I saw her after seven years, and she looked better. Carmen had lost weight, looked just as young as she did seven years ago, and was anxious to tell me how much she had grown psychologically and spiritually. I made the mistake of asking her how she was doing after all these years. We had attended the same church, been in the same recovery groups, and I knew her as a woman who definitely had "issues". She was a survivor of child abuse, had been married several times, but seemed to be genuinely interested in growth, especially spiritual growth.
Oh, April, I can't tell you how hard it's been since I last saw you. Jorge and I have been through absolute hell! I keep telling him to act like a man and he keeps wimping out. We went through marital counseling, and it just made things worse. The counselor actually told me I needed to accept Jorge as he was and quit trying to change him. Can you imagine?
She went on with hardly a breath.
I just couldn't stand being around him, so now we sleep in different bedrooms. And I took a job driving a truck so I could just get away from him. Since we don't believe in divorce, this was my only alternative, you know. And being away from him has given me the space I needed to grow! I've just grown by leaps and bounds in the Lord. It's night and day difference, I tell you!
I just looked at her in utter disbelief. "Growth"? Was she trying to kid me as much as she had deceived herself? I uttered some benign, polite remark and said I was on my way to an appointment. But I kept thinking about what Carmen had said. She actually thought by running away from obvious problems, she had "grown in the Lord." Unbelievable.
I've known others like Carmen. They confuse knowledge and growth. To be familiar with what the Bible says on issues because you've read it so many times is light-years away from k-n-o-w -i-n-g the truth of it. Truth needs to be "fleshed out" in our mundane daily lives.
Truth isn't truth until you have fleshed it out in your daily walk with God and your fellow human beings.
We are told in James 1:22-24
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to The Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
There are many who have been through biblical counseling and numerous Bible Studies, and they walk away feeling wiser, smarter, and bondage-free. Then a spouse, or a friend, or the children do something to displease or hurt us, and whoa! Away flies all the wisdom just "learned".
Growth is hard work! It is not knowledge alone. There are many self-perceived intellectuals who don't have a bit of common sense. And there are many so-perceived intellectuals who have no regard for others' feelings. To them, knowledge is power. (Where have we heard that before? I think it was in the 1960's.)
I know someone who prides himself in his expertise on a large variety of subjects, yet he is a doubt-planter with his knowledge. When asked how he knows things, his answer is always, "I have done mega tons of research on this." Actually, that could mean he watched a video on YouTube, read it on the internet, or listened to it on a fringe radio program. He takes great pride in his knowledge. Yet a conversation with him always leaves the other person feeling drained and doubting their own judgment because this "expert" is all-too-anxious to point out why their judgment is wrong. I have even heard him say, "Well, you are coming from a place of ignorance, so I'll let that comment go."
Christians are too quick to claim they have grown in the Lord!! I figure if you have to proclaim growth, it's not growth. If you have to prove how smart you are, you have much bigger problems you're not acknowledging.
I feel bad for Carmen, and even worse for her poor husband, Jorge. She has deluded herself and, as a result, has prevented any real growth. She has ruined her marriage, devastated her husband, and been a horrible example for her grown children. Worst of all, she calls herself a follower of Christ!
Maybe that's why a humble spirit is highly prized by the Lord. When I study the Gospels, looking at Jesus Christ as my example, I see that He had a strong sense of identity. He Who He was! Yet He humbled Himself throughout His life, bending to The Father's will. And His life on earth culminated in the ultimate act of humility: taking MY sins upon Himself and paying the price required of The Father for them. He did not deserve to die - He came to die as a blood sacrifice!
Meeting up with Carmen has made me put "truth" and "growth" in a new perspective. I pray I have the humility to actually flesh out whatever I learn as I continue on this earth journey.
10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.
What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.
There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:
1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.
2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.
3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.
4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”
Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:
- 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.
- 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.
- 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.
- 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.
- 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
- 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.
- 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.
- 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.
- 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”
- 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!
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