(More insight from Dr. Jim Wilder on holiday blues and what can be done. Read the prior posts)

God designs ways that make it possible to join with him and make progress in addressing attachment pain. For instance, if you are missing someone, try doing the things you think they would want to do during the holiday. Fir example, if grandma has died, bake her favorite cookies. Decorate like she would decorate.

Remember, all good attachments are an expression of God’s love to us. As I receive the love of God, I can become the love of God for others, and I can carry on the love and goodness that God placed in that person, the one I miss so much, even if they are no longer here. When I share the love and joy they shared, they are here.

Whatever was good about them can be shared by me.

And when your dreams don’t come true with some of those around you who aren’t glad to be with you, take that to God. Ask him. God you made me. How are you dreaming for me, God? Who do you want me to be? Who do I want to be? Listen to how he answers. Get a sense of what he might be saying.

Now, if you are being physically hurt or damaged you will need to remove yourself from the relationship for any healing to occur.

But, if it is just an unhappy relationship, it is mainly because you are not being the person you really like to be.

Just be who you are. Your best true self. Go back to acting like the person you would be if you were loved and cared for. How would you act if you were treated like you want to be treated?

Be that person. Go ahead and act like yourself.

Oh, and one more thing. If your pain isn’t too overwhelming, then what if your dream is to start joy in low joy places? That is God’s dream for every one of us. Grace is when God puts his people in the middle of the parts of the world that could use extra joy.

If our dream is to show up in some low joy places where we bring a bit of joy to the world, there’s a chance to grow joy in a way that people don’t really ever dream of. And when you think about it, some of the people we admire most are those who bring joy in low joy places…

ME

When we act like we would act if we were treated like we want to be treated, how might that change the way others see us?

Yesterday, we looked at attachment pain. Because of how our brains are wired, there is no built in solution to turn off attachmentIMG_8279 pain. When we try to just forget about it and pretend it doesn’t matter. This is the Bah humbug approach.

Sure enough, you can eventually convince your brain that you don’t care. Trouble is, your brain will disconnect the thinking part from the feeling part. You will still have attachment pain, but you won’t know it. Then you’ll ask yourself, Why do I feel so blue this Christmas?

With attachment pain, we have little or no control over our defenses. So, we still dread getting together and we look for ways not to meet.

This also, has something to do with our dreams.  We all have dreams about what life should be like. We have been dreaming since we were little.

“I am going to dream about having joy when I grow up. I’m going to be happy. Jesus puts joy in my heart. Everyone will like everything about me. I will be popular and people will be happy I am there.”

Nothing bad happens in those childhood dreams.

But, when we grow up, our dreams don’t all come true. If our joy is dependent our dreams coming true, we will be disappointed. And when we have a high degree of attachment pain, everything is filtered by it.

We see kids having joy during Christmas and are full of joy…usually.

But, what about if your child dies or your child is sick? What if you want children but are having infertility issues? What seems to bring everyone else joy, those happy children, isn’t bringing joy for you.

Alright, nice bit of Christmas cheer I’m bringing, huh? Well, God gives us a way to experience joy even during the pain. Next…

ME

Have you or someone you know, had a hard time at Christmas when every around you seems happy? What was it like?

Is there going to be somebody missing this holiday season?

Are there people who will not be glad to see you?

Are there people you won’t be glad to see?

Using some helpful insights from neuroscientist and theologian Dr. Jim Wilder, I look at why we may have difficulties with holiday times, “Blue” Christmas and such, and what can be done about it.
Can we be a joy to the world?

God Time: Joy To The World?

 

Endure Hardship Well
Learning to stay relational and continue to act like the person God made me to be during times of struggle and suffering. We examine the five levels of maturity, why most adults are stuck at infant or child maturity, and what God can do about it.

Last in a series using biblical principles and brain science based on “Rare Leadership,” by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder.

 

Daily Devotions based on this message

vcr-photo-11

Isaiah 40

“Comfort, comfort my people,”

    says your God.

“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.

Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned.

So, what do we do about all these upsetting emotions? it seems the odds are stacked against us right?

Well, in Rare leadership we are invited to turn on the VCR.

VCR stands for: Validate, Comfort, and Repattern.

When we are upset we are invited to return to quiet. Return to joy where once again we can be glad to be with others. The way we do this is to turn on the VCR.

Validate

To validate an emotion doesn’t mean you agree with it.

1. Name the negative emotion

2. recognize where it originated

3. understand the level of intensity

This meets a person where they are at emotionally.

It names the emotion accurately.

It gives some indication that you can begin to understand why they feel the way they do.

Comfort

Provide a different perspective or alternative.

However large the problem, our group identity is larger.

Repattern

This takes place when validating and comforting become the new pattern that guides our responses to upsetting emotions.

If we don’t learn to quiet ourselves through validation and comfort, the upsetting emotions will tend to grow as we fixate on our problems.

If we have a habit of validation and comfort, a new pattern will develop that helps me return to joy quickly.

RARE Leaders meet people where they are at emotionally, find ways to help them change their perspective or fix their problems, and call out what is best in them.

Glad to be with you when one of both of us is upset is the a key measurement of emotional health.

Leaders who do this build resilient groups who don’t get stuck or overwhelmed by big problems or big emotions.

ME

Which of the six upset emotions is a trigger for you most? What can you do about it?

psm_v36_d704_facial_expression_of_contempt

Exodus 16

There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

Anxiety or fear is next. With anxiety, we face the threat of falling apart.

The fear of failure.

We buy in to Murphy’s law where whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

When we are fearful, we are focusing on a future that hasn’t even happened. Dr. David Levy says fear is using our imagination and filling the screen (like a movie screen) with images of dread. “Fear is imagination looking at the future with dread.”  So often this is focusing on what is, undoubtedly,  going to go wrong, though we have no logical reason to think this. But, anxiety is not logical.

When we face fear, we need love. God’s love.By inviting God into our anxiety, we can return to joy with him.

Luke 15

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’

Disgust happen when we feel we are not worthy. If people only knew the real me.

When we get disgusted at others we can easily fall into the worst sin we can have against another precious human being created in God’s very image. Contempt. When we have contempt for someone we act as if they don’t exist. In other words, we put God on trial and declare him guilty when we treat people with contempt.

ME

Why is contempt so devastating to the person who has contempt?

What is the strongest indicator of emotional health? Our ability to quiet ourselves quickly during emotional upset or…Return to joy

This is the third in a four part series on what it means to be a RARE leader. We are combining biblical principles with the latest brain science, based on the book Rare Leadership, by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder.
When we develop four uncommon habits to increase our emotional maturity (EQ) we increase trust, joy, and engagement with the people we live with. The people we work with.

 

  • Sermon for November 6, 2016

 

Click here for God Time Daily Devotions based on the message

masks-1675016_1280

1 Corinthians 2 

For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” 

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. 

We need the mind of Jesus. We need to see things the way he sees them. Jesus didn’t allow others to trigger him into getting upset. Even when we was angry, he would have control of the situation. Two things get in the way of our acting like our best true selves… Triggers and masks.

When we get triggered we turn into someone we are not.

Predators will use attack. They will blow up relationally. They will feel like punching something. Possums will run away. They will shut down relationally.

Both predators and possums overreact.

Protectors don’t get their triggers pulled.

What can you do when you are vulnerable to triggers?

Ask God what happened to get you triggered.

Ask God for a new perspective.

Share what you learn with a trusted ally.

Besides triggers, the other thing that gets in the way are the masks we use   to try to fit in. Remember group identity? We start using masks by middle school and many of us never stop. We try to hide our vulnerabilities by appearing strong. Masks help us get what we want.

Here is the problem with masks. Eventually we are confused because we don’t know if people like us for who we are or for our image of who we are. Do they like our masks or us? Eventually we get exhausted by all of this and this kills our joy.

ME

What are your triggers and masks? Think this through.

jesus-1603691_1280

Philippians 2 

Then fulfill my joy and be like-minded, having the same love, being in unity with one mind. Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

When we think of how people act in relationships, there are three kinds of people. Wilder calls them predators, possums, and protectors. We might show signs of being all three of these, but one is our main go-to.

Before we look at these types let’s define another word. Shame.

We recall Joy means gladness. When we share joy, I am glad to be with you. Well shame is the opposite. I am not glad to be with you. There are two kinds of shame.

Toxic shame is isolating and it is used by others to lie about our identity, obtain power over us, and will continue until we comply. There is no return to joy in toxic shame.

Healthy shame doesn’t try to isolate us but is based on the truth of our relationships and identity. It is inviting someone back to their best true selves.

Alright, let’s look at the three types.

First, there is the predator.

You are being a predator when you are always justifying yourself and you know no shame. Even if you are given healthy shame by someone trying to help in relationship, you deflect the shame to others, especially those who are vulnerable.

A predator pounces on the vulnerable and weak to grow their own power and indulge their own pleasure. A predator has a lack of tenderness toward the vulnerable.

Second, there is the possum. Possum is short for opossum. What does an opossum do during times of threat? The possum will run away or play dead. Because predators are on the look out for possums to exploit, possums will put on masks to try to avoid being attacked.

Possum leaders try to make everyone happy, but they disappear during times of crisis. Like the officer who hides in the foxhole during the battle instead of engaging with his soldiers and leading them into battle, possums are often emotionally overwhelmed and relationally isolated.

Then third, there are protectors. This is the model of Jesus. This is you as you live out of the heart Jesus has given you. Protectors have a strong joyful identity in who they are as children of God. They welcome others and are especially tender to the vulnerable. They don’t exploit the vulnerable like a predator, but help them grow in joy. Protectors will gently protect the vulnerable from dysfunctional behavior. Protectors help the vulnerable grow in joy. When a group is high-joy they develop protector skills automatically. They naturally resist behavior that threatens the relational bonds. Vulnerable people feel safe when they are with protectors. Emotionally mature leaders are protectors. They see value in people that others do not.

If we act like the Jesus who is within us, we are protectors. Without Jesus, we are natural predators. That is the default position for normal human beings. Trying to protect ourselves at all cost.

ME

High-joy communities develop protectors. How can you impact your environment?

girl-559772_1920

Galatians 3

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Act Like Yourself…

This starts with identity. We have two identities.

Individual identity, “Who am I?”

Group identity, “Who are my people?”

Before we think of who we are, we need to know there is a lot inside of us ready to be like someone else. Our best true self, you can call it. We have the blueprint of the one God created. When we are acting like ourselves then, it is acting like our best, true selves.

So, who am I?

I am the son of an adoring Father who is the King of all that exists. You are the daughter of an adoring Father who is King.

Who are my people?

We are royalty. My people are those who identify with the same loving Father and follow in his ways, trusting in Jesus, our model and teacher, as well as our Savior.

Individual identity and group identity are not identical, but they can’t be separated.

As my identity is developing, how do I respond? It is helpful to think of group identity here, because that takes priority.

We start really developing group identity when we reach middle school age. This is why middle school or jr. high as you might have called it, are remembered not so fondly for many of us. Unless we suppressed those years all together:)

You might remember middle school as an awkward time. We mainly think of puberty issues and such as the source of our non-fond memories and awkwardness. With the latest brain science what we realize now is the main challenge of those years is we are establishing a group identity. Who are my people? Middle School students tend to experiment and go from group to group. Not as much puberty and awkwardness but confusion over who my people are.

This is why we invest in young people at this critical time so they know who their people are. Those who share life with them following Jesus. This is why we partner with parents to give sons and daughters the opportunity to explore who they are in the context of a faith community.

Here’s the thing. In the identity center of the brain we have neurons called, “mirror neurons.” These neurons can’t look at themselves. They can only look at others and activate the neurons that reflect what they see.

Jim Wilder says, “If I live with people who regularly show disgust around me, my mirror neurons will reflect that and I will learn to think of myself as someone who generates disgust. If I live with parents who take delight in who I am and demonstrate that delight regularly, I learn to see myself as someone who brings joy to others.”

ME

Whenever you feel pressure or anxiety, remember you are God’s son or daughter facing pressure or anxiety.