Maggie Has Been Rejected 50,000 Times

This is Maggie. Britains most “unloved dog”. That’s what Britain paper “The Daily Mail” wrote in 2015. Maggie is a whippet cross who was taken to Serendipity Kennel in Cellarhead, Staffordshire as a puppy because a large family was unable to cope and care for her. For eleven years over 50,000 people who were looking for a dog overlooked Maggie. No one wanted Maggie.

What really breaks my heart at an escalated level is the thousands of children who have been rejected or abandoned by their parents. In some cases, the children are not rejected but have lost their parents to death, prison or to extreme illness. Children need parents. They need care-givers. They need love, affection and affirmation. It is devastating and a detriment to a Childs health to be left alone, ignored and not nurtured on every level… body, soul and spirit.

When we bring attention to loneliness, we must remember our elderly who are in nursing homes or unable to leave their homes. Thousands of our elderly have no one to visit them. They spend hours bound to a bed or to a very small square footage of space. A visit from anyone always puts a smile on their faces.

Loneliness is a real issue. No-one wants to feel like they are alone or do not have anyone they can talk to about ideas, problems or sharing things that excite them. Professional studies have proven that we are wired for social connection. From plants, animals to humans, the results are the same, when they are neglected human interaction… the outcome will be sickness and possible death.

In some cases, the cure for loneliness is relativity easy and low sacrifice. Its a simple 30 to 60 minute conversation. Its a phone call. It’s sharing a meal. Its taking a walk together. In some cases it will require more sacrifice. It’s making a relational commitment to be a friend. It’s spending time mentoring. Adopting a child. Whether a small investment of time or a larger sacrifice…

You can be someones cure for loneliness. 

5 Things to Help Fight Against Loneliness

  1. Invite someone out for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. You may be the one that feels lonely. Don’t let the possible feeling of rejection stop you from inviting someone. The first invite might not work for their schedule or you may have invited the wrong person. Don’t give up. Someone wants to talk with you.
  2. Take time to call 3 people this week. Spend some time on the phone with them. Offer words of encouragement, scripture verses and a prayer before you end the conversation.
  3. Find a teen that seems to be fighting loneliness. Get permission from their parents and take them to lunch, play basketball, fishing, go get ice cream. Talk about future goals and plans. Take time to dream with them about their future. Find out what they are passionate about. Encourage them. Breathe life into their future.
  4. Treasure the moments that people give you. If someone takes out time to talk with you. Notice you. Invite you. Thank them. When you feel lonely, or you have the thought that no-one cares, remind yourself that someone took out time to call you or they sent you a card. Those small moments mean a lot. I believe when we are truly thankful for the small moments that people give us and we sow into other peoples lives, God will allow us to reap a harvest of friendships.
  5. Remember these Scriptures. Pray and ask the Lord to help you extend His presence in to someones life this week.
  • Proverbs 18:24a, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…”
  • Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
  • John 15:12,This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
  • Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

Signs You May be STUCK in Your Past

1. You are consistently talking about your past.

We can get stuck rehearsing who hurt us, how we have failed, what we are lacking, how we are rejected, who is not supporting us, how we don’t have the right skills, talent or education.

Rehearsing the “curse” will not reverse the “curse”. It just keeps it connected and alive.

2. You refuse to formulate a good plan for your great future. 

God states that He has a good plan for our future in Jeremiah 29:11. Why do we delay in formulating a good plan to move forward? If God has a great plan for our future, then shouldn’t we be planning with God?

Don’t plan on failing, plan on succeeding. That’s what God is planning for you.

3. Your passion has died for your future.

Do you have more stories about your past than dreams for your future?

When you have passion for your future, you dream. God wants you to dream about your future. In fact, your expectation and thoughts give God something to work with. Your expectations and thoughts fuel your faith for your future. Look at Ephesians 3:20, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, God says, “Whatever you think or dream about for your future, I will exceed your expectations.”

God does not want us stuck in our past. Spending more energy, thoughts and passion on your past means less energy and passion toward your future.

“You can’t have great success in your future if you stay stuck thinking about a failed past.”

It is HIGHLY important for your relationships that you do not get stuck in your past failures.

“How you see yourself will be how you see others.”

Judges 6:12-16 shares with us that God was trying to call Gideon for a greater purpose, but Gideon was stuck about his past. He was very upset about how things were going the last several years. Gideon’s perspective was that things was so bad in his past, he basically called God out and said that God had abandoned him. Gideon had low self-esteem, he seen himself as the weakest and least person in his family and nation. But that’s not what God seen.

God said…  “Gideon, you are a mighty warrior.”

Gideon said…  “I am the least in my family and nation.”

 God said… “Go in the STRENGTH you have.”

Gideon said… “I come from a weak family.”

 God said… “I am sending you.”

Gideon said… “God has abandoned me.”

Arguing with God about what your past and what you don’t have will not bring the breakthrough sooner. It only delays what God is desiring to bring into your life.

Four things God taught Gideon that will help us get UNSTUCK:

  1. Your family history is not your destiny.
  2. Stop thinking like a victim, and start believing you are a victor.
  3. Speak at a higher level of faith when it comes to your future. God doesn’t address Gideon’s low perspective by arguing. God simply declares a higher Truth over Gideon.
  4. Don’t let anyone else hold the pen while writing your story. (A quote by Harley Davidson.)

You may not feel hope for your future but God does. God wants to do something new in you. Remember God specializes in CREATING. He is a God who saves us from disaster, delivers us from evil, opens closed doors, transforms us into a new creation.

Consider His word which declares we are not captive or bound to our past…

Isaiah 43:18-19, ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I declare your God is bigger than your past. You are not stuck, but are free to reach forward to the greater things God has prepared for you!

It’s Time for a Change

We desire certain areas of our life to change. We want certain circumstances to change. We want more joy. Be able to forgive more. Operate at a higher level of love or faith. We want to be out of debt or desire more money. Perform better at a skillset or in our career. We want a better job or stronger relationships within our marriage, or with our children.

But here is the deal about change…

“We cannot change the way we feel, until we begin to change what we think. And we cannot begin to see ourselves in a new place, if we don’t begin to take our mind to a new place.”

Someone once said, “The state of your life is nothing more than the state of your mind.”

The way we are thinking may be keeping us stuck. If you have tried responding to a problem the same way over and over again, then it may be time to try a different way. If your spouse, children, boss, friend or co-worker is not responding to what you are trying to say to them; then it would be worth your effort to try to communicate in a different way. Whatever the situation is, try something new.

  • Try different words
  • Try a different tone or attitude
  • Try a different time of day
  • Try a different perspective
  • Try a different route
  • Try talking to a different person
  • Try reading a new book
  • Try having a different conversation, a new topic

Albert Einstein said it like this, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

Misinformation, misbeliefs, wrong routines and habits can cause a lot of issues in our life. They can also leave us stuck in a rut. You can be passionate about YOUR way of doing it; but if its not producing the right results, you are probably passionately wrong for that current situation.

It is possible to change our circumstances and even our life by changing the way we think. Don’t get stuck in the same ruts or patterns of thinking. If thinking the same thoughts and beliefs are not improving your life, then its time to change your mind.

We can renew our mind. God tells us we can.

Romans 12:2 – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

  • Don’t copy old routines that don’t work or produce the right results.
  • Change the way you are thinking.

Philippians 4:8-9 – “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

  • Fix your thoughts on what is true, right.
  • Keep putting this into practice.

If we lack wisdom, which is the ability to apply knowledge, God says ASK and He will GIVE. James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

You must renew your mind; God’s not going to do it for you.

Look at what God has given us in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

  • God will do his part, but we must do our part.
  • God has given us a spirit of power, a spirit of love & the ability to exercise self-discipline. We have to activate and engage in what God has given us.

Self-discipline in our thoughts helps us renew our minds. This is how transformation and change takes place. It begins by disciplining our thoughts.

Practical steps to renew our mind:

  1. Ask yourself this question, “which fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will I intentionally display today?” Pick one and do your best to take action to display that fruit of the spirit. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
  2. Check up on yourself throughout the day… What is dominated your thoughts? Is it good or bad? Is it producing the right or wrong feeling?
  3. Exchange your thoughts. If it is the wrong thought, what is the opposite thought? Go there. Exchange resentment with love, sadness with joy, worry with peace, anxiousness with patience, rudeness/snippy with kindness, destructive attitudes with ones that will produce goodness, quitting and checking out with faithfulness, being pushy and hard-nosed with gentleness, laziness and procrastination with self-control.

Norman Vincent Peale was brilliant in teaching, writing and exemplified how having the right thoughts and mindset would impact our life in an incredible way. He simply said it this way, “Change Your Thoughts and Your World will Change.”

Your next word will cause a Reaction or a Response

Our attempt to resolve problems, deal with differences of opinions, desiring to express where we have been offended or trying to correct bad behavior in a relationship; can either cause more negative reactions or cause a response. Reactions are usually quick and immediate. They are normally more based from how we feel. Like the natural reflex of a muscle. However, a response is more thoughtful. A response considers, “What I am about ready to say, how will it impact the rest of this conversation and will it help to bring resolve?” A response usually has a thought out plan with the end goal in mind to… understand and resolve. Reactions could be more, “I just want to express how I feel” or “I want to get this off my chest”.

We have the ability to trigger a response that could bring resolution, reconciliation and healing. Choosing the right words have tremendous power. Words can provoke, stir up, push buttons. Words can start wars; or bring people to the table to sign Peace Treaties. Words have the power to close the deal on a multi-million dollar contract. Words also have the power to destroy relationships, and create tension and division. Wise words have incredible power to bring peace in a home or in the work place. Words can gain a friend or bridge differences. Being purposeful with our words that cause more response can bring a healthy environment to our relationships.

Consider these Scriptures from God’s Word that bring light to triggering a response or a reaction.

  • Ephesians 3:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
  • Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”
  • Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
  • Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

What we say, how we react or how we respond will CREATE an environment. We have the ability to raise the level of our relationships to be more purposeful, intentional; to cultivate an environment that will be conducive for encouragment, learning from one another, resolving problems and lifting each other to greatness. Weeds don’t need help to grow. Weeds can grow in any crude environment. Plants and trees that produce healthy fruits and vegetables, need an intentional environment. This requires someone that cares to give the effort to create.

Let’s create an environment that triggers a response so great things can grow.

Bonnie and I had a conversation about causing reactions and responses on our last podcast. You can listen by clicking here… Episode #002 Linked: Are You Causing a Reaction or a Response?

TABOO TALK

“Sticks and stones may break  my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Yeah right! Whoever came up with that phrase was totally faking. Posing. Lying. Not real. The fact is words have the power to really hurt. Words do a lot more damage than hurt feelings… words can cut right through the heart. More importantly our words have the power to mold and shape the lives of the people around us; including our own life. Words can instantly determine the outcome of a mutli-million dollar negotiation, an interview for a job, a relationship strain or a commitment to marriage. Words can intensify attraction or bring a disengaging disgust. Words have started wars. Words have the power to sow a seed of friendship, unity, bridge a disagreement; or words have the power to bring a harvest of discord, dissension & death to relationships.

Expanding our vocabulary has a deeper meaning than moving  beyond the use of 4-letter words. Choosing to speak at a higher level than our feelings and frustration is not just being nice or trying to keep peace. It is divine wisdom that nudges us to choose intentional words that will produce, create life and resolve problems. Like an artist choosing the right color, a musician selecting the right notes, the architect knowing where to draw the lines. Can you imagine how enriched our relationships would be if we would be intentional with our words; like sowing seed into a well prepared garden? According to Proverbs 18:21, our words have the power to either produce life or death.

Another thought on taboo talk… What you say is crucial. However, how you say it and when you say it; is just as imperative.

4 TABOO TALKS THAT WILL DESTROY YOUR LIFE AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Talking bad about yourself is more damaging than someone else talking bad about you. Stop talking down about you. Stop pointing out how you don’t measure up, your flaws, your lack of abilities. How you view you is how others will view you. I’m not talking about over-compensated confidence, over-inflated arrogance. I’m simply saying, see the value that God has created in you. Begin focusing and talking about the good qualities that God has placed within you. God believes in you (Jeremiah 29:11); believe and speak what He believes about you.
  2. Talking about people behind their back will weaken your integrity and character. Our words can be so helpful or hurtful. If we truly want to be a friend and have healthy relationships, then we need to be a faithful friend. A friend that can be trusted. Full of integrity. If correction or constructive criticism is needed; then we will offer it directly to the person, not behind their back.
  3. Talking about your spouse & children’s dysfunctions, bad traits, personality flaws, will never change them nor inspire them to be better. NO ONE can endure being beat down about their insufficiencies for long period of time. Your words of encouragement can launch your children’s dreams and inspire them. Your words of encouragement and affirmation of what people are doing right will give them renewed energy and passion to continue on with their growth.
  4. Talking with words of grumbles and gripes makes one a miserable life. I read a research paper where we think 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. 98% of them are repetitive thoughts. What is more “thought provoking” is that 80% of our thoughts are negative. Words that we speak and words that we think work together. There’s a tipping point in a persons life when they decide to take inventory and control of their thoughts and words. Philippians 4:7,8,9 is the formula for success with our thoughts and words. I believe this will help… Spend more energy on practicing Philippians 4:7,8,9 than on griping, grumbling, complaining and giving constant life to your feelings. Listen to your own words. I will admit, its hard to not express our feelings when they are such a strong part of who we are. We may not be able to remove all of our negative words; however, we can decide to replace most of them. When the majority of your words are positive, giving solutions, problem solving, giving compliments, giving encouragement; then you will find your world and life will begin to change.