Because being connected to God is a matter of life or death – affecting both your earthly quality of life and your eternal outcome, we’ve spent the past 4 1/2 months looking extensively at what threatens that connection.
The threat begins in childhood, when you are brainwashed by unconscious parents and peers and malevolent media and government institutions in all forms – which do their best to instill the notion that the ways of the world are superior to the ways of God. Innately you know that is not true, but you’re punished if you don’t conform. So you create a voice in your head to warn you when you’re out of line, so that you don’t get rejected. Yet that voice soon aligns with those who do the punishing, and you wind up being attacked on all sides if you choose to live by the truth.
Most people would rather be accepted than rejected; so they try to mold themselves into false images in order to try to please the opinions of others. But it’s a dissatisfying life, a life where they make no place for God – one of suffering, self-rejection, fear, anger and where they have an inability to be present, to communicate, or relate.
This godless life is the total opposite of what God has planned for His children. We live this life of misery when we live it in our uniquely nuanced pattern of the ways of the world. We must dissect this pattern in order to free us from it, so that we can reconnect with our Creator through Christ. And that’s exactly what we’ve begun doing in the last two posts: Your Personal Responsibility In Cleaning God’s House.
We first created a ‘Voice Journal,’ to record everything that voice (ego) in our heads said to us for an entire week – including how each declaration affected us. Then we examined ways in which we could neutralize both the effects and the voice. Secondly, we created a ‘Discovery Journal’: a series of 29 powerful questions that would give us a basis for seeing how we ‘do’ life and who we are ‘being’ when we live it.
If we can see how we think and act, we can understand why our pattern of living brings us the life we have and how we can replace that pattern with God’s strategies. Today, we’ll examine the answers to those questions in detail. Obviously, you have certain unique distinctions to your answers (names, places, dates, etc.), but how you were affected, has universal overtones. Let’s dig in:
(If you’ve not answered these questions, you are not committed to having your life change; and the value of just reading these analyses will be diminished greatly. (I urge you to participate.)
1. What is it about other people’s behavior that bothers you?
Is it ungratefulness, jealousy, anger, hatefulness, or indifference? Notice what kind of hurt, resistance, or emotions you attach to these behaviors. Look to see if you practice these behaviors as well. (Try writing out sentences identifying what you don’t like when ‘so and so’ does _____. Then replace ‘so and so’s name with yours, and see how that fits.) We tend to reject in others what we don’t like in ourselves.
Those people who irritate us can be some of our greatest teachers with regards to recognizing our own denial and avoidance strategies. Ask yourself why you chose to have these conflicts in your life. Look at what you can learn from them. Examine what beliefs you may have that incubate these experiences. Look at when you have engaged in the same behavior. Ask why you did it (or still do it) and what your behavior has cost you. Forgive yourself and change course.
Hold those people with the ‘abhorrent’ behaviors in loving and compassionate thoughts, because they have suffered equally as you’ve suffered – wrapped up in their own pain. What they did was not personal. Forgive them so that you don’t carry the toxicity of judgment in your heart.
Make a list of the things that you appreciate about those people and tell them! When you love, appreciate, show kindness, and accept them, you will receive the same. Forget about the past, and see them as if you’re meeting them for the first time. Drop all of your previous expectations.
Commit to breaking down any barriers between you and other people. Give up the need to be ‘right’ so that you can communicate with greater clarity. Be open to working through any hurts together.
If one member suffers, all suffer together… 1 Cor. 12:26 ESV
Be aware that even when we are doing our best to heal ourselves, sometimes other people’s ‘stuff’ will trigger our ‘stuff.’ Instead of allowing it to manifest, look at that encounter as an opportunity to rise to a new level of understanding and compassion.
(When we blame others, we’re only trying to protect our wounds.) We can meditate on those wounds until we understand the truth about them, so that healing takes place.)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. James 5:13 NKJV
Ask yourself, ‘Why am I hurt? What meaning did I bring to this event? What old hurt is being triggered? Why do I choose ‘being hurt’ as my response? What does it cost me to keep reliving it? What would my life look like if I recognized that my old hurt is no longer valid?’ Choose to be consciously present instead of running when your old hurts show up. When you see how you do suffering and what that feels like, you can gain a greater compassion for everyone else who does suffering.
Avoiding suffering only guarantees its persistence…
2. What keeps you from being happy?
The answer in a nutshell – is you. Your unhappiness stems from your obsession with your Life Story that you continuously live in and by, making yourself a victim, declaring that you are powerless, and waiting for someone or something to come along and save you.
How could you possibly be happy when you don’t give yourself any love, compassion, kindness or respect? As a victim, you steep in your dissatisfaction with yourself, others and even life itself. You punish yourself for flaws that you’ve never had. Finally, you place a litany of impossible conditions in front of you that have to be met before you think you can be happy.
Go into meditation and subject your related thoughts to inquisition: ‘When did I formulate these thoughts and why? Are they really true? What are these beliefs costing me? What would my life be like if I didn’t have them?’ You have to change your thinking!
Put your attention on happy thoughts. Happiness can be yours the instant that you choose it – in any moment. But first, you must take responsibility for where you are now in life and for the fact that you are not experiencing it. Ask yourself, ‘Where am I. How did I get to this point? What can I learn from this? What is possible?’
You must be committed to living in the present moment.The past is gone; the future is unknowable. Happiness only lives in the present. Put up signs to remind you to keep choosing happiness. Take a risk and jump into the present moment. It’s the only one you have. It just might be glorious. If it’s not, there’s always the next moment. That’s the beauty of change.
Reach down inside of yourself and touch that child within you who’s still stuck in his or her past hurts, and give yourself unconditional love and acceptance – disarming those hurtful events. Shower yourself with kindness and respect and know that you deserve it all. There is nothing wrong with you. Never was. You don’t ever deserve to be punished. Forgive yourself for not loving you and commit to do otherwise. Be your own best friend and lover.
Commit to living in reality – seeing what is real and living by the truth (God). There is no happiness in wanting life to be what it is not, or trying to live by any other lie. Stay grounded in things born out of love.
You were born complete and whole. Bolster you love by sharing yourself. With love comes extreme happiness…
Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart [if you are righteous, wise, and in the hands of God], for God has already accepted your works. Eccl. 9:7 AMP
In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider – God has made the one as well as the other… Eccl. 7;14 NASB
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves [who does not convict himself by what he chooses to do]. Rm. 14:22 AMP
If you live by the truth, (living by God’s ways and realizing His forgiveness when you slip) God does not convict you. And if He doesn’t, what right have you to do so? As you can see, there is not a single day that happiness shouldn’t abound in you.
Are you feeling your spirit begin to lighten up yet? More to come…
Goodnight and God bless.