Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Hope For The Broken-hearted” with Jarrid Wilson

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we continued our series “Anastasis” at Kfirst. Anastasis is probably a word a majority of people wouldn’t know, recognize, or use. But to the New Testament Church, it meant everything. Anastasis means “resurrection.” It speaks of “rising up.” And for the new Church, it was where new life began and it was the power to live from each day.

The Spirit of God causes us to rise up out of our sin and brokenness, out of inadequacy and weakness. The Spirit of God Spirit causes us to rise up into a new and empowered life.

Normally, when I preach, I like to give a brief outline of what we receieved on Sunday. During, Anasasis, I want to send out the entire message with some of the points picked up from the speaker.

Enjoy the message from Jarrid Wilson in week 2 of “Anasasis.”

Thoughts from Jarrid:

  • Far too often we depend on the faith of yesterday to get through today.
  • God has not called you to “exist”; He’s called you to live.
  • ‪I expect that God will.‬ ‪I expect that God can.‬ ‪I will follow Him regardless. ‬
  • When we fall at the feet of Jesus we’re able to stand in his strength.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

Be in the Room: Billy Graham and the Necessity of Mentors

My heart is torn in a beautiful way.

It’s the only way I know how to describe the state of my soul when someone passes from a limited/partial understanding of Jesus into the absolute fullness of that Hope.

Within me, there is a part of me that mourns the loss of a giant. The other side of my absolutely rejoices that he now experiences the Joy he has so often proclaimed.  I’ve never personally met Reverend Billy Graham nor have I been to one of his crusades. I have watched from afar, admired the beauty of his heart, and been astounded at the power of his message.

It was a few years ago when I saw a fellow minister’s interview with Billy Graham when I sat back and thought to myself: I just want to be in the room with him.

Have you ever thought that of someone? I do all the time. It’s not because I have lists of questions to ask (in which I do). But I want to be in the room with people with years under their belt and experience dripping from their lives. For someone like Billy, I don’t want to really say much other than “thank you.” Other than that, I want just want to be in the room to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” I just want to catch the heart of who he is.

Sit with Giants
It’s taken me a few years to get some boldness, but as I’ve matured (ish), I’ve realized how much I need to “be in the room” with “giants.” These are people who have both years and experiences I do not possess. Younger, older, in my denomination (fellowship) or outside of the Assemblies of God, it doesn’t matter. Everything God has given me belongs to Him (including my life and calling), so allow myself to be in position to be imparted into is nothing short of stewardship. I am responsible for growing what God has given me in order to be faithful with what He has entrusted me with.

Chase Giants
If I were to be “naked and unashamed,” I have a natural intimidation that comes from insecurities that I’ve battled with my entire life. Early in ministry, I’ve forfeited opportunities with “giants” out of fear or wanting somebody to pursue me.  So, for that moments to happen, I needed to stop waiting for them to chase me. I needed to chase them.

A couple of years ago, I was at a small conference where a pastor was speaking. This guy (IMO) is a giant in pastoral ministry. I’ve heard him speak before at conferences. I remember seeing him on the cover to TIME Magazine. And walking out of the room, I saw him standing checking his messages on his phone. I introduced myself and thanked him for what he imparted into the room of pastors. Then he said it, “Next time you come through my city, let me know and we’ll do coffee.” I felt like the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart as if it say, “When you say that to others, you mean it. Why don’t you think he means it to?”

The old Dave would’ve just said , “Cool. Thanks for offering.” Then I’d go back to my room kicking myself for letting my insecurities get the best of me. But you don’t grow from fear.  My response was, “I’m actually driving through there in a month. Can we do it then?”

Don’t Be Robbed of a “Giant” Opportunity 
That “coffee” meeting fed more into my spirit than most conferences have provided. The bro provided food, coffee, access to staff and his building. I have his cell number to text or call. He invested in me (and others with me) more than I ever expected. And all of that would have been forfeited had I been too prideful of “needing help” or too fearful of asking for help. Pride and fear are keeping our pastors living in a state of having an “image” but no “power.” Competition and comparison has robbed our church leaders of their joy and has sapped them of their passion. The individualistic glory seeking, empire building mindset has distorted what the Kingdom of God stands for. We are His body. And we need each other.

We need mentors and giants. We need spiritual fathers and mothers pouring into us. But stop waiting for a “Paul” to chase a “Timothy” (you). Stop allowing pride and fear disrupt a holy opportunity. A “Paul” might choose a “Timothy” but “Timothy’s” chase “Pauls.” Go after a “giant,” be in the room with them, and whatever is poured into you, “go and do likewise.”

Who do you need to “be in the room” with? Who do you need to set up an appointment with to talk? Get out of your pride and over your insecurity to sit, glean, learn, and grow.

Billy Graham. You are one of these giants I have glean from a far. Much of our world has been touched and transformed directly or indirectly by you. Only heaven will be able to calculate the amount of churches birthed, mission’s fields pioneered, vocations impacted, families restored by the message you offered to all and the hope you planted in hearts.

Thank you for your investment into us and placing the baton in our hands. We will not allow fear and pride to prevent us from being faithful with it.

Blessings on your family.

 

…thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Fighting Change: 4 Thoughts on Change in Your Marriage

It seems to me that people don’t like change. Even those that proclaim how much they enjoy change, usually are speaking to specific changes they prefer and not necessarily all change.

But isn’t “change” part of how we fell in love? We met someone who was of a different sex, from a different family, with a different personality than ourselves. Yet, we were willing to lay aside own selfish desires in order to draw closer and get to know each other. We humbly changed our schedules and preferences for the sake of winning a heart. Change is the inevitable result of intentional humility. And like any organism, where there is healthy growth, there is a willingness to change.

As a pastor who oversees a congregation and who works with marriages, I’ve noticed how health of an entity is stifled by the refusal to change. I’m not talking about change for the sake of change. That’s a terrible reason to invite turmoil and/or challenge.  Having a higher rate of change doesn’t equate to being healthier. I speak to the ability to recognize what season your marriage is in, make an adjustment together, grow strong in that adjustment, and be willing to evaluate the health of that change.

Are we preoccupied with staying the same while forcing change? 
To many couples are preoccupied with seeing each other change instead of humbly looking in the mirror for themselves.  I always find it peculiar of many who will count the cost of change needed for marital health only if it doesn’t come at a personal cost. It’s like being willing to buy something as long as you’re using somebody’s money but not your own. I’m worried that marriages are missing out on miracles and blessings because we are so preoccupied protecting what we have instead of envision what we need, laying down our pride, and working together to step into the greater blessing awaiting our marriage.

Couples who compete, lose. 
I’m not speaking of playing board games, cards, or the like as Anne and I love “game nights.” I am speaking of the score keeping, tit-for-tat mentality we can immaturely bring into marriage. You may say, “I’ve had to change more than he/she has.” That may be true AND that may have been necessary. You may have come from a very dysfunctional background and, thus, may have necessitated more “levels” of personal change and/or healing. You’ve got to get off the comparison and completion of “whose turn it is” or “who’s had to adapt more” and look at what the marital health needs. Which leads me to…

Build the togetherness. 
I’ve heard things like “I’m waiting on him/her to change,” or “I’ve changed enough. It’s his/her turn.” But this signifies a greater issue. I don’t believe in “personal issues” in marriage; they are all WE issues. What is affecting Anne affects me. As the scriptures say, “the two become one.” And, I feel, one of the things that break apart the oneness of your marriage is by facilitating making your spouse work on something alone. For example, there may be some change that your spouse has to work on personally that affects the marriage. He/she shouldn’t feel alone in it. Your emotional, spiritual, and possibly physical support may be necessary. Couples that work together, win. Period.

Move from comfort to courage. 
In studying for last week’s message at Kfirst, I came across this quote:

There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.

Far too often marriages grow weak under the weight of serving what makes them “feel” temporarily comfortable. Not only does it weaken your marriage, you can become a slave to it by chasing comfort instead of courageously pursing marital health. God hasn’t called you to be comfortable, He’s called you to be courageous. And being courageous means you are willing to ask the hard questions to both God and your spouse, mixed with the willingness to obey where He leads you both.

I love you all. And I want to challenge you to fight the urge to ride the fleeting and addicting feeling of comfort and to engage in the joyful journey of courageous marital health. The beauty about that type of pursuit in your marriage is that the two of you don’t have to do alone. You’ve got the presence of God walking with you through it.

Praying for you as the two of you sit down, pray, and step forward with the courage to embrace the momentary change for the long-term blessings for your marriage.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

 

Easing the Frustration: Creating Marital Change 7 Days at a Time

Ever been frustrated with your spouse? Yep.
Every been discouraged in your marriage? Me to.
Every been disappointed in your mate? Never.
Would Anne have answered these in a similar way? Absolutely (with the exception that she’d tell the truth on question #3).

Congrats. You have a very normal and a very human marriage.  Yet I get so many messages from people who are dealing with normal marital challenges but feel discouraged and hopeless. First, there’s that overwhelming sensation that what your marriage is experiencing is exclusive to just you and your spouse. And second, there’s the feeling of frustration in the tension of in the scope of where you want to be and where you are at currently.

I get it. Welcome to being human where we can easily develop the tendency to focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. We get caught up in a moment instead of looking at the larger scale. The measurement of our progress is based upon where we haven’t arrived instead of how far we’ve come.

There is a lingering image of what life/marriage “should be” that is casts a shadow over where you are now. And that’s the place I want to shed some light of hope. I wanted to build on last week’s blog as we talked about what the future of your marriage looks like. I’d like to help remove that sinking feeling of “things will never change” into progressive steps forward 1 week at a time.

I’ve been pondering Genesis 1 lately. Early in the chapter, we find a description of the state of things.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:2

What do you see? 
It’s easy to look at our marriage and list out what we can only detect with our limited finite senses. From the look of things, your marriage can look “formless,” feel “empty,” and seem as if “darkness” is covering your potential. But this is where you have to see things from the perspective of God. He brings light into these moments, not to expose our shortcomings but to unleash our potential. Which leads me to my next thought…

God isn’t afraid of your chaos. He draws close in it. 
Wrap your head around that. In the midst of a “formless,” “empty,” and “darkness covered” moment, we find that the Holy Spirit wasn’t distant. He was there just “over the surface.” The original Hebrew could also be translated as “in the face of.” When this world was nothing more than chaos, God came face to face with it to create something magnificent. It seems like it’s out of that understanding that the Psalmist writes,

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

God doesn’t distant himself from your chaos and struggles. He’s there AND He is ready to create something. That truth should stand in the face of the very feelings of isolation and hurt, frustration and hopelessness. Your chaos does not nor can it distract, intimidate, or repel God. He is drawn to those who need Him and He reading to make things beautiful in His time.

7 days of creation and the work had only begun.
Genesis 1:1-2:1, we see the story of creation. From the foundations to walk upon, the things to be sustained with, to life itself, everything came into being in the matter of 7 days. And as I read that, I thought to myself: what if we approached our marriage journey 1 week at a time? Instead of being consumed by everything that needs to change, we if we implemented change 7 days at a time? I think there’s a beauty to the practicality of marriage 1 week at a time. For those who have a hard time looking at your daily marital struggles, it broadens your vision beyond merely surviving 24 hours at a time. For others who’ve lost hope in a dream of “what could be,” it narrows your vision placing tangible, progressive steps toward where your marital vision resides.

What can you see created in your marriage by tackling it 7 days at a time? My thought: Boundless possibilities. Not only do we see the creative power of God in Genesis 1, but we see He made us in His image. We are (and can be) creative because He is the Creator. And through Him, we can have creative power in our homes.

Imagine with me. What if you chose ONE thing to do for a week? What could you create in your marriage by practicing a healthy Godly habit in a practical and consistent?

What atmosphere could you create if you took a week to speak nothing but encouragement instead of criticism. What image could you create of your marriage if you took a week to invest in your spouse’s love language with zero expectation in return? What level of spiritual intimacy could you create if you took a week to pray over your spouse before work or before bed? What type of closeness could you experience if you dedicated your marriage to 7 days of sexual intimacy (some of you are tired out from that thought alone)? It is so simple and practical. So much creative change can happen with a simple 7-day approach. Not only is that attainable, but it build tremendous marriage momentum into the following week of possibility.

In the face of what may seem “formless,” “empty,” and “darkness covered,” step out and start creating. I believe God want to work in you marriage. And I also believe that He wants to work through you IN your marriage. Dedicate the next week for you two to pray over your marriage. Ask each other about the types of things you both want to see changed and/or grown in your relationship. Pick one, look at the next week, and take intentional Godly steps forward into it.

Like Genesis, you may discover that after a week, the work wasn’t done. It was only getting started.

 

Love you all. Praying for you as the two of you sit down, pray, and tackle creative growth 1 week at a time.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

Pro Tips: 4 Ways to Get (& Be) Marriage Help

Ever heard of the term “pro tip”? It’s origin came from gamers who were mocking novices. Nowadays, it’s become internet slang for “tips given by professionals to those who are lesser experienced.” Simply said, a “pro tip” is information intended to help convert a novice to an expert.

About 20 years ago, a very experienced pastor gave me a “pro tip” about conferences. He told me that if I go to a conference, walk away with one idea, and put that idea into practice, the entire event was worth the time, cost, and effort. That little bit of wisdom helped me see the value of conferences, enjoy them more while improving the way I would take notes, distill the information, and put things into practice.

One little notion (pro tip) helped ease frustration which paved the way for productivity. And that’s how I look at marital “pro tips.” Alleviating irritations can enable productivity and feed passion.

This is what I look to gather when I’m with couples both older and younger than myself. I look for “pro tips.” If I can gather a morsel of information that can give enable (or my marriage) more understanding, better communication, feed passion, and equip us to work better together, then I’m “all ears” to anyone who has some “pro tips” for me. This coming May will be 20 years of marriage, and because we are both humans who tend to change a bit as the seasons of life change, we are always looking for those “pro tips” to help us navigate through life.

For example, I was doing some marital counseling the other day and I was talking about the conflict that can come from the difference in partner styles. (BTW: partner styles is the place where so much irritation can come if you don’t navigate through them properly.) I had remarked about my family doesn’t squeeze from the bottom of the toothpaste tube which I find ridiculous and incredibly irritating. How can you maximize the amount of toothpaste out of the tube if you don’t squeeze it properly? As I was sharing this example to the young couple, they gave me a “pro tip.”

“We’ve dealt with that before. So we buy two tubes of toothpaste so that doesn’t become an irritation.”

In my head, I thought “#ProTip” followed by me asking for permission to use them as an example in a blog (Yes, I do think in hashtags.)

It’s so simple yet profound. Why so profound? Because, first, a simple $2 fix solves a constant conversation that’s been going on for years. And, second, there are numbers of you reading this who are probably saying (out of your pride), “We don’t need to buy another tube. My spouse just needs to do what I do and/or get over themselves.” I wonder how many irritations and quarrels are happening because we are so determined to force a style or pattern of life upon our spouse. Your way of doing things isn’t necessarily right or better, it’s just “your way of doing it” (which is another subject for another blog).

Recognize irritations for what they are.
Don’t get hung up on the little things. If you do, I find if issues regarding toothpaste tubes or the position of toilet paper rolls are breaking your marriage, then most likely, there’s something going on and those things have now become the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” See those areas of irritation as, not something that needs to be ignored, but navigated through properly. All of this may sound silly to you, but as someone who sits with a ton of couples, it’s the ignored little things that end up causes unnecessary stress and pain upon marriages.

Be “in the room” with other couple(s).
As a pastor, I love to be “in the room” with other pastors. It simply means to sit, listen, and observe (perhaps engage in conversation) with others as to learn. But for that to happen, I need to suck up my pride and initiate conversations or accept invitations from other pastors. Marriage is no different. Hang out with couples. Initiate coffee, meals, game nights, double-dates, etc. with other couples so that you can be “in the room” with others. Sometimes we’ve walked away from couples feeling “normal” (which is huge when you’re feeling like you’re the only marriage facing a situation or season). Other times, if not most of the time, we talk away feeling blessed by friendship and/or having learned something about how we want to grow as a couple.

Look for the principle, not the method.
I learned something years ago that applies to this. “Methods are many, principles are few. Methods may change, but principles never do.” So the tangible/practical method that works for one couple may not “fit” you two. But the principle may fit. For example, Anne and I try to walk every Sunday as to talk about the upcoming week so we both are on the same page and know what to expect. The principle of developing healthy expectations is key, but the method may not work for you. So take the principle and make it work for your marriage.

Be willing to share. 
Don’t hoard what you learn. If God has blessed you with some simple methods that have blessed your marriage, share that blessing with someone else. You are blessed to be a blessing. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 10:8,

Give as freely as you have received!

When you’ve discovered a new “pro tip” in your marriage, don’t be shy about it. Share it. In a world where it’s “cool” to criticize and shame openly, we need people who are willing to share and encourage. Who knows, alleviating someone of a simple irritation can enable productivity and feed passion.

Over the years, I’m thankful for a number of “pro tips” couples were willing to share.

  • Get a king-sized bed but put twin sheets and blankets under the comforter. That way, nobody hogs the huge sheets/blankets because everyone has their own.
  • Rotate who chooses what to do on date nights so both people feel value and enjoyment.
  • Share your Google calendars with each other so that you both can see each other’s schedules and properly forecast a proper pace of your family.
  • Re-evaluate each other’s love languages whenever your season of marriage changes as, it may be possible, your love languages have changed.
  • Make sure intimacy is scheduled as to make sure it stays on your radar and remains a priority for the both of you.
  • Look for resources that fit each other’s personal growth without forcing one or the other to do what doesn’t “fit.”

Do you have any “pro tips” to add? What do you and your spouse do that has helped get rid of some simple frustrations? I’d love for you to leave a reply with a host of them.

Love you all. Praying for you as you get “in the room” with other couples and let the “pro tips” fly.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

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…

Check Your Marriage Trend: 3 Steps to Building Hope and Momentum

Yesterday at Kfirst was one of those messages that I’m not ready to leave.  There’s so much to say about our “trends.” But what has weighed upon my heart and woke me up last night was the “trends” we find in our marriages.

A “trend” is a very simple concept that has become a “buzzword” in our age of social media. For most young adults to teenagers, a “trend” is the subject that many people are talking about at the moment. Yesterday I pointed to a story about Waffle House that was trending on Saturday. Some trends are silly. Some are indicators of where we are at as a society.

Some trends last an hour, some for days. Hashtags play a huge part in that as they link together social media posts into the “trending” topics. Even now, I can bring up Facebook and look on the right and see what people are talking about:

The “top trends” of 12/4 at 6:50a.m.

The most basic, general definition of “trend” is “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” At Kfirst, we talked about that in a personal way. But the message of “Checking Your Trend” goes deeper when you realize that your marriage has trends. Marriage is a life of constant development and change.  And if you want to know where your marriage is going, then check to see where your marriage is trending. 

So much of your vision for what’s NEXT is based upon the trend of your heart right NOW.

Start with humility.
Often, I’ll ask people I meet with if they are teachable. If they are not, the meeting is over. Why? There’s no point of talking because there’s no room for growth. We are a society that is increasingly “other-people-aware” and less “self-aware.” So we start attacking and judging others so we don’t have to face the needed person change that may be necessary for the growth in lives AND our marriage.  As Rick Warren says,

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

If couples exercised personal humility, they’d find an easier job experiencing marital unity. Why? Because humility is the place of pliability. It’s hard to work with material that isn’t pliable/moldable. Marriage grows best when there are two people are leading with humility and expecting change in themselves before they see change in each other.

Identify your trends?
Look at your marriage and identify what is healthy and what isn’t healthy. Why consider both? Because it’s the key to marital growth. Far too many couples only focus on the negative. When that happens, you get a sensation of hopelessness and you miss an essential parts of marital growth.

Looking at what is trending well in your marriage it does two things. First, it immediately builds hope. Seeing that something is “good” in your marriage is like seeing the sun sneak out on an overcast day. What sunlight (Vitamin D) does for your skin, hope does to your heart. Secondly, when you identify good trends, you get marital momentum. Good trends are not about coasting but building off of the healthy flow. Change is always easier when there’s momentum.

But what areas that are not trending well? Well, you can get lost in negativity or you can celebrate that you’ve identified what isn’t working. For some couples, that is a HUGE “win” in their marriage (identifying what trend isn’t working). Being able to admit together what needs help is a ginormous step in the right direction. And every “win” is a moment to build hope and momentum. Ride that momentum into the decision to change and/or get help in that area. Why the more you bring hope to the trends of your marriage, the more you feed the vision of your marriage and what it could be.

Please know this: most couples that say “our marriage isn’t working” are really looking at their trends. As I said before, if you want to know where your marriage is going, then check to see where your marriage is trending. If you need to have a hopeful vision, then you need to check (and change) your trends.

Pick one trend to deal with.
Many couples get lost in the overwhelming feeling of “everything that needs to change.” But let’s step back and take this in “bite-sized” pieces. Scripture says, “Don’t despise these small beginnings.” Pick one trend and work on that together. The teamwork and humility can be the catalyst to the hope you’ve been longing to feel.

How are you trending in these areas?

  • Communication
  • Conflict
  • Relationship Roles
  • Family
  • Friendships
  • Sex and Intimacy
  • Spiritual Intimacy

What’s going well? What needs help? How can you both encourage each other and grow?

Love you all. Praying for you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.