Influence of the Father

Influence of the Father

I had the privilege of attending a seminar about the influence of the Father.  The speaker was talking about the influence of our Earthly and Heavenly Father.  The speaker encouraged the attendees to write a list describing our earthly father (i.e. dad); then the speaker asked us to write another list describing our relationship with our heavenly father (i.e. God).  He encouraged us to really take time to think about each and resist the temptation to write what we know others expect to hear from us.

I was amazed at the similarities in my list.  I certainly used different words to describe the relationships of each; however there was a common theme among these lists.  It made me begin to think about how much influence does our relationship with our fathers and men on earth influence our perception of God.

If our earthly father tended to be gentle, caring and loving, are we more readily able to accept and believe in God’s gift of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace?

If our earthly father tended to be critical, harsh, and strict, do we see God as our accuser ready to send us to Hell?

If our earthly father is absent, do we readily believe God loves us and will never leave us?

Much of the literature will say that our relationships and attachment with our parental figures does impact our sense of self and relationships with others so it doesn’t seem like a large leap that it would also influence our relationship with The Father, Our God.

My hope and belief is that if we have a negative perception of God and can change our perception of God, this would significantly impact all our other relationships, including our relationship with our self.  I would encourage you to create the same list as I created at the seminar; notice if there are any themes. Then search the Bible to find evidence of how God truly is.  Write those verses down and use them as a daily reminder.

Kids Don’t Come With An Instruction Manual

KidsDon'tComeWithAnInstructionManual

A friend and I were talking and she told me, “I hate when people say Kids don’t come with an instruction manual.”  She went on to explain that as a Christian we should never say this statement because we have the Bible.  I must humbly admit as a Christian that I have thought and said that exact statement to parents.  After speaking with my friend, I got to thinking about just exactly  what does the Bible say about parenting.  I did some intentional study of God’s Word, and what I discovered is that the Bible has a whole lot to say about parenting!  Although the Bible does not outline what to do in every situation a parent may face, God does  give parents a framework of guiding principles.

Teach Your Children Moral and Ethical Principles about Life — Be sure you are equipping your children with a moral and ethical code when you send them off into the world!

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Encourage Your Children — Don’t be the parent who is too hard to satisfied!

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Colossians 3:21

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Psalm 103:13

Discipline Your Children — Don’t be afraid to set up rules and limits; it is in their best interest!

A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

Proverbs 29:15

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15

 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.

Proverbs 29:17

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive…”

1 Timothy 3:4

Teach Your Children about the Bible and to Love God — Prioritize developing your child’s spiritual growth!

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

Psalm 78:4

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

…and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.   All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:15-17

Pay It Forward!!!

I’m sure many of you have heard of the “Pay it Forward” concept. Basically, it is the understanding that a person or persons have helped you to get where you are. In honor of this assistance, you in return help someone else. As Christians it is our duty to help others. What a wonderful way to express God’s love and continue the helping cycle. If someone has assisted you in getting to where you are….I encourage you to devise a plan to assist others.

Count Your Blessings

Count Your BlessingsI was really elated when I filled up earlier this week for gas.  Yay for $1.73/gallon!!  That’s right, Kroger’s card is an ultimate life saver (at least in a worldly sense).  As I was pumping my gas, which ended up totaling to less than $17.00, I began to think how grateful I was to receive such an awesome deal.  Then my mind began to wonder…

What else am I grateful for??

I started to list off how blessed I was to own my car.  My car is a 2010 Toyota Prius and it provides me a safe trip from point A to point B — it fits my needs perfectly.  I am blessed to have a job (really, two jobs) that can provide the financial income to allow me to own this car.  I am blessed that I have employers that believe in my skills and work ethics.  I am blessed to have a career path, which was allowed via my education – both bachelors and masters.  I am fortunate to grow up in a family that encouraged me to attend school, in order to better my future.  I am grateful to have grown up in a family that was nurturing to my needs.  I am blessed to be alive by my Father – the One who believed in me at the time of my conception, up until now.  I know I am truly blessed to be a child of God and He has great plans for me.

Yes, tangential thinking, but when you notice one blessing, you began to count all the other blessings that led up to the point of your current blessing.  So, have you counted your blessings today?

Faith Out The Window

FaithOutTheWindsow

A small boy was on a bus on his way home from Sunday school. The day was warm. The windows were open. The boy had received a motto on a card, “Have Faith in God.” As the wind swept through the bus, his card went flying out the window. He shouted, “Stop the Bus! My faith in God just went out the window.” — Faith That Works by Morris L. Venden

When the winds blow and knocks over your life, and the rain comes pouring down in your marriage, and the lightning strikes with a coworker, does your faith in God blow out the window?  Someone once told me that crises and difficulties in life means you are in character college, earning your degree in Faith.  Crises in life can be challenging and discouraging, a time when our faith can be shaken.  Don’t let your faith go out the window.  Talk to God about your despair and surround yourself with people who will encourage you in your faith walk.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Actualization

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Self-actualization

When you have succeeded in all the other needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy, you have reached the top: self-actualization!  It has been said that everyone has the capacity and capability to reach self-actualization, but very few actually do so.  Maslow reported that only 2% of people will obtain this need (1970).  I tend to be more optimistic and believe the percentage is higher, seeing how self-actualization is based on one’s own perception of self.  Below is a list of characteristics that define someone who has reached self-actualization, according to Maslow (1970):

1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;

2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;

3. Spontaneous in thought and action;

4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);

5. Unusual sense of humor;

6. Able to look at life objectively;

7. Highly creative;

8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;

9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;

10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;

11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;

12. Peak experiences;

13. Need for privacy;

14. Democratic attitudes;

15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

Behavior leading to self-actualization:

(a) Experiencing life-like a child, with full absorption and concentration;

(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;

(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;

(d) Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;

(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;

(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;

(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.

Do you find yourself among these characteristics and behaviors?  If so, congratulations – you have achieved self-actualization!  If not, that is okay — Maslow did not associate self-actualization to perfection.  Instead, obtaining self-actualization is a matter of degree in achieving one’s potential.  We will always continue to take backwards and forwards steps along Maslow’s hierarchy of needs depending on our situations, life stages and more.  If you would like to find out more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, check out Simply Psychology’s website at: www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html.

Always continue to grow and prosper!

Kristy Johnson, MA, LPC-Intern

Sources:

Maslow, A. H. (1970a). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.

Maslow, A. H. (1970b). Religions, values, and peak experiences. New York: Penguin. (Original work published 1964)

McLeod, S. A. (2014). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html