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A New Vision for Church: Humble

Does humble describe your church?

From shootings to COVID-19, our thinking about large gatherings is recalibrating. Do we really want to attend a church with thousands of strangers (especially with kids)? Will large gatherings ever be embraced?

Watching at home is the new reality. Is giving actually needed for online production, or should I give it to my relatives or community of neighbors without jobs? What qualities in a church are important for my growth as a Christian, even from home?

Humble is not exactly a word that incites longing in a person. Who can be successful and be humble? Who can speak and not need to fill the room with their voice and persona? Only the humble, who do not crave applause.

After shocking reveals in the media and blogs about my megachurch of 40 yrs, I recalled things I saw and my personal experience of trauma that proved this coverage true! I began searching through several churches to find one that drew me into God’s goodness in humanity. One moved me, heart and soul. The call is subtle, but worth sharing. Let’s compare the observations, old church to new.

Observations:

  • Old Church
  • A 45 yr old megachurch.
  • Everyone seems inviting and pleasant.
  • Music, stage, production, building, and atmosphere is beautifully perfect and exciting!
  • Announcements seem a bit exaggerated– “the best ever, most amazing, incredible, everyone needs this!”

  • Sermons are topical using a few Bible verses for support.
  • Illustrations are from the speaker’s personal experience.
  • Applications are general and quick.
  • Principles are trendy and relevant, but hard to recall.
  • The Bible is rarely referenced in attender’s conversations as the manual for life.

  • Pastor has an honorary degree. Some staff have Bible degrees.
  • The pastor and stage guards are excessive. They stop people, reroute them away, listen to private conversations with the pastors, and intimidate people of concern.
  • Most leaders are very talented, attractive, polished, and well paid. Some are inaccessible to, intolerant of and even shun the congregation.
  • Pastors don’t accept calls or return emails, perhaps for shear volume, or more important things to do.

  • Church governance: Elders stay in their lane (make policies), staff stays in theirs (implement them).
  • The tithing flock is massive and does not have a voice (vote) in church operations. They’re taught to faithfully tithe, volunteer, applaud, and leave decisions to those in charge. A large tithing flock is a commodity worth saving.
  • Staff trumps Elder decisions for care of the flock, discipline issues, and more. Elders are chosen from the compliant flock.
  • Staff leaders tend to run in families or friendships, versus Bible credentials.
  • Lead Elder is not equipped to teach sermons.
  • To meet with Elders takes 4-6 weeks.
  • Biblical wisdom is lacking in top leadership, and their counsel. They show more milky than meaty.
  • Serving guidelines seem reckless. Some are lax with no age, knowledge, commitment, or Christian maturity requirements. Others have clothing mandates, and require pledged allegiance to the leaders.
  • Insurance companies control specific policies due to church size and fear of more lawsuits. Lawyers are well placed on staff.
  • No outside supervision is in place to ensure biblical principles are met.

  • Information is strategically given out on an as-needed basis only (budget, attendance, pastoral search, and RSO policy). Some are kept secret for years.
  • Publications are copyrighted and sold.
  • Discrimination is kept secret. Groups of people (lepers) are forbidden access to the church grounds: RSOs (after being invited in prison packs), and volunteers “not on board with the ministry.” Opposing political opinions are disciplined. Other members are mistreated to help them leave.
  • 1st Issue: the abuse. Media coverage reports Elders and staff have abused people with sexual intimidation, and leader-protection.
  • 2nd Issue: the response. Media shows staff and Elders ignore and silence uncomfortable and abusive situations, with an eye toward their legal duty only (Proverbs 18:17).
  • The church is known for decades of inappropriateness.
  • Leadership is untrained in biblical repentance, restorative justice, authentic reconciliation, and #MeToo. This shortfall has resulted in chaos.
  • The church has been blessed with numbers, not graciousness.
  • Today, the church flock is shrinking due to size, blurry navigation through issues, and a reputation as unethical, unresponsive, and even … abusive.
  • New Church
  • A 60 yr old church in my community.
  • Everyone seems inclusive, as if neighbors, sitting together for coffee.
  • Music, stage and all is lovely, spontaneous, and modest. God’s Word and presence is restful and soothing.
  • Announcements are simple invitations, no hype or sales pitch.

  • Sermons covers blocks of scripture, supported with more verses, and memorization encouraged.
  • Illustrations are from scholars as poignant examples.
  • Applications are well developed.
  • Principles from the text are easy to recall.
  • The Bible is often quoted in casual conversation as answers for doing life.

  • Pastor has higher degrees in Bible and Theology.
  • The pastor is in the foyer greeting all, answering Bible questions, giving counsel, and laughing with people. People of concern are listened to.
  • There is no space distinction between the up-front stage and the flock on the floor. Everyone seems welcome in all spaces. No intimidation is present.
  • The worship team leaders are gifted, committed volunteers.
  • Pastors and elders talk freely in the foyer. Few emails are needed.

  • Church governance: Elder Directed, Congregation Led. The tithing sheep lead the church.
  • The sheep vote, speak, teach, search for pastors (vote on them), and implement ideas.
  • Elders are in church services and available to answer questions and interact.
  • Pastor is accountable to Elder board, Deacons, and Deaconesses. They all have authority over staff.
  • Elders, even congregants, are biblically qualified to teach from the pulpit, and do so with skill.
  • The church is thriving with sheep, diverse thinking, and giftedness. Unique sheep are the highest value.
  • The sheep are taught to minister: hearing and seeing individuals, and loving them. They show fully invested in serving the church as Christ’s Body.
  • There are no obvious contradictions. Church operations are congruent with biblical principles.
  • The church is accountable to an over-shepherd (outside) team who guides, trains, and gives biblical counsel as needed.
  • People are far more valued and desired than policies.
  • The tithe goes to the church, as well as to helping neighbors.

  • Information is openly provided with announcements or in person. Open policies and discussion is welcome since they are voted on by members.
  • Publications are freely given to all and anyone outside the church.
  • No discrimination. No one is invited then harmed.
  • All individuals are included, listened to, understood, and cared for individually.
  • Discussion and varying opinions are encouraged, respected, and weighed against God’s word.
  • Members have solid Bible knowledge and teach classes.
  • Visitors are recognized and warmly welcomed by all.
  • Congregational repentance is provided periodically. Thorough submission to the LORD is the highest value and modeled.
  • Active resolution is pursued with issues of conflict: repentance, restorative justice, and reconciliation. All is well.
  • Gathering together with everyone is a high value. Food is freely provided and enjoyed by all.
  • This church is blessed, as God blesses the humble: with wisdom and grace.
  • This local church flock is thriving. It has a reputation for being kind, patient, and responsive.

He has shown you, O mankind, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? But to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Interpretation:

We can learn life-giving lessons when comparing these distinct churches. The reveal is enormous.

The old church appears overwhelmed with a surplus of people that bring with them added complications and security guards. A primary concern is handling numbers of people, not necessarily individuals. Policies are institutional or corporate (caring for themselves: Ezekiel 34:8) instead of shepherd-like family warmth (leading them to rest (Ez 34:15).

A top priority is maintaining a perfect public image so that more people are attracted (even from other churches) and a secure tithe is reaped to support the kingdom/empire. Pride (God is making me big!) inevitably takes a front row seat.

One potential core problem with this mega church is that Elders are trained as congregants for years. They’ve been voiceless faces in submission to institutional policies and leadership. That submission carries over into unthinking, voiceless, submissive leaders, afraid to question the status quo. They may not even see the need to protect the kingdom from themselves (accountability).

Here, meaty sheep become targeted if they speak up. Discrimination, damage control (security and protection teams), church membership issues, and skirting scripture are a natural resulting erosion. The church structure creates the culture. Over decades, God becomes mocked by His enemy’s successes. It’s no wonder chaos has resulted.

The new church appears settled, peaceful, and simple. They live on higher ground overall. The Bible gives great wisdom and this church bathes in it.

The personal ownership taken by members is admirable, albeit understandable, because they all run the church. It seems they would fight for it to the death (like the early Christians). The church is fearless. All people are ministered to and listened to, for Jesus’ sake.

The budget is at a surplus, maintenance is moderate, programs are genuine and personal. Grace and peace prevail. A walk in the door brings an immediate descriptive to mind: humble.

Scott Robley, Master Trainer for Vital Smarts says, “In weak organizations, no one is held accountable. In mediocre organizations, accountability is fostered by managers. In great organizations, everyone holds each other accountable.” You tell me where the above churches fit.

My new church is the highest biblical accomplishment. Through sound structure and its resulting culture, this church brings great Glory to God in the Highest. To attend is a humbling, God-filled experience. Its size and authenticity greatly benefit the attender’s personal growth. It is a contagious, humble, empowered church.

Churches have the Bible to guide them into humility. A humble culture is hard to achieve, perhaps impossible, as a megachurch. God guides the humble in justice and right living, and teaches the humble His ways (Psalm 25:9). Those exalting themselves God humbles; the humble, God exalts (Matthew 23:12). The big become small.

What stands out to you? What do you long for in a church? What your church values, you will value and become like them, as will your children. Do you want to look good or be humble, love people well or lead selfishly, and become like Jesus or the dragon? How would your life change if you were responsible to take the Church forward? You are.

Seek a church that treats all people with human dignity by giving them a voice that is heard, understood, responded to, and appreciated. Jesus condemned the Pharisees (brood of vipers) because they loved being more important than everyone else, even God. They could not possibly hear His promptings due to the culture they’d created, perhaps like this old church. Even Jesus violently turning over tables didn’t awaken the Pharisees. Listening is not for sissies.

The tables are turned in heaven when it comes to humility. The first today will be last then (Mt 19:30 NLT). The ones who seem important today will serve the lowly then. The lowly today have been divinely blessed with a faith unmatched (James 2:5), to shame the important (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Those verses humble us all. Listen well to God’s heart in His Word, and see the face of Jesus in its pages. Soak it in. We shall soon see Him, face to face, and give an account of our faithfulness.

A caution to church leadership, — listen to the flock and serve them well. They are God’s highest concern. God surely makes mishandled flocks small (Ezekiel 34). May this serve to call you heavenward, in Christ Jesus.

Choose your church carefully.

Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.

—Psalm 138:6

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30 Places of Healing for Trauma

This is the companion of my earlier post, Trauma of Abuse: The Silent Chaos.

Photo by Jermaine Ulinwa on Pexels.com

My desperate search to resolve the silent chaos of trauma led to little healing and mostly re-injury, by telling my story to people who were clueless about emotional pain. Eventually I found healing in unexpected places. May they help you and yours.

  1. Change your perspective
  2. Separate from the abusers
  3. Consider calling the police
  4. Do not work to get reconciliation
  5. Therapists are wonderful
  6. Practice The Healing Code
  7. Two offbeat therapies
  8. Create something
  9. Tell compassionate people your story
  10. Caution: Retelling can re-injure
  11. Writing
  12. Create a circle of wonderful input
  13. Get outdoors
  14. Rescue Remedy
  15. Apologize to yourself
  16. Give compassion
  17. Understand the cycle of abuse
  18. Forgiving is a big deal
  19. Apologize to others
  20. Talk to God
  21. Let God renew your self-talk
  22. Tell God thank you
  23. Choosing to suffer on another’s behalf
  24. Name those you’ve suffered for
  25. Name who has suffered at your hand
  26. Pray for those who abuse you
  27. Ask God for Joy
  28. Help abused people heal
  29. Protect yourself
  30. Speak up

1. Changing perspective, switching from victim to powerful, is the greatest theme to finding healing from trauma. Make it your goal. Abuse is shocking and can stall us for a lifetime. To resurrect and go forward with life is a complicated process, taking time and money. But, new ways are available. All these places for healing can change perspective.

2. Separate from the abusers. Don’t walk away, run. You’ve seen first-hand what they don’t yet see about themselves, but will eventually. Separation ends the abuse. If others around you buy into their deception, get away from them, too, as birds of a feather flock together. The longer you are away, the clearer their abusive tactics become. Only go near them if they come clean and apologize.

3. Consider calling the police. A police call escalates the offense and gets a firm report on the books, especially if the abuser is presently wishy washy about their wrongdoing. It also gives you solid protection as the abuser knows you’ll call if it happens again. You can choose to press charges or not. Call to nip it in the bud and protect yourself in the future.

4. Do not work to get reconciliation unless you are willing to fight for it. People are funny… and blind. Harming others is a way of life for some humans. They rarely thank you for pointing out the very thing they work so hard to hide, even from themselves (pompous wrongdoing), and even though admitting their wrongdoing could be life-changing for them. Some people won’t think twice about making you the bad guy for their rottenness.

For abusers, it seems ignoring or fighting their victim is a whole lot easier than facing the humility of correcting their bad behavior. People often take-on their victims (sometimes in court) … and they rarely apologize, as we’ve seen from the #MeToo court battles. Seeking reconciliation (or justice) can take traumatizing to a whole new level. Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Matthew 1:23). Search your abuser for clues to see if they could be humble enough to admit their-bad. Otherwise, stay away.

5. Therapists are wonderful, of course. Programs exist to help with the cost, and God directs through financial provision. Support groups are yet another gift. Search online or call a hotline. Be sure yours does specialized therapies for trauma. QNRT, and EMDR are the two I know of that are non-invasive and work without the side effects of drugs.

6. Practice The Healing Code, by doctors Alexander Loyd and Ben Johnson—it has worked well for me. If images haunt you and therapists fall short, with a little dedication, this can remove them. It saved me from my nightmare haunted sleeplessness and lessened my triggers.

7. Two offbeat therapies helped me. I love Integrative Manual Therapy by Sharon Giammatteo (in her book Body Wisdom), and use it daily to calm my organs and for health maintenance. Also, Micro Point Stimulation has served my traumatized brain well with it’s reset protocol for trauma. Search out therapists (PT, OT) who use them, or learn the systems yourself for a lifetime of health.

8. Create something. Creativity gave me dramatic, new perspective like nothing else. From inside a camera lens, healing was fun and gave a new view of the trauma. It switched out, magnified, and framed in my brain the memory of the good life that lived on the fringes of the bad. Dancing, music, painting, making things, decorating, organizing, and blogging has called me from the mire, too. It works deep, fast, and amazing. To create life heals us. Try your own art-form to birth a beautiful story from hideous ashes.

9. Tell compassionate people your story. Work to get the pain out of your body by telling others. It helps to verbally process the event and gives us a growing perspective. However …

10. Caution: Retelling equals re-injury if the hearer is not intently listening and not taking action. Why tell if nothing changes? Why tell if you’re injured again by a trusted person’s rotten response? Get a good read before exposing your pain and vulnerability.

11. Writing can order confused thoughts and emotions, easing the inner chaos. Write like a news reporter or with the intent to say goodbye, and get it behind you. This blog gives me further healing, but bringing other places of healing into the battle multiplies progress.

12. Create a circle of wonderful input (friends, acquaintances, pets, books, blogs, social media, and TV) that builds kindness into your world. Soak it up. People have delightful humor, creativity, and kindness that speaks life, understanding, and happiness into you. Dive in and swim a while.

13. Get outdoors. Enjoy beauty, sunshine, and movement (even swinging). The earth has healing effects (the wind in our face) and grounds us. (I Corinthians 10:26) Walking outdoors is a welcome time to tell God what’s on your heart. It’s a holy sanctuary of tender honesty and discussion with the One who cares the most. He’ll give insight and act on your behalf.

14. Rescue Remedy (a Bach Flower Remedy) is a flower mixture used for any crisis, physical or emotional. It helped me through horrific days, taking the edge off so I could pretend to function like normal. Households benefit from this first-aid.

15. Apologize to yourself. Abuse can bring shame and sadness that people hated you enough to thoroughly degrade you and poison themselves. The abuse was wrong and we may be afraid to admit it to ourselves. I could have stood up for myself or called 911. I’m sorry I didn’t. I am God’s child and worth protecting and defending. I’m sorry.

16. Give compassion to ourselves. It mends us. It’s ok, friend. This is anguish, it’s abominable, and it makes me want to vomit for what I have endured. I treasure me and am so sorry this happened to me at the hands of such blind, self-absorbed people. Hug yourself and rock awhile. Be kind to yourself.

17. Understand the cycle of abuse. Abused people seem to abuse people. What did they suffer in life to justify what they did to me? They have no excuse for abusing others and could have dealt with their trauma and fought the enslavement, but didn’t. Perhaps the pile of abuse began as young children, causing lifelong blindness. If God is not sought, and they are not reborn into God’s companionship, the chances are slim they can overcome the incessant sin.

18. Forgiving abusers is a big step and can go on for a lifetime. Forgiveness is deciding not to hold their offense against them and retaliate, especially since they sin differently from me. Forgiving sets you free. God gives us treasures in His Word to help us forgive. Cling to them in your process.

C.S. Lewis says that trying to forgive is forgiveness. Just practice when it hits you, I forgive you, I forgive you…, times a hundred. Your life will follow your words, little by little. Forgiving comes in bits, but adding it together equals forgiving and inclines your heart over time.

19. Apologize to others. Some people may have been injured from your responses to them during your abuse, and you had no idea. If you were rude, it’s worth a discussion and a simple apology for your part. You can easily own your-bad, since you are now accustomed to humbleness. A clear conscience is a breath of fresh air, and brings life.

20. Talk to God. Dig deep into your pain each day and tell Him all you find there. The bad stuff exposed to the light is what He’s after. Anger never threatens Him. He is the one, kind, lover of our souls who delivers us from evil. He sees us, hears us, and acts on our behalf. He invites our tender intimacy. Ask Him to come in and walk with you through the rocky steps of recovering. Before you realize it, He will put your hinds feet on high places. (Psalm 18:33)

21. Let God renew your self-talk. Take chair-time to be still and listen to Him. He speaks in many ways (through people, Jesus, nature, experiences, pain, conversation), but He primarily speaks through His writings, the Bible. His word is Jesus. If you want first-hand truth and love, read it, memorize it. Carry Bible verses in your pocket to glance at throughout your day. It will morph your broken pieces into wholeness. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) Get a Bible in print (resale shops, too) so you can mark it up. I like an online free bible app at youversion.com, and study-deep with biblehub.com.

22. Name those you’ve suffered for (list them). As odd as this may sound, there seems an element of suffering that shows we do so for others’ benefit. The list of those we suffer for can include parents, siblings, spouses, children, best friends, clerks, narcissistic leaders, power-hungry coworkers, soggy Christians, Christ’s church, and more. List yours.

Suffering is universal. Pain brings compassion and understanding. We become like Jesus — Take up your cross daily, and follow me (Matthew 16:24). Those we suffer for eventually come face to face with God. God sees the situation and works justice in them, whether for redemption or condemnation—they decide. They can learn about His loving discipline, and their sinfulness. We experience firsthand some of the pain Jesus endured for our wrongs by enduring another’s wrongs (sins). It completes Christ’s work on the cross in us, pays that work forward to others, and brings the cross of history into present-time, making it tangible.

23. Choosing to suffer on another’s behalf is hidden inside forgiveness. If I suffer to bring Christ’s love and redemption into the world, so be it. It reverses the wickedness and turns it into good. Jesus suffered and died for all. When we suffer, we become a type of Jesus for the history books of heaven.

24. Name who’s suffered at your hand. Besides Jesus suffering to pay for your sin, others have suffered and paid for your thoughtlessness and perhaps abuse. Who has cried over your piece-of-work in their life. When have you offended, retaliated, tricked, lied, put down, harmed, controlled, judged, and not kept your word to others, with inconsideration and selfishness? God will name them with you. When you know you’ve caused pain, at least apologize to God.

25. Pray for those who abuse you. Pray this prayer. Dear God, please forgive them because they apparently have no idea what they are doing. Show them somehow, let them admit it, and heal them by Christ’s tender heart of love that has healed mine. Keep them from harming others. Let me never do what they have done. May they know you firsthand, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

26. Try telling God thank you for your suffering. Dig up the reasons. Trust there’s a golden thread of good hidden in the fabric of trauma, drastically changing perspective. Thankfulness is extreme faith in the midst of horrific suffering and is affectionate to God. When we put trauma in the rear view mirror and see it as a gift that shapes our lives for doing good, it deflates the abuser’s power, and puts God back in the driver’s seat, trusted and dependable with our lives. Our story is unique to us in history and is worth gratefulness. Daily thanksgiving has been my greatest ally in suffering.

27. Ask God for Joy. I’ve found the profound sadness we carry from trauma can only be conquered by God. Nothing I did brought joy back, except God’s gift of it. It makes the day new, and the light shine again. Pray for His deep abiding joy for others, too.

28. Help abused people heal. One purpose for trauma and suffering is to grow compassion in our souls. Serving others in trauma heals us and them, brings good from rottenness, and makes us like Jesus. We become like the Good Samaritan in present-time. Our dry bones are risen from the dead, and exchanged for new life that can change the world.

If you are listening to someone’s abusive story, you can be a healing force for them. Let them know how awful, terrible, stupid, painful, abusive, narcissistic, and wretched their situation is. Agree with their pain and help them put names to it. Kind listening defuses the power of evil that trauma holds. Encourage truth, and any of these places of healing for them. Be thoughtful: remember them, pray for them, speak life into them, laugh with them, and do something tangible to help them. Connect often to check up on them.

29. Protect yourself. You know the signs of abuse. Stand up for yourself on every side. When a line is crossed, kindly push back and hold to your, No, you aren’t going to hurt me, whether you say it or not. Even kindness is a confrontation. Create distance and self respect. Practice your responses. It stinks you’re having a bad day. Try that again with a kind voice. Do you really want to start a fight? When you come to your senses, I’ll talk to you.

30. Speak up. When you see narcissism (control freaks), call it out. It’s rampant today in people, companies, hospitals, schools, churches, and everywhere. When you say no, you are exposing them and they tend to pay attention, but they won’t like it. They may not be your friends, but they will taste their limits. The world may change, because you have.

How we navigate trauma can bring peaceful, free living. Resolving it gives us understanding, and new ways to create life in our world. Purpose is the icing.

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

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Trauma of Abuse: The Silent Chaos

One of the most debilitating obstacles in life is the trauma we carry in our bodies. It can haunt us for decades and take root for illness. All people suffer. Some work to resolve it, some carry it forward. It’s worth the hard work to understand it, limit it, heal it, and use it to bring good to our world.

Trauma has a familiar face. Those who know it, see it in others.

Trauma’s outlook is distinct. It completely colors life with the constant presence of fear, and the expectation of more harm to come … from anyone, anywhere, at any moment.

The names we give it vary: pain, suffering, abuse, anguish, PTSD, sorrow, shock, grief, a living hell, and more. But they all describe the inner, silent chaos of trauma. All people experience it.

If your trauma is from abuse (intentional inflicted harm) your story might include betrayal, oppression, atrocity, obliteration, agony, persecution, murder, and more. They all describe brutal violation which God abhors. “And the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)

Abuse defies what is reasonable, kind, and good for all human beings made in the likeness of Jesus, the divine human. It mocks civility and degrades humanity. Plainly, it is sin against God and man.

Abuse is the face of evil in the flesh of humans. It forces (demands) submission at another’s expense. The wickedness done feeds and transfers hatred into abused hearts, hoping to repeat itself and keep the evil flowing along. It harms every person and every relationship it touches. Abuse is immoral, wicked, and destructive.

Here’s Why

Trauma from abuse blows people to pieces. The damage done is an abomination to the psyche. It is the unfathomable, intensely personal mutiny that wars against everything inside us that’s pure and just and holy.

The destruction hides inside us, only to rear its ugly head when least expected. A glance, a place, a smell, a sound can bring it all flooding back in an instant. Our minds and emotions implode and we are haunted for weeks, or years. It re-injures us on cue (triggered).

The horror confronts our inner workings with polarizing confusion (chaos) and the fact that our world is unsafe and cruel. Nothing is in our control. The internal contradictions of mixed emotions, thoughts, defenses, shame, retaliation, hatred, and injustice is staggering.

Trauma makes parts of us die. Trusting loved ones and those in authority, dies away. Hope that the world is safe and good, dies. Love dies. Civility dies. Kindness dies. Trauma silences us, numbs us, and takes our breath away. It rolls us into self-condemnation and suffering, again and again. It slowly destroys us. Abuse can feel like murder. In many parts of the world, it is.

For kind and sensitive souls, a lie appears that only self-harm (anger turned inward) can give relief from this horror and pain. Do not become their minion, working for them to abuse you! Fight self-harm with the truth — that God, in His High and Holy place, also dwells with the oppressed and humble, restoring their spirit with courage (Isaiah 57:15). He lives every moment with you, to uphold your given dignity, so you can stand upright again.

Don’t Get Suckered Into Harming

Abuse is as old as the world. It entered humanity when the serpent lied to Eve and it continues today. We have passed down abuse (sin) for millennia. How?

Abuse produces anger, and “Anger gives the devil a foothold,” (Ephesians 4:27) which overflows into retaliation. It rolls on: abuse = anger = retaliation = abuse. Deny evil access by arguing against anger. The Bible is our best weapon, especially Psalms.

Abuse is contagious. Destruction and harm breeds more of the same. Those abusing others are likely doing so from their own hidden trauma of abuse. The evil cycle continues and creates insanity with the internal contradictions (chaos) of justice versus injustice.

All people can abuse, in the right conditions, with a quick transition from abused to abuser. Though it may be a lesser evil, our abuse could escalate over theirs. It’s a slippery slope. See verses below.

These truths expose the fact that humankind (a now-proven oxymoron) has free will. Every person decides to harm people or not. Some people even tend to harm those who disagree with them. Abuse is what apologies are for.

No one ever gets-by with abuse. God sees harm done and eventually brings justice. Some never see that justice. It still exists. Each person is responsible to pay for every harmful thing they do or say. (Hebrews 4:13) The solution is Jesus, who took the violent abuse, paying the cataclysmic penalty for sin, and rescuing mankind. He offers that payment to each of us, free of charge, because He made us and cherishes us.

The way is simple. Believe who he is for you personally, and ask to be saved. That’s it, believe and ask. We are His treasure. He will come in to your heart and life, and dine with you and you with Him forever. (Revelation 3:20)

Since harmed people, harm people, we could have compassion for our abusers. we know how harm feels. We can give them over to their own dealings with the God who sees. He will read their hearts and avenge, train, or forgive them appropriately. They may have started it, but you can stop yourself and the cycle. We can say, “I’m not gonna be that person,” who retaliates into seething sludge. We were made for better.

Keep in mind, trauma left unattended can spark emotional and physical illness beyond reach. It can ricochet into addictions and lodge in our vulnerable spots (throats, lungs, stomachs, brains). It waits in hiding for the moment when kind attention, compassion, and understanding will soothe its toxicity and return the body to rest.

No one creates life by retaliating. This fight against it can seem impossible, but these verses help.

  • Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
  • Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.(Psalm 7:15-16)
  • Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright. (Proverbs 3:31-32)
  • Be angry but do not sin; sleep on it, search your heart, and be silent. (Psalm 4:4)
  • But whoever listens to Me will dwell in safety, secure from the fear of evil. (Proverbs 1:33)
  • Most of all, let love guide your life…. (Colossians 3:14)
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
  • God is trustworthy to judge our abusers, and to forgive those who are humble. (Psalm 37)

What do we do with our trauma? How do we gain control over this stealth, reckless force inside us? See my next blog post, 25 Places of Healing for Trauma.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
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Beating Viruses: My Favorite Easy Win

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.       

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Raising children introduced me to terrible viruses. It took years to find answers. Today I’m wiser and more experienced. This is what I do now.

I get a jump on preventing viruses by taking a homeopathic that’s been sold for two decades in health food stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and even department stores across the country. It’s Oscillococcinum and is as broad in effectiveness as in name. I first learned of it in Homeopathic Medicine at Home, where it’s recommended for viruses and replaces other less effective measures. There is a reason it sells well enough to warrant all the shelf space for all these years.

When I anticipate sickness, I take a small dose immediately (a capful for 130# me) . This was very effective with my children when they were throwing up and I was hosing everything down. A dose to each of us ended the flu crisis with the one person who started it.

The anticipation of being exposed has also worked well for traveling. I take a dose when I walk in the airport, both ways, for a worry-less trip.

For that unknown exposure, the second I notice any usual symptoms I take a capful of Oscillococcinum, then, one to everyone around me. If a symptom returns, repeat usually up to 3 times, then done. What an obstacle remover!

Be aware: never wait a day or you will still get sick and only shorten the sickness or take the edge off. This stuff works best with the onset. If you’re in the thick of sickness, you’re probably too late. Try a dose, but move on to other things.

Work on Viruses from Your Insides Out

Don’t believe everything you read about how we build the immune system by getting sick. Viruses can do lasting harm. Try to limit them.

One help for preventing viruses is a new discovery for me: l-lysine. My brother’s house was getting reconstruction. The contractor showed up sick, excused himself saying he needed to run home to take his lysine, and then came back and worked a full 8 hours more of hard labor. We were convinced. My family has been taking l-lysine this winter with no illnesses throughout this heavy flu season. Yahoo! More life. Less bummer.

In the thick of a sickness, one specialist directed me to the need for calcium capsules to fight illnesses. She told how it helps the body’s systems to communicate that the illness is present, instructs the body how to respond, and enables all the systems to work together and follow through. I have found it very helpful over the years to keep that circuitry open and well functioning during illness.

If the virus is affecting your lungs, any essential oil is amazing for deep breathing. I snort (plug one nostril and breath it in deeply) my essential oils and rarely dilute and apply them. It’s amazing how low into the lungs these oils can take my breath. My favorite snorter is lemon, for now. If your nostrils burn, you’re too close to the bottle. Go gently with your body. Research your essential oils for best results. They really help with breathing.

Elderberry is a popular antiviral. I do love the Old Indian brand for adults. Herbs for Kids brand is great for children. Elderberry is very soothing, but research it yourself for best understanding.

I do regularly use wild cherry bark (WBC), especially the Old Indian brand, for overcoming the hazards of city living on lungs. The bottle is luscious to hold. Wild cherry bark worked wonders on my son’s asthma (caused by mold). It was remarkable how it stopped attacks for him as a child. At that time, Herbs For Kids was the best brand for him. WCB works for all things lungs, as well as other things. Research it for more info.

Aloe Vera is great to drink if you think you could hurl. I like to add papaya juice to boost its benefits and make it mild. It is a blood purifier, antiseptic, and has great healing properties. Burns repair fast with pure aloe. It’s astounding! I only buy Lily of the Desert organic gel, even for drinking. Follow label instructions and do your research.

Another drink that normalizes the body’s PH and ultimately fights illness is kombucha. Our Ph is a big factor affecting what illnesses we catch out there. Only use homemade or those without the word probiotic (which means dairy was added). China has brewed kombucha for centuries and never added dairy. Go with the centuries old, tried and true (proven) brew. Make it at home or buy one that is.

Ah, Vitamin C (my good friend). This vitamin, as I learned in health class, is for build and repair. It really works. Don’t expect an orange slice to do the trick. How many oranges do you eat? It takes 2 to meet the minimum requirements each day. We can go weeks without oranges. Virus is crisis, and more is needed. Take a buffered capsule or liquid when sick, knowing you are meeting your body’s needs so it can repair well. Follow label instructions and research Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize Winner for his work with Vitamin C).

Try adding an echinacea tincture or extract to the regimen, but always after taking your Vit. C. Echinacea boosts the immune system, vitamin C gives your body the strength to work. A dynamic duo. Do not take echinacea endlessly as the immune system needs a rest. Follow label instructions.

All these items can be found at natural foods stores or grocers with staff to answer questions. Avoid department stores that have brands that are mass marketed and have proven to not contain what is marked on the bottle. I like Fresh Thyme in my neighborhood, but my small health food store owner has advanced experience. They carry reliable, honest brands. We have lots of resources available to us every day so… you guessed it, do your research.

Good, happy food and movement that builds health into you is a good general strategy to fight virus onsets. Harmful choices (smoking, alcohol, sugar, gluten, caffeine, drugs and sad food) kill crucial nutrients and add stress to your already stressed body. The weakness makes you more susceptible. Work with your body, not against it. Nourish it (even in capsule form) and keep it strong for good work against viruses.

Pay attention to digestion when sick. My favorite foods to combat sickness are watery, light, and easy to digest. Baby greens, papaya (train yourself to like it as medicine) and fruits, cooked veggies, any winter squash, broth, and diluted juices. Pick what sounds good.

Save heavy meats for wellness, but fish and poultry might be ok. Don’t consume dairy products when ill as they are mucus forming. Let your stomach rest during viruses.

To help stubborn viruses, sometimes digestive aides help the stomach eat the impurities. Try papaya tablets or digestive enzymes formulated for proteins.

Finally, for a broader approach, ozone machines are good for airborne viruses. We turn ours on before leaving for work and come home to a fresh house. Afterwards, crack open the windows to air it out, clean the counters, and vacuum. All is well. Ozone machines are for empty houses only, so read instructions carefully.

Prayer is a very natural occurrence with sickness.We tend to unconsciously pray when we feel beat. Use the quiet to soak God into your pain. Speak to Him with core honesty about how you feel, your life, and what to do differently for health. Free yourself from carrying burdens. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13). Health is most likely near. He will speak to you, so listen gently.

When your virus is gone, help someone else get through theirs. You’ve licked it and can help without fear.

Establish a plan to navigate viruses. The key is to nip them in the bud before they start. These ideas and those you discover for yourself will help. Ask others for their successes (side-effect free). Tell us your healthy findings.

Live long and prosper.

An Alternative to Seat Punching

Flying is public transportation, not a personal vehicle (I think of planes as livestock transport and occasionally let out a spontaneous moo!). The space is shared, and works best for everyone involved if people are kind in its ups and downs (pun intended). Cooperation and civility can benefit the ride and create a good life.

As a self-proclaimed ethnographer, I love weirdness. What beliefs make people do what they do? What lies beneath the actions of a culture? Airplanes are a microcosm of our world at our fingertips. It is fascinating.

This recent Seat-Punching drama in the media tells us about communication in our day. Don’t talk to strangers–punch them instead. Don’t talk to people we may have conflict with, insult them, record the reaction, report them, and then sue each other. But never have a civil conversation with kindness and consideration. That would take too much civility. Seat punching makes for an educating series of avoidable, life-changing hassles, costing us trouble. But we will learn about human behavior, especially ours.

To forgo this explosion, decide what you’ll do before boarding. Here’s one idea, tried and true for me. Think about it, no one likes an abrupt movement in their face to infringe on their space. Get in their shoes. A six foot 200 lb adult needs different accommodations than a 5 foot youngster. Consider them.

Before laying your chair back, look behind you to assess the situation. Who is the person? Big or little, old or young, sleeping or working, a laptop open, or what? Is it going to be a big disruption for them? Do you want to start a fight?

Most seats have dual back adjustments. Once you see if there’s room to negotiate the space, move slow and sweet to try the first notch, or even the second. If groans erupt, a quick return to first notch says I heard you and am aware. It informs the person that you are not doing everything you could be doing, you are cooperating in the limited space, and you are being considerate.

Be kind and courteous. It prevents people from feeling bullied for the 10th time today and covers it with goodness. Kindness is as contagious as bullying. Don’t give them reasons to go home and kick the dog.

For the receiver of a seat back in your face, it can be more complicated. The person in front of you has acted with little consideration for you. In some cases, they paid extra for the roomy seat. If they explain that, it’s hard to argue your rights.

An aggressive return can land you in court. Some people will take us to the mat for the sake of a win. Years of stress is not worth an aggressive reaction.

Some ideas to test? Ask them if they could help you survive the flight with your bad case of the flu. Ask how you can work with a seat back imprint on your forehead, or your fingers pinched in the laptop. Ask if their mother would like to switch seats with you on this flight. Ask if they’d like to switch seats for half the flight. Or … if they can split the difference and move the seat up one notch. Negotiate.

Test these ideas for ethnography purposes. What did you learn? File that away in your psyche under Wisdom for the Ages. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is not to see others as they are, but to see them as they might be with a little coaxing.

Other ideas? Tell us all.

All Food Fits 2 Categories?

One big obstacle to creating a personal best life is health. Food is a major part of that win.

No matter what we know, believe, or feel about any food, there are really only 2 kinds of food: those that make us feel good and those that make us feel down-under.

Happy Foods nourish us. They are alive (have internal energy) and will rot with time. Our alive-ness is fed by theirs. Within an hour after you eat, you are strong, alert, perky, ready to work and tackle the job at hand with success! And it’s all accomplished with good humor and kindness. Our energy level, our health, is affected by the gas put in the tank called food.

For most people, Happy foods are pure plant and animal foods: low on processing, chemicals, and laboratory additives. The more true to food’s original form, the better the nutrient value. The more we eat from our refrigerators and not our cupboards, the better our outlook. Eating homemade versus restaurants gives us confidence to know the quality of our choices. Respectable quantities and calories help keep digestion happy, too.

Sad foods are processed foods. The more manufacturing steps used in making food, the more nutrients lost resulting in less energy. The body must work hard to find desperately needed nutrients to help digest the non-digestible we just put in and to function for the next 3-4 hours. Processed foods are not nourishment. They are down choices bringing down days.

Sad Foods are not fun. As mostly-dead foods, they only serve us when traveling or starving. Sad foods harm us, resulting in illness. Back to back over time, they make us fall short of a personal best life.

Dead foods make us feel sad, lazy, and often angry, even for days after (food hangover). This varies by person, season of life, and quantity. It’s hard to start a full day of work when you’re already depleted from breakfast. That scenario requires stimulants and begins a vicious downward cycle. Avoid sad foods for alert days.

Some foods are nearly impossible for the body to digest and distribute. Gluten, sugar, food substitutes, chemical additives, and some dairy can silently harm digestion. Eat with caution. Organic might make them better, but read labels to compare and find what’s best.

The stomach and intestines (the second brain) are fragile and need to be protected at any age. Taxing the stomach with non-digestible food does not create health, but burdens the body. The GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) effect is at work here. Input effects output.

Sad foods are a huge category in the grocery store. Most everything not on the perimeter of the store (produce, refrigerated, frozen) might be questionable. Some oils might work for you, herbs and spices (except those burning mucus membranes), even processed meats might be ok in small quantities. But, the aisles with dead prefab crackers, cereals, cookies, chips, desserts; boxed, frozen, and canned meals, and on and on, don’t serve anyone well. We will be crabby and tired, eventually. Fresh is best.

If depression or chronic illness challenges you, act now. Skip the sad food and see what changes. Ask yourself, “Will I feel happy or sad after this goes in? Will this energize me or pull me down?”

Do you want to be more happy and energized? Try happy food choices. This one discovery could create a new life.

How can we know for sure? Test your suspicions.

Eat a meal and observe how you feel. What was the culprit? Pizza, french fries, or dessert?

Eat one food (bread, chicken nuggets, or ice-cream) and see what happens. Happy or sad? Mark it, remember it. Try a new improved version like organic or a new brand. Still a downer? Skip it next time and observe again. The change you see over a week can be very exciting. Three months will bring new vision for you. Several years may allow you to eat it once in a while with few bad effects.

If health or happiness is an obstacle, good food can help. Don’t worry…. doo, doo, doo, … Eat Happy!

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

― Hippocrates
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