Personal Musing: Renewing voice out of silence.

Yes, I have been silent.  Silent for far to long.  I know there are others in other places who have gone quieter of late.  The question really is where is this silent coming from. Am I shrinking back, am I resting, or have I been simply stuck.   Perhaps it is looking at the tasks ahead, the responsibilities, the difficulties and losing perspective. Perhaps there is some needed rest to take on what lies ahead.  For what is ahead in not easy.  There are more responsibilities ahead.  There is need to buckle down and proceed ahead.  The question though is really have I gone from a point of resting to build up and move ahead to the disengagement of sleep.  There will be blog articles soon musing on rest, sleep, and slumber.  But as for me right now, today, where am I.  I am not where I meant to be.  I had many plans of what I was going to do.  I was going to get started on book writing. I was going to get private practice from being in a holding pattern to sewing seeds toward moving forward.  Now, in all this pulling back, there has been some forward movement. My client load at the clinic picked up strength and near a full load.  Another question is am I walking in faith and under God’s authority in His Kingdom, or am I letting others have authority. 

I need to dwell more on what it means when I go silent.  For there is no shortage of words could have written and it is a loss that certain things I had in mind, such as musing on love over Valentines day did not happen. And that is not write.  So why am I shrinking back.  I could say I am just being at rest, but in retrospect what may have started with rest may have progressed to the point of slumber. I need to write and explore those areas more.  The other is what responsibility means to me.  There is a lot of reluctance with me tied to responsiblity.  There is too much not getting to things until it is necessary. There are many other things.  

So the point is, if I have reached a point of slumber, of that is which is beyond helpful and necessary to that which impedes, then I need to wake up, rise up, and go forward. For the times we are in call for us to be alert, sound, and engaged. Please forgive me for the disengagement.  While I can justify it with many things related to life, it is not following what God has asked of me.  And I think God is making me aware that If I don’t follow through with the things he sets before me, I can miss out and will weep over what could have been.  So how about the rest of you?  Anyone shrink back, pull back, go silent, go from rest to sleep or slumber?  For no matter where we are, God is there to give us what we  need.  I feel lack of strength, lack of motivation.  I feel like I am near a point of taking on too much or even pulling myself in multiple directions. But for what God calls me to, there will be enough, it is all in His time, if I follow. If I lag, or falter, or hold back I can miss. And if I react out of self even doing what I think what God wants but of own accord, it will cost me dearly.  At any rate, here are the tasks I need to commit to.  Please do drop me emails, pm’s or words to see progress. Here is one thing I know, it is helpful to set measurable objectives and review progress.  Treatment plans in counseling are all about measurable objectives.  Things can move forward toward. 

1.  Renew daily time in God’s word and prayer.

2.  Blog at least once per week.

3.  Spend time on private practice website at least once a week until finished.

4. Get started writing project by working at least once per week.

Things I need to complete within the next week are taxes and liability insurance.

At any rate, the time has come to wake up, renew voice, and start moving, a bit at a time.  Please check on me and see where I am and how I am doing. As one of the big things that is true, is that I know I need to support and encouragement of others.  As much as God has me stepping into messes and being concerned for others, he has not made me or anyone else capable to so doing without others around us.  Also please let me know how I can support you, be it here, be it in email, be it at a forum, be it in person at church. Please let me know what I can do.

Musings on the New Year: Digging Deep and Advancing

Well 2010 has came and went and 2011 is now here and under way. For me there are two words that have been resonating and seem central to what God is doing in my life. These words started even back during Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year but seem to be at an apex. The two words are deep deeper and advance. For me these are key to whatever change is coming in the year to come. For all those that read this blog want to challenge you do the same.

Now granted, some of you may be thinking “Um, Tim, your articles and musing can already get deep enough, you encourage going deeper?” Well, the answer is absolutely, for no matter the appearance of depth, compared to the greatness and awesomeness of God the depth is still shallow. Going deeper involves letting God’s truth sink to the depths of my heart and soul. It is drawing deeply from living water. It is being root and grounded at a deep level on God’s word and truth. No matter where we are there is more depth to be found. Take a quick look at Luke 6:48 (ESV)
he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
In all my time going over the verse, talking about it, even teaching on it the “dug deep” part is missed. We focus on the rock versus sand, but the rock is down “deep.” Here is the reality, sound and sure faith is one that is deep, for there is support and surety in depth. Whatever we do, whatever fruit we hope for, whatever may be ahead is only sure by becoming deeply immersed in God’s truth. So ask the Lord God to show you ways to grow deeper.

The other word that comes to my mind is advance, moving forward. This is key for me for there is much ahead. The past year was one of a lot of preparation complete with assorted trials in my life and those around me. But God calls not just to prepare and passively sit by. He does not call us to dig deep and rest. He calls us to move ahead, move forward. Again with the thoughts of advance, God leads me to some other words of Jesus in Matthew 11:12 (ESV)
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. These words perhaps lose significant in the English for we may think in the terms of physical violence and force of will. But if you take time to consider the words, it really speaks to an intensity of moving forward and grabbing hold of that which God sets before us. It is true for walking into God’s kingdom and true for our moving about in the areas God directs us to engage. One way to put the phrase may be the Kingdom of heaven is “Wild” and those energized will seek to seize it. This involves no sitting passively by, it involves energy to grab hold of that which God puts forth, which is not predictable. Now scripture is filled with many action words and directions that entail the seizing such as “reap, sew, love, rise up, take up” and so on. This is a concept beyond “Carpe Diem” of seizing the day. God does call us to live in the moment, but the moment is saturated in Him and His will. And here is the deal, in the moving forward, in the advancing we need one another. We need support and encouragement. For it is easy to get twisted and deceived and there are many traps and we need others to speak us the truth and help us back on the path when we could no longer “grasp hold” and go flailing about on our own way.

My hope and prayer as you read these thoughts is God stirs in you awareness of areas to dig deeper and move ahead. Also please do feel free to check in with me related to my digger deeper and advancing. The starting point is what is God stirring in you. It is a new year, new day, new chapter, and a new beginning. Let God move you deeper and then seize what God has before you and then buckle up, for serving God is always a wild ride.

Personal Musings: Feeling stuck in “mud”

Well, it is time for an update of where things have been. The blog has been strangely quiet since returning from the AACC National Conference.  It is not personally what I expected or anticipated. As left feeling recharged, refreshed, and energized.  On the Monday following the conference returned to work and work it was, as the it was the busiest morning for me at that job ever.  My second job also was very busy.  So jumped in full steam. By the middle of the week there was what was thought by me to be some allergy issues but ended up being a head cold that is even now still lingering.  There are still all the thoughts and promptings that occurred and are being developed but rather than moving forward it seemed got stuck in mud.

What does that image mean, getting stuck in mud.   Well the kind of being stuck in mud here pertain more to reaching a point in a path that is filled with mud and that progress is difficult.  Here there was a sudden being overwhelmed upon return followed by an ongoing drain that made it difficult to progress.  Some of that is the physical nature of things where there is an ongoing viral infection that slows down.  Rather than ramping up and broadening all the steps that need to be done, it was more a time being slowed and in that time thoughts simmer and process. In other words it is meeting with resistance from what is beyond self, and resistance from within self pertaining to issues of fear, faith, and health.  There is much work ahead, still much preparation to be laid, but time is getting to the point where some serious pursuits and work needs to be done.  Let  me review a little bit of what some of that entails.

1.  Getting the framework set and established for making a push to market private practice and generate clients.  There has not been a whole lot of push forward on that front since was hoping credentialing would go quicker and would be able to add the private practice office with little difficulty.  Credentialing is in itself like moving through mud or pour molasses.  Just a lot of patience needed and not much that can be done.  Yet, there needs to be some networking that goes on with local churches that needs to begin and it starts with getting website up.  Some of what I need done is at the help of others gracious enough to help with the things I do not have the knowledge of, and making sure my communication is clear. Once all I need help with is done then need to spend some time getting the base web content up.  The other steps are getting the printing of letterhead and business cards done so can actually send material out promoting self.  None of these things are enjoyable for me and come with resistance.   These things need to be done. 

2. There is a felt prompting to take the article: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/seven-spiritual-principles-for-transcending-suffering/, into a book that may use the newly forming POD publishing branch of AACC to publish. It is a task and process that is specific and work needs to be done to get started.  My good friend Craig even challenged to consider signing up for NaNoWriMo as part of getting moving. The challenge did not feel right, but the fact is needed to get through own personal resistance and get started on the project whether or not it ends up something beyond my putting it together. 

3. There is still the ongoing goal of writing more intentionally for the blog. Need to set and stick to some personal goals in all of this. And perhaps that is a good starting point, is sitting down and setting objectives to work through these resistance areas of life and to make progress.  But I am well aware of need to be more intentional and consistent.  I think for awhile the objective was writing everyday, and while did that for awhile it may have been more than appropriate, resulting in falling by the wayside when there is took much going on. This is especially true if spend time working on a “book project.” The other aspect is that really have felt led to have a separate blog focusing on Christianity and Mental Health that is overall different with a particular focus on those issues.  It will serve in part as a way of marketing for private practice, as well as get some thoughts out there on what true sound Christian Mental Health theory and practice is. 

So in writing this, it seems clear that in order to make moves through the resistance and mud need to have a few things happen.  One for me is setting some established personal goals. And honestly that is difficult for me. The resistance to personal goal setting goes back to days at Chapel Hill Academy when faced a “self paced” educational system with a process of self-determining goals and meeting those goals.  The final year of my time there, I loaded up a ton of detention for failing to follow through with goals as became tired of there whole way of doing things. 

So what can you the readers do to help me?  There are a couple things. Pray for God give me strength and encouragement to fight through my own areas of resistance.  Some of the resistance is the externals such as waiting for credentialing and the recent health issues. The other is emotional resistance due to fears, work load, and the rest.  In order for there to be any progress though, cannot sit and be passive. The temptation is to simply sit back, engage in the varied distractions, and move from one day to the next.  Yet, doing such would result in a lack of productivity.  So pray for me to grow through that area and meet what God desires.  The other thing people can do is to give words of encouragement.  If there is silence, drop me a line.  If you see me, ask me how doing setting and making goals.  And feel free to challenge and push me to give and meet varied goals.  For I know one thing is clear, that it is easier to move through periods of resistance when there is either encouragement or even help. 

Let me close this bit of personal musing with a question?  How are you in your own lives and in moving toward that which God has prompted within you? Are you slowed down due to resistance?  Have you stopped any progress? Have you gone silent?  Even what are the resistance areas in your own life and what are they tied to?

Post-birthday Musing: Forty-four years and counting

Yesterday was my birthday. It marked the start of my forty-fourth year on earth. Forty-three years have come and gone. Plenty of good, bad, and ugly have gone on those years. For me, the anniversary of my birth is essentially my personal New Year. It is a time to focus on God’s working in my life in the past, present, and future. As such it is a time of reflection, evaluation, submission, and thanksgiving.

    In terms of reflection, it is a time to look back to the changes that have occurred in the past year, the steps accomplished and the personal growth. It is a time truly to examine what it is that God has done in my life. The growth and progress in our lives can go un-noticed or seem insignificant unless time is spent looking back at how things have changed. Granted some years there seem to be more regression then progress but each year brings about change. In this past year though there has been definite growth in the spiritual, emotional, and relational level. The biggest area of growth is beginning to use and exercise the voice God has given me. Also and besides using the voice, my eyes, ears, and heart have been made aware of things previously ignorant or dismissive of in terms of the levels and layers of deception in the church.

    Not only is time spent reflecting on what progress have made in life but also time looking ahead at what areas still need work and what steps are needed to take to meet goals and vision. In doing an evaluation it is a good time to think about steps to take in year ahead and make plans for reaching those objectives. Certainly, in doing personal evaluation there are dangers. One danger is to start engaging in making comparisons rather than honest self-appraisal. At times it is hard to accept and recognize the differences in life. It is easy to look at folks my age who have children graduating from high school, for example. Another easy comparison is to look at where I am in my career and profession versus other people my age. The truth is God created each of us different and we do have different experiences be they good, bad, or ugly. How God shapes, guides, heals, and uses each of us is unique to our own personal journey and relationship. Yet, it is real easy to focus on what we think we lack. It is also really easy to focus on ways things may not have worked out as expected.

In terms of our agendas, plans, goals, visions, or objectives things often do not work out as we expect and it can be really easy to get caught up in our plans for bettering ourselves and engaging in our own plans and visions. As such, we need to constantly be evaluating whether we are pursuing our own plans or God’s plans. Ultimately such an attitude requires an evaluation of personal level of submission. A person’s birthday is a good time to take a hard look at self and renew submitting to God and serving his Kingdom versus our own. Granted, this is needed even day to day, moment to moment, but I find that a Birthday is a good time to commit the year ahead and any personal goals or plans to the King of Kings. It is a good day to renew the surrender of self.

Finally above all else, it is a time to be thankful before God for what he has done in your life, what is coming ahead, and what is going on in the moment. We need to remember whether we perceive progression or regression, if we are happy or unhappy, to be thankful. We are directed to rejoice in the Lord always, regardless of what else is happening. Our rejoicing really is not about our circumstance or what is happening but really about our surrender to Jesus the Messiah as King of Kings and His working in our lives to refine us. So whether the year was filled with many blessings or many trials, still rejoice for God is at work and He is the source of any peace or strength. Really after taking a step of surrendering self to God and submitting to him, the step of thanksgiving and rejoicing should be natural.

    In closing this article, I do want to simply encourage each reader to take time ask God to give me clarity and wisdom to see what he has ahead. Pray that I grow in my dying to self and practice greater moment by moment surrender of self. I have plans for the next year of my life, I have hopes that have yet to be fulfilled, but not as I will but as He wills. Above all my forty-fourth year of life is in God’s hands and I am thankful for whatever lies ahead.

New Year reflections and resolutions

Well it is now 2009, and as of this article we are eight days into the New Year. This time of year two things happen, reflections and resolution. We look back on what has changed both good and bad and we look ahead for what he hope, make plans to make changes, and begin to make preparations for any plans for the year. The point of this article is to both look back and look at what is ahead. So this article is more personal reflection then it any teaching or commentary.

REFLECTIONS:

For me, 2008 brought a change in perspectives. I had started 2008 with the focus of just pursing my professional goals and just going from one day to the next. The start of 2008 was hope for further growth in relationships but really it was about getting by each day. Spend time with family and friends, read the Bible, go to Church, work at my job, and engage in entertainment often for felt needs for distraction. I knew I should perhaps start writing a blog but it was something always that I should start. It was on my “to do list” but ever put off. I was essentially coping. Working my hours and doing what I needed to do. Now I wanted to see God moved and initially tuned into programs like the Ramp which seemed to call for dedication to God. It was interesting blurbs that really didn’t even offer much to think about, since they only give snippets of any teachings. So I was simply getting along and getting by. Then in June of 2008 through the Ramp, I learned of Todd Bentley. As documented in the first article on the blog, I initially accepted Todd Bentley as a good thing and ignored the red flags and the warnings. After barely sleeping and looking more into what actually was being said and done, God woke me up to my self-focused sitting back. Once I started looking into that deception, I also began to be aware of prophecies about the United States, most I knew in my heart were off. Yet, exposure to them made me take stalk about where I was and recognize that I needed to get ready. I cannot just sit back and eventually get to doing something. I needed to stop just “playing with soap bubbles.” I needed to do what God called me to do. So I started my blog, and eventually the forum, which is now leading to a website portal as well.

Of course exposure to Mr. Bentley and his show in Lakeland, Florida also made me more aware of the nature of deception and the pervasiveness in the church. It has made me far more critical. My mindset had always been we all misunderstand God in some ways and most doctrinal differences end up around our focusing on when element or elements related to God with exclusion to the full picture and inability to cope with apparent paradoxes such as predestination and free will. I also had recognized that God allows us to be fed where we at and will reach out to us even in our errors and self-set limits of interactions. Personally I hadn’t really attended to the stark levels of deception. Then I was exposed to Lakeland and my eyes began to open to the lies that abound within the church.

A non-spiritual event that happened in spring of 2008 is an automobile accident where a driver came at me the wrong way that now results in my having chronic neck and back pain. I know understand better what my wife suffers and others with ongoing pain. Yet, even with the ongoing pain, God point me to “Rejoice in the Lord always” and it is a tempting trap to do otherwise.

So basically I moved away from being self-focused and actually began to do things God was leading me to do. I began using my voice, something that I had lost sight of using years past, perhaps gradually, perhaps connected to self-led failures that created wounds and doubt. But not only have I started to regain my voice, but have began to be more aware of deception and have dusted off the gift of discernment, which I have learned I need to be cautious and learn to read better what God shows me when he is and not jump to quick conclusions. Discernment can be initially quick but also needs time and further context. God has shown me that at times there are mixtures where even a deceiver is sharing truth and God moves in that truth, but the rest is clouded with lies and deception. So now that there is voice and renewed discernment, what is potentially in store for 2009? This leads to reflecting on the resolutions for the New Year.

Resolutions:

I think of this as resolutions, because it becomes areas and goals that I hope will be attended to, and decisions I want to commit to in the year ahead. We never know what the year brings, all we know at this stage is where we are pointed. Twists and turns will come, like my step-mother’s cancer returning, but still there are paths to go down, as led by God and the Holy Spirit. And 2009, really is a year of pending change. Yes, we have a new President and change will be happening regardless. But I am talking a time for personal transformation.

One of my resolutions and goals and really the starting point is deepening my relationship with God. God has already shown me of a need to be thankful daily, even moment by moment, regardless of circumstance. When things are getting tough I need to move beyond distraction and actually reach a point of being able to rejoice, with God’s help, since my strength to rejoice fails.

Another change that I need to make, is continue to follow God’s lead which will involve contact by email from people from my school and both forgiving and asking for forgiveness. I recently did write an old friend who went down a sinful path and I abandoned him to his sin essentially because of pride and self-righteousness. It is a hard thing to do, but this needs to happen.

I am in process of building not just a blog and forum but a website portal. It right now is an overwhelming task, but God has brought some good people to help, and I look forward to see how God uses what he leads in my life and the lives of those touched by those tools and services.

A personal goal is professional licensure in psychology and a hope to help others through in-office therapy and not just my current crisis evaluation and in-home skills training jobs. Yet, only God knows where those will lead.

Another resolution is to grow in my ability to meet my wife’s needs and to help her grow in her walk and overcome her struggles.

Also, I want to see healing and restored health for my step-mother and still hope that God can restore my mother’s vision. I need to open and listen to how God wants me to interact and act on behalf of those I love. I do also need to turn my felt responsibility for my family to God, seeing any of them in pain hurts regardless of coming at the hands of choices, or through life circumstances including health. Ultimately, I need to submit them to God before anything else. I need to daily turn my burdens over to Him because they are too much for me to bear.

All in all, I know that the year will not turn out in accordance with any expectations I have about what will happen, how God will work, and what is in store. All I know, is there is a season of changes coming. How that plays out, only God knows, but he has set things in motion and led me in directions for reasons only known to Him. And basically above all else I want to live in submission to Him, and build his Kingdom and not my own, because it is very easy to get caught up in building for self. There are way too many temptations.

I also know that God has some things for me to write and say. Articles on the to do list grow, there is a series coming on what goes into strong delusions and effectual deceptions, a series examining morality, an article on biblical approach to conspiracies real or imagined, and article on our wormwood, soap bubble chasing culture, and other things as God leads. It all can be very overwhelming. Add on to that adding the website and blog with family health concerns ongoing and I can easily be overwhelmed to the point of inaction. So pray for strength and let God move in me as he will.

I also offer the readers a challenge to go before God and turn yourself over to His will for the coming year. Ask God some very specific prayers:

Thank God for what has come in the years past and for what is to come, even any potential suffering.

Ask God to open your eyes and ears to any areas of deception in your life and to show you the truth.

Ask God to make clear areas in your life where you need to repent of your own self-will.

Ask God to show you anyone that you may need to forgive or reconcile.

Ask God to show you what is asking of you in this year ahead.

Tell God that you submit to His will over God.

And know that while all of this is easily written and actually easy to do, the surrender of self is never easy but when you surrender self to the God of Love who cared enough to send Jesus to pay for our selfishness, so that we can be reconciled, then you truly are blessed and find true peace.