It is possible to be so self absorbed that we are not self-aware. If we are not self-aware we cannot administer self-control. We cannot control what we are not aware of. Being self-aware is about administering self-control. Self-control is ultimately about us fully assuming responsibility for what is going on inside of us and what is coming out of us, whether that is our words, tone, actions, reactions, body language and even facial expressions. If I am going to take what Jesus said about loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbor seriously I will have to pay attention to my own needs. Loving yourself starts with ascribing the proper value to yourself. You are priceless because of the price Jesus has paid for you. That is the foundation of your value.
We care for things according to their value or perceived value, so understanding your value is essential.
Because you are valuable and because Jesus loves you, you should love you. This basic biblical understanding helps to create a new awareness in you that is christian and God honoring not humanistic and narcissistic. This awareness allows you to properly care for yourself. When you understand what you need to thrive in this life you can properly take care of yourself. Then and only then can you help add value to others. It’s hard to add value to others if you feel worthless yourself. It’s hard to practice the art and science of objectivity with others if you are not self-aware. It’s hard to have compassion for others if you are so numb that you can put yourself in their shoes. When you value yourself you can care for yourself and then you can administer self-control and have a good relationship with yourself and others. Understanding self-awareness can be transformational. If you change the way you relate to yourself you can change the way you relate and respond to others. You can start this process by becoming more aware of the way that you speak to yourself. Often we say things to ourselves that we would not say to or about others. So watch what you put in yourself and watch how you speak to and about yourself. In this short Facebook live video below I share some practical metrics to self-awareness. Click here to watch.
When we have unforgiveness in our life it changes the way we see reality. It even distorts how we see ourselves. When we have unforgiveness it feels like the whole world owes us something. When we have unforgiveness we are defined by what someone did to us or didn’t do for us. When we forgive we defined by what Jesus did for us. Unforgiveness even affects things that have nothing to do with the reason why we may have unforgiveness in the first place. Unforgiveness in one area of our life leads to bondage and deception in other areas of our life. Unforgiveness quickly turns into bitterness. Bitterness is poison to our soul, and it’s poison to those who hear and listen to us. Have you ever heard or said something that was right but felt totally wrong? That may be because it’s coming from a bitter root. If we want to move forward we must forgive. The only one unforgiveness holds hostage is us. Our future depends on us forgiving and letting the past go. If we let the past go it will let us go. Whether we are forgiving ourself or someone else, forgiveness is a key that opens up the doors to our destiny.
We live in a stressed out society. All you have to do is go to the mall or a rest stop on a major highway, and there is a very high chance that you will see a machine that you put in some change and it will tell you your blood pressure. You put in a little change and the machine basically tells you how much you need to change. The question is not, “do we have stress?” The real question is, “how do we handle stress?” or better yet, “does stress handle us?” Do we live in reaction to everyone, and everything or do we decide how we feel and how we are going to live? Let me be clear how we handle stress will determine how we feel, the relationships that we have and the legacy that we leave. How we handle stress may very well be a deciding factor in both the quality and the quantity of our life.
What we internalize and externalize is a determining factor when it comes to the quality of our lives. Thoughts become feelings, feelings become words, words become actions, actions make habits and our habits determine the environment we live in and the culture we project to the world around us. When we choose to forgive someone we are saying that his or her stupidity and sin can’t live on the inside of us. By not forgiving the only one we hold hostage is ourselves. Recently my wife and I paid about 14,000 USD dollars in debt. We kept the debt on an excel spreadsheet. Why? Because, we chose to take responsibility for our debt. We began to pay our debt, but we did not allow our debt to live in us. It lived in an excel spread sheet inside a Mac Book pro, not inside my wife or I. In other words, we had some stupid debts, stupid debts didn’t have us.
What to Internalize – You internalize something by thinking about it, remembering it and writing it down for the sake of remembering something (but for good.)
What God has said – In his Word (the Bible) or what he has spoken through his people. (Teaching or tested and accurate prophecy.)
What God does – The testimonies of the Lord. Remember the faithfulness of God in your life.
Success – Remember the successes you have had as a result of your obedience to God.
The counsel or the advice of the wise – Remember when someone corrects you, because correction is protection from both deception and destruction.
What to Externalize – We externalize things by speaking them out, and writing them down. Writing it down in the sense that you recognize there is a problem but you are not giving that problem permission to live inside of you.
Debts – If you have any debts write them down. Assume responsibility for them; formulate a strategy to pay them, but don’t allow the debt or debts to have you.
Debtors – If anyone hurts you don’t wait for them to say they’re sorry to forgive them. If someone owes you money consider canceling the debt.
Temptation – Renounce and reject any destructive desires that you may have. Remember whatever thoughts you don’t take captive will take you captive.
Needs – Write down, speak out and pray about any emotionally and spiritual needs that you may have in your life. (Make sure the needs are appropriate and spoken to a trusted friend. Don’t entrust your secrets to unsafe people.)
Failures – Learn from your failures don’t let them live in you. Just because you failed doesn’t mean you are a failure. Confess your sins to God. Admit when you are wrong.
If you have enjoyed this blog, you can listen to a podcast on – How to Handle Stress by clicking here. The podcast is only 16:40.
I really don’t believe in first impressions anymore. Unless I sense that someone is dangerous to my children, my wife or myself, I don’t allow my first impression of someone to define how I view them. In all honesty the first impression helps to lay a foundation for how I begin to think about a person but I have learned not to make a strong definitive idea about someone based on my first impression or on my first interaction with someone. You could be catching someone on the worst day of his or her life. They could have just lost a parent, spouse or even a child. They could have just been evicted from where they live; maybe they just got fired from their job. I think it is wise to be patient with our perceptions of other people. We should extend grace to others, and instead of immediately labeling people we should learn to love them. Something even dumber than first impressions is – second hand opinions.
Formulating a second hand opinion of someone is even more stupid than allowing a first impression to define how we see someone. It is unfair and unwise to allow someone to define how we view someone else. We can’t allow someone else’s bad experiences to keep us from good relationships. My encouragement to you is to be slow to formulate opinions of people, and don’t formulate second hand opinions of people because you would not want someone to do that to you.
- Someone with patience is ruled from the inside out.
- Someone with patience is slow to speak.
- Someone with patience is slow to get angry.
When someone is patient they have self control. Which means they live according to their values, vision and purpose, not their circumstances. If you can control your emotions, you can control your mouth. If you can’t control your emotions you will not be able to control your mouth. If you don’t control your mouth you will damage your relationships and lose your credibility with people. Someone who is patient does not get angry fast. If you are someone who gets angry fast people will deem you unstable and untrustworthy. If people don’t trust you you cannot serve or influence them because they are skeptical of you. If we love people we will be patient with them. Patience is an expression of both love and wisdom. Love makes people feel secure, wisdom helps people become significant. Be loving and wise to yourself and with others. Embrace the slow process of growing in patience. You will feel better, have better relationships and make better decisions that will benefit you and those you love.
When your faith is put on trial and is found guilty as charged for believing God to do what he said he would do, then patience is produced. Remember that it is “the trial of your faith that produces patience.” (James 1:3) Patience is worth waiting for. There are somethings in life that only come by working, there are other things in this life that can only be received by waiting. It is our job to discern if we are to wait or work or work while we are waiting. Patience brings God’s work in us and through us to a place of maturity. Things that are valuable and things that last take longer to make. For example a cheap digital battery operated watch takes minutes to make while a Rolex takes about a year to make. While it is true that God can accelerate time and make something priceless happen in a moment, often costly things happen very slowly. What God is doing in you and what God will do through you is worth waiting for. Give yourself to the slow process of growth. Be more concerned about growth than promotion. If you are patient with yourself and if you keep growing you will actually out grow your circumstances. The process that caused us to learn patience is actually the process that allows us to become the person God called us to be. Jesus said, “in patience you possess your soul.” (Luke 21:19) If you don’t have patience you don’t have self control, if you don’t have self control you will be ruled by someone or something else. Your future depends on you having patience. Your legacy is determined by you having long suffering. Long suffering is when patience starts to hurt. Have patience with yourself and others and be sure to enjoy the process. Don’t let impatience cause you to be impetuous. Keep waiting with joyful anticipation that God will do what he said he would do.
The wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said this about understanding, “in all of your getting, get understanding.” Understanding empowers us to make better, more informed decisions. Understanding helps us to know why to make the right decision. I find that understanding makes certain decisions easier once you know why you should or should not do something.
To be honest weight loss has been a struggle for me for a while. If I look at pizza or pasta I gain weight. This has really been a challenge for me, some days I feel like I am winning and some days I feel like I am losing but I choose to keep fighting. If you are engaged in an ongoing battle and you need a breakthrough your breakthrough may come by getting understanding. I want to share with you how understanding has helped me make two diet based decisions that have helped me and are helping me to make better food choices. Recently I had been frequently eating a ham, egg and cheese quiche. I could not figure out why it tasted so good. So when I spoke to my dad who is a chef about this amazing little goodie he said to me, “buddy that thing is no good for you, it’s made with heavy cream.” So the next time I went to the bakery I asked them if the quiche was made with heavy cream, the owner confirmed that is was made with heavy cream. I have not had one more of those quiches since I understood what it was made of. Now in the future I may have another one, but it will never be something that I frequently eat again. Understanding helped me to make a better choice.
As many of you know soda is not good for you based on it’s ingredients. For those of you who have travelled internationally you know that soda made with real sugar both tastes better and is better for you than soda made with corn syrup. However generally soda is not good for you because sugar turns to fat and fat clogs your body up and weighs you down. All that is good to know but if you see the long term affect on someone’s body although soda may taste like your friend you realize that it is really your enemy. Also if you know what soda used to be used for it may give you the understanding to either totally quit or vastly reduce your soda intake. Cola can even be used to clean toilets and unclog drain. Click here to read more about what cola can be used for.
In all of your getting, get understanding. Let understanding empower you to make better choices.
Transparent people are confident in grace. They are confident in what Jesus has done for them that they could not do for themselves. So to be totally honest I have made a lot of bad decisions. Some of those decisions have caused my loved ones and myself a lot of pain. Some decisions have cost me a lot of money; some have resulted in me wasting my time. I have also made some good decisions and then rewarded myself in a counterproductive way. For example, I lost two or three pounds in a week and then the next day rewarded myself with an ice cream sundae and gained a pound back with one snack. Many of us are counterproductive as it relates to how we reward ourselves for making a good decision.
Let me be clear, a good decision doesn’t always get you the results you may have desired. Here is a brief example: Joseph the dreamer chose not to sleep with his boss’s wife; he wasn’t promoted, he was imprisoned. He was falsely accused and unjustly sentenced as a direct result of making the right choice. The good news is that decision positioned him for the process that God would use to promote him from the prison to the palace. Sometimes, a good decision takes longer to materialize but in the long run it is always worth it. A good decision has no regret attached to it; a bad decision almost always involves regret. Regret is something that we will either live with or learn from. The choice is ours.
Bad decisions happen when we isolate ourselves from the counsel (or the advice) of the wise. If you don’t take counsel you will need counseling. Bad decisions happen when we have wrong desires and wrong priorities. Bad decisions happen when we are motivated by fear. Here are a few ways this plays out. For example, we are going through something that is painful and a shortcut is offered. We choose what seems to be the easier and faster way because of the pain. The end result is more pain and a longer unnecessary detour because we made a decision from our place of pain and impatience. It is important to know and remember that there are no shortcuts in the kingdom of God. Bad decisions are often made from a place of insecurity. We do things to try to prove ourselves instead of being ourselves. Or we don’t say or do things for fear of what people will think about us. We do need to be conscious of others, but we do not need to be controlled by the opinions of others. Other bad decisions are motivated by lust. Although lust is sexual, it is not only sexual. Lust says, “I can not wait, I will not wait, I have to do it now, I have to say it now, I have to have it now.” It is important to remember that patient and prudent people don’t make rushed and impetuous decisions. If you are someone who makes decisions based on emotions instead of wisdom and understanding read this blog. It will encourage you toward better decisions where you count the cost before you make the choice.