Living the Life God Has Planned for You

What if the answer to your current struggles is completely off your map? What if there is more to be gained from your circumstances than you can see? How would you live differently if you knew The Lord has greater plans for your life?

Most of us experience depression and anxiety everyday. Perhaps not to the point of being “clinically significant.” But enough to drain our energy. We’re down because something hasn’t gone well. And worried about a future that mightn’t be any different.

  • If you’re in Survival Mode …
    You’ve already experienced a lot of failure and disappointment. Which has left you with a deep sense of inadequacy. And you have lost all hope. You have resolved to just hang on. To try to create the best life possible in your personal Egypt.
  • If you’re in Management Mode …
    You’ve determined to beat whatever (whomever) has kept you from your Promised Land. You’ve adopted the popular belief that “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” You fight against yourself. And everyone else. Find ways to whip people into shape. Taking charge is your solution.

But what if The Lord has Something Better in mind?

Your circumstances – everything you face and will ever face – are there to draw you back to The Lord. He put specific desires in your heart. And He is The Only One Who can fulfill them. He wants more for your life than mere survival. He also knows that if you take charge, you’ll make a big mess. For someone. Probably yourself. And the ones you love.

What if God isn’t answering your prayers because He has Something Better in mind than what you’ve been  praying? Why not ask Him what He wants to do? Then pray accordingly. He’ll answer that prayer! (1 John 5:14-15)

A Higher Calling requires two, closely-related ways of approaching life.

  1. Love God. Delight in your personal relationship with Him. Talk to Him about everything. Absolutely everything. He knows that you are only dust. And He totally understands your feelings … and your frustrations. So be honest with Him. Remember His promises. Especially the ones about not leaving you and helping you overcome everything that comes against you. Listen for His voice. He may just listen to you for awhile. But He will speak to you. Always give Him thanks. Lots of thanks.
  2. Love others. Especially those who have hurt you. Respect each person’s free will. God does. Even so, always hope and pray and believe for God’s best in their lives. Speak words of blessing and think kind thoughts. Imagine what The Lord will do.

A New Perspective

Our vantage point is limited. Things look very different from above. Ask The Lord to show you how things look from where He is. He delights in showing you His ways. And He has a glorious purpose for your life. It may not look glorious to anyone else. But it will to you.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”

    declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

A Prelude to Beauty

5b45c488-49cb-4f7f-9c5d-a614160fc53c

One thing I’ve been learning this year is that God always has Good Stuff planned for my future … no matter what my circumstances are saying at any given time.

He promised to make my path straight and to give me a bunch of Good Stuff instead of what the enemy wants me to settle for.

I believe Him and hope this story will encourage you in your own journey.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I ran home on my lunch break to complete a few tasks in preparation for my Christmas Vacation. Upon my arrival, I discovered a new, unexpected task: Finding a different ride to the airport. Record-breaking fires in Ventura and Los Angeles had shut down the entire Amtrak schedule.

Undaunted (mostly), I explored my options and decided a limo ride to the Hollywood Airport would be cheaper than parking my car in the longterm lot.

I headed back to the office for my last two clients of 2017 … in rush hour traffic … feeling rather pleased with my “instead.”

Traffic was slow. But at least it was moving.
Until it wasn’t.

Suddenly a BMW was sitting motionless in front of me. I hit the brakes. And nothing happened. The impact was imminent, so I whispered, “Lord, You’ve got me.”

I was in the left lane and hit the BMW hard. He hit the guy in front of him.

Not to be outdone, I somehow swerved to the right around the car I’d hit, and sideswiped the car the BMW had already hit, miraculously avoiding four more lanes of traffic on my right.

Debris flew everywhere … in slow motion.

After fully passing the second car, my little bug veered to the left and slammed into the retaining wall … in FRONT of both the cars I’d hit!

ashes

(Neither of the other drivers were injured, and they carried no passengers.)

As I had sped toward the unknown, I was confident The Lord was in charge. Although Heaven will be amazing, I’m grateful He chose to save me (a) to lavish more love on others and (b) to complete the work He created me to do.

I got a whole bunch of “insteads” that day.
  1. Peace instead of panic. I felt amazingly calm through it all. And I’ve had zero nightmares or even nervousness about riding in a car.
  2. Bruises and abrasions instead of death or disability. The CHP officer said, “I don’t have to ask if you were wearing your seat belt because I can see that you were.” I’ll spare you the pix of my long and lovely seat-belt slice from shoulder to sternum. And 5 days later, I am sporting the biggest, most colorful contusions my chest and abdomen have ever known!
  3. Road Trip instead of flight. Yes, I made it to the airport the next day. My son’s taking me shopping for a Chevy while I’m here. Oh, the possibilities!

This story illustrates, of course, how “insteads” usually vary in size, from a limo ride to life itself.

So keep your heart set on Jesus!

Because The One Who sees
the ashes of your life as a
Prelude to Beauty knows exactly
what He wants to give you instead!

Isaiah 61 declares that The Messiah would come

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes …

Yes, life often turns out differently than you plan. But trusting in The Lord will always bring the Beauty of Something Better. Starting with more of Him! ❤️

Safe & Secure

I long for a truly safe haven. Where we’re protected and loved. Not only Spiritually. But also Physically. A Refuge from the world. Yet so much more than a hiding place. A secure base. A Fortress from which to launch brave campaigns against the enemy of our souls. And to take territory for the Kingdom of God.

Shortly before I turned 3, my mom loaded up her friend’s pale green Pontiac with clothes and stuff, tucked my older brother and me into the already-packed backseat, and headed out of town.

… while my dad was at work. He had no idea what was happening. And neither did I, of course. But it left me with a painful longing – a longing to go home – that I didn’t even begin to understand for several decades.

I missed my daddy.
But we never saw him.
And he never came for me.

All my life, I’ve longed for a real home.
I wanted to belong. But I often felt like I didn’t.

As a kid, I filled my days with school. I was good at it. At 40, I moved on to the fancier academics of college and graduate school. Always dreams of traveling. Of being someone who went places and did stuff. My goal was to be “in charge.”

Little did I know all of that would fail me.

Because it wasn’t My Deepest Desire. And because it didn’t consider my most basic needs. My emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. In fact, those seemed so impossible to meet that I tried hard to ignore them altogether. But they didn’t go away.

Today I realize more of who God created me to be.
He knows what I need. Maybe it’s what you’re looking for, too?

A Safe Haven and a Secure Base

Attachment Theory uses the terms safe haven (a place of comfort) and secure base (a place from which to explore).

But those aren’t new concepts. It’s how God made us. It’s how He made me. A long time ago, the psalmist put it this way:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91)

Walking on eggshells?


Is someone you care about causing you a great deal of pain?

Do you find yourself concealing what you think or feel because you’re afraid of the other person’s reaction or because it just doesn’t seem worth the horrible fight or hurt feelings that will follow?

Do you feel that anything you say or do will be twisted and used against you? Are you blamed and criticized for everything wrong in the relationship— even when it makes no logical sense?

Are you the focus of intense, violent, or irrational rages, alternating with perfectly normal and loving behavior? Does no one believe you when you explain that this is going on?

Do you feel like the person you care about sees you as either all good or all bad, with nothing in between? Is there sometimes no rational reason for the switch?

Are you afraid to ask for things in the relationship because you will be told that you’re too demanding or that there is something wrong with you? Do you feel that your needs are not important?

Save

Does the other person denigrate or deny your point of view? Do you feel that their expectations are constantly changing, so you can never do anything right?

Are you accused of doing things you never did and saying things you never said? Do you feel misunderstood and, when you try to explain, do you find that the other person doesn’t believe you?

Are you often put down? If you try to leave the relationship, does the other person try to prevent you, using anything from declarations of love and promises to change to implicit or explicit threats? Do you make excuses for their behavior or try to convince yourself that everything is okay?

Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or even lied to sometimes? Do you feel like you’re the victim of emotional blackmail?

Excerpt from Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder

Save

If you answered yes to many of these questions, we have good news for you:

  • You’re not going crazy.
  • It’s not your fault.
  • And you’re not alone.

You may share these experiences because someone close to you has traits associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

If you’re concerned, but not sure if your partner has Borderline Personality Disorder, contact me. I’m here to help!

NOTE: Both men and women can exhibit traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.

In most cases, the woman is not mentally ill.
She is simply more emotionally reactive than he.

On more than one occasion a man in couples counseling has suggested that his partner is mentally ill.

When a man is flooded/overwhelmed by his own emotions, he may shut down to protect himself and/or the relationship, hoping that by staying calm she will deescalate. However, this maladaptive communication strategy, experienced as “stonewalling,” typically serves to escalate the relational anxiety of an already terrified and frustrated woman.

This is NOT mental illness, but a negative cycle that is typical of many conflicted couples who have not yet realized how God created them to live in one-flesh partnership with one another.


Learn more about Stonewalling in my FREE online course
Why Won’t He Talk to Me?


Save

Save

Save

Save