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.

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GOD CAN TURN OUR IRRITATIONS INTO DELIGHT

When we do a faux finish to match a live sample, (like making a piece of hardboard look like mahogany), we have to look at our samples in the conference room because it has the same lighting they have at the designers’ office where our samples get approved. Our electricity went haywire and three of the necessary lights in the conference room were off. We were on a strict deadline and were already nervous.

An electrician was called but it was a full day before he showed up. When he did, he was way too casual for our liking. He would work a little, take a smoke break, jabber with the guys awhile, work a little more, take another smoke break, laugh and jabber with the guys some more, work a little and then, yes, another smoke break. At the end of the day, we were told the lights were working. Next morning, lights not working again. This was really frustrating.

My boss said, “I guess we’ll have to go over to the pub to get a good look at our samples.” I thought she was joking so I just laughed and got back to work trying to do the best I could. The electrician showed up again a day later and I was getting more and more disgusted with him and started calling him names behind his back. I knew it was wrong, so the second night I repented and I forgave him and tried to not let my thoughts about him weave more of a bad story.

The next day at work, my boss being equally frustrated with the situation, suggested again taking our samples to the better lighting at the pub. This time I quickly agreed and off we went.

Not only was it super profitable as far as seeing what we needed to do with our samples, but they were serving breakfast at half off, so we decided, “What the heck, we’re going to take a break anyway, so why not here?” We’d never done that before.

We had a really delightful time, laughing and letting all our frustrations disintegrate into thin air.

The electrician irritated us to no end, but since we ended up having such a great time, maybe we should have been thanking him instead? One of my friends is convinced of this philosophy: We should be thanking those people who bother us for stepping into our lives. We may never have had the opportunity to learn what we did without them.

With this situation I was reminded of Genesis 50:20, where Joseph says to his brothers, “You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good.” The electrician didn’t specifically plot against us, but the adversary used his actions to really get to us. But God turned the situation around and used it to catapult us into a really amazing, one of a kind, fun day.

I don’t know about you, but I need to see more of this kind of thing. God will take my negative and turn it around for good and no one can stop Him. That’s a great truth to hold on to.

Love, Carolyn

Check out my book on Amazon. It’s in print form and e-book, or you can get shorter, stand-alone sections with 6 chapters for as low as $.99. WINGS: A Journey in Faith from the Earthly to the Heavenly.

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.