I Chose to be Offended

What? Who would choose to be offended? Everyone.

We pick and choose what our values and beliefs are. Then when someone violates our values and beliefs, we get offended. But a huge part of being offended is our interpretation of what is happening, at the moment, when we get upset. I have noticed it is usually due to a thought I am having that sends me down the road of discontent.

Today for example my son was calling me a liar. I said I had been up in the middle of the night (which I usually am for several hours). He knows this is how I do life. But he kept saying “why are you lying? Let it go, you were not.” He said this dead pan like he was a tad irritated. (My thoughts were that he was arguing and being disrespectful) I bit right into it. I started getting defensive and upset = offended. Offended that he wasn’t believing me. Offended that he wasn’t respecting me.

Then the thought ran through my mind. It was a tiny quiet voice. It said “maybe he doesn’t just “appreciate” a dry sense of humor…maybe he has one —and I have been taking it wrong and creating fights unknowingly by being offended and replying out of that mind set.

So, I chose to play along with him. And we laughed. It could have gone a whole different way—and it has many times in the past.

I read a blog today right after that incident. The blog is from Kent A and can be found here: (Read about the willingness to change by Kent A.)

While it was not about being offended, it was about the willingness to change. Because of it I came to a New Year’s Resolution for 2019. For this upcoming year (starting now) when I am not at peace, whether offended or some other feeling, I am going to ask myself if the situation and/ or person could be seen another way. Perhaps there is a neutral or even positive take on what is occurring. I know this is not always going to be true. But if I can save even several instances of not being content—I’ll take it.

For now- on out- I will realize my offense is probably due to a thought running through my head. It is my choice to run with my impression or step back and choose a different approach. Wish me luck.

Until next time,
Blessings~ Kate

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Psalm 34:10 Those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (NIV)

SO, I came across this verse one day. I was glad to read it at first sight. It was a promise I could hold onto. Since I am a believer, I will not lack any good thing!  YAY!! I got excited. Another prosperity verse in the Bible. How exciting! But then I looked outside and saw my former neighbor who was now homeless. This lead me to think: “How can this verse be true when there are believers who are homeless or lack health insurance or mental health coverage? Aren’t those good things?” And “how can I even get excited that I am promised all this good stuff, when there are people I know who are suffering?”

My reasoning kicked in: there can be many factors in being / becoming homeless: Housing destroyed by fire or natural disaster, not paying rent or mortgage, drug use. Not many get help with temporary housing to assist getting back on their feet. But there are shelters and/ or family assistance. What about the people whose families turn them away for housing? There, too, can be many factors such as no room, a person’s lifestyle, restricted rules on occupancy. Yet that does not address what the scripture says that those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing,

OK! Let’s pull out Matthew Henry’s commentary:

To encourage us to fear God and seek Him, it is here promised that those that do (fear God and seek Him) so even in this wanting world, “shall want no good thing” (which in the Hebrew reads: They shall not want all good things).

Now that is a whole different take. To not want all good things!

Matthew Henry goes on to say: they shall so have all good things that they shall have no reason to complain of the want of any. As to things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of the spiritual life (2 Corinthians 12:9, Psalm 84:11) and as to this life, they shall have what is necessary to the support of it from the hand of God as a Father he will feed them with food convenient. What further comforts they desire they shall have as far as Infinite Wisdom sees good, and what they want in one thing shall be made up in another. What God denies them He will give them grace to be content without and then they do not want it, (Deuteronomy 3:26). Paul had all and abundant, because he was content (Philippians 4:11, 18). Those that live by faith in God’s all sufficiency want nothing for in him they have enough. Those that trust in themselves will come up short but those who trust in the lord shall be fed.

It is not easy to be satisfied here in the United States. We live in a success-oriented culture that longs for more/ for better/ for newer. It’s about perspective though. Example: I live in a one- bedroom apartment out of a home split into 3 units. My adult son was very uncomfortable with living in poverty. The apartment needs a TON of repairs, paint, flooring. Do I WANT to live 2 blocks over in a nice stone house with three bedrooms, a half basement, and a garage? YES! Of course. Is it unreasonable to want such a thing – No. But this is what I can afford right now. And as I told my son—there are probably 40 Syrian refugees (or South American refugees now) that would all cram up in here and sleep back to back all over the place just to have shelter and running water, toilets, cooking elements, and a refrigerator. We have all those things. And for that I can be grateful. God inspired me to move to this town before my financial issues. My money stretches way farther here than in California where an apartment the same size would be almost 4X as much. Through my being here, God has provided me options for housing. Also, a couple years ago, I went through a 2-month period where I could not afford to buy groceries…but I never had to go a day without food. There were soup kitchens that provided a meal once a day almost every day and then extra could be taken home for the 2 days there was nothing open. And, again, I was grateful. Was it fun walking 3 miles in winter for a meal—NO. But that does not negate that God provided a way to eat.

Maybe it is easier to be grateful when at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. I am grateful to have what I have because the alternative would be awful. Sometimes in our culture we get whiny because we can’t get the best or newest as fast as other people who have it “better” than us. The Bible doesn’t promise us in this verse that we will have the newest shiniest toys available in our consumer society. Besides, the Bible was not written directed towards 21st century Americans only. What the Bible promises must work for all who read it—everywhere. That includes remote villages, war torn countries, people in true poverty in third world countries. This verse is NOT another prosperity promising verse. It is however, according to the Matthew Henry Commentary, a verse that implies we will be taken care of according to how God sees fit and He will give us the ability to be content with what we receive.

It is not wrong to work towards having nice things. It is wrong to not be grateful for that which we have and / or can access through help from someone else. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we find ourselves in desperate situations. We fear we have no way out of our situation and back up on our feet. We may have to move to a new town, accept help from agencies and /or strangers, cut back, trade in, or even compare ourselves to those less fortunate here and abroad.

The Hebrew version is the best version of this verse. We will not want for all good things. We will have opportunities if we are willing to take them temporarily. With gratitude we can be content while working towards a better situation. We can focus on that which we do have. We don’t have to get caught up in greed and gratification in such a way that we are miserable, constantly feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. When we truly appreciate all that God provides for us (one way or another) we will feel blessed and content.

Until next time~
Blessings, Kate

In 20 Minutes I Do Not Have to Feel This

This big truth is a BIG danger for those of us who look elsewhere to escape pain, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and grief.

In 20 minutes~ you could go to a club and get some attention
In 20 minutes~ you could score on a corner or call your plug
In 20 minutes~ most people have access to alcohol
In 20 minutes~ you can call that guy from the office that is always flirting with you, even though you are married
In 20 minutes~ think of all the things you can eat
In 20 minutes~ you could shame someone on social media for vindication
In 20 minutes~ you could pull a Carrie Underwood and pull out that Louisville Slugger and do damage to a car.

In 20 minutes I don’t have to feel this way… but what happens next(!) : guilt, shame, remorse, embarrassment, ruined families, set backs of goals, lost jobs, isolation, depression, anxiety and regret.

However, that is not what goes through your mind when–
your mother dies,
the promotion falls through,
a family member is in an accident,
someone breaks your heart,
someone breaks your trust,
someone you love must go to a psych hospital,
the car broke down and you are broke as well……the list could go on and on. Add some to it. I know you have your reasons why in 20 minutes you might not want to feel some feelings.

I met a man recently who literally had just been released from jail and found his way to our church by way of recommendation of one of our homeless community members. He was in jail as a direct result of using a substance to numb his feelings of pain. This happened in November. Back in January, he hadn’t touched anything stronger than Advil for the past 8 years. But a painful anniversary came around. Then something tragic with his dad. He was depressed and struggling when a friend said he had something that would perk him up a little “just to get him through the night shift”. That started a 10-month struggle once the guilt kicked in. Then more use to numb the fact he’d made a huge mistake. And the cycle was set in motion. Uncomfortable pain–> bad choices–> escape–> relief–> possibly more poor choices–> regret & shame –>the need to forget what just happened and/or the “who gives a care now” attitude.

What’s the alternative?
There are people who throw themselves into work
There are people who binge watch Netflix
There are people who exercise a couple hours a day
There are people who re-organize their whole house
There are people who start new projects….

The thing is – this is still getting away from the negative emotions but in a healthier, non-destructive way (if responsibilities are still tended to). All of us have episodes when we wish we did not have to feel uncomfortable or painful emotions. That is just part of life. There is no getting out of it. There is no “one size fits all” solution to negative emotions~ especially strong ones. There are things that can help you navigate tough times:

  • Give it to God, do your best part then allow time to do its part until your next step.
  • Build a supportive friend network when times are good. Learn to share good(& slightly off) days with them. Be available for them in distress and know who you can turn to when times are hard for you as well.
  • Run choices & decisions by someone trusted. And be willing to accept, that since this person should not be emotionally involved, they can better see clearly the best overall options for you.
  • Seek help wherever you can find it. Notice I said “help” not “escape” and not “pity”. Who has knowledge and/or resources to assist you in navigating you journey at this point?

We have to face our hurdles, obstacles, sinkholes even. We need to accept and feel our emotions. They will pass. Maybe not in 20 minutes; yet, life will go on. Our job is to not make life worse while we experience disappointments.

Feel your feelings

Accept the facts as they are

Give it to God and ask for strength, wisdom, mercy and grace

When calm look at options for your next step

When you get to the waiting point – turn to something productive, peaceful, and positive to take your mind off the pain.

When temptation comes to escape within 20 minutes tell someone you trust. Let them help you make better choices or be with you on the phone until the urge passes.

Know that this too will pass.

With God you are strong enough! You two have got this!
Until next time,
Blessings~ Kate

God is Not Punishing You

For the Lord corrects those he loves just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12)

Quote from Joseph Prince’s book Grace Revolution pg 215-216
As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, He will correct, discipline, and guide us. But it is vital for you to know that our Lord will never correct us with tragic accidents, sickness and diseases. The Bible says “For the Lord corrects those He loves just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12)”

Would a father correct a child in whom he delights by inflicting pain and suffering on that child? Of course not! In the same way, our heavenly Father corrects us not by inflicting pain and suffering but with His Word (see 2 Timothy 3:16). Correction may come through the preaching of His Word, or through godly leaders who He surrounds you with in a local church, leaders who love you and who care enough to speak into your life.

I would add to that the conviction of the Holy Spirit through many avenues–

that still small voice
others around you
tv shows
music
books
videos
podcasts
social media…………………never limit the Spirit!

God corrects. God does not punish. There are consequences. But God does not hurt us to teach us lessons.

Why do I bring this up? Well, have you ever asked, “God why are you doing this to me?” If you have, that would imply you think that God is punishing you or acting mean towards you. Those are not His ways.  God is a loving God. Yet, we ask questions like these over big events and tragedies and also over minor events…like my teeth.

My teeth are disintegrating. They are literally disappearing. Now consciously I know it is because of natural causes. I also know, if I had dental insurance I could do something about it. Neither of these are God doing something to me. Yet, last night, I found myself asking “why are you doing this to me God? Are you trying to make me ugly so I don’t have a chance to make poor decisions about dating ever again?” This implies 2 things: 1) I did something wrong (made poor dating choices) and 2) God is punishing me for it. But this is no truer than God causing a drunk to drive a car and have an accident. There are personal choices involved. Natural disasters are a result of weather patterns—not God’s choices. Illness can be genetic or environmental or unfortunate choices we made that effected our health along the way.

So, if God does not punish us…what does He do when we are guilty? He corrects and forgives. And if He forgives He does not then punish us to be arbitrary and mean just to get a point across.

The scripture says that we are chosen and adopted by God to be His own children and heirs with Christ. Galatians 4:4-6 “But when the set time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are His sons, God sent the spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.”’

If God has become our parent, ask yourself: what, all loving, parent would purposely hurt any child through infliction of natural disasters, crime, health issues? What kind of parent would say “you broke a rule here is some cancer?” HUH! None!!! So, if imperfect humans would not do such a thing—why would a Holy and Perfect God do them? It truly makes no sense.

Are you struggling today? Are you going through tough times that make no sense?  Cry out to God. Yell! Shout, rant, rave. He can take it.

Then ask for strength, guidance, wisdom.  The Bible says that God works all things towards our good. So, while it may be extremely hard to swallow that fact right now… seek Him. Let Him know you want to see the good but you are up to your head in it right now and you need help! Don’t turn on Him – RUN to Him. He is your Father and loves you as His very own.

Until Next Time,
Blessings~ Kate

How do you measure your value?

There are so many areas of life to find our value in:

work
school/intelligence
family (as a spouse, parent, sibling, good child)
status
job title
recognition for a talent, skill, personal characteristic
checking off everything on your to-do list
religious activities/ actions
your FB likes
followers on Twitter and Instagram
Knowing someone famous or important

Over the years I have found my value in and worth in several different ways. Each of these was stripped from me however. If you have never had your value and identity stripped of you– let me tell you it can be very painful. I was left with the question many of us face “Who am I  if not… .”

Where we find our worth is where we will spend the most time and best effort we have available.

If we only have one source to derive our worth from we can get knocked for a loop if there is a drastic change; say your wife leaves you taking the kids, or your job is put on hold. We can find ourselves in confusion, depression, or even despair.

There is one source to get our value from that will never change: That is through viewing ourselves the way God views us. God’s love for us never changes. The Bible says we are the righteousness of God in Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:21). We have been adopted by God in spite of all our faults and setbacks. We are joint heirs with Jesus worthy through him of all the blessings that the original son has.

Get that? The ALMIGHTY- the creator of the universe– says we are worthy to be his child and have a direct intimate relationship one on one with him. What/who is more important than the one who created all the galaxies? Nothing looks better on your resume than that !

Our life is temporary. But we are eternal beings and God loves you so much, you are so valuable, that he provided a way to never be separated from you eternally. Nothing else will last after we die. But we can live with God rather than eternal loneliness.

Perhaps one of the reasons we turn to temporary sources of worth is because it is easier to measure through tangible feedback: Grades show up every term, jobs give out promotions, our families thrive and show happiness. But how do we get feedback from God about our worth? Its written in the text for us. We have to open the Word to be reminded. We have to listen to sermons, sing the songs, do the Bible Studies, LISTEN to that still small voice inside. We have to take responsibility to actively seek the statements God has given us about our worth.

These verses and statements include~
* God created us in his own image. Genesis 1:27

* A woman may forget her own child, yet God will never forget us. Isaiah 49:15

* God wants to give us a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

* He loves us with an eternal, everlasting, love and pulls us in with his loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

* While we were still sinners, knowing all the sins we would ever commit, God sent his only son to die for us so that we could be fully restored in right relationship with God. Romans 5:8

* We are called God’s very own children. 1 John 3:1; John 1:12

* We can approach God boldly and obtain mercy and grace for our times of need. Hebrews 4:16

* God put us together perfectly in our mother’s womb, making us wonderfully –each according to His plans and purposes for our individual lives.  Psalm 139: 13-16

* God provides abundantly for birds and nature– How much more will he provide and take care of His very own children. Matthew 6:25-34

* God made you alive in Christ
He saved you by grace
He raises you up to the heavenly places to be seated with Christ
He wants to show you the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness..
All because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:4-9

*He has poured out the Holy Spirit on you. Titus 3:4-7

* People look at the outside parts of you (your looks and situations and circumstances) but God is only concerned with your heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

*God rejoices over you with gladness. Zephaniah 3:17

* Once we accept Christ, God forgets our sins and old ways. He sees us as brand new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

* He sees you as blameless and not deserving condemnation. Romans 8:1-2

* He calls you a chosen race, a royal priesthood. You are God’s royalty. You are Holy. You belong to God. 1 Peter 2:9

*God takes pleasure in those who have reverence and awe towards Him. Psalm 147:11

* He will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

* He will lift you high when you are humble. James 4:10

and finally–He knows you so well, He knows the number of hairs on your head.
Luke 12:7  (Does anyone else know you that well or care THAT much?)

I purposely chose not to directly quote the scripture because my hope is that you will check me and look them up for yourself. Something amazing happens when we open the Word of God for ourselves. I think it soaks in more and we take it more seriously.

If you rushed through this list… HEY! Maybe you feel good about yourself and do not get doubts right now. But there will come a day, when everyone needs something more to hold onto than things that can be taken away from us in an instant. We need something to hold on to, and we need to know we matter in this world. Why else trudge through life? 

We are not meant to trudge through life. Jesus came that we might have life and joy. We are worth it! And nothing and no one can take these things from us.

Until next time,
Blessings~ Kate

When Fear Strikes

Isaiah 41:13
For  I am the lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

God cares immensely about all the details of our lives– even the smaller ones.

Everyone goes through moments and durations of fear. Yet, God says “Do not fear; I will help you.” In fact, just a few verses before this God says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10)

What fearful situations come to your mind quickly? Once the initial shock was over, were you able to trust God and regain a sense of peace? Or, does it depend on a case-by-case basis? Are big fears harder to trust God through than littler fears?

I think for me, big events can automatically trigger big fear. It’s a knee jerk reaction. It’s like I’m on autopilot. I become aware of the situation and my heart begins to beat faster as my head begins to think all kinds of wild thoughts and play out doomful scenes in my mind.

So how do we learn to trust and rely on God during the fearful times? By practicing during the less stressful fearful moments. By practice I mean~

* calming ourselves down the moment after the situation pops up
* staying peaceful
* saying a prayer of request for the situation and
*  a prayer of gratitude for God’s wisdom, assistance, and providence.
* stay in the gratitude mode
* control your thinking
* THEN get busy doing something/ anything else to switch your focus…even if its to take a nap.

Do not build a momentum of fear. What you focus on and feel increases.

Until next time~
Blessings, Kate