Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Revelation to Joseph
Volume 5 No. 318 December 11, 2015

III. General Weekly Features

Health Tip: Five Tips For Staying (Almost) Stress Free During The Holidays
The calendar doesn't lie and already you may feel the stress starting to build.

The holidays are approaching, bringing with them a flurry of must-accomplish tasks such as baking, shopping, entertaining, traveling and dealing with eccentric family members who arrive ready to renew decades-old arguments.

So how can you endure without all those stress-inducing moments ruining your health and sapping your holiday spirit?

First off, don't stress about the fact you feel stressed, says Dr. Donna L. Hamilton, author of "Wellness Your Way: The Short and Sweet Guide to Creating Your Custom Plan for a Happier, Healthier Life" (

"Stress is pervasive," Dr. Hamilton says. "Stress is a fact of life. And stress isn't even always bad. Some people need a certain amount of stress to function optimally."

At its core, holiday stress is just like any stress, only with burnt sugar cookies and interminable waits at the retail-checkout line involved.

Dr. Hamilton offers these five tips to help you feel less stressed as you navigate your way through holiday hassles.

Connect with the spirit of gratitude that marks the season.

Research shows that expressing gratitude can help improve mood, increase energy levels, relieve stress and increase motivation, Dr. Hamilton says. So look for reasons to be grateful during the holidays, whether it's being thankful for good health, a rewarding career, a loving family or some other positive in your life.

Pause for a moment.

Remember to take a few deep, relaxing breaths throughout the day no matter how you are feeling. Even positive emotions like excitement and enthusiasm can create stress in the body, just like typical stress emotions such as anger and frustration do, Dr. Hamilton says. That's why it's important to periodically do something that promotes relaxation during active times.

Make sure you get enough sleep.

Your body needs its rest and a lack of sleep makes it more difficult to deal with the stressful situations you might face through the holidays. With parties to attend, travel schedules to plan and gifts to wrap, it's easy to trim back the amount of time you normally spend sleeping. Be careful not to let that happen, Dr. Hamilton says.

Take a walk after you eat.

This works two ways for you. It helps relax you and is good exercise. "A nice walk is a good way to separate yourself from the pressures you might be feeling," Dr. Hamilton says.

Dance and laugh often.

They both burn calories and help lift your mood. "We probably can't do enough of either of these," Dr. Hamilton says.

Many people feel the need to do something for others during the holiday season, but Dr. Hamilton says it's important to remember as you bake pies, wrap gifts or hang decorations that you also must pay attention to your own physical and mental needs.

"You can't give from an empty cup," Dr. Hamilton says. "Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury."

About Donna L. Hamilton, M.D.

Dr. Donna L. Hamilton is Chief Wellness Officer and owner of Manifest Excellence, LLC. She also is author of "Wellness Your Way: The Short and Sweet Guide to Creating Your Custom Plan for a Happier, Healthier Life" ( After receiving her Doctorate of Medicine degree from Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Hamilton completed her pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota. She has shifted from her career as a board-certified pediatrician and now speaks nationally about holistically improving health and well-being.

Healthy Eating with Four Recipe Substitutions

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

We all love the foods served at typical holiday celebrations, but we're not so fond of the calories they contain. Here, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert Warren Honeycutt shares four healthy recipes to prepare instead - and no, you won't have to sacrifice flavor.

Declare your independence from unhealthy eating while still preparing a spread your guests will want to stand up and salute. Warren Honeycutt is here with some alternative (waistline- and taste bud-friendly!) options.

"If you want to host a great party without all of the calories, think substitutions," says Honeycutt, author of 'Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss' "And don't worry; today's healthy substitutions are the opposite of tasteless and forgettable. Your guests will thank you for serving such nutritious fare even as they're asking you for the recipes."

A respected expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, Honeycutt knows what he's talking about. He is a championship bodybuilder who has been a Southern Classic Physique Champion, two-time Mr. Tennessee, and six-time Mr. America finalist. Now, at age 62, he enjoys perfect health without any prescription medications. Honeycutt offers personalized fitness training through his comprehensive Get Lean program, which features detailed fitness videos for exercising at the gym, at home, at the office, and while traveling; personalized meal plans; motivational material; and more.

Here, Honeycutt shares four recipes. "A single-serving plate featuring each of these dishes (which includes two desserts) comes to around 395 calories," he points out. "Compare that to 1,200 calories for a traditional holiday menu - and that's a conservative estimate!"

Lemon Chicken Kebab

(156 calories; 16 grams of complete protein per serving)


16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, uncooked, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt, table
1/4 tsp ground pepper, black
1 medium green bell pepper, raw, chopped in 1-inch pieces
3 medium onions, raw, chopped in 1-inch pieces


Combine oil, lemon, cinnamon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss chicken cubes in marinade. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Thread skewers with chicken, onions, and green peppers. Grill or broil until golden; do not overcook. Serve with pita bread.

Mediterranean Cucumber Salad

(56 calories per serving)


2 cups (8 fl oz) nonfat plain yogurt
2 cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp whole pepper, black
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Small amount of olive oil for drizzling (1 Tbs has 119 calories.)


Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4 inch slices. Add garlic to salt to make a paste. Stir yogurt into the paste. Add pepper, mint, and cilantro. Toss to mix. Drizzle with olive oil.

Calorie-Cheating Cheesecake, Your Way

(Total calories: 700 [600 without yogurt topping]; 100 grams of protein)

Cheesecake Ingredients:

16 oz nonfat cottage cheese
(measure out 2 cups with measuring cup if not purchased in 16 oz container)
3/4 cup liquid egg substitute
3 cups Splenda pourable (or Stevia, per your taste preference)
4 oz fat-free cream cheese
3 tsp vanilla extract

Cheesecake Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan with vegetable spray.

Cut cream cheese into small cubes. Combine with cottage cheese, egg substitute, Splenda, and vanilla in food processor and process until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake about 60 minutes (or until edges are slightly brown and contents set). Prepare yogurt topping. Spread on top, then place on a plate (topping will drip) and refrigerate. When chilled, unclip side of pan and remove. Keep refrigerated.

Yogurt Topping:

2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2/3 cup Splenda (or Stevia, per your taste preference)

Stir together and spread on top of cheesecake.


For chocolate cheesecake, add 1/3 cup cocoa and only 1 tsp of vanilla.

For coconut cheesecake, add 6 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut.

Top with about 5 Tbsp of your favorite Smucker's Simply Fruit or Polaner All Fruit flavor, or fresh strawberries.

(Note: Cocoa adds 80 calories so add or deduct as needed. Vanilla is 12 calories per teaspoon.)

Cranberry Sorbet

(45 calories per serving [about 4 oz])
Serves 8


3 cups low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail, divided
1 cup nonfat canned evaporated milk, cold
1 3-oz sugar-free low-calorie strawberry gelatin dessert packet


Bring 1 1/2 cups of the cranberry juice to boil in saucepan. In large bowl, combine with gelatin. Stir 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups juice and milk. Pour into 13 x 9-inch pan. Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until frozen 1 inch from edges. Spoon into food processor container; cover. Process until smooth. Pour into bowl; cover. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. Scoop into dessert dishes.

"When you consider that a pork barbeque sandwich is around 600 calories, and apple pie à la mode is 450, you can see what a huge difference substitutions can make when you're trying to stay healthy," Honeycutt concludes. "And remember - not just on Independence Day but every day - you always have the freedom to choose. Selecting substitutions can turn temptations into victories."

About the Author:

Warren Honeycutt is the author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss. An expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, he is a championship bodybuilder who has been a Southern Classic Physique Champion, two-time Mr. Tennessee, and six-time Mr. America finalist. Now, at age 62, he enjoys perfect health without any prescription medications and a physique that is the envy of most 25-year-olds.

Along with his partner, Soraya Bittencourt, Honeycutt is the cofounder of Get Honeycutt, Inc. This company supports Get Lean, a comprehensive weight loss and fitness program featuring personalized fitness routines, menus designed by registered dietitians, instructional videos, and motivational support.

A popular speaker on fitness and nutrition topics, Honeycutt's expertise has been featured by NBC, CBS, ABC, LifeExtension, A Second Look at Sports, LiveStrong, Live Relentless, and more.

To learn more, please visit

About the Book:

Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss (Get Honeycutt, Inc., 2014, ISBN: 978-1-5008011-7-5, $19.95, is available at and on Amazon.

Family Special: Seven Lessons Fathers Should Teach Their Children

By Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

[Editor's Note:

Although this article is written by a Catholic Deacon and quotes Catholic Catechism, the information presented is applicable to Christians of all denominations.]

Who Introduced You to the Lord?

The first question I would like to pose, is simply this: "How did you come by your faith, whether it be weak or strong, new or old? Where and when did you first come to encounter Jesus and his glorious Gospel?" For many of us, the answer would be, "I first came to know Jesus in my home, from my father and mother." This is not the case for everyone, but, it is the general plan of God that our first witnesses and teachers of the faith are our parents who share the good news of salvation with their children. For this reason, the family is referred to as the Domestic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches of the role of the family.

CCC 1655 – "Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than 'the family of God.' From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers 'together with all [their] household.' (Cf. Acts 18:8) When they were converted, they desired that 'their whole household' should also be saved. (Cf. Acts 16:31; Acts 11:14) These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world."

It was no accident, rather, it was the will of God that Jesus Christ was conceived of woman and born into a family where he was lovingly raised and received experiential knowledge as he matured from infancy to adulthood. Everything Jesus received from that family experience is an example for us to follow. Nothing of his life is to be neglected by us as if it were irrelevant to our lives. The same is true of every word written in Sacred Scripture.

What You Should Desire for Your Children Above All Else?

So then, this is the second question, "Just how deeply do we parents desire that our children, along with ourselves, should also be saved?" You see, each Christian is called to be "salt" of this earth where too many things have soured and a "light" in a world too often filled with darkness. Note what the catechsim says above, "These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world." Such is the both the dignity and obligation of Christians, to become witnesses to an unbelieving world and to form families; domestic churches that are islands of Christian life.

Our vocation is the path by which we journey to Heaven. God has called each of us by name to Himself. In baptism we each received a share in the divine mission and a responsibility to be faithful to that mission. When a man and a woman answer God's call to the vocation of marriage, they agree to live out this responsibility together as man and wife, and if blessed by children, then also together as father and mother. The obligation of their baptismal calling expands in a particular way to include the sanctity and salvation of their spouse and children.

CCC 1656 – "In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica [Domestic Church]. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are 'by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.'"

I grew up in the 1950's-1960's. I raised my children in the 1980's-2000's. Without falling into a sense of false nostalgia, I believe I can say that in relative terms, my childhood took place in a much more simple and safe time compared to the time of my children. And today, the world has become even more complex and more "alien and even hostile to faith". Therefore, the second question posed above is clearly one of great urgency and it is critical that we understand the obligations of our vocation.

CCC 1657 – "It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way 'by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.' Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and 'a school for human enrichment.' Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one's life." (Cf. Mt 11:28)

When I recall my childhood, the specific occasions remembered are those times and events that, at the time, held special relevance to me. It is difficult to predict what an adult will one day remember of his childhood. But know this, children are like video recorders, capturing everything. One day, when the need arises, an adult will pull from his memory banks examples to serve him in time of need. Will these memories serve him well, leading him to life or will the wrong message and example be there, leading him to wrong and destructive choices? I was blessed with good and holy parents; I can only hope, now that my children are grown, that they are able to say the same about me.

Too often in our families, the handing on of the faith falls upon the shoulders of our mothers. And may God richly bless those holy women who have been faithful to the good God by introducing the faith to a new generation.

But, fathers, we must ask ourselves where we are in this most important of responsibilities entrusted to us by God. The witness to faith is not nearly so strong within the family if mother and father send mixed messages to their children.

What memories are we, as fathers, making for our children?

Seven Lessons Fathers Should Give their Children

This is not a comprehensive list, but I would like to share a few lessons I have learned as a child and a father that I believe are crucial. I encourage you to add to this list in the "combox" below.

1. Teach by Word and Deed

Do our words match our examples? You have heard it said that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. I would like to modify that. You can never, over time, fool your children even some of the time. Children seem to have a built-in detector for hypocrisy. Fathers, do you think that you can teach your children to love and honor their mother if you don't love and honor her in both your words and actions? It's not going to happen. Nor will you likely succeed in any area if your words and actions do not match. So, fathers, teach by word and deed.

Going to Mass, making a novena or praying a family rosary was never a chore for my mother. These were joyful expressions of her love for Jesus, His Blessed Mother and His Church. Even in later years as I struggled to maintain and grow my faith, the memory of the example given me by my mother served as an anchor keeping me from crashing against the rocks of the pagan culture of my college years. I may not have demonstrated that to her at the time, but it is true nonetheless. One thing I always knew – my mother was praying for me. And deep in my heart, I knew that my father who had died when I was 16 was praying for me too. He was not Catholic, but he supported my mother's efforts at every step. At that time, I retained the sense of the importance of God because God was important to my parents. They taught me this by their deeds. And I could feel their prayers. Because they taught my sister this too, I knew she also was praying for me. My life and the example of my family has taught me to never discount the power of prayer.

2. Be a Family of Prayer

This leads me to the topic of prayer. One of the great errors of our time is the failure of the individual Christian to advance in the prayer life and of the family to pray together. We are never going to truly know God until we become people of deep prayer and our children are not going to learn from their parents how to pray until they see them in fervent, urgent, persistent, faithful, expectant prayer – praying alone, praying together as husband and wife, and praying together with the entire family. No, we are not going to always feel like praying. And the devil is going to throw up obstacles, making us feel like we have no time to pray. Nor will our children always want to pray. But we must be faithful to God in our efforts to pray. And in this, fathers should take an active and leading role.

First, fathers need to commit to their own prayer life and that means more than simply reciting vocal prayers. We must practice meditative prayer – the Church teaches that this expression of prayer is a neccessity for the beginner – pondering in our hearts the events in the life of Christ and His Holy Family, reflecting on the lives of the saints, praying the scriptures, and thinking about the persons of God and the truths entrusted to the Church.

Second, pious practices such as grace before and after meals, a morning offering, blessing ourselves when driving past a Church where Christ is sacramentally present, offering a "Hail Mary" when seeing an ambulance or firetruck speeding down the road, all serve also as teaching moments for our children.

Third, fathers should encourage the family to come together on a regular schedule to pray. This is a great way to introduce your children to the practice of prayer. There are endless ways to practice prayer as a family.

My previous pastor told the story of how his vocation to the priesthood developed in spite of all the obstacles he encountered on the road to ordination. He has vivid memories of his family praying an evening prayer together daily. But he remembers something more. After all had turned in for the night, he would hear, and sometimes look into his parents bedroom to see his parents (father and mother) praying together at the end of the day when none of the children were watching. This told him that prayer for them was really important. Their example provided him the fortitude to answer his call.

3. Make the Home a Place of Peace, Hope and Love

Peace and concord in the family is so important, yet it seems to be under fire more than ever. We are told in Scripture to be of one mind, yet members of families today seem to each have their own life and wants. Especially in these difficult economic times, the tendency is to allow worry and anxiety to permeate the home. Do you bring the troubles of work home to fester within the home? Do your children think that your work is more important than they are?

Saint (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina wrote, "Don't worry about tomorrow because the very same Heavenly Father who takes care of you today will have the same thought tomorrow and always. . . What does a child in the arms of such a Father have to fear? Be as children, who hardly ever think about their future as they have someone to think for them. They are sufficiently strong just by being with their father." Make sure that the environment of the home provides this example for our children. Our children should be raised to believe, "Jesus, I Trust in You."

4. Live Simply, Give Generously, Be Present

Love, honor and respect for one another in the home and for those outside the home should be faithfully practiced. Charity should prevail in all things. In this increasingly materialistic world, we do our children a grave disservice by the excessive accumulation of possessions. We teach them to love creation more than the Creator. Resist all disordered attachments that keep you from advancing in the life of grace. Living simply allows us to live with a generosity of spirit that teaches children to care for their neighbor who is in need… remember Our Lord's teaching that when we fail to serve the least of our brethren, we fail to care for Him.

Look for ways to reach out beyond the family to assist those in need, both with your financial means and with your presence. Involve your children. Have them contribute to a charitable fund from their allowance. Involve them in preparing aid packages for the local shelter and food bank. Take them with you, where appropriate, to serve in person those less fortunate.

Most of all, be present to your children… patient and loving, firm and steadfast. Protect them from the evil of the world and help them discover their vocation from God.

5. Teach Your Children the Faith

It is simply not enough to expect the local parish to be the sole teacher of your children when it comes to what the Church teaches. We must take an active role as their primary teachers.

CCC 2223 – "Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones." Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children…"

This "primary" roles means it is both before and above all others who are teachers of our children. We need to teach them in all the ways already discussed, plus we need to make sure that our children do not grow up to be doctrinally illiterate. Teach them their catechism, read the bible with them, and make discussion of heavenly matters and their role as pilgrims on this earth a natural part of the family experience. They were made for heaven, so keep their eyes fixed on their supernatural home even as you help them navigate the waters of this temporary world. Teach them the human virtues of the life of grace by which they can overcome sinful tendencies. Teach them "what a wonderful savior we have in Jesus."

6. Live the Sacramental and Liturgical Life

While the family is the first, that is, the Domestic Church, the Christian family is also a part of the larger family of God, the Church. Therefore, as parents, we have a grave responsibility to make sure that our children participate in the life of the parish, especially in the liturgical life and sacraments. As our children grow, their involvement in worship as part of the church should be fostered through practice and education. The Mass will never be "boring" to one who has been raised to understand what it is. Assist at Holy Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days, even while traveling on vacation… even if it is very inconvenient to do so. Take your children to Confession regularly – help them prepare and teach them not to be afraid. Show them God's mercy and love. Develop in them a love for the Blessed Sacrament.

7. Practice Devotion to St. Joseph

Get to know St. Joseph. Meditate and reflect on his life and example. God did not entrust Jesus to only Mary, but also to Joseph. Find in him an example to follow and a powerful intercessor in prayer. Call on him in prayer each day as you raise your children and honor their mother.

There are many other lessons which could be included here. I hope you will share them with one another. We need to instill in our children the sense that they have been called to a high and noble purpose. Teach them to give praise and honor to God and to be grateful for His many blessings and to be good stewards of His gifts. How wonderful it is to be a part of this family which is the Catholic Church.

About The Author:

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center's Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

Three Things to Remember When You Feel Invisible

by Jennifer Rothschild

They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. (Hosea 7:16)

When we're operating as a faulty bow, we long for identity, but we land in crisis. We shoot for pleasure, but we end up requiring more and more to make us happy. We target acceptance, but we hit greater insecurity. We long to be seen and acknowledged, but we end up feeling jealous, envious, and invisible.

The first place a faulty bow can send an arrow is into the minefield of competitiveness. When we don't feel complete in Christ, we compete with others. But we don't need to do this. If you're tiptoeing through a minefield of competitiveness, try this…

Compliment Instead of Compete

Begin complimenting the women you would be otherwise inclined to compete against. Compliment someone for that quality in her that you're actually jealous of. Instead of thinking, I hate you because you're so skinny, say, "You really have a nice figure." Even if you never speak a word to the woman you've found yourself competing against, you can think complimentary thoughts about her every time that jealous feeling starts to creep into your mind.

You're aiming for personal peace and a healthy sense of self-esteem, aren't you? Well, if you're constantly competing, you won't get what you're aiming for. But when you choose to compliment instead of compete, you will actually begin to like yourself. You'll feel magnanimous for your kindness rather than mad at yourself for being petty. When you make that shift from competing to complimenting, your faulty bow transforms into a faithful bow and you find yourself where you want to be—comfortable with yourself and happy for others.

Encourage Instead of Envy

The next minefield to watch out for is in the territory of envy. Many of us experience envy even if we don't often admit this. I sure don't want to admit to all the times I've felt envy because I don't like what envy says about me. I feel ashamed when I'm envious of another woman. It's a hard thing to love a friend so much, yet, at the same time, fight against feeling envious of her. And it's even worse when we allow that envy to morph into just plain dislike or even resentment.

It's also possible that you think you don't like someone at all when deep down all you are is jealous of her. Sometimes when we are extra critical or resentful of someone, it's because we are envious of her. And the main thing this reveals is that we really don't like ourselves very much.

Here's the deal: Envy of a friend is really a symptom of insecurity and discontentment with yourself. If you find yourself constantly fighting feelings of jealousy, it's a clue that you may be operating as a faulty bow, misguided and unreliable.

Remember, being envious will always make you more self-aware and insecure, not less.

An envious person might say something like this: "I can't believe she got picked to do that job! She thinks she can do everything better than anyone else." What's really being said here is this: "I wish I had been chosen to do that job. I feel invisible because she got all the attention. And I'm filled with feelings of jealousy—not joy—toward her. Not only do I want her job, I also want all the attention and accolades she received for doing it so well."

Unattractive, right? None of us intends to live in envy of others, but when it happens (and it's bound to!) our thoughts can become downright ugly. And when we start to think this way, we're the only ones who lose. We lose joy and confidence and contentment as we grow in bitterness and anger and self-awareness. So how do you stop your jealous thought patterns and put a halt to feelings of negativity?

By encouraging! Say, "Way to go! You did a terrific job!" When you offer this kind of pure, no-strings-attached encouragement, you'll feel so much better. You'll develop a pure heart and a kind spirit—things that are actually worth envying! Being encouraging to others is a beautiful way to serve the Lord. And the more you serve Him, the less you will serve yourself. Your character will grow, and your pettiness will shrink.

Thank Instead of   Threaten

If you find yourself becoming overly sensitive or easily threatened, chances are good that you're a faulty bow. You aimed for the landscape of significance, but you've landed in the area of not-good-enough.

When you rest in the hand of God, you never need to feel less than. But it's hard not to think about how others have treated us, and then we start to feel threatened. Maybe you weren't shown the respect you thought you deserved. Perhaps you feel like someone is out to get you or others never treat you the way you'd like to be treated.

If you interpret every suggestion as a slap in the face, every correction as a criticism, and every insight shared with you as an insult to your intelligence, chances are you're standing on a minefield—and it's exploding every minute!

When you start to feel threatened, choose to be thankful instead.

How do you do this? Instead of taking everything personally, immediately take it to Jesus with a thankful heart. Say, "Thank You, Lord, for teaching me and helping me grow."

If you're threatened by someone you're a tad jealous of, thank God for your friend's good attributes. She is who God made her to be, and so to resent what is good in her is to resent what God has done in—and for—her. This might be difficult to do, but it's so important. I know that when I'm not being who I am in God's hands—when I'm focusing on what I'm not—I can never be satisfied with myself, my life, or anything else. I am threatened by others because I'm not thankful for them—and I'm not thankful for me.

Competitiveness, envy, and feeling threatened are just a few of the minefields where faulty bows send their arrows.

Do you too struggle with Faulty Bow Syndrome? If you do--and we all do--ask God to show you where you are, and then hand your faulty bow to Him because being our own archer never, ever works.

God doesn't create faulty bows. If we choose to accept our identity as a loved, accepted, and complete woman of God, we will rest in the hands of the Master Archer. We will conform to His will and His ways, and we won't twist and turn and bend and posture to get our own way.

When we are a faithful bow, we'll be comfortable with the imperfect us--comfortable in the skin we're in.

This article is adapted from 'Invisible' by Jennifer Rothschild.

Source: Live It Devotional

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