Saturday, February 22, 2020
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Sheldon Stephenson

Understanding Addiction

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It’s never an easy thing, when you realize you have destroyed not only your life and dreams but the life and dreams of your entire family, all because of addiction. If you have experienced this either as an addict or as a loved one of an addict I encourage you to keep reading.

I will be focusing on alcohol addiction specifically but you can definitely apply it to all forms of addiction.

To the addict and the loved ones.

Have you known someone who was an alcoholic? Maybe you are the alcoholic. In either case, there is hope. I have seen that hope realised by many people at the different meetings I’ve personally been to. I’ve read the stories of hope and recovery online from people all around the world.

The dangerous thing about alcohol abuse is that alcohol is legal and easily available. Drinking is widely accepted and even encouraged by many cultures all around the world. That’s what makes it so much more dangerous – The accessibility!

The thing about alcohol is that many people can drink responsibly. Then you get the alcoholic – they think they can drink responsibly and may seem to prove that to be true for the first few years. The problem is that addiction is a disease and a degenerative disease at that, which means it gets worse over time. There is also a theory that alcoholics have an allergic reaction to alcohol. While this could be possible there isn’t much evidence to support this theory. However, if it helps you stay away from your substance the way my shellfish allergy keeps me away from eating mussels, then good for you. One thing we do know from science is that addiction is a disease and it’s a hereditary one at that. This disease is as real as cancer or diabetes. So if you are dealing with an addict, please do not judge them too harshly. Knowledge is power when it comes to things of this nature.

Here is what science has to say about the disease of addiction.

It’s in the brain

Addicts have a completely different brain structure from people who can drink socially.

THIQ or tetrahydroisoquinolone as it is otherwise known is a very addictive chemical. The addict’s brain allows the production of this highly addictive chemical by pulling it out of the alcohol and into the brain. When enough THIQ is made it begins to attach to the neurons – this is why alcoholics feel an uncontrollable urge to drink even when they can see their entire world crumbling around them – they cannot stop drinking no matter how hard they try.

How it works

When people who are dependent on alcohol drink, their brain absorbs it – sucking it right up into the brain tissue. Binge drinking or daily drinking can cause this to happen. The body does get rid of most of the toxins but unlike non-addicted people, there is a small part of the toxins that actually go to the brain of the alcoholic/addict. This is where it starts to get crazy – the alcohol interacts with the Dopamine Neurotransmitter to form THIQ or tetrahydroisoquinolone. Once this has attached itself to the Dopamine Neurotransmitter, it never ever goes away. It’s there for life! Even if the addict manages to stops drinking for ten years, the THIQ attached to the Dopamine Neurotransmitter is still there, lying dormant waiting for that first drink to activate it once more.

Now I understand this saying I once heard:

“One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough.”

Wrapping up

I found this information to be quite mind-blowing and very helpful to my own understanding of addiction. I always wondered what was wrong with me – I always wondered why I could not enjoy a drink like everyone else and I was angry for many years. I always took drinking to the next level. Now I understand the science behind it.

So my friends, if you are struggling with addiction or have a family member or friend who may be struggling with addiction, I hope that this will help you understand the disease of addiction a bit better. Addicts are not weak-willed losers, addicts have a disease and the only way to control that disease is to never activate it with that initial drink.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, here is a verse that can give you hope.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

If this post has spoken to you or your would like to know more, please click the link or leave a comment.

Secrets, Lies and Redemption

Secrets – they can be very destructive things. Not only to the people from which you hide them but more importantly to your own soul. I have learned this lesson personally and it sucks when all of your secrets are brought out into the light. People that trusted you, or believed that you were something you were not, get the shock of their lives when they realise that you have been hiding things and you, as the keeper of those secrets, are left feeling guilty and ashamed. The embarrassment is almost enough to keep you locked away in your closet forever.

The thing about secrets is this – they will always come out eventually into the light. You may be able to hide them for a few days, weeks, months or even years but eventually they will be brought into the open. The longer the time period, the worse the shock. God actually warns us about this in the Bible:

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” – Luke 8:17 

The other problem that secrets create is a sense of guilt. Sometimes it can even be a subconscious guilt. This guilt can cost you a lot in terms of happiness and contentment in your daily life. The fact that you are carrying the weight of all your lies around with you every day, pretending to be something that you are not weighs heavily on your heart and on your mind, and with that sort of pressure you are bound to begin to feel affected in negative ways.

I’ve noticed that people who carry this type of guilt often lose their happiness. Now, I’m not taking about the fake happiness they portray in front of others but rather the happiness that they should be feeling on a daily basis; happiness within their family, with their blessings and with their life in general. I’ve also noticed that the guilt can begin to affect your relationship with friends and in fact anyone who is outside of the circle of lies and deceit. You never get close to anyone because of that guilt; knowing you are actually covering up what you truly are keeps you from making real honest connections.

The final thing I noticed was that because of the secret life you are living, you also begin to grow further apart from God. You may not be religious and that’s fine, but if you are attending church and living a double life, eventually that double life will win out and you will find yourself pulling further and further away from all the church events, the friends you’ve made and even worse, from God Himself.

There is a reason why that happens:

“Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” – John 3:20

We can no longer pretend that it is alright to walk around hiding what is really going on in our lives, myself included. It just doesn’t work and it will never work. You will constantly be under extreme pressure and that pressure is a direct result of your guilt.

The amazing thing is that God always bring things into the light and by Him doing so He is actually giving you a chance to heal. This is because the moment all your secrets are revealed is that same moment your healing begins, embarrassing as it may be at the time, it’s actually the greatest blessing. The weighty pressure of all those secrets is lifted. You are free. The moment you give up and let go is the moment God can release you from your prison of guilt, fear and shame and that freedom is great.

Just also remember that there will be loved ones and beloved friends who will most probably be left feeling hurt and betrayed by your lies. Be ready to accept that they are hurt and try to make amends.

Inevitably you will also have the judgmental people jumping on the gossip wagon to talk about the scandals behind your back and so on.  Please forget about these kinds of people because focusing on them will not help get you out of the slump but possibly cause you to sink deeper down.

Remember, God still loves you and, if you repent, He is faithful to forgive you. Instantly you will have God’s forgiveness. People on the other hand may have a harder time understanding and forgiving but they will have to answer for that themselves. God is very specific when it comes to what He thinks of people, who are sinners by nature, judging other people.

The Bible tells us:

“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?” – Romans 2:1-3 

I hope this has helped someone out there today. I have experienced this and it’s not great but at the end of the day, a clean conscience creates an opportunity for a clean slate.

If this spoke to you today, I really encourage you to click the pop-up or link below.

Pride before the fall

Pride and Humility are like a coin.

The word Proud is defined as:

having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.

There is a time when we can, and all should, be proud of ourselves and of others – like when your child does well at something or exceeds at something they have worked hard towards or when you succeed at doing something great. It’s fine to be proud of your or other people’s achievements. It can bring happiness and a great sense of self-worth to one’s life. The problem is that pride is like a coin. It has two sides to it and the other side of the pride coin comes in the form of arrogance and superiority – when a person’s ego becomes so great that they start to believe that they are better and above everybody else. This is the negative side of pride.

The word Humble is defined as:

having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.

Being humble is a noble trait and I am sure most people actually prefer humble people more than they enjoy arrogant and prideful people. Being humble shows modesty in a person. I am sure you and many others are more drawn to unpretentious and down to earth people. Most people actually like describing themselves as down to earth. I’ve never heard someone say: “Yeah, I am actually a very proud and arrogant person” when introducing themselves. Have you? You see, there is also a flip side to humility. The other side of that coin is false humility. Here is a fantastically perfect word I found online that gives a definition of false humility:

Humblebrag (n.) A seemingly humble statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.

We should take care to not cross the line in respect to both pride and humility especially when it comes to God.

Back to good

I got a profound answer the other day when I was finding it hard to connect to God because I was going through things that were breaking my faith. It’s easy to respond to God when everything is going well in your life but when things are not going so well it’s even easier to turn your back on your faith. When you have prayer requests that are going unanswered and your world is falling apart, you begin to question God and his lack of response. You can begin to query whether you can actually trust in Him to get you out of whatever situation you are facing.

I found myself demanding God for answers, similar to Job. I felt I deserved an answer to appease my doubt and pain. That is when I heard this small voice say: “Do not be proud.” To be honest, at first that got my back up and I began to argued even more. “I’m not being proud, I am just wanting what you have promised in your word.” I retorted. I continued my rant exclaiming how Jesus has said that anything we ask for in his name we shall receive so why then are my prayers for healing and provision and everything else going unanswered.

I am sure I am not alone in this. We must have all freaked out over this issue a few times in our lives… right?

My pride had surfaced and I realised it after a while. I was commanding the creator of the universe to do my bidding like He was some kind of genie in a bottle. The worst part is that I was actually beginning to grow further away from Him because of my disdain and disappointment.

Who exactly did I think I was and why did I believe that I deserved anything from God? It was my pride that made me think and feel this way, my pride had made me believe that I was worthy of a response and that is when I realised the truth and that truth is found in the Bible:

“Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18

Haughtiness means arrogance. I had become so arrogant towards God and I realised I had to truly humble myself before the Lord. I had to realise the pecking order of this universe and quick or I would fall fast and hard and when I did that, my heart began to change. I could no longer threaten God.

The Bible tells us another great truth that we should all get deep into our hearts and minds:

“But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12

I realised that in life in general, we must all stop believing we are more deserving of things than anyone else. We must stop aiming for position and instead aim to do the best with what we have in our hands.  Then God will lift us up at the perfect time.

So if you are struggling with this kind of thing in your life at the moment, I ask that you take inventory of your heart and mind and begin to realise who God is and stop thinking that He owes you or that you deserve anymore than the person next to you. We are all equally loved and cherished by God and He has the final say and there is nothing we can do about that. All we must do is to continue to serve Him out of pure love for Him, knowing that what He did at the cross is enough.

If this spoke to you, I encourage you to click the pop-up or link below and get in touch with us. We’d love to help you and I know that your life will never be the same again.

 

Five ways to help your child deal with anger.

I have recently been doing some research on anger management, especially in children because my eight year old is seriously struggling with anger. He is overly emotional at times and struggles to control his emotional outbursts. Anyone with children will know that angry outbursts are common place, whether it’s over a toy they can’t find or a movie they want to watch. Sometimes their frustration is that, at this young age, they just do not enjoy being told what to do or how to do things. It could also come from their lack of ability to communicate effectively that can cause them to be frustrated. Whatever it may be, the fact is that angry outbursts can cause a great deal of stress and concern for parents too and can also aggravate us to a point of anger. How many people out there actually have any training in dealing with their anger? Not many of us have been taught how to even deal with our own anger issues and that can seriously cause this whole anger thing to become a self-feeding monster. The cycle needs to end somewhere and we as the adults need to do more to give our young people the tools they need in order to be able to deal with their emotions more effectively. It is no use shouting back at a child who is angry and it’s no use just sending them off to their room either. We as adults need to speak to them, get them to express themselves and allow them the opportunity to get their anger off their chest.

Here are five ways we can help.

Communicate

It’s important that we communicate with our children. Get them to express what they are feeling, whether it’s through words or writing or even drawing a picture. We must give them the opportunity to let off steam just like we, as adults, need to let off steam every now and again. Children also want to be heard, and it’s vital that we give them that space – a space where they can be open and free to speak their minds and not feel judged in any way. If your child feels uncomfortable talking to you, don’t take it too personally. They may just be shy or afraid to be totally open with you so instead encourage them to talk to their teddy bear or the dog or if you believe, to God. You could even set your phone on the counter and record the conversation and leave the room completely. The most important thing is that you teach them to effectively communicate their feelings and express their emotions in a healthy and helpful way.

Get physical

Getting out a punching bag is also a great way of helping your child get his emotions and anger out. I have given my son a pillow that he can punch whenever he gets angry. The other day he ripped a bunch of paper up into pieces. Other ways that could help are for them to focus on something they enjoy like drawing, or running or even doing push ups. It’s all just a way to help them refocus and to calm themselves and get their anger under control.

Give Love

Affection is so important to children. Sometimes just a good old cuddle or a big bear hug can break the tension and reduce any stress. Punishment is necessary but so is affection and love. If you are constantly punishing your child without a good balance of love, your child with feel worthless and useless but if your child knows they are loved and that you are punishing them out of a place of love for them, they will receive your punishment in the light that it was meant and not see it as you just hating on them.

Acknowledgement

You must let your child know when they are doing a good job of dealing with their emotions and their anger. Positive affirmation works and helps the child feel loved.

Be an example

This is something we may all struggle with at times, but don’t let it get you down. We are all human and we all make mistakes, just keep on trying to be the best example you can be to your children. They do what you do and not what you say. Remember, not many of us were taught how to effectively deal with our emotions as children either, so we are all trying to be better and we are always learning. If you make mistakes, it’s important to apologise to your children and let them know that how you dealt with things was also wrong.

Here are a few verses that you and your children can read in order to get a deeper control over your anger issues:

  • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, hash words, and slander as will as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
  • “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” – Proverbs 15:1
  • “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” – James 1:19
  • “Stop being angry! Turn from your rage!  Do not lose your temper-it only leads to harm.” – Proverbs 37:8
  • “Don’t sin by letting anger control you.  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27

I hope this can help you become better at helping your child deal with their anger and I hope that as you practice these things more often, that you yourself will become better at dealing with your own emotions, especially when you are needing to be stronger emotionally when your child is feeling emotionally weak.

If this topic has spoken to you in any way, I encourage you to click on the pop-up window or  the link below and get in touch.

 

 

Are we bound out of obligation?

I’ll begin this with a lyrical line from a song written by one of my favourite bands.

“Are we bound out of obligation? Is that all we’ve got?”

The song is called Hail Hail by the band Pearl Jam. It’s a song about a person who is reassessing the relationship they are in. Wondering if they are both compatible and if they are still together only because they are already settled into the relationship and not because they are both actually in love with each other equally.

It’s a powerful line that speaks to the heart of everyone I’m sure because everyone wants to know they are loved by someone – really loved and not just loved out of obligation.

Obligation is defined as:

  • A Liability or duty to do something.
  • Bond of moral duty (whether of necessity or of one’s own choosing) that ties two or more parties together.

Now, with that in mind, ask yourself would you be happy if someone loved you only out of obligation – out of moral duty but in their heart and mind they would actually rather be with someone else.

I am sure you answered no. Most people would answer no and that is because love that is forced is not love at all. We want the other person to love us because they actually want to love us and because they really do love us with no strings attached. Right?

Mad scientist

Imagine for a moment that you were a mad scientist. You were very lonely in your castle and so you created a robot wife to love – a robot wife who would love you back unconditionally. That seems all fine and dandy until you realise that the love she gives is not real.

Love is a choice and cannot be forced. That is the whole enigma with love – you can never make someone who doesn’t love you fall in love with you no matter how hard you try. Knowing the love is just programmed into the robot will leave you in a constant state of curiosity. Does she really love me or does she only love me because I’ve forced her to.

That is why I can’t understand the many people who ask why God would make humans with free will, knowing they would turn on Him, knowing they would rebel and choose to hate Him. These people ask why God didn’t just create us all to love Him automatically – then there would be no problems in the world. The truth is that the Bible tells us that we were created in the image of God and just as we feel that, for love to be real the other person must choose to love us and not be forced to love us, so God wants us to choose to love Him and not for it to be forced upon us to love Him.

Yes, He could have made us robots, but He chose to make us in His image and give us free will to choose to either love Him or not. He did this out of His great love for us.

Love is free

So are we bound out of obligation?

The answer is no. We are not bound out of obligation to love God. We are free to choose and that is in a way a blessing and a curse to God Himself, because just like us humans, our hearts can be hurt when someone we love does not love us back. There is nothing we can do about it.

Now it is true that there are people out there who believe that they have the right to force others to love them and there are some who, out of jealousy and rage, even take the lives of people they profess to love but that is not love and those types of people are the exception and not the rule. No one has the right to force another to love them nor do they have the right to take another’s life away out of jealousy and anger brought on by hurt feelings.

There is an old saying: “If you love someone, set them free.”

Love is giving the other person freedom to choose, freedom to live and freedom to be themselves. God gave us that freedom and if only we could understand just how amazing that is, we would give Him our love in return. The bible says that God is love and He has made us in His image. In the following verse, we get God’s revelation of what love is. Now we can better understand the verse about God being love.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. –1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It goes on to say that love will last forever.

Final thought…

When Jesus talked about the greatest commandment of all, He said we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus then said something we usually miss – the second greatest commandment which he said was equally important: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:31.)

How can someone love another person if they don’t love themselves? We must love ourselves if we want to truly love others. God wants us to love ourselves just the way He made us and I believe we can only love ourselves when we get a revelation of God’s love for us.

If you’d like to find out more, I encourage you to click on the link or the pop-up window and begin your journey now. You are loved and you are worth a lot more than what you may believe.

Go for it! Trust me, your life will never be the same again!

Prepare and exercise If you want to succeed

Prepare and exercise. These two words had a profound impact on me.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines these two words in this way:

Prepare:

A:  to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity.

B:  to work out the details of; to plan in advance.

C:  to get ready.

Exercise:

A:  Activity requiring physical effort

B:  something performed or practiced in order to develop, improve, or display a    specific capability or skill.

Prepare for Action.

Imagine for a moment that you have been asked to bake a cake. You have never baked before in your life. The very first thing you would need to do is get the recipe. Right? Then you would check all the ingredients you need and you’d go to the shops and you would have to buy all those ingredients. Then it would do you good to do some research on how to actually bake a cake (because baking is a fine art) – you would read the instructions carefully and then make sure to follow the directions to the ‘T.’

You see, if you didn’t have all the correct ingredients your cake would be a flop. Even if you had all the correct ingredients but did not follow the steps in the correct order, your cake would still be a flop. Preparation is key to successfully baking a cake. This is a very simple example but the fact that preparation is key to success still stands true. Preparation is the key to achieving any goals you set yourself in life no matter what that goal may be.

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure” – Confucius

Exercise Equals Skill

Now imagine this… One day you decided that you’d really love to run a marathon. The trouble is, you’ve never run a day in your life and you are unfit. Do you think that running a marathon would be possible? No I thought not. You cannot run a marathon if you’ve never trained to run those kinds of distances. You will need to exercise those muscles and you’ll need to exercise your heart as well as your mind. Those marathons are gruelling – so I’ve heard.

Exercising your talents and abilities goes hand in hand with being prepared. After all, I could go and buy a beautiful electric guitar, get the amp and the sound effects pedals and I could get the ‘Learn how to’ books and dvds but all I would be is prepared. The truth is that preparation does not mean that I will have the ability to actually play the guitar. Preparation just means I’ve gotten ready with all that I need in order to play but preparation cannot give me the ability to actually play.

Exercise is the key that takes me from ready to able. Skill takes a lot of practice.

Make Sure Your Cake Doesn’t Flop

The other day I was wondering to myself how I would ever overcome the things in my life that I struggle with on a daily basis. These things might look different for many people, but that feeling of failure could feel very much the same, especially when you have been trying really hard to change certain aspects of your life yet keep failing. The harder you try the more it affects you when you fail because you may end up with feelings of condemnation towards yourself.  Feelings of being a failure, of self-pity and uselessness. I know that is how I was feeling. I just couldn’t seem to get these changes to stick. It felt like a rollercoaster because I’d vow to change this or that and then for a few days I’d do well, but then I’d just end up going back. It really felt like there was no hope at all. I began to believe that I just had a weak mind and an even weaker will and that change for me was impossible – But that was a lie. That week in my quiet time, I was lead to a bible verse that really jumped out from the page at me. These words I had read many times before but that day they stood out like a flashing light in the darkness pleading to be noticed.

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. 1 Peter 1:13

Prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. BAM! What a revelation!

Straight away I looked up the definitions of those two little words and that’s when I realised that it does not matter how much you try to change things, if you have not prepared your mind properly, your cake will flop, and no matter how hard you try to get better at new things, if you do not exercise in order to develop your ability, your cake will flop.

Conclusion

Whatever it is that you may be struggling with, my suggestion would be that you stop trying to change without a plan. Stop right now and instead begin to prepare your mind. There are so many helpful articles online these days that could help you prepare your mind for whatever changes it is that you are wanting to implement in your life. Prepare your mind like a farmer prepares his soil before planting his crops. Read up about the problems you face and join groups where others who are struggling with similar things are able to give you advice.

Then once you are prepared, you need to start exercising. Like a skinny man going to gym for the first time, the more he exercises those muscles, the larger they will become. The same goes for your struggles. The more you exercise new behaviours the more natural they will start to feel. You won’t just be left sitting with a pretty guitar and no skill to play it. Eventually your new behaviour will become your new habit and like a guitarist finds freedom in his playing when his skill is finely tuned, so too will you find freedom to live the life you have been striving so hard to achieve.

If this article spoke to you and you are struggling in similar ways, I encourage you to click on the link below or on the pop-up window and get in touch with us. We’d love to get you on a path to finding freedom. Your life will never be the same again.

 

Set yourself free from negative surroundings

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I am sure you have heard the saying

“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

What a nugget of gold – such truth and I missed it for years.

Years ago, I had a group of friends that were known as the naughty bunch. We were just a group of young teenagers growing up, trying to figure out this crazy life – well at least that’s what I told myself. Regardless of what I believed I did end up becoming a naughty and rebellious young man. I began to meet more friends who were naughtier than usual. Friends who were into drinking heavily, doing drugs and living a wild and dangerous lifestyle. It seemed I was drawn to these kinds of friends even though as a young child I wasn’t a rebellious boy at all.

As a young child I had been a very loving, kind and gentle young boy. I had a soft heart and used to cry endlessly over the people I loved that used to smoke because I didn’t want them to die. I loved animals and nature – I just loved life, I was soft-hearted. As I grew though and my circle of friends changed, I began to change. Eventually I was trapped in a lifestyle that I believed I wanted – that I believed I loved. I had convinced myself that I enjoyed being wild and rebellious yet deep in my heart I was still just that soft-hearted little child. Eventually the drugs and alcohol blurred the lines between who I’d become and who I really was on a deeper level. I had lost myself and all the while I believed it was good. Eventually I found myself strung out on heavy drugs, wasting away in the darkness of the reality I had created for myself. I found myself in broken relationships, in drug dens, in prostitution holes and eventually in prison cells. I found myself in situations that destroyed me as a man and then I found myself in rehab on two different occasion. I was living proof of the statement “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Luckily for me, I had a family that just wouldn’t give up. I had a mother who would come into the darkness and drag me out. She is one fearless woman I can tell you! Her love compelled her – it drove out all her fear and she came into the darkness and into the dangers of the underworld and literally put her life on the line and her pride in her pocket to rescue me. She is the reason I began to start looking at life differently. She was the beginning of my change. It was not easy, but she never gave up and neither did I.

Another pivotal point was when I met another great woman – she became my wife. These two women have been great pillars of strength to me over the years and have shown me unconditional love. Their love brought me out of the darkness and I am forever grateful.

These two women’s love towards me made me start questioning love and where such a deep love originates from. They both went out of their way for me on too many occasion – and it was all out of love. Slowly I began to question life and the reasons of our existence. This led me to the question of God. That was when Pandora’s box was flung open and an entire new world poured out like a tsunami wave rushing toward the shore. It smashed my mind and broke all I’d ever known. As I drew nearer to God and His word, I began to learn about love and not only that but I also began to learn a lot of wisdom from within those pages. Since drawing nearer to God, I began to lose many of those old friends. Toxic relationships faded out of my life and I began to form new friendships – Healthy relationships.

There’s a verse in the bible that says:

“He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20

How I wish I had learned the truth of this verse years ago. It would have saved me many years of trouble and heartache but all things happen for a reason and I am the person I am today in spite of all my years of madness and not because of them.

So I want to encourage you today – If you are in a place where you do not want to be or never wished to be, there is hope. There is hope and change can and will happen if you begin to change your surroundings. If you have toxic relationships surrounding you, get out of them and surround yourself with people who inspire you rather than with people who bring you down because the truth is that you will ultimately become like those who you hang around with. It’s a fact. Just as iron sharpens iron, so friendships mould who you become.

Click on the link or pop-up window for more information and begin your journey of change today.

Your life will never be the same again.

All these voices and all this noise.

There can be many things in life that can affect us in different ways. Many different voices coming from all directions that can push us in many different directions – directions in which we may not even want to go. There can be positive voices but most of the time the voices will be negative voices. Sometimes there are those who think they are giving positive opinions or advice but in actual fact they are being negative. The question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you want all these voices to control you and the decisions you make in your life.

There will always be people who want to advise you and help you make decisions in this life, some may believe they are trying to help, and sometimes those voices can be helpful but at the end of the day, you need to listen to your own heart and sometimes you just have to ignore others and do what you feel is right. Even if you make mistakes, at least you’ll not regret the choice of choosing your own path and you will learn a lot of great lessons along the way.

When I was younger I would allow people’s opinions to shape my life. I used to allow all those different voices to influence me. I got lost in all that noise and the worst part was that I never really got to a point in my life where I actually knew who I was. I became a by-product of other people’s opinions and that left me as an empty shell of a man. I had no real interests of my own, I had no real feeling of purpose or achievement in my life and I had no real sense of worth. The more I allowed myself to be influenced by others the more I became less myself.

“I became a by-product of other people’s opinions and that left me as an empty shell of a man.”

The biggest problem with living a life like this is that it eventually becomes a habit. Like anything, the more you do something the better you get at it, and I became great at allowing all the noisy voices to take me in a direction I never would have chosen to go and it lead me to a depressing place – a place where other people’s opinions mattered more than my own.

I would always do things in my life with others in mind, wondering what this person or that person would think of me. To be honest, I still struggle with this today – Not as much as I used to – but the effects of allowing this to occur throughout my younger life has left an effect on me that is deep-seated and hard to overcome – Hard but not impossible. As I’ve grown I’ve had to learn to trust myself more – to trust my own judgment and to stop worrying about what others may think. I have had to grow my faith in myself and learn to stop relying on others to make my decisions for me. I love this quote below…

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” ~Wayne Dyer

There is one voice however, that drowns out all these other voices these days and it’s been a long ride to get to know this voice but I believe that this one voice is the only one I should have ever been listening to throughout my life – Unfortunately I did not know this voice until only a few years ago. This voice gives words of encouragement. This voice has only positive words to speak over my life. This voice brings hope and life where there is despair and depression. This voice is the voice of the shepherd. The voice that took me from the miserable life I had been living and led me to a new life with a new outlook. This voice changed the way I saw myself and gave me courage to believe in myself. This voice gave me purpose and this voice has not yet lead me astray or let me down. The voice of the shepherd. It’s a voice I now know and a voice I now trust. It’s the only voice I allow to speak when I lose my own voice.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” – Jesus

If you are having a hard time with the many voices in your world and have lost your way because of negative voices leading you in directions you never wished to go, I encourage you to get hold of us by clicking on the pop-up window or on the link below. The voice of the shepherd is one that you can trust. Your life will never be the same again.

The Struggle Is Necessary

I once read a story of a man and a butterfly. The story goes something like this –

One day, a man saw a cocoon hanging on a tree. Every day he would go check on the cocoon to see if the butterfly was breaking out. One day when he went to check, he noticed a small opening in the cocoon. It meant that the butterfly was trying to make its way out. The man decided to watch how the butterfly would come out of the cocoon. He watched the butterfly struggling to get through the tiny hole as the hours passed. Unfortunately, after many hours and many attempts to free itself, there was no progress. It seemed that the butterfly had tried its best and was stuck.

The man, thinking the butterfly was stuck, decided to help the butterfly. He got a pair of scissors and cut the cocoon to make the tiny opening bigger so that the butterfly could get free. The butterfly emerged without any struggle!

The butterfly had a fat, swollen body and its wings were withered and small. The man waited to see if the body would shrink and the wings would grow. They did not.

Unfortunately, the butterfly just crawled around with its withered wings and a fat body. It was never able to fly.

Although the man had good intentions when he helped the butterfly get free of its cocoon, he did not realise that he had doomed the poor creature to death.

You see only by struggling through the small hole could the butterfly emerge to be the beautiful creature it was meant to be, with big strong wings. The struggle and continuous effort from the butterfly to get out of its cocoon would push the fluid stored in the body to its wings. From the struggle of getting through that tiny hole in the cocoon, the body would become lighter and smaller, and the wings would be beautiful and large.

Moral of the story

Struggles in life are not always bad. Without struggles, we would never grow. We wouldn’t become stronger and we would never realise our true potential. Just like the butterfly, we would not become the beautiful creature we should have been if we are always rescued by others.

Some people get broken by the struggles in life. Others push through and become stronger. The truth is that life without struggles is just a false dream. We will all have struggles that we will have to overcome but the amazing thing is that when we overcome those struggles in life, we feel better, more confident and sure of ourselves and we grow.

The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up. 

-Robert Tew-

In John 16:33 Jesus said that we would have trouble in this world but he also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. Think about Jesus’ struggles and the disciples who followed him. They did not have an easy life. But they grew as people on a personal level and became people of strength and character, willing to stand strong through all their trials because they knew that without those trials they wouldn’t grow to be all they were made to be.

If you find you are struggling, I hope this has spoken to you. You are greater than your struggles and if you find yourself alone, I encourage you to call out Jesus because in Matthew 28:11 He said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

If you’d like help finding out more, I encourage you to click on the link below or on the pop-up window and get in touch. We’d love to help.

Your life will never be the same again.

When you think you have it all together – then realise you don’t.

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Walking down the road the other day, I became very emotional. It was completely out the blue. What was going on with me? I knew I hadn’t been myself for the last few months, but this sudden outburst of emotion caught me totally off guard.

Many who have read my previous posts may know what I went through in 2014. I will recap quickly to give you a quick idea. My wife lost a baby and ended up getting septicemia and very nearly died herself. I had been strong throughout the entire thing, not only for her but also for our two sons. My faith was severely tested and I had decided that I would not allow this whole drama to derail me.

Fast forward two years, and I find that I am an angry, short-tempered husband and father. I find that I am a stressed out mess most of the time and I find that the smallest thing can set me off into a rage. On top of those negative emotions, I also find that I am super sensitive and the silliest heart-felt thing can set off the water works in my eyes. I can go from rage to tears in a matter of minutes. A roller coaster of emotion.  It’s not really a very healthy place to be, after all, screaming at my children one moment and then crying out of regret and love for them the next can never be a sign of a healthy soul.

Well, back to my walk – This day, while walking down the road, I do not know what triggered my emotional outburst. Maybe I had a thought flash through my mind of the 2014 experience. Maybe I wished I could stop being so unpredictable with regards to my emotions and regret overcame me like a tidal wave. Whatever it was, the experience left me a bit concerned. Nevertheless, there I was, on the sidewalk, crying like a little scared child, wondering to myself what the hell was happening to me.

When I chatted to my wife about what happened to me that day while out walking, we came to realise that I had not really dealt with all that I had experienced back in 2014. I had not mourned properly, and I had not gone through the healing process either. I was stuck in the anger stage. I knew that I  would have to go back to that moment in my mind, and deal with some very old feelings. Feelings I believed were already sorted out,  feelings I thought were dead and buried.

Every area of my life had been affected by my lack of healing. My work life, family life and spiritual life. I started to back out of church more and more. My trust in God was worn down to a feeble thread and with every fresh knock, that thread had snapped. Luckily for me I have an incredibly supportive and loving wife. She got me to give God another chance and I decided that I would.

I received a clear message three weeks ago that made me realise that God had never left my side. I allowed myself to fall into despair and distrust by not allowing myself to completely heal.

I want to tell you now that whatever you have gone through and no matter how broken you feel, God is right there waiting for you to call on Him. Another important thing is that we all need to sufficiently deal with whatever trauma we may have gone through because without going through the proper healing process, we will always end up falling regardless if it’s a week later or three years later. If we haven’t allowed ourselves to heal properly, it will come back to bite us.

When we go through a traumatic experience, these are the stages we go through in the healing process.

It begins with Shock/disbelief  and moves to Pleading/denial. Once the reality sets in that this has in fact happened we move to Anger and from there we move on to Sadness and finally we come to Acceptance and Forgiveness.

If you feel stuck, I encourage you to click on the link below or the pop-up window and get in touch with us. We’d love to help get you on the right track.

Your life will never be the same again.

 

 

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