Don’t Hold it In

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31

This is what I woke up to. This is what I needed.

I rolled out of bed, Opened up my social media messages and saw one message that said,

In my time of prayer this verse keep coming to me for you. Isaiah 40:31. May God fill you with His peace today.

No details or explanation. Just the faithfulness to make the effort and deliver the simple yet impactful message to start my day.

This kind human doesn’t know the craziness my week has been nor what awaits my packed schedule for today. This person doesn’t know the call I had yesterday and now I’m planning an unexpected funeral for someone who’d died far beyond his time. Because this is a church attender, there’s probably the idea that “Pastor Dave has a sermon to prep for.”

But non of that matters when the Holy Spirit prompts you to reach out to someone. When you have a message of encouragement, you don’t check to see condition of someone’s life before delivering it. When God gives you a word of encouragement, don’t hold it in. 

God is faithful; His timing is perfect. But on the flip-side, I’m not always faithful and my timing sometimes is “off.”

There are times God has prompted my heart to reach out and say something in a store, a coffee shop, or to send a simple message to someone over text or social media. And because of those thoughts of awkwardness, fear, or doubt, the message either gets delayed or not even delivered.

Don’t hold it in.

When the Holy Spirit gives us a word of encouragement, it’s just that: encouragement. It’s there to build up the individual. It is there to give reminder of the presence of God. Perhaps it will be the boast within their heart (like it was mine this morning) that, regardless of what I face, I will have “new strength” and “…run and not grow weary…walk and not faint.”

Has God prompted your heart to reach out to someone? Don’t delay. Don’t hold it in. Be the voice of God and the reminder of His presence to someone’s life. Find someone to encourage today.

(BTW: Thank you to the individual who breathed life into me this morning. You’re a rock star to me!!!)

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

A Pastor’s Response to #MeToo: 3 Thoughts for Men

I’ve been praying over how to respond to the #MeToo movement for quite a while. Being candid,  I’ll tell you that I’ve put it off. Why? I’ve been so overwhelmed with so much to say, and (IMO) the fact that there are much better writers and voices to speak to what I cannot articulate regarding those women who’ve been victimized by sexually harassment and assault.

What do I have to offer?

Then yesterday happens. One of my friends from the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association (CMBA), J. Parker, gave a challenge to us male bloggers:

Several women in CMBA have spoken up about recent sexual misconduct allegations and the #MeToo movement…Men, have you written about these issues lately?…If not, how about speaking up?

Her words cut me to the core and shook my spirit. It wasn’t guilt, but a conviction of the Holy Spirit speaking through J. Honestly, my mind went to the story of the Good Samaritan. It is in this parable, for which I used to challenge our congregation in the issue of hate, God challenged my heart. This simple, yet powerful story, showed someone attacked and left broken. Two would pass by; one would stop to engage the issue. I’ve sat back and seen myself as one of the two in the story who passed by a fractured and abused human being thinking “someone else will do something about this.” 

So I thought I’d give a pastoral response to this extremely important issue.

Every woman is someone’s daughter. 
Just typing that crushes my heart and brings me to immediate tears. I’m a husband. I’m dad of a daughter. I am the son of an amazing mom. And when I think of these three important women in my life, I shutter to think of any one of them hurt and/or alone in their fracture.

As stories are circulating about this, I have to remember that these women who have undergone sexual harassment and assault are someone’s daughter too. I don’t know if the abuse inflicted was from a stranger, co-worker, relative, or husband, but I do know that they have been hurting and are needing help. I think of the words of Ezekiel who spoke out about the “gaps” of vulnerability of God’s people. He simply said, “who will stand in the vulnerable broken places?

As a man (let alone a human being), this challenges me. What men will stand for those women whose strength was stolen by an abuser? What men will speak for those women’s voices are stifled by the pain of their hearts? Who will speak against other men’s verbal and physical assault against women? Gentlemen, these are someone’s daughters. These are children of God. Someone must see her value, build up that value, and respond with showing that value.

Don’t let their cry become common.
The blessing of the amount of media at our disposal is the ability to get out a need or information quickly. The problem of the litany of communication at our finger-tips is the “commonality” that the issue can get quickly. The attention to the issue of sexual harassment and assault should break our hearts and move us to action, not desensitize us.  Please, don’t allow the cry of the broken develop a calloused spirit towards them.

I had heard a story about a church in Germany during WWII who’s building was near the rail road. When the train cars carrying human beings to concentration camps passed by, the pastor would implore the congregation to “sing louder” to drown out the sound. I’m afraid that is a shaking metaphor for the lack of Christian responses today. We must not allow the activities of “church” to replace the responsibilities of being the “Church.” The same Spirit that was in Jesus is in you. And that Spirit shouldn’t “sing louder” but respond better. I look at the words of Isaiah for which Jesus read early in His ministry,

God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” (Luke 4:18 MSG)

As Godly men, our response should be:

  • Give the message of hope to women who feel bankrupt emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually because of what was done to them.
  • Freedom to women who’ve been held as prisoners to the fracture inflicted upon them.
  • To help restore the sight of women who cannot envision a life beyond their pain. To enable them to “see” that they are NOT alone and they do NOT have to stand alone.
  • To help those women who feel burdened and have been battered find healing. That their past doesn’t dictate their future.
  • To be a voice to speak for those who can’t speak and say, “This is your year for healing. The best has yet to come for you.”

Discover your role. 
Over 21 years of ministry I have had the opportunity (and privilege) to help walk individuals through the pain of sexual harassment and/or assault. Most of the time I was a simple confidential ear to listen. Other times, I was able to provide resource and/or connections. I don’t know what your role will be. But if anything, providing safe community is a huge first step. When people reach out in their pain, there is a responsibility and privilege for us men to reach back to position them for healing. 

This brings me back to story of the Good Samaritan. This unnamed man just made himself available and invested in someone’s fracture. When he did what he could do, and he made sure he connected the hurting individual to someone else who could help. It tells me, firstthat you don’t have to solve, nor are you able to solve, everything on your own and, second, other people will have skills and resource beyond what you have. Your prayers, availability, investment, advocacy, and obedience to the Holy Spirit can part of their healing.  Just don’t be overwhelmed with what you “can’t do.” Just be faithful with what you can do.

And it all starts with the refusal to “walk by” the broken but seeing them how Jesus sees them. When we do, our lives will cease to be “business as usual.” Our lives will become missional.

Thanks for giving this a read. And I pray, especially for those men reading this, that you’ll decide in your heart to lend an ear to what the Holy Spirit would challenge you to do. Everybody can’t do everything, but everybody can do something.

In the words of a favorite chorus of mine,

Lord, “break our hearts for what breaks yours.”

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Reducing your “…but”: 4 Thoughts on Encouraging Your Spouse

I’ve begun a few workout regiment. Physical fitness, in whatever form, has been a tremendous outlet for my own stress while being a great input for healthy living. I know there are people who tell me “there’s no time for working out.” I’m not saying you need to do the 2-hour gym-rat thing, but you can enhance your personal life and marriage just by eating better and getting some physical activities. In the words of my grandmother, “you make time for the things that are important to you.” (that should be its own blog). But back to my story…

A few weeks back,  I was in a gym hearing constant criticisms about my “work out” from a trainer (I think the bro was trying to motivate me). From form to effort, everything was called into question (mind you, I keep track of how well I progress as I’m pretty competitive with myself). And right before I left that evening, in the span of about 30 seconds, he gave me a barrage of encouragement. Those 30 seconds breathed more life into me than 2 hours of negativity and criticism. I felt like a stood taller. I was ready to restart the workout again.

Then it got ruined with one word: BUT

“You did great today…I can see improvement…BUT…”

The word “but” is a conjunction. A conjunction is the glue that holds words and phrases together. So when you use it in a sentence, it’s connecting what you said to what is going to be stated. AND this simple conjunction is ruining one of the greatest, and essential, tools we have in our marriages:

Encouragement.

Encouragement is, perhaps the most simplistic, powerful thing we can convey to our spouse. I can come up with simpler actions; I believe I can come up with some things more “powerful.” And now I sit here in my local coffeehouse, sipping my coffee and wracking my brain trying to think of something that carries both a high level of simplicity and power like encouragement does.

And what concerns me, is how this three-lettered word (“…but”), used too often, can render the encouragement in your home useless. Why? It will condition your spouse to see that your encouraging words are not there to build you up but to build themselves a platform for correction. Whether you know it or not, your pattern of encouragement reveals the position of your heart. And if the pattern of how you encourage is always laced with this 3-letter conjunction, then it’s time to reduce your “…but” (I almost went in to a “Baby Got Back” reference but that didn’t seem too holy).

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

Atmosphere is everything 
I leave my gym bag in the car so I don’t forget it. But the problem is my hand-wraps have been soaking up my sweat and, well, it’s become an unpleasant smell. What I find interesting (and Anne finds disgusting) is I’ve gotten so used to the smell that I don’t notice it. But the other day, she got in the car and started making a gagging sound. Now my gym bag sits in the garage to air out. Kind of a silly observation, but ONE simple change and the air in the car is completely different (and more enjoyable…seriously, I didn’t realize how bad it was till I removed it).

The point is simple: You can get so used to the way YOU do things that, first, you don’t see anything wrong with it and second, you don’t see what it’s doing to others. Perhaps it’s how your family did things and if that’s what you grew up in, then it has to be correct because it “worked for your parents.”

And ONE simple change can, literally, change the atmosphere of your marriage. Perhaps we need to step back and realize that we may be doing something (bringing something) to the “air” of our home that may not be conducive for healthy encouragement. And simple dealing with the word “…but” can make all the difference. Why? It leaves encouragement as, well, encouragement.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
I know that’s using the King James Translation (Proverbs 23:7), but it really conveys an important point: What you fixate your mind upon, that’s what the actions of your life are going to follow. It’s why Paul writes to the church and says,

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

Encouragement is a discipline that reminds us to see what’s right in each other and why we fell in love with each other. It causes us to see the best in each other and fix our minds there. If our spouse is doing 8 things wrong and only 3 things right, focus on the three things and you’ll be surprised on what your spouse can do. If you’re constantly looking to change and correct your spouse, not only is “what’s wrong” all you’re ever going to see, but it’s all your spouse will ever hear from you. Fix your thoughts on the right things and the actions will follow.

Use the 3-1 rule.
I am in no way against moments of healthy correction and criticism. Marriage without accountability is a marriage with the absence of love. And love of Christ causes us to know how to adequately convey those moments. I think of Colossians 4:6,

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt…”

Yes I understand the context was how to speak to people who were not Christians. But there’s a greater principle: if this is how careful we are to be with others, how much more care should we give to how we speak to our spouse. Don’t be “full of salt and seasoned with grace“; it says, to be “FULL of GRACE, SEASONED with SALT.” And I think a very simple way to do this is the “3-1 Rule”: For every 1 criticism/correction, there should be 3 encouraging words. Why this extreme? Because, I believe, that if you are constantly looking for what is right in your spouse, it will put the criticism in your heart in perspective. This simple rule will fill your heart with what’s “right” and gives you a well of inspiration to draw from. And the more you do it, the more you’ll notice that the “3-1 Rule” is changing YOU more than it’s changing your spouse.

Let love set the tone.
Christ loved us before we could even be in the place to love Him. Think about that. Regardless of our response, He acted out of love whether or not we deserved it or would return it back to him. Jesus didn’t love out of what He would receive back from us. He simply loved regardless of what you and I would do with that love. His love set the tone. And it’s up to us to respond to that.

Christ example, for me, has been such a personal challenge. If Christ can do that for me, how can I withhold that type of love for my spouse?

How do you encourage someone who not a very encouraging person? Simply said, do it out of the same mind that Christ had for you: love. Let love set the tone of your encouragement. Let love be the “pace-setter” for your responses of encouragement as you see deeply into what God is doing in your marriage. If your encouragement is only to get something in return, then it’s nothing more than manipulation. Give encouragement, if nothing else, because it’s the right thing to do and it sets your marriage up for healthy opportunities. Truth trumps feelings and encouragement has been, and will always, be one of the most healthiest actions you can do for your marriage.

I love you all. I’m praying for you. As the Lord for help and make the faith-step forward today and begin to start a new habit of transforming your home in to a grace-filled home of encouragement.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: My new book of my blogs came out this week. Click on the image to order yours!!

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Set Up For Success : 2 Healthy Selfless Disciplines of Marriage

I’m a huge believer in the power of words in marriage. In fact, I believe your marriage will never rise above your words. Your words have power. They carry meaning, have weight, and convey emotional tone – good and bad. And just because you use a lot of them, doesn’t mean you excel at communicating them. So often, couples will say to me, “we are great at communication because we talk all the time.” But talking doesn’t equate to “good communication” just as much as hearing someone doesn’t equate to “good listening.”

Your words will have one of two impactful effects: They will tear down or build up.  It’s why I so often bring up the great scripture out of the book of Proverbs:

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21

Your word choices both reflect the quality of your relationship and determine the trajectory of it. They (words) decide whether your marriage will continue to wither or proceed towards health. And the only way to manage them is to develop the self-discipline of stewarding what you say through the simple 3 T’s of communication.

Before we were married, it seems that we carried a few more self-disciplines than we do now. Why? We wanted to make a great impression during the courtship process.  But, as many of us do, we can lapse a bit and take our marriage (or our spouse) for granted.

Think about the relational dynamics in some of the couples that you know.  Ask yourself about those that seem to be making the healthiest steps forward. Whether a couple has been thriving for years or attempting to make strides towards growth, you’ll see, not perfection, but a rise in some disciplines that foster marital vitality.  When it comes to our words, I’ve personally noticed two specific disciplines in action:

1 – Listening. I submit to you that one of the best “word-disciplines” is listen before you speak. Listening is the discipline of giving ear to your spouse’s concerns. Listening is not allowing your spouse just so you can formulate a “come-back.” It’s receiving what they’re saying while looking at the world through his/her eyes. It is taking the time to grasp what they are feeling while understanding what it is, specifically, they’re asking for.

I feel that we live in a culture where we are far more concerned to be understood than to give ear to anyone else. And it seems who has the louder the voice or the most creative words gets heard. I meet far too many couples who are acting upon what they “think” their spouse needs instead of simply listening to what their spouse is saying. And if you’ll listen, you may realize that their first need is to be listened to and, secondly, the needs you are assuming they have, may not even be on their radar. I love what James 1:9 says. Seek to understand, then to be understood. Be slow to speak; quick to listen. Most of us don’t struggle with finding the right words, we just struggle listening to them.

2 – Encouragement. This may be, quite possibly the most underestimated self-discipline I have come across. Criticism and sarcasm has become more of a social norm and has leaked into marriage. Far too often, I hear people say, “The only time my spouse communicates is when I’m doing something wrong.” How did we get to the place where we think negative reinforcement outweighs encouragement? Building up your spouse is so very essential, and yet, simple.

  • Showing gratitude for the little things
    • “Thank for noticing…”
    • “When you said…did…it meant the world to me.”
  • Appreciating the mundane, every day stuff.
    • “Thank you for working so hard for our family.”
    • “Thank you for providing.”
    • “Thank you for being you.”
  • Noticing things your spouse thought you overlooked.
    • “I love how you…”
    • “It meant a lot to see you do/make/say…”
  • Sending notes/texts throughout the day.
    • “Miss you…love you…thinking about you…”

Encouragement is high-octane fuel. When you are rewarding effort, celebrating progress, and feeding hope, you are positioning your marriage to run at peak performance. Does it automatically make you healthy? Not at all. Like a car, there’s still responsibility to operate it correctly. But that option won’t be there if you don’t put in the right gas. Nobody should out-encourage you when it comes to your spouse. The encouragement you speak puts the right fuel in your marriage to be able to face whatever situation that comes your way.

The common denominator between these two is they are SELFLESS disciplines that help keep love alive. It’s this selflessness that we see modeled in Christ. He not just gave to us regardless of how we would respond, He did it joyfully (Hebrews 12:2). We can see how centering our lives in Christ and living through His example is pivotal for keeping and making marriages like new. In Christ we are promised new hearts (2 Corinthians 5:17) having new outlooks that free us to selflessly and wholeheartedly listen and encourage our spouses.

I love you all. I believe in you because I believe in the Christ in you.

Encourage Effort.
Celebrate Progress.
Feed Hope.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Unleash Encouragement” #TheTwo

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

We are in series at Kfirst called”The Two.” It’s our study of Numbers 13-14. In the face of a culture that shifted from moving toward a land of Promise to a an atmosphere of negativity and hopelessness, two men stood strong in what the Lord had called the nation into. Caleb and Joshua would stick with the promises of God and not the opinion of man.  Our goal yesterday was to help people understand, “Encouragement moves the boundaries of human limitations to faith-filled potential.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

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There are so many people who live in boundaries of what negativity has kept them in. For Israel, the mentality they lived with in Egypt, kept them from seeing what God had in store for them. What they experienced internally, fed discouragement that we all are susceptible to.

  • Anxiety due to a loss of security (13:28).
  • Frustration due to a lack of ability (13:33).
  • Hopelessness due to a loss of vision (14:2-3).
  • Disappointment due to a loss of confidence (14:4).

So our challenge this is to have that “different spirit” that Caleb had. Do do that we need to do three things.

  1. Get rid of negative space.
    • Deal with your heart. Find the places of negativity and evict them.
  2. Change your negative face.
    • Feelings follow actions. Position yourself as an encourager and watch the feels follow purposeful actions.
  3. Step into a dark place.
    • The only way a light works is to be placed where it’s needed. Find someone dealing with discouragement and unleash encouragement.

This week, see yourself as a catalyst of encouragement by bringing hope into someone’s life. Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. Ask the Lord to lead you to encourage in a simple, tangible way.

Also, if you need a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we continue our series!

BTW, here’s a song this week for your devotions playlist:

Marriage Blog: A Letter to Our Younger Selves

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

Dear younger Dave and Anne (22 years old and 20 years old),

It’s 2016 and I felt compelled to write a letter to you.

Let me get some bad news out-of-the-way. No flying cars (darn you Jetsons), nothing looks the way Back to the Future showed us, and the Lions still haven’t won anything.

The good news: you’re going to make it.

Here in 2016, we love the life and the marriage we have. I can’t say enough how much love deepens through the years. Christ continues to be our foundation and we’ve learned how to laugh.  We legitimately have fun together as having a light heart has created a healthy home.

Your children are the best. They are in love with Jesus and love to serve others.  On top of that, they’re absolutely hilarious. I’ll admit, it’s a bit frustrating when you begin to see yourself in them, but watching them grow is a treat. In fact, you could make the humor of your family into a reality show (but you don’t know what a “reality show is yet…that’s coming soon).

The positions God has placed us in have been an absolute privilege to hold. I know preaching feels awkward in 1997, but give it time and practice.  You’ll move from groaning at the thought of preaching to losing sleep over the excitement of proclaiming the hope of Jesus. Ministry is fun. And it’s one of the best choices you’ll ever make.

It’s sooooo good in 2016.  It’s not to say you won’t have some tough seasons. But you’re going to make it! There will be…

…financial decisions that won’t be the wisest.
…fashion choices you’ll regret.
…parenting blunders with your children.
…and fights over the silliest things.

But you’re going to make it.

There’s going to be tougher moments.  Like…

…pastoral moments where you’ll wonder if you’re cut out to minister.
…memories that you’ll wish you could change.
…words you wish you could take back
…decisions you’ll totally question.
…and, unfortunately, you’ll have moments that hurt like hell (forgive the strong language).

Don’t forget: You’re going to make it.

Winston Churchill says it best,

If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

This letter is to encourage you BOTH to never stop fighting for your marriage. You will have those moments where one of you will fight for it more than the other…keep fighting. You’ll approach crossroads where you struggle seeing things eye-to-eye.  That’s nature…keep fighting. In the face of hopeless feelings and a tunnel with no end in sight…keep fighting. Because “…I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

You’re going to make it.

So now that you’ve been encouraged, I want to give you some last bits of advice in the case you pull out this letter during a “tough season.”

Encourage the effort in each other more than praising results.
It’s okay to say “no” to people so that you can say “yes” to each other. You can never have too much time with each other.
Exercise and healthy eating is beneficial on every level (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual).
Tithing, benevolence, and missions giving needs to go beyond a checkbook.
Friends who are constant discouragers are not really friends; get some distance.
Don’t stop learning.
Celebrate every bit of progress no matter how large or small the progress is.
Less stuff is better than less love; more money, bigger house, and nicer cars do not equate to a healthy marriage. Which leads to my next thought…
Debt is stupid.
Your kids need your time more than material items.
Sex is far less of what the world says and more important than what the church has emphasized.
Be quick to listen; slow to speak.
And lastly, feed hope.

That’s all for now.  I’m sure there’s going to be more to learn as we’ve only made it 18 years and plan on going the distance with each other. And with Christ as our foundation, we know all things are possible. 

I may write you again as this has been a bit therapeutic. But I just felt the need to encourage you that you can do this. God is faithful. You will make it though.

Love you guys!

Thanks for letting me ramble… (You’ll understand that in 2008 Dave. It’s your blog tagline. Of course, you don’t know what a blog is…never mind, just be ready.)

Rearview Mirrors: 3 Simple Steps to Keep Your Marriage Looking Forward

“…But one thing I do:forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Being a dad of a 16-year-old, I have a lot talks about using the car. In fact, I’m trying to get Cammi used to my car instead of Anne’s. It’s a bit longer and a little more of a challenge to deal with. And if she’ll get used to it, it’ll prepare her to be a better driver. 

But after she backed over my mailbox, I’ve come to realize we’ve still got some work to do. She was trying to focus on her rearview mirror and got confused. Even though she was backing up, if she’d just look in front of her, she’d see how straight (or lack-thereof) the car was. 

In a car, a windshield is ginormous in comparison to the rearview mirror. The mirror is there to assist you and not be the focal point. What’s the focal point? It’s this huge piece of safety glass in front of us called a windshield. Our eyes are to be looking forward only to access the mirror for moments of clarity.

The past is a like a rearview mirror: Give it a glance and keep going forward. Too much focus on it has catastrophic results. Unfortunately, too many couples (even singles) struggle with this. You’ve got a “windshield” to experience the present and move forward into the future. But because of some challenging seasons you’ve went through, you continue focus upon the past.  It’s then you get caught up staring and don’t realize that living in the past sacrifices the present and mortgages the future. 

How do you keep looking forward? It’s in the simplicity of what I’ve been encouraging our congregation to do every week through our marriage series, Mosaic Marriage.

1 – Encourage Effort. Encouraging effort keeps your eyes looking forward. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, should out encourage you when it comes to your spouse. For some reason, we only encourage “successes” and not effort. And what ends up happening is, because “success” is based upon individual’s interpretation, encouragement is used very sparingly between couples. From the small moments to the large steps forward, don’t wait for results to be encouraging, cheer on the attempts move forward.  I’d rather have someone who’s failing in their efforts than failing to make ANY effort. Keep looking and moving forward by encouraging your spouse.  

2 – Celebrate Progress. Celebration is largely underestimated. Couples tend to only celibate weightier progress or large steps of progress. But can I present a thought to you? Progress, big or small, is still PROGRESS. When I was doing Weight Watchers 10 years ago, I learned that whether I lost 7 lbs. or 1 oz., it was all progress. And ANY progress is to be celebrated. Progress helps develop momentum.  It’s that momentum that helps develop the strength to move forward. Want some marriage momentum? Big  or small, celebrate progress.

3 – Feed Hope. This is how you keep your eyes looking forward. Hope fixes your focus. Like it or not, if you are not feeding “hope,” you’re feeding something else. Take your pick, despair, anger, resentment, cynicism, etc. all are bottom feeders that will find sustenance off of hopelessness.  My simple, and practical approach: Cut off what is stifling the flames.  Push past the feelings of hopelessness and foster an atmosphere of hope. Purpose in your heart that hope is just as valuable to your marriage as breathing is to your body. And the more you feed hope, the more life you breathe into the lungs of your marriage. 

Today, give the past a glance and only a glance. It’s there to assist you and not be our focus. 

Encourage Effort.
Celebrate Progress.
Feed Hope.

And remember…

The power of the past is the permission you give it to influence the present!

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…