Discouraged

Thoughts on Gratitude and Thanks

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow–are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips–so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

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A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, “That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat.”

The farmer answered that with him it was customary–but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

“Ah, then,” said the gentleman, “they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?”

“My pigs!” the farmer answered.

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Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. “Use that one day just for complaining and griping,” he said. “Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you!”

Workshop: Acceptance the Pathway to Peace

Karla Downling is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, Bible study teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, scriptural misunderstanding, and emotional pain personally and relationally. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues. She also desires to equip ministry leaders and lay counselors to reach out more effectively to those that are struggling with difficult relationships. Karla’s website is http://ChangeMyRelationship.com.

karladowning: Ok. Let’s start off with a definition of acceptance. It is “taking or receiving what is offered, giving approval, believing, or accepting. It is putting out your open hand and allowing the thing or circumstance or person to be put into it and then closing your hand and pulling it toward you. The meaning of “accept” is “to receive as adequate; to receive with approval or favor; to take or receive.”

The opposite of acceptance is refusal or disapproval. It is like putting out your hand and pushing it away. think about your life and the things you don’t want; don’t like; struggle with accepting. Are you opening your hand to receive them or pushing them away? I know for myself that I pushed them away for years and struggled with refusing to accept them. It took lots of energy.

Overcoming Self-loathing

I am astounded by the number of young people who approach me with such intense self-loathing. I frequently hear them say things like…

    “I hate myself; I’m so ugly, disgusting and stupid.”
    “I hate myself. There’s nothing good about me.”


When I ask them, however, why they feel that way, I usually get this response:

“I don’t know.”

For what I am doing, I do not understand…” Romans 7:15

Statistics show…

“One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly.”

Perseverance: The Race Set Before Us

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Gaman is a Japanese term of Zen origin which means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”. The term is generally translated as “perseverance” or “patience.”

And, within Scripture, this principle is, indeed, a faith focal point.

… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36

I don’t know about your physical education experience when you were a kid, but my class always participated in the annual presidential physical fitness test.

Is anyone out there groaning yet?

As part of that test to assess kids’ fitness levels, things like pushups, sit ups and pull ups were measured. But the thing which caused me the most dread- and the least success- was the 600 yard run.

Now, is anyone out there groaning?

If you’re not familiar with

People Who Fail (No other kind around)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

I recently came across this little inspiration ditty circulating on social media:

    “God uses People Who Fail (No other kind around).”

That’s become more of a revelation to me in the last few years, especially within the context of recovery. It’s not a one-time, flawless thing. It’s day in, day out, with some days being better than others. It doesn’t sound glamorous or rewarding. Nevertheless, it is reality and embracing the process of life itself can be liberating if we, perhaps, give ourselves permission to fail. Part of that requires we not disqualify ourselves at the first — or the one thousandth — mistake; God doesn’t.

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I often encounter people who are perfectionists — and I get it. Among all the things I’m recovering from in life, perfectionism is, indeed, right up there. And, again, in the recovery context, it is

Urgent? Why??

I must admit, my favorite question is “why?”

I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.

And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.

Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.

“Urgent? Why?”

It’s not merely a question; it’s a statement… about the significance of urgency.

And this is right up addiction’s alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?

    Why is this my answer?

    Why will this solve things?

    Why will nothing else do?

    Why must I be instantly healed?

It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus.

Patience: Are we there yet?

Visualize this scenario. There’s a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child’s view consists of the following: the back of the driver’s and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there’s even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy’s head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child’s song. But, instead, what do we hear?

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Does this sound familiar?

If you have children or remember being one yourself, you’re probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:

Are we there yet?

We want to get there already, wherever “there” is.

“Unto a land flowing with milk and honey…” Exodus 3:8; 33:3

It’s the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.

Where’s God When I Need Him?

If you’re feeling far away from God, guess who moved?

Do you ever feel like God’s least present when you seem to need Him most?

Lost In Darkness
When I struggled with depression following my injury, God seemed to be a million miles away. I knew intellectually that He was right beside me, but it sure didn’t feel like that. I imagined myself wandering in darkness so impenetrable that not even God could find me.

As I began to get a handle on the depression, I seemed to discover edges to the darkness. Bits of light penetrated the oppressive blanket of despair. And I found that as I felt less lost, God’s presence suddenly felt more real.

The Importance of “STOP!”

That’s odd for me. I want to focus on moving forward, dreaming big dreams, taking risks. And lately, for some reason I don’t understand, I seem to hear STOP.

I don’t think it’s about the big things, I’ve no sense about stopping those efforts. So I’ve wondered about STOP as it relates to the ordinary, everyday stuff. I think I might have noticed something interesting.

STOP is nearly always useful advice when I’m uncertain.

Are you lost? STOP. Don’t keep wandering, compounding the problem. Get your bearings. Ask for help. (Hint: Works for more than driving.)