Posts Tagged ‘self image’

The Pain of Self-rejection

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

There is no pain quite like the sting left in the wake of self-rejection. Yet, our own failures open the door to the possibilities discovered in the feeling and knowing of regret and guilt. It is bravery of the highest degree to plumb the depths of our secret war with ourselves. “To thine own self be true.”

Freedom is sweetest once we are released from the dark dungeons of hiding and denial. It begins while allowing the pain of self-rejection to push us toward the light found only in the brutal, honest, fearless, inventory of our?self. Beyond that veil we begin to discover the boundless realities of Grace!

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, BUT shouts to us in our pain.” C. S. Lewis

God shouts Grace, Grace to us in our pain! Only the shouts of Grace drown out all the other voices. While beginning to listen more to the shouts of Grace, “we find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand??out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”

We discover in the midst of all these shouts of grace that “He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway…God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (Romans 5, Msg.)

Christ arrived right on time, in the midst of our failure and deepest denial. “And that’s not all. We throw open our door to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us.” And in the open door of Grace, we are flooded for the first time with the light of true self?discovery!

While my own doing completely disqualified me; his doing now defines me. I am what I am by the grace of God. I am because he is! His grace was not wasted on me; instead I am inspired to labor beyond the point of exhaustion, more than anything I ever did under the law of performance; whatever it is that I accomplish now has grace written all over it. I take no credit for it. (1Corinthians 15:10 Mirror Bible)

Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. (Romans 1:5, The Message Bible)

There’s something bigger going on…but; that is the rest of our stories!
Ron Ross

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Detachment and Depression

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Some internal conversations bring us today’s word-of-the-week…

DETACHMENT

God and I have had some conversations recently about detachment.

My feeling, my internal sense of well-being, seems detached from circumstances. Things are going great, but I feel this internal depression and sadness with no apparent source or reason.

Since this blog is about following Jesus through ups and downs, I figured I’d be honest about this odd juxtaposition of happy outcomes and interior despair. Experience tells me I’m not the only person who’s awakened in this strange land.

Some thoughts.

I won’t impose platitudes on myself. Have faith. Jesus came to give you a joy-filled life. God doesn’t want you to be depressed.

All true enough, and all dripping with guilt when lobbed at myself in the midst of struggle. God and I are talking, Jesus and I are friends, and we’ll get through this. More guilt isn’t going to help.

I don’t need a better self-concept. What I really need is self-compassion. I need to take it easy on myself, to forgive myself, to let it be okay when I fall short of whatever expectations I set for myself.

Speaking of expectations, I need to stop! I imagine far too much about what others expect of me, and I set far too many expectations for myself. They’re killers.

These won’t solve the problem. The depression is an illness. I can’t wish it away. If you’re struggling in a similar place don’t let someone tell you you should, either.

But I’m not alone. For a long time, I wasn’t sure about that. It doesn’t make the problem disappear.

It does offer hope, the kind of hope that changes things.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Regenerate or Not?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

One of the principle things which distinguishes a regenerate person from an unregenerate one, may be likened unto two filthy rooms.

In one room, the blinds are raised and the sunlight streams in, exposing the filth all around.

In the other room, the blinds are lowered, and one walking through the room would be unable to discern its real condition.

Thus it is in the case of one who has been renewed by the Spirit: his eyes have been opened to see the awful filth which lurks in every corner of his heart.

But in the case of the unregenerate, though they have occasional twinges of conscience when they act wrongfully, they are very largely ignorant of the awful fact that they are a complete mass of corruption in the pure eyes of the thrice holy God.

Abraham acknowledged, “I am dust and ashes!” Genesis 18:27
Job said of himself, “I am vile!” Job 40:4
David admitted, “I am a worm!” Psalm 22:6
Isaiah confessed, “Woe is me! I am ruined!” Isaiah 6:5<
Peter affirmed, “I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8
Paul considered himself,”The chief of sinners!” 1 Timothy 1:15

“And when the Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” John 16:8<

~Arthur Pink

Being like Him here and now?

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Do we think earnestly about being like Him here and now?

“So that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” Titus 2:10

Martin Luther’s insignia was a rose; in the rose a heart; in the heart a cross.

The rose suggests fragrance and beauty–a Christian life should be beautiful, winning, attractive. It should be sweet, pouring forth the fragrance of holy love wherever it goes.

The heart in the rose suggests that all true living for Christ is from the heart.

But at the center of all was the cross. Until we have Christ, we can have neither fragrance nor beauty. We must never forget that nothing but the self-sacrificing love of Christ in our hearts can transform our lives.

We sometimes sing, “Take the world, but give me Jesus”–but do we really mean it? It is a very sweet hymn, but do we mean it? Are we ready to have the prayer answered, fully, wholly–whatever it may cost?

We expect to be like Christ in Heaven, but do we think earnestly about being like Him here and now? Would we exchange our poor, meager measure of Christlikeness today–for Christ to have the complete control of our lives? It would make a tremendous change in our lives, at least, in some of our lives.

“If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

 

~J.R. Miller, “The Religion for the New Year” 1903

“My” vs. Service

Monday, September 28th, 2015

A personal discomfort leads to today’s word-of-the-week…

MY

MondayI’ve become sensitive to, and uncomfortable with, the ways I use the word “my.”

My rights. My freedom. My ministry. My team. My turf.

As a follower of Jesus, none of those are mine. Yet I often claim them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways as some sort of badge of honor.

Demanding my rights. Defending my freedom. Growing my ministry. Protecting my turf.

Seriously?

All the words about “service” and “holding in open hands” lose their meaning when I think in terms of ownership. Talking about it, while I cling tightly, makes me feel like those religious leaders in Jesus’ day. Blind guides. Whitewashed tombs.

It’s not my book, my story or blog or bike ride or whatever. I want to be aware, not in a false humility way but in a real way that lets others know I don’t believe I own this stuff. At some point our words betray what’s in our hearts.

Please don’t interpret this as judgement of anyone else–too many logs in my own eyes to worry about others’ specks. This is one guy sharing his weakness, hoping you might benefit.

Your thoughts?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

You are not Invisible

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

invisibleHagar was a slave and and she was in a mess. (Genesis ch. 16 & 21)

Some of it was her fault, some of it wasn’t. But now she had run away into the wilderness. Pregnant and alone, she waited by a stream to see what might happen. An angel of God appeared and delivered a surprising promise. He told her to return to camp and submit to her mistress.

Hagar was amazed that God would even acknowledge a lowly servant. She called Him “the God who sees me.”

Hagar understood a central truth about God’s character: He’s the God who sees every person equally.

For the last couple of years I’ve been honored to spend some time with men who are recovering from addiction. I’ve learned more from them than they’ve learned from me, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is the pervasive nature of addiction in society. These guys were always here, but they were invisible to me and to much of my suburban culture. Sadly, I think they’re sort-of invisible in my church.

They’re not invisible to God.

This got me wondering about other sort-of invisible people. The door’s open, nobody’s keeping them out, but they aren’t there. Or they are, but they’re on the edges and it’s clear they aren’t really part of the circle.

Homeless people.

Poor people.

Folks without much education (churches look a LOT like schools).

People whose life doesn’t look like the American dream.

I could go on but you get the idea. Many churches just aren’t all that diverse. Those who don’t fit the profile become invisible. We know they exist, but we don’t see them.

Maybe that’s why Jesus hung out with them. He was tired of the religious leaders looking past them and talking about them as though they weren’t in the room. He made them visible because He was the God who sees.

Invisible people make us uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to admit how often I pretend not to see, but it’s a sad truth.

I can’t change that all at once, and there’s no sense beating myself up. So I try to see one or two a little better and go from there.

I trust that the God who sees will see my heart, and help.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

How Do You Use Your Freedom?

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Something I saw (and can’t remember where) prompts today’s word-of-the-week…

FREEDOM

I’m grateful for freedom. I’ll bet you are as well.

As a wheelchair user, I might be more aware of day-to-day freedom than a lot of you. I know first-hand what it’s like to not be able to go where I want (can’t use that door), to be confined (can’t use my own basement), to have my options limited (only certain tables or rooms). I know what it’s like to have others make choices for you.

I can’t express how much it means when someone goes out of their way to serve, to grant me a small bit of freedom when they didn’t need to. It’s an act of service, putting my well-being ahead of their convenience, comfort, or rights.

Freedom’s a precious commodity. We ought never to take it for granted.

The Good Samaritan had every right, and every reason, to pass by. He chose to forego his rights, set aside his convictions (Samaritans absolutely hated Jews), and serve the man before him. Instead of seeing a _____ (you fill the blank) he saw a person in the image of God.

When I show up, I’m frequently inconvenient. And yes, I know there’s a law that says they have to let me in. But the law doesn’t say they have to like it, and some folks make it clear they’d rather not have me around. I get in the way, slow things down, make other customers uncomfortable.

I’m grateful for those who open their hearts, who view their freedom as an opportunity to serve rather then an opportunity to exclude.

I think that’s what Jesus had in mind. Follow me and be free…to serve, to welcome, to love. Even those who make you uncomfortable. Even those who get in the way. Even those you don’t like or approve of.

Even old, bald guys in wheelchairs.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

The Danger of Self-talk

Monday, August 31st, 2015

What mental destinations do you visit most often? Or maybe this would be an easier way for you to measure. Where does your “self” talk invite you to go? Self talk captures more of our attention than we realize: conservatively, maybe forty percent. Self talk can be like a governor on an engine–capping your potential.

The insidious danger of this “self-talk” governor capping our potential is that we tend to lower our expectations and thus hope-less!

We can never re-visit the continuous fact of God’s love for us and the eternal hope that springs from that seed thought enough! Paul put it like this:

“think about things that are pure and lovely, thing about things that are right and true, dwell on the fine good things in others and think about all you can praise God for.” And be glad about it, and sing for joy! Do you suppose that would land you at better destinations and increase your hope potential?

“In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:5 The Message)

“And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (NKJV)

Just the seed thoughts in this one verse of scripture are enough to radically alter where you spend your daily mental energy allotment. We only have so much mental energy to spend each moment of each new day. Has yours been spilling out on the ground of despair, disappointments or deception?

We are being called to live at a higher hope-filled place of alert expectancy! This daily destination has only one flight plan, the constant love of God shed abroad in our hearts through the precious Holy Spirit! Here you will never be left feeling short-changed. You will find yourself totally consumed with rounding up enough containers to hold the endless outpouring of His love! And what’s even cooler is that you will have a continuous overflow of Papa’s love to pour back on Him, yourself, your significant others, your friends and the world around you. Take that self-talk!

In the grip of Papa’s hopeful expectancy!

Ron Ross

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

A Sense of Brotherhood in Recovery

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

A friend’s graduation inspired today’s word-of-the-week…

WE


My friend Melvin completed a year-long rehab program.

At his graduation the other guys spoke about Melvin’s time with them. I was struck by how often they used the word “we.”

These men arrived from big cities and small towns. Most had tough roads marked by a good deal of adversity, some self-inflicted and much not. Along the way they learned not to trust or even to let others get close.

And at this place, through months of hard work and tears, they discovered a sense of community and brotherhood. A bunch of guys who didn’t trust anyone learned to trust each other and discovered the incredible power of we.

A year ago Melvin was another addict. These guys wouldn’t have turned their heads to give him a second look.

Now–he’s a part of we, and the conversation was about how we can support him and make sure he succeeds.

We is the way we’re wired, the way God created us in His image. We is how we share hope.

We is how we love.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!

Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Who will define your life experiences today?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Who will define your life experiences today? Jesus prayed to His Father that our lives would no longer be defined by the world.

“They are no more defined by the world, than I am defined by the world. Make them Holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your Word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I am consecrating myself for their sakes-So they will be truth consecrated in their mission.” John 17:17-19 The Message


I remember my life before-it definitely was defined by the world. As such, my life just kind of blended in with whatever worldly crowd or expression I was into at the moment. The pop culture defined me. In the early 70’s, right before I gave my life to Jesus-I was a street hippie. Not distinct, just one of that crowd-wandering around the country with no distinct definition or purpose.

Now, and for the last 42 years, whatever He (Jesus) has to say about me is what gives my life definition. Today, I will be defined by God’s opinion about me. I will not be defined by the old, self-disgusting voices in my head. I will be Holy (set apart-distinct) by His truth about me. I will be consecrated in and with that truth.

I will have and share in an awesome mission in the world today with my special Jesus definition. Truth, real and pure truth, is whatever He has to say about any and everything! Well, what is He saying about you and me today? Here are just a few: beloved, child and son or daughter of God, forgiven, not ashamed, redeemed, gifted, empowered…you add some more!

You have a high and holy mission in the world today. You are not brought down to the level of being defined by the world-no more than Jesus is defined by the world. You are defined by the opinion of Almighty Heavenly Father! Think on His definition of you today and be nurtured with those truths.

Set Apart by Truth: Ron Ross

Copyright by Ron Ross.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.