Showing posts with label #Tara Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Tara Johnson. Show all posts

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Pride and Perfectionism

Perfectionism can hinder our Christian walk. Though not an obvious obstacle like envy or anger, it still can trip us up. Deceitful in nature, it makes us believe our actions are for God but might only feed our obsession.

 
The obstacle of perfectionism comes, in some form, from pride.
 
We still strive for parent's approval.
We desire laud and compliments.
We believe no one can do it as well as we can.
We seek to control everything.
We fear failure, so we don't do anything.

How do we know the difference between striving for excellence and being tangled in perfectionism?

 
The solution is less of us, and more of God. Remember, our worth comes from Him.

 
I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.
                                             Psalm 139:4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
 
We fall into a comparison trap, when God loves us individually. He made us special just the way we are, not to be compared with another of his creations.
 
 
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him.
                   1 Corinthians 12:18
 
 
 
According to Tara Johnson  in Hollow Victory: how to identify & disarm 5 landmines that make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie, before we take on any chore or ministry, we should ask ourselves this question. "Am I doing this so others will think better of me or is it because I'm trying to give my best to God."
 
 
Another of my favorite books, The Freedom of Letting Go by Donna Clark Goodrich makes these suggestions for dealing with what we consider to be a failure.
 
1. Were you simply not meeting unrealistic expectations?
2. Which doors opened or closed because you tried?
3. How is God using this to direct your life?
4. Accept yourself as you are.
 
 
 
Once, when I felt like such a failure because a class I was teaching closed for lack of interest, my daughter encouraged me by reminding me how God might use what I learned in another way, and that's what happened. The class evolved into a book.
 
From my book, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.
 
We ask Jesus to take over for us. We can’t do it alone. What a relief. We can lay down the load we’ve carried for years. Jesus will pick it up and carry it for us. I’m not perfect. Now, I don’t have to act as if I were.
 
Don't let perfectionism tie you in knots and ruin your Christian witness.
 
Give yourself permission to be human.
 
 
P. S. All three self help books can be purchased on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and make great gifts.
 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What's the Solution for Depression?

Think depression is something new to the twenty-first century? Think again. Ever since God kicked Lucifer out of heaven, that mean-spirited, beautiful ex-angel has been using every weapon in his arsenal to defeat God. One of those is depression. Listen to Elijah's story back in the time of the Jewish kings.

     So, Elijah fled for his life; he went to Beersheba, a city of Judah, and left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day, and sat down under a broom bush and prayed that he might die.
     "I've had enough," he told the Lord. "Take away my life. I've got to die sometimes, and it might as well be now."
             1 Kings 19: 3, 4 Life Recovery Bible
  
        But the Lord said to him, "What are you doing here Elijah.
     He replied, "I have worked very hard for the Lord God of the heavens, but the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you and torn down your altars and killed your prophets, and only I am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too."
             1 Kings 19: 9, 10 Life Recovery Bible

 
Another prophet of old by the name of Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. He wrote a whole book about his sadness. At one point in his ministry, here's how he felt.
 
      All hope is gone, my strength has turned to water, for the Lord has left me.
           Lamentations 3:18 Life Recovery Bible.

 
Symptoms of depression include:
     Insomnia or sleeping all the time
     Inability to concentrate or make decisions
     Loss of appetite or Inability to control overeating
     A feeling of emptiness
     Unconcern for normal enjoyments of life
     Change of habits
     Listlessness
     Crying over inconsequential things
     Outbursts of anger
     Panic attacks
     Thinking about suicide
     Inability to pray



Not everyone will have all these symptoms. There are degrees of depression, anything from “a little down” to physical, chemical depression requiring medication. All form of depression brings a wedge between you & God.
 
My devotion book, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness, shows my depression at the time I wrote this.
 
     I call out to God but only trust in my own abilities, because He is far away. I lost thirty pounds with a weight support group, but put it back on, plus some. I whittled off forty pounds with shots and pills only to find myself in deep depression and succumbing to old behavior patterns. When I purchased a diet franchise after losing a hundred pounds, the stress of keeping off the weight drove me to underground eating and gaining, until I lost my business. I had failed. I couldn't lose. I couldn't maintain what I lost. I was worthless.
 
 
Like Jeremiah, the only remedy to depression is soaking in the Word of God, allowing His Words to soothe & encourage, & reminding yourself of His faithfulness in the past.

On page 843 of the Life Recovery Bible, this note tells us, "Turning our life over to God includes giving him our pain and suffering. In our times of grief and shames, we can hope for the time when God will overcome the problems we face. God is strong enough to lift our burdens and loving enough to mend our broken heart."

                         
Lamentations 3:21-23 gives us the solution to depression.

     Yet, there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord's mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. 

 
Tara Johnson's book Hollow Victory: How to Identify & Disarm 5 Landmines that make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie tells us "Here's the thing about depression: you cannot operate based on how you feel. You have to cling to what you know." 
 



One Scripture that ministers to many of us comes because of Jeremiah’s struggle with depression.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord, plans for good & not for evil, for hope in your future.”
                              Jeremiah 29:11

 

 
I look through the table of contents in The Freedom of Letting Go by Donna Clark Goodrich for all the things we must learn to let go of and deal with.
    Grief
    Failures
    Successes
    Fear
    Doubt
and the list goes on. One of the hardest things to let go of is control. Allowing God to take control.

I love Goodrich's quote from that book, "If God never sleeps, why should both of us stay awake."


Another promise from God to cling to:
 

 
When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up--the flames will not consume you.
                   isaiah 43; 2-3  Live Recovery Bible

 

Let’s list the things that verse says about what troubles we might face.

 

When we face waters – – He will be with us.
 

When we face rivers – We will not drown.

 
When we face fire – We won’t be burned.

 


Notice God says "when" we go through these things, not "if."

 
In life, we will go through bad things. So, we must remember God's solution that He gave us through Jeremiah.
 

Are you teetering on the brink of depression? Is the darkness calling you away from worship? Has there been a time in your past when depression has been a part of your life?

Do you need to remember the solution?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

MOTIVATION

I read a quote today that preached volumes to me.

Life is for enjoying. It is not a race to see how much you can get done.                        Jill Clark

My new year began with a case of the flu and a new book releasing. I came down sick the day after Christmas. For nearly two weeks, I've had enough energy to fill a very small thimble.

As I begin to lift my head above the covers, my huge to-do list smacks me in the face and makes me want to curl back under my blankey.


When I read that quote, I thought, "yes," I will not run the race to see how much I can do, but that's hard. A new year affords a perfect time to prioritize and realign everything you're involved in. That's never more true than when you're back is against the wall with several projects at once.



Here's my words for January:

STRIVE - toward a decision to follow Christ in all things

STRETCH -toward God's excellence, not man's approval

SURRENDER - to God's will, not ours

SUCCEED in keeping communication lines open with God

I have one more word to think about especially if, like me, you're behind because of illness and holidays. Especially, if your work is stacking up higher than you can climb. Especially, if your to-do list is sticking out the front door.

MOTIVATION
 
 
What is your motivation for what you're about to do?
Most of the time, we don't make choices between good things and bad things. It's between important and more important.
 
 
Shall you be active in a group at church or donate time to your library?
 
Should you continue with one writing group or another?
 
Do you visit a friend for a couple hours or visit your mother-in-law which takes all day?
 
I think you get the idea?
 
First decide on your motivation, and the decision will be easier.
 

A quote from Hollow Victory by Tara Johnson http://tarajohnsonministries.com/ asks this, "Why am I doing this? Is it because I really want to help out, or because I'm afraid they'll be mad at me if I don't."

Mere people-pleasing can be exhausting and ruinous to our attitudes.

 Seek God.
With a free flow of communication, we can start this new year

Productive
Prepared
and Pampered

And, I don't know about you, but I'm needing a little pampering about now.

HAPPY MOTIVATED NEW YEAR

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Interview with Singer/Writer Tara Johnson

At the 2012 ACFW conference in Dallas, I sat at a table with a young lady that I immediately fell in love with. She talked of Christ's love and faithfulness and gave me a demo CD of her songs. What a kindness that was. I thanked her but never realized how much that CD would minister through the next year. The title song is "It's a Brand New Day." Talk about encouragement, it's there.

I emailed this lady and asked if I could interview her. She graciously accepted my offer. Help me welcome Tara Johnson to my Writing with God's Hope blog today.


    Tara, when did you know you wanted a career in singing?


   I remember being tucked into my bed at the age of six and daydreaming about what my life would be. I was suddenly struck  with this image: I was looking out from the middle of a well-lit stage, microphone in hand, watching a large crowd listen as I sang. But honestly, as I got older the thought that I could ever be a singer felt ridiculous. For one thing, I didn't think I was that good! I spent high school and the first part of college determined that I wouldn't go into music. As much as I loved it, it didn't provide a very stable income. Instead, I entered the education program...and was miserable. God finally caught my attention and I ended up changing my major to music with emphasis in voice and songwriting. The rest is history!

 
      When did you make your first CD?

   In 2002. It was a custom album a friend of mine and I put together before I signed with Incubator Creative Group.

 

       How many CDs do you have?

   "Sweet Mercy" and a Christmas album entitled "O Holy Night" along with lots of individual singles. I need to get them compiled into a new project! With itunes shifting so much of the way music is sold, it's much more feasible these days to work on individual singles than huge CD projects. I'm guessing that CDs will soon become a thing of the past, another item to add to the retro pile along with 8 tracks and vinyl records.

     Ah, yes, I still have some records that are keepsakes.  Do you write your own songs?

   Yes, much of the time. My concerts are a mix of original music and cover tunes but I love to write my own when I can. And whenever I need a good laugh, I work on creating parodies. For example, I changed the old song Daddy's Hands to Daddy's Hair. It's a tribute to my awesome Dad and his, um, hair-challenged predicament. :)

 
   That's funny. Do you have another job or career besides music?

   Yes and I confess it's hard to describe. There's no good job title for it. My manager calls it 'being a musicianary'! In 2004, I signed with Incubator Creative Group which is a record label and management company out of Santa Clara, Oregon. Basically, I help encourage people battling depression, people pleasing and grief, all struggles I've dealt with in depth. In fact, this past year I wrote a book about it! (Hollow Victory: How to Identify & Disarm 5 Landmines that Make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie) I travel to churches, women's retreats, prisons (basically anyone who is willing to put up with me) and talk about how radically God has transformed my life. So along with music, I do a lot of public speaking, comedy and writing.

 
  Do you still go to writer’s conferences with your mom?

   Absolutely! We are planning on attending the national ACFW conference in St. Louis next year. It's a great time for both of us to get creatively energized, deepen our craft and bond a little closer. And laugh. We always laugh.

 
Does your mom still write?

   At the moment, no. Her job is full-time and extremely stressful. She is brimming with ideas but hasn't had a chance to start fleshing them out yet. But when she does, I'll be her biggest fan! Actually, I suppose I already am.

 
 If one song could tell your life story, what would that song be?

   Wow. That's a tough one. That's like asking a chef what his favorite recipe is! I would probably have to say a song I wrote called December Songbird. Over the past several years, I've lost two babies in miscarriages and have learned that praise is a choice. This song encompasses the idea of what Job declared. "The LORD has given and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Come what may, I will continue to praise His great name.

         Tell us something about yourself that we might not have heard.

   Haha! I've been doing that game on facebook where a person is given a number and they have to list a certain number of things people may not know about them. So I suppose that list can apply here too! Here are my top six:

          * I've done my fair share of cow-tipping.
* I can only sleep on the cool side of the pillow.
* I used to have a wall-hanging in my bedroom growing up that spelled out my name     with each letter hooked together. T-A-R-A. My brother would come in and re-arrange them on a regular basis to spell A-R-A-T. 
* My nieces and nephews call me "Aunt Spaz" and think that's my real name.
* During our wedding ceremony, the church caught on fire. True story.
* I am the biggest history nerd of all time.

           Where do you do your best writing or practicing?

   I can write just about anywhere but my favorite is my front porch when the weather is nice. I have a bench surrounded by flowers that I can relax in while I type away on my laptop. Usually if I'm out there, my kids are too. Getting to hear their squeals and giggles as they ride their scooters or play with their dogs on the front lawn is a great way to write.               It's also my favorite place to study my Bible.

          I love to practice music at my piano, mainly because of the sweet memories it brings. It's an old player piano that my Grandpa gave my Grandma on their first anniversary. That was over sixty years ago. When I was little, I would sit next to Grandpa on that old piano bench and giggle as he played Has Anybody Seen my Gal?. Every time he sang "five foot two, eyes of blue", he would elbow me in the ribs and grin. I always think of him when play that old piano.
 
Thank you, Tara , for stopping by to answer all my questions.  I've loved getting better acquainted with you.

Tara Johnson is a singer, author and songwriter from Alexander, AR.  In 2004, she signed with Incubator Creative Group, a Christian and ministry based record label out of Eugene, OR.  Tara loves to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share her testimony of how God led her out of a life of people-pleasing and depression into a new walk with Him. 

 This past year has kept Tara busy with singing engagements, counseling with people who are battling depression and writing her fourth book Hollow Victory.  In 2012, she won the Bronze Medal in the Frazier awards hosted by My Book Therapy and has articles published in Plain Truth Magazine. She and her husband Todd have been married for sixteen years and the Lord has blessed them with five children:  Bethany (10), Callie (7), Nathan (4 months) and Taylor Lynn and Morgan Lane who are with Jesus.

 You can contact Tara at  www.TaraJohnsonMinistries,  through facebook, twitter (@TaraMinistry) or email her at tara@taraministries.com
 

 
Janet, here - I'd like to add a footnote of my own. Tara recently sent me her book Hollow Victory: How to Identify & Disarm 5 Landmines that make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie.

I began reading it right away, but as posted previously, I'm a slow reader. Also, I keep a fiction and a non-fiction book going at the same time. I wanted to give this short review.

I find Hollow Victory encouraging, inspiring, and helpful. The story of the Songbird touched my life. We must learn to deal with grief, depression, people-pleasing, perfectionism, and fear/anxiety to live in victory. Tara gives us ways to disarm these using God's tried and true methods. These landmines destroy compulsive people like me. I can and will use Tara's prescribed methods for myself and teach them in my weekly Divine Dining weight loss classes here in Wichita Falls, TX.

Thank you, Tara, for being obedient to God in writing this book. Thanks also for sending me a copy. I highly recommend it.