Talk to God

I have encountered some people who feel that a Christian ought to project a “perfect” life. I’m not sure how they came to that conclusion, but because they felt this way they didn’t appear “real” to others. Sometimes people are afraid to admit their faults because others might ridicule or shame them. If we are not honest with one another, then how can we help each other? I think about these two Scripture verses: James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other…” (NIV), and Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV). We should be honest with one another, but most especially we must be honest with God– even though He already knows what we are thinking and feeling, there is something in speaking about our feelings/thoughts with Him that helps to change our perspective.

We often set boundaries, being careful in knowing when, and with whom, to divulge. Sometimes we can’t divulge everything, even when we trust the person we usually confide in; but we have God. I think about Matthew 6:6, “… when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen…” (NIV). The Scripture verse is about people who pray in public just to appear righteous, but I think the fact that we should go into a room and pray to God on our own shows that He is the only One we can truly express our most inner thoughts and feelings. Sometimes people are so distraught that they can’t even verbally express what they feel, but God understands us, “…We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (NIV).

So, the take-away is, we need to be “real” with others—none of us are perfect, which means we all make mistakes. We should share our faults and heartache with one another, but sometimes we can’t so we must turn to God. Even though you might not know what or how to pray, go someplace to be alone and just talk to God.

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Too busy

For the past few months, we have been trying to be “healthy.” I started to run because it was a good way to get a cardio workout plus I could lose some weight. Lately, I haven’t been able to run as much as I did. I can’t seem to find the time. I was able to run yesterday, but it had been nearly two weeks since I last ran.  

Even though I have added “boot camp” classes once a week to my schedule, I am still not losing any weight. I think it’s because my exercise is inconsistent. I used to run every other day, but now I am happy to get just two runs during the week and often I only get only one short run.

I guess it’s the same way with my spiritual walk. Sometimes it seems that my growth is stagnant. Often it’s hard to find the time to read my Bible or to pray earnestly to God. I find myself getting distracted with other things, and life in general seems so busy.

Could it be that I am investing my time on worthless things? Could it be that I am just not managing my time properly?

I know that if I took the time to exercise on a regular basis then I would see the results that I want. In the same way, if I were to be intentional in my reading of God’s Word and in my communication with Him on a daily basis then I would have more calmness in my spirit. When life gets hectic and chaotic, that calmness would positively impact me and everything around me.

It seems everything stems from our relationship with God. If our relationship with Him is fragmented, then our life in general will be fragmented.

In Psalm 37:23-24 it says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (NLT).

I need to build upon my relationship with God then everything else will fall into place, and even when I am going through the “storms of life,” I will still experience peace. 

I think I should make it a priority to strengthen my relationship with God, then maybe as time permits, I can expand my exercise time. Exercise can improve my body, but God’s Word will improve my whole being.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Break the habit

Today at about 10am I grabbed some yogurt and a small serving of cereal and mixed them together in a bowl. I looked at my bowl and I wondered why I did this when I wasn’t even really hungry.  On other days, I would eat just because it was 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock—not because I was hungry but because it was something that I did at 12:00 or 6:00. Eating at a certain time had become a habit.

I’ve been trying to make a habit of doing godly things like reading the Bible and praying every day. The problem I started to notice is that reading the Bible and praying is becoming a habit—I do it without thinking.  Why is that?

Galatians 5:17 says, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires…” (NLT). Although I want to get closer to God, my very nature is to fight it.

If I continue to read the Bible and pray “as a habit,” then I will become “lukewarm” (Rev 3:16). I have to read the Bible in a fresh way every time—I have to see what I can learn from it rather than just read the words mechanically. I have to break the habit.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Unnatural

Because of my busy schedule, I was not able to run in almost a week. Today as I was struggling with my workout, I thought about how unnatural it is to run—yes, we run when we are frightened or when we are chasing someone, but it’s really unnatural to run as an exercise (at least it feels that way to me).

Then I thought about how unnatural it is for us to come to God on our own. Jesus said the following:“You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16), “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:15). Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (NIV).

I used to wonder how people can hear about Jesus yet not follow Him— they can open up a Bible and not understand the meaning of the words; but when I thought about it, I was just like that. When I was a child I knew that God existed, but I didn’t really know much about Him. Even when I was in parochial school, I never had a clear picture of what God did for me through Jesus Christ— the Bible never even made sense to me. When I became a teenager, the Bible or church was not something that I even thought about— I only cared about having fun.

God didn’t want me to continue going down an empty road so He intervened in my life. I am grateful for the new life that I was given, but every day I struggle to maintain my relationship with Him. The apostle Paul explains in Galatians 5: 17, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (NIV).

I still want to have fun and sometimes it is not fun to read the Bible, especially when I have to read through Chronicles; but then I remember that it is unnatural for us to seek the things of God so even though it may be a struggle, I read my Bible. Running as a means of exercise may seem unnatural just like reading our Bible or praying can be “unnatural,” but they are so beneficial for us. Are you struggling to do the “unnatural”?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Marriage

God made them male and female from the beginning of creation… the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10:6, 8-9, NLT).

My husband and I are slowly approaching our 29th year of marriage (we just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past November). When I was working on my counseling degree I had to create a diagram of my “family of origin” and the relationships within that origin. It was like a snapshot of the marriages and divorces in my immediate family (parents and siblings). Surprisingly, I was the only one in my immediate family who had never been divorced.  Statistically, I should have already had a divorce— we were both married at the age of 19-years-old, I only knew my then future husband for only a few months, my parents were divorced when I was a young child, etc. So why am I still married?

I believe that God is the reason why my marriage has lasted this long. It was very difficult when we were first married because we hardly knew each other and we were so different, but as our relationship with God grew, so did our relationship with each other. It was still difficult but not to the degree it was when we were first married. I think the turning point in our marital relationship happened when I not only asked God to change my husband, but I also asked Him to change me.

Often a problem that occurs in the marriage is that there is a cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding, but in order to move forward, it all has to end. I remember going several days without speaking, or speaking very little; and I also remember wanting to say “I’m sorry, let’s just move on,” but never saying it because I wanted my husband to say it first. The goal of an “argument” is not to be the “last man standing,” it is to hash out disagreements and come to a mutual solution.

I wish all marriages would flourish and last. I think if more people took the time to be truly intimate with their spouse (not necessarily in a sexual way), then it would lead to more open discussions. One way to start this type of intimacy is to read the Bible then pray together out loud. Sounds simple, but it really works. If both husband and wife really want to work on improving the marriage, and their whole heart is willing to do “whatever it takes,” then wholeheartedly read and pray together. It is also important to follow Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.  

If your marriage is still not improving then please see a real Christian counselor (one who actually incorporates the Bible into his/her counseling), then sincerely pray for God to change you and your marriage. God can do all things— nothing is impossible for Him. Remember it is not the world’s statistics that defines your marriage—it is God who defines it.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

A couple that prays together stays together

I am looking forward to our trip to Disney World later this month. It will be just my husband and me (we are both running a Disney 5K). 1984 was the last time we were in Disney by ourselves— for our honeymoon.

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I think I am looking forward to this trip because I get to spend some alone time with my husband.  I truly am happy to be married. I think our marriage is the strongest now than it has ever been in the past. What made the difference is that we read the Bible and pray together every day— something we’ve only been doing for a few months now.

I thought about the couples I interviewed for my dissertation, and how almost all of them said that their marriages were stronger because of their Bible reading and prayer time together (http://digital.library.sbts.edu/bitstream/handle/10392/3736/Trascritti_sbts_0207D_10064.pdf?sequence=1).

Bible reading and praying together was something that we had never really did before, but I am glad that we started. If you are married, then start reading the Bible and praying together— it will change your marriage.

Run to God!

My husband and I are reading through Job and we are at the part where Job’s friends are there to console him. After his first friend speaks, Job replies by describing his pain—“My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus” (Job 7:5, NLT). Even though Job had lost everything and was now physically suffering, he never “curses” God.

People endure so many different things. My father-in-law suffered with a debilitating illness for 20 years yet it made him a stronger Christian. No matter how much pain he felt, he had a smile on his face. He could have easily turned away from God but instead he clung to Him even tighter.

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Then I thought about people who have other hardships and how they have stopped relying on God. Rather than asking God why they are suffering, they instead say in their hearts that there is no God.  These people are like seeds that have been planted on shallow soil or around thorn bushes—they spout but then die off quickly (Matthew 13:5-7, NLT).

I think God uses hardships to shape us. It is a test of our endurance—will we keep relying on Him even though it seems like He is doing nothing to help us? First Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). Are you suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally? Then run to God, cling to Him, and never let Him go!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti