Where do you Draw the Line?

by:Joan Meyler

You awake before the alarm sounds and lay there basking in the silence of early morning.  Soon the stillness is broken by the jarring sound of the forgotten alarm and you realize your few moments of stolen reflection are gone.  Your day has begun. Not the day you want, but the day you committed to yesterday. The events of which you have neither energy nor desire to tackle.  The things that have entangled you like weeds creeping around your ankles and up your legs dragging you down and filling you with dread. Why did you say “Yes” when you wanted to say “No”?

I am no better than you.  I too grapple with the desire to please, to take on more than I want, need or can handle; to “prove” that I am capable. But whom am I trying to please? What is the value of taking a burden that is not mine to bear? Have I not noticed that there are mental, physical and spiritual boundaries which when defied cause me to experience unnecessary stress? But wait, it was that stress that I was trying to avoid by saying “Yes” when I should have said “No”.

The simple yet profound words “Yes” and “No” are freeing. They express the choices we make in determining what and who we allow to influence us as well as our influence on others (Matthew 5:7). Jesus used these words very effectively; particularly in times when he needed to refresh himself (Luke 4). It is in setting physical, emotional and mental boundaries (just as Jesus did) that we project ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.  When we communicate our thoughts and feelings directly and honestly with others we open the door to developing authentic relationships and preserving our integrity.

There are times when saying “No” can be one of the best ways to express self-love, such as when it violates our boundaries. Saying” No” alert others that they have been or are about to be disrespectful or act inappropriately.  This powerful word allows you to be yourself without subjecting yourself to the will of others. Having boundaries make it possible for you to respect your strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others.

As you carve a few moments out of your day to reflect, focus on this thought:

If boundaries are important to God who made you with a unique identity, values, gifts and talents, shouldn’t they also be important to you?

What is Your Brand

by: Joan Meyler

There is a lot of talk lately about product branding, even personal branding. Branding in this sense, is described as promoting a product or service by identifying with said product. This is like being known by the friends you keep, who you emulate, etc. Branding is not new, it is as been around for a long time. Joshua addressed this topic with the Hebrews when he told them to choose who they would serve (Joshua 24:14,15). Can you imagine seeing the majestic power of God demonstrated over and over in your life yet still choosing to hold on to gods of your enemies or own making?  That is what the Hebrews were doing. Unfortunately, the problem of idolatry still exists today in the form of anything we give more importance to than we give to God.

In Second Chronicles 7:14, as the people lamented to God, they were reminded that they had created their own problem by rejecting His “brand”. In His mercy, then and now, God gives us the steps to success; the path to change our circumstances. I am sure some rejected His offer then, just as some do today.

Why is it important to be known by God’s name (or a disciple of Christ)? Webster defines Disciple as someone who follows or demonstrates the teaching of another. In other words, we demonstrate His brand. Jesus’s earthly ministry showed us just how to do that.  Demonstrating God’s brand begins with salvation and continues with a daily living of our faith. Prior to his ascension, Jesus taught his followers (disciples) about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the role He would play in their lives.  He also advised them of the Holy Spirit’s three-fold ministry in the world:

To convict the unbeliever of sin by opening their spiritual eyes so that they might know

that Jesus is both God and Savior

To cause the unbeliever to see the insufficiency of their own righteousness and their need for the righteousness of Christ

To cause the unbeliever to recognize that their accuser, Satan, is already defeated; they are no longer condemned. (John 16: 7-17)

Just how do we demonstrate God’s Brand? When we accept the Holy Spirit in our lives, we become empowered. The Holy Spirit acts as Christ’s presence on earth, encouraging and counseling us as we battle against the forces of this world. We are given special abilities which prepare us for service to benefit and build up the body of Christ.

(1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:12)

Are you demonstrating God’s Brand or your own?