At a workshop I attended, art and drama therapist Emily Nash shared an experience she had while working with traumatized children and adolescents at a residential treatment center in the USA. The boys who attended her class were often combative, prone to negative and self-destructive behavior, and unable to trust adults or even one another. Almost all had histories of severe abuse and emotional neglect.
One fact of life that can be difficult to accept is that in order for us to fully embrace the future, we must leave behind not only the distant past, but even the recent past. This can be especially hard in times of major transition, such as moving on from a relationship, or changing from one job or house to another.
Question: I make resolutions that I feel will help me to be a better person, but no matter how well I start off, I can’t seem to keep up the momentum. What can I do to stick with my resolutions and get the results I want?
A key factor in becoming like Jesus is developing godly character. This article will focus on character traits that Scripture identifies as those that Christians should emulate and that lead us to Christlikeness. These Christian character traits can be differentiated from other character traits that, while good, don’t necessarily make one more Christlike. For example, creativity, flexibility, alertness, and decisiveness are good attributes to have, but they aren’t directly addressed in Scripture; whereas faith, gentleness, patience, love, gratitude, and others are.
I was sitting in the car inside a parking lot, taking a moment to think about changes in my life and work. It felt like I had hit a plateau, and I was honestly a little worried.
Suddenly a man popped up next to my window. Short, straggly, and with an air of boundless cheer, he greeted me warmly. I was a little surprised, and even more cautious. Crime is rampant in South Africa, and there are plenty of opportunists looking for an easy mark.
A few years ago my life changed, and not in a small way. There were so many changes at once. It was quite overwhelming and rather discouraging at times.
First, I had to move back to my home country, Ukraine, after having lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina for six years doing missionary and volunteer work. My two sons, who had always been with me, had grown into wonderful young men and moved on to pursue their goals. I needed to find a place to stay, a job, things to do, and motivation to go on.
I’m in the business of helping you take the good things in your life and improve them, making them even better. But if you never take the time to think about these things, maybe because you consider the way you go about it “good enough,” something that works well for you—you’ll lack the motivation to strive for something better.
I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of people who just up and change their lives. The successful surgeon who becomes a baker, the beggar who becomes a Wall Street tycoon, the soccer mom who becomes a backpacking mountaineer, the high-powered corporate couple who embrace minimalism and travel the world living out of a suitcase. I must like the comfort of believing that if it’s ever necessary, I too can change when I need to.
One of the best-known stories in the Bible is also one of the strangest. Nearly everyone, it seems, knows about Jonah and the whale. It’s a Sunday school favorite. But it’s also one of those perplexing tales that makes one wonder, Why, God, why?
The first mention of Jonah in the Bible1 establishes that Jonah was alive circa 800–750 B.C. and was from the town of Gath-hepher in Israel, a few miles from Nazareth. He apparently already had a reputation as a prophet when God called him to prophesy against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria.
A few years ago, I was involved in a volunteer project that operated a meal center for underprivileged students. For the first two years, I helped with cleaning the kitchen, shopping for food supplies, and meal preparation. I felt a sense of pride in helping to produce well-balanced, delicious, yet economical meals. My diligence was recognized by the organization’s leaders and I was given greater responsibility managing the funding and designing the menu.