What Does God Expect from Women?

Cloud Heart Photo

As contemporary women, we have many responsibilities and tasks. We are single, married, divorced, or widowed. We are students, educators, volunteers, or retirees. We are employees or employers. We may be homemakers, wives, parents, and grandparents. We could be caregivers of our aging parents or our spouses with health challenges. Some of us are raising our grandchildren.

We take care of husbands, kids, houses, cars, cats, and dogs. We cook, shop, handle the budget, pay bills, and conduct household maintenance and upkeep. Many women do all of this while also working outside the home full-time or part-time.

We wear many hats, yet underneath all of this doing, being, and accomplishing, we are daughters of God, called to guard our hearts, fulfill the purpose of God, and fulfill our purpose as His ambassadors, His representatives. That is the core of who we are.

How about you? Think about your own situation. Ask yourself some questions you may never have asked before.

  • Does God want me to take responsibility for individuals in my life who aren’t taking responsibility for themselves?
  • Does God want me to pull out my checkbook every time my adult child gets into a financial bind?
  • Does God want me to endure fear and pain under physical, verbal, or emotional abuse?
  • Does God want me to put my health at risk by assuming responsibilities that aren’t really mine, simply because I’ve not been able to say no?

(Excerpt from Setting Boundaries® for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace by Allison Bottke, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013. All rights reserved. Pages 47-48)

Dear Blog visitors, what do you think God expects from women?

 

What is Our Most Important Boundary?

Chocolate HeartDear Blog visitors, what does “guarding your heart” look like to you?

I’ve mentioned several important areas of life where women usually need to set boundaries, including relationships, home, workplace, church, and self. We’ve distinguished between helping and enabling, but I’ve deliberately set aside the most critical difference for this chapter. It’s that important.

Before a woman makes relational and psychological boundaries, she must consider her most necessary boundary—that of guarding her own heart. By that I mean a woman should know and respect the boundaries God has given for her heart’s protection. Protection is, after all, one of the purposes of boundaries.

According to Scripture, everything we do flows from our heart. Therefore, once this primary boundary is in place, we can set all other boundaries much more easily

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

(Excerpt from Setting Boundaries® for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace by Allison Bottke, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013. All rights reserved. Page 57).

Join Thelma Wells Tonight for a “Wonder Woman” Sneak Peek

Thelma & Allison 11.8.2007

Don’t miss this free Sneak Peek tonight at 7 PM (CST)

Do you ever wonder what the women in the Bible would think of our world today?

Thelma Wells (aka: Mama T) is launching a series of three WONDER WOMAN conferences beginning this Saturday, July 27 in Carrollton, Texas. But you can also access these events via a live Internet stream! These are very unique conferences, as each talented speaker will be sharing a powerful woman in the Bible in tandem with their own message and testimony. Thelma’s mission for this unique outreach is “To empower mature women AND encourage the next generation and millenniums to strive to achieve the great legacy of powerful women celebrated in the Bible and within our society today.”

The three guest speakers for Saturday, July 27 are, Victorya Rogers (Hannah), Bethany Williams (Deborah) and Thelma Wells (Zipporah).

Tune in TONIGHT at 7 PM (CST) for a FREE SNEAK PEEK at Zipporah. Please share this message with your friends.

Embracing the Most Important Relationship

Jeremiah 29 11If we believe wholeheartedly that God is personally involved in our life, we would expect that He has something specific in mind for us to do while we’re here on earth.

In their book, Being Christian, Exploring Where You, God, and Life Connect, authors Stephen Arterburn and John Shore address four things every Christian will have at some point in life: answers, guidance, confirmation, and inspiration.  They address a question that has laid heavy on the heart of many believers: Does God Have a Plan for Me?

He certainly does.  God’s plan is for you to accept the fact that He loves you, has always loved you, and will always love you.  God’s plan for you is to trust in the truth of who He is, and in what He has done for you.  It’s for you to open yourself up to the wondrous powers of the Holy Spirit within you.

One of Satan’s most insidious strategies to attack and influence the children of God has been to keep them too involved with challenging relationships to care about a relationship with the One who cares the most—Jesus Christ.

Clearly, God wants us to be in loving relationships, starting with Himself.  Yet relationships are being destroyed, hearts broken, and families fractured as good Christian men and women forget what God has said about the most important priorities in life—to love Him first and to love our neighbors. This is the very essence of the gospel message.

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40.

Step One: Love the Lord Your God

It starts by acknowledging Jesus Christ as our Savior—our Lord.

Ryan Northcutt is the pastor of a small (but rapidly growing) community church in Haltom City, Texas.  Pastor Ryan talked passionately about a personal God who understands what it’s like to live in this world—to be involved with people, challenges, troubles, and trials. He said:

We can’t do it on our own.  When we trust in ourselves it’s too hard.  If we rely on only ourselves we will be left wanting.  When we are separated from God we feel it—we may not know what is missing from our life—but we know something is. When that something becomes a relationship with the Lord, it’s impossible to live the same way.  When our relationship with the Lord grows—we grow.

It’s not about what we have to do to get to God, for by grace we are all saved. It’s about what Jesus did for us to get to us.

 

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Difficult People, Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships  by Allison Bottke © 2011. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information. 

Setting Boundaries with Difficult People

GET READY…Keeping Your Eye on the Goal!

It’s important to know our ultimate goal, no matter what we set out to accomplish. Runners who enter the annual Boston Marathon know if they want to successfully complete the marathon they will ultimately have to run an official distance of 42.195 kilometers (that’s 26 miles and 385 yards). No one enters this race unsure of the distance they are expected to run.

However, achieving this ultimate goal may require the accomplishment of several supplementary goals during pre-race training.

“After a scare with my heart, I entered the race mostly to get in better physical shape. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run the entire 26 miles, but I knew the training would help,” said one runner. “I needed to lose 60 pounds, that’s really why I entered the race. If I reached that goal before race day and never ran, I would have succeeded,” said another.

While it was important to know the ultimate goal of running 26 miles, for many the supplementary goals leading up to race day were every bit as important.

As we work toward our ultimate goal, we want to accomplish several other goals as well:  We want…

  • We want difficult people to stop hurting us
  • We want to take control and stop the stress
  • We want to become healthy and whole
  • We want to gain clarity in our life
  • We want to learn new skills to enhance our relationships
  • We want to live a life that is pleasing to God
  • We want to find SANITY

The Moment is Now

It was Palm Sunday at Harvest Church in Watauga, Texas, when Pastor Chuck Angel challenged those of us in the pews to find the courage to open the door to change and choice. I’ll paraphrase his message from the copious notes I took, when I wasn’t shouting, “Amen!”

When opportunity knocks, we need to have courage to overcome fear. There’s a difference between knowing what you should do and choosing to do it. The tipping point.

When we reach that point that takes us from “ought to do” to choosing to do it.

God will direct our path, but He won’t take the step for us. Some of us will stop on the journey. It’s not just knowing—it’s going. Often, there is a gap in the middle between knowing and going.

Life is a parade of “now” moments, not a series of tomorrows. No future moment is more significant than now.

Some of the boundary choices we face will be life-changing. Yet it’s not just about the monumental choices we make that dramatically change the course of our life, but the individual choices we make in the everyday moments of life as well. Combined they make us who we are, a rich tapestry of experience woven together with choice.

The journey to find SANITY doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t just a matter of understanding what the word definitively means, or what types of boundaries exist, although these are important things to know. Understanding boundaries really begins when we stop seeing ourselves as helpless in a drowning situation and realize how much power we have over our actions and emotions. More important, understanding boundaries is also being aware of what God’s Word teaches us about the critical aspect of protecting our heart. One of the most powerful actions we can take in life is to choose to be in relationships that bring out the best in us—that nurture our heart—and that allow us to bring out the best in others as well.

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Difficult People, Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships by Allison Bottke © 2011. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information.

The Power of SANITY

SANITY is what we gain when we shift our priorities and stop focusing on dieting, food, and on our weight—when we stop focusing on the problems of others, and on the situations and circumstances of life, and begin to focus on changing our own attitudes and behaviors—starting with our hearts.

SANITY is living in the peace that comes when we put our trust in God.

S – Stop your own destructive patterns.           Stop Sign 2

STOP repeating our destructive patterns.

STOP ignoring our personal issues.

STOP being alone in our confusion and pain.

STOP pushing God out of the picture.

A – Assemble a support group.support-group

If you feel the need to communicate with other people in your same situation, ask God to open the door for you to get connected. God already knows the plans He has for you to be in fellowship with others. Ask Him to reveal that knowledge to you, praying for wisdom and discernment to walk boldly in God’s purpose.

N – Nip excuses in the bud.I-cant

There are so many different excuses for why we live in bondage to poor choices, challenging situations, and painful circumstances. Yet as different as the excuses are, many begin with the same two words—two words we need to ask God to help us remove from our vocabulary—two words that cut right to the heart of God, telling Him we do not believe His Word, and calling Him a liar—“I can’t.”

I - Implement a plan, define your boundaries.life-choices-quotes-004

Although we may not have been responsible for some of the things that happened to us in the past, we are responsible for our future, and our future depends on the choices we make today to take full responsibility for every aspect of who we are.

Hope lies in learning to depend on God and to make intentional choices that will change our lives and not just perpetuate the status quo.

T - Trust the voice of the Spirit.worship photo1

The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 3:5–6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).

Trusting your spiritual intuition and not worldly lies, emotional uncertainly, or even the head knowledge you may have becomes more natural as we understand God’s truth and hide it in our hearts.

Y - Yield everything to God.prayer-on-my-knees4

I have found that it’s often easy to see God in the exceptional things of life that make our spirits soar, or in the crisis situations that bring us to our knees. But it’s much more difficult to see God each and every day in the places in the middle, in the ordinary living of life; this requires a spiritual discipline that is beyond our human nature to acquire, a habit that can only come when we YIELD Everything to God and trust Him to be the Lord of our lives.

 

At some point, every Christian adult will have to release his or her problems to God and learn to trust Him for whatever happens.

Come near to God and He will come near to you.  James 4:8 NIV

 

 

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Food, Six Steps to Lose Weight, Gain Freedom, and Take Back Your Life by Allison Bottke © 2008. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information.

Making The Choice To Change

choice-choices-girl-life-love-Favim.com-436705Where do you think your true calling is? Are you living in the truth and light of that calling? If not, why not?

How many years have we wasted doing things we don’t want to do? Being people we don’t want to be? Living lives we never imagined for ourselves? When was the last time you focused on your passion, your purpose, and God’s plan for your life?

What matters is what God’s dreams are for your life. What does He want to “work out” in you? When He formed you in your mother’s womb, He had all your days ordained for you (Ps. 139:16). He had a plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 says He knows the plans He has for you, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

What could His plans be? What are the blueprints He carved out just for you? Ask Him. Say to Him, what is your perfect dream for me, God? Show me! Work it out for me! He loves prayers like that. They are invitations for Him to show His power, His strength, and His love for you!

When it comes to changing our choices, some of us have been caught up in the dance of dieting dysfunction for years. But it’s never too late to change if we want to. It’s our choice to be conquerors, to claim what is written in Romans 8:37 (NIV),

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Chuck Angel is the senior pastor at Harvest Church in Watauga, Texas.  Pastor Chuck is not only a man after God’s heart, but also a man after everyone’s heart who walks through the doors of the rapidly growing church God has called him and his wife, Jill, to shepherd.  He is passionate about connecting us with Jesus and about making the truth of Scripture come alive.  He wants every heart to know God’s love.

Pastor Chuck’s message on change featured five key points.  It was so powerful and so appropriate to those of us desiring to set healthy boundaries that I asked Pastor Chuck’s permission to share those five critical components with you here.

  1. We need to be fully aware that things need to change.
  2. We need to turn to Jesus for help in changing.
  3. We need to get in position for God to do great work in our life.
  4. We need to be in partnership with God for the full release of His power.
  5. We need to stay the course.  Deep change has to be walked out.

I hope you’ll find Pastor Chuck’s message of the 5 Change Constants to be helpful as you navigate the terrain of change. The Bible is filled with stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things with God’s help. There is no doubt that He can do the same today for you.

 

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Food, Six Steps to Lose Weight, Gain Freedom, and Take Back Your Life by Allison Bottke © 2008. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information. 

Food Sense and Sensibilities

woman with foodTraining ourselves to listen to our hunger may be one of the most challenging things we’ll ever do in our lives. We’ve spent decades eating what we’ve wanted when we wanted, or depriving ourselves of eating what we wanted when we wanted because we were on yet another diet.

Setting boundaries in any situation where they have been weak, non-existent, or violated has to first become an intentional act before it can naturally become a healthy habit.

Learning to listen to our hunger before we eat is a boundary that must be established on our road to finding freedom from the bondage of over eating or emotional eating.

Try to keep your notebook nearby and the next time you find yourself going to the refrigerator, pantry, vending machine, or about to drive into a fast food restaurant, I want you to deliberately stop yourself first and listen to what the hunger is really saying—and write down what is happening and how it makes you feel.

Knowledge is power and that holds true especially when it comes to the food we are putting inside our bodies and inside the bodies of those we love and are called to protect.

Try to buy only whole foods, and cooking from scratch more often. Begin to pay more attention to reading food labels, especially when it comes to the sugar, fat, and artificial ingredients. Looking at the protein level is also critical—the higher the better.

We need all the power possible as we change our eating habits and set healthy boundaries with food.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1

If we’re serious about honoring God by taking care of the bodies He has given us, a significant boundary that needs to be set with food is how we experience the act of eating.

We’ve become a nation where toxic food is acceptable and an environment of physical inactivity is normal.

Sadly, it’s not only easier, but acceptable to fill our bodies and the bodies of those we are responsible for with unhealthy food.

It is an irrefutable fact that if we eat less and exercise more we will lose weight.  But eating less doesn’t mean starving yourself for a few days and then binging. Eating less doesn’t mean living only on salad and depriving yourself of protein, and other necessary vitamins and minerals. Eating less doesn’t mean only when others see you eat.

The eating less I’m referring to is all about portion control, you can eat whatever you wish, just less of it.

Hopefully, the “whatever you wish” will soon consist primarily of nutritional, healthy foods that honor and respect your body.

 

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Food, Six Steps to Lose Weight, Gain Freedom, and Take Back Your Life by Allison Bottke © 2008. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information. 

It’s All About BALANCE

Balance 2We can be so busy and so intent on being “the winner” or being “the best” or “the richest” or “the thinnest” or “the most popular,” that we forget what is really important in our lives – our faith, our family, our friends, forgiveness, and fun! [1]

The journey to find SANITY doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t just a matter of understanding what the word means or what types of boundaries exist, although these are important things to know. Understanding boundaries really begins when we stop seeing ourselves as helpless in a drowning situation and realize how much power we have over our actions and emotions. More important, understanding boundaries is also being aware of what God’s Word teaches us about the critical aspect of protecting our hearts.

One of the most powerful actions we can take in life is to choose to be in relationships that bring out the best in us, that nurture our heart and that allow us to bring out the best in others as well.

We must ask ourselves,

  1. Am I treating the vessel God has given me with honor, respect and love?
  2. Is the person I am today the person God is calling me to be?
  3. Is my relationship with food and eating bringing out the best in me?
  4. If God has made a difference in my life, am I a walking, talking, visual example of that difference?

We are walking on a tightrope every day of our life.

Let’s think of God as our balance beam.

When we firmly grasp His principles, plans, and purpose for our lives, we can securely put one foot in front of the other and make it safely to the other side of any trial, tribulation, or turmoil.

But our steps need to be intentional and deliberate choices we make every single day. Choices based on balancing relationships, responsibilities, and boundaries.

It’s true, our lives belong to God, and as such we have a responsibility to Him. Although it is our responsibility to nurture our relationship with the Lord, it’s far more of an honor, privilege, and blessing to be able to do so, especially through prayer.

Some of us may struggle with the emotional side-effects of not setting the appropriate boundaries at the appropriate time. Just because we have felt unable in the past to make healthy choices in circumstances or relationships, doesn’t mean we are doomed to continue the same course. We can jump off the gerbil wheel of insanity at any time—and into the arms of a loving Father who will never forsake us.

 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.  Deutoronomy 31:8

1Dr. Debra D. Peppers, Ph.D., It’s Your Turn Now (Kirkwood, MO: Impact Christian Books, Inc., 2001), 84.

 

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Food, Six Steps to Lose Weight, Gain Freedom, and Take Back Your Life by Allison Bottke © 2008. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information.

Defining Our Boundaries

the dreamVisible boundaries such as fences, signs, and dividing lines painted on streets and highways are easy to identify, but boundaries are also the unseen—invisible structures that support healthy, productive lives, and those can sometimes be more difficult to identify.  Unseen, not non-existent.  There’s a big difference.

Webster defines a boundary as, “something that marks or fixes a limit…a territory, border, frontier.”

Personal boundaries are limits or borders that define where you end and others begin. Your personal boundary is defined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others.

Physical boundaries define and protect your body, your personal space, and your sense of privacy. Other physical boundaries involve clothes, shelter, safety, money, space, noise, and so on.

Just as physical boundaries define who can touch us, how someone can touch us, and how physically close another may approach us; psychological boundaries define where our feelings end and another’s begins. Many of us with eating challenges have no idea about this differentiation.

How can we set healthy boundaries, replace destructive habits, and undo the damage we’ve done to our bodies?

Quite simply, we cannot do this on our own—our sinful nature will keep us from making the transformational changes we need to make. Only through God’s help can we receive a new nature. Only by reorganizing our relationships and putting God first, understanding our responsibilities in Christ, and developing spiritual discipline, can our lives begin to grow in the character of Christ.

Do you wonder how to know if a lack of healthy boundaries is part of your life? If you can answer “yes,” to one or more of the questions below, it may be time for you to start making different choices based on new personal property lines—that is, boundaries.

  • Do some people take advantage of you?
  • Do you sometimes have trouble saying, “no?”
  • Do you often suffer from feelings of guilt?
  • Do you ever feel as though you have no control over some areas of your life?
  • Do you try to have too much control over some areas of your life?
  • Do you avoid conversations you know you should have?
  • Do you wish you could be more assertive and in control?
  • Do you lose patience with certain people or personality types?
  • Do you feel anxious before a difficult conversation?
  • Do you think of what you “should have” said after the conversation is over?
  • Do you know when someone is violating your space?

God gave us the physical vehicle—the vessel—to carry out His purpose and plan for our lives – followed by the glorious gift of His plans!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11

 

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Food, Six Steps to Lose Weight, Gain Freedom, and Take Back Your Life by Allison Bottke © 2008. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information.