Could we all be suffering from different forms of the same basic disorder – each falling somewhere along a spiritual disorders spectrum?
The Process of Change
I recently read a book about a woman’s personal story of overcoming and changing her life in a positive way. As I read, I was flashing back to another book that I read almost 30 years ago by a man sharing his story of personal change and overcoming.
Though their challenges were different, both of these people went through essentially the same process – a spiritual process of rebirth, a change of heart, a spiritual awakening, and an accompanying change of their lives. At the time I read the earlier book, I was involved with a Twelve Step program and this book was recommended as an example of that process. This man’s issues did not involve substance abuse, but his recovery process was the same as those who did. The Twelve Steps have been successful for people with a variety of addictions, including things like gambling and addictive relationships.
Kindness is more than being nice. It is an internal quality more than a set of behaviors. Is it more important to be nice or kind?
I shared with a friend some personal definitions which have helped me to better understand the quality of kindness. I told her about a a person we both knew who had used the phrase “be nice like me.” My definition of “nice” is more about socially acceptable behavior and “kind” more of a quality involving true concern and consideration of others. Somehow this “clicked” with this friend and she has shared this distinction with others. She has told me that this has become a guide for her in personal interactions.
Five lessons about Charity that I have learned through life and study: what it is, what it is not, how to obtain it, and why it is so critical.
Many years ago I made a serious study of charity. I gave some talks and presentations on the subject and wrote about it. I even entertained thoughts that there might be a book to be written on the subject. At that time, I thought I had some insight into charity, but as time and life continued I realized my shortcomings in living the principle. Through some experiences I have had more recently, I think I am beginning to have a better understanding of charity. Though I am sure I have much more to learn, I will share a few lessons.
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
At one point during the past election season as I was reading opposing views of a particularly contentious issue, I made an effort to find some common ground. What I hit on was fear. Both sides were afraid that what might happen would affect them in a negative way. Each side saw that if the other prevailed, that they, or those they cared about, would be seriously hurt. They each focused on their own fears without seeing that the other side was just as fearful, but of a different outcome that could have just as detrimental an affect on them. The arguments of each side were more to convince the other that the fears of their particular group were somehow more legitimate or serious, especially if that group could be seen as victims.
My hope in seeking a common ground was to find some principle upon which both sides could unite – something they could feel they had in common. If both sides could see that they really feared the same basic things – and desired the same things – you would think that they might feel some common concern. We might hope that fear could unite opposing sides out of some sense of compassion, but the reality is much scarier.
I learned a profound lesson from an experience some years ago. I had been asked to give a presentation at a professional conference. Public speaking was nothing new for me having grown up in the L.D.S. Church and being involved in other organizations. I am rarely rattled by the thought of speaking in front of a group. I had prepared well for this particular presentation, but as the time approached, I found myself getting stressed. I began to notice the self-talk running through my mind – “What should I wear? I want to look professional, but not too much.” “I gesture too much with my hands.” “I hate the sound of my voice.” “I get talking too fast when I feel I am running out of time” (the one thing I do generally stress about is not having enough time – I always seem to have more material than time).
As all this was running around and around in my mind, another thought came and stopped me cold – “It’s not about you, Karen”. All of my worries centered around how I would be perceived by others – what they would think of me. I had to remind myself that it really was about my message. I knew the message I wanted to present and my presentation was well prepared and organized enough. Wasn’t the message what I wanted my audience to take away that day?
Somehow, we humans love praise. I have to admit I do like hearing “Good job” “I really enjoyed that” “That was great”. I think the problem comes when that becomes our focus – what we seek most. “The praise of men” (John 12:43) or “The honor of the world”. Continue reading