It’s more challenging to blog without WordPress on my phone, yet making time today to write from my laptop. Life has shifted dramatically since I last penned a blog. My father has moved locally due to his health concerns. I was promoted to a leadership position in corporate and took on a staff of 8, now I have 5. My leadership responsibilities have expanded. Similar to previous seasons, I have not been seeking leadership opportunities. They’ve found me. Someone told me, “God must trust you.” I confess there are moments where I desire to whisper back to God, “You can trust me less.”
I spent last summer remodeling my house and upgrading things that were long overdue. Redecorating and remodeling brought more joy than I expected. Beyond the house things, I ventured to Hawaii last autumn and fell in love with the islands. What’s not to love? It lead me to invest in time share properties there so I can visit yearly if I’d like to do so. I took the leap to travel to Costa Rica this spring and fell head over heels for the people, the country, and the culture. Pura Vida is certainly a motto I brought home with me. It’s the pure life, the good life, and make the most of life.
I believe it’s imperative to make the most out of life. I share what I have been doing not to boast of the good. It’s hopefully to inspire you not to wait to live! I have spent a good portion of my life serving the church, leading bible studies, helping the poor, going on mission trips, giving the coat of my back to people in need. I gave until it hurt me. I mentored, loved, prayed, interceded, and attempted to share what God gave me. 2020 was a tremendous wake up call for me that I was investing more in loving people that I was in loving myself.
The people I so freely opened my life and heart to, would easily vacate my life over politics, face masks, or the social justice imbalances highlighted in society. I learned the people I had extended love, mercy, forgiveness, friendship, encouragement, and the best of me to, were not interested in loving me the way Jesus told them to…I was expected to love. They could do as they pleased.
God instructed me and you to love our neighbor’s AS we love ourselves, not MORE than we love ourselves. I was failing at loving myself with the same intensity and intentional focus as I was loving people in the church. I was showing up to serve when exhausted, hurting, in need, in pain, and putting others first. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do as “Good Christians”? I learned religion taught me things that God never intended to be. God expects we will take care of ourselves, set boundaries, have balance and love ourselves.
The journey since 2020 lead me to write…and though I have not been blogging, I have been journaling and writing books. The next book, which is currently finishing up and heading to editors, is focused on foundational wisdom for relationships. I include things I wish I knew earlier and insight from the past 8 years of doing soul healing sessions with people. There is nothing I can think of outside of disease that has derailed more lives and hearts than relationships. The people who’ve done the most damage in my life have been bible thumping Christians.
Sadly, a chunk of the counsel we are given in religious circles leads to toxic relationships and abuse. I know the pressure to stay connected to people who made my life hell or they added zero value. I was encouraged to give everyone access and friendship, that forgives means reconciliation, and I was not to consider what I needed in connections. All of that guidance is incorrect.
“A companion of fools suffers harm,”-Proverbs 13:20.
“Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people,”- Proverbs 22:24.
“He who walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”-add’l view of Proverbs 13:20.
God actually cares who we connect ourselves with and intended for relationships to be mutually beneficial, not one sided. Relationships were designed by God so we could experience the love of God through another person. God desires we have relationships that reveal His heart for us, encourage, strengthen, affirm, correct, refine, and help us step into destiny and calling. I looked around my life and I was doing copious amounts of giving and not much was flowing back. I am looking at the grand sum of connections, I do have some that are balanced. The unbalanced ones were mostly tied to church people. Before you insert, “You should give expecting nothing in return,” I want to challenge you with these thoughts.
- Charity is intended to be done with little to no expectation of reciprocation of relationship/connection.
- Charity is NOT the same as having a close friendship, partnership, or marriage.
- If every connection you have is you giving and no one ever reciprocates, you are not in a relationship. You are doing ministry/charity.
- Jesus offers us salvation and asks for our entire lives. It’s not a one sided relationship (though people paint it as such). He expects something in return. Jesus also ministered to the disciples AND asked them to stay up and pray for Him.
This next book, Relationships 101, I pray helps people to see where they may be missing out on God’s best in connections. I hope it helps people to forego being heartbroken. I believe there are things that need to be adjusted and refined in Christian teaching on relationships. I believe this because of the number of couples I see in soul healing sessions who are living in hell and told just to keep praying and God will magically fix everything. The truth is God gave us a brain and heart on purpose. We have things we need to do to have healthy relationships. One of them is to ask for wisdom. Another is to have proper boundaries. The last nugget I will leave you with is to ponder why you are spending time with the people around you and are you becoming more like Christ as a result?
My encouragement is make sure you are receiving God’s love for yourself and seeking to love yourself as God does. We cannot give away that which we do not possess. Love yourself! If you struggle with this concept, ask God for assistance. The relationship we have with ourselves sets the tone for all our connections. If we do not appropriately love ourselves, we will accept less that what God would offer us in relationships with others.
I hope you pick up the book when it’s released later this year and share with others! God longs for us to have life giving, not life draining connections.
Founder & CEO of Lamb Enterprises LLC and Operation God is Love (OGL