Monday, August 31, 2009

Watch it! Do You Know Who You're Talking To?

Do you think much about your conversations with your self?

This morning I was reading my daily devotion from Rabbi Pliskin and I was impacted by these words:

Speak To Yourself Serenely

You are the person with whom you talk to most often. To become a serene person, consistently talk to yourself serenely.

Become aware of the tone of your voice when you speak to yourself. This often is so automatic that many people never consider it an issue. But it can be a major factor in whether or not you are usually serene.

(From Rabbi Pliskin's book, Serenity, p.37)

I am careful with my words to "me" and what I say out loud about me and mine. This was not always the case. But a few years ago I heard a message that changed my life. It seems our own voice may have more power over us than any other voice. Think about it. You've been hearing your voice all your life. Your brain picks up on the familiarity of your voice. When I truly want to recall a new teaching I read the material aloud to get it etched on my mind. That one exercise should direct me to only speak over me and mine what I hope will occur.

Not even in jest do I ever speak what I would not want in me and my loved ones.

What do you say?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can I Handle Blessings?

The last twelve years have been challenging. If you're new to wholehearted Christianity let me interpret that phrase for you: Life Has been Hard!!! There were times I wasn't sure I'd make it, but God showed up at every turn just in time. How bad was it Kay? Well some things are personal but let me take all the air out and list a few challenges:

Family: brain tumors, lung cancer, marriage crisis, money fears, other health challenges, witness to child molestation,
unsure of career direction, hearing God's call to write but not finding my voice to fulfill call, mother's illness and then becoming her total care-giver in my
home for several years, husband's sudden illness and death, handling the closing of busy medical office suddenly.....CHALLENGES.

In the last few weeks I have been blessed financially, answered prayers for family and friends, great new job, writing opportunities, help remodeling my home, and a sense of rest in God
I've prayed for.

But yesterday I was phoned by my cpa to setup an appointment. I sighed when he called. My greatest fears must have been realized, the IRS wanted more money than I had anticipated. But he wanted the meeting to go over some possible medical group investment that I might be eligible to receive money from since my husband had died.

I should have been elated, but I had no where to place all this. I have been in "make it" mode for so long I had no familiar coping for one favor and blessing after another. A friend phoned me immediately after this call with a need for prayer on some difficult times in her life. Then I felt guilty that she had this hardship and I was being blessed.

I happened to have "Everyone Loves Raymond" on the television. The episode playing showed Raymond winning writer of the year. He was sharing his good news with his family. By the time his dad and mom picked it apart he was deflated and they accused him of bragging. When he got back to his home his wife gave him the bad news that his new position would force him to cover the sled races in Alaska. This was a terrible assignment. Ray smiled and la
ughed. His wife was puzzled. Raymond explained, "For a few minutes I thought I could believe this award and promotion meant I was in a good successful place. This was new for me, but just maybe it was my turn. But now that you tell me this I realize I'm not the one who has things work out for me. I live in a hard place; life is always hard for me."

Sadly, I could identify with Raymond. The fear of disappointment can cancel out the joy in a time of blessing. God is having to help me learn how to receive all of His blessings at one time. I've been climbing up hill with danger all around for many years. I, like Raymond, got accustomed to walking with trouble. The Bible shows this same mindset in the Israelites after God delivered them. I refuse to act like the Israelites who couldn't embrace the unfamiliarity of the Promised Land, because they got too accustomed to desert living.

Yes, I know the "desert," but I am adaptable and I know the giants are big in this new land. But the faithful God in the desert is also faithful in the Promised Land. I don't walk in my own knowing; no, I am surrendered and belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank You, Lord, for the life You give me. I know You in loss,
pain, and when nothing seems to be working. Lord, I thank You when blessings come my way that can logically seem impossible.

This is the day that You have made and I rejoice in it!!! New terrain, new skills, and thanking You, Lord God, for all things:
  • up, down
  • cold, hot
  • peace, war
  • lack, plenty
  • solitude, crowded
  • full, empty
  • heard, ignored
  • validated, invisible
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watch It Lady, Don't Break in Line

"The end of the line is way back there ...the guy with the orange bill hat is now the end," I sternly informed a poor book laden shopper Saturday. I must have looked like Lucy in the "Peanuts" cartoon. It was as though I assigned myself position as referee of line protocol. A lady in front of me chuckled. That really fired me off.

"It goes back to being a skinny little school girl. I hated line breakers, and I still struggle with this. This is a good test of integrity. If you break in line, you stole someone else's time. You just exposed your integrity," Lucy-like Kay proclaimed.

Holy Spirit has my ear and suddenly Lucy-like Kay was deflated. Thoughts filled my mind of all my integrity showing behaviors that would make a line-breaker give me a lecture. Oh, don't worry, my human flaws are not shockingly immoral and definitely not illegal. But I'm still a work in progress.

Whee...thank God for Heavenly grace and mercy. I took off my black and white referee shirt and ditched the whistle. I didn't even look back at the 40 person deep line to be sure all was well.

My favorite one day super fundraising book sale for literacy was a wisdom packing day. Oh, the books will be great to "chew" on all year. But the hurt little girl Kay from decades ago who must have been pushed back over and over in school lines finally gave up the fight. I may just purchase a collapsing chair so I can stand or sit in line for a long time and never break a sweat. If God needs someone to oversee the integrity of line standers He'll have to enlist someone else. I humbly resign.

I'm so humbled by the "video" He showed me in my mind on Saturday that I am busy cleaning closets and tending to my to do list. I have much to do on ME; I really don't have the energy or time to police anyone else.

Could this be what He meant when He said:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7:3

Friday, August 21, 2009

Playing Control Games in the Name of Love

Control writing is limiting my control of my life: Ha! Can't you tell from reading posts here at Thrive Christian that I've battled the control traps? I cannot casually write or speak on this subject because of the joy of freedom from this bondage and understanding that the Christian community appears to struggle with getting real on this issue. As I read through the last week's posts I need a break and I never meant to preach on this blog. Yesterday's post reads "preachy."

But enough is enough. A few months from now I will return to this subject because I've heard your passion for interest in this area of relationship wisdom.

Two key words come to my mind as I wind this series down: Love and Action.

Months past I shared that my favorite hymn is "Jesus Loves Me." When I am full of the truth that Jesus loves me; wart's and all, my heart is full and running over with love. God only empowers me when I lay healthy boundaries in relationships with love. St. Paul wrote this truth so well in I Corinthians 13. We can use the best principles in our relationships but if we don't have love that lines up with God, we're wasting our time.

I'm a well practised procrastinator. At the beginning of this year I found a book titled "Taking Action." I dare now to do action even if I may mess up; rather than postponing it. Action is key to everything in my life. I'm a trained speaker: talk can be cheap. In my relationships I am working on "action" in love that syncs with what I hear in prayer.

As I close this I recall some game playing with my late mom toward the end of her life. Mother loved to eat out. No matter how busy life became for me I had lunch or dinner out with Mother in my planner and no one took priority over her. But regretfully I should have played the "Where shall we eat" game with Mother. She would try on outfits for days leading up to our outing. I'd pick her up and the game would begin:

"You choose where we eat this time, Kay. Pick out a place," she would suggest with smiles across her face.

"Mom, every time I pick a place you come up with all your indigestion reasons why my choice cannot work for you. I eat out all the time and this day is for you. I've got an iron-clad stomach and I'll enjoy any place you choose. Where do you want to eat?" I would matter-of-fact plain vanilla bottom line no affect reply.

Mom would sigh with disappointment and say, "Now, that's is not what would happen. Come on tell me where you want to eat today."

Years past I would suggest a place and sure enough she would moan and say, "Oh, honey I can't eat there because their food is so greasy. What do you think about Red Lobster?"

Those times she was giggly with joy. I was so immature I was unhappy for being reeled in again.

Later I refused the game. Now, my mom had persistence down pat. We might go back and forth for 15 minutes before she would realize I wasn't playing. Off to one of her three favorite restaurants we would go but she wasn't' as excited about it.

Today I would do that differently. Yes, this may sound the opposite of this whole week on control, being controlled, passive aggressive deception, being honest, open, transparent and laying clear boundaries....but I loved my mother. Sometimes eighty something retirees deserve a little power brokering as long as the one being played knows what they are laying down. Loving action would lead me today to pick up my mom all dolled up and this is how that conversation would flow....

"Mom, you look fantastic. Is that a new outfit?"

"Oh, this old thing. I've had it for years. Do you think it looks o.k?"

"You amaze me, Mother. You look half your age. Where do you want to eat lunch today?"

"Oh, I picked out our last spot. You pick somewhere today."

"Sullivan's Cafe downtown is a new place. I've heard it's great," I would reply.

"Oh, Marie said they didn't have anything on the menu she could eat. Their air conditioner was too cool on her head. I just don't think I'm up to trying that after her review. What do you think about fish today?" Mom would probably say.

"Oh, fish sounds good to me. Where did you have in mind?" I would eagerly ask her.

"Red Lobster with those cheese biscuits and grilled flounder sounds good to me. But I want you to pick out a place," Mom would gleefully suggest.

"I want to go to Red Lobster. Will that be o.k. with you, Mom?" I would sincerely reply.

"Yes...oh yes, Kay, darling you have come up with a perfect suggestion," Mom would declare.

Regrets...sometimes playing a game of control is a loving action. I'm learning every day; our Heavenly Father surprises me with His mercy and how I can live an abundant life as His merciful daughter.

Got a thought on loving action?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Skin Crawling Term: MY MINISTRY

MY MINISTRY: is a term that causes my skin to crawl, my anger to perk and revulsion to jump in me. I can hear the wise people "nutting up" when they read this. I recall when I was all into MY MINISTRY. God used "Experiencing God" Bible study to set me straight on that term. I learned that anyone called of God is in partnership with Holy God in any ministry that they participate in. The power is God's through His anointing and the only thing you or I offer is availability and surrender.

My church life became loving and harmonious once I got this truth clear in my mind and heart. I perceive that pride and self adulation is 100% of all conflict issues in church life. I'm sure I have such a strong reaction because initially in God's call on my life I was consumed with being the best, excellent, etc. Knowing me, I had a "holy" tag on all that nasty pride; but it was pride in me nonetheless. Now I understand each of us has destiny in God and no one can change that. We can get in the way with attitudes, disobedience, etc., but no one can stop God working in me for His destiny through me.

I started this series with statements of surrender. Control cannot operate in flesh and sinful ways when I am surrendered totally to Holy God.

C. S. Lewis wrote,
"Christ says, 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You.

I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.

No half-measures are any good. I don't want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out.

Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires that you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked...the whole outfit.

I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will you Myself; my own will shall become yours."
A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works, Edited by Patricia S. Klein (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003) 219.

Control......God wants you and me to surrender control. I remember when God brought me to the place where He challenged me to surrender myself totally to Him. I had acknowledged Him as Lord, and He had come into my life and I had given Him certain parts, but I was still in control. Then a crisis came internally in me. Thank God for mighty mentors that wouldn't give in to me fighting dying to self. Finally I came to full surrender to Christ. He holds my controls....hallelujah.

Mike Breaux of Willow Creek, "Jesus was an important part of my life, but He was like one spoke of a wheel. There were other spokes ministry, my career, my marriage, my children, my love of sports. But although He was one of the important spokes, I was the hub. Then during a time when I was on a retreat by myself, He confronted me and said, 'Mike, I don't want to just be a spoke. I want to be the hub. I want to be at the center of everything you are and do. Will you turn your life over to Me in such a way that I'm the hub?'"

Is control an issue for you? Does surrender all make sense as the answer to controlling or being controlled to you?

Control Issues Count Most in Family

There is no pain like the pain one family member can inflict on another family member. I keep studying controlling and being controlled because it matters in staying close and intimate with family members. Church life is family to me also. Probably aside from my mom, my deepest hurts have come through misunderstandings in church. To me this makes good sense. When I read in the New Testament what we the church are in God's eyes the closeness is God' s love and power working through us; yet in this is also our vulnerabi
lity with one another.

Two Christian writers have helped me in church life most profoundly:
  • Francis Frangipane in his writings on becoming unoffendable.
  • R.T. Kendall in Total Forgiveness
In an intimate time of personal worship God summed up all these teachings and freed me from being overly upset with anyone in church . One day I was praying for a true problem I had detected in my church.

As I would list the issues my thoughts would be interrupted with this thought, "Do you know the condition of your body?"

"Well, yes, Lord. I'm overweight, I'm not in good physical condition from lack of exercise, and I need to overhaul my eating habits. How did we move from Your best in church-life to gluttony?" I responded.

Then I went on and on about what I had discerned that didn't line up with scriptures. I felt I was an intercessor praying in line with God because I had no personal issues in the problems I was praying about. Heaven just had to be cheering such a "holy" saint like me! But then...."Kay, do you know the condition of your body?"

"Yes, Lord, I'm overweight, under exercised; what do You want me to see Lord?" I asked most puzzled.

Then this thought came to me, "If you a woman of limited skill can determine the condition of your body why do you think I'm unaware of My Body?"

Whoa.......that set me straight on church life. Church was never man's idea. Church is God's creation. The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church; which Paul wrote of as His Body. Once I had that clear in my mind through this revelation I pray more and have answered prayers that are amazing. I pray in a positive manner thanking God that He is working in ways I cannot see and with timing that is perfect. When I share this with pastors most of them break out with a bit of sweat and their breathing speeds up. The ones close to God know they are appointed and anointed by God; not a set of deacons, elders, or money backing power brokers. Nope, church is God's idea and He manages His Body with or in spite of us.

I honor the theocracy of church in God's theocratic kingdom. No where in the Bible is democracy and voting a part of God's manner of operating His Kingdom and His Body/Church. I surrender in love to all in church. I seek God in prayer without gossip when I pick up on something out of line. I can't share the answered prayers because that wouldn't help my local church should some people read this, but trust me, God has answered prayers that line up with His love, mercy and the best interest of His Kingdom here on earth. I honor those in positions of authority and I look to God daily as I fulfill any work in my positions of authority in church.

I apologize for lengthy posts, but I'm so passionate about controlling and relationships. My plan is for 2 more posts on controlling. Again thank you for commenting. I have truly felt "out of control" in writing these posts. As I pray before posting I have changed my plan every day as God has led me to His working in me on control. I love it! May He bless you also.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Doubt God? Take Control Begins

Controlling or being controlled is directly connected to lack of faith of God directly working in my life.

I ask myself often, "Am I trying to control this situation or this person?" I know the need to be in control is present in all folks in many different methods. For over 20 years I have worked with mentors, quiet time with the Lord to overcome my controlling and being controlled coping methods. Freedom in Christ is the only way to live!!!

Here are a few danger signs I've learned:

* Need to know all answers up front; and cannot wait patiently to how events evolve or what other people have planned in their lives.

* Lack trust in other people's competency or the power of God to care of details in life.

* Constant questioning, badgering and second-guessing of others' decisions.

* Believing no one can have a plan as good or better than my plan.

*Feeling I have the right to tell others what they need to do.

* Easily becoming irritable, frustrated or angry when others don't do what I wanted.

Now that I know God is intimately involved in my life I don't fall into these traps. I believe the basis of the problem for most controlling people is really the lack of trust in God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

The Bible shows us over and over God is trustworthy!!!

Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Of course God is the One Who is in control anyway. Matthew 6:27 states,

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

A controlling person begins to relinquish control when they surrender their concerns to the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7 challenges people to "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

What do you say about control issues being directly related to trust or the lack of trust in God?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Control: It's Not Personal, But It Feels Personal

Relationships gummed up with controlling issues are complicated. As I write this series I recall all the pain I came through as God freed me from these coping means. As I've mentioned in earlier posts I was born in a home struggling with addiction issues and mental illness. The scientist would label my
upbringing as dysfunctional.

My mom handled her tough issues with passive aggressive behaviours. As I studied this for today I was hit up the side of the head with my own passive aggression. I was a bit surprised. Truth is that we all have some of these behaviors and in moderation this can be a cultural nicety. But I hope we can see the serious control factors that these behaviors hold that can prevent us from the free life Jesus Christ has secured for us.

According to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia -
“Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a chronic condition in which a person seems to passively comply with the desires and needs of others, but actually passively resists them, in the process becoming increasingly hostile and angry."

According to Wikipedia-
It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is, often explicitly, responsible. It is a defense mechanism and more often than not, only partly conscious. For example, people who are passive-aggressive might take so long to get ready for a party they do not wish to attend, that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.

Passive Aggressive controllers could say or think the following:

  • When I am frustrated I become silent, knowing it bothers other people.
  • I am prone to sulk or pout.
  • When I don't want to do a project I will procrastinate. I can be lazy.
  • I do things in my own timing and if I am too slow or if I do things in a different manner, then others are just going to have to adjust to my way.
  • If they don't like it, that's too bad.There are times when I am deliberately evasive so others won't bother me.
  • I sometimes approach work projects half-heartedly.
  • When someone talks to me about our problems, I'll say what they want to hear then do what I want to do.I complain about people behind their backs, but resist the opportunity to be open with them face to face.
  • Sometimes I become involved in hidden misbehaviors.
  • I may not follow through on the favors people want me to do as a way of letting them know I didn't want to do them in the first place.
Passive aggression is usually caused by a need to have control with the least amount of accountability. This form of anger is different from suppressed anger because the person is deliberately doing something knowing it will agitate the other person involved. Also, when people use this form of anger, it represents a fear based manner of handling conflicts.

Healthy relationships welcome openness, but passive-aggressives fear
that openness will be accompanied by too high of an emotional price.

(This came from
Dr. Les Carter, author, of The Anger Trap)

What Is the Behavior of a Passive-Aggressive Person?
Here are some of the obvious ways in which a person expresses anger or aggression passively.

  • Lateness and Forgetfulness: One of the traits of passive-aggressive behavior most difficult to tolerate is the person’s tendency to be late for appointments or other scheduled events. Being late may reflect both the person’s need to have the control in a situation and underlying feelings of inadequacy. And there is always an, “I forgot what time it was”...when the person wants to explain away his or her actions or avoid an obligation.
  • Procrastination: The passive-aggressive person will commit to a project or deadline...and simply never get it done or else complete the task much too late. Other people who depend on the work being done, meanwhile, become infuriated.
  • Sending Mixed Messages: The person seldom communicates clearly and unambiguously, so that he or she can’t be pinned down. For example, “Maybe we can go out for dinner Friday night,” could be a plan or maybe just a suggestion or perhaps it’s just a way to keep you guessing. If you make a definite plan to go out, then the person can come back and say that he or she was just thinking out loud, and if you don’t make plans, then you are blamed for never coming through.
  • Pouting, Sulking and Lying: When the passive-aggressive person fails to keep promises and is confronted, a common response is to sigh, to withdraw from interacting, and to act as if they are being blamed unfairly. If they must give a response, there is often a fabrication of reality involved...and it is masterfully done. Open, constructive communication is virtually impossible when the other person is emotionally unavailable or deliberately distorting reality.
  • Feeling Victimized: When you finally put your foot down and expect a firm commitment, then you are the one to blame for trying to be controlling and demanding. The passive-aggressive person acts as if he or she is the helpless victim.

No one lacks value. Each of us is unique and precious.
Showing up, being present, being on time says, "I am worth your time, and you are worth mine." Jesus Christ spent His pain, His
life, His blood to prove worth and value to each of us. There can be no question that each person believing in Him is of incredible value.

Today may we all be mindful of our time and pray for God to show us how to be responsible in using our time. May we please the Lord with our time. Human control needs: hands off. Our time is in His hands!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

From Powerless to Powerful in Christ

If you feel power-less in some relationships I am believing you can come to being
powerful in Christ. I'm learning absolute surrender to Lord Jesus Christ opens up life with open hands and heart with others.

Before I surrendered all I tried to protect myself and I lived much of my
life with clenched fists. No...not to knock out folks; to guard myself, feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Seems I had a hard time saying no to requests and I would end up overwhelmed in activities for family, church, school,
community and work. I was tired and frustrated. Learning about boundaries and praying for God's best in my life was my breakthrough. My prayer today is that I can share what is working in my life. Hopefully, God will show you His
perfect way to untangle any areas of control and passivity in your life that block you from His thriving abundant life.

Yesterday I used my pastor's analogy of how a river can be a
powerful body of water if its banks are strong and keep the water contained to flow instead of seeping into the surrounding ground and make a swamp. The Bible tells me a river of living water will flow out of my belly. With eternal destiny in mind, I will use this river word picture throughout this series.

I'm discovering that boundaries:
  • define who I am
  • say what I want
  • mark out what I don't want
  • state my goals and purpose for life and safeguard them
  • say where I end and another person starts
My "river" has its banks. Other people can do whatever they want to in their "river" but they can't control the activity in my "river." These river banks are set and no one may redefine these parameters except me and the Lord.

Jesus Christ lived in His "river" beautifully and powerfully:

- He left the crowds that clamored for His attention to care for Himself.
- He did not allow His person or agenda to be changed or be redirected by anyone.
- He stayed Himself regardless of what anyone else wanted.
- He could not be tempted or swayed away from His purpose.

He is my example of staying true to oneself.

I study His last hours often. He chose when He would even speak to all His interrogators when He was on trial; and when He would remain silent. That is ultimate refusal to be controlled on anyone else's agenda. In that intense crisis, He maintained His "river." He never gave up His control.

I had lived in reaction to others so completely I had a difficult time figuring out how to openly set my boundaries. I sneaked whatever control I had over my life through procrastination and other passive/aggressive means. Upfront planned conscious stating of boundaries was foreign to me. I am a Southern woman........we pride ourselves in never breaking a sweat or wrinkling our clothes with anything but perfect grace. Ha! I do have a bit of that in me; and it was a stumbling block to getting free in Christ.

I recall one time many decades ago. My husband and I hit one of those tough times in marriage and an older woman was counselling me asked me, "What do you want, Kay?" I was speechless. I had a thousand ought's, should's, Bible verses, etc., but I was clueless on what I, Kay, wanted as a woman (not necessarily the wife, mother, church leader). The beginning of setting boundaries involved me searching my heart in prayer with Christ to discover;
  • What I want
  • What I don't want
  • What I like
  • How I can best use my time, how I won't use my time.
I imagine Jesus Christ living out my life and I imagine what boundaries would He insist on in this life. Once I had written all of this I had a "river" to start building the banks to hold it in place and prevent erosion that makes a river a swamp. It has changed in these years. Now, I am a widow and a writer. My boundaries of 20 years ago would not hold in this river to be powerful.

Now that I know what I want and don't want in my life (my borders) then it is easier to say "yes" to what fits and "no" to what does not so that I can pursue the Lord's plan for my life.

Boundary establishment probably brought the most change and the greatest pain of anything God has called for in my transformation as a Christian. The freedom and the peace of mind is more than worth it's cost, but I would be amiss if I didn't write that the pain was intense. Once my boundaries were in place I stopped letting others step on my toes. I was no longer pushed into doing anything that was not best for me in God's plan for my life. On top of all that; I did it (in time) guiltless! Oh hallelujah to the rid of guilt!!!

Discovery # 1: Folks didn't like not being able to tell me what to do and how to do regularly. No matter how politely I declined church volunteering opportunities that I had before done to make leaders happy; I had folks on the outs with me.

Discovery # 2: Controlling people revved up their tactics to try to push through my personal parameters. This was especially true of my mom.

Discovery # 3: I had to keep my guard up and keep my calling clear in my mind or I would hand over my controls and find myself pressured and manipulated into something I shouldn't be doing.

Obviously I'm not "done" yet. A friend at church asked me to alter some clothes for her. She assured me there was no time pressure. But she emailed yesterday that she now realizes she needs them for this weekend. Bam! I was up until very late wrestling with an aggravating sewing machine and finally I sewed the last stitch. I mean the last stitch. New rocks in my river more sewing favors unless Holy God directs me to do it. I have a adult child in a tough place needing my undivided attention for a few days. Now, I'm tired and what would have been peaceful ministry will be ministry with fatigue. Perfect example of letting down the guard.

Good things can get in the way of best things.

Boundary establishment was my beginning of understanding how I never give my life controls to anyone but God. Developing my boundaries has given me understanding of other's boundaries. I'm convinced you can't overcome being controlled until you face where you are also controlling of others. Tomorrow I will jump into the ways I found I feared situations and I was the controller. Hold on, before this series is finished I may show you ways you subconsciously control others. In Christ you and I can truly handle all that comes to us in life. Fear has no way to drive us to surrendering our life controls or trying to control others.

Boundaries, control, and transparent honest living have to do with my faith in God, His Word and His promises to me. Lack of faith opens up the dangers of life lived out of fear. Shame and fear are the main backbones of all control coping. Shoot down shame and fear; control has no purpose.

Until tomorrow.........Live in peace!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Honest Moment

The promised series on controllers will begin this week. I'm stalled in posting because I am struggling with writing this from my heart. Blogging has again surprised me with opening up parts of me that I didn't know existed until I began to respond to your comments.

Some of you have written to me offline with requests for more information on getting free from being a controller or being controlled by someone
else. This dialogue has touched my heart and my mind.

I sense I need to lay down some Biblical principles that lead me daily before we open up this serious discussion on living honestly in relationship without resorting to manipulation or deception.

My first giant step in this truth was in understanding Jesus words in John 5, "
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."

For years I pondered how divine Jesus would need to look to Father God for all His actions. But now I see in part that Jesus came fully God, fully human, to model life for us. As He lived He and Father God were one and did all things from Heaven's perspective and in Heavenly power with Holy Spirit working in and with them.

Why was this so key in my understanding of free living without manipulation? I don't look to my own resources in living now that I am in Christ. I live every minute looking to Jesus who is looking to Father God; on what needs to be done this moment. When I am clear on this focus I am not prey to giving into people pleasing; acting like savior wonder woman Kay; needing to prove my greatness; competitiveness of wanting to be best; fear of what others might do to me....on and on and on.

I am moved by Heaven's unction!!! My trust is in God. Only in understanding this one verse was I free to dare to live with openness, and manage living with all people; even those who operate out of fear, shame and bullying.

Recently our pastor has been preaching on strong healthy relationships. He has spent much time on teaching us how to establish boundaries in our living. He said, "A river is a healthy flowing
life giving body of water because it has banks that keep it contained. If the banks erode as in Hurricane Katrina; a river becomes a stagnate swamp without life giving strength."

Tomorrow I will post the first portion of the trap of trying to control and manipulate others in our lives. I'm pouring my heart out and I am being blessed by your response. Here on Thrive Christian Blog your input is key to God moving us to truth to His Thriving Life in Jesus Christ. Please speak up on this touchy subject....I need to learn from you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Whose Holding Your Life Switches?

"You're making me miserable. I won't allow you to take control of this club. You can't control me," snarled a leader of a writing group to me.

"Take control? I have no desire to control this club, you or anyone else. But I will not be controlled by anyone but the Lord Himself. If you handed me your control panel; take it back because I don't want it. I never requested it. But I still stand by the boundaries I laid down for me. If that is a problem I will discuss this with you later," was my calm response to this perfectionist overwhelming leader.

She went ballistic. I was smiling a strange smile that only God and I understood. My fellow writers jumped in to try to calm the strong leader who was accustomed to people coming to attention when she barked loudly enough. She was ranting about this and that, and I truly was unaffected except to be concerned for her goodwill. Finally a new writer just swept me up in her arms and physically loved on me.

My smile...
My calm...
My surprise in my own words....
were part of God's tutoring me on how to manage life. For all of my life I had danced to the rhythm of anyone around me that exercised the most control or need. My mom had many emotional problems and I sense I was encouraged by aunts and family to keep her "calm" and happy. Now, I see well meaning folks gave a little child the responsibility to keep her mother sane. Wow! That's a biggee.

Bit by bit I developed mechanisms to please folks; no matter what. In that mindset I lost me; and what truly mattered to me. The poor writer's club leader just happened to be the first "controller" to encounter Free Kay! I had come through work with a Christian mentor and weeks of time in Bible study on being a strong healthy balanced Christian woman. I'm sure I needed some fine tuning in delivery, but I didn't buckle under and I didn't resort to her tyrannical manner.

I'm sure I didn't handle responsibility in full balance up until this point. My mom had displayed a manipulative passive/aggressive manner throughout my life. Now, I was laying down boundaries in my life. I had prayed on my purpose, destiny and the priorities in my life that pleased God. That week I had laid some big ones down with my mom. She came totally unglued, but then in the end she got it. That began some of the best interaction we had had together. So, this encounter with the group leader was days after I had been clear with my mom.

The vivid image of taking my writing club leader's control panel was repulsive to me. The weeks of seeking God's best in my life as a mature woman had been painful. Daring to confront my mom on being upfront and straight forward in our interactions had been painful for her. The leader had no idea what was going on with Kay. She was accustomed to the "yes" girl. Whatever anyone wanted Kay would try to do. But now Kay was laying down some boundaries. The leader's need for ultimate control was challenged and she reacted with loud forceful orders.

She was right on the point that I was no longer in her control. From that standpoint I was controlling her agenda. She had been accustomed to counting on 100% unconditional submission from me. Now, I was laying out times, assignments, etc. that worked for me with the other responsibilities in my life.

If controllers are hurting your life be prepared for new pain if you come into God's plan for living free. If you have lived as a people pleaser more than a God pleaser; there is hard work ahead. But ....hear me; the payback is amazing. No one holds my life control panel but God and me!!! Don't you want to live free?

Tomorrow we will explore how anyone ever falls into the trap of becoming a controller. Remember our goal is to get free; utterly free. When you are free in Christ you can truly love and pray for the controllers.

Do you have a story of being controlled, controlling or being free from either case.

We were designed to worship something, and when we fail to worship God, we create gods (idols) to surrender ourselves to. E. Stanley Jones said, “If you don’t surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos.” You’re free to choose what you surrender to, but you’re not free from the consequences of that choice: “So give yourselves completely to God” (James 4:7 NCV).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Having a Rough Time With Controllers?

Blogging thrills me when comments flood in on certain posts. I get it...ya'll are having some difficult time with controlling people in your life. I'm working on a series to begin Monday on ways I have learned to work effectively with "controllers" and how God has melted my heart on this one serious relationship issue.

Stay tuned....I offer my life tested wisdom. Keep reading the last post and know I love it when you fire back all fired up!!! is a visual hint for more to come in next week's series.

Friday, August 7, 2009

How Do You Love Controllers?

"Oh, no, Lord, even You don't expect me to love someone who tries to control people around them constantly. Oh, no....I can't. Ummm, You don't have a backup plan, eh? Well, Lord, I need some serious help as soon as possible," was my prayer conversation in my mind many years ago. Today I find myself counselling many who struggle with this issue.

The way the Lord helped me was to realize in myself that I can try to control my environment and people's dealings with me when I am fearful and/or shamed. The experts in behavior science agree with this truth. That one little nugget helped me love the most dogmatic or manipulative passive/aggressive controllers.

Where I can't find anything to love in a controller or manipulator; I have no strain feeling empathy for someone afraid or ashamed. I choose to look beyond the offensive front of a controller to see into their pain of fear or shame. Recently I spent time with a young woman who is having difficulty working with a passive aggressive complaining controlling older woman. The controller has come through abuse emotionally and physcially from an abusive spouse.

I'm convinced the emotional and physical abused women have scars that can have lasting fear of someone else hurting them. This painful unfair treatment is doubling damaging because it comes from the man they loved and chose for a lifetime partner. "When you look past her actions...when you listen past her words and attitudes....perhaps you can feel her pain, " I shared with this young woman.

As we left one another we came up with a plan that will give the controller many ways to "control" unimportant decisions while this young woman prays for their relationship. Hopefully God will bless them with trust and the controlling manner won't be needed for the hurting woman to work with this younger woman.

Do you have ways that help you work with the "controllers" in your life? When do you find yourself trying to control others around you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heroes Are Real People

I laughed and cried listening to Micca Campbell speak last year at She Speaks conference. Just beginning life as a widow she gave me hope for life I needed right then. Her humor gift and her communication skills were so excellent I felt like we two were the only ones in a room actually filled with hundreds of women. Yep, right that minute she became my heroine to emulate as I began this new walk as widow Kay.

A few days ago at this year's conference she was talking with one of my new friends. The friend, Carol Davis, pulled me over to introduce me to Micca. Carol is amazing (check her out on her daily radio show:

I tried to be cool and calm, but I couldn't. In typical Southern country unsophisticated style I began to ooh and ah. I told Micca I wrote up her story from the last conference on my blog. She looked a bit that started me worrying. I had terrifying thoughts whirling through my head. Which lawyer should I call ... who won't mind me phoning them on Saturday? Oh, no ...I've messed up this time. I'm new at blogging and I began to think, "Oh, no my heroine is going to sue me for some lawyer-4-syllable-breach of something."

But...........drum roll, there is a happy ending to this saga. I sent Carol a link to the post I wrote on Micca. Just as I had assumed, Carol forwarded it to Micca. I felt like I needed to open up and let whatever was going to happen to get on with it. Here is that post and if you look at the comments my heroine, Micca, left a beautiful edifying comment. Whew! I'm thrilled she approved, but I'm relieved she didn't want to do something else.....ain't life wild in litiginous USA in 2009?

Here's a Micca!!!

Never Let 'Em See You Sweat!
My Aunt Eunice frequently told me my best self defense strategy was to keep my cool, no matter what. I think Aunt Eunice had read far too many mystery stories because she constantly had self defense on her mind in a quiet valley with only family within several miles in either direction.
But I did end up in some dangerous spots and no matter what, I could almost hear Aunt Eunice, "Girl, walk like you don't have a care in the world. Don't let them see your fear; keep your cool. Don't let them see you sweat." I'm navigationaly challenged and getting lost comes up often. Once I was having a ball in the Garment District of New York when I took a wrong turn into an alley that was terrifying and somehow I was no longer in the Garment District. But, I walked like I knew exactly where I was going and finally I circled back into the street I knew.

Today I'm paying tribute to Micca Campbell who is the queen of "Don't Let Them See You Sweat." She was a keynote speaker in the She Speaks Conference ( this past May. Enjoy her story and see if you agree that she is the "queen" since she kept coming back around these folks after this incident. Micca Campbell, was the conference's last keynote speaker. This beautiful young woman had me laughing minutes after taking the mike. Since I hope to develop humor here and in my presentations I listened intently to Micca's stories. As nutty as some of my most embarrassing moments have been, she’s topped me with this one:

Micca rushed to get to the hotel for the She Speaks conference several years ago. With no time to freshen up for a leadership preliminary meeting she threw her clothes on. When she entered the ground floor elevator alone she realized she had this tiny bit of time to straighten her clothes properly.

With the wood paneling surrounding her she faced the door, flung off her shoes, bent over, and threw her skirt up on her back. Now, she had time to get her twisted pantyhose on straight. She started working her stretchy clingy panty hose on properly from her toes up to her waist. She made sure everything was just right.

She sighed with some relief....Whew....oh no! Suddenly Micca realized the surrounding walls of the elevator were now glass. Those solid wooden walls she noticed on entering the elevator were permanent fixtures to the ground floor only. Once the elevator rose to the second floor the true glass walls were her only surrounding. She peered behind her to look into shocked diners' faces in the main dinning room below her. All those high paying diners got their meal and a show!!! Talk about a floor show.

Micca's re-enactment of her bending over and wrestling with her pantyhose cannot be must be experienced. For several years Micca has returned to speak at She Speaks in the same hotel. Aunt Eunice would have applauded her checking into the hotel and the staff elbowing one another, "That's the elevator lady." She just walked right by and never gave into the temptation to try to explain any of the matter. Finally She Speaks changed meeting sites and Micca said checking in was so pleasant this year.

She may have become a legend: that elevator lady; but she knew how to handle it as a true Southern belle: Never let them see you sweat!

Micca is a treasure in the Kingdom of God that I am truly thanking God for today. Her website is Thank you, Micca, for your heart, your soul and your gift… and the laughs. You were the laughter Rx I needed.


Pinkshoelady said...

Hi Kay,
I was there when she told that story. I laughed until my side hurt.
Are you going to She Speaks again?
If you are I'd like to meet you in person.

Thanks for all your encouragement and helpful advice.

I will be speaking on some of that advice in a post coming soon...hopefully this weekend.

Love to you

Micca said...

Dear Kay, It was a treat meeting you at She Speaks. I had to look you up. Before I could, Carol Davis sent me this link! I read your story about me and laughed out loud!

I hope you enjoyed She Speaks and will return again next year. You exude joy!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just when I thought I'd heard it all my breath was taken away at dinner at She Speaks Conference. A beautiful woman seated near me was sharing how God had been her husband when her life fell apart. I've heard so many stories I was listening 2 chairs over, but I was so startled by her words, I was sitting straight up and hanging on every word.

This lovely woman in her mid thirties shared how several years ago she and her husband had completed foreign missionary seminary training, etc. They both felt called of God to serve in this remote foreign village in China. All was going well whento her shock her husband suddenly lost his faith and fell off the track. He renounced the Lord and forsake her and all he'd ever known.

I felt such a tug on my heart I was undone. The main thing she shared was the goodness and the nearness of God to her as she gathered up her belongings and made her way out of the mission field to return home without husband and no understanding of what to do next. Over and over she smiled that wondrous smile that only a saint can smile that knows close up and personal Jesus Christ Holy Spirit being her all when her world implodes.

She divorced her husband and he's still in China. She has married a wonderful loving Christian man, but she believes God will draw her ex husband out of this unholy lifestyle someday. He lives in China forsaking his family and faith. She was not resentful, bitter or wishing harm on him.

I'm being blessed wonderfully in this conference. But somehow I just don't see how anything to come will impress me as much as my time with this amazing God filled woman. When I see the glory of God manifest in a soul such as this one I am forever changed.

Thank God I am here at this Christian women's conference. Perhaps I'll return home a better speaker and writer. That would be nice, but oh, I return home a better believer. I have been blessed to hear a testimony that has enlarged my faith. God will never ...never....never forsake me. As He met this wife's needs; He will meet matter what!!!

© 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.