, Mark 12: 29-31, NLT).

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalms 16:11 NKJV

If you're ready to re-conceptualize fun and move toward the maturing process? I'm here to help. Learn more about my counseling services. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

It's all about me!

Living for self is a psychological tragedy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Detachment in Recovery Counseling

Many of the 12 step recovery programs and counseling teach detachment from situations and other peoples stuff as a means of letting go of control and surrendering outcomes.  This is a powerful tool in the recoverer's arsenal against insanity.  I am realizing though that, so far, in my experience the program has not taught how to identify and heal detachment from myself.  I am realizing how profoundly destructive this character trait (detachment from self) is and the profound role it plays in the process of thwarting healing.

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Detachement Questions

Detachment in Recovery Counseling Coon Rapids MNDo you struggle with not knowing how you feel or not knowing how to feel?  Do you struggle with identifying your emotions, your needs, or wants?  If you can identify can you communicate that to anyone? Do you often feel robotic in work, home life, or social interactions?  Do you have a tendency to fixate on someone or something and the majority of your attention goes there? Do you try to intellectually figure everything out but cannot seem to put that knowledge into useful practice?  How about going a bit deeper.  Do you ever experience the feeling that you are sort of watching yourself/what you are doing through your own eyes?  Do you ever experience the feelings or perceptions that others only exist in the environment you see them in, like they are 2D cardboard cut-outs without a sense of person hood?  Do you struggle with experiencing within, a lack of empathy for others or a hardness when confronted with suffering?  Do you tend to deny your internal state and instead present masks to people around you?  Do you tend to lose yourself in tasks and lose track of time?  Do you tend to be very judgmental of others and demanding about who they are?

Defining Detachment

These questions above allude to some common symptoms of detachment, depersonalization, and derealization. These three characteristics, in my opinion, exist in every humans life to some degree.  I say that because from my personal and professional experience we are all learning to become truly connected to ourselves; being able to feel empathy and a full range of emotion and human conditions while bringing this state to our higher power for strength and support.  Detachment becomes a problem when we detach from ourselves (the most vulnerable self, our truest self) to any degree.  Detachment is not surrender.  Surrendering parts of me or surrendering me to my higher power is healthy.  Detaching from parts of me that threaten fear or overwhelm is not healthy.

Detachment from self (my truest self) exists on a continuum, from low level detachment (daydreaming a few seconds, compartmentalizing) to high level depersonalization/derealization/dissociation (multiple personalities, memory loss, experience of life not feeling real, the continual experience of watching me through my own eyes).  With most of us existing somewhere in between the two extremes.  One way to know if you have a dangerous level of detachment is to look at the root motivation for what you do.  If you trace your choices backwards do you find "self" or "self-protection" at the root of your choices?  Do you find conscience, a higher power's will, the greater "good" at the root of your choices?  This may seem counter-intuitive but, if many of your choices are motivated by self-protection that may show a strong tendency to detach from your true humanity or your most truest sense of you and a feeding of your nature where self-protection reigns supreme. 

Changing Detachment

Where self-protection reigns, love and connection are blocked out.  They are walled out.  Change cannot happen very deeply because I am blind to me.  I cannot hear my own inner voice let alone hear the voice of my higher power speaking to me.  I have in a sense rejected myself or parts of me so deeply that I have silenced the voice that communicates to me the needs of that part of me.  It as if it no longer exists.  I have not seen it or felt or heard it in so long its no longer there or part of my awareness.  It would be quite literally like lopping off an arm or leg and letting go of all need or memory of it.  In some cases people reject their own gender, sexuality, body parts, body size, and begin to feel estranged from the very body they live in.  Dissociation can be quite destructive on the extreme end.

So, how about you?  Do you disconnect from yourself at any level?  Are there areas of you that are too dangerous to feel, look at, deal with?  Unless you are willing to take an honest look there your growth will stay blocked because higher power is not welcome there to lovingly take inventory and fill that with love.  Connect with your truest you and you will be more able to connect with your higher power and receive his healing.   

If you're experiencing detachment and ready to step into hope and healing, I'm here to help. Get started by scheduling a complimentary initial phone consultationThis initial consultation is not therapy, but an opportunity to get to know each other and decide whether my style and process are a good fit for your unique personality and situation.  


Friday, January 25, 2019

If I'm Honest

If I'm honest I'll admit that I cling tightly to the blessings that are and have been mine. If I'm honest I would admit that I believe at most times that I know many things, enough, and believe that I know myself for the most part. If I'm honest I will admit that what I have and who I believe that I am is what comforts me each day.

Honest faith Christian counseling services Coon Rapids MNBut when I stand in the presence of God long enough, broken enough, with enough longing for answers, tolerating the discomfort of my emotions and my circumstances without running or avoiding, I inevitably come face to face with a God who demands my full attention, my full surrender, my full embrace, my full loyalty, my full commitment to Him and Him alone.

When that inevitable moment comes and I receive the call to let go of my firm grasp on who I believe I am through my stuff, my knowledge, and my relationships that's when I connect with my soul sickness. My deep constitution within that is permeated with self. And I know, at that moment, being honest, I have no power over that level of freedom from self. Only God can do that deepest work in that place of me, My core.

If I'm honest.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Disappointed in Life

     So many people I speak to are cynical about the negativity they see and feel and about pain they observe in the world, loved ones, and friends.  People often struggle with the observation of injustice and feel disappointed with life.  Why do some evil people prosper and good people struggle?  Why do evil people get away with injustice and a good person is persecuted?  Why are children starving and victimized? Why is there so much violence?  Those are the very tough questions we all have at one time or another.  Those are the doubts that threaten to take hold of the heart of the person of faith and render them powerless.  Those are the questions the atheist, agnostic, or nihilist ask to test our faith in a loving God and test our obedience to a Higher Power.  

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     What if, the world, the creation (a creationist premise there) was not cursed or broken?  What if, when the fall happened God had only banished Adam and Eve and disciplined them but had not placed the curse on the rest of creation (the earth and all creatures)?  So, essentially humans keep their internal struggle but externally the blessing is still on all of the creation and the external struggle is not there.  The ground easily produces food, the elements remain perfect for habitation, the animals don't attack or destroy one another and remain herbivores, life is plenteous.  Well, my first response is humans having a nature of self protection and self reliance would then make the earth and all its resources a type of heaven and would be satisfied getting all their sensual needs met right here.  There would be no further need for the creator because we are provided for on our own, without Him.  That is our nature.  

     God did strike the earth and the animals with a death sentence and struggle and turmoil.  We all experience this struggle in our everyday life.  Family life is trying and takes hard work and is never free of disappointment. Work can/may be hard, exhausting, and sometimes/often lacking enjoyment.  Getting along with neighbors can/may be exhausting and trying.  Cooperating in organizations, groups, churches, schools, etc can/may be very testing.  And as we all know, picking leaders, managing our neighborhoods, cities, states, and nation can/may be very trying and disappointing.  If you have your hands in all of these areas at once and for some of you maybe more areas of life than this things can get very difficult, complex, frustrating, and then disappointing.  Why?  Because it seems there's always conflict!  Things get going good and you're bopping along and then BOOM!  Conflict is present again. Why can't it just stay fixed?

The Journey of Life

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We all seem to expect to some degree ease and comfort in this life.  And if we will press ourselves deeper we probably expect a lot more than that.  It seems like some sick joke when we wake up every day to conflict or struggle when we expected happiness and comfort.  Its like being asked to go out to eat to a nice restaurant and your driven to some cheap drive through food.  You eat the burger but leave psychologically wanting.  The expectation of the "nice restaurant" still calling for fulfillment.  You may feel lied to, cheated even.  You may even drive to the fancy place down the street later in an attempt to fix or quiet the unfulfillment.  Being human is much the same as this illustration.  Being human, we expect to be treated fairly, justly.  We expect to be loved, needed, valued.  We expect to prosper, get what we want, have pleasure and live in peace. And we expect to watch others live the same.  When life takes us to the proverbial McDonald's or garbage can for dinner we react with, WHAT?  This cannot be.  Did I do something wrong?  Did someone else do something wrong? This is not right!  I demand answers! I demand justice!  I demand this to be fixed!  All this in an attempt to create a sort of comfortable environment. My or your personal garden of Eden.  

Facing Disappointment

Sometimes these demands take up an entire lifetime.  Attempting in many ways to force life to be seamless, placid, comfortable, peaceful, fair, just, etc.  This only exhausts and consumes those of us who attempt any one of these impossibilities.  That's because when we strive for "Eden" we are striving against a law set in motion that will not be undone by any human.  Realistically admitting, facing, and accepting the experience of being disappointed by life may be very freeing.  It also may allow the mind to finally realize, "Why do I have this demand for perfection or perfect peace and comfort and justice?"  Admitting your disappointment with life may also assist you to connect with your thirst for a REAL place of perfection, Heaven.  In fact, I believe that is the purpose of the curse on the creation.  To keep us longing for the "more" of heaven and for God himself, a very real place and person.  It is not an error in God's computer system that things are dysfunctioning down here!  I believe His intention is to allow need so that we will look beyond this world and its chaos for our needs and we will find the possibility of safety, love, and peace in Heaven.

     I am not attempting to explain all evil.  That's definitely another blog.  I am merely contending that disappointment in life is inevitable and so is the human struggle to extinguish it.  It's not possible.  Life is never going to stay, Le Bernardin NY.  God does not promise freedom from struggle and He doesn't promise heaven on earth living.  He does promise His love and His presence no matter what and the hope of a future living with Him.

"Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse.  But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay" (Romans 8:20-21, NLT).  

Facing disappointment in life can be one of life's biggest challenges. I help individuals and couples face disappointment and find hope through my Christian Counseling Services. 

Learn More about my Christian Counseling services here.