Monday, September 24, 2012

4 Tips to Life Success

Lately, I have been imagining a new kind of day.  A day where I no longer feel the need to hold back from saying exactly what I think, believe, and feel, or the intensity with which I do.

Imagine with me for a moment...

Perhaps, I might tell the fast-food worker that messes up my breakfast order that while I may be quite an intelligent human being, I cannot figure out how to eat my hotcakes with syrup when I have not been given utensils, hotcakes, or the syrup in the bag she just handed me.

Or, I might mention to the young man at the gas station that I don't actually think of blaring rap songs containing the f-word to be very pleasant musically.

I might even pull the bride aside at her wedding and express how perfectly horrible I thought her bridesmaids' tattoos looked as they shown through the plunging necklines of their gowns.

All right, even in the land of make-believe, I cringe at actually doing any of those things.  I have too good a censor button between my brain and my mouth.  Sometimes I wonder if it is too good, for as a counselor and coach, I am called to be authentic, but I am also to be client-focused.  My spiritual beliefs are not to be imposed upon my clients, even when I know the answers to their issues can all be found in God's Word.  I may be honest about that which I believe and share insights from my understanding, but this is only if such topics are client initiated in some way. 

Since I know that each person comes with a history that is uniquely blessed and tainted by the positives and negatives in this world, I am fine with carefully measuring my words to be true, encouraging, and helpful without forcing my personal beliefs....even though I personally desire for each person to come to know Jesus as their own Savior.

I personally and professionally believe that Counseling and Coaching that are of any good are always going to be based on God's truths, whether the counselor, coach, or client is aware of this or not.  I believe this because God set the world into motion, and He provides the guidebook for successfully navigating this thing called life.  All truth is God's truth.  If it is true, He is the author.  So, while I want to be professionally ethical, I also want to share the truths of God, otherwise, I would be personally and professionally inauthentic. 

So, while my pretend day was fun to imagine, I would never really want to speak my mind in ways like those above that might hurt someone for no beneficial reason.  But, I do want to tell you here, in my no-holds-barred blogging the following truths, and I know that if you believe and follow them, you will have true success in your life and relationships:

1. God made you for specific and great purposes.  He alone can reveal this to you.  Seek Him and find success, but shun Him, and you will never find fulfillment.

2.  Happiness is not a guarantee in life.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, but happiness fluctuates. It is better to seek the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart, for He put those desires in there for you to want to attain in the first place, than to go searching for happiness that is elusive.

3. When you give up your life to God, He gives you so much more than you could have ever imagined.  He knows the plans He has for you, for a future and for hope....walk with Him through Bible reading and prayer, reach out to others, and be a good steward of what God has given you. Your life will be abundant. 

4. Ask Jesus in to your life and your heart.  You don't have to be perfect because He is.  He is the only One who can save you from your sins and give you eternal life, and life abundantly on this earth, too.  If you really want a great life, seek the Maker.  There is only one YOU, and He knows who you are!

What do you know, I guess I just lived my imaginary day....I told you exactly what I wanted to say.  Now, you can do with it what you wish.  The next steps are up to you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

5 Tips to Better Listening

With all of the things on our to-do lists, it is often difficult to change course when a child needs to talk about something.  From who do what in math class to the new movie coming out this summer, kids have lots of things that they are eager to disclose, but are we parents listening?

Husbands and wives want to be understood by each other but often feel misunderstood, feelings are hurt, and resentments grow.

Any of this sound familiar?  If so, here are some tips to improve your "listening."

1. Physically focus on the person talking with you.  Make sure your eyes stay trained on the person's eyes and face.

2. Intentionally listen for the feeling that the person is trying to express.  Is it excitement?  Frustration?  Concern?  Joy?

3. Restate the feeling you believe the person is expressing and the reason you believe they are expressing it.  For instance, "You sound really excited that the Avenger's movie is just a couple of weeks away."  This validates the person and opens them up to wanting to share more.

4. Ask for clarification if necessary.  Then, repeat #3.

5. Stop whatever you are doing, take your focus off of your to-do list, and be present.  If you cannot stop what you are doing at the moment, ask the person to come back in a certain period of time, when you will be able to focus appropriately.  Your relationships will thank you!

If you need some help on learning skills to make your relationships better, or marriage-advice, click on over to the Marriage Guy and Gal website, we would be happy to help you gain the tools you need to improve your relationships!

Monday, September 10, 2012

How's Your Self-Esteem?

Whenever I teach a women's self-esteem group, the over-riding principle that I desperately desire to share with the participants is to let each woman know that she is valuable to the Everlasting God.  So many Christians think of self-esteem as a bad thing, but that is so not the truth, in my opinion, when viewed through the lens of each of us being God's beautiful and unique creation. We are each created with value, and to allow the enemy and voices of this world to tear down the work of His hands is regretable. God does not make mistakes, and we are each given giftings to utilize for Him and His purposes. To devalue His gifts is akin to ungratefulness.

Each woman (and man, too!) is worthy of being treated with honor and respect. I know this because I know that God has created each of us in His image, and He loves each of us so much that He gave his only son as a living sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins and as atonement to be rekindled back into relationship with God himself. I know this, but the young women I teach may not. Whether Christians saved by grace or those yet to be, God has great plans for each person He has made.

While I desperately want to just come right out and tell those I work with that they are special because God made them and that they deserve so much more in this life than what they are settling for at the moment, I often hold my tongue because I want to be sure that I first gain the credibility with them that will allow them to hear me and God's truth about them. If I just shout out what I believe and know to be true, what I say may be dismissed as some Pollyannaish, conservative Christian positive thinking mumbo jumbo, but if I show up week after week and treat each person with the love of Christ, with respectful words of compassion and kindness, and encourage them through their struggles with wise words of healing (all via the Lord's leading and ability, of course), I hope that God's truth will eventually fall on willing and receptive ears.

However, if you are reading this blog, chances are that you may be searching and ready for the truth about you.

If you do not yet realize that you have great value, to whom are you listening? Are you comparing yourself to the air-brushed super-models you see in magazines, to the low expectations of a parent or supposed friend, or to your neighbors, relatives, or some fantasy life on TV?

Whatever you are allowing to tell you anything about yourself that does not make you the apple of God's eye is a lie. Sin is what separates us from God, but Jesus paid the ultimate price to cleanse us from our sins. When we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. Shouldn't we, the saved, know who we are in Christ Jesus?

If you are a Christian, woman-of-God, and you are suffering with low self-esteem, I am shouting this truth to you right now: "YOU ARE VALUABLE. GOD MADE YOU. GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES. YOU ARE THE APPLE OF GOD's EYE. YOU ARE A PRINCESS because YOUR FATHER IS THE KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS."

You are special. Choose to believe it; it will change your life.  And then, your gifts can shine to share His love with others and change theirs, too!


Marriage Guy and Gal, LLC provides coaching on relationship and marriage issues as well as finding God's purpose for your life and self-esteem enhancement. Try us out with a free, no pressure, initial session to see if we are a good fit for you: or 724-980-3307

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hang In There!!

Are you merely holding on until you finally get your head above water? 

It may not feel like it, but that is great!  Hanging-in when the waves of life crash down upon you is part of the process of growth. 

Only by perseverance can we achieve some of the worthwhile things in life.  Sometimes, hanging-in is the best thing you can do, but remember to pray as you hold-on, to make the most of the experience.

"Why would I want to make the most of this awful time?" You may wonder.  Well, it is because the hard times strengthen us for the future, to be able to do life better than we knew how to before.

Experience, while not necessarily readily desired in the areas of pain, is actually something that we can use to serve the Lord and love others better with in the future.  We can then minister to others well with the hard-won lessons with which we emerge from times we may otherwise view as suffering for naught.  Do not fear, God promises that He will work ALL things for good to those who love Him and walk according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  Sometimes we just have to trust and hang-in.

Whether you are holding-on for changes in your marriage, finances, hanging-in for a wayward child, or treading water while waiting for your education to be completed, the process is the same….
Keep doing the next right thing, and pray without ceasing.  Soon, you will receive the fruit of your labor, and your character will be emboldened, too!