30 Ways in 30 Days of Encouraging Faith in Jesus

Head Shot Aug 14Encouraging people to Seek Jesus,

that is my desire. 

If you have been helped in any way through my musings, please give glory to God. If you find anything disappointing or offensive or just have a question, please leave a comment below.

What Do we Do?

WDWD1When the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on earth who have faith? Luke 18:8

Jesus appeared to His followers many times during the 40 days after His death and resurrection.

In one of these encounters they asked him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” Acts 1:6

They were thinking small. They were thinking of the history they knew. They were thinking of their own personal goals and aspirations. They wanted their country to be restored to its former glory. They thought they understood God’s will.

In the same way, many today are looking to God to restore America to its former glory.

I would argue that the glory of America is gone. The government has been taken over by corrupt entities with an agenda to dominate and control. This agenda is diametrically opposed to the views and aspirations of the majority of Americans.

This is not a situation that will be solved through political maneuvering. It is not going to be remediated through a change of political parties. The agenda of those with control is above politics and exert strong influence on both sides to manipulate towards their ends.

I believe Jesus’ purposes transcends the personal comfort of the American people. He is Lord. He has conquered death to be our Savior and fix our biggest problem, yet if we expect that His agenda is to repair our broken country, or help us to be comfortable, we are as naïve as the disciples.

Jesus answered: The Father alone [knows what is going on] and has the authority to set dates and times, and these details are not for you to know. Acts 1:7 

So what are we supposed to know and do in this crazy world we live in when we are faced with power-crazed domination?

Politics gone crazy, health care that is killing and maiming in massive numbers, poisoning through our food, water, air, drugs and even supposed ‘health and safety’ measures like vaccines? We have been lied to by main stream media, harassed by CPS, children kidnapped from innocent loving parents, spied on by our own government, and more. Is there any wonder we are fearful, untrusting, and suffering from anxiety?

Who do we trust?

Where do we turn for answers, hope, direction, wisdom, and safety?

The early disciples must have had similar fears, tension and anxiety.

Jesus told them: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be MY WITNESSES, telling people everywhere ABOUT ME. Acts 1:7

Today we have the most incredible medium ever in the history of the world to share the message of Jesus.

124 Countries ReachedMy humble blog which is my small attempt to share truth and admittedly not all that impressive, certainly not perfect, just me, a solo operation with a few encouraging friends here and there. I’ve never received any monetary gain. I seek to share truth as God places it on my heart. I research, read and seek to understand. I share stories. I try to share my faith. Just this little blog has so far reached nearly 62,000 views by people throughout our world, accessed by people in 124 countries.

This is spiritual warfare people. (Ephesians 6)

We are in a spiritual battle.

The goal is not a comfortable life.

The goal is not the restoration of a nation you love.

The goal is your soul and the souls of every person on earth.

The enemy is powerful – BUT NOT ALL POWERFUL. Jesus Christ has supreme authority over all things (Colossians 1:15-20). He could immediately vanquish and restore His creation, BUT



WDWD4He has instructed and empowered His followers to share His message in this lost sick world.

The time may be short. Our comfortable life may be in jeopardy. Our mission is NOT to restore our comfortable life, but to help restore lost souls to Jesus.

How can we best respond to this mission?


The Gap. Good and Evil

ReflectionWe are all capable of evil. It’s not something many of us would admit.

Our natural state is to be in rebellion against God. When we are in this state we may not be aware of it, or of the evil that is impacting our lives. It’s usually easy to see the evil of others, but we remain oblivious to our own wrongs.

Paul was someone who was able to recognize his own sin and rebellion, because Jesus dramatically stopped him in his tracks when he was on an evil rampage to track down, imprison or kill anyone who was part of a new movement that followed Jesus Christ.

Jesus powerfully intervened in Paul’s life and brought a dramatic alteration that has powerfully impacted history. After Paul’s encounter with Jesus Christ, he went from being a persecutor intent on destroying those who followed Jesus, to an ardent proclaimer of this new message. His words are recorded for us in ancient documents written both from the perspective of close eyewitnesses and his own personal accounts. We learn the details of Paul’s encounter with God and how the mission and course of his life was drastically altered from the time of his encounter with Jesus until he died.

Many in our world today deny God. Or, if they admit to a possible “higher power,” they do not accept that Jesus Christ is our Creator, God’s revelation, plan, mystery and answer to man’s situation. They do not realize that this failure to respond to God’s gift of Jesus will ultimately separate them from their Creator.

Most people alive today have heard of Jesus. Most of us consider ourselves well-informed on most topics. When presented with a new angle on a subject with which we feel relatively knowledgeable, we often resist. Spiritual insight is given to those who seek it.

Paul was zealous with a spiritual zeal and Jesus dramatically poured life and light into his life so that he would see and understand the plans of God.

Paul summarized his mission that Jesus gave him:

  • To open the eyes of those who don’t understand the truth of God; and
  • Bring light to those who are oblivious to the work God has done through Jesus.

He said there are two kinds of people in the world and the gap that separates them is faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 26:18)

2 Kinds PeopleAt one time every single person on earth was a member of the box on the left. Paul was a raging Christian-killer living in darkness, under the power of Satan, ruled by sin, facing sure judgment, all while he thought he was doing God’s will and bringing about God’s plans on earth. Up to this point, Paul had ardently conformed to the rules and structure of his religious traditions, completely unaware that he was on the wrong track.

I was once living in darkness, under the power of Satan, ruled by sin and facing sure judgment. I differed from Paul in that I had been taught about Jesus, but had turned my back on Him. I rejected the faith and knowledge that had been passed on to me by my parents. I thought I knew better. I became ensnared under the power of Satan to think that God’s way was not good and that I could find more happiness, success, and fulfillment on my own. I did not know I was becoming a slave to the power of Satan and that my life was ruled by sin.

finger-post-in-the-morning-sun-1553708-1279x852The only difference between those who remain in the box on the left and those who are in the box on the right, is faith. They have been set apart by faith in Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual transaction that may not be grasped intellectually. In fact, many that stubbornly refuse to explore the spiritual process of faith in Jesus will remain in darkness, under the power of Satan, ruled by sin and facing judgment.

It is not God’s desire for anyone to stay in the box on the left. He invites everyone to move, through faith, to the box on the right: to discover light, know the power of God, know forgiveness from sin, and have a place with God’s people forever.

David wrote of the reality of these two kinds of people, even though he didn’t fully understand God’s purpose and plan that we now have full access to, through Jesus:

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.
They have no fear of God at all.
In their blind conceit,
They cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful.
They refuse to act wisely or do good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots.
Their actions are never good.
They make no attempt to turn from evil.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
Your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
In the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
Letting them drink from your river of delights.

For you are the fountain of life,
The light by which we see.

Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
Give justice to those with honest hearts.
Don’t let the proud trample me
Or the wicked push me around.
Look Those who do evil have fallen!
They are thrown down, never to rise again.
David, Psalm 36

IMG_0423Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus Christ and truth seeker, especially in the areas of health and children. Facing a world quite different from the one in which I grew up, I seek to research and understand the true route to health, freedom and joyful family living!

Major Life Change

Fisherman skyThe leaders were very disturbed that Peter & John were teaching people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. Luke, Acts 4:2

Maybe Peter was saying something like this:

Hey guys, life is bad now, yes
The Romans are in charge and it sucks.
We thought Jesus was going to bring ‘em down.
Turns out He had different plans.
I, personally, was devastated.
When I saw them arrest Jesus I couldn’t believe it.
I flipped.
I did a complete 180 – completely turned on Him.
My hopes, dreams, investment …. all GONE.
I was crushed.
Deep deep pain.
I felt deserted, destroyed, lost.
But, then, I saw the empty grave.
Talk about an emotional whiplash:
So low to sooo high.
Then He appeared to us
Many times.
He taught us
All the pieces started to fit together
He explained everything
Everything is different now.
This world isn’t all there is.
This body isn’t all there is.
A resurrected life through Jesus is the goal.
This world will end.
This political system will end.
I’ve given up trying to fix it.
My new passion, purpose & life work is helping people
To KNOW and experience
You can arrest me.
You can kill me.
His power is BEYOND anything you could ever do to me.
I’ve seen Him.
Now I understand who He was
What He came to do
What He came to bring
For us
For everyone
I’d rather die trying to tell people
Than go back to my safe comfortable life as a fisherman
I could never do that
I’ve seen God
In a body
I’ve seen a dead man

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Peter, Acts 4:12


For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye witnesses to His majesty. Peter


We also have the prophetic record as something completely reliable and you would do well to pay attention to it until the daylight dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Peter


Day 28 of Encouraging people to Seek Jesus: 30 ways in 30 days

If you have been helped in any way through my musings, please give glory to God. If you find anything disappointing or offensive or just have a question, please leave a comment below.

Christians are Forgivers & Fighters

FightJesus had a lot to say about forgiveness. One of the main explanations of forgiveness comes from the parable He told in Matthew 18 about the servant who owed his master money and was pardoned, but then failed to forgive his fellow servant.

We have been forgiven MUCH, so our only appropriate response is to demonstrate forgiveness to those who owe us.

There is a difference in forgiveness and allowing evil people or practices that cause injustice against helpless innocent people to continue.

When we see evil perpetuated unchecked in our world we should have NOTHING to do with it, and we should seek to expose it.

Paul warns us repeatedly about  deception.

“I tell you this so that no one may deceive you with fine sounding arguments.” Colossians 2:4

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority.Colossians 2:8

If we feel God is calling us to expose injustice and deception we also know a few things:

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:2-5

Hey!Exposing evil can unleash a spiritual battle. But we don’t need to be afraid because we know that Christ is head over any and every spiritual force we will come up against. We can be assured of victory in the name of Jesus Christ, based on our relationship with Him.

We can be confident when we are seeking to help the innocent and downtrodden, because we have the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ on our side.

“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:11

“United with the One who was raised from the dead, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.” Romans 7:14

Whatever God has called us to do, we know He is with us throughout the struggle we may encounter.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. For this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 

Sums up our marching orders pretty well. Simple, but impossible to do in our own strength.

What battle has God called you to fight?

Where is God calling you to forgive?

Where do you see injustice and feel the Holy Spirit wants you to speak out boldly?

When have you seen God at work to fight in spiritual battles around you?

Day 23 of Encouraging people to Seek Jesus: 30 ways in 30 days

If you have been helped in any way through my musings, please give glory to God. If you find anything disappointing or offensive – please let me know so I can improve.

You Feed Them

breadJesus was a walking talking miracle demonstration up close and personal for His twelve disciples for three years while He lived on earth

I’m sure there were many times they might have felt they were riding a roller coaster. Up high one minute, strong twisting jerky twists and turns the next. They never knew what to expect and sometimes had a hard time figuring Jesus out. It can be the same for me.

I learn so much from trying to understand what Jesus was about while He was on earth.

In Matthew 14 there are some big events. First Jesus learns of John the Baptists death at the hands of Herod. He immediately wanted to find a remote area to be alone. I don’t think He was surprised, but He could have been grieving. Maybe He wanted to talk over the implications and explain them to His disciples.

But it didn’t happen. Instead a HUGE crowd inconvenienced them with their presence – even though they had travelled to a VERY REMOTE place. Jesus wasn’t upset or annoyed at this intrusion, “He had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

His disciples might have been a bit more bothered and suggested to Jesus that they send the people away. Imagine that. They have the Son of God in their midst. He has demonstrated His incredible power to heal every sort of malady right in front of them, He has called them and He is clearly their leader, yet they decide He needs them to tell Him what to do!

Before I get too judgmental I need to remember that I sometimes have the same propensity. I like to tell God what He needs to do, like He’s not sure what to do next, but it is very clear to me.

I love this next part. Jesus does not accept their plan to send the people away to buy food. He shoots it right down with one phrase:

“That isn’t necessary – YOU FEED THEM.”

You see, Jesus had compassion on the crowd, to be sure. But He also had an incredibly generous plan for His disciples. His words would have challenged them, but those words were also an incredible opportunity and invitation to them


Jesus knew everything and could have used any means to accomplish His purposes. He knew exactly what the disciples had on hand in terms of food resources (turns out to be only five loaves of bread and two fish between the twelve of them).

In the same way, Jesus knows exactly what our current resources are. He knows what we have and He knows how limited it seems to us in terms of our ability to follow His passion of FEEDING and HEALING the masses.

My response is something like this, ‘Lord, You see and know everything. You have compassion on the crowds of people who were so confused and looking for hope in the midst of their despair. Lord, there are lost, hurting, sick despairing people today. You see what I’ve got. I can make a list of what I have to show you that it really isn’t much at all. What can you do with what I have?’

Jesus simply said, “Bring them here.” Bring them to me. Bring what you have, even if you think it is very small and insignificant, just bring it to me.

Then He involved His disciples in one of the most incredible fast food conference experiences the world has ever known. He took what they brought to Him and He multiplied it.

He can do the same today. He can multiply what I’ve got to offer. What do I have? What do you have? Your list and mine will be different, but we all have something and Jesus can multiply whatever we have when we offer it to Him. He can also help us to see even more – things we have that we aren’t aware of.

Paul said it like this:

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus… For I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. Acts 20

giving handsWhat have i got in my hands? This morning I looked at what I have in a new way: my time, my background, my access to information, my life experiences, my internet connection, my social media access, my communication skills, my volunteer opportunities, my training skills, my relationships, etc. I realized I don’t need them to be first class. Jesus just asked for what the disciples had. He knew that what they had was not enough to get the job done. The disciples meager food resources were not fully adequate to feed the 5000 people who were hungry. But when I bring my resources to my Savior, He can multiply them for His glory.

He wants to demonstrate His power to people today and, just like He allowed the disciples to be an integral part of this great demonstration, He generously allows His agents today to be part of His agenda.

I am so thankful that He can take what I have and multiply them. I am so thankful He has invited me to join Him in the work He wants to do in the world today.

What do you have? How can Jesus multiply what you have?

Day 19 of Encouraging people to Seek Jesus: 30 ways in 30 days

If you have been helped in any way through my musings, please give glory to God. If you find anything disappointing or offensive – please let me know so I can improve.



Aging prayerScientific studies of active aging people show that brain function does not have to decline with age. So the question we all should be asking is, ‘How do we make sure it doesn’t?

Aging is inevitable. My mom’s oft-repeated phrase is ‘Getting old is not for sissies.’ What she means is that as you age you can encounter a lot of symptoms and difficulties that make aging a lot harder than you ever expected! She has quite a lot of aches and pains which reduce her desire for movement and activity, which causes her body to stiffen up with more aches and pains and less of a desire for movement.

The baby boomer generation is having an opportunity to witness the generation ahead of us – one of the first generations to rely on processed foods, fast foods and lots of medications – and see how that regime has prepared them for the aging process.

There have been THOUSANDS of chemicals approved for use in food during my mother’s lifetime. Many of them have passed safety tests. Some have been recalled along the way once it became obvious that they were not safe. However, there has NEVER been a single study to determine the combined effect or the synergistic impact of consuming all these chemicals.

Prudence alone would suggest that all these artificial chemical additives MIGHT have some detrimental effect on our health and aging.

Science confirms the harm that our body experiences by long-term repeated exposure to environmental toxins in the products we use regularly: in food, personal care products, cleaning products, medications, vaccinations, etc.

There are more people than ever suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and many other auto-immune diseases.  AND, younger and younger people are being impacted by these serious debilitating illnesses. And there isn’t a lot of hope on the horizon for treatment options. The BEST hope we have is to prevent these degenerative diseases, but if you want to PREVENT them, you need to START EARLY. Alzheimer’s doesn’t begin in the 60s when it becomes obvious. It actually begins much earlier – in the 20s or 30s, but only becomes apparent later. So if you want to avoid these issues when you are older – START NOW!

What to do? Try some of these things! Begin with what seems easy to you, then keep adding more to your health routine!

  • Avoid all the chemical toxins you can. Think food additives, air fresheners, pesticides, herbicides, body products, dryer sheets, etc……..
  • Read every label of every food you purchase.
  • Reduce or remove processed foods.
  • If you can’t pronounce something on the label, don’t buy it.
  • Find a product with 5 or less ingredients.
  • NEVER use any artificial sugar substitutes – they are directly causing brain damage in younger and younger people.
  • Avoid trans fats and MSG.
  • Don’t shop hungry – or else buy yourself a bag of organic baby carrots to munch while making your healthy purchases.
  • It starts with the shopping: buy whole foods, clean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy, organic or clean vegetables and fruits. Then figure out ways to prepare them that are easy for you. If you shop well, you will eat well!
  • Eat a higher percentage of raw foods.
  • Keep moving! Find ways to incorporate movement throughout your day. Stand at your desk, take a functional fitness exercise class. Learn easy safe ways to keep moving! Everyone has 10 minutes a day for exercise!
  • De-stress with prayer, meditation, EFT, relaxation.
  • Research natural options to serious illness before you need it!
  • Reduce or eliminate drugs for most everything. Research natural alternatives. Once you start eating better, exercising and de-stressing, your ‘need’ for medications will be reduced. Drugs only treat symptoms. The goal of better aging is to have no symptoms.
  • Visit a chiropractor regularly.
  • Find positive people to encourage you.

If you are not motivated to do any of these things out of a desire to improve your own health, please at least think about the impact your future poor health will have on the people you love.

Health eating can be delicious, nutritious and easy. It begins in your mind. Motivation to live a long and healthy life to enjoy the people you love makes it easier to stick to your decisions.

It also helps to get others involved in your “healthier you” journey. Health is contagious. As we gain momentum we will feel better which will help motivate us even more! Our motivation will inspire and motivate others.

Don’t keep putting toxins in your body just because you don’t feel bad today. Your body was not meant to be a toxic waste dump. If you poison you body, your aging process will be impacted. Take some steps for health. Baby steps are a good place to start. What ONE thing will do for your health today?

Anger Part 2

Hey!Anger is a difficult emotion to understand, witness or experience. We see the devastating results of unleashed anger all around us (war, family feuds, road rage, etc.).

Anger gets our adrenaline going and we get all worked up, but we might not even understand why. We are churning inside and feel the need to do something. The easiest thing we often do, is strike out at those in our immediate environment. For instance, we might get disturbing news and suddenly become all snarly with the people around us. A young child whose toy gets snatched out of his hand by a playmate, might retaliate with physical aggression. Watching children over many years, it is easy to see that this type of response is gut level and automatic.

If we want to have a different response, or if we want our children to have a different response, it will require understanding and training.

It is important to note that anger is most often a secondary response. That means that if we stop and investigate, there is a feeling lying underneath our gut response of anger. It often involves a feeling of hurt, loss or injustice.

Sometimes there is a clear source of our anger. For instance, if someone criticizes us, laughs at us, or tries to bully or abuse us, we can easily understand why we feel anger.

Other times the actions provoking anger may be more subtle. When someone makes a statement that disregards important points I’ve made, or values I hold, I can feel hurt, insulted, or invalidated and then I get angry. When someone spills something on my freshly mopped kitchen floor, I feel disregarded and taken for granted. I don’t feel the work I have done is being respected and I can easily get angry.

Exploring the underlying causes of our angry feelings is a very helpful step towards working towards a more mature response to anger.

Sometimes, as parents, we witness a young child’s anger, and it causes us embarrassment. Anger in children is so basic, and can be loud and poorly expressed. To save ourselves from the critical opinions of others, we can try to shut down this immature expression of anger – immediately. While this may save us momentary embarrassment, training our children to ignore their feelings and shut off their anger is not helping them to understand their emotions and learn to control their actions. And, as I mentioned here it can lead to serious health consequences for them later.

Finding other parents who understand the process of growing emotionally mature children is a great help on the parenting journey. If every parent around you shuts down their child’s anger, you can be regarded as a very poor example of a parent, when your child flies into a raging tantrum.

Showing respect for our children’s emotions does not mean pandering to them and allowing our children to always get whatever they want. It does mean allowing them to feel strongly and help them to understand where those strong feelings might be coming from.

AngerAn interesting and complicating factor is that angry children have a way of pushing our parenting buttons in just the right way to cause us to have a deep angry response. We need to stop and ask ‘what is that about?’ Does an angry outburst by your child feel like personal rejection to you, especially in light of all the great sacrifices you have made on behalf of the child – like sleep deprivation and hours of selfless toil? Do you feel like all the investment you have put into your child should result in a perfectly cooperative little person who shows you respect 100% of the time?

Sometimes we need to stop and work on our own issues so that we can grow in our own maturity in dealing with anger. Some of us might have been trained to stuff our anger which makes it very difficult to understand our raging emotions. Growing in our own understanding will help us to be much better at guiding our children in handling their strong feelings.

I have learned most of this the hard way, through the grace of Jesus Christ. These are not easy things to learn or recognize in ourselves, which is one of the many reasons I seek the power of God practically applied in every area of my life.

My web-site stats show a lot of people read Anger Part 1. I’m glad this information is being shared and found to be helpful. I’d love to hear your stories and dialogue about this important topic. Feel encouraged to leave your comments below. If for some reason the comment feature doesn’t work for you, please post or send me a private message on Facebook! I’d love to hear from you.

IMG_0423Becky Hastings, wife, mom to five, MIL of two, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus, health promoter, breastfeeding counselor helping moms for 22+ years, and someone who seeks to understand interpersonal relationships!


AngerEvery parent is challenged by anger. Many are totally surprised at their own capacity for anger towards the children they love more than life. Many are surprised by their child’s emerging anger when (not if) they begin to exert their personhood. The perfectly behaved one-year old seems angelic. Then one day, out of the blue, you see a glimpse of anger.  What is a parent to do?

I certainly don’t have all the answers.  For one thing I don’t know you or your child so I wouldn’t begin to give you advice or instructions.  Handling anger is not really as simple as one, two, three….

But we all need to spend some time thinking about anger. Whether we are being intentional or not, we are teaching our children about anger. Our primary method of teaching is how we model our own anger in front of them. What do we do when they do something that brings out anger in our hearts? How do we respond when life situations make us angry? Or what do we do when we face repeated frustration?

Some of us had great parents who modeled a healthy way of dealing with anger. Many of us were told that it was unacceptable to be angry and that when we felt anger, we were wrong. This approach to anger forced us to learn to ignore or stuff anger. Now as adults we may stuff, store, store, store, then BLOW! Have you ever experienced or witnessed a volcanic eruption of anger? Where did it come from it? Sometimes an angry response seems totally out of proportion with the provocation, giving a clue that there were many pent-up co-factors behind the eruption of anger.

ladderDr Ross Campbell has written many helpful parenting books. In How to Really Love Your Teen, he has a chapter in which he describes “The Anger Ladder.” This is a powerful illustration that gave me a lot of insight in parenting five children. Many parents I have shared it with over the years have found it beneficial.

Dr Campbell describes rungs of the Anger Ladder with the bottom rung being the lowest level of dealing with anger, and each successive step up the ladder represents growth. This visual picture helps you to understand that progress and  improvement in handling anger is possible. It also gives a clear guide and step by step goals to help our children (and often ourselves) reach maturity in handling anger.

1.  The absolute bottom rung of the ladder is stuffing.  Stuffing happens when anger is not acknowledged or dealt with, but it is stuffed internally. This method of dealing with anger comes at a great personal cost. The negative emotions we feel, but do not have the freedom to express, end up being turned on ourselves. Bottling up anger over many years can lead to serious illnesses, such as cancer, auto-immune disorders, depression, and other chronic conditions. It’s as if the body has to attack something when angry, so by forcing ourselves to stuff anger, we end up attacking ourselves.

2.  The next level is passive aggressive behavior. It is not always intentionally thought out, but if you know someone who deals with anger in this way, there always seem to be little things that happen which seem attacking – just not directly. A person who is operating with passive aggressive behavior is not always aware of their need and desire to “get back” at the person they are angry with in this subtle form. It can be a serious challenge to recognize and deal with this sort of learned behavior. Sometimes passive aggressive behavior is very difficult to spot in the mirror. It involves having an overall negative attitude or reaction to someone without addressing the specific issue that has provoked a negative reaction.

3. The next level of anger is undifferentiated physical abuse to anything and anyone nearby.  While this is not a great way to manifest anger, it is an improvement on step 1 or 2!  If this is where your toddler or child is at, don’t try to stifle it! That would be working backwards. Rather, try to help your child understand their rage and seek to move them UP the ladder, perhaps one rung at a time. Sometimes, as parents, we want them to jump right to the top rung with perfect control of themselves while addressing the issue that is bothering them.  How many adults do you know who manage anger that well? How often do you manage it? Lowering our expectations of our children will allow them to learn to deal with their anger in a more healthy way. It takes patience and wisdom.

4. Level four is characterized by a physical attack on the object of the anger. This is never good. But the good thing to recognize is that even this demonstrates improvement and growth in handling anger. Instead of just a general overall feeling of anger, the anger is being targeted towards its object. As a parent, sometimes we may need to physically restrain our children by holding them, as we help them understand their emotions and guide them towards higher levels of managing anger.

Dr Campbell goes on to describe various other manifestations and levels of anger. You might rank them differently from him, or from me. The point is there is a progression:

5. emotionally destructive behavior;
6. verbal abuse;
7. destroying property;
8. throwing objects;
9. expressing unrelated complaints;
10. becoming angry at someone else who is a bystander instead of at the source of the anger;
11. cursing;
12. unpleasant and loud behavior;
13. thinking logically and constructively;
14. holding to the primary complaint, not to peripheral issues;
15. focusing anger on the source only;
16. seeking resolution to the conflict while maintaining respectful behavior.

So, if you or your child is angry and expressing the anger with unpleasant and loud behavior (12), you can reassure yourself that they have actually progressed quite high on the anger ladder. Yes, there is room for improvement, but recognizing the progress towards maturity can provide freedom to develop that maturity.

Anger can be extremely awkward. Everyone exposed to anger can be impacted. Children exposed to parental anger at a young age can be emotionally bruised and suffer damage.

God gave us all of our emotions. Anger is a way we have of protecting ourselves. God can also use our anger to accomplish great works through us when it is directed and controlled by His Spirit.

Parenting gives us the opportunity to learn to grow in maturity in how we handle anger, so that we can provide an example of the process of being angry in front of our children. Modelling mature behavior is by far the most powerful teaching device we have available. Additionally, we have the opportunity to help our children recognise their own feelings of anger and frustration, help them identify and understand the source, and explore the response options available to them. Understanding this process and committing to it will ensure that our children can grow in maturity in their ability to handle this powerful emotion.

If you discover that you might have been stuck on rung 1 or 2 of the anger ladder, you might want to work at discovering the sources of your anger using a method like EFT. If you’ve been trying to get your child’s anger to ‘go away,’ you might actually be inadvertently encouraging them to stuff anger in a very unhealthy way. It can be scary to help our children come to terms with their anger, but the lack of obvious outward anger is not always good for them in the long-term. A perfectly controlled child does not always mean all is well. God has given us ALL our emotions. Tuning in to the source of anger can give us insight into the passions God has put in our heart.

What has been your biggest challenge in training your children to express anger appropriately?

Next post… Anger Part 2

IMG_0423Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mom to five, MIL of two, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus, health promoter, breastfeeding counselor helping moms for 22+ years, and someone who seeks to understand interpersonal relationships!

Settling Disagreements

Locking HornsLocking horns. It can happen often. Two strong personalities with strong ideas are bound to disagree. Add more strong personalities to the mix and it is a real tangle!

I am refreshed daily when I reflect on the ancient writings of Paul, an ardent follower of Jesus.  He had a simple message, a focussed life and wrote letters to encourage and instruct.  You might not be a follower of Jesus, but you can still receive timeless wisdom from this remarkable ancient writer.  He has a helpful recipe for settling disagreements that I have found incredibly helpful during 33 years of marriage and raising five children into adulthood.

  1. Realize selfishness and pride could be operating in you.  Examine yourself thoroughly.  Most of us would prefer to skip this step. I know I would.
  2. Ask what are my neighbors interests? Truly seek to understand where they are coming from.
  3. What might God want to accomplish in this? In the heat of our emotion, it is hard to see that there might be a larger purpose to our current disagreement. Jesus was 100% right, but He did not hold on to his position. He willingly allowed the bad guys to get the upper hand. We need to seek God’s outcome, not our own.
  4. Allow God’s Spirit to energize you.  He will give you the desire to do the right thing!
  5. BTW, do everything (these steps, and everything else) without: complaining, bickering, and name-calling. This requires self-control. If you feel you are losing self-control, walk away until you can regain it!
  6. Cling to words that bring life.  Find them, share them, repeat them to yourself. Most of use have negative tapes playing in our head. We need a new mind-set to help us rise above our disagreements.

These insights are gleaned from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, which you can read from The Voice below.

Do Paul’s words help you when you think of the ways you usually lock horns?

2 If you find any comfort from being in the Anointed, if His love brings you some encouragement, if you experience true companionship with the Spirit, if His tenderness and mercy fill your heart; then, brothers and sisters, 2 here is one thing that wouldcomplete my joy—come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love. 3 Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. 4 Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first.

In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember:

6 Though He was in the form of God,
He chose not to cling to equality with God;
7 But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new;
a servant in form
and a man indeed.
The very likeness of humanity,
8 He humbled Himself,
obedient to death—
a merciless death on the cross!
9 So God raised Him up to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all.
10 So when His name is called,
every knee will bow,[a]
in heaven, on earth, and below.
11 And every tongue will confess[b]
“Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,”
to the glory of God our Father!

12 So now, my beloved, obey as you have always done, not only when I am with you, but even more so when I can’t be. Continue to work out your salvation, with great fear and trembling, 13 because God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him.

14 Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, 15 so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like stars across the land. 16 Cling to the word of life so that on the day of judgment when the Anointed One returns I may have reason to rejoice, because it will be plain that I didn’t turn from His mission nor did I work in vain. 17 Even if my lifeblood is to be poured out like wine as a sacrifice of your faith, I have great reason to celebrate with all of you. 18 And for the same reason, you can be glad and celebrate with me.