Archive for Revive Family

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions related to losing weight, exercise or making a change in the way we interact with our families.  Many times we start strong but find it difficult to follow through on our resolutions. I have found that in spite of my best efforts to change things in my life I often fell short leading to frustration, a sense of failure or worse, loss of motivation.  

Why do we fall short of our New Year’s Resolutions?

I think this stems from the fact that the change either required more self-discipline than we possess or what we are targeting is a symptom rather than the underlying cause.  In either case I found that a spiritual answer is in order. So perhaps in 2019 a different type of resolution would serve us better.

Let’s not set ourselves up for disappointment with our New Year’s Resolutions this year.

While we talk about and focus on self-control, discipline and making good decisions, why is it difficult to follow through?  Let me propose that lasting change in our lives often stems from a different source. I found in my life that over time I had grown emotionally distant and numb and had become hard and defensive.  This led people around me to think I was proud, arrogant or self-confident when in reality my confidence had evaporated because of  a series of events that left deep wounds within. That is when I discovered a spiritual answer I did not expect.

Many people in the US report being Spiritual

Many in our society consider themselves to be spiritual. Some report feeling led or moved to do things they would not normally consider.  Many more say they feel negative or guilty after making a poor decision. Their feelings seem to emanate from within.

Why is this the case?  Is there a spiritual element we all possess?  

Whether you are convinced God does not exist, is cruel or believe in a higher power, let me encourage you to keep reading or listening.  Why? Because I found a spiritual answer that led to deep healing and restoration of my heart, joy, and peace that made it far easier to be kind and patient with my kids.  

Recently I came across a passage that echoed what I have found at work in my heart and my life.  It says:

I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, where are you going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

The passage above is found in John.  While I know faith, the Bible and Jesus have a questionable image in our society, because of the poor conduct of some, I would encourage everyone who reads this to consider the existence of the helper mentioned in the passage.

Jesus states that it is to our advantage that He leaves earth so the helper will come. it is significant because this person can help us live more peaceful, patient and fulfilled lives. In other passages it is said that the helper:

  • Guides us
  • Heals our hearts
  • Serves as a buffer between us and God so we do not have to be perfect
  • Convicts us of right and wrong
  • Grants patience
  • Grants self-control
  • The Spirit even pours love into our hearts.

I am pretty sure virtually everyone would admit that the world could use far more people who are filled with genuine love. Perhaps we fell short of our resolutions in the past because we were not looking to the helper for patience or self-control.

So who is this helper?  The helper is the Holy Spirit who is said to take up residence within our hearts. I believe there is a spiritual element in everyone that the Holy Spirit is tugging on deep within. Perhaps this is why so many report being spiritual.

Prior to considering the helper, I found change in my life hard to come by for a several reasons. Why was it hard for me to change prior to discovering the many roles that the Holy Spirit plays in my life?

  1. )  I was relying on my knowledge and ability to make good decisions.
  2. )  I had stuffed many hurts throughout my life causing me to basically cut off my heart to avoid dealing with the hurt that had amassed within it.
  3. )  My heart was heavy, numb and clouded.  Like the passage says sorrow had filled my heart.

Even though I had a faith in God and had been told of the Spirit’s existence, my reliance on my knowledge and making good decisions had me focused on my head rather than my heart. Compounding this was the fact that the unhealed pain, numbness and sorrow in my heart made it difficult to discern guidance of the Spirit who resides in the heart.

It was not until a professional counselor told me my heart was shutdown that things began to change.  She pointed me to the fact that I had grown numb and that I had been stuffing my pain rather than moving through it. It was difficult to open my heart and allow myself to encounter and release the pain. It had been years since I could say I felt whole inside.

As I sought healing, the Spirit pulled down the guard I had put around my heart and pain flowed in tears and then anger.  Off loading the pain and hurt was freeing. I felt lighter, happier and could begin to sense the Spirit’s leading. Clearly He changed my heart, which changed my outlook on life.

So as 2019 approaches, consider a different kind of resolution this year … A Spiritual Resolution to seek the helper to illuminate the areas of your heart that are wounded by the past. Turn and face the pain they represent and seek the Spirit’s help to experience and release the pain.  You will not believe the difference it will make in your life. You will see everything in a more hopeful, positive and compassionate light.

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Thanksgiving is more than a holiday. It is an essential state of mind for our family.

Thanksgiving is an essential attitude for families. Recent research indicates just how important gratefulness is for our relationships and health.  Read More →

Some see Halloween as dangerous, others see it as sacrilegious, but as a 20 year old in college I see it as a time that can bind families together if one stops and sees it through their kids eyes. For kids imagination is everything and only one holiday allows kids to be anything they want, Halloween!

As a 20 year old who remembers Halloween with her family what made it special for me was the time we spent together in creative ways around “Halloween”. So how can we make Halloween a special time for everyone in our families? Here are our four things my parents did that brought the family together and made it special. Read More →

Prior to my journey of heart healing I had intellectually forgiven the sources of the stuffed issues and pain within me.  Yet without having turned and dealt with the harm within, it was not a full forgiveness. As the negative beliefs I had adopted came to the forefront and the sources of those beliefs were identified, it was clear that my forgiveness was incomplete.

I had to truly begin to heal within before I could truly forgive in such a manner that I did not seek to guard and protect myself from those I had intellectually forgiven. Read More →

Given that our culture is not a culture of grieving it seems only natural that we would learn to stuff our feelings only to reach a point where our hearts shut down because of unresolved issues with our parents, others or things outside our control which lead to the amount of pain we carry inside.

Pat was the one to first introduce me to the thought that stuffing traumatic or painful events in our lives is not healthy.  She helped me see that losing my Dad, my company and a youth organization my wife and I started deeply wounded me. Those around me had not allowed me to grieve.  She believed that we must begin to grieve painful events in a healthy way within three weeks of the event. Otherwise we will stuff the pain deep within our hearts to resolve it and it will become toxic for the rest of our lives.  It will seep into how we view ourselves and negatively affects us and those around us. Read More →

While looking within is often the hardest phase of healing, it is crucial. I am not talking about a cursory review of oneself at the mind level, but rather a process of opening the hatch to our hearts and becoming emotionally transparent with ourselves.  We must allow ourselves to feel and find the root causes of the hurt and negative beliefs we have so carefully sealed from our consciousness. As I help parents and kids reach this place, it is amazing to see how unaware they often are regarding the pools of pain they are carrying within as well as the negative beliefs they have adopted.

When I ask them on the surface if they are okay with themselves, the answer is normally yes, but as we dig through a long list of questions about their lives, unresolved hurts and deeply held negative beliefs begin to surface. Identifying the sealed off hurts within our hearts and the negative beliefs is essential to healing that brings with it internal contentment, peace and joy. Read More →

Healing the heart is not a science or a linear process but an inward journey of discovery, reflection, and emotional consciousness that leads to deep healing. It does, however, require a significant mental decision and commitment. Why? It takes time, personal transparency, and a willingness to discover the suppressed reality that lies within.

This discovery process is not easy and often uncovers pain that we inherently like to avoid which is likely why we stuffed it originally. When pain accumulates, it causes us to deep six our hearts and shut them down, in effect sealing the hatch to the submarine to avoid the storm within. Read More →

Healing within has made a huge difference in the relationships in our family.  So many of the sensitive spots that caused me to fear, react or get angry are gone.  When those things trigger within us, we often assess the full weight of the uncomfortable or angry feelings to the one thing our kid or spouse said. If we had healed the sensitive spots or pools of pain in our hearts, the impact of what they said or did would not have kicked off such strong feelings of pain, anger or hurt.  This is just one of the reasons healing within is so important. Removing the pool of pain and triggers makes it far easier to be the type of loving, listening and strategic parent we desire to be. Read More →

Trust is a tricky topic when it comes to families and especially the parent-child relationship. We have been programmed since childhood to believe trust is earned. The challenge with this view is that this means we basically need to be perfect in our relationships. Under this view when things go wrong in a relationship, we lose trust. When trust exits a relationship, communication becomes more difficult, suspicion increases and emotional distance grows. This is one of the reasons that friendships, marriage and business relationships often die when trust is lost.

I believe trust is the foundation of love. In the absence of trust it is virtually impossible for emotional connection and love to form. Apart from trust we will not take the risk of being open, transparent and of being hurt by someone we allow to get close to us. Read More →

This is a topic many parents and kids struggle with…how do we get our kids to help clean up around the house. Over the years of parenting four kids, here is what we found is better to make “clean up” fun and a team sport.

We found that chore charts and expectations supported by lectures or consequences lead to tension between the kids as some things were easier than others, as well as motivation issues with getting the tasks done. Read More →