Secrets…”From Their Lips to God’s Ears.”

Before I wrote my last post, I began to think about secrets and how they affect us. I read different studies and articles about secrets. Most studies came to the conclusion that many of the secrets we carry are not harmful but there are some that are not good for us. They usually separated the secrets into two categories: those that we don’t think about and those that we think about a lot. The studies usually concluded that it is the secrets that we continually think about that cause us the most harm. They cause us stress and we know that stress is not good for us. The studies were very general and a bit vague so I decided to come up with my own SECRETS CHART  and let you know how I try to process them.secret-2725302_1280 Photo by Phlim 1310 Courtesy of Pixabay

                                                        SECRETS CHART

WHITE:

beautiful bloom blooming blossom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

These secrets are usually very nondescript. Someone may say, “Don’t tell anyone about my makeup secrets or where I got this dress.” These secrets do not evoke an emotional reaction inside of me and they do not affect me one way or the other.

 

BEIGE:

selective focus photography of white petaled flowers

Photo by Irina Kostenich on Pexels.com

These secrets are usually social and relational. I will hear, “Don’t tell anyone that I like him,” or “We’re going together but we don’t want anyone to know.” Again these secrets are just information and again usually they do not affect me one way or the other.

 

YELLOW:

flower roses bloom blossom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The secrets in this category are of a different sort. These are the secrets that I may hear in the job I work at. These are secrets that, by law or agreement, I am not allowed to tell anyone. When I work in a medical office, people’s health information is private and is protected by law. When I work in an office where there are corporate secrets, I have signed a non-disclosure contract. If I work in an attorney’s office, ditto, attorney-client privilege. These secrets are usually documented but must not leave the office or only leave the office if they are requested legally or subpoenaed. A person must use EXTREME CAUTION with these secrets because if you say anything to anyone, you have broken the law and can lose your job. 

I know that these secrets can affect you emotionally having worked in both a legal office and a medical office. The best thing I can do with them after I have processed them emotionally is to give them to God. I can’t change what I have heard and now know about someone, but I don’t want to carry the information around inside of me. I must pass it along, hence, “From their lips to God’s ears.” I can talk to God about what I know and leave the information with Him. After all, He is in charge of the world, not me.

 

RED:

beautiful bloom blooming blossom

Photo by asim alnamat on Pexels.com

The secrets in this category are DANGEROUS. They make me STOP and do something about them. If someone is breaking the law, I need to report it. If a child tells me they are being abused, I must report it. If someone is stealing from my employer, I need to report it. These are not secrets I am supposed to carry and do nothing about. They are secrets that must come to the light of day and be exposed.

 

BROWN:

rose-1010688_640

These secrets are some of the most difficult to carry. People tell you things before they pass and you are not allowed to share the information. Someone has been cheating on their spouse. A woman wonders if her child belongs to her husband. The secrets in this category are emotionally charged but again, I probably should not take action about them. What do I do with this information so that it doesn’t harm me? Again, after I process these secrets, I must release them to God. I do not want to carry this information and most of the time I did not solicit it. Someone may have confided in me because they thought I was trustworthy. So again, I give the secrets to God, “From their lips to God’s ears.” I let Him carry them.

 

BLACK:

grayscale macro photography of rose

Photo by Karin S on Pexels.com

This category of secrets is the most destructive. These are the “DEEP, DARK SECRETS” that we carry. These secrets consist of things we have done or possibly have been done to us in decades past. There is shame associated with these secrets and we don’t want to talk to anyone about them. What do we do with those secrets? First, we take them to God and talk to Him about them. My motto changes slightly here, it now becomes, “From my lips to God’s ears.”

If we have done wrong, we tell God. The Bible gives us some guidance here: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. We ask for His forgiveness and we ask Him to cleanse us from the sin we are carrying around. Then we see if there is something we need to do about what we have confessed. Is there someone we need to ask forgiveness from? Do we need to call or write a letter? Have we stolen something? Do we need to make amends? These actions help us become free from the hold the secrets have had on us. If we are not sure about what we should do, we may need to speak to a pastor, priest or counselor. These professionals can give us counsel and guidance about how to proceed if we need to make restitution for anything. Many times, there is nothing we should do but let our secrets (sins) go into the Sea of Forgetfulness. We have done what we could and we need to release ourselves from them.

What if the secret is about what someone has done to us? These secrets are a bit trickier. Sometimes bringing these secrets to the light of day will destroy people and families. Is that something I want or need to do? A good place to start with these secrets is with a professional: pastor, priest or counselor. If you are embarrassed, let me tell you, these people have heard everything and nothing you say will surprise them. They can help you sort through the maze of your emotions and help bring you healing and help you figure out if you are supposed to do anything with these secrets.

Do you live in a culture where you cannot share these things with anyone? If you do, will you be blamed as the perpetrator instead of the victim? Will you be punished for what someone did to you? Then you must keep your secret, but share it with a loving God who will be there to help give your heart healing and you vindication. Remember, He has seen what happened to you and He will eventually take care of it in His time. “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord, Romans 12: 19. 

 

Secrets, sometimes they are nothing, sometimes they are everything. Seek counsel if you need it and trust God. He will help guide you through the maze about what to do with them. Most important, don’t let the secrets you carry affect you and your mental and emotional health! 

 

Still recalibrating this week. Reposting a fave.

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness Comes Before Freedom in the Dictionary

Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher was teaching you how to use the dictionary? You worked on papers where you had to decide which word came first. You would receive your paper and there would be rows of words, two at a time, and you had to circle the word that came before the other word in the dictionary.  Let’s say the two words were: forgiveness and freedom. Which word would you circle? Forgiveness, of course, it always comes before freedom in the dictionary.

black and white book business close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just as it is in the dictionary, so it is in life. Forgiveness always comes before freedom. Over the course of our lives, we receive many offences from people, some large and others minute. We have two choices when we are in a position where someone has offended us: 1. We can either choose to hold on to the offence or 2. We can forgive.

Forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to give in our lives, especially if someone has hurt us deeply. Our tendency is to want to hold on to the hurt and nurse it. After all, we have been wronged. The problem with this attitude is that the unforgiveness that we carry does not necessarily harm the other person; it only harms us. We are a container and when we hold on to an offence, it is like a toxic substance inside of us. The toxic substance does not do our bodies or our minds any good, only harm. 

When it comes right down to it, forgiveness is a choice. We must choose to forgive those that have done us wrong. When we do that we become free of the offence. Is the process instantaneous; we forgive and then we are free? Sometimes, but not usually. Forgiveness is a process. We choose to forgive, and then we begin to walk it out. The memory may come to mind again and again, but each time we say,”I choose to forgive that person; I am not going to carry this around with me any more.”  Over and over, the process repeats, until at some point, the memory fades and that offence no longer has power over us.

You will say to me, “But you don’t understand what so and so has done to me.” You’re right, I don’t understand, but the process is the same. Jesus told us a great story about this principle. In Matthew 18, he tells us about a servant that owed a king a great deal of money; by today’s standards it would be several million dollars. The servant could not pay the debt and the king commanded that the man, his wife and children and all he had be sold to pay the debt. The servant then fell down and begged him to forgive the debt. The king relented and forgave the servant the entire debt.

The servant then went out from the king and found someone who owed him several thousand dollars.  He took the man by the throat and demanded the man pay him what he owed him. The debtor begged the man to have compassion on him and he would pay him what was owed but the servant would not show mercy. He had the man thrown into prison. Soon it was reported to the king what the servant had done to his debtor. The king then called the servant and demanded to know why he had treated the other man so harshly seeing that he had received mercy. He then threw the man into prison until all of his debt was paid. The story ends with this admonition from Jesus, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

The point of this story is that we all stand before God owing a great debt; that debt being our sins and trespasses. If we want God’s forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive those who have sinned or trespassed against us. It is a spiritual law of the universe. If we want it, we have to be willing to give it.

You will say to me, “But, you still don’t understand what so and so did to me.” You’re right, I don’t, but God does. 

In order to do this, we also must understand what forgiveness is not:

1. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that what the person did was not wrong. It was wrong and nothing will change it.

2. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that the person won’t have to make restitution for what they did to you. They still  may owe a debt to society and may need to go through the judicial system. 

Forgiveness IS you releasing them from the wrong they committed against you. They are still responsible before God and society for what they did. You no longer have to live in a prison of hate or despair over their actions. You can be free from them.

You see, in life, just as it is in the dictionary, forgiveness always comes before freedom.   

 

Like our GPS, am recalibrating this week…reblogging a few of my faves!

 

 

Forgiveness Comes Before Freedom in the Dictionary

Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher was teaching you how to use the dictionary? You worked on papers where you had to decide which word came first. You would receive your paper and there would be rows of words, two at a time, and you had to circle the word that came before the other word in the dictionary.  Let’s say the two words were: forgiveness and freedom. Which word would you circle? Forgiveness, of course, it always comes before freedom in the dictionary.

black and white book business close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just as it is in the dictionary, so it is in life. Forgiveness always comes before freedom. Over the course of our lives, we receive many offences from people, some large and others minute. We have two choices when we are in a position where someone has offended us: 1. We can either choose to hold on to the offence or 2. We can forgive.

Forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to give in our lives, especially if someone has hurt us deeply. Our tendency is to want to hold on to the hurt and nurse it. After all, we have been wronged. The problem with this attitude is that the unforgiveness that we carry does not necessarily harm the other person; it only harms us. We are a container and when we hold on to an offence, it is like a toxic substance inside of us. The toxic substance does not do our bodies or our minds any good, only harm. 

When it comes right down to it, forgiveness is a choice. We must choose to forgive those that have done us wrong. When we do that we become free of the offence. Is the process instantaneous; we forgive and then we are free? Sometimes, but not usually. Forgiveness is a process. We choose to forgive, and then we begin to walk it out. The memory may come to mind again and again, but each time we say,”I choose to forgive that person; I am not going to carry this around with me any more.”  Over and over, the process repeats, until at some point, the memory fades and that offence no longer has power over us.

You will say to me, “But you don’t understand what so and so has done to me.” You’re right, I don’t understand, but the process is the same. Jesus told us a great story about this principle. In Matthew 18, he tells us about a servant that owed a king a great deal of money; by today’s standards it would be several million dollars. The servant could not pay the debt and the king commanded that the man, his wife and children and all he had be sold to pay the debt. The servant then fell down and begged him to forgive the debt. The king relented and forgave the servant the entire debt.

The servant then went out from the king and found someone who owed him several thousand dollars.  He took the man by the throat and demanded the man pay him what he owed him. The debtor begged the man to have compassion on him and he would pay him what was owed but the servant would not show mercy. He had the man thrown into prison. Soon it was reported to the king what the servant had done to his debtor. The king then called the servant and demanded to know why he had treated the other man so harshly seeing that he had received mercy. He then threw the man into prison until all of his debt was paid. The story ends with this admonition from Jesus, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

The point of this story is that we all stand before God owing a great debt; that debt being our sins and trespasses. If we want God’s forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive those who have sinned or trespassed against us. It is a spiritual law of the universe. If we want it, we have to be willing to give it.

You will say to me, “But, you still don’t understand what so and so did to me.” You’re right, I don’t, but God does. 

In order to do this, we also must understand what forgiveness is not:

1. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that what the person did was not wrong. It was wrong and nothing will change it.

2. Forgiveness IS NOT saying that the person won’t have to make restitution for what they did to you. They still  may owe a debt to society and may need to go through the judicial system. 

Forgiveness IS you releasing them from the wrong they committed against you. They are still responsible before God and society for what they did. You no longer have to live in a prison of hate or despair over their actions. You can be free from them.

You see, in life, just as it is in the dictionary, forgiveness always comes before freedom.   

 

 

Secrets…”From Their Lips to God’s Ears.”

Before I wrote my last post, I began to think about secrets and how they affect us. I read different studies and articles about secrets. Most studies came to the conclusion that many of the secrets we carry are not harmful but there are some that are not good for us. They usually separated the secrets into two categories: those that we don’t think about and those that we think about a lot. The studies usually concluded that it is the secrets that we continually think about that cause us the most harm. They cause us stress and we know that stress is not good for us. The studies were very general and a bit vague so I decided to come up with my own SECRETS CHART  and let you know how I try to process them.secret-2725302_1280 Photo by Phlim 1310 Courtesy of Pixabay

                                                        SECRETS CHART

WHITE:

beautiful bloom blooming blossom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

These secrets are usually very nondescript. Someone may say, “Don’t tell anyone about my makeup secrets or where I got this dress.” These secrets do not evoke an emotional reaction inside of me and they do not affect me one way or the other.

 

BEIGE:

selective focus photography of white petaled flowers

Photo by Irina Kostenich on Pexels.com

These secrets are usually social and relational. I will hear, “Don’t tell anyone that I like him,” or “We’re going together but we don’t want anyone to know.” Again these secrets are just information and again usually they do not affect me one way or the other.

 

YELLOW:

flower roses bloom blossom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The secrets in this category are of a different sort. These are the secrets that I may hear in the job I work at. These are secrets that, by law or agreement, I am not allowed to tell anyone. When I work in a medical office, people’s health information is private and is protected by law. When I work in an office where there are corporate secrets, I have signed a non-disclosure contract. If I work in an attorney’s office, ditto, attorney-client privilege. These secrets are usually documented but must not leave the office or only leave the office if they are requested legally or subpoenaed. A person must use EXTREME CAUTION with these secrets because if you say anything to anyone, you have broken the law and can lose your job. 

I know that these secrets can affect you emotionally having worked in both a legal office and a medical office. The best thing I can do with them after I have processed them emotionally is to give them to God. I can’t change what I have heard and now know about someone, but I don’t want to carry the information around inside of me. I must pass it along, hence, “From their lips to God’s ears.” I can talk to God about what I know and leave the information with Him. After all, He is in charge of the world, not me.

 

RED:

beautiful bloom blooming blossom

Photo by asim alnamat on Pexels.com

The secrets in this category are DANGEROUS. They make me STOP and do something about them. If someone is breaking the law, I need to report it. If a child tells me they are being abused, I must report it. If someone is stealing from my employer, I need to report it. These are not secrets I am supposed to carry and do nothing about. They are secrets that must come to the light of day and be exposed.

 

BROWN:

rose-1010688_640

These secrets are some of the most difficult to carry. People tell you things before they pass and you are not allowed to share the information. Someone has been cheating on their spouse. A woman wonders if her child belongs to her husband. The secrets in this category are emotionally charged but again, I probably should not take action about them. What do I do with this information so that it doesn’t harm me? Again, after I process these secrets, I must release them to God. I do not want to carry this information and most of the time I did not solicit it. Someone may have confided in me because they thought I was trustworthy. So again, I give the secrets to God, “From their lips to God’s ears.” I let Him carry them.

 

BLACK:

grayscale macro photography of rose

Photo by Karin S on Pexels.com

This category of secrets is the most destructive. These are the “DEEP, DARK SECRETS” that we carry. These secrets consist of things we have done or possibly have been done to us in decades past. There is shame associated with these secrets and we don’t want to talk to anyone about them. What do we do with those secrets? First, we take them to God and talk to Him about them. My motto changes slightly here, it now becomes, “From my lips to God’s ears.”

If we have done wrong, we tell God. The Bible gives us some guidance here: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. We ask for His forgiveness and we ask Him to cleanse us from the sin we are carrying around. Then we see if there is something we need to do about what we have confessed. Is there someone we need to ask forgiveness from? Do we need to call or write a letter? Have we stolen something? Do we need to make amends? These actions help us become free from the hold the secrets have had on us. If we are not sure about what we should do, we may need to speak to a pastor, priest or counselor. These professionals can give us counsel and guidance about how to proceed if we need to make restitution for anything. Many times, there is nothing we should do but let our secrets (sins) go into the Sea of Forgetfulness. We have done what we could and we need to release ourselves from them.

What if the secret is about what someone has done to us? These secrets are a bit trickier. Sometimes bringing these secrets to the light of day will destroy people and families. Is that something I want or need to do? A good place to start with these secrets is with a professional: pastor, priest or counselor. If you are embarrassed, let me tell you, these people have heard everything and nothing you say will surprise them. They can help you sort through the maze of your emotions and help bring you healing and help you figure out if you are supposed to do anything with these secrets.

Do you live in a culture where you cannot share these things with anyone? If you do, will you be blamed as the perpetrator instead of the victim? Will you be punished for what someone did to you? Then you must keep your secret, but share it with a loving God who will be there to help give your heart healing and you vindication. Remember, He has seen what happened to you and He will eventually take care of it in His time. “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord, Romans 12: 19. 

 

Secrets, sometimes they are nothing, sometimes they are everything. Seek counsel if you need it and trust God. He will help guide you through the maze about what to do with them. Most important, don’t let the secrets you carry affect you and your mental and emotional health! 

 

Still recalibrating this week. Reposting a fave.

 

 

 

 

Top Secret Clearances and a Bit of Paranoia – Any Correlation?

We’ve had three different people in our family with a bit of paranoia. For years, we would be at a family gathering and one of them would make a remark. Everyone would listen to the remark and just kind of smile. Oh it’s just so and so, and they have a bit of paranoia, you know. But lately, I’ve been wondering, all three of them had Top Secret Clearances and all of them worked for the government. Do they have legitimate reasons for feeling the way they do?  

communication-2837362_1280

One woman in the family worked at the Embassy in Paris after the Second World War. There were many people who did not have identities and many people that needed to be vetted. There was lots of money to be given to contractors and others  who wanted to be involved in the rebuilding of Europe under the Marshall Plan.  I’m sure that many of them had sketchy backgrounds and each one had to be checked out, then decisions were made about their legitimacy. Many things she was told, she was not even allowed to write down and document. When she left the State Department, she was not debriefed. Until her death, she spoke little about it and carried most of the information around in her head.

 Another relative was in the Air Force and worked for SAC, the Strategic Air Command. This agency’s primary mission was to keep planes and pilots in readiness should there be a nuclear war. He worked as an assistant to the Commander of whatever base he was at. If the Commander got the call, he was there to make sure the command was carried out. He was the only one in the office who carried a weapon. It was a lot of responsibility and he also knew top secret plans and strategies our government had in place should there ever be a nuclear war. 

Still another relative was in the Marine Corps during the Viet Nam War. He also had a Top Secret Clearance and worked in Communications. He has never told any of us exactly what he did, but I know he was in the Far East during some of those years. Of the three of my relatives, I know the least about what he did and why he feels the way he does.

We have listened to all three of our relatives over the years at family functions and they have made statements that to most of us sounded a bit paranoid. But what if they are not? It is very possible that they know a lot more than any of us, but they did not feel they could share more information with us.

We never know where people are coming from and what contributes to their view of the world. Many people have stored a lot of top secret information inside of their brains, but because of the oaths they took are unable to talk about what they know.  We should consider their experience and outlook before we judge them. After all, Top Secret Clearances and a bit of Paranoia could be related, and it just might be for a good reason.   

 

Food Fast…Juice Fast…News Fast?

Lots of us have done a bit of fasting over the years. We may fast from food for one reason or another. Sometimes we fast for health reasons; i.e. we must fast gluten or other foods we are allergic to. At times we go on juice fasts where we spend one day a week drinking juice in order to clean out our bodies. There are a lot of health benefits that have been documented relating to fasting and many of us have tried a  lot of them.

We also fast for spiritual reasons. We want to pray and spend more time focused on God than on our physical needs, so we may fast a meal or two. Other times we may fast one day a week. Sometimes we fast several days at a time in order to try to get God’s attention on a matter. We may also fast based on a spiritual calendar in order to fulfill the requirements of our religious beliefs.

administration articles bank black and white

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All well and good, but have you ever considered a News Fast? For the past several weeks it has been excruciating to watch the news. Children are suffering, families are separated and politicians are vying for the camera in order to give us their opinion on the problems. Add to that the natural disasters that have occurred, i.e, volcanoes erupting, floods, forest fires and severe storms dropping hail the size of baseballs on people, just to name a few. After a while, any person who has an ounce of sensitivity in their souls can get Compassion Fatigue. We turn on the television and all we see are hurting people and there isn’t much we can do about it. By the time the nightly news is over, we have watched hundreds if not thousands of people deal with some very difficult situations. 

After our thirty minute exposure to the news, we want to be able to focus our minds on something different, but who can? After all, we have just seen tremendous suffering played out in front of our eyes. Many times, we have heard from those suffering in first-person accounts. We cannot easily forget or ignore what they have been going through. 

What can we do when we are confronted with all of the suffering? We can give to a charity that is working with victims of whatever crisis we are watching. We can write or call our congressmen if there is something they can do about a particular problem. And of course, we can pray for those in need. That said though, sometimes we just need to take a break from it all.

When everything gets a bit much for me, I go on a News Fast. I turn off the nightly news and I give myself a few days to recover from all of the suffering I have witnessed. It is the equivalent of taking a few mental health days and I find it’s essential for my state of mind. I may totally unplug and not turn on any kind of technology for a while. It is certainly peaceful and refreshing for me and I find it is necessary to maintain a positive mental attitude.

For centuries, people only knew about what was happening in their particular community. Every now and then, they would get news about what was happening further out from the radius of their communities, but there was no way they could hear about all of the bad news that was happening around the globe. I don’t believe we were created with the capacity to cope with the kinds of trauma we are subjected to night after night on the news without needing a break from it from time to time.

 We need to learn to be kind to ourselves and give ours minds and hearts a break from all of the suffering and spend time focusing on more positive things. There are lots of ways to do this and each one of us knows what works for us to help us destress, unwind and rejuvenate. Whatever it takes, it is important to take care of ourselves so that we can function in a positive way in this problem-laden world we live in. Food Fast…Juice Fast…News Fast? I’ll definitely take the News Fast, thank you!