When I left for college at the ripe old age of 18, I remember being equally excited, hopeful, and anxious. Up until that point, my school experiences had been those of a small rural school district. Everyone knew everyone, and the odds were likely that you were related, even if distantly, to at least half of your classmates. I spent my middle school and high school summers attending various church camps and conferences, so it only made sense to me that Christian college would be like church camp on steroids. Everyone would love Jesus. Everyone would be friendly. The heavens would obviously open, and angels would descend and bless everyone with kindness and goodness on a daily basis. *cue angelic choir music* Yeah, so that wasn’t really my Christian college experience.
Healthy Relationships: Partner Boundaries
When I first started dating my forever husband Russ, God and I had spent a whole lot of time together discussing what I needed and desired in a husband. I was armed with God’s direction and a fierce spirit committed to never experiencing a toxic, dysfunctional romantic relationship again. Thankfully, Russ met me on equal ground because he had also been through the wringer with marriage and committed himself to the same goals as I had. We had, and still have, the hard conversations. Communication is the key to healthy boundaries (and relationships–but that’s another post).
Healthy Boundaries: Peace vs. Keeping the Peace
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing in front of the washer in the laundry room. “This is my life. Nothing is ever going to change.” It was a daunting thought. Depressing. Hopeless. I had just attempted to have yet another conversation with husband #1 regarding my needs and our relationship.
Healthy Relationships: Boundaries in the Bible
If you’ve been around here for a while, then you know that I grew up in a very legalistic evangelical verging on fundamental church, I married (the first time) very young. Through the process of leaving the evangelical church, deconstructing my beliefs, reconstructing my beliefs, and the chaos that is life, I’ve realized that Jesus does not want me to be a doormat. That’s the furthest thing from who Jesus was or what he taught. Jesus doesn’t want you to be a doormat either. In fact, the more I’ve studied and lived, the more I’ve come to realize that boundaries aren’t just some man-made concept a psychologist came up with to punish people. They are the furthest thing from that when implemented well.
Healthy Relationships: Neither Selfish Nor Selfless
I married young in the late 90s. It was an interesting time in the evangelical church and its colleges– Josh Harris was famously parading the fact that He “Kissed Dating Goodbye” in his best-selling book of the same name. True Love Waits was surging like a tidal wave through churches. “Traditional Family Values” were touted... Continue Reading →
Healthy Relationships: Needs
You can love Jesus and rest–He did. You can love Jesus and set boundaries–He did. You can love Jesus and say No–He did. You can love Jesus and advocate for your own needs–He did.
Healthy Relationships: Self-Worth
I have this parenting rule that says I don’t ever talk to my teenage daughter about weight. We talk about health, eating well, exercising, buying clothes that flatter our bodies, etc. But, I never talk to her about her weight. I know, as a parent, that the number she sees on the scale isn’t important, but I absolutely fail at applying those things to my own life. I fail to the point that whenever she hears me complaining about it, she tells me I need to take my own advice and a dose of my medicine because those aren’t the things we focus on. Eek. What I know to be true is that she is exactly right. Putting that into practice has been more of a challenge though. I don’t think I’m alone. I know there are so many people in this world who have this same struggle, this same intrinsic belief that their self-worth is tied to something extrinsic. Weight Work Finances Societal Success Validation from Others Athleticism Popularity Acceptance The reality, though, is that our self-worth isn’t tied to any of these external things at all. Our self-worth is completely intrinsic, and if we want to be healthy humans with healthy relationships, we have to understand our individual worth.
Healthy Relationships: My Identity
Too often, if we aren’t careful, we can easily find ourselves seeing ourselves and others as something they do instead of who they are. While this is incredibly dangerous and detrimental to loving others, it can also be incredibly toxic for our own spiritual, mental, and emotional health when we fall into the trap of identifying solely with something we do instead of who we actually are. This month, I want us to take a hard look at the health of our relationships, and I’ve learned that if we’re going to have healthy relationships, we have to be healthy humans. We can’t do that at all if we don’t have a sense of the complexity of our identities.
(Im)Perfect: The Denying Heart
I have always been drawn to Peter–one of Jesus’s original twelve disciples. I think it’s because of his absolute imperfection and humanity. Honestly, I think it’s also because I see so much of myself in Peter. One of my favorite stories of Peter is this one: Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished, he said to Peter, “Now row out to deep water to cast your nets and you will have a great catch.” “Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of your word.” When they pulled up their nets, they were shocked to see a huge catch of fish, and their nets were ready to burst! They waved to their business partners in the other boat for help. They ended up completely filling both boats with fish until they began to sink! Luke 5:4-7 (TPT) I love this story of Peter because I see so much of myself in it. Peter had spent the whole night fishing and catching nothing. When he came back to shore, Jesus told him to go back out to deep water and cast their nets out. Peter’s response is classic! He tells Jesus they’ve already been out there and caught nothing. I can see myself saying the same thing! It’s logic. Peter sees no reason to go back out to the deep water because logic tells him there won’t be any fish this time either. But, God.
(Im)Perfect: The Ungrateful Heart
It was tough. Did you know Moses spends the first nine chapters of Deuteronomy preaching at the Israelites over and over and over again to not turn their backs on God when they finally enter the Promised Land after wandering around in the wilderness for 4 years? Nine chapters. That tells me one of two things–either they were really stubborn or Moses didn’t have anything else to say. I’m pretty confident it isn’t that Moses was running out of things to say. No, it was definitely because the Israelites were stubborn, and, as Dr. Phil would say, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. The Israelites had some notorious past behavior.