Our belief system is irrational and broken. We were born that way. We are continuously trying to sustain ourselves to keep ourselves from dying of emotional pain and fear. Irrational. This is separate from our basic survival instinct. We have learned memories of cravings and pleasure that are misinformed. We are continuously looking for external sensory stimuli and connect to the wrong things. Our reward motivated behavior can be in a maddening cycle.
There may be a conflict in the brain’s chemical processes that relate to craving, pleasure, reward. Our brain pathways are recycling memories of cravings and pleasure that don’t satisfy the craving. It’s irrational and broken. The correct belief system has to be active in our minds for us to be free. Our connection to God can alter, correct, rewire, our brain structure, turning on different pathways, and changing the brains chemical response to one that offers peaceful physiological and psychological responses.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
Faith, housed in the heart, will never be destroyed.
It is Holy Week 2019 and Notre Dame Cathedral is burning. The stark imagery of a burning building a wash in medieval symbolism, juxtaposed to the procession of Holy Week was curious to say the least. This masterful edifice has stood its ground since the 12th century, with its demanding architecture and demanding presence. Now on this 15th day of April, 2019, it is burning.
So now, as we consider this imagery and wonder, the question is: What do we see, what do we know, and what do we learn? Destruction in this world is imminent. But faith housed in the heart will never be destroyed.
Intuition. That intangible thing that you know, that you know, that you know. It’s an inward knowing. With so much information swirling in the air of the “information age” that we currently stand in, it’s hard to discern this inward knowing.
The problem: too much information. Too much information that is useless, meant for negative engagement, and that stealthily encourages unawareness. Our life and times are overloaded and bombarded with this chaos of information. How do we find our connection to what we know is true in all this? Cultivate your independent, personal, culture of awareness. Retreat inward, hear, write the vision and make it plain. Find the substance that is there. Don’t yield to the culture of false or empty awareness.
Self image is the way you think about yourself and your abilities or appearance. Our mental image of ourselves can strengthen us or weaken us. The more positively we think of ourselves, the higher we elevate our body, soul, and mind, and the closer we get to our best selves to carryout our God given purpose. However, when we have a negative self image- feeling worthless, unattractive, incapable, or feeling like a failure, we impede the flow of harmony in our lives.
We are created in God’s image. We are taught to be Christ like. This means we are beautiful, admirable, respectable, knowledgeable, fearless, and diligent among so many other great characteristics. When negativity tries to seep in, we must remember these truths. Even when our negative self image comes into focus because of a wrong we have done or mistakes we have made, remember that God calls us not because we think we are righteous but because we know we are sinners (Matthew 9:13). Remember to focus on flourishing the beauty that comes from within, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:4).
God sees us striving to be our best selves, so we can call on him when we feel weak in mind and doubt our abilities, or don’t feel good about ourselves. He’s able to brighten your point of view in an instant when you look to Him.
Start. Foster a positive self image that makes you feel good about yourself by putting in the effort to take care of your body, soul, and mind. Change your thinking and make your thoughts those of positivity and optimism always. Be Christ like, follow His example of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, forgiveness, humility, courage, honesty, generosity, compassion, obedience, diligence, and discipline, among many others.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
Feeling like you don’t have a purpose in life can be debilitating. It can stifle your hope and joy, and abridge the harmony of your body, soul, and mind.
Our life purpose is a special gift given to us by God to help each other (1 Peter 4:10). It could be connected to your career, your creative passion, or who you are as a parent, sibling, spouse, or neighbor. This “job” that God gives us could be thought of as big or small but it is definitely significant and it is given to us in service to Him. As explained in 1 Corinthians 12, the work that we are each appointed to do, make up various parts of a whole body, and this body works together seamlessly for God’s divine purpose. God puts each of us where He wants us according to our spiritual gifts and when we connect with God in such a way that we understand what our God given purpose is, it’s life changing! “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).G
Now, lets think about when frustration rears its head. This will happen when your plan for your life does not work out exactly as you expected, according to the specific path that you thought of in your head for yourself. You can see why this may present a problem- it is because this can be a very self-serving mindset. The way to counteract this is by putting God first. “seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
Start.Put God first. Look to Him for everything, in every decision, and in every move you make. If you make a mistake and go off His path, trust in Him that He will put you back on it. Remember, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Listen to your life. God is continuously speaking to us through life events, and moments that may seem insignificant may indeed be God’s divine guidance. Pay attention and connect with God through His word and through your prayer and meditation time so that these moments that God is speaking to you do not go unnoticed. As the gospel says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8). How wonderful to have God so carefully guiding us in our lives. Embrace the joy in the journey. Know and accept when God refines us to become our best selves. He will test our hearts with difficulties to strengthen us, to make us effective and capable for our God given purpose.
“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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Through prayer and meditation, we communicate and build a relationship with our God and Savior. This is a very important practice, one that is essential to understanding the very specific work God has for us. It is how we are guided by God to become our best selves, body, soul, and mind, in order to carry out our God given purpose.
Follow the example of Jesus and how often He prayed- early in the morning before daybreak (mark 1:35), alone at night (Matthew 14:23), in the wilderness for 40 days before his ministry began (Luke 4:1), earnestly in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Jesus encourages prayer, He says to “always pray and never give up” (Luke 18:1).
When we pray and meditate we give thanks and praise and make the request of our hearts known to God. Prayer and meditation also puts us in a place of deep thought and reflection, as in the gospel, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works” (Psalm 145:5) also “I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands” (Psalm 143:5). Through prayer and meditation our connection with God is strengthened and we are able to receive clearer direction on what is best for our lives.
Start.Find a quiet place where you can pray and meditate without distraction. You can have your bible or a note sheet with you in case you are inspired to find a passage or remember something God sparks in your thoughts. Speak to God, cry out to Him, whisper to Him, thank Him, praise Him, sit silently with Him, feel His Spirit and let His Spirit flow through you. Make the most of your time with Him, God delights in this time, it pleases Him.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength”
The truth of Jesus Christ is the anchor to our souls. This truth directs us to what is best for our lives. It leads us to be good to ourselves, to do good for others, and expect all that is good from our lives. It guides us in a healthy direction.
Our belief in the truth is what matters to our whole being because it harmonizes our whole being. We need to search our hearts and determine what we believe, and as it says in the gospel “Today when you hear His voice, don’t harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). Seeking God is a very personal process and it is guided by our experiences in life- the people we meet, our experiences of right and wrong, good and evil. God guides us into truth and leads us to a place where we find Him. He develops an interest within us to understand Him and to pursue Him. Do you feel that call, that desire to know Him more? To know more and more of the truth?
One of the best places to start is in the word of God that teaches us that Jesus is the way the truth and the life- belief comes from hearing the good news about Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5).
The word of God in our bible is one of God’s most glorious gifts! It uncovers the truth and teaches us how to live, how to overcome, and how to prosper. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12).
Learning the truth that is God’s word is how we anchor our soul and bring our body (heart), soul, and mind into harmony. As it says in the gospel “and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Lets strive to be free from bad habits and negativity that inhibit our growth and our best health. Anything that abridges our harmony impacts our efforts to be useful for God.
Start. Take a stand to determine what you believe. Search your heart, soul, and mind and listen to its call- the gospel says “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 10:16). We grew up with the things that are known in the Bible, and if we didn’t grow up with it, it came to our knowledge in some divine way- as the gospel says, “For everyone, from the least to the greatest will know me already” (Hebrews 8:11). Trust God as firmly as you did when you first believed. Connect with the truth of the word of God through church, bible studies, bible journaling, TV or radio ministry, or any other way you can learn more about God. Jesus is calling…. calling you for the first time, calling you back, or calling you deeper. Listen, learn, follow, believe.
Your body, soul, and mind are connected in a very special way. In a way wherein one cannot thrive without the other. When we are weak in mind and spirit our body does not do well. We feel physically weak and lose strength, exercise and good nutrition would take a back seat to our discouraged state, taking care of our body would not be a priority, we eat too much or have loss of appetite and eat too little, we develop unhealthy habits to cope, and making a doctors appointment would be the last thing on our list. Our body would simply go lacking from the things we need to keep it healthy. When we are weak in body and spirit, our mind does not do well. We feel depressed, our self image deteriorates, we do not feel good about ourselves, stress takes a toll and we get sick easily, we lack or are confused about our purpose, the meaning of life becomes lost and we become less positive and more negative.
Because the health of our body, soul, and mind is important to our overall health and well-being, and these three components are inextricably linked, we need these three areas to be in harmony as much as possible. The key to achieving this harmony is the anchor of the soul.
Anchoring your soul in truth equips you to become more empowered and resilient. Anchoring your soul in truth gives you a clearer understanding of your individual journey and meaning in personal life events. Anchoring your soul in truth allows you to walk the path to become your best self. This will enhance your desire for a healthy body, a deeper and deeper relationship with God, and you will be more happy, hopeful, and peaceful. You’ll have more joyful relationships with deeper connection that enables you to uplift and be uplifted by others. You will be more capable of carrying out your God given purpose.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
We embody a range of emotions. From joy, happiness, excitement and the like, to sadness, anger, fear and the like. It is important that we are able to live comfortably with these emotions- embracing the good and managing the bad in healthy ways.
Our emotions are natural and instinctive and are expressed in everyday life within different circumstances. Although there are many wonderful emotions that bring us great feelings, there are also many emotions that are destructive, cause us distress, and interfere with the harmony in our lives. Emotions like anger, jealousy, fear, sadness, anxiety, worry, contempt etc. are like chains of bondage that hold you captive and weigh you down, and you can be yanked around in any direction because you are not in control of these chains. Our number one priority in regard to our emotional well-being should be to control our emotions and not let our emotions control us. God directs us to be of sound mind, to be strong and courageous, and to not be a weak reed swayed by every breath of wind. We need to choose to not be yanked around by these negative emotions that can arise out of our daily life.
Remember that God is with us when we stand against the causes of these negative emotions. As the gospels say, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11), also to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). In this life we live, no one is exempt from trials, and we are triggered by all sorts of negativity. However, we serve a God that fights for us and teaches us how to fight. Our God knows us through and through, He knows the battle we face everyday to stay on the right path. We are in His good Graces, we need only to look to Him. “Oh Lord, You have searched me and know me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether” (Psalms 139:1-4).
Start. Take steps to be more positive, optimistic, and hopeful. Always look on the bright side of things. Look for the sliver lining in difficult situations and always look for the positive attributes in people. Reduce your stress and manage it in healthy ways. Be resilient- when you get knocked down, get back up and try harder. Last but not least, always call on God for help, He will strengthen you.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Stress is a part of life and it can wreak havoc on our body, soul, and mind if we do not know how to cope with it in our daily life. Stress is the result of pressure, strain, or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances, or circumstances you feel are out of your control. Stress can be overwhelming and can cause anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, pounding heart, insomnia, and premature aging among others. One of the best things we can do for ourselves when encountering stress is to manage it in healthy ways.
God shows us the way to consider stress. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”(James 1:2-4). Changing your perspective on stress and knowing that God is in control, that He loves us and wants the best for us, can enable us to look at the stressors in a different way which can be freeing. Once we’re able to see the stressors in a different light, we are better able to make use of stress management tools like relaxation techniques, physical activity, communicating your feelings or counseling, time management techniques etc.
We also need to keep ourselves mentally and spiritually strong and resilient before stress occurs. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). We need to know who we are in Christ, strengthen the areas in which we are weak, and put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We need to be prepared with the truth that God has our back no matter the stress of the moment. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Start. Trust that God loves you and wants the best for you. Pray and meditate before, during, and after stressful moments so you have an understanding of each event and can take lessons from it. Make use of stress management techniques like controlled breathing, positive thinking, time management, exercise, doing something you love, treating yourself, talking to close friends and family, and more.