Have you ever met someone and thought, “Wow! Did she get hit with the talent stick!” Ha! That is pretty much what ran through my head as I sat in the audience listening to Chrystal for the first time last year at a Sally Clarkson event. I hadn’t heard of Chrystal or her podcast before that weekend. We ended up connecting over conversations of podcasting and Periscope. Funny how when you find someone who speaks your same crazy “tech” language you become instant friends.
Well, I’m all too familiar with Chrystal and her ministry now! I have listened to numerous podcasts, watched videos of her speaking, and read her articles on her blog. She is an incredibly talented and gifted orator just like her dad…well, like everyone in her family. That saying the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is very true for her!
When I listen to Chrystal’s podcast I’m completely drawn in. You feel like you are practically sitting across the table from her enjoying a nice cup of coffee. I can’t wait for you to glean from her in this podcast! You are about to see exactly what I mean.
Chrystal is going to blow your mind when you hear her talk about how she simplifies her busy life. She has some incredible systems in place to create balance for her ministry and for her family. You are going to love it!
In this episode, Chrystal shares about her life and her book Kingdom Women. She also gives us a little “sneak peek” into her new book She’s Still There. Chrystal is so inspirational. I know you will just love this episode.
Chrystal is highly quotable! I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what things she said that stood out to you! Here are a few of my favorites:
“We don’t have to have it all together. We have to make peace with not having it all together.” — Chrystal Hurst
“Keep aiming for God and let Him work out in you what He needs to work out, so that you can be who He wants you to be and do what He wants you to do with the life that you’ve been given to live.” — Chrystal Hurst
“We need to partner with God. While we trust Him to dig us out with the truth of His Word, we have to get the shovel and participate in doing the job.” — Chrystal Hurst
“When we mess up, we have to trust that God is big enough to forgive, redirect, & have a Plan B” – Chrystal Hurst
“Multitasking is a Myth!” – Chrystal Hurst
(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)
Today we have a question from someone who is drained. So in our exhaustion, how do we recharge without neglecting our souls? Here’s the question: “Hello Pastor John, I’m 41 years old and have been a pastor for nine years, leading a small but growing church of 120 people in Wales. As I have served as a pastor and leader over this time I have found that due to the spiritually, emotionally, and mentally draining nature of the work, whenever I have spare time (an evening off, a Saturday free) all I want to do is switch off and do trivial stuff like watch sports. I feel like I should be doing more personal reading or devotional, God-pursuing stuff, but I can’t find the energy or desire. Ministry is hard work, so when I have opportunity, I want to escape from things connected to it. How do you handle this tension between ministry as part of your work that you give your time and attention to for much of the day and then the need to have energy to pursue God personally outside of your formal ministry activities? Have you felt this tension and do you have any advice for a young, and already tired, pastor?”
Yes, I have felt that tension. I doubt that you or I will ever escape it. As I have tried to examine and study my own heart in regard to its inclinations when I am tired, I am fairly suspicious of how self-justifying I can be in the defense of my inclination to compromise my mind and my conscience and what I do with my so-called downtime. I say that just to wave a yellow flag lest we assume that weariness after the Lord’s work can justify almost anything. I think such subtle self-justifications of worldliness are the beginnings of many pastoral downfalls. You might say worldly downtimes lead to wicked downfalls. So, here are a few things I have found and would suggest.
If there are parts of the day with much energy and parts with little energy, then let one of the parts with much energy be given to what is absolutely indispensible: communion with God in his word for the sake of seeing and savoring the King of heaven. Because if this personal joy, personal fellowship, personal hope languishes, everything languishes — and worse than languishes usually. What our people need from us more than anything is the aroma of Christ.
The world is filled with managerial experts in ministry. They create seasons of excitement in the life of the church, but they are shallow. And sooner or later, the human soul grows weary of such technical expertise. You have to keep propping it up with more smoke-and-mirrors and sound and light and everything external. You have to keep propping it up. It is so superficial. And the soul longs for a deep man of God. This is what people long for: a deep man of God. Have you been with God? Come show me that you have been with God. A man of the word, a man of substance who has gone deep with eternal things and comes up out of the valley laden with nourishing fruit for his people. This is only possible if we give the first priority to knowing God, not working for God. So, that is my second suggestion. Reverse the order of your days. Give your best energy to going deep with God. Your people will not begrudge being in second place. Oh, they will love it.
We must be absolutely honest with our hearts here. Come on, pastors. We must be honest with our hearts here. Does this video, does this TV show which everybody is watching — of course they are — does this video game leave us refined and intensified in our capacities to revel in the unsearchable riches of Christ in the Scriptures? I fear that for many pastors the answer would be no. And he just doesn’t care. He is tired. I believe we live in a day where immersion in popular culture with all of its God-ignoring, sin-enjoying, pride-exalting assumptions is not only assumed to be harmless, but assumed to be necessary. Both of those assumptions are wrong — deadly wrong.
So, let me see if I can give a few pointers for the kinds of things a pastor or for that matter anybody might do when he feels mentally spent.
He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood-pigeons in the forest, the song of birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy. A day’s breathing of fresh air upon the hills, or a few hours’ ramble in the beach woods’s umbrageous calm, would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain of scores of our toiling ministers who are now but half alive. A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is the next best thing. . . . For lack of opportunity, or inclination, these great remedies are neglected, and the student becomes a self-immolated victim.
So, let me summarize. First, ask God to protect you from wasted leisure. Second, reverse the order of your days and give your best energies to feeding your soul on the sweetness of Christ. Third, leave your Bible for the sake of your Bible — and that means, when you leave, don’t do anything that would diminish your capacities to revel in the riches of the Bible.
Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.
(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)
Being a Life Purpose Coach has opened my eyes to so many things in my own life. One of those things I have learned is that I am responsible for my own happiness-no one else is responsible for me. So, I often coach about happiness being a choice and the one responsible for your happiness is YOU!
Six years of coaching has shown me there are some definite characteristics of a chronically unhappy person. It may take a few sessions but invariably it becomes clear to me the areas we need to work on.
Mostly as we grow spiritually and mentally we tend to bounce back and forth between happiness and unhappiness in the course of even one day. But there are those who are blinded to the fact that they can change the course of their life by allowing God to show them how to renew their minds and what tools to use to do that. I’ve learned there are certain traits and habits chronically unhappy people seem to have mastered. We all have bad days, even weeks when we fall down in all seven areas.
Joy is the foundation of your Soul (mind, will, and emotions), and since your Soul can never be annihilated, your access to joy never vanishes. Because joy is so foundational to your true being, every other state or emotion can rest on top of joy, it can accommodate everything.
It has never failed that when I have been through the most heart-breaking passages of my life — betrayal, financial hardship, divorce, dreams dashed, deep loss — the pain brought me to the floor of my spiritual being and what did I find there? His presence….and then His joy in the midst of my sorrow.
♥ Happiness. Has to be a choice you make. You are the only one responsible for your happiness.
♥ Joy. It’s the love from His character that lasts no matter what. You walk into it by faith and He gives freely.
So, with that said here are 7 traits of chronically unhappy people that I have noted.
1. Your core belief is that life is hard all the time. You think there is something wrong with you, as opposed to others, that makes your life hard.
Happy people know life can be hard and tend to bounce through hard times with an attitude of curiosity versus victimization. They know who they are in Christ and realize that though life may be hard they take responsibility for their thought lives and focus on moving forward to better times. Perseverance towards problem-solving versus complaining over circumstances is a symptom of a happy person. Unhappy people see themselves as victims of life and stay stuck in the “look what happened to me” attitude versus finding a way through and out the other side. They tend to think God is a respecter of people and has ruled them out when it comes to happiness.
2. You believe most people can’t be trusted, thus limiting your vulnerability to those who can truly help you see truth.
Healthy discernment is important, but most happy people are willing to trust. They believe in the good in people, versus assuming everyone is out to get them. They are generally open and friendly towards people they meet, and happy people foster a sense of community around themselves and meet new people with an open heart.
Unhappy people are distrustful of most people they meet and assume that strangers can’t be trusted. Unfortunately this behavior slowly starts to close the door on any connection and thwarts all chances of meeting new friends.
3. You concentrate on what’s wrong in this world versus what’s right.
There’s plenty wrong with this world and all you have to do is watch the nightly news to open the door to fear, yet unhappy people turn a blind eye to what’s actually right in this world and instead focus on what’s wrong. It can and is addictive to fill your mind with the negative, day in and day out.
They are usually the ones complaining and responding to any positive attributes of our world with “yeah but”.
Happy people are aware of global issues, but balance their concern with also seeing what’s right. They allow their focus to be on Him rather than what they see in the world. Or as the word of God tells us: Philippians 4: 6-9 says this:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
However, unhappy people tend to close one eye towards anything good in this world in fear they might be distracted from what’s wrong. Happy people keep it in perspective. They know our world has problems and they also keep an eye on what’s right.
4. You compare yourself to others and harbor jealousy.
Unhappy people believe someone else’s good fortune steals from their own. They believe there’s not enough goodness to go around and constantly compare yours against theirs. This leads to jealousy and resentment.
Happy people know that their good luck and circumstance are merely signs of what they too can aspire to achieve. Happy people believe they carry a unique blueprint that can’t be duplicated or stolen from –which is true…we were created unique and special and God has a plan for each of our lives. They believe in unlimited possibilities and don’t get bogged down by thinking one person’s good fortune limits their possible outcome in life.
5. You strive to control your life.
There’s a difference between control and striving to achieve our goals. Happy people take steps daily to achieve their goals, but realize in the end, there’s very little control over sufferings and trials that may come…it is those trials however, that perfect our faith and draw us closer to Him.
Unhappy people tend to micromanage their lives in effort to control all outcomes and fall apart in dramatic display when life throws a wrench in their plan. Happy people can be just as focused, yet still have the ability to go with the flow and not melt down when life delivers a curve-ball.
The key here is to be goal-oriented and focused, but allow room for growth when the best laid plans go awry- because they will sometimes. Going with the flow is what happy people have as plan B.
6. You consider your future with worry and fear.
Unhappy people fill their thoughts with what could go wrong versus what might go right.
Unhappy people are usually deluded with doubts and allow themselves to daydream about what they’d like to have life unfold for them but are always disappointed things didn’t go as planned.
Unhappy people fill their souls with constant worry and fear.
Happy people experience fear and worry, but make an important distinction between feeling it and living it. When fear or worry crosses a happy person’s mind, they’ll ask themselves what choices they can make to rise up over their adverse circumstances and how they can fight the good fight of faith to prevent their fear or worry from happening (there’s responsibility again) and they take it. If not, they realize they’re rooted in fear and they lay it down.
7. You fill your conversations with comparisons and complaints.
Unhappy people like to live in the past. What’s happened to them and life’s hardships are their conversation of choice. They are sometimes so stuck in their past pain they just can’t get to a place of letting go. It actually becomes their identity and like an old friend (foe?) to stay in the pain. And sometimes when they run out of things to say, they’ll turn to other people’s lives and compare.
Happy people live in the now and dream about the future. You can feel their positive vibe from across the room. They’re excited about something they’re working on, grateful for what they have and dreaming about the possibilities of life and what wonderful things the Lord has for them in the future.
Obviously none of us are perfect. We’re all going to swim in negative waters once in a while, but what matters is how long we stay there and how quickly we work to get ourselves out. Practicing positive habits daily is what sets happy people apart from unhappy people.
If you need help in identifying the tools to help you become a happy person, Life Coaching can help tremendously. But again, it is a choice.
Most of us deal with fear by trying to be someone we are not. We try to transform our image by presenting ourselves as someone other than who we really are.
I did this for years. I called it the Imposter Syndrome.
Many of us try to reinvent ourselves, seeking healing and transformation over and over again, through impersonating who we want to be, not who we really are.
This is most often because we don’t love and accept ourselves.
But in the end of this masquerade we find that only as we let go of the false picture and embrace who God created us to be can we really see ourselves as lovable and valuable.
Whenever I was asked to be a public speaker I would have a slow build of panic right up until I actually stood (or sat) before the people. If panic could light up a room, the room would have been glowing when I walked in. On the outside I would look cool as a cucumber. But on the inside I was trying to just breathe through my panic.
Years ago, through a publication of a women’s ministry newsletter that I sent out every month, I was invited to be on a Christian television program through Trinity Broadcast Network. I was so honored and excited.
But as the day approached and I had to drive four hours to the Tustin, Ca. studios, my panic began to rise. I had set my alarm for early that day, but my anxiety had sent me an earlier wakeup call…I simply could not sleep. I imagined all kinds of scenarios.
People would laugh at the poor girl trying to make a name for herself.
It went on and on and try as I might I could not get it to stop. I even tried to imagine the worst that could happen to me if I failed and tried to convince myself I wouldn’t die.
As I nervously sat in the studio before I was to go on and watched the other guests being interviewed, I started hyperventilating.
Five minutes before I was to go on I had this fight or flight thing hit me and I had to go to the bathroom. I just knew if I didn’t go I would embarrass myself on national TV.
As I got up to find a restroom I was immediately told to sit down and that I was on in 2 minutes.
“If this anxiety gets worse, I’ll be incoherent on national television.” I stuttered to myself.
The time finally came and the assistant told me to take my place behind the red line and sit down.
I went in terror. Truly.
But an odd thing began to happened as I sat down.
I was actually sorry when the interview was over. I wanted to say more. This was easy.
As I walked away that day, I thought, “WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THAT?”
Why was I so scared? Why do I do this to myself?
I was always terrified before going before anyone to say anything in a public setting because I didn’t feel good enough.
I felt like I had to reinvent myself for a national audience and be someone I am not, so I would be accepted. I just knew if I did not, I was going to fade away into nothingness.
This story was just the beginning of being taught by the Lord to accept myself for who I am, and learning to let go of my feelings of failure and not measuring up to other’s standards.
I was the one He chose to share my story that day, not some nationally well-known speaker.
How sad that so many of us are still hiding behind our masks of inferiority and believe that somehow we aren’t as special as someone else who looks like they have it all together.
Do you relate to this story? Just let me say I know what you are feeling, but it is just simply not true. Your perception of yourself is a trick of the enemy to keep you hidden away from fulfilling your true calling. For you all have a calling. Jesus has a plan for each and every one of us.
This is why I am a Life Purpose Coach today. I watch Holy Spirit open the eyes of so many I coach with. I never cease to be amazed at this profound and life changing process that coaching transforms in those who seek inner healing from childhood images of themselves.
It is as we learn to love ourselves, that we can truly love one another without pretending.
“And all of us, as with unveiled face, because we continued to behold in the Word of God as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
As a young believer coming into a new group of believers, I was so shy. I kept to myself though I longed to join other young couples and make friends. I would watch them gather together and keep myself apart from them because I felt so inferior. I had nothing to offer them, I thought. I just have to look good and they will think I am together.
It didn’t work.
I mistakenly thought they didn’t like me. This was because I always believed I was flawed because I was abused as a child. Then one day one of the young mothers told me that she would like to be my friend, but that I was giving off the persona that I was better than them.
All the time I was dying to make friends, they thought I was snooty because of my little act of sufficiency. This was eye opening to me. I decided that no matter how I felt on the inside, I would “put on” who I wanted to be. I started going up to people and acting very friendly and welcome them to church, as if I was the director of customer service. I would stand in the foyer and greet people as if I was appointed the job, which I wasn’t. People started lighting up when they would see me and I made many friends. I found out from many of them that they had previously been afraid to approach me.
Years later I found myself working frantically for God to be more acceptable to Him. I became addicted to “ministry” to cover my own lack of self esteem. I had learned to paint the picture of being a worthy person very well. The busier I became in helping people, the more accolades of praise and admiration they would lavish me with. Their words filled the deep holes in my soul that I so needed to feel important—temporarily, just as any addiction does.
I didn’t understand Grace.
I didn’t really know Jesus intimately. Oh, I knew He had redeemed me and I was going to Heaven. But I didn’t know He loved me exactly as I am and wanted to fill those deep holes with only Him. I was slowly sinking into a loss I was not prepared for.
I was caught up in legalism. I thought if I worked hard enough God would find me acceptable.
Where did that come from? Was it correct thinking?
I appeared righteous and spiritual, but inside I was ultimately failing to accomplish God’s purposes because my life was based on outward performance instead of inward change. Being a victim of incest at an early age, I always thought that I was less than everyone else. I was miserable around people because I just knew they could see my flaws, thus, the constant working to prove myself worthy.
What are some areas you have mistakenly believed and walked in most of your life, or maybe, all of your life? Here are some examples:
God desires for you to know who you really are, and realize how deeply He loves, accepts, and appreciates you, so that you can live out the fullness of what all He has ordained you to be. God’s Word tells us that without being rooted and grounded in the love (and acceptance) of God, we cannot experience the fullness of God in our lives.
ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO REVEAL TO YOU THE AREAS OF MISTAKEN THINKING THAT IS NOT OF GOD.
You will be amazed when you ask God to do this and be willing from the heart to listen to Him how quickly he will show you where your thinking is off.
IN WHATEVER AREA YOU KNOW YOUR THINKING IS OFF, SEARCH THE BIBLE FOR WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU AND HOW VALUED YOU REALLY ARE. MEMORIZE IT AND WHEN YOU GO BACK TO YOUR OLD WAY OF THINKING, IMMEDIATELY PULL OUT YOUR TRUTH INSTEAD!
DEVELOP YOUR INTIMACY WITH A VERY REAL, PERSONABLE JESUS!
We are who we spend the most time with. When you really know Jesus in every sense of the word, you become more like Him. You begin to think like Him!! Your old misconceptions will change.
“All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.”
Do you sing that song and truthfully think of its meaning and embrace all that it suggests?
A few years ago through a season when God was teaching me to “let go” of those things I could not control; for some odd reason I felt that my obsessing would somehow change the circumstance in another person’s life or even my own. After much agony and defeat, I finally began to get it.
Since Jesus sacrificed His life and then His subsequent and miraculous and wonderful resurrection so that I could have eternal life, then surrendering to Him must mean to freely give Him my life, and my control over it, and be free to live as accepted and loved… by Him.
It is about my spiritual journey.
But what about the other things in my life that I need to let go of?
“I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.”
The cross is just the beginning of Kingdom living here on earth. It is the beginning of a redeemed eternity for us. We were never meant to just stop at surrendering our life for an entrance into Heaven, as great as that is. We were meant to walk in His presence in the here and now.
He wants all of us, all the time!!
We don’t have to work at loving and trusting Him, we just do. We just invite Him into our daily presence and “let go”.
“All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken take me, Jesus, take me now.”
We bow at His feet in the spirit and surrender. We forsake our trust in the world and its ways and our own limited understanding. He will take us to higher places with Him.
It is not a religious thing. It is a relationship thing.
In my worry and fretting I had to learn to use my imagination, (that he gave to us by the way).
I envisioned myself holding in my cupped hands the object of my anxiety and worry. There in my hands would be my child, my husband, my book, my ministry. I could see it there (miniature because it was resting in my palms)… in my spirit. Then, Jesus would come up behind me and put His arms around me. He would cup His hands under mine. I would then open my hands and let it drop into His hands. He would then close His hands over my concern and hold it close to His heart as He would walk away with my burden. At that point I experienced the most profound thing. A weight lifted off my heart and I could take a deep breath again, with NO anxiety. He had it! I didn’t have to give it another thought.
Just trust Him!!
And this is what I realized at that moment:
He could now change the situation, in my surrender, because I was no longer in charge and thus, in the way.
I was trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit because of my fear and so I continued to get in the way.
He would do a much better job because He works from the heart and knows the whole story and, again, I wasn’t in the way.
I can only see the outward appearances; therefore, whatever I wanted to see changed could not be approached from the heart with my own devices.
“All to Jesus I surrender, Make me Savior wholly Thine. May Thy Holy Spirit fill me and May I know Thy power divine.”
So, how can we celebrate the joyous occasion of His resurrection power this Easter without surrendering the whole of our lives to Him in every sense of the word?
I think of Mary of Magdala that morning she went to the tomb and it was empty. Can you put yourself there? She had been traveling with Him; saw the miracles, got to know Jesus, the Man, God personified. She thought He was to become King the night He was killed. Can you imagine her shock upon hearing that the Sanhedrin had taken Him and were going to crucify Him, and the profound confusion and heartache?
But He appeared to her, at first disguising Himself. I can see His playfulness in that. He was enjoying the surprise and joy at the reunion after His death and resurrection. She loved Him with her whole heart. It was at that point, at the moment, that she understood and He fully became her Lord and her God. How could she not surrender all that she knew and understood to Him?
“All to Him my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939) wrote I Surrender All and the words and melody of I Surrender All have appeared in virtually every English hymnal, and are just as readily sung in churches that prefer contemporary music.
“Jennifer” came to me for coaching… a broken person, chained to a very unhealthy relationship, unable to break free; trying to make peace with her abusive childhood and years of abuse to follow–in a place she thought she would never be free of, and miserable inside.
I discerned right away her servant’s heart and her desire to reach out to others that were hurting or needing to know that someone cares.
What a joy to watch this woman of such faith and heart truly share the real essence of Jesus wherever she goes. This week I received the following message from her that I share with her permission. When asked if she minded if I shared her journey with thousands, this was her response:
“Well, to me it is important to keep you posted since YOU had such a big part in my healing process. I wouldn’t be where I am at this point if it wasn’t for all those sessions. And yes, I’m proud of what I’m able to work on at this point and am happy to let you share with others. It’s those stories that help the lost ones to see there is a light if they just open their hearts and mind to it!”
So here is her report. For the record this was written while she was recovering from a knee replacement and eager to get on with her business in the “ministry.”
“Good morning, thought about you when I was making my weekly to do list.
I wanted to share all the serving opportunities that came my way the last couple of months!
I’m waiting on my first assignment from Hospice and Mary and I are involved in a couple of special events at the church. We’ll be part of an Easter egg hunt at our church as well, and we are helping to feed the homeless at a shelter in the city. This is a great time for the two of us to spend some time together!
I’m also helping at the food basket and hope we get a chance to feed the homeless here with a hot meal if I can get enough interest. As soon as I can I’m going to check with the Chamber to see what is available and find out if there are others in the community who want help.
I had a lot of time to pray for guidance and different opportunities just presented themselves, all in His timing I’m sure!
Thank you again for helping me out of my hurt and confusion, I’m happy to be part of the world around me! I forgot the most exciting part cause the dog started digging out of the yard while I was E-mailing you… A few days ago one of my friends from the old church put a request on her Facebook page. She started a ministry to go visit and pray with women in jail at the prison nearby. Well I guess they also write them and I signed up to be a pen pal for a young lady who just accepted Jesus as her savior! The girls got me some stationary a while back and now I can put it to good use!”
Jennifer is finding her completeness in just stepping out and praying for Jesus to allow her to see the opportunities and she grabs them up.
I’ve known many people who grow unsettled in their jobs or their motherhood and think that it is God leading them into “full time” ministry. Away from the ministry field of their family standing right in front of them. This, though, is often laced with a personal need to find fulfillment and feel significant in his kingdom. And they sometimes DO quit their job and jump into a ministry and then struggle financially trying to figure out a way to do it and pay the bills.
Some people will try to raise support from their friends, or create some kind of product to sell to others, hoping it will finance their dreams. It rarely does. Instead of serving others, they will spend significant time getting others to serve their vision.
A friend once said, “Sharing the life of his kingdom is a way of living first, not a vocation.”
What is on your heart today to do for the Kingdom? Pray for the Lord to open doors for you and then pray you will be alert and willing when He does. Don’t think He won’t answer. He is looking for those he can use in a lost and dying world. If YOU are broken then find the ministry from someone you trust to help you heal first. Start your journey today!
Be encouraged, my friend. Jesus is not done with you yet!
We all have had desert experiences in our lives at different seasons of time along our journey. Some seasons of trial are short and some are very long.
He loves us so much that sometimes He allows us to stay in those deserts for a while to bring us back to Him. When it gets hot and dry we start looking for Him for relief. You know why?
He misses you and desires relationship with you.
Hosea 2:6 says:
“For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
I will block her path with a wall to make her lose her way.”
He does this to bring us to the end of ourselves and to get us to turn to Him in thirsty longing. Then He begins to draw us to Himself. He often takes us aside from every source of comfort so that He alone can have our heart’s attention.
Then He says in Hosea 2:14
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.”
And it is here that we begin to experience Him, not as the God up in Heaven, the big guy in the sky, the God of Sunday Mornings, but as the pursuer of our hearts, as our lover.
“’When that day comes,’ says the Lord, ‘you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’ I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.’“ (Hosea 2:16 & 19)
“I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.” (Hosea 2:20)
This love is not something we struggle for, earn, or fear. It is bestowed upon us.
He has chosen us.
We are made for such a love.
Our hearts yearn to be loved intimately, personally, and romantically. We are created to be the object of His desire and affection, and He is totally and completely in love with us.
His love is for each and every one of us. God wants intimacy with you! In order to have it, you must offer it to Him and surrender yourself over to Him.
Part of my story (which you can find in its totality in my first book, Climbing Out of the Box), is that I was forced by extremely painful circumstances and losses into five years of desert life. I experienced the loss of my first marriage, my ministry, my church, and my friends. I was swept into a devastating desert season, where I met Jesus face to face. In the first couple of years of my sweltering in the desert, I experienced:
Then, out of my own depth of pain, I sought Him.
I began talking…and He did too.
Once I was liberated from performance-based religion, I was alone and free to pursue Him as my lover. I started listening to Him again. And He was faithful to show me how my own denials led me into the wilderness, and He allowed it. He allowed it to show me the difference between true relationship and performance-driven religion. We took walks, drives, and had long talks together.
And when the revelation came that I did not have to do anything to make Him love me more than He did at that moment, nor did I have to do anything but love Him, I was set free.
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Galatians 5:1)
Based on my own life, and through my observations in my coaching practice, that every unfulfilled longing inside of us originates from a deeper longing for Jesus Himself. It is an emptiness He makes us aware of, that can only be met by His love and none other. And what a love it is!
At different seasons of our lives, we find different longings. Some of us go our whole lives as one big, gaping hole of need. That is so sad to me.
Because now I know that the answer always rested in Him all along. It is so simple, really.
We struggle and we struggle; and we complicate everything by anxiously trying to fix our lives with our own ideas of what we need. Only to find that the thing we tried didn’t work, and now we are right back where we started…and oh, do we feel defeated and hopeless.
We turn to so many things, trying to find that one thing that will satisfy. And we become addicted because we find we can never get enough of just one thing.
Sometimes it is even good things we use to fill that hole…but only to find that the hole is still there afterwards, and we realize we still can’t get enough. That is because we were not meant to. Your creator made you to desire Him. But this world has played havoc on us.
All of these things can be used to attempt to fill us up in one way or another. Though they may be good things, they were never meant to take God’s place in our lives.
There is a time coming, my friends, when we will find that our every longing will be met by Jesus Himself.
God really does withhold no good thing and if He is withholding something, as much confusion and pain as it brings at that time, it is ultimately for our good and to make us more aware that He is there for us. I have found this to be true again and again in my years with the Lord.
I am deeply flawed, you see, and I am trying to find my way past my fleshly longings to find that sole satisfaction that comes from only my King. And I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It is an amazing journey!
To you who have an unmet longing, whether it be a husband you wish to share life with, a child you yearn to bring into your home (whether through adoption or naturally), a wound from a relationship, a dream or passion to come true that’s laid dormant for years, a hunger to do something you’ve been waiting to do, a desire to move up in your career, the longing to grieve something you’ve lost, whatever it is, my words to you are these:
Your longing is safe with Jesus—maybe you can’t see Him, but He is there and He can not only fulfill your heart that longs for more, He can also give you good things.
You can grieve the lost time that you struggled before you knew this truth and you can be honest. You can talk about it. You can ask these questions:
Where is my life going from here?
What is next?
How do I bring You into my longings, Jesus?
What is He going to do to take away this constant feeling of wanting something that I don’t even know what it is?
Remember, Jesus is holding your every longing. He is waiting for you to turn to Him as your only answer. He longs for you with a passionate desire to walk with you every minute of the day.
Do what it takes to trust Him, whether that means putting yourself out there and sharing, or keeping it in your secret chamber where you meet with God. Your longings are not foreign to Him.
At first, this period of my life was very disorienting. After years of being steeped in the rules and regulations of organized religion, I still fought with the pull of “I should be doing something.” I was angry at Christians in general. At first, I thought that many were phony in their so-called friendships. But I came to realize that I was judging them for judging me, which made me just as guilty.
When we stuff God into a box, we take away from His life and power, proclaiming that we are the only ones with the absolute truth, thus moving us into judging others.
It was then that I came to know that I am a member of the church. If you know Him, you are a member of the church. It doesn’t matter where we gather with others who know Him. He said that where two or three gather together, there He would be in our midst. That is the church in motion.
I had begun to think that I could trust no man. Unfortunately, the religious system fueled my need for nurturing by men by producing some leaders in ministry who needed to be in total control of others. I had a difficult time finding that acceptance from those authority figures.
For many people who don’t know Jesus, Christianity is a joke. They have witnessed Christians treating one another horribly. They watch us kick our wounded when they are down.
I think many of us have experienced much pain as we have tried to fit the life God intends for us into a box of our own making. Many, like myself, hang in there until the cows came home, thinking we could make it better. But eventually we learn that if we live according to the rules of men, and not the word of God, the freedom we need to grow in Him is in direct opposition, and we will not find that freedom.
“In the park we step on this bright shiny red merry-go-round. Everyone is happy and ready for a lot of love, fun and a great future.”
But then something happens. A pattern has emerged. There seems to be something very binding about your relationship. You feel like you are in prison and you can’t get out.
There has been a lot of confusion on what real love is. On the surface, codependency sounds like “Christian teaching.”
But true codependents aren’t really healthy, giving people. They learn to get their validity from other people rather than from Jesus! And they hinder those people they try to “fix” in their lives and their walk with God.
”Then Denial, Delusion, Justification, Rationalizations, Reverse Projection… emerge…these are all signs and symptoms of a co-dependent and addicted personality…”
Jesus taught the value of the individual.
“ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:31
The love of self forms the basis for loving others in the truest sense of the word.
The differences between a life of service to others and codependency take several forms. Motivation differs.
In their book, “Love is a Choice”, Drs. Hemfelt, Minirth & Meir” state:
“Codependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control, or the lack of it, is central to every aspect of life. When it comes to people, the codependent has become so elaborately enmeshed in the other person that the sense of self— personal identity — is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person’s identity and problems.”
I see signs of codependency in many clients who come to me with relationship problems…they are worn out and exhausted and feel trapped in a relationship that makes them feel totally controlled.
There will always be another episode of control if someone doesn’t get off of the Merry Go Round and say “enough of this.”
When no one gets off, the Merry Go Round spins faster and faster until it is out of control. When the crisis is over then everyone is remorseful and say their sorry until the next ride. And it begins again.
You are aware that you do this but you have gotten away with it for so long that you have developed a false power. In the midst of your pain.
Have you asked God to bring this into the light so you can deal with it or help someone else?
You know as well as I that it is never easy to expose darkness.
But if you want freedom again, you have to get off the Merry-Go-Round once and for all.
So, from a believer’s standpoint here are some truths that might help you.
If you will take this issue to Jesus, you will find that:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
(If this podcast has left you feeling like you need help with codependency tendencies in your life, you might want to consider Life Coaching! Contact me through my home page.)