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Are You A Victim Or A Survivor?

Are you a victim or a survivor? Counselor Patrick Doyle shares ten signs of each.
10 Signs You Are A Victim:
1. You complain rather than act.
2. You talk about the same problems.
3. You are never able to get to resolution.
4. You are always looking to people to save you.
5. You don’t accept responsibility (always something or someone to blame).
6. You take more than you give.
7. You are uncomfortable with being emotionally well.
8. You are in crisis more than not. 9. You make people around you tired.
10. You tend to harm others rather than show mercy.
Surviving gets you through a difficult circumstance.
10 Signs You Are A Survivor:
1. You are behaviorally active in moving toward hope.
2. You are willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to change.
3. You are willing to be uncomfortable for extended periods of time.
4. You do not give in to fear (you may have it but are not controlled by it).
5. You are willing to adapt to the reality you are in (not the one you hope for).
6. You learn from the circumstances you are in rather than deny them.
7. You are willing to use all of your resources to move toward change.
8. You actively seek help.
9. You resist panic and fear.
10. You have hope outside of yourself.
Proverbs 3:5-12The Message (MSG)
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.

News that Triggers Us.

How I react when I read or watch the news can trigger internal reactions that create sudden departures in my mood. One moment I am feeling fine and the next moment I am upset. For some individuals, news can actually trigger trauma reactions because of unresolved trauma in their pasts. Take me for example; I do not like watching movies that contain psychotic behavior involving individuals who harm others. Why? Because it triggers the same feelings in me that I experience when walking people out of their traumatic past. None of us enjoy seeing people suffer and yet, there is this macabre fascination with the pain of others and/or reading about crazy behavior. Sometimes it makes us feel more “normal” instead of prompting us to work on our issues. However, just because it triggers emotions in you of fascination does not mean you are supposed to feed that fascination. Many times the trigger emotion from your past causes you to consume things that in the long run, are not going to produce good results or fruit in your life. Going through your facebook news feed, you can be easily tempted to read one crazy story after another. But to what end? How will it help you? How will it develop you further as a person? The next time you are going through the news or your Facebook feed, make a conscious choice to not read the things that will serve no purpose in your life no matter how tempting they may be. It may just be that the desire to read that story is more about trauma fascination than it is about healing and wholesomeness. Philippians 4:8-9The Message (MSG) 8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

How do I know if a Person is good for me?

How do I know if a person is good for me? The answer to that question is basically boiled down to one answer: do I grow and advance as a person as a result of being with that person? Do I produce more fruit in my life as a result of being in relationship with this person? Jesus said it this way in the Bible in the book of Matthew 7:15-20(ERV): 15 “Be careful of false prophets. They come to you and look gentle like sheep. But they are really dangerous like wolves. 16 You will know these people because of what they do. Good things don’t come from people who are bad, just as grapes don’t come from thornbushes, and figs don’t come from thorny weeds. 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and bad trees produce bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.19 Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 You will know these false people by what they do.[a] Jesus said I will know if people are good or dangerous by what they do, not by what they say; in the same way, my relationship with an individual can be examined by what fruit is produced in me as a result of my relationship with them. Is my person-hood spiritually, emotionally, physically, and relationally advanced or diminished as a result of my relationship with them? Jesus says you will know people by their fruit, not be their words.
  1. Do they bring care to your weary soul?
  2. Do they spur you on to achieving your purpose in life?
  3. Do they cause you to seek God and spiritual discipline more?
  4. Do they encourage your other relationships?
  5. Do you see yourself making steps of bravery as a result of their presence in your life?
When deciding if a person is good for me, the caution is always to look at the fruit of others and the fruit they cause in me. Are they constantly losing jobs? Constant job losses is their fruit, not the excuses they share. For example, is the person constantly losing jobs because they are disrespectful and insubordinate to authority? Does that individual feel entitled to steal from the company or constantly be late for work and blame the company for the policies they feel entitled to break? Words are the intentions of the person or the manipulative words of the person. Actions are the fruit of the person. I will know a person is good for me if I produce more fruit in my personal life as a result of relationship with this person.
Today you need to ask yourself what relationships need to be pruned so that you can be more fruitful in your own purpose in life.

My Break-Up Letter with Fear


The other day, some friends and I were sitting around a table talking about the person we want to be and the goals we have in life; however, fear always seems to stand in the way like a controlling partner. In the course of conversation, my friend Cristina declared, “ I just feel like I need to write a breakup letter with fear!!” and all of us exclaimed in unison that we felt this to be a great idea. I, of course, thought it to be a wonderful therapeutic exercise for clients. So this is my break up letter with fear and it is dedicated to Cristina, whose idea birthed much truth. Go write your own break up letter with fear after reading mine.

Dear fear,
This letter has been a long time coming and I am finally strong enough to say goodbye to you: GOODBYE! I hate you and what you have done to me!! I don’t need you anymore and I don’t want you anymore! I used you to protect me from scary things for so long, that letting you go feels scary and freeing at the same time. I remember how I used you to get comfort from people by telling people about what you were doing to me and people would bring me comfort. I would use you as an excuse to not do things I didn’t want to do and I would use you to keep me in a controlled little box that felt safe. But, no matter what, you kept me alone and abandoned when I was in your box. It was a sick, sick relationship!! It makes my stomach turn when I think of all the things I let you do to me. I let you control who I talked to, when I talked to them, and what I would talk about. I let you control when I went out, when I went to bed, where I would go, what I would eat, and how much money I could spend. I let you determine my worth, my value and my honor because I would always be thinking of what you would think about it if I let those things come into me. Fear, you were always in my thoughts! I ran everything I said and did through your twisted filter. Every education decision, career decision, relationship decision, etc, etc.. I am so tired of you running and ruining my life and I am not going to let you manipulate me any longer! You manipulated me to comply to you so many times I can not even count and you shamed me and accused me of things that were not true to get me to comply to you. The sad truth is that after being with you I wouldn’t know what was right or wrong! Seven people could be telling me one thing and you could be telling me another and I would believe you and trust you more than seven other people telling me loving things! You are evil and no longer am I going to choose evil over the voice of love!! I am choosing love and all that means over you. Love will kick you out and love will make good decisions for me! Love will propel me toward my future and will not abandon me! And most of all love will give me hope that no matter what happens, He will work it out and things will be to my benefit. Love honors me, values me, protects me, blesses me and love has never failed me.
So fear, this is your official break up letter. Do not try to contact me again because I do not want to converse with you any further! You will only try to confuse me into believing you are right, but I see the fruit of my relationship with you and it is rotten. By the way, that person named Love, His real name is GOD and He rocks my world!

1 John 4:18 The Message (MSG)
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

Did You Know You Were Hardwired With Needs?

We have been hardwired to have longings and needs. When we fail to acknowledge the longings within us we tend to cycle through a pattern of disappointment, trying to empower ourselves by usually using something that will make us feel half full (like eating junk food when we are hungry), followed by shame and penance in response to our bad choices. Basically, this is where bad habits and addictions start.

It’s time for people to stop ignoring their longings and start inviting God into the process of meeting their needs. Most people have no idea what they need, or they feel guilty and shameful for having needs as if having a need makes them needy. Having a need makes you normal.

God has hardwired you with needs so that you would seek out His love to meet these needs and so that you would allow yourself to be loved by others.

I tell my clients all the time that the very things that a child needs to thrive is the very things we need to thrive. Here is my own basic list:

1. Need to be Loved – touch, affirmation, mutuality, affirmation
2. Need to Create – art, music, writing, decorating, creating order
3. Need for Beauty – visual stimulation, color, beauty, outdoors
4. Need for Joy – a good laugh, life-giving people and activities
5. Need for Peace – quiet, alone time, things that bring you peace
6. Need for Passion – excitement, vision, new experiences
7. Need to feel safe and secure –stability, comfort, being able to depend on others
8. Need to impact our world and others – using our inborn talents and gifts to impact our world positively.

The next time you are stirred up, ask yourself what need you are suppressing that you need to bring to God. God promises to meet our needs. It may not fall in your lap, but it will come if we look for it, even if it is from the woman you meet in the grocery store.

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)