Everything listed under: Jeff Faulkner

  • Courage in the Face of Fear

    “The best thing to do sometimes is to open up the cage and face the five-hundred-pound gorilla.  He’s going to come after you anyway, so you might as well let him out.”    -  Charlie Renfroe

    Courage to face difficult circumstances in life does not come without fear.  Even for those you see as very courageous.  Courage is not the absence of fear.  Courage assumes fear.  When I was younger a group of friends and I went boating out on a local lake.  In one of the smaller chains of lakes there was a huge oak tree right on the side of the lake that some drunk soul had built a ladder 20 to 30 feet up and platform from which to jump.  My friends willingly climbed the ladder and jumped as if it was no big deal.  I was bold as I climbed the ladder, but once I reached the platform I suddenly became terrified.  But my friends were cheering me on by calling me names like “chicken.”  Faced with this situation I knew there was no turning back, so I swallowed my fear and jumped.  Breathless all the way to the water, I thought my life would end soon.  When I came up out of the water I couldn’t believe how refreshed I felt.  There was a significant relief that came from feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

    In life, you will be faced with many situations that you’d rather not have to deal with.  Conflict with family, peers, bosses, subordinates, etc., is commonplace.  Your ability to open up the cage of the gorilla in the face of your fear will lead you to a great and satisfying sense of refreshment.  Your ability to feel the fear and do it anyway will always bring with it a heightened sense of confidence that you will be successful facing life’s gorillas. Anything less is simply leaving you with a false sense of peace.

    Application

    1. How do you typically respond when faced with the gorillas of life? True leaders are the first one’s in to uncertain and risky situations.  Are you the first one in or do you tend to wait until you’ve “mustered up the courage?”

    2. What is your greatest fear when it comes to conflict?

    3. In what ways does your fear keep you from living with certainty and boldness?

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • Sailing Close to Shore

    As we kick off the year 2013, please allow me to share with you one of my favorite prayers by Sir Frances Drake: 

    “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.

      Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

     Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.”

    It is my hope, that you will be challenged by this prayer, as I am, to reach far beyond what you believe to be your potential. I can vouch for God that He’ll take you places you never dreamed possible. Don’t allow fear and disbelief keep you too close to the shore this year. Don’t allow the busy-ness and commercialism of our culture to keep you from seeking God with all your heart. Dare boldly to venture out into uncharted territory in full confidence that God is with you!

    Here’s to a fabulous and God-directed 2013!

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • What’s Going On Under the Hood?

    I have been dealing with some emotions over the past week and a half that have not plagued me in quite some time.   I have been extremely agitated, short-fused, lacking in joy, and downright ticked off.  Anger has reared its ugly head.

    I know a lot about anger. I used to teach an anger management class to violent offenders.  Here’s a little of what I learned working with that population. At its core, anger is a hard emotion. It’s easy to see, easy to recognize. Everyone around you knows when you’re mad. The problem is that anger only serves as a sort of “check engine” light that gives you some indication that something else under the hood is wrong, but it gives you little to no indication as to what that something else is.

    You see, anger is always, always, always, 100% of the time about some softer emotion that it is covering up. Let me describe with a simple example. If you were sitting in my living room and my little dog ran up to you and bit you on the leg, what would you do? More than likely you would react by kicking the dog away from your leg. That kicking response is the response of anger that is a natural self-protective mechanism to the dog biting you. The dog bite hurt.  And therein lies the essence of anger…anger is really about being hurt and attempting to protect yourself from further harm.

    So, now that we know this, it’s time to do the hard work of finding out what those softer emotions are that the anger is serving to protect you from.  Here it is – I feel:

    ·         Disregarded

    ·         Embarrassed

    ·         Shocked

    ·         Scared

    ·         Tension

    ·         Inadequate

    ·         Pressured

    ·         Unloved

    ·         Uncared for

    Now, wouldn’t it be a whole lot simpler just to blow off some steam, lash out in anger over my situation, chew some people out, stand my ground, etc., etc.? These softer emotions are more difficult to know what to do with.

    The trouble is that in expressing my anger, I end up hurting the people around me. And that’s not loving. Jesus told us that other people would know that we are his disciples, if we have love for one another. That’s important to me. And I’m a long way from doing it well.

    What I’ve learned is that to be really good at loving others, I must first learn to love myself in light of God’s amazing love for me.  When my softer emotional needs are being met through my relationship with my heavenly Father, I can begin to display compassionate responses in the midst of trying circumstances, that would otherwise cause me to lash out in anger.

    If you’re dealing with anger, please contact one of our counselors today who can help you talk through and sort out what’s really going on under the hood, embrace God’s amazing love for you, and begin to live of life of compassion toward others.

    -Jeff Faulkner, M.S., LPC

  • Why People Seek Counseling – Love, Joy, & Peace

    There are many reasons people seek therapy, including feeling stuck, not feeling good, being unhappy, loss of a relationship or loved one, etc. I contend that the majority of the multitude of reasons people seek out the services of a professional counselor can be categorized into three broad areas: relationship problems, depression, and anxiety.  Isn’t it interesting that the first 3 fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 are the direct opposite, or positive opposite, of these negative presenting issues?  Love, Joy, and Peace. I don’t know about you, but I find that fascinating.  Maybe there really is something to the Bible holding the answers for the problems in our lives.

     Now, I have enough education, training, and experience to also be able to say that these problems are not just spiritual, and there are many psychological or physiological explanations to the things we experience in life.  There are psychological features to anxiety and depression.  There are physiological explanations for anxiety and depression as well.  And as for the relationship problems, well, there are personality features and life experiences that shape who we are and create a prism through which we interpret the events and conversations in our lives.  Understanding our backgrounds can explain why we have relationship difficulties.  These explanations that are other than spiritual do not bother me, because they are all truth.  And all truth is God’s truth.  These other explanations also do not negate the spiritual reality that exists within them.  You see, fundamentally, all of the things that we struggle with in this life are a result of being fallen people living in a fallen world and are therefore, spiritual in essence.  The human mind with all of its psychology, the human body with all of its physiology, and our complicated life experiences are fundamentally spiritual – they were all created by God – and that’s a pretty spiritual thing, don’t you think? 

     So, please allow me to encourage you that these issues can be overcome.  It’s God’s desire that you overcome them.  These issues represent a destruction of Love, Joy, and Peace in our lives.  This is not what God desires.  He wants us all to experience love at its deepest level – John 3:16 says that God loves us so much that he gave his only Son to die for us – that’s incredible love and He wants us to experience it.  Scripture says over and over again that He wants to make our joy complete. Jesus said in John 14:27 “my peace I give you”.  The first three fruits of the Spirit are Love, Joy, and Peace.  Notice that these are the fruits of the Spirit of God – not the fruits of you working hard at developing coping mechanisms are strategies to deal with circumstances.  You see, ultimately, this is all spiritual.  If you deny this aspect of what you’re struggling with, you will never know complete healing.  The best way to overcome these issues is to fully understand them from a psychological perspective, physiological perspective, from the perspective of your background and life experiences, and from a spiritual perspective.  When you attack these issues from all angles, you will surround it (whatever it is) and it will surrender and you will find Love, Joy, and Peace.

     If you are having challenges in these areas, please schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today. We would be thrilled to walk with you through these struggles, help you understand and make sense of them, and walk more in step with God in your life and experience the Love, Joy, and Peace that God desires for you.

    -Jeff Faulkner

  • Overcoming Circumstances

    Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.
    -- Bruce Barton

     Bruce Barton was a man of many talents who worked in advertising, editing and writing for newspapers and magazines, and author and publisher of several books including a best seller, The Man Nobody Knows in 1925.   He went on to become a United States Congressman.

     Upon graduation from college in 1907, Barton had difficulties in finding a job after his graduation as the country was in a severe recession at the time. The only employment he could find was as a timekeeper in a Montana railroad camp. He eventually found success in advertising and writing, but due to mounting pressures in his career and his marriage, he admitted himself into a sanitarium in 1928.  Eight years later, he ran successfully for Congress in 1936, and for two terms he represented Manhattan's affluent "silk-stocking district."

     Circumstances in Barton’s life didn’t inhibit him from achieving some great things.  From time to time they certainly slowed him down.  But, he dug deep to find the courage to face the circumstances he encountered.  The circumstances in your life may be severe and harsh at times.  If you believe that there is something inside you that is superior to your circumstances you will be able to rise above your trials and overcome them. Better yet, if you believed with 100% confidence that God is with you and “has your back,” no obstacle can stand in your way.

     Application

    1.      Have you ever overcome any adverse circumstances?

    2.      Did you at any point feel that your circumstances were too much to overcome?

    3.      How did you eventually overcome them?

    4.      What is it that is inside of you that is superior to circumstance?

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • The Winds of Adversity

    "Do not fear the winds of adversity. Remember: a kite rises against the wind rather than with it."

    B.J. Marshall

     Adversity knows no boundaries.  It is no respecter of persons.  The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  When adversity comes, your response is the single best indicator of how you will come through it. 

     My hard drive crashed.  I lost a lot of data.  I spent the better part of two days getting my system operational again.  Business backed up and I felt the stress.  I remarked to my wife at the end of the day that there are many people in the world dealing with significant adversity – far greater than losing a hard drive – and I can’t imagine the level of stress and heartache they are experiencing.  I wondered out-loud how they do it.  They have health problems, death of loved ones, relationship challenges, political strife, war, famine, and the list goes on.  A friend of my wife’s recently suffered a miscarriage.  We did not see or hear from her for months – even though we made a multitude of attempts to contact her. My problems pale in comparison to the loss of life.  And yet, I can cop a bad attitude right quick.  And a bad attitude can drive your little kite straight into the ground – and depression can take root if you allow it to.

    I’m not suggesting that you live in denial with regard to circumstances.  Emotions are real and cannot often be denied.  In fact, it is not healthy to not experience a true emotional response to pain.  These tough emotions have to be experienced and processed in order to make sense of life.  But in the midst of the harsh realities of life, we have choices to make.  When the winds of adversity blow, there must be a foundation of belief that keeps your kite afloat and guides your choices.

    Application

    1. How do you typically respond to everyday adversities?  Like losing your car keys, losing a sale, your hard drive crashing, or a crash while driving?

    2. How have you responded to significant adversity in your life?  Do you have a tendency to deny or minimize the problems?  Do you tend to allow them to drive you in to a deep depression?  How can you maintain a balanced response to adversity?

    3. What does your belief system tell you about adversity?

    4.  How do you help those around you keep their kites flying high?

    5.  If you need to talk to someone about the trials in your life and your responses to them, please contact a counselor, a pastor, or a dear friend today.

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • Difficult Choices

    "Excellence is an art won by training and habitation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit."- Aristotle

    It has been said that a good habit takes at least 28 days to establish. In contrast, bad habits seem to be natural and are established by default. As an example, if I desire to exercise daily and I don’t get up one morning in time to exercise I have made a choice to reinforce a bad habit. Excellence then, as the quote suggests, is the product of a lifestyle characterized by difficult choices. Unfortunately, the choices necessary to reinforce a good habit are never the easy ones to make.

    A significant factor in the arena of habits is that habits lend themselves to addictions. Most people think of addiction in terms of substance abuse or workaholism. But addictions take many forms – watching television, wasting time surfing the web, Facebooking, checking email, yelling at your children, being critical. You name it, we can become addicted to it. Many of our seemingly harmless addictions are performance and development killers. I remember when I realized the power of addictions one night when a championship football game was on television – I had been trying to establish a habit of getting to bed earlier, so that I could get out of bed earlier and exercise in the morning. But I simply did not want to miss the game. It was as if there would be a part of me missing if I didn’t stay up to watch it. The pull against the difficult decision to give up the game and go to bed was like an electromagnetic one. And it’s these kinds of habits or addictions that will kill your performance in every area of your life – growing in your career, being a loving and engaged father, being a great wife, getting involved in your friends lives, spending quality time with your Heavenly Father, etc., etc. So decide now to be one who will make the difficult choices. If you need help in addressing some issue, seek out help from a professional counselor, a trusted friend, your pastor. Maybe answering the following questions will help.

    Application

        1. Name one good habit that you have been trying to establish.

        2. What are the hindering bad habits that get in your way?

        3. Describe how these bad habits are self-limiting behaviors that hinder your performance.

        4. What are the consequences of the choices you make that reinforce your bad habits?

        5. What are the benefits you are losing out on by not making the difficult choices?

        6. Write an affirmative reminder that will help you overcome and establish this good habit.

        7. Once you have this one “licked”, try it on another habit.

    - Jeff Faulkner