Archive for the ‘Deception’ Category

Are You Wondering Why God isn’t Helping You?

People look to me as a counselor to help them resolve conflicts in their lives, and I want to help them! But there’s one thing that has to happen for progress to begin—a willingness to admit the problem. You might think, “Well, duh! Isn’t that what the client is doing when they come to see you, Beth?” And I would say, sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no.”

It takes great courage to admit a problem and leave it out in the open for examination and challenge. But unless the client is willing to tell me what the real problem is, I can’t help them.

It’s like going to a doctor with a broken leg and telling him that your stomach hurts. Maybe you do have an upset stomach, but the real problem is your leg! So you walk limp out the door with a prescription for Nexium, when you really need a cast.

God is the same way. He doesn’t force himself into our lives and demand that we tell him our problems. But very often, if we don’t turn to Him, He’s the first one we blame for not fixing our problem(s).

I’ll admit it, I’ve resisted God. If you want to look at a post during one of my resistant moments check out “Boxing with God.” But I’m so glad that I’ve dropped my “dukes” and leaned into His strong embrace. It has made all the difference!

Every single day He’s teaching me things as I rely on Him. It’s not easy. To tell you the truth, it can be down-right uncomfortable to deal with these painful lessons and revelations. But at least I’m getting what needs to be healed, healed!

God is a gentleman. He’s patient and will not force Himself into the problems of your life. And He’s not like a busy-body who “rescues” you from troubles that you don’t even think or know you have. And when we finally do turn to Him with our pain, sometimes His prescription seems to hurt almost as much as the cure. But . . .

He knows what He is doing! He is the Great Physician.

It may take more time and possibly more pain than we want to go through. But just think of how terrible it would be if you kept your “broken leg” without going through the pain of treating it properly. You’d experience ten times more pain and difficulty in keeping that crooked leg—aye, Gimpy?!

So, go ahead – make an appointment with him today. After all, the Doctor is always in!



We’re Only as Sick as Our Secrets

Have you ever tried to hide the fact that you have a cold?

It’s kind of hard to do, but I’ve done it before.

Recently I had a cold on the day that my husband and I were going to go on a date. In spite of my wayward nose, I decided that I felt good enough to go to the movies with him. But several times throughout the movie, I felt the need to blow my nose. I guess I could have excused my way to the end of the aisle each time to blow my nose in the privacy of the bathroom, but I chose not to disrupt the movie goers who were next to me.

Yeah, right!

Instead, I treated them to the sounds of a never-ending snot fest as I blasted my way to the end of my mucus. Minutes later, I felt the urge to once again indulge my neighbors in the symphony of a head cold—giving special attention to my horn section!

Hiding my cold was futile … and that’s the way secrets are too.

We think that we can keep them hidden and they will, in turn, keep us safe. But secrets have a way of showing on the outside to anyone who draws near.

Secrets infect. Secrets ooze. Secrets held within, work their way out like disturbing drainage. They are not silent prisoners that we can contain. They are like the continual vexation of post-nasal drip. Ugh!

Have I made the metaphor run on and on too long?

Let me just say, I used to try to hide my secrets. I finally realized that my secrets were making me sick. I began to be open and vulnerable with the people I trusted the most. It took time, but eventually I began to feel better.

The Bible says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you.” James 5:16a (NCV)

Oh, and never, ever forget –

“…The truth will set you free!”

The Truth of Our Problem

Are you friends or enemies with the truth in your life? Very often when we face trials or long-standing problems, we become enemies of the truth.  We feel that to know the truth is to know pain.

But when we make truth our enemy, we invite denial into our lives—which only makes our situation worse and more painful. And in order to find our way through our problem . . .

We need to make the truth our friend, not our enemy.

You may not know if you’re friends or your enemies with the truth, but if you continue to feel worse over time, you’re probably buddying up with a lie or two.

So I’ve compiled a list of ways that people make truth their enemy. Check to see if you are doing any that are on the list.

Ways you make truth your enemy:

  • Stuff your feelings
  • Avoid admitting your fault
  • Look to false escapes from your pain—drinking, shopping, television, internet, etc.
  • Isolate from true accountability
  • Avoid reading the Bible or praying
  • Reject God’s promises
  • Focus on your problem rather than on your Problem-Solver (God)

If you are doing some of the list above, then consider making an effort to put into practice the following list:

Ways to make truth your friend:

  • Become aware of your feelings at any given moment, but especially when you are hurting.
  • Confess your feelings and thoughts to God moment by moment.
  • Ask God to speak to you about your feelings and your problem; then listen.
  • Read and meditate on what the Bible has to say about your feelings/situation.
  • Find a trusted friend to talk to about your feelings on a regular basis.
  • Practice telling those who are involved how you feel (when you can say it in a respectful way).
  • Quit playing God and surrender your problem to Him.


Goofy Things People Believe – “Follow Your Heart”

I have a Facebook account and find that my “Wall” (where my friends write their thoughts and messages), gives me a wealth of funny, absurd, even thought-provoking material for my blog. Just the other day I saw someone comment to another FBF, “Just follow your heart.” And it was as if I could hear the angels above singing a chorus as those words floated out into cyberspace.

Our society seems to love that phrase. It’s rather romantic, is Oprahesque (yes, there really is such a term in the Urban Dictionary), and most of all, sounds affirming. But is it really true?

In this post and in random future posts, I will be addressing certain goofy cultural or Christian beliefs that we tend to swallow, like a doomed fish—hook, line and sinker.

Here’s what I think:

Even if I don’t consider what the Bible has to say (which I will consider in a minute), the idea that we should follow our heart doesn’t make much sense. If I followed my heart there would be many things I would just be giving myself permission to do that would be irresponsible and self-indulgent.

Don’t get me wrong, I often wish that I could just rely on my heart. There are things in my life right now that I am struggling terribly with and if I followed my heart, I know I would be making some big mistakes. Here’s some examples of what listening to my heart might cause me to do:

  • Yell at the cashier who was just rude to me in the check-out lane.
  • Throw in the towel when my marriage hits a rough patch.
  • Buy that expensive pair of shoes I love, even though I really can’t afford them.
  • Only do what I want without consideration for other people’s hearts.

Do you see where I’m going?

Here’s what the Bible has to say about the heart:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NIV)

If that’s true (and I believe it is), then following my heart can be one of the most ridiculous things I would ever want to do!

Here’s what I believe the Bible does not say . . . that our hearts are worthless. If that were true, Christ would not have died to rescue our hearts. The bottom line is that we don’t have the ability, in and of ourselves, to know if what we feel is true or a lie. Thankfully, God can help us if we will let him.

So if there was ever a statement I would like to strike, it is follow your heart, and instead I would like to say, follow God who knows your heart.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Today’s post is linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chattingatthesky blog

tuesdays unwrapped at cats


Opposing Perceptions

My husband and I took a two-day trip down to the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois this past week. On one of those two days, we did some hiking. We wandered deep down into the forest on some trails.

It took probably less than five minutes before we began to feel the heavy weight of thick humidity in the center of that forest, since it had rained earlier that morning. Even though the temperature that day was only in the upper 80’s, in the middle of that forest it felt much, much hotter.

When we emerged from the forest we saw a man who had been biking loading his bike on the back of his car. My husband said, “Sure is humid today!” The man replied back, “Well, it’s better than it could be.”

I thought about that man’s response as we walked back to our car drenched in sweat. He was in the same park, in the same location in that park, at the same time as we were in the park, yet he had a different perspective about the day.

Then I thought about what he had experienced compared to us. He had just been on a bike ride through the park, probably feeling the cool breeze blowing against his face and body (nature’s air conditioning!) the entire time. Yet, we had emerged from the same park as if emerging from a sauna—soaked with sweat and burning hot from the oppressive, sticky heat.

Here’s my point:

So often we think that our perception is the only right opinion, but the truth may be:

  1. We both have valid perceptions and opinions that are vastly different.
  2. We think we are right when, in reality, we are completely wrong.

In our case, we were option number one. But very often I’m fighting for something that is my opinion, but very wrong. I’m not saying all of this to ask you to second-guess yourself, but rather to recognize your limitations. We all need to train ourselves to recognize that our perceptions are not always true or the only reality. The only absolute truth I know of is God and His Word, everyone else has cracks and flaws in their viewpoint.

If you are currently struggling in a relationship, check to see if this may be at least a part of your problem. If it is, remember that you are not alone. We all have limited points of view.

“One of the primary indicators of a character problem is a person’s resistance to questioning his perceptions about his situation or relationships.”  —Cloud and Townsend, It’s Not My Fault


The Remedy for Lying

Have you ever been dealing with someone who just won’t tell you the truth?  Let’s just say that it’s obvious that some type of deception or discrepancy has taken place, but the other person just won’t own up to the dastardly deed.  You may resort to arguing—maybe even yelling—to force the issue, but the only thing that’s uncovered is your temper!  If the lie goes on too long, it can permanently damage the relationship.

What makes this issue so maddening?  I think it’s because truth is to our hearts and relationships like oxygen is to our lungs. If we don’t receive the truth, we feel as if we are being held under water and may drown in betrayal.

Let’s look at the flipside of this issue.

Have you ever been dealing with someone who, after lying, comes clean with you?  The Bible refers to this kind of experience.  In Proverbs 24:26 it says; “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”*

Imagine that sensation for a minute.   It’s refreshing.  It’s caring.  It’s satisfying.  And, I believe, not only does the receiver feel rejuvenated by it, but also the giver.  It’s as if, while drowning, you’ve been rescued, pulled to the surface and given CPR—the kiss of life.  So who wouldn’t feel good about that?  Both the rescued, as well as, the rescuer experience a moment of joy when the truth is embraced.

There’s good news and bad news in this post.  The bad news is, you cannot control whether the other person tells you the truth or not.  The good news is that you can offer the truth in all your relationships knowing what an absolute gift it is to your relationships.

How about we do some kissing?!

*Taken from the New International Version