Have you ever started a diet where you had lofty goals to lose three pants sizes in a week, only to look at the scales a week later and find you were a couple pounds heavier? Maybe dieting isnât your thing, but instead you tried to train for your first half-marathon and found yourself on the couch in your running shoes gorging on a bag of potato chips instead.
Lofty goals can lead to pride or defeat--pride because if you succeed in accomplishing that seemingly impossible goal, you will have bragging rights for life. Defeat, however, is the more common of these two outcomes, because staring at a mountain and having no concrete or realistic plan can knock the wind out of your sails before you even begin.
I had a client a few years back who had a fear of spiders. She hated them, but could usually manage her fear enough to remove herself from an uncomfortable situation if she needed to. Her roommate decided this fear was irrational so she took a pretty radical approach to help her get past this fear. She released her pet tarantula into my clientâs room and locked the door behind her. This of course traumatized my patient, and what began as a fear of spiders quickly developed into a full-blown phobia. Had the client been able to take baby-steps toward conquering her fear in her own time, she may have found the opportunity to move past this fear on her own. Unfortunately, due to her roommateâs rip-the-bandaid-off-quickly approach, she required profession counseling to help manage her fear.
While many fears do require the help of a professional due to trauma orÂ anxiety, many fears can be conquered with a plan and a little determination. Approach your fear the way you would approach a diet with these three, simple steps:
Make a Plan
Fear, much like a diet or any other goal, has to be approached in baby steps. Sure, you want to set goals for yourself, but if you have no concrete, achievable Â goals to set your eyes on, youâll get distracted, overwhelmed, and will likely give up. Just as a doctor would rarely encourage a patient to give up all sweets in a single day, I would rarely recommend jumping out of an airplane as your first step towards conquering a fear of heights. Instead, set measurable, achievable goals, and get started.
2) Find Your Person
Just as it would be helpful to have a friend or family member hold you accountable during a diet, finding someone you trust can make all the difference in the world as you face your fear. Getting over your fear requires transparency, so think of a single person you trust to gently but firmly come alongside you to help you achieve your goals.
3) Celebrate the Victories
Itâs important to celebrate the small victories along the way to increase your stamina and keep you motivated. Conquering a fear is not easy, so treat yourself from time to time! Just as you might reward yourself for making it through a week without sugar with a victory cookie, think of something you can use to motivate yourself towards your goal.
Think of a fear that may have some control over you or may be keeping you from doing something really exciting. Today could be the first day towards conquering that fear! Take the first step now by answering these three questions:
- What fear do you think it is time to conquer?
- What are the first three baby steps you need to take in order to achieve this goal?
- Who do you trust to walk alongside you as you face this fear? Name one person.
If you would like to learn more about our services or what we can do to help you overcome any fears or anxieties you might be facing, contact us and set-up a time to talk. Our experienced therapists and counselors are more than happy to talk with you and help you decide what your next steps need to be. If you'd like to join our mailing list to receive free counseling resources just like this straight to your inbox, type your email below! And don't forget to share with a friend.
Itâs inevitable...if we choose to be in a relationships with others, then sometimes we are going to find ourselves in situations where we feel angry or offended. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we are all guilty of causing others pain. As Christians, it is our responsibility to resolve conflicts quickly in order to heal relationships and move forward. Unfortunately, when it comes to resolving our anger, we can react out of anger instead and find ourselves in greater conflict thanÂ before.
If you find yourself feeling offended or angry, take some time to consider the situation. Pray for clarity and check your heart to honestly consider what is causing your anger. Once you find the clarity you need to address the problem level-headedly, seek out the person that has angered you and attempt to resolve the issue. Be authentic and honest with the person using these three steps as a guide:
1)Â Share What Happened
This will allow you both to align your perceptions and identify whether there is a problem to resolve or if it was a simple miscommunication. Either way, you will free yourself from the temptation of holding a grudge and offer the other person the chance to provide clarity. It is very possible the person is unaware he or she has offended you, so give the benefit of the doubt and initiate a conversation, free of accusation and full of grace.
2)Â Share How You Feel
Even if the situation turns out to be a simple miscommunication, you are still human, and feelings can be hurt even without bad intentions. Allow yourself the freedom to explain how the situation made you feel. Be open, transparent, and honest--but careful not to let your emotions get away from you.
3)Â Share What You NeedÂ
The most overlooked step in resolving anger is sharing what you need to move past your anger. While sharing how you feel may help you feel better in the moment, it will not resolve the issue or prevent it from happening again. If there is something that you need in order to move forward in the relationship, share it! Allow the other person to do the same, and you are one step closer to creating unity in your relationship.
Unfortunately, this three-step approach cannot guarantee to fix every situation because you cannot control how the other person will react. It will, however, help you deal with your anger in a positive and healthy way that will lead you one step closer to a healthy relationship again.
God bless, and have a great weekend!
Have you ever felt taken out by a person or a circumstance and felt like all hope was lost? Maybe thats where youâre at today? This reminds me of a man in the Bible named Peter. Peter was the kind of guy who went all out for Jesus. He left his family and fishing career and was the guy who walked on water for at least a minute. Peter was rewarded by seeing miracles, being one of the 12 disciples and even an intimate part of Jesusâ most trusted inner circle of three. They ate together, traveled and ministered together and talked about issues like who would be the greatest. Peterâs dream of restoring Israel back to her former glory was happening and he was at the center of it all. He even told Jesus that even if everyone else deserted Him, he would not. For Peter, life was great.
And then Judas betrays Jesus and the life that he knows is jeopardized. But Peter is fierce and doesnât go down without a fight. He brandishes his sword and defends his Jesus and the dream life he has been living. What happens next was the beginning of the end for Peter and the life he knew. Jesus tells Peter to put the sword away then heals the man Peter wounded. Soon after, the son of God who cast out demons and raised the dead was taken prisoner.
This was too much for Peter and he fled. He fled because everything he thought to be true had just been wrecked. Peter lingered at a distance and denied knowing Jesus three times as Jesus was being judged. He had lost his identity because his identity was in the dream of who he wanted Jesus to be and not who Jesus really was. And then Jesus was crucified and the finality of his loss was made certain. This was Peterâs darkest hour.
But then the resurrection and hope was restored! Jesus met up with Peter as the risen King. He then asked Peter 3 times âDo you love me?â The conversation reached the point where Peter was really hurt and said âYou know I love you.â Jesus had to acknowledge the depth of shame and pain Peter felt in his failure and lost identity to prepare Peter to receive a new one. This would be Peterâs come back. Then Jesus said âgo and feed my sheepâ. This is the equivalent of Jesus saying your shame and failures do not disqualify you from your calling. I am validating you as a loved child of God who is qualified by what I have done. The focus has now shifted from Peterâs identity being in his beliefs and abilities to Jesus and who He says Peter is.
â˘ How have you experienced a set back or felt like a failure?
â˘ Pray and ask God to show you how he wants to take you from Set Back to Come Back?
Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has served marriages, families and individuals for almost 25 years. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling, a place where therapists integrate. their faith with cutting edge counseling techniques to offer hope and healing in any circumstance of life. You can find out more about Shawn and his team at NewVisionCounseling.org or follow him on facebook and Instagram at NewVisionCounseling
So many of us spend our days feeling like we work so hard at making this life work but seem to keep falling short. We work all day and what do we look forward to … something on TV? Our free time is spent seeking pleasures from eating out to shopping for a new outfit. Many of us seek our joy from watching sports or accomplishing projects around the house. And then there are those who wait all year for that amazing vacation to fill their tank. How is this working? Well, according to one study one in six Americans take some kind of psychiatric drugâmostly antidepressants. Another study found that approximately forty million Americans have some form of Anxiety. Sadly, all this effort isnât working.
There has got to be more; right? And thank God, there is. I could take you down a hundred different paths but today lets go down one that our âMe, me, meâ society doesnât celebrate like it once did. A path leads you to more value and significance. It can help you come out of depression. And, you can begin feeling good about you and the life you are living instead of worrying about the life you are not.
You see, you were made to be a giver of life and light and not just a consumer of it. What if instead of believing the lie of the media that we should desire something because it holds a promise for us we moved to a Godly approach? What if we stopped evaluating our happiness and satisfaction from what I get and how well others serve me to what I can give and how I can serve others? Sound too simple to be life changing? Fortunately for all of us, its not.
Consider that last time you focused on how someone let you down. Did you feel better afterwards? What about when your kids interrupt your tv shows? Or when someone at work isnât doing there part (which is typical for most places)? Does focusing on how your needs or expectations are not being met serve you well? Ok, here is my last example. Think about your last birthday and if you felt like people valued you enough? Were their gifts thoughtful and did they show they really know you and what you like? Now, think about times when you have served and given others. How did you feel then? You likely felt some level of joy and value, like you had a bigger purpose.
You see, when we focus on us we place spoken or unspoken expectations on others and our circumstances to meet our needs. This places us at the constant mercy of people and events outside our control. Thus we live in states of worrying if we will be happy and satisfied. When these needs go unmet we can get sad or even depressed. But, if we focus on how we can bless and serve others our focus changes. We can control how we help others at work who donât deserve it. We can make every birthday great by getting our friends and family gifts and seeking to bless others on our special day. And as we focus on blessing others and invest our time in serving their needs we will live in a constant state of reaping a Godly harvest. And thus begin living a life worth celebrating. What are three ways you can focus on serving others today?
Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has over two decades of experience helping people heal from their past wounds and creating lives worth celebrating. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling where he works with a team of highly trained and compassionate therapists whose mission is to change the world one by caring for one person at a time.
Hi my name is Shawn Maguire I’m blessed to serve as a Christian Counselor and today I want to open up a door and let you peak in a little bit of how by making a few changes you really can shift the paradigm of the way that you think. For many of us we struggle with something called expectations, and expectations say that life has to be done this way in this box and so that means in any given circumstance we have a very originally clearly defined expectation of what needs to happen for our needs to be met what needs to happen for us to feel safe what needs to happen for us to feel valued and list goes on and on and on and we place these expectations on our spouse on our loved ones our kids even our employer or employees. We place them on vacation because we hope to relax we’re very defined way of relaxing and if the it’s not sunny yet and we’re going to the beach and we get depressed because our expectation wasnt met.Â Well let’s see if we can shift degrees a little bit because what if we moved from expectation from this rigid box to something that was called expectancy. Expectancy allows the freedom ofor movement it allows you to have the direction of where you’re going but to allow the freedom for the event circumstances and even the actions of others to change and for you to move and flow along with those changes. What I don’t mean is that you should reduce or do away with the expectation that your spouse should be faithful or that your accountant should cheat you on your taxes and embezzle money or that your kids should be disrespectful that your boss should be able to yell and scream at you. I don’t think they’re certain areas of your life that we need to do away with expectations but I do see so much opportunity to have expectancy. Expectancy allows you to relax to not have to have your hands on the steering wheel so white-knuckle that if things go awry you’re frantically looking to gain control of the bus to can’t get it back on the track that you think will meet all your needs to get you where you want to go. Expectancy allows God to move in your life in various ways if you pray for patience. I doubt God is going to give you a castle on the beach and day after day of walking and allow you to find diamonds everywhere. If you pray for patience God may bring you through a tough season where you need to develop patience by trusting Him. The end result it is even better than what you expected or hoped for but the process was drastically different. Expectancy allows God to move in your life as he wills because He loves you and you believe that. Expectancy allows your kids the freedom to be who they are andÂ for you to still have expectations on their behavior but expectancy allows their unique personalities to develop without you stressing out because one child is very outgoing and you’re really shine that embarrasses you. I encourage you to consider how expectancy may change your life and then sit down write out the areas of your life that you have expectations rigidly defined in Him and maybe even go further and explain how they’re affecting you negatively maybe even positive and then invite involved expected seeing the equation right expectancy and they go through each of those items and define how expectancy will change when you’re like to see situations the way you experience them and how they may even begin to positively impact your relationships moving forward. Thank you so much for listening I pray that you are as impacted by this discovery as I was when I first learned about the difference and how it canÂ impact my life. I hope to hear feedback for many of you soon and I know that some ofÂ you soon will be calling set up an appointment and for those of you that do I look forward to seeing you soon.
Brian and Janelleâs save their marriage through Christian counseling
Brian and Janelle came to counseling as many couples do wanting a quick fix. They struggled with issues in communication and lack of connection. They came off and on for a few years. They would come in crisis, and then when the fires were put out they would stop coming. Unfortunately, they didnât invest enough time to go past putting out fires onto the deep work of true and lasting change. That all changed the last time they came in. Janelle exclaimed at the beginning of session, âIf you donât change I am done. You are going to finish building this massive house and you will be all alone because the kids and I will be gone.â This got Brianâs attention, so he began to invest. You see, Brian was a highly successful salesman and knew how to get people to see things his way. Unfortunately, this technique does not work well in building a marriage that lasts a lifetime. He began coming two to three times per week for individual counseling, but he still didnât see where he was going wrong. Janelle was getting more frustrated and he was getting more desperate to save his marriage. The solution; invite all the people in your life that love you and your wife and are willing to help you in this journey. At the next session, I created a panoramic mirror with all of his friends. It was a really big mirror because he had way more friends than I anticipated. Why a mirror you may ask? A mirror gives you the opportunity to see what needs to change. Can you imagine leaving your house in the morning without looking at yourself in the mirror? No way! Well, what I have discovered is that many of us have journeyed through marriage without ever looking in the mirror (the Bible, friends and family, prayer, etc.) to see who we really are and what needs to change. The session was really intense. I helped Janelle tell her story of how much she was hurting. I helped their friends see clearly what was happening without Brian selling them on his side of the story. Some of the women began to cry and one of the guys grew increasingly angry. He simply couldnât understand how Brian could be so insensitive. After everyone was done asking questions and confronting Brian in mostly loving ways, something felt different. Brian shed one, maybe two tears, but there was a crack. A crack in the image of the Christian husband he was portraying to the world that was different from the husband he really was at home. Thankfully, the crack grew as he began seeing how callous and hurtful he had been to Janelle. This created a sense of repentance and flowed into humility. Now, he began to change deeply. Through many tears and several counseling sessions he was following Christ instead of trying to get Janelle to follow him. Where are they at today? At this post they are living in their big house. The house is now used to share Godâs love with couples that they mentor, and to provide a place to stay for those who are in need. I praise God for their story and the inspiration they have had on my life and countless others. Faith Forward, Shawn Maguire, LPC
—- 1 Timothy 2:13-15 —–
As part of the curse, women suffer great pain in childbirth. However, that pain doesnât end when the child is born, it is but the beginning. Many women are deceived in believing raising their children should not be so very difficult as long as the right things are done. They quickly discoverÂ how wrong their idealized view of parenting was.
Mothering is not intended to be easy. It is a fight for the souls of our children.Â In no other place is the good fight so evident in the life of a mother than in herÂ home, raising her children to love the Lord. She is fighting a battle on so manyÂ fronts, that only our Omni-powerful God could make her an over-comer againstÂ such odds. She is fighting against herself and all the fleshly desires she has,Â against the will of her children to rebel and sin, and against the tide of a worldÂ ruled by the fallen prince, satan. A prince that parades around as an angel ofÂ light, deceiving our children and the world with empty promises of money,Â power, fame, fun, ease…
Let us reconsider the role of dear mom. She is a warrior who isÂ responsible for training the next generation of warriors. She is the one teachingÂ them by her example how to fight and win battles just as Jesus did while on earth.Â Hers is the example they will learn in how to treat their siblings, love theirÂ daddy and others, work, ethics, habits (quiet time, prayer, Bible reading and study…)
Mom is more than a homemaker, she is a life-changer.Â Men, we must take her for granted no longer. Our role is to equip and empowerÂ her in ways only God, His Word, and His body can reveal and sustain.Â Ours is the opportunity to remind this warrior princess that she is so muchÂ more than a cook, maid, and babysitter. Her value is incalculable this side ofÂ Heaven, but our role is to help her discover and live up to the great calling placedÂ upon her life. She has been anointed like no other. She is the one God chose toÂ bring life into this world, and childbirth is just the beginning of that process;Â not the end.
One of the greatest struggles for me has been consistent and purposeful parenting.Â Not parenting out of my emotions in the moment or not just come up with a temporary,Â quick fix goes against I guess what I know and what comes so natural to me.
Remember how I said my husband was a good father a few days ago? Well, this is where my husband completes me. đ He studied this in college and workedÂ with children in therapeutic foster care for 4 years at St. Anthony hospital before I even metÂ him, and for the last 9 years in private practice, he has helped many many couples in the parenting department. And besides the academics, he just really has a God-given ability to think so clearlyÂ even in the throws of a toddler tantrum or in the heat of a fight between siblings. He thinks forwardÂ and is able to not let his emotions get involved.
The Lord has done such a work in my life regarding parenting (although I still struggle a lot) that now I am feeling a desire to share from time to time what hasÂ helped me. We approach our parenting from a Biblical perspective first and then we have usedÂ other resources over the years, that I am compiling a list of and will hopefully share soon.
I did want to share this little video glimpse into how my husband dealt with an “issue” last nightÂ with Hayden. The issue was Hayden not wanting to do his chores for the last couple of days and meÂ calling Shawn to cry to him at work because I was so frustrated. Last night I just sat back and admired. Please excuse the poor video quality and I wish I would have gotten the whole thing on video.
Basically, Shawn went through Hayden’s chore list and gave him a “solution” to every choreÂ that he no longer wanted to do. Genius.
FYI– Hayden’s chores are age appropriate. For example, he is required to do “laundry”Â twice a week. This consists of him switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer andÂ then taking the clothes out of the dryer to the couch for me to fold. I promise you we areÂ not running a sweat shop. đ
âDonât ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come aliveâÂ – Howard Thurman
This quote sounds so amazing. I read it and I think wow! that is so good! And then my eye catches something else or my phone rings and the quote is all but forgotten in 3 seconds.
But I don’t want that. At least not at this point in my life. I want truths to change me, not just be another golden nugget to be tossed like trash. I don’t want to read a whole chapter of my Bible and then get up with nothing to chew on for the day. We were designed for input but in our culture we have to be so very picky and selective or else we will drown in nothingness. I read somewhere that we have the ability to access more information in one day then our great-grandparents did in their entire lives! But do we know more?
Are we better off with all of that access, information, and “knowledge”?
Sometimes I feel like there is too much trash lying around to actually findÂ any great nuggets that I know I put right here in this drawer. I mean that closet. No, I mean what did I come in this room for?
Our minds are like our house. The rooms get dirty. Baggage gets left unpacked and there are piles of junk mail that we keep adding to every day. And the nuggets, God’s truths, affirmations from our spouses, that thought to call an old friend, get buried, lost, and forgotten.
What piles do we need to throw away? Maybe it is unsubscribing to the magazine that makes you feel fat and ugly every month. Maybe it is deletingÂ that app on your phone that steals too much of your valuable time. Or maybe it is turning off the tv in the evening so that you can remember the nuggets of the day and decide what to do with them. It is the nuggets that will actually make you come alive. Pay attention to them and keep them dusted.
Here is an excerpt from a letter I wrote explaining to a couple my thoughtsÂ about premarital counseling. If you know of a couple, young or old, who is heading in the direction of marriage please encourage them to consider premaritalÂ counseling! Some of the most common excuses for not seeking out counseling is time and money. This is comical in light of how much TIME and MONEY go intoÂ most American weddings! I could go on. And on. And on. But I will jump off my soapbox and let you read the following:
For couples who feel they are called to be together, this will be an exciting journey. During the premarital process, you will continue to reaffirm your love for and commitment to each other. This will serve to strengthen the relationship and commitment you already have. In addition, you will learn ways to cope with life’s struggles and challenging situations that often fracture many couples who were caught unprepared. You will learn how to grow closer in the storms of life instead of being pulled apart – how to keep the lines of communication open, even in the midst of a battle.
Many of the common issues that come between many couples after marriage are addressed during this period of time. My role is to encourage you to not fear each other’s weaknesses and flaws, but to identify ways to openly discuss and work through them. Whereas most couples would avoid these areas before marriage out of fear it would destroy their relationship; I encourage you to address and work through them. If there are issues that would destroy the relationship if discussed before the wedding, then I challenge the couple to consider what their relationship has been built on.
It is my belief that both of you should have the freedom to openlyÂ address any issues that are present, and fear should be put in its place –Â far behind love. Love does not shrink back from issues but is strongÂ enough to address and work through them. I help you moveÂ beyond the best representative of the person you areÂ engaged to until you find the person you will marry. I’ve discoveredÂ that most people wear a mask and do not reveal their trueÂ nature until after they are married. I think it is not only beneficialÂ but absolutely necessary to know someone on this level before you marry.Â It is out of this belief that I approach premarital counseling.