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November 15, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Little Magpie: Bill - How do you Trust in God?

Bill: Little Magpie: Great question. Learning to trust God is a process that takes time and is built step by step. The first step is telling yourself over and over that God's word is true. No matter how we "feel" about it or how much of it we struggle to understand, trust begins with the mental conclusion that God wrote what is true. The next step is to simply do what we understand. So, we read the Bible regularly, pray when we are anxious, serve others when we have the opportunity, give thanks in all things, worship wholeheartedly, etc. Our obedience is never perfect or complete but each time we do what we know is true, we strengthen our trust in God. Another step that helps build trust is choosing one area that we want to change. God's presence in our lives gives us the opportunity to make changes that weren't possible on our own. When we decide to focus on any of these areas regardless of how simple it might be, our trust grows. One thing that holds us back from building trust is self-condemnation. It is not hard to find reasons to devalue ourselves and run ourselves down. Jesus died for all those so that we won't be condemned at judgment. When we give in to self-condemnation, we divert our focus away from God's power as we intensify our own deficiencies.

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November 15, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Swan: Hello everyone, welcome to Wednesday evening chat

Bill: Good evening. It is good to be here this week. Last week was a crazy travel day that kept getting interrupted. Another reminder that we only have so much control over our lives.

Swan: Bill - That has always been a difficult fact for me, as a child the more I was able to control, the less I got caught up in my mother and step father's chaos. Then as a Marine, mother and military wife, maintaining some type of control was most helpful. When MLC hit our lives and my husband became extremely unpredictable that turned my world upside down, then I managed to regain control, but God needed to teach me to let go and give things to Him, so there were more trials, I had to get smacked with His 2x4 a few times, but I am finally able to not be in so much control.

Bill: Swan: Thanks for sharing that. I find this to be one of life's more complex issues. We are called in the Bible to be sober-minded, self-disciplined, goal-setters and personally responsible for our decisions. At the same time, we are called to walk by faith, not relying on our understanding as we trust God to work things together for good. It is a tricky skill to master since we cross the line in both directions on a regular basis.

Bill: Swan: I have found it helpful to say to myself, "Take on everything that is truly my responsibility. Let go of the responsibility that belongs to others. Trust God for the long range areas of life that only God can see."

Swan: Bill - That is somewhat of a contradiction of how we should behave, but that is the case with so much in our lives, the Bible tells us to do this, but society says to do it that way, which is typically more about doing it on your own and not relying on God at all.

Swan: Bill - I agree, I was the typical "E" Woman (everything to everyone), even as a child I took on the responsibility of taking care of my younger siblings, household responsibilities, etc. It was out of self defense mostly, if I didn't do it often it just didn't happen. As an adult, I think I over compensated and was more comfortable with being in control, more of a just do it myself and never rely on anyone else. I lived much of my life tense and I have to say since I have been able to trust God and allow others to be responsible for what they should be, my stress level and blood pressure has been much lower.

Bill: Swan: Well said. With each passing year, I am more convinced that the primary problem with mankind is pride. We tend to think we know better than God so we come up with our own plans and pretend we are smarter than the God who created us. This is why humility is a prerequisite to faith.

Bill: Swan: I like the designation "E" Woman. It, of course, is not a goal any of us want to live up to but it is a great way to describe the condition.

Swan: Bill - There was a book by that title, in high school one of my teachers gave me a copy of the book and told me I was far too young to be trying to carry the weight of the world. I read it, but it didn't change my life, I still felt responsible for so much and so many others, it wasn't until I really got close to God and started allowing Him to be more in control that I started to understand the concept of that book.

Bill: Swan: I think we all underestimate the power of our family's influence. Whatever we learned as children sets deep and lives out well into our adult lives. It takes something intense and important to us at a personal level to unwind the habits we developed early on. In my opinion, an intense relationship with Jesus is the most powerful motivation that exists.

Swan: Bill - It is so sad the condition of our society right now even, I have the news on and they first spoke with the director of the food bank and he was talking about the number of families they assist with food, including something like 33,000 military families. The next reporter was showing the extremely long line at another food assistance program with dinners for Thanksgiving. That people need to stand in long lines for hours to get food or that we need to have a food bank set up to help weekly with food for families. It breaks my heart that we expect these young men and women to risk their lives for our safety and freedom, yet cannot pay them enough to provide food for their families.

Bill: Swan: I have met many people on my journey that worked on the skills but lacked the power to overcome their own personal obstacles to living free from the habits they wish they didn't have. Once they meet Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to empower them.

Bill: Swan: Amen. It amazes me that we have funds for every cause under the sun but can't take care of the ones who selflessly serve all of us. God help us.

Swan: Bill - I can understand that so much, I had lack of trust towards anyone most of my life, it even affected my relationship with my husband, I trusted him the most of anyone I had ever come across, but even with him there wasn't total trust. Learning to trust God has been so helpful in my ability in trusting others.

Swan: Hi Little Magpie

Bill: Swan: I don't think it is possible to trust others without linking it to our trust in God. Everyone we know is imperfect and guaranteed to let us down. Trusting that God will take care of us through the good and bad of life is the buffer that allows us to have human relationships. This especially amazes me in this day and age when we are willing to connect with anyone at any time through online interactions. Our culture discourages trust in God while touting unlimited trust in people we have never met.

Little Magpie: Bill Swan - Hello

Bill: Hello Little Magpie

Little Magpie: Bill - How do you Trust in God?

Little Magpie: Bill - I mean, I do but when stress hits I don't know.

Little Magpie: Bill - I know we aren't to be anxious but I cannot help but to be anxious about everything

Bill: Little Magpie: Great question. Learning to trust God is a process that takes time and is built step by step. The first step is telling yourself over and over that God's word is true. No matter how we "feel" about it or how much of it we struggle to understand, trust begins with the mental conclusion that God wrote what is true. The next step is to simply do what we understand. So, we read the Bible regularly, pray when we are anxious, serve others when we have the opportunity, give thanks in all things, worship wholeheartedly, etc. Our obedience is never perfect or complete but each time we do what we know is true, we strengthen our trust in God. Another step that helps build trust is choosing one area that we want to change. God's presence in our lives gives us the opportunity to make changes that weren't possible on our own. When we decide to focus on any of these areas regardless of how simple it might be, our trust grows. One thing that holds us back from building trust is self-condemnation. It is not hard to find reasons to devalue ourselves and run ourselves down. Jesus died for all those so that we won't be condemned at judgment. When we give in to self-condemnation, we divert our focus away from God's power as we intensify our own deficiencies.

Little Magpie: Bill - trying to strip away years of self condemnation and negative self talk, etc. and always feeling something bad or negative is going to happen when someone says they need to talk to you is not the easiest of things to overcome and feeling responsible for things that have never and will never be in your control

Little Magpie: Swan and Bill - How do you get thru that??

Bill: Little Magpie: Agreed. Building trust is like peeling an onion. It has many layers. Some are easy to deal with while others make us cry! Some steps seem simple and straightforward while others seem unbearable. Getting through the self-condemnation is one of the most difficult. I have found the best policy is to work on areas that work before you tackle areas that don't. Going after the self-condemnation when it jumps on you so quickly may not be helpful. If, however, you can find an area that seems easier and make progress, it can raise your confidence in the difficult steps. For me, this has been a tough area. I still feel at times that the phone ringing is going to bring bad news. Trying to convince myself that it is actually good news doesn't work well. The area of decision-making was much easier for me to work on so I started there. Also the area of teaching seemed easier even though I was extremely nervous when I started teaching groups of people. As I continued to intentionally focus on these areas my ability to fight off the negative thoughts has improved.

Swan: Little Magpie - I spent years being told that I was worthless, unworthy of this or that, I was a bad girl, that I deserved the things that happened to me, that I even caused some of the things that happened and after years of this, you begin to believe it. When my husband and I started dating and he was telling me I was wonderful, caused him joy, etc. I was in conflict and didn't believe him, but eventually he won me over and I kind of started feeling worthy. But even as an adult my step father would make put down statements, to the point that my husband didn't like to be around my family and after awhile I cut ties with them. With that came a lot of guilt, being the bad daughter once again, but I also found a lot of peace and began to not be so self condemning. Then what little bit of self confidence I had gained was crushed when my husband began to blame me for his affairs (he couldn't be at fault, I had to push him into his adultery). It was meeting people in this group and a wonderful counselor that I was seeing who started pointing out my worth. She assigned me weekly with a writing assignment of journaling achievements and she would read them and we would discuss what I had written, the more I wrote about successes, the more I began to see that I did have worth to society. Plus my relationship with God who would whisper to me often or that uplifting praise song that would appear whenever I was putting myself down.

Bill: Swan and Little Magpie: I noticed that you (Swan) took specific steps that helped. Some you chose, some just happened. They include dating someone who voiced your value, cutting ties with toxic family members, meeting with like-minded people, weekly writing assignments and an intensified relationship with God.

Swan: I need to head out tonight, see you all next week

Little Magpie: Swan and Bill - Thanks. I think the idea of writing successes is good. Don't know if I could do it but I can try.

Little Magpie: Swan - Have a Blessed week

Bill: All: Bless you. Keep taking one step forward at a time. Look for God's hand of favor. See you next week.

Little Magpie: Bill - Thanks again. Have a blessed week

Little Magpie: Bill - How do you Trust in God?

Bill: Little Magpie: Great question. Learning to trust God is a process that takes time and is built step by step. The first step is telling yourself over and over that God's word is true. No matter how we "feel" about it or how much of it we struggle to understand, trust begins with the mental conclusion that God wrote what is true. The next step is to simply do what we understand. So, we read the Bible regularly, pray when we are anxious, serve others when we have the opportunity, give thanks in all things, worship wholeheartedly, etc. Our obedience is never perfect or complete but each time we do what we know is true, we strengthen our trust in God. Another step that helps build trust is choosing one area that we want to change. God's presence in our lives gives us the opportunity to make changes that weren't possible on our own. When we decide to focus on any of these areas regardless of how simple it might be, our trust grows. One thing that holds us back from building trust is self-condemnation. It is not hard to find reasons to devalue ourselves and run ourselves down. Jesus died for all those so that we won't be condemned at judgment. When we give in to self-condemnation, we divert our focus away from God's power as we intensify our own deficiencies.

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