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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Be an Eagle/Hawk: How observing the flight of a bird correlates to fighting depression.


But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength;
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.


Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash


Three ways an eagle stays in the air


This morning on my walk, I had the opportunity to watch a bird hunting (eagle or hawk, not sure). I watched for a good 5-10 minutes. You know what I never saw? Flapping wings. He was up there just soaring on the high mountain winds and looking for his prey. His wings were fully extended the entire time, he'd fly with the wind and gain momentum and then turn against the wind and rise up higher, all without flapping his wings.

As I pondered this, here is what I felt I heard:

He was designed to do that. His wings aren't tired from holding them out against the wind, they lock in that way and he can do that for hours, as long as the wing sustains him. He only flaps his wings to get up into the air, once there, he soars.

Flapping Wings & Pruning


Just like this eagle/hawk, we sometimes need to exert effort in our rise to overcome the obstacles that keep us grounded. We may have to put in a lot of effort to get off the ground. This means that when you wake up with depression trying to drag you down, thoughts attacking you, tears falling because you know the thoughts aren't true but your heart still believes them...

It's time to get up anyway. Get out of bed, get dressed, and go for a walk (or whatever feeds your soul). You have to tell those thoughts they have no authority over you (I mean it, out loud, tell them no!). You have to get your body moving because it has a physical place to play in the biochemical processes that lead to depression. You may have to do a lot of flapping that morning when leaving the nest.

Sometimes Eagles have to tear out all their feathers and grow new ones to be in tip-top shape. You may have to tear out and tear down the thoughts that have kept you bound. This may mean taking it to solid friends who will challenge these thoughts, a counselor, a pastor, whoever you need to. Take them before God and ask Him to reveal the lies you've believed and the Truth you need to see and own.

Soaring


Once you are in the air (past that moment of depression), you will find that it's much easier to stay in the air. You were made to soar in life. It's what you were designed and equipped to do.

You find your days just go better when your thoughts are aligned with God's. You find you're less moody and irritable. You find you are more joyful and peaceful which attracts others to you naturally.

But what really matters, is now that you are freely soaring, you are free to ignore all the effort that got you there, and you can just focus on the things in front of you. You can now be "present" or "in the moment" more often. Your natural giftings and talents come out. You aren't even trying. That eagle/hawk wasn't worried about his flight. He wasn't even aware of what it took to stay in the air. He just had his eye out for the next opportunity.

Opportunities to influence will pass you by when you are so focused on yourself that you can't see anything else.

Opportunities to influence others happen without you trying to find them when you are free. You aren't paying attention to yourself, you are free to see the world around you, observe, you are ready for anything that may come your way and you recognize it for what it is when it comes. You are also moving as your soar, not stationary, so you happen across more opportunities.


Using the Wind


Something else I noticed. The eagle/hawk didn't get beaten down by the high winds on that mountain. He used them to his advantage. The very thing working against you can now be the tool you use. It's the weights in your spiritual gym. It's the resistance bands in your workout. It's the only as the winds come against you that you can let them pass over you and use that momentum and the law of lift to rise up higher and higher. Now that you are free of all that effort, you do it without flapping your wings, it comes naturally to you.


Go be an eagle/hawk!


1a. Flap your wings: use the tools that God's given you to take authority over your inner life and choose new thoughts.

1b. Clean your feathers: uproot, pull out, and tear down any thoughts that are lodged in your heart that do not represent your best self, the one you were created and designed to be.

2. Soar: Now that you've gotten up, you are free to stop paying attention to yourself at all. Look for opportunities as they arise. Keep moving. You never know what you'll find around the corner.

3. Use Resistance: when things come against you, use that to your advantage. Let that be your gym. Let that give you lift. Let the attempt of the enemy to tank your morning be the very thing you use to get up and have another victory for yourself, and the very thing that drives you to your opportunity to do it for someone else.




Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Friday, May 31, 2019

GPS Road Deserts | Why do I feel so lost and alone?

How connecting with God and getting a new perspective can heal your heart, release you from depression, and get you moving to a healthier you.


In this article, we'll talk about two things you can do to get healthier emotionally and spiritually. Connect your GPS by moving and Update your GPS Maps by getting new data.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash




GPS Road Deserts - When you lose your way emotionally/spiritually 


Have you ever been in one spot (like a parking lot) and asked the GPS for instructions on how to get to your chosen destination and it shows you in the middle of a road desert? Then you start driving and it all of a sudden knows where you are and begins giving your instruction.

That's how it is when dealing with emotional and spiritual health. I woke up this morning and slowly faded into a depressed state. I tracked my mood at a 6/10 upon waking up but sank to a 3/10 by the time I decided to do something about it.

So I did what I have made a commitment to do every morning. I went on a walk and asked DaddyGod to speak to me.

He did start talking, addressing my issues (big and small). He reminded me of these GPS Road Desert experiences and then got to talking.


The satellite hasn't moved, the GPS just needs to reconnect. 


The satellite is still up in the sky where it's always been. Sending instructions for anyone who is equipped to receive them. The GPS just lost its connection. It's not clear where it is in relation to where it needs to be. Many times, all I need to do is start moving and the GPS suddenly knows exactly where I am.

God hasn't changed. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. But our connection with him sure does ebb and flow. Most of the time, if I will learn to reconnect with Him purposefully, I get back in line really quick.


Map Updates Needed: What about when the GPS still doesn't know, and you're lost?


I've had this happen in parking lots but this used to happen all the time at my last house in Texas. The roads were so new they weren't on GPS, so they would just show me in the middle of nowhere with a dotted line to the nearest "road" with no instruction on how to get there.

I didn't have access to the updated maps; therefore, I was unable to accurately see where I was so I could get direction to where I needed to be.

I have had a few of these seasons in the past five years. I had to reach out. Friends, Family, Pastors, and even two Counselors all helped me download new maps, new ways of seeing the world around me, that helped give me a context for where I was emotionally/spiritually. Once I had a view of where I was and where I needed to be, the path began to become clearer.


Do you need direction?


1. Get connected with God/Devine GPS.

If you're like me, you won't hear him sitting in your room. That's my area of weakness and attack and depression. I very rarely hear God while sitting. For me, I have to move my physical body in order to hear with my spirit. Like Enoch, I walk with God. For you that might look different. Whatever quiets your mind and helps you hear your heart... do that.

2. Update your maps.

Maybe you simply don't have the context or paradigm for the shift you need. God chooses to use people in our healing journey. Reach out to people you look up to, people who have what you want, a pastor, counselor, etc. You may get a lot of bad advice before finally connecting with someone that turns the light on for you. That's okay, just keep going, keep seeking. Those who seek find, and in this case, you will eventually find your new paradigm.

a. You may have unhealthy thought patterns that need to be uprooted.

b. You may have lies buried deep that need to be exposed.

c. You may have a simple lack of context for the story you are actually in.


Go get a new map, start today. 



  • What is one way you connect with God's heart the easiest?
  • What is one thing you could do to update your map, today?



Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

4 Keys to understanding painful emotions and how to process them to facilitate healing.

When are Painful Emotions caused Real Trauma and when are they caused by a Lie


When you feel hurt, sad, lonely, depressed, angry, fearful, infatuated, love, happiness, giddiness...

These are emotions.

Since "negative" or painful emotions are the ones that cause of the most problems, I will be focusing on those here.

As I wrote about negative thoughts, filters, and triggers in An open letter for #Depression... Wanting to quit! I was dealing with my own at the time.

As I've now had some time to process through some of my own emotions, I want to talk specifically about "Emotions".

I've come to realize there a few points that may help us deal with emotions more effectively:

1. All emotions are valid
2. Some emotions are not caused by real trauma, lies.
3. Some emotions are caused by real trauma, truth.
4. The Compound Effect

1. All emotions are valid

Many times, we are afraid to admit we are feeling something painful. We don't want to face it or deal with it, so we bury, suppress, ignore, and dismiss the emotion. These tactics all fail to help us process through the emotion, thus it never really goes away.

If we are ever going to process and heal, we must face the emotions head-on. To do this, we must realize they are valid.

Regardless of the root of the emotion you are experiencing, the first thing we must do is validate your right to feel it.

You are experiencing "fear" or "sadness" or "anger"... it doesn't matter why. Those are real emotions and you are really experiencing them. You need to acknowledge they are there before we can process through.

It doesn't matter if the thought that caused the emotion is a lie. Before we can get to that, we must acknowledge the emotions right to exist.

Go ahead and say "I am feeling... " and fill in the blank with as many as you need to get it out.

If you need help identifying your emotions, check out this article (here).

Now that you have identified the emotions you are experiencing; and, validated their right to exist... we can begin to determine where they are coming from. What thoughts are associated with them. No emotion just "is".

Go ahead and write down as many sentences, partial sentences, sentiments, or thoughts as you can about what you are feeling.

2. Some emotions are not caused by real trauma. 


Once you have identified the emotions through words associated with them, it's time to find out where they are coming from. In some cases, you may be dealing with a LIE.

  • Are you feeling the need to Justify Yourself and Blame Others?
  • Are you feeling the need to get Revenge or Lash Out to protect yourself?
  • Are you finding yourself saying anything in the way of extremes, using words like Always or Never, or Nobody or Everyone?
  • Do you find that you say things you regret later?

These could be signals that these thoughts are directly or indirectly tied to lies. Once you identify the lie "I'm never going to be good enough, nobody wants me!" Then you can turn that over to your Daddy (God) and ask "Daddy, I acknowledge that as a lie. Tell me the Truth about that?"

This isn't usually as simple as a one-time event. It's a process of continually bringing thoughts before Him and letting Him shine his light on them.

Write down what you feel He's telling you. Keep a log or journal.


3. Some emotions are caused by real trauma. 

However... just because you are experiencing an emotion you don't like, does NOT mean that it is based on a lie.

There are real hurts and pains caused by real trauma. It could be as simple as someone calling you out on a mistake and making fun of you for it; or, as life-altering as the death of a spouse or child or parent.

These events are real. They cause real pain.

While they are often used as openings for the devil to sow doubt and create a lie in you, the pain caused by these traumas is real, not a lie.

It's okay to just say "I experienced a loss, it can't be fixed, and it really sucks."

If you have a falling out with a friend or a spouse dies or an incident causes you to be the butt of everyone's joke... these are real and hurtful things.

In these instances, you don't bring it to Daddy (God) because you need Him to uproot the lie, you bring these to Daddy (God) because he dealt with hurt and pain on this planet through Jesus and he understands. He will sit with you in that loss for a time and eventually lead you through a process of healing.

Unlike lies, that can sometimes turn around instantly when you see the Truth, these are real traumas. They are wounds. They will (short of a miracle) take real time to heal and heal over time.

In the early stages, you may need nothing more than to acknowledge this emotion and "sit in it". Be present in it. Don't ignore it or shove it aside. Just feel it. Where is it located in your body?

Then acknowledge that this thing happened, that it sucks, and that you can't change that it happened. Depending on the situation, you may be able to fix it or you may not. Either way, it did happen (past tense) and that is important to acknowledge.

Finally, bring that before Daddy and let Him talk to you about it and/or comfort you in it... and over time, heal it.


4. The Compound Effect

Where things get a little trickier is that Real Trauma can also be an opening for the enemy to either sow a LIE into your heart or reinforce one that is already present.

My wife died. That is real trauma. "She left me. Everyone always leaves me." is a lie... that the enemy successfully reinforced in me for a time in the early stages of my grief.

So it may take some work, journaling, and the counsel of a friend/pastor/therapist to weed out and separate the Real Trauma from the Lie.

The short version is to work through both of the processes above not just once, but continuously until you have resolved both issues.

It is work. It is hard. It is worth it.

Your Turn

Go spend some time processing your emotions. Comment on this post on social media or message me and tell me if you'd like. Or share it with a friend.

I hoped that helped.


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Monday, May 27, 2019

An open letter for #Depression... Wanting to quit!

So you wish you were dead... or something like that.


Or you wish you were never born, or you wouldn't mind an accident that took you out, or you just don't feel like you want to keep going... Maybe you are saying things like:

  • I quit
  • I don't want to play anymore
  • I can't do this anymore
  • It's just so hard
  • I'm so tired
  • I'm so lonely
  • Nobody likes me, wants me, or loves me
  • Everyone (or someone in particular) would be better off if I were dead, or gone, or just disappeared
  • I'm going to run away and to be a hobo... or live in a cabin in the woods where I can't hurt anyone anymore and they can't hurt me.


From one person who battles against Depression to another (or maybe to myself if I'm reading this during one of my darker moments), I get it.

I've said all of these things from time to time, more often than I'd care to admit. In fact, I'm writing this letter primarily to me so I can re-read it when I get into another dark place, and second to you my fellow warrior in the Good Fight.



1. It's okay to be not okay.


Before we begin, I need to remind you of something. 

It's okay to be NOT okay. 

I give you permission, here and now, to stop telling yourself that something is wrong with you and you are more broken than other people. 

You are broken. So is everyone else.

Even the people you look up to most, be it a pastor, friend, or someone else, are broken. We are all broken in different ways. We don't all suffer from the same brokenness. You can't see what is happening inside of them or what battles they fought to get where they are. Their smiles are either fake OR hard-won, I assure you.

Social Media is exactly that, Media. It's where we all put our best foot forward and post things we like. For most people, it's not where we air our deepest darkness.

The fact is, you need to give yourself permission to be NOT okay. Don't run from that feeling, lean into it. But also don't embrace it as Truth. That brokenness is not WHO you are it is simply a state you are in because you live in a fallen world.

In a broken world things break. 

You got broken. That is a natural byproduct of living in a world with an enemy. But that brokenness is not who you are.

The purpose of leaning into that feeling is not so that you can wallow in it but so that you can face it and bring it to the light so it can get handled right.

So once you accept that you are broken, you need to start the process of healing out of it.


2. Recognizing Depression | "The Suck" | "The Dark Place"


One of the first things we need to do is recognize when we're in the Dark Place.

It's not hard to recognize depression after a while, it's a familiar spirit (an evil spirit) that you've come to expect... however... it's a subtle spirit. It doesn't start out by saying I want to die, it starts out with subtle lies and builds on them.

Here are some of the things I've said when I found myself in The Suck:

I should have left and Flavia (my second wife, who died) stayed. It's not fair. I wanted to go, get off this dirt rock and she actually liked this planet. It should have been me. 
I can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore. There's no point at which my being here is benefiting anyone. I havn't made an eternal impact on anyone yet, not likely to in the future. 
I am a screw up, it's what I do and who I am. I'm broken and will never be anything other than a broken screw up. I wish people would stop expecting more from me, it's just more pressure to be something I'll never be. 
Leave me alone and let me be who I am. Love me as a screw up or don't but this is what I am. 
I can't do this shit anymore... I can't do human beings anymore... I wish I could just rest.

The hardest part of broken thinking is recognizing your thinking is broken.

  • Don't trust your thoughts:
    • If you are having these kinds of thoughts, acknowledge out loud that these are lies.
  • Pay attention to your body:
    • Emotions are not all in your brain. They actually lodge themselves in different parts of your body. Paying attention to the sensations in your body can clue you into your emotional state. Tightness in the throat may be the inability to release emotions. Hurting temples, tightness in the chest, butterflies in stomach... these are all signals your body is sending that you need to work on something.
  • What thoughts are tied to that feeling?
    • Now that you recognize in your body that something is wrong, ask what thoughts are tied to that sensation. You may not even realize you were rehearsing your old thought patterns.


Are you In The Box? 


In Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by Arbinger Institute  (Author)(Affiliate), they talk about being "In the Box" toward someone. The idea is that when you are in the box, you are not seeing them or yourself clearly.

You will seek to Justify yourself and Blame others. If either or both of these are present, you are "In the Box".

Be mindful of: Blame, Self Justification, Unworthy, Unwanted, Worthless, Woe is Me, Nobody Wants Me, Extremes, Exaggerations, and Overgeneralization... (Never, Always, Nobody, Everyone) Projecting a negative future without evidence.

A healthy response says "That may be true but... Positive probable outcome"

An unhealthy response says "That may be true but.... Negative outcome."

So now we know our thoughts are broken and we are in The Suck. The thing is, we didn't start in that dark place. We were led there by something we call triggers.


3. Triggers


You were fine. Everything was going well. You were, relatively, happy and productive. You finally felt like you had a handle on things. Then "suddenly" you were ready to quit again.

What happened?

You experienced a trigger (or set of them) that took you down a path that led you back to The Suck.

Good Therapy defines a trigger as:
A trigger in psychology is a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that triggers feelings of trauma. People typically use this term when describing posttraumatic stress (PTSD).

How triggers work | Strongholds

You didn't actually jump from a good place to the suck instantly; rather, you were led down a path to get here. You may or may not recognize the path looking back but you seldom (without effort and assistance) recognize the path while you are on it.

Imagine a train. At first, when you begin developing this trigger, it's like a steam train. It builds up steam and runs faster and faster until it lands you in The Suck. But eventually, when you've ridden it often enough, it upgrades to a diesel train with higher speeds. Finally, it's a bullet-train and you go from Happy to Quit in moments. But you still traveled, it wasn't as instantaneous as you might think it was... it was just faster because you've run that path so often there's a clearly marked trail.

What you are experiencing is known Biblically as a "Stronghold" (*more on that here).




  • Event: Initially, an event(s) happens, often early in life. Someone says something, does something, or something happens. Maybe someone told you that you would never amount to anything. Someone died or left you. You failed at something. You experienced a Trauma (a car accident for example).
  • Lie: The event itself, even if it is a huge event, isn't the problem. The problem is that the enemy used this event to tell you how to interpret this event. That interpretation is a LIE. "You'll never amount to anything." / "You're never going to be good enough." / "You can't trust people with your heart." / "All men... All Women..." / "Nobody wants you." / "You're better off without people." / "You're such a screw-up."
  • Defense/Comfort: This lie causes pain. As humans, we will do anything to avoid pain. In fact, addicts don't seek drugs for the high, they seek drugs to escape pain. So we seek some kind of way to defend against the pain or comfort ourselves in it. Maybe you isolate to avoid future pain caused by a person. Maybe you decide to never try that type of task again, "I can't" / "I don't." Maybe you seek a substance or the wrong type of person to bring you comfort. 
  • Reaction: In seeking this Defense or Comfort, you actually end up sending the wrong messages to the people around you and often set up events around you to go the wrong way. You overspend and end up in a financial bind. You push people away and perceive them as rejecting you. Almost always this leads to a new event that appears, in your heart, to reinforce the lie. You end up saying "See... I told you..." never recognizing that your seeking the Defense or Comfort actually set up events in the reaction phase to perpetuate another event which reinforced the lie... and around and around we go.


Example: Baseball Event > Failure > No Good > I hate Men and especially jocks. 

I use this example because it seems small (silly even) but it has had a strong, lasting, and dramatic event on my life even to this day.

Event: Almost a Home Run

In 1st grade (so maybe 6-7 years old?), I was on a baseball little league team. I hit the ball and it went far (a success). I ran all the bases and ran home. I stood behind home plate jumping up and down "I did it, I did it". But all the people, my parents, everyone were shouting and pointing behind me. I couldn't hear what they said at first, then I heard "Go Back". The catcher walks up to me and taps me on the shoulder with his glove and the umpire yells "Out!". Feeling like the butt of a huge joke that everyone understood but me, I walked back to the dugout feeling lost and confused. When they explained that I never actually touched home plate with my foot and therefore it didn't count, I felt embarrassed.
PAUSE: How would you interpret this event?  I hit that ball so hard, as a small thin child, that I was able to run all the bases before they got to the ball and threw it home. I COULD have seen that event as a major success. Look at what I can do? That could have been interpreted as "Well, it sucks I made such a little mistake and missed the run officially, but wow I really hit that ball. I am really good at this. Next time I'll do better and win the game for my team!" I could have gone on to be a great hitter, won baseball scholarships... who knows. I'll never know because that's not what I learned.

LIE: I suck at sports

What did I learn? I hate sports, I hate males (for making fun of my mistake or did they? I don't recall anyone doing that). I hate all sports. I hate everything to do with sports. I have people who play or watch sports. I especially hate jocks.

Defense/Comfort: Protection

I'll never be hurt like that again, embarrassed. I'll never play sports, I suck at sports. I don't get it. Jocks are dumb meat-heads. I'm too smart for them anyway... Etc.

And I never did again.

I never played on any team involving males again. I scoffed at anyone who would "waste their time on mindless sports".

I did join track in Middle School because that's a self-competition (and a girl was involved). But after being rejected by that girl (subsequent event) I never did that again either. It wasn't until I was 33 and going through Kairos at Gateway Church that I realized my hatred of males was built on a lie. And even knowing that I still struggle to feel adequate around other males, especially if there's any Macho or Jockness to them. It's actually led to health issues as I am still feeling like a rejected 7-year-old boy every time I set foot near a workout gym (which are full of manly men).

Reaction: Fear Males

Every time I meet a man, especially a "manly man", I feel everything in me beg to run away. This reaction comes across to other men as stand-off-ish or even arrogant. I have even said things like "I'm smart, not like those dumb jocks". This causes them to not like me. This led to being trash-canned by a jock in high school, reinforcing the lie that I don't fit in with Jocks.

All of that, a lifetime of pain... built on a LIE.

4. Recognizing your triggers


It's important to understand what your unique triggers are because they are the weapon The Enemy will use to take you out every time until you build a defense against them.

Triggers are any thought/action/circumstance that leads you to a series of debilitating thoughts on a train ride to The Suck.

Note: a good list of triggers that may help you identify yours is found at GetUplift (here)

Here are a few of my most common ones, just for example:
  • Financial Pressure: Overspending leads to a financial pinch. Pinch leads to me feeling inadequate to produce. This leads to feeling I need to run away from responsibility. I either hide from the problem in distraction or run to something that will make it feel better (ice cream, more overspending, pornography, "friends" that don't help me get back in touch with God but help me stay mired in the muck). 
  • Rejection (perceived rejection): Someone doesn't return my call or text, someone ignores me in the hallway when I waive, someone tells me something I could do to improve... any of these can become triggers that lead to "I'm better off alone", "Nobody wants me", "I wish I'd never met.", "I guess I'll just be alone forever, I deserve it."
  • Grief-Related Trigger: Either I see a happy couple or I experience something that reminds me of a time I failed to live up to what I thought I needed to be as a husband... this leads to thinking about all the times I failed in both of my marriages... "I am broken. I break people. It's safer if I don't let anyone near me because I'll just end up hurting them too.."

5. Filters


Akin to Triggers, but needing its own space to discuss, let's talk about filters. We all have filters, each and every one of us. They are the glasses we see the world through. You've heard the term "Rose Colored Glasses" to refer to someone who always sees things as good, often to the point they fail to acknowledge anything that isn't good.

Just like tinted glasses, or a water filter, these Emotional Filters taint or change the quality everything we see and hear. They prevent us from seeing what is because we can only see our perception of what is.

Example: Hearing words that weren't said.

My wife walks in after reading my novel and says

"Honey, this is really really great. I'm so proud of you. Have you considered (insert some small change here)? I think that would really make it shine!" 

What did I hear?

"You suck as a writer. Stop wasting your time with this and go work more and bring in more money." 

Does that seem like a reasonable translation to you? I hope not. But it's what I heard. It took me a few years after to acknowledge that she didn't say that.

Negative Filters, or Filter Issues, are going to happen. The trick is being aware of which filters you have, and clarifying.

Here's a helpful Filter tool:

"When you said/did... I felt... Is that what you meant by that?"

So we've identified we're either on the train or made it to The Suck. We've identified that it was caused by Triggers and Filters.

Now what?



6. Carving your path back out of The Dark to The Light


It's going to be up to you to fight this battle. It's inside of you. Others can and will help but it's ultimately up to you to do the hard work.

Here are a few helpful ideas to get you started:


  • Reminder: It's okay to be not okay. Start by acknowledging that you are where you are. 
  • No Hiding: Bring it to the light so it gets handled right. Isolation and Avoidance are your enemies. When you hide these feelings, thoughts, or reactions they fester and grow. You need to admit them to yourself, to God, and to one or more safe friends. On that note...
  • Curate Careful Companions: Not every friend is a healthy friend. Sure, they may be safe for you. But when you are through talking with them, are you better? Did they direct you back to your Father of Light (God) or did they simply hear and accept you but leave you stuck? True Companions will always be safe space for you to express how you are feeling or thinking, without any judgment but they will also help you redirect your broken thinking.
  • Kairos: What's the Truth about that? - Triggers and Filters are built on the foundation of a LIE. Once you recognize the lie, you can replace it with the Truth. 
    • God, I acknowledge that some event caused me to believe a lie. What event would you like to talk to me about? Give it space, He may not tell you until you are ready.
    • I am thinking (insert lie here). I acknowledge that as a lie. 
    • What Truth would you like to tell me about that? How do you see me?
  • Depression attacks Expression. You were created to express a component of God to this world. The opposite of Depression is not Happy. The opposite of Depression is Expression. 
    • Ask God: How did you create me to Express You to this world?
  • GET OUT! Physically move your body, get sunlight. Stand and stretch. Try taking a walk but holding your head high, shoulders back, breath deeply. These are physical cues to your body to redirect your emotional state. The biochemicals in your body actually respond to physical stimuli as simple as changing posture. 

Here are a few more tools:


My Best Self

Here’s some homework for you: fill in the blank with between 5-10 different statements:

I am at my best when I ____________ (this should be a daily habit).

My examples here.


A Text Message (SMS) From God to You

This tool is designed to help you practice hearing from God... One word from God can change your life forever.

Here's how it works:

Start by getting a pad of paper and a pen (or you can do it electronically in OneNote or Evernote... but there's something about handwriting that helps you stay out of your head and in tune with your heart).

Write each of these statements and leave enough room to write what you hear.

I see you…
I hear you...
I care...
I am...

Get really still, in a quiet place or with worship music if you'd like.

Focus on your heart and belly, not your mind.

Then just write whatever you feel God's response is saying.

Don't over think it, or second-guess... this is just a tool to help you practice hearing God.

Here is an example of what I heard when I tried it the first time.

I see you…
 - Afraid to take on new challenges because you think you'll fail.
 - Lonely & Aching for a companion
 - So busy you keep putting the urgent in front of the important.

I hear you…
 - Complaining about not having enough…
 - Crying "I can't do this anymore"
 - Asking for help

I care…
 - About all of your needs (spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical).
 - About your boys more than you do (I've got them).
 - About your future & I have idea and plans you haven't imagined yet.

I am…
 - You spouse
 - Your healer
 - Your provider
 - Your Comforter
 - Your Way Out & Your Way Up
 - Your Unexpected End
 - Your Boys' Father
 - Your Future Wife's Father
 - Your Father
 - Your Friend

*Come Play With Me!*


Music


I find that when I am depressed I HATE music, good uplifting music anyway. That's the demon inside of me refusing to come out. I force myself by turning on a playlist (like this one) and make myself listen to it until the spiritual atmosphere lifts enough to engage in the above activities.

This is the one I usually just play over and over again: Surrounded



I hope it helped you to come on my journey, see you around.


*******I plan to edit, re-write, enhance, re-tool this letter as often as I need to in order to ensure it says exactly what it needs to say. Our lives may both depend on it. Mine did by the time I got done writing it. ************


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Sunday, May 26, 2019

I am at my best when I... A tool to create daily habits that create victory one decision at a time.

Building a daily habit is a huge part of living successfully and also imperative when fighting depression.


Creating a list of simple, practical things you can do each day to feed your inner spiritual/emotional/physical health and then posting it in places you can see will go a long way to helping you develop good healthy habits.

Keep in mind, these are intentions. 

If you don't do all of them, don't beat yourself up about it. Maybe today is a really hard day and all you can muster is the strength to read them, that's okay. Maybe you can just do one of them, that's better than nothing.

Think of these as things you intend to do, not things you "must" do to "be a good person".

Here’s some homework for you: fill in the blank with between 5-10 different statements.

I am at my best when I ____________ (this should be a daily habit).

Note: this can also include avoiding a negative habit, ideally one that in some way identifies as contributing to acting out, (some of your deepest sins can have triggers based in unhealthy habits or wrong thinking).

Note too: you can change this list at any time. You may find something you thought of as important is really just some religious nonsense or an idea planted there in brokenness. Adapt the list to be things you ACTUALLY need to do, think, or say.

Here's an example of mine:

I am at my best when I ____________ (this should be a daily habit).

Daily
  1. I am at my best when I daily get up early and walk at least 2,000 steps before the day starts.
  2. I am at my best when I daily spend time reading the Bible and talking with Jesus before the day starts.
  3. I am at my best when I daily speak out loud Identity Affirmations over myself.
  4. I am at my best when I daily take my Isagenix, BP Meds, and Vitamin B Complex.
  5. I am at my best when I daily engage in conversation with each sons for at least ten minutes.
  6. I am at my best when I daily make my bed.
  7. I am at my best when I daily brush my teeth.
  8. I am at my best when I daily take thoughts of negativity, defeat, pessimism, and "woe is me" captive, replacing them with thoughts of victory, and identity in sonship. Asking God, "What do you see?"
  9. I am at my best when I daily avoid Soda and Monsters and take my vitamins and drink at least 1 liter of water.
  10. I am at my best when I  daily...

Weekly

I am at my best when I weekly...
  1. I am at my best when I weekly play a game with the boys, walk with them, or do some activity together.
  2. I am at my best when I weekly get the three of us out of the house to do something non-electronic.
  3. I am at my best when I weekly...

Now it's your turn...


Go write down the first five things that pop into your head.... edit as often as you like... post them somewhere you'll see them every day.




Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

A Text Message (SMS) From God to You

A Text Message (SMS) From God to You

This tool is designed to help you practice hearing from God... One word from God can change your life forever.

Here's how it works:

  1. Start by getting a pad of paper and a pen 
    • (or you can do it electronically in OneNote or Evernote... but there's something about handwriting that helps you stay out of your head and in tune with your heart).
  2. Write each of these statements and leave enough room to write what you hear.
    • I see you…
    • I hear you...
    • I care...
    • I am...
  3. Get really still, in a quiet place or with worship music if you'd like.
  4. Focus on your heart and belly, not your mind.
  5. Then just write whatever you feel God's response is saying. 
Don't over think it, or second-guess... this is just a tool to help you practice hearing God.

Here is an example of what I heard when I tried it the first time.

I see you…
- Afraid to take on new challenges because you think you'll fail.
- Lonely & Aching for a companion
- So busy you keep putting the urgent in front of the important.

I hear you…
- Complaining about not having enough…
- Crying "I can't do this anymore"
- Asking for help

I care…
- About all of your needs (spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical).
- About your boys more than you do (I've got them).
- About your future & I have idea and plans you haven't imagined yet.

I am…
- You spouse
- Your healer
- Your provider
- Your Comforter
- Your Way Out & Your Way Up
- Your Unexpected End
- Your Boys' Father
- Your Future Wife's Father
- Your Father
- Your Friend

*Come Play With Me!*


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Book Reflection: Saving the Bible from Ourselves




Saving the Bible from Ourselves - Buy Now



Review: Saving the Bible

This is a review of the text, Saving the Bible from Ourselves (Paauw, 2016). Paauw begins by diagnosing a strongly felt problem throughout the Church in Western Culture. He summarizes it as follows:
“But we are also assured that even if we spend only a few minutes in the morning, we’re sure to find the spiritual gem to get us through. The Bible will brighten our day, encourage us and strengthen us, if only we will faithfully open it – even if just for a few moments. Those ‘Scriptures’ – which more typically refer to presorted sentences and snippets – are said to be powerful. And Yet. We know there is more to the story than the official line… The ‘and yet’ comes down to this: There is more guilt about secret non-compliance with Bible-reading standards in the self-proclaimed Bible-believing community than there is gratitude for promises realized.” (Paauw, 2016), 14-15.
With this simple statement, he accurately defines a problem I’ve lived with my entire Christian life. Paauw then goes on to describe the reasons for this problem in more detail.

We Complicated the Bible

The Bible we know today has chapters, verses, headers, commentary, footnotes, cross references, blurbs of insight, photos, graphs, and maps… to name a few. But exactly none of these are from the original copies of the Great Book. The books of the Bible were written as texts, poems, letters, histories, stories, and revelations. These additives have hidden the real Bible from us, underneath layers of items that are helpful for Study but not for daily Reading. The result has been the average reader taking a “verse” as having read “scripture”. However, these books were intended to be read as any other book. Start on page one, and read forward.
We Lost the History, Context, Story, and Narrative

As a result of these additives and the “versification” of the Bible, we’ve lost the stories being told, the context and audience, the history of a real people in real places, the ongoing non-stop narrative flowing from Adam to Abraham to Jesus to Paul to Me.

We Lost the Community

The Bible was originally digested, primarily, in public gatherings. The original church didn’t have a book to hand to each person. Scrolls and codices were kept in safe places, and read publicly in large readings. Whole letters and books (or sections of the books) were read to those in attendance, and then they were discussed as a group. Pastoral leaders added insights and kept the conversation on track. Messages were given ad-hoc based on the texts read. This stands in stark contrast to our practices today, one verse from here and another from there, packaged as though they went together as stand-alone statements; all while reading them alone in pre-packaged apps or devotionals. We are each left to interpret as we will, without the benefit of community input.

We Lost the Elegance and Beauty

One of the subtle items we’ve lost is the elegance of the Bible. This is a combined book of Histories, Stories of Greatness, Poetry, Songs, and more. By having standard block text formatting with the insertion of chapters and verses, much of this is lost on the reader; even if they do try to read whole books or sections (as I have). Paauw proposes a new look that takes each of these literary styles, and brings them to light in a new formatting for modern English readers.





The Take Aways

I’m a Student.

I have often read whole books of the Bible and read the entire Bible through several times. I’ve spent months in a single book. I’ve even spent the last several years reading and re-reading the book of Job. Therefore, I appreciate what’s lost eating in verse-fragments as we so often do in our culture. However, that’s all study. It’s tearing down sentences to the root-words and looking for context and meaning. What I haven’t done is simply pick up the Bible and read (as I would a novel). As a result of reading this text, I ordered the Immerse: Messiah New Testament (Institute for Bible Reading, 2017). This is a project that Paauw himself worked on, as a response to the challenges he laid out in his text. I’m also having my kids read their own copies, and gave a few to friends.

I’m a Storyteller.

Throughout my life, one thread has weaved its way through my many adventures: I am a Storyteller. I enjoy story. The art of storytelling is the back-bone of every great movie, book, TV Ad, or Speech. When good stories are told, they capture the imagination. I’ve forgotten most of the 10-steps to this or 7-habits of that… but I can still feel the heat of Mordor as Frodo battles with himself to let go of the One Ring. This text was a fabulous reminder that I am part of an ongoing story myself. It began with my Father, Adam. It continued throughout history through men and women, great and small, and led directly to my bedroom, where I was saved at three years old; asking Jesus for Wisdom just like Solomon did.

I’m a Solo-Artist (no longer).

Finding community is a new challenge for me. As a fairly extreme introvert, INFJ (Briggs, 1920), I find myself constantly “in my head”. If I don’t have mass amounts of quality quiet time to process all of my thoughts, I begin to feel fatigued and overwhelmed. However, I allowed this knowledge of myself (and some unhealthy dynamics with my late-wife) to become excuses for hibernation. I went to work, church, and home. I spent decades without real human interaction outside of the home. This came to a head at the end of 2016 in Fort Worth Texas, when I suffered a nervous breakdown (mid-life crises some call it). My road to recovery began as a challenge to God. I couldn’t attend any of the men’s bible studies as they conflicted with my schedule. I told God I’d go if a 9 pm start time was posted. It was posted the next week. 

At Rudy’s Bible study, we would read a whole chapter from a New Testament book, then discuss what each of us got out of it. I was shocked to realize, while reading Paauw’s text, that this was essentially the format of the original Church. I’ve subsequently ordered two more copies and sent them back to Rudy and Eric (the leaders of that group). Since moving to Idaho, my isolationist tendencies have been challenged in new ways. I’m finding community once more. But this was a strong reminder that I need community and community Bible reading, and a challenge to maybe start my own 9 pm group here… we shall see.






Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Book Reflection: Understanding Scripture





Understanding Scripture - Buy Now




Review: Understanding Scripture

This is a review of the text, Understanding Scripture (Grudem, Collins, & Schreiner, 2012). The authors provide the backdrop for making their case:
To profit from Scripture, one must take the right posture. At one extreme, the skeptic questions and judges whatever he/she reads. At the other, the overconfident believer, convinced he has mastered the biblical or systematic theology, ignores or explains away whatever fails to support his system. Interpreters should come to Scripture humbly, expecting to learn and be corrected and willing to observe Scripture closely and accept whatever they find. (Grudem, Collins, & Schreiner, 2012), Pg 12
They go on to lay out several key items to contemplate as we embark on this journey of discovery in the greatest story ever told.

The Narrative: The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Narrative refers to the on-going story that began In the Beginning and rolls right through Abraham, Jesus, Paul, and Me. The Bible, in large part, is handed to us as a narrative. The meaning of the “verse” one attempts to use to justify their position must fit within the overall context of The Narrative; and, it must mean to the original author/participants in that story what it means to you. We are part of that on-going story. The application we take away must be within the context of that larger story.

Did I Read That Right?

Before one can study, one must read The Narrative as it was provided. It is within this framework that the meanings can be gathered. Understanding the literary style is also important. The Bible can be read as Historical, Literature (including the Literary Style), and Communion with the Author Himself. Depending on the mindset you come to the Bible with, this affects Application and Teaching. Also, to be considered, Literal vs Allegory. Some find hidden meanings while others take the text at face value. The Literary Style should help us determine what approach we take for any given book or section. One should take the instruction to love our neighbor literally but not assume that a literal Dragon was coming to eat a woman’s child (Revelation). Genre matters.

Fire the Cannon

The manuscripts we have today are reliable. That is covered in great depth in the texts. The variety, age, and abundance of older manuscripts allow us to see that the text we have is reliable and is exactly what the authors wrote for us to read. Archeology does serve to reinforce the Historicity of the Bible (confirming events, names, and dates); however, it serves a more intricate purpose as well. Archeology paints the picture of the times and customs of the people we read about. That context allows us to immerse ourselves in the story, feel the sand beneath our sandals and in between our toes, and feel the upper room’s cold night air.

Lost in Translations

One of the reasons there are so many translations is that so many translators do the important work of helping us read the original language in our Modern English. I speak a modicum of Spanish. One day, in class, I said “Estoy Caliente’”, literally “I am (temporarily) hot”. My teacher corrected, with a big grin, “No. No. No, Senior Wolfe. Hace Calor”, meaning “it is presently hot”. Apparently, “Estoy Caliente’” in the culture has an entirely different connotation, “I am Hot (Horny/Attractive)”. This very simple misunderstanding is a humorous example of how easily one can mess up language-to-language translation. It is not enough to translate words, one must translate ideas and concepts in culturally accurate ways. In this same way, Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin, and other Biblically related languages (as they relate to manuscripts we possess) must be translated, and not simply transliterated.

The New Testament Makes Sense

Why not stop with the Old Testament. The Cannon of the Old Testament was largely firmed up by the time of Jesus. It was the Scriptures he referred to often “as it is written”. So why have a New Testament at all? Throughout the old covenant, God was promising a coming Messiah and new revelation. It follows then, as a continuation of The Narrative, that a new set of texts would be handed to us to preserve those steps in The Narrative. The New Testament makes sense because it is a continuation of the story. (Grudem, Collins, & Schreiner, 2012) Pg 82

Preach!

It is often the case today (and has been true since at least the Church Growth Movement of the 70s), sermons can be nothing more than Three Points, a Reader’s Digest Story, and a Joke… with a few supporting scriptures. The authors have the following to say about that:
The preacher must preach the text, not the idea that brought him to the text. He must stand behind the Bible, not in front of it. (Grudem, Collins, & Schreiner, 2012) Pg 64-65
This more common type of modern preaching leads to another issue: Verse Jacking.

Take Aways

Verse Jacking!

What is Verse Jacking? This is taking a set of hand-picked verses completely out of context, running them together as “proof” that your position is sound and “Biblical”. This is where your inner parent must come out, “Put that back where you found it!” If the verse doesn’t mean that in context, in The Narrative, and to the original author; it does not mean that to you.

Many Churches, Conflicting Ideas – Firmly held beliefs in conflict.

Due to Verse Jacking, we’ve got thousands of denominations. Every group has their corner staked out on The Truth. Although it’s true that we know in part while on this earth, and “they” may be seeing something I haven’t seen yet; it is also true that they may be Verse Jacking to create a position that God himself doesn’t hold.

Wrestling with Ideals

My own turmoil trying to wrestle with conflicting ideals stems from a life long search for The Truth. Over the years, I’ve moved from Christian group to Christian group in search of the most authentic, real, true, relationship with Jesus I can have. As a function of this search, I picked up many firmly held beliefs that I’ve since come to realize weren’t True. They were supported with Bible verses; however, they were not actually Biblical.

Resolution: The Narrative Context

With that in mind, here are some things I now realize will help me on the next phase of my journey.
·         Proverbs are not TRUE, they are generally true. Just because a proverb says that the upright will be successful, doesn’t mean that all people who do right will never have a tragedy. It does, however, indicate that on trend the upright fair well on principle. Proverbs 2:7-8 ((NIV))
·         Where does that verse belong? If it didn’t mean that to the author it doesn’t mean that to you. Put it back where you found it and see what it means inside The Narrative. Only then can you determine what it means.


·         Any doctrine must be firmly based on the whole Bible, a thread neatly woven into The Narrative. When speaking about the variety of manuscripts and differences of interpretation, the authors of this text indicate that on rare instance you may come to find that a particular verse wasn’t saying what you thought it said.  This includes, especially, End Times Prophecy. To this point, they write:
At times, a particular doctrine may not, after all, be affirmed in a given passage, depending on the textual variant. But this is not the same thing as saying that such a doctrine is denied. Just because a particular verse may not affirm a cherished doctrine does not mean that that doctrine cannot be found in the New Testament. In the final analysis, no cardinal doctrine, no essential truth, is affected by any viable variant in the surviving New Testament manuscripts. (Grudem, Collins, & Schreiner, 2012) Pg 116-117

With these tools in hand, I can continue my journey to find the most authentic relationship with Jesus, His Father, His Holy Spirit, and His Word.

Bibliography

(NIV), N. I. (n.d.). Proverbs 2:7-8. Retrieved from https://www.biblica.com/bible/niv/proverbs/2/



Grudem, W., Collins, C. J., & Schreiner, T. R. (2012). Understanding Scripture - An Overview of the Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.





Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Book Reflection: Elements of a Christian Worldview





Elements of a Christian Worldview - Buy Now


This is a reflection of the text Elements of a Christian Worldview (Palmer, 1998, 2013). Rather than a single text devoted to the topic by the mind of one man, Palmer takes on a journey as a tour guide by editing together the essays of multiple authors on various topics as they relate to a Christian Worldview. From the history and shaping of Worldview as a concept, to how it relates to Christianity, the first portion of the text sets us up to understand the context.

Palmer then dives into specific topics, such as Science, Human Nature, Divine Rest & Work, Music, Literature, History, and Politics. Each essay author has a particular background and story to tell as they explore in-depth their particular assignment. While each comes with a clear perspective, they lead the horse to the water but do not force him to drink. The reader is left to ponder these weighty topics without being force-fed one particular view.

Throughout the text, the authors weave into each other seamlessly despite being independent essays. One such example is how Miroslav Volf and Charles W. Neinkirchen take us to tandem journey’s into Work and Leisure.

Volf shows us that we were always meant to work, even before the fall. The Garden was given to mankind to tend. The fall did not curse work; rather, the fall cursed the ground from which work’s fruits would produce. Work itself was always a reflection of God’s character, He is always doing something, creating something, tending to something. It is a reflection of God’s character to work diligently and do it well. The secular world toils endlessly, as though achieving at any cost (including stepping on their fellow man) was worth it to achieve the end goal of money, fame, retirement, or possessions. However, Volf demonstrates that the quality and manner of work, reflecting God in the process, is far more important than the end results achieved. He shows us that the results of our work should be to provide for ourselves and then provide for others. If this second piece, providing for other people, isn’t achieved, the work was not a reflection of God.

Meanwhile, Neinkirchen demonstrates that leisure is far from the “vacation” or “retirement” we make it out to be. He shows us a mirror, and in it we see a society bent on fast-paced vacations that leave us more tired upon return than we were when we left. These, he affirms, are not leisure at all. Leisure is found in quiet reflection. It is found in spending communal time with The Creator, plugging into His Presence, and being refreshed. We are reminded that God himself rested from ALL work on the 7th day; and as such, we should take time to reflect, refresh, and recharge in His Presence on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. We should take times of refreshing in His Word and Presence. It is in these moments, as we disconnect from our many “doings” and reconnect to the Tree of Life, that we will find our purpose released back into us.

My personal favorites were the sections on Music, Literature, Media and Entertainment. To me, although separate authors, these painted the picture I have been painting my whole life. Story. It is through Story that we are most impacted. Long before there were “how to” books, long before there were printed books, men sat around fires and listened to the storytellers of old. Storytelling communicates and replicates culture.

From a psychological perspective, it is the stories we each tell ourselves that have more impact on our hearts and behavior than the individual events (however tragic or amazing). It is what we tell ourselves about the event that defines or redefines us. From a personal perspective, I think I’ve learned more about self-sacrifice and doing the right thing despite all odds from Frodo’s journey to Mount Mordor than I ever did from a “7-Steps of X” or “5-Keys to Y” type book.

It is through stories that we bypass the mind and run deeply into the realm of the heart and emotions. Many times, we learn from stories in ways our mind would have rejected. My favorite music is the type that tells an ongoing story; rather than repeating basic phrases. The Thunder Rolls, by Garth Brooks, will always make my emotions churn at the heart of a woman betrayed. Media and Entertainment have given us the Marvel Universe, where all of life’s greatest questions are playing in full living color and bigger than life scenarios. What does it mean to love two friends when one has caused great pain to the other (Captain America, Civil War)? Is the story you’ve been told about your life helping you live your true potential? What if that story was always a lie, and your real full power has never been seen? But once you discover your true identity, your full power becomes apparent and the enemies that once held you captive now become dust under your feet (Captain Marvel).
What would it look like if the Church led the way in storytelling that made the Marvel Universe look like a warm-up act? That is the question I ask myself, as my novel sits in draft, unfinished for this season. Selah.

Bibliography

Palmer, M. D. (1998, 2013). Elements of a Christian Worldview. Springfield, Missouri: Logion Press.




Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com & Topos.Consulting

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
Read more ...

Book Reflection: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


Mere Christianity - Buy Now


This is a reflection paper of the text Mere Christianity (Lewis, 1952, 1980). The content was first delivered as radio broadcast material between 1942-1944 by Clive Staples “CS” Lewis. Lewis then gathered the materials and published them as three sperate works, later combining and editing the text that became Mere Christianity. With the mind of a scholar and the mouth of a layman, Lewis takes us through the various topics that affect our lives as Christians and provides practical break-downs of how we are to treat each topic, supplemented by a host of modern parallels and parables. He is careful not to take any position that is not laid solidly in the Word of God, leaving those positions that are controversial within the Church either without an opinion or a well-deserved analysis of each side. However, far from a dry treatment of theology, Lewis gives us a laugh through each turn as he cuts through the heady stuff for the “why behind” each discussion item. Broadly, Lewis discusses the issues of Right & Wrong, What Christians Believe, Christian Behavior vs Secular Behavior, and then concludes with a layman’s review of how the deepest theological topics (Trinity, virgin birth, and free will to name a few) still have profound impact on our daily lives and experiences with God.

Take Aways


I have read this particular book several times, at least four times now. I have referenced its work many times more. In some ways, I view my calling similar to his. I feel I am called to understand the deep things of God and make them accessible to everyday people. In my men’s Bible Study, back in Texas, I was consistently asked for the breakdown of particular scriptures and how to apply them accurately but with a layman’s understanding. They remarked how simple I made big things, which is exactly what C.S. Lewis does in all his works. For example, when discussing how we can only understand some of the deep things of God imperfectly, Lewis says:
You may ask what good it will be to us if we do not understand it. But that is easily answered. A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works; indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it. Page 55, The Perfect Penitent.

As a man who is fairly disgruntled with the state of our Government in the past five decades or more, I was challenged yet again by Lewis’s discussion of Social Morality. He said it’s not the job of Pastors to lay out specific political agendas any more than it is for them to lay out building codes or write novels. We are each given talents. Christians who are talented in the areas of governance should be leading that charge. He also challenged that both modern Liberals and modern Conservatives would both have items to balk at if we were to walk into a truly Biblical Society.

In regards to Sexual Morality, Lewis challenged that each generation has a standard of modesty and yet that standard has nothing to do with being Chaste. A woman on an island wearing nothing but a leaf skirt could be more Chaste than a woman covered head to toe in Victorian dress. We must not confuse the two, as they are unrelated.

I depart with my favorite paragraph of the book this time around. Lewis is discussing Sexual Morality, and he seeks to understand its root. Is it because we are starved sexually that we are prone to sexual excess? Given the modern discussion of sex-trafficking, this may be more relevant than ever.

Or take it another way. You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act – that is, to watch a girl undress on stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of sex instinct among us? Page 96, Sexual Morality

He goes on to observe that one possible conclusion was to think they had starved in that fictitious country. But if one looks at the way glutton’s eat food in ours, you could also see that perhaps the appetite itself was broken or twisted. So it is with Sexual Appetite, Sexual Identity Disorders, and many modern issues, such as LBGT rights. The appetite has been broken, twisted, and it needs to be restored to God’s Health.

I continue to be challenged by material written long before my birth and challenged to produce my own. This generation needs its own army of C.S. Lewis’s; able to produce the timeless truths of God’s Word in a modern layman’s way, using modern parallels, parables, and addressing modern issues… showing they really aren’t all that new or special.

Bibliography


Lewis, C. S. (1952, 1980). Mere Christianity. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.




Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ
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