Why Personal Forgiveness is Necessary for Happiness

Photo credit: Pixabay.com Forgiveness lives in a big tent! It can be offered to institutions as well as persons. It can be part of reconciliation …

Why Personal Forgiveness is Necessary for Happiness

How to Connect the ‘A’ Word to Spirituality

God plants desires into our hearts so that we enjoy life. The times when you have the urge to climb a tree, or simply admire a breathtaking view, God has given you that notion. Days that seem to drag will come, and when they do, revel in the memories of the more adventurous times. This blog post written by a dear colleague is a wonderful roadmap for bringing adventure into faith. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

In All Things Charity

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Many years ago, I directed the musical, Peter Pan, for the high school where I taught.  I was always inclined toward that musical mostly because, well, I was a bit like Peter Pan, a child who simply would not ‘grow up!’  I loved climbing trees, swimming in creeks, sledding on hills, hiking in woods, and some of this crept into my adult years as well.  When I was in community leadership, I was appalled to learn that a new candidate in the novitiate had never whizzed on a sled down a hillside into a snowbank.  Early one evening I showed her how to do it and she exclaimed, “I can’t remember having so much fun in a blizzard in all my 26 years!!”  Twenty-six years I gasped!  And I wondered how did she ever live a real childhood and youth?

That’s the Peter Pan Principle in action!!

Well, my Peter Pan force has…

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Praying Through Circular Thinking

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“Well, I thought,” the three most dangerous words ever to enter my thinking pattern. Any word in the dictionary could follow that phrase, and I would still end up in the same place, making assumptions without all the facts.

One of the worst possible outcomes of any situation is assumed. It holds no merit because it never existed.  Oh, how my imagination loves to cook up the most unpleasant in even the best situations! To make myself feel better, I blame it on the creativity of the writer within me. In reality, it is the dangerous swirl of circular thinking that takes me down a dark winding road.

I do admit, on many occasions, this has had a negative effect not only on my mind but my overall well-being. A hazardous place to be is in a worrying state of mind, especially when one makes a habit of focusing on the same thought consistently.

Let’s make it clear that circular thinking does not include times when something needs to be mulled over or instances which require much thought before a decision is made. I am referring to those cycles when the thought patterns repeatedly make assumptions about a resulting outcome. “Maybe if I did this, then that would happen,” or “He hasn’t responded to my email, I’m sure I’ve made him angry,” and phrases of this nature.

I’m not a professional, but I believe many factors induce this thinking pattern. Societal influences, childhood memories, or having a nervous personality, to name a few. In my younger days, in high school, I developed an undeniable fear of public speaking. This was ironic because I had been part of a choir before high school. There were even times when I sang a solo. Yet, something triggered a genuine fear, a circular thinking pattern, when speaking before my peers.

The fear was so intense that I would take a zero on an assignment, not prepare, and skip the class. I had repeated visions, all made up in my mind, that whatever I was supposed to do would be a failure.  Another aspect of circular thinking is going back over something again and again. Now, it’s too late to fix my state of mind at 16. However, at my current age, I can face fear and flourish in it.

How I reacted as a young girl is a part of who I am today, and I would not change any of it. Is the fear still there? Absolutely! However, I am old enough to see it, face it and grow because of it. Over the last several years since becoming a spiritual director, I have had to laugh at where God has taken me.  Part of my ministry has evolved in speaking engagements, putting myself on video saying prayers, and having a passion for spiritual writing.

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So, what do you do when God places your biggest fear repeatedly on your path? You pray through it and conquer it. It is through these events that I have learned to remove fear from my mindset, all with my mighty God!  I’m not perfect; after all, it was in the act of circular thinking that this post originated.

Thoughts of this nature are going to happen. It’s in knowing how to shut them down where faith and growth play a part. The only circular thinking I allow myself to remain is knowing that I am in God, and God is in me! That phrase is one I will never tire of repeating!  God is in me, and I am in God!