God’s Umbrella

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In our home, we teach our children that there’s covering and blessing under God’s umbrella. It serves as a great metaphore. Think about it…

An umbrella does not act like a locked corralle where one is imprisoned in a covered bullpen. Rather, an umbrella is light and can travel with you wherever you go or you can choose to leave it at home. And you can hold an umbrella for cover from harsh wind, sun or rain. Or you can choose to lay it down and walk alone freely in the elements. 

God has no desire to enslave you. He loves you enough to let you decide whether you want to live under the covering of His umbrella or dance outside of His umbrella. One note of caution: Dancing outside of the umbrella might appear fun at times, but the elements can quickly turn harsh out there.  And it can be quite difficult to manage the consequences alone.  

Here is the good news. You may choose to live beyond the reach of God’s protective umbrella, but you can never live beyond the reach of God’s love for you. 

God is always eagerly waiting with open arms for you to return and pick up the umbrella He has unconditionally reserved for you. No questions asked. Just a loving Father delighted to see His child find security under His covering. 

Do You Feel Loved?

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One of the most important questions you can ask your spouse or your child is, “Do you feel loved?” 

Feelings come and go.
Love is not a feeling.
Love is a decision.
Love is not given for good behavior.
Love is not withheld as punishment.
Love is given whether or not it is deserved.

You know you truly love someone when the act of loving that person is more important to you than how that person makes you feel.

Do you want to live a real love story? Select a mate that knows how to love you beyond their self. And pick someone you are willing to love for a lifetime, no matter what. And when you have children, share that same kind of unconditional and secure love with them.

If real love sounds hard, look at Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that he willingly gave his life and died for us – even for those that did not believe in him, that betrayed him, and that spit on him. He gave his life for the undeserved because he loved them even though they gave him nothing in return. Jesus’ love is perfect love.

Some people say they would die for their spouse or for their child, but yet they live every day selfishly for themselves. How do you compare?

Christian Life Coach
http://www.NicieLee.com

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Painful Stick In Your Eye?

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Do you know someone who is distant and only engages long enough to criticize?

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People that are critical toward another person’s needs, wants or desires is a projection of how they feel about themselves. They often resent their own needs. They view themselves through a dark kaleidoscope of disdain. Therefore they also resent the needs of others and often express criticism about another’s needs, wants and desires.

Then there are people that are so narcissistic that they can only focus on their own needs. They never get past themselves to “see” another person’s needs, much less care about them. So they ignore others without feeling any obligation to tend to anyone outside of themselves.

Maybe they have a painful stick in their eye? Matthew 7 can help with that one:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5 NLT)

God wants you to take care of your own hurts so you can help others and have real joy in your life. You have to have the courage to identify “the stick in your eye” causing the pain and remove it. Then you can become truly happy with who you are on the inside. It is amazing how much brighter the people and the world around you will appear without that “stick” hurting you and clouding your perception. Same people. Same world. Just a pain-free happier you.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:3-4 NLT)

Nicie Lee is a Christian Life Coach that can help all individuals with matters of the heart.
http://www.NicieLee.com

Little Green ‘Mater

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I’ve never had a green thumb. A few years ago I started growing potted plants in my courtyard. This was a big deal for me because I am one of those people that can somehow manage to kill an ivy. I am proud to say, I actually still have some of those plants alive today. And I love them like babies. I talk to them; yes, the crazy lady that loves to wear hats and talks to her wilting plants. They have lived despite my unknowing.

I have also attempted to grow various vegetables over the years. Those were all big fat failures for different reasons.

Then last year I was so excited to see 3 small berries on one of my strawberry plants! The next morning I eagerly went to check on their progress only to discover that some critter had chomped bites out of each berry, only leaving enough flesh to taunt me. Boo.

So this year I set out to try again. I ordered heirloom seeds online and planted tomatoes. The seeds eventually sprouted and some grew taller than others and I was excited. And then they seemed to just stop. Everyday they appeared stunted and struggling. And now it’s October and I am discouraged thinking it will freeze before too long. Boo. I will try again next year.

I stopped going out everyday to study their progress. With all the rain, I haven’t needed to water them as much. I had mostly given up on keeping them resuscitated. It seemed almost inhumane to delay their certain fruitless demise.

And then my hubby called to me this weekend and said, “Have you seen your plants lately? You’ve got a little ‘mater growing on one.” (Yes, he calls them ‘maters.) I walked out hesitantly with half doubt to see if he was pulling my leg. Low and behold there was indeed a tiny little green tomato. And today we spotted a second one.

I do not know whether these tomatoes will grow or if some critter will have it for a tasty feast. But it has brought me happiness and one step closer to possibly one day growing something my family and I can eat!

But here is why my little green tomato is really so special… I had become impatient; frustrated with no movement and no growth. I had no faith in me or in nature and wrote it off based on my past experiences. And all the while God was working. And when I had just about given up, there was my little green tomato. And then today there are two.

How often do we do the same thing with circumstances in our lives? All too often we become impatient and give up before God has a chance to deliver his prize. My little green ‘maters taught me quite a lesson.

Let us all keep our faith, even when God is taking His time to work in us, or we may miss His prize.

Nicie Lee is a Christian Life Coach that can help with matters of the heart, relationships, daily life or work issues.
http://www.NicieLee.com

DEAR GOD, PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO

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Sometimes we are perplexed about what we should do in certain situations. “Should I do this? Should I do that? Should I stay here? Should I go there? Should I say this? Should I say that?”

We spin and toil, we wring our hands and lose sleep wondering if we are doing the right things to create the best outcome. We pray to God, “Please tell me what to do.” Maybe He already gave you the answer? “Dear Child, I’ve got this one. Please be still.”

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14 NIV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

NicieLee is a Christian Life Coach that helps people with matters of the heart.
http://www.NicieLee.com

YOUR SILENCE IS LOUD AND CLEAR

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Why the silent treatment hurts.

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There are times in life when we have to exercise self-control and bind our lips so as not to say something that we can’t take back. “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” (Proverbs 29:11) This type of silence is of good character.

Then there are some people that take silence to another level…. THE SILENT TREATMENT. When we are threatened in some way, we react with fight or flight. Silence may initially be a protective mechanism of flight. But the moment the threat is no longer present and the silence evolves into punishment of another, it becomes an active form of fight.

Silence pops up in many relationships in our lives; spouses, children, co-workers, friends, family, etc. Some people try to defend their silence by saying things like, “I’m not calling you names. I’m not raising my voice. I’m not hitting you. I’m not doing anything to you.” Let’s be clear…. The silent treatment is loud and it hurts or offends. The thing you can count on about the silent treatment is that it will never bring resolution or peace to a situation; it will only make a chasm wider or lengthen the duration of the pain.

In Matthew 22:36, when Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment, he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” But he doesn’t stop there. Jesus goes on to give a second commandment, “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” In order to comply with these commandments, we must first understand what it means to love.

Love is many things. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” So we know that love is about action; actions of patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and rejoicing.

Ignoring someone is the opposite of love. It screams loud and clear to the other person, “You are not worthy of my attention or my breath. I refuse to hear you when you speak. I do not even care about you enough to acknowledge your existence. I dislike you or disrespect you so much that I cannot even look at you.”

There are many reasons why we resort to silence in our relationships with others. Anyone who delivers
silence and anyone who receives silence knows that silence can be a dysfunctional disruption to a relationship and it can cause painful deep wounds.

If silence is your “go to” coping mechanism or you are the recipient of chronic silent treatments, the pain that exists in that space is real. There are ways to break such a cycle and they are worth exploring. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

STOP THE SILENCE.
IT IS LOUD AND IT HURTS.

Nicie Lee is a Christian Life Coach that can help people with matters of the heart. http://www.NicieLee.com

If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

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I am shocked at what appears to be an increase in unfiltered venting of angry or mean comments without regard for how it makes another person feel. Recently, I witnessed a small battle of good and evil where one person spoke up amongst a sea of cruel comments to say, “Please be respectful to others and do not make intentionally hurtful comments. Think before you speak.” To which the dark side reacted like a frenzy of angry piranhas and one person in particular remarked, “We have so many angry people in this world because people hold in their feelings and never express them.”

Shaking my head. I completely disagree! Self-controlling the expression of angry feelings is not what creates the many angry people in this world.

First, let’s distinguish a person’s anger (internal feelings) from unfiltered spouting of what someone thinks (external action). Unfiltered venting of mean comments at another’s expense is a direct expression of anger…. A weapon of words. And further, uncontrolled venting of angry and cruel remarks at another person’s expense does not bring joy to the person venting; sadly, it perpetuates and magnifies the internal anger.

Angry people that do not take responsibility for managing their internal anger and instead choose to express what they think without regard for others is like saying, “I don’t know what to do with this angry crap within me, so I am going to heap it on you and the rest of the world in an attempt to make myself feel better.

Let’s be honest here. Anger is not born from lack of expression. Anger never goes away by spreading it unjustly in the world. Anger is an internal response that requires someone to go within themselves to learn why they are feeling angry (usually a defense to hurt or fear in their lives). And then the person can either use the anger to fuel their act of expressing angry comments, or…. They can learn how to process their anger and cope with it in a healthy way so they can achieve happiness, obtain joy and act in kindness.

Anger is often a defense mechanism. But it cannot be heaped onto the undeserved. If the angry person has no desire to achieve healthy filtered expression or impulse control for their own genuine joy, then perhaps they will do it for the love and consideration of those around them that do not deserve verbal attacks.

I pity a man that can actually gain any degree of internal satisfaction from delivering harsh words without regard for causing undeserved pain or grief in a fellow man. I personally think it only magnifies the internal anger, and the person never really finds peace or joy in themselves.

Human decency and love are always the answer. Anything less is an indication that something is wrong; something is very wrong.

And if you are angry and venting without respect for those around you and nothing about this touches your heart or makes sense to you whatsoever, then there’s always the hard and fast golden rule that any good momma or daddy taught us when we were little kids. You don’t have to understand it, just do it and the world will be a better place, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Proverbs 29:11
A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.

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