Anxiety can be Good for You

Anxiety can be Good for You

Anxiety and ChangeAnxiety is a very unpleasant feeling. Your heart may race. Your stomach may be in knots. You may have trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating. But the very thing that makes you uncomfortable is often absolutely necessary if you want to make some positive change in your life.

Untreated or longstanding anxiety is certainly not good for your health. It’s a marker of stress, and too much of it for too long can lead to permanent damage to your body and your mind.

But there IS something very positive about anxiety. There’s a lot in common between anxiety and change, even good change.

Therapy is a great option for many people when something in their life is not going well. But some who go to therapy leave the very same way as they started. Researchers interviewed individuals who had made a significant and lasting change as a result of therapy to find out what made the difference. They found two conditions that had to be present for people to be able to change:

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Keys to Overcoming Opposition In Your Mission

Keys to Overcoming Opposition In Your Mission

Push AwayThere’s a popular myth – perhaps unspoken – that says everything should be easy if you’re doing the right thing. But that’s just not true. Call it “the resistance,” spiritual warfare, or inertia, but the fact is that if you’re trying to do anything of significance you will face opposition. Coming to terms with and overcoming opposition will make the difference between success and failure in almost anything you do.

Change is usually painful, and almost always difficult. Every system wants to maintain the status quo. Your brain want to keep right on practicing the same bad habits, thinking the same negative thoughts, or enjoying the same addictions. Your family system wants to continue the same unhealthy or dysfunctional patterns of relating. Your church or business wants to remain at the same level, getting the same results as it is now, instead of growing.

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When Good People Do Bad Things

When Good People Do Bad Things

PaparazziMany in the popular media seem to relish exposing “skeletons in the closet” whenever an individual or a group that claims to be Christian does something bad. “Hypocrite!” they shout. “Why do you think you can judge others when you are doing worse things yourselves?” A recent media circus has made political fodder of a Christian family’s pain, and that’s wrong.

But even though the circus is wrong, it’s normal and understandable. This is only one of the more recent scandals involving those who claim the name of Christ. Those who would rather continue living without any restraint on their lifestyle love to demonize those who fail to live up to the standards they themselves portray as right. “Bad” people feel justified in their badness when good people do bad things too. And talk of “forgiveness” and “bad choices” doesn’t address the real issues.

The media will not be silenced when Christians engage in bad behavior involving sex, lies, or money. While such publicity may be personally excruciating and publically damaging to the name of Christ, I want to look deeper. While there are real benefits to adopting an openly Christian lifestyle, why are the lives of many who claim Christianity no better than others?

The data is not all negative, but there’s plenty of evidence to say that on many fronts Christians are behaving badly all too often:

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Why Do Some People Beat the Odds?

Why Do Some People Beat the Odds?

Why do some people beat the odds and others don’t?

Some people remain stuck. Their addictions are just as strong as ever. Their life is defined by loneliness, anxiety, anger, or fear. Their traumatic childhood continues to dictate their emotions and behavior decades later. Their unhealthy lifestyle and the diseases it leads to catches up with them, while they continue to live the same way. They may die young, miserable, and lonely. They may get older, but nothing else changes.

Other people overcome tremendous obstacles. They beat their addiction and live clean and sober for the rest of their lives. They leave their fear, anger, PTSD, and self-destructive behaviors in the past. They quit smoking or lose 100 pounds or otherwise make dramatic lifestyle changes and realize the benefits. They stop relying on violence, control, or illegal activities. They grab poverty by the horns and make something of themselves, and then help others. They forge strong connections with other people and experience loving friends and family. The trajectory of their life changes in ways that make their future entirely different.

What makes the difference? Why do some people remain stuck even while continuing to pray “God, help me!” repeatedly? Why secret magic ingredient do other people have that allows them to get better in spite of the odds against them?

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17 Things to say NO to this New Year

17 Things to say NO to this New Year

Saying NoThere’s no true difference between 11:59 pm tonight and 00:01 tomorrow morning. For some it will be a moment to make noise and party. For first responders and emergency room workers it will be a time to be ready for extra injuries and accidents. For others it will be a night to once again try and put the past behind them and “turn over a new leaf.”

What will the New Year mean to you? None of us knows for certain. Only God does. But the biggest determinant of what kind of year you will have is YOU.

If you want anything to be different this year, this is the time to say NO to things that might be hindering you. Holding you back. They might even be good things, but they’re not the best things. Whatever is keeping you from giving your best to those you care about and to the world, and from doing your very best to fulfill what God has given you to do – it all has to go.

Paul encourages us to “lay aside everything that hinders” (Hebrews 12:1). What will you lay aside at the beginning of this New Year?

Here are some good things to say NO to:

  1. Worrying about what other people think. Who cares anyway – really? Will it really matter next year, or on your deathbed, what “they” thought?
  2. Doing things half way. Somebody will notice, even if that somebody is only you and God. Give it all you’ve got, until it’s done and done right.
  3. Criticizing other people. Playing Junior Holy Spirit is not a nice job. God didn’t give you that job, and it doesn’t help other people anyway.
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