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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Necklace and Parenting

The Necklace and Parenting

I was at a training a number of years ago when the psychologist held up a necklace to the audience to teach us about family dynamics.

"When the clasps are together, the pendant hangs below."  It's natural.  The law of gravity deems it so.  "Only an outside force can put the pendant on the same level as the clasps, unless..."

Here the man drew the two clasps apart and on the growing tension between the two clasps the pendant began to rise.  "The more opposing energy is exerted, the higher the pendant rises."  It's natural.  The law of physics deems it so.  Strain on the chain between clasps pulled the pendant onto the same line.

The application was straightforward.  If the two parents disagree (like the separation of the clasps), the child rises in power (like the pendant).  Kids get away with misbehaving because of the parents disunity.  When they're not  together, the child gains power from the strain in the relationship.  It's natural.  The law of hierarchy deems it so.

The cure is also straightforward.  If the parents will pause to be sure they are unified in their decision, the child will have no power to manipulate.  Like the united clasps, the child will find his/her place under the joint position of the parents.

Perhaps the picture's worth a thousand words as you seek to be united in your parenting.  It's something to consider.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Counting Blinks, Exalting Birthmarks

Counting Blinks, Exalting Birthmarks

"The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."
- Paradise Lost, John Milton

I knew a man once who counted his blinks.  He believed God counted too and judged for their total.   He was miserable.

I knew another man who had a birthmark he thought was the road map to utopia.  He was certain he was the new Adam.   Ironically, he wreaked havoc.

Thinking flows out from the headwaters of our beliefs If we’re wrong in our belief, the river of thinking is polluted.  If we’re correct or accurate in our belief, the river of thinking teems with life.  Sometimes there are chemical reasons for this mistaken sense of reality.  In those cases medical help is necessary.  More frequently it’s something distorted in our thinking and we need clarity.

I have found all of us are counting blinks or exalting birthmarks in some area.  We’ve gone downstream with the wrong ideas and are troubled or troubling others.

How we think affects how we live.  How else would one explain some sing in prison shackles while others weep in kingly robes?

So what’s a person to do?

Romans 12:2 teaches Christ’s followers are transformed into something wholly different through renewing their very mindsChanging the way one thinks changes the way one lives.  It’s a simple but powerful truth.

Walking in the truth is liberty.  Consider Jesus’ word. He said, 

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 
(John 8:32)

Prayerful examination is a good place to begin.  God’s Spirit will show where we’re counting blinks or exalting birthmarks.  Ask Him. He is called “the Wonderful Counselor.” 

We're here to help.  Sometimes talking with someone helps one get off the "merry"-go-round of the mind.  You don't have to go it alone.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 more lessons from a chainsaw

3 more lessons from a chainsaw

It’s good to get away for a bit.  In that place of separation or space from the busyness of work there were a few other lessons I gleaned from my chainsaw.

  1. Place the chain in Someone’s hand.  Think about it.  The chainsaw can’t fix, sharpen, or even get off the housing by itself.  Allow another to help.  The handled life is the improved life.  Being in the Father’s hand is best.  He made me and knows the function of my life.  Not just anyone can waltz in and address one’s chainsaw, let alone one’s life!  Oh, but the help that is offered by someone who has understanding.  
  2. Sharpen the chain with the right tool:  “Iron sharpens iron” the scripture says (Proverbs 27:17).  Did you know the teeth on a chainsaw alternate?  Every other tooth has the “bite” on the right and the next tooth on the left.  To sharpen them it must be understood.  Like the saw, those who understand me are helpful to me.  I’m sharpened when challenged or encouraged with a good read, frank assessment, or even a timely caution.
  3. Put oil in it regularly.  I once loaned my saw to a neighbor.  When I went to use it, I noticed the teeth were gummed up, and the oil chamber was empty.  When I loaned it again, I explained it must be kept oiled, or it would over heat and become decreasingly effective.  He blushed.  Like me, he was on a learning curve about chainsaws. 

Abiding in Christ is the oil in my life.  Life is well-lubricated, not overheated, or gummed up when I am prayerful and in the Word.  My dependence on God’s Spirit throughout the day makes all the difference.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What I learned about living from a chainsaw

The first time I used a chainsaw, I had to go to a chiropractor afterwards. 

I borrowed a neighbor’s saw, fired it up and began cutting.   I cut and cut and cut working at that thing for a long time.  Finally the tree fell and when I turned off the saw, my arm was tingling and numb.  I’d pulled something in the effort!

On another day, my brother-in-law helped cut down and cut up a tree in just minutes.  I told him my story, and he said the chain must have been dull.  “Sharpen it or buy a new one next time,” was his advice. 

The story made a broader lesson for me than just tree trimming.  If life is more labored than necessary, here’s what I learned.

  1. Turn off the chainsaw:  Stop.  Be still.  It cannot be fixed while still in motion.
  2. Remove the chain from its housing:  Get away from the work environment.  For me, this is my dock.  It’s a quiet place on the pond out back.  Pausing and removing myself from work automatically places me in another frame of mind.  In that separation, it’s not uncommon to see what needs to be done differently…but more about that in another blog entry.  I’ll give it a rest for the day.