4 Ways to Improve the Trajectory of Your Life

The bible talks about a guy called Peter who went from living a mundane and predictable life to being transformed into a guy that changed the course of history. His life went from being virtually meaningless to vitally important all within the course of three years.

If you do not like where you are in life and desire for a change in trajectory, then you need to know the four things that changed the course of Peter’s life.

Take the Opportunities That Life Gives You

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him – Matthew 4:18-20

If Peter had not heeded Jesus’ words, he would have stayed a local fisherman. He wouldn’t have become one of the twelve disciples and he wouldn’t have become the father of the early church. Not that there is anything wrong with being a fisherman, but the point is he was called to do more, be more, and achieve more. When the call came, he did not hesitate! He immediately left what he was doing and jumped at the opportunity.

All that is required for you to change the course of your life is one wise decision in one fateful moment

It is not often that life presents trajectory changing opportunities. In fact, you may only get one opportunity in your life time. When that moment comes, do not let it walk away thinking you will get another chance, for you may not! And do not let your fear interfere! Seize the moment! Do not be afraid to drop the good thing that you have today so that you may take hold of a better thing tomorrow.

Changing the trajectory of your life will require you to get out of your comfort zone

Focus on People, Not on Things

The first time Jesus met Peter, he told him how he could change the trajectory of his life. Jesus told him that he would teach him to fish for people. Though Peter knew how to catch fish, he did not know how to catch people.

In school, we are taught how to catch things but we are not necessarily taught how to catch people. If you want to change the trajectory of your life, you will have to learn to catch people’s attention. You will have to learn to influence them and get them to notice you.

The best way to catch people’s attention is to help them solve a problem. The more problems you can solve, the more attention you will receive from people. Now, there are lots of problems out there just waiting to be solved – medical, financial, mental, relational etc. You don’t have to try to solve them all. Just choose one problem and do the best you can to solve that problem on a large scale.

This is in essence what Jesus was telling Peter: I will show you how to solve people’s problems and in doing that, men will be drawn to you.

Find a Good Mentor to Guide You

Jesus was Peter’s mentor. Peter stayed with him for three years. In those three years, he taught him what he knew (John 15:15). Then after he departed from Peter, he introduced him to another mentor that would lead him and guide him (Holy Spirit).

A good mentor is so secure in himself that he will teach you all that he knows and is not afraid to introduce you to another great mentor

An interesting thing about the other mentor Jesus introduced Peter to is that this particular mentor would never leave Peter. That is to say this: No matter how clever you are; no matter how accomplished you are; you can never outgrow needing a mentor in your life.

If you do not have a mentor, it is time for you to get one. Grow from their expertise; learn from their experience; gain from their influence.

Asking or admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of wisdom

Resist the Urge to Go Back When Times Get Hard

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So, they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing – John 21:3

In this period of Peter’s life, he was crest-fallen that he no longer had Jesus as a mentor. He felt that the investment he had made over the last three years had led to nothing. So, he decided to go back to fishing – the first thing he was doing before Jesus called him to greatness. And he was not the only one. Others felt the same way he did and they followed suit. What happened? They caught nothing!

There will be times when you feel that you have simply wasted your time. There will be times when you ask yourself if you made the right decision. In these times, you may want to go back to the safe and secure world that you left behind. If you decide to go this route, know that it will leave you empty.

To make sure you do not go back, make sure you get rid of any plan B. This is exactly what Cortez did when he landed in the Americas. He burned the ships they took from Europe! He got rid of plan B.

By the way, Jesus ended up showing up again to help Peter and the others course-correct. And Peter ended up fulfilling the call he had on his life. Make sure you keep people in your life who will pull you up when you are down in the dumps.

If you do not quit, you will fulfil the great plan and purpose for your life

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How to Stand Out from The Crowd, Get Noticed, and Get Doors to Open

Do you have a desire to stand out from the crowd, get noticed, and get doors to open for you? If so, the first thing you need to do is make sure your work is meaningful to you.  When your work has meaning to you, you will tend to dedicate more time, energy, and resources to it. It will seem less like work and more like play. Meaningful work gives us lots of energy, passion, determination, and drive. It is the antidote to the lethargy, listlessness, and procrastination that comes with doing something you find meaningless and insignificant to you.

Meaningful work produces the consistent hard work that is required for you to stand out, get noticed, and get doors to open for you. 

If you cannot attach a significant meaning to what you are doing day in day out, then maybe you are not doing what you have been born to do, but doing what you feel you must do.

Nurture Your Gifts & Talent

A mans gift opens doors for him, and brings him before great men – Proverbs 18:16

Our talent is something we were born to do; our training is something we were taught to do. While whatever we are taught to do can help us achieve success, only by doing what we were born to do will we achieve fulfillment along with success. Note: Achievement – Fulfillment = Emptiness!

Another reason to choose talent over training is this: A nurtured and practiced talent will always outshine a nurtured and practiced training.

Nurturing your talent takes you beyond the ordinary and propels you into the realm of the extraordinary. Therefore, do not neglect your talent for the sake of nurturing your training. Your gift is a great door opener to bring you before the great men in this world. Stir it up!

Deepen Your Relationship with God

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region – Luke 4:14

After Jesus was empowered by the Spirit, He was able to do some incredibly amazing things. He was able to achieve feats that had not been done before. As a result, news of him spread quickly and so did his fame.

Therefore, a way to stand out, get noticed, and get doors to open for you is to do something that has never been done or has seldom been done before. Though this may not be possible in your own power, there is nothing you cannot do if you rely on the ability of God. This is exactly what Noah did when God asked him to build a boat. Having never built a boat before, he had to rely on divine instruction. Therefore, in all your hard work and striving to stand out, get noticed, and to get doors to open, do not forget to work hard on your relationship with God!

Achieving the impossible is possible when we listen and obey Him for whom nothing is impossible.

Nourish Your Relationship with Others

But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in – John 18:16

Sometimes, the only way you can get through a door is by knowing the right person. Therefore, do not be afraid to expand your network and develop relationships. It is interesting, that the other disciple of Jesus cultivated a relationship with the high priest, a man who disliked Jesus. This disciple seemed to be able to get along fine with just everyone and so had an expansive network.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, get noticed, and get doors to open, then you must be a likeable person. When you are liked, you’ll find that people will afford you liberties, luxuries, and passes that they not extend to other people. In other words, you get advantages that other people do not get, and doors that may have otherwise remained closed suddenly swing open.

Your luck increases as more people like you. 

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5 Ways Relationship Is Much Like Cooking

Relationship is much like cooking. If you are going to have a shot at success, you will have to shop for the right ingredients. Unlike cooking, where you shop in the supermarket, for relationships you shop among the people in the world. Not every shop will have the ingredient you need, and not every shop will have the quality of ingredient that you desire. Hence it is important to choose where you shop wisely for it will determine the quality of the final product you cook up.

If you want to cook up a great relationship, you have to shop in the best stores for the best ingredients.

If you are looking to cook up a great relationship, I suggest you avoid shops such as gentlemen’s clubs and seedy bars as it is highly unlikely that you will find the ingredients that will make for a great relationship.  The exception to this rule are master chefs. Master chefs are so skilled and trained that they are able to take seemingly undesirable ingredients and make desirable dishes out of them. Unless you are one of these rare master chefs with special abilities, it is best to stay away from ingredients that you know won’t give you desired results.

The greatest master chef that has ever graced this word is Jesus. If you want to cook up the best relationship, then it is best for you to invite him into your kitchen and get some personal tutelage. If you are unsure of his pedigree and not ready to invite him into your kitchen just yet, you have other options. He has inspired 66 books (the Bible), all of which have recipes for a great relationship. It is not a bad idea to open up a few of those books.

If you don’t know what you are doing in your relationship, don’t make it up, get the help you need.

Rather than continue to experiment, pretending you know what you are doing, making a bigger mess, and then having your family (spouse and kids) suffer through the pain of ingesting the relationship disaster you have cooked up, simply call up a chef that knows what he/she is doing. These chefs may include marriage counsellors, pastors, an older married couple, or even a friend. If these chefs are worth your investment, they will at some point refer to the works of the greatest master chef (Jesus).

Relationship is much like cooking. For you to be successful requires the following:

  • You Understand Your Worth (Deciding What You Want To Cook): While some will choose to cook up a burger of a relationship, you should choose to cook a filet mignon of a relationship.
  • You Set Up Boundary Conditions (Deciding Where To Shop and Where Not To): Boundaries help you avoid foundational mistakes that will be detrimental to your relationship dish
  • You Select Carefully (Choosing the best ingredients that suit your palate): Not point fooling yourself and going after something you can’t handle
  • You are Humble (Asking for help to make the best dish): Too many people do not seek help in their relationships until it is too late. Do not be counted in that number.
  • You Actively Listen (Heeding the advice of the master chef): A good relationship is not between two people but three. It is best to invite God into the equation and actively listen to and obey his principles.

 

 

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Make Sure He Reflects The Diamond Ring He is Giving You

It was one of the happiest days of your life – the day he decided to get down on one knee and asked your to marry him. That day, he presented you with a ring – a symbol of his love. On that ring was probably a diamond. You love it, you love the moment, you love him. So you say yes to his marriage proposal.

But alas, for almost 50% in America, the yes will at some point change to a no. For many, not just a no, but a heck no!

There have been instances where I have seen women take off their ring and throw it in the direction of the man. For the women who have reached their breaking point, they are not just saying I am no longer committed. For many, they are also saying to the man that he did not live up to the meaning of the diamond ring he gave her.

A diamond is an expression of his commitment to you

There are 5 commitments inherent in the giving of a diamond that are implicit in the properties of a diamond. You should know these five commitments and ensure he is espousing them before you commit to him.

Transparency: A diamond is transparent. When a man gives you a diamond, it is a commitment to be transparent. That means that in your marriage, he will allow you to see through him. He will not hide anything from you but he will be naked before you. While this may be difficult, it is essential that a man be vulnerable and honest with you. This is what leads to intimacy or “into-me-see”. A man who is not ready to live vulnerably, authentically, and transparently with you is not a man you should choose to marry.

Reflective: A diamond reflects all the light it captures. This is what gives a diamond its ‘fire’ and makes it shine so bright. That a diamond reflects all the light it captures symbolizes that a diamond is not selfish – it does not keep hold of the light. When a man gives you a diamond, it is a commitment to be selfless. It is that selflessness that shines brightly for you to see, and keeps the fire burning in your relationship. Indeed, it is easy to want to stay with a man who thinks of you, values you, and shine light on you.

Conductor: A diamond is the best conductor of heat we know. Stay long enough in your relationship and it will experience periods of heat and discomfort. When life and circumstances bring the heat, it is important that your man conduct that heat away from your relationship. No matter how uncomfortable life gets, it should not affect your relationship because everything flows through it rather than staying locked in the relationship. Contrary to a conductor, A man who insulates keeps the heat, thereby cranking up the pressure on the relationship. Therefore, make sure your man is a conductor who disperses heat and relieves pressure when it comes.

Hardness: A diamond is the hardest material on earth. Thus, nothing other than a diamond can crush or cut a diamond. When a man gives you a diamond, he is saying that nothing on this earth – no person, no situation,  no circumstance –  will be able to cut through your love. He is saying ‘no pressure life puts on us will be able to crush my love for you’. Make sure the man you say yes to is not a graphite but a diamond. Though both are made entirely of carbon, their properties are very different because of the way their building blocks are arranged. A man who loves you will make sure that his character is built to stand the test of time

Inert: A diamond is highly inert. This means that it does not react to other agents and does not bond itself to other compounds. When a man gives a diamond, he is telling you that he will remain inert. That means you are the one he is choosing to bond with, and will not bond emotionally or physically with anyone else. Though other people may connect with him (friends, family, workers etc), that connection will not be as deep and internal as what he builds with you.

Your Turn: I want you to answer this honestly: (1) Is the man I am seeking to marry diamond quality?

Moment of Honesty: Just because a man starts off being diamond quality does not mean he will remain diamond quality. That is the bad news. The good news is that every man CAN maintain diamond quality. I will share more about this in the next blog.

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5 Things to Remember When Your Family Does Not Support Your Interracial Relationship

Jeff and Maria met while attending a conference in California. Jeff traveled down from Canada and Maria up from Colombia. It wasn’t love at first sight. They kept in touch, got to know each other, traveled to visit one another often and ultimately fell in love. This is not a puppy love type of story. Both Jeff and Maria are in their late thirties. Though both could have been married to any number of admirers, they did not want. They chose not to settle into marriage just for the sake of being married. They used their season of singleness to grow, pray earnestly, and wait patiently for God’s timing.

I met Maria back in 2012. She is a family-oriented woman who loves God. She completed a masters degree in a respected western university, is well established in her profession, owns her own place in Colombia, and is quite enterprising. By all accounts, Maria embodies a virtuous woman. The type of woman a mother would want for their son. The type of woman any family would love to welcome with open arms.

Yet, welcoming is hardly the word to use to describe what happened when Jeff informed his family that he had found Maria – the woman with whom he desired to spend his life. No sooner had he declared his intentions, some members of his family objected. The bold ones labelled Maria as a gold-digging woman who desired to escape the distress of her country in order to enjoy the comforts of Canada. Others took a more tactical approach to discourage him. They told Jeff that he was rushing into things…that he should give it more time. They asked him to consider the difficulties inherent in interracial relationships and to consider the difficulties they would face when they have children. Still others said, ‘I hear you when you say she is a wonderful woman, but there are wonderful women right here in Canada as well. Why not find a Canadian woman?

If what you are reading shocks you, it shouldn’t. This problem has been in existence since the first man sinned. Now, if you find yourself in the situation that Jeff and Maria find themselves, I want to share with you what I shared with Jeff. I will share with you the story of a biblical man Moses.

Moses married interracially when he married an Ethiopian woman (see Numbers 12). His brother and sister-in-law were not fans of this decision. In fact, it bothered them so much that they started to question the legitimacy of Moses’ leadership.

But God defended Moses’ decision. He called Moses’ brother and sister-in-law and said to them: I speak with him (Moses) face to face, even plainly and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Whey then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses (Numbers 12:8).    

Do you realize what God did there? He rebuked Moses’ brother and sister-in-law. He shared with them that Moses speaks with him and that Moses hears what he says clearly. This means that God did not object when Moses spoke with Him about marrying the Ethiopian lady. And God did not like it when they tried to discredit him or put him down because of it. In fact, a few verses down, Moses’ sister-in-law became leprous because of her dissent.

This story tells us 5 important things:

(1) God does not see race or cultural as a showstopper in marriage – otherwise he would not have allowed the interracial marriage

(2) Just because we choose to please God in our decision does not mean we will please our family – though Moses’ choice pleased God, it did not please Moses’ family members

(3) It is more important to please God than it is to please our family – Moses did not reverse his decision due to his family’s dissent

(4) God will defend us when we make a decision that He is pleased with – God spoke to Moses family member about their behavior and warned them against discrediting him

(5) God does not like it when we put anyone down because of their race of culture – the bible says God was angry and Moses’ sister-in-law became leprous.

So, what if your family does not support your interracial relationship? Go ahead with it so long as it is right in the eyes of God. It is God that keeps your marriage together, not your family.

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VII – Overcoming Anxiety Through Spiritual Balance

King Canute, also known as Cnut the Great, ruled the North Sea Empire (modern day England, Norway, and Denmark) in the 11th Century. Beloved by his courtiers, he was often lauded as the supreme lord and ruler of the land. One day, the king grew tired of the incessant praise and asked his courtiers to place his throne by the shore during low tide. Then as the tide rose throughout the day, he proceeded to command the tide to stop rising and not to wet his feet and robe. When the tide disobeyed his commands and wet him, he stepped back and said to his courtiers: ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.‘”

We can rule over somethings, but there are other things that we have no rule over.

We are spiritual beings endowed with power to rule. At the very beginning, we were empowered to rule all things except one another (Genesis 1:26 NKJV). Then we decided to give up our birth right and so lost power to rule just about all things but ourselves. Since that time early on in the history of mankind, man has been trying to get that power back – to control that which it lost power to control.

To complicate matters a little, though we lost power to rule, we did not lose power to steward (manage).

Finding spiritual balance is about knowing the difference between the things we have power to rule and the things we have power to steward.  In his address to his courtiers, King Canute points out that the things we have rule over pales in comparison to that which we are called to manage. In the rising tide example, we no longer have rule over the tide, but we sure can steward or manage what we do with it.

Spiritual imbalance is trying to rule over what we have been empowered to steward and trying to steward what we have been empowered to rule

We have been empowered to rule our mind and body. We own them and so they are subject to our kingship. Yet sometimes we allow our mind and body to take over. We become a slave to them. This is tantamount to giving up the power we have to rule! When we stop ruling our mind and body is when our lives go out of control!

Practical Application: When your mind starts to think about things that you do not care about, tell your mind to stop it, and then engage your body to take tangible action to change what your mind is thinking about. Engaging your body may mean subjecting one of your five senses to something different. Walk somewhere, listen to something new, look somewhere else, squeeze a stress ball, or go outside and smell the flowers. Do something to change the trajectory of your thinking before it takes over.

Trying to rule what we have been called to manage is playing God. Since we are not God, it leads to high stress and disappointment with very little chance of continued of success. This can lead to unnecessary anxiety and depression

Can we manage our relationships, our future, our health, our finances? Sure we can! Can we rule over these things? No we cannot, since to rule over something means that we can guarantee the outcome.  Therefore, we should not try to rule what you have been called to steward.

Now, the better stewards we become, the more likely we are to experience the outcome we desire. This gives us the impetus to become better stewards by acquiring knowledge, gaining understanding, and acting wisely. Thus, just because we cannot rule something does not mean we should give up on our stewardship.

Rule what you can and manage what you cannot rule

There are three rules I stick to when it comes to balance:

Rule 1: If the things I am anxious over are things I can manage, I don’t get depressed over them but start the journey to manage them better without marrying myself to an outcome (remember that you can’t guarantee an outcome as a steward).

Rule 2: If the things I am anxious over are things things that are in my sphere of rule, I stop allowing what I own to rule over me but learn to how to rule over them.

Rule 3: If the things I am anxious over are things I can neither rule nor manage, then I do not worry about them until they cross the threshold of rule or influence.

Do not fall into the trap that you have power over everything that happens. You know you do not. 

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VII – Overcoming Anxiety Through Gratitude

I have a challenge for you if you have the courage to stomach it: When convenient for you, I want you to take an alarm clock, go down to the morgue, find a dead body, set off the alarm clock, and watch to see if the dead body comes back to life!

While I secretly hope you decide not to take on my challenge, I hope you thought about why I would ever ask you to do such a thing in the first place! It is because I want you to know that it is not your alarm clock or your body that wakes you up in the morning. Thousands of people die in their sleep daily. That you and I woke up today is a gift from our Maker.

Life is a gift you must open

I suspect that when you receive a gift, you usually thank the person that gave you the gift. So I ask you this: When was the last time you opened your eyes and truly thanked the Maker for giving you another day. Unlike the thousands of people who never wake up, you have another opportunity to take the gift of life and see what it has to offer.

The gift of life is like a fertile piece of land

Life is like a piece of fertile land…whatever you plant in it grows. Life takes your seeds of thoughts, desires, attitude, and actions, and gives it right back to you multiplied many times over but in a different form. Therefore, to understand what you are getting from life requires that you uncover the seeds that you are planting.

If you are like me, you plant both good and bad seeds and so reap both good and bad fruit. While it is crucial to understand the nature of the bad seeds you have sown (perhaps through counselling, therapy, and self-reflection), do not underestimate the value in deliberately choosing to sow good seeds.

Your real challenge is to plant so much good seed that it overshadows and dwarfs the bad seed

One of the best seeds to plant is gratitude. When you plant it, you reap the fruit of peace of mind and favor with men. Peace because gratitude short-circuits worry by changing your minds focus from what is wrong to what is right. Favor because gratitude communicates humility. Since humility is honored in the right circles, it has the potential to lift you out of the very muck that may be causing your anxiety in the first place. Thus, gratitude has the ability to control your anxiety and to lift away anxiety by helping to change your circumstance.

So how do you grow in gratitude? An effective way is purposefully keep in mind that there are people in the world who would gladly take on our troubles any day. If you have doubts about this, just go to http://www.globalissues.org and read the poverty stats.

There is a lot for you to be thankful for today, so give thanks.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend

 – Melody Beattie

 

 

 

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VI – Overcoming Anxiety Through Expectation Reset

When I was in 7th grade, my classmate committed suicide after doing poorly on a test. His parents discovered him after they forced his door open to find him strangled by a skipping rope which he used to hang himself. Why would a 12-year old kid take his own life for doing poorly on a test? And why do it before the results of the exam ever came out? While the dynamics of what he did are complex, we know for sure that he elevated the importance of the exam too high. His performance was tied to his worth as a person. Therefore when he did not do well, he considered himself a failure and so became worthless as a person in his own eyes.

We are worth more than what we do or achieve in this life

After his death, many of my classmates recalled that he had been depressed after the test. See, depression comes when we are not where we strongly believe we must be OR things are not the way we believe they must be. Thus, depression attracts those of us who have high and potentially unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Why? It is because when we don’t meet what we expect of ourselves, we feel less than. Our identity and security takes a big hit and we feel we can’t carry on.

Now, having unrealistic expectations that we feel we must meet instead of should meet is dangerous. The unrealistic nature of our expectation means that we exert a lot of time and effort to meet it. The nature of expectation itself means that any failure to meet ‘it’ is blown out of proportion in our mind and heart. When this happens is when we lose perspective and we stop being grateful for the things we should be grateful for. In other words, our unrealistic expectation hijacks our thinking to such an extent that the very things we should be grateful for often become entitlements that no longer deserve our attention.

We should not allow our failure to meet our own expectations hijack our thinking to the extent that those things we should be grateful for become entitlements

Jerry West, the hall of fame basketball player whose silhouette is on the NBA logo, suffered from deep bouts of depression that made him consider suicide, though he had a lot to be thankful for, including a loving family and adoring fans. Turns out that his father left when he was younger. He perhaps had an expectation that is father was going to be there. So he took it to heart when his father was no longer there. Was Jerry West subconsciously trying to prove to his father that he was now good enough so as to try and convince his father to stay? Is this the reason Jerry West was always one of the first to arrive in the gym and last to leave? Though the results of Jerry West’ work ethic was spectacular, the root behind the work ethic may not have been as glamorous.

In life, we should expect nothing and be grateful for everything

 The things we expect and feel entitled to can have a deleterious effect. When we expect nothing, anything we get is a free gift. If we truly see everything good as a gift, we are then able to feel and express gratitude right from our heart.

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part V – Overcoming Anxiety Through Perspective

The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice over how you view it – Chris Pine

Perspective is everything when you are facing the challenges of life – Joni Eareckson Tada

I once designed an experiment with my friends that involved a half filled cup of water. My objective to see to see how many people would consider the cup half full and how many would consider it half empty.

So I decided to split my friends into two groups of four – a blue group and a green group. Next, I set up meetings with each person in the two groups over the course of a month.

When meeting with those in the blue group, I kept the cup empty at the start of our meeting and then filled up the cup five minutes before I had to leave and then asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.

With the green group, I kept the cup full at the start of our meeting. Then I drank half the water in the cup five minutes before leaving, and asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.

The result: 3 out of 4 people in the blue group considered the cup half full. 3 out of 4 people in the green group considered the cup half empty.

When I asked the people in the blue group why they saw the cup as half full, they said the cup was previously empty and now it was half full. When I asked the people in the green group why they saw the cup as half empty, they said the cup was previously full and now it wasn’t. It seemed both the blue and green group looked at the current state of the cup through the lens of the previous state of the cup.

Like those in the blue and green group, our perspective of our current state is highly dependent on our previous experience.

For example, a girl who has only ever slept on a memory foam mattress may see having to downgrade to a spring mattress as a shocker and so experience a measure of anxiety over the situation. This is like going from the glass being half full to half empty.

On the other hand, a girl who has only ever slept on a thin mat may see going to a spring mattress as fantastic development and so experience a measure of happiness. This is like going from the glass being empty to being half full.

The key to developing a well rounded perspective is to subject ourselves to a myriad of experiences that range from the cup being empty to the cup being full

If you have only had full cup experiences, you should design a controlled experiment where you see an empty cup.

Many times, we get depressed when things are not the way we think or expect them to be. What perspective does is change the way we think or expect them to be. The more variety we experience, the more well-rounded our perspective. The more well-rounded our perspective, the less likely we are to be anxious or depressed over a particular situation.

Our experiences change our perspective and our perspective change our expectations 

So give yourself the gift of perspective today. Go down to the homeless shelter. Listen to the story of a person whose life has been ravaged by drugs. Watch the story of a single who went from rags to riches.

You must do these things for it to really sink in. Knowing that there are people out that have it worse than you won’t be as effective.

Know that it will not always be the way it is today.

Things do and will change.

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part IV – Overcoming Anxiety through Prevention

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.
Note: I encourage you to read the earlier posts associated with this series to give yourself the best opportunity to get the most out of this topic. Click on the following links for the first three installments of the series: Part I – Root cause of depression & Part II – What anxiety does to the heart & Part III – Root cause of anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad

– Proverbs 12:25

We can overcome depression by employing strategies that are implicit in the same foundational scripture that forms the bedrock of this series: (1) Stopping anxiety from getting into our hearts (2) Expelling the anxiety that enters our heart before it has a chance to morph into depression.

To effectively overcome depression, both strategies much be employed. While learning how to prevent anxiety from travelling from your mind into your heart is the preferred strategy, no one on this earth will be 100% effective at executing this strategy. Therefore, it is equally as important to learn how to extricate anxiety form your heart.

Stopping Anxiety From Getting Into Your Heart

To stop anxiety from getting into your heart, you have to guard your heart. The bible puts it this way: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). The best way to guard your heart can be found in the following scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds – Philippians 4:6-7

Point A: The peace of God guards our hearts as we humbly submit everything to God.

Whatever we do not submit to God, we take responsibility for, and we try to exercise control over. While taking responsibility is generally a good thing, there are many things we cannot and should not try to control. These include things such as what others will do, and what will happen in the future. It is only when we get rid of our illusion of control will we become humble enough to submit our situation into the hands of a supreme being.

Point B: Prayer is the bedrock of humility. It diverts anxiety from travelling into our heart and into the hands of God.

Prayer says “I can’t do it by myself, God I need you”. Hence, prayer is the language of humility. This does not mean that your situation will change immediately, if at all. What it does do is prevent your heart from being infected with anxiety.

Unfortunately, we often think of prayer as the last resort in our lives. Have you ever heard, “there is nothing more to do now but pray”. Have you said it yourself? This is an attitude that speaks to our tendency to want to feel a sense of control. While this may be good for our ego’s, it does nothing to relieve us of stress and anxiety.

Whatever you think you should have control over is what you will stress over or have anxiety over.

For peace of mind, prayer should be your first resort and not your last resort. Therefore, pray more and pray often. Let go of control and watch peace flood your heart.

In the next blog, I will address how to overcome anxiety through perspective.

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