Peace & Perspective

Living in Peace by having the right perspective. Peace – ˈpēs Noun: Freedom from strife; a state of tranquillity or serenity. Perspective – per·spec·tive – pərˈspektiv – Noun: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.


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Karma is not for Christians

I always cringe when I see Christians posting on Karma. Karma has nothing to do with God. Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. That fact alone should make Christians run but why do I see so many Christians wishing “Karma” on others or seeking any form of revenge?

First, as Christians, Karma is the last thing we should want on those who have betrayed or hurt us. Sure, our flesh may want revenge and for them to feel the same pain they caused us, but as Christians, we are to die to our flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us with humility. Once you do that, your flesh takes a back seat and the Holy Spirit takes over and you begin to recognize the root cause of the lost soul who hurt you and how desperately they are in need of healing and prayer.

The Holy Spirit within us prompts our hearts to want the best for others – despite… Despite the pain they’ve caused, despite the betrayal, despite the unfairness. This is a great test to see where our level of spiritual maturity is. Wishing revenge or karma on someone who’s hurt you is a telltale sign of the level of your spiritual maturity.

  • Those with no spiritual maturity will wish karma and seek revenge upon those who have hurt them and will be at peace with that decision.
  • Those who are infants in spiritual maturity will wish karma and revenge on others but will feel that Holy Spirit nudge and know it’s not right to wish revenge on anyone and do their best to withdraw from these feelings.
  • Those who are growing in their spiritual maturity will reluctantly but obediently pray for the best outcome for those who have hurt or betrayed them. It’s difficult for them but they still do it and in doing it, they continue to grow spiritually and God rewards them for their obedience in giving them peace in the matter.
  • And lastly, those who are fully spiritual mature will have an automatic instinct to pray for someone that has wronged them and their heart will hurt for them because they have the discernment to know how badly they are in need of saving and inner healing that can only come from prayer and intercession. There is no wish to do them harm and all they desire is to see them healed and whole again. Because someone who is healed and whole cannot and does not hurt others.

Scripture is very clear that if we are walking the path of righteousness – not our righteousness but His, God will always vindicate us. I find comfort knowing that He knows my heart and my intentions always and I don’t have to explain anything to Him because He already knows and I can rest in that.

Patiently waiting for God to vindicate us means we must trust in His timing and that is very difficult. It means He alone will bring truth to light and expose darkness without any effort from us.

We must remain obedient and silent, not seeking to vindicate ourselves while we wait. We must understand and recognize that through the waiting, He is doing a work in everyone involved, including us and by being obedient, He will vindicate those who are walking in His righteousness and He alone will deal with those who are not. This brings me peace.

Once you have reached this peaceful realization that the bad behavior of others has nothing to do with you (assuming you’ve done some self-reflection and have owned your part of any conflict), give it to God and just wait. Soon peace will come, not by wishing punishment on whoever hurt you, but because you know a greater power is in charge of the situation and you can finally let go of all the exhausting effort in vindicating yourself. By waiting, trusting, and handing it over to God, you’ll not only receive righteous vindication, but it will be the sweetest form of justice you will ever receive without one bit of effort from you.

Take it from me because this is where I am now, receiving Godly favor in all areas of my life. Be sure to recognize what vindication may look like…sometimes it’s not as obvious as you have envisioned it. Vindication may be good health, good fortune, wonderful children, a blessed marriage, peaceful and joyful living, restoration of your reputation, or the emergence of new, Godly friends. Just be sure to recognize the blessings in your life…they are God’s favor for your obedience.

Psalm 17:2
Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! If this blog has helped in any way, please share with others.


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Personality Tests

I’m an INFJ.

Because my mind has been overwhelmingly boggled for the past four years dealing with some of the most insane conflicts I’ve ever been a part of with one individual, notice I said, one individual, I often ask myself, “could it be me?” I have questioned my behavior, my motives, and my intentions over and over again, second guessing who I actually am. I mean, I know who I am, who I’ve always been, what I stand for, and what I don’t like the back of my hand. I’ve been this person for half a century. However, an emotionally and mentally unstable individual has an insidious power to place incredible doubt in the minds of even the most stable people. Unknowingly, I absorbed many of the false accusations and the now crystal clear and evident projections onto myself. I even questioned my own logic which I derive from society’s norm of what a healthy relationship is: common courtesy, mutual respect, accountability, empathy, and basic human kindness.

I started asking myself if I were the things that were so brutally projected onto me. It consumed me. It made me paranoid, especially around others. I became so very quiet and careful to not say the wrong things. If I did say things, I’d over analyze them wondering if I offended anyone. If I thought I had, I’d go out of my way to explain myself. I gave someone who has a history of chaos and turmoil and broken and divided relationships the power to mentally and emotionally wound me to the point where I didn’t even know myself. The lies circled in my head. I became overly sensitive to criticism fearing I was yet again at fault and failing those around me.

There was one (among many) hurtful false accusation that left me wondering who I am.  “Do I over-talk people? Do I interrupt? Do I not listen?” Today, I can confidently and boldly answer, “No, I do not!

I’ve been told by many that I am a great listener and I offer incredible advice. Friends have confided great personal issues with me and sought my advice because they have told me that due to my inspirational nature on how I’ve gracefully and triumphantly handled past trials, they value my opinion. These “friends” are in greater number than just one individual’s warped opinion of me.

I soon came to learn and understand that my “over-talking” my “interrupting,” and my “not listening” translated to, “I don’t want to hear anything from you while I’m in the process of bullying you, verbally abusing you, personally attacking you, and controlling the circular conversation going nowhere. If you shut it down by any dialogue whatsoever by trying to reason with me, disagree with me or attempt to interject any civility then I will lose control. Do you understand that when you speak, it takes away from my time to demean and belittle you and I risk you exposing my nonsense? You must understand that I must be in control and show you how powerful I am and the only way to do this is by being abusive and blaming you for everything so I accuse you of over-talking me and interrupting me so you will be terrified to speak any further and then I once again can have total and complete control over you, the conversation and the situation.”

So, a few days ago, out of curiosity and to dismiss any doubt in my mind as to who I am, I googled “personality tests” and took a few. Each time, my tests results confirmed I was an INFJ. This stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.

I became intrigued with finding out what exactly this means and have read countless articles. To my delight, I found out I am indeed a caring, loving, nurturing person. In fact, the INFJ is known as “The Counselor.”  Some character traits about INFJ’s are:

While our character is complex and we only make up less than 2% of the population, we are strong humanitarians. We are idealists, doers, and dreamers. Our rare combination of vision and practicality often results in us taking on a disproportionate amount of responsibility in various causes to Status which so many of us are drawn into. We are deeply concerned about our relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large and are inherent givers. We are generally well-suited to the “inspirational” professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership as well as psychology and counseling. Our strengths are in communication and writing as well as listening. Another article actually described INFJ’s as having a “pleasant conversation style.” We are people who are passionate about helping those in need. We go to great lengths to avoid conflict. We are warm and affirming by nature as well as dedicated, loyal and nurturing. We have a high expectation of ourselves and others and seek long-lasting relationships. (http://www.humanmetrics.com/personality/infj)

(More information on INJF’s here: http://introvertspring.com/the-worlds-rarest-personality-infj-type-decoded/)

It is sad that I actually had to search for who I am as a person on the internet because of the emotional and mental damage someone else did to me due to their own instability. I had to take multiple personality tests just to prove to myself that I am who I say I am and I am a good person and my intentions are good – always. In my research, I’ve learned that it’s those of us who are empaths, seek to avoid conflict, put others first, are flexible and easy going, and attempt to keep the peace at all costs are the ones who typically get taken advantage of the most and narcissistic people are drawn to us because we’re easy to manipulate.

I encourage you to take some of these free personality tests if you have even the slightest feeling of guilt or are questioning who you are because of what someone has done or said to you. (Some links are below.)

For those of us who do have good intentions and mean no harm in our relationships, we should always still practice self-reflection. While we are caring, loving, and well-intended people, we are not perfect. If you are convicted about any shortcomings within a relationship, for God’s sake, own it. Own it and make it right. That’s how healthy people handle things. But never take the blame for something that is not your fault.

My definitive conclusion is for those of us who feel any guilt over a broken relationship, are beyond confused as to how things evolved into such chaos, are wondering if we are to blame, and are searching for answers to the dynamics of a situation that is completely foreign to us in order to try to understand it fully, then we are not the problem. People with the problem don’t think they have a problem so they will do no research to fix themselves because they don’t believe they are in need of any fixing.

Here is some information on the personality tests:

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment. For more information, visit: http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

Free personality tests:

https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Please share your thoughts and results of your Personality Test in the comments. I would also love to hear if you feel that if you are an INFJ, you’ve been subjected to being taken advantage of too due to your flexible, good nature.


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An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

January 1st. It doesn’t matter what year it is. This is the day we are all prompted to make our New Year’s Resolutions. A cognizant awareness along with a list of criteria that will better ourselves in the new year.

Resolutions are done with great and determined intentions. At the time we create them, we are absolutely 100% sure that, “This is the year I’m going to stick to them!” That’s good. That’s tenacity. It’s certainly better than the alternative of giving up before we even started. It shows we are desiring growth in whatever area we feel we need to improve. It also shows our humility in admitting that we are always in need of improvement. Resolutions signify new beginnings and perhaps making some necessary changes in your life all in the spirit of improving ourselves!

Flip the calendar several pages. It’s March. That excited feeling of accomplishing great things on January 1st has been forgotten. We’ve returned to the same habitual lifestyle that we had all intentions of changing and improving. Our resolutions turned into failed attempts, lack of willpower, and laziness. We are deflated and perhaps even feel like a failure.

That is why I no longer make resolutions. I don’t need a calendar or a special day to motivate me to better myself. Here’s the great thing. We have 365 days each and every year to do this. Yes, it’s true! We can better ourselves every single day. And, if we fail one day, the next day is filled with just as much promise to try again. We don’t have to wait an entire year to commit to bettering ourselves. There is no holiday needed and no milestone to wait for. Simply, commit to live a life of intention every single day.

These intentions are different for everyone. Some may intend to commit to being more thoughtful, kind, or selfless. While others are striving to lose weight, eat healthier, or tackle their finances more responsibly.  Regardless of your personal intention, find something that you are in need of improving and focus on it every day.

So, if you are going to make a New Year’s Resolution this year, make only one. Strive to live intentionally every day of your life and forgive yourself if you fall short of your expectations because tomorrow is always a new day!

Happy New Year – Happy New You!


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Happy Holidays – Reclaiming Your Peace!

The Holidays are upon us. A time when families come together in love and unity to enjoy each other’s company as we celebrate our beliefs, in our case, the birth of Christ.

Great food, fellowship, and gift exchanges all set the mood for a lovely and festive gathering. Laughter, joy, and a spirit of love engulf the room when you are with loving family and friends who have set aside time to be with one another to keep old traditions alive or begin new ones. What a beautiful and exciting time!

Unless…

Toxic family members will ruin all of this. Family members who ignore toxic behavior will also ruin all of this.

Toxic people are so used to their dysfunctional thought-process of control, manipulation, vindictiveness and victim mentality, they don’t realize the level of awkward they bring to a gathering. They are so deep into their own little world of delusion, they truly believe that they are justified in their toxic behavior. They drain the room of all joy and fill it with an oppressive darkness that permeates and disrupts the natural instinct to unite, bond, and love one another. Instead, the gathering is filled with an uncomfortable “white elephant” in the room. Members of the family are conditioned to walk on eggshells as they have learned to be careful to say the right things, in the right way so as not to offend anyone or not to have their words twisted to mean something unrecognizable from what they were initially intended. Fear stops people from confronting this oppression and dysfunction and everyone tries to muddle through the gathering like there’s not really a bully in the room controlling every little aspect of the evening with their toxic behavior. It’s mentally exhausting!

It’s quite the cycle of insanity that has no end if the choice is to ignore and enable the toxic individual. Toxic Behavior + Enabling = Continued Toxic Behavior. Why would they change if there are no consequences for their actions?

Ahhhh, then there’s the one being bullied or “targeted.” This is the person that is singled out to receive intimidating glares, blatant ignoring, patronizing yet civil responses from the bully for the sole purpose so as to not reveal what they are really doing to the target in front of others. They are masterfully covert as they publically but slyly punish you for disagreeing with them on a sensitive matter that exposed their heightened insecurities and shame, or because you were the only bold person to ever stand up to them and refuse to tolerate their toxic behavior as they overstepped many of your very sacred boundaries. Incidents (aka simple disagreements) from the past by you only fuel their behavior and they consolidate them into a highly concentrated bomb of hateful negativity directed solely toward you. How festive!

While everyone in the room may feel uncomfortable from the overwhelming oppressive behavior because “they know” but they won’t say anything and look the other way, the targeted individual will be made to feel absolutely worthless and utterly insignificant by the family bully. The toxic person will see nothing wrong with their behavior because according to them, they are justified in everything they do. They actually believe they are having a “peaceful holiday” because they have agreed to “be nice to you in front of others” for the sake of peace. What’s even more twisted is that they actually believe this is a gracious act on their part toward you and that they are taking the high road by doing this.

If this sounds even a little familiar to you, please do yourself a huge favor this Holiday Season and put a stop to it immediately. Stand up for principals, morals, and your self-respect. If family members ignore the one person dictating the toxic tone of a family gathering or they enable them by not calling them out on their behavior or turn a blind eye to what they are doing, even if you have no issue with them, remove yourself from all future family gatherings that include the bully and send a clear message that it will no longer be or should be tolerated. For some of you, this may mean spending Christmas alone or breaking traditions. So be it! A choice needs to be made for the state of your mental and emotional well-being. I choose to not be subjected to a stressful, toxic environment blanketed under a “holiday gathering” for the sake of “peace” and I choose to not expose my children to it so that they become conditioned to accept that this is normal behavior within a family. It is not normal! It is dysfunctional in the highest form. This is not peace. No one can or should be able to redefine peace according to their dysfunctional mental state and whacked ideology.

Most importantly: If you have children, use this as a teachable moment to show them that this is inappropriate behavior that is not to be tolerated no matter who the bully is – even if it’s a family member. Teach them we are not to tolerate it, nor are we ever to behave like it. There is a fine balance between grace, mercy and forgiveness and being bullied and mentally and emotionally abused.

Your kids are watching how you are navigating through such encounters with a toxic family member. Be sure to always remain civil but never allow someone to treat you with disrespect. Call it out and take a stand and show everyone who is not brave enough to stand up to the bully that even if you have to stand alone, you will always stand for what is right! That is what our family has done. It was very difficult at first as we saw the true colors of those we thought were beloved family and friends. Their lack of support, concern, and empathy spoke volumes as we were left to deal with this nightmare on our own. But, it has gotten easier for us as we slowly learned that those who did not support us, care enough about us to even ask how we are doing, recognize the integrity our family stands for, or stand up and defend us are not really worth the time we devoted or tears we cried being hurt over their abandonment and silence.

After a few years of taking our stand and refusing to be in the company of toxic behavior, we have been lucky enough to begin new traditions with loving family and friends in a healthy environment of love, laughter, joy and true peace. It is truly refreshing and my kids immediately noticed a sense of lightheartedness and true peace and love in our new traditions. No games, no power struggles, no controlling oppressive darkness. Simple, normal, happy gatherings with healthy, stable people.

If you don’t have anyone else, think about starting your own new traditions. Offer to volunteer somewhere on the holidays, a church, nursing home, hospital and give back. Invite people from work who may also be alone or from your church and start some new traditions. It can happen and it can be beautiful again!

Please share your story in the hope that you may help others who are in this situation. Offer some advice or share your pain so we can offer you hope for a better future. You don’t have to stay stuck in a toxic situation for the sake of peace.

Merry Christmas!


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Share Your Story!

Everyone goes through different types of trials. They are all for a greater purpose. When we go through trials, we come out with two things, experience we never asked for and wisdom we can’t help but obtain. Whether the end result of the trial is good or bad, we still come out with experience and wisdom. I often share my various trials with those close to me who are deep into their own trials or those who are brave enough to reach out to me for help. I offer the wisdom I learned through my experiences in order to show a different perspective now that I am able to look back at the lessons each trial has taught me. I do this to provide hope to those in pain and an open heart and an open mind will receive this gesture as such. How do I know this? Because I was on the receiving end of those who loved me enough to bravely share their stories of pain with me in order to give me a hope for my future. What a difference they made in my life. I am forever grateful for their demonstration of love to me for the sole purpose of my healing. Those people are a friend for life!

Many times, we are too stubborn and it’s not until some form of tragedy hits, heartbreak ensues, our spirits are broken, uncertainty lies ahead, and emotional and/or physical pain consumes us that we are propelled into wanting, needing and desperately desiring more in life.

My trials were the driving force for my thirst for wisdom, knowledge and much-needed understanding in order to comprehend and learn how to cope with issues I never thought I would have to face. Sadly, my years of a normal, predictable, and blessed life mostly filled with joy and happiness with a few bumps in the road peppered in never urged me into any self-reflection of who I was and what my priorities were nor did they prompt me to seek anything more or desire to change. It was entirely due to my despair and devastation that prompted me to want more in life and change my priorities.

This is why I share my stories with others. Horrible trials are all for a beautiful purpose. Lessons. If we are humble enough to learn the lessons through our trials, and if we are brave enough, we will share them with those we see going through difficulties to provide hope to them during their pain. If received, they will, in turn, do the very same when they see others struggling in their trials and we will have created a beautiful ripple effect of positive influence by simply sharing our stories of pain and triumph to those who are in need of hope.

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The Repercussions of Denial and How to be Free From it

Denial will:

  • Allow you to continue to stay in a pit of darkness indefinitely.
  • Rob you of your peace.
  • Promote a delusional way of thinking where you believe your own lies and justify unjustifiable situations.
  • Eventually cause you to self-destruct.

Denial will not:

  • Bring resolution to any problem.
  • Change the facts of a situation.
  • Improve your life in any way.

Are you using denial as a coping mechanism? Denial falsely allows you to believe that if you don’t accept and deal with an unpleasant or painful situation, you don’t have to accept the truth and reality of it and therefore, it doesn’t exist. You blindly go about your life pretending everything is okay when it’s not masking your pain with the facade of joy and peace. This results in living a life of deception and will catch up with you as deception opens the door to more pain and difficulty to take root in your life.

By not facing truth and reality, the only thing you are accomplishing is holding yourself prisoner in your very own jail. You alone hold the key to escape out of your prison.

Soon you will see that avoiding whatever it is you don’t want to accept and burying it further and further inside you will only manifest into dysfunction in all other areas of your life. The more you prolong acceptance, the more detrimental denial is in your own life.

It will manifest into your mental state, your physical state, your relationships, your marriage, your home, your family and your overall peace.

Why not consider taking a new approach? There is a way out. Simply accept what is and face it head on!

Easier said than done, I agree. But once you begin by taking the very first step toward acknowledging that the denial must end and that you must now learn to cope with what placed you there to begin with, you are on your way to freedom! My advice comes from personal experiences resulting in many successful final outcomes motivating me to share it with you.

How? Here are a few easy and doable steps to freedom:

  1. You cannot do anything to improve your circumstances if you act in pride. Refusing help, guidance, truth, and reality will only keep you right where you are forever. Give yourself ample time to process the difficult situation, but do not stay there! As you begin to drop your pride, you will find that you are now able to humbly ask for help. As you do this, the main focus should be your freedom and revelation that the weight of the issue on your shoulders that you have been carrying for way too long will now be exchanged with a healthier way of coping with the problem. It won’t change the situation you have to deal with it, but it will drastically improve your quality of life as you navigate and accept the truth and reality of what you’ve been denying in a more objective and healthy manner. It will make a huge difference.

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

  1. Seek wisdom. It’s amazing what we learn when we seek and thirst for wisdom and are ready to grow and be tested. The scales on our eyes are peeled away and light appears in the form of truth and understanding. Solicit advice from those who tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear – those are the people who truly care about your well-being. Those that speak with such boldness do it with your very best interest at heart, otherwise, they would not put themselves in such a vulnerable position of the possibility of your rejection and anger. This is a sign of true friendship – hold onto it dearly. It means they love you and want what’s best for you at any cost. This is where your humility will be tested. Do you accept the advice or do you resist? If you’ve checked your pride before soliciting advice, you’ll be sure to learn, consider new approaches, see things in a different light and be on your way to better understanding and dealing with your difficult situation. You’ll also be able to remove all emotional pain associated with it and cope merely based on facts and solutions and hit it head on. This is the difference between being a prisoner and being free.

Proverbs 27:5-6  – Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 4:6-7  6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

  1. Now that you have dropped your pride and searched for wisdom, you are on your way to freedom. Be assured that God has recognized your obedience thus far and is orchestrating all things to work out for your good as He works behind the scenes to send blessings your way. As you pray, remember to come boldly yet humbly before Him and ask Him to shield you with his protection, make a way where there seems no way, and guide you on the path that is His will for you as you allow Him to use you as His vessel in whatever it is He wants to accomplish through you in your trial.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

  1. Last but not least, wait for His timing. This is where He does a work in you and refines you like silver. He works on your patience, your trust, your faith, and your self-control. You cannot rush His timing. The level of your faith, trust and obedience will show God the true condition of your heart and whether or not you are ready to be promoted and blessed. Do not give up if you do not see instant results. The longer your situation lingers, the more you have to learn. Resolution only comes when God sees you have learned all the lessons He wanted to teach you. A willing and submissive heart will learn these lessons much quicker than those who stubbornly and defiantly give up before the lesson is learned. A failed lesson will only result in further testing.

Isaiah 40:31 – But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Zechariah 13:9 – And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.

Be blessed as you accept what is and live in freedom!