Jolene Underwood is an emotional health warrior, and soul care mentor. She writes from a place of compassion for wounded Christians to encourage and equip them in a life of spiritual growth with emotional health. She draws upon her personal experiences, her psychology background, and a passion for Christian counseling to help others cultivate a life well-lived no matter the circumstance.
Jolene writes regularly at JoleneUnderwood.com. She also leads a community of writers called Rise Up Writers. Her tool, Unleash : Heart and Soul Care Sheets, has helped hundreds experience greater freedom. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her enjoying the journey by laughing with loved ones or adding to her collection of vintage glassware with a 70s flair.
A heated exchange between two people and suddenly the entire atmosphere changes from casual, calm opportunities for connection to postures of defense ready to shield from further attack, or postures of offense making sure we attack strongest.
We’re seeing a lot of this on Facebook and other social media feeds these days. I presume it’s also all over the TV outlets too, though I don’t have
A threatening word or body posture can be all it takes. The brain fires off signals affecting how our bodies respond and how our minds
Many of us have strong reactions caused by different triggers and for different reasons. It doesn’t have to be a physically
If we want to stop living stuck and
It may not be the person or event we’re reacting to at all. God is often the one our souls fight against when we need him most. Resist the enemy who hates you, not the Maker who loves you.
When God speaks,
Earlier this week, when I felt God tell me to step back from sharing this series on my Facebook profile, I struggled. While I didn’t freak out, I
What God uses or allows in our lives to bring about a life well-lived can be painful and hard. Our natural inclination is to resist the change. We resist what is being cleared away, making room for new growth.
God turns our brokenness into something beautiful.
How dare someone say we are wrong? Yet, when God’s Spirit is convicting our hearts, if we do not
We’re not just resisting God, we’re resisting the
What might it look like to choose spiritual pliability over resistance?
Saying, “Lord, your will
saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.
Nevertheless, notmy will, but yours, be done." ~ Luke 22:42
He taught us to say the same when he modeled prayer upon his disciples request.
be done, on earth as it is in heaven. ~ Matthew 6:10
Our resistance is an outworking of fleshly desires over the desires of God. It keeps us from living
Choosing spiritual pliability over resistance means allowing the master to create beauty from our brokenness. By choosing pliability,
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~ Isaiah 64:8
CULTIVATE: Ask God to show you any hidden areas where you may
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Whereas life may have been dull or painful before entering
In this experience our understanding of who God is
It doesn’t last.
Our hearts need to see what our eyes become blind to.
How can we hold on to the goodness of God when we’ve descended from the heights and
We choose remembrance so we can know that we know that we know God is good, even when what we see tells us otherwise.
Like when someone we love has just
No matter what. God never changes.
Who he is doesn’t change. How he operates doesn’t change. His love never stops. His ways never cease to be good.
Choosing remembrance is choosing to recall
When our hearts are shaky and uncertain, choosing remembrance ushers
Remember the wondrous works
thathe has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, ~ Psalm 105:5
You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant
thathe swore to your fathers, as it is this day. ~ Deuteronomy 8:18
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body,
which is givenfor you. Do this in remembrance of me.” ~ Luke 22:19
Joshua chapter 4 records God’s command to his people to choose twelve stones, one for each tribe of Israel, as a stone of remembrance. They were to be a reminder to them and their children of how God stopped the waters so they could cross into the Jordan, a rather momentous occasion.
After decades of wandering in the desert and forgetting every good thing God
During their wandering, Moses spent much time with God on the mountain, receiving the commandments and other instructions. When he descended, he had not forgotten his mountain-top experience when he saw the golden calf and how the people turned their hearts away from God.
Moses remembered. He also remembered God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. He reminded God of what he remembered and God “relented from the disaster
God wants to hear from his children that not only do they remember, but they believe in his goodness to the point of reminding him what he already knows.
When we cannot see what we need to remember, we can ask the Spirit to show us. Then wait, watch, and listen.
When you see the goodness of God in a moment, and then you descend from the heights into
CULTIVATE: Do a study on remembrance in scripture. Consider keeping a journal to record moments of God's goodness so that when you can not see them, you can remind yourself of what you've already known. (I have a purple notebook just for this purpose called "Kingdom Glimpses".)
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Of all the choices marked down in my journal, and the few days I have left to complete this series, I’m drawn to a choice I’ve yet to pen. It’s one which makes our hearts beat wild with excitement and fear all at the same time.
Could we dare? Would we dare?
Yes! With all that is within me, I am jumping up to dance with you & say, yes!
Out of streams where living water never ends, there is always more of God to see and explore.
Dream of living fully seen, fully known, and fully loved. Dream of living well and living free. Dream of seeing hearts and lives transformed around you. Dream of breakthroughs the likes of which you have never seen.
Dream of mountains moving and the earth shaking at the sound of a mighty God. Dream of demons running and hiding at the mention of Jesus’ name.
Dream of being so uniquely created and divinely purposed that only you can carry out the
Dream, because these are the kinds of things made
Have you given up long ago? That your dreams could come true and your life
Most of my life I’ve resisted living well because maybe
Where our visions become all about us,
In elementary school I dreamed of acting. I saw posters go up for auditions in a nearby town and should have felt excited and nervous. Instead, I felt rejected. My dream hadn’t even stood up inside of me before being knocked down with lies of, “Who do you think you are?”
Eventually, I realized how the enemy was hard at work. He knows a soul who follows hard after God is one whom God uses to let his glory
Our dreams are life givers and kingdom builders. The enemy will always try to thwart them and lead us towards death. When we no longer dream, we no longer see the unique imprint of God in our lives and we have no motivation to let God’s light shine through us.
May we close our eyes and ask God to speak to us in the moments of
When the enemy is digging his claws into our hearts and minds, find the crowbars of truth to dig lies out. May our dreams bring life into tired places and help us see the grandeur of a God who dreamed so big,
God is breathing new life into your heart today, friend. He has dreams for us beyond our wildest imagination and he gives us what we need to keep dreaming.
The welcome of a dream is like new life breathed into depleted souls.
CULTIVATE: Have you prayed about your dreams lately? Ask God about them and
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