“A man is enslaved to whatever has mastered him.” 2 Peter 1:19
As you reflect on your own relationship with the world, what has mastered you in your life? Is it your environment? Opinions and reactions of other people? The need to be seen, acknowledged, and recognized?
Is it your behavior? My clients, who are seeking freedom from compulsive behavior, will often say, “I just can’t help myself.” This reveals a type of personal enslavement due to allowing some food, substance, situation, or person to master them over time, which in some cases results in a biological addiction.
The stress hormone is linked directly to your emotional state of mind and heart. Extended emotional stress often leads to personal enslavement, which usually walks hand in hand with unhealthy outlets. The key to freedom in situations like this lies in your ability to accept where you are at, accompanied with a desire for positive personal transformation and a choice to take a step in that direction.
Dear God, I choose this week to align my thoughts, words and deeds with my highest good and the good of all concerned. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I ignite my ability to choose my responses to life remembering that I hold the key to victimization and empowerment AND what I chose to think about sets in motion my reality.
All things are possible for me, shrinking back and allowing myself to be burdened by the yoke of slavery to unhealthy masters is not how you created me to show up in this life. I choose you and all things good, right, true, beautiful and praise worthy.
One of the first verses I memorized at 17 was John 10:10: I have come that YOU may have LIFE and have it to the FULL.” Jesus desires for us to experience life satisfaction, to have a joy within us that does not rise and fall depending upon how the world judges us at a single moment in time.
The next verse I memorized was Galatians 5:1: “It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set you FREE stand firm then and do not allow yourself to be burdened by the yoke of slavery.” Slavery to what? To the shiny objects, selfish ambitions and the ‘Fame Game’ which distracts me from the fullness of life Jesus died to give me? The world screams and God whispers. In order for our ability to tune into those things that truly bring about the experience of Jesus proclamation: I have COME that you may have LIFE to the FULL, it is essential that we stand firm and not allow ourselves to be burdened by those things that perish within the human heart as quickly as they enter.
What do you spend your time pursuing in life? This will reveal the position of your heart. It is not so much what you do throughout the day of life you have been blessed with but the person behind what you do that reveals the presence of God through our words, thoughts, deeds and actions. Examine the motives behind those things you choose to pursue. Why are you spending your efforts in this direction? Will this produce fruit that will last or fruit that will give you a momentary hit of satisfaction? Why do you do what you do and does it align with the person you are committed to being in this world?
I woke up with this verse on my mind and in my heart: “He who pursues Righteousness & Love finds LIFE, PROSPERITY & HONOR” Proverbs 21:21
Righteousness: to be aligned with high moral standards. Life satisfaction flows easily when we are aligned with our highest good and the good of all concerned. “When I show up in life with nothing to hide because I practice humility; integrity; love and authenticity, my sleep is sound and content. I am willing to admit when I am wrong and I am conscious of good and bad behavior along with a willingness to learn, adjust and understand.”
Love: the ability to authentically seek the highest good of another person, often times associated with intense feelings of care, concern and affection. “When I love first and then step out and lead I put to the front lines of my response to another human being the following attributes: patience; kindness; gentleness; forgiveness; humility; trust; confidence; perseverance.”
Do what you do in life because of who YOU are, not because of how people respond to you. It is easy to love those who love you back. You resurrect the presence of God within you each time you make the choice to love and respond in kindness in the face of negativity.
Your authentic character expands in the midst of those moments when you love, serve and speak the truth in kindness because of who you are, not because you are feeling mutual love and kindness.
When you choose to show up with love & kindness, as you remain connected to God in the face of uncomfortable encounters, a feeling of deep satisfaction will often wash over you, this is because your soul had its way with you over your flesh.
One of the most freeing prayers you can pray throughout your day is this:
Dear God, grant me the grace to release my desire to be liked so that I will stay grounded in the person you have created me to be on earth: confident; loving; kind; peaceful; inspired; creative and capable of solution based responses free to be me without out worrying about what other people will think.
Stress or inner peace flow directly from your choice to serve your soul or your flesh in this world. How much of your time in a day do you spend worrying about what others think, do and say? OR linger in the past or future? Lean back into your soul where your worth and value remain in tact.
Dear God, I give my soul permission to guide my flesh into all of life today. Grant me the grace to remember that with you all things are possible. You call me to remain, remain, remain, remain in John 15, as the vine remains in the branch. I give you permission today to have your way with me in spite of my wondering mind. Ignite my soul and fill me with IN-Spiritation…so that nothing outside of me disrupts my confidence, love & inner peace.
This verse comes from the Old Testament; it is Samuel’s response to hearing God speak his name. It took three times before Samuel actually responded to God as he thought that Eli, who was the priest taking care of him, was calling him in the middle of the night.
How many times has God spoken to us and we look for other options as to where the guidance is coming from? I have found that God speaks in sound bites, small impactful statements of guidance that rock our world. “Dear God may there be less lag time today than yesterday in my ability to hear and respond to your voice of guidance which says, ‘this is the way, walk in it.”
My first book, Hearing His Whisper, came from several years of Samuel’s prayer: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” I would put a question before God and listen. Then I would guess what I thought God may say which ultimately opened up my ability to grab the sound bites coming in. At first I questioned them as Samuel did: Why would God speak to me? Is this really His voice or mine? As I increased my confidence in the simple truth that the ONE who calls me into fellowship with Himself if faithful and He will do it. “Less of me more of You, Dear God” because the desire of my heart.
I invite you into the daily practice of Samuel’s prayer: Speak Lord, your servant is listening. Ask, seek, knock and listen for God’s sound bites in life. The quicker you respond the quicker you will find your ability to hear becomes.
“Dear God, where would you have me go today? What do you want me to think and say. I am on your time, not mine, for your purposes, not mine. Fill me up with all that you are so that all that I am this week makes you recognizable on earth.”
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men.” Gal. 1:10
Step out of the drug of approval today: your need for recognition from others to know that what you do has value. God delights in you. Don’t expect anything today except to be loved and cherished by God.
Thank you that I have the ability to remember that I am not what I do or what I have achieved. Who I am is a constant reality and flows from my identity in you, therefore, UNLESS I CHOOSE to farm out my sense of self worth and value to people, circumstances or situations, I will be free from the roller coaster that exists in the drug of approval.
If I do what I do to be seen by others then what I do becomes diluted by the drug of approval and my authenticity is compromised. I choose this week to do what I do because of who I am, not because of how I want to be perceived.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4
Do you play the numbers game? How many likes? Shares? Friends? Clients? Responses? Participants in your program? Lecture? Seminar? Workshop? I have. Many times I have felt the ominous serpent of self-doubt slither in the back door of my interior castle as if my work was compromised or less valuable because of the lack of “numbers.” Jesus gives us an invitation in Luke 15:4 to consider the POWER contained in ONE life that is flipped from darkness into light; from confusion into clarity; lost to being found; death to life.
When I consider that I was one life at 17 years old that was flipped into the expansive experience of Jesus, the one life, one death, one gift of Salvation; which has made all the difference in the person I am committed to being today I realize the Power of ONE. Have you ever considered that if you were the only person left on earth, Jesus would have died for you?
If but for one soul; one kind remark; one moment of listening to understand rather than to be heard; one moment of considering the needs of another person over your own desire to be seen, acknowledged, recognized; one act of forgiveness; one moment of positive connection; one choice to stand for good; one choice to speak the truth in love; one choice to listen to the whisper of God over the screams of the world; one act of kindness; word of encouragement; invitation to grow or prune for growth; one moment of silence and shared grief or rejoicing…what a difference we will make in the One day of life we have been blessed with, never underestimate the power of One life that is refreshed because of One Choice to Make God Recognizable in your life today.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus calls us to come closer each day. He created us with a single source for restoration and strength when we attempt to plug into that which is not HIM we experience energy leaks that produce fears, doubts and worries. Come to me, Jesus says, all of you who are burdened by the demands and distractions in the world and I will give you the true peace, sense of purpose and the internal rest & confidence that you seek. Watch the above video prayerfully and plug into John 15 this week.
Before a healing took place Jesus would often inquire about the time and intensity of their condition. Perhaps to remind us all that healing is not restricted by the longevity or intensity of the condition…when God says, “It is finished”.
As I paused for a moment under this magnificent tree this morning I asked, “So who told you when to bloom and when to remain dormant?” God’s divine intelligence woven throughout all of nature speak to this truth:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
There are no challenges in life only situations that invite us to remember our God given ability to come up with creative solutions…and move mountains.
Take it from the bulb in the dark throughout the winter months. If it ever forgot its natural state of being, to bloom in this world, it would have ceased to emerge out of the darkness into the light.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is ETERNAL.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:2
Are you willing to step in the ring with your greatest fear?
Jesus faced two of our greatest fears: death and rejection.
Fr. Robert Barron brings clarity to this face to face encounter Jesus took on for us: “Remember Jesus Himself said that, “No one can plunder the house of a strong man unless a stronger one comes and ties him up.” The strong man is death itself. No one will conquer death until a stronger one comes and ties him up. Jesus is the very strength of God now tying up the strong man of death.”
I remember being in the competition ring in Tae Kwon Do calming my racing heart, fueled by fear, so that I could remember and access the strength of my training outside of the ring. I trained 4 hours a day 6 days a week for the Colorado State Championship. Spiritual training has greater value than physical, what percentage of our time do we put in on a daily basis to expand our training for the spiritual battles we face?
Do you ever have cravings, lust or boast in life? Know that the fuel behind these emotional experiences does not flow from your soul’s connection with God but from outside distractions that cause you to forget that you are a spiritual being having a physical experience.
An unbridled desire to satisfy an unfulfilled emotional state of being or compromised self image will often manifest in the following:
Cravings: an intense yearning for something…a desire…a feeling that comes along with an unsatisfied state.
Lust: a self-absorbed desire for a certain thing, person or experience.
Boasting: to speak with exaggeration about yourself in a prideful manner.
Solution to the above unhealthy antics:
When we forget to spend time daily nurturing our relationship with God, along with the things that we will draw unto ourselves at the sunset of this life, we start to wander out into the world to experience quick hits of satisfaction that leave us empty handed and unsatisfied. This unhealthy cycle causes us to crave more of that which can never fully satisfied: recognition, acknowledgment, status and material things.
Increase your experience with God each day by spending time focused on what you value and love most in life…these are the things that are void of the need to define, own, control or possess (exchange of love, watching a sunset, playing, laughing). Life is created for us to experience and grow in our ability to love and be loved.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17