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Weekly Blog

Why So Angry

If you’re paying attention today, especially related to politics (no…this isn’t a political blog), so many people are so angry. Whether related to politics or not, it seems that we’re less tolerant than in the past. Common decency is much less prevalent. Many of us were taught, “if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all”. That approach appears to be a thing of the past. 

It seems that not only does everyone have an opinion about everything, but that they are very eager to share it and with no filter as related to who the audience may be. It used to be that our rights stopped when they negatively impacted another. Today you’d think that it’s our right to insult anyone we want.

It’s a Problem for Me

I’ve noticed an anger building in me over the last several months. I’ve told myself that it’s a result of my frustration with how things are being done (or not done). It manifests itself in me yelling at the television while watching political commentary (nope…I won’t tell you which side I’m yelling at) or being critical of leadership to others, whether in the Church or the secular world.

In prayer recently, I very clearly sensed that the Lord said to me, “lose the anger; your heart is hardening, which is not of Me”. Wow!!! That smacked me between the eyes. Before that very moment, I hadn’t thought of myself as being angry and as such, hadn’t considered what else may be going on within me.

Where is all the anger coming from?

I discerned that the anger stemmed from ego and pride, things that I thought that I had in fairly good check. You see, in my mind I had better ideas and solutions than those being exercised by others. It not being practical to share my ideas with the people from the institutions or organizations I was angry with because they’re not in my immediate sphere, it’s not like I was rejected, attacked, or offended personally in any way. I just thought my ideas were better and that they were exhibiting poor judgement in doing otherwise. And I was angry about it.

If you’ve had a chance to review my website or read my free eBook , you know that one of my primary themes is the healthy self-love we attain by understanding and internalizing God’s unconditional love. And you further know that the person who knows such love is very comfortable with who she is, made in God’s image and likeness….to do great things. That person is not bothered by others’ thoughts or opinions, but instead is accepting (not necessarily agreeing or endorsing) of what they have to say. Not suffering from an inflated ego or pride, he doesn’t have to be invested in always proving himself right. Nor does he get angry over such things.

I had let pride creep back into my life. Ever so subtle, my ego (which stands for “edge God out”) had swelled. They being my most challenging sins from my past, I was somewhat shaken, to be honest, to the degree to which they resurfaced. Satan was at work and I didn’t see it coming.

You may have other theories as to why you sometimes get angry. I’d love for you to share them with me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

How to Overcome Anger

Here’s my experience. When I live from that place of God’s unconditional love (knowing that God made me with special gifts and put me on this earth for a purpose, all according to His plan, which includes wanting me to be happy) for me, the anger doesn’t exist. Neither does it when I’m practicing surrender, gratitude, humility, and love.  

We Have a Great God

The good news is that we have a great God Who forgives all. He loves us unconditionally. He’s there for all of us all the time. He knows that we’re going to fall down. He’s always there to pick us back up. It was anger for me, caused by ego and pride. What is it for you? Take it to our Lord. He doesn’t disappoint. 

God Bless you on your journey to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph


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Weekly Blog

Prayer That Works

Most of us don’t want to waste our time. As such, we don’t spend time on things that we perceive won’t benefit us. I believe this is at least one reason that so many people don’t pray. They don’t perceive that prayer is a benefit to them.

What if I told you that there’s a way to pray that will work very well for you? Read on.

Growing up, my family always said grace before meals and prayed before going to bed. I then did the same with my kids, although not praying much by myself prior to my conversion. For a long time, I primarily said rote prayers, i.e. the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. Then that all changed.

What Changed My Prayer Life

One of my favorite Catholic authors and speakers is Matthew Kelly, who founded Dynamic Catholic, an organization doing great things for the Catholic Church. Years ago, I read Matthew’s book, Rhythm of Life, which was life changing for me. Since then I’ve given a copy to well over 100 people and recommended it to far more. If you’ve not read it, do yourself a favor and do so.

Great Prayer Process

In the book, Matthew talks about the “classroom of silence”, where you take time for prayer, to talk to our Lord. My take on the process he suggests for discerning an issue looks something like:

  • Describing to God an issue, challenge, or decision that is in front of you
  • Tell Him what is on your heart and mind, explaining the situation
  • Detailing for God your ideas and solutions, including the pros and cons for the various options you’re considering
  • Share your feelings on the issue
  • Sitting in silence, listening for God’s direction and inspiration

Very interesting…every time I have done this over the last 14 years, it works. It really works. In working through this process, taking the time to do all the steps, praying through it and asking God for his wisdom and direction, I’ve come away with a clear answer and direction every time, which is then validated in the peace that I feel over it.

To be clear, the most important relationship we can have is with our Savior, Jesus Christ. As such, I believe that prayer is critical to our faith journeys and in fact, to living a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. Not only is prayer good for us, but God deserves our adoration. In addition, we ought to be repentant and express gratitude in prayer. I pray daily, including the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be that I mention above, in addition to reading Scripture, and yes…participating in the classroom of silence.

Take It Slowly

If you don’t have a strong prayer life, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start. Take it slowly. Try what I describe above from Rhythm of Life. If doing everything in one sitting seems like a lot, say some rote prayers at another time during the day. If you want to start praying through Scripture, you could look to the daily Mass readings, which can be found at www.usccb.org/bible/readings.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew…it’s not a race. God is much more interested in your availability than your ability.

I encourage you to try the things I identify above. See if they work and feel free to comment to me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistires.com.

May God Bless you on your journey of Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Our Challenging Times…Three Things We Can All Do

Regardless of whether you’re on the political left or right, or right down the middle as an independent, we can probably all agree that our country is facing challenging times. In talking to folks, although the above is the consensus, it’s typically followed up with:

  • “There’s nothing I can do” (or)
  • “What can I do about it?”

As indicated in previous posts, I’d suggest taking that question to prayer, like we should all things, asking God to speak into our challenges and our lives. That said, there are three things that all of us as Christians can and should do, assuming we want to make a positive impact on those around us and the broader society…yes our country.

Those three things are indicated in the:

  • Great Commandments – Mark 12: 30-31 or Matthew 22:37-39
    1. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”.
    2. “The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
  • Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20
    1. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

I heard a Priest once say that hardly anyone confesses sinning against the First Commandment, which is “I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me”. The fact is that in abiding by this Commandment, including how it is stated in the positive above (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”), the other 9 Commandments are much less an issue. I don’t say this because they’re not important. I say it because if we truly love God and do so before all else, the degree to which we sin is far less.

In abiding by the first part of the Great Commandments, we’re happier and healthier, helping those around us to be the same.

Many of us know the Golden Rule as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 7:12. Stated in the positive, as Jesus expressed in the Great Commandments, we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. What kind of world would we live in if this were always first and foremost in our minds?

The Great Commission speaks to our call, not a mere suggestion by Jesus, to share the love of Christ, to share our faith with others. Jesus makes the point that He’ll be with us every step along the way.

So many in our society, as evidenced by the dramatic decline in practicing Christians (including Catholics), don’t know the love of Christ. Statistically we’ve gone from 75% claiming themselves as being Christian in the 80s and 90s to just 50% today.

What would happen if we could change the above trend? Think about it. Think about the impact it would have. In summary, love God, love others, and share our faith. What would our country look like if we all did a lot more of that?

The next time you think “there’s nothing I can do” (or) “what can I do about it?”, do the above. Again…Love God. Love others. Share our faith.

As always, please contact me with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember….God made you for GREATNESS!!!

 

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Most of Us Believe that We Have to Earn Love

Not easy to understand, nor admit for many, virtually all of us believe that we have to earn the love of others. Manifesting itself in many ways (topics for other blogs), the question becomes, how did this happen? What during our development created this in us? Read on. You may be surprised.

Think Back to Your Childhood

Think back to your childhood. If it was like mine, when you behaved or performed well, you received praise and basked in the excitement of your parents, family members, teachers, coaches, and friends. If you misbehaved or performed badly, it’s likely the reactions were much less pleasant. Perhaps you were scolded or corrected. Even harder, perhaps you felt ignored or set aside while others basked in the glory.

Most of us knew growing up that our parents loved us no matter what. But that didn’t change the fact that we wanted them to respond to us with praise, excitement, and pride, and it hurt when they didn’t.

For me, it started when I was young. I struggled academically, reading on a second-grade level in the fifth grade. I was tutored in reading for many years. My brother, one year younger, was/is very bright. My parents used to joke that he talked before he walked. He got all the praise and attention for his performance in the classroom. I didn’t.

The opposite and more positive occurred for me as well. Playing an impactful role on a championship football team my senior year of high school, I felt incredibly loved, with my personal and our team success celebrated by many.

How It Gets Reinforced

For most of us, the deep-seated belief that love is conditional or “earned” gets reinforced at a young age based on how we perform, whether we succeed or fail. The way people respond to us plays a big role in determining our self-worth. When we do well and our success is celebrated, we feel loved. When we fall short and are possibly criticized, we don’t feel loved or accepted. All of this contributes to our belief that we have to “earn” love.

It’s important to note that not all criticism is bad — in fact, constructive criticism can be incredibly life-giving when done right. Sometimes failure brings on destructive criticism though, which is never helpful or good, especially if it is derogatory towards the recipient. And although there are times when things are better left unsaid, silence as a response to our failure or poor performance can really hurt. Young people especially sense disappointment, and it’s often made even worse when nothing is said.

You Feel You Need to Prove Yourself

Regardless of the details of your particular experience, chances are you feel a need to prove yourself on some level. Almost all of us believe that we have to earn love, that it isn’t given unconditionally. We learn this from a young age and we take this belief into our adult lives. Striving to be loved, to be accepted, we learn to chase success, which everyone defines in a different way. Achieving success, regardless of the endeavor, makes us feel loved, accepted, and respected. We feel important and validated. And because we like those feelings, we keep pursuing more success.

Success Isn’t a Bad Thing

I’m not arguing that success is a bad thing, but I would suggest that understanding our drive for it is important. The purpose of Mark Joseph Ministries is to share with people how to go from being overwhelmed to fulfilled and further to determine how they (you) are MADE FOR GREATNESS!!! Believe it or not, that journey begins with you understanding that you are a person worthy of love precisely because you exist, not based on what you achieve. Although you’ve been conditioned for it, you don’t need to “earn” love.  

Please share any comments with me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

May God Bless you on your journey to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph