Have you ever found yourself in your normal routine and you’re doing something you used to really like but you realize you don’t like it anymore? It happened to me a couple weeks ago. What do we do?

Step one is to admit we don’t like it. As the psychiatrist might ask: “How does it make you feel?” We’re not going to make rash decisions based on feelings but we’re not going to deny them either. Feelings are just that, feelings. They aren’t good or bad. The devil didn’t invent emotions. God gave them to us. Like a barometer, they’re good for monitoring our atmospheric pressure.

We need to openly admit that something has changed in the activity or something has changed in us to make us feel unhappy with what we’re doing. If we’re going to move ahead with a healthy attitude, there’s no more room for pretending that everything is okay. Step one: How does the activity make us feel?

Step two is to take a good look at the activity and answer a few simple questions. Often we float through activities without giving them much thought. I was involved in a weight loss program for the past three years. I reached my goal weight, kept it off and developed good eating habits. There came a point when I felt like I wasn’t really learning anything new and the flavor of the weekly meetings soured.

My friend Miki kept asking, “Why are you still going? You don’t need to.” I’d give her some lame answer and just kept on going. (It’s funny how sometimes other people see us better than we see ourselves.) Well, I finally took a closer look myself.

In Quantum physics (for you science buffs) there’s something that relates to what I’m talking about. Atoms consist of electrons orbiting around a nucleus. The electrons exist in a wave state, like a cloud, whirling about the nucleus. That is, until someone looks at it. When the scientist observes it, suddenly the electron appears as a dot or particle and no longer a wave. It can be like that with our lives—things, activities, people and ideas all whirling about us. They don’t take distinct form until we actually observe them.

In step two, once we stop to take a good look at the disagreeable activity, we ask a few simple questions.  “Why do I feel this way now, when I didn’t before?” “Has the activity changed?” “Have I changed?” Once we answer these questions we’re ready to move on to Step three.

In step three we ask ourselves, “Even though I’m unhappy with this activity now, is it moving me toward my goals?” If it’s not, then it’s time to pray about dropping it. With the weight loss program, I’d already reached my goals. When I prayed about it, it was okay to drop it right away.

With other things the Holy Spirit may direct us to wait or take baby steps toward leaving the activity behind. Praying for the Lord’s guidance will be essential. We want to be praying for the manifestations of the Spirit according to First Corinthians 12, especially word of knowledge and word of wisdom.  If we’re in doubt whether we should keep doing the activity or let it go, then we need to go on to the next and final step four.

Step four is the last step. We ask the question, “Are the benefits of this activity worth the pain to stay with it?” Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28 & 31). On a piece of paper or the computer we make a list of the benefits, then a list of the detriments to staying with this activity. We prayerfully take the time to weigh the worth.

We’re half way through 2014. It’s a good time to examine our goals and the activities we’re doing in light of those goals. We ask ourselves, “What are my major goals: in relationships, in work, in exercise and health, in religious and spiritual matters, in finances, in entertainment and relaxation, in hobbies and special interests?”

Then we take each category and observe the activities around each. We make those activities stop swirling like a cloud and instead become clear like the electron dots of an atom. If there are activities we’re unhappy with, we carefully go through the four steps. 

Step One: How does the activity make me feel? Step Two: What has changed? Step Three: Is the activity putting me closer to my goal and if not, how do I drop it? Step Four: Is this activity worth the cost?

NOTE: You may want to do this exercise one goal category at a time (bite-sized pieces). That’s what I’m doing, taking one more hefty goal and then the entertainment one, having some fun with it.

Love, Carolyn

PS: This coming Thursday through Monday get your FREE download of WINGS SAMPLE BOOK A. For this sample book I’ve chosen chapters specifically about the POWER OF WORDS to direct our lives. These chapters are true life stories about the tremendous and varied BENEFITS OF CHOOSING WORDS WISELY. There are pertinent questions that go with each story to further help the reader look at his or her life and see HOW to apply the keys for more satisfying and victorious living.

MOTHERS WHO PRAY

I know my mom prays for us kids. If it wasn’t for her prayer and believing, we probably wouldn’t have made it this far. She told me that when I was little I once followed a dog down the street and she had to call the police to help find me. Then another time I drank a bottle of her perfume and she had to rush me to the hospital. When I was older I put my mom through even more drama. I remember a time when I was freaking out in an old downtown building in Chicago and my mom drove her VW Beetle forty miles in a snow and ice storm to come get me. My mom has always been a big one for prayer and trusting God.

I want to relate another story about a mother who trusted God. Her name is Hagar. We find her story in Genesis 16, 20 and 21. Abraham was married to Sarah and Hagar was Sarah’s maid. When Sarah couldn’t conceive she came up with the idea that if Abraham could impregnate Hagar, somehow the child would be considered hers. I don’t get it, but that’s what they decided and it caused big problems. As soon as Hagar got pregnant, Sarah was jealous and outraged and treated Hagar horribly. Hagar fled, but on God’s urging, she went back and submitted herself to Sarah’s domination. Relationships may have improved slightly, but there was still bitterness and strife in the household.

Abraham’s entourage travelled through the deserts together as a group for the next thirteen years. By this time Sarah had conceived and given birth to Isaac. All of them lived together in the same group of tents: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael. (Do we really think our “complicated” family dynamics are so modern?) As we’d expect, there was more drama brewing.

One day when Ishmael was fourteen Sarah overheard him making fun of her son Isaac. It must have been the last straw because she threw him and his mother out. Hagar was devastated. Back then if you were thrown out it wasn’t like you could just go to stay with a friend. These people were nomads. They lived in a tent city, travelling from place to place according to the water supply. There was harsh desert all around them. So when Sarah threw them out, they had to find a way to survive in the wilderness or they’d die. Abraham was able to sneak them one bottle of water and some bread but when that was gone life was over. Hagar wandered in the desert desperately looking for help. But a person can only last about three days without water and there were two of them. They’d come to the end.

“When the water was gone she left the youth in the shade of a bush and went off and sat down a hundred yards or so away. ‘I don’t want to watch him die,’ she said, and burst into tears, sobbing wildly.
Then God heard the boy crying, and the Angel of God called to Hagar from the sky, ‘Hagar, what’s wrong? Don’t be afraid! For God has heard the lad’s cries as he is lying there. Go and get him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.’
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well; so she refilled the canteen and gave the lad a drink. And God blessed the boy and he grew up” (Gen 21:15-20).

Hagar knew God. She prayed to Him and cried out to Him. She taught her son to do likewise. God “heard the lad’s cries” and saved them both. To mothers this should be a great comfort. When you’ve done your best, you don’t have to be afraid that you haven’t done enough. God thinks you have and He will be there to step in directly for your children when you can’t. GOD IS THERE FOR THEM.

God has given special abilities to mothers and we’re thankful for all of you. Have a great Mother’s Day.

Love, Carolyn

Look for the FREE DOWNLOAD of 7 true stories of GOD’S COMFORT in different situations and in different ways of expressing it: WINGS – SAMPLE D starting Thurs May 15 thru Mon May 19.

THE UNKNOWN MYSTERIOUS INTRUDERS

Maybe it’s because they’re mysterious and unpredictable. We don’t understand them. What is it with their being visible only sometimes and invisible the rest of the time? People pray to them, give names to them and think we maybe turn into them when we die, but none of that is in the Bible. The whole subject can be confusing but bear with me as I go to some scriptures and shed some new light.

After Jesus went through the ordeal of being tempted in the wilderness, Matthew 4: 11 says “Behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Luke 22:43 says, “There appeared an angel, strengthening him.” If Jesus needed the ministering of angels and the strengthening they could give, don’t you think we do? Of course we do. And don’t tell me that Jesus was special, so that’s why He got angels. John 16:27 tells us that God loves us as much as He does Jesus. So what God does for Jesus, He’s willing to do for us too.

Jesus told Peter, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt 26:53). And Colossians 1:27tells us it’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Isn’t God willing to do the same for the Christ in us as He did for Christ in the flesh? The answer is yes of course. Jesus said He could pray for angels and so can we.

In fact, He gave this instruction: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14:12). Praying for angelic help is one of the works. Two verses later He adds, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Asking for angels is an “any thing.”

Jesus reiterates this truth, saying “, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23). Angelic help is a “whatsoever.” Jesus could pray for angels and He expects us to do the same.

Philippians 4:13 tells us we “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.” It doesn’t say all things except for asking angelic help. It says “all things” and the understanding is they are “all good things” because Phil 2:13 tells us “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

There’s nothing in God’s Word that says we have to get angelic help. But when we got born again, we made Jesus our Lord. Shouldn’t we be willing to follow His example? What’s our excuse? If we say we’re unworthy of angels, Jesus says we are worthy. If we say we don’t need them, Jesus did, so why wouldn’t we? Are we better than Him? Do we think it’s up to God to send them when He wants to? Jesus said all we need to do is ask and whatsoever we ask, we believe and we receive.

Do we refrain from utilizing them because we don’t understand them? God’s Word is for the simplest of men. Sometimes we get too intellectual and think we have to understand everything first, but that’s not God’s way.  Jesus teaches us to believe first, act, and then the understanding comes later.

In this article I am only trying to point out the additional value of angels to a believer. I am not in any way trying to belittle the magnificent power of using the name and the authority behind the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor am I denying the wonderful effectiveness of true prayer, or the supernatural moving of molecules when we quote scripture or apply the blood of Jesus over a person or situation.

I know our God is way more variegated and majestic than we have yet to discover. He has provided us with many tools and weapons for living victoriously. Why not employ more of what the Lord Jesus Christ has explained and opened for us to use?  

Psalm 103:20 tells us these previously unknown intruding angels are strong, and sometimes we just need that. Believe and ask.

Love, Carolyn

My book WINGS: A Journey in Faith is on sale in paperback from Amazon and is available in stand-alone parts, sample sections, and also the entire book of 61 chapters in e-book format.