Question?

Why does the bible refer to “Tax Collectors” as sinners?

Mindset: A Biblical Perspective

Every person is God’s creation. God created us in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, as God’s reflection, we need to be constantly reminded of how precious and loved we are in His eyes. God’s love for us is unfathomable and His thought for us is for good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:11). God is constantly thinking about ways to bless us with growth and peace of mind. However, He requires that we not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). However, with our fallen nature, we tend to conform to this world and that causes dissatisfaction in our lives.
Nonetheless, God still wants us to have a renewed mind. God wants our minds renewed because what we harbor in our minds are reflected in what we say and what we profess with our mouth affects our whole being. Matthew 12:34 and Proverbs 18:21 remind us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and that life and death are in the power of the tongue respectively. These biblical passages attest to the power of the human mind and the power in the words we speak as it relates to achieving success and fulfillment in life. They also show us the relationship between our mindset and the things we affirm in our lives.
The truth remains that the devil wants our misery but God wants us to have eternal life in Him, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, ESV). Therefore, whenever we a clouded with a mindset that is negatively affecting our wellbeing, all we need to do is surrender our burden at the feet of Christ and reject the negativity, “submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, KJV). Also, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore we are a product of our thoughts. If we have a victim mindset we become victims but if we have a conquering mindset we become conquerors and victors even in the midst of trials. Jesus is the way, He is truth, and He is life and without Him we cannot have a fulfilled life (John 14:16, KJV). Therefore, when our mindset fills us up with lies and negativity we should identify the negativity, argue against them with God’s words, and replace them with God’s truth.
God wants us to be happy and joyful. However, our lives are short of happy because of the various beliefs and misbeliefs we hold unto. Authors, Backus and Chapian state that “beliefs and misbeliefs are the most important factors of mental and emotional life” (p.17). The authors also contend that “our feelings are caused by what we tell ourselves about our circumstances, whether in words or in attitude. What we tell ourselves can be either truth or a lie” (p.17). Therefore, in order to become the happy person God created you to become you have to “locate your misbeliefs, remove them, and replace misbeliefs with the truth” (Backus & Chapian, 2000, p. 15). So, guard the affections of your heart above everything else because the emotional attachments we make determines our life path (Proverbs 4:23).

Reference
Backus, W. D., & Chapian, M. (2000). Telling yourself the truth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers.

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

The two types of mindset that affect how people reason and react to life issues are the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Dr. Carol Dweck states that a fixed mindset “creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them” (Dweck, 2006, p.7). Based on Dweck’s statement, having a fixed mind-set may lead an individual to dodge challenges, quit easily, shun effort, shun beneficial undesirable feedback, and feel intimidated by the attainment of others.
Conversely, a growth mind-set is based on the “belief that your basic qualities are things you can activate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others” (Dweck, 2006, p. 7). The implication is that a growth mind-set stirs a yearning to learn and as a result the inclination to accept challenges, hang on amidst obstructions, value effort, learn from negative feedback, and be motivated by the accomplishment of others. Essentially, the growth mind-set is ideal for growth and goal achievement. Dr. Dweck also asserts that the hallmark of the growth mindset is the “passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it’s not going well.” She suggests that a growth mindset allows people to bloom during some of the most demanding periods in their lifetime. In essence, the growth mind-set is what keeps people moving in the midst of challenges and setbacks.
Our mind-set determines how we accurately view our assets and limitations. This is because studies have shown that “people with the growth mind-set are more likely to have inflated views of their abilities and try for things they’re not capable of while people with the fixed mindset misestimate their performance and ability” (Dweck, 2006, p. 11). Therefore, a person’s mind-set can positively or negatively impact their life aspirations. Likewise, research also shows that individuals, who visualize positive results, end up achieving a positive outcome and vice versa (Williams & Menendez, 2015). This implies that mind-set is two-way faceted, it could lead to growth or regression.
Authors William and Menendez assert that for an individual to alter their mindset, an acknowledgement from the individual that change is needed and an ability to observe and detect their negative imaginations is required. The authors state that “our habits of thinking, our habitual moods, our habits of using our energy, the ways we hold our bodies, and the stories we use to explain what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen-all of these habits and actions shape how we see and experience the world. They circumscribe our world and limit our possibilities” (p.345). Indeed, our mind-set confines our world and restrains our opportunities.
There are various reasons that might lead individuals to develop a particular mind-set. For ages, scientists made the belief that the human brain is static and lacks plasticity thereby making the assertion the norm. The assertion left many people hooked in a fixed mind-set. William and Menendez emphasize that an individual’s mindset is sourced when it “becomes so familiar that it is habitual, we may lose sight of it as something we have adopted and mistake it for reality. When this happens, we may focus outside ourselves and say, “that’s just how the world is,” unaware we have choices” (p.346). This type of belief system has the capability to dictate our thoughts, actions, and cap our being. A fixed mindset limits our existence thereby making us susceptible only to what it sanctions.
Individuals tend to be taken aback when the goal that they want to achieve is blocked by a flawed habitual way of thinking. Williams and Menendez affirm that individual struggle with achieving their goals when it is “blocked by a mind-set that is a holdover from an earlier level of consciousness… by specific experiences that were so intense they created brain ruts; that is, the habitual response is so wired into the clients’ neural pathways that when the stimulus occurs, the neurons immediately fire in the habitual sequence” (p. 346). However, the good news is that the human brain is not static but is capable to readjust in ways that foster a growth faceted mind-set as opposed to a fixed mind-set. Nonetheless, it will take several replications and reiterations to establish a fresh brain footpath to supersede the previous one.

                                                     References

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random        House.

Society for Neuroscience. (2011, July 1). Neuroplasticity. Retrieved from http://www.brainfacts.org/sensing-thinking-behaving/learning-and-memory/articles/2011/neuroplasticity/

Williams, P., & Menendez, D. S. (2015). Becoming a professional life coach: Lessons from the institute for life coach training. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

Mindset

mindset-logo-directionThe impact of an individual’s mindset in relation to overall wellness and optimum performance cannot be overstated. This is because a person’s mindset is instrumental to their life outcome. It influences the way they perceive and react to daily life issues and determines their ability to have a fulfilled life experience or an unfulfilled one.

1.      Do you know that a person’s mind-set is instrumental to their victory or defeat? All that a person achieves and perceives starts in the mind considering that is where the germ that sprouts into their viewpoint is sown. Individuals who think less of themselves are positioned to achieve less while individuals who think highly of themselves are positioned to achieve more.

2.      The way an individual acts and reacts to an incident is influenced by the way the incident is construed based on the individual’s convictions, outlooks, notions and emotions. Basically, the way an individual scrutinizes and gives analysis of an issue is based on their established perception. This established perception could be productive or destructive. Therefore, it is important for individuals to become aware of those habitual ways of viewing events or how their established perception of events affect their life and make the conscious decision to make necessary changes where needed.

3.      Accordingly, a person’s belief system about their individual abilities and capabilities feed their behavior and foretells their achievements. Some of the fundamental beliefs an individual holds about themselves is based on what they see and accept to be their nature. According to a research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck on the issue of mindset shows that “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.” Therefore, in order for an individual to achieve their personal, relational, and occupational goals, they need to change their mindset which then brings about positive life changes.

Reference

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.

Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is an integral part of wellness. Physical fitness can be achieved by incorporating exercise into everyday regime. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) the dilapidated degree of physical activity among people is a chief culprit to the problem of chronic disease. The burden associated with lack of physical activity is expensive as it regards to quality of life and economic resources needed to provide medical care. Being physically active helps to reduce feelings of fatigue, increase weight loss, reduce aches and pain. The level of physical activity one engages in is a question of individual choice and their surrounding environment. According to the ODPHP, the finest physical activity is the one that is so gratifying to frequently engage in. Movement helps with wellness realization. The author, Michael Arloski suggests using the word moving instead of exercise to allow individuals see the benefits of movement. Dancing, stair climbing, parking far off, and walking are all acts of movement individuals often engage in without having the notion of working out or exercising.

In order for individuals to take the necessary steps needed to effect change, they would have to identify the benefits of physical activity to them. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion state that individuals who are physically vigorous are in good health and less likely to develop many lingering illnesses. In order to achieve good health, one has to set individual goals specifically geared towards physical activity. Taking daily brisk walks, stair climbing, and dancing are very beneficial. Furthermore, an individual in need of physical fitness will have to understand various types of physical activity and the extent of physical activity required to achieve their personal goals. For instance, if losing weight is one of an individual’s goals, it is ideal for that person to know that high intensity activity like running is efficient in burning calories. However, 1 Timothy 4:8 reminds us that “ bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things” (KJV). Therefore, although physical exercise is to some degree valuable, spiritual exercise trumps it.

References

Arloski, M. (2014). Wellness coaching for lasting lifestyle change (2nd ed.). Duluth, MN: Whole Person Associates.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2016). Nutrition and health are closely related – 2015-2020 dietary guidelines. Retrieved from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/introduction/nutrition-and-health-are-closely-related/

Hale and Hearty for Christ

hale-and-hearty-for-christWellness involves making every effort with respect to upbeat growth. It calls attention to optimal performance by detecting and propping up those dynamics that permit persons to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. It encompasses accountability and self-actualization. Authors Granello and Young are of the opinion that wellness is illustrated by the person who is relentlessly working on forming a sense of well-being and quality of life in all areas, even when hurting from severe or prolonged mental physical problem. This illustration indicates a sense of personal responsibility and self-actualization. Also, Arloski considers wellness as the willful effort made by individuals to improve their health and welfare. However, focusing only on physical lifestyle changes that lead to wellness should not be the main focus in the quest for wellness. Spiritual lifestyle and changes should be incorporated in this quest for optimal performance. A biblical worldview of wellness emphasizes a responsibility on individuals to care for the body. Corinthians 6: 19-20 states that “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (KJV). Although a biblical worldview acknowledges the importance of physical exercise in terms of optimum wellbeing, it calls for more focus on spiritual wellness as stated in 1 Timothy 4:7-8 “exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things” (KJV). Also, biblical worldview sees a correlation between sin and wellness. Psalm 38:3-4 state that “there is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin” (KJV). This passage indicates that sin negatively impacts our health and well-being. However, God has power over health and stress. He urges us to come to him with our burdens and find rest (Mathew 11:28-29, KJV). Learning to live a life according to God’s plan based on biblical worldview is an integral part of complete wellness. 

References

Arloski, M. (2014). Wellness coaching for lasting lifestyle change (2nd ed.). Duluth, MN: Whole Person Associates.

Granello, D. H., & Young, M. E. (2012). Counseling today, foundations of professional identity. New York, NY: Pearson Learning Solutions.

Helping Couples Manage Conflict

 

pic-6-300x200The innate nature of human beings to step on the toes of others is what leads to conflict. Conflict in itself is not bad rather it brings awareness to areas in need of change, growth, and nurture. Smalley and Smalley indicate that conflict is inevitable in any relationship. It is bound to happen. However, it is vital to understand what drives conflict. Conflict is driven by a push on the emotional buttons of other people. Emotional buttons are sensitive areas in people that tend to be easily aroused when pushed. The reactions that stem from pushing someone’s button tend to make matters worse. Stepping on the toes of another in marriage can be very irritating and the things we do to address the issue tend to keep things stagnant. In other words, the way we react causes more harm than good. We try to determine who is to blame, who is right and who is guilty of wrongdoing, we enter a fact finding mode demanding the truth and nothing but the truth. These quests are often fruitless because they are clouded with the urge for revenge. Ecclesiastes 7:21 asserts, “Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you” (NKJV). This biblical passage urges us not to take everything said about us personally rather let it pass so as to avoid trouble. Taking things said about us to heart often leads to retaliation and revenge. The outcome is always ugly. When there is a conflict, people either fight or flee. Those who choose to fight may become defensive, critical, angry, belittle their spouse, escalate etc. Conversely, those who chose to retreat become withdrawn, passive aggressive, stuffed up with their feelings, shut down, negative towards their spouse etc. In the past, when my buttons are pushed, I usually react by getting angry and then withdraw into my shell. The irony is that the problem remains and never gets resolved. The danger is that things remain stuffed up inside and may someday explode or spiral out of control. With these reactions that stem from our buttons being pushed, having a negative believe about your spouse is very destructive. This is because ones you’ve validated a negative or positive perception of your spouse and have validated such perception in your brain, you begin to view your spouse’s words and actions in that way, thus, “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean” (NKJV). Basically if you anybody considers something unclean, then for that person it is unclean. Therefore if you consider your or perceive your spouse in a negative way, then he or she becomes to you that which you perceive him or her to be.

Stepping on another’s toes can be fatal. This is because the way we react creates rivalry in the relationship which ultimately leads to feelings of insecurity in the bond. When couples begin to feel insecure in their union, their souls shut down and they detach.

Reactions that are centered on defense, withdrawal, criticism, anger etc. do not work and are not relational. Better strategies need to be utilized in other to achieve the desired results. Strategies that will help couples describe their buttons, reactions, and feelings to each other are desirable. It will help them work on better ways to react in the face of conflict.

Reference

Smalley, G., & Smalley, E. (2015). The fear dance: Helping couples manage conflict