By Paula R. Bryant
Have you ever forgiven someone only to discover later that you hadn’t really forgiven them at all? I have, and truth be told, it’s happened more than I’d like to admit. But this time when the Lord showed me, He also spoke two words in my spirit: core beliefs. Then He bundled this with an insight--unforgiveness was part of the reason why I hadn’t been moving forward.
Beware! Unforgiveness stalls your progress on your Path of Inspiration.
But how can you forgive someone, let go of the offense, and it not be real? When that person, somehow, did something that activated your core beliefs. You see, at your core—the central, innermost part of who you are—there are things you believe about life, people and relationships that have developed over a lifetime. They are the basis of how you view yourself, others, the world around you, and things that are yet to come. They lie at the root of everything you think, say, and do.
Core beliefs seem to effortlessly keep you on course…until an offense goes deep enough to activate them, jarring them to attention. Perhaps it’s better to say into hyper-attention. That’s when, suddenly, your thoughts, words and actions become skewed by these aggravated beliefs until they calm down again. As believers, we usually calm them (unwittingly) by agreeing with the Word of God, choosing to forgive, praying for that person, turning him or her over to the Lord, and then seeking restoration (but honestly, I have found that many of us aren’t good at this last step).
Having done all these things, why can something trigger and reactivate them (in the same or another situation), at times even happening again and again and again? Core beliefs demand attention, pressing us to conform no matter what. How can this silent warfare within be mastered?
According to the Centre for Clinical Interventions, we need to understand how to identify and challenge them. It states, “Core beliefs are strongly-held, rigid and inflexible beliefs that are maintained by the tendency to focus on the information that supports the belief and ignoring evidence that contradicts it.” That means whether another person is right or wrong, or we are right or wrong, we can cling to a belief formed either during childhood or another significant life event and react. Self-protect. That’s not good.
There are two ways to identify core beliefs. First, keep “thought diaries” and review them to see if your “hot” thoughts share any common themes or patterns. Another way is to use self-talk to extend those burning thoughts further and reveal the root. Ask out loud, “Is there anything wrong with the way I’m thinking?” or if it applies, “Is there something I might have said or done that contributed to this situation?” Then ask the Lord to help you examine your thoughts and actions according to His Word. Trust me, the Holy Spirit will show you!
Then it’s time to challenge them. Think of experiences you’ve had that prove your core belief may not always be true. Jot them down in your journal. Notice what you thought or did differently, and then use that knowledge to start forming a “balanced core belief.” Then take the next step to test it by acting on it. Put what you’ve identified into practice...over and over again. That way, you can develop balanced core beliefs and avoid spinning around in seemingly endless negative cycles.
The time this process requires is well worth the effort. Remember, when offended it’s far better to Pause, Reflect and Act than it is to get stuck in a trap that stalls your progress. Don’t lose hours, days, months or even years holding onto offenses. Forgive and live! Set yourself free!
“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him,
‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt
because you begged me.
Should you not also have had compassion on your
fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?'
And his master was angry, and delivered him to the
torturers until he should pay all…
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of
you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother
Matthew 18:32–35, NKJV
Quotes and clinical info taken from “What Are Core Beliefs?” by the Centre for Clinical Interventions.
By Paula R. Bryant
Where are you today? Are you in a cozy, familiar place, or do you feel far away from anyone or anything that is familiar?
There are times when God allows us to be in unfamiliar places along our path, so that we will do the most important thing--be with Him, where all of life and everything we are—begins.
At this moment, I am living in a city far away from home. For three months, I will be hours and hours away from my husband, children, grandchildren, and most familiar friends. But God is with me. And He’s provided a wonderful home away from home and friends who are truly becoming family.
I don’t know His plans for me here in total, but both my husband and I know that the Lord led me to this place. Still, there are times when I feel alone, separated from all that I’ve known. But God is with me, speaking to me, leading me, and comforting me. In this unfamiliar place, I am finding Him again.
He is “The I Am of All I Ams.” Consider the words of best-selling author, Jonathan Cahn: “YHVH [the sacred Name of God] means ‘I Am’…It is woven into the fabric of existence that when you speak of yourself [i.e., “I am __________”], you must say His Name…And you must always speak His Name first…Because His existence is first and your existence flows forth from His.”
When nothing seems familiar, you can find the One from Whom all life flows--I AM. He will draw your heart to Him. He will inspire you on your path. He will direct your steps into your purpose and destiny.
As you walk on your Path of Inspiration, remember it’s not important that you can see. Everything. Clearly. Now. But it is VITAL that you see Him, the I AM of everything you are. Using the words of Jonathan Cahn, it is vital that you “be from His being,” “live your life from Him,” and “become who you are from who He is…I am.”
In your unfamiliar place or wherever you may be, I urge you to pull in to God and from His being, BE who He has created you to be—right here, right now.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1–3, NKJV
Quotes taken from Jonathan Cahn's bestseller, The Book of Mysteries, Day 2.
By Paula R.Bryant
When a familiar landscape suddenly changes, it challenges our vision. We look around, seeking the familiar. When it eludes us, we pray for help. We ask for the familiar to return to us…because we’re uncomfortable with this new horizon line. It seems farther away. And there’s a mist around us. We can’t see everything clearly in this place, and though we know it won’t be this way forever, we still want to see. Everything. Clearly. Now.
The horizon line has changed quite a few times in my life. But I was caught off guard when issues with my health challenged my vision. I wanted things to be the way they were. When I asked God to heal me, He immediately answered, “Pray for wisdom.” Propped up in bed, unable to move my head or my eyes, I said, “Yes, Lord,” and then asked Him for it.
At the time, I didn’t think back on how miraculously God had moved when my first born, my daughter, was put on 100% oxygen at birth and rushed to the ICU. Nor did the mind-blowing way He had shifted me out of what I had always done professionally into a full-time writing career enter my mind. I also didn’t remember in that moment the vision God had given me years before, warning me of this physical attack, but showing me that He would miraculously deliver me.
In that shadowy place the landscape was still misty. But GOD! Psalm 139:12 and 1 John 1:5b say of Him, “Yes, the darkness does not hide from You, but the night shines like the day. The darkness and the light are both alike…God is light and there is no darkness at all in Him” (ONMB).
Step by step, the Lord began leading me through a process that refined my vision. As He poured His wisdom into me, I walked it out. Light broke through the mist, and the new horizon line started coming into clearer view. Now I am on another path, continuously walking into the new. And I’m seeing things differently. A fresh, beautifully-unfolding landscape is before me. I have new vision, and I’m making sure to do what I see. How about you?
By Paula R. Bryant
Seasons change. Life’s circumstances shift. There are always transitions as you walk on your Path of Inspiration. But God is always there. And He never changes.
I have been away from my “quill” for a year and a half, walking through a process with my health, that in total, has spanned the last three to four years. This process has brought about a shift in my Path. As I walked, there were times when writing was the farthest thing from my mind. At other times, I cried out to God and asked Him “Why?” But finally, the time came when I asked Him “What?” “What do You want me to do, right from where I am today?”
During your process of transition, whatever it may be, God may require you to let go of things (many of them in your mind) that you once thought were of great importance. But remember: Life, at its essence, is about change and growth. Progression from old to new. So, what was necessary, even routine, in one season could change in another. As we walk on our Path of Inspiration, you and I will be called upon to let go of the old so that we can fully embrace the new. And with God at the helm, this is always a good process.
On September 21 (Tishrei 1) we entered a new year on the Hebrew calendar: 5778. The number seventy (ayin/picture of an eye) generally speaks of seeing, while the number eight (chet/picture of a door or gate) speaks of new beginnings. Having come through my process, I can see my new beginning. What about you?
Consider the following image created by gifted artist, James Nesbit, which I saw at Glory of Zion International. The gate is wide open that leads to your new beginning in God! Can you see and enter your new season? If you need help seeing and embracing the new, I encourage you to ask the Father an open-ended question, one that made all the difference for me — ”What…?” Then expect His answer.
To get the complete teaching on 5778, order Dr. Robert Heidler’s message, “5778: The Year
of the New Beginning—Going Through the Gateway to Your Future!”
As you continue your journey on your Path of Inspiration, the wise words on this Web post say it all...
Here's another translation of this Bible verse with more wisdom added:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways know Him and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6, ONMB),
To stay on track on your Path of Inspiration, remember this InspireNugget from the Word of God and DECIDE to walk it out today and every day! Because when all is said and done, it is the Bottom Line...
A big part of the Process of Inspiration on your unique path is coming to the point when you're ready to let go and move on in your journey. As Mother's Day approaches, I am especially reminded of this. Having two adult children and seven grandchildren has taught me not only the necessity, but the beauty of letting go in God's timing (even when it hurts) and continuing on my personal path.
At different times during our life's journey, we each have opportunities to stay on our own unique Path of Inspiration. Each opportunity requires a process of change in us that can take moments or hours, days or weeks, months or years. What we must remember at each juncture is that our future, our God-given destiny, is impacted by our ability to say yes to the Lord and keep moving forward.
To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day...but those of us who seek to walk closely with Him are constantly learning how to respond to His direction without resistance or hesitation. Because we're human and deal with our own emotions, inconsistencies, and so on, there are times when our personal process slows down until our heart and mind can catch up to where God wants us to be. And sadly, there are also times when our process comes to a halt--because for some reason, we decide to get off the path He's been unfolding before us.
Let's be clear. Pausing on our path daily to have quiet time with the Lord is needed to gain spiritual direction, strength, and perspective. Pausing to make sure we're hearing clearly and are going in the right direction is sometimes necessary. But stopping and jumping off our path because we don't want to leave a place God is leading us out of, or because every detail about our new destination isn't crystal clear to us, isn't good. We have to understand that stopping, especially when it becomes a pattern, can bring negative, even destructive, results.
So, we must learn how to stay close to God, let go in His timing, and stay on our Path of Inspiration by moving forward as He unfolds it before us. And we must do this daily, hourly, moment by moment.
As you continue your journey, I pray that you'll be intimate with God, receive His inspiration, and walk in the fullness of your destiny. In the Name of Jesus, may the Father continually strengthen you to...
When God makes a promise, He keeps it. But unless He reveals exactly when He’ll bring the promise to pass, we need to wait until it is revealed, believing Him every step of the way. So, we must stay close to Him on our Path of Inspiration to stay on course—because when we arrive at the moment of the promise revealed, in spite of any doubts or fears that may rise or opinions that try to convince us otherwise, we’ll recognize God’s hand and step in to His promise. But too often, we listen to our mind, rehearse our doubts and fears, and decide to stay in our comfort zone.
Let’s go back and review our “Inspire Journey” thus far. We each have moments of IncepSpiration when God puts us on a new path. We begin to receive His vision for that path as it unfolds, and continue embracing the process of Inspiration as we keep saying yes to God and taking action. Then the inevitable time of separation comes, when our path literally splits before our eyes, and we must choose to walk away from the familiar toward a new, somewhat unfamiliar destination.
At that moment, we can remember everything God has shown us and decide to break away from the past. But if we hesitate, we’ll default back to old, familiar, comfortable patterns. And sadly, we’ll begin to find comfort running on what then becomes a daily “hamster wheel” of activity…running, running, and running some more, getting absolutely nowhere toward our destined purpose.
This is exactly where I found myself that day at the office in 1995 when I received the call from my prospective employer (see my blog, “The Time of Separation,” dated 4/16/16). Looking back, I recognize that was definitely a new moment of IncepSpiration. God was confirming everything He’d shown me up to that point, so I would clearly see that my new path was unfolding by His hand. Because now, it was time for me to act again and shift onto it. That would prove to be very challenging for me, because as I said before the thought of leaving Houston had become bittersweet. After I hung up the phone that day, I called my husband and told him what had happened. He was stunned. And he definitely bore witness that God was confirming His will for us to return to Dallas.
As the days passed and I anticipated giving notice to the best boss I had ever worked for, I prayed and prayed to overcome my racing thoughts and roller-coaster emotions. At times, it was grueling, heartbreaking. Then one day as I was seeking the Lord in prayer, He promised me a “100-fold return” if I would trust Him, let go of my “perfect arrangement,” and choose His path to return to Dallas (see Mark 10:28–30). At that moment, a divine light bulb illumined my spirit and mind. Peace flooded my entire being. And I received the promise. I knew that a much greater future was ahead of us, as I trusted Him, let go of what I knew, and received His promise.
As we walk on our Path of Inspiration, it’s important to understand the balance between spirit and mind. The Bible teaches that our spirit desires the things of God, and that we must “renew” our mind by studying and meditating upon the Word, which is God’s truth. (See Galatians 5:16‒17, 19‒25; Romans 8:5‒6, 12:1‒2; Psalm 1:1‒3.) God leads us on our path toward our promised future by His Spirit directly to our spirit. Once we receive His direction, we can embrace the process, utilizing our mind to navigate through all the details. Our spirit receives divine vision and direction. Our mind handles the details along the way.
Last week, I paused to share with you about the exhilaration of realizing when you’re in God’s perfect timing. Yet, there are inevitably times when knowing this, for one reason or another, is bittersweet. So, you must learn how to pause on your Path of Inspiration, refresh your perspective daily, and stay on track.
With this in mind, take a few moments to pause and consider God’s promise in your life. How has your path unfolded as you’ve responded to His direction? How well have you embraced His process along the way, especially when facing a time of separation? Let me encourage you, in spite of your ups and downs, that as you trust God and keep moving forward you’ll discover time and again—He always keeps His promises!
I was thrilled last week when I realized God’s perfect timing as I was writing my blog post for “Paula’s Inspirations.” As my heart was flowing onto paper about “The Time of Separation,” the Lord gave me a beautiful pause. I realized the timing of my current writings—separation, and then moving into the next phase of one’s journey—to the Feast of Passover. Without planning it, in both timing and theme my blogs were consistent with what had taken place thousands of years ago. How so, and how is this relevant now?
The Passover story recorded in Exodus 12:1‒51 recalls among other things the final instructions God gave to Moses and Aaron for the last meal the Israelites would eat in Egypt. He also told them what the people needed to do, so that He would “pass over” their homes during the tenth of ten plaques upon Egypt, during which “all the firstborn” of Egypt died (vv. 12‒13). One of the primary instructions was to take a male lamb “without blemish” from the flock for each house, and keep it separated from the tenth day until the fourteenth day of the month of Nissan. Then at twilight on Nissan 14, they were to kill the lamb and strike its blood on the two side posts and the upper door post of their house. In doing so, the deathly plaque would miraculously “pass over” them.
Why am I pausing with you this week to remember the Lord’s Passover? Because it was an historic event, not only for the Jewish people, but ultimately for ALL people. Generations later, Jesus Christ would be crucified during the Passover feast, in the same timing of the ancient event in Egypt (see John 12:1, 12; chapter 13:1‒3; chapter 18:1, 12‒13, 24, 28‒29; 38‒40; and chapter 19). What did the shedding of His blood do for all who receive Him? Because Jesus shed His blood on a tree, died, and rose again, He broke the power of sin and death over humanity once and for all! When we belong to Him, the curse of death “passes over” us!
In Egypt, God established the power of the blood of an innocent lamb. In Jerusalem, He demonstrated the power of the blood of His only begotten Son, His chosen lamb, Yeshua (Jesus)! (Take some time to read and study John 1:29; John chapters 11-21; 1 Peter 1:17‒21; Revelation 5:1-14; and Isaiah 52‒53.) I encourage you to read these passages slowly with an open heart, taking notes as you go, so that you can look into things more deeply.
I don’t know about you, but having experienced the power of the Lord time and time again on my Path of Inspiration, I am exhilarated when I consider the Passover story! The power of Passover is as relevant for all people today as it was for the Jewish people when God delivered them out of Egypt. Think about it. What did God deliver you out of when you first received Jesus? My life was literally transformed from the moment I truly gave my heart to Him back in 1984. (For the record, that was about ten years before I was offered my first full-time writing position, which I’m sharing about now in my blogs.)
Since you received Him, how has the Lord changed you—from the inside, out? Because your moment of salvation was your first moment of IncepSpiration! (See my first blog dated 3/28/16.) From the moment you received the Lord, God put you on His Path of Inspiration for your life and led you forward.
I’ll leave you with this thought. Right before giving Moses and Aaron instructions about the first Passover, Exodus 12:2 says the Lord told them, “…‘This month will be the beginning of months for you: it will be the first month of the year for you.’ ” At the speaking of these words, the children of Israel had been in slavery in Egypt for 430 years (vv. 40‒41). But it was time to permanently separate them from their former life and lead them into the next phase of their walk with Him. It was time for the nation to get on God’s new path and head into their promised future.
So, I say to you--today is the first day of the rest of your life! Especially in this Passover season, remember the power of the blood of Jesus and all the Lord has done for you. Devote yourself to Him: body, soul, and spirit. Dedicate yourself to Him completely. Start fresh! Begin again! Set yourself to worship God and walk on your Path of Inspiration daily, hourly…moment by moment.
Remember, He has led you this far, not to leave you in-between, but to lead you all the way to your destination! As He unfolds your Path of Inspiration, take each step with expectation. Know that on this path you’re going to do things you never imagined and inherit everything He has for you.
If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that on your Path of Inspiration things happen that you could never explain logically. This is because you’re not at the helm on this path. God is. And there are times as He leads you when He makes it crystal-clear that He’s doing what only HE can do to show you the way you need to go. God knows exactly when and how to confirm His direction to you, because He knows what you need in order to take the next step.
You can imagine the look on my face when I received the first call from my prospective employer a little more than a week after I sent my overnight package to Dallas—while I was at work in Houston. How odd! I thought when I heard her voice. And I’ll never forget when she said, “Paula, you’ll never guess what happened today. Right before we met in Dallas, I had hired a full-time writer. Today, she didn’t show up for her first day of work…” I caught my breath. At that moment, everything suddenly seemed to start moving in slow-motion.
I was amazed as another divine “light bulb” illuminated my spirit and mind. She couldn’t have known this would actually happen when she told me weeks before that people sometimes didn’t show up for work. The rest of our conversation that day is still a blur to me, except that I was offered my first full-time writing position! And God knew it the whole time. That’s why I had asked Him to show me more; why I’d had the dream/vision; why He’d led me to start journaling; why the impromptu meeting had taken place in Dallas; and why He’d strongly directed me to list writing first in my letter.
Your Path of Inspiration is definitely a path of revelation! And at times it also becomes a path of separation. I’m sure you know that letting go isn’t always easy. Even though my spirit was soaring after my conversation with my soon-to-be new employer, I’d come to the point where I really enjoyed living in Houston. I loved my job and had the best boss in the world. We were starting up the second of two offices, and he had allowed me to flex my schedule so that I could continue my college studies full-time. I had the perfect arrangement, and I didn’t want to lose it. But in the midst of it all, the time had come for me to take a new path.
When your Path of Inspiration literally splits in front of you, which direction will you take…the way your mind and emotions tell you that you need to go, or the way inspiration guides you? Because now it’s time to make that life-changing decision you’ve known was coming all along and act on it.
As your new path branches off, your mind starts racing: about the progress you’ve made to get where you are; about your current goals and plans for the future; about everything you’d need wrap up and/or get established to head in a new direction, and so on. Often, that’s when your mind wants to default to what has been comfortable, normal, in the past. It warns you that you can’t see everything as clearly on your new path, and that you won’t have as much “control” there as you do here. But your spirit knows that God is leading you every step of the way.
Have you ever experienced this? Maybe even right now? Then let me remind you to keep first things first. Quiet your mind and keep seeking God, so that He can guide your spirit without distraction. Then you’ll be able to keep pace with Him as the process unfolds and your path changes, because the next phase after separation leads you into new territory. Just remember: He has led you this far, not to leave you in-between, but to lead you all the way to your destination…step by step.
When God begins to unfold your Path of Inspiration, walking on that path isn’t always easy. Why? Staying on this new path and moving forward requires that you embrace the process to STAY INSPIRED—from your spirit, and not from your emotions. As I’ve already said, you must consistently say yes when the Lord (not your own mind) directs your steps. This means you must constantly unlearn your tendency to act according to your own finite understanding, and learn how to DO things by faith in God.
After we left the impromptu job interview in Dallas, I was so stirred up, my emotions went into overdrive. I couldn’t silence the barrage of thoughts that were darting through my mind. This was real. Sometime soon, my family and I could be leaving Houston, I mused. But I didn’t receive confirming direction from the Lord again while my mind was in high gear. The next weekend we didn’t go to Dallas, so I had a little extra downtime. That Saturday, He revealed my next step. I was to take the kids swimming and go over my resume as I watched them from my lounge chair by the pool.
Something intriguing happened as I was looking over my work experience, still pondering that uncanny question: “What would you want to do…?” Suddenly, I sensed the presence of God. His amazing peace came upon me. So, I stopped what I was doing, stilled my thoughts…and inspiration immediately turned on a light bulb in my spirit and mind. I had been reviewing my resume traditionally for titles and accomplishments. I was supposed to be “reading between the lines” of my resume functionally for ways in which I had excelled in my positions over the years, no matter what my title or official responsibilities may have been. It was during this “inspired” review that three areas came to the forefront: project management, special projects, and writing.
I was then directed in my heart to start writing my letter, presenting those areas to my prospective employer. There was only one problem. God was compelling me to put writing at the top of my list, but I was resisting Him. Why? Writing had always been easy for me. Not only had I gained plenty of indirect “on-the-job experience,” I had acquired a lot of direct experience copywriting for our personal ministry. Beyond that, even at that moment I was stretching my wings, writing with vigor for my college classes. Yet, somehow, I hadn’t fully acknowledged this special gift. The Lord reminded me of what I had seen in that incredible dream/vision I shared about last week. In that “higher realm,” I knew the ability to write was mine, and I had immediately engaged in a battle to release it.
Needless to say, I didn’t resist the Lord much longer. I started writing the letter that day—putting writing first--and within a few days I had finished and sent it via overnight delivery to Dallas.
Many times, your Path of Inspiration can appear to be mysterious, even scary, to your natural mind. When this happens, your mind resists what God is revealing to your spirit. While your spirit longs to embrace what God is showing you and forge ahead, your mind wants to know everything before you do anything. It also resists the daily process that walking on your Path of Inspiration requires: spending time in the Word, seeking God in prayer, thanksgiving and worship, and saying yes to whatever He leads you to DO. Resisting the Lord always delays your progress.
God makes His direction clear. He instructs us by His Word, guides us by His Spirit, and confirms His will for us through His peace. The hard part at times, especially at first, can be knowing when God is inspiring you, versus your own thoughts or emotions. But take it from me, as you slow down and embrace the process, you’ll begin to readily recognize God’s presence and direction. You’ll constantly be amazed at the Path of Inspiration that continues to unfold right before your eyes.
Paula R. Bryant