June 22, 2017

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Changing Your Heart from Critical to Caring

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Dear Coach Megan,

God has really been working in my heart lately and, whether I like it or not, He has shown me that I have a really critical spirit with the people closest to me. I don’t like it and I want to do my part to change, but I’m not sure where to begin. Can you help?

~ DJ

Dearest DJ…

In my experience, anyone with a critical spirit is an expert at finding fault and focusing on it! Bless you for not only admitting this, but being willing to let God in and work on your precious heart to make an impact {in a good way} on all the lives you touch!  I pray that this blog post will be a blessing to you and your family, and I would love to hear how God fills your heart with His supernatural caring!

A critical spirit does not reflect the heart of the wise, nor does it reflect the heart of God.  Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man  brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him”  {Matthew 12:34-35}.

A critical spirit is an excessively negative attitude with harshness in judging.  A person with a critical spirit gives unfair criticism by fault-finding, nit-picking, carping, quibbling, and complaining.  The Bible is clear about those who are judgmental:

Romans 14:10

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?  Or why do you treat them with contempt?
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

On the flip side… a caring spirit is a thoughtful, attentive attitude with a heart to help.  One of the most important needs we all have is for someone to care about us; someone to be attentive to our dreams and disappointments, our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures, our strengths and weaknesses, our vices and virtues.  How blessed we are when we have caring people in our lives!  Those who have a caring spirit reflect the heart of our caring Savior.

Nahum 1:7

 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him

How to change your heart from critical to caring:

Identify your shortcomings {Psalms 139:23-24}

  • Humble your heart to see your own sin, your imperfections, and your immense need for God’s mercy.
  • Help others see their significance in God’s eyes.
  • Pray: “Lord, may I see my sin as You see it…may I hate my sin as You hate it.”

Practice compassion for others {Colossians 3:12}

  • Look closely at the life of Christ to learn His compassionate way of confronting the truth.
  • Pray that you will not be a critical stone thrower, but a compassionate need-meeter.

Draw out the heartfelt needs of others {Proverbs 20:5}

  • Don’t listen to only what people say on the surface. Listen for the needs and feelings beneath the surface… feelings of being unloved or feeling insignificant or insecure.
  • Pray that God will give you a discerning spirit as you seek to draw others out.

Offer acceptance to others {Romans 15:7}

  • Realize that everyone has an innate fear of rejection and a deep yearning for acceptance.
  • Choose to be a channel through which God extends His acceptance to others.

See the God-given worth in others {Luke 12:6-7}

  • Treat every person, especially the one most problematic to you, as someone with God-given worth.  The truth judges our hearts, attitudes, and actions towards others.
  • Pray that the Lord will not allow you to despise anyone whom He created and loves.

Praise the positives in others {Philippians 4:8}

  • Avoid the temptation to try to catch people doing something wrong.  Instead, comment on what they are doing right.
  • Pray that you will see something positive in every person, then faithfully make that your focus.
  • Pray that you would see others as God sees them and value them as He values them.

Refuse to wound others with words {Colossians 3:16}

  • Consider the fallacy of the saying “talk is cheap.” Talk is costly when it tears others down. Prayerfully consider the possibility that what you are criticizing in someone may be something God wants to deal with directly, and that God may want you to pray and remain silent.
  • Before speaking words of criticism, ask a wise friend to evaluate the content and tone of your words.  Realize that after critical words are spoken, you can never take them back.
  • Inspire those who need to change by sharing with them your belief that they can change. Encourage them by saying “Don’t give up. Trust God to guide you in the way you should go. I know you can make the right decisions. I believe you can experience God’s best!”
  • Present your words to God as His instrument for good, and pray that He will put His words into your mouth.

See the unmet needs of others {Philippians 4:19}

  • Instead of judging the inappropriate actions of others, seek to understand the need behind each action.
  • Realize that people who speak forth cutting words reveal that they have unmet inner needs {for love, significance, or security.}
  • Realize that people don’t always mean what they say nor understand their own deepest needs.
  • Pray that your critics will allow the Lord to meet their deepest inner needs.

Rely on God’s Word and God’s Spirit for wisdom

  • Seek God’s wisdom by reading a chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs.
  • Write down every verse from Proverbs that pertains to the tongue.  Check your words against this list and see if you are being wise with what you say.
  • See God at work in every circumstance and trust Him for wisdom to know how to respond {wisdom is the ability to look at life from God’s point of view.}
  • Pray that God’s Spirit will teach you spiritual truths and lead you to speak these truths in love.

1 Corinthians 2:13

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom 
but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Breaking Strongholds (w/ free download)

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2 Corinthians 10:4 
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.

Strongholds are birthed and dwell in deception (which are lies and false beliefs), so naturally the cure is to bring in the truth in God’s Word to defeat them once and for all.  You debunk the lies of the enemy with the truth that lies in the Word of God.

The Bible says that our weapons are mighty for the tearing down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”)  What is our primary offensive weapon?  The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”)  Truth dispels deception and lies, and therefore the more truth you bring into a situation, the more the darkness must flee.  This is where it’s important to grow in God’s Word, is because it is your primary weapon for tearing down the strongholds of deception that the enemy has been feeding you.

If you are not currently spending time in God’s Word every single day, please vow to make this a habit right now.  THIS is how God will most often speak to you and how you will grow in your relationship with Him like never before.  Please make this intentional time with the Lord every single day…ink {not pencil} Him into your precious schedule!

In John 8:31-36, Jesus tells us that we can be held in bondage due to strongholds in our lives. And His solution was to, “…continue in my word… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (verses 31-32).  Strongholds are torn down as we meditate on God’s Word.

To help you with this, I have a FREE download for you today filled with stronghold-breaking meditations to help you on this journey to break free once and for all!   Click on the link below to download to your computer.

Stronghold-breaking Meditation Scriptures

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: A Scripture Prayer on Decision Making

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I pray this is a blessing to you….

Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I trust in You with all my heart and I won’t rely on just what I understand.
In all my ways, I will rely on You, because You will direct me in the way I should go.

Psalm 32:8

Thank You for being willing to instruct me and teach me the right way to go… even to counsel me and watch over me.

Psalm 25:9

I humble my heart so that You will guide me and teach me Your way.

James 1:5

When I need wisdom, I will ask You for it. Thank You for not faulting me for asking, but rather wanting to make me wise.

Proverbs 16:9

Even when I plan my future, I’m so glad that You determine my steps.

Psalm 40:8

Oh God, I truly desire to do Your will.
Thank You for putting Your truth in my heart.

John 16:13

I yield myself to Your Spirit of Truth, who will guide me into all truth.

Matthew 6:10

I pray that whatever is Your perfect will for me in heaven will also be accomplished in my life here on earth.

1 Corinthians 10:31

And, Lord, may whatever I do be truly for Your glory… and Yours alone.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  <3

Click the link below for a free download of today’s prayer!

DailyPrayer

You will need Adobe Acrobat on your computer to open this PDF file. If you do not have this program on your computer, you can find a free download HERE.

Blessings,

Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Praising God…Even in the Hard Times

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More and more it seems that suffering and hurt are prevalent everywhere we look.  Maybe you have recently lost your job or you are living with a chronic illness….  Maybe you are grieving a loss or have recently been handed a major disappointment.  If you are hurting right now while reading this, know that your tender, loving Father has His arms open and He is always ready to hold you if you just let Him.  Many people who are hurting today are cursing God and some believers have abandoned God.  They did not have Christ as their solid foundation.  It is so important to have a strong faith through the best of times so when the winds blow, we will not be moved.  Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow closer to our Father.  So, how can we praise Him during the darkest hours?  Let us look at scripture for some clear examples.

Remembering Christ 

2 Timothy 2:8-9 says, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.  But the word of God is not bound!”   Remembrance of Christ and His death at Golgotha needs to be the centerpiece through which we praise God in the hard times.  When we suffer, we can remember that He suffered, and His suffering gave us freedom!  This is one reason some leave the faith…they forgot what even brought them into God’s loving hand.  Praise be to God, our Almighty King, that gave us the final sacrifice to atone for our sins!

Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow us ever closer to our Heavenly Father.

Prayer 

Every time we connect with God in prayer, we are praising Him because we are acknowledging our need to set our burdens on His strong shoulders.  Isaiah 25:4a says, “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”  These are things we can praise Him for while we are praying!  He takes care of His children!  Even in the darkest part of the storm, He is there as a stronghold to keep us standing against the crashing waves and raging winds.  A woman on her knees in prayer can stand before any tragedy.

Through Song

When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times.  David writes in Psalm 142:4b-7, “No one cares for my soul.  I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”  Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!  Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!  Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!  The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.”  This particular psalm was a written prayer, but it could just as well be sung.  So many songs today are written straight from the Psalms.  One particular song that has always touched my heart on this issue of hard times and suffering is “There Will be a Day” by Jeremy Camp.  This song always brings tears to my eyes as it offers so much hope!  What songs speak to your heart as you praise your Father?

Time in the Word 

Anything that we do as Christians that focuses our time on God brings Him glory and praise.  When we look to His word for healing and guidance, we again are telling God that we need Him and we praise Him for His sovereign nature in all circumstances.  In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  This is a passage of love that speaks to all who are hurting.  Jesus was tempted in every way so we can be completely firm in our belief in Him.  My fellow sisters, write these verses on your hearts.  We can have confidence in our Father in all circumstances.  Stay in the word!  It can heal the brokenhearted.

Fasting

Fasting is an outlet that provides a spiritual and physical reliance on God.  Fasting is not set on any particular facet.  Many people fast from food for an extended amount of time, but fasting really involves giving up anything that means a lot to you in order to spend time with God instead.  This is a precious way to praise Him!  When you fast you stop “me” and focus on Him.  He has sustained me every time I have fasted.  The spiritual bond always grows with fasting because God is feeding that bond as you rely on Him…and you are creating the space He so desperately needs to move!

Forgiveness 

Forgiveness always reflects praise on the Father.  We forgive out of obedience to Christ.  We forgive because it is always the right thing to do.  There is real spiritual maturity and growth when we can look at specific people who have wronged us personally and forgive them.  This is because sin always comes from the devil and not from the individuals themselves.  There is massive spiritual warfare fighting for us every day.  Satan’s legion of demons are always hunting.  It is our job as believers to always forgive those who trespass against us.  The true fault is always against the devil and his wicked schemes.  Even Christ on the cross asked His Father to forgive those crucifying Him (Luke 23:34).  May we all strive to be like that!  Praise be to our Sustainer in all circumstances!  The next time you are having trouble with another person, remember that your battle is NOT with them and it is not of the flesh….  Your battle is a spiritual one and your Mighty Creator is BIG enough to guide you and sustain you to forgive.

I would love to hear all about how YOU show God praise through the hard times!  Please leave me a comment below all about how He is your Sustainer and Redeemer!

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Standing on God’s Promises

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Whether you are walking through a season of fear, doubt, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, or happiness and joy…it is always important to stand on God’s promises for you!  This is a wonderful exercise that you can either do all at once, or break it up and do one promise a day in your quiet time…. But I highly recommend that you have this mighty tool in your toolbox for when Satan’s lies try to creep in and steal your joy! I also recommend that you write them on 3×5 cards attached together with a key-ring to be able to easily reference them as often as needed!

I pray this is a blessing to you!

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

WHO I AM IN CHRIST!

The following is a list of Bible verses that reference who you are in Christ.

Look up each Bible reference in your preferred Bible translation (or even more than one…) and then below each reference, state in your own words how this reference specifically applies to YOU.

When you are finished, write a page or so about what you have learned and how it relates specifically to your future in trusting God with your whole heart and everything that you have.  Prepare for powerful revelations and blessings as you begin to believe and practice what the Word tells you!

It will take time, but it is so worth it, dear one!!! I read my list every morning out loud and Satan has NO CHANCE  in distracting me as I walk through my day!!

Example:

Colossians 2:10 (NIV)

 “…and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

 ****I have been brought to completeness in Christ. There is no other power higher in my life.*****

 List of Scriptures:

1. Colossians 2:10

2. Ephesians 2:5

3. Romans 8:2

4. Isaiah 54:14

5. 1 John 5:18

6. 1 Peter 1:16 and Ephesians 1:4

7. Philippians 4:7

8. 1 John 4:4

9. Romans 5:17

10. Ephesians 1:17-18

11. Mark 16:17-18, Luke 10:17,19

12. Colossians 3:9-10

13. Luke 6:38

14. Philippians 4:19

15. Ephesians 6:16

16. Philippians 4:13

17. John 14:12

18. 1 Peter 2:9

19.  Peter 1:23

20. Ephesians 2:10

21. 2 Corinthians 5:17

22. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Romans 6:11

23. 2 Corinthians 4:4

 24. James 1:22, 25

 25. Romans 8:17

 26. Romans 8:37

 27. Revelation 12:11

 28. 2 Peter 1:3-4

 29. 2 Corinthians 5:20

 30. 1 Peter 2:9

 31. 2 Corinthians 5:21

 32. 1 Corinthians 6:19

 33. Deuteronomy 28:13

 34. Matthew 5:14

 35. Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12

 36. Ephesians 1:7

 37. Colossians 1:13

 38. Galatians 3:13, Deuteronomy 28:15-68

 39. Colossians 2:7

 40. Psalm 66:8

 41. 2 Timothy 1:9

 42. 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5

 43. Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 2:6

 44. Colossians 3:12, Romans 1:7, Thessalonians 1:4, Ephesians 2:4

 45. Colossians 1:11

 46. James 4:7

 47. Philippians 3:14

 48. 2 Timothy 1:7

 49. Galatians 2:20

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

 

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Surrender

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Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:7

Surrender isn’t a very popular word in our culture.  Even the first few definitions in the dictionary have some rather negative connotations related to that word.

  • “To declare to an opponent that he or she has won so that fighting or conflict can cease.”
  • “To relinquish possession or control of something because of coercion or force.”
  •  “To yield to a strong emotion, influence or temptation.”
  • “An act of declaring defeat at the hands of the opponent.”

God asks us to surrender our lives and everything we have to Him, but you will never see Him using coercion or force to get us to do so.  God asks, but our response is our choice.  It also doesn’t have anything to do with declaring defeat at the hand of an opponent because as God is always for us, He is NOT our opponent and surrender to God always leads to victory, not defeat.

Surrendering your life means:

  • Following God’s lead without knowing where He’s sending you
  • Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come
  • Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide
  • Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances

Yikes…. Those are some pretty big statements but the good news is that they are ALL possible to proclaim with Christ living and breathing in us.  No, we could never fully surrender on our own with all of our flesh getting in the way; but with God in us, all things are possible…. We merely need to just get out of His way!

With that being said, I think it is also important to note that while it is impossible to only be half surrendered {sort of like you can’t really be half pregnant…}, we must constantly be striving toward full and complete surrender to the will of God.  It IS possible to live a surrendered life and you will know you are there when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation.  You let go and let God work.  You don’t have to always be in charge.  Instead of trying harder, you trust more.

You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.

Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You are not self-serving, you don’t edge others out, and you don’t demand your rights.

Jesus is the supreme example of self-surrender.  The night before His crucifixion Jesus surrendered himself to God’s plan.  He prayed, “Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet I want your will, not mine” (Mark 14:36).  Jesus surrendered Himself to God’s will.  He prayed, “God, if it is in Your best interest to remove this suffering, please do so. But if it fulfills Your purpose, that’s what I want, too.”

What does this look like for us?  Genuine surrender says, “Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill Your purpose and glory in my life or in another’s life, please don’t take it away!”  This level of maturity certainly doesn’t come easy. In Jesus’ case, He agonized so much over God’s plan that He sweated drops of blood.  Surrender is hard work.  In our case, it requires intense warfare against our self-centered nature…but it IS possible!

But HOW do I surrender to God, especially when the pull of the world is so strong in my being? Remember that your entire life is run by your thoughts.  Your thoughts are either submitted to satan and the things of this earth, or submitted to God and centered on heavenly things.  When you are in distress about anything, that distress takes place in your mind…in your thoughts. Distressful thoughts are not heavenly thoughts but rather they are thoughts about things on this earth.

Colossians 3:2

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on this earth.”

Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, whatever is excellent, worthy of praise let your mind dwell on these things.

Whatever is on your mind and in your heart that causes you distress, just say to God:

“I surrender this to You.  Of myself, I can do nothing.  If anything is going to be done about this matter, you will have to do it.”

This process breaks satan’s power over your thought pattern that has held you in bondage to the problem.  To get started in the process of overcoming your difficulty, be SPECIFIC about what I would really like to overcome: {fear, anxiety, relationship difficulties, rage, eating disorders, depression, bad temper, anger, procrastination, job stress, pride, marital strife, drug addiction, smoking, fantasy addiction, etc.}  Now mentally take that situation and put it into the palm of your hands.  Just cup your hands in front of you and imagine that your situation is sitting in your hands.  Now take your cupped hands, lift your situation up and mentally put it into the outstretched hands of your Heavenly Father and pray:

“Our Dear Heavenly Father, I lift this situation up into the palm of Your hands.  I ask You to put a shield of protection around it that no evil can penetrate.  I put this matter solidly in Your hands, and I ask you to take care of it.  Thank You, Father, for taking care of this matter.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

(Did you ACTUALLY take the step of putting the situation in the palm of your hands, and then ACTUALLY lift up your hands, and put the situation into the outstretched hands of Jesus?  If not, please take the time RIGHT NOW to take that LIFE-CHANGING step of action.)

God tells us in Psalm 55:22:

“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.  He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

If this is something you have been dealing with for weeks or months and have not been able to resolve it yourself, then you should feel comfortable with putting it into the hands of your Heavenly Father and leaving it there, giving Him the opportunity to take care of it.

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 🙂