Fall is in the air; we can see it in the colors. In Encinitas, that means beautiful red and orange sunsets. It reminds us that the holidays are just around the corner. While for many this brings the joy of good food and good times with family, for others it is a reminder of how broken their world is and it brings about feelings of loneliness and hurt. At Restore and Rebuild Ministries we strive to help individuals and families thrive. We recognize the need to come alongside people during difficult seasons.
As we come to the end of the first quarter of 2016, Becky and I want to update you on how things are going at Restore and Rebuild. We have one big announcement, a number of things we’re grateful for, and some significant prayer requests.
In The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Robin advises a young follower, “Tell us thy troubles and speak freely. A flow of words doth ever ease the heart of sorrows; it is like opening the waste where the mill dam is overfull.”
Robin Hood was trying to set an environment where people were free to share their burdens and find peace and safety. Isn’t that something we all want? Being able to share our sorrows not only releases our burdens, it empowers us to feel like we aren’t alone. We have someone who will enter our pain.
I can remember being one of lead climbers on a high ropes course in the Costa Rican cloud forest. One of the students was trying to make it across something called “the x-rope.” Even though she had two lines attached to her harness, she thought she was going to fall. She desperately clung to the ropes, immobilized by fear. She thought she was going to die. Fear had overthrown her ability to listen. We calmly tried to instruct her, but to no avail. The only way to help her was to go out and get her.
Every spiritual journey takes us to the hardest realities in our lives, the monsters within us, our shadows and strongholds, our willful flesh, our inner demons. It is essential that we understand the enemies within us or we will inevitably project them outward on to other people.” – Peter Scazzero in The Emotionally Healthy Church
We all have blind spots. Our lack of self-awareness can cause us to offend, run over and alienate people we love. They react to what we say and we have no clue why. We get defensive, and the battle is on. Both parties are wounded and emotional walls go up and we are left wondering, “What just happened?”
Self-awareness helps us understand and manage our emotions. It gives us a greater capacity for social awareness and empathy. It is a critical building block for enhancing our relationships. Today we are going to take a brief look at what it is and how we can develop our own self-awareness.
Once a pastor’s wife sat in my office, weeping. As she dried her eyes, she asked, “Do other pastor’s wives ever feel like this?”
“YES,” I said. “Yes. They do.”
As the wife of a pastor for over 30 years, and more recently as a marriage and family therapist who works with spouses of ministry leaders, I am very aware of the isolation that many pastor’s wives feel. Being the wife of a pastor can be rewarding and fulfilling, but it can also be stressful and lonely.
Have you ever been talking to someone and started wondering, “Are they really listening to me? They are being quiet, but I’m not sure if they are really hearing me!” We all want to be heard. Feeling heard is vital to feeling loved and connected. Today we are going to look at three principles that will help you listen and strengthen your relationships.
Can you think of a time when something grabbed your heart with such passion that it felt like you would explode with enthusiasm, only to have it later become familiar and routine? Maybe it’s your job, a relationship, a hobby, or even God. When things are new, there often is a sense of excitement. But when things become familiar, often our passions wane.
I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care recently. Last Friday I had the privilege of speaking to a group of mothers of young children on the topic “Self-Care for Busy Moms.” We discussed why it’s so hard to practice good self-care, the difference between self-care and selfishness, and practical ways to implement healthy self-care. It was a valuable time. It made me realize that this is an issue not just for mothers with young children, but for all of us. All of us need to learn how to practice healthy self-care. This is such an important issue that I will be writing a series of blog posts on this topic.
A number of years ago I was talking to a ministry leader about serving. He was expressing his frustration about how some Christians do nothing with their faith. He stated, “They rust out. I don’t want to rust out, I want to burn out.” That sounded so noble at first. Going out in a blaze of glory while serving God and others. But then I thought, both these ways of living share something in common – they are both “out.” Is that what God wants for us?