December 16, 2017

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Restoring Broken Relationships

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Dear Coach Megan,

A very horrible situation happened several years ago between one of my family members and I.   Ever since then, we have not had any contact with each other.   I am very unsettled in my heart and spirit about this and I feel God pushing me towards reconciliation with this person. My question is in how I know if this is something I should pursue or not. I hope you will be able to help me with this.  Bless you, P.S.

Hello, P.S.!

My heart aches for you, knowing how grave the pain is when any relationship {family or otherwise} is ripped apart.  Not much makes me happier than to see relationships restored to even better than new, but you and I both know that sometimes, that isn’t what ends up happening. Reconciliation is the act of settling or restoring differences.  While a relationship will not always be salvaged, the spirit of reconciliation will ALWAYS reflect the heart of God.  Read with me Romans 12:18.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Most people do not know the when for reconciliation, but the Bible does state two specific times:

  1. When you have wronged another {Matthew 5:23-24}
  2. When you have been wronged {Matthew 18:15-16}

In order to pave the road for reconciliation, you must 100% sincerely commit to forgive and be reconciled in the relationship.  This does not need to go both ways, but your heart must be pure in motives and sincere.  1 Peter 3:9 says: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

With this in mind, use the following as guide in beginning to pave your road for reconciliation….

Prepare your heart for seeking reconciliation. Be willing to:

  • view the conflict as an opportunity for growth
  • learn what God wants you to learn
  • discover that you are partly at fault
  • expose your weakness
  • be open with your feelings
  • risk the relationship
  • accept a negative outcome
  • pray for God’s will to be done

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body
you were called to peace. And be thankful. 

 Know that the refusal to seek reconciliation affects the intimacy of your relationship with God. Humble your heart and pray:

  • “Lord, I don’t want to be prideful and unbending”
  • “Lord, I want Your favor in my life, not Your disfavor”
  • “Lord, I want to reflect Your character and be open to reconciliation”

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Seek forgiveness and apologize for words that have hurt the other person

  • “I have tried to see our relationship from your point of view”
  • “I realize I have been wrong in my attitude of _______”
  • “Will you forgive me”

Proverbs 6:2-3

you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion— and give your neighbor no rest!

Recognize the ground rules of communication:

  • Offer unconditional acceptance
  • Confront the problem, not the person
  • Listen without interrupting
  • Verbalize your feelings
  • Use words that build self-worth
  • Aim for mutual understanding
  • Give more than you take

Ephesians 4:2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Be kind and gentle

  • Don’t harbor resentment
  • Don’t make excuses for yourself
  • Don’t get drawn into arguments
  • Don’t fail to pray
  • Don’t have expectations of immediate acceptance

2 Timothy 2:24-25

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome 
but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 
Opponents must be gently instructed, 
in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth

Reflect the character of Christ in ALL you do.

In order to prepare your heart to reflect the character of Christ, pray:

  • “Lord I die to my personal rights” {Galatians 2:20}
  • “Lord, I die to defending myself” {Psalm 28:7}
  • “Lord, I die to relying on my own abilities” {Proverbs 28:26}

Enlist a mediator if necessary

  • Pray for God to prepare the heart of your opposer for mediation
  • Seek a person whom your opposer can respect
  • You can say, “At times an outside person can have a different perspective that is more objective. Would you consider having a mediator help us think through our problems with the hope of reaching a successful end?”

Matthew 18:16

But if they will not listen, take one or two others along,
so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

Do not hold yourself responsible for the outcome

  • When reconciliation is refused, do not live with false guilt.
  • You cannot force reconciliation to occur
  • Everyone is individually responsible to God

Romans 14:12

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Rest in the knowledge that you have done all that you can do to seek peace

  • Continue to show love and treat the other person with forgiveness
  • Thank God for giving you the desire to be at peace with everyone
  • Praise God for His commitment to orchestrate your own spiritual growth

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Dear P.S., if your efforts are refused, remember that if your heart has been repentant, you have God’s total forgiveness {1 John 1:8-9}.  Be sure to pray for those who refuse reconciliation and for their unmet need {Matthew 5:44}.  Know that God never leaves you when you suffer the loss of a close relationship {Psalm 34:18}.  Be careful to control what you say about those who refuse reconciliation {Romans 12:14}.  Do not be vengeful toward them.. in time, God deals with those who do wrong {Romans 12:19}.  Know completely that God will bring something good out of the pain {Isaiah 43:18-19}.

In closing, my friend, please keep in mind that reconciliation is restoring a relationship based on restored trust. It requires repentance and is to be extended only when earned. Pray to God for discernment on this and I so hope that you will be able to use this as a guide when preparing your heart, mind, and spirit.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Overcoming Bitterness with Hope

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Coach Megan,

I won’t go into all the details, but I know that I have been burying a lot of anger for a long time now and now it is at the point that it is hard for me to be hopeful for change. It is hurting me so much and many of my relationships as well. I pray you can give me some direction. Bless you, K.

My Dear K,

Thank you for reaching out and I do pray that these Biblical answers will be helpful to you in this desperate situation.  What I heard lying beneath your cry for help is that you are struggling with bitterness, which is powerfully pushing you down into a ditch of despair.  Signs of bitterness can be subtle at first, but very soon it swirls into a chaos of complaints, unforgiveness, depression, sustained grief, hopelessness, and even rage against God.  Most people find it difficult to admit that they are bitter….  They say things like “I’m not bitter, but I just can’t forgive him!” or, “I’m not angry, but it’s just not fair.”  Bitterness is buried anger that has become stuck in resentment and unresolved anger is like a big, heavy chain that ties us to the past.

Hebrews 12:15
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that
no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

When you are struggling to overcome bitterness, you must:

  • Believe that it is possible, with God’s help, to get rid of all of your resentment.
  • Know that you are not a helpless victim of other people, circumstances, or events.
  • Take personal responsibility for your attitude of bitterness.
  • Confess before God that you are harboring anger.  Express your true desire to overcome the bondage of bitterness.
  • Search your heart for the past events or people that embitter your heart, then release your right for revenge.
  • Understand that only a close relationship with Jesus can give you the love and confidence to let go.  Leave your vengeance to the judgment of God.
  • Cultivate a heart of forgiveness toward others that allows you to experience God’s total forgiveness of you.

Putting your hope in Christ will keep you from being wrecked by the crushing events of life. Although your anchor is unseen, you will feel it’s pull and know it is holding you.  No matter what storm you might be presently enduring or might soon be encountering, if your anchor is Jesus, your anchor will hold!  Extraordinary benefits await you when you hold on to the hope He offers… benefits based on the promises of God, benefits both in this present life and in the life to come. You cannot earn or deserve the benefits of hope…they are a gift of grace to you based on the Lord’s great love for you.  His Word shows us what these benefits are as HIS blessed hope…

Generates faith and love in you

Colossians 1:4-5

because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—
the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven
and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel,

Causes you to live a pure life

1 John 3:3

 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Inspires you to persevere with endurance

1 Thessalonians 1:3

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love,
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Uplifts your downcast soul

Psalm 42:5

Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Causes you to praise God

Psalm 71:14

As for me, I will always have hope;I will praise you more and more.

Anchors your soul

Hebrews 6:19

 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain

Gives you reason to rejoice

Romans 5:2

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Establishes your security and safety

Job 11:18

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

Guarantees your eternal life

Titus 3:5-7

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us
generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace,
we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Encouraging Truth-telling

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Dear Coach Megan,

I’m not so sure this is a “Life Coaching” question, but I am having a lot of trouble with my kids lying to me and to others. Sometimes it is even about things that I can’t think of any reason why they would even think to lie about! I’m not really sure how to proceed in guiding them except to punish them for lying. I hope this is something you can help me with. If it matters, my kids are middle school and high school aged. Thank you! ~A

Dear A,

I have coached many clients specifically on parenting and parenting relationships…and this is a wonderful question I am happy to give you guidance on. While I believe that lying is part of a development stage for many children, I also know that you need to be careful when punishing for this as it can cause them to dig in their heels even deeper!  In younger children, they will even form “wishes” in the space of a lie. Because your kids, specifically, are older, I am going to encourage you to help them in a similar way that I would even coach you to manage dealing with adults who are not telling the truth. I have five young adult children myself, so I understand your frustration and your heart to want to help them!

Typically, liars don’t see themselves as liars. It typically comes down to the fact that they are just trying to get their needs met. When our God-given inner needs for significance and security are not met {especially in childhood} the tendency is to try to meet those needs illegitimately. That being said, the two primary causes for lying are:

  • Feeling insignificant and lying to appear more important. “I need to change the truth because the real truth doesn’t sound important enough.”
  • Feeling insecure and lying to keep from looking bad, stupid, or inadequate. “I need to change the truth because if I speak the truth, I’m afraid of what others will think of me and do.”

The fact is that the Lord promises to meet all of our inner needs.

As Christians, we need to tell the truth all the time because Jesus lives within us and He is the Truth!

He will empower us to overcome lying so that we can reflect His character!

Encouraging truth-telling in difficult situations:

1. KNOW that you CANNOT please everyone!

Galatians 1:10

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?
Or am I trying to please people?
If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

2. KNOW that you are NOT responsible for everyone’s feelings!

Proverbs 9:7-9

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

3. KNOW that you CAN speak the truth in a loving way!

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

4. KNOW that you are not a perfect person… No one is perfect!

Isaiah 53:6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;

5. KNOW that you are not accountable for how others respond to the truth. You are accountable to God to tell the truth.

Romans 14:12

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

It is important when you talk to your kids about this, you explore the Scriptures together and try to get them to reveal what God’s truth is about this for themselves. Do not judge, do not condemn…lovingly guide them to God’s truth on this subject and leave room for them to make good choices with whether to tell the truth or not.  It is a CHOICE.

It is also important to understand that even “white lies” dirty the conscience and darken the prospect for transparent relationships. To help them on their path to recovery and exchange half-truths for honesty,  it is helpful to look at what God has to say about it:

  • His consequences for lying and His hatred for deceit {Psalm 5:6}
  • Determining to be totally honest with God and freely admit your failures {1 John 1:8}
  • Discerning your areas of personal temptation…to stop and think before you answer {Psalm 141:3}
  • Deciding that you want your life to reflect Christ, Who lives in you {Romans 8:29}
  • Depending on the strength of Christ within you to enable you to change {Philippians 4:13}
  • Delighting in speaking the truth, which is more rewarding than telling lies {Proverbs 28:13}

What I always say to my kids is that when you tell a lie, you might “look” better…at least you HOPE you do….  But when you tell the truth, you FEEL better as you reflect Christ in YOU!  🙂

Blessings to you and your family,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Manipulation

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Coach Megan,

What makes someone forget EVERYTHING you have ever done for them in their life when you are not able to do the one thing they are asking for now? Thanks for any guidance you can give. ~CW

Dear CW,

Manipulators tend to be very skillful strategists. They map out their art subtly steering and controlling people or circumstances by using indirect, unfair, or deceptive tactics. People-pleasing is at the root of being manipulated. Those who are manipulated allow others the control God alone should have. Exodus 20:3 says, “You shall have no other Gods before me.”

Manipulators control others by aggressive manipulation or passive-aggressive manipulation. What I hear in your question is that you are wondering why someone would manipulate someone else. This is not a complete list, by any means, but I believe this will give us a place to start…

Manipulators tend to:

  • Make others feel guilty
  • Get others to believe what they want them to believe
  • Keep others “hooked” into a relationship…even when the relationship is unhealthy and one-sided
  • Avoid meeting their obligations and responsibilities
  • Appear positive when they feel negative toward others
  • Set up “fixers,” “caretakers,” and “rescuers” to take care of them
  • Intentionally confuse others
  • Get others to do for them what they would not normally choose to do
  • Get others to feel responsible for them or for their welfare
  • Control the emotions and reasoning of others
  • Use religious words for personal gain, causing harm to another’s walk with God
  • Win the battle for control

Proverbs 26:24 describes the manipulator:

A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit.

At the root of people allowing themselves to be manipulated is the belief that they must have the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. What God calls us to is to NOT live for the approval of others, but to realize that God will meet all of our inner needs because he accepts us totally and loves us unconditionally!

Jeremiah 17:5

 This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,  who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

CW…It looks like you have done a lot of work within to stop yourself from being manipulated. For the benefit of our readers (and for your benefit if someone tries to manipulate you again), here are some steps to help stop being a victim of manipulation:

Decide not to be dependent on the manipulator {Philippians 4:19}

  • You must decide that you have an unhealthy, dependent relationship and confess that to God. Decide that you only want  healthy relationships that glorify God. Decide that you will be dependent on the Lord to satisfy your deepest needs. 

Expect Exasperation {Psalm 31:3-4}

  •  Do not expect your manipulator to understand or agree with your decisions, acknowledge being manipulative, or be willing to give up control to set you free.

Prepare yourself for pain {Job 3:26}

  • Accept change as being painful… however in time, you WILL have peace.  Also, accept the fact that if you don’t change, you will stay in pain and peace will elude you.

Examine the methods of the manipulator {Proverbs 22:3}

  • Ask God to open your eyes to ways that you have been manipulated. Also, ask yourself, “How am I being manipulated?” and then write out your tactics for change. You can also ask a trusted friend to help you see blind spots and develop a plan of action.

Notify the manipulator of the necessity for change {Hebrews 12:1}

  • Admit that you have been wrong. It can sound like this: “I’ve come to realize that I am wrong in the way that I relate to you. At times, I don’t speak up because I am afraid. This is not healthy for either of us.”
  • You need to also give your commitment to them which can sound like this: “I really do care about you. I want you to know that I am committed to change and I believe that we can ultimately have a much better relationship.”
  • State your resolve to them if it is not appropriate to continue the relationship: “We cannot continue in a relationship as it is and still be the people we need to be before God.”

Don’t defend yourself {Ecclesiastes 3:7}

  • Even if you are accused of being unkind and unloving, you can choose to:
  1. Be silent, but do not use silence as a weapon.
  2. State the truth only once or twice: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” ” What you’ve said is not true.” “It does not reflect my heart.”
  3. You can say “I understand that you think I am being heartless, but my intent is to become healthy.”

Expect the manipulator to try new strategies {Proverbs 14:24}

  • They may resort to using other methods to regain control
  • They need to know you are aware of these new methods
  • They need to see that the new methods will not succeed

Nullify your need to meet all of the manipulator’s needs {Psalm 37:4-5}

  • Realize that God didn’t design anyone to meet all the needs of another person
  • If you meet all of the manipulator’s needs, then the manipulator will not need the Lord
  • You need to redirect the manipulator’s focus to the Lord as the only true need-meeter

Commit Galatians 1:10 to memory

  • Realize that you are “transformed by the renewing of your mind”
  • Recognize that you are given the mind of Christ to direct your thoughts

Yield to pleasing the Lord first {Psalm 27:1}

  • You must not be a peace-at-any-price person
  • Jesus was not a peace-at-any-price person
  • Keep your trust in God and fear no one

We need to give people the space to be upset and grow through their disappointment.  When we don’t, the danger is in people looking to another person to be God and be everything to them when that is the exact opposite of God’s design. We need to give God the space He needs to move and that is possible when we create and keep boundaries firm and stand on God’s Word.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Defeating Distractions!

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Dear Coach Megan,

I am so frustrated with myself because I have been so easily side-tracked by distractions lately and I just can’t get a handle on it! It is beginning to affect my job and my home life, and I could really use some direction on how to focus and let God take control back of my time! I hope you can help! ~LN

Dear LN,

I think we all struggle with distractions at one time or another and I am so happy you have reached out to get some guidance on this issue in order to make best use of your resource of time. I actually led a conference call on this very topic for Girlfriends Coffee Hour Leadership this past year so I will be using that as my guide to help you. I pray this is a blessing….

 _________________

Let’s face it. We all are guilty of succumbing to distractions…. But God calls us to not to and it IS possible to keep them at bay!

Do you know what the key to this is?????

Oh yes friends, it’s all about being INTENTIONAL!!!!

We all know that the more we are in line with God’s word and doing things to further His Kingdom, the more fiery darts Satan will throw at us in his attempt to knock us off course.  We need to recognize distractions for what they are in order to keep them in their proper place and NOT give them center stage!!!

Distractions as a whole are a huge drain on every aspect of who we are. They take our focus away from what we should be doing – our tasks, goals, and purpose. This is why we have to eliminate them from our lives, if possible!  Personally, I find that if I  indulge in a distraction, an hour could go by and before I know it, I’ve blown away an entire block of time that God had meant for me to use in another, more purposeful way.  Generally, this makes me feel drained and disappointed, not just in myself for having let myself be distracted, but also about the lost opportunities and productive time I could have spent furthering His Kingdom in my home, in ministry, or in my community.

There is a flip side to this too…. When we succumb to distractions, not only are we affected but, if another person is involved, they are affected too!  If Facebook takes up all your time at home, your family is affected; and all the lives that you converse with, they are affected because they might also not be good stewards of their time.  If you bombard friends with private message after private message all day long, they are being distracted.

Essentially, a distraction is attractive because of two reasons:

  1. It gives us pleasure
  2. It takes pain away

When we indulge in a distraction, we focus our time and energy on something that is inherently more pleasurable than what we are currently doing.  Solving that problem is hard, so I’ll just surf on Facebook instead, right?  Finishing this document is going to take some time, so let me squeeze in 30 minutes on the phone with my friend.  Making that call to the customer will be challenging, so let me read the news first.  The reason these things are attractive is because they either give us pleasure or take some pain away.

I would like to challenge you to record everything you do in one day and how much time you spend doing it.  You can do this tomorrow.  As a distraction comes into play, jot down the circumstances surrounding it and how you chose to respond.  BE HONEST!!!  You might be surprised at just how many distractions are being thrown your way all day long and what is triggering them!

Here is an example for you….

I get home from work and I need to get dinner on. I am on my way to the kitchen and one of my kids comes flying downstairs in a panic because he can’t find his keys and he is going to be late for work. I have a choice to make whether his emergency is going to become my emergency, or not.

Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? I used to love those when I was a kid! Here’s my chance to see the different ways this could turn out….

  1. I could join his emergency and lose the time I need to get dinner started and then have to just order pizza because I am out of time and my family will eat unhealthy food and I will feel horrible about it.
  2. I could say some mean words to him, scolding him for being so careless and continue on with getting dinner going. He will feel horrible about himself by the time he gets to work.
  3. I could let him use my keys and no lesson will be learned but the panic will leave my house and I can stay calm.
  4. I can prepare some food for him to take with him to work and cheer him on, in finding his keys, while I get dinner ready.

I don’t know about you, but this is real life stuff in my house. Also, one thing I’ve noticed is that the more I choose behaviors that make me feel bad like giving cutting responses or jumping to every rescue, that makes me want to spend even more time doing distracting activities because the last thing I want to do is dwell on feeling bad about myself.  YIKES!!!

You might already know the areas in your life that you have a tendency to be the most distracted by and with. If that is the case, it is time to call the distractions what they are, move forward full speed ahead, and get them out of your way!!!

You need to overcompensate in the areas where you are the most distracted!

What does this look like in real life??? 

  • If Facebook is a distraction, turn off the alerts to your phone.
  • If the computer in general is a distraction, turn the parental controls on YOU!!!
  • If people are a distraction, schedule in certain times in your day to answer phone calls, texts, emails, phone calls, etc.
  • If YOU are doing all the parenting/watching your kids while your spouse watches TV, make it a point to get out of the house and see friends at least one night a week to give your hubby that father time he needs!

God calls us to give every aspect of our lives 110% of all we’ve got.  We owe it to Him and every single life we come in contact with to be our best and not let these fiery darts cause us to falter. When we are distracted our joy gets stolen and it becomes harder and harder to get it back. Things like Facebook, family time, helping a friend, and watching TV are not inherently bad things at all…. But being undisciplined and unintentional about the time we spend on them is not honoring our Heavenly Father with our time that He has so graciously given us!

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Conquering Fear

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Dear Megan,

I have been battling crippling fear for sometime now and it is affecting my whole life. I know I am trying to control this myself and not fully giving this to God. I really need some guidance on how to get started with giving back to God what is not mine to take on. Can you help me begin to reclaim God’s truth on my fear? Bless you, KL

My Dear KL,

Thank you for taking this first step to reclaim your abundant life back and not live gripped by fear! You are so right… God does not intend for you to hold onto this fear and He longs for you to release it all to Him! I know, it’s not as easy as saying that so I pray that this post will give you the tools needed to begin to give all of your fear over to your Heavenly Father and begin to stand on His truth!

There are four types of fears:

  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Rejection
  • Fear of the Unknown

Many people struggle with one or more of these fears and they can paralyze you and keep you from God’s best. When I begin to work with a client on fear, we focus on this Scripture:

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

The world would like for us to believe that we have no control over our fears and that our only recourse is to totally avoid all fearful situations. However, with Christ alive inside of us, we  KNOW this to be untrue! God asks us to stand in His strength when we’re afraid. As we focus on His perfect love, we will feel His perfect peace in the midst of every fear-producing situation.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Knowing the truth and acting on the truth is critical to conquering fear. The source of the truth is the One who said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The primary resource we have for finding God’s truth is His Word, the Bible. The first step in applying truth is to identify the lies behind the fears you are experiencing as to replace those lies with facts. John 8:32 says “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

FEAR: “I can’t help this intense feeling on fear!”

FACT: “This feeling is a bluff to my mind and body. It is not grounded in truth.”

Psalm 27:3

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

FEAR: “I have this feeling of doom… a feeling that I am going to die.”

FACT: “The time of death is in God’s hands. I will choose to trust Him.”

Job 14:5

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.

FEAR: “I’m afraid of what others are thinking about me.”

FACT: “My peace comes from pleasing God, not in pleasing man.”

2 Corinthians 5:9

So we make it our goal to please him

FEAR: “I am hopeless and can never change.”

FACT: “In Christ, I am a new person. Nothing is hopeless.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!

FEAR: “I am so nervous, I can’t think clearly.”

FACT: “God will guard my mind and give me peace.”

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
FEAR: “To be safe, I have to be in control.”
FACT: God is in control of my life, and He is with me step by step.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

FEAR: “I feel trapped with no way of escape.”

FACT: “God always makes a way of escape.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Dare to Dream — Don’t be Stunted by Self-Doubt!

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Dear Megan,

God has placed some pretty big God-sized dreams in my heart, but I keep letting my self and all my doubts and fears get in the way of letting God work to help my dreams become a reality. Can you help point me in the right direction with combating this self-doubt?

~LB

Dearest LB,

…and you KNOW God specifically designed YOU to fulfill these dreams on earth to further His Kingdom! He so wants all of us to get out-of-the-way and give Him full reign over our dreams!  God wants you to rely on Him to guide you and give you strength…for ONLY through Him will you truly reach the potential He has for you!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Here are a few helpful tips when you find yourself coming across self-doubt:

1. Let go of the need to know HOW you will create your vision of what you want.

You likely do not know how you will create your dream, especially not in the beginning. That is the way it is supposed to be! Your intuition is how the Universe shows you the way to your dream! We often end up doubting ourselves when we can’t see how we can create what we want. Or, sometimes we think of one way to create it and think we aren’t capable of doing that. Let go of this kind of thinking and trust that, if you have a vision that excites you, you have within you what it takes to create it. And trust that you will be given what you need to make it a reality, when you need it.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding

 

2. Remind yourself of how important your dream is to you.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes of free time to spend focusing on your vision of what you want and how you will feel when you have created your dream. Let yourself feel these positive emotions and imagine that you have already created what you want and are living your vision. Let yourself get excited, these positive emotions will energize your vision and allow it come to you faster. This reminder of why your vision is important to you can help you set that doubt aside.

2 Timothy 1:7

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

 

3. Be a witness to the voice of self-doubt.

As you notice the voice of doubt coming up, watch the thoughts that come up rather than participating with it. Recognize that it is the voice of the part of you that wants to keep you the same and to keep you in familiar territory. Distancing yourself from this voice can help you to gain perspective so you are still in charge and the doubting self is not. Release the need to fight it, simply allow the doubt to be expressed and move on.

Philippians 1:6

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

4. Get the doubts and fears down on paper and out of your mind.

In your mind, they tend to endlessly repeat themselves and keep you stuck. Get out a piece of paper and write out all of the doubts and fears that come to mind. On a new piece of paper write down positive statements around why you CAN create your vision. Maybe you are downplaying your strengths and abilities; list these on this second piece of paper as well. When you are done, read over the doubts one last time, then tear the paper into tiny pieces and throw it away. Read over your positive statements and let the positive emotions and a feeling of confidence take over. Feel free to read these positive statements whenever you need to remind yourself that you are capable!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

5. Repeat a personalized affirmation to yourself.

This will instill positive beliefs around your ability to create your vision. Make sure the affirmation feels good when you say it, and it is meaningful to you. The better you feel when you repeat it, the faster it can become your reality. Examples: I believe in myself; I deserve to have what I want; God put this desire in my heart; I am safe, etc. whatever resonates with you. You can also use the positive statements you created in #4 above.

 

Self-doubt is likely something that you will face on the path to your dream, but that is no reason to stop moving forward. Take a few minutes to readjust your focus using the tips above and you will be feeling better and more confident, ready to move forward to your dreams once again! God NEEDS this to be a priority to fulfill His purposes on this earth! 

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Fasting

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Dear Coach Megan,

For years I have been hearing a lot about fasting and I even know that you are in the middle of a seven month fast night now…but I am sad to say that I do not even know where to begin with doing a fast on my own. I feel like, as a Christian, I am supposed to know what to do and supposed to be fasting, but I need help knowing why we fast and how to actually partake in one. Can you help? Thank you! ~G

Oh, G! I am so happy you asked about fasting! Yes, it is certainly dear to my heart…especially being in the fourth month of a seven month fast.

A fast creates margin for God to move…
and was commanded or initiated in the Bible
during one of six extreme circumstances.
Mourning, Inquiry, Repentance, Preparation, Crisis and/or Worship.

~Jen Hatmaker

I think that one of the biggest challenges we have as humans with fasting is that we try so very hard to make the fast fit our comfort and lifestyle…but that is NOT what God calls us to do with fasting.

So, what does the Bible have to say about fasting?

This might surprise you, but Scripture does not command Christians to fast.  God does not require or demand it of Christians.  At the same time, the Bible presents fasting as something that is good, profitable, and beneficial.  The book of Acts records believers fasting before they made important decisions (Acts 13:2; 14:23).  Fasting and prayer are often linked together (Luke 2:37; 5:33).  Too often, the focus of fasting is on the lack of food.  Instead, the purpose of fasting should be to take your eyes off the things of this world to focus completely on God. Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God, and to ourselves, that we are serious about our relationship with Him. Fasting helps us gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God.

Although fasting in Scripture is almost always a fasting from food, there are other ways to fast. Anything given up temporarily in order to focus all our attention on God can be considered a fast (1 Corinthians 7:1-5).  Fasting should be limited to a set time, especially when fasting from food. Extended periods of time without eating can be harmful to the body.  Fasting is not intended to punish the flesh, but to redirect attention to God.  Fasting should not be considered a “dieting method” either. The purpose of a biblical fast is not to lose weight, but rather to gain deeper fellowship with God.  Anyone can fast, but some may not be able to fast from food (diabetics, for example).  However, everyone can temporarily give up something in order to draw closer to God.

By taking our eyes off the things of this world, we can more successfully turn our attention to Christ.  Fasting is not a way to get God to do what we want.  Fasting changes us, not God.  Fasting is not a way to appear more spiritual than others.  Fasting is to be done in a spirit of humility and a joyful attitude.  Matthew 6:16-18 declares, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Here are some tips for you as you consider fasting:

1. Plan Your Fast

The Bible has examples of one-day, three-day, seven-day and forty-day fasts (Judges 20:26; Esther 4:16; 1 Samuel 31:13 and Matthew 4 respectively).  You should enter your fast with prayer, and then pray for a specific plan for how long you will fast.

There are various types of fasts as well.  Some people fast with only water for short periods, while others maintain multi-week fasts with juice and broth maintaining a strict liquid diet.  Both are valid.  You simply need to decide what is right for your body and your purposes.

Part of planning your fast should be to educate yourself on different types of fasts and reasons to fast.  It is also important to know how to break your fast properly.  This becomes more critical the longer your fast lasts.

2. Consider Your Schedule

While a fast, by nature, is inconvenient, it should be an inconvenience to you—not to those around you.  You should not obligate your family to skip Christmas dinner because of your fast. This takes away the personal nature of fasting.

3. Tell Only the People You Must

Your spouse will need to know you are fasting. Beyond that, you would be better off not telling many people that you are fasting. Fasting can also become a source of pride and boasting as you spread the news to more and more people. Now, you might be thinking, “But Megan, you are blogging about your seven month fast almost everyday…”  Yes, I am… and I am doing that because God specifically told me to.  I didn’t want to blog it or tell people about it but God very clearly told me He needed me to.  I am being obedient as I am an example.

Telling your pastor can be a help both to you and to him. It will be an encouragement for him to pray more specifically for you during this time. And you will know that someone is praying for your spiritual and physical well-being.

4. Wean Yourself Off Caffeine and other Toxins

Several days before your fast begins, you should start weaning yourself off caffeine and other toxins you ingest. Some people experience unbearable headaches 2 to 3 days after ceasing to drink caffeinated products. During your fast you will already be acutely aware of your stomach. There is no need to add a second discomfort if it can be avoided.

5. Avoid Media

Disconnecting from TV, radio, newspapers and the Internet can help you stay focused on your purpose for fasting. You will be less tempted by the constant bombardment of advertising as you become physically and emotionally challenged. Avoiding media will give you more time to focus on the Lord and His Word.

6. Disconnect from people

Fasting is not necessarily a vacation, though dedicating time off and away from people during your fast can help you get the most benefit out of this precious time. Leave your email and cellphone behind. If possible, find someone who can cover your responsibilities at work and ministry. Many people fast and still carry on their normal daily activities. But if you can get away, it will give you more time in quietness and stillness with the Lord.

7. Beware of Your Emotions

Some people experience vast mood swings during a fast. One moment they are totally focused on God and the next they are wallowing in pity. Knowing that this is likely to happen will help you react properly. Learning to refocus on God and His goodness during this tough emotional time will help when your fast is over and you experience similar emotions.

8. Rest

Laziness is a problem that the Bible speaks against, but most of us today suffer from being too busy and not getting the rest we need. If you disconnect from the media and other people you will have extra time allowing you to get a full night’s sleep. During your fast you will be forced to slow down since you won’t be needing long meal breaks. A fast will reveal to you that you have too many activities and busyness in your day-to-day routine.

9. Stay Physically Active

You should take time to rest but this does not mean you should do nothing. Enjoy a walk in God’s creation. Outside of His Word, His creation is one of the best ways that God has revealed Himself to us.

10. Be Still and Focus on God

Fasting  is a time to study God’s Word, meditate and pray.  To help with this, plan a specific Bible passage or topic you want to study during your fast.  Look for verses you want to memorize and meditate upon.  Fasting by Jesus and the disciples was always accompanied by prayer.  Spend time talking to God and allowing Him to reveal Himself to you in His Word.

Fasting gives you God’s focus for your life. It is a major key to hearing God’s voice (the other is true worship – the two are related). We need focus from God more than anything as the world we live in is working overtime to distract us, to entice us, to win our hearts and minds, our focus, and to determine our vision. Fasting cuts out the world so we can tune into God. If we are obedient to God fasting will make us catalysts for revival and awakening.

I pray this is a blessing to you,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Finding Forgiveness and Freedom from Guilt

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Dear Coach Megan,

I am really struggling with letting go of feelings of guilt I have had over things I did a long time ago. I am hoping that you can give me some direction on how to let go of this guilt that is keeping me locked up inside. I know God needs me free from this so that I can truly live free and forgiven for his glory. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give! ~S.J.

Thank you so much for your questions, S.J!

I remember when my kids were little and they would fall and scrape their knee on the playground. They would come running towards me at full speed, tears in their eyes for me to kiss it and make them feel better. It always worked, every time….a big hug and lots of love always made the sting of a scrape feel that much better. A few moments later, they would run off again, to play in the sun without a care in the world. The same is true when we take our bruised and broken lives to God…. He forgives and forgets, and it ALWAYS works! AND…when we trust in Him, He takes away all the guilt.

Luke 5:20

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Please, dear friend, do not stay stuck in the ditch of guilt! God has so much bigger and better plans for you that cannot be fulfilled to their fullest until you let yourself be FREE and transformed! I have some practical steps for you today that I pray will help you grow in Christlike maturity and bring all your guilt to our forgiving God for good! Grab a journal, print this out, and get ready to work through all the guilt that is holding you captive so you can finally be set free!

1. Find the source of your guilt

  • Examine why you feel guilty
  • Determine if your guilt is true or false
  • Use Scripture as the ONLY standard for determining true guilt

Psalm 51:6

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

2. Own the responsibility for your sin

  • Agree with God that you are guilty of sinning
  • Ask God to reveal your personal sin patterns
  • Make restitution to those you have sinned against

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

3. Realize and believe that God means what He says
  • Thank God for the gift of His Son, who paid for your forgiveness
  • Thank God for His unending forgiveness, even if you don’t feel forgiven
  • Choose to believe what God says

Ephesians 1:7

 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

4. Stop and give up for good dwelling on the past

  • Give up holding on to past pain
  • Give up self-condemnation
  • Give up refusing to forgive others

Isaiah 43:18

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

5. Invest time in renewing your mind

  • Memorize scriptures that reinforce God’s forgiveness
  • Remember that in Christ, you are a “new creation” {2 Corinthians 5:17}
  • Learn to see yourself as a valuable child of God

Ephesians 4:22-23

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

6. Verify satan’s lies to God’s truth when satan accuses

  • Learn to discern the difference between the Holy Spirit’s voice and that of satan
  • Answer satan’s accusations with truth from Scripture
  • Verbalize a personal prayer receiving God’s forgiveness

Isaiah 54:17

“No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

7. Exchange your life for the life of Christ

  • Understand you cannot live the Christian life in your own strength
  • Allow Christ to transform you and live out His character through you
  • Continue to nurture the Holy Spirit’s presence through personal prayer and Bible study

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

8. When you obey Him, God brings your feelings in line with the facts

  • Know that God is a God of second chances
  • Know that your feelings won’t change immediately
  • Know that feelings usually follow thinking

Psalm 32:1-2

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them 
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Dear God,

We ask You to give us the discernment to know when we are feeling false guilt instead of true guilt. Please Lord, have Your Spirit convict us when we are headed the wrong way so that we will get on the right path and be in line with Your will. We also pray that we will always be sensitive to the convicting touch of the Holy Spirit’s hand. Thank You that we are forgiven and set free through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. We pray these things in Your holy name, amen <3

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Christ’s Ambassadors

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2 Corinthians 5:20 and 21

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

*********************

 Merriam-Webster’s definition of Ambassador:

1: an official envoy; especially: a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment
2a: an authorized representative or messenger, b: an unofficial representative <traveling abroad as ambassadors of goodwill>

Being a Christ follower, I am who people look to in order to see what Christianity is like. If you are a Christ follower, you are, too. Our eternal home is in Heaven, and our job as ambassadors of Christ is to show people how amazing it’ll be through the way we live our life and how we interact with others…showing the love of Christ.

Why are we ambassadors? Jesus has instructed us to do so, in the Great Commission. In Mark 6:15 Jesus tell us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” That is all the reason we need, right? So then why is it so HARD to just do it??? Fear of rejection? Afraid you won’t have all the answers? Why?

We are commissioned to NOT keep the good news to ourselves – it should be contagious! In Matthew 10:27,  Jesus tells us “What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!” If you are called to do something by the Lord and you choose to ignore that calling, not only are you not receiving the full blessing of God, but think of all the lives who are also not receiving it! God put you on this earth for a specific reason and puts you in the different seasons and places you are in for His purpose to be done on the earth. If you are not seeking Him to guide you through this life, to give you the boldness to be His ambassador, just think of the many lives you are not affecting!

Before we can be ambassadors, we need to know the person we are representing. Think about it…if you took a job as an ambassador of a country you knew nothing about and had never been to, you wouldn’t be able to do a very good job of representing it, right? It makes sense then that in order for us to do a good job of representing Christ to an unbelieving world, we need to first spend time getting to know Him. This means that we need to be spending time with Him on a regular basis—reading His Word, spending time in prayer, and growing closer to Him. He is craving this relationship with you…. all relationships need work. Are you doing your part?

Being an ambassador of Christ means being “like Christ” and having a servant’s heart. We need to strive to:

  • Be kind and compassionate.
  • Challenge what is wrong.
  • Speak out for truth.
  • Be joyful.
  • Refuse to conform to society’s standards.
  • Have self-control.
  • Do things only to please God, not man.
  • Be spontaneous and creative.
  • Think of others rather than yourself.
  • Live out life in all its fullness.

We must have integrity in our words and actions. Integrity means that what you say, what you profess to believe, and what you actually do, match up. This is certainly an intentional process. For us to be effective ambassadors of Christ, we can’t go around claiming to love God and then not show that we love Him by our actions. Actions speak louder than words, right? It is imperative that our actions back the Word of God that we are professing. We are not perfect, we are human…but we can strive to do our best, intentionally, everyday for His Glory!

We must love people without any agenda. We don’t love people so that they will become Christians. We show love to them because they are God’s creation and sometimes, as a result of that, they will eventually come to accept Christ. We shouldn’t give up on loving them if after a few months it has had no visible spiritual impact. Loving people doesn’t mean doing good deeds begrudgingly for them because we feel as Christians that is what we should be doing. If that is the case, we are acting out of duty, not love.  Sometimes it can be hard, but we need to remember the example of Jesus. Many of the people He showed love to turned their back on him (such as the time he healed ten lepers, but only one came back to thank Him). We are working for a heavenly reward, not an earthly one…and that must remain at the front of our minds and hearts.

We must encourage people not to want to stay “on the outside looking in.”  This means making them want to be a part of the Christian community we are a part of. In Romans 11:14, Paul says “I want somehow to make the people of Israel [the non-believing Jews] jealous of what you Gentiles [the early Christians] have.”  If people see contentment, joy, and genuine passion when they look to us they are going to be curious. If all they see is people with the same doom and gloom as the godless world around them, they won’t be interested. Would you?

We must be openly honest about our faith, not hiding it when it is inconvenient. In Matthew 5:15, Jesus says “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” Because sharing your faith isn’t just about your words, it’s about actions, too. Here is a question to honestly ask yourself: If someone was watching your life 24/7 “Big Brother” style, how long would it take for them to realize you were a Christian? Would it be evident through the way you live your life, or would it take them until you went to church on Sunday to make the connection?

Hmmmmmm? OUCH!

Being an ambassador of Christ means being his hands and feet to a world that desperately needs God.

1 Corinthians 12:27 says that “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” You have probably heard the Casting Crowns song, If We Are the Body, which has a really challenging chorus for those of us who profess to be trying to be ambassadors of Christ.

“If we are the body,

Why aren’t His arms reaching, why aren’t His hands healing,

Why aren’t His words teaching, why aren’t His feet going,

Why is His love not showing them there is a way?”

If we REALLY are serious about being ambassadors of Christ, we need to reach out to the world through being Christ’s hands and feet.

Being an ambassador is what we have been called to do. It is not optional to the Christian life.

Ephesians 6:19 and 20

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 

 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂