Renew Your Vision, Revive Your Mind #4

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Stop Making it All About You
By John Thurman

You can look at any of the photos of me on this website and see that I am not bald, but am follically challenged. As a matter of fact, my wife says, “You are not bald, you are just a solar powered love machine. Well, isn’t that a unique response?

One of the reasons that I am this way is because, sometimes I tend get tripped up on this particular stinking thing style. When I do, I slap myself on the forehead and go duh. That is why am balding.

This next one can be tough, but I believe you can push it back.

Me, Me, Me

The third trap is believing you are the only cause of every problem you encounter. I see many of my counseling client get stuck in this trap. Each one believes he or she is the sole problem in every relationship. Everything that goes wrong is his or her fault. 

Some people are so Me, Me, Me that they blame themselves for a bus accident in Bangladesh. They think if they had prayed more or harder or better, then the crash would not have happened.

A person who turns every event inward sucks the life out of those around him or her. However, this is contrary to everything the apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:1-13 (NLT).

This Scripture passage shows us a proven way out of the stinking thinking trap of thinking that everything is our fault. The key verse for overcoming this trap is verse 10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” The challenge for a growing believer is to realize this truth and to be active in allowing it to transform his or her life.

If you believe you are the sole cause of every problem you’ve ever encountered, the action step is to look outside yourself. Ask yourself how others and/or circumstances may have contributed to the situation. (c) 

(c) 2014 John Thurman


Renew Your Vision, Revive Your Mind 3

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(c) 2013 John Thurman – Chalk Talk
Get Unstuck
By John Thurman

I shot this image a little over a year ago at a Living Free Service at Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Pastor Rick Bosh had just finished a message and he invited all of those who were attending to some write down some places where they were stuck? It was a powerful time, there was silence in a room for around 800 people with only the occasion sniffle of sadness or joy or the sharp and loud slaps of a man hug.

Do you ever feel stuck? Do some of your old thinking styles trip your up? Reviving your mind is tough work, but it leads to great rewards.

As we look at these styles, let’s review where some of our struggles originate.

What we believe is partially determined by the programming we absorb from our early childhood to the present. Our parents, siblings, peers, teachers, faith group, significant others, books, TV, and so on, all contribute to our perceptions about the world and ourselves. As mentioned in the introduction, there are two basic mindsets people deal with the “fixed mindset” and the “growth mindset.”

If a person is in a fixed mindset and something bad or negative occurs, the following things happen. He or she tends to think:

·      It is personal (it is all my fault)

·      It is permanent (it cannot be changed)

·      It is pervasive (it will affect everything)

Mind Reading

In Genesis chapters 11-25, one of the best-known couples in the Bible, Abraham and Sarah, serve as reminders of what happens when we presume to know God’s plans, and the plans of others. This couple often strayed from God’s will. Early on they gave into fear, dishonesty, and manipulation as they dealt with others. At times, they wrongly presumed to know God’s mind and plans before He had revealed them and then foolishly attempted to assist Him.

The good news is, over time Abraham, and Sarah got the lesson. They learned that a fresh start is always possible. They also learned that the fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our performance, but rather on His grace. Finally, they learned it is dangerous to try to read God’s mind and to move ahead without first seeking His direction.

This mind-reading trap assumes that you know what the other person is thinking or expecting, or that you expect another person to understand fully what you are thinking.

 Mind reading often happens when we know or think we know the other persons well. After forty years of being married to my wife, she is learned she cannot always read my mind.

The way to avoid the trap of assuming you know what another person is thinking is to ask questions. Getting answers is the easiest way to see if what you are thinking matches what the other person is thinking. It takes courage, but it can work.

Here are a few questions to ask:

·      Did I express myself?

·      Did I ask for information and clarification?

·      Am I sure the other person is not holding anything back in fear of my reaction?


Feel free to leave a comment.
(c) 2014 John Thurman

Recapture Your Vision: Savor Life


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(c) 2013 John Thurman – Toasted Almond & Brie Salad
Doesn’t that salad look good?

Last year I had the fortune of traveling to Marseille, France to work with some friends who are connected to a group that helps people who are relocating.

One night they took me to a local restaurant, La Crepe Au Carre’, my friend said, “You have to eat this salad, it will change your life.” His comment threw me off a little because, I thought you go to a crepe place to eat crepes. He insisted that I try this salad, and I did.

Take a look at my image of it. It is a toasted brie and almond topped salad made with fresh, local greens, and local cheese. The dressing was reduced balsamic vinegar with a hint of strawberry. As the waiter placed the salad in front of me, a warm, sweet, aromatics of the dressing, the toasted cheese and almonds stimulated both my imagination and my appetite. As one of my old Georgia friends would say, “That looks almost to eat pretty.

Well, I ate it. And I consumed that delicious blend of cheese, nuts, and greens in a slow, deliberate manner. I felt like I had a Mardi Gras in my mouth. My friend’s words were true; it did change my life. That wonderful evening of food and fellowship, a time of savoring food, and hearing about the work that God is doing in people’s lives never gets old. 

To savor something is to taste or smell it. It means to linger over or dwell on. 

Having traveled a little bit in Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and France I get a little frustrated at how fast we live our lives in America. Fast food, constant connectivity, speed dating, always rushing. While I would never trade off the blessings of living in this great country, I am reminded, at least when I travel that there are times that we need to slow down. Times when we need to break bread with friends and family. Times when we can intentionally savor our relationship, our blessings, and yes, delicious food.

One of the easiest tools we use as we continue to look at ways to regain our vision and overcome depression is to savor pleasant memories; past answers to prayer; a meaningful Scripture verse; and positive, meaningful words spoken to you. When we purposely reflect and meditate on these types of good, positive things, our brains begin to move toward health.

Take a few moments and think about it.

Let me know if you “like this article”


Recapture Your Vision through Gratitide

Experience Gratitude

“Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done…” are words from a hymn I remember from my childhood while attending the First Baptist Church of Fort Valley. It is an old song with modern psychological and spiritual implications.

G.K Chesterton said, “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

“Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted–a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner

Gratitude makes your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event. In addition, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them.

An exercise called the Gratitude Visit will help you experience relief from depression.

Close your eyes. Imagine the face of someone still alive who did something or said something that changed your life for the better. Got a face?

Your task is to write a letter (handwritten) to this individual and deliver it in person. The letter should be concrete and about three hundred words; be specific about what they did for you and how it affected your life.

Once you have completed the letter, call the person and let them know that you would like to visit them, but be vague about the purpose of the meeting. This type of exercise is more fun when it is a surprise. When you meet with the individual, take your time reading your letter. Notice their reactions as well as yours. If they interrupt you, gently tell them that you want them to listen until you are done. I promise you that you and the recipient will be much happier and less depressed.

Of course, if you cannot hand deliver the note, mail it, but follow up with a call.

Added Monday morning

My pastor, Todd Cook, Senior Pastor of Sagebrush Church in Albuquerque, shared a message Sunday on Psalm 90. One of the quotes I took away was, “If God leads you to it, he will lead you through it. Here is a link to the message, Boom Box if you want to hear it all. It was timely. Warning: this my be a little “out of the box” for you.

You can find this and more tips in my book Get a Grip on Depression.  Obtain a personally autographed copy from me. In Albuquerque, you may pick up a copy at the Sagebrush Church bookstore, or order a copy through Amazon/Kindle.

Focus

By John Thurman

I recently attended and photographed several events at Albuquerque’s Freedom Fourth Celebration and the International Balloon Fiesta Park on the fourth of July. One of the stages was featuring a group from the National Flamenco Institute local in Albuquerque.

Take a second and observe this dancer, at her eyes, her head, her hands. Does she look focused?

This young solo dancer moved her way across the stage like a graceful swan with an attitude. One of the hallmarks of Flamenco is the ability to project happiness and anger with looks, movement, and the impact of their shoes on the dance floor. I had a real sense of the hours of practice and focus this young woman had poured into her performance.

My friend, Dr. Tom Barrett says, “Sustained focus is the single most important component of being successful in life.” Whether you are focused on leadership development, building your business, making that next promotion or building your relationships, it will not happen without focus.

Here are some thoughts from Dr. Barrett:

         Focus is where discipline co-mingles with dreams.

         Focus is where you do what you need to do and not what you want to do.

         Focus is the birth canal through which dreams become a reality.

         Focus is what makes potential become profitable.

         Focus is where notions are put into motions.

         Focus is where you determine if your potential will become a reality.

The Apostle Paul put it this way in Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

May God bless you as you seek to Focus on things that will enrich your life and bring Glory to Him.