The Person Who Needs the Most Help Doesn't Always Ask

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2020

Have you ever heard yourself say, "Whatever possessed me to say yes to this in the first place? Why didn't I just say no?" Or, after negotiating a deal, have you ever thought, "Why didn't I ask for ___? I could kick myself!" Chances are, you're not alone, but if it happens, it poses a problem. It reveals that sometimes you and your words are not on the same page.

You desire one outcome, but your words take you to a different one.

Do you catch yourself responding to requests with, "I don't think I can _______" instead of saying, "No, I cannot do that," leaving the door open for them to push back?

When I say you have a relationship to words, that may be an idea you have never thought about. But what we find is that in the depths of people's souls – where true behavior and its resulting success or chaos originates – there is a relationship with certain words. The nature of that relationship dictates a lot of what happens in people's lives. If the relationship is good and...

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When Hanging on to Hope Will Hurt You

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2020

When you consider the past and come to grips with the fact that it is hopeless to expect something different in the future, then you have the kind of hopelessness that will motivate you to move from a mere wishing to real hope. How do you get this hopelessness?

You must take the past performance of the person, businesses, or whatever, and project it into the future:

  • Do I want the same reality, frustration or problem six months from now?
  • Do I want this same level of performance a year from now?
  • Do I want to be having these same conversations two week or two months from now?

If the answer is no, then it is time to ask some other questions that get you to the real anatomy of hope.

  • What reason is there to have hope that tomorrow is going to be different?
  • What in the picture is changing that I can believe in?

The difference between hoping and wishing is that hope comes from real, objective reasons that the future is going to be different from the past. Anything other than that is...

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do  

Uncategorized Jul 03, 2020

Whenever I have heard someone say “I don’t know what to do,” it usually means much more than that. The words imply that the dilemma is just one of information, as if knowing the “what to do” would make it all different. But the truth is that these words are rarely said in a situation where one little tip will make it all better. Instead, they are usually said at a moment when someone has literally reached the end of themselves and feel as if there are no more options. In sum, they are at the end of hope. 

Whether the circumstance has to do with a relationship that is not getting better, a person who is won’t change no matter how hard you try to help them, a business problem that seems unsolvable, or even changing a pattern of behavior that has overcome you, the feeling is the same: “I have tried all I know to do, and done all that I know to do. And, nothing is helping.” At...

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The Wrong Reason to Say Yes

Uncategorized Jul 02, 2020

If anyone had it together, it was Jason. He had a good job, beautiful wife and two children whom he loved. He exercised regularly and looked it, and he was always one to keep in touch with friends and family members.

But one day out of the blue, a deep depression hit Jason so heavily, he could hardly get out of bed. It made no sense to him. He came to see me.

We talked for awhile about Jason’s snug and untroubled life before his breakdown. We gradually uncovered that Jason’s structured lifestyle was basically a way to send off a lifelong depression. He had grown up in an alcoholic and abusive family, where he’d lived through all sorts of chaos and crises.

His activity and responsibility saved Jason. Because no one else in the house washed his clothes, prepared meals and budgeted money, Jason learned to. He became a 30-year-old at the age of 9.

Jason did the right thing, not because he was selfless and loving, but to stay alive. The depression inevitably caught up...

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The Most Difficult Person to Set Boundaries With

Uncategorized Jul 02, 2020

Learning to be mature in self-boundaries is not easy. Many obstacles hinder our progress; however, God desires our maturity and self-control even more than we do. He’s on our team as an exhorter, encourager, and implorer.

One way to begin developing limits on out-of-control behavior is to apply a boundary checklist:

1. What are the symptoms?

Look at the destructive fruit you may be exhibiting by not being able to say no to yourself. You may be experiencing depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, rage, relationship struggles, isolation, work problems, or psychosomatic problems. All of these symptoms can be related to a difficulty in setting limits on your own behavior. Use them as a road map to begin identifying the particular boundary problem you’re having.

2. What are the roots?

Identifying the causes of your self-boundary problems will assist you in understanding your own contribution to the problem (how you have sinned), your developmental injuries (how you have been...

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Don’t Keep Rescuing Someone — Let Them Face Consequences

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2020

Allowing someone to suffer logical consequences is another way of getting them to realize their need for grace. Ideally, we can do that by confronting them, have a difficult conversation and hope they have a willingness to face reality. But sometimes people cannot (or do not) hear the truth of confrontation, and they remain stuck. At those times we often have to allow reality to touch their lives.

Too often in our lives, we protect people from the harsh realities of logical consequences that would force them to see their need for grace and what it can provide. Either we feel sorry for them and bail them out, or we fear them and try to appease them. No matter what the person’s plight, we must help him face the truth. And sometimes that means letting him deal with harsh realities.

This isn’t necessarily about discipline and correction, but how it’s important to see that sometimes our “helping” may keep others from experiencing the tough realities that...

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Marriage is Not a Shortcut to Maturity

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2020

Marriage is intended by God as a union of two complete persons. It is only when two mature and whole individuals come together in marriage that their union will be complete. Marriage is not designed to be a shortcut to maturity, a way of completing yourself. Rather, God designed marriage as a way for two distinct people to come together and create something bigger and better than either one could achieve individually. Spouses should complement one another, not complete one another.

A mature, complete adult will take responsibility for himself or herself, and will expect the same from those that he or she loves. This requires honesty and a willingness to confront areas of immaturity. As a mature person, you should value your spouse's feelings, attitudes, perspectives, and talents, seeking in everything you do to nurture, develop, and take care of those precious aspects of the one you love.

You must recognize that your spouse is not an extension of yourself; you need to give him or...

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Increase Fruitfulness in Your Life by Eliminating What's Dead

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2020

In order for a rose bush to achieve its full growth potential, every good gardener knows that it must be carefully pruned. There are three circumstances in which a gardener prunes a rose bush: 1) when the bush produces more buds than it can sustain, 2) in order to remove parts of the bush that are diseased, and 3) to remove dead branches in order to make way for new growth.

First, when the bush produces more buds than it can sustain, the overgrowth drains essential resources from the bush, and the gardener must choose which of the “good” buds are “best.” He then prunes the good buds so that all of the bush’s resources can be focused on helping the best buds thrive.

Our lives are just like the rose bush. We may have a lot of really good activities, relationships, or ideas that we’ve poured our resources into. But if we pruned some of the good stuff back, we would enable the best parts to get all that they need to thrive, making our relationships...

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Don’t Be So Quick to Reject Relationships with Others

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2020

What is resistance? Resistance is our tendency to avoid growth. It’s our drive to keep the spiritual and emotional status quo. It’s our inclination to move away from provisions for our growth. And we all have it.

Many of the dynamics, which drive us to choose unsafe people or no people at all, are resistances. We’re loaded with ways to keep our hearts from encountering loving, supportive people. As crazy as it sounds, we often build entire lifestyles around avoiding those who would help fill us up.

So, how do I deal with resistances?

1. Identify your resistances. The more aware you are of your specific resistances to love, the more power you have over them. Denial is your worst enemy here. With the feedback of friends, make a list of the ways you shrink from safe people, and become a student of these dynamics. They are a “road map” to understanding yourself and your real needs.

2. Bring them into relationship. It takes humility to ask people...

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Boundaries: What You Prefer vs. What is Wrong

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2020

When setting boundaries with someone, it’s important to differentiate between what you prefer and what’s actually wrong. Before you talk to someone about changing his behavior, figure out if what he is doing is really a “bad” thing or just something you don’t like.

I refer to this distinction as a test I like to call “Would God and the Beverly Hillbillies Agree?” Here’s what I mean: Some things are just things you don’t like and want someone to change, but that person is not really doing anything wrong. Depending on where you come from, it may be acceptable or not.

For example, what is fine to Jed Clampett, the funny patriarch on the old Beverly Hillbillies television show, might be very distasteful to you. He was the kind of person who would keep a raccoon inside his house and stock his swimming pool with catfish. If your spouse did that, it would really bug you. It is all a matter of taste.

In contrast, mistreating people or...

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