Tag Archives: self-worth

It’s Not Just About You

by Lydia Floren

A while back I wrote a blog It’s not about you or is it?  Before we can turn our attention to loving others, we must first accept who we are, recognize our needs, and choose to allow God to meet our needs.

Two key parts of this process are:

  • Identifying faulty coping mechanisms or ways we have tried to meet these needs in the past.
  • Replacing these coping mechanisms with constructive habits that will make way for God to move in our lives and meet our needs.

Reminder:  We all have needs.

Everyone has a need for food, shelter, but we also have needs that are in some ways deeper, needs for love and affection, a sense of identity and value, and belonging.

Coping mechanisms

And we all have developed habits—or ways of coping—in order to meet those needs. With some of these habits, we rely on ourselves.  With others, we expect other people to meet our needs. Here are a few examples of coping mechanisms:

  • Grabbing what you can when you can:  attention, love, stuff.  Focusing on what you want, and not what god says you need. Calling wants needs.
  • Controlling things around you so that you can be comfortable and secure: our environment, relationships, and living by a rigid structure.
  • Denying that you have needs.
  • Escaping life by immersing yourself in TV, gaming, social media, alcohol or other means of escape.
  • Floating along, refusing to take responsibility for your life, your actions, or–even more telling—your inaction.
  • Expecting others to meet your needs. Relying on other people to make you happy.  Assuming that anyone and everyone else’s job is to make you happy.
  • Assuming that your own happiness, comfort, and success is more important than someone else’s’, or that their happiness is more important than yours.

Replace these coping mechanisms.  Living a life guided by God is living a life increasingly free of the faulty habits we have so carefully cultivated. In Psalm 139 David prays:

Search me Oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139: 23-24

Here are a few of God’s ways that can replace our coping mechanisms:

  • Giving.  Keep what you will use, and give the rest away.
  • Letting go. Learning to rely on God to meet your needs and not yourself. The secret of being content in every situation, whether you have much or little.
  • Accepting your needs, and the importance that they are met.
  • Facing life, including its hard parts, knowing that you are not alone:  God is with you and within you.
  • Owning your life.  Quit playing the victim and accept responsibility, and that your decisions, as well as your indecisions, have consequences.
  • Releasing expectations. Hope in God, not people.  God is the meeter of your needs, not other people.  Sometimes He uses people, sometimes He doesn’t. But He often meets your needs in ways you don’t expect.
  • Recognizing that you are important, and everyone else is, too.  Life isn’t a competition, it’s a collaboration.

Our needs are 100% met by Christ.  Because of Him, we don’t have to hide, or hang on to anything or any person.

There is enough. There is more than enough. Our cup overflows. 

 And my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

Once we accept the truth of God’s provision, we can take our eyes off ourselves and give as God would have us give–live as God would have us live.

Share with us: What are you doing to overcome your unhealthy coping mechanisms? How are you making room to let God in?

 

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Related posts: It’s not about you, or is it?, Be Still and Know That I Am God, Living Grace

The Blessings of Giving Thanks

blessings of giving thanks titleby Lydia Floren

What one habit has most transformed your life?  For me the answer would be                           the practice of thanks-giving..  Here are a few of the blessings of giving thanks that I have experienced:

Attitude. I see even a little blessing in life as a bonus, not a right, when I appreciate that my life—and everything in it—is a gift from God.

Contentment.  I am free to enjoy each day–even if things are difficult–when I give thanks that God is working all things to good.

Trust.  It is easier to trust God’s direction, especially when the future seems uncertain, as I give thanks for God’s love and goodness.

Fearless following. I can boldly follow God’s lead–the best i know it–as I give thanks for God’s commitment to safely guide me. I know that He will make any mid-course corrections if I misunderstand or just wander away for awhile.

Self-concept. I am at peace with who I am when I give thanks for my life–the unique blend of attributes that makes me “me”.   It settles me.  I have nothing to prove. I am valuable, and valued by the most amazing being in the universe, the person that made me.

Encouragement.  I am en-couraged—given courage to be myself, when I appreciate my identity and value.   And I can then en-courage others.

Hope.  I have hope to see beyond a hardship when I am giving thanks in the middle of it.  I can also more readily see benefits of those challenging situations.

Perspective.  Giving thanks for eternity reframes my perspective, and reminds me  what is really important.

Focus. Giving thanks for others takes my focus off myself.

Tolerance.  When I give thanks for the unique gifts of others, I more inclined to celebrate differences, instead of being annoyed by them.  I can appreciate that each person’s individuality makes life rich, just like one spice combined with another creates a wonderful flavor.

Freedom.  Giving thanks for Christ’s sacrifice allows me to leave the past behind, and to quit beating myself for being “imperfect.”  God completes me. In Him I am perfect.

Calling.  There is nothing like the deep soul-satisfying joy of God working through me to love another person in my own unique way.  Giving thanks to God for calling me to be loved, and then to love–Him, myself, and those I encounter–brings me joy.

Presence of God.  Giving thanks in all things brings me into the very presence of God.

The practice of giving thanks in all things has changed–and continues to change–my life.

How has giving thanks blessed you?  We’d love to hear from you!

Rest for My Soul

heavy load

Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden

We fail. We mess up.  We make bad decisions, and many times the heavy load we carry is the result of those choices.  When we recognize this, we pile on self-condemnation—guilt and shame.  Not God, our Loving Father.  He opens His arms wide, and says:

Child come here.  Put down that heavy load, and climb up in My lap and tell Me all about it.  Receive the grace, the forgiveness I so want to give you, and let me release you from your worry.  Quit accepting shame, and embrace the freedom-joy of My love once again.  Just leave it to Me.  I will help you know what to do as you move forward from here.

Take my yoke upon you and learn of me

I will not only show you what to do now, but I will help you learn from this.  I can teach you to be free of your compulsions, to see more of the world from My perspective, so you don’t make this same mistake twice.  If you choose, My Holy Spirit will do this deep healing in your spirit. 

For my load is easy and my burden is light and you shall find rest for your souls

It is so much easier–and more enjoyable–to follow Me when you aren’t carrying unnecessary burdens.  The load I give you is quite simple: stay connected with Me.  Don’t let anything get in the way of this connection, especially not your mistakes. Don’t let anything keep you from embracing the identity, value, belonging and calling I have given you.

When you stay connected with Me, you will be able to hear my voice and follow where I am leading you to go.

I will show you the next step from here.

Do not anxiously look about you for I am your GodReaching forward to what lies ahead I press on to the upward call of God in Christ JesusCast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you

What helps you stay connected to God, even in the midst of failure?

come to me all who are weary and heavy laden

By Lydia Floren

Image by woodleywonderworks

The Kindness of God’s Acceptance

psalm 139

you have searched meGod’s acceptance of me boggles my mind, when I think about it. 

Too often, I don’t – think about it, I mean.  Instead, I hide from myself,or others, or Him.  Yet hiding doesn’t change reality.   No matter where I hide, He is there, with His arms open wide to me.  He is fully aware of my faults and failings, and loves me lavishly in the middle of them. (BTW, one of the best ways to hide from yourself or God is to stay too busy.)

In order to receive the full measure of God’s acceptance, I must stop each day and remember that God knows my every thought before it becomes a word or an action, and is intimately acquainted with all my habits.you know it all

This is gritty reality. He accepts me knowing every unkind word I have uttered, every selfish act I have done, or will do.  Even more daunting, God accepts me knowing the ugliness of the motives behind some of my words and actions, those things often hidden from others.  He accepts me with my petulance, pride, manipulation, greed, impatience, annoyance.  It boggles the mind.

knowledge too wonderful

You would think this would be depressing, but in truth, it is quite the opposite.

The understanding that finally someone knows me completely and loves me unconditionally,   empowers me to accept myself with all my faults and failings, an to give my true self to Him each day, and allow Him to make me whole once again.

I can start each day:

  • Celebrating who I am – His precious child, made perfect by Him.
  • Rejoicing where I am – on His path to growth and wholeness, with Him showing me the way.
  • Embracing what I am called to do – love Him, others and myself – in the unique way He created me.

How are you starting your days?enclosedbehindbefore_lg

By Lydia Floren

Wind Chimes

the beauty of God moves through us

My husband Andrew is not materialistic. In fact, for special occasions it is almost impossible find him a gift that he actually wants, and would enjoy.  For Andrew, wind chimes is one of those gifts. Over the years, Andrew has collected a set of perfectly harmonized wind chimes in a range of octaves, each carefully hung with the others on our screened porch out back.

In summer, when we practically live outside, those wind chimes give us special pleasure.  Some days the chimes only ring an occasional note or two as a breeze wafts through.  On windier days they produce a progressing cacophony of sound.  First the trees will rustle as the air pushes through them; then the chimes will joyfully clang an answer, sometimes even echoing down the hill with the neighbors’ bells. The sounds ebb and flow, almost like the crashing of waves, but with clear crisp tones—bold, and then quiet. Even though there is no distinct melody or set rhythm, the wind stirs them to make beautiful music.

We are each created to chime–to resonate the reality of God’s presence and love to those around us.  When we position ourselves toward the wind, the beauty of God moves through each of us like the wind on a summer day. And as God liberates us from the shackles of our shoulds and oughts, we are free to clang away with joyful abandon, almost like a 2 year old banging on pots and pans.

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And God blends the ebb and flow of our clanging into a lovely harmony.

And then He smiles.

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Now it’s your turn:  When have you seen God moving through you or someone else to bless another person?

windchimes-lgBy Lydia Floren

 

Facing My Failures, Embracing God’s Grace

God's love reaches into me warming me like hot tea - peace - he restores my soulIt’s hard to see my own shortcomings.  I don’t want to look at my ugly wounds.  But, if I desire to heal – to be restored – I must first face these flaws.  Then, I must be still and allow the Great Physician to free me from the habits-rooted-in-lies that keep me doing the same destructive things over and over.  Sometimes God’s knife must go deep – it can’t be helped – to get to the root of the lie.  The results are definitely worth it:  true healing, and with it, profound joy.

Father, forgive me for my haughtiness, my rudeness, my feeling of superiority, of trying to jockey for position, or importance.  Help me to be an instrument of your peace, not of my own pride. Thank you for restoring my soul.

The deeper my soul reaches toward Truth, the more deeply God’s love reaches into me, warming me, like a cup of hot tea on a cool morning.  In the safety of His embrace, I can celebrate my God-given identity, value, belonging and calling independent of others’ fluctuating opinions, or influence.

Each time I manage to turn around and face my failures, the brilliance of God’s grace takes me by surprise

Why do I forget this?   How can I learn to remember?Hebrews 4:16 let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence

2 corinthians 2:19 my grace is sufficient for you

Psalm 23:3 he restores my soul

Do you ever find yourself running from yourself?    What prompts you to remember the brilliance of God’s grace?

We would love to hear from you!

God's grace is brilliant - joy - God's love