(C) 2017 John Thurman
Living and Leading in Your Strengths
Have you ever wondered what makes you tick? Why you do some of the things you do? Have you ever wanted some clarity on your personality sytle and how it impacts your work, play, and decision makeing?
I have had the joy of helping hundreds of people learn how to live in the power of their personality blends for over thirty years. It has been a remarkable journey of seeing the lights turn on in individuals as they begin to understand some practical ways that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
In the next several weeks I will be sharing some of the truths and insights that I have learned. I know that as you engage in this journey with me, you will grow both personally and professionally. Your confidence will grow as you learn just how unique and talented person that you are.
Are you ready?
You are original, don't die a copy. Did you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Did you know that you have been purposefully created and equipped with a beautiful and unique personality style combined with a set of talents and gifts that God wants to use to touch others?
Your personal journey in combination with your personality style, talents, and gifts are poised to make a powerful impact in your world.
I am going to share with you some information that could change your life if you allow it to. Who knows, you just might discover a piece of the puzzle that you have been looking for to take the next step.
In the next few weeks I am going to:
An Overview of the Personalities.
First, an overview of the personality styles from 36,000 feet. I will use the labels of the systems that I have been using for years.
1. The Dominant Personality ( The Lion or the Choleric)
Sense of Control
Credit for work
2. The Influencer (The Otter or the Sanguine)
3. The Steady One. (The Golden Retriever or the Phlegmatic)
4. The Compliance Person (The Beaver or the Melancholic)
So now that I have your head spinning let me remind you that my goal is not to have you all become personality experts but to be able to identify your unique blend. Once you understand your basic hardwiring, you will find that is easier to be whom you are as opposed to an up line or cross line that you admire.
Next week I will share three secrets to overcoming those show-stoppers that may be holding you back.
Would love to hear from you in the comments section. Happy New Year!
(C) 2017 John H. Thurman Jr. All Rights Reserved
My First Christmas without my Mama
by John Thurman
This Christmas will mark a first for me. It will be a bittersweet one because my mama went to be with the Lord on December 3, 2016.
Her death was not a shock or a surprise. For the past several years she fought off the effects of COPD until she was no longer able to breathe. That Friday, she took her last breath on Earth and her first breath in the presence of the Lord. She was surrounded by her family and her family doctor.
My mama loved this time of year! As a florist and small business owner, she enjoyed preparing for the Advent Season and was a joy-filled bundle of energy during the Holidays. I have many memories of some of the extraordinary things that she and my dad did for us during Christmas time.
Like many of you who have experienced a loss in the past year or two, I will rejoice at the memories from my childhood and adult years with my mom. I accept the fact we are born, we live a life in between the dash, our start date and out end date and then we pass from this earth. My mama had a great run between her birth and death. She lived a full and meaningful life, her dash between these dates touched many people and she gave my brothers and sisters an example of resilience, and a positive attitude.
For those of you on this shared journey, I hope that this Christmas will be a hope-filled, joyful season for you while you both mourn the loss and celebrate the memories of your loved one.
While I love the story of the birth of Jesus and have had the blessing of visiting his birthplace in Bethlehem, I am reminded that his birthplace is only minutes away from where he died and arose from the death.
While we celebrate the birth of the baby, Jesus let’s remember one of the earliest confessions of the church.
As a reminder, at this time, there was no New Testament, and very few people were literate. This confession was an instructional tool used to help early believers understand some fundamental doctrine about Jesus Christ.
The Apostle’s Creed or Nicene
This creed was first formulated at the First Ecumenical Council, held at Nicene, located in what is now Turkey, in 325, as a response to the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. It was revised at the Second Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople in 381 as a response to the Macedonian or Pneumatomachian heresy, which denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him, all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Special Note: The word "catholic" with a lower-case 'c' does not mean the Roman Catholic Church, but the universal Christian Church as a whole.
My hope, as you and I work through the losses that we have experienced, we will have a sense of hope, peace, and comfort
I love what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3: 3-4
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others".
Focus on the Family has some wonderful articles on dealing with the Holidays after loosing a loved one.
You might also enjoy a post from a couple of years ago. Don't Let Your Sugar Plumbs Turn to Prunes
May you have a Merry and Meaningful Christmas.
Please feel free to make a comment or add your thoughts.
I found baby Jesus at Walmart by John Thurman
Reprinted from last year.
Christmas yard art is at an all time low. I see blow up Santa’s, Reindeer, that look more like mule deer, gift boxes, snow globes, and all matter of Christmas merchandise in people’s yards. Last year, one of my childhood friends from my hometown of Fort Valley, Georgia sent me a photo of a what he called a redneck Christmas Deer, it was strung up on its hind legs and had red Christmas bulbs cascading out of its abdominal area. I guess that was a field dressed reindeer otherwise known as lunch or dinner.
Getting back to my story, in our neighborhood there were only two manger scenes, now there are three. I hate to admit it, but when I began noticing all of the inflatables, I felt like our area was moving into the battle of the inflatebles. Almost like, "I've have more inflatables that you do." The other night I was out for a walk enjoying the silent, crisp air of the early evening in New Mexico only to have it interrupted by the low, endless drone of 14 blow up device fans filling the atmosphere with their mechanical hum the corner of one yard. A bit overboard, but we do live in the United States of America, and they are free to exercise free speech.
That is when I decided to step onto the slippery slope of conformity and seek out an inflatable Baby Jesus and the Holy Family. After all, the grandsons will love it the colors and maybe it will remind a few people of the Reason for the Season as they drive by my corner.
It was a daunting task. I went to Lowe’s, Target, Home Depot, Kmart, and Sears in search of the baby Jesus. I was determined to use my inflatable as the reminder of the reason for the season. The Walmart helper points to shelves that bursting with blow up igloos, the Grinch, Snoopy, a Minion, and a least four types of Santa’s, including one in camo, and one of Santa Riding a Polar Bear! There were blow up snow globes, Disney characters, snowmen and finally, like the three wise men in search of the baby, I found him on the bottom shelf, pushed to the rear of the rack in the Garden Department at Walmart.
I guess baby Jesus is not in demand much anymore. You see, when stores are placing merchandise on their shelves, they put the best sellers and impulse items on the center shelf.
A couple of years ago, Angie and I had the opportunity to see the traditional birthplace of Jesus. It was a beautiful experience, a spiritual experience. I hope that if you have the chance to visit the Holy Land, you will take the time and put up with the hassle to visit this site. Even though it is a very touristy place, almost everyone believes this is the spot.
Baby Jesus started life on the bottom shelf in a barn/cave. The Baby Jesus became the Way of Salvation for all who believe on him.
Way too many Americans have what I call the Ricky Bobby view of Baby Jesus. They love the baby Jesus but Jesus grew up and became a man. Christmas means nothing without Easter.
In the early days of the church, the early church leaders sought to find a way to teach basic Christology, (the study of who Christ). People, for the most part, could not read, there were no printing presses, so the way primary teaching went to the masses was through the story.
The first Creed of the Church is the Apostle’s Creed; many believe this was the first unifying statement of the church, before the writing of the New Testament. Some traditions say that the Apostle’s Creed came from the original band of Christ followers.
As we move into this Advent Season let me encourage you to read it slowly:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting. Amen.
*that is, the real universal, Christian church of all times and all places
May you have a blessed Advent Season!
And one final question – How do you treat the Baby Jesus, is he on the bottom rack or are you learning to let him be Lord?
Well, it is a few days after a fantastic Thanksgiving Black Friday is done, Cyber Monday is in the books, and Giving Tuesday is almost done. News Flas, we are in the "full speed ahead" mode for this Advent Season.
Have you ever noticed It never fails, about three to five days before “Black Friday,” I hear at least a partial recitation of A Visit from St. Nicholas, a poem written by an American author, Clement Clarke Moore. It is a lovely poem; that helped launch some of our modern views of Santa.
In one of the early lines in the story, he mentions, "visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads."
To be fair, a sugar-plum is not fruit in any way fashion or form. Instead, it is a sugar confection shaped to look like a plum. However, for the sake of my illustration allow me to ask the following questions
Have your sugarplums turned to prunes?
The Holiday season can be a time of joy and dread. It can be a time of anticipation and a time of some heavy-duty stress. While the joy of the season is about the celebration of Christ's birth, too many of us become sidetracked with the pressures of the season and the short days of winter.
Rather than being excited about the season we show about the same enthusiasm as a sentenced pirate about to walk the plank. We feel dread, anxiety, exhaustion and isolation. If you feel this way you could be a victim of the Christmas blahs, the Hanukkah malaise, the Kwanza ennui, and for the neo pagans amongst us, the Solstice slump.
In this four part series, we are going to look at practical ways to manage holiday stress, build boundaries, and celebrate this very special time of the year.
Holiday stress statistics reported by the American Psychological Association indicate that up to 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time”, 69% are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money”, and 51% feel stressed out over the “pressure to give or receive gifts”.
Stress is the perception of pressure, tension, worry, fear, dread or anxiety. The way we respond to stress can exacerbate, or even create physical and emotional problems.
Problems such as allergies, muscle tension, GI issues, colds, flu, sinus infections, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, angina, heart disease, and heart attacks. Many individuals can develop unhealthy behaviors to cope with stress: overeating, using alcohol and drugs, and being irritable and angry.
Rather than being excited about the season, we show the same enthusiasm as being told that you need a root canal. We feel dread, anxiety, exhaustion and isolation. If you feel like this, you could be a victim of the Christmas blahs, the Hanukkah malaise, the Kwanza dullness, and for the neo-pagans amongst us, the Solstice slump.
Here is the first installment of some simple suggestions, some humorous, some serious, to keep " your sugarplums from turning into prunes."
Remember the reason for the season. Re-read the Christmas story, go to a worship service, attend a Christmas Play and listen to some uplifting seasonal music.
Keep your expectations in line with reality. One of the reasons things go south in so many relationships, particularly this time of year, is undiscussed and undisclosed expectations are violated. If you dare to expect a perfect holiday, then you are probably setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.
Chill out and go with the flow! Relax, laugh take a step back and unwind.
Rememeber, regardless of what your therapist says, the Christmas season is not about problem solving. Deal with family issues another time. You have to choose how you are going to feel. You do not have to be a slave to old memories.
If you are going to be spending a lot of time with family, be intentional about building in breaks for the family. The holidays can be a very special time for families to be together, but you don’t need to overdose.
Watch the food intake. The holidays are a time when many people pick up weight. You can still have the goodies of the season just watch the servings and the sizes. If meal preparation is a bear for you, try making some changes. Don’t let the eating and/or drinking be the focus of the gathering. Avoid getting loaded with spirits, sweets and fats at the same time, there is nothing worse than being bloated, loaded and wired all at the same time. If you do overdo it, be sure to wear your elastic pants or your expandable Dockers – avoid the mid-meal unbuttoning at cost – it is humiliating to you spouse and kids.
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
Next week – tips for family gatherings and practical help for the recently divorced.
#holidaystressbusting, #holidaystresstips, #getagriponholidaystress.
Breaking News: Breast explodes on Thanksgiving Day.
Middle Georgia: During the 60’s
Right breast of Thanksgiving Turkey explodes in the oven at the Thurman's residence on Westview Drive. No injuries were reported; anxiety levels were high.
I grew up in a larger family in Fort Valley, Georgia. Fort Valley is a beautiful town situated in the heart of Georgia, on many maps is it between the o and the r. Fort Valley is the home of Blue Bird Bus company, Lane's Southern Orchards, and Georgia Bob’s BBQ.
Around this time last year I was watching Jimmy Fallon when he was doing his segment on #thanksgivingfail, and I remember one Thanksgiving fail, my mom, who is an exceptional cook, was trying a new way of cooking her turkey.
We had some family coming over, and momma was cooking a big bird. Things in the kitchen were busier than a one-eyed cat trying to watch two mouse holes at the same time. When all of a sudden there was the muffled sound of an explosion in the oven followed by a small combination of steam and smoke as the right breast of this rather large breasted bird exploded. Momma quickly opened the oven to see what had happened, what she found was a crumpled sheet of aluminum with pieces of meat and skin shrapnel from the explosion. I remember her initial exasperation which was immediately followed by her saying, "It is still moist and almost done, it will have to do."
Dad carved the bird, and no one but our family knew about the damaged turkey.
As I recall, the bird was fantastic, and like you, we ate too much that day.
For most of us, the Thanksgiving fails, while at the moment have things that seemed negative turned out to be a great memory maker.
One of the ways to expand you Attitude of Gratitude is to share some stories of Thanksgiving’s past.
Have a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude and grace? #Attitude of Gratitude, #Get a Grip on Stress. #ATTITUDEOFGRATITUDE, #GETAGRIPONFEAR#GETAGRIPONSTRESS, #LOWSERHOLIDAYSTRESS
Push Back the Tyranny of Fear with Dose of Gratitude. Why Thanksgiving is important.
Do fear, anxiety, and stress have you tied up in knots? Are you trying to push back the darkness of depression?
As a part of my series on Psychological Body Armor, I am going to disclose the cheapest, and one of the most productive things you can do to lower stress, reduce fear and increase happiness. It is cheaper than therapy, has no debilitating side effects, and you will begin to see the benefits of using it almost immediately.
This ancient, but well-researched intervention is gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude, expressing thanks.
The word gratitude comes from the Latin work gratis, more precisely gratus, which means grateful or thankful. As a quick side note: Mrs. Ruffo, my eighth-grade Latin Teacher while I attended Fort Valley High School in Fort Valley, Georgia, is probably smiling down from Heaven as I write this. I am thankful to her for teaching me an appreciation for ancient languages.
Gratitude is an attitude that demonstrates grateful appreciation.
Thankfulness helps people connect to something bigger than themselves as individuals whether to other people or God.
Psalm 107:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His Love endures forever.”
Thanksgiving arrives this week. As you and I begin to prepare for this significant and meaningful time of year, I want to give you seven things you can do to push back the tyranny of fear, doubt, and darkness with Dose of Gratitude.
Gratitude is the thankful appreciation of things received, whether tangible or intangible. It helps you and me connect with something outside of ourselves, often something that is transcendent and larger than we are. Being grateful for people, and other blessings not only makes me thankful, but it also helps rewire my brain to be more optimistic.
Before I get into the seven tips for developing gratitude. Here are a couple of things to get your brain working. Here are some things you might think about, health, family, spouse, friends, significant others, relatives, pets, your talents and gifts, life, and job.
Here are eight things for which you can be even more grateful as we prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2016.
Please let me know what you thought about the article. Your input is very important.
This is a repeat off an earlier post that many of you commented on.
Maintain Your Motivation Part 1 - Using the Goldilocks Rule to Push Ahead.
This article is liberally based on one of my favorite bloggers James Clear
Does the name Steve Martin ring a bell? Performer, comedian, movie star, Saturday Night Live Alum, respected banjo player, father, husband and author of his autobiography Born Standing Up. By the way, if you are looking for a great read, I highly recommend it.
Disneyland had just opened in 1955 when this enterprising ten-year-old managed to land a job selling guidebooks for fifty cents apiece.
Within a year he was transferred into Disney’s Magic Shop where he learned a few tricks from some of the older employees. During this time he also began to experiment with telling some jokes and funny stories while he demonstrated his magic trick in the shop. It was not long before he began to realize that what he loved was not doing his magic tricks, but in being in front of a crowd, entertaining them. It was at this point that he seriously began to look at becoming a comedian.
Upon entering high school, he began performing in small clubs in the L.A. area. The clubs provided an intimate laboratory where he could practice his act and hone his skill set with various audiences. In his book, he tells of doing one performance where he performed his entire show to an empty room.
It was gritty work, but he was gaining valuable expertise in his chosen craft. His first magic acts would only last a couple of minutes. By the time he was in high school, he was up to five minutes. By the time he was 19, he was performing weekly at clubs doing 20-minute sets. He was improving.
He spent the next ten years experimenting, adjusting, and practicing his act. During this time he also took on a job as a writer for a groundbreaking comedy-variety television show called the Smother’s Brothers Comedy Hour. During his time with this show, he and his fellow writers received an Emmy in 1969. After the ending of the Smother’s Brothers show he worked as a writer for other leading-edge television shows, eventually earning some much coveted personal appearance spots, including the Tonight Show, and Saturday Night Live. These roles eventually lead to movie roles and many other unique opportunities in the entertainment industry.
What was his secret? He wanted to be a respected, successful comedian and was willing to put intentional effort into it.
Comedy is not for weenies! I know from personal experience. I have told my share of jokes and stories that ended up being horrible face plants. That said, Martin worked at developing his craft for 18 years. Martin says, ”I spent ten years learning, four more years refining and four more years of wild success. His very public journey gives us a unique and insightful look into his personal journey of motivation, perseverance, resilience, and consistency.
So why do some people stay motivated to reach their personal and business goals and another fail? Why do we say we want something really bad only to quit in a few days, weeks, or months? What is the difference between someone who accomplishes their gold and someone who throws in the towel?
Angie and I recently returned from Fort Worth, Texas where we attended the Premier Designs Jewelry 2016 National Rally. It was a be a time of inspiration, motivation, fellowship, joy, training and decision making. For some, this event will be a marker where they make a choice to go to the next level in their business or personal life. They will hear, see, or feel something compelling them to move forward, whatever it is, it will be a life altering choice that will impact many lives down the road. Whatever it is it will give them the push they need to move forward.
For others, it will be a time of fun, fellowship, catching up, a time of inspiration and motivation and hope. They will feel a need to make some changes; they may even make a commitment to do things differently this year. Sadly, that energy, drive, and motivation will diminish over the next days and weeks. Unless they do something different, nothing will change.
So, why do we stay motivated to reach some goals and not others? Why do we say we want something only to give up on it in a few days? On a personal note, I cannot begin to count how many times I have done this. So this begs the question: Is there a difference between the areas that we naturally stay motivated in and those we give up on?
Scientist have been studying this for years, and one of the encouraging things that the research is demonstrating is that the best way to stay motivated is to work on tasks that are just a little challenging.
The findings show that we all love challenges, but only they are within our “optimal zone of difficulty.”
I will use my 24 plus years of being a part of my wife’s Premier Jewelry Journey to illustrate.
At Rally, thousands of women and men will hear beautiful, inspiring stories and testimonies of jewelers who have experienced various setbacks, trials, and struggles but where able to experience growth and new found success in their businesses. Thousands will laugh and cry and make promises to themselves and to others to do before rally 2017. The blessing is that many of them will do just that, they will put up with the tasks that are just a little difficult to get what they want. So what will that “Magic” look like? Is it looks? No. Is it personality? No. Is it their connection with someone that did it for them? No!
Here is a general idea of what the magic is.
If a person believes that there is a reasonable chance of making their dream happen, if they have a sincere desire to make it happen three things will happen:
1. Their focus will become very narrow. In Premier language they will focus on personal jewelry shows and share the Premier Opportunity. Those are the only two things that generate income in Premier. Not Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
2. Distractions begin to fade, as the goal become clearer. Sometimes they start to pull away from some relationships for a season.
3. The zero in on activities that will lead to the changes they are longing for. The challenge of the next task is “just manageable,” but doable. Victory is not guaranteed, but it is possible as the individual is doing the things that can make it happen.
4. Tasks like this, science tell us, are most likely to help us keep our motivation where it needs to be to complete the task.
You see, tasks that are below your current abilities become dull and routine. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are usually discouraging and can lead to failure. However, tasks that are right on the cusp of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.
This is called the Goldilocks Principle. Which states that humans experience peak motivation and performance when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too easy. Not too hard. However, just right!
God gives you a dream bigger than you are, so you can trust him and work with others to pursue it.
Would love to here your thoughts.
The fear of criticism robs a person of their initiative, destroys imaginations, limits initiative, destroys dreams, steals self-reliance, and does, Lord only knows how much more damage. Napoleon Hill[i]
Abraham Lincoln’s Story
During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was greatly respected and greatly reviled. Blamed for plunging this nation into a civil war, he was the president people loved to hate. Those who opposed his views regarding the war and slavery, as well as his efforts to keep them united, were vocal and uninhibited in denouncing him.
One day during one of the darkest periods of this presidency, Lincoln was walking down a street near the Capitol in Washington when an acquaintance caught up with him. As they walked, the man brought up the subject of the growing anti-Lincoln sentiment flowing in Washington and throughout the country.
With brutal honesty, the man related to Lincoln many of the stores outlining attacks on Lincoln and his policies. As the man spoke, Lincoln remained completely silent and absorbed in his thoughts.
Lincoln stopped, looked directly at his and said: ”Yes, I have heard you, but let me tell you a story. You know that during the time of the full moon it is the habit of all dogs to come at the night and bark and bark and bark at the moon.
This keeps on as long as the moon is clearly visible in the sky.” Then he stopped speaking and continued his walk. Confused by Lincoln’s response, his exasperated companion persisted “Mr. Lincoln”s, you haven’t finished your story. Tell me that rest of it! Once again Lincoln’s stopped walking and said: There is nothing more to say. The moon keeps right on shining.”[ii]
President Lincoln is an excellent role model for managing criticism. Although he was aware of his shortcoming and knew that many highly respected and influential people disagreed with him, the president listened to the criticism and followed his intuitive sense that his policies would eventually win over critics and variety the country.
One of the life’s challenging realities is the fact that there are always people around who are our faults finders, people who seldom see the good but are quick to point out the negative. Like Abraham Lincoln, all of us need to find ways of hearing criticism without being detracted or destroyed by it.
Fear of criticism is an enormous challenge for many entrepreneurs, particularly women.
Dr. Seuss “ Be who you are and say what you fee because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”[iii]
I love this quote from Darrell Stetler Ii, a Methodist Pastor in Kentucky, "One of the most natural things that humans do is be afraid of what other people will think. You may not believe that this affects you might not be a part of something like this:
The “Dependent Order of Really Meek and Timid Souls”? When you make the acrostic of the first letters of its name you have the world “Doormats.” The Doormats have an official insignia-a yellow caution light. The official motto is: “The meek shall inherit the earth if that's ok with everybody!"
Have you ever caught yourself in the mind trap of “If I am “perfect” for my actions, no one will criticize me? Have you ever noticed how tough this is to pull off? If you try and live like a chameleon around everybody hoping to keep them all happy you will end up tired, frustrated and hurt. I bet even as you are reading these words you are feeling your heart beat increase.
When people are so afraid of criticism, they tend to overcompensate in their actions at the expense of what is critical about life connection, compassion, love, open-heartedness.
Some of the devastating adverse effects of the crippling effects of fear of criticism include:
Raed 2 Timothy 1:7
[i] Darius Styl, "Understanding the Fear of Criticism: According to Napoleon Hill," Christian Rationality.Reason.Faith.Christ.Virtue.http://www.christianrationality.com/2016/08/08/understanding-the-fear-of-criticism-according-to-napoleon-hill/ (Author’s note – this is an interesting read!) Accessed August 2016.
[ii] Victor Parachin, “The Moon Keeps on Shining”…and Other Ways of Dealing with Criticism.” Leadership with a Conscience, http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/moon-keeps-shining-and-other-ways-dealing-criticism. Accessed August 2015.
Dealing with Anxiety“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34).
- Matthew 6:25–34Despite our attempts to create security for ourselves with savings, insurance, a strong police force, and so on, we cannot eliminate the fears plaguing our society. The potential dangers of terrorism, various diseases, rising crime rates, natural disasters, and so on bombard us daily, making it impossible to escape our culture of anxiety.
Such fear is nothing new; people have always found something to be afraid of. Some have phobias regarding heights, snakes — you name it. Surveys routinely tell us that the number-one fear of most Americans is the fear of having to speak in public.
Whatever the catalyst may be, all of our fears manifest our apprehensions about the future. If we fear heights, we are afraid that we will fall at some future point. Extreme weather frightens us because we know it might cause great destruction or death, moments or years from now. We cannot control or predict what is coming, and that is what terrifies us most of all.
Jesus knows our tendencies toward anxiety, and that is why we find “fear not” coming from His lips on many occasions (for example, Luke 12:32). Yet persistent fear is fundamentally linked to a lack of faith, and so Jesus rebukes us in today’s passage for worrying incessantly about what tomorrow will bring. If God cares for the birds and the flowers, aspects of creation with less worth than humanity, certainly we can trust Him to provide for us in the future (Matt. 6:25–33). We are not to worry about tomorrow, for we can trust our Father to take care of it (v. 34).
Jesus is not telling us that we should not plan for the future, as Scripture commends prudent measures to deal with what may come (Prov. 21:5). The problem comes when we place confidence in our own machinations (Luke 12:13–21). We fear the future because we trust in our own abilities, and then we realize that we have no real power over what lies ahead of us. However, the Lord holds the future in His hand (Prov. 16:1, 9), and we must trust Him for our security. God does not promise us a life free of trouble, but He does pledge to be with us always, and He will not break this promise (Matt. 28:16–20).
Coram DeoTomorrow we will look at some of the practical steps we can take to overcome fear and trust God for the future. Today, take some time to consider where you put your trust. Do you adapt well when things do not go as planned? Are you troubled incessantly by what might happen in the days ahead? If you have difficulty adapting to circumstances that you are not expecting or are constantly worried, it may be a sign you are having trouble trusting the Lord. Trust Him today.
Passages for Further Study
Ps. 9:10; 56:1–11
Kill Fear with Faith-Filled Thinking!
“This above all, refuse to be a victim.”
Fear is a dream stealer, a thief that pilfers profits, and a swindler that ransacks hope.
Fear is usually a function of lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Many people are afraid because they think they will fail. However, if they will do it, if they will try to overcome their fear instead of letting their fear limit them, the will find they can do it.
Fear should not keep us from working, or living an intentional, meaningful life. If you have been caught in the trap of fear, I am going to give you some proven, practical, faith-friendly tools to help you begin to push back fear today.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear;
What can mere man do to me? Psalm 118:6 (NKJ)
Think on this as we begin this journey together. Fear receives way too much airplay. Fear is the big bad boogeyman that grows by negative, contemplative thoughts that are re-runs of painful past events.
Fear is primarily mismanagement of our mental capacities.
As we move into this potentially life-changing material, let me share with you Five Factors that, if used will expedite your abilities to push back fear:
1. Faith – the belief that God is on your side, and that he does not make any junk. Faith that he who started a good work in you will fulfill it. Faith that God is a mighty God of second chances. As a growing, sometimes struggling Christ follower I sometimes waver at this point. In my head, I know the truth, but sometimes my heart is resistance to trust.
2. The support of real friends, friends that will both love and challenge you, friends that will hold you accountable. We live in a unique time in history, on the one hand, we have more connectivity to each other thank anytime in history, thanks to smart devices and social media. The paradox is that more people are struggling to connect with face to face relationships. Here is a prophetic word from Albert Einstein, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”. Next time you are out for dinner to take a moment to observe how many people are more engaged with their devices that with each other. Leonard Sweet, a Methodist theologian, shared an interesting comment on his Facebook page recently, “Those born after 1985 have no memory of life before the internet. Those born before 1985 are the last remnants who have memories of living on both sides of the digital divide.”
Now, I love technology; it is a big part of how I do my private counseling and consulting business. However, all of the research tells us that one of the most cost-effective ways to overcome fear is to connect, with family and friends.
4. Time – You did not get this way overnight, and you will not be done with it within the next three weeks. The good news is that you have started the journey by picking up this resource.
A good friend of mine is a pastor of a growing, dynamic church gave an excellent
illustration of this principle.
Farmers and gardeners understand time. When they are planting corn, they have series of things that have to happen in a certain order. First, they have to prepare the soil. Then plant the seed in a place where they will receive full sun. If the ground condition, weather, and plant care all work together, you will have corn in 60-100 days, depending on the variety.
When they let nature take its course, they will reap a harvest.
My pastor friend then said, "People, we need to remember this! When dealing wit life issues, many people want an immediate answer and become disappointed that God does not do something immediately. May I give you a word of advice? Pray about the issue. Then do your part to make the changes. Let's look at the miracle o
the Jesus feeding the 5000.
“Late in the afternoon the Twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms so that they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”
However, Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you
expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, andblessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they
wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! Jesus did not make the food appear out of thin air; he had raw material, the boy's food. As you work on pushing back fear, realize time and God are on your side, but you have to take action.
3. An optimistic worldview. Now I am not talking about pie in the sky, but a worldview that has a future-focused path. It means that I am not condemned by my past failures, I am not regulated to what I am going to do with my life, based on some test, skill set, or family heritage. It means that I have a future that I can choose, and with God’s grace and work I can have a different life.
Matthew 19:26 says, "Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. However, with God everything is possible" NLT
Over the past several years the Lord has allowed me the joy of traveling all over the world. I have been in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and one of the overwhelming truths that I have experienced is that we in America experience blessings beyond measure, and we can pursue our dreams. I can tell you from first-hand experience there is not a place like this great country.
You have the power, ability, and the opportunity to improve your life if you are willing to take the risk?
5. The “I am smarter than the average bear” attitude. I remember hearing a couple of poignant definitions of average. Average is the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Another definition was that average is the cream of the crap.
Speaking for myself, I have never wanted to settle for average. Now, I am not the brightest bulb in the box, but I make up for it by being creative and finding ways to be unique and different.
As you look at pushing back fear, I want you to realize that you are intentionally designed to leave you to mark in the world. Here is my question for you: Are you going to let fear keep you from having a larger impact for God in your life and the life of others? Or, like many people who choose to be “average” will live a life of regret. I do not want to sound egotistical, but I hope there are a ton of people at my funeral, not to praise me, but to demonstrate the power and influence of life that wanted to influence people for the Kingdom of God.
My friend Dr. Charles Lowery is a gifted speaker, psychologist, and human behavior expert. Several years ago I had the joy of working with him on a church staff in Albuquerque. As a mental health professional, and associate pastor Charles and I had some shared interest from helping people to know Christ and make him known, to understanding human behavior.
I have heard him speak on fear many times, and two power lines that he uses to describe fear are:
Forget Everything and Run
False Evidence Appearing Real.
I would like to add a third.
Here is a project you can try to improve your ability to push back fear. Jot down each of the tools that I have listed and take an honest look and grade yourself where you are right now. Then, be intentional about improving you score in the next couple of weeks by using these tools.
I’d love to hear from you and how well this helped you push back fear.
John is a Counselor, Author, Speaker and Photographer that helps people "Get a Grip on Life."