Monday, February 20, 2012

Submission to bosses and spiritual leaders

Since I already exhausted my discussion about submission in marriage  at Marriage Monday about 2 years ago, I'd rather deal with submission to leaders this time and I will focus more on the job and in the church. The Bible says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17). It's so easy to submit to leaders who have strong and sound leadership and management but what if your leader is questionable in many aspects? Take a look at the second statement, "They keep watch over you as men who must give an account." But what if he is not worth in giving an account?  How do you deal with such a weak leader or manager? Still obey him/her as the Bible commands?

If you're a proactive member of an organization, you can complement with the imperfections of your boss. If you do this, you might improve your relationship with her/him and s/he will become nicer to you as well. As a Christian, you don't have to fight with your boss to show him his/her weaknesses but you can contribute to the productivity of your company and eventually to his/her growth and development to become a better leader. For example, if you are not always getting clear directions from him, you may clarify things with him often accepting that he is really like that. Or use your own initiative to come up with ideas to help your company (and your boss) significantly. Who knows he may change sooner or later! Our human tendency in situations we don't like is either "fight or flight".If we don't like the system of our boss, it's either we try to fight and if fighting doesn't work, we leave our job immediately . It's easier to look for a new one. But remember,  our character is shown in our resume if we keep changing our job in a very short period of time.

We can never find a perfect leader. Even Moses and David were chosen by God, they had their own imperfections so it's up to us how we deal with our leaders. Neither "fight" nor "flight" is the best answer. As I always say, it's better to change your own perspective than to change someone else. Although your relationship with your boss is different from marriage which should be till death do you part, try all the possible positive ways in dealing with your boss first before you finally quit. After all, fighting will not give you a graceful exit so it's good to stay with him harmoniously with all endurance and creativity to make things work between you until you call it quits. If we apply "fight or flight" in marriage, there will be more unhappy homes and divorces in the world.

What about submission to church leaders? Like obeying your boss who does not deserve obedience, it is more challenging to deal with such a situation in the church. Church leaders such as elders or pastors have been ordained and I've heard it many times that disobeying them is like disobeying God. So how must we deal with church elders or pastors who don't act the way they are supposed to act or are abusing their spiritual authority? Challenging, isn't it? Of course, good shepherds should lead their flock to the right way. Jesus exemplified what leadership is by becoming a good and humble servant. But they must argue that they are not Christ so they are not perfect. If the lapses are tolerable, we can focus on the strengths of our spiritual leader but if the weaknesses are insurmountable and intolerable that can be stumbling blocks to the members, then how can we submit or obey to his authority? A servant who is given the authority to shepherd church members should be a good example. If this is not the case, then it should be properly dealt with. Pray for God's intervention for nothing is impossible with God. Ask God to guide you as members to deal with him. We did it in our church before and we let one of his respected elders to talk with him but that elder refused to. Later, as we continued to pray together as church members, God made His own miraculous way in dealing with the tough situation. We didn't know that he was also suffering with his own marital relationship. We just found out one day that  he had just lost his own spiritual authority as our church pastor at the same time his own family.

Let's then do our best to be submissive to our leaders and God will do the rest.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Changed diet: thanks to gingivitis!

If not by voluntary choice, circumstances can change our lifestyle. In my case, my very significant change in diet recently was brought about by my fixed bridge that irritated my gums leading to gingivitis and tooth sensitivity. I noticed that every time I ate my favorite beef dishes, I would suffer toothache. Oh, I would rather have headache than toothache! Because I hate to take pain reliever ( I hate any pills actually!), I rather changed my diet. So I had to say bye, bye to my darling beefsteak and other beef recipes I used to cling to. Well, it's not only me who has benefited from this change but my beloved hubby. As he got inherent high cholesterol and triglycerides that only healthy lifestyle can help him survive the risks of hypertension and heart-related illnesses, my diet shift has impacted him the most.

So, how has our diet change impacted us? Because I really care for balanced diet, I research a lot about anything that I put into my mouth. I was, of course, very particular about the 3Gs in the diet: Go ( carb group), grow (proteins) and glow (fruits and vegetables). How do we compensate for the absence of  meat in our present diet? We now resort to legumes, tofu and fish. Oh, we really always love fish and thanks it's abundant here in our area and they come to our market fresh! So, it's only meat we get rid from our regular diet.

Most legumes  such as kidney beans and lentils do not only help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils and other legumes have to offer. They also provide good to excellent amounts of important vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat.

As to our choice of tofu to replace our meat loss, although tofu has lesser nutrients than legumes, research on soy protein in recent years has shown that regular intake of soy protein can help lower total cholesterol levels by as much as 30%, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by as much as 35-40%, lower triglyceride levels, reduce the tendency of platelets to form blood clots, and possibly even raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol).So including tofu and other soy products in our diet is really perfect to address hubby's high LDL and triglyceride problems which are inherent from his genes.

It's barely about two months since we changed our diet but hubby feels very positive about it as he now feel even more active. Gone is his feeling of dizziness probably brought about by his high LDL and triglycerides. Aside from letting my gingivitis heal when we abstained from meat, of course, I also do feel better for at least losing some weight as meat is much longer to digest and will add up to our body mass. Remember, it's a GROW food that's why meat is highly recommended for growing children. And as we grow older, our body enzymes degenerate so our digestion of proteins such as meat is also slowed down. So no wonder that if we're getting older and eat meat but don't take in more food with lots of enzymes to digest our protein intakes such as pineapple and papaya, we gain more weight!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marriage Monday: Overcoming Boredom and Apathy

This is another challenging topic at Marriage Monday but because I missed a couple of topics already, I can no longer skip this one. So I must face it and be able to come up with something worth sharing here with my marriage of 15 years. I think even the marriages experience boredom and indifference sometimes.  Our first goal in marriage should be to keep the marriage exciting like the first moments we knew each other. But if boredom sets in, what should we do?

Having fun together as a couple will keep the romance and the union exciting. Although sometimes hubby doesn't want to go out, we can just have fun together at home like having movie marathon while enjoying our favorite food or just having tea together while chatting. Going places at least once a year also rekindles our happy moments together just like when we were sweethearts yet. Building memories together can seal your love for each other and it will help prevent boredom. But there are really times that one gets bored in marriage. In times like this, what should we do to set it off and to keep the fire burning?

First, identify what's causing your boredom with your husband. It might be something that you cannot change in his behavior or character. Of course, it's not easy to change a person and it's always easier to change our own perspective. So when this happens, it's better to shift our focus on his strengths, not on his weaknesses.

One effective way for me to bring back the warmth and excitement into our marriage is giving myself a break. For instance, I go out with friends for a dinner, shopping or just hanging out with them talking. I even go for a night out with special friends sometimes. Once I  feel relieved and recharged, I go back home more loving and caring. We, women, sometimes need a vent out or a release of overwhelming stresses and undefined emotions. Unloading ourselves to some trusted friends can ease us and make us back to our self again or be a better wife with the insights gained from sensible friends.

One ultimate and best way of overcoming boredom and apathy in marriage is through reflection and prayer. If I feel like I'm sick and tired about hubby, I pause a while and reflect then say a prayer asking God to let me see the beauty of His gift of marriage, to let me overcome my feeling of boredom. I also ask God to remind me how good it felt to be just around him during the first days, months and years of being sweethearts and at the onset of our marriage and to let Him bring back that kind of feeling. Also, getting down on our knees together as husband and wife makes both of us recognize our vulnerability in our marriage that only God can keep us together, forever despite our differences and weaknesses. 

Have a wonderful Marriage Monday, everyone! (Better late than never:)