Update! What is the difference between Guilt & Conviction?

Thank you all for your responses on social media and on this blog.  I enjoyed reading your thoughts!  When I considered posing this question it was a result of a thought I shared with a friend the week prior.

Here’s what was impressed upon me:

Guilt turns you inward, conviction turns you upward towards God.

When I think about guilt I think about our internal thoughts about ourselves in relation to our behavior, past actions and even sometimes the perpetual consequences of our actions.  We live in seasons of guilt when we are convinced that there is no recourse for our failures.

When I think about conviction, I consider it as the point in which I know my thoughts or actions have been sinful and I consider it a good thing.  It’s the point in which I become aware of a clear fork in the road where I have the blessing to choose to make a shift in the right direction, before I settle into a season of guilt where I have lost sight of this opportunity and am instead trapped inside my feelings.  Guilt keeps you buried, conviction sets you free.

Responding to conviction is courageous though.  It requires the convicted to acknowledge a failure —to oneself, to God and maybe to another.  This step of courage is followed by a HUGE win, because we are immediately set free from the bondage the secret sin would have otherwise held over us.  This is not to say that we escape the consequences of our actions, but the guilt that prevents us from moving forward is no longer in our way.

One final thought: choosing to follow where conviction leads, paves the way towards breaking the chains of patterns of destructive behavior.   I would rather bear the sting of conviction, than live in a cycle of ignorance that prevents me from living the life that God intended.

Well folks, these are my thoughts!  I look forward to hearing more from you during next week’s Question of the Week!

What is the difference between Guilt & Conviction?

What do you think is the difference between guilt and conviction?  Are they one and the same?  Please share your thoughts and I will share mine by the end of the week!

Mental Health Awareness

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May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Over the last few decades our nation has drawn more attention to the fact that we need to provide equal care to our state of mind, at least as much as we give to every other part of our body.  There is an obvious line drawn in the sand when we consider the level of care that we give to our brain versus every other vital organ.  It’s almost as if the brain is an imaginary part of us, rather than the one organ that essentially dictates the manner and speed at which the remainder of our body operates…i.e. if our brain is not functioning properly we will feel the effects of that.  So I have to ask — what is the hesitation to go seek help?  Why is it that we shun the thought of medication for the brain when necessary, but we would rarely second guess approaching treating the heart in such a manner?

God has given us resources through His creation: tools, medicine, knowledge and practitioners — we need to use them to our benefit.   We do not need to live in silent pain.  So what does this mean?  This means if you are someone who continually battles with feelings of hopelessness, sadness or are just in a period of emotional transition that you just can’t seem to shake yourself out of – GO GET HELP.  Make an appointment to see a therapist today.   Your friends are wonderful, but you know that they are limited in their ability to provide the professional help that you need…when your vision is blurry do you call your friends to examine you? No you go to the optometrist – you get what I am saying right?

One of the most important things you can do if you are a friend to someone who chronically battles with symptoms of anxiety, depression or any other type of mental illness, is to understand this – it is your responsibility to strongly encourage them to go seek professional help.  At minimum, you are pointing your friend towards the mental freedom they so desperately desire and as we’ve seen in recent days, you could be saving a life.  Please do not attempt to minimize their struggle.  Leave this to a professional to take the time to attentively sort out the details.  The reality is that the courage it took for them to share their pain is in short supply.  And the point in which they are reaching out is likely indicative of a much longer season of silent imprisonment burdened with emotional anguish and instability.

Finally, mental health needs to be maintained.  Making sure that we take time to rejuvenate our energy, clear negative influences off our plates and invest in others are some examples of ways that we can live healthier lives.  My mental health is maintained through taking time to gain insight about myself, by filtering the messages I choose to believe and aligning myself with my purpose.  In addition, I surround myself with like-minded people who are deep wells of laughter and wisdom and I am open to allowing them to speak truth into my life as needed.  I encourage you to take time to develop a healthy regimen to maintain your mental health as well, your mind will thank you for it.

BREAKING THE “CHAINS”

Worship leader Justin Thomas, delivers a powerful cover of Nick Jonas’ hit “Chains” as part of the opener to Church by the Glades‘ “Fearless Family” sermon series.  This weekend challenged listeners to break patterns of behavior that prevent them from living the life God intends for each of us.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – Jesus (John 10:10, NKJV)

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO THE “MOMS” WHO STEP IN

Today I want to honor the “Moms” who step in.  This is a woman who may not have a child in her home, but still chooses to come alongside those who do.  This is an aunt, a best friend, a close neighbor, a woman from church, a close relative —a woman that chooses to lend a hand, an ear, emotional support, wisdom, a different perspective or simply a shoulder to lean on and an abundance of tissues to cry into when she knows another mom needs it.  She is the real MVP, because it is apparent, simply by the nature of her offering, that she does it out of pure love and compassion for a mother and her children.  I want you to know that YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS because your involvement is not out of obligation, but participation, in one of the greatest callings known to man and for this you are deeply cherished.   Many women could not be the mothers that they are today without your sacrifice.  So today — on “Mother’s Day,” I choose to highlight you, the women who have given selflessly from a strength, I likely have never experienced, to be a light in someone else’s life.

““Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:29-31 NIV

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

∼Joycy

Do you believe in “Modern Day” miracles?

We have read of miraculous things happening during “biblical times”, but do you think true miracles happen in our day and age?  A miracle by definition is defined as,

A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.” Oxford Dictionary

It has also been described as:

“A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.Oxford Dictionary

Have you ever experienced a true miracle? Do you believe in miracles?  I welcome your thoughts and would love to hear your stories on any miracles you have witnessed or experienced.   Please share your comments below!

Can Faith and Fear Coexist?

Today’s Question of the week comes from a fellow blogger – weigh in your thoughts and by the week’s end, I will share mine.  This should be interesting!! GO!

Good friends are hard to find and a treasure to keep

What makes a friend a good friend?  I have posed this question to the girls that I mentor.  Today I celebrate my best friend’s birthday and I will share with you why I choose to call her one of my favorites.  Christine blog

We met in middle school during a church event.  Now I could say that we connected because we were praying together or singing holy hymns in the choir :), but the real answer is that we connected because we stood out.  We were eleven and twelve and were actually part of a children’s choir (lol!), but there was something during that evening’s practice that seemed hokey.  We didn’t know each other, yet our knowing eyes met from across the room and we knew in that moment that we were on the same pageand we’ve been partners in adventure ever sinceAs a tribute to friendship, I am going to share with you why I cherish ours.

1. It is lasting.  Our friendship has spanned decades.  We have never attended the same schools, not always lived in the same states or even the same coast, yet we have always remained close friends throughout the years.  She has made herself accessible to me and I to her.

2. It is trustworthy.  I know without a doubt that I can trust Christine with anything, and I mean anything.  This not only speaks to the friendship that we have, but to her character.  She is trustworthy and operates at a level that is noble and honors God.  Nobody is perfect, but I need people in my life who seek after God’s best for their own.  Which bring me to the next quality…

3. It sharpens me.  I have been graciously blessed with many friends and great friendships, however, the ones I hold dearest are the friends who take the time to speak truth into my life.  I learn from them as much as I laugh with them.  They can be trusted to receive the full range of my emotions and speak the truth to me as it needs to be spoken…and not be fearful to do so.  This is the epitome of a true friend.  They weigh the risk of a temporary rift in harmony for the sake of God’s best for me and I love them for it.

4. It is honest.  I can be vulnerable, transparent and loved unconditionally, while knowing that my friend will tell me if I am off track.

5. It is encouraging.  For as long as I can remember, Christine has been my biggest cheerleader.  She believes the best in me and for me.  She encourages and expects me to conquer the world.  I have been incredibly blessed to have gleaned a few other pom-pom waving, megaphone blasting, hearts of gold along the way that have in their own way championed for my success as well.  The belief that my friends have had in me, have divinely pushed me out of my comfort zones in ways they may never know and for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy Birthday Christine!  I am incredibly proud of you and blessed to call you friend! Christine and I

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. – Khalil Gibran

Update – Do you think crying is a sign of strength or weakness?

Thank you all for joining the conversation on facebook and twitter! We learn from each other :)).  

I am going to respond to this week’s question with two simple words: Jesus wept.

Jesus was anything but weak.  Jesus was fully man and fully God. (If you need further explanation on this – you can ask Him when you get to heaven 🙂 ).  I know many of us have heard this verse before.  Today I want to examine the context of this verse to understand the necessity and purpose of our tears.

The Death of Lazarus

11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”….

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” (John 11, NIV)

Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead four days before he arrived to wake him from the dead.  There is always purpose and layers of purpose in His actions and movements in our lives.  This story is no exception.  Here Jesus needed those who were watching and following to understand with certainty the fact of Lazarus’ death.  15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”  One layer here is to demonstrate the power of Christ through the Father.  Interesting enough, Jesus did not doubt the power within Him to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Yet, as we read further along in the passage, we see Him modeling His humanity as well – the second layer.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jesus wept.  He felt sadness and allowed Himself to express it.  That was not weakness.  Those in observance attributed it to the depth of His love.   Jesus allowed Himself to weep and to feel the sadness, BUT He did not stay there.  He continued to move, as He was called, to fulfill the Father’s will.  But nowhere in here was this seen as a sign of weakness — it was a natural emotion considering the death of His beloved friend (even knowing He was going to bring him back to life).  Some commentaries say that He was grieving the lack of faith from those who followed.  I think that we become scared of allowing ourselves to feel sadness or pain because we are worried that we will become stuck there.   The reality is if we do not deal with our pain, it will ultimately hold us back.  Nothing irritates me more than the “encouragement” that comes in the form of this statement, “Be strong” when it reinforces not showing emotion.  If strength is seen as an avoidance of feeling, then I do not want any part of that.  True strength comes from facing our heartaches and trials head on and dealing with what comes…like Jesus did in the days and weeks leading to the cross.  He cried out to God while there, demonstrating that He felt the pain, He felt the burden of our sin,  He felt the absence of the Father under the weight of our sin, AND He kept on moving and endured the cross for us and for God’s glory.

This is a longer post, but I could have easily added more, because I feel that this is a part of becoming unplugged.  By truly modeling our emotions, actions and direction after the One who modeled perfection.  We have become so lost in the ideals of our culture that we have forgotten the origins of how and why we were created.  Continue to seek after your purpose in this life and I believe that you will find true freedom.  I will leave you with this quote that I captured from a fellow therapist, “We need to feel, in order to deal, so that we can heal.”  Be strong my friends and start feeling.

Hurt People Hurt People by Sandra Wilson

I read this book during my graduate work, but trust me it is an easy read mainly because we can all relate.  If you are looking to gain some answers and understanding as to why people continue to bleed from the pains of the past – pick up this book today.