[I have revised and updated this post from a couple of years ago.]
Are your problems like other peoples’ problems?
Have you ever thought to yourself that you were the ONLY one concerned about . . . (name it).
Let’s take a few minutes and look at the 8 biggest problems people face (whether they know it or not). See where you fall out in comparison.
This is not a scientific study**. These are my personal reflections over three decades of serving people. As a busy, involved Life Coach I get lots of questions from clients, friends, and family. They all center around the following eight concerns:
1. Relational Issues. Human beings are relational. Those who aren’t are considered abnormal, and for good reason . . . they are. Men relate to women, women to men, children relate to parents, people to employers, teachers, and government. Everything in life revolves around relationship. Why are so many so bad at them? Relational equilibrium is what Life Coaches help to establish. People sometimes need a new or different perspective on their old habits of relating that aren’t working for them. Perhaps they need a new mental window to look through when they’re communicating with others.
If you want to see shallow, superficial relationships and attempts at “love,” just watch some of the contemporary reality TV programs. The problem with watching them of course is that they have nothing to teach you. Unless you learn from them that relationships need to be other-oriented rather than selfish and self-serving. Who would want a “friend” like some of the people you see on the “Bachelorette” or “Jersey Shore?” I’m hoping these aren’t the new “reality.” If they are, we should add a ninth problem to our list: Shallow Reality TV.
2. Fear of Running Out of Money. Will the money last? Will I have a job tomorrow? Most people are concerned about their income, especially the lack of income. They are concerned about expenses. He says, “She shops like there’s no tomorrow. She can’t possibly wear all the shoes she owns!” She says, “He thinks a boat is more important than renovating our bedroom or kitchen. If it were up to him, I wouldn’t have anything.”
Some have more than enough but worry that they’ll lose it. Others have just enough to squeak by today but are not sure about tomorrow. Some say they don’t care . . . and among those are the truly content and the obviously deluded. Life and death, sickness and health are tied up in these issues. FREE ADVICE: The best place to be in regard to finances is completely out of debt.
3. Health Issues. What happens if I get sick? How will we get by? OR I’m so tired of hospitals and doctors. I’m sick of sickness! How can I keep myself healthy? Many are deeply in debt through no fault of their own and see no way out. Many folks I talk with are ignorant of healthy nutrition. Others have begun to take seriously the way our food in America is raised and processed (for a real education watch the documentary Food, Inc.–you can stream it on Netflix). They are opting in on organic produce and fruits, grass-fed cattle, and free-range foul. Some worry about their health future. There are solutions that do not involve medical insurance. More and more believers I know are taking advantage of group sharing programs like Samaritan Ministries (for those who are disciples of Jesus).
4. Anxiety over Finding or Losing Loved ones. Am I lovable? Will someone care for me? Am I worth caring about? Am I perfect enough? Can I find mister/ms right? Will I ever find someone like . . . ? Love is at the center of most relationships. All but the most dysfunctional people care deeply about finding, keeping, and losing love. Yet no two people can agree upon what “true love” is. Some say there’s no such thing . . . and they have enough broken relationships to prove it. Relational issues in families, between families have escalated since the late sixties, early seventies. I’m not a sociologist, so I can’t give you the reasons for this. What I can say is that the majority of people I speak with or coach desire whole, functional relationships. Others don’t want to pay the price to change. They want the OTHER person to change. Our difficulties are always easier to blame on someone else when we’re too immature to take responsibility for the way we relate.
Abandonment, rejection, and loneliness have attacked every one of us through some relationship. Good reason exists for us all to be love-shy. Yet, people who can’t or won’t love will remain incomplete and dysfunctional. Love is after all what our Creator says we were created for. All the negative experiences are the result, not of love, but of SELF-love.
5. Religious Questions. Is there a God? Or is this life all there is? Are we alone in the Universe? What if there is a God and I’m wrong? Do I end up in Hell or Heaven? What are the requirements? Who’s right? Muslims? Jews? Buddhists? Hindus? What’s the big deal about Jesus? Why are Christians so insistent on Him for everybody? Do we really need religion? These are not problems for some, but for those who deeply examine their lives, they have to come to terms with whether they want to live a Tea Bag Philosophy of life or encounter and relate to the One who claims to be Creator, and lover of their soul. The reason Jesus is such a big deal, the reason that every known religion has had to come to terms with Him is because He claimed a relationship with God as Father. Then he rose from the dead and was seen by over 500 credible witnesses. His followers number in the 10’s of millions. Like Him, they claim that God has “revealed” Himself to them. They experience fellowship with their Father-God. Other religions make claims as well, but of a very different sort. None claims that their God is the God who is Love. No other God has demonstrated that love by reaching out to human beings to bring them into his Household. For this reason, and many others, I’m a Christian spiritual formation Life Coach.
6. Concerns about Death. What happens when I die? Of course, the obvious answer is “You’re dead. It won’t matter to you.” Don’t we just die, go into the ground, and float around as a spirit looking to hang out in a place that was special to us? Most of the cultural views regarding death are based upon a misinformed Epistemology–Most people are clueless about immortality, death, the grave, and what happens after (including, and sometimes most especially, religious people). You can change that. You can know what happens when you die. That’s why beyond the grave books are such hot sellers. That’s why Life Coaches, who also deal with spiritual formation, can bring clarity to many of these issues.
7. Global War. Aren’t we headed toward destruction of the world? Why can’t we just all live together? Why can’t we live at peace? For the same reason that people struggle with so many of these life questions. Most people look only on the surface and refuse to see the invisible, underlying realities that shape our existence. I guess they feel that they can’t impact those unseen things. So now combine misplaced Epistomology with a misplaced Anthropology. War is the result of men who are unsatisfied with what they have (greed) OR of men who think that they have to institute their religious laws on everyone else (religious legalistic totalitarianism). By the way, Christians to not believe they must institute religious laws on everyone. Quite the opposite. They fulfill and satisfied the law in their relationship to Jesus Christ. What do Imean? Take a week and read, then reread The New Testament in the Bible. Then you’ll understand.
Think long and hard over these two causes (greed and religious law) before you’re tempted to move on. The lust of man, the pride of life, and the desires that he can’t control all drive him to take what is not his or want what is someone else’s. He wants to control, to enforce his will upon others. No god offered by other religions encourages freedom or liberty. They can’t. They want to control. The One True God–Yahweh–is the God of freedom and love. A person adopted as His child, is truly free and beloved.
8. Concerns about the Future. What should I do with my life? Where are things headed? Scores of questions abound regarding the future–what it holds, how people are to face it, perhaps leverage it. The future is big business too. So naturally people wonder if it’s OK to seek out fortune tellers, palm readers, psychics, and other practitioners of divination. As a Christian spiritual formation Life Coach, I share God’s view regarding those practices. They open people to demonization by seeking future information from supernatural sources–which God has expressly forbidden (not because He’s a Blue Meanie–but for our safety). I explain that two sources are available for believers to KNOW their intended future, including preparing for unforeseen events. But that’s another post.
The eight biggest problems people voice to me seem to cover most things human. The specifics change, but the concerns seem to group together under one of the eight–relational issues, fear of running out of money, health issues, anxiety over finding or losing loved ones, religious questions, concerns about death, global war, and concerns about the future.
QUESTION: Can you think of any BIG problems I’ve overlooked?
©2011, David C Alves
**MY RESEARCH: Just to give you some context to why I know something about this topic: I’m speaking from tens of thousands of conversations for over twenty-six years as a Life Coach. The questions and concerns people bring to me tend to be repetitive. I also speak as someone who has weathered bankruptcy and am now completely out of dept. I have been divorced and have been happily married now for 32 years in my second marriage. I was lost and have been found. I was rejected and am accepted. I have defeated panic attack disorder and quit smoking and drinking decades ago. All this just to say, I’m not someone who can’t empathize with the people I coach. Character and wisdom come from weathering life’s storms, caring for others, being teachable, and taking sound counsel.
- Life Coaching Tips (womanby1design.wordpress.com)
- Why I Despise “Religion” (davidcalves.com)
- One2One Life and Parenting Coaching, LLC offers Free Parent and Life Coaching Consultations for Palm Beach County Residents (prweb.com)
- Lust, Love, or TRUE Love? (davidcalves.com)
I didn’t intend to write this post, until I came across Todd Starnes’s commentary “Philadelphia to Consider Resolution Condemning Chick-fil-A, which I quote below.
No sooner had I made what I believe to be prophetic statements about God’s judgment upon our nation, than the rabid homosexual advocates launched their vicious attack on–of all things–a fast food restaurant chain because of the owners’ personal religious and moral beliefs.
Is he advocating immorality [as his opponents are]? NO!
Had this man poisoned someone’s food? NO!
Had he told homosexuals that they could not eat in his stores? NEVER!! [He actually provides jobs for them.] The Chick-fil-A’s have an antidiscrimination policy.
Not so the cities of Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Chicago. No . . . they blatantly, publicly and unashamedly discriminate and their elected officials use their political positions of leadership to censor and pour out “hate” toward a Christian, family-owned business because its CEO and chain owners believe in the biblical view of marriage.
SO what had #ChickFilA COO, Dan Cathy, done to rile up these city leaders? He simply restated the teaching of the Holy Bible, the Word of God, that God’s intent was that marriage be between one man and one woman for life. WOW!! Cathy went that far? To think that marriage is between a man and a woman? What a hateful, sick individual! Of all things to believe . . . where would he ever have gotten such a twisted idea? Marriage between a man and a woman? Come on, how far can we let such archaic views be tolerated. We should use our political power and vitriol to silence the God who created marriage and all his followers who espouse his views?
As the Scripture says of the origins of homosexuality in Romans 1:18–32 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Though we love these fallen people, why would we support their darkened behavior, the behavior of a debased mind and heart? No, we should speak truthfully to support what is right and true.
Cathy and those like him (including me and millions of Americans who have the courage to stand with our God and His Word) are being mocked, ignored, or silenced. This would not be such a blow to our nation if it did not signal a greater horror. A nation that turns its back on God is a nation doomed to live out its own sickness and force its disease upon all free people everywhere. I don’t want the government or special interest groups bent on wickedness telling me that I can’t sell chicken in their city limits because I don’t hold their twisted, demonic views of men marrying men and women marrying women.
As the Holy Spirit makes clear, homosexuality is the final perversion of a society–a people who have turned from God. Down through history, this decadence preceded the downfall of the nation which accepted it as “normal” behavior. The best known examples include Sodom & Gomorrah and Rome. Homosexuality is a spiritual and moral cancer infecting our nation and the world. God will not let it continue for long. One way or the other, the sick patient will die–either of the disease or of God’s judgment on the disease. And yes, AIDS did begin to show itself in the west in the homosexual community first. Don’t let all the white-washes and purges of history by homosexual groups and their vicious advocates fool you.
Now cities like San Francisco (surprise) and Chicago (who could have guessed, Obama’s home town) have blasted the company and threatened Chick-fil-A’s expansion there. All this because the owner supports a biblical definition of marriage–traditional marriage. From Todd Starnes’ commentary:
The Philadelphia City Council will consider a resolution condemning Chick-fil-A for what one city leader called “anti-American” attitudes that promote “hatred, bigotry and discrimination.”
City Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy telling him to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.”. . . [who’s intolerant?]
Kenney said individuals who do not support gay marriage should understand there are consequences to their belief. [and to his wickedness]
“If he [Dan Cathy] really, truly believes what he believes, that is his right to do so,” he told Fox News. “But there is often a price to pay for that.” [now in America, there’s a price to pay for believing that marriage is sacred before God, and that HE defines marriage, not people]
Mike Huckabee has launched a nationwide effort to show support for the besieged family-owned company – declaring August 1st as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
So what’s wrong with a guy like Jim Kenney? See what God says is wrong:
Romans 1:28 (ESV)
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
What will it take to demonstrate to this nation’s infected leaders that THEY are the ones leading us to our demise (unless that’s their intent–don’t think that this is out of the realm of possibility). I have lived to see things that I would have never dreamed possible in the United States of American. People who have come form somewhere in outer space as far as their values and rejection of God.
I agree with Michelle Malkin:
“When an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of ‘tolerance,’ it’s not harmless kid stuff,” she wrote. “It’s chilling.” –quoted in Starnes’s commentary.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
I propose that we send a message to Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and any other city or political body that holds to demonic teaching rather than the clear instruction of our God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. I call upon the citizens and churches, ministries,synagogues, and mosques of those cities who hold to a moral universe, cared for by a loving and holy God, to rise up and teach these politicians that they do not speak for the majority of mentally and spiritually healthy citizens.
I certainly don’t want the dictatorial, decadent and perverse thoughts of people like Jim Kenney and his ilk and whole cities who revel in their disgrace and sin to infect more of our nation with this demonic doctrine. The last days of our existence will be characterized by the increase of this kind of persons:
1 Timothy 4:1–2 (ESV)
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared . . .
They have seared their consciences and no longer know the difference between right and wrong. Can they be saved? With great difficulty, but I’m not sure because of this passage:
2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 (ESV)
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
We should pity such persons, but be sure we don’t agree with or support their doomed worldview.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
At the least, we should join with Mike Huckabee and his nationwide audience to show support for Dan Cathy and the “besieged family-owned company” on August 1st as we eat at the nearest #ChickFilA restaurant, even if we have to drive some distance to get there (I’ll be driving nearly an hour to get to the closest one to me). I’ve never eaten there, but I sure intend to now. That’s the ONE thing I suppose I can thank Jim Kenney for.
We can also pray that the Lord will grant us grace to survive the increasing wickedness and darkness as the American empire implodes and disintegrates.
- Chick-fil-A beef puts mayor in pressure cooker (bostonherald.com)
- Personal Opinion: In Danger of Distinction? (marcyda.wordpress.com)
- TODD STARNES: Chicago Chick-fil-A owner under fire for gay marriage stand tells Rahm, ‘eat more chicken’ – Supporters rally as cities ban Chick-fil-A- Hollywood unleashes vulgar rants about Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Councilman Blasts Chick-Fil-A Prez For Comments Against Gay Marriage (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Chicago Wants to Ban Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Chicago’s Unconstitutional Attack on Chick-fil-A – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Christians Say Chick-fil-A Under Siege by Militant Gays (radio.foxnews.com)
- Chick-fil-A: if you’re not sure, this is how fascism works (patheos.com)
I understand that more than 2.8 million people from 180 countries tuned in to view the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Have you any curiosity over what drew us? Perhaps something deeper–than the surface reasons we give–sparked our curiosity to participate–albeit vicariously.
Let’s review possible reasons this wedding drew so many viewers:
- Romance is high on the list
- Pomp and circumstance. The majesty of it all.
- Star gazing
- History in the making
Here’s one most people would not list, but, in my opinion, was the unconscious draw in the hearts of most of us who took an interest: eternity in our hearts.
Let me explain.
All human beings–whether they like it or not, whether they believe it or not–are made in the image of God. A metaphor may help to make this theological concept more simple. A divine seed has been planted in each soul. This seed has the potential to become a living spirit in relationship to God the Father. According to the God’s Word, the Scriptures, Jesus called this resurrection of the spirit an experience of being “born-from-above.” God actually awakens the seed-spirit as we consider the claims of the Beautiful News about his Son–Jesus–and turn toward him from our self-directed lives. We glimpse his love, his sacrifice to bring us into relationship with Father and respond by giving ourselves to that Love [for God is Love]. At that point where we begin to walk in newness of life, we become his sons and daughters–his household–royalty. Anyone can see why images of royalty draw our hearts. That’s why movies such as Cinderella, Snow White, Everafter, Aladdin, and fables and fairy tales which include transformation into royalty draw children [and the young at heart] supraculturally–worldwide. We KNOW in our hearts that we should be part of this.
We have this sense of belonging to Father lying unconsciously deep in our hearts–eternity in our hearts. Without knowing what drives us, we are drawn to common themes:
- Romance–the God who is LOVE
- Pomp & magesty–the God who is King of Kings, Lord of Lords
- Prince rescues a commoner and seats her with him on his throne–Jesus has done exactly that!
- Fatherless child finds that he/she is no longer an orphan, but was all along the child of royalty. Exactly what God’s Word says.
All of us are a part of history and want to be at the center of history in some sense. A great truth is that history is HIS-STORY–the story of God the Father–in His Son–redeeming his future children from a fallen world. We may not ever give it a conscious moment of thought, but WE are at the center of that story. “For God so LOVED THE WORLD [people], that He gave His Unique Son, that whoever [this includes YOU] believed in HIM would not perish but would instead receive eternal life [His Life into them](my translation).
Men and women are mortal. Immortality is a gift, not an inheritance. Immortality comes from the life of the indwelling Messiah alone. No one has immortality apart from HIM. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12) Cultural ideas of what comes after this life are just that . . . cultural ideas–most have no reality to them. But the TRUTH is that IF we respond to the LOVE of God and move toward Him, it is a reflection of His move toward us. And if we believe that Jesus is the Unique Son who can give us His life, we will never remain in death, though we will pass through the valley of the shadow of death.
Marriage itself is the very picture of two individuals joining together to be one. And–for most–in that union of love, life comes forth either spiritual or physical as the case may be. Jesus has joined with those who willingly received Him into their lives. He has become their Life. From that union, more life springs into being.
Much more could be said on this topic and better than I can say it. But I put it out here as my own reflection today. I am personally grateful that God, the Father and His Unique Son–Jesus–have given life to my spirit so that I can forever enjoy them as a son in the household of God. [If you have read this far, you may be interested in exploring this sonship[daugthership] theme more closely in my book: We’re the ‘sons of God’ . . . So What?]
I believe that the human capacity for a relationship with God is a large part of the reason so many were drawn by this royal wedding. What do you think?
© 2011 David C Alves
I was just sitting here, posting my wife’s latest blog post, and the thought came to me: Marcy is so cool. My wife is really more than cool–she’s wonderful! I don’t know anyone like her. Not only is she thankful for water (her post), not only does she love the Lord, not only is she REAL in a world of imitation and plastic, not only does she take an interest in everyone around her and make their lives a little better; but she chose to love me. WOW!
Her love has given me the acceptance and stability I needed in my life to allow the Lord to develop character in me. Nothing that concerns me slips past her notice. I’m amazed! Daily!
Her heart, wisdom, and character have been an example to me for 34 years (32 of which we’ve been married, one of which we dated and one of which we were engaged). I’ve watched her walk with Jesus and seen the genuineness of that walk. I’ve encouraged her as she’s navigated cancer and strengthened her immune system for the past three years.
Next to Jesus . . . she’s my hero.
Marcy just had another birthday. We’re shooting for 50 Years of marriage, Lord willing. I’d tell you her age, but like she says: “Age is only a number . . . and mine’s unlisted.” Or she might say, “Can you keep a secret?” When you answer “Yes” and draw close to hear . . . she’ll say, “So can I.”
One last comment about our marriage. It would not be what it is if Jesus were not at the center of it. He brought us together as best friends and so we remain . . . Marcy is my best friend!