How To Oppress a People: Pyramid, Power, & Protocol vs. Process

How to Prevent a Promotion

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Another term for protocol is “red tape”. Sometimes, red tape can be another word for complicating a process. For example, a lot of paperwork, a lot of reference letters, a lot of background checks, a lot of fees, a lot of training, a lot of butt-kissing and brown-nosing. Anything that can be done to postpone the positioning of the new ones!

Now don’t get it twisted. I absolutely believe in protocol. I believe in service and loyalty and testing. But some people are misusing these terms just to keep you at the bottom of the pyramid.

Do me a favor and quit any fast food restaurant that would have you frying fries for 5 years! You should be working the register after one year! And whoever was at the register for 5 years should have been promoted to manager! If not, it means that the organization is not growing. That means the managers are holding on tightly to their positions which means they are oppressing those under them.

Sadly, most oppressors are those who have been previously oppressed. To them, oppression is so natural to their world that they call it “protocol”. There are some good things about protocol in that they weed out fools and clowns and those who are not serious about ministry or work. If you refuse to take a course to get a certificate to get a promotion, then that weeds you out because it exposes you as stubborn and lazy and unwilling to improve yourself. But what happens when someone has been properly processed and you still try to hinder them from promotion?

This same thing happened with King Saul. He had misbehaved God and so God decided to remove His anointing from him and to put it on someone else – David. But Saul was not ready for demotion. So he decided to oppress David. King Saul was unaware that David was not his problem – God’s decision was what Saul should have had a problem with. Some people will attack you because you are proof of their demotion. They don’t know that even if they were successful in killing you that God would have another replacement to signify their demotion. If they killed every successor, they’d STILL be demoted.

When people fight against the next/new move of God, they are fighting against a good thing. It shouldn’t matter if God is using them; they should just be glad that God is doing!

This reminds me of Joseph and his situation with his family. His brothers were very jealous about his dreams, but they shouldn’t have because he didn’t conjure up his own dream. God Himself gave it to him to sustain his family and nationality (Israelites/Hebrews/Jews) during a 7 year drought! They were mad about their OWN survival all because God was doing it through their little brother! Selah!

If we take it to the New Testament, we hear of another Saul, but his name was changed to (Apostle) Paul. He was at the bottom ranks because he delivered letters that caused the persecution and murder of Christians. He didn’t walk with Jesus and observe any of His miracles as the 12 disciples had done. He was not a part of the Pentecost experience in Acts 2. He had not personally met or been taught by Jesus as many other disciples/Christians had. But God bypassed ALL the protocol and procedures on the road to Damascus! He immediately decided that He would choose and use Paul to lead perhaps THOUSANDS of Gentiles to Christ not to mention to write much of the New Testament which has lead millions to Christ! What if! What if the 11 remaining disciples had decided to red-tape Paul? What if they had decided that he needed to follow them for three years as they had followed Jesus for three years? How many souls would have been lost during that time frame? How many letters to the churches and people would not have been written during that time frame? God Himself can speed up the process for some people based of the urgency and importance of their duty!

And sadly, some people have been through all the protocol there was and yet they still turn out to be terrible preachers, horrible teachers, and awful pastors. Man-made protocol cannot compare to Godly process! Remember that EVERY chief priest and Pharisee and scribe and Saducee had been FORMALLY “PROCEDURED” and just about every one died and went to hell. They persecuted Jesus because they didn’t understand his advanced processing. They refused to believe in Him because He didn’t go through the red tape. The ones who did believe came to him in secret — Nicodemus (aka “Nic @ Nite”) and Joseph of Arimathea (who loaned Jesus his tomb for a few days).

I just want to encourage some of you that if you are currently in a pyramid scheme, don’t you dare stay in there just to ascend the ranks just to oppress those at the bottom. A pyramid can be destroyed if the people at the bottom stop supporting those at the top. Leave the dysfunction. Every time you sit in a seat or give a dollar, you are keeping the system alive. If everyone at the bottom would just leave, the stop level would drop by one. Then those who were above you will now be at the floor level. Then those must leave, so forth and so on. Then those at the top will eventually be at the bottom with everyone else. Don’t get me wrong; God does want leaders — just not dictators. Just like kids need parents and wives need husbands and cities need mayors and nations need kings/queens/presidents. Leadership is a divine concept. People need good leaders to look up to so that they can know how to behave and be great citizens. But remember that Jesus said whoever will be the greatest among a group must be the servant. The Son of God came to serve, not be served. This is how it must be with all leaders. They are not to be controlling, cruel dictators and oppressors like Hitler and Kim Jong. They are to be exemplary, meek servants like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

The main folk who keep a pyramid scheme alive are those who refuse to break rank at the sake of keeping the sick system alive. God had no problem dismantling the Babel tower project; you should have no problem dismantling oppressive structures. When you stop giving your money, it demands that the remaining ones give more money. And they’ll be so oppressed, that they’ll leave too which increases the burden on the other ones who won’t leave. The structure above will be so heavy that it crushes them so they leave. Sometimes those at the top can tell when you’re getting tired, so they’ll give you a title or a position to stop you from leaving. And then they’ll demand that you invite others to fill in your now vacant spot in the pyramid bottom.

The last thing you should do is incorporate your friends and children into it to keep it alive. If the ones on top refuse to leave voluntarily, just let them die out on their own.

Let’s make our community grow and be healthy again!

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Another term for protocol is “red tape”. Sometimes, red tape can be another word for complicating a process. For example, a lot of paperwork, a lot of reference letters, a lot of background checks, a lot of fees, a lot of training, a lot of butt-kissing and brown-nosing. Anything that can be done to postpone the positioning of the new ones!

Now don’t get it twisted. I absolutely believe in protocol. I believe in service and loyalty and testing. But some people are misusing these terms just to keep you at the bottom of the pyramid.

Do me a favor and quit any fast food restaurant that would have you frying fries for 5 years! You should be working the register after one year! And whoever was at the register for 5 years should have been promoted to manager! If not, it means that the organization is not growing. That means the managers are holding on tightly to their positions which means they are oppressing those under them.

Sadly, most oppressors are those who have been previously oppressed. To them, oppression is so natural to their world that they call it “protocol”. There are some good things about protocol in that they weed out fools and clowns and those who are not serious about ministry or work. If you refuse to take a course to get a certificate to get a promotion, then that weeds you out because it exposes you as stubborn and lazy and unwilling to improve yourself. But what happens when someone has been properly processed and you still try to hinder them from promotion?

This same thing happened with King Saul. He had misbehaved God and so God decided to remove His anointing from him and to put it on someone else – David. But Saul was not ready for demotion. So he decided to oppress David. King Saul was unaware that David was not his problem – God’s decision was what Saul should have had a problem with. Some people will attack you because you are proof of their demotion. They don’t know that even if they were successful in killing you that God would have another replacement to signify their demotion. If they killed every successor, they’d STILL be demoted.

When people fight against the next/new move of God, they are fighting against a good thing. It shouldn’t matter if God is using them; they should just be glad that God is doing!

This reminds me of Joseph and his situation with his family. His brothers were very jealous about his dreams, but they shouldn’t have because he didn’t conjure up his own dream. God Himself gave it to him to sustain his family and nationality (Israelites/Hebrews/Jews) during a 7 year drought! They were mad about their OWN survival all because God was doing it through their little brother! Selah!

If we take it to the New Testament, we hear of another Saul, but his name was changed to (Apostle) Paul. He was at the bottom ranks because he delivered letters that caused the persecution and murder of Christians. He didn’t walk with Jesus and observe any of His miracles as the 12 disciples had done. He was not a part of the Pentecost experience in Acts 2. He had not personally met or been taught by Jesus as many other disciples/Christians had. But God bypassed ALL the protocol and procedures on the road to Damascus! He immediately decided that He would choose and use Paul to lead perhaps THOUSANDS of Gentiles to Christ not to mention to write much of the New Testament which has lead millions to Christ! What if! What if the 11 remaining disciples had decided to red-tape Paul? What if they had decided that he needed to follow them for three years as they had followed Jesus for three years? How many souls would have been lost during that time frame? How many letters to the churches and people would not have been written during that time frame? God Himself can speed up the process for some people based of the urgency and importance of their duty!

And sadly, some people have been through all the protocol there was and yet they still turn out to be terrible preachers, horrible teachers, and awful pastors. Man-made protocol cannot compare to Godly process! Remember that EVERY chief priest and Pharisee and scribe and Saducee had been FORMALLY “PROCEDURED” and just about every one died and went to hell. They persecuted Jesus because they didn’t understand his advanced processing. They refused to believe in Him because He didn’t go through the red tape. The ones who did believe came to him in secret — Nicodemus (aka “Nic @ Nite”) and Joseph of Arimathea (who loaned Jesus his tomb for a few days).

I just want to encourage some of you that if you are currently in a pyramid scheme, don’t you dare stay in there just to ascend the ranks just to oppress those at the bottom. A pyramid can be destroyed if the people at the bottom stop supporting those at the top. Leave the dysfunction. Every time you sit in a seat or give a dollar, you are keeping the system alive. If everyone at the bottom would just leave, the stop level would drop by one. Then those who were above you will now be at the floor level. Then those must leave, so forth and so on. Then those at the top will eventually be at the bottom with everyone else. Don’t get me wrong; God does want leaders — just not dictators. Just like kids need parents and wives need husbands and cities need mayors and nations need kings/queens/presidents. Leadership is a divine concept. People need good leaders to look up to so that they can know how to behave and be great citizens. But remember that Jesus said whoever will be the greatest among a group must be the servant. The Son of God came to serve, not be served. This is how it must be with all leaders. They are not to be controlling, cruel dictators and oppressors like Hitler and Kim Jong. They are to be exemplary, meek servants like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

The main folk who keep a pyramid scheme alive are those who refuse to break rank at the sake of keeping the sick system alive. God had no problem dismantling the Babel tower project; you should have no problem dismantling oppressive structures. When you stop giving your money, it demands that the remaining ones give more money. And they’ll be so oppressed, that they’ll leave too which increases the burden on the other ones who won’t leave. The structure above will be so heavy that it crushes them so they leave. Sometimes those at the top can tell when you’re getting tired, so they’ll give you a title or a position to stop you from leaving. And then they’ll demand that you invite others to fill in your now vacant spot in the pyramid bottom.

The last thing you should do is incorporate your friends and children into it to keep it alive. If the ones on top refuse to leave voluntarily, just let them die out on their own.

Let’s make our community grow and be healthy again!

Unresolved Issues: Magnets Attracting What’s Wrong and Repelling What’s Right

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Ever wonder why you’re attracted to certain people and why certain people tend to be attracted to you? Also, have you ever wondered why some people are “repulsive” to you and why you also seem to be repelled by certain people? This doesn’t just have to apply to romantic partners, but it can also apply to friendships and even church membership. Have you ever stopped to think how you became drawn to or turned off to one person or group? While having one of my usual, unusual talks with God, the topic of MAGNETISM came up as an analogy to understand relationships. And this is what I discovered.

How we get into different types of relationships is kind of like how a refrigerator magnet is drawn to a refrigerator. The ONLY thing that draws them together is the Law of Magnetism. And what draws you to one individual over another individual can be considered a different kind of magnetism. I did a little research about how magnets are made. So as not to bore you with all the details, here is a very brief summary.

Magnets are made of a group of metals known as ferromagnetic metals. These are metals such as nickel, iron, cobalt, and gadolinium. Material contains several small magnetic fields known as “domains”. Most of these domains are independent of each other and so they face different directions. But when a strong magnetic field is nearby, it can be strong enough to cause all those domains to turn and face in the same direction so that they can align and make a larger, stronger magnetic field. All magnets are attracted to Iron and Nickel. There are temporary (soft) magnets and permanent (hard) magnets. Temporary magnets lose their magnetism over time as the domains revert to their original (individual) position. But permanent magnets continue to face the same direction permanently. The way to make a magnet is to have a ferromagnetic metal heated to or beyond their Curie temperature. To make it temporary, heat it (exactly) to its Curie temperature. Magnets do not only attract other things. They repel things as well. All magnets have a South and a North pole. If you try to connect the two North poles together or try to connect the two South poles together, they will repel/reject connection with one another. But if you try to connect the South pole with the other magnet’s North pole, they will connect/attract one another.

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When you think of your refrigerator magnets, you know that they will always be attracted to your refrigerator. So there must be something IN magnets and something IN refrigerator doors that draw them to each other. We can relate that to people as well. It reminds me of women who keep attracting abusive men/who are constantly attracted to abusive men. Even if these women do not know that these men are abusive, they still attract them for some reason.

When I consider my exes, I find it interesting how I was drawn to all of them because none of my two exes are very similar. And so since I was attracted to each of them, even though they are all so different, it shows me that I was changing as a person. It showed me that I was not the same type of person at the time I dated each of them. That leads me to the conclusion that WHO you are drawn to at any particular time can give you insight into WHO you were at the time you began speaking to them. And it also shows you what kind of person they were when they liked you. For example, if you liked a drug addict from 2005-2007, it shows me that you were either a drug addict or codependent person at that time. And if you dated a man who knew you were cheating on him from 2007-2009, it shows me that you were dating a man with poor self-esteem for those years. We attract certain people based on what is going on in our personal lives at the time. And I believe it was Dr. Henry Cloud who said that we attract into our lives what we are ready for. And so for me at least, an accurate appraisal of who I was at the time I began dating a person shows me what some of my unresolved issues were at the time. I noticed that when I consider all of my exes since freshmen year of college, that as God healed me of childhood issues throughout the years until this day that each subsequent ex seemed to be emotionally healthier than the last ex to mirror my emotional health level! Who I was dating at the time was a reflection of me at the time!

There are some women who only attract sex addicts, controlling men, abusive men, closeted homosexuals, philanderers, lazy men, secret pedophiles etc. And while I am not accusing these women of being the reason they are mistreated in relationships, we have to admit that the common denominator in 100% of her past relationships is her. I’m not saying that something about that woman turns normal men into abusers/addicts/cheaters/etc. But I am saying that something about her draws men who are already abusers/addicts/cheaters/etc.

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Some women may say, “Okay, well now that I am aware that my last 5 boyfriends have been abusive. I will dump the abuser I am with now, and I will begin to date loving men from here on out.” That sounds like a good plan, but according to what we know of magnets, that will be unlikely. Your refrigerator magnets can ONLY be attracted to the something that is common in all refrigerators. And some women have unresolved issues that keep them attracting the wrong partners. A great man can show interest in her and can ask her on a date, and that emotionally unhealthy woman will say, “He’s a nice guy, but I’m just not attracted to him. He’s too…NICE.” This woman’s unresolved issues REPEL what is good for her and ATTRACT what is wrong for her. Something about bad boys will make her swoon and something about good men will repulse her even though she knows and will admit that this should not be the case.

Magnets will ALWAYS be attracted to refrigerators. And just because a magnet has an epiphany one day that these refrigerators are not good for it, it does not mean the magnet can change itself or its attraction to refrigerators. Magnets can’t change themselves and neither can humans – without God’s help. Remember, there is something inherent in all magnets that draw them to refrigerators. There is something inherent in all women who are constantly drawn to unfaithful men. There is something inherent in all women who are constantly drawn to abusive men. There is something inherent in all women who are constantly drawn to men who have alcohol/drug addictions. And until these women find out what that unresolved issue of theirs is, they are helpless to change the problem and their attraction to problem men.

If you want to hinder what is drawing a magnet to something magnetic, you will first have to change the magnet. If you put liquid water on a dry sponge, the dry sponge WILL soak it up. That’s the only way things can go with wet water and dry sponges; it cannot be any other way. And magnets MUST be drawn to refrigerators. So you can know that you have a problem with attracting the wrong type of men and you can know you have a problem with being drawn to the wrong type of men, but YOU are helpless to change the situation. You can know the type of men you are supposed to be dating and marrying. You can know that you should not be repelling these good men just to accept bad men, but YOU are helpless to change the situation.

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But God.

But God can change whatever is in you that is attracting the wrong person. A woman named Liberty Savard wrote a book called, “Breaking the Power”. And this book enlightened me about what Liberty calls “unhealed hurts, unresolved issues, and unmet needs”. She talked about how many of our recurrent, troublesome life issues can basically be resolved if we ask and allow God to heal our unhealed hurts, resolve our unresolved issues, and meet our unmet needs usually sprouting from childhood.

In other words, God can remove whatever we are composed of that’s keeping us attracted to and dating the wrong people and that’s keeping us single by having us to refuse/repel the right people so that we can love freely as we should in a healthy way in a marriage. In keeping with the magnet lingo, God can “heat us BEYOND our “Curie temperature” so that we will PERMANENTLY be able to love and be loved. But this will never be possible if God does not meet the unmet need, heal the unhealed hurt, and resolve the unresolved issue.

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Remember that the unresolved issues that make you who you are also what ATTRACT the wrong people into your life in addition to you repelling the right people. So until God fixes that in you, you will always attract the wrong people. So while some of you may think that bumping into Mr. Right will fix all your issues, please know that UNTIL you allow God to fix some of your more serious intimacy, self-esteem issues, you will attract nothing BUT Mr. Wrong. Mr. Rights will only be attracted to Ms. Rights. And Ms. Wrongs will ONLY attract Mr. Wrongs not to mention they can only be attracted to Mr. Wrongs.

I can speak personally when I say that God will begin changing these “magnets” within you today if you surrender all and ask Him too. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t see changes right away. I’ve found God to work more behind the scenes than He does in front of the curtain. He begins working as soon as you ask Him to – if you’re not sabotaging by working against Him. While it has been a sometimes anxiety-provoking transformation that has taken a few years, this has been an amazing journey for me to be able to love freely and fearlessly. Please don’t let your unresolved issues let you miss out on something so worthwhile.

Define Yourself! To Stand for Nothing Means to Fall for Anything!

Coexist? Not in the same one person you can't!

Repent. If you stand for nothing you fall for anything.

Who are you? How would your friends, family, classmates, coworkers, and significant other define you?

When people identify you, they will usually say statements like, “she is nice/rude, smart/slow, funny/dull.” They also might say what you like by saying things like, “he likes sports, she loves to read, she enjoys being in the water.” They also might say what you believe in. They might say, “she’s pro-choice, she’s Democratic, she’s a Buddhist.”

But what defines you just as much as statements as, “she IS, she LIKES, and she BELIEVES in,” are statements like, “he IS NOT, he HATES, and he’s AGAINST.”

Do the people who know you know what you don’t like and what you stand against?

I’ve been reading much on the topic of boundaries for ourselves from a licensed psychologist and author named Dr. Henry Cloud, I have learned of the importance of a “yes” and a “no” when it comes to us setting personal boundaries. I have learned that if you say yes to EVERYTHING, then your yesses have lost their signicance and meaning. If you tell EVERY Tom, Dick, and Harry that you love them more than anyone else in the world, then all three of those “I love you more than anyone else in the world” mean absolutely nothing. They are mutually exclusive (they cancel one another out). For example, you cannot be both pregnant and unpregnant. So you cannot equally love three men more than anyone else in the world at the same time. In this case, all those yesses mean absolutely nothing because for Tom, Dick, and Harry there are two other men you love more than anyone else in the world. If I say, “Yes, I am pro-choice,” and “Yes, I am pro-life,” then both of those yesses are worth a hill of beans. In other words, they are worthless.

People who claim to like everything have a lack of identity. People who know what they like and what they don’t like have a set identity. People who don’t stand against or and who don’t stand for anything have a lack of identity. People who stand for some things and who stand against other things have a set identity. Any topic you throw my way, I will more than likely be for or against it. Here are four examples of people with or without boundaries to themselves, and decide who you would rather be friends with.

  • Shara likes EVERYTHING. There is nothing she does not like. She’ll try anything twice. When her sister asks her what her favorite color is so that she can buy her a cute dress in her favorite color, Shara says, “It doesn’t matter. I love all colors equally.” When her boyfriend is trying to decide what cut of diamond to get her for their engagement, Shara says, “I don’t really care. I like all the cuts. It can be cushion, emerald, princess, round, etc.” When her mother is trying to see which movie they should watch together at the theater on Mother’s Day, Shara says, “I have no preference. We can watch the new Jason movie, we can watch Watchmen, we can watch whatever. It can be horror, love, suspense, comedy, whatever you want, Mom.” When Shara’s best friend wants to have dinner with her, Shara has no preference for which restaurant. She doesn’t even care what type of food – fast food, seafood, barbeque, whatever. SHARA LIKES ANY AND EVERY THING.
  • Mark however knows what he likes. He has preferences. When his friend asks him what he wants to watch on tv, he will say, “I want to watch the game on ESPN.” His dad asks him what he wants to do on the weekend. Mark says, “I want to go fishing at Bass Lake.” His girlfriend asks him what his favorite color is so she can buy him a tie in his favorite color, and Mark says, “I like blue the best.” Mark’s boss asks him what hours he wants on the new schedule, and Mark says, “I go to church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, so don’t schedule me at those times.”
  • Harry is like Shara. He also stands for NOTHING. He’s a Christian, but he is against nothing. There is no thing that he fights against. He DOESN’T stand against abortion, gay marriage, the raising of taxes, the war in Iraq, murder, adultery, fornication, drug usage, lying, stealing, racism, rape, molestation, incest, or anything. He DOES NOT stand against anything, but he calls himself a Christian. He doesn’t like confrontation or arguments, so he just chills and his motto is “be easy.”
  • Michelle is unlike Harry. She knows what she stands for and stands against. She is not against the war in Iraq, and she is against abortion. She participates in marches against domestic violence, and she is not against the raising of taxes. She donates money to help limit starvation in Africa, and she fine with fornication if the couple is monogamous. She thinks fighting and profanity is gross and will tell you not to do it in her presence. She is fine with people gambling.

Which two of the four people seem to have a secure and stable identity?

“We must be able to say what is ‘not me’ in order to have a ‘me.’ What we like has no meaning unless we know what we don’t like. Our yes has no meaning if we never say no. My chosen profession has no passion if ‘just any one would do.’ Our opinions and thoughts mean very little if there is nothing we disagree with.” – Dr. Henry Cloud

Personally, Shara would annoy the mess out of me. She’s the kind of person who always says, “I don’t care. I don’t know. I don’t have a preference. Whatever you want to do. You decide.” I’m sure all the men readers who have asked a girl out on a date hate it when a woman says, “I don’t care,” when he asks her what restaurant she wants to go to. You know you care, you’re just afraid it may be something he won’t like. But then as soon as he decides which restaurant, you think, “I don’t want to go there!” People might say, “Wouldn’t Shara be considered fun being that she doesn’t NOT like to do anything?” She would appear down to earth to some, but she’d actually be dull to me because she has no likes – because she likes everything! It’s like an atheist saying, “I like and believe in godlessness, I like and believe in evolution, I like and believe in Darwinism, I like and believe in natural selection, I like and believe in Creationism, I like and believe in God, I like and believe in Buddhism, I like and believe in Krishna. I like and believe in Jesus.” His likes and beliefs mean absolutely nothing because he believes in everything. So Shara is not just a fun-loving person. She is someone with no standards, no beliefs, no likes, and no interests. If she stands for nothing, she falls for anything.

Harry is also annoying to me. He calls himself a Christian, but there is nothing he fights against. He is afraid of people not liking him or arguing with him because he just wants to skate through life without any opposition. No one believes he’s a Christian because he doesn’t try to put boundaries against anything God is against. He’s a pushover with no backbone. He is not a real Christian because every Christian stands against evil and stands up for the things of God. I’m not saying Christians should go around telling everyone that they are a sinner and should stop the sin or burn in hell, but I am saying that people who know a Christian should have an idea where that Christian stands on certain issues. God has no problem letting us know where He stands on certain issues in the Bible, so we should be like Him in that regard.

I like Mark and Michelle though. Those are the people I wouldn’t mind being friends with. Mark knows what he wants. With him, you don’t feel like a mother or father taking their child to and fro. A little child just goes wherever, eats whatever, does whatever, wears whatever with no opinion. I might not agree with all that Michelle agrees with, but at least I know where she stands. She doesn’t shrug her shoulders about everything. She knows her identity. Shara and Harry have no set identity. They are who they are around at the time. If Harry’s at church, he can be against abortion, rape, fornication, and drug using. But when Harry’s around his cousins who aren’t saved, he doesn’t say anything to them about smoking weed, having abortions, or fornicating. Of course, he can’t make them do something they don’t want to do, but they should at least KNOW EXACTLY where he stands on those topics IF he’s a Christian who is supposed to be against those things.

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'” ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

Matthew 21:28-31 (New Internation Version)

I like the first son better. He had a backbone. His nos meant no, and his yesses meant yes. He didn’t just say what his dad wanted to hear because he was afraid of upsetting him. He was honest about what he wanted to do. He did get it right though and changed his mind and did work in the vineyard later on.

The second son however was probably afraid to say no to his dad. He was a punk and/or a liar. He wanted to tell his dad whatever his dad wanted to hear. But at the end of the day, he didn’t do it because he probably never wanted to in the first place! The dad’s will was done in the honest, first son, and it was not done in the lying, people-pleasing second son.

But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Matthew 5:34-38 (New International Version)

I don’t like it when people stand for nothing. They aren’t pro-choice, they aren’t against stealing, they aren’t against cheating, they aren’t against fighting. They’re just there. They have NO identity. They just blend in with the crowd. No one respects them because they have nothing to respect. I have more respect for an unbeliever who knows what he is for and against than for a Christian who doesn’t stand up for or stand up against anything. At least I can trust the unbeliever to do what he says he will do.

God lets it be known throughout the Bible who He is. Most people have never met God, but they can tell who He is by what he stands against and stands for. In Isaiah 61:8 he lets it be known that he loves justice. In Ezekiel 6:9 he lets it be known that he is against adultery. In Jeremiah 3:12, he lets it be known that he is merciful. In Leviticus 11:44, he lets us all know that he is holy. In Exodus 6:6, he lets us know that he is compassionate. He lets us know that he is almighty in Genesis 17:1. In Numbers 23: 19, God lets us know that he is not a man that he should lie or repent. God lets us know what he is by what he stands against and stands for.

Don’t you feel safe around people who let you know their identity? The scariest person to live with or hang out with are the people of whom you never know what they will do next. You live in fear wondering if your dad will snap and punch you in the face today. You live in fear wondering if your best friend will sleep with your boyfriend when you leave them alone. You want people around you who let you know what they will and will not do. If you know your dad will beat you every time he gets drunk on Saturday nights, then you can know not to come home until Sunday morning. But if he beats you at random times, it’s more horrible and unavoidable because of how unpredictable and unpreventable it is. If you have a friend who is trustworthy and says she is against premarital sex, then you can feel comfortable having your boyfriend give her a ride home. But if you have a friend who says, “I just don’t know who I’ll sleep with next; I have no limits or standards when it comes to sex. If I feel like it one day, I’ll just do it with whomever,” you’ll be afraid to leave your new boyfriend around her.

So do YOU have a set identity? Does everyone who knows you know what you stand for or against? Especially if you are a Christian. Every person you know should know you live a holy life. Everyone who gets to know me (and people who don’t) knows that I only listen to gospel music, that I like reading and writing, and that I am smart. Everyone who knows me well knows that I am against the war in Iraq, that I am against abortion, and that I am against drug use. People feel safe around me because they know I won’t change on them sporadically. Even, people who are unbelievers like that they can be sure that I will not change. They think I’m stable and safe. They don’t worry about me sleeping with their boyfriend, stealing money out of their purse, or drinking and driving their child home from daycare.

God is trustworthy too. I know that He will never hurt me. I know that when I die, He won’t say, “Change my mind! You’re going to hell. Go directly to hell. Do not pass “GO”. Do not collect $200.” I know that He will make sure that all my needs are met. That’s why I don’t get why people serve Satan. They know he’s unstable and will lie about anything. But yet they trust him to give them a kingdom in hell when they die. They trust him never to attack them even while they are putting curses on and torturing others. Some people are religion-hoppers or people who combine religions. They have no boundaries to what they will and will not believe. That’s why I’m 100% against the COEXIST crap. How can you be for Christianity AND Wicca when Satan and Jesus don’t like each other? (Yes, Wicca is Satanic. Do your research.) These “COEXISTers” will be a Kabbalachristibuddhislamajewiccan depending on the weather or what’s cool in the media at that time. They are sell-outs on EVERY religion. One day, Jesus is their Homeboy and the next, he was just a wise prophet with a little power. One day you bow to a Buddha statue and the next you pray at the wailing wall. One week, you love Krishna, and the next you worship God. I know a guy like that. He believes in the Old Testament, he does ecstasy, fornicates, is fine with having evil spirits in his apartment, but he hates when people eat or show violence to animals. WHAT?!?!?! Make up your mind, buddo!

Know who and what you are. Know what you stand for and what you stand against. Know what you believe in. Know what you like and dislike. Don’t change your identity to please other people because they’ll only change their mind in a year or so, and you’ll have to change again then. This year, short hair might be in. Then in 2010, long hair might be in. This season everyone will want IPODS, but in two months, there might be another cool music machine that makes all Ipoders into dorks. You should not base your identity on a changing, confused world. Some of the times I’ve felt the worst was when I compromised on myself. I am for natural hair for Black women, but I got a relaxer to make people happy. I felt like a self sell-out. In college when I said I was not going to drink anymore, I felt SO bad when I betrayed my word and drank again. I hate being a self sell-out. But even worse than that a God sell-out. Stay true to you!

Setting Boundaries Against Trespassing In Relationships

No one has a right to your space or vice versa. Establish healthy self boundaries!

One of the concepts that has had the biggest impact, if not THE biggest impact, on my life is the concept of boundaries. Boundaries is knowing where you end and the next person begins. It’s knowing what lies inside of your boundary line – kind of like a neighbor knows how much of the adjacent yard belongs to him and how much belongs to the neighbor – and knowing what lies outside of your boundary line. When the boundary lines start getting confused, then we often end up being confused and frustrated without knowing why.

My FAVORITE author, Dr. Henry Cloud, is a psychologist. He has changed my personal and social life with his books. This is some of what I’ve learned from him about boundaries.

Everyone has boundaries. For some strange reason, people have an invisible area surrounding our bodies that we call “personal space”. When this personal space gets crossed without our permission, we feel nervous, uncomfortable, frustrated, agitated, irritated, and all those other similar adjectives. We don’t like it when someone comes into our personal space uninvited. Americans’ personal space is usually about 2 feet on each side of us. If you come even an inch too close, our tendency is to take a step back. This is done automatically without us even thinking about it! Our bodies are trained to keep its boundaries protected. If someone walks up on you too quickly, some of us have reflexes of pushing that person back outside our “bubble”. Isn’t that interesting? I hear in Hispanic countries, their bubbles are smaller, and they will be offended if you are standing too far off from them.

The purpose of this post is not to talk about personal space, but I felt it was important to mention that to show JUST how important it is to people to have their boundary area respected. Well, when it comes to other boundaries, we act the same way. For example, if someone tries to boss you around, your tendency might be to back off from them. And if they come on to strong with the bossiness, you might rebel and push them away emotionally. When someone tries to cross our mental boundaries, just as with our physical boundaries, we try to protect them.

I’ve learned the importance of respecting other people’s boundaries. I’ve also learned that there are other things that lie within my boundary line other than personal space and choices. I learned that MY emotions, opinions, and thoughts lie within my boundary line, and that other people’s emotions, opinions, and thoughts lie within THEIR boundary line. Just as I don’t like it when other people try to tell me how or what to think, feel, and do, people feel the same way about me!

There are some other areas where we have to know where we end and someone else begins. Some males and females get super clingy in relationships. They don’t know where their boundary line ends and their boyfriend or girlfriend’s begins. They want ALL of their significant other’s attention, time, love, etc. They are being disrespectful when they try to force the other person to do this. People are separate entities (bodies) that should have freedom to do their own thing. God wants us to be obedient to and pray to Him all the time, but He doesn’t force us to do it. He just tells us what He wants from us and then He lets us make the choice. We should be the same way with friends, family members, coworkers, and significant others. We can tell them what we want from them and would like for them to do for us, but we can’t FORCE it on them. That’s disrespectful.

I’ll use a personal example. I had a friend who could be considered kind of clingy. She wanted me to be on the phone with her for hours on end every day. She would text me nonstop throughout the day. I would tell her that my phone bill was going over because of it. She wanted us to hang out all the time. She would stop by the house unexpectedly and beg me to go with her places even after I told her no several times. But I like to do things alone. I LOVE my alone time because I can read, write, watch tv, and commune with God at that time. But she didn’t want me to have my own life. She didn’t know where her life ended and where mine began. Because she kept crossing my boundaries, I had to put her in her place – which was outside of my boundary line. We’re still friends, but our friendship is not clingy anymore. It is unhealthy and dysfunctional when someone wants to spend inordinate amounts of time with you. Only newborn infants should be with their mothers all the time. Jesus got alone to pray to God in the mornings; he didn’t spend every waking moment with people. People will drain you if you don’t step away to recharge!

But when the shoe was on the other foot, I used to get angry with people when they didn’t let me cross their boundaries. Like if someone didn’t respond to a text message quick enough or didn’t call me back quick enough, I would be angry at them as if they were required to talk to me! I would blame them for me feeling upset, angry, or sad about it. But many lessons and a few years later, I learned that no one HAS to answer their phone. People don’t sign contracts for a cell phone that say, “At every moment, I will answer this phone and respond to every text I receive.” I feel that people who are married are ONE with their partner, so I think that they should let their spouse know where they are, but if you are a friend or a family member or a boyfriend or a girlfriend, no one HAS to do anything for you. They never made a vow or commitment to you. And if you or I want to get mad about it, guess what? Those feelings lie within OUR OWN boundary line. That person is not responsible for making you happy again. That’s your job; those emotions of yours are on your property. Deal with them.

In addition to feelings and actions, we can’t make someone think how we want them to think. They might pretend they agree with our opinions, but you’ll never know because their thoughts are floating around in their heads – not yours. I write a lot of blog posts on some controversial topics, and, believe it or not, someone will comment on MY blog post (which lies within MY boundary line), and will have the audacity to tell me not to think what I think! Can you believe that? I don’t mind someone telling me, “Well, I beg to differ with you on the point you made regarding abortion. I don’t consider it murder.” But when someone tells me, ‘You can’t say that! You can’t think that! Don’t write that! Delete this post!” I think it’s absurd. I never go to a lesbian’s page who writes something about how homosexuality is not a sin, and tell them, “Don’t be gay!” I don’t go to anorexic people’s posts who write about how they only ate two crackers today and tell them, “Stop vomiting, stop exercising, and eat!”

But I can tell them, “I respect your views; but in my opinion, according to the bible, homosexuality is wrong.” I can go to an anorexic’s site and say, “I understand that this is a very serious disorder, but I feel that you are glorifying this suicidal lifestyle and that you are perhaps leading other young girls to starve themselves to death.” Yes, my opinions might be perceived as kind of forward, but guess what, “THEY LIE WITHIN MY BOUNDARY LINE, and if you enable comments on your page, you have opened your boundary line for other people to comment their opinions to you and your readers. However, I don’t think people should try to force you to think like them because, like I said earlier, they may appear to conform to your views outwardly, but inwardly they can have the same mindset. More than likely though, they might PUSH you out of their boundary line by saying some harsh words and blocking you from their page!

I realize that God respects other people’s boundaries even though we sometimes don’t. I know of pastors that will tell you how and what to think based on their own opinions. I think that is wrong. I think pastors can tell people – who decided to come to their church – what the Word of God says we should and should not do or think. BUT we must also keep in mind that God Himself doesn’t make us do anything that we don’t want to do. God doesn’t force us to get saved. If that was the case, no one would go to hell. God doesn’t force us to make only good choices in life. What He does is present us with the only and right things we need to be doing, and then He lets US choose what we will do with that information within our boundary line. I sometimes WISH God would force people to see the truth, but that’s not how God operates. So I’m guessing He wants us to do the same. Show people the truth, tell people the truth, and leave it up to them to take that information into their boundary line and live according to it if they choose to do so.

So basically, please ask for permission before you cross people’s boundary lines. If God tells me to bind the devil when he wants to act a fool on my property, surely I won’t let you do it!

Cheap Love: When You Give/Get Too Much for Too Little Too Soon

Microwave Generation: I want what I want, and I want it NOW!

In many aspects of our life, me and my fellow members of the microwave generation get very frustrated when we don’t get EVERYTHING we want EXACTLY when we want it, for virtually NOTHING. There is actually something very wrong with that. Back in my grandmother’s day, if you wanted something of great value, you would work very hard to get the money for it over a period of time. And once you got all the money for it, you would go buy it and take pride in 100% owning it brand new. But in my mom’s and my generation, if we see something of great value, we swipe our credit card, take it home that day, and worry about making the payments and paying the interest on it. And by the time we actually own it 100%, it’s old and raggedy and we’re ready for a new one that costs even more money!

Ever wonder why God doesn’t give you everything you want right now as soon as you pray for it? Ever wonder why He seems to think it’s a bad idea? Why He seems to like to have us wait and pray over and over and over again for something we really want?

I have. Many times. It’s a mark of the new believer. They pray to God for their hearts’ desires and then wait for God to bring it to the door within a week. But God’s not going to do it that way. Not with that formula. The 2 Much 4 + 2 Little + 2 Soon formula = never ends well. So God doesn’t work that way because God knows that formula results in a bunch of immature, unappreciative, spoiled Christians. That is why we humans must be cautious not to let that formula govern how to relate to people – especially people we are in romantic relationships with. Let’s look at this formula through different examples to see how disastrous the results can be. I’ll begin with a personal example.

I used to date a guy back in my compromising, fence-straddling days.He quickly employed the 2M4+2L+2S formula to our relationship. Needless to say, I USED to date the guy. I could not tolerate him after I caught on to what was going on. I had the met the guy one night. He wanted to see me two days later (2 SOON) at his apartment. No date mind you (4 2 LITTLE). Just a free meet up at his apartment. I turned it down because I said I didn’t know him well enough to do something so risky. So he asked me to meet him at a park instead. That was free too, so he still got away with doing too little. We ended up kissing ON the FIRST DATE and later getting very physical about a month later (2 MUCH + 2 SOON). This young man got to use my body (2 MUCH) for pretty much nothing after only spending about 4 weeks with me. Do you think he appreciated me? Again I say, I USED to date him. This young man could not appreciate me and could not be expected to appreciate me since he used this 2m42L2s model. But let me tell you how it could have ended better (or continued on to this day perhaps).

Too Soon

Let’s say I met him and then I don’t let him take me out on a date until after a few weeks. The purpose would be for me to see over the phone if he’s even worth my time in person. And to be honest with you, had I just talked with him on the phone for a few days, I probably wouldn’t have even wanted to meet him because I would have found out some stuff about him that I didn’t like. But because I was so desperate at the time, I decided to meet up with him when I didn’t even know much about him! How foolish of me! I’m not saying it’s always a bad idea to go on a date with a guy a few days after you meet him, but I am saying the man will likely appreciate you more if he has to wait.

There is a tendency for humans to appreciate things they have to wait for. If you could get a medical degree in a week, you won’t appreciate it as much as you would had it taken you years to acquire. You appreciate a friend you’ve known for years more than you appreciate a friend you made in a day. Time makes things have more value in our eyes. There’s a reason there are such persons as starving artists. They may starve while alive, but many years after they die, people find millions of dollars of value in their paintings which were at first worthless to most people. Antiques were not worth much when they were first produced. But decades after they are made, they can be worth many thousands.

So I think I’ve proven that in different contexts, things have more value after they take time to acquire. The same goes for relationships. If a man has to wait weeks or months to get your phone number after he’s been hounding you for so long, he will really appreciate it when you take his number and call him or when you give him your number. So I should have maybe let the dude call me for a few weeks before I decided to meet up with him HAD I decided I even liked him and had he decided that he liked me enough to want to meet me.

For Too Little
The next factor that threw off the equation ending successfully in our relationship was that I let him get away with doing minimal work. He only had to do very little to win my time and affection. He didn’t have to chat me up for weeks to convince me to let him take me out on a date. He didn’t have to spend ANY money on the first date. He didn’t even dress up. He literally rolled out of bed in a t-shirt and basketball shorts that were sagging down showing his underwear and drove to the nearest park to meet me. It was not even a park with swings, slides, and monkey bars. He did not have to spend a single dime or spend any time preparing for this date. He got away with doing very little to win my time. Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand being broke. I can totally understand if the young man had no money the week he met me and could not afford to take me to a nice restaurant. And that is why I let him get away with too little because I didn’t know his financial situation. But if he was broke that week, he should have valued my presence enough to WAIT until he saved up enough money or at least until pay day! Heck, he could have even borrowed money from his friends to take me out IF he thought I was so special. But no, why would he? He had already gotten away with Too Soon.

Let’s discuss how he would have appreciated me more had I not let him get away with Too Little. Well, had I not let him get away with doing Too Little, one of two things would have happened. He could have either dipped out and showed that he was cheap or lazy. Or he could have stepped up to the occasion and showed that he was not cheap or lazy. But I would never know because I didn’t even “charge him”. How will you know how much someone is willing to pay unless you state the price? You’ll never know if a buyer is willing to pay $1 for a $5 object or $5 for a $5 object or even $5 for a $1 object. I had never charged him, so now I’ll never know what he was willing to pay on a first date. I’m not promoting golddiggerism, but I do promote knowing if a guy thinks you’re even worthy of a $10 meal at IHOP. Speaking of breakfast restaurants, the second time I was supposed to see him, he wanted me to meet him at the FREE park again, but my mom caught me as I was leaving the door and told me that I was better than free, so I let him take me to CK Coffee Shop. My mom – who is discerning of my worth – did not want her beloved, valuable daughter being treated to a free park in the dark, so she had me text him and tell him to take me somewhere to eat. Now I will admit that I suggested a fast food restaurant or CK because it was the halfway mark between where both of us lived, and I didn’t know his financial situation at the time. And because of fear of looking like a golddigger, I suggested cheap places. And of course, being a Too Little person, he accepted to lowest bid, the lowest offer to see me again. Had he appreciated me the first night, he would have said, “No, Mistye. Let me take you somewhere nice.” I’m getting mad just thinking about how much he did not appreciate me! But what could I expect when I had accepted it not to mention SUGGESTED it?

Too Much

Let’s get to the third factor. The Too Much factor. Just as we are with God in prayer when we want TOO MUCH when all we offer God is a lukewarm, fencestraddling form of holiness and a two-minute prayer, this young man wanted TOO MUCH for free and too soon. This next part kind of hurts me because I had planned on not kissing anybody else until my husband on our wedding day at the altar after our lifetime commitments had been made before our family, our friends, and our God. But this young man leaned in for a kiss on the FIRST DATE AND I MADE OUT WITH HIM! Unbelievable. I was willing to make the man who wanted to spend the rest of my life with me wait until after our wedding vows to kiss these lips but I let some guy I knew for two days kiss me without any commitment! Ridiculous! He had gotten too much from the kiss alone! He had gotten my future husbands lips. And as I said earlier, I ended up getting very physical with him about a month later. At this point he had spent at least some money on me, but still not much. Just a couple dinners and a couple of movies. And he got my entire body for four dates. Just thinking about that brings tears to my eyes that I would let that happen to me. Because of low self-esteem, loneliness, desperation, and hormones, I had given a guy my MOST precious possession (my body) for virtually nothing. He did want to marry me and did profess his love for me, but at that point, I was so disappointed in his trying to get everything for nothing that I was already done with him.

To add insult to injury, the young man would sometimes go several days without contacting me. Now before he got to play with the body, he would text or call throughout the day. But after he got 2M 4 2L 2S, it could be five days, seven days, or ten days with no contact from him. And then when he got lonely, he would send me a text saying “I miss you.” He did not miss me as he said because you reach out to folk you miss.

I actually told God that if He would give me another chance with another man, I would no longer live my life by the 2M42L2S model. The next guy will have to wait weeks to get my number. He will have to wait even more time to convince me to let him take me out. He will have to wait until after the proposal and wedding vows to even kiss me. That is perhaps the only way he will really appreciate me for the rest of our life together. I actually didn’t even want it to work out with the other guy because I knew that even if we married, he still would not appreciate me because of all the ways I compromised by sharing my body for no commitment and only after a few weeks! I don’t just want a cute, great guy to marry, but I want a cute, great guy WHO APPRECIATES ME to marry. Imagine living for decades with a man who hasn’t appreciated you since your first date? Now try again imagining a man who appreciated every time you played hard to get because it made the chase more fun? Men are like dogs, they chase/pursue things that run from them. Dogs chase cats and cars because they are hard to get. Dogs don’t have much interest in bushes and doors for the opposite reason!

I wrote this blog note because I made a big mistake that many other females make. We let our desperation make us forget that we need to be appreciated. I didn’t appreciate my salvation until I heard what it took to get it. The Supreme God and Creator of our very big universe coming down to earth to be born to live 33 sucky years in a human body only to be crucified and disrespected by some of the very people He was dying to save. Blood, sweat, and tears. Only then did I ascribe price and value and worth to salvation. Until a man has to put in hard work to get you all to himself, he will walk all over you or not appreciate you as I had been. It hurts ladies when you thought you were worth at least one text a day after being sexual with a guy and he still thinks he doesn’t have to contact you for a week afterwards if at all! Hurts! So don’t let it happen again. It’s time to close mouths and close legs ladies. You might not want to do the no kissing until the wedding day like I intend to, but seriously consider celibacy until after the wedding if you want your man to appreciate you. I’m not saying a man can’t LOVE you or won’t marry you if he has sex before marriage, but I do think it seriously decreases your value. It’s like cars. You’ll appreciate a new car you had to work hard to buy more than you will appreciate a used car your mom gave you for free. You can love them both and you can commit to them both, but you sure will appreciate one more than the other!

Let’s briefly discuss the word “appreciation”. The way I define appreciation is “ascribing or accrediting the appropriate price to a person or thing.” When I tell someone that I appreciate them or their gift or kind words, what I mean is that I discern the value in them or the gift or the kind words extended to me. I appreciate the worth of their person, words, or gift. Do men discern your value? Do they price your presence in their life appropriately?

Ladies, don’t you give another man your body when you know that man does not ascribe any worth to you. And the #1 way for man to ascribe worth to you and your body is to buy an engagement ring, send out invitations to all his closest family and friends, and tell you that he wants to the spend the rest of his life with your body whether your body gets too skinny or too fat, too sick, too old, too saggy, too wrinkly, etc. Don’t give your everything to man who gives you his nothing. Only give God and your husband your everything! This note is not just about sex, but since many American youth date that way, it’s important to apply this topic to sex.

Sex before commitment is the verbal way to say, “2M + 4 2L + 2S”. Make that man pay. Make that man wait. THEN give him everything.

Maybe That Last Argument WAS Your Fault [Core Fears]

Claim the blame then things can change.

Do you recall the details of the last serious argument you had? What sparked your anger? Was it the topic? Was it the way something was said? Or was it the person who you were arguing with? Here’s another question: is this an argument that you seem to have had before?

After listening to a Joyce Meyer guest speaker, I learned that most arguments we have are the same – meaning that we argue because of the same thing. Not necessarily on the same subject though, but on the same sensitive areas. These sensitive areas are also known as “core fears”.

A core fear is a cause of main recurring arguments. Many couples have about 85% or more of their arguments based on their core fears. Have you ever wondered why you seem to blow up over the smallest thing someone might say to you? They might have said a little joke about your hairstyle, and you might have snapped on them or ran away in tears. Why? Are you really that sensitive and insecure? Or is it that they stepped on one of your hidden “mines”- your hidden mine meaning your core fear?

Some examples of some common core fears are fear of rejection/abandonment, fear of being seen as incompetent/stupid / fear of failure, fear of not being liked, fear of not being noticed, fear of being detrimental to others, etc., etc. If someone triggers one of these core fears, you will get really emotional and/or start an argument with them. The other person doesn’t necessarily do it on purpose, but they do it just because they’re a human who is ignorant of your mines. They step on it unintentionally and then you blow up on them. If more people were aware of their core fears and discussed them with other people, then so many arguments, break ups, separation, and divorces could be prevented.

A personal example is this: Suppose you have a core fear of being seen as incompetent. Then suppose you return home with a test paper that you got a C on. Then suppose your boyfriend walks in the kitchen while you are in the dining room and notices the test paper lying on the counter and says, “Wow, Dina! I thought you said you studied for this test?” Your boyfriend could have been totally teasing you or meaning no harm. But if you have a core fear of being seen as incompetent, you might blow up and say, “I did study, you big idiot! You were there the whole time helping me study! Maybe if you hadn’t been playing all that loud music, I could have gotten more studying done!” And then the big argument begins. Now the argument will get especially heated if your boyfriend’s core fear is a fear of being detrimental to others’ well-being. If that was the case, then he would be so upset that he would say something else hurtful to you (but intentionally this time) that would make you again retaliate (and this time with a cause) against him! You two would throw out so many hurtful words that you might not even want to be together anymore.

But what if this scenario happened instead…

What if your boyfriend knew of your core fear of being seen as incompetent? So when he came home, he would have said, “Oh, you got a C on your test. That’s good sweetie! So what did you do today? And then you would have said, “Thanks, Hun. Today I ran a mile in the park because I needed to release some stress. I was really aiming at an A on this test because as you know, I was studying very hard.” And then he would say, “You did study hard, Sweetie. But I think that a C is still good.” So because the boyfriend knew his girlfriend’s core fear, he knew how not to detonate that situation into a big blow up.

But suppose he didn’t know her core fear, but she knew he didn’t know hers. If she was willing to be the bigger person, she could say, “That was very hurtful to me because I studied really hard for that test. But I’ll just do better next time.” Instead of attacking his core fear of being seen as a hindrance or as detrimental to someone’s success, she avoided an ugly argument while also letting him know that his statement was hurtful. This way, he knows not to do that again. No argument whatsoever. No chance at a break up.

The important thing is that we let our significant other know up front what our core fears or sensitive areas are. For example, let’s suppose your core fear is fear of abandonment or rejection. So if your boyfriend knows that, he will try to act in ways and word his sentences in such ways that don’t make you feel rejected. Like if he wanted to spend this Saturday with his friends and not with you as is the routine, he can say, “Baby, I know that we usually spend every Saturday with each other, but this Saturday Bobby is having a get-together with just the guys. I would love to spend my Saturday with you, and you know that; but I’m going to be with the guys. I’ll see later though.”

The way that statement was worded was very tailor-made for a person with a fear of rejection. I’m not saying that you ought to baby your oversensitive girlfriend or boyfriend. But I am saying that you should be respectful of those core fears because they are hard to get rid of. And if you love someone, you will not intentionally continue to trigger those mines. It will only cause distrust, resentment, discord, and break-ups. Treat others how you want to be treated. If you don’t want someone constantly stepping on your core fears (and we all have them), then don’t step on theirs. It really hurts!

Some other core fears or sensitive areas are:

– Not feeling validated for your feelings (no matter how irrational or wrong they may be)

– Being controlled

– Being belittled

– Being embarrassed in front of people

– Being ignored or not being acknowledged (if only at times)

– Being rejected

– Being seen as stupid

– Being seen as unlovable

The way that arguments get started because of core fears is this. When one person says something that stings because it triggers your core fear, you almost immediately go for a sensitive area of theirs. An example that we often see on comedy movies is this. Suppose a man insults his wife’s cooking in front of her family. Perhaps she really thought that her cooking was all that and suppose her core fear is being embarrassed in front of people. So she immediately attacks one of his sensitive areas which we know is very common for many men. She says, “Well you weren’t all that in the bed last night, so if you would do a better job in the bedroom, I might do a better job in the kitchen!” If his core fear is being belittled (especially having his manhood belittled) he will attack back and say something like, “Well, if you hadn’t gained so much weight, I could last longer!” And then she might counterattack upon one of her core fears of being seen as unattractive by saying, “Believe me, Sweetie, it has nothing to do with my weight. At least one of us is packing something of substance somewhere on our bodies!” These types of arguments happen all the time, and they destroy a lot of good relationships all because one or both persons didn’t communicate their core fears and understand the other person’s core fears

The guest speaker on Joyce Meyer compared it to a dance. He said that once one person triggered one core fear whether intentionally or not, the other person would intentionally or not trigger the other’s core fear. And then they would go back and forth hitting core fears intentionally. Couples need to know when to prevent or walk away from this dance of stepping on the mines.

It’s funny that this happens so often because many adults know how this works because they have children. They know which children have thick skin and which children are very sensitive. Michael Jackson was considered the most sensitive child of his family. Even though Joe Jackson was perhaps equally cruel or strict on all the children who were in the music business, Joe’s harshness took its greatest toll on little Michael. Parents know which children can hear a harmless comment about their grades or clothes and which ones can’t. I know of a family where there is a child who is considered the sensitive one. If her mom says that she doesn’t like her daughter’s outfit, she’ll likely go and change it. But if that same mother told her sister the same exact thing in the same exact way, she wouldn’t even think about changing clothes. Insults and offenses can roll off of one person’s back and sink into the another person. Some people are just emotionally stronger than others.

So how come these same adults don’t realize that the same dynamic comes into play with their significant other? If you are wise enough to treat your children differently based on their emotional sensitivity, then how come you don’t have enough sense to do the same with your significant other? The same sensitive woman or man you are dating is the same almost as that child they were years ago with their mom and/or dad. They may not be as sensitive because thick skin comes with age, but they still will likely have the same core fears. Core fears are something that God has to heal in us. Treat your significant other the same way their mother or father would treat them knowing each of their children’s sensitive areas.

That’s why I think that marital counseling is a beautiful and wise thing to do. I know that people didn’t need marital counseling back in the bible days, but we have so many issues in America that it seems almost imperative in order to keep an American couple from divorcing. Marital counseling can teach you about different love styles, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, core fears, etc.

So the next time you get into an argument, stop talking long enough to figure out if you are really thinking this person is a jerk who is intentionally hurting your feelings; or if you are just overly sensitive about particular things because of your core fears. Save your relationship if it’s worth saving!

One of the Hardest Things About Being an Adult: Setting Boundaries

A new way of looking at self defense. Put limits on others’ evil towards you.

 

” You people make me so angry!”

 

This was a recurring phrase in my childhood and teenage years. People would just make me so angry! In fact, people were in control of most of my emotions. If I was jealous, it was because so-and-so made me. If I was mad, so-and-so was to blame. And if I were sad, so-and-so made me sad. They ruled over my frame of mind. But Dr. Henry Cloud (one of my favorite authors who is also a psychologist) introduced me to the concept BOUNDARIES. Thank God for them! Second to the Bible, this book (Changes That Heal) has impacted my life more than anything else that I can recall.

 

I realized that people were not always making me angry, but that I was actually giving myself permission to be angry. When God created people, He did not make them to have ultimate power over our emotions. He gave us rule over our emotions just as He gave mankind rule over the beasts of the field and the fowl of the air. But if we can’t control ourselves, how then can we expect to control things outside of ourselves?

 

For a period of time, I was VERY miserable at one of my old jobs. I blamed my company, my supervisor, my coworkers, and my clients for my misery. It was the company’s fault for making such awkward hours (16 CONSECUTIVE hours on Saturday with no breaks). It was the supervisor’s fault for not chastising the company or policy makers for making such stupid hours. It was my co-workers fault for tolerating it with me. And it was my clients’ fault for making the 16-hour day so long and difficult (whenever they would misbehave to the point that I’d have to break up fights, physical restrain them, or chase after a runaway). It was everyone’s fault but mine!

 

Then Dr. Cloud introduced me to the concept and necessity of boundaries in a book titled Changes That Heal. Without boundaries, we don’t know where we begin and where someone else ends. We don’t know when and how many times to say, “yes” or “no.” We don’t know when to say, “I’m not taking any more of this crap.” We don’t know who we are responsible for and who is responsible for us. God delivered that book to me at a crucial time in my life. I realized that I was not being forced to work there. I could leave at any second! No chains or fetters around my ankles. No armed guards at the gate. Not even someone telling me, “You can’t leave us.” Just my own thoughts telling me I shouldn’t leave. Telling me that I was responsible if the company was short-staffed and that I should feel guilt if the clients felt abandoned by yet another adult in their lives. Telling me that I shouldn’t create, establish, and maintain my boundaries.

 

Every person should set healthy boundaries. Women should have enough boundaries to tell their abusive boyfriends that they will not tolerate anymore abuse from them – physical or psychological. Husbands should have enough boundaries to tell their adulterous wives that they will not tolerate infidelity any longer. The Bible even gives them the right to do so! Parents should tell their adult children that they will put a limit on how they encourage their children’s immaturity by paying their cell phone bills and allowing them to live at home even after they have college degrees and are able to work a job.

 

At work, I had to learn to limit the amount of evil I would allow to come my way. I would let the kids curse at me without properly telling them that it would not be allowed. In my friendships, I would allow a friend to borrow an inordinate amount of money and would also allow her to pay me back LONG after the appointed date that we agreed upon. In my love life in college, I would allow “admirers” to call me at any time of night without any respect to my sleep schedule. But craziest of all, I thought I had the right to get angry with them for doing it!

 

Even if the clients would still curse at me after telling them that they would get consequences for it, they would at least still know that I wouldn’t take it from them without negative consequences. When it came to allowing a friend to borrow money, IT WAS UP TO ME to say, “No, So-and-so, I will not loan you that much money.” Or “No, So-and-so, you said you would pay me back on Friday, and now I need my money back even if you have to borrow it from someone else.” IT WAS UP TO ME to say, “So-and-so, it is 3:00 am. You should assume that I am asleep. Please call back later at a decent hour. Good night.”

 

Likewise, if your man is beating you upside your head, it is your responsibility, right, and reasonable response to say, “John, you know I love you very much, and I value our relationship. But I will no longer allow you to put your hands on me in a violent way. If you continue treating me in this way, I will be leaving you until you get some help. If you refuse to get help, then I will be moving on romantically.” If your boss is putting too much work on you, it is your responsibility to tell him or her, “Mr. Jackson, I’ve been working here for a while, and I really appreciate my job, but I feel as if I have to put my foot down about this. I have been working more hours than my job description has stated. I don’t mind being flexible every once in a while when the company needs help, but I am uncomfortable and refuse to continue working long after 5 o’ clock when my hours are only from 9 am to 5 pm.”

 

If you all are like how I was, it feels as if it is rude to be assertive. Instead of saying, “Pass me that cup over there please,” I would only feel comfortable saying, “Hey, Ashley. If you’re not busy, would you mind passing me that cup over there? If you don’t want to, that’s fine. Thanks.” Had I said, “pass me that cup please,” most people wouldn’t think, “Wow, she’s bossy! How rude!” They would simply pass me the cup and appreciate that I said “please.” But I was very passive and felt as if I was inconveniencing someone if I asked them to do something for me. It was fine when they told me to do something for them, but I felt so wrong and controlling if I said it. God said, “Let there be light!” He didn’t say, “If you have the time and don’t mind, could you please cut on the light? I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks.” God has authority that He’s not afraid to use. We should get like God and act the same! It’s okay to have and to utilize your authority!

 

Parents who don’t properly enforce their authority over their children will undoubtedly have children with a lack of respect for them. God expects us to train and control our children. You shouldn’t be too hard on them because that can lead to other issues, but you should have no problem telling your children to do chores, come home by 8 pm, and to say “ma’am” if you so desire for them to. Children will not die under these terms. Children with authoritative parents fare better than children of permissive parents and authoritarian parents. Permissive parents have children on Maury talk show screaming at an audience of adults with, “You don’t know me! You don’t run me! Shut up!” Authoritarian parents have children who grow up to rebel against authority because of their resentment toward authoritarian parents. They usually grow up to break many laws, live rebellious lives upon going to college, and they may even develop an anxiety disorder because they feel as if every mistake they make is noticed and shamed. But children of authoritative parents grow up to be mentally healthy, mature, responsible, happy, and boundary-establishing adults.

 

You should not feel guilty for establishing boundaries. Maybe you had parents that made you feel as if saying no was selfish and inconsiderate. If you wanted to hang out with your best friend one Friday instead of hanging at home with your family, they might have said, “You’re so wrong for that. You know we want to spend time with you tonight.” But you need to develop and exercise your “no muscle.” You work out this “no muscle” as a child in your family of orientation (your immediate family). If you can’t say no to mom who wants you to spend every Friday night with her or to wear your hair a certain way, you will have problems saying no to college buddies who want you to drink and party every day. If you have problems saying no to daddy who always tells you to play a certain sport or to study in a particular major to grow up to be just like him, you’ll have problems telling your girlfriend or boyfriend no when they ask you to have sex with them. WORK YOUR NO-MUSCLE. Better yet, let’s call it a CHOICE-MUSCLE. Don’t stay at a job that makes you miserable just because you feel as if your coworkers or boss will be mad at you. Be an adult with a choice and take the responsibility to go apply elsewhere.

 

If you want to quit your job, you can do that because it is your adult choice. Or if you like the job and just not a certain aspect of it, be an adult and choose to take responsibility to talk in private with your boss and tell him or her what you want. They may not do it, but you’ll feel better knowing that you tried before you quit. Stop being such a wimp! Be an adult! Make a choice! Make a decision! Take responsibility!

 

If you have a friend who seems to be taking advantage of you, you need to be an adult and tell him or her, “I value our friendship, but I feel as if you are using me for my money/image/networking, and I don’t like it. We need to work on this.” It’s simply the adult thing to do. Don’t be a push over. I promise you that when you make an adult decision in spite of what others think, it is ONE OF THE MOST FREEING EXPERIENCES YOU WILL EVER FEEL! At first you might feel guilty for not thinking and acting as others think you should, but after the initial guilt, it feels AWESOME (if you’re a person who is not used to it).

 

You need to put a limit on evil or bad behavior. If you are married to someone who is an alcoholic or drug abuser, you cannot control their using. It would be as if you are infringing upon THEIR boundaries. But you CAN LIMIT THE AFFECT THEIR USING HAS ON YOU AND/OR YOUR CHILDREN. Drinkers and drug addicts don’t quit because they ought to; it is an illness that they often struggle with for years or for life. So if you’re not willing to live that life for years or decades, you better learn to limit the amount of harm or evil they allow on you, your emotions, your children, your finances, and your future.

 

You can find out what your boundaries are by what you stand up for or stand against. I stand for Christ and love; and I stand against abortions and the devil. Therefore, people who know me should know where I stand on these issues. Hypothetically speaking, if I am against abortion (and I am) and were to get pregnant and my lover tells me “get rid of the baby; I’m not ready to be a father,” I should stand for my boundaries and say, “I won’t do it. You can leave if you want, but I’m going to have this baby. I am pro-life.”

People with poorly-established boundaries who are pro-life will say, “Well, I really don’t want to, but I will if you want me to.” This kind of person will probably end up being resentful and bitter for their entire life if they go against their boundaries. Your lover won’t be like, “I admire that she got rid of the baby for me. She’s such a ride-or-die chick. He’ll more than likely think, “She’ll do whatever I say.” Subsequently, he’ll begin to think of you as not being an adult who chooses what she will do or who she will love; he’ll see you as someone who just has love taken from them against their will. If you don’t make choices, then you’ll have poor relationships because you are not an adult who exercises her or her choice muscle. Adults have better relationships than children. If you don’t stand up for your boundaries, you are basically a child in an adult’s body who just lets people take bits and pieces of you by making demands of you. You don’t love (which is a choice); you just let people tell you what to do, what to believe, and what to feel.

 

When I was in college, I had poorly-established boundaries, so when the temptation and the peer pressure arose, I lowered my standards/boundaries and did what was against my beliefs. But as I got older, I took back my adult right to say no without fear of what my friends would say. If you say whatever people want you to say, they will undoubtedly lose respect for you because of your passivity (your “pushover-ability”). Respected leaders make their own path and their own decisions. When people disrespect me, I respectfully put them back within their boundaries and outside of mine. I make examples out of people because others see how they talk to me, and they see that I don’t take a lot of mistreatment. I’m not a disrespectful, aggressive person, but I am a person with a boundary that God has placed around me. Just as I will bind the devil when He gets out of place, I will “bind” a disrespectful person too. God doesn’t tell us to let demons torment us; He tells us to bind, rebuke, and cast them out. So if I meet a young man who says he is interested in me and then he begins “infringing on my property”, I will cast him out too!

 

So in summary:

◦People do not control your emotions, but you allow them to.

◦Use your choice muscle. It is perfectly fine to say “no” to your parents and subsequently other people in authority over your life when they are disrespecting your boundaries.

◦You are not bossy or rude if you ask someone for something.

◦Put a limit on how much evil you will allow in your life. Confront people who are hurting you and give them an ultimatum without infringing upon their choice muscle and boundaries.

◦Adults utilize their authority over what God has placed under them.

◦Establish boundaries to create healthy relationships that will not be unnecessarily painful for you.

◦Don’t let people encourage you to lower your standards. They will think less of you and will think you are childlike.

◦You can choose to leave at any time.

 

Respect yourself enough to not let people disrespect you more than once. Except for when you are at work where “the customer is always right” you can always tell them what your boundaries are and walk away if they don’t want to respect you. Remember that we are all under the authority of God and that we must respect him and honor our mother and father. But we are not told to let our mother and father control every aspect and decision of our life after we are adults. The bible says that when you marry, you leave your parents. It is now time for you to become an adult just as your parents are adults. Remember, your parents are peers of other adults in their workplace regardless of the ages there. Your mother and father are on the same level as 18 year olds at their job, and you are on the same level as 50 + year olds at your job. So while you must always respect your parents, you don’t have to do everything they tell you to do. In a sense, you are a peer to your parents when it comes to making decisions about what you will do with your life. However, be respectful. I pray that my adult readers will realize that they are adults and will act accordingly!