Monday, June 29, 2009

Peace of Mind is Thriving

Thriving No Matter What

I try to encompass the abundant life that is secured for me through Jesus ;and yet I know I never fully grasp it's truth. Today I ran across an article by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in the Daily Lift. I love reading interpretation of Hebrew wording because I find it helps me understand the Bible more clearly.

Rabbi Pliskin wrote on tranquility. He explained there are two terms for tranquility - "shalvah" and "menuchah." He points out that they seem similar but in truth, they contradict each other.

Shalvah refers to a situation in which a person is not missing anything in life. He has everything he wants and therefore has no worries. He has a nice house with all the furnishings he can ask for. He has a large amount of cash handy to purchase whatever he wants. His business is going well, and all of his property and possessions are entirely safe. He has no enemies who would want to cause him harm. There is peace in his world. He is entirely healthy. He is respected and people accept his opinion. He has no competitors who are striving to diminish is stature. He has no obligations to others. He is successful at whatever he does. This is shalvah.

And it's a negative trait.

Why? Because if you feel that everything must be perfect, you are in danger that if the details of your life are not to your liking, you will suffer. The many difficulties that arise in your life will prevent you from experiencing pleasure and peace of mind.

Menuchah, on the other hand, is a virtue. It is a state in which a person lives with peace of mind since he does not need anything! Not because he has all he would wish for, but because his attitude is one of accepting his present situation.

He will be aware that all benefits and damages in life are dependent on the will of the Almighty. He has trust that whatever is decreed for him is what will occur. If he has what he would like, that is good; and if he is not able to get it, that, too, is for the good.

He does not feel anxiety about possible misfortunes. He knows that "every bullet has its special address," and he wants only that which the Almighty chooses for him. If you attain the trait of menuchah, you will feel inner peace regardless of your financial situation and whether or not you have the approval of others.

The person who has reached this level of not needing all that he would wish for is saved from all kinds of frustration. People will not have anything to criticize him for. Even if someone does wrongly accuse him of anything, he does not take it to heart. He knows that he is being accused in error, and is able to feel an inner joy. This level is called menuchah.

This blog, Thrive Christian, is written with a focus on celebrating the life Jesus Christ redeemed for me and all other believers. As I read Rabbi Pliskin's words I realized this is THAT attitude that sets Christians apart from the world. Menuchah: is perfected peace of mind that Jesus secured for me.... no matter what my $, health, or life looks like.

This one verse is core to my life: John 10:10 (New King James Version)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

In this anxiety filled world do you know this peace? Thrive Christian Blog is wanting to hear about peace no matter what's going on in your life.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Time To Laugh

Doing vs. Talking

Last night 3 wonderful funny Christian young people (young ... compared to me; seems everyone is young compared to me!) met at my home for our first work session on "A Time Laugh" comedy troupe. For over 6 months we have discussed turning our zany coping humor into a ministry. Recently someone asked me how I walked out my call to minister. I shared all the burning passions in my heart and to my surprise this woman asked if the comedy group would give a presentation in July.

We have a gig (hope I got that right), and last night we came together to brainstorm ideas. In my writing and in this venture I have concluded that to intentionally try to be funny IS NOT FUNNY!

But last night was powerful. I don't know when I've ever laughed so much in one evening. The four of us range in age from 26 year old Ryan, 30 year old Stacie, 38 year old Laura, and me: a card carrying senior of 65. You'd never put us together, but God did. We have some common threads in our histories: born in trauma, issues with challenging beginnings, and from earliest childhood we recall laughing in the middle of crisis. But most of all we share a passion for doing whatever we can for others to know the peace and joy and fulfillment we know through Jesus Christ.

Talking about pulling off "A Time To Laugh" has been replaced with action. Rehearsal on our brainstorming is coming up soon and I can't wait. Hopefully I've stirred you up with a dream in your heart that you will do more than talk about it. Take Action...jump in, the water's fine!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Impact Resistant

"Impact resistant knives!" hawked the infomercial on the TV. I was dusting furniture and I didn't notice the news show had been replaced with this knife commercial program. Over and over the presenter shouted "Impact resistant!"

I'm pondering if I have sought to become impact resistant to avoid pain. How else could a compassionate responsible woman go on about my day to day living without spending more time praying for the needs of others? I don't want to fall to pieces, but the alternative is worse: I could become impact resistant.

Coming through the grief process of my husband's death and some other losses I fear I've become so concerned with surviving, I may have become too cautious about my emotional well being. When I read the statistics on how little time folks pray, I'm ahead of the average. I remember a time when I prayed with passion every day for all those laying heavy on my heart.

Today I pray for God's ideal in my heart sensitivity. Daily I'm setting aside a specific time to pray with empathy for those around me. Whatever impact resisstance I have developed in self surival, I'm believing compassion takes over and God brings me to be what pleases Him.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." ( John 13:34-35)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flashlight in the Darkness

Census phase is completed and my old crew is out of work and little hope of a job in sight. We met together to celebrate our success last month. May I brag a bit: We completed our assignments before anyone else in SC and our work was deemed excellent in accuracy!!! They were amazing workers...they made me look good.

But it didn't take long after the hugs and hello's to feel the pain of the need of jobs. I work for the extras in my life as a retiree. The rest of this crew needs to work for necessities. One woman suggested we form a support working group to meet together regularly to fine tune resumes and practice interview techniques, etc.

Now, we have a schedule to meet every other week to network with one another to learn each other's skills and desires for full time employment. As we birthed this little work group I suddenly realized I can head this group with great ease and delight. I've been schooled for decades in small group leadership for ministry and business.

For a few years I've felt God calling me to KNOW that each moment I'm living is the most important moment of my life. I can tend to dream of the future longingly or nostalgically look back in the past. But if I live in Christ fully in each moment in the NOW I take care of the past as it comes moment by moment and the future is most unpredictable.

So...last night was the fruit of me living in the NOW. I have 20 people who enjoy following my lead. They have a common goal of needing full time or part-time work. By far, they are the best team of committed smart positive workers I've ever seen. I have contacts and people of influence th
at I can bring to this group. In a dark time I sense God is shining His light onto us all. I may only be pocket-size flashlight in these folks' darkness, but when the lights are dim or out, any light is a help.

You smart blog readers may have helps for these unemployed sharp motivated workers. Please send in your advice, website addresses, book titles, etc.

"Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven..."

Shine where you are. Jesus shining through you and me is Heaven come to earth.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weeds and Yard Flowers

Majesty and Summer Glory: That's what happened when I was in charge of decorating a huge gym for a ten year celebration of a wonderful ministry to the homeless, hungry, ex offenders.

In prayer I realized the humble hydrangea and Queen Anne's lace and other roadside weeds could work. But it turned out that seeing it was only part of the wonder. Seems hydrangeas will wilt on you if you don't know how to handle them. So days before the event I was out harvesting these gorgeous blooms.

Here's the trick to keep Hydrangeas from drooping:
1. Cut early in the day.
2. Cut on the diagonal.
3. Pierce with pin
4. Dip in boiling water for 20 seconds
5. Place in cool water and let sit for 2 days
6. Add Sprite to the water

Weeds and Queen's Anne lace:
1. Cut early in the day
2. Let soak in water for a day

Organza cloths made from cloth bought at bargain basement sell out and thousands of blooms in thrift shop vases turned a gym into a summer wonderland.

A week of work paid off. Senators, volunteers, bank executives, state officials, graduates of ex offender programs and their families, etc. were blessed with a wonderland evening of celebrating the goodness of God in miraculous ways.

Those in charge of the food prepared the most delicious and beautiful food. What a night!!

Somehow those weeds and yard flowers make me think of some of our saints who have come from the most humble places. I'm one of those!!! It's taken a lot of preparation to get me to be a use able part of the Body of Christ. Somehow I don't think Apostle Peter or Apostle Paul were easy parts of the Body!!!

Those hydrangeas and weeds were more beautiful than the most expensive florist's flowers I've ever seen. I hope I hold that image in my mind forever. When a troubled soul needs much preparation to be a part of the Body of Christ may I learn from Holy Spirit how to keep them "hydrated" and prevent them from "wilting."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Procrastination Fungus

Procrastination works like an ever growing fungus in my life.
Procrastination almost got me again. As I was blessed with promotions in my recent census job I failed to send in my application to She Speaks Speaking & Writing Conference. I devoted most of my time to the urgent needs of my job.
Get this: I was working my census job partially to make the money for this great conference. When I went to their website I discovered they were sold out. I signed up for the waiting list, but I didn't have great hope for a place opening up. How many times do I have to go down this road: Tending to the urgent; and overlooking the important matters?

BUT yesterday the email arrived telling me a cancellation had opened a spot for me. My immediate reaction was Yahoo!! Yippee! Then reality rushed in and I realized my procrastination had worked a number on me again. I have several writing projects partially completed. I have 6 weeks to finish these to be in place for the conference. I've come a long way in slaying this internal dragon: Procrastination. It's obvious to me I still have to fight to rid myself of this self sabotage.

My funniest procrastination saga is my dream to publish a procrastination blog that will offer wisdom and helps for other strugglers. I've had this dream in my heart for over a year. Perfectionism has joined forces with procrastination to entangle my dreams. Best I can figure it will take a sharp machete to cut the vine jungle down to free myself to take action.

This blog was one the fruits of my first She Speaks Conference last year. Women from all over the nation and a few other countries come together to earnestly pursue the dreams and visions God has placed in their hearts. The passionate love of the Lord teamed with a fervent willingness to work set this conference apart from many others I have attended.

Blog posts will probably shorten up while I'm smoking away on this laptop to make up the time I spent digging into housecleaning and decorating. Got to go.......God bless you all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Road Rage Ain't Saintly

Yesterday I 'fessed up to my fleshly unsanctified attitude with line breakers in waiting lines. May I say it bugs me the most in conference or church settings. Last night I discussed this with a friend over dinner. She didn't give me one ounce of mercy. Oh, dear friend pointed out how upset I got driving on our recent trip to a large city.

Oh, my she's right. Not only do I need to confess and repent of bad attitude anger in waiting lines, but now I've got to look at the real me in some traffic situations. I know you blog readers will understand:

We were lost. My Tom Tom gps was "running his know it all mouth," the red light turned to green, and we took one little moment to think and "toot!!! toot!!!" blared the horn behind me. I quickly made a left ...well, I was in the left turn lane. Then the car rode my bumper for two whole blocks laughing at me. You guessed it! Mild mannered Kay turned into nose pumping smoke red faced non-cussing hothead. I got in the far right lane as soon as possible and let the impatient rude impertinent road hog menace get by me. Ain't it wonderful to see how well I have processed all of this? Anyway I then got behind this car. I wanted to repay like with like, but then something...probably Merciful Gracious Holy my better self in line. My friend laughed and laughed and still laughs about Saint Kay behind the wheel in downtown traffic.

Well with my halo slipping off my head I ask "Is God still working on any of you being 'ticked off at the little things'?"

I hear a soft whisper in my thoughts, "little foxes." In Song of Solomon 2:15 God speaks, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom."

I am a crisis queen: give me a full blown crisis and I will amaze you. But in the everyday hum drum I don't always walk in ways that emulate Christ. Marion Bond West Acuff, Guidepost writer and friend, once told me that she and I reigned so well in crisis we probably create one just to wear the crown. Oops... I think I'm past that drama need, but I do see I have much to learn in "being angry" on what warrants it from God's perspective and walking it out in honesty and maturity for the good of all involved.

Today I'm processing all those
little foxes placed in my life to steal my blessings and fruit of the Spirit. My dryer broke last week and my disposal is frozen but that's o.k. I won't act like it hasn't happened, but it will get the attention it more.

It's summertime down here in Carolina. I ran across this poem that speaks of little irritants in the summer.

The chigger is no bigger
Than the end of a small pin;
But the itch that he raises
Simply amazes.

Don't sweat the small stuff!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Silly Stuff That Ticks Me Off

I get ticked off when someone sneaks in ahead of me in a waiting line. I don't mean slightly irritated; I mean smoking mad! If people could see past my pleasant smile mask ;they would see smoke pumping out my nose, and a firey mouth spewing out flaming words of disgust and fury. A little over the top? Oh yeah...but in my mind you stole my time when you decided to "slide" in ahead of me.

What's up? Kay, I thought you were the loving Christian who writes on strong gentleness; surrendered to Jesus as Lord; and loving your enermies. Yes, that's me. But in this process of growing in Christ; that part of old me still has to be harnessed. I've been writing on anger for a few weeks and I pondered yesterday on ordinary situations that tick me off. Line breaking hit my number one spot on stupid stuff that tempts me sorely.

God's command: be angry, but sin not; calls me to examine my anger. As I look at my foolishness I'm asking why this bugs me so much. I'm the first one to always insist that people in the grocery line to go ahead of me if I have a full shopping cart. I love being generous and gracious in driving or shopping situations to wave people on ahead. Why would I have to suppress all kinds of poor behavior when somene in lines jump ahead of me?

Looking back on my childhood I may have a clue for this irrational anger. I changed schools 8 times in 12 years; and usually those where extreme crisis situations. Somehow I sense that this irritation stems back to school days and my low status of being the "new" kid in class. Seems I recall loving the teachers that would not tolerate line breakers. As I write this I'm smiling at the absurdity of caring if someone goes ahead of me if I'm in no time crunch. Perhaps this self examination is a piece of "be angry, but sin not."

Most irrational behaviors or mind traps have a root in our childhood (so the behavior experts say). Dare you share your recurring ticked off stuff? Remembering I'm gathering data for a book.

What ticks you off?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

God's Commands: 1: Fear Not 2: Be Angry

Anger musings continue...

As I'm thinking and praying about anger and being whole in Christ I suddenly find myself thinking on what the Bible shows us God commands us to do; and what He clearly warns us not to do:

Be angry, but do not sin.

Fear not.

I've read that there are 365 instances of God telling us His people "Fear Not."

I'm encouraged that He says this over and over; I can't be the only one that deals with fear in some way or another 365 days in the year.

I bring up fear because I'm convinced that anger and fear occur together when we become "unglued." Self control of anger is tied to faith and trust in God to replace our fears.

Most Christians I know are never ashamed of their fears, but they deny any anger and would prefer for no one to know they've ever been angry.

Help me out ... have we flipped His design for us?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Avoid Conflict At All Costs

My mom and my husband were two of the most important people in my life. They were both dear wonderful people, but they hated conflict. They actually feared conflict. I sense I may refuse to deal with anger in healthy ways because I lived my life trying to accommodate my mom or my husband.

You blog readers have been terrific lately in responding to my anger prompts. Please don't let me down now.

What do you think about this...anger gets masked, ignored or stuffed trying to avoid conflict. Then in the "dark" it grows like a fungus.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yes, I'm Angry, Mad, Ticked Off...And Still I'm A True Christian!

Your blog comments on anger have triggered many thoughts in me. Recently I've queried several folks on their thoughts on how to handle anger. These conversations along with your comments show me American Christian women may be the largest group struggling with repressed or misappropriated anger.

Yesterday David from Red Letter Believers said...
I have a person in my life who I recognize anger in, but she says she isn't angry, she's "not happy" or "disappointed in me" or "discouraged by my actions."Anger is anger and appreciate you calling it what it is!

A few weeks ago I fired up with anger that actually frightened me. I shared my experience in: Be Angry but Sin Not!!!

The drawing to further explore this comes from the positive benefits I have personally received by facing my anger; not dodging it; not rationalizing it and processing it in meditation with God. I am reading good Christian books to uncover what God means in commanding us to BE ANGRY, but sin not.

I read that scripture all my life this way:

Be angry, BUT SIN NOT.

For me the main thing was to do whatever I could in my own power to be sure unequivocally, that under no circumstances, in any instance, with anyone, that I absolutely did not sin with my anger....and oh, yeah, be sure before I went to bed or before the sun came up ... I did NOT go to bed or sleep still angry!

As my faith grows that God is who He says He is in the Bible, I find I am willing to dare to be honest and true with little ole me. Instead of sugar coating what's going on in me; I dare to look at it head on. In Christ, I am willing to admit "I'm angry."

God's mercy and compassion have become clear to me in the last year. If I had one thing I would hope to convey to any of you reading this today it would be: You cannot measure how great is His love and understanding of your honest pursuit of pleasing Him no matter what breaks, blows up or flips upside down. Perfection isn't His command. Receive His love and love Him back and trust Him in all things.... this makes for the most glorious life.

Anger...God placed anger in His original plan for men and women. I'm praying, listening and learning what His design for anger is; and how we can comply with our original Manufacturer's intent!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saint, What Do You Do With Your Anger?

"I'm not angry, I'm hurt," a young woman confides to me.

"What if hurt is anger turned inward?" I ask her.

Shock fills her face; and a flash of "maybe" shows in her eyes as I share, "Unmet needs are usually felt in hurt, offense, or anger. Let's look at your unmet needs. We will pray for God to show us reality: true need as opposed to wants or perceived needs."
I know this "place" myself and I've ministered to many folks with ruptured relationship problems. I've begun to research misused anger and poor physical and emotional health. I am feeling a strong drawing to write about anger and Christians. Recently I think I "got it."

Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV) "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

I've been afraid to dare to truly own my anger most of my life. I rationalized away true anger and came up with comfortable emotions for a Bible-believing-baptized-church member-leader. In this complex dodge of my true feelings I've overeaten, needlessly shopped, developed depression with repressed anger and missed what God intended totally.

I've decided to explore how we can please Father God honestly when anger erupts in our emotions. You blog readers are my first line of investigation of viewpoints and experiences on obeying God "to be angry" and not sinning. The greek word for "sin" is to miss the mark. Could we be missing the mark in our denial of the God given emotion of anger?

I'll start this sharing with why I may have been afraid to "be angry." In my early childhood home my dad was a violent alcoholic. Finally this spiraled into destroying our home. My mom had emotional breakdowns. She was left emotionally crippled and at home she had a short fuse when it was just the two of us at home. I have feared emulating either one of them and going "postal" with no control...."just give me another piece of cake," or "I'll take a nap," or "I need to shop a while." I think I've sinned trying not to be angry.

I'm writing a book on BE Angry....I truly need your viewpoint. Speak up, please.

Talk to me about your anger.........or your avoidance of your anger.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.