Thursday, August 17, 2017

Counselor's Corner: Overcoming Distractions

→Have you ever made your mind up that you were going to focus on completing a goal or get something accomplished, and you are bombarded with distractions?

I had a busy Summer, entertaining and hosting family in our home, home repairs that needed to be made, several family birthdays to be celebrated, and reconnecting with a wayward family member. Yes, a lot of these activities can be joyous, but as I often say, “Too much of any good thing, can be too much!” I found myself getting off track by not keeping routine and structure. Not having a routine or structure is not necessarily a bad thing, but when your lacking routine and structure for an extended period of time, will you lose focus.

After our family left and most of the home repairs have been completed, I set my mind this week that I was going to get back to a routine by sticking to my daily schedule as much as possible. This is especially important for me because I work from home as a writer, so having routine is imperative. If you work outside the home, your routine may look a little different than mine.

I began my week by writing out my daily and weekly schedule. I had a productive day on Monday and was getting much accomplished. I guess you can say I was getting my momentum back after my long, unstructured Summer. But then Tuesday came, I set my alarm clock on my phone to get up at 5:45am to start my day, and for no particular reason my cell phone “died” during the night and did not sound to wake me up. I know what you are thinking,” Your must had a low battery.” Nope, my phone was 100% charged before I went to bed. So, I woke up late Tuesday and that through my schedule off that I was determined to stick to. I did not let that stop me, I tried the best I could to keep a good attitude and adjusted my schedule to adapt to getting up late. I receive a text from an extended family member at 8:30 am asking me if I want to celebrate another family member’s birthday Friday night (I just celebrated this family member’s birthday at my house on Sunday so I was a bit confused). I hate telling people, “No” so after I informed this person I would not be there Friday night I felt a tad guilty which causes me to feel distracted. Everything is well after this text, and then as I am getting ready to post an article I had just written to a contact I have in South Africa, my internet goes out just on my laptop. I took about 40 minutes trying to do everything I knew to do to get my internet connection back up-more time is wasted because the internet never came back on and my power would go off and on for the next 45 minutes. In complete frustration, I now realized I am nowhere near keeping my schedule for the day. I cannot seem to get much accomplished because of the distractions.

I go to bed Tuesday resolving I will get back focused on Wednesday. I get up early Wednesday morning, hoorah my cell phone is working again! I go for my morning walk and I notice my neighbor has their car parked close to my house. This annoys me! Why? I am already feeling a little frustrated by the distractions from the day before and did I mention I entertained my family on Sunday ALL DAY including a wayward family member that had been away for a while? When I saw their vehicle, I become distracted by thoughts such as, “Where am I going to put my trash can tomorrow?” (their car was right where I put my trash can!), and “They are rude and inconsiderate people.” But, I breathed and prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to please HELP ME to get on track. Afterwards, I began my preparation for writing the article I was to post later.  Before I began to write I received a phone call at 8am for prayer from a family member. I stop and pray for this family member, and I then get on a roll with my writing, and THEN about 8:30am in the morning I begin to hear the loudest banging and hammering coming from my neighbor’s yard (the same neighbors who I mentioned early with their vehicle). I went outside and obviously, there was some repair work being done on the outside of their home. I could hear the banging and clanging in the office that that I work in. I turned the radio up and played bird sounds from my sound machine, but I could still hear the muffled noise in my neighbor’s yard. I became increasingly frustrated as I needed quiet to be able to write. This distracting noise from my neighbors went on from 8:30am-5:30pm! At lunch, I decided to get some fresh air and take a walk in the park, during my walk I get a random text from my mom asking what shoe size I where. This normally would not bother me but today it did! After 5:30pm I decided to take a little break, eat dinner, finish my writing and then watch a movie. I finally wind down after a long day of disruptions and I began to watch a movie based on a true story, and I was really beginning to enjoy the movie and relax, and in the middle of the movie I hear a loud popping noise and my electricity goes out again! This time nightfall is upon me, and my husband is out of town. The electricity stayed out for about an hour. While my electricity is out and I am trying to find the phone number to call my electric company, a girl that I mentor was texting me and calling me. Normally hearing from her is a good thing, but at that moment I thought I was going to pop! Okay I thought after this, I’m ready to go to bed and to bed I went!

I was more than determined to awaken Thursday and start off on track once again. As I go for my morning walk to pray and connect with God, I notice my neighbor still has their car parked near the curb of my house. There is no need for my neighbors to have their car parked so close to my house when they have a driveway and a curb of their own. Today I have to wheel my garage car to the curb for garage pick up and I don’t have the space to place my trash can because of my neighbor’s car. If you are wondering if I handled this situation like a “loving Christian,” The answer is, “No,” at least not at first. I become so distracted about where I was going to put my trash can I could not even enjoy my walk. So, I did a non-neighbor thing and placed my trash can right in front of their car. It felt so good to do this, I was like “ha,” got you! But after my “revenge” I rolled my trash can down further. Afterwards, I realized I needed to spend some quiet time with the Lord for the way I was acting and feeling. I hear God the most when I am outside. I begin having my quiet time with the Lord and just beginning to settle down and sawing, drilling, and hammering started again in my neighbor’s yard. I go inside to a room I have in the front of my house away from the noises so close to my home to spend time with God and another truck pulls up at my neighbors to run a very, very loud hose in their yard to treat bugs. I could hear this loud noise in almost every room in my home.

The internet on my laptop is still not working so it has made posting my articles difficult, and the jump drive that I have when I went to use it this morning to hopefully copy my articles to another laptop I have said there was an error on it and I could not use my jump drive.

Distractions come to keep you tense, cause you to lose peace, and derail you from making progress in what God has intended for you. Yes, distractions come to all of us, it is just a part of life, but when the distractions come in high frequency and duration, there is a good chance the enemy is trying to stop you before you even get started.

The good news is, if you are being stumped like I am the enemy does not want you are about to do to happen. PUSH THROUGH THE DISTRACTIONS. Don’t magnify them but TURN AWAY from them, and do whatever you need to do to keep focused until God sends the enemy packing. Yes, I prayed daily for God to stop the enemy’s barrage of attacks but they were allowed, and I believe allowed for my good. You see, I am learning how to IGNORE THE ENEMY’S ARSENAL OF WEAPONS that are being thrown at me.

How to overcome distractions in your life:

1.      Move away from your distraction-QUICKLY!

2.      Don’t magnify the distraction. The distraction will end and eventually go away.

3.      Focus on things that are lovely, a good report and praise worthy.

4.      Do whatever you need to do to keep the distractions from bothering you-turn your phone off, play music to muffle the noise or wear headphones, and continuing praying.

5.      No matter what comes your way in the form of distractions, keep pushing through and don’t give up!

6.      If you are feeling overly stressed or anxious about distractions that come your way and are losing focus, STOP. Breathe, pray, and take a break. Go for a walk. You can feel tension and stress in your back, stomach and your head. One or two distractions will not cause you to get stressed but multiple distractions over a length of time can cause aggravation and irritability that leads to stress.

7.      Put your cell phone away as you need to and get off social media at a certain time at night and have days that you disconnect from your phone, emails, and social media.
TAKE AUTHORITY over the enemy if you believe you are being spiritually attacked with nuisances, hindrances and distractions. How do you know it is a spiritual attack versus normal everyday distractions? The duration and frequency of the distractions. In the name, power and authority of Jesus the enemy must flee. Resist the enemy and he will flee from you. Give him no power of your day by the thoughts and actions you have as a result of distractions.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner What Does it Mean to be in God’s Divine Rest?

Many of people of God are worn-out, tired, and lacking Holy Spirit fire.

We are worn-out and tired for several reasons:

We try to please man and not God. We are more concerned about what people think of us or will think of us than what God wants us to do. We don’t want to let people down so we do things God has not told us to do. We have difficulty managing our lives and our lives are out of balance. We feel we have to be a part of every church activity and have to be at every church service. We look around at what others are doing and we try and do what they are doing, but God does not call everybody to do everything. There are some Christians who want to be “super Christians,” but that is not God’s plan for your life. God has something for each of us to do, but He does not have everything for us to do. We are worn-out and tired because we don’t say, “No” to our family and friends. There is a time to help when the Holy Spirit directs you and then there is a time to let it go and let God. If you are trying to be everyone’s Holy Spirit then you are not in God’s Divine rest.

As Christians we believe that if there is a need we must meet it. There is a Divine order to your life and it follows in this order: God first, marriage second, children third, and lastly work/ministry. That’s right, your main concern right now may not be to be helping everyone in your church but being there with and for your family. A lot of Christians have this order all wrong, and you especially see this order at of place in church leadership. I do not believe that is how God wants us to live; out of order. If your marriage is falling apart or your children are in need of more family time, then it is time to reorder your life. You will risk burn-out, being worn-out, tired and frustrated if your life is out of balance.

A balance in your life will led to God’s Divine Rest. If you’re doing more in one area in your life, then chances are your life is out of balance. For instance if you spend most of your time doing church activities and attending church services then building your marriage; you are out of order. If you are tired and worn-out from doing; then stop doing and start being. Being in God’s presence more than being at this event or activity or even helping when it is not God-led.

Divine rest means your life will flow and it will have peace, rest, and order in each area of your life. One area in your life won’t be more consuming than other areas in your life. This is especially important to people in ministry, church leadership, or anyone else serving in God’s Kingdom. If you are not taking a Sabbath day in your week, and you are filling your time with needless things, you are in jeopardy of getting burned-out. There is such a thing as ministry burn-out. When you are “burning the candle at both ends” it is hard to see you may one day wear yourself out. A lot of people believe they have that kind of energy and endurance to last a lifetime, but we don’t. Our bodies are created for rest and balance. You don’t even have to be in ministry to get burned-out. You can just be a misled Christian believing that as a Christian you have to meet every need and have to help at any cost. This kind of thinking and doing will also burn you out. I have seen this time and time again being in ministry and being around Christians long enough.

 We are not supposed to be and do everything. We must pray and wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 When we enable, fix, try to control outcomes, and feel responsible for everything and everyone we are in danger of falling into Christian Co-Dependence. This type of Co-Dependence is different then secular Co-Dependence that you may know about. Christian Co-Dependence is a set of beliefs and behaviors that Christians do that support and enable others dysfunctions, addictions and bad habits. As Christians, we fall prey to this because of the belief or lie that as Christians we are supposed to do everything that comes into our path. This type of behavior will also led to burn-out and exhaustion. Co-dependence can get confusing because it is wrapped around doing “good stuff.” Co-Dependency is shame-based and motivated by the needs of others, usually this stems from behaviors learned from our family of origin.

There remains therefore a rest for God’s people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased form his works as God did from His.

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4: 9-11, NKJV

Friday, August 11, 2017

Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: Move Forward: Don’t Quit, Don’t Go Back, and Don’t Give Up!

The journey for many has been long, and tiring. Some want to give up and others want to quit, and some want to stay stuck in the past. A word of encouragement is needed in this season. So many are in hardships, trials, tribulations, and despair. Our nation is in a state of crisis, and the world is experiencing violence, persecution, famine, and wars. Our nation and the world are all seeing in increase in violence and natural disasters. It is not an easy time for many. Many Christians are falling away from their faith, and some Christians are trying to compromise with the culture’s beliefs. If we keep our eyes focused on the things in this world, we will surely want to give up; the world is not offering us much hope.

In the last days, the enemy will try and win as many souls to his kingdom. Some will get so weary in the last days that will fall prey to the enemy’s deception. Many will be deceived including Christians. Now is not the time to be a lukewarm Christian and compromise your beliefs. You may be experiencing trials and heartaches, and feel like giving up, even going back to your old ways. You may feel like giving up your faith because you are not seeing many of your prayers being answered, and you are wondering where God is at in all this. While the world seems out of control and maybe even your life, God is still in control.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Revelation 22:20

We don’t know the hour or the day of Christ return, but Jesus is coming soon and unexpectedly. Quickly, means at any moment. God is also trying to get as many people to His Kingdom before He comes, we are experiencing a spiritual battle like never before. There is a fight for your soul and for your loved ones. That is why you may be experiencing such battles in your life, the enemy hopes to defeat you in this last hour and that you would turn from your faith and denounce Christ. Did this not happen to Peter? Did he say he would never reject Christ and yet he did three times! The enemy is clever and he knows how to wear you down.

The book of Revelation ends with an urgent request, “Come, Lord Jesus!” In a world of problems, persecution, evil, and immortality, Christ calls us to endure in our faith. Revelation is a book about hope. It shows that no matter what happens on earth, God is in control. It promises that evil will not last forever, and it depicts the wonderful reward that is waiting for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. There is a day coming of glorious wonder for all who have remained faithful to the end.

For you yourself know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2

The day of the Lord is a future time when God will intervene directly and dramatically in world affairs. Christ will judge sin and set up His eternal Kingdom. This world is not all there is. There will be a time coming of a new heaven and earth. All of the pain and suffering will come to an end. Hold on to your faith and don’t give up, this will not go on forever. This home on earth is temporary and everything in it is temporary. We are spirit beings created to last until eternity with God the Father in our eternal homes. Don’t give up on God and don’t give up your faith. Remain faithful to the end.

Don’t go back to your old life and don’t compromise your beliefs to fit the culture’s beliefs.

The Lord will use all that you have been through to help others follow God. If you are feel like giving up and quitting, ask God for His strength and His rest for you. Ask Him to show you what you need to do in your life. There is a plan and a purpose for you, even if you don’t see it or feel like there is. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: Tips for Taking Care of Your Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Health

Are you running on empty? Are you lacking joy, peace, contentment and energy? Is your relationship with God dry, distant or non-existent?

Neglecting your emotions, physical or spiritual needs is neither wise nor healthy.

If you are feeling drained, and are finding it hard to relax or even laugh something needs adjusting in your life. Most likely you are ignoring the warning signals in your body, spirit and mind that are telling you to slow down, breathe, and enjoy life.

►When we are not taking care of our physical bodies fatigue, sluggishness, headaches, stomach distress, muscle aches and pains, and malaise can happen. When we do not take care of our emotional state depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, addictions, and lack of contentment can occur. When we do not invest time spiritually with God we can flounder by going our own way, become confused, wearied, burdened and fearful.

If you have not been talking good care of your emotional, physical or spiritual needs stop today and reevaluate your life. Write down tangible goals that you can implement today to begin your journey to complete wholeness.

I will give you some practical ways you can start your journey to wholeness. If you are depleted in in of these areas at ANY TIME, place the “oxygen mask” on yourself first before trying to give it to someone else. You cannot give someone what you don’t have. If you don’t learn to take care of you, it will be futile to try and do this for others.

Tips for taking good care of your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs:

1.      Set healthy boundaries with others (especially the toxic people in your life). KNOW YOUR LIMITS-You cannot be everything to everyone without neglecting your needs. Know when to say, “No.” When you are depleted is not time to agree to something that will not be beneficial to you.
2.      Get alone with God as much as possible. Preferably in the morning (start your day right), seek God first before you check your email and Facebook page. Feed your spirit everyday with devotions, prayer, worship, reading the Bible, or just sitting still before the Lord.
3.      Exercise at least 3-4x per week. Walking is a great stress reliever plus it’s great for your heart. Don’t neglect taking care of your body.
4.      Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Drinking a fresh fruit/vegetable smoothie first thing in the morning is a great way to jumpstart your day by increasing your energy naturally and boosting your immune system.
5.      Take a good multivitamin and any other nutritional supplements recommended by a health care provider.

►A GREAT WAY to start EVERY MORNING. Start off by taking a walk (pray and talk to God during your walk), followed by a fresh fruit smoothie with your nutritional supplements, and commune/connect to your power source, Jesus Christ through prayer, worship or reading the Word. This is mind, body and spirit nourishment.

6.      Do something that you enjoy several times a week. Don’t know what you enjoy? Keep it simple like a bike ride or reading a book until others things you enjoy come to your mind.
7.      Laugh more. Laughing is difficult if you have been neglecting your needs, so go easy on yourself at first. Start off watching a comedy or just be silly. If you are too serious to be silly at times, you’re too serious. Lighten up! (If you have been through trauma or grief be gentle with yourself, laughing may seem difficult but try anyways.)
8.      Unplug from your phone and social media during all meals at home, and disconnect one hour before bed. Unplug and disconnect from these sources when you need to as well. Set perimeters on when you will check your phone or social media.
9.      Take “mental health” days. If you need a day to recharge then do so and don’t feel bad about it. I recommend taking at least one “mental health” day a month, if you cannot afford to take that kind of time from your job then do it when you have time off. During your “mental health” day you should unplug from social media, phone and emails. You should also do something that makes you happy and causes you to smile.
10.  Connect with people who nourish your spirit and after you leave their presence you feel encouraged. Don’t have people like that in your life? Ask God to bring them in your path. Don’t connect with people that are life and energy drainers because there is no one else in your life, wait for God to bring those life enhancing people to you.
11.  Journal your thoughts or what God may be sharing with you. Journaling can bring a release to negative emotions that you may carry.

Taking good care of yourself should be your number one priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? What can you implement to start taking better care of you

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: Feeling Overwhelmed?

What are you chasing after more? Time with God, money, people, or possessions? When you begin to experience stress, fatigue, and a feeling of being burdened, it’s time to pull back and reevaluate why.

Oftentimes, we take on too much that God has not called us to, and we take on the responsibilities of others; this is called a false sense of responsibility. When we are living in God’s Divine plan, there is peace and order. When we don’t place God first, our lives become unmanageable. We have a sense that we cannot handle all of life’s problems. Let’s face it, life is tough and without spending time with God to hear His voice and direction; we will get burdened.

The enemy has a plan to create as much havoc and chaos is our lives, and keep us distracted.

Just because something seems good, does not mean it is good for us. We are not to copy what others are doing either. So many times, people get frustrated and overwhelmed because they are trying to mimic what someone else is doing.

You are not meant to do everything and be everything to everybody, this can lead to people-pleasing. If you please man more and not God, you are going to be weighed down.

God has specific tasks for each one of us, but you will not know what those are unless you spend time with God. Our busyness, is not Godly or Holy, but a tactic of the enemy to wear us out.

Don’t try and follow what the crowd does, but know what your unique plan is from God.

Other people will not like it when you tell them, “No,” be prepared for this. You must know what YOU are supposed to do. Stop looking around at everyone else for direction. God has not called you to be a copycat. You will find that others will want you to do what they are doing, but you must step away from the desire to please man.

To get your life back in order and free from the pressures and demands of people and life, pull away and be with God alone, especially when you are exhausted. Being tired and overworked is not God’s plan for you. It does not matter what other’s expect from you, but what God desires for you.

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-30

Some questions to reflect on:

1.      What do you need to cut back on or cut out of your life to be free from over-responsibility?
2.      What do you crave and desire most from your life? Are you pursuing God first?
3.      Are you a people-pleaser? How do you know? What can you do differently?

4.      Do you feel overwhelmed, burdened? If yes, why? Do you believe this is God’s plan for you?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: Keep a Right Mind-Set

This is not an article on how to teach you how to think positive as secular psychologists or as new age thinking would, but how to keep a right mind-set through the truth in the Word of God. So many Christians are living pessimistic, defeated, and negative lives. God wants us to think His thoughts and be people of God filled with faith in our speech and in our thoughts. When we beat ourselves up, think negative thoughts about ourselves or others, or think worst-case scenarios over every difficult circumstance that arises in our lives, we are not living the life that God has for us. Most likely, if we are thinking these thoughts we will become depressed, anxious, tired, and be susceptible to a lowered immunity. You may be saying, “Well, you just don’t know what I go through.” I don’t have to know what you go through, I can say my life has been a fight. Nothing has simply come easy for me, and I have faced more trials and tribulations than I could possibly write about. I have endured seasons of wrong thinking, and it left me mentally and spiritually paralyzed.

Sometimes, we can have a predisposition for negativity or be dealing with depression, this can make negativity more prevalent. You will have to fight harder to regain control of your thoughts. Yes, I said fight. You can be on all the medications to help with depression but if you are not working to keep right thoughts, the medications will not be as effective.

Be careful of what you allow to enter your mind. Not all thoughts that come into our minds should we dwell, ponder, or agree with. Check your thoughts, and ask, “Does that agree with what God would say?” If it does not, immediately get rid of that thought. Start thinking of something else, a positive, faith-filled thought. If that thought keeps coming back, stop the thought and replace with another thought. It takes time to discipline our thought life, especially if your thinking has been that way for a while, or perhaps you were raised in a home where you were exposed to wrong thinking. But today is the day of change. Ask God to give you His mind and His thoughts. Keep pursuing this until right thinking is automatic, and all traces of your former thinking is far behind.

Focus on what is right in your life, and keep a daily gratitude list or journal. In the beginning this may feel strange or that it is not really helping, but renewing thinking patterns takes time; so keep going until you have achieved a right mind-set. Write out on note cards, scriptures and positive affirmations and say out loud daily, this is a way to purposely think about what you are thinking about. You have to be purposeful in pursuing this change in thinking. It may take a lot of work in the beginning, but it will be worth it. Negative thoughts will come to us all, but we don’t have to accept them. Train your mind to not accept negative, defeated, or discouraging thoughts.

Be mindful of the company you keep, if you are hanging out with negative people; the negativity could rub-off on you. Be careful of the material you read and the things you watch on T.V. Negative reports through the news can dampen our faith and cause us to think negative. Fill your mind and fill your life with positive, faithful people and positive activities. Guard your heart and mind constantly from negativity. When a difficult situation comes up in your life, don’t start speaking what you see, but start speaking faith over your circumstances. It is important not to react to our circumstances, and this begins in our thoughts first.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: Have you truly experienced Christ’s freedom?

What does God’s freedom look like?

 If you are free in Christ you are not bound by people’s opinion or approval of you; you follow Christ not man’s desires for you; you are not bound by guilt and condemnation; and you are not bound by religion.

You have been free to have a personal, intimate walk with Christ. You are able to say, “No” to others easily if you feel God is leading you elsewhere or you don’t have peace in a situation. God may be calling you to rest and be renewed with Him instead of going to that church function or get-together with friends or family. You have appropriate boundaries with others, including your family. You don’t feel you should be, ought to be, or could be doing anything. Instead, you are led by the Spirit of God to direct you to do something. You are less concerned about people pleasing and more concerned about pleasing God. You no longer try and fulfill the needs and expectations of others, but instead focus on fulfilling God’s plans for your life.

Not everyone will be happy or pleased when you begin walking in freedom. Some people will try and hold on to controlling, manipulating and guiling you in to their plans. When you begin to flow in the Holy Spirit’s will for  life, don’t be surprised if people in your life get upset that you are not doing what they want. People, situations, and circumstances will try and keep you bound, but who can contain the work and flow of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit goes and does what it wants.

If you are a follower of Christ and not people, you will have to let some people down. That may difficult for you if you are accustomed to people pleasing and needing the approval of man. Whose approval are you really needing anyways? Hopefully, your answer is God.

You will have an abundance of peace and joy when you begin to live in freedom. You are no longer bound to religious duties and dead-religion, but you are transformed by the living God. You walk in God’s flow and in His ways. You are no longer looking to pleasing man or fulfilling religious duties, but you look to Jesus who leads and guides you.

Break out of your old ways and be completely transformed to live a life of true freedom. If you are free in Christ, you are free to love, to worship and to serve Him. Freedom means you are no longer bound by people approval and addiction; religion not relationship with Christ; guilt and condemnation; fear of disapproval; and fear of man. You are free to be who Christ made you to be, free to follow Christ and His desires and plans for your life. Freedom does not mean we can do anything we so desire, but it means we can follow Christ and what He wants from us. If we follow man, we surely will be misled. Don’t follow man, and don’t follow religion. There is no freedom in being bound by religion. Religion follows after a set of rules, duties and regulations but following after Christ brings life. In our Western culture, we have many religions and many different sects of Christianity, all can be confusing. We don’t have to be confused, let’s keep it simple, follow Christ not religion or man. Even if your family is from a certain religion or sect of Christianity that follows rules and duties, you can be free and follow just Christ. What freedom that brings.

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. I am empathetic about this. The moment any one of you submits to a circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligation of the slave life of the law.
Galatians 5:1-3, the Message Bible

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians, 5:13, NIV