Tag Archives: christian friendships

Complaining Not Allowed

5 Aug

 

Philippians 2:14(GW)

“Do everything without complaining or arguing”.

Well…this scripture literally made me stop in my tracks.

Everything.

Regardless of how difficult, painful, annoying or unfair something is, we are asked to do so without complaint.

What does your conversation sound like over the past week?

My week was full of complaint. I don’t think I even realized how much until I saw this scripture.In truth,  it was mostly a really great week. I had so many wonderful things to be grateful for. He is truly blessing me in many ways.

It was also a very difficult, painful week. So, I spent far more time talking to friends about this part of my week, highlighting how weary I become in the trial. I sought empathy, support and encouragement for my hardship (complaint).

As we go through life, our fellowship is really important. Talking to our close friends is essential to our walk. We need to share our journey! However, before we vent, before we cry out to our circle, we need to go to God first.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

He wants our first of everything. He wants our gratitude, our woes, our heartache, weakness and our complaints, and… He wants it first.

He is always the willing listener. Sharing our entire journey with Him is relational. He draws nearer to us as we draw nearer to Him. There is loving circle of protection that happens in that communion.

There is nothing Satan would like more than to have you complain, to not see the good, to not be in relationship with God. He would rather you gossip or complain to your friends about all that isn’t working in your life, rather than being grateful for all He gives.

Learn to go to Him first. Share authentically what you feel with Him before you say any more words. He loves us so much. He cares about our heartache and trials.

We don’t want to become like the Israelites in the wilderness, prolonging our struggle.

1 Peter 5:7 (GW) Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.

James 4:7-8 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

 

Submission 

29 Nov

Dying to self. What does that really mean? Death of dreams? Death of drive? Death of passion? 

Maybe. 

God has really put this on my heart lately. It’s been a process of prayer, scripture, sermon, argument and discussions for about the past 2 months or more. 

Here is the truth. God wants your undivided attention and worship. This is why we refer to Him as jealous. 

Why? 

With undivided attention, you stay connected and by being connected you hear Him, He moves in you, He becomes louder and stronger than your own voice and even more so, -satans voice. 

If you are filling your ears with the TV and radio, if your eyes are flipping through your phone or computer, who’s voice is it that you truly hear? How can it be His if you aren’t quieting your mind, dying to self and all the noise of today? Idols of political ego, self righteous opinions, outrage over what you see and hear. All anger in us is ego driven. Only God has righteous anger. We have reaction or  emotion that is attached to ego. 

As I drove past the prison for the sexual predators/offenders, the worst of the worst that will never see the light of day again, I made the comment that we should bomb it. My skin crawled. David convicted me be pointing out that it is not holy to speak that, I should pray instead. Truth! Judgement isn’t mine to make- prayer is my only true response that is righteous. 

 Even when we are doing what we think is right and feel we are aligned with what God would “approve” of- if we aren’t quietly prayerful, silent enough to hear him, dying to our own reactions to atrocity and evil around us, we absolutely can not know God unless we submit to Him. Only the fool gives his opinion- only the fool agitates and divides. If you want to know what God thinks, you must be willing to not process through your own opinions. 

Is this possible? Ha! It is quite the tall order!

In the rare times I have been still enough, quiet enough, long enough to hear Him, there is a peace, a knowing that is so different, so humble and calming in its truth.  It is a quiet submission that leaves you stronger without words or action. 

Dying to self is Daniel in the lion pit, dying to self is the other 3 thrown into the furnace, they all knew beforehand, the outcome. It is that quiet strength we gain from knowing Him and truly fearing Him. Trusting in His perfect plan and loving  grace and mercy.  This is not obedience, this is what fear of the Lord means. Faith. 

God goes before us. Not the other way around. 

Dreams, gifts, blessings, misfortunes and loss. Nothing is permanent. Only God. There is great purpose for our gifts and our losses. But only because of Him. By Him, for Him. 

Obedience doesn’t save us.

Grace and merciful Love saved us and we have to believe in that and trust in that. It is only from that truth that we can die to ourselves and let Him guide us. 

Imagine the waters you could walk on with Daniels faith or faith like Paul or Peter or John. 

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James‬ ‭1:20NIV‬‬

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭NIV

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Brotherly Love

4 Nov

Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]” Hebrews 13:1 AMP

What happens when a room full of God-loving, Spirit-filled friends begin to worship and pray together?

They begin to make waves. Change begins to take place. Just when they could do great things, when the seeds begin to grow, Satan sets his sights on doing all he can to stop this.

He hunts and seeks out the weakness in each of these people. Friendships will begin to be tested. Strong followers will become distracted. Where the weakness is, there will be satan. My weakness was weariness in struggle. My idol is security.

Beautiful friendships, built on fellowship, support and love, with Christ at the center, began to unravel. Judgement of one another began, eye rolling, gossip, arrogant judgement of those deemed not as “righteous” as them. Judgement turned to unforgiveness and rejection; Division took place.

Our whole world is built on the Grace and Mercy of Christ towards us, yet we are unwilling to extend that to those we worshipped with. Satan has had a field day.

We either ask God to remove the evil that lies there or we look outside and see the flaws that exist within us all, and close the door. The world will tell us that some people are “only in our journey for a season”, But GOD, in his most beautiful words, scripture, will say, leave no one behind.

Isolation is a tool of the devil. We are told to be there for one another, to protect each other from our weaknesses. Forgiveness, love and forbearance are attributes of God. We are called to be that for our brothers and sisters.

The bible is very specific about division within the body; It is most definitely not of God. Jesus spoke very clearly about forgiveness and judgement. Acts, and Paul’s letters to all churches include these instructions.

We absolutely do not know what is in a man’s heart. Only the Father knows. You do not know what is God’s wisdom, only the Father knows.

We are called to [and I have] examine our own hearts, and asked God to expose our own sin. God blesses us with freedom and peace in our painful refining. We need refining at all times, so we can be the light that we are called to be. To truly walk our purpose in this world.

I prayerfully and purposefully have asked for Him to reveal to me all that is in my heart that is not truth, that is not of Him. I have asked for His wisdom to be evident.

This is the truth He has shown me: Through prayer, through study, through sermon, and conversation.

Satan is never going to be stronger than we allow him to be. It all comes down to ONE truth, ONE way, ONE redeemer. Put your faith back in Him and not in ourselves. His words, His promise, His desires for our lives, His provision, strength and consistency.

We must be there for one another in the days that are coming. We MUST stop judging the saved and start supporting one another. Always.

We all stumble and let one another down. Nothing hurtful towards those we truly care for is ever intended to harm, otherwise that would be true of every one of us, of our intentions.

We all have different roles, different gifts, unique journeys meant to be learned from, cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ. We all have a purpose here, the outcome of walking our purpose is to be light-bearers to this world. The WHOLE world.

We are not the sifters of the heart. Only the Father can do that. Mustard seeds are very difficult to compare to mountains.

Our painful times, our testing times in the desert, are meant to deepen the faith in our hearts, so when that day comes, that evil stands before us we can, with confidence, claim victory through Him that gives us strength.

Our faith can move mountains. Our redeemer is amazing.

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Psalms 42:7 NKJV

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:11-15 NIV

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

“[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor?” James 4:11-12 AMP

“Where there is strife, there is pride,but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10 NIV

“he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5 NIV

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2

Seeing God Through Love “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. ” 1 John 4:12

Transparent

19 Sep

When I began this blog, my prayer was to always be completely transparent in my journey towards holiness. I have been, until recently. My transparency became vague because I was in a state of confusion and I didn’t want to show how far I stepped off my path, I suppose.

Walking in faith, still being me, and allowing my heart to open towards someone else has been truly the most convicting, amazing, difficult, sin-filled, painful, prayerful time of my walk yet.

When I fell in love, I knew it had to be with a man that wanted to know Jesus. When I met David, there was a moment outside of my church that he said to me, “I am not where you are at, I don’t know anyone that talks about Jesus as much as you, I just don’t know if I can be that. I am not there yet”

I think, I found this to be an oddity on my part, and I guess I thought maybe I needed to scale back a bit. I didn’t consciously process that, but in retrospect, I do believe I stopped making David come through Jesus to find me at that point.

A few months later, we became intimate, a few months later I moved to be near to him and he moved in with me.
Conviction came frequently, like when my pastor’s wife referred to David and I as married and I didn’t correct her.
My friends were worried, speaking truth to me, I never once downplayed it, and I prayed about this sin constantly. I had conviction but I also didn’t know what to do about this sin or maybe I just didn’t want to have to do anything about it. I decided to lay this at the foot of the cross.

In the process of this, what I can see in the looking back, is that David and I had no chance at all of having a Christ centered relationship (which is what we both claimed we wanted) while we had the door wide open to all the fear, doubt and division that satan could use with us. You cannot build a foundation in Christ while letting satan have a seat on the rock.

David and I began to fall apart. After church one day, conviction was very real and I began to cry. My heart was heavy with the un-holiness of our relationship and David asked me to marry him. I think somewhere, even in that moment, I knew that David wasn’t asking me for the reasons my heart desired but because he felt it was the right thing to do.

A recent trip home to Minnesota, I saw my shepherd/pastor’s wife at my reunion. Sue was there the night my life changed, July 9, 2010. I spilled my guts to her in the first 2 sentences. “David and I live together and I didn’t correct my church friends when they assumed we were married.” The next day at church, my pastor prayed with me to do the God honoring thing, to put my relationship back into line with all of God’s desires for me.

I came home to find that my relationship had some major cracks in it and we broke up. David moved out, just 2 days after I confessed and prayed. In true swiftness, God took up where I was weak. I begged Him to forgive me. I prayed for an answer.

What has happened since that time is pretty close to miraculous. David and I, both individually, began our relationship back to Christ; David on his own and me on mine. David was humbled and became completely transparent, asked for forgiveness from me and from God, and has began a walk I can see, I can hear, I can lean on. I became grace filled. I have an understanding beyond my own for David; A compassion that can only be God lead. I forgive him and he has forgiven me. We are beginning with a true foundation in Christ. It is a beautiful beginning. It is a blessing in many ways.

This is the need for transparency. For those of us mature, previously married, single in our mid years or beyond, it is easy to justify or to fall into this intimacy. It isn’t impossible but it is really, really hard. It isn’t about wrong, it is about falling out of the circle of favor and calm, joy and peace that is Christ. It alters the relationship we have with Him.

David has truly become a man after God’s own heart, and mine. I have found my eyes filled with the wonder of God from a new place of true need, true humility. We have begun to build a true foundation in Christ. It is so hard to not act on feelings and desires, but when you place them at the foot of the cross with your strong desire to be obedient, He helps you. He makes one strong when the other is weak. Obedience is not easy but it is not the worst thing that we endure. Losing my close relationship with Christ in my sin was painful. Lonely. Sorrow-filled. Scary.

Jesus was tempted in every area of his life, with the same temptations we endure, yet HE never sinned. He has so much empathy towards us, because He knows without Him, without constantly walking with Him, we will lose out to temptation. When we give way to temptation, His worry for us, is that we allow Satan a foothold.

Transparency is essential to a true walk. Confession to my pastor was essential to my soul. I could go to this world and tell them “David and I are intimate and we live together” I will hear from the world “Good for you!”. Christians will often tell me I will miss out on the blessings. But I am here to tell you, transparently, satan doesn’t sit idly by when you open the door to him. He will use that open door to have his way. Guard your heart! Guard your future from him.

The truth is this, this is what God has shown me:
“Your sin has shown your gaps, your fears, your idol’s. It lay bare the fears of your heart. You were not as weak as you were insecure; Insecure in MY Love for you. My darling child, MY Love is bigger and grander than any love you receive here, MY Love is beyond compare. You are made right in My Love. When you walk close to me, when you keep your eyes on Me, you see a bit into heaven. That is the JOY in you. Obedience is not a right and wrong, it is a trust. You didn’t trust me. And my darling child, I want you to see that I am with you even still. My Grace is big enough, wide enough, strong enough, MY Love is sufficient. My strength will get you through any challenge, any temptation, any test you must endure when you walk with Me. I brought you MY Word, yet you doubt, I brought you friends, yet you hid from them. I brought you writing skills, yet you skirted the truth. You can never run too far from me, because I LOVE you beyond measure. My Mercy is bigger than your sin. Trust ME.”

I am now being led by God first and led in obedience by a man I respect, a man that loves God more than he loves me, a man that is willing to leave me, rather than bring sin to my life. He and I have so far to go but we will go this road together. Humbly, seeking wisdom, helping one another stay strong in our journey. We have found a joy together by being truthful, transparent and encouraging of one another with empathy, prayer and gentle kindness.

I am so excited for this next part of the journey, though it hurt so much to get here… but that just makes it even better. Redemption is never easy but it is so amazing.

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

1 John 1:9 & 2:1 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness… My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Perfect Will

2 Jun

Psalm 37:24 (NIV)
~ though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.


When we make a mistake, especially a huge mistake or when we sin, knowingly or not, there are many truths that will follow.

As a christian, we will feel the weight of that choice and we will suffer the consequences of that mistake; sin or not. Guard your heart from satan,from the lies he will want to tell you about that mistake.

Well meaning friends or the shame that satan whispers to us, will echo that because of our mistake, we will never receive God’s perfect will and favor for our lives.

Not truth.

The truth is that God’s plan for our life is always perfect because His plan for our life as a believer is about our eternity, no mistake here will undo that. Will He allow us to suffer the consequences of our choices? Yes, absolutely! He will allow us to have freedom in our will, so of course he will allow us to suffer the consequences here, but He will never abandon us in the misery of that consequence, never!

Our favor with God will never depend on our obedience, knowledge or faithfulness. Thank you LORD! I don’t remember a day where I was perfect. How quickly we forget that Christ paid the punishment, not just for some but for all. Not just some sins but for all the sins of our past, present and future. I am, and will remain, a sinner.He will remain, forever, my Salvation, my Redeemer, my One Hope.

If God’s perfect plan for my life depended on me earning it, that would mean I have some control over what His plan is. I don’t. That is satan, whispering in my ear. God’s perfect plan for my life, all the favor, trial, joys, sorrows and lessons, are all right on track because God doesn’t have a ‘she blew that plan, so I am going to have to go to the next plan’, plan. He had one single plan for my life. He numbered the hairs on my head. As long as I remain in Him, no mistake of mine will ever derail HIS plan for me.

What satan will do with this line of thinking will shake up your idea of Grace and Mercy. He would love to shake up your faith, and if you are shaky, you can’t be the light to bring other’s to Him.

He will tell you, you are far from God; you are not worthy. He will tell you God is punishing you. He will tell you “you won’t receive God’s favor”. False! Jesus suffered,died and paid for my sin. He bore the punishment, so I can be in union with God.

God wants us to become Holy not so we can earn his favor but because when we sin, there is separation from him. When we are not close to Him, he cannot protect us, we cannot shine our light brightly! We give way to satan.

As our Father, His love is so perfect, He will allow us to make those choices, but, He also allows us to suffer the consequences. The biggest lesson He wants us to learn is to never stop leaning, never stop confessing our sins, never stop letting Him shine His beautiful, bountiful Love on us. Never… doubt His Perfect Promises.

Grace. Mercy. Love and Hope. Salvation. That is His perfect plan for us.

Matthew 10:26-31 NIV

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Romans 8:1 (NIV)

Life Through the Spirit
8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)

8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

James 3:2(NIV)

2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

Romans 3:23 (NIV)

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

John 4:16-18, 23-24(NIV)

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

John 8:11(NIV)

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

A New Song

16 Apr

Sunshine upon my face, the raindrops have gone away
It feels so good to be free
With You I’ve found a way, to overcome all the things
That hold me down, that keep me down away from You
~Caleb Rowden

Another plane, another journey.

As I listen to my music on this flight, I reflect on the many flights I would spend with my head pressed against the window, tears streaming down my face. It was dreaded quiet time, forced time in my head, a place I spent as little time as possible in that season.

Reflecting as lyrics of praise lift me up and fill me with my now ever present peace; I realize music has always been here, season to season, from sad songs to dance. These days my genre of choice is christian music, which also reflects where my mind is at these days.

What a journey this has been. What a ride the past 6 years have been. Broken to new, lost to so sure, sorrow to joy.

My heart was broken back then. I had no love in my life. Not even for myself.
How great is the love I found in that loveless state? Crazier still is that I found the Love of all Loves when I fell in Love with Jesus.

To be sure, the journey was still mine to walk, the valleys were still there and I had to walk through them. But! He brought such amazing friendships to walk beside me. Some to challenge me, some to teach me and some to encourage me. The deeper I went in my faith, the deeper those God-inspired friendships went, teaching me about abandon, trust and faith.

Though I knew His greatness and power, though I had walked through great darkness at times only to be so incredibly blessed on the other side. Though I could literally feel the Holy Spirit beside me at time…I still forgot. I still panicked, still doubted.

What I never want to forget is that during the hardest moments, that is when I knew He was beside me; I grew so calm during the hardest moments in my walk. Music is a great reminder. A song can take me back to a place. Like now.

I find it inspiring to look back, to see what I have walked through, how God’s faithfulness never ceases and He fulfills every promise. People cannot do that. We are just not perfect enough.

I didn’t become better, or righteous, I simply surrendered it all; My hurt, my sense of failure, my lack of hope, my disappointment in people, my self-sufficiency, my self-blame and self loathing. I was empty.

It was then that I was able to let go and let God begin to change me. Not the people around me, not my circumstances, not give me everything I wanted but to change the way I saw the world, change the way I processed life and emotion, change my awareness.

I began to have moments of super natural understanding, which goes so much deeper than anything I could do myself.

My sinful nature is still with me. Certain sin fell away when love replaced the destructive lies. I believe without our sin, we would forget our need for humility and Christ. We will never be able to be sinless. Only He could do that.

Singing a new song, listening to a new genre, there are no more tears on planes. There is no fear. There is hope. I am not always happy, but I am always hopeful. Life is really hard at times, but this is temporary. A drop in the bucket of eternity and the fulfillment of the greatest promise ever!

That’s my song from here on out.

Psalm 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

More Than Love

29 Jan

Deciding whether to commit to or to end a relationship is a serious, but important question that anyone that has ever been in a relationship has to ask. This can be so difficult and honestly, requires many decisions, not just a broad question of do I love Him/Her.

Not asking the hard questions is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. You may love someone, but commitment is far more than love. There are certain things to consider that may help in making the best decision.

When someone hurts us, we naturally want to share our hurt with someone but be choosy and think long and hard before you overshare your concerns with those that love you most. While you may get over what someone does, they may not. This can be unwise as it may slant any future decision making advice you may need from those that know you best.

A Pastor, a counselor, a couple you respect, with no emotional tie to you, would be a great place to start when seeking advise about concerns you may have, any fears or issues that may keep you from taking the next step towards or away from your partner.

Pray, Pray, Pray!

Do NOT skip this step. Talk to God. He is the most objective listener. Lay your heart and your future at His feet and sleep on it for a while. Give God your time. Spend time in the word. Pour your thoughts out to Him. Pray for discernment and wisdom, (HIS), then be quiet and allow Him to answer you. Do not be impatient. Let Him work on your heart or let him guide your wisdom. He will.

Take time to do your lists. Like prayer, do NOT skip this step.

First be general and just start writing down anything you love, like, dislike, or feel may be a red flag. Then rate them as a pro, con, good quality or area of concern.
Then, go deeper…Dig deep and be completely transparent and honest with yourself. Take everything into consideration. Does he/she bring positive or negative consequences or concerns in the areas of career, finances, faith, personality,are they positive or negative, if you are raising children, what are the concerns and consequences of behaviors or personalities with your children: How will this affect your lifestyle, your hobbies, community involvements, alone time. What are the potential lifestyle changes, will they add to or detract from your life. *note: do this when you are not upset, and not when you are high in love. Do this when you are able to truly be open and objective with yourself.

You should have a clear idea forming of what your concerns are and what you can let go of. I feel I must clarify this here. If you have been in abusive or unhealthy relationships in the past, take your list to a professional. Make sure you are not making choices out of habit, overlooking or not ranking a red flag, a red flag. Sadly, when we make those mistakes over and over, we have to take the bull by the horn and seek a professional to advocate for us until we are strong and sure of our own ability to advocate for ourselves.

Where there are behaviors that are red flags, and you choose to move forward, then you must write out clear and concise rules of engagement, a clear boundary of behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is not and concise consequences for behavior that is not healthy.

Behaviors that suggest a need for a clear and defined boundary/consequence are abuse of any kind, cheating, drugs,alcohol, gambling, porn. Set the boundary, and if they cannot abide by the contract, you cannot overlook or make exceptions. You must decide to end the relationship and put that in writing as the consequence. Then you BOTH need to abide by the rules.

Finally, Let go of what doesn’t matter. The best part about making a deep list is that you seek wisdom, discernment, with open and objective analysis. Make a logical decision that just may go against your emotion or your feelings for someone. If you find the good far outweighs the bad, then you have your answer. If you find the bad outweighs the good, then you have your answer. If you find it is somewhere in between, you have to explore, ask questions, set boundaries and seek help to make your decision.

Love is not enough and love will not sustain a poorly thought out, bad relationship. The level of success in your relationships depends greatly on your willingness to be honest and thoughtful about who you choose to commit yourself to.