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Tag Archives: emotion

If You Only Knew

My favorite place to visit during a decade of teaching was the teachers lounge.  Although this seems like a strange answer, it’s one of the few places faculty could go without being bombarded by questions, distracted by a student or interrupted by an upset parent.  This was a setting where staff let their guard down, sharing various burdens on their hearts.  I truly enjoyed the meaningful conversations I engaged in during my first couple of years teaching.  After a while, I began to ask others teachers about certain students, seeing if they had similar concerns or issues in their class.  During one such exchange, my eyes were opened to a situation that I never knew about.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

One of my students was a goof ball, sarcastic and usually a distraction to my classroom.  However, I was enlightened to the reason behind her behavior one afternoon.  Evidently, her parents marriage was falling apart, often left alone some nights with her older sister playing the role as parent.  One of my peers eventually said to me, “It’s a miracle that these children get to school on time daily.”  If I only knew this upfront, I probably would have been more understanding.  Yet, sometimes inappropriate behavior is merely a reaction to what’s going on at home.  This pain held deep inside of hearts, minds and souls often comes out in the form of emotional outbursts.  This cry for help often get’s overlooked by most teachers.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security, Jeremiah 33:6.

The most challenging class I dealt with were junior high students in West Virginia.  These students were intelligent, but due to issues at home hampered their overall achievement in school.  Selected by a new boarding school entitled the High Scope Institute for Ideas, I was chosen to counsel and teach these candidates.  Using an active learning environment, students were engaged with seminars and workshops.  In the middle of the day, tutoring sessions were held for those falling behind followed by team building exercises to encourage leaders to come forward.  This semester holds a special place in my heart as I lived with these students like a camp counselor.  Yet, one student began to act up near the end of the school year.  After threatening to kill another student, I had a heated exchange with him, throwing his bunk bed across the room.  Like Jesus turning the tables of money changers in the temple, my reaction struck a nerve, resulting in a tearful confession.  If I only knew how bad his family life was, my methods would have changed.  In view of this, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Rather, take the time to listen so that you can help those waiting to be healed from the pain of their past.

by Jay Mankus

 

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An Attitudes Impact

In the ESPN 30 for 30 entitled, the Gospel According to Mac, former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCarthy recounts his quest to bring the Buffalo’s a national championship.  One of the overriding themes involves learning how to motivate each player who respond differently to criticism, failure and mistakes.  During the second hour of this 2 hour documentary, the founding of Promise Keepers is covered through a series of clips from old speeches.  One excerpt includes a quote on attitudes, claiming a person’s attitude is four times more important as their overall talent.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, Philippians 2:14.

Attitude is one of those qualities which usually remains hidden until adversity arrives.  However, in the heat of the moment, pose is tested.  Attitudes are directly proportional to feelings expressed through body language and words.  Depending upon the individual, stored up emotion can explode, unleashed in the form of complaints, gossip or pessimism.  According to the apostle Paul, this is nothing new as attitudes can impact a group, family or an entire neighborhood.  Like a vulnerable forest in seasons of extreme drought, any spark can trigger devastating fires.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5.

To overcome this potential threat, the apostle Paul believes the cure to this condition lies in the obtaining a specific mindset.  Despite being the son of God, Jesus became humble taking the nature of a servant.  Jesus set the model for what attitude should resemble.  However, this isn’t something you can do on your own.  Rather, transformation begins with faith by grace.  When you place your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to fashion and mold your attitude.  The end goal is to acquire a Christ like mindset.  This may take a life time to achieve, but an attitude’s impact can alter lives for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

 

Feelings Only Tell Half the Story

Emotion, passion and sentiment is not always visible within individuals.  While some people may wear their feelings on their sleeves like an intense roller coaster ride, others remain reserved, hiding pain on the inside.  During my sophomore year of high school, a friend from cross country punched me in the arm, near my shoulder blade every time I saw him.  This reaction only told half the story.  This gesture released the frustration inside his heart as he helplessly watched his mother lose a year long battle with cancer.  After her funeral, Carl became my best friend at Concord High.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

This friendship coincided with my own decision to trust Jesus as my Savior.  Following this decision on December 4th, 1984, I began to break out of my own depression due to a losing battle with stuttering.  My transformation wasn’t immediately, but as I began to attend monthly Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ meetings, I discovered I wasn’t alone in facing demons from my past.  No matter who you are and where you live, there will always be cycles of ups and downs.  Yet, faith stabilizes broken and weary souls and when you enter into accountability relationships, this strengthens one’s ability to develop a firm foundation.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity, 1 Timothy 4:12.

As I reflect upon the past 30 plus years, feelings tend to reveal a part of my past that I haven’t fully let go of, hoping to still remain in control.  Depending upon the year or in some cases decade, its easy to regress, slipping back into former habits of the flesh.  This is where the power of testimonies take faith to the next level.  God has given me opportunities to share my faith from time to time.  Unfortunately, many of these chances were neglected, overlooked or wasted.  Nonetheless, I’m thankful for the few I made the most of, especially during a church service in Friendship, Maryland when I gave my first ever sermon.  Don’t let troubles in life rain on the open doors that the Lord provides.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Traumatized

 

One of the medical websites I researched lists 5 specific categories of trauma.  Complex, Early Childhood, Medical, Refugee and Traumatic Grief.  The actual definition of this term refers to any experience that inflicts deep distress or is emotionally disturbing.  This state is often induced by accidents, injuries or witnessing someone die.  Anyone who endures such an event can be traumatized for hours, days, weeks or months.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you, 1 Peter 5:7.

Anyone alive during the life of Christ may have seen one of the most brutal ways to die.  After receiving up to 39 lashing in the public square, Jesus carried a cross until Simeon took over and then was crucified.  Even those who despised Jesus’ message, must have felt pity or remorse at some point.  Despite his innocence, Herod followed Jewish tradition, setting the criminal Barabbas free as a mob demanded Jesus to die in his place.  If those who have seen this gore in the Passion of the Christ struggle to watch, image the trauma exhibited by those who were disciples and followers of God’s son.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron, Psalm 107:13-16.

One of the difficult signs of trauma is that its often invisible.  Sure, body language, facial expressions and posture reveal someone who is mourning.  Yet, wounds to the soul go unnoticed, lingering for months, years or in worse case scenarios, a lifetime.  In certain cases, guilt causes some to remain traumatized until they forgive themselves.  This situation is played out in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams playing a psychologists tells Matt Damon, an orphan its not your fault.  If you find yourself trying to recover from a traumatic events, may the prayer of the Psalmist above provide the words to receive the healing that you seek and strive to achieve.

by Jay Mankus

 

Forgetting to Thank the One Providing the Blessings

The expression “you don’t know what you had until its gone” often hits home over the holidays.  Each year death takes away someone or something special from our lives.  Unfortunately, when life is going well, people forget to be grateful.  Take for example the Israelites, freed from 400 years of oppression and slavery.  Yet, this wasn’t enough as hungry stomachs led to complaining and grumbling.  When God answered their prayers in the form of manna, bread from heaven, the magic of this miracle soon wore off, craving more.  As quail arrived, sent by the Lord, the Israelites forgot to thank the One providing the blessings.

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD‘s hand in Egypt!  There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death,” Exodus 16:3.

Doctors tend to notice certain details that most individuals miss.  In the case of Luke, a first century physician, his version of the Healing of 10 Lepers mentions an unique observation.  Leprosy attacks the vocal cords, limiting one’s ability to project their voices.  One of the ten healed by Jesus was overcome by emotion, crying out at the top of his lungs for the first time in years.  While Jesus is disappointed that only one person came back to thank him, Luke highlights the immediate healing experienced by this man.  The other nine took their speech for granted, yet one man did not miss the opportunity to thank the One who performed this blessing.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:15-18

On Thanksgiving Day, hearts and minds tend to be fixed on cooking, football or shopping.  Instead of slowing down to enjoy life, the pursuit of happiness causes souls to search for self-gratification.  This exercise usually leads to disappointment or emptiness.  Therefore, this year on this sacred day, make sure you take the time to thank the good Lord above for all the blessings in this life.  If you don’t, you will miss a golden opportunity to prepare your heart to catch the spirit of Christmas, with good tidings and great joy to all!

by Jay Mankus

Tasting But Not Believing

Every once in a while individuals will eat something that doesn’t sit well.  Certain drinks or foods will leave a bad after taste.  Other combinations can result in bad breath, heart burn and stomach cramps.  If you are trying to win a friend over to your favorite restaurant, sometimes tasting is not believing.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace, Hebrews 6:4-6.

Human nature causes individuals to encounter several phases over the course of one’s life.  Whether its curiosity, emotion or peer pressure, the hesitant will put their toes in the water first to see if they want to dive in or not.  The author of Hebrews warns first century citizens about applying this same principle to Christianity.  Unfortunately, a let me try it for a while to see if I like it mentality cause many souls every year to abandon their faith.

Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them, Mark 4:15.

This mindset has filtered down into many traditions like dating, marriage and sex.  The world uses a car buyer analogy, wanting to test drive something before they purchase it to justify living together before getting married and premarital sex.  Perhaps this is want Jesus was referring to in Mark 4:15, warning souls against walking by sight instead of by faith.  In life it only takes one moment of compromise before temptation leads you to taste forbidden fruit.  If this behavior develops into a pattern, your life may be summarized by tasting but not believing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

My Two Cents on Lent

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing until Easter Sunday, Lent is a season of preparation for Christians.  This forty day period commences with a service remembering God’s words to Adam, ” from dust you were created out of, from dust you will return.”  Like anything in life, it takes time to prepare one’s heart to transition from the natural to the supernatural.  Thus, Lent serves as an annual journey to embrace the memory of a resurrected Messiah.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:19

Unfortunately, this tradition is often limited to six weeks instead of maintaining faith throughout the year.  Sometime after Easter egg hunts end, when chocolates candies disappear and the emotion of this spiritual holiday ceases, people go back to their former ways of life.  Like hibernating animals, faith goes into hiding, sleeping until the winter is replaced by Spring.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” – Job 1:20-21

Now at the half way point of Lent, its not too late to awake from a spiritual slumber.  Though shocked upon receiving the tragic news that his children perished, the Lord gave Job a heavenly perspective.  Instead of blaming God or becoming bitter, Job remembered the gift of life.  Therefore, as the season of Lent continues may the Holy Spirit transform you to become grateful for the hidden miracles in life.

by Jay Mankus

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