July 21, 2014
This past weekend at our annual Roaring Lambs Writers Conference, our speakers reminded us of the power of our words. Whether we are dealing with our family, friends, neighbors or co-workers, our words have the power to heal and inspire, but they also have the power to tear down and destroy. This week I want to challenge each of us to fiercely guard our communication with others. Let’s face it, gossip, complaints and discouragement easily flow from our lips. It takes deliberate effort to inspire, strengthen and say only kind things about others.
Granted, constructive criticism and wise concern have their place. I’m not saying we ought to be some sort of “Yes” people who always agree with everyone about everything with disingenuous flattery. A true encourager is not only uplifting, but she is also honest, sincere and specific with her comments. She uses her words to help build up and lead others in the direction of their best interest. An encourager is looking out for the good of the other individual and focusing on the possibilities instead of hunting and pecking at what could go wrong and zapping the hope right out of a person.
It is never too late to change our speech habits. Look for opportunities to give a good, sincere word of hope and courage. Think of your uplifting comments as a cup of cool water to a thirsty soul, because we all need a healthy dose of encouragement now and then. Don’t become frustrated with yourself in the struggle to tame your tongue. In fact, the Bible says it is nearly impossible to do. James wrote, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:7-8).” Perhaps you are thinking that if the tongue is impossible to tame, then why try? What’s the use?
Remember my friend, with God all things are possible! What may seem impossible to us, is not impossible for God. We know that He places great value on what comes out of our mouths, so He will help us in taming that restless creature known as the tongue. It begins by asking Him to clean up our hearts, for what comes out of our mouth is usually an overflow of what is in our heart. Our prayer ought to resemble David’s who wrote, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you O Lord my rock and my redeemer.” He is our tongue tamer. As we look to God to clean us up from the inside out, He can clean us up from the hidden motives which tend to make us discouragers rather than encourages.
Some of these insights came from my book Positive Life Principles for Women.
June 30, 2014
Join Anne Graham Lotz and thousands of other followers of Jesus Christ across our nation and around the world, as together we return to the Lord our God, rend our hearts, repent of our sin, and cry out to God for His mercy on behalf of our nation. I hope you will join me.
Pray! in the 7th month, JulyPray! on each of the first 7 days of JulyPray! and fast on July 7th for 7 hours (of your choosing)
•For God the Father to restrain, protect, and deliver His people from the evil that has come into our world.
•For God the Son to be exalted, magnified, and glorified in His church, in our nation, and in our lives.
•For God the Holy Spirit to fall on us in a fresh way, compelling the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening.
Sign up below to receive prayers Anne has written specifically for each day, July 1 through July 7, that will help us be united with one voice and one spirit as together we cry out to God.
June 3, 2014
Active kids and neatly-kept houses do not necessarily go together. It may be difficult for many of us, but it is imperative that we separate ourselves from the desire for housekeeping perfection. The good news is we can make positive compromises to create less stress on ourselves and our family members. Here are a few ideas:
• Create a realistic housecleaning plan.
• Set a minimum goal of what must be done in order to maintain your sanity.
• Set a maximum goal of what you would like your house to look like on certain occasions.
• Divide chores and errands among the kids in age-appropriate ways.
• Give clear instructions to family members.
• Provide proper places for toys and other items to “belong.”
Getting to the Roots
If House Beautiful is a stress-point for you, then you may struggle one or more of these issues: placing your security in having everything in its place; needing to be in control; wanting others to think you are a great housekeeper or have a perfect house (i.e., pride); or trying to please the hubby (or in-law or neighbor) who makes you feel guilty if the house is not perfect. Are you willing to release your “perfect picture” and find your security and strength in the Lord, not your environment? Are you able to talk to your husband or kids (or yourself) and develop a compromise with realistic expectations?
Scripture Solution: Luke 10:41– 42
In this well-known passage, Martha was upset that her sister, Mary, was listening to Jesus rather than helping her prepare the food. Jesus addressed her and said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.” Of course, Jesus wasn’t saying that we should drop all our household responsibilities and go to Bible studies all the time. But He was getting the root of the House Beautiful mentality. We have to ask ourselves, what’s really important?
May 29, 2014
You cannot solve a problem until you acknowledge that you have one
and accept responsibility for solving it.
Good sense will protect you; understanding will guard you.
What sends you? By that I mean, what really rattles you or stresses you out to the point of losing your temper or your sanity? The answer is probably a little different for each of us. For some, it’s a messy or cluttered house. For others, it’s having too many kids in the house at one time. For still others, it’s trying to get out the door to make it to a parent-teacher meeting on time.
The fact is, if we are going to create a calm environment in our homes, we need to identify the stress points that tend to drive us over the edge and look at ways to reduce their impact upon us. To help us do that, I want to propose a top ten list of stressors that tend to rattle moms. As we consider each item on the list, keep three things in mind. First, our goal is not to do away with stress completely. Rather, it’s to manage stress and work around it in a healthy and positive way, so that we don’t emotionally annihilate every person living in our homes.
Second, none of the items on the list are necessarily bad in and of themselves. But good, bad, or otherwise, if they cause considerable stress in our lives, then they must be addressed. See if you can identify with any of the following mom-rattling stressors:
The Big Ten Mom Stressors
1. House Beautiful: wanting the house to always look clean and nice
2. Perfect Kids: wanting to maintain a stellar family image
3. Need Nabbers: feeling needed by everyone at the same time
4. Guilt Grabbers: not meeting up to your own or others’ expectations
5. Calendar Chaos: having too many activities and too many places family members need to be
6. Brain Swirl: having too many things to remember and do
7. Time Crunchers: feeling boxed in by deadlines, events, and obligations
8. Financial Struggles: trying to make ends meet, pay off debt, or pay bills
9. Daily Routines: dealing day in and day out with the before-school rush, after-school homework, and dinner and bedtime routines
10. The Unexpected: broken arms, forgotten homework, drop-in guests, and calls from school.
Let’s be honest if you have living, breathing human beings dwelling under your roof, then you’re going to have a certain amount of stress in your life. It comes with the territory. Your task is to learn how to manage it by minimizing the avoidable stressors and dealing with the remaining stress in a positive manner. If you’re like me, you want realistic and doable solutions to your problems. For the next ten weeks we are going to look at the Big Ten Mom Stressors, and I’m going to suggest practical ways that you can change directions from feeling frazzled to experiencing more calm. It’s up to you to glean from these suggestions what works best for you, based on your unique personality and family situation.
Following my suggestions for dealing with each stressor, I include a “Getting to the Roots” section designed to help you take your problem-solving plans to a deeper level and weed out the underlying issues that cause or add to your stress. Yes, we want to take care of surface stress, but we also need to get to the roots! Otherwise, just like a weed, our stress will eventually return. I also include a section called “Scripture Solution” to give you biblical support for making the changes that are necessary in your life. Before we begin our practical defrazzlement, I want to share a paragraph with you that was first printed in Christian Digest. The author is unknown. It sets the stage for our pursuit of more calm and less stress:
There are two things, at least, about which we should never worry. First, the things we can’t help. If we can’t help them, worrying is certainly most foolish and useless. Secondly, the things we can help. If we can help them, let us set about it, and not weaken our powers by worry. Weed your garden. Pluck up the smallest roots of worry. Watch for their first appearance above the ground and pluck them while they are small. Don’t let them get a start. They will crowd out all the beautiful things that ought to grow in our hearts unless we do.”1
Great motivation, don’t you think? Join me next week as we look at the first stressor on the list, House Beautiful.
Check out more on peace for moms in my book, A Positive Plan for More Calm Less Stress.
May 21, 2014
Attitude is Everything
As we continue our series on building more calm and less stress in your life, this week I want to focus on our attitude and thoughtlife. It is possible to increase your happy hormones by changing your attitude. Research now shows that our thoughts, our emotions, and our behavior all affect body chemistry. Simply getting out of bed and into a warm shower can elevate serotonin levels.” Some studies even show that smiling raises the serotonin levels in your brain. Practice smiling at other people (starting with your family members) throughout the day. It will be a blessing to them, but it will give you a lift as well.
Never underestimate the power of laughter. Nathaniel Altman writes, “One of the first to document the healing power of laughter was Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness. Later research found that powerful, ribald laughter triggered the release of endorphins which not only relieve the pain of accident or illness, but can actually enhance the healing process by helping us develop greater optimism and joy. The manifold implications of this research highlights the body’s psychosomatic network and its potential for healing.”
How do you increase laughter? Call up a friend who makes you laugh, read a funny book, or watch a comedy on television. Let loose the laughter, and refocus your mind. Instead of worrying and brooding, turn your thoughts to what is good and pure and truthful (Remember Philippians 4:6-8). Don’t wallow in regret or anxiety. Choose to move forward. Ask forgiveness when necessary, but don’t waste time wallowing in the pit, grieving over your mistakes.
Certainly there are times when we must grieve, but then we must progressively step forward.
Press on to better days ahead. Anger, guilt and worry on the other hand tend to diminish our happy hormones if left unchecked. Confession is good for the soul, and also for our state of happiness. Apologize, ask forgiveness, forgive or make things right and you will feel a burden lifted. If you are living in sin, turn from it. Often people give into temptation to sin, thinking they will feel better or happier, when in reality it ultimately makes them feel worse. God forgives our sin, but one of the consequences of living in sin is the physiological effects of guilt.
For more info on dealing with stress, check out my book: A Positive Plan for Creating More Calm and Less Stress http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Plan-Creating-More-Stress/dp/0849906164/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1398729697&sr=8-15&keywords=Karol+Ladd