Friday, November 5, 2010

Family and Friendship Feuds

              Embrace the new day! Today, things can change!
With all the stress we carry on a daily basis it's no wonder we can lose our focus (take our eyes off of Jesus, His love and His plans) and fall into that trap of discontentment, disharmony, discord and division within our own life, within relationships and within our own soul. Often it is the very stress that we are enduring or perhaps our inability to cope with that stress that is causal to our DIS's in life.

Di-vision, dis-harmony, dis-cord, dis-couragement, dis-may and others alike. There are times when dark ploys attack the most loving family, the most connected friendships, the most organized lives and the greatest of marriages and relationships.

Whats happened?

We have lost focus and evil has come to have its way because our eyes came off the Prize, off of our Peace, off of our Joy, Hope and Life Giver. We are responsible for opening the door to the great demise of our peace when we allow others to "get under our skin", "provoke us to anger", offend us or steal our peace and joy. It takes work on our part to change our level of sensitivity and it is work to confront issues that arise within relationships that are harmful, hurtful or toxic emotionally, mentally, verbally or spiritually.

I believe communication is the key to stability, freedom and resolution. Even when the resolution is not what we want or hope for. Resolution doesnt always mean something is resolved with the ending we want but perhaps a resolve comes when it is simply discussed and released. Without communication a relationship with anyone is likend to a plant that is deprived of water and light. Thus, when we retain and suppress our hurts internalizing our emotions they are later projected onto an innocent loved one without being conscious of doing so. Suppressed emotional pain is similar to a cancer. If the cancerous cells are not removed eventually it spreads and will eat at the individual retaining them while affecting those around them. Like any toxin it must be cured, treated or removed in order to regain a healthy condition.

We must trust God in all things. Before, during and after. We do what we can and once that is done we must trust Him with the end result. But we must not take a passive attitude and trust that any resolve will come without doing something to bring resolution. God expects us to DO. 

Believe it or not it is the harboring of an offense or unresolved hurt that can rob us of our peace. The devil would love for us to walk around carrying the weight of our wounds believing they will just go away on their own. But, where the spirit of the Lord is; there is Liberty. Free yourself of the hurt, the offense, the pain! No one enjoys confrontation but do you know that there is a freedom in confronting certain issues. It doesnt mean you have a throwdown with that friend, spouse, or family member but that you choose to find resolution through love. Did you know that most people who communicate are healthier?

Note-I believe God entrusts us with the wisdom we have attained through His word and our relationship with Jesus Christ to "do something" when a situation arises. Many have taken the easy road and claim God will do this or that while I believe God is waiting for us to take the step to restoration. Jesus told Peter to step out of the boat, God commanded Abraham to do, Moses to do, Elijah to come out of the cave and face Jezebel, etc..God didnt just do all the work for those mighty valors in the Bible so what makes us think that we can just sit back and say God will this or that while we do nothing.

Yes, He fights our battles but He fights them through us!   He wants us to be doers. Hence, we must take the action necessary "in and through love" to restore what we can, build up what we can, reclaim, overcome, refresh etc. Once we have done all we can we just stand and trust the Lord with our hearts, with others and with our life. We must not take the passive road . The road to restoration takes work, love, perserverance and sometimes some tears and conflict. Yes, there is healthy conflict when it involves working through a situation do get to a healthier relationship. But, there is also an end to what we can do where we just know we have poured out in love, made the healthy attempts to get past unresolved hurts and toxic relationships and we must trust God for the end result.

Yes, believe it or not somethings must end in order to maintain a healthy mindset; not everything will always be resolved. Sometimes the resolve is the end of something if everything else has been attempted. This is when we must accept the things we cannot change. We can not change others or certain situations but we can change ourselves and we do have the Power within us to take those steps if we will lean on the strength of God within us to do so. We can! Yes, I know, it is much easier saying it than doing it. This is where we pray asking for courage and leaning our faith (stepping out of the boat).  There is a time to let go and let God; use the wisdom He has given through His word and Life to know when this should happen.

The sad thing is that most troubled relational issues occur in the midst of the trouble. Whether it is with one person or the other. Hurting people hurt others.  If we can regain focus with a clear and sound mind we can actually make a difference and work toward positive change within ourselves first and then perhaps the actual problem or relational issue that is distressed. Again, not everything can be resolved as we would like and sometimes it truly takes stepping away or stepping back for resolve.

I pray that as we walk through this journey of life we realize that if hurts are not healed they become toxins within us and cause destruction to the very relationships that are so important to us and valuable to God who is the Creator of relationships. Remember unity is from Christ and division; well you know the answer to that one. Most of the time the mission of the devil is to "divide and conquer". Don't let that happen (if you can help it) to those valuable and cherished relationships. Seek to unify them, restore them or at least bring them to a place of peace and functioning.

The good thing about being given a new day from God is that we all have the opportunity to seize the moment, change things or accept the things we cannot change, make things better, work toward healing through forgiveness, mercy and love; and truly embrace the present day as another gift from God to spend in this earth as if tomorrow was not to come.

Today, I pray that anything broken within a family, friendship, marriage, relational or life issue is restored if it is the will of God and if it is healthy to your life. . And, if you are saying, "That's impossible" well then look to Christ because with man things are impossible when we do things in our way.  But, With God (Matthew 19:26), "All things are possible"!  We must all take steps for this process to progress. Change and forgiveness is not easy but it is achievable if we simply glance at the love of Jesus, His forgiveness upon us and the love we once shared with those who have hurt us or whom we have hurt. Forgiveness sets us free from the pain and opens up the door to healing. Forgiveness frees the soul from the anguish it holds.

Parents, do not provoke your children to anger; and children honor your parents!

In the midst of so many emotions, differences and things that may have caused hurt to evolve into anger we must stop and look back to why we are hurt because this is the beginning of restoration. Look back to when the friendship or relationship (with a mother, a friend, a husband, a child etc.) was good and grab a hold of that for a new beginning! Its okay to agree to disagree. Its okay to have differences as long as we all understand that we can be unified even through diversity. We have to seek understanding and realize it is through change that we grow and develop while changing our thinking patterns and acquiring positive behavioral adaptations.

God bless us all with strength, courage, peace and love.

Standing with you on this journey,

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.Amen. --Reinhold Niebuhr

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bullying, Cyber-Bullying and Public Humiliation: The Pain of Sticks, Stones, Words and Pictures

I’m with Ellen; I just can't keep silent!

Bullying, Cyber-Bullying and Public Humiliation...all the same!

They all hurt inside and out leaving a person suffering in silence, feeling humiliated, and scarred with emotional wounds. It is high time to stop the madness and start the kindness! Sadly, people (kids and adults) who hurting hurt other people. Its time to start the healing!

Ellen DeGeneres recently spoke about the crisis of kids/people committing suicide after being publicly humiliated, bullied, or cyber-bullied by peers. This has been a long time topic amongst my own family and friends. Frankly, I just can’t keep silent either!

We're talking about our kids here!

The recent news of quite a few kids committing suicide over being bullied/cyber-bullied, publicly humiliated via Internet has had me weeping. It is very sad. I wept over every single “child” who chose suicide to cope with the bullying/cyber bullying or public humiliation via the Internet that they were enduring as the way to ease their pain. And, I am just as concerned for the kids who are living with it in silence and hurting terribly from what they endure.
Just think about the pain a person is in to consider dying over something. But, there are also lots of kids suffering in silence every day. Kids whose grades start dropping, kids who have behavioral changes because they are hurting from what they are holding inside, kids who just take the abuse of others quietly hoping it will end soon.

Something has to change!

Parents, if you're too busy to see it,

hear it or do something about it;

You’re too busy!

Kids are precious gifts from God and time passes too quickly not to notice and care or monitor what our kids are doing or saying on the Internet, in school and at home. It is not the jobs of the teachers in the schools to raise our kids but to teach them academically while we teach them about values, morality, and right behaviors at home. We have to take on our responsibility. Some of today's children are suffering and attacking others to lash out because of the pain they are in due to life's issues that they simply can't handle or cope with in general. They really should come first in our lives. They really need to know we care, we are there and that they are loved. Perhaps, finding out the source of their anger is the first step that might stop the bullying. I know that might be hard because sometimes it requires us as parents to look at ourselves too.

It is everywhere. The Internet has become a negative tool to some people to hurt others thinking they are in their own little world and not even realizing that once you type something and click send you have just told the entire world what you are thinking and feeling. And if it hurts another person or attacks another person or shows a picture of another person (that didn’t approve for it to be shown) you are harassing, attacking and bullying that person.
It becomes the responsibility of anyone in the public who sees it to respond to it and try to help stop it. Whether it is school officials, web site authorities, parents or the police; IT HAS TO STOP!

Cyber-bullying and bullying in general has taken over and parents, school officials and society in general have got to do something now.

All of these things are unacceptable!

Bullying/cyber bullying/public humiliation takes on various methods of attack. Whether it is sending a picture of someone from a cell phone which violates their privacy, writing something bad about a person on any web site, making threats (even if you are not going to follow through or if it is just for your laughs at the expense of the other person), saying mean and hurtful things and even a slight push in a school hall way.

Cyber-bullying is when someone chooses to use the computer via the Internet to threaten, talk bad about someone, publicly humiliate a person or curse at the other person. Anything that makes another person feel threatened or hurt because of something that is done or said is bullying.

Kids and young adults; tell someone!
Don’t deal with it alone!
We care! We love you!

If you are being bullied or cyber-bullied

(harassed, threatened, teased, embarrassed,

pushed around, made fun of, cursed at or

talked about in a negative way) by another

person physically or on the Internet;

Please tell someone.

There are laws that protect you from this and consequences for the person who is doing the bullying. Mostly, people who bully other people do not feel that great about themselves so they try to put the focus on someone else by the methods I listed above.

But, you shouldn’t suffer at their expense or their need to use you for a laugh, a good joke or a punching bag. There is always at least one person out there that you know; whether it is a friend, a parent, a relative (aunt, uncle or cousin) or pastor who will stand by you, listen and/or help resolve the problem. If you are being bullied please tell someone because you don’t deserve it and they shouldn’t be doing it.

It’s not funny and it’s not a joke!
To the kids who think it’s funny to hurt someone else with video, text messages, pictures, or words you need to stop and think about what you are doing. Bullying, harassing or embarrassing others has consequences. You too, are loved so stop hurting other people because you may be hurting or because you think its harmless fun at the expense of the person you are hurting. No one deserves to be hurt in any way.

The old saying,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is an untrue statement.
Words do hurt!

Put down the sticks, don’t throw the stones;

And refrain from using hurtful words!

Sticks and stones hurt and so do the words that are used to attack others. Words are powerful. Words can lift a person up or bring a person down. Yes, you can try not to allow hurtful things to wound your soul and crush your spirit but for the most part they manage to get in and accomplish the pain intended from the person who sent the wounding word. Spend more energy and time on being kind, saying nice things, and just being a kid with positive things to do and say. Your reward will be greater and better for being a kind person. It is better to be noticed for doing something nice than to be noticed for doing something hurtful.

Parents, I used to take this a little lighter and felt that kids should work it out. But, I was wrong in my thinking or old school mentality. Years ago, when I was a kid that’s how we were raised to handle it; but times have changed and as time changes so should the way we handle things according to the events that come with the changes of life and time. We now have the advancement of technology unlike when I was a child. We have cell phones that record video, take pictures and send text messages along with the Internet that reaches out to the world and around the world with the click of a button.

Bullying and cyber–bullying which is more common today has to be stopped! Its time to step in and step up! The time of allowing kids to handle it “on their own” is over because it has gotten out of control and kids are suffering because of it. Yes, they have to learn positive coping mechanisms along the way but they also need to know we are here to protect them and they should not have to endure constant and consistent verbal attacks or physical harm at the expense of another child’s thrill. It’s simply not like it used to be. Watch the news where you will find parents watching kids fight each other, kids committing suicide over peer related stress, violated privacy, bullying, cyber-bullying and other things.

Believe it or not; kids carry alot of stress!

Times have changed and with changing times must come changed ways of handling the events that are present. Kids are suffering (mostly in silence) and worse yet; dying because they simply can’t handle the unnecessary pressure and stress they feel from this kind of abuse from their peers.

Kids, your life is too important to end over someone bullying you. You have your whole life to live and too many people love you, care about you and want you around for as long as possible. One day, you will grow up and remember your school days and how great of a job you did getting through them. You are only walking through a small part of the big life you have ahead of you.

Don’t stop walking and don’t give up because you’re too important in this world.

If you are being bullied/cyber-bullied/abused or publicly humiliated please talk to someone; don’t hold it in. Someone will walk you through it or help talk to you about how your feeling.

You don’t deserve to be bullied by anyone.

You are a special person!

Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Together with a family member, friend, or pastor you can work to find a solution that helps your temporary problem and one that will keep you here growing, learning and living!

Finally, if you’re reading this and you have bullied, cyber-bullied, threatened, harassed or publicly humiliated someone in the past; please stop here and now.

Change your thinking and it will change your actions!

Blessings of love, peace and understanding,


Friday, October 1, 2010

Striving for Excellence or Perfection?

Do you strive for excellence or perfection?

There is a difference.

Awakened early this morning with thoughts running through my mind; I heard myself ask aloud; "why do some strive for perfection instead of striving for excellence"?

Throughout my life I have watched people who spend endless amounts of energy and exhausting amounts of precious time in life striving for perfection. Yes, that too, was once me. This debilitating mentality leaves an individual seeking to perfect everything they do and everything they are; that they think will lead to some esteemed place that doesn't exist.

I think that a perfection mentality is a personality flaw. It is haughty and unrealistic. You will find that most people who live with this perfection mentality are very controlling, manipulative and condescending because nothing or anyone can measure up to their perfect little world that they "perceive" is perfect; yet this perfectionism perspective is far from reality.  I was raised in a perfectionist type home and it took me years to realize this was destroying my peace, bringing me down and ruining relationships. It has also taken me years to cognitively and behaviorally readjust and to let go of this mentality that will leave a person distressed event after failed event.

Of course, if you are operating with a perfection mentality it will be extremely difficult to even acknowledge or see anything less than perfect. So, listen to those closest to you who express their disharmony, disaffection or subtle digressions from you; because being around you makes them feel less than perfect and is a constant reminder that they cant live up to that or be anywhere near your perfect world that makes them feel like a failure. See the sign below...There simply is no perfect place and there is no perfect human being.

Why? Because perfection is a perception and not a reality.

Let's look at perfection.

To be perfect means that something or you is perfect and without flaw. This truly is our own perception; well the perfection perception. Surely someone would come along and find that what an individual deemed as perfected would not meet up to another person's  view or standard of perfection therefore ruling out the truth that something is perfect.

I know, I know. Quite philosophical and complex; some might even say that denying perfection is a defeated mentality but look again closely and think about it!!

I mean it really is quite simple.

Striving for perfection is possible. I mean the striving part. But, you will keep striving and striving and striving because the unrealistic part to that statement is that reaching perfection is humanly impossible!

It is a set up for failure. It will keep you from actually achieving excellence.

Excellence vs Perfection

In a post I recently submitted on my personal facebook page this is what I wrote:

I am perplexed at what prompted this analysis. Perhaps this journey of life and watching people (including myself, family and certain friends) struggle as they strive for perfection had me searching. My father was a perfectionist and yes I believe we inherited (lol) this perfection trait or what I now call a flaw.    I have personally came to the realization that this perfection trait had to go because it was stealing my joy and making me feel worthless.

When I let go I felt liberated and free to excel in striving for excellence instead of perfection. 

I believe striving for perfection steals our joy, our human-ness and drive for excellence. When you strive for perfection you walk passed excellence seeking that perfect you, that perfect someone or that perfect something. I like not being perfect and love striving to do my best (excellence). Those who strive for perfection actually live discontent lives unable to attain the perfection they seek from themselves and others. Most perfectionists will be lonely driving away everyone around them who they believe cant live up to their perfect world.

It seems that perfection and striving for it; leaves an individual with a fear of not fulfilling something perfectly. Fear attracts anger, frustration and chaos. We will choose not to entertain certain things in life because we will fear not doing it perfectly or falling short of it being perfect. Therefore, striving for perfection becomes a debilitating factor leaving a person feeling inadequate, insufficient, and lacking.
When we strive for excellence we can give it our all and our best knowing it is achievable because our best is our best and it will not be perfect. Someone can always do better and someone will always be worse; there simply is no perfect. Have you ever heard or seen something or someone say "There, that is perfect" only to watch or see someone else come along and do it better or find a flaw with what you called perfect?

Of course you have! Unless your in denial.

We set realistic goals and they can reached when we strive for excellence and not perfection. Perfection demands control and holds strong judgemental attitudes while excellence promotes humility, positive drive, joy, faith and accomplishment.

Those who strive for excellence will see others following them gladly. Sadly, perfectionists will drive others away and encounter loneliness, sadness and confusion as to why they are alone and why they cant seem to ever quite get it right. Simply put some of us just cant seem to keep up or live up to the perfect world that others seem to live in; idealistically!


Perhaps because this perfect world simply doesn't exist.

From my Christian perspective; and humble opinion; which I understand not everyone will agree with, I personally found that when I accepted a life in Christ and realized I am loved unconditionally in my human-ness with all of my flaws yet accepted in HIM and that HE died for me, forgave me and set me free; I was set free from being perfect and set on a road to strive for excellence until the day of perfection when I am in His perfect presence.  

As He dwells in my heart in His perfect-ness through my fallen-ness, weak-ness and human-ness I am able to achieve excellence as I progress through life striving to do the best that I can and achieving the achievable; Excellence.

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