“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion) and totally worth the work.

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be as close and as healthy as they can be.  My husband and I have just started doing a few new things for our marriage and we’re noticing this one could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is one experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago (and we’re both loving it!)

Every morning we have decided to say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

(Sweet note: The look on my husband’s face as he speaks is so beautiful and something that’s been hiding for a little while.  It’s really nice to see the thought behind his words as he says something kind about me and to me.  Sometimes he’s just remembering good things from the past and those are good to hear also.  I can’t help but think he may be feeling the same way as he hears me speak good things about him, too.  It’s heart-healing.)

This is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

(And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but we’ve had ENOUGH of that!)

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re BOTH getting to HEAR some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is powerful.)

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious!

We ALL probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)  But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

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Comparing Sins

A woman committed adultery. Her marriage may be over. She’s broken hearted. She cries, “How did I get here?” She needs someone to talk with.

She calls her friend to talk.  Then her friend calls more people and spreads the word, “Can you believe SHE did THAT?!”  Or she brags, “At least I didn’t do THAT!”

Are you aware that’s called gossiping?

Gossiping is a sin, too.

To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone for whatever sin, I’ll say this again.  I believe God put these words on my heart after praying and spending time with Him:  Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

This is what we’re doing:

“YOUR sin swung the hammer REALLY hard! But MY sin was only a tiny tap on the nail!  MINE didn’t hurt Jesus as much as YOURS did.”

Really??

Do you hear yourself thinking that? Do you realize we DO that – every day – with each other?

Please stop.

They are ALL sins. And a sin is a sin.

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Just because someone sins ~~> differently <~~ than you do does not make them any less worthy of Jesus’ gift of salvation.

I picture Jesus hanging on the cross, looking at us all, shaking his head, saying, “Father, please forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

He’s talking about US. You and me.

He’s not just talking about the people back then who were watching and literally nailing Him to the cross.

Romans 3:23-24 – for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and ALL are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Please pick someone up. Please be careful what you say to – and about – people.

I have a challenge for you this year. Every day please purposefully look for one person (or more) to lift with your words. Be genuine.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Somebody needs YOU to speak life into her.  I believe you are the very right person for this important job.

Live, breathe, & enjoy today like it’s NOT about you. But IF it IS… (Gossip)

Hey. It’s probably not about you.

But what if it really IS about you?

Why would she say that about you?

She doesn’t even know you. How can she affect you?

But it does affect you.

It’s hurtful.

You know those times when you read (or hear) something and it cuts; like it’s directed at you?  You can hear something and it SEEMS to be directed at you.

Maybe it is personal but maybe not.

We’ve got to give ourselves permission NOT to listen to (or read) vague, passive aggressive comments carelessly tossed AT us or hatefully said ABOUT us.

It REALLY may NOT be about you. Live, breathe, and enjoy today like it’s NOT about you.

But IF it IS:

If someone truly does have an issue with us we need to rest in the prayer that he or she can find maturity, confidence, and grace to come speak with us about it. And we need to give people permission allowing them to be upset if it’s a problem that is upsetting.

Being upset about something doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. The very fact that it bothers you is proof that you DO care.

We cannot assume that someone has wrong intentions toward us. Sometimes people do have bad intentions and during those times it’s important to talk if possible and try to work things out. But even then; working things out does not always mean someone who has hurt you will view things the same way as you see them. And that’s okay.

Nobody in the whole world was created to think the exact way you think. It’s okay (and sometimes necessary) if we agree to disagree.

Sometimes people are just angry at life and you are the closest target. For whatever reason they may feel safer taking out their frustration on you rather than the true issue. They may be afraid to confront or discover the core of the pain because it seems unbearable.

[This being said; if it’s abuse, it’s abuse and that’s NOT okay. You may need to talk to a counselor or someone. That’s healthy. That’s not weak. In my opinion finding a counselor (and yes, I will always advise to find a counselor who is a Christian) works best when I pray over everything first. Prayer first is ALWAYS best.]

We can be a safe place for others to vent and we can do this without taking things personally. We can just listen. Just be there. Just hear someone who is hurting.

…Because sometimes it’s really NOT about you.

When you hear someone say something or read a post online that “feels” personal, try this; “God, this has hurt my feelings. Please let this fall away from me if it’s not intended toward me. If it actually is intended toward me and this person actually does have ill feelings please give me courage to speak with them peacefully and give my words grace so that we may both heal. Please prepare my heart and hers (or his) and please stop words from coming out of my mouth that need to not be said. God, please help me be genuine. Please use my life and words to bless others and bring healing and not pain. Thank You for Your constant love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

Are You Target Practice?

When people are unkind a lot of times it does NOT have anything at all to do with YOU.

Many times it’s unresolved stuff in someone’s life and you are the closest ~or safest~ target.

It’s hard to be happy when someone is hurting us but we CAN have some peace through the storm anyway.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.

James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ummm…

Okay I will try BECAUSE God says to. I may have to look up the words “pure” and “joy” and start off with “watered-down joy.”

But revenge and thoughts about revenge – don’t even go there.

Romans 12:17-19  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

You say, “But she’s really being mean. Like, REALLY!”

I know.

Be kinder anyway.

Pray for your enemies.  (Have you tried it?  It’s cleansing.)

Matthew 5:43-45  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I know.

It’s hard.

Ask God for help. Because ultimately, He is the ONLY One with this kind of help. He can change a heart and He can open people’s eyes to the damage they’re causing.

Proverbs 25:21-22  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

(Be genuine. Sarcasm and petty motives are beneath you.)

Good thought:  At least if they are focused on me, they are leaving someone else alone.

What am I learning?

He must be hurting very much to treat me this way. Even though the pain may not show on the outside there must be some stuff inside that is tearing up his heart.

Good news?

Yes.

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Do you hear that? ALL things.

Here’s a good way to start.

“Dear God, I really don’t FEEL like praying for _________ but I will trust You when You say to pray for our enemies. Please touch the heart of this person because I’m not feelin’ so loving toward him today….”

Romans 8:26-27  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Hey YOU. You got this!

That’s what talents are.

I don’t know math. I don’t know geography or enough about politics to argue or lie my way into office. (And not every politician lies.)

I don’t know how to save the animals from extinction or how to stop child molesters (though I intend to do my very best at putting an end to it and at helping people heal from that kind of hurt.)

I don’t know about how to build a car or the best way to create a generator. I don’t know the best way to grow a tomato and I’m not sure how to tell schools that good grades in school are NOT the most urgent thing in life.

Those things are all very important.

But I wasn’t given the talents to take care of all those things.

I DO know about relationships, people, words, and faith. So I speak about what I know.

That’s what talents are.

Talents are the things that come more naturally to each of us. Use them. Ask God HOW He wants YOU to use them. Life is so much better this way. You don’t have to believe me. Believe the creator of YOU. Ask Him what you’re supposed to be doing.

Sometimes we are not even aware of all our talents. It’s always okay to ask God to make us aware of the talents He’s given us.  He does this.

If you judge a fish on how well he climbs a tree, he will always fail (unless he is a tree climbing fish and climbs trees. We all know there are phenomenons so I don’t want to say always in case there is that amazing tree climbing fish somewhere out there that we haven’t heard of yet. Yay for the amazing tree climbing fishies. You guys rock!)

I don’t know who to give credit to for this tree fish saying but I’ve seen it online a few times and there is SUCH great truth to it.

Do what God’s called YOU to do. And don’t stress about everything else.

I sometimes think about what this world would look like if we each did the jobs we were called by Him to do.

You ARE on purpose. You are HERE on purpose and you are here FOR a purpose.

YOU MATTER.

Ask God what He wants YOU to do today.

Pretty Ministry

They told her it was unsightly. I couldn’t believe my ears. The empty milk jugs were “unsightly” so they should be hidden somewhere.

These empty milk jugs were used to put laundry soap in for people who needed it but couldn’t afford it. She spent her own money and made gallons and gallons of laundry soap every week at a much lower cost than was available at the store.

She had a laundry soap ministry. All she asked for was that people bring rinsed, empty, plastic milk jugs so that they’d have enough containers for all the laundry soap.

And it was FREE to anyone who asked for it.

Helping other people IS unsightly. It’s not pretty sometimes. Why are people embarrassed about helping other people? Do they think we should all just have pretty ministries?

That’s not how it works.

Life is messy. We need to meet people right where they are and help pick them up out of the trash their lives are in.

Jesus helped many people. And it wasn’t a pretty ministry. He spent time teaching and healing the broken, sick, prostitutes, people with leprosy, and tax collectors. Check out Matthew 9:9-13.

I want to be a part of a church that has those unsightly, empty milk jugs somewhere in the hallways so that when people ask about them we can tell them how they can help people get laundry soap. (And no, the empty milk jugs shouldn’t be out on “display” either.)

Ironic. The “unsightly” milk jugs were used for soap to wash stuff and make it clean.

Sometimes genuinely loving on people is just not a pretty ministry.

Busybodies and Nosey Gossipy Rumor Guys

You know who they are. They are the people who never talk to you then you win a lottery and suddenly they are your best friends.

They are the people who talk about you behind your back and then pretend they care about your life when they hear something they think is “worth spreading.”

They are even the women and men at church who look down on you even though they don’t know you but somehow they still feel compelled to speak about you as if they do.

You take bubble gum to school and you are suddenly the center of attention and people say, “Hey, I know him! We’re best friends!” …when they wouldn’t speak to you any other days of your life.

The next time someone says, “Is it true about such n such?”

A great response is, “Why do you ask?”

You do not owe somebody information about your life. It is okay to NOT tell somebody stuff about you when you are uncomfortable.

If people are in it for gossip, it’s hard to hide. When they are genuinely caring about you they have a genuine answer.