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Why is it hard to feel loved when corrected?

This week my dog, Winston, and I had a showdown of wills—my desire to trim his horribly long nails and his will to be left alone. I’m not sure where his complete and utter abhorrence of nail trimming originates. I’m sure it’s from some dark moment from his puppyhood. The fact remains he is in danger of harming himself and others. Because I love him, his nails must be corrected!

winston the Olde English Bulldog

This job is usually a two-man task. My daughter feeds him wienies, while I sneak up and grab a paw. This week I had no help, but I determined—today is the day, this has gone on long enough! As you can imagine, it wasn’t pretty. I persevered and ended up with a small tooth mark and bruise on my hand from him biting me! I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. In his mind, he was only defending himself from the horrible silver-trimming monster. He saw the potential hurt, not the intended help. Why is it so hard to be corrected?

Correction: a change made to something in order to correct or improve it, or the action of making such a change (Cambridge Dictionary)

Sometimes I’m like Winston and bite the hand that’s trying to help and heal me when it looks like correction. Correction comes to keep us from hurting others, and ourselves, but why does it sting? Hebrews 12 says God only corrects those He loves, but why don’t I feel loved during the initial correction? It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary and it requires change. Sadly, our first response is defense.

So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. (Hebrews 12: 5-6, MSG)

A few years ago, the doctor warned my husband that he had to lose weight in order to correct his blood pressure. He tells the story how his first thought was, “well, you’re not so trim yourself!” The Lord quickly corrected him, “Well, we’re not talking about the doctor now are we?”

I’m loving the Olympics right now. Listening to a coach’s correction is crucial (even in table tennis)! Can you imagine an athlete looking at their coach and saying, “Well I’d like to see you do it!” No. They are getting paid to correct and train them. But sadly, this is often our defensive response when God sends people our way to train and correct us.

Correction requires a choice. Will I RECEIVE correction and change, trusting God has my best in mind? OR, will I RESIST and grow stagnant in my defense? That decision will be the mark of maturity.

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A poignant verse in Zephaniah 3 reveals the results of resisting correction.

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:1-2

If we draw near to Him, we’ll see His love behind the correction and hear His true voice. Instead of hearing, “You screw up, what are you thinking? You better do better!” We hear the Father’s heart saying, “Hey, let’s tweak this and you’re doing to be a lot happier with the results of your life.” Maybe the next time we sense the Holy Spirit’s correction; we’ll welcome the scary trimmers that help heal us. Even if we don’t feel “loved” at the moment, we’ll realize how LOVE is the motivation and will be the result if we obey.

If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you. John 14:15 (The Voice)

My prayer of correction…

Lord, keep your finger on my heart. Give me a teachable spirit. I don’t want to be a know-it-all, because I defiantly have more to know! Help me to keep growing and learning. I boldly say…(brace yourself) CORRECT ME Lord, and I will obey. Because no matter rather I FEEL loved at the moment or not—I trust your heart for me is good and your lovingkindness leads me to life through my repentance.

 

 


The One Wedge I Hate

I love all kinds of wedges, let’s see…there’s cheese wedges…

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potato wedges…

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door wedges…

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and my favorite (especially for testing my grace and agility) high heel wedges…

converse wedge

 

Wedges are powerful things. They are one of the six ancient simple machines devised for making a job quicker and easier by using leverage to multiply the force. It’s two inclined planes that come to a sharp edge. If you can get the edge “wedged” in between two things, they separate and start working against each other to move apart.

He drives wedges between us.

Being a pastor for over twenty years, this device sounds very familiar to me. It’s the exact method the devil schemes to separate relationships–he drives a WEDGE between us. Same game he’s played through the ages. Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Paul and Barnabas. He looks for any gaps–hurts, disappointments, misunderstandings–to bring separation and ultimately destruction.

It starts out small, but sharp enough to hurt. Then the force behind it continues to drive the wedge deeper and deeper until it’s jammed between hearts. Vain imaginations, gossip and insecurity are the hammer force to the WEDGE which splinters offense, mistrust and even disdain as it obstructs the beauty that once was.

Romans 8:35, & 39 assures us nothing can drive a WEDGE between us and God’s love for us.

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us?…I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35, 39 Message

The Message translation uses the word WEDGE for the Greek word chōrizō which means, to separate, divide, depart, or pull asunder. Jesus tried to tell us how important it was to take THAT unswerving love from the Father and let it fuel our love for each other. But…and this is a BIG BUT, I know… It’s so much harder to love others! The Lord never fails. His unconditional love is always patient, pure, selfless, mature and purposeful. He’s perfect, people aren’t. People are broken, fickle, hurtful, manipulating, and self-centered. People fail. I fail people.

What is the glue that can heal our relational wedges?

Paul instructed the Corinthians that “there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” (1 Corinthians 12:25 KJV, underline added) Isn’t that a lovely King James word, “schism”? It means division, split or gap. Paul knew what he was writing about. At this exciting time in the New Testament, there was ripe opportunities for believers to take sides and stick to old mindsets. He and Barnabas decided to stop being travel buddies, when they disagreed about John Mark, who was Barnabas’s nephew. (Add in some family expectations and tension and we have a real wedge on our hands!) Paul didn’t believe John Mark cut the mustard because he had run out on them before, and this could have been a permanent wedge of hurt between them.

And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. [Acts 15:37–40]

We don’t know what happened in Paul’s heart or Barnabas’s heart or in John Mark’s, but at the end of Paul’s mission while imprisoned he asks Timothy to send for John Mark because “he was profitable” to him. 2 Timothy 4:11 Somewhere love removed the wedge.

We know WEDGES will happen.

The threat of wedges are unavoidable. Husbands and wives, fathers and sons, sister to sister, friend to friend–no one is immune. The definition of a wedge is very interesting to me. I thought it would simply be “something used to pull apart.” But look…

Wedge: 1. a block of solid material, esp wood or metal, that is shaped like a narrow V in cross section and can be pushed or driven between two objects or parts of an object in order to split or secure them. (dictionary.com)

What the enemy schemes to SPLIT us — God intends to use to SECURE us!

FACE the wedge!

Yes, it’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Yes, it’s easier to splinter off and stay hurt and offended. Yes, it’s easier to fall into the devil’s schemes to stop God’s purposes and Kingdom relationships in your life. But, YES, it’s worth it! Do all you can to pursue peace. Maybe you just need to face the wedge in your own heart and forgive, or maybe you need to talk to the other person to work it out. You stand before God for your heart condition. Are there wedges and splinters there?  You aren’t accountable for other’s choices, and you can’t control them; but you can control yours!

Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. (Hebrews 12:14-15 Message)

Here’s to seeing more cheese and potato wedges than bitter wedges! Oh wait, and “door wedges” too! Let me be a person that holds doors open for others–not slam them shut. (And then they’ll know that we are his disciples, because we love like him. John 13:35)

What kind of wedge will you be?


late bloomer

The Beauty of Late Bloomers

Do you feel like a late bloomer? Does it seem like everyone around you is succeeding while you are struggling to stay planted?

Late Bloomer:  someone who becomes successful, attractive, etc., at a later time in life than other people; a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. 

Kris’s Definition – someone who’s been storing up seeds of genius and have just burst on the scene to everyone’s shock & surprise 

A Tale of One Tree

I grew up in the windy Texas Panhandle with tumbleweeds instead of trees, so I have high regard for my green friends. (Okay, I may be a tree-hugger.) This spring I was so concerned about the tree on the left side of the driveway. The tree on the right side was blooming nicely, the backyard Dogwood’s blessed us with vibrant pink bouquets, and all the neighbors trees were strutting their stuff as they sprouted with life; while my left side tree looked dead!

I told my husband I thought I’d better call a tree doctor because something was obviously wrong with it.  I was calculating the costs of chopping it down or replacing it, but somehow hoping it could awaken to the call of spring! I decided to inspect it closer and see if the twigs were hard and brittle. I broke off a small twig, hoping for the best, and discovered the inside had hints of green and was flexible–not hard and breakable. SIGNS OF LIFE! I prayed and spoke life into my little barren tree. (I didn’t hug it – but did lay hands on it!)

signs of life

We waited – nothing. Day after spring day–nothing but bare, naked bark. I can imagine how my little late bloomer felt, “left out” on the left side of the driveway, while all the other trees were showing off their spring wardrobe of flashy, lush leaves and sweet-smelling blooms–it was stuck in winter. Would it’s season ever shift?

Then finally! One day I pulled into the driveway to spot it…not a flower, but a lone, little leaf. Hope. My late bloomer had sprouted into spring.

a sprig of hope for a late bloomer

No flowers or fanfare ever came. Just, faithful, day after day progress with another small leaf and another small leaf and little buds of emerging potential.

a sprig of hope for a late bloomer

I cheered it on and appreciated it’s tenacity far more than all my other overachieving trees in the yard…this one might have been late, but it was WORTH WAITING ON! 

Late bloomer comes around

Today, if you drive by my house you would never know which tree bloomed first or last, which one struggled and overcame–but I do.

Maybe you feel like a LATE BLOOMER today. Can you relate to my little tree tale? Does it seem everyone around you is succeeding, while you struggle?

Jeff Brown quote

Who says when it’s too late? Be blooming awesome!

Don’t give up! Look inside–to your heart–is the life of God inside you? Are the seeds of His purpose and passion still planted? Don’t dig them up! Let your roots sink into good soil and stay put. Let your failures be your lessons that fertilize your roots and strengthen and stretch out. Stay flexible and movable, willing to change and bend with the wind. Don’t give up on your spring…It’s time to burst on the scene and surprise all the naysayers who were ready to chop you down. You may be a late bloomer, but you are worth waiting for!

Late bloomer finally catches up

When Cynicism Clouds Faith

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. H. L. Mencken

Cynicism abounds in our media world, probably because it seems much more entertaining to complain and find fault than to honor and encourage. Radio spots advertise how, on the next episode, they would reveal “who is cheating, who is on the verge of a breakdown, who has just divorced, who has been arrested, as well as who has gained 20 pounds.” Our culture thrives on exposing the negative and ridiculing the weak. It is much more fashionable to gossip about the bad than celebrate the good, and before we know it, the negative slant begins to color our own reality.

Cyncicism

Cynicism is expressed doubt, the tip of the iceberg attached to the much deeper problem.  The pessimistic state of mind is meant to shield us from the hurt of disappointment, since we feel that low expectations will minimize the pain of being let down. But, instead of providing a wall of protection from pain, our pessimism actually becomes a barricade to the presence of God. Furthermore, instead of being a repellant for pain, it actually attracts more hurt, as the projections of worst-case scenarios become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 (NIV)

My friend, Jeff Lucas, describes it brilliantly in his book, Lucas on Life. He says, “We rightly fear cynicism: the cancer that so readily strikes the hopeful. The cynical heart is freezer-cold, unable to be warmed by the God, who really does come and work among his people. Cynicism takes the tenderhearted worshiper and turns him into an arms-folded spectator, a scowling analyst with a stopwatch and clipboard under his arm, and a bless-me-if-you dare expression on his face…The cynic may smile a smug grin and feel that he is more mature than the rest of us naïve simpletons, but his is the grip of a disease and delusion. There is only one cure for cynicism—we must repent of it. It is unbelief by another name.”

It is a serious issue. Doubt masquerades in cynicism and leads us away from faith, and that which is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

Inconsistent faith

To read more from this chapter, “Fight Kryptonite” order your copy of Huperwoman today for Kindle at Amazon or get your paperback copy at The Bridge Church in Denton, Texas.

 


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I Still Do – 25 Years Renewed

This week my husband and I celebrated our silver 25th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows. (I know, maybe cheesy…and I love the quote about, “there’s nothing broken about our vows so why get new ones”…But, we felt it was important to celebrate this milestone with our family–so we did!) Miraculously, all three of our children’s schedules lined up to join us as we returned to our honeymoon destination–Orlando Florida!

i still do

I surprised Duane with a DVD copy of our wedding ceremony. (Thank you Sam’s Club who now turns old VHS tapes into DVDs!) We had not watched it in about 15 years because we no longer owned a VHS player! In-between the arcade-like special effects and the 80’s hang over fashions, we watched two very young and naive kids vow to love each other in front of family and friends–many of them are no longer with us on the earth. Our wedding wasn’t expensive (I got my wedding dress second-hand out of the Classifieds for $100) or anywhere near “Pinterest perfect”, but there was something very special about it…God’s presence was there.

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Duane and the groomsmen entered to the pianist singing the Old hymn, “Just As I Am.” This has become one of the theme’s of our marriage.

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just “as we were” we came together. Broke, but blessed. Young, but learning. Clueless, but hopeful…

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Looking back through the pages of 25 years, we are amazed and so thankful for God’s grace beyond our own strength. On celebration days like these, you don’t remember the late night fights, the heated discussions over which bills have to be paid first, doubts about parenting choices, and the hard days you didn’t know you signed up for.

Duane and I both come from divorced families. When you’re a child of divorced parents you live with an imaginary question mark over your own marriage — is it inevitable? is divorce my fate too? I’m no better than my parents…what makes us think we can make it? Those question marks can haunt you and cause you to keep a white flag of surrender within careful reach.

Until you return to the old hymn again…

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

25th anniversary

Our kids made our day so special! Ashton fixed my hair and took all the pictures. Kelsey did my makeup, helped me get into my dress and then read us a beautiful letter during our ceremony. Cody, our son, officiated our fun and low key ceremony by a lagoon. He used sayings with a wink and smile that he’s heard his Dad say for years in wedding ceremonies and added his own personal sentiments. If all we had to show for the last 25 years was these three–it was worth the promise.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

family at 25th anniv.

As we ate our anniversary dinner, we made a list of memories we were thankful for and things we are looking forward to in the next 25 years. We pray that our struggles will somehow become others strengths and that our cup will overflow to bless others. We vowed to each other to keep growing and learning, and never adopt the attitude that we’re older and established–we can cut corners and slack off. Growing older together cannot be a downhill slide into mediocrity, but an adventure of new breakthroughs and victories in becoming the best version of ourselves.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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The average wedding costs around $26,000 today (costofweddings.com) and sadly most people focus on preparing a wonderful WEDDING (presenting the best version of themselves to the world), instead of preparing a wonderful MARRIAGE (endeavoring to grow and learn together). I’m thankful God did not leave us how He found us on that rainy day on March 16, 1991.

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One of the best moments of our Anniversary day was re-watching our young selves declare our vows to each other. We had no idea the surprise awaiting us as we reminisced those vintage words of promise. Amid the uproarious laughter from our children making fun of our youthful country twangs, we RE-DISCOVERED a beautiful hint of God’s destiny. Twenty-four-year old Duane (with hair) told starry-eyed Kris (with super BIG hair), “Kris…you are EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY, and ABOVE anything I could have dreamed.” (Ephesians 3:20) This was pre-HUPER revelation in our lives, but seeds of destiny were simmering…and God was smiling.

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His presence and power makes all the difference – good days and bad days. We will continue to come “just as we are” if you Lord, will continue to COME to us as YOU ARE because your presence makes all the difference!

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No matter where you are today in your journey–at a rough patch or a celebration, staring at the question marks or dotting the exclamation–there is an invitation for you…to come. He never leaves you like He finds you and you’ll be surprised at the destiny simmering inside of you!

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Photos courtesy of Ashton White


Discretion Guards Dignity

My heart is hurting for confused young (and old) women. Please hear my heart…you don’t need to pose nude on social media – (following some celebs) or send it to your boyfriend etc. to be comfortable and celebrate your sexuality. Some things are so VALUABLE they should be protected and not thrown into worthless media files to be scrutinized and discussed with the world turning pearls into pain. Let’s respect ourselves a little more and return to the art of discretion which guards dignity. Your future and integrity are more important than selling out for a moment of unscrupulous attention. Take a minute to look up and see where each path eventually leads…Discretion guards dignity


Psalm 18:29

Leap Over Your Limits

What limits are holding you back? Do you feel like there’s an invisible barbwire around your dreams keeping you locked out of living them? Maybe you feel like the big hand of circumstance has screwed the lid on your potential and you’re knocking your head on the ceiling of yesterday. How many times do you close our eyes at night and think, “what would my life be like if I didn’t have this LIMIT staring me in the face?” It’s leap year and it’s high time to LEAP over our limits, instead of making excuses for them or wishing them away.

Limit: boundary; a point beyond which something is not possible to go or not allowed to go

It surprised me at first that the word “limit” (which is so sinister in my mind) could simply be defined by the word boundary. It made me think of Psalm 16: 5-6.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 

God says our limits or boundaries are in pleasant places filled with a beautiful inheritance of provision and purpose. The question is do we live by His limits or ours? mountain-goats-1156056_1920

Visible Limits

Yes, on earth we will have limits that confine us. We need air. We need food and water. (I think I need coffee and HGTV.)  On earth we are all limited in some way–it’s a fact. Some of my FACTS are bigger than your FACTS, and some of your other FACTS may be bigger than some of mine. Jesus was never intimidated by limits. He straight up asked the man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:5-9) Do you want to be healed? He could see his limits, but He also knew His healing strength. This man proceeds to give Jesus a liturgy of his holy excuses to why he could not get into the miraculous pool.

“I can’t,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to help me into the pool at the movement of the water. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me.” (TLB)

Jesus saw his limitations, and invited him to LEAP PAST HIS LIMITS! (Interestingly, this miracle was on the Sabbath, which was breaking a religious limit!)

We all have visible and pressing limits, but we know God loves to show up in situations where we’re weak and He is strong! Just ask Gideon, when an angel appeared to him and invited him to leap over the limits pressing the Israelites. He rolled out his excuse list. (Judges 6:13-16) “We’ve been losing for so long…We haven’t seen any great things like our fathers did…My clan is the weakest…I’m the least in my family.”

Excuse: explanation giving to lessen or eliminate liability, accountability or responsibility

Reason: explanation given to bring understanding, but not eliminate responsibility

Exquisite excuses. (Mind you, he’s arguing with an the Angel of the Lord–which usually indicates a physical appearance of God!) The Lord ignores his limits and says, “Go in the strength you have…I will be with you.” Then, just to make it a little more fun, God eliminates more troops and created more limits for Gideon, just to show His glory and strength! God’s strength is not intimidated by our limits.

The dream will always be bigger than you — so you need Him! Don’t strive to remove all your limits–receive grace to leap over them in His strength! 

He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and assigns each a name. Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does. Psalm 147: 3-5 (MSG) 

Shattering the Invisible Limits

There are physical limits, but the strongest limits are the INVISIBLE LIMITS we set in our minds.

These limits are fabricated by lies and fortified by fear. They take the led out of our leap and hold our feet to the ground.

Have you ever seen a dog that’s trained by an invisible shock collar? The boundary lines are set for him under the ground so they are invisible to the eye, but if he approaches them while wearing the collar he first hears a series of warning beeps. If he continues to proceed, then he’s shocked by the small electric current. It doesn’t take many times at all before the dog realizes–when I hear those beeps…I run like crazy the other way! Now, turn the fence off. He’s free to leap and run around the neighborhood, but there is no way he’ll cross because of his past limitation and the memory of the painful attempt. By the cross, you’ve been freed from your shock collar of lies and limitations!

What INVISIBLE LIMITS are confining your life and restricting you from God’s pleasant boundaries?

Maybe it’s the limits of what people think of you. Every time you try to get close to someone you hear the “beep, beep” sound reminding you of the last time you got hurt. So you turn around and put another brick into your wall of isolation. Maybe it’s the limiting lie that you don’t have enough time, or your not educated enough, or smart enough, or skinny enough. Let’s take responsibility for the excuses and leap past these false boundaries!

We have seen INVISIBLE LIMITS shattered in history, from Chuck Yeager and the sound barrier, to Roger Bannister running the 4 minute mile, to now the attempts to run a 2 hour marathon. Hey, at one time it was thought that women were not even capable of finishing a marathon and not allowed to run. (Just ask Kathrine Switzer.) Those limits were not truth, but they BECAME REALITY to the people who believe them! What will you allow your reality to be?

Jesus has lifted the lid! It’s our choice to hear the truth and let the truth set us free. His liberating truths tear down the INVISIBLE LIMITS!

This LEAP YEAR, let’s leap past the limits and let our dreams be free to live!

Malachi 4: 2 “And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”

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Baby bison from Yellowstone Park 

 

 

 


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4 Steps to Rewire a Habit: Rehabilitation pt. 2

I walked into the kitchen as if in a trance, opened the cookie jar and started shoving cookies in my mouth out of habit! This was a day of “rehab” for me, when the “a-ha!” moment came…my emotional eating was a habit triggered by a subconscious need.

Habits: regular repeated behaviors that shape our lives. We form habits and then habits form us.

In my book, Huperwoman, I share how God healed me from an unhealthy relationship with food, resulting in a loss of over 50 pounds 19 years ago. Throughout my childhood, I developed many bad habits (formed from wrong thoughts of myself) that led to emotional overeating and unhealthy eating disorders. My breakthrough came one day when I received a REVELATION of what was TRIGGERING my binges. Habits are like the wheel of a spinning bike; they continue hopelessly spinning until something INTERRUPTS it’s pattern. That day God spoke to me like a broom handle thrust into my spinning cycle that stopped the madness and birthed change.

habit rewire
We were on vacation with our very young children. I was happily watching the kids play outside, while my husband golfed with his dad. He called me to say they’d been postponed and would not return for hours, which meant I would have to forfeit my shopping time to stay with the kids.
Being the good pastor’s wife I was, I did not scream and shout my frustrations out on my husband, no I…OUT OF HABIT…walked into the kitchen as if in a trance, opened the cookie jar and started shoving cookies in my mouth! Ironically right before the telephone call I had been reading a book about letting God heal eating disorders; then the phone rang, like the response of Pavlov’s dogs I cycled into a habit ingrained in my mind from childhood.
UPSET (trigger) + EAT (routine or habit) = HAPPY (reward)
In Charles Duhiggs facinating book, he describes this process like this…

“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: THE HABIT LOOP” ― Charles DuhiggThe Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business

This is the anatomy of a habit. Many times I don’t believe our failures are as much of a SIN issue as a HABIT issue. Habits that need renewing and rewiring with the Word. Most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “Oh boy how can I sin and damage people today? Bring it on! I’m a wreaking ball!” It’s more like what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7 of why do I do the things I don’t want to do! Our minds must be RENEWED by the spirit, so the habits of our flesh are redeemed.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I find it simply fascinating how these scientific findings reflect scripture. God is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek him. If we can receive a REVELATION of what is a real REWARD and what is a short-lived pleasurable experience that leads to REGRET – we can begin to REWIRE our habits resulting in a drastic change.

4 STEPS TO REWIRE A HABIT: 

1. Recognize what needs to change by revelation. 
  • Many times this is birthed out of conviction bringing true repentance, not condemnation arousing guilt. Guilt never produces positive results because it focuses on US — not God’s strength! Conviction can bring a realignment to truth that gets our eyes off of ourselves and onto God’s strength to save us.
  • What specific thought or behavior do you need to change?
  • Redefine your relationship with the habit. In my case food was my friend. I had to redefine that relationship in my life. Food wasn’t my friend — it was fuel!

NOTE: This is such an important factor in true change. Each person holds their own key. God gave stewardship over our decisions and we will be held accountable for it. The most elaborate and sincere interventions cannot make someone else want to change. You cannot change or decide for someone else–only yourself. EACH SOUL HAS TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES – WE ARE THAT POWERFUL OVER OUR OWN LIVES! It is a gift of stewardship over our own souls from the Father; He entrusted us with the gift of choice.

2. Refocus on the new routine. (Replace & Repeat!) 

  • Just STOP IT doesn’t work! (This is a very funny video, and I wish it was true–it would make pastoral care so much easier!) God always calls us to take off (flesh) and put on (righteousness) / come out (darkness) to bring into (light), deliver us out to bring us in. We overcome evil with GOOD. We don’t just stop the bad behavior; we replace it with a positive one.

A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit. – Erasmus

  • Plan out your ACTION or new routine when triggered. Write it out – what will you do or say. Picture it, pray about it.
  • Don’t think you are so spiritual that you’ll never be TRIGGERED or tempted again – you will! Jesus was tempted – but he choose good habitual responses. God has promised us that he will make a way of escape if we’re looking for it!
  • Yes, I know God can instantaneously deliver people from things–and I’ve seen Him do it! But when people don’t replace whose OLD patterns and thoughts with RENEWED ones — they fall right back into the cycle again. Our brains need new ruts! Those ruts are formed by REPETITION–doing the right thing over and over, even when you think it’s not working.

13 No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP

3. Revalue how the change will REWARD you. 
  • What benefits will you receive from the new habit? (Write them down and see them!)
  • How will you feel?
  • What character does this new habit produce in you?
  • How can it open doors for your destiny because of your stewardship? (Faithful with little, I’ll make you ruler over much. – Matthew 25:21) How will it grow your relationship with the God?
  • How will it benefit your family & other significant relationships? Is it something you’d like to pass down as your legacy–what you’re known for when people think about you?
But without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. HEBREWS 11:6
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4. Refresh your environment & Reinforce with accountability. 

  • Voices determine choices. Be around other people who live out the change you desire. Have you ever noticed when you feel like you’re failing your flesh DOES NOT want to be around people who are doing what you know you SHOULD BE doing? It’s a ploy of sabotage from the enemy called offense!
  • Environment feeds desire.  Hanging out after midnight online while rewiring a lust addiction is not an environment for success; or in my case doing my bible study at Krispy Creme wasn’t a wise idea. Set yourself up for success not sabotage!
  • Starve the old habit and feed the new routine.

We can’t keep feeding the 800 lb. gorilla and think he’s going to go away or behave!

  •  Build guardrails for success that keep you out of danger zones. (Andy Stanley has great resources for building these guardrails into your life.) What are some things that can feed (cultivate and nurture) your new routine? Share this with someone you trust. In my case with food, when I was full (not stuffed, but satisfied!) I would tell my kids, “I’m full, don’t let me eat another bite!” They thought this was a really fun game, and it rewired my bad habit of eating off their plates while I cleaned the dishes.

Rewiring isn’t usually fast, fun or easy. But the REWARD is worth the cost.

“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature.  (p. 92).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
If you’d like to hear when I shared this message at The Bridge Church, click here.

Rehabilitation

Rehibilitation: Letting God inhabit our habits – pt.1

It’s now the first of February and there’s been tremendous “RESTARTING” going on around me! I’ve seen many people come to life again and start dreaming with hope and great expectation. We are inspired and motivated. We can see how God is moving and wants to RESTORE – or, RE:Story our lives. I like to think of restoration as letting God RE:STORY our lives with a new chapter. He is the author with a brilliant purposeful storyline, but many times we yield the pen of our life to other people, or to circumstances, or to lies from the enemy. Hand the Father the pen back. He’s dreaming over you–good things. Healing things. Beautiful and redemptive things that only a master storyteller could weave into the plot. We have felt the wind turn the page and sense the dawning of a renewed endeavor–ON SUNDAY…BUT then MONDAY happened and we have choices to make…and those choices will become the habit of who we are.

“You can’t write a new chapter if you keep REREADING the last one.” 

I love the quote from the ancient philosopher Baltasar Gracian who said, “Dreams will get you nowhere; a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.” 

I remember the day my youngest daughter vividly exhibited this saying. She was around 3 and buckled into her umbrella stroller while we were shoe shopping. I was eyeing a new pair of wedges, while out of the corner of my eye I saw the melodrama unfolding in slow motion. A lady, a rather…shall I say blessed lady, leaned over to try on a pair of shoes right in front of Ashton. Do you have the picture? A three year old, okay a rather cheeky three year old, bored and dangling her feet in the stroller…when all of a sudden a large (full moon shaped) target appears right in front of her. The temptation was too great and before I could utter a N-O-O-O-O!!!!! My innocent looking, curly head daughter reared back and kicked the lady’s plump derriere as hard as she could! I was mortified. But, to my surprise (and relief), the lady turned laughing and said, “My kids always say I could use a swift kick in the hind end!”

We all need a good kick in the pants from time to time to turn our MOTIVATION into MOMENTUM! 

Inspiration without participation is useless.We all cheer for the DESTINY word, but it is the DISCIPLINE that gives feet to our faith. Will we be content to merrily read and write about the great things God wants to do? Or will we LIVE THEM.

ephesians 2:8-10

 

Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us how we are saved BY GRACE FOR something…GOOD WORKS – that shows the nature of a GOOD Father. NOT saved and accepted by those good works, but as a natural RESPONSE to God’s gift of immeasurable grace. Those works — prepared for us to walk out — require our participation…or the “D” word that makes us cringe…DISCIPLINE which makes up DISCIPLESHIP. The word WALK in the greek is the word peripateo, which means to make one’s way, progress; make due use of opportunities–to be occupied with (another word for inhabited!). This is our participation — our faith in action. And we know FAITH without ACTION is dead. (James 2:26). Or in other words, our DREAMS without learning a way to WALK THEM OUT – and inhabit them is fruitless. We are not what we dream about being – but the choices we make and act on.

Peripateo=to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities / regulate one’s life / conduct one’s self / to be occupied with (Vine’s)

 “Motivation gets you started, HABIT is what keeps you going.” Zig Ziglar

This introduces the word that shapes 90% of our lives…HABIT. God creatively fashioned our brains to learn something so well it becomes automatic to our subconscious to free up more energy. We don’t think about how to brush our teeth or tie our shoes–it’s automatic. Neuroscience has proven HABITS form actual ruts in our brain. Our daily habits become a part of the circuitry of our brain. We can make this phenomenon work for our good or for our determent. We form habits and then HABITS form us! 

Habit = A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition. 

We ALL have all kinds of habits:

  • Social habits (ok, I’ll raise my hand–I’m learning to stop interrupting!)
  • Financial habits (my husband has me on an Amazon fast)
  • Physical habits (God delivered me from emotional eating 18 years ago — I’ll talk more about that later)
  • Emotional habits (do you have a habit of being offended and creating drama?)
  • Spiritual habits (prayer and worship is meant to become a habit — flowing out automatically)

And then there are THOUGHT HABITS…which GUIDE all of the above.

sowthought

Sow a THOUGHT and REAP an ACTION, we sow an action and REAP a HABIT, we sow a habit and REAP a CHARACTER, we sow a character and REAP a DESTINY! This quote has been attributed to many different people and the origin is disputed, but we know by scripture that the heart of this catchy saying is pure biblical truth. We see in Romans 12:2 the importance of the RENEWING of our mind to prevent us from being conformed to the world’s habits! This renewing, or RE-WIRING, of our brain calls for a total REHABILITATION of our life if our dreams are going to truly turn to deeds!

You may be familiar with the idea of rehab or rehabilitation from an accident or injury. In physical therapy, people retrain their muscles how to work again. The repetition restores them to their useful purpose.

REHABILITATION = comes from the Latin prefix re-, meaning “again” and habitare, meaning “make fit.”

– restoration to a useful place

– the conversion of wasteland into land suitable for use of habitation or cultivation

God wants to REHAB our HABITS into ones that He can inhabit (and use for His purposes). I love how that definition says “conversion of the wasteland into land suitable for…habitation.” Think about your habits right now–in your family, in your marriage, in leadership, in your free time? Habits of lust, of gluttony, of gossip, of lying or exaggerating? CAN GOD INHABIT YOUR HABITS? Which ones are writing a story of redemption and leading you to victory and which ones are leading to chaos and turning you back into old cycles of regret. It’s not too late to RETRAIN your BRAIN with right choices that shape who you are called to be — and WALK OUT (inhabit with your habits) YOUR DREAMS!

Habits: Regular repeated behaviors that shape our lives. “We form habits, but then habits form us.” 

Don’t miss REHABILITATION – pt. 2 and learn how to Rewire your Habits! Coming soon…

habit-quote