Raising Children During Chaos

Raising children in the midst of chaos can seem like a task of responsibility and accountability because our hearts are filled with thoughts of logistics, plans, & overwhelmed by circumstances. 
Pressing into Jesus while I admonish our children has made me the most aware and humbled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
While their behavior is filled with selfishness, tantrums, questions, and the need for training, it isn’t abnormal. It can feel like the greatest inconvenience, though, when my heart is reeling and my thoughts aren’t captive to Christ. 
I’m overwhelmed by the grace and wisdom the Spirit speaks into me and through me when I’m gently talking through life with my children. When a directive, a calm answer, or wise training comes from the depths of my innermost heart. I’m overwhelmed because Jesus speaks to me even more than whatever I’m speaking to my children. 
When I’m speaking hope and understanding to them (through the Spirit’s leadership), it’s actually me He’s speaking to…filling up my heart and mind to prompt me towards steadfastness. I’ll never stop growing, and the inconveniences of nurturing and training my children insure this and though I don’t always thank God for it, I am today. 
So today when my heart is very aware of the circumstances today holds, as we travel to another town to meet with an oncologist to hear pet scan results and chemo treatment plans, I’m asking the Lord to calm my anxious heart with moments of truth shared with my children that are ultimately for us all. 
Grace so free, washes over me. 

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What is vulnerable?

It’s telling you that I’ve had a day full of “I wish I was……” insert anything from prettier to a better cook. This thought life is actually very uncharacteristic of me.

I’m not the most confident person in the world, but The Lord dealt very seriously, albeit graciously, with me concerning my self-image and self-condemnation a few years ago. It has been a point of interest for my heart & a place I speak Truth to myself about on a regular basis.

So for this day of useless comparison and self-loathing to be battering me, I felt a little caught off guard. Every picture I saw contained someone with bold fashion statements, risk-taking make-up, toned physique, steel like nerves with their children…..all the qualities I felt were supremely insufficient in my existence.

Then I remembered my post on Facebook yesterday.

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I let him in…he stole from me. I felt betrayed. Then I remembered that’s his nature. I’ve never trusted the enemy so there was nothing to betray. I let down the guard. I wasn’t vigilant with my heart or my thoughts today.

Thankfully, The Lord empowered my weak mind and heart to see what today held for me in terms of my need for a Savior.

Just like that::I repented & forgiveness separated me from the sin that had entangled me for a moment.

today’s demands teach tomorrow’s grace

the day is nearing the end. the pressure to meet the demands is over. did you meet them? what is success?

define success for yourself so you know your own expectations for yourself. evaluate them. make yourself some benchmarks. no one hits their success of huge goals immediately. it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

in fact, that’s what usually keeps me from making goals. or making attempts at my own expectations. i have failed before. i have hit the evening (it seems every day) with a miserable gut check that i accomplished NOTHING i set out to complete that day.

the reality? i didn’t set out to complete anything. i had a mental to do list. and a child woke up too early. he demanded specific items for breakfast. said items ended up all over my sheets. youngest child wakes up screaming, too. they both have pungent diapers and soaked clothes. now to more food and bottles and cups full of milk. toys spread everywhere. fingers touching dangerous things. tiny bodies climbing to high places that cause immediate danger and panic. they’re quiet now……interrupt productivity to find the children. toys everywhere. one wants to paint. can i watch a show? let’s have a snack! momma we miss dadda. why are you screaming? snack? milk? diaper? align the cosmos?!?! oh it’s lunch. what are we having (that would have been on my mental to do list—meal planning, maybe at naptime). oh you don’t want to eat anything on your plate? out of the 7 options i put on there? hm. time for nap. no one wants to take a nap? momma does! can we trade?! WHEW. youngest is down without a hitch. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. compromise. promise. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. no sleep today. no nap=nothing accomplished for momma. every one up. snacks. milk. more milk. they drink milk all day. could i be a dairy farmer? nope. i’d never make it. thought detour. clean up kitchen. get ready to start dinner. MASS HYSTERIA AND EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS. momma is going to cook dinner? act like a crazed maniac! because….she doesn’t cook dinner ALMOST every night??! i mean, what a shock! cooking to the music of screaming, yelling, fit throwing, ……. DADDA IS HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we’re the happiest boys alive! oh? that screaming? we just wanted to see how many decibels she could take! and dinner. bath. clean up rooms. bed.

the end of the day. i survived. but i did i thrive? was there joy emitted? today’s demands have made me aware that it’s night’s end and i must accept the grace for the moments that were not beautiful and walk into tomorrow with grace for the moments that will be challenging.

for where i felt like a failure today, i can only make a goal for how to approach that situation again and what it would look like to be a success. i was never a failure. feelings are NOT Truth.

progress, not perfection is the strategy with which i’ll run this marathon.

i want my husband and children to see grace. lived and offered. not the cranky, i’m short tempered with the world because of my own shortcomings, attitude i’ve exhibited lately. they don’t need to be effected with emotions for where i THINK i’ve failed, they need to have me fully present in my calling as a wife and a mom and the TRUTH of what that calling is—that’s where i am seeking my identity. not the 10 absolute best aspects of 10 people that i expect myself to be all wrapped up in one individual.

marathon. not sprint.

Above Reproach

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This week will be the final bible study of the semester for me with our college women. This semester marks a huge marker in my life spiritually, as well as my life as a wife, mother, friend, and homemaker. This is the first semester I have committed to teaching a long-term bible study since having children and staying home.

Why I Have Been Changed::

*closer relationships with our college women  *using our home to show hospitality  *accountability to read & study  *a few extra minutes with one of my best friends before we start  ***TEACHING IS MY JOY  *discipline in keeping our home clean (we’re home all day, it gets a little ridiculous)  *yearning fervently for myself & our college women to be changed  *edified & challenge by what God speaks  *realizing how POWERFUL it is for our children to watch ministry take place IN OUR HOME–Drake asks “is it Thursday?” “Do you have bible study?” “are those ladies coming over tonight?” (he DOES love him some college girl attention, but he very much understands what is taking place)

How I Have Been Challenged::

*closer (and sometimes difficult conversations) with our college women *accountability to read & study  *the third night in our week we are “reserved”  *discipline in keeping our home clean (along with the conviction that WE LIVE HERE & these girls know I’m human)  *allowing myself some grace when I “FEEL” like a failure in whatever I’ve taught  *allowing myself some grace when I “FEEL” like I haven’t kept up with every single one our college women  *it’s okay to need other people in order to see BIG things happen

Last week at Bible Study (Busy Minds, Deceptive Hearts), we discussed what we’re called to be (I hate ending a sentence with a preposition, but there it is).

Our great discussion looked like this…..

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Overview of 2 Timothy 2:15-21

-approved

Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30 sealed by the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 1:22

-workman not ashamed

above reproach

1 Corinthians 6:19 Body is a Holy Temple

-correctly handles Truth

How? Read & Study

2 Timothy 3:16    1 Timothy 4:15-16    1 Thess 5:19-22 2

-no godless chatter

What is the healthy opposite? Phil. 4:8

2 Cor 12:20 (gossip comes with other things)

Prov. 11:25 be a refreshing water

-teaching will spread
Titus 1:9
Means::Exhort sometimes
Deitrich Bonhoeffer “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
2 Tim 4:2  Prov. 15:31  Prov. 27:6

*go back to the “correctly handles Truth” to exhort

Bonheoffer: “No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God’s voice. The only safe light for our path is the light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World.”

-God’s foundation will stand no matter

-must cleanse/repent (Rev. 3:19)

when He makes a revelation it’s for reform not just to inform

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For the remainder of the week, my conversations revolved around what it means to be “above reproach”. I can’t define that for you in literal terms. I can speak to how the Lord has led and invested Truth into my heart to walk a life that is defined by grace & submission.

1 Corinthians 10 states:

23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his [i]neighbor.

You need to read the context of this to understand and comprehend the terms by which Paul is referencing. However, this has always been a leading light for me where convictions cause me to question my motivations. I think it’s poignant and specific that he ends the statement with the admonition to seek the good of his neighbor. It doesn’t matter if what I’m participating isn’t SINFUL or causing me TEMPTATION. What does it do TO and FOR my neighbor? That peer in your class, that sibling watching you, that parent who doesn’t know the Lord, that co-worker who has asked you questions about Christianity, that professor who challenges you on your faith? When we settle once and for all who we are setting ourselves to be and seek to be steadfast, it becomes less about our flesh and wants and more about glorification and gospel sharing. It becomes less about our rights and our pride and more about love. Above reproach means seeking the best for others. Our will and way diminishes in the light of His glory and grace.

This passage in chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians also states:

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I have heard this over and over “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. The Lord loudly and specifically spoke “LIE” to me when someone shared that with me 2 years ago. I sought Him hard and He quickly answered me why my Spirit was convicted that it’s not Truth.

IF HE DIDN’T GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE THEN WE WOULDN’T NEED HIM. I won’t go into my life’s circumstances as to why this has been a CONSTANT in my thought process lately, but will relate this lesson in being above reproach.

When we want to do something and be a part of something, but have just started a journey towards being above approach, sometimes the “no” feels painful and sacrificial. We want to go out dancing with friends. There is no harm there. However, we have to go to a bar to do that. A bar where the opposite sex is waiting in hopes of “taking someone home” …. a bar where there is alcohol (that in and of itself may not be wrong the over consumption of it is and will cause your body that is a Holy Temple to be compromised). Where others will see us. Their definition of our faith is not the same as ours so we shouldn’t be held to their expectation, RIGHT? In my conviction referencing the previous verse…..it has nothing to do with our definitions/terms or their expectations. It has everything to do with Truth. If I go to that bar what does that speak about my gospel? I can’t answer that for you-only for myself. I may see that peer in my class, that sibling watching me, that parent who doesn’t know the Lord, that co-worker who has asked me questions about Christianity, that professor who challenges me on my faith.

Our temptation and desire to do things is not beyond the ability of Him to meet our needs-in all ways and at all times. Being above reproach is more glorification and gospel sharing. It becomes less about our rights and our pride and more about love. Above reproach means seeking the best for others. Our will and way diminishes in the light of His glory and grace.

I know, because I’ve had this conversation over the last 10 years A LOT and over the last week A LOT. It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to choose my activities and hobbies and times of fun based on the fact it MIGHT cause others to stumble. I shouldn’t have to choose my words carefully as others should be mature enough to filter them for me.

None of that reflects anything in Scripture. It’s hard to hold our tongue. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to share the gospel. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to love our neighbor as yourself. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to love a wife like Christ loves the church and it’s hard for wives to submit….Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to give up everything to follow and be like Christ (even the fun things don’t hurt us but might hurt others in their understanding of the gospel), but Scripture commands us to.

He will fill us up with far more precious and valuable experiences than the ones we give up to be above reproach. He will give us more valuable and eternal conversations to replace the gossip. He will provide life-giving relationships to replace the negativity and judgement we pass over of others.

Micah 6:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

to have loved and lost…

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I have written about our journey through miscarriage HERE and HERE. Yesterday, as my husband got home from work, it didn’t take 10 seconds before he was in the floor wrestling and tickling our 2 sons. We have a son, about to be 3 at the end of November, who was conceived 3 1/2 months after our miscarriage. We have another son, about to be 1 at the end of November, who was a little bit of a surprise and a little bit of hope! Every pregnancy and child’s presence represents something different. Both of our boys represent hope, but for very different reasons. Our oldest son came after miscarriage. He didn’t bring healing, only the Lord can bring healing. He brought further understanding and peace that we have to move on. We don’t have to leave behind the memory of our Baby C, but we have to move on. Move on in the Lord, move on for our family, and move on in life. We talk about our precious baby. The Lord knows us so much better than we know ourselves. Sometimes I need a reminder. He’s given me a reminder every time I think on the absence of our first baby. Miscarriage isn’t unique or rare. Since the fall of man there has been sin, evil, devastation. We can’t and don’t have to explain it. It’s a hard journey to trust and believe the Lord when heartache and tragedy strikes. But, if we believe Him in some we must believe Him in all. I’m thankful for my children here now, so I must be thankful for my child not here and thankful that He has a greater plan for that baby. I should say a greater plan. It doesn’t get any better than Heaven!

 

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My husband just said yesterday, I feel a void when I play with our boys. We’re missing someone. I definitely agree. When I fix my boys meals, do their laundry, give them baths, do every day menial things that are exhausting and even unenjoyable-I think there should be more food to fix, more clothes to wash, another one to bathe. But there isn’t. And I especially feel a void when we’re cherishing moments and making memories. This void draws me close to Him though. There is a void and only He can fill it because we don’t have Baby C here to enjoy and to make memories with….that was His plan.

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We have to approach the throne of grace to walk through heartache. We have to surround ourselves with Truth speakers. Those who will value and enrich the moments we need grace. Alongside of those who support and encourage, we need to have humor. Speak fondly of our loved but lost babies. Speak truth to each other and rally in understanding, yet reality of our circumstances. I love this graphic. We know we aren’t the ones who make angels, but we carried them and we love them forever. I hope you’re encouraged to walk this journey with boldness and grace. He entrusted us with this testimony and He will equip us with the wisdom and courage to walk in it and share it.

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Are you in time out?

As I’ve walked with the Lord, there have been seasons in areas of my life where I spend more time than is comfortable in the wilderness. Praise the Lord our whole being isn’t in the wilderness like the Israelites experienced. It may feel like a total wilderness sometimes, but if we’re honest, most of us have more love, friends, family, belongings, and treasures than the majority and we can think on healthier things than our “this isn’t fair” attitude that steals our joy.

I’ve had a season of wilderness in my call to ministry. Or, so I perceived. In 2009 Brady and I both switched jobs, bought a house, I had a miscarriage, and I had gallbladder surgery.

Brady went from working with his dad and commuting to seminary, to full time college pastor at FBCWF. I went from teaching 6th grade self-contained at a Title 1 school to teaching 6th and 7th grade English/Language Arts at a Christian private school.

The home we bought needed to be gutted (basically) and remodeled. Oh my word at the transformation. My husband is absolutely gifted at developing and carrying out a vision…for life, for ministry, for creative purposes, whatever it is, he’s a genius with vision. We planned, prepared, shopped, stripped wallpaper, sheetrock, stripped popcorn texture, tore down walls, poured concrete into our living room, painted, painted, painted, shopped some more, all new light fixtures, wall plugs, switch plates, brand new hard wood floors (x3 after they came up), repairs, gutted an entire bathroom and did a designer job with the tile, I have gone on and on and I could go on some more! (All of this with help from both sets of parents and college students who are long gone, having moved on with their lives…we’ve been at First long enough to have students who are married, have children, and are in a career!).

After trying to get pregnant for 6 months, we found out we were going to have a baby (or so we THOUGHT). So excited, nervous, overwhelmed. After 6 weeks we found out we were not going to have this precious baby as he/she was already dancing with Jesus. What a blessed baby! Such a sweeter place for a baby, even though I think we have a pretty sweet place, that baby is not hurting or under the weight and oppression of this world that we cannot protect him/her from no matter how we would have tried.

Gallbladder attacks are no joke. Now that I’ve delivered 2 babies, I dare to say those attacks rank right up there in excruciating pain! SO thankful for His mercy and provision to not have those attacks when I was pregnant…no pain meds or surgery for a pregnant momma with gallbladder attacks. He knows best. He has a plan.

While all of this is going on, we are not even into college ministry at FBC for full year yet. I was called to ministry in college and spend the majority of 3 years pouring into other college women. I mean, spending time with 3-4 different girls a day, talking and praying and walking through life with them. It was a joy. It was pleasure. It was sifting and sanctifying for me. It was humbling. It was accountability. Now, I’m married. Now, I’m dealing with very personal, difficult life circumstances. I’m growing leaps and bounds in my understanding of true intimacy with the Lord and growing closer and closer to my husband. But, I felt so far away from my calling.

A new year! 2010! No baby, no gallbladder, and a new beginning! February–pregnant again! Pregnant and happy, but oh so terribly sick. For 9 months. I struggled to be involved, available, and connected with our college students. I’m being vulnerable to share here, that though my heart ached to be a sweet place of support and counsel for them, I struggled with the Lord that it just wasn’t His timing. I pleaded with Him for the ability to be the college pastor’s wife that was all they needed. I even tried to make it work and tried to do and be something that just didn’t fit His timing. Smart. Praise Him that He had women and college women in place to minister to them and love on them and support them. I had to be okay with that. I had to rejoice.

But, I felt like I was in time out. Isn’t it just like our flesh to look over the priceless joys we have (HAVING A BABY!) to the season we are hungry for that is actually just a vision we’re looking at through a past experience where we’re looking through rose colored glasses? That time I had enjoyed pouring into college girls’ lives was wonderful. But it’s in the past. It was hard! My rose colored glasses deceived me. I had forgotten what it was like to bear the burdens of others. I had forgotten the anger I received when a word spoken in truth and love wasn’t taken well. I had forgotten the humility and accountability when I had to lead them in areas where I had previously failed. By His grace, though, I remembered all of that as joy because of the deep relationships I had built and the way the growth permeated my whole being. (Isn’t He wonderful to let us remember all the good from seasons that were hard at the real life moment?)

I wasn’t in a time out. I wasn’t being punished. I was in a wilderness in my ache to minister to college and young married women. I was in a time of growing closer to the Lord. We can all always grow closer to Him and draw nearer to Him. I was in a time of pouring into my husband. Praise the Lord for that time, because at that time, He was the only other person in our home I had to pour into…I was able to grow in that part of my life before having to learn how to pour into him while caring for and discipling children. I was in a time of practically growing. Housekeeping, time managing, planning, and creating an atmosphere specific to our home were all on His agenda for this so-called wilderness where I wasn’t getting to do what I THOUGHT was the most important task of ministry. Oh, but I was ministering. My wise husband told me my ministry was to carrying this baby and ministering to him through our home and relationship. Wow. I had no idea how true that was then and would be in the future as I would be balancing wife and mom.

If you feel like you’re in a time out, talk to Him. Was Jesus always on His throne? He came to this filthy earth and took on flesh to walk among us. We are taken out of our element and we are taken out of seasons where we are the most comfortable and even where we may feel the most successful. This life and ministry aren’t about us “feeling” successful. Tell Him you hurt and ache for whatever it is you really want to be doing. He already knows your heart, the deep longings and the bites of selfishness. In your moments of weeping to Him, listen to what He’s whispering or yelling into your Spirit. There is a place and area in your being that He is refining. Think about all those creative and upcycling ideas you’ve seen on Pinterest or HGTV. That dresser that was sanded down to nothing. It wasn’t pretty. It took a lot of sanding, which was a lot of hard work for the Sander. But, the person sanding poured them self into that hard work, maybe got callouses, got tired and dirty. That’s what the Lord is doing for us in our seasons of wilderness. He knows our heart and our longings. He loves us so much He won’t let us walk into the Promise Land unprepared and not capable. He is equipping you, even in the midst of our selfish flesh who feels as though this season of sitting on the bench feels unfair. It’s actually a time of such closeness and dependence on Him. Soak up the time He’s pouring into you and investing in you. He does have great plans and worthy moments for you coming. Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t a feel good verse just to memorize in hopes that He will make our future great. It is a specific piece spoken to a hurting, yet hopeful group of people. Look at it’s context.

A letter which Jeremiah wrote to the captives in Babylon, against their prophets that they had there (Jer. 29:1-3), in which letter, 1. He endeavours to reconcile them to their captivity, to be easy under it and to make the best of it, Jer. 29:4-7. 2. He cautions them not to give any credit to their false prophets, who fed them with hopes of a speedy release, Jer. 29:8, 9. 3. He assures them that God would restore them in mercy to their own land again, at the end of 70 years, Jer. 29:10-14. 4. He foretels the destruction of those who yet continued, and that they should be persecuted with one judgment after another, and sent at last into captivity, Jer. 29:15-19. 5. He prophesies the destruction of two of their false prophets that they had in Babylon, that both soothed them up in their sins and set them bad examples (Jer. 29:20-23), and this is the purport of Jeremiah’s letter. II. Here is a letter which Shemaiah, a false prophet in Babylon, wrote to the priests at Jerusalem, to stir them up to persecute Jeremiah (Jer. 29:24-29), and a denunciation of God’s wrath against him for writing such a letter, Jer. 29:30-32. Such struggles as these have there always been between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.—Matthew Henry’s Commentary

I think this is true exhortation for us all. Talk to Him. Trust Him. Seek counsel. Do the next thing even it doesn’t include a glamorous action that will effect the Kingdom in visible ways. You are always effecting Eternity. With every movement and decision. Will your movements and decisions be in line with the Gospel. Choose today what your heart will exude…contentment or dissatisfaction?  You’re not in a time out. You’re called to……

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 2 Re-Cap

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Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

5.1.13

Melissa Sharp

Get a Life…Sentencing Myself

Most of us, when we look within, can put our finger on a strong desire to love and be loved, to accept and be accepted. Our longing for love represents one set of needs that partly defines what it means to be a person or spirit. You have experienced a sense of wholeness, a feeling of vitality and fullness, when you do something important haven’t you? Washing dishes or laundry may bore you, but wrestling with decisions of major consequence or responding to a medical emergency extends into deeper parts of our person and sense of self. We sense an urgent meaningfulness to what we are doing,

We need to feel secure and significant.

Two sets of needs in the bible:: pg. 28-29 of Marriage Builder

  • Romans 8 Paul’s excitement over Christ’s love
  • Job’s trust in a living Redeemer Job 19:25-27
  • John is overwhelmed by thoughts of the Lord’s love for His children in 1 John 3:1
  • Ruth was bound to Naomi by a connection stronger than cultural ties.
  • As soon as Adam and Eve were separated from God by sin, their capacity for love was no longer filled and was therefore experienced as a need-a need for love, a need for security.
  • Abraham was looking to leave his home and travel great distances because he was looking for a city with foundations designed and built by God in Hebrews 11:8-10.

The intangible identity that I know as “me” has two needs, which are personal realities not reducible to biological or chemical analysis. They have a personal existence, independent of the physical body, which constitutes the core of what it means to be a spirit.

“The image of God is reflected in two needs. God is a personal being who in His essential nature is love and who, as a God of design and purpose, is the author of meaning. We too are personal beings, but unlike our infinite, self-sufficient, and perfect God, we are limited, dependent, and fallen.” Crabb

Security: a convinced awareness of being unconditionally and totally loved without needing to change in order to win love, loved by a love that is freely given, that cannot be earned and therefore cannot be lost.

Significance: a realization that I am engaged in a responsibility or job that is truly important, whose results will not evaporate with time but will last through eternity, that fundamentally involves having a meaningful impact on another person, a job for which I am completely adequate.

Depending on the Lord to meet your needs

Our personal needs for security and significance can be fully met only in relationship with Christ. To put it another way, all that we need to function effectively as persons (not necessarily to feel happy or fulfilled) is fully supplied in relationship with Christ and in whatever He chooses to provide.

  1. We need to be secure. He loves us with a love we never deserved, a love that sees everything ugly within us yet accepts us, a love that we can do nothing to increase or decrease, a love that was forever proven at the Cross, where Christ through His shed blood fully paid for our sins to provide us with the gift of an eternally loving relationship with God. In that love, I am secure.-Crabb
  2. 2.    We need to be significant. The Holy Spirit has graciously and sovereignty equipped every believer to participate in God’s great purpose of bringing all things together in Christ. The body of Christ builds itself up through the exercise of each member’s gifts. We are enabled to express our value by ministering to others, enduring wrong without grumbling, and faithfully doing everything to the limits of our capacity for the Glory of God Eph 2:10 and that our obedience will contribute to fulfilling the eternal plan of God.-Crabb

The Truth

Our dulled eyes of faith strain to keep these spiritual realities in clear focus. The central truth that serves as the platform for Christian relationships, is that in Christ we are at every moment eternally loved and genuinely significant. Too often Christians fall off this platform of truth into error. When key relationships fail to make feel secure or significant, it may be difficult to hold firmly on to the fact that I remain a worthwhile person.-Crabb

Error 1: Rejection and failure mean that I am a less worthwhile person.

Because someone has rejected me or because I have failed, I am less worthwhile as a person. It is also possible to slip from the platform of truth into error on another side. The truth that “Christ is all I need” may sometimes degenerate into a defensive posture to avoid personal hurt by maintaining a safe emotional distance in relationships. You must not hide behind the truth of your worth in Christ to avoid feeling pain in a relationship.

To say that Christ is sufficient does not imply that He is to function as some sort of cover protecting us from the pain of interpersonal fire. His resources make it possible for us to continue responding biblically in spite of the great pain we may feel, because the hurt, though great, will never be enough to rob us of our security and significance. All we need to live, no matter what our circumstances, is the security of His love and the significance of participation in His purpose.

Error 2: Christ is all I need; therefore I can avoid intimate relationships with others.

To avoid this error, take these 2 steps.

  1. Fully acknowledge all your feelings to God. Christians often are trained to pretend they feel joyful and happy when they are actually miserable. Because we “shouldn’t” feel unhappy, we pretend we don’t. Heb 4:15 teaches that our Great High Priest can sympathize with us when we experience weakness. Talk to the Lord, through prayer and humility about your hurt and thank Him for His love.
  2. Reaffirm the truth of your security and significance in Christ. One of the central truths of the Christian life is that our feelings need never determine how we believe or what we do. Remind yourself that in Christ you are fully loved and worthwhile despite others’ rejection.

Look at the images and ponder the differences.  Where is God? Who has ultimate responsibility? What action takes place?

Until you are dangling over the abyss of rejection, held only by the love of God, and not until then, will you deeply know that Christ can meet your need for security. 1 John 4:18. We will never know that love until we depend on it to preserve us from destruction.

After you jump, there is an interval of time before the rope of love extends fully to support the persona’s weight over the abyss. Example skydiving. For the scared Christian, who makes the “leap of faith” the moments before Christ’s love is experienced as real personal security may last an hour, a day, a week, a year or longer. Now is the time to rely on His Word Ps. 73:26

Now What?

Figure out “you”.

You understand self-worth shouldn’t be wrapped up in someone else. The most important thing you can do for developing healthy relationships, is figure out your personality.

If you know who you are, you won’t have the insatiable need to be in a relationship or on a date to feel good about yourself. These people drain their dating partner (and eventually a spouse) dry because they are looking to others to meet their needs.

People who don’t have a life are really putting their lives on hold.

The Deadly D’s of not having a life

  1.  Desperation: You rush in and rush through. Your urgent need to fill a void keeps you from going slower in order to allow a more normal, natural process of bonding to occur. You don’t have the inner strength necessary to stave off desperation. This urge-to-merge scares off potential mates instead of attracting them.
  2. Dependence: dependent daters have difficulty making decisions and taking responsibility for their lives and their own decisions. When a dependent person enters a relationship, he/she usually sucks the lifeblood our of the other person. A dependent dater will depend on the other person to meet most of his/her needs to provide a sense of identity.
  3.  Depression and loneliness: this “D” usually affects the whole person; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is to be expected to experience some feelings of depression and drops in self-confidence and self-esteem. The danger in isolation and extreme depression is the downward spiral it creates. This can be prevented, but if it happens can also be treated.
  4.    Detachment: disengaging from life, this step will take you completely away from vital relationships. Withdrawing to protect yourself, can cause some serious problems just like depression, but it starts with your own actions. Therefore, this is a “D” you can be leery of and avoid if you’re really watching yourself. Just because there are some failed attempts at relationships or failed relationships, doesn’t justify cutting yourself off from friends and family.

How to get a life

When you see yourself the way God sees you, you will be free from insecurity and fear. What you believe about yourself and your core identity determines how you behave.

Get into a group

Getting into a group is all about developing replenishing relationships. It is about being in deeper relationships where there is trust, safety, and vulnerability.

  • Commit to a local church by joining,
  • find a small group, join a team,
  • serve in the community with others,
  • find a few who will encourage you and if needed-confront you

Create a life sentence

You only get one sentence when you’re gone from this earth. What do you want others to say? “Oh, I remember her….she….” My life sentence is “To be about the growth of other individuals” it ultimately combines sharing Christ and walking with them after. I’m always looking for ways to help people grow and move forward in their life. It affects every conversation I have with people, directly and indirectly. If I’m not faithful to that sentence, I feel convicted and moved to be obedient. This will help you steer clear of being unequally yolked, it will affect your ministry to your peers, it will direct your speech and actions, and ultimately hold you accountability in all areas-especially dating.

Adapted & Quoted from “Marriage Builder” by Larry Crabb

Ten Commandments of Dating by Ben Young and Dr Samuel Adama