Use Boundaries to Help Someone in Need Without Codependent Habits

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2019

People on the go often have dependent relationships that they don’t know what to do with. These are individuals who, for any number of reasons, have tremendous life struggles and challenges and often deal with grave problems. They are needy and ask for a great deal of time, energy, and support. You may find yourself functioning as someone’s life support system. For example, you may have a friend who is going through a divorce and calls often for advice and a listening ear. Or you could have someone who has lost a job and is trying to pick up the pieces. Sometimes a needy person has a long history of failure and crisis and has for years been dependent on others to take care of him.

A needy person is often a very good person who is not truly toxic at heart. He may simply be going through his own dark night of the soul, as do all of us at some point in life. Or he may have a dependent character issue that prevents him from being autonomous and in charge. Though a needy...

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Here’s What’s Yours to Own

Uncategorized Jul 03, 2019

You’re able to make your own way in life and reap the benefits of blessings when you own your own faults and weaknesses. Here’s a brief list of things for which you can begin to take responsibility.

Your own unhappiness. Begin to take ownership of whatever pain or discomfort you experience. Then take steps to ask for help for you to find relief.

Specific issues. Determine the root cause of your problem. Is it a relationship disconnect, a faith journey, a job issue, or a habit that won’t go away.

Needed resources. You must lead the way in finding the resources you need to solve your problem. Get help, support, comfort, and advice. Search until you find people who have answers and can give you encouragement.

Weaknesses and obstacles. Identify the areas in which you don’t have the strength you need to meet the challenge, and then begin to develop those areas.

Accountability. Submit yourself to a few people who will keep you on task with your project of resolving...

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Grief is Different from Other Kinds of Suffering

Uncategorized Jun 29, 2019

Grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with. It is not the worst human experience, because it leads to resolution, but it is the most difficult for us to inter into voluntarily, which is the only way to get into it. The rest of our human experience just happens “to us.” Hurt, injury, anxiety, alienation, and failure all break through, and we suffer. Grief does not “break through.” It is something we enter into.

But its voluntary nature is not the only thing that sets grief apart from other kinds of suffering. The other difference is that grief is the one that heals all others. It is the most important pain there is. This is why we’re called to enter into it voluntarily. It heals. It restores. It changes things that have gone bad. Moreover, it is the only place where we get comforted when things have gone wrong.

Why is that? What is so special about grief? What is it the “pain that heals”? Because grief is the way of our getting finished...

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What to do When You Have a Boundary-Resistant Spouse

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2019

A boundary-resistant person refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing and will not accept correction or feedback. The basic attitude of someone who resists boundaries is this: "I should be able to do whatever I want to do in life." Ultimate freedom is the highest value for such a person. But boundaries dictate that you cannot do what you want all of the time.

When confronting someone who violates boundaries, remember that sometimes ignorance is the cause. Your spouse may be crossing your boundaries without knowing it. Always approach the issue from this perspective first. If your spouse accepts the feedback and repents, the conflict will already be on the road toward resolution. But if your spouse resists, consider these steps:

1. Gather around you a circle of friends from whom you can draw emotional support during the time of conflict with your spouse.

2. Make sure you are right with God and growing closer to Him.

3. Identify the specific issue that is the source of conflict. What...

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Marriage is Not a Shortcut to Becoming Complete or Mature

Uncategorized Jun 21, 2019

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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The Necessary Endings For A Marriage 

Uncategorized Jun 20, 2019

It felt a bit like I was taking my work home, but I still found myself engrossed in an episode of “Hoarders” on TV last night. If you are not familiar with the show, it lets you see in great detail the struggles of people who hoard. Close up and personal, you get to see what happens to people’s lives, families, marriages, health, spiritual well-being, psyche’s and souls, when they are beset by one basic problem: the inability to let go of “stuff.” Whether it is memorabilia, toys, electronics, appliances, clothes, or whatever, the basic issue is the same. The person just cannot let it go. So, he or she keeps it around. 

The problem is that life is not a one-stop shopping event. Reality is that as time goes on, we get even more stuff. We need and buy more clothes, sports equipment, toys for children, or gadgets for daily use. We take more pictures, collect more souvenirs, and keep up with changing trends...

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Two Categories of Liars to Set Boundaries With

Uncategorized Jun 18, 2019

When we think about setting boundaries in relationships, we have to consider the fact that you may encounter someone who may lie to you, which raises the question – why do people lie, and what can you do about it?

There are really two categories of liars. First, there are liars who lie out of shame, guilt, fear of conflict or loss of love, and other fears. They are the ones who lie when it would be a lot easier to tell the truth. They want to be honest, but for one reason or another, cannot quite pull it off. They fear the other person’s anger or loss of love.

The second categories are liars who lie as a ways of operating and deceive others for their own selfish ends. There is no fear or defensiveness involved, just lying for the love of self.

You will have to ask yourself if you want to take the risk and do the work if you are with the first type. There are people in the first category who have never had a relationship where they felt safe enough to be honest, and they...

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Creating a Safe Working Environment for Yourself

Uncategorized Jun 10, 2019

When I first went into practice, I hired a woman for twenty hours a week to run my office. On her second day in the office, I gave her a pile of things to do. About ten minutes later, she knocked at my door, stack of papers in hand.

“What can I do for you, Laurie?” I asked.

“You have a problem,” she told me.

“I do? What is it?” I asked, not having the vaguest idea what she was talking about.

“You hired me for twenty hours a week, and you have just given me about forty hours of work. Which twenty would you like done?”

She was right. I did have a problem. I had not managed my workload very well. I was either going to have to spend more on help, cut back on projects, or hire someone else. But she was right: it was my problem, not hers. I had to take responsibility for it and fix it. Laurie was telling me what that ever-present sign says: “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

Many bosses...

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Destructive vs. Growth Suffering

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2019

Suffering can be good. It can take us to places where one more season of “comfort” cannot. But suffering can also be terrible.

Destructive suffering inflicts evil on a person’s heart and soul and is totally outside God’s desire. Although God can bring good out of the experience, the experience itself is no good at all. But there is also therapeutic suffering or “growth suffering.”

So the first thing to do is to distinguish between the destructive and the “growth” sufferings.

Good Pain

Some suffering does have value and produces growth. I call this good pain. We all have coping mechanisms that cover up pain, help us deal with fear, cope with relational inabilities and help us hold it all together. Trials and suffering push those mechanisms past the breaking point so we find out where we need to grow. Then true spiritual growth begins at deeper levels and we are healed. Righteousness and character take the place of coping.

This kind of...

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Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer

Uncategorized May 27, 2019

 God is a person who does certain things that produce life, over and over again. And, he has created us in his image, able to do those same things. We are to be “like him,” living healthy lives. So, as we grow in his image, doing what he does, healing occurs as a result. I began to understand that salvation equals healing, just as the Greek word implies. Said another way: The more that God helps us to become like him, bearing his image, we get well. So what does that look like?

As I wrote in my book “Changes That Heal,” I think this happens in four basic areas:

First, God is able to form emotional connections. He bonds with the other members of the Trinity, and then with us. He has ongoing, unbroken relationships, and created us to be able to do the same. What we know from science and experience is that disconnection, or emotional isolation and detachment lead to all sorts of emotional and relational problems. From depression, to anxiety, to breakdowns...

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