Love Anyways

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

-From The Paradoxical Commandments, by Dr. Kent M. Keith. Mother Teresa quoted this often.

Are Your Thoughts Making You Unhealthy?

Our reactions to the trials and stressors of our life are a key determinant of our emotional and physical health. It’s not the events or the relationship issues that have a detrimental impact on our health, it’s our interpretation and perception of them.In most days of our lives, we find ourselves in situations that can impact us in either a negative or a positive way. First, the event or circumstance occurs. This is generally quickly followed by the emotions that we experience. Then, typically, we react with our behavior and what we say. Our reactions are most often automatic because we do this out of habit. Our reactions will have either a positive or a negative impact on our body based, based on the accompanying emotions we experience.

We have an opportunity to impact our emotions and corresponding reactions by the thoughts that we have right after the experience or the event. With practice, we can train ourselves to think positively as opposed to negatively. We can choose to ask the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, emotions and our reactions. This is the type of wisdom that James speaks of in James 1:2-8.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:2-8

Awareness of your thoughts and reactions is key to changing how you respond to stressors and trials. If you make a choice deep in your will to become more aware of how you respond to events in your life, you’ll be able to make changes with the help of the Holy Spirit. Changed responses will help you to become more like Christ and therefore your light will shine brighter. Learning to respond differently can also impact your health. Instead of your system releasing unhealthy chemicals into your body because of the toxic emotions you experience, the healthy chemicals that are released with your positive emotions will promote health.

It’s all about perspective. I urge you to look at your trials and potential life stressors as opportunities for spiritual growth. If you can have this mindset, it will change your life. And, God will be glorified as you credit His Spirit for helping you make this change.

Questions to Reflect On

What is your level of awareness of your thoughts that immediately follow stressful occurrences? Are your negative emotions and the corresponding physical reactions in your body impacting negatively on your health?

Your Sleep Will Be Sweet

Did you know that God promises  to give His children blessings in our sleep?

Scripture says He wants to  speak to our hearts in the night hours and pour out His wisdom and grace  upon us. But so many people struggle with getting good sleep on a  consistent basis. Instead, they allow the cares of this world to revolve  in their minds or allow fear to keep them on high alert into the wee  hours of the morning. Look at what it says in Proverbs 3:21-24 (NIV):

“My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

The key to getting good sleep isn’t found in a pill; it’s found in  the Word of God. When we put the wisdom of the Word first place in our  lives, when we follow His commands and cast our cares on Him, then His  peace guards and protects our hearts and minds. Then, when we lie down,  we won’t be afraid and our sleep will be sweet.

Today, if you’ve been struggling with getting good sleep because  you’ve been carrying the cares of the world, release them to God. Just  say, “Father, I trust You. I trust that You are working things out for  my good. I trust that You are ordering my steps. Thank You for Your good  and precious promises, and thank You for the gift of sweet sleep! I  receive it in Jesus’ name!”

And then, do what you know to do in the natural. Don’t sabotage  yourself by eating the wrong things too late at night or staying up  watching television when you know you should be in bed. Give your body  the opportunity to receive the blessing of sweet sleep so that you can  be refreshed and ready to walk in the victory God has prepared for you!

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