You want to feel terrific about yourself, so what’s stopping you?

Yes, I know you want feelings of warmth to surge within when you’re thinking about who you are and what you can offer to others, right? Yet, when you’re looking in the mirror or thinking about who you are at your core…you may feel yuck washing all over you.

Feelings of self-hatred.team2
Feelings of self-disdain.
Feelings of self-sabatouge.

What gives?

You know you’re not all that bad.
Yet, deep down, you feel less than.

You feel less than average.
You feel less than normal.
You feel less than you know you could be.

Wouldn’t you love to feel terrific about yourself?

Feeling like you are good.
Feeling like you have something to contribute to the world around you.
Feeling like you have a special purpose?

Yes…feeling terrific about who you ARE.

But you’ll never feel terrific about yourself if you’re carrying this…

Baggage.

What kind? Lugging around resentment toward another person.

You can’t feel terrific about yourself if you feel poorly toward others.

Lugging around unforgiving attitudes toward your mom, your dad, your coworker, your best friend. Your professor, your pastor, your spouse, your boss….

Does lugging emotional baggage really drag you down THAT much?

Yes. So much that it will pull down the feelings you have about yourself.

Again, you can’t feel terrific about yourself if you feel poorly toward others. 

So, how do you go about reversing those poor feelings – especially when some people are idiots, they’ve treated you like yesterday’s trash, and you hurt so deeply from the wounds?

You have ONE choice.

Become a perpetual forgiveness machine.

Like a machine – you crank out forgiveness each time someone inflicts pain into your life.
Like a machine – you return unconditional love for a back stabbing.
Like a machine – your responses soon become automattic.

Put your perpetual forgiving machine in place each morning and at the end of each day.

When you wake up and when you go to bed – run through your day and note who gave you grief, who spoke to you wrong, who betrayed you, who mistreated you…

Yes, you have permission to make a list.
List who did it, and list what they did.
Got it?
1.  List who.
2.  List what.

Then see yourself writing those items down on a piece of paper.

Now visualize yourself feeding that paper into your “perpetual forgiving machine” like feeding paper into a paper shredder. Turn it on, let the machine eat it up.

Last step is this – say a prayer for the people who were on your list. Ask God to help them, bless them, and grow them.

As you do, you are emptying the forgiving machine like you’d empty shredded paper out of the paper shredder. You will feel a washing away of hard feelings and little by little love will return.

Guess what else will?
Feeling terrific about yourself.

How?

Because when you extend forgiveness to people who don’t deserve it – you feel pretty terrific. And you’ll realize you are amazing. You are incredibly forgiving and you treat people who don’t deserve it with love and respect.

And as you do – you’ll start forgiving yourself… you’ll start loving and respecting who you are even though you don’t deserve it.

And yep, at this point you’re feeling pretty darn terrific about yourself!

Win win.

So everyday – go to your shredder… Your perpetual forgiveness machine.

Remember the steps:
List who.
List what.
Pray for them.

Do it as often as needed, even through out your day when you get hit with a hurt.

Forgiveness is more about freeing you from pain than it is about freeing the person who did you wrong….

…and freeing you to feel terrific about yourself!

Do it for you. Do it for them. But mostly – do it for you!

Scriptures to power up your machine:

2 Cor 2:5b: Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love. (The Message)

1 Cor 13:8b
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. (The Message)

Now…go turn on your “perpetual forgiving machine” and start shredding baby!

Like this? Tweet the love, you’re followers will thank you! 

I’m bringing you a special Valentines Day treat! Here, you’ll find your biggest questions about love answered in this radio interview I did for Stefen G’s show. If you’ve ever wondered…

  • How can you stay in love for a life-time?
  • Is there one special somebody out there for you?
  • How do you love a jerk?
  • What if you fall out-of-love?
  • How do you love someone with BIG flaws?
  • The real meaning of 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love.
Radio Interview on Love

 

Take a listen to this fun interview, as Stephen and I discussed all things LOVE and UGLY!

Enjoy and share!

Click Here for the recorded radio interview.

http://thestefang.com/moment-of-clarity/45-love-ya-baby

 

 

How good are you at protecting those you love? Read this guest post by Amanda Beth to find out. It’s an excerpt taken from her latest book, The LOVE Walk,  A 15 – Week Devotional on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

The original Greek word for protect in 1 Corinthians 13:7 is pronounced stegō. It means: 1) to protect or keep by covering, to preserve; 2) to cover over with silence; 3) to keep secret; 4) to hide, conceal the errors and faults of others.

To protect someone means to protect all that concerns them. This includes protecting their reputation. I learned what it means to protect someone’s reputation by seeing how my husband protects mine.

My husband continually builds me up to others. Sometimes I think he makes me sound better than I am. I’ve even seen him make himself look bad in order to protect my reputation. He goes out of his way to make me look good. He does it because he loves me.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 (NLT)

If we want to sincerely love others we have to protect their reputations. We don’t protect people’s reputations when we gossip. Proverbs shares many verses on gossip and the reasons why we need to avoid it.

Proverbs 18:8 shares the most important reason. Solomon must have thought so too because he repeated it again in Proverbs 26:22.

The NLT version for these verses read:

“Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”

Gossip contaminates our hearts. When we put others down we take ourselves down, too. Gossiping may seem harmless and feel innocent at the time, but it gradually hardens our hearts toward others. It is impossible to love others when our hearts are hardened.

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 2 Timothy 2:16

Proverbs 16:28 shares another reason why we need to avoid gossip:

A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

I wonder how many friendships have been destroyed over gossip. I wonder how many families have been divided over gossip. Gossip spreads like wildfire and doesn’t go out until someone puts it out. The more it spreads the more people it deceives.

Years ago I had someone spread gossip about me. It made its rounds through many people. By the time it came around to me it was almost comical. The story was twisted so far from the truth that you knew each person had to have added something new as they shared it with the next. What hurt most was that I had done nothing wrong in the first place. The one who started it didn’t agree with something I was doing, so they took it and twisted it to make me sound bad.

Proverbs 26:20 says, “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Every one who shared the gossip threw their wood into that fire to keep it going. All it would’ve taken was one person to stand up and say, “I’m not going to accept that.” The fire would’ve ended there and never spread to me.

We may not be the ones who spread gossip, but how many times do we sit in the middle of gossip and just listen? To protect someone’s reputation means that we’ll have to stand up in others’ defense when they’re being talked about.

I remember calling my mom once to talk about someone who wronged me. I expected her to listen to my complaints, but instead she started saying positive things about this person. At first I got irritated. But after hearing the things she said about that person my heart started softening.

God used that conviction to help me turn from gossip so He could pour His love into my heart for that person. That moment I saw the reason why God wants us to protect people’s reputations—it transforms our hearts.

Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.

—Leviticus 19:16

People’s lives can be dramatically affected by gossip. We are to build people up, not tear them down. When we build others up and protect their reputations, God will protect ours.

 “The LOVE Walk” is a fifteen week devotional created to encourage and support you in your love walk. Each devotional focuses on a different characteristic of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….”

Each chapter includes an encouragement, a prayer, verses to meditate on, and one verse to memorize to support you in your love walk. Additionally, at the end of each chapter there are questions to reflect on for personal evaluation or group study.

Follow this link to purchase a copy of “The LOVE Walk.”

 Amanda is a wife of sixteen years, mother of four children, and author of You Can Have a Happy Family” and “The LOVE Walk”. God has done an amazing work in her and her family since He rescued her twelve years ago. Because of His unfailing love, she is passionate about sharing His love with others. Every Monday she shares the wonderful benefits behind the truths in God’s Word on her blog (SharingTruths.com). Every Wednesday she prays the Word of God over prayer requests on her Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/AmandaBeth). And every Sunday she is a guest contributor for Christian Blessings (PTL.com). She also shares messages on marriage and parenting on her website (AmandaBeth.net).

We would love for you to leave your comments and interact with Amanda Beth. Has your life ever been affected by gossip? How has someone you love protected you? If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, How Good Are You at Protecting Those You Love, please share it – chances are your friends will too! 


It Doesn’t Matter How Deep the Water is if You Know How to Swim
Do you remember your first time experiencing the deep end of the pool? Yeah, this is where your feet don’t touch and if you’re not an experienced swimmer, you might think, “Whoa, I’m in over my head here.”

I taught my daughter, Tiffany, when she was just 3-years-old to swim in the deep end of the pool.  I told her that if she could swim in the shallow end without her feet touching she could also swim in the deep end. There’s no difference.

Can you swim in a 6-8 foot swimming pool? Just wondering, because, if I took you to the middle of the ocean and dropped you in depths of a few hundred feet – I betcha you could still swim! There’s no difference. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is – if you know how to swim.

Is it scarier out there? Yes. Darker? Yes. But, it doesn’t matter how deep the water is if you know how to swim.

Maybe you are going through some deep issues in life.  Tough stuff, bigger than you’ve ever gone through before. As you read this you might have this overwhelming sinking feeling that you are in way too deep. Be encouraged and remember: It doesn’t matter how deep the water is if you know how to swim.

There’s a cool scripture in Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) that goes like this:

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.”

I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know if I could ever handle the death of one of my children or being diagnosed with an incurable disease or walking into the house to find my spouse hanging from a noose.  I don’t think I could handle…this or that. Yes, you could handle it, because it doesn’t matter how deep the water is if you know how to swim.

A child stood in front of his classroom to make a speech entitled, “What I want to be when I grow up.” He said, “I’m going to be a lion tamer in the circus.  I will have lots of fierce lions. I will walk into the cage and they will roar! I will use the whip to control them.” He paused for a moment, thinking through what he had just said.  And then added, “But of course, I’ll have my daddy with me!”

That’s the key. You CAN swim IF your heavenly Father is with you. Just reach out. Haven’t done that in a while? Forgotten how? Little timid? Go ahead, ask for his help.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer: I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16. (NLT)

You’ll find he’s right there in the deep end with ya. Don’t let the depth of the water scare you. You can handle a lot more than you think you can. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is if you know how to swim.

 

When my daughter was a wee little girl I was looking for a way to explain the amount of love I had in my heart for her. Tucking her into bed one night I whispered, “Tiff, do you know how much I love you?” She said, “How much mommy?” Wrapping my arms around her I said, “Listen, I love you to the moon and back.” Her little eyes brightened and she said, “Really? That’s a lot of love!” So as the years passed I would occasionally ask her, “Tiff, do you know how much I love you?” Always smiling, she’d say, “to the moon and back.” Then I’d add: “to the moon and back – and back – and back!!!” She would say, “Wow Mom, that’s sooo much love”!

It was the coolest thing knowing that my daughter would go off to sleep savoring that nugget of truth. She’d be thinking about it and mulling it over in her little girl’s mind. And when I’d go out of town on business, I’d call her right before bedtime and before we’d hang up I’d always ask: “Tiff, do you know how much I love you?” She’d say so confidently: “you love me to the moon – and back – and back – and back!”

Amazed that she was wrapped so securely in my love, I once asked, “Well, how do you know that I love you that much?” She said, “because I heard you say it mom, and I know -that I know – that I know – that you love me that much.”

How is it that my now, adolescent daughter is so confident and secure in her Mom’s love? Because from the first time she heard me say it, she LISTENED with her ears wide open. She TOOK it in. She RECIEVED it. She’d THINK about it. She’d REVISIT it. She’d SAY it. She’d REPEAT it until she had great trust and BELIEF in it.

It dawned on me that there was a formula here in learning how to believe in something. I found it confirmed in God’s Word. Reading from Prov. 22:17 (AMP), the steps go like this:
“Listen (consent and submit) to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; For it will be pleasant if you keep them in your mind [believing them]; your lips will be accustomed to [confessing] them. So that your trust (belief, reliance, support, and confidence) may be in the Lord…”

If we break it down, look at how this formula unfolds.
1. Listen (hear what God says about you.)
2. Think about his words of wisdom (turn it over and over again in your mind).
3. Then you will begin to believe.
4. At last, you speak them (your lips get accustomed to confessing them – speaking them out loud.)
5. Wallah! You begin to trust what God says about you and your life. You grow more and more confident in what He says about you.

Listen, God’s whispering: “I love you so much, I sent my son to die for you and give you eternal life. I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. I, (God) take great delight in you. Come away with me and read all about it. I wrote it all down just for you. The love letter is waiting to be opened and read and received by you. I love you to the moon and back!”

My advice to you, READ it, SPEAK it, BELIEVE it!