Love is not Wimpy

Love is not Wimpy

Say love and chances are your immediate mental picture is soft, squishy, and colored in pastels. If you’re over 40 you may think of “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” or the “summer of love” in 1967. If you’re under 40 you may think of tolerance and kindness and warm-hearted feelings.

But those images have little or nothing to do with what love is all about. True love is anything but wimpy, or particularly feminine. That impression is a caricature of what real love is all about.

What pictures come to mind when you think of love?

  • A mother nurturing her newborn baby?
  • A suitor on one knee proposing to his sweetheart?
  • Jesus holding out welcoming arms to a sinner?

Yes, love underlies all those images. But if those are the only images of love we focus on, our lives, and our Christian witness, will be lopsided and ineffective.

Is it love to stand by as your child destroys themselves and the family through violence, theft, and fear as a result of drug addiction? Is it love to keep giving your spouse the benefits of marriage while they are engaging in infidelity? Is it love to accept a hurting, sick, miserable sinner as they are without providing a way for healing and transformation?

Love is not saying “anything goes,” “you’re OK, I’m OK,” or “do whatever you want.” That’s cowardice, not love! God’s not like that. And you and I shouldn’t be like that either.

As Bob Goff’s popular book asserts and illustrates, Love Does. Love may start with accepting things the way they are, but it refuses to let them stay that way. Tweet that. Love does something about it.

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4 Necessary Keys to Helping People

4 Necessary Keys to Helping People

Blessed to be a blessing. Cultivating generosity. There are few things in life that lead to more satisfaction, more fulfillment, more joy than making a difference in someone else’s life. Helping people truly helps you.

If you’re empty and dry, you need to get filled up. You need to take in soul nourishment every day. But once you’ve received, you must give. If you don’t, your life will become stagnant and stinky. If you want the water of God’s fullness and blessing to keep flowing to you, you must allow it to flow through you to others.

Over the last few months I have experienced this more than ever. In response to some of my writing I’ve been hearing from more and more people who are struggling with fear and anxiety, marriage problems, compulsive addictions, and more. Working with my team to find innovative ways to help even more people like you has drawn substance from deep in my soul. It’s made me stronger, more productive, and helped prevent me from stalling in grief after my husband’s death. Real fulfillment and joy bubble up from my heart as I see people blessed and changed by what God has given me to share. And this is just the beginning.

You can experience the same. There’s a reason you’re on this planet. God has something for you to do. And that always involves being a blessing to others. “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

Here are some keys to helping people, to letting God’s blessings flow through you to others.

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5 Ways to Befriend Your Feelings

5 Ways to Befriend Your Feelings

Feelings are fickle. They’re real, but they’re unreliable. Emotions can be affected by everything happening both inside you and around you. You may see your emotions as overwhelming, and think you are at their mercy. I’d like to help you befriend your feelings instead of feeling like you are their victim.

Without emotions life would be colorless and purely clinical. God built us with the capacity to experience sadness, anger, pain, grief, fatigue, peace, joy, hope, and love. Many of those encompass more than just feelings, but you can’t experience any of them without feelings. Jesus expressed and experienced them all.

This past year I’ve experienced plenty of times when emotions felt overwhelming while I’ve walked my journey of grief. I’m also grateful that I had learned previously, and am learning again, what to do with feelings when they come.

You know that letting your emotions control you is neither healthy nor godly, but neither is stuffing and denying them. So here are some key steps to help you befriend your feelings, and make your emotions work for you rather than against you.

Befriend Your Feelings

1. Both “positive” and “negative” emotions are legitimate and can be healthy.

Shutting down negative feelings means cutting yourself off from the positive feelings also; you can’t be open to experiencing one without the other. The pleasure center and pain center in your brain are not completely separate. The opposite of love is not anger, but apathy. Deep pain can be very close to deep love and profound meaning.

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HOPE for the In-Between Times

HOPE for the In-Between Times

SunriseThe in-between times can often be one of the most challenging. The Christmas celebrations are over. The New Year is not quite here. For many of us long weeks or months of winter weather lie ahead.

The emotional letdown after a holiday can be difficult. Perhaps your expectations were met but you’re still wondering, “Is that all there is?” Or you’re trying to take a breath after a whirlwind of activity. Or you may be relieved that the holiday season is just about over.

Holidays and celebrations are good. We need them. God directed His people to set aside times for gathering together, celebrating the past, and looking forward to the future.

But we don’t live there all the time. We can’t. Our human psyche was not built to sustain that level of intensity.

So we’re left with “What now?” It’s a very long time until Christmas next year. How do we go about living today, tomorrow, and the next day? How do we keep going in the in-between times?

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7 Things to Do the Day After Christmas

7 Things to Do the Day After Christmas

Woman restingIt’s the day after Christmas. The presents are unwrapped. The Christmas decorations may still be up. Christmas dinner leftovers are still in the refrigerator. If your Christmas was wonderful, you may be feeling a little letdown already. If it wasn’t so great, you may be glad the holidays are nearly over – and wishing you had some leftovers to worry about.

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