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You want to be stronger, braver, and more integrated.

You want to be more whole right?

I have good news. As you learn and apply Transformation Prayer Ministry to your life, you will become a stronger, braver, more integrated, and whole person.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”Hebrews 12:14 NIV

Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM) is, by far, one of the best tools I’ve seen that can nurture growth in this way.

The intent of the TPM process is to provide a systematic and reliable means to intentionally and purposefully participate with God in refining one’s faith, which results in renewing one’s mind, and naturally transforming one’s belief and behavior.

 

“ . . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 NIV

 

To understand this more clearly, today I’m sharing with you a personal account of a Transformation Prayer Ministry session. In this, you will see how Molly (fictitious name) was able to move through her negative belief about herself.

To read another personal application of Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM) click here.

We begin here.

When Molly was talking with her husband about the slow pace of work in her current job, he suggested she should look for another job.

Feeling irritated and defensive, and realizing they were getting nowhere in their conversation, she decided not to engage in any arguments.

 

In fact, she decided to essentially dismiss herself from the discussion and just let him talk.

Bothered by her own unclear thoughts and feelings, which arose in their interaction, she asked me to mentor her in Transformation Prayer Ministry regarding these unsettled feelings.

 

EMOTION  (The ‘box’ or place we begin a session)

 

I asked her: “How did the conversation make you feel?”

 

Molly: “It made me feel defensive and irritated.”

 

MEMORIES

I asked her: “What comes to mind as you focus on what you are feeling?”

 

Molly: “Hmm . . . Why did I feel defensive? What was I defending? . . . THAT I’M NOT SPOILED OR LAZY. “

 

I asked: Why do you feel that way?

 

Molly: “ Because I was the baby of the family, the youngest with a large age gap. I remained close in proximity to my parents and they were a great help to me with babysitting, helping with finances and rides when I didn’t have a car. My other siblings moved out of town and were more independent. Later, I was able to be a stay at home mom.

 

BELIEF

I asked her: “Not that it is true, but does it feel true that you are spoiled or lazy?”

 

Molly: “No. Actually when I think about it, I do not believe I am spoiled.”

 

TRUTH

We entered this TPM process spontaneously and were in an informal setting. Others began to enter the room before we were quite done. This interfered with the process. I believe Molly began to speed things up, and her intellect took over for her emotions in the BELIEF box.

Once she heard herself say she’s “spoiled and lazy” and thought about it, she realized that was not true. If her response was yes, (which would have been the typical response if not rushed to conclude things) I would have asked her if we could present that belief to the Lord.

 

TRANSFORMATION

I asked her: “So, what do you feel is true?”

 

Molly: “I am not a spoiled child. I work hard. I am very productive. I am resourceful. I contribute a lot to my family. I have made sacrifices and do not ask for much in return. I do not always get my way or what I want.

 

If you become familiar with Transformation Prayer Ministry you will be a stronger, more positive, united, and whole person.

Wholeness leads to holiness.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”Hebrews 12:14 NIV

To read another personal application of Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM) click here.

Chewing Gum, Shootings, and Volcanic Relationships

Chewing gum in school was once-upon-a-time-crime. Now, shooting classmates is the rage. Statistics can be manipulated to favor one’s political agenda however it’s obvious, any way we look at it, we have massive problems rushing over our land like toxic gasses spewing from the Kilauea volcano. Failed relationships, splintered families, increased teenage suicides, road rage, and media violence make our air toxic like the volcanic gases pluming on Hawaii’s big island. How did we get to this place where the culture we breathe burns with poison? Why is our culture at this brim of insanity? The debate is ongoing, but . . . It’s pretty plain to me Check it out, human trafficking, porn, media violence, and the state of our disintegrating families, all point to the mental health crisis in our country. Emma is upset because she discovers her husband is watching porn and he is no longer interested in being intimate with her. Continually agitated, Emma explodes when her seven year old son, Logan, makes a muddy mess on the floor first thing in the morning. Logan heads off to school feeling like a failure, and his day spirals downward exponentially. Individual emotional well being is at the root of a healthy culture, school, community, church, family, and marriage. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 The behavior of one person effects the behavior of another Little Henry, ate all the bananas, and broke his classmates hearts because he did not share. Likewise, our own personal daily choices affect our thought life, which directs our behavior, which impacts others. Even if these individual choices and behaviors seem to be private matters, they do have an effect on others for better or worse. I know. You recognize some areas where you need to change your priorities and behavior, but what’s really keeping you up at night is the attitude and behavior of that other person. You can’t change someone else, but must confront in love. It’s only by God’s grace you can change yourself. You wake in the middle of the night wondering how in the world can you find peace in your relationship with this other person who’s dragging you down? You need to confront this person in love. Find ways to do so here. Remember God is able to give you life without lack May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 When that person does not respond positively, remember God is able to supply everything you need. He can even supply what you need emotionally when in a difficult relationship. An accurate vision of God is an important launching point which will lead you to joy, peace, and confidence amidst relational stress. You can have this regardless of the other person’s improper choices. Dallas Willard’s book, Life Without Lack, will help you gain an accurate vision of who God is and guide you into a life of peace, regardless of your outward circumstances. How desperately our culture needs this hope and joy

That Breaks Their Hearts

Saddened preschoolers stand around Henry and wail, “That breaks my heart.”

Maybe you’re familiar with the Montessori method of teaching. Their slogan is an education that transforms lives. Montessori classrooms nurture a warm supportive community wherein children learn to work collaboratively.

In one particular Boston Montessori classroom, the children are taught this by exercising a valuable relational skill.

The skill is simply to identify and express their negative feelings with words. When they feel sad or distraught they’ve learned to express it by saying, that breaks my heart.

The skill is basic, and therefore often overlooked as we become adults.

Yet this relational skill may be one of the most important skills these children will learn. If they continue to use it, it will serve them all their lives.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV

The following story illustrates the point.

 

 

Henry cuts the bananas, puts toothpicks in them, and places them on a tray just like he should. Then he carries the tray around and, through muffled words, asks his classmates if they want any.

No one notices his invitation. So he sits on the floor by the low table and begins to eat the banana.

Seeing this their teacher, Miss Valerie, questions each child. Did Henry ask you if you wanted a snack? How about you? Invariably each child said, No he didn’t and that breaks my heart. One by one the saddened children cluster around Henry, and in a rippled chorus groan, “That breaks my heart.”

As the community of children gather around him, he continues to eat the entire banana with no response to his classmates as they stand around him expressing their heartache.

Even though they named their feelings and expressed them to Henry, it apparently didn’t influence his attitude. Does that mean the children should not express their feelings?

Have you ever known someone like Henry?

Does this story remind you of the Body of Christ in any way?

How would you relate to someone like Henry if he was an adult?

How would you relate to this adult person if he, or she, was part of your family?

Wish I Didn’t Refuse that Invitation

I am used to walking alone and enjoy it, but I was delighted when my friend Sue wanted to walk with me. Living a mile and a half apart on a quiet road, we decided it would be perfect to meet half way then continue walking together.

Sue got a head start on me, so we met close to my house instead of half way. As we joined together, she turned to continue with me going towards her home. While feeling pleased about our little jaunt, and enjoying conversation and chuckles, thunder began to rumble in the distant west.

With a bit over a mile and a half to get home, I took heed of the impending storm, and we parted ways. Being a good friend, Sue offered to drive me back. I declined.

Did you ever turn down something and milliseconds later wish you hadn’t?

 

Totally drenched, and a long way from home.

I darted homeward.

Sue is kind.

She came to give me a ride even though I refused her invitation.

 

With rain dripping off my nose, clothes soaking wet, and toes squishing in my shoes, I jumped in the rescue squad.

If I would have walked alone that day, I don’t think I would have been drenched because I wouldn’t have walked that far.  And Sue wouldn’t have to go to the trouble to retrieve her wet friend in the rain.

But then Sue and I wouldn’t have a story to tell, we wouldn’t have the exercise, nor would you be reading this blog.

Involving other people in our lives can make things messy. But, messy is what Jesus means when He says we must lay down our lives for each other.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:4 MEV

Love Listens Best

Many people like to talk.

Few people like to listen.

~ But, Love Listens Best.

To listen well you must enter conversation looking for ways to give love, not for ways to get love. You must be genuinely interested in offering her a safe place where she can be heard, understood, and have reflected back to her what she’s said.

It’s not a time to convince her to heed your sage advice, but a time to give space and value to her as a person as you listen to her thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

~ Listen loved.

To be a safe person for someone else, you need the keen awareness you are loved by the Master. You need to listen as someone already loved. Here is your strength and inner wholeness  from which you can listen deeply without your own needs interfering.

Your confidence allows you to listen without the need to prove a point, highlight the other’s failures, or draw attention to your own accomplishments. When you listen to someone else knowing you are loved by the great I Am, you will naturally encourage others to stretch and grow by simply listening to them.

Listening in this manner you give a priceless gift.

A present that influences lives.

~ Listening includes an intense focus on the individual.

Contrary to popular belief, listening is not passive. It takes intense focus and energy if you want to listen well.

It’s not time to hijack the conversation and shift it to something you find more interesting. Or to be thinking about what you’re going to accomplish in the next hour.

~ Wait to hear her words and thoughts.

Love listens when it waits to hear her words and thoughts. It doesn’t jump to fill in the blanks because it thinks it already knows.

~ You have to listen long enough to hear what really matters.

Ever go into the woods to listen and observe the animals? The first fifteen minutes or so, disturbed by your intrusion, the critters hide. Only after you sit still for a bit do they feel safe enough to move about freely.

It’s like that with people.

Slow down, sit tight, listen long.

Don’t be afraid of 10 seconds of silence.

Ask thoughtful questions that follow up on their comments.

It’s then you will begin to hear what really matters . . .

~ Make eye contact

Eye contact is the cornerstone of nonverbal communication. It can actually be used to help repair troubled relationships.

When someone is looking you in the eyes be sure to look them in the eyes as well. As they talk, keep your natural gaze on them. When they look away, you can feel free to do the same. This simple exercise will help the other know you are fully focused on them.

In our era of smart phones we are making less eye contact all the time.

When someone makes eye contact with you, you feel heard. You experience their undivided attention.

~ Ask questions, or make statements, to clarify you understand correctly.

Questions and statements should be directly related to the conversation at hand.

Do not hijack the conversation. It is a common occurrence when the conversation becomes uncomfortable for the listener. The one you’re listening to, however, needs you to be genuinely engaged.

If you feel the inclination to change the conversation, for any reason, ask God to give you His ears and perspective.

If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who give generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV

~ Wait until the person pauses to ask clarifying questions.

It’s helpful to have paper and pen in hand at the beginning of your conversation and to be clear that you will be taking notes on things you want to clarify or to give further thought regarding it.

If you think you may forget your question, briefly jot it down rather than interrupt.

~ Try to walk in the other person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling.

Empathy is key to communicating well. Listening well includes empathy.

For example, f you need to end the conversation, end it while you are talking. Otherwise, if you interrupt her to say your conversation needs to end, she will feel less safe than if you were to interrupt yourself to say the same.

~ Give appropriate responses regularly while listening.

Expressing yourself throughout your interaction with brief one word responses such as, hmm, I hear you, or a nod of your head, will give her reassurance that your are following the conversation.

~ Listen closely for non verbals.

Body language is always a big part of communication. It should be observed and noted for any inconsistencies, or reinforcements of what is being verbalized.

If you see a discrepancy, describe the contradiction, and engage her thoughts on it.

~ Listening builds relationship.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV

Relationships flourish in places where souls are touched by, “Tell me more,” “That must have been fun,” and “You look sad today.” A place where deep listening happens, people draw closer together, relationships grow, and lives are transformed.

Speakers influence lives, but when listening loved, listeners influence lives even more.

How to gain inward strength and wholeness

How to gain inward strength and wholeness

God has created you for relationship

But, not at the cost of your own soul.

 

Stuffing your vulnerable and weak feelings you begin suppressing your emotions. Staying strong to keep your tears from ever spilling you begin neglecting your needs, minimizing your wishes, and denying your feelings.

It may seem like the right thing to do ~ especially as a Jesus follower.

He said, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 ESV

The idea of taking up your cross daily and following Him fits with dying to yourself, to your selfish ways and ambitions, and living for God.

Dying to self is necessary for including others in your life in meaningful ways.

Problem is . . . dying to self can turn into a soul death.

God has created you for relationship

But, not at the cost of your own soul.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36 NIV

I begin to lose my soul and starve my emotions when I tune myself out. When I deny my thoughts, and minimize my feelings, pieces of me begin to slip away.

But I can bring those slipped pieces back to the whole-me when I place value on my concerns, thoughts, and feelings. 

Self-understanding builds me up inside.

As a result,  I become a better person. I listen closely to my own inner conversations and  learn to deeply hear myself.

Think of it as a muscle. The more you and I tune in to the conversations we have with our self the better we will get at hearing them. Journaling, or jotting down thoughts and feelings creates inner awareness which in turn strengthens your inner being. 

When I began to think about my feelings, for example, instead of just be confused and led by them, I can stand back from myself and see what’s actually happening.

You gain strength, smarts, and wholeness, when you are aware of what’s happening in your inner life.

Sometimes it’s as simple as giving the feeling a name.

You may have hidden from your feelings for so long you don’t know your what’s real and what’s a facade. 

As we listen to our conversations within we become wiser. We step back and see what’s spilling out and gain greater self understanding. With a bit less emotion, we view our life and it’s circumstances more realistically.

We can be begin telling ourselves what to do and not do because we are thinking about our emotions instead of being led by them.

Human desire stirs my emotions. When I act on these desires, without thought, I am weak.

Human desire is infinite by it’s nature; it cannot be satisfied. You must take your stand against it because you cannot satisfy it. You can never get enough money, if you want money. You can never get enough power, if you want power. You can never get enough love, you can never get enough glory. It is impossible. So fundamental is this truth that every person who wishes to follow Christ must understand it.  Dallas Willard Life Without Lack

Tuning in to these inner conversations gives me an edge. It helps me get a handle on my want-to-self . . . I want to do this, and I want to do that. It is a life led by self.

I’ve discovered this, me – myself – and – I, way of living is not satisfying.

It begins to make sense when I understand my human desires are infinite and cannot be satisfied apart from God.

Dallas Willard continues to explain this further.

Desire is infinite partly because we were made by God, made for God, made to need God, and made to run on God. We can be satisfied only by the one who is infinite, eternal, and able to supply all our needs; we are only at home in God. When we fall away from God, the desire for the infinite remains, but it is displaced upon things that will certainly lead to destruction.

Being quiet enough to hear your inner conversations prepares the soil for you to hear God.

We become better people when we listen closely to our own inner conversation

We can ignore, neglect, shame, or deny, our emotional hunger for a while, but eventually it will reach back to bit us. The more we ignore our emotional hunger the hungrier we get.

Jesus is the only One who can fill us. If we ignore His intimate presence our spirits can become bitter or even toxic.

With God’s grace, as we become intimately acquainted with our inner world of thoughts and feelings, we will also be better able to surrender our will to Him.

It’s here we will find deep peace and joy because our wills are made to surrender to God.

 

Questions

 

Do you have trouble hearing your own voice?

Have you been honest enough with yourself to say, ‘it’s difficult trying to be a better person”?

Do you know what your inner conversations are today?

Do you have trouble hearing God’s voice in your life?

 

Being Heard Makes You Feel Strong

Being Heard Makes You Feel Strong

Ever want someone to just listen to you and not give advice?

Being heard makes you feel strong. Like you can finally hear your own thoughts, and make better sense of what you want your attitude to be, or understand what you must do next.

Once in a while you want to tell someone what’s tugging at you deep within and be fully heard, right? Not given advice.

Just heard.

Time and space for being heard is a priceless gift from others. True listening is key to being a safe person.

You need a safe place to tell your story.

You like being around safe people.

Did anyone ever hold space for you? . . . tune in to you fully, and make you the center of all their attention at that very moment. Listening with the intent to understand the full scope of what you are saying, and where your pulse races.

Not listening with the intent to hijack the conversation to tell you how their day was, or what they think, but to carefully totally listen to you.

It’s a taste of heaven.

In those growing, grieving, transitioning times it’s a step out of isolation into a plural world. A better world where listening to someone other-than-self is good.

Just as the ocean waves pulse back and forth there’s an ebb and flow . . . a listening dance. A give and take, a speaking and a receiving of someone’s being.

A place where we can care for one another the right way. Where the lovely and unlovely in a soul can be seen through the eyes of the great I Am.

It’s a place of hope and true beauty.

We need safe people

I have this safe scared space, a place where I am stretching and growing towards the Light. This place is held by trusted friends where we see each others speckles and mars, yet also see the truly beautiful pieces.

Little by little, we grow less speckled and marred by unawareness and powerlessness, which allows us to be more integrated individuals, and to be a stronger brighter collection of individuals..

We are created to be connected with one another, and deeply connected to some safe people. Not adrift and alone.

Make small gatherings of Jesus followers the safest places.

Relational destruction bleeds far and wide in the body of Christ. If we as women, the nurturers, fail to be loving, light-seekers, and honest . . . then where is our hope?

We all know our families and culture are fragmenting.

We are His light.

His hands. His feet. His heart. His mind.

The way opens for us to be the Body of Christ more vividly as we participate whole heartedly in nurturing life-giving-relationships with oneself, others, and God.

As we drink deep of the Living Water, and gather in safe sacred spaces, we will grow to be more like our Master, integrated, powerful, and bright. To be thirsting and lacking sacred space is to be dis-integrated, powerless, and dark.

Light is not meant to be hid under a bushel, but to be put on a stand to shine brightly for all to see. Matt 5:15

Unsafe people eventually find themselves in the dark and alone.

People build walls by repeatedly ignoring others needs, denying their own pain, or the pain they inflict on others.

This kind of protection may feel safe, but it’s not. It is a false safety that actually furthers dis-integration and harm.

God desires to heal our souls, and then we are better able to love the people He brings into our lives.

Dallas Willard Life Without Lack

To find safe people be a safe person.

Jesus is a safe person

He is not concerned about being less of a person because of being with you. Nor is He concerned about being tainted by your presence, or by listening to you or your story.

He is perfect in love and wholly integrated. He loves Himself (ever think about that?), He loves you and me, and He loves His Father, perfectly.

While on this side of life we will never be perfect, however we are called to be more like Jesus. As we continue to learn, by God’s grace, to love ourselves, and Jesus, it will synergize our ability to love others.

 

Do you have some safe people in your life that inspire your growth?

 

How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 as a safe person?

 

What can you do today that would help you become a safer person?

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