It’s Okay to Get Angry?

Cheryl Denton Blog, The Road to Forgiveness:  Removing the Roadblocks, When Hope was Gone, Among the Ashes, Darkfire Series

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Have you ever known someone who gets angry over the slightest trifle? Everything makes them blow their cork, and they chalk this off as part of their personality. I’m Irish, and I think anger is considered a family trait among people from the Emerald Isle. I think this is nothing more than a lame excuse for a life that is out of sorts.

Anger hurts our relationships and our health.
Anger takes a toll on our relationships and our health. AAA recently reported that as many as 1200 serious incidents of road rage occur on America’s highways every year. Angry people intentionally smash into others, intimidate them with firearms, or beat their cars with golf clubs.

Research studies have proven that angry people suffer from higher blood pressures, heart rates, testosterone, and cortisol responses than people who know how to deal with their frustrations.

Everyone gets angry.
It’s important to understand that it’s okay to get angry. Everyone does from time to time. Anger is our heart’s way of telling us that something needs attention. It’s how we deal with our anger that determines whether or not we enjoy positive relationships and good health.

Romans 1:18 (NIV) tells us that God gets angry: But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus got angry. Mark 11:15-17 (NIV) recalls the story of Jesus’ reaction to the anger he felt when he discovered people using the temple as a marketplace:

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

God made us in his image; therefore it is natural for us to feel angry at times. Anger is our built-in warning signal that tells us when something is not consistent with God’s Word. If we respond to it properly, anger can help us to get things changed.

Today’s Challenge
Are you struggling with chronic anger? Take some time today to write down the things that really steam your clams. Ask God to help you identify the deeper anger that you may have pushed into the dark recesses of your memory as a result of abuse.

For more in-depth reading and exercises about forgiveness, please visit cheryldenton.com to buy a copy of my book, The Road to Forgiveness:  Removing the Roadblocks. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

 

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Remove the Roadblocks to Forgiveness

Cheryl Denton author of The Road to Forgiveness, Among the Ashes, and When Hope was Gone

Photo courtesy of keithcraft.org

My View of Forgiveness
I like to think of forgiveness as a winding road over rough terrain. Along the way, we encounter obstacles that may deter us, force us to turn back, or make us more determined than ever to move forward. Today, I would like to give you an overview of where we’re going for the next eight weeks. Hopefully, today’s post will serve as a road map for our journey.

The Roadblocks to Forgiveness
The way I see it, there are nine major roadblocks to forgiveness. As long as these stand in our way, we can’t make much progress:

  1. anger
  2. revenge
  3. hatred
  4. fear
  5. depression
  6. mistrust
  7. guilt and shame
  8. low self-esteem
  9. pride

Learn the Truth about God’s Character
In order to remove the roadblocks that we encounter, I believe there is a step-by-step process that we can follow to successfully forgive others. My ten steps are based on God’s character, as found in the Bible. We must:

  1. recognize the differences between right and wrong;
  2. show mercy to others;
  3. understand the meaning of full grace;
  4. develop patience;
  5. detach ourselves from unholy people and practices;
  6. become peacemakers, not peacekeepers;
  7. allow God’s justice to work in our world;
  8. honor God and others;
  9. be as kind to others as God is to us; and
  10. love our enemies, just as God loves us.

Accept that We All Need Forgiveness
As trauma survivors, the last thing we want to think about is our own sin. We’re too busy fuming over the sins of our perpetrators. When we accept that we need God and others to forgive us, we understand how hard the process can be for the person who hurt us. Acceptance involves seven steps. We need to:

  1. recognize that we all deserve punishment;
  2. acknowledge that we are sinning against our perpetrators and God;
  3. ask God to forgive us;
  4. accept God’s grace;
  5. focus on cleaning up only ourselves;
  6. practice asking for forgiveness from safe people; and
  7. make up for the damages we have caused.

Be Clear that Forgiving after Trauma Might Involve Landslides
The following assumptions that many Christians make in forgiving the unforgivable have caused too many to suffer or even abandon their faith in God:

  1. We must learn to get along with evil people;
  2. We have to reconcile with our enemies;
  3. We should teach our enemies how to apologize; and
  4. We have to tell our enemies face-to-face, “I forgive you.”

Today’s Challenge
As you can see, this forgiveness process involves a lot of self-discovery about our own brokenness. Only by finding forgiveness for ourselves through God’s grace can we learn how to forgive the people who have hurt us.

Get a journal, composition book, or spiral notebook for this series. On the first page, write out a prayer, asking God to reveal what you need to learn over the course of our study on forgiveness.

For more in-depth reading and exercises about forgiveness, please visit cheryldenton.com to buy a copy of my book, The Road to Forgiveness:  Removing the Roadblocks. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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Why Is It So Hard to Forgive?

Today, we begin our series on forgiveness with more questions than answers. For the next 40 days, I will be posting on this topic Monday through Friday, with time off over the weekends to recharge my batteries. So, let’s get started…

Photo courtesy of nuhopecare.com

Photo courtesy of nuhopecare.com

Why does God allow injustices such as childhood sexual abuse?
When people shatter our emotions and destroy our spirits with sexual abuse, it is difficult to forgive. We can’t understand why God allows such terrible injustice. King David wrote in Psalm 82:2 (NIV): How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?

How can we expect both justice and forgiveness?
Several years ago, my world was turned upside-down by the revelation that my father had been molesting one of our children. During his criminal proceedings, the judge wanted the victim to help determine the punishment. This just made the survivor feel the guilt and shame of the abuse all over again. How could she ask for a punishment, while everyone was telling her to forgive?

Who does God think he is, asking us to forgive criminals?
Understanding our creator helps us to see more clearly into his decrees for us to forgive. As part of this series, we will be learning about who our God is. And in doing so, we will begin to understand that the people who have hurt us were created in God’s image, just as we were.

Give me your insights.
Please send me your thoughts about why you believe it is so hard for survivors of abuse and trauma to forgive. Your comments can be made anonymously, and if you don’t want them to be posted, I will keep them confidential.

Join me on this journey.
Forgiveness is a long journey, one with a destination that cannot be reached overnight. If you would like to get on the road to forgiveness, you can visit my website, cheryldenton.com, to purchase your e-book or paperback version of my book, The Road to Forgiveness:  Removing the Roadblocks.  Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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Empower Yourself by Empowering Others

Cheryl Denton speaker and author of Among the Ashes and The Road to Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of http://www.professionalcoachingalliance.com

Jack Canfield’s Success Principle #64

Today is my final blog in this series based on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.  I will begin a new series tomorrow. I hope that you have found Jack’s thoughts helpful, and I hope that you will stay with me as we continue on this journey together.

The greatest contribution we can make to the world is to fulfill the purpose God has given us. Helping others to do the same provides them with joy as they fulfill their God-given dreams. Jack Canfield has helped me to clarify my purpose and to take the action steps necessary to begin my journey. I will always be grateful for his wisdom.

Proverbs 3:13-18 (NIV) reminds me that gaining wisdom throughout our lives is important:

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
for she [wisdom] is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

One of the most powerful ways to gain wisdom is to teach it to others. If you would like to teach Jack Canfield’s Success Principles to others, you can go to www.thesuccessprinciples.com to download a free study guide. By teaching others, you’ll be helping yourself to stay the course along the way to fulfilling your own life purpose.

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Come along with me tomorrow in our discovery of God’s wisdom for our lives.

I am thankful to God for giving me the skills and time to publish three books. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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Start Now and Just Do It!

Cheryl Denton speaker and author of Among the Ashes and The Road to Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of http://thepersonalfreedomproject.com

Jack Canfield’s Success
Principle #63

Don’t let your fears hold
you back.
So many survivors of abuse and trauma let their fears hold them back, and they never even try to achieve their dreams. Oliver Wendell Holmes, former U.S. Supreme Court justice, wrote:

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often, it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

If we allow the fear that our abusers instilled in us or memories of traumatic events to hold us back, we may die without ever getting the chance to bless the world with our God-given gifts.

For a number of years, I would keep editing my books over and over again so that they would be ready for publication. The truth is, I was over-working them, because I was afraid to send them out there. I hate the rejection letters, and it’s safer to just keep working on them than to admit that I’m afraid.

The problem with this habit is that I’m preventing my readers from receiving the blessings that God wants them to have through my writing. I’ve learned so much about thriving after life kicks us in the teeth; and by sitting on my work, I’m preventing someone else from achieving their dreams.

Satan uses fear to keep us from sharing the love of Christ with others. What fears are holding you back?

Take the first step.
An ancient Chinese proverb says,

A journey of 1,000 miles must begin with one step.

I didn’t learn how to write overnight. It began with taking the first step of choosing a creative writing class in high school. To date, I have published hundreds of articles and several books. My success began with that first step.

Anyone can succeed at life, but they must take the first step. What are you waiting for?

Fail forward.
Sometimes, we need to take a class or attend a workshop to learn some new skills. But in reality, all of life is a classroom, where we are constantly learning how to do things better. Some of the most important things we need to know can’t be learned in a classroom or perfected at seminars. We have to get out there and just try. When we fail, we can ask for feedback, go back, and try again.

Believe it or not, our abuse or trauma has probably taught us more than we have ever learned in school. We know how to comfort someone who is suffering, because we have experienced that same comfort through God’s love when we were hurting. My favorite Bible verse comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Are you waiting to learn something new before you can achieve your dreams? Is it possible that you already have the skills to become successful? Are you willing to fail, get feedback, and try again?

Keep trying.
The apostle Paul wrote about the need for perseverance in our faith walk, and I believe this passage is an excellent one for those of us who are afraid to fail at life. He wrote,

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1b)

God has marked out a race for each one of us by giving us a purpose. It’s up to us to start running along that path. On the way, we’ll bless others, and when we arrive at the end of our lives, we will reach a lovely new beginning.

What is keeping you from achieving God’s plan for your life? If you know what it is, why aren’t you running the race?

Cheryl Denton speaker and author of Among the Ashes and The Road to Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of http://goforchange.com

Unforeseen opportunities grow out of your forward motion.
Buckminster Fuller, a scientist and philosopher, wrote about something he calls precessional effects. They are the outcomes of our forward motion as we strive to serve humanity.

To better understand this concept, he explains that a honeybee’s primary purpose in life is to gather nectar. As he flies from flower to flower, he is unwittingly involved in a much bigger plan: he is cross-pollinating all of the rooted botanicals that he touches.

As we move forward toward our goals, we create these same types of precessional effects. I never dreamed when I began writing that I would eventually become the editor of a pharmaceutical journal or the ghost-writer of an evangelist’s biography. These effects simply occurred, because I saw myself as a writer and kept moving ahead.

Are you creating precessional effects? Or are you sitting still, paralyzed by fears that are preventing you from blessing others?

Today’s Challenge
Many people have no clue about how to achieve their dreams. We have learned from one of the best success coaches in the world how to get from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow. The key to overcoming our abusive or traumatic past is to put what we have learned about our life’s purpose into action.

Start today by going back through my blog posts and working through each principle one at a time, in the order that they were presented. Of all the principles we’ve learned, I believe one of the most important is to create a goals book. It’s exciting to review our goals and action plans daily and to see that we are actually making progress toward our dreams.

You can succeed, but you’ve got to get started. And you must keep on until you’ve reached your goals. Imagine the joy you will feel when you arrive at the end of your life, and Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Now get out there and just do it!

I am thankful to God for giving me the skills and time to publish three books. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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Find a Way to Serve

Cheryl Denton speaker and author of Among the Ashes and The Road to Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of http://ltcpaloalto.com

Jack Canfield’s Success Principle #62

When we volunteer, we receive far more than we give. We find inner joy by serving others, as well as some other benefits that Jack identifies.

Volunteerism pays off.
Research on volunteerism shows that people who give their time to others live longer, have stronger immune systems, suffer fewer heart attacks, recover more quickly from heart attacks, have higher self-esteem, and enjoy a deeper sense of purpose than people who don’t volunteer.

People who volunteer when they’re young are more likely to end up in higher-paying jobs than their counterparts. Employers report that they often look to see if job candidates have engaged in volunteer work before hiring them. In addition, networking during volunteer time frequently leads to unexpected career opportunities.

By volunteering, we can learn success skills that we wouldn’t ordinarily acquire. Some employers, such as SAFECO and Pillsbury, actually build volunteerism into their employee development programs.

For many years, I volunteered at our public and school libraries. Without realizing it, I was preparing myself for a great deal of the research that I now do as a writer.

Volunteer to match your purpose.
When we volunteer, it’s important to serve people we feel passionate about. I have very little in common with basketball players, so volunteering to help with a youth basketball team wouldn’t do much for me or the kids.

I love to sew, therefore I volunteer my time to lead a quilting group at my church. We give the finished quilts to terminally ill patients at the hospital. Our group uses Scripture from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) to encourage patients and their families:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

For those of us who have survived incest, abuse, or trauma, there are countless opportunities to help others who have been victims. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand why God allowed us to suffer as we did. But by serving other survivors, we can bring some sense to our own pain. We can look at our experiences as preparation for helping others to thrive. By learning to share the comfort that we have already received from God, we bring meaning to our own suffering.

How much time should we volunteer?
We were members of Southeast Christian Church while Joe was attending seminary. Their slogan for personal growth was 1-1-1: one hour of worship, one hour of Bible study, and one hour of service per week. This was suggested as a starting place for new members. Remember from yesterday’s lesson that we should ideally be giving ten percent of our time, as well as our money to others in need.

Today’s Challenge
There are many nonprofit organizations that can use your skills. Make a list of people you would enjoy helping, places you would like to serve, and skills that you can offer. Figure out how to serve for just one hour this week, and build your volunteerism from there.

I am thankful to God for giving me the skills and time to publish three books. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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Give More to Get More

Cheryl Denton author of Among the Ashes and The Road to Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of http://farmington-pres.org

Jack Canfield’s Success Principle #61

Jack writes some things in today’s lesson that really bother me. In the first paragraph, he says, “By tithing regularly, you, too, can put into motion God’s universal force, bringing you continual abundance.” My concern is that many readers may misunderstand that this means tithing will guarantee monetary success. Jack actually writes that tithing “is one of the best guarantees of prosperity ever known.”

What is tithing?
The Bible clearly spells out what tithing is. Leviticus 27:30 (NIV) reads, A tithe (tenth) of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.
If it weren’t for God, we would have nothing. When we fail to give back to him our tithe, we are, in essence, robbing God.

Malachi 3:10 (MSG) was written to the Israelites at a time when they were holding back their tithes. It reads:

Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day. “You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’ “The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.”

If we are in a relationship with God, our love for him ought to compel us to give more than ten percent to his work. The way I look at it, the tithe is just the beginning. If I could give fifty percent, I would.

Why can’t I bring myself to tithe?
As an abuse survivor, I have sometimes experienced difficulty with tithing, because it meant that I was giving up control of the one part of my life that I thought I could manage. God’s laughing his head off over that statement, I’m sure!

We may have trouble trusting God, because our earthly parents did not provide for us. We see our money as our own…a means to keep ourselves safe from harm. Letting go of just ten percent of our earnings may stir up feelings of fear.

It is true that God promises blessings to those who release their hold on their tithes. But those blessings may not necessarily come in the form of millions of dollars. They may come to us as friendships, respect, peace, and joy. If we are giving from the love God has placed in our hearts, the peace we get in return for giving is immeasurable.

Practice two types of tithing.
There are two types of tithing: giving of our money; and giving of our time. The closer we grow in relationship with God, the more we want to give back to him. Just writing a check to the church or a charity isn’t enough. We want to volunteer as much of our free time as we can to serve others. That’s because God’s love can’t be contained within us. The more we receive, the more we feel compelled to give.

Today’s Challenge
Examine your budget and calendar. Consider how much of your money and time are going toward God’s work. Are you giving him what he deserves? Or are you robbing him? If you can’t bring yourself to tithe, consider your view of God and your relationship with him. Do you need to surrender control over this part of your life to him? Can you trust him to provide if you let go of ten percent?

I am thankful to God for giving me the skills and time to publish three books. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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To Spend More, First Make More

Cheryl Denton author of Among the Ashes and The Road to Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of http://excel-cashflow.com/

Jack Canfield’s Success Principle #60

If we’re going to overcome as survivors of abuse or trauma, we must work hard to first provide for our basic needs. When we’re no longer worrying about physical or financial survival, we can focus on learning ways to thrive emotionally and spiritually.

Jack believes that there are two ways to have more: spend less on mundane things to save for what we want; or earn more to begin with. I think that doing both is a good idea.

Figure out how to make more money.
Before we can begin making more money, we must set a goal that spells out exactly how much we need. Remember, we must have goals that we turn into affirmations on index cards or in a goals book if we want to achieve our dreams.

Jack provides five ideas for making more money, as follows:

1) Become an intrapraneur.
By definition, an intrapraneur is an entrepreneur who gets hired by his or her own company to fill a niche that the company can’t. Obviously, to do this, we must first be employed.

In my opinion, following this tactic of becoming an intrapraneur would more likely net us a nice raise or a promotion, rather than a new stream of income. We would have a better chance if we figured out what our company isn’t doing well and then start our own entrepreneurship to fill that need.

2) Find a need and fill it.
Thomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.” There are unmet needs all around us, and if we’re creative, we can find ways to make money from them.

When I was studying interior design, I kept hearing from everyone in the business, “Good luck finding someone to make window treatments!” At that time, there were very few drapery workrooms and few choices in ready-mades.

I decided to specialize in window treatment design by opening my own drapery workroom. Word got out that I could design and fabricate custom window treatments, so designers began hiring me to handle tasks that most of them knew little about. They were relieved, and I was making great money doing something that I loved.

We can look around and think about something that needs to be provided, solved, addressed or eliminated. Our aging population and single parents have needs that go unmet every day. If we ask what’s missing, we will find a way to make people’s lives easier or more fulfilling.

3) Think outside the box.
Sometimes there’s a need that is partially being met, but we can think of ways to do it better. If we think outside the box, we can come up with solutions that pay off great benefits.

When my son was in public school, he was not learning as one would expect. By the time he got to fifth grade, he could barely read. I spent a fortune on private schools for a few years, but I wasn’t seeing much improvement.

Twenty years ago, home schooling was considered radical. In the state where we lived, it was barely legal. Considering home schooling was outside-of-the-box thinking, but I finally decided that it was what my son needed.

Within a year, he was reading at the level of an eleventh-grader. While I wasn’t getting rich through home schooling, the benefits were outstanding. I saved a lot of tution money that was being wasted, and my son grew up knowing how to learn.

We can all see ways of improving things if we look around us. There are gaps in services everywhere, and by thinking outside the box, we can make or save money by doing things better.

4) Start a business on the Internet.
In today’s market, anyone can start up a small business on the Internet, even if they’ve already got a job. We can fill the needs of very narrow markets by reaching millions of shoppers worldwide.

I once set up an internet business to sell quilts. With the help of the Small Business Development Center director, I managed to get myself online within about a week. It cost me $25 for a vendor’s license and a few hundred dollars worth of materials.  For help with your own business set-up, go to www.sba.gov/sbdc.

5) Join a network marketing company.
There are thousands of companies that sell their products through network marketing. I’ve been involved in several of them, without great success. I do believe it’s possible to make a good deal of money this way by selling vitamins, cosmetics, and so on; but I don’t believe I was very good at it, because it wasn’t my purpose. Unless we feel passionate about what we’re selling, we can’t usually sustain the effort.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 (NIV) reads, Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him–for this is his lot. If we’re going to choose extra work for ourselves, we should make sure it’s something we enjoy.

Create multiple sources of income.
Of all the advice on financial success in this book, I believe this is the smartest tip. Too many of us have placed all of our faith in our jobs. When we get laid off, our health fails, or our job gets eliminated, where does that leave us? If we have multiple sources of income, we can create economic security.

While building multiple sources of income, it’s important to look for business opportunities that require very little time and money. No matter what we decide to do, our extra work must match our purpose if we want to succeed at it.

Today’s Challenge
Brainstorm ways to earn more income, using Jack’s five suggestions above. Write them down and begin exploring the one or two that feel right for you. Remember to pursue the ideas that are in alignment with your purpose.

I am thankful to God for giving me the skills and time to publish three books. Click on the image below to find out more about my writing and my ministry.
 Among the Ashes When Hope was Gone Forgive Cheryl Denton Books Mystery

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