How Do We Sound?

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The words we speak are important. Our words have the power to uplift others or discourage them. Thoughtless words spoken in haste cannot be erased.

How Do We Sound To Our Loved Ones?

In families, we sometimes fall into bad habits of not listening to each other and thinking we can say things to our spouses, siblings or even children because…well…they’re family. But they are the ones we most need to encourage and not tear down.

All too often, in the rush to have ourselves heard, we speak first and think next—and that usually comes with unfortunate results.

James 1:19 tells us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Translation: If we slow down enough to actually hear what the other is saying then we’ll have a chance to think about what is being said. We can take it to heart, and then carefully and wisely answer, which keeps you from blowing your top too quickly.

And if you’ve blown it? Humbly and quickly apologize.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” — Proverbs 12:18

Slow To Speak

Measure your words carefully. Be mindful to use words of kindness and praise, not words that hurt or say things in anger.

“For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips form speaking deceit.” – 1 Peter 3:10

You have the power to heal others or to injure them, to lift them up or hold them back.

Famous commentator Warren Wiersbe said, “Fill the heart with the love of Christ so that only truth and purity can come out of the mouth.” The only way to do that is to stay in the Word of God. Learn from it and let it transform your life!

Study the Word

There are two ways to be involved with the Word!

  • Listen: Jill is recording her Living Through Testing Times Bible Study lectures each week. You can listen by visiting here or through iTunes (Falling In Love With God’s Word with Jill Grossman). This week’s podcast, Lesson 5, is about how to speak and encourage well.
  • Join: On Monday, November 30th, you can join the Bible Study itself at Springhouse Worship and Arts Center. We’ll be finished up with James and beginning a study of the book of Job so it’ll be the perfect opportunity to join us. We’ll also continue into the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians over the Winter.

These are terrific, easy ways to study the most valuable book ever written. Please consider joining us and contact Jill at 615-476-6698 or stillgrossman@comcast.net for more information.

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Impatient With Patience

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Most of us are impatient for God to grant us the desires of our heart. Right?

Our Timetables

Usually, we know what we want, and we know precisely when we want it—right now, if not sooner. But God may have other plans. We have to trust in His ways and not ours. When God’s plans differ from our own, we must trust in His infinite wisdom and in His infinite love.

Since we are busy men and women living in a fast paced world, many of us find that waiting quietly for God is very difficult. Why is that? Because we are fallible human beings seeking to live according to our own timetables, and not God’s. Yet when we take a minute and just pause, we realize that patience is not only a virtue, but it is a vital to our well being.

Patience

God instructs us to be patient in all things. We must be patient with our families, our friends, and our associates too. We must also be patient then with our Creator—as He unfolds His plan for our lives. After all, think about how patient God has been with us!

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “When there is perplexity there is always guidance—not always at the moment we ask, but in good time, which is God’s time. There is no need to fret and stew.”

Great advice!

God’s Multi-Sided Plans

As we’ve shared a number of times on this blog, we’ve had various, ongoing financial challenges since the loss of Steve’s job five years ago. During that time we’ve attempted countless solutions to our problems. Some were inspired by the Lord and a few were not.

In all cases though, we not only thought we had a great plan, we NEEDED the great plan to succeed. Immediately. Desperately.

We can boldly tell you that not one of those plans succeeded the way or in the time we thought we needed. In every case, God had other, multi-sided plans:

  • Growing us: His primary (and over time, OBVIOUS) goal was to grow and stretch and grow and stretch us in terms of both obedience and dependence.
  • Showing up: His secondary purpose was to show up in His way and not ours. Not only did He get the glory, but this too grew and stretched our obedience and dependence.
  • Other people and/or factors: His solutions ALWAYS covered more that just us. Whether they touched other people or other factors, the result was His showing how He really is omnipotent. Completely.

As Scripture tells us:

“Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. Happy are all who wait patiently for Him.” — Isaiah 30:18

Let God have your plans. Give it to Him.

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Time to Communicate

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Most of us know that communication is important. What’s sad though is that most of us end up doing as little of it as possible. Not intentionally of course, but still.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetius

Seek First to Understand

The reason most of us rush communication is that we are mistaken on the purpose of communication. We believe its purpose is to make ourselves known.

That is not communication, that is talking.

The purpose of communication is to know another person. As author Stephen Covey said in the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”.

And this takes time.

Time to Communicate

Communication on this level cannot be rushed but it is time well spent. Or perhaps better said, it is time well invested and the return will be…time.

Time spent seeking to understand is time that doesn’t have to be later wasted fixing problems caused by miscommunication and misunderstandings.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” — James 1:19

Two Reasons

Spending time up front helps you get to the real issues whether known or unknown.

We say known or unknown because people often have two reasons for everything they feel, think, desire or need:

  • They have the reason they tell you and they have a REAL reason.
  • They are (usually) not being deceptive, they are simply more comfortable talking about the first, or…
  • They might not even be aware of their second reason.

So…

Seek to REALLY Understand

Here are our suggestions for the best use of your time to communicate:

  • Ask questions and then ask more questions.
  • Help them discover all the reasons: “Elaborate on that”, “can you explain more about that?”, “why do you think you feel that way?”.
  • Don’t add your thoughts until you both really understand.
  • Don’t criticize ANYTHING that they’re telling you. Wrong or right CAN be discussed, but not while you’re goal is to understand. Nothing stops communication like criticism or judgements.
  • Don’t say, “I understand.” This used to mean something, now it means “please stop talking so I can talk”, right?
  • Ask more questions.

There are more of course but the point is to get you in the mindset of communication for discovery purposes.

And that is time well invested.

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Dating and Marriage and Dating, Oh My!

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In our last post, The Purpose of Dating – Part 1, we shared some effective tips on what we called “early dating” for young adults. But what about older adults, those that are 20-ish and up?

Glad you asked, but first:

Marriage Conference

Our heartfelt thanks to Mike & Doris Courtney, Robert and Joan Collier, Springhouse Worship and Arts Center, Nathan Owen (lights), Jonathan Beaty (sound), Jim Caldwell (photos) and ALL the attendees for making this past weekend’s, “I Still Do!” marriage conference a HUGE success. Thank you, thank you!

Now, back to…

Dating

We ended the last post with these two statements:

  1. The primary purpose for early dating (and each household must decide what “early” means…) should be to get to know many, many people of the opposite sex.
  2. It is NOT to find the “love of your life” or “the one”, that will come later.

It should come as no surprise then, that our suggestion for later dating IS to find the “love of your life” or “the one” (as long as you recognize the myths of finding “the perfect one”).

Here are a few tips with this in mind:

  • Date as many people as it takes. We’re not suggesting sneaking around behind people’s backs; we’re suggesting dating lots of people. Which also means:
  • Don’t fall deeply in love and break up over and over again. Yes, even as older adults you should avoid the training cycle of divorce skills mentioned in our last post.
  • Once you DO find the possible “one”, date them a LOT and ask lots of questions. The pastor on this video recommends 1,000.

Dating and Marriage

But note two things about these 1,000 questions:

  • You will NEVER learn everything about the other person. It’s just not possible because you both – hopefully – will continually change and grow and mature for the rest of your lives.
  • You will also NEVER learn that you are now “in love” enough to sustain a lifelong of marriage. It’s just not possible because you both – hopefully – will continually change and grow and mature for the rest of your lives.

The purpose of dating and asking 1,000 questions is to find the person you never want to stop dating.

Marriage and Dating

This is not a post to remind married couples to go on romantic dates periodically. It is a post about having a healthy, life-long marriage by:

  • Resting in your choice of a spouse once and for all. A healthy marriage is built on the one time decision of ’til death do us part’.
  • Spending your lives getting to know each other as you continually change and grow and mature for the rest of your lives.

And btw, a great way to spend your lives getting to know each other is to periodically going on romantic dates together. 😉

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The Purpose of Dating – Part 1

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So a couple of weeks ago, Steve brought up the mythic nature of marriage. It is one of the reasons we humans are so hopelessly drawn to one another. And if you have young adults who are hopelessly drawn to one another, here are some words for you.

To Review

Myth – according to MerriamWebster dictionary:

  1. a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon
  2. a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially :  one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society

The reason we say marriage is mythic, is that it “serves to unfold part of the world view of” God. Man and woman, the masculine and feminine creations of God, joined back together as one. Not only reunited back to original physical wholeness (Man made in the image of God) but also deeply symbolic of Christ and His bride, the Church.

Wow!

“This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.” — Ephesians 5:32

If marriage is so mythic, which it is, then it only makes sense that we approach it with a process of care and thought. It’s called dating.

What’s Dating For?

When our kids were younger, we taught them a few key things about dating:

  1. The purpose of dating is to get to know the opposite sex – how they think, how they talk, how they make sense, how they confuse, etc., so you can learn how to effectively interact, communicate and have fun.
  2. Have fun getting to know the opposite sex.
  3. Don’t be alone together because there’s no need to be alone together. Group dating is great.
  4. Don’t fall deeply in love and talk about marriage. See #1.

Number 4 was the biggest rule (okay, maybe #3 too) because of an exceptional message we heard years before we even had kids – a message about his belief that today’s common dating routine trains our kids for divorce.

A Dangerous Cycle

The “typical” dating cycle of 12 to 20 year olds is to, A.) quickly fall MADLY, deeply, dramatically and COMPLETELY in “love” with someone and, B.) MADLY, deeply, dramatically and COMPLETELY break up with them a short time later.

The result is an adult who knows how to:

  • Easily and completely give their heart away
  • Expect that their heart will be completely broken
  • “Get over” a broken heart and move on
  • Repeat the process gain and again.

A person like that is primed and ready to repeat this cycle in marriage.

They are also primed to believe three myths about marriage.

Mythic Marriage Myths

And they are three VERY big myths:

  1. There is a RIGHT person and only one right person “out there” for them.
  2. This right person will NEVER hurt them because their relationship will be easy, painless, blissful, happy, etc., etc., etc…
  3. Once they find this person, they are good to go (see myth #2)

We’ll address these marriage myths next week, but for now, back to dating.

The Purpose of Early Dating

The primary purpose for early dating (and each household must decide what “early” means…) should be to get to know many, many people of the opposite sex. It is NOT to find the “love of your life” or “the one”, that will come later.

What tips about dating would you add for young adults?

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