Marriage, family, friendships, work relationships.
Marriage, family, friendships, work relationships.
In the aftermath of a “tirade” over missing towels, Lysa TerKeurst reflects on her struggle with raw emotions, then shares an insight that gave her new hope. This is an excerpt from Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions.
I’m sad because of the way I acted today. I’m disappointed in my lack of self-control. I’m sad that I accused my girls when later I found the towels in my son’s room. Go figure. And the more I relive my towel tirade, the more my brain refuses sleep…
What is my problem? Why can’t I seem to control my reactions? I stuff. I explode. And I don’t know how to get a handle on this. But God help me if I don’t get a handle on this. I will destroy the relationships I value most and weave into my life permanent threads of short-temperedness, shame, fear, and frustration. Is that what I really want? Do I want my headstone to read, “Well, on the days she was nice she was really nice. But on the days she wasn’t, rest assured, hell hath no fury like the woman who lies beneath the ground right here”?
No. That’s not what I want. Not at all. I don’t want the script of my life to be written that way. So, at 2:08 a.m., I vow to do better tomorrow. But better proves elusive, and my vow wears thin in the face of daily annoyances and other unpleasant realities. Tears slip and I’m worn out from trying. Always trying.
So who says emotions aren’t bad? I feel like mine are. I feel broken. Unglued, actually… I know what it’s like to praise God one minute and in the next minute yell and scream at my child — and then to feel both the burden of my destructive behavior and the shame of my powerlessness to stop it.
I also know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of unglued behavior… And the emotional demands keep on coming. Unrelenting insecurity. Wondering if anyone appreciates me. Feeling tired, stressed, hormonal.
Feeling unglued is really all I’ve ever known. And I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s all I’ll ever be.
Those were the defeating thoughts I couldn’t escape. Maybe you can relate. If you relate to my hurt, I pray you will also relate to my hope.
Zondervan has a brand new women’s Bible study releasing today from Bible teacher and Proverbs 31 National Speaking Director Karen Ehman. Karen is profoundly practical, engagingly funny and downright real. Her passion is to provide women with creative tools and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives: faith, family, friends.
Let It Go, Karen’s new small group study, is a six-session video-based study giving women practical, biblically based steps for letting go of the need to control, dictate, and even manipulate the people and situations around them, and instead, trust that God has their best interests in mind. Here is Karen talking about the study:
This post has been adapted from an excerpt of The Whole Guy Thing: What Every Girl Needs to Know about Crushes, Friendship, Relating, and Dating, by Nancy Rue.
Is it okay to chat with a guy online? Girls frequently confide in me that it’s so much easier for them to establish a friendship with a guy on Facebook or via e-mail or even texting. Here’s what they’ve said:
“I’ve been talking to a guy I know on Facebook for the last few nights and he’s very interesting. He’s eighteen and I’m fifteen, but I like that he actually uses intelligent-sounding words and is smart. I wouldn’t want to go out with him, but as a friend he seems cool. And yet, do I really know him?”
“I usually start my friendships with guys on Facebook, like this new guy in our class. I didn’t talk to him because I’m shy around people I don’t know well. But on Facebook we talked for like an hour. It just helps to break the ice.”
Social networking can be a total blast, and it eliminates that awkward “what do I do with my arms?” and “I bet my face looks red as a beefsteak tomato right now.” If both you and a guy you’re chatting with on Facebook are being real, it can be a way to start getting to know each other. And if he lives far away, you’ve taken your friendships global.
There are benefits to online friendships, but the issue with the Internet is that it can also be used in the wrong way as well. It was created to give everybody a voice, but there are some voices you don’t need to hear.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the social network to develop friendships. You just have to be super careful.
…don’t give away any personal or contact information. (Which means keep all of that out of your profile too.)
Let your conversations be light and focused on interests you share, rather than on your virtual feelings for each other. Not to make you paranoid, but you really don’t know who this guy is and whether anything he’s saying is the truth. Definitely do NOT agree to meet with him, and if he asks, make sure you tell an adult you trust.
…take the same approach as if you’d never seen him in person.
Unless you know you’re going to get together again, under safe circumstances, there’s really no point in going for deep soul-sharing. Becoming emotionally involved with someone you’ve barely met is never a good idea.
…talking via the Internet can indeed help you get past the initial shyness and keep you from turning into a sweaty mess the minute he looks at you. It will be like picking up the conversation where you left it when you signed off.
…remember that everything you post is potentially public.
That’s actually a good thing. It makes you think before you hit Enter: Is this something I’d want my mom and dad to see? Do I actually want the entire world to know this?
One girl sums it up beautifully:
“I used to have all these guy friends on Facebook. But then I realized it was kind of a problem for me because, like . . . I didn’t know who they truly were. They could say all this stuff about themselves and then not act like it in person. And you’ll say stuff you never would to someone’s face. People are so different on them computer than in real life — they’ ll say nasty or intimate things they would never say in person. So now I don’t do involved talking over the Internet because it has ruined a lot of friendships.”
What will that look like? That depends on your personality and his, though God does give us some basics to go on.
The most important thing to remember is that your relationships should be based on love, whether online or in the real world. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 and see if you can envision the picture as it applies to you.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV)
Do you have any advice about talking to guys on Facebook, e-mail, or texting? Is your relationship based on real love (not necessarily romantic love) and respect like 1 Corinthians suggests? Are you a parent who has experience on this topic or found this post helpful? Tell us your thoughts!
Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband Jim have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.
To learn more about Nancy, visit: NancyRue.com
(This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer’s personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)
Parents: Here’s some empowering news for your parenting journey, courtesy of Mark Batterson (parent, pastor, author of The Circle Maker). This post is an excerpt of Praying Circles around Your Children, which is free to download for a limited time — find out where you can download it after the jump.
I want to be famous in my home… Parenting our three children is far more difficult and far more important than pastoring thousands of people.
Just the other day, I said to Lora, “I feel like we’ll finally figure out this parenting thing the same day our kids leave home!”
The truth is, we’ll never figure it out, because children are moving targets. Just when you think you have them pegged, they become toddlers or teenagers or twenty-somethings, and you’re right back at square one. All you can do is learn a few lessons along the way and enjoy the journey. I have discovered one thing, however, that makes all the difference in the world.
Can you change someone through prayer, good advice, and lots of elbow grease? Find out what doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend have to say in this devotion from the NIV Life Journey Bible. -Adam Forrest
Moses did what he could, but he did not try to change things outside of his domain. He changed himself by mustering his own courage, appearing before Pharaoh and delivering God’s message. But he could not change Pharaoh’s heart, nor did he try. Yes, he worked to influence Pharaoh, but he did not have the power to make Pharaoh follow his wishes.
Though Pharaoh was clearly in the wrong, it was not Moses’ job to change him. It was his job to deliver the message.
Like Moses, our boundaries help define what we do not have power over: everything outside of them! As the “Serenity Prayer” reminds us [see below the jump], we need the courage to change the things we can and the peace to accept the things we can’t change. In other words, “God, clarify my boundaries!” We can work on submitting ourselves to the process and work with God to change us. We cannot change anything else: not the weather, the past, the economy — and especially not other people.
Potent stuff today from author/pastor Mark Buchanan: Why “oneness” is superior to “equality;” the benefits of pursuing church unity; and what’s at stake if we don’t. Excerpt from Mark Buchanan’s book Your Church Is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down.
A brief open letter to Mark: “Dear Pastor Buchanan, your writing on unity convicts my introverted soul. For your next book, please write “Your Life Is Too Safe: The Introvert’s Field Guide to Joining Community.” -Adam Forrest, Zondervan
The Bible is little interested in equality. It aims much higher than that. From Genesis to Revelation, it calls us to this deeper, greater, tougher, sweeter thing: oneness. Oneness in our relationship with God. Oneness in our relationship with our spouse. Oneness with our relationships with other Christ-followers. Oneness in the church.
Oneness beats equality every time, because equality demands sameness. To be equal to you, I have to be as smart and strong and kind and generous as you. But oneness presumes difference. To be one with you, I have to accept your gift of otherness. I can be weak where you’re strong, and vice versa. Oneness requires my life to complement yours. It calls us to complete one another.
What is the church’s role in extending God’s peace to the world? Mark Buchanan gives perspective in this excerpt from Your Church Is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down.
The primary gift God gives to those who trust in him is reconciliation with him. But the primary gift the people of God give to those who are reconciled to God is a community of reconciled people. We give them the gift of our own wholeness and oneness. We give the gift of community. We invite them to be part of a people where everyone makes “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” [Ephesians 4:3].
God calls us out of darkness and into marvelous light [1 Peter 2:9]. But his intent is that “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” [1 John 1:7]. So God prepares us to be a people who draw and who welcome every tribe and tongue and nation into the light by first making us light. And he does that, in part, by bringing those who are far away near. He does that by making the community of the converted also the community of the reconciled…
One sign that God has returned to dwell in the center of our lives and of our churches is that we become a living testimony of what we promise. We promise that in Christ all become new creations, no longer seeing others according to the flesh. We promise that in Christ we have the peace of God and the God of peace. We promise that we through Christ receive God’s love and forgiveness, and then extend it — with authority — to the whole world. We promise all this, but then claim exemption for ourselves in some petty matter or another.
Chuck Colson sketches the joy at the heart of the Gospel in this excerpt from The Faith: Given Once for All by Colson and Harold Fickett.
God is. And He’s told us how His world works. He is the ultimate reality. Why then is there suffering? Because God gave humans free will. We chose not to obey, so evil came to the world.
God invaded earth in His Son… The Holy Spirit was sent to finish the invasion, establishing Christ’s Kingdom through His body, the Church.
Satan’s control didn’t stand, however. God invaded earth in His Son. The battle raged, and the Son was arrested and executed, as the payment for evil. But the stone was rolled away, and God raised Him from the dead, and with His resurrection guaranteed our own new life. The Holy Spirit was sent to finish the invasion, establishing Christ’s Kingdom through His body, the Church.
Excerpt from John Ortberg’s The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You.
Some people tempt me out of the flow of the Spirit. They judge me, and I feel discouraged. They dislike me, and I feel rejected. They are a black hole of need and drain me. They throw roadblocks in my path and discourage me. They anger me. They scare me. They depress me. Plus I don’t like them.
The playwright George Bernard Shaw … and Winston Churchill famously found each other to be difficult. Shaw once sent two tickets to Churchill to the opening night of one of his plays, with instructions to “bring a friend — if you have one.” Churchill sent them back because he was busy opening night. He said he would come on “the second night — if there is one.”
Excerpt from Wes Yoder's Bond of Brothers: Connecting with Other Men Beyond Work, Weather and Sports (eBook).
If it is entirely true — and it is — that God, who now lives within me, knows all my thoughts and loves me anyway, I have to say two things: God suddenly has become my best friend, and perhaps he was all along the way.
I can fear his friendship, which I will do if I do not believe he is good, or I can welcome him and start living an unbelievable life with a new partner and friend.
He knows all my sorrows and everything else within me. His Spirit is the searchlight that knows and sees all. And his Spirit makes of my life a light that illuminates dark places so others can find their way.
So imagine what might happen if both you and your wife have the same best friend — God — and quit hoping you won't disappoint each other because you know and accept that you will, and because you know your best friend will be there to help you sort out the mess.
Your life would be different, and perhaps you, too, would have a hard time remembering why you thought you needed [a legalistic and perfectionistic] religion when you have a perpetual invitation to enjoy a relationship with God.
- Wes Yoder
Q: How would your life change if you considered God your friend? Share your comments on this post.
-Adam Forrest, Zondervan
Learn more about Bond of Brothers (eBook)
Kneeling before the King via Wes Yoder
Build a Fire: Manhood that's Honest, Strong, and … Weak? via Wes Yoder
(Some styling above is a web-exclusive feature not included in the text of Bond of Bros. Image attribution: "Abraham and Three Angels" by Rembrandt, c. 1646 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)