18 Parenting Thoughts on Cammi 18th Birthday

Often, I hit the blogosphere when a significant day happens for the family. Today is my daughter’s 18th birthday. I’m trying to let that sink in.  Cammi is 18….I have an 18-year-old.

*pause for a moment of silence for this parent.

Okay. I’m back. [deep breath]

As usual, theses moments cause you to reflect upon how well you’ve done pointing this child in the right direction. But isn’t that what parenting is all about? Parenting is less about controlling your child’s world and more about setting them up to be great adults in this world.

I can’t say we are perfect parents, but Anne and I have done our best. Don’t get me wrong, our parenting isn’t done in the least bit. But there is a different approach we have with our “adult child” than we do with our 15 year old (Ethan).

This week has been all about reflection. The very human side is to say, “what should I have done better.” And if you follow my blog, you know that I have zero issue speaking from my massive list of faults and mistakes. But I felt a bit of a “heart check” in this blog. So I thought I’d share some lessons that have come from “wins” as a parent. It’s not about bragging or being prideful but hoping to encourage some young parents in their approach to their kids growing up.

So I’d thought I’d give you 18 lessons that came from “wins” in parenting.

  1. Jesus is first.
    • We draw from what we understand in Christ. It’s been 18 years of not just pointing her but doing our best to model this. Sometimes we succeed; sometimes we fail. But our heart is to live with Jesus in the center of our lives.
  2. Daddy-daughter dates are mandatory. 
    • Cammi has been using chopsticks for almost 18 years. Why? We started something when she was barely old enough to hold chopsticks. To every dad: If you date your daughter before she’s old enough to date, she’ll be better prepared for dating. 
  3. We find the “funny.”
    • I understand that life can be serious, but life is too short not to laugh and enjoy yourself. It takes zero effort to be critical; it takes a determined heart to work past the negative and bring out the joyful.
  4. The pain of failure can be very good.
    • It’s not that I want my kids to fail, but I didn’t protect them from failure. They needed to experience it and the pain from it. My job: Be there to help them navigate through it. Really, isn’t that what the Lord does with us?
  5. Talk about everything. 
    • If the only time you talk to your kids is when they are in trouble or when you want information, they’ll pick up that you are only interested in them when it suits you. Ask about their day. Ask about their interests.
  6. Different approaches with different kids.
    • We learned to raise our kids with different approaches because, well, they’re different. It’s not about loving one more than the other. It’s about strategy to effectively point them toward Jesus and maturity.
  7. Notifications on everything.
    • Whatever social media my kids are on, I’m on. And if they post, I get notifications. It’s not about control but accountability.
  8. Other authorities are necessary.
    • I am my kids parent and pastor so they need other authorities to speak into them. AND those authorities need me to back off and let them be that voice in my kid’s life.
  9. They SEE and HEAR a united front.
    • We don’t allow the kids to divide us. They know they cannot pin one of us against the other. They don’t hear us talk bad about the other. We are one.
  10. Discipline is from, and followed with, a heart of love.
    • Ask Cammi, if she’s been disciplined, a short time after I’ve gone into her room to talk, hug, and pray. And my prayer has been the same for 18 years, “Lord, help Cammi be a better little girl, help daddy be a better daddy. We both need help. We need You.”
  11. Be at their “stuff.” 
    • If it’s a sports team, dance, art competition, band, etc. be at it all. I don’t care if it isn’t “your cup of tea.” Your presence matters.
  12. My kids are capable of mistakes. 
    • I’m definitely not the parent who says, “My kid will never do that.” Yet my kids are not guilty till proven guilty. We just know that we need to get the truth and respond in an appropriate way.
  13. Get their input. 
    • We call “family meetings” and get their input on things about the family. They don’t have a vote per sé, but they do have a voice.
  14. Allow them to see mistakes and responses. 
    • One of my favorite memories of my dad was him apologizing to me for a mistake he made. And that’s a memory I want my kids to have of me.
  15. Look to serve. 
    •  When we see someone in need, we look to serve first instead of deferring it to someone else to help. Nobody may every know what was done, but that doesn’t matter. We do things for the audience of One.
  16. Conviction > guilt. 
    • Guilt is manipulation. And because God doesn’t work that way, we don’t. It’s all about working in the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  17. “Let them fight.” 
    • Might be my favorite line from “Godzilla.” But we’ve learned to let our kids work out their own stuff up to a certain degree. Obviously, we don’t want them hitting each other, but we also want them to learn how to handle conflict.
  18. Love is relentless.
    • Regardless of their decisions or directions, they know that we’ll love them with the same level of relentless of that Christ has shown us.

Love all of you parents out there. I’m cheering for you!!!

I love you Cammi. You will never know how much our daddy-daughter dates have meant to me. I’ll always have a set of chopsticks at home for you with an ear ready to listen. As I watch you serve others, I fight back tears in wonderment at how God has grown you. I’m glad I had a hand in it, but in reality, it’s because you’ve opened up your heart to Jesus.  You are everything I prayed for and so much more. I love you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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

Nine Considerations for Church Members This Easter

I wanted to re-blog this outstanding post by Tom Rainer.  I’ve added my own thoughts in blue. Enjoy: 

It will be one of the highest attended days of the year for your church. It may be the highest.

There will be some people you don’t know. Some of them are guests. Others are members who attend infrequently.

You have an opportunity to make a gospel impression on these people with a few simple acts. Indeed, you have an opportunity to make an eternal difference. Here are nine servant actions for you to consider.

  1. Pray as you enter the property. Pray for the guests. Pray for the services. Pray for the pastor and the sermon. Take a moment on Saturday to pray as a family over Easter Sunday. Join us in the Worship Center at 9:30 to pray over services at Kfirst. 
  2. Park at the most distant spot available. Save the closer parking places for guests. Come early, park far, get some coffee, and join us for prayer. Leave the parking lot close to the Ministry Center entrance for the young families. 
  3. Greet people. They may be guests. They may be members. It’s okay to introduce yourself to either. A smile doesn’t cost you anything. Look for people who you’ve never met before. 
  4. Look for people to help. You know the place well. Many others will not. Be a guide. Help someone who looks like he or she needs help. It’s easy to find people who are lost. Don’t think someone else is going to do it.  Step up. 
  5. Sit as close as possible to the front of the worship center. Save the back rows for guests and late entrants, so they don’t have to walk past so many people. Leave your “normal seat” and push forward.  See yourself as part of the worship team. 
  6. Sit in the middle. Don’t claim that aisle seat where people have to walk over you or past you. Squish in.  Give guest preferential seating. 
  7. Sit closely. Your worship center may be packed. If so, be willing to sit cheek to cheek. Luckily we have theater-style seating. But don’t leave seats in between you and others. 
  8. Volunteer to serve. As the number of attendees increase, so does the need for volunteers. The parking team, kids ministry, and church greeter ministry are a few of the areas that will need more volunteers to help serve and minister to members and guests. Be available if ministry teams are needing help. As a pastor, seek a leader, and make yourself available. 
  9. Pray as you leave. The Holy Spirit is likely working in many persons who attended. Pray for His continual work of conviction and comfort. Pray on your way out.  Pray at your Easter lunch/dinner. Pray as a family

These are simple acts. They are acts of service. And if you survive doing these acts of kindness and service on Easter, you just might be able to do them on other days of worship as well.

Love ya Kfirst.  I’m excited about starting our new series tomorrow and anticipate seeing people experiencing resurrection life on Resurrection Sunday. 

 

Thanks for letting me and Tom ramble…

For the original post: http://thomrainer.com/2016/03/nine-considerations-for-church-members-this-easter/

Emotional Monarchy: 3 Steps to Prevent Emotions From Ruling Your Life

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God. Psalm 42:5 (MSG)

If you are familiar with me, you know I do deal with bouts of depression.  I don’t wear it as a badge to brag.  But I look at it as the opportunity for the strength of Christ to shine.  For his “power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I won’t remain silent about the hope and the healing I’ve discovered in Christ.  

It was a little more than a year ago, I shared my struggle in the post, “From the Heart of a Depressed Pastor.” To date, no other blog post has exceeded the thousands of hits and countless shares that article brought. It told me two things:

I am not alone in my struggle.  And neither are you.

After responding to a Facebook message about emotions last week, I thought I’d share some of those thoughts in a blog with an idea that, in some way, it may breathe hope.

Personally, I’m a uber emotional guy.  In other news, water is wet. 

I don’t mind it.  God created us as emotional beings. It seems that God as “blessed” certain people with more emotions than others.  But I don’t think there are those with more or less as if we all walk with varied levels of emotions (there’s some phd writing me an email right now about levels of emotion in humans) as if some have greater amounts than others.  I just think people steward them differently.  It’s all about how you handle them. Just in my non-phd opinion, bottling them up isn’t necessarily being a good steward of emotions just as much as letting them roam free and rule your life.  As I stated in a previous blog, we are to “honor God with (our) bodies.” We are stewards of what God gives us.  That includes our emotions.  

I understand feelings. Yet I cannot just write a “blank check” to them and let them have free reign. I have to see myself as a steward with the charge of managing who I am from the inside out.  Feelings/emotions are great but they cannot run our lives.  They must be brought into check.

We live in a society where feelings have become the foundation of truth in our culture.  It’s to the point where it seems like the worst think you can do to someone is “hurt their feelings.” In American culture, we think “truth is what I feel to be right.”  To some, this sounds like emotional salvation.  But really, it creates chaos.  If everyone, everywhere, acted upon EXACTLY what they were feeling all at the same time, it would be pandemonium. Disaster. Worse than a zombie apocalypse. 

I can’t count how many conversations I’ve had with people who are living in the misery of regret because, out of a “feeling”, they decided to do something and it produced consequences they never predicted.  In the moment, it “felt” right. But they quickly discovered that what felt correct wasn’t necessarily correct. 

How do you remedy this? How do you bring emotions into check?

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God. Psalm 42:5 (MSG)

3 Thoughts: 

FIRST, question your feelings. Psalm 42:5a, “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?”

We should remember to, in a healthy way, to question emotions/feelings. If we are hateful at someone, we should step back to question those bitter feelings and challenge them. If we are envious toward someone, call those feelings into question. Personally, I’ve learned to question what I’m feeling and the thoughts that come in my head. I can’t imagine acting out of EVERYTHING that floats through my mind. I love that the writer of Psalms 42-43 questions what he’s feeling FIVE times. He knows himself.  He recognizes his emotion and where they want to take him. 

SECOND, wrestle with your feelings. Psalm 42:5b, “Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again.”

Pray over your feelings, push through them, research what they’re desiring. Don’t just accept what they hand you. Talking it through with a pastor, mentor, or counselor is a great way to help “wrestle” though feelings. The reason why I love the Psalms, is the writer (usually David) wrestles between what he wants to do and what is the heart of God. “Fixing my eyes” isn’t easy when there’s a load of thought and emotions trying to drown you.  Wrestling is good. Workouts are good. They burn away what is unhealthy and build up what’s healthy. Keep pressing through despite what you “feel.”

THIRD, speak truth to your feelings. Psalm 42:5c, “Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again.”

This is so healthy because it’s bringing in something solid and foundational into the shifting sands of our mind and feelings. It’s healthy to confront our feelings with truth.  A simple example: If you want to take something that doesn’t belong to you, regardless of how you feel you deserve it, stealing is wrong. Confront it with truth. 

Think about this, Jesus on the night of his betrayal that led to the cross, out of his feelings, didn’t want to endure the crucifixion. But in his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, he recognized that his feelings were not going to lead his life in the best and most blessed direction. He embraced truth. He embraced the plan of God despite the difficulty. I thank God he did.

Life isn’t easy and emotions don’t always help.  I love them, but they should not and cannot rule my life. The beauty of having a relationship with Christ, we don’t have to be alone.  He’s there in the valleys.  He’s there on the mountain. Just don’t let the worry and anxiety of what you don’t know about your situation replace what you do know about Jesus. Let his authority and grace help you steward your emotions. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

What I see on my right arm every day!
What I see on my right arm every day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God. Psalm 42:5 (MSG)

How to pray for your pastor: 5 lessons my intercessor team taught me

One of the greatest decisions I ever made as a new Lead Pastor was for an intercessory team. I saw it as a priority my mentor (props to Joel Stocker) and it was one of the first things Anne said we needed to establish when we got to Kalamazoo.  Very early in our tenor here, I knew I needed to connect with our senior adults AND I needed intercessors.  Why shouldn’t these amazing veterans of faith be our Aaron and Hur? Who better to share our burdens than those who carry so much depth of prayer and experience than them?

We meet every first Thursday of the month.  Yes, the team does pray over us, but the time is primarily the launching point for praying over us for the month. The hour has very little to do with any needs of the greater church community but everything to do with me, my marriage/family, and the ministry we are a part of.  We have one rule: What happens at Pastor’s Prayer, stays at Pastor’s Prayer.  That means no one talks about the contents of our prayer time with anyone in the congregation outside of our hour. They take that rule seriously which boosts my trust and confidence in them.

Over the past six years of meeting with them (I call them Pastor’s Prayer team), they have taught me a few things about how people should pray for their pastor.  This isn’t a brag-fest of anything I am doing.  These are the lessons my senior adult intercessors have taught me:

1 – Keep YOU out of it. I can’t pinpoint a time where I’ve heard them pray from a selfish perspective.  “Lord give Pastor Dave revelation to feed us on Sundays” or “Give Pastor Dave and Anne wisdom/direction/insight so we can have better __________ here at the church.” Don’t pray with consumeristic words focused on your pastor receiving something from God ONLY so you and/or the congregation can get something from him/her.  Remove what YOU want see happen at the church and speak ONLY the will, vision, and direction of the Holy Spirit in his/her life.

2 – Walk in gratitude.  I can’t say I always “feel” very successful.  I have seasons where I’m frustrated with myself and wonder why in the world Kfirst hired me. My prayer team will never full grasp how their prayers have encouraged me in some very dark moments.  If I can be blunt, there are times I feel like a “tool” and their prayers laced with gratitude made me feel like a “gift.” Gratitude will do two things as you pray over your pastor.  First, it helps your heart to be humble in prayer. Thanksgiving demands humility and it’s the way to enter God’s presence. Second, it will move you to a place of being an encourager. Silent gratitude is not gratitude at all. The Lord will drop things in your heart that you need to speak to your pastor to encourage him/her.  Remember: Gratitude gives us altitude over our attitudes.

3 – Speak scripture over your pastor.  I think it’s a powerful and safe way to pray. You know it’s powerful (because it’s God’s Word), and it’s going to be His will (again,because it’s His Word). When you speak over someone/something you are blessing and edifying.  Biblically, you’re commissioning and calling out destiny. I marvel how awesome and faithful the Lord is.  I can’t count the amount of times, during our monthly prayer, where someone has felt led to pray scripture over us and the Word that was read hit us with sniper accuracy.  Get out your bible and use it to pray over your pastor.

4 – Respond to the Holy Spirit.  So often, members of the team has pulled me aside or emailed me to let me know that the Holy Spirit spoke to them pray over us.  I love that they are always ready to respond whenever the Holy Spirit gives them a nudging regardless of time of day. Don’t relegate praying for your pastor to a moment (or ANYONE for that matter).  Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and willing to respond when He prompts you to pray.

5 – Send encouragement to your pastor.  Pastors can be lightning rods to a lot of crap going on that may or may not be his/her fault.  That’s not to manipulate anyone in to feeling bad for pastors.  It’s the nature of the position.  Unfortunately, more than a few times, I’ve heard people, literally say of me and/or their pastor, “I was going to send a note of encouragement but you/they probably get those all the time and I don’t want you/them to get a big head.” (SMH) A very common comment that appears in letters, cards, emails, etc. from my prayer team is, “I was praying for you and the Lord wanted to me to send you this note of encouragement.” Edification is born out of intercession. Don’t send a note of flattery.  Flattery is manipulation.  Encourage, build-up, and strengthen your pastor.

 

If you’re looking for specifics, here’s a simple list of things to pray for your pastor when the Holy Spirit brings him/her to mind.

Pray for…

  1. …his/her marriage and family.
  2. …rest.
  3. …his/her passion for Jesus.
  4. …a fresh move of the Holy Spirit in his/her life.
  5. …wisdom.
  6. …protection.
  7. …to be driven by conviction of the Holy Spirit and not the criticism of people.
  8. …creativity
  9. …fun for him/her (pastor’s need leisure too).
  10. …health.

This is what my prayer team has taught me.  These are the amazing lessons I’ve learned that has prompted me to pray deeper and more consistently for my pastoral team, my district leadership, as well as other pastors.  As they have challenged me, so I challenge you.

Don’t stand behind your pastor. Stand with them.  Hold  them up in prayer.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Series Preaching: 5 Reasons I choose to preach in series.

I recognize that this blog won’t apply to a lot of people.  But I have a tremendous heart for pastors.  Also, I know that everyone has their preference in preaching styles whether you are the one delivering the message or you are the listener. I’m not writing to proclaim that my style and/or approach is the best.  But over the past few months, this topic has been asked of me over coffee, text, and social media.  So I thought I’d put out a simple blog together that would share my heart to the approach that I’ve taken with proclaiming the Good News.

Why do I preach in series…because it…  

1. …prevents the “Buffet Effect.” People walk away from the table saying, “I don’t know what I ate but it was good.”  Just my opinion, but I feel this is a travesty to preaching.  We gorge our congregations on so much information with hour+ long sermons.  We give people SO MUCH info that they don’t know what to do with it.  At thanksgiving, the massive meal makes me want to go take a nap.  I’m afraid our long-winded sermons have the same effect.  Old-school peeps walk away feeling great because we just “had church.”  In reality, we are giving so much information that it becomes difficult to digest.  Nobody wants to move after Thanksgiving.  Preaching should move us to response. My preaching philosophy: give smaller portions as to make sure the word is received, understood, digested, and able to facilitate growth.

2. …helps identify the “veins” that run through scripture.  I love the word.  It is a part of my daily life.  I’m always astounded to see the variety of topics and thoughts carried throughout the entire narrative of scripture.  It’s the method of “series” that can open the eyes of an individual to not just hear about it on Sunday but disciple him/her to read their scripture in the same way.

For example, I’m very passionate about the table practice of Jesus.  To read about those welcomed at His table will transform you and your approach to people. It’s my hope that after preaching about “The Table” (which I’ve done twice), that every time people would see the word “table” in scripture, they’d reflect upon what is being done/accomplished at the table they’re reading about.  2 Samuel 9, David’s heart was to honor his friend Jonathan by reaching out to Mephibosheth.  Where did David place him at?  The king’s table like on of the king’s sons. The table is a place of restoration, kindness, and hope.  Just like the table of Jesus.

3. …brings singularity of focus. This is very similar to #1 but with a bit of a difference.  It helps us long-winded pastors to break the message down to a palatable size.  The additional thing I’d add to it is it helps you take the time to really dive into the nitty-gritty of what the Lord has laid on your heart.  Before “series preaching,” I’d walk away from message bummed I didn’t spend more time on Point #2 or Point #5.  Instead of preaching 4 point messages, I can preach a 4 message series and really bring to focus the things that the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart.

4. …is a chance to make the Word practical. It’s not that I couldn’t do that before.  It’s just that I had so much info that the practics got lost in all the information.  If our people don’t know how to live it, then we are missing the mark.  Series open up the congregation to “come and see” as well as “go and do.”  Series give me the chance to really talk about how what is being talked about “in here” looks “out there.”

5. …it opens up the door for discipleship. So many churches struggle with discipleship.  Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is because pastors think that discipleship is accomplished by an hour+ long sermon.  Think of the variety of generations of people who come out to a service from a multiplicity of backgrounds, with varied spiritual depths.  It’s a challenge enough to speak to everybody, let alone think that we can completely disciples everyone in the room.  I won’t say that levels of discipleship don’t happen.  But your Sunday AM (or Saturday PM), can’t be your sole discipleship time.  Series can really be a plus to your discipleship communities (small groups, one-on-one discipleship, etc) by giving them a focal point to go deeper.  If the series is on evangelism, your discipleship communities can take the message/series to a deeper place through conversation, community study, and coffee (which I think is always a necessary part of discipleship).

Again, it’s not about twisting your arm to do what fits me.  This is my answer to the question that’s ben asked and it’s the method that has worked for me as a pastor.  It’s what I enjoy.  BUT…I remember what Rick Warren tweeted out about 5 years ago:

Anyone that us unwilling to break their series to deal with a church issue is a slave to their method.

We are servants of Christ and not a method.  We proclaim Him and His Kingdom and not our empire.

In whatever method you use, proclaim Jesus with passion and conviction and watch Him change lives.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

“Warning: Choking Hazard” New series starting @kalamazoofirst

As a kid, the idea of choking frightened me.  If you’ve never choked on anything, you’ve never felt the sheer panic of fighting to regain the breath of life that we take so for granted.  Just one act of “choking” will have you monitoring the size of food going into your mouth and the amount of times you chew your food.  That single act of “choking” will so traumatized you that as a parent, you’ll fight to make sure your children NEVER experience the terror of choking and the deadly ramification that can come from it.

On most toys containing small parts, you’ll read a warning label:

ChokingHazardLabelExample

It’s there for a simple reason: to caution parents that have little ones that there are objects within your purchase that are a choking hazard for your child.  You’re little ones have a nature to take what is given to them and place it in their mouths regardless of the nutritional value.  We give them a bit of grace because, hey, they’re so young and innocent that they cannot possibly know better. 

That nature still lies in all of us.  If we’re not careful, we will taking and consume what life gives to us with no thought or prayer behind it.  Life is full of choking hazards.  Jesus talks about them in Matthew 13 in the “Parable of the Sower.” It is in verse 22 where he says, 

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches CHOKE the word, and it proves unfruitful.

This is the “warning label” of life.  This is the label we forget about as we go into life thinking “Hey, I’m a believer.  I’m going to heaven and I don’t need to worry about anything else.” and we don’t even realize that life is FULL of choking hazards.   Jobs, marriage, family, church…there’s nothing wrong with these wonderful opportunities.  They’re a part of life.  But, like anything, they’re going to be filled with choking hazards.  

This is what our message series is about at Kfirst.  

Life is tough to consume.  Like a child, we blindly devour our heavy schedules along with the tough (normal) seasons of life that naturally comes.  We read scriptures like John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” and we don’t realize that one of the ways “The Thief/Devil” wants to kill is by you CHOKING on life itself.  He wants to stifle your life with every care of this world so that your life is completely unfruitful

It’s time to reclaim the breathe that the cares of this world have been choking off.  It’s time to learn that as much as life is filled with “choking hazards”, we can be a people who, according to Matthew 13, who hears the word, understands it, and has a life that bears fruit.  After all, Jesus says in the other half of John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Join us this Sunday at 10am as we bring some exposure to some of these “choking hazards” and help people breathe deeply and freely in their walk with Christ.   

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage Blog: Don’t think like your spouse.

Thinking blog

I’ll start of with my main point:

The goal in marriage is not the think alike.  The goal is to think together. 

UW4A7335-14

There’s only one way to say it: Anne and I are different.

We were raised different.
We have different hobbies.
We have different view points on a number of things.
We speak different love languages.
We look different (she’s hot…I’m not).
I’m engulfed in sports.  She’s be fine if they’d never existed.
She craves sleep. I’m fine running off of minimal sleep with power-naps.
I am patient but hold grudges.  She has a short fuse but forgives quickly.

We are different.

So many couples get caught up on compatibility…which I think is a farce.  People feel their marriage sucks because their spouse is so, well, different from who they are.  You battle so hard with the mindset that the two of you need to think alike.  And if you don’t, something major is wrong with your marriage. I’ve had one too many appointments with people who have used the phase, “We are just too different.”  Your difference is what makes you unique.  It makes you special.  Yes, you are different. But…

…in my opinion: that is the making of a great marriage.

I’ll say it again:

The goal in marriage is not the think alike.  The goal is to think together. 

It’s time for you to stop working so hard to think alike and take the same effort and put it to thinking together.  You don’t NEED to think like your spouse. Your spouse doesn’t need you to think like them. You’ve got to get your mind out off of how different you are approaching it, and into how your differences enhance your abilities to work together.  (Immediately, my mind goes to the absolutely terrible cartoon “Captain Planet” with the war cry of “With out powers combined…”)

When scripture says in Genesis 2 that the “two become one”, we take it as we have to become something we are not.  We need to approach marriage as not losing ourselves but finding fullness first in Christ and then becoming a unit (differences and all) with our spouse.  Don’t lose who you are.  Keep being you.  Because with Christ, plus your differences, combined with your spouses differences help create “cord of three strands not easily broken” (Ecc. 4:12)

Stop worrying about thinking like him or her.  Stop stressing about how different you are.  Embrace the differences and work hard on working together.

Thanks for letting me ramble…