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Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith

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Faith

“Mind Not Diseased” event part 3.

We talk about the importance of humour and gratitude when facing a terminal illness, how they help to set up a better tomorrow. We also hear from a young mum who is facing MND/ALS with two young daughters.

 

“Mind Not Diseased: part 2

Join us as we talk about Post Traumatic Growth.

 

What I shared at “Belong Women’s Event”. Strength in times of weakness.

MND/ALS Awareness Week. Meet Chris and Louise Fanning.

Lenore and I visit friends who are also living with MND/ALS. Watch the end we have some fun.

 

Living life with no regret!

 

 

Link to my YouTube Chanel. Why not check out this video and subscribe to my channel.

 

The last few weeks we have looked at fear, death, grief, lose and now regret.

These are circumstances and emotions we see as being negative and destroying but I have found we can take the negatives the destroying and turn them into positive ways of building our lives full of purpose and forward movement.

“I don’t have any regrets”! Have you ever had anyone say that to you?

Or ask you; “have you got any regrets”?

I have. It’s a common question that people with a terminal illness are asked. “Any regrets”?

“No regrets”, sounds so confident even courageous.

Psalms 107:10 some of us once sat in darkness living in dark shadows of death. We were prisoners to our pain and chained to our regrets.

Doesn’t say we wont have pain or regret its we don’t have to be a prisoner to them or chained by them.

It’s such an important issue as regret can drive us into depression, shame, bondage, into a life filled with being captive to the past and chained to yesterdays mistakes.

Today I want to show you how you can live a life of no regrets.

How to break the chain of regret!

To take regret and make it a positive experience a real change agent for the better that can lead to:

REDIRECTION,

REGROUPING,

REFINING,

REGAINING,

RESETING,

REFOCUSING,

REPLACING,

REENGAGING,

RECOVERING,

REFRAMING

RELEASING,

REDEMPTION,

RECONNECTION.

RESTORATION,

REBUILDING,

However, I am beginning to realize that if I never had a regret I’d never have changed.

If I never had a regret I’d never grow.

If I had never had a regret I’d never have admitted fault or sin.

In fact I think the only way to live with no regret is to admit and face up to your regrets.

REGRET can help us make sense of the present, avoid future negative behaviour, and motivate us to make the best of opportunities now given.

If you live without ever having regret then you have missed the opportunity to courageously learn and change for the better.

I remember as a young boy stealing a lead pencil from the local Woolworth store. I needed a 2HB pencil and for some reason that I can’t remember I thought the only way was to steal it. When I went home that night with my prize I could hardly sleep I was so ashamed that I had stolen the pencil, I regretted it. Regret for what I had done made me sneak the pencil back into the store the next morning. I can clearly see myself returning the pencil to its shelf.

I knew I wasn’t a thief by nature but I had stolen.

If I had not acknowledged regret then shame would have said I was a thief but by responding I allowed regret to acknowledge my guilt and I changed the direction of my life.

I acknowledged I had done wrong and regret turned into repent. I asked God to forgive me and I responded to His forgiveness by changing my ways.

So my answer in this situation is I had regret but now I have no regret because I have learned from it and not ignored it.

When we do not respond to regret in a positive and constructive way, regret will morph into shame.

Remember shame will try to define you as being a thief while regret will acknowledge you stole and redefine you as you respond to your regret.

Regret is a powerful motivator for change. It will not just change the situation from bad to good but will redirect and reframe your future for the better.

I have learned so much from people who have admitted regret and acknowledged their regret.

I remember talking to a man who refused to have a PEG (a tube passed into a persons stomach to provide a means of feeding when oral intake is not adequate) put in his stomach as he had lost the ability through the effects of MND to eat and swallow.

He came to a place when he wanted to get it but was unable to as the anesthetist wouldn’t allow the operation. He told me he regretted not getting it when he was well enough. He would have lived longer.

I have learned from his admitting regret and have counselled others who have also come to the place of deciding wether to or not get a PEG early. if the time ever comes for me to get a PEG I will get it.

The more you learn from your and others regrets the less regrets you’ll have.

Maybe being vulnerable about our regrets can bring change in others so they don’t have the same regret.

I have no regrets because I have turned those regrets into a change agent.

I remember getting a credit card interest charge of over $100.

I regretted not paying my credit card off, missing the date and not paying it in full. Since then I have never paid interest on my credit card. I pay on time and never allow the card to go above what I can afford to pay off at the end of the month.

Regret changed the way I did my banking and made me get knowledge about how the interest is calculated on credit cards.

If you learn from your regrets then they are truly no longer regrets.

I can say I have no regret about being charged that interest as its’ saved me ever being charged again.

This is going to be a little controversial BUT telling someone who is dying how you feel about them and how much they have meant to you is not going to impact on wether or not they get well, cured or healed but it will insure you will live without regret.

Anything said to a person who is dying and then doesn’t die has only added depth, love and benefited the relationship for the future.

What about the things you regret but can’t go back and change?

If you get stuck blaming yourself and regretting past actions, this could turn into depression and shame . Find a way to forgive yourself and let it go. Most people have an easier time forgiving others than themselves.

There is no regret that can’t be turned into a life changing experience.

You may regret your life of sin allow it to led to repentance, ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOU AND THEN FORGIVE YOURSELF.

Mark 1:15 And saying, The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (ahave a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Amplified Bible

I hope this helps you acknowledge your regrets so you dont have to live with REGRET.

PEACE AND LOVE.

MOVING FORWARD WITH LOSS AND GRIEF.

If we love then we will not make it through life without experiencing grief.

Strategies for dealing with grief.

       

In my last vlog I said:

Life’s beauty is inseparable from it fragility.

The greatest beauty is found in love.  

With love also comes great grief.

If we love then we will not make it through life without experiencing grief.

Living with arms and hearts that embrace life and love will also bring lose.

This loss can be in the form of the death of a loved one, 

Being made redundant from your work place, 

A diagnosis that threatens your life, 

A business transaction that has been lost,

Lose of business that you have given your life to.

A pandemic that separates, isolates and devastates your security and well being.

BUT WHAT if I could show you a way to processing grief and loss that will lead to a greater depth of joy, a new perspective ON life and new purpose FOR life. 

Some real keys to living with and through grief.

First: When we deal with our grief don’t look at it like its a spiralling downward as much as its a way we move forward through pain and challenge.  It’s what Philippians calls the “forgetting what is behind and straining forward”.  

Sometimes going forward means straining and grief is THAT.

JESUS lived for 33 years on this earth and he lived in a way that not one moment or experience he had was wasted or of no value to him or those who would know him.  

In the Garden of Gethsemane we see him grieving again, weeping over his coming death and wanting the comfort of his friends with him. 

In Matthew,: “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death; remain here and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38 ESV).

And, of course, lamenting to God is praying like Jesus did. Jesus prayed a psalm of lament on the cross, crying out “Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Psalm 22:1 ESV).

Jesus grief was seen over the death of His friend Lazarus.

He loved and in His love for Jerusalem, for humanity, for you and I he experienced real grief.

His grief was not wasted neither is our grief.

You may not see any meaning that can be immediately attached to the grief you are going through but the way you go through your grief could in itself attach meaning to it.

This is a world full of brokenness, and grief reveals the truth about that brokenness. 

I think this is a topic again so needed right now more then ever.

It’s a subject that again is 

not negative but positive, 

not destructive but building, 

not disempowering but empowering, 

not weak but strong,

not fearful but courageous.

If we lean into grief the way we should we will bring meaning and purpose to what may seem such meaningless circumstances.

Yes I believe when we see no obvious reason for loss and grief we have the grace and ability to bring meaning to it.

Can I first begin by saying sadness and grief though similar are not the same.

If we think of sadness its not depression and its not grief.

Sadness unlike depression and grief is shorter more temporary emotion we have in lose or disappointment.

When we see that 958 people died in England we are sad but for the loved ones of those who died they will experience deep grief.

Our sadness may only last for a few days or until the next commercial or news report of another tragedy or triumph.

Their grief will stay with them  in some form or another for the rest of their lives.

When I was diagnosed with MND a terminal illness for those who loved me deeply it was a time of grief for others it was sad to hear about Phil.

And thats ok because none of us who love deeply will go through life without grief.

May I also say that grief can have many levels and layers too it.

If your mother was to die at the age of 98 from natural courses your grief will be real but for you to loss a child at a young age to cancer or some other illness or tragedy. May I suggest that grief would be a whole other level and depth so profound that it would impact your life story for ever.

Grief goes deeper, its life changing, its an experience that brings a changed life. 

There is a before and an after this happened when it comes to a life impacted by grief. 

Before this loss and after this loss!

For me it was I was healthy before i was not, with this MND.

I will continue to live, love and enjoy life but life will be different and so will I.

Even if I was healed today my life will never be the same as it was before the diagnosis.

Grief has the ability to make us more loving, patient, compassionate, accepting and gentle.

This will only happen if we face up to grief, truth up to it.

To do this with any sense of truth we have to know that with grief, 

its ok not to be ok, 

until you are ok, 

and you will be OK.

When I lost my sense of self worth and significance after being diagnosed with MND and as a result having to leave a job I not only deeply loved but that I had been called to.  

I loved being who I was and doing what I did so when I lost that ministry as i knew it then my grief was real and tangible.

Grief is not sinful.

It’s  a good and godly response to love and passion lost.

Sometimes we repress grief and try to move through it quickly, or even deny that it is there. 

We might fear that it is a sin to feel this way. 

If we believe it is sin, it follows that we should move away from this negative feeling quickly. 

We fear our grief may cause us to question the presence and work of God in our lives.

What I learned during this time is that it was not the end of me or my life but a continuance of it in ways i never imagined.

I would get up but I would be different.

It was going to be a straining, a stretching,  a reaching but not a breaking.

What i suggest you do in your time of grief is be honest with your feelings and emotions.

Either write them down like no one will read them, so there is no filter by what you should say or be expected to say.

Lament to God as though he is the only one who hears and he knows anyway so your not going to shock Him.

Confide in a wise friend, pastor, counsellor, therapist who you can trust with the truth about how your feeling.

Lamenting to God is a good and holy way to grieve.

Listen to a Lament in Psalm 102:1-2

“GOD, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don’t turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry—this can’t wait!”

 When you write or talk about your grief your showing up to it.

Life is lived when you move forward with your story not by separating yourself from it.  

We become integrated and whole able to move forward in healthy ways.

This week and indeed the months ahead will bring with it sadness for some and grief for others.  

If we are global christians we will not just see the blessing of living in Australia at this time but also feel the pain of what many others in our world are going through especially in 3rd world countries where the news seems to have no concern.

The way we move forward with these real emotions will determine the depth of love, joy and wonder that life is.  

Without grief we would never really fathom the profoundness of love.  

Grief is only possible because we have loved and love is ultimately measured by the depth of our grief.

Grief journeyed rightly, honestly and truthfully will bring new purpose, new direction, new perspective to life.

This new life wont come by ignoring the grief but facing it truthfully and fully until we are change for the better because of it.

So:

 Write it down

Lament and pray to God.

Talk to a friend

Confide in a councillor. 

Remember grief is a stretching, a straining but its a forward movement not a backward one. 

You will be transformed by the experience as you face your grief with grace and truth.

You will find new perspective, new purpose, new love for life and living.

Thanks for listening.  

If your on YouTube why not subscribe to my channel or

 go to my blog at fridayswithphil.com

God bless you all.

Leadership in Life & Parenting

As many have followed my journey, you would know that in the last 4 years (in which I was told I would not be alive), I have become a grandfather to three adorable children.

They are adorable, but not always amusing.

Sometimes without a reason or warning they “spit the dummy” so to speak. When and where they choose to do this is anyone’s guess and not any of their concern.

I can clearly remember one of my own children losing it every time we tried to put a seatbelt on her.  She hated it so much she would scream as if we had abducted her.  It was both very annoying and embarrassing as a parent.

So I know that our Instagram children are not the real deal, there are times when it is just crazy.

Let me recall an incident when shopping with my daughter and my grandson (at the time he was three years old).

Shopping at a busy shopping centre, my grandson realised we were heading in the opposite direction to the play area, so he just threw himself on the ground in front of his mother, grandpa and everyone else at the shops.

Grandpa couldn’t pick him up as I was in my wheelchair, all I could do was look and wait.  I saw a shop assistant come running out and offer this screaming child a lollypop.  My daughter kindly and respectfully declined the offer on her child’s behalf.

For me watching on was more than educational, it was one of my proudest moments as a dad as I watched the way my daughter navigated this cyclonic outburst from my grandson.

She first moved him out of the path of other shoppers and placed him in a safe place as he continued to cry and scream. (Doesn’t it always seem louder when strangers are watching on?)

What I saw next was a mother who responded and didn’t react to the anger she was seeing. Her response was, I believe, a manifestation of her core beliefs about her son, herself and their relationship with each other.

She was not concerned about how she may have looked to others who walked past this outburst.  Her total focus was on her child and what he would learn from this outburst.  It was an opportunity to be secure in who she was as a mother, an opportunity to develop the little gentleman her child was becoming.

My daughter allowed him to exhaust himself and then when she had his full attention again, she explained that we were going to the play area after we had finished what mummy needed to do, but that if you have one more outburst we will go straight home. We did end up going straight home where the lesson continued with the help of the little boy’s dad.

Notice my daughter didn’t make unrealistic threats or label him something that he wasn’t. She didn’t say, I’m going to slap you so hard when we get home or call him a little devil.

Also, there is a commitment from his mum and dad to discipline their son, therefore they do not ignore what happens but bring it up again in a more settled and calm environment. This continues his development and restores his relationship with conversation, understanding, kisses and cuddles.

My daughter responded from a place of love, not guilt, and a set of fundamental principles that are core to my own philosophies of parenting and leadership.

I believe these principles are transferable and applicable to all relationships. Parent-child, husband-wife, employer-employee, leader-follower, etc.

So here are some of those relationship principles I have learnt:

1. Determine to see the ‘personal pain’

Most anger is triggered by ‘personal pain’, not a ‘painful personality.’

When we can empathise with the persons’ personal pain, we will see them differently and respond to them accordingly.

When we see a person with anger as something other than their personal pain and disappointment we could make assumptions like:

They are demon possessed.

They are just an evil person.

They have a personality disorder.

Yes, these are all possibilities but are also highly unlikely and should never be our first judgement.

Seeing your child as angry, and not an angry person, is empowering and releasing.

Look for ‘pain disappointment’ not ‘personality disorder’.

My grandchild was behaving like a normal three-year-old. He was acting like a child because he is a child. Hopefully, with good parenting, he will one day NOT act like a child when he is an adult.

When you see them as an angry person you give them no way forward and you disempower your ability as a parent to discipline correctly.

So it is with those we lead. How you see the person will determine how successful you are as a leader in developing and releasing their potential as a person.

2. Determine that your discipline will have ‘restoration’ not ‘retribution’ as the goal.

My daughter had a decision to make. It’s a decision to respond to this with the goal being restoration or retribution.

Restoration has to do with the other as a priority, whereas retribution has self-protection as the priority.

I have seen parents’ responses being retribution: I will punish you for embarrassing ME; people are looking at ME, so I will react in a way that is fuelled by SELF-focus: this child is making ME feel disempowered; I’m embarrassed; I’m out of control; my reputation as a parent is being challenged.

It’s all about how you’re feeling as a parent, not about the child.

When our focus is on the child and about restoration, then we will respond in a calculated, calm and courageous way.  Our goal is to discipline for restoration, not punish for retribution.

Let me add here, all discipline should have as its goal full restoration, not continued retribution. The discipline is about maturing the individual, not manipulating for self-protection.

I have noticed that “time out” has become a go-to disciplinary option. A child is removed from the situation and told to sit by themselves for 2-5 minutes.

I have seen this also in my adult world where people who are in need of discipline are given “time out”. That is, they are removed from the position they held for a period of time.

My concern with “time out” for the child or adult is that time doesn’t change anybody, it’s what is accomplished in the “time out” that counts.

When my grandchildren get “time out” they also have an adult talk to them about the behaviour. They get asked questions about why they behaved the way they did and if the child sees anything wrong with what they did. This is intended to bring them to a place of repentance, sorrow and apology to the one offended by the behaviour.

3. Determine to be a person who is secure in who you are as a parent and leader.

Restorative discipline flows from a place of security, not insecurity.

Parenting cannot be successful if the parent is insecure when it comes to their own value and significance as a parent and a person.

Leadership cannot be successful if the leader is insecure when it comes to their own value and significance as a leader and a person.

Insecurity punishes from a place of embarrassment.

Security restores from a place of confidence.

Insecure children and adults lead by fear, which leads to bullying.

Yes, a lot of bullying we see today is done by insecure, fearful people!

As a parent or leader, your goal is to be restorative and releasing.

Parenting is our greatest opportunity for leadership and leadership is all about parenting.

May our parenting, our lives, our leadership be all about the other because we love, we are secure and we are all about restoration and restitution.

Peace,

Phil.

“Train up a child in the way he/she should go [teaching him/her to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

-PROVERBS 22:6

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

-EPHESIANS 6:4

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

-1 CORINTHIANS 13:11

Choices that hurt

We all make choices. Some of our choices both help and hurt at the same time. They are beneficial but uncomfortable. They are right but they go against the grain.

When you have a debilitating illness, there are certain medications that are prescribed which alleviate pain and the body’s response to illness but at the same time take their toll in other areas.

To help me manage the effects of Motor Neurone Disease (muscle fasciculate, cramps, shakes), my neurologist has given me medication. Unfortunately the drugs come with warnings of blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, high blood pressure, weight gain etc. You get the picture.

It’s the dilemma of many people in our world who neither choose the illness, nor choose the effects the drugs may have.  But in the end we make a decision, it’s the lesser of these evils.

I wonder, how do you make the right choices in life? Choices like:

What medication do I take, if any?
Will I marry this person?
What degree do I study?
Should we start a family?
Should we buy a house?
Do I spend $200k on a trial drug?
Do I want quality of life or extended life?

Here is how I try to make the right choice.

Don’t let happiness be your guide, let peace.  When you have peace, joy is around the corner and joy is a necessary ingredient for lasting happiness and satisfaction. As one person put it, “Being sick well means living with joy despite the illness.

Seek counsel from experts in their field and wise people.  Remember sometimes those with knowledge aren’t the ones who have wisdom.  Wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge. Give time to thoughtful contemplation, this is different to just accumulation of facts.  Value other people’s opinions but remember they may have different values and life goals to you.

Consider this: what will be the impact on others? Try, to the best of your ability, to play out the consequences and see if it ends with increased experiences of love for you and the ones closest to you. Don’t base your decisions on what YOU want but on what is needed.

Allow your heart to get involved and search for what is instinctively true and right.  I’m not talking about what feels good to the senses but what has a deep and pervading “I know” attached to it.  It reaches to the personal integrity of what you believe is morally and ethically right.

For me, the Bible has given me some moral and ethical absolutes and prayer helps me practice those by God’s grace.  Sometimes the absolutes outweigh the popular and the majority.

Your decision to have life may mean certain things you now live with must die: bad habits, unhealthy relationships, negative thought patterns. In this way, sometimes life is found in death.  Don’t let pride or fear stop you from changing a wrong choice or making a right one.

Making the right choice, even those that hurt, is a balance between heart and head. I would encourage you to trust yourself and know yourself, don’t fear what others may think. Sometimes the right decision costs us something personally.

Remember this, right decisions take courage no matter what the outcome may be.

My hope for you today is that you choose the best life possible.

Phil

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