Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Reflection : Women who think too much

I flicked through a copy of, Women who think too much, recently because I was interested in the themes that Dr Susan Nolen-Hoeksema raises. They are similar themes to those raised by Neil Anderson in his books: Victory over the Darkness; Steps to Freedom; Bondage Breaker and similar also to Joyce Meyer’s Battlefields of the Mind.

However Susan Nolen-Hoeksema is not writing her book from a Christian perspective even though she does acknowledge the benefit of having spiritual resources to draw on. I was particularly interested to find that many of her conclusions are the same as Neil Anderson’s and Joyce Meyer’s. What we dwell on in our minds becomes more and more consuming and our perspective can get out of proportion to the actual events. Nolen-Hoeksema provides much practical advice as to how to overcome the overwhelming nature of worrying or anxious thoughts and how to train ourselves to choose what we think about.

While I did not read every word of this book I did find it helpful to glean information on this subject from a different world view and learn how others see the difficulties that negative thinking can cause.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unforced errors

Each summer I like to watch the Australian Open tennis and generally I post about a parallel between life and tennis. This year I'm writing about unforced errors.

Unforced errors are so named because the player has made an error but it wasn't forced by the opponent. However even double faults can almost be forced errors because the player knows that if he doesn't hit a good serve he is going to lose the point so they hit a bit harder or a bit deeper and miss. An unforced error has almost been forced by the good returning of the opponent.

Last night I watched Hewitt play Raonic. I actually think Raonic was the better player but Hewitt won the match. Hewitt put so much pressure on Raonic that it caused him to make supposedly 'unforced' errors. Commentators often talk about the ability of a player to soak up the pressure and not let it affect their game. Depending on how well a player is able to do this can determine the outcome of the match.

I wonder in life how good we are at soaking up the pressure and not caving in the tactics of our enemy, the devil? The devil knows how to put us under pressure, he knows how to remind us of the difficulties that distress us, he knows how to remind us of incidents where we were mistreated. Like tennis players we need to soak up the pressure, stick to our game plan of focusing on the goodness of God and not be distracted by these unwanted thoughts.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

We are on the move (yet again!)

Sometimes God’s guidance is like the burning bush that Moses experienced. A supernatural event or chain of events happens that makes it clear God is directing you. Other times God’s guidance is less obvious, more like the, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” in Acts 15:28.

When we moved four years ago it was very much the burning bush type experience. There were a number of amazing events that God orchestrated which lead us to move to our present location. I wrote about it here and here.

This time though it has been the, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” type experience where there has been no striking events just an inner confidence that God is leading. Both forms of guidance are completely valid. In Acts 15:28 the decision they made on the basis on it seeming good was quite momentous in its day. The decision was about whether converts to Christianity needed to adhere to Jewish customs. In other words did people need to become Jews in order to follow Christ . Basically they decided no, which was a very radical decision at the time. Yet there was no burning bush, no supernatural event just an inner conviction.

Sometimes I think God gives us “burning bush” experiences at those times when He knows we are going to be tested. Sometimes we need an experience we can look back on and say “Although things haven’t worked out the way I thought, I know I'm meant to be here.” Other times we don’t need an experience but rather we walk by faith, trusting that God is leading even when there are no obvious signs that He is.

Unfortunately my blogging is disrupted when we move and already I have been missing here more than I would like. Packing is a time consuming activity especially as I like to have a good clear out at the same time. Nevertheless I will endeavour to write when I can and hopefully in about a month things will be back to normal.

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