It’s A Blessing or A Lesson

Some lessons learned (35 actually). I hope they bless or encourage someone.

1. People tend to value less what is free or where they have no investment. I love giving, yet found people trample under foot lavish giving. If it cost them nothing (time, money, committment, resources) they do not value what is provided. In a few rare cases you find people who genuinely appreciate what does not cost them anything. Psychology Today did an article that showed people who invest nothing have no attachment or sense of ownership. The one who gives or invests is the one who grows to love. Hence God encouraging generosity. Where you sow or invest brings forth an attatchment.

2. People will expect more from you than they are willing to give. I found there are many imperfect people expecting perfection out of everyone else. Or there are people who desire I support their business, their ministry, their dreams, etc…who would not lift a finger or even offer 50 cents for anything I do or anyone else.

3. If you don’t set proper boundaries, people will walk all over you.

4. It is possible to love people and still not give them access to your life.

5. Insecure and selfish people hurt others to cope with their own internal love deficit. People, myself included, can only give away love we possess.

6. Sometimes you reap or experience what you did not sow. Examples from the Bible: Jesus, Job, Joseph.

7. Favor is not a feeling nor do circumstances always reflect the favor of God. Joseph was thrown in a pit. Jesus went to a cross. You must pay attention to the entire story, not a chapter or two.

8. Mankind loves a celebrity, Christian or otherwise. Some people will only support you based on who you know, who they think you know, or to try to get close to someone you know.

9. You must care for all parts of yourself: Body, Soul, and Spirit. Neglect one and the others suffer.

10. People (some not all) are more comfortable with men being confident, assertive, intelligent, powerful and successful. We are still fighting gender stereotypes. Be confident, intelligent, powerful, assertive, and successful anyway. Your audience is God.

11. Some people use “God told me,” or “God said,” as tools of manipulation or to get their way. If God did not tell me, I don’t care what He supposedly told everyone else. I don’t move outside of peace.

12. People who put you down often think you are better than them.

13. Some people want you to suceed, just not more than them.

14. Some people don’t know they are prejudice, sexist, or racist. It just slips out and their cover is “I have a (fill in group they biased against) friend. I don’t see color or gender.” Pray for them. Forgive. Have teaching moments, “That’s rude. That’s racist. That is inappropriate.”

15. Learning to strengthen yourself in the Lord is vital! Don’t look for cheerleaders. Cheer for your own darn self.

16. Some people don’t want to be healed even when they state they do. They subconsciously gain attention or benefit from being sick or holding onto toxic mindsets.

17. I am not Jesus. I point to Jesus. If you let people think they have access to you 24/7, 365 days a week, they will run you into the ground then get upset you broke down.

18. It is common for people to want mercy when they sin and harsh judgement when sinned against.

19. The one who opposes you the most sees you as a threat. They see your potential even if you don’t.

20. Learning to love yourself as God does is wisdom and vital to thriving.

21. The most critical people suffer from low self esteem. Putting others down or harshly critiquing them is a means to cope with internal feelings of inadequacy.

22. Some people won’t support you for fear you will surpass them.

23. Rebuke is a friend to the false prophet/prophecy…”No I am not in agreement with that. No I do not accept your word.” People don’t know they are in error if everyone just nods and smiles. Correct in love, not mean spiritedness. Pray before confronting people.

24. Pushy people need loving correction and boundaries set quickly. If you give an inch, they will drag you miles.

25. We don’t owe anyone friendship. It is a gift to be stewarded.

26. Ministry is not meant to be a hostage situation. It’s okay to take breaks or resign from assignments with proper notice. I tend to give 2-3 months notice, longer if it’s a big role.

27. I get to choose with God who I mentor, vs. people telling me I am their mentor. If people will not meet me halfway with participation and playing their part. I have the right to cease letting people waste my time.

28. People treat us how we let them treat us. People waste our time because we let them.

29. Some people view love as agreement. Which it is not. I can disagree and still love a person.

30. God is not our trunk monkey (fixer) who does everything for us. We have a participation role to play.

31. Some of the people who cry out for revival the most are the least active in partnering with God to see revival. Talking and praying about revival is more important than actually going and doing the works of Jesus and making disciples.

32. Some people like their demons yet will try to convince you they don’t. Actions scream over words.

33. If you let people, they will cling to you instead of Jesus. Say NO!

34. You can pour your heart and soul into people that treat it like nothing. Bless them and understand people will NOT treat you any better than they do God. You are ultimately doing it for God.

35. Pray over relationships and every opportunity. God show me who this person really is. When He shows you, adjust accordingly. Love people, yet set proper boundaries.

Love,

Erin

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Morning Devotion: Setting Healthy Boundaries. God Sets Limits and Boundaries. Loving Ourselves Involves Setting Limits With People.

One of the areas of my life God has been infusing with wisdom the past years is boundaries. They are so vital. I learned people treat us the way we let them. What we tolerate continues. I learned people wanted me to be available to drop whatever was happening in my life for them with zero investment because I was too open, too helpful, overgave, over invested, and treated everyone like they were VIP. It appeared I did not value my time or resources so why should they? We must learn to demonstrate value for ourselves. It is not arrogance to value yourself. It is expected from God. Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.

I believe everyone is worthy of love, respect, dignity, and should be treated well. Everyone is not to have the same levels of access to us. Some people have general seating. Some have VIP. Some have no access at all. They are loved, they do not have access to the inner world, classified information, nor access to all my time.

I also learned kindness is telling people that their behavior is inappropriate. Some float through life destructive because they have never been corrected nor had any godly consequences.

My lack of wisdom nor strong boundaries caused numerous issues. The funny thing is, I had quite strong boundaries until I started doing ministry things. Then I was told to love, turn the other cheek, just keep being nice to Susie. Susie on the other hand was destructive, divisive, and creating strife in the church. Kindness was telling Susie, “We love you, God loves you. Your identity is not what you do. We would love to have you stay, yet this behavior is ungodly. What is going on in your heart that you behave this way? If you keep harassing people without repentance, we need you to leave.”

It is imperative that we:

1. Value ourselves the way God does.

2. Value the time and resources given by God and not waste them (everyone and everything is not our assignment-ask God for His assignments and to know when they are over/what the limits should be).

3. Address mistreatment when it occurs.

4. Set limits with people (no you may not call me at 2 am to download your problems, you may not pop in and out of my life and expect me to drop everything for you, no I am not your therapist, and no you may not treat me that way).

5. Assess who has and who should have access to us; what level of access is appropriate.

Access Level 1 (New Person/Toxic Behaving Person):

If it is someone we just met and do not know well, they do not need to know everything about us. People who gossip, are abusive, critical, or cruel also do not need to know everything. General information is appropriate. The amount of time we spend with them may be limited. The amount of info we share may be limited. They are on a need to know basis. In this level, we love the person without giving them full access to the house (our lives).

Access Level 2 (Associate):

This person has a bit more access. They may have more information and trust has been built over time. Associates are like branches on the tree. They do not hold much weight. They can break off and blow away like the wind.

Access Level 3 (Friend):

This person has demonstrated that they love, care, support, and want the best for you. Their actions are loving. They have more access to your time and life. This is a MUTUAL relationship. It is not one sided. Friends are invested on both sides. There is a level of trust on both sides. They have demonstrated with their actions, not just their words, that they are trustworthy and have your best interests at heart. These people can be stronger branches or like the trunk of a tree. They are helpful, supportive.

Access Level 4 (Close Friend/VIP):

This person you could trust with your life, deep inner world, and has more access to you. They are tried and true. They are fiercely loyal, supportive, truthful, loving, hopeful, and willing to sacrifice for you. Their actions are supportive of their words. You could leave your kids or bank account information with them, knowing no harm would come to you. I only have 2 of these people aside from my dad. These people are the roots of the tree. They may not be visible to everyone, yet they are to us. They are strong, supportive, reliable, not going anywhere.

We get into trouble when everyone is given the same access. My heart is just to LOVE people, for everyone to feel included. Yet love without wisdom is not God love. God loves us all; He still sets limits. I think one of the issues is the belief God just accepts anything from us so people should too. This is a lie!! The Old Testament gives us a great picture of what God requires. Jesus fulfilled the law. He did not abolish God’s requirements for access to Him nor His standard of holiness. Jesus gave us a new way, the only way to approach God and fulfill the requirements. Those who treat God loosely, without true respect and honor, will do the same to you. Those who believe God just accepts whatever they offer, will treat you the same way. Misunderstanding grace has produced some abusive people in churches.

Are we setting healthy boundaries? Are we tolerating unhealthy boundaries?

God expects us to love ourselves and set healthy boundaries. Boundaries are like a fence around our lives. People can see the beauty of our heart or lives, yet only invited guests are allowed inside. If they come inside to repeadily burn down the yard, they are escorted outside the fence. Their level of access changes.

May you and I not only love others, may we love ourselves.

Image: Sharon Martin Counseling

Love,

Erin Lamb

Upcoming Events:

I will be on the radio this Saturday night July 28, 2018 with Pastor Mike Zachman out of Seattle, WA. You may tune in from wherever you are. Call in, we would love to chat with you and pray for you.

I will be in Columbus, Ohio next month and would love to connect with you. See the info below. The event is free, just seeking a headcount for refreshments. Go to Empowered & Free and click on Upcoming Events.

Get Wisdom!

Morning Devotion: Gaining wisdom is vital to thriving. Let’s talk about relationships-great ones set you up to go further, draining ones sabotage efforts. God desires we have mutual and life giving relationships.

I had a very bad habit of giving people too much; too much access to me, too much availability, too much sacrificing for their benefit. They say you can never give too much-this is a lie.

Giving without wisdom is just as bad as not giving at all.

Giving in the wrong places, sowing into the wrong soil is just as bad as not sowing.

Let me break it down with examples. If I had a million dollars and gave it to someone who flushed it down the toilet, was that a good investment? No! They put the million dollars in the toilet and flushed it. They had no value for what was given to them. So they wasted it. Say they come back a few weeks later and asked for another million. It would be utter foolishness to give them another million. Yet let’s say you did and they flushed it down the toilet. They come back another time and ask for a million dollars. If you keep giving it to them, it’s pure foolishness.

How many times in Christian relationships is there a push to just give, give, and give with no wisdom? There is this push to give money, volunteer everywhere, give people-even toxic ones full access to your life, and just keep enduring abuse and mistreatment.

Jesus was not foolish. God is not foolish. God is a wise investor. Yes God allows His goodness to flow over the just and the unjust. God also invests wisely. God knows before He pursues us who we will become. God knew though Peter denied Jesus who he would become. God is purposeful, not aimless. There is a divine purpose behind everything God does and everything God allows. Even God has a boundary on who has full access to Him. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father unless they come through the Son.” God also has an expectation on His love. God tells us He expects to be loved in return. He freely gives us love. Love given relationship with God IS expected to be returned.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:36-40.

We are actually told the greatest commandment is to love God. God anticipates mutual love. I know this is not always taught, yet it’s biblical. God loves without our love. He does not cease loving if we do. God still expects mutual love in relationship. I truly believe one of the reasons humans struggle with loving other people is due to a lack of understanding of how to love God. God is their Mr. Fix it, or trunk monkey. He is not someone they engage with just because they love Him. Therefore they do not know how to just love other people.

We are invited to be good to people, even our enemies. This does not mean we become unwise and foolish. Get wisdom the bible says.

A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming and prepares himself for it.

But the senseless rush blindly forward

and suffer the consequences,~Proverbs 22:3.

Say goodbye to a troublemaker and you’ll say goodbye to quarrels, strife, tension, and arguments, for a troublemaker traffics in shame,~Proverbs 22:10.

Walk away from an angry man or you’ll embrace a snare in your soul by becoming bad-tempered just like him,~Proverbs 22:24-25.

So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.[c]~1 Corinthians 15:32.

[c] 1 Corinthians 15:33 This is likely a quotation from the Athenian poet Menander (Thras. 218). Paul is using this quote to encourage the believers to stay away from those who deny the resurrection.

Some Examples:

If Suzie only calls you to download her issues and problems, when she is bored, and sucks up hours of your time needed elsewhere, why are you answering the phone? Suzie is responsible for her own life and you yours. Yes we pray for people. Yes we love people. We also set boundaries.

I have sent people to ministries that have 24/7 prayer support, told then to pursue a counselor or life coach or soul healing or told them I could no longer be their stand in crisis person. Why? I am not God. I don’t want to be Jehovah Jr. I have limited time, tons of obligations, my own issues, and limited emotional capacity. God has no limits. I can not do all things. I can do all things God purposes me to do. Everything and everyone is not my assignment, nor yours.

If we are not careful, people will put us into the God spot. We do not belong there. Only God can be God. We have some limitations.

If Lucy has a bad temper and goes off on you regularly, and you have addressed this behavior with her and she never apologies and continues to verbally abuse you, why are you hanging out with Lucy? Why? Lucy has demonstrated with her actions that she does not care about you. Continuing to pursue closeness with Lucy is not helping Lucy become a better person. Lucy knows no matter how poorly she treats you, you will be back for her to verbally beat up again.

I am going to say something that may be shocking. Love sets boundaries! I repeat, “Love sets boundaries.”

What are boundaries? This is where someone else’s freedom ends where ours begins. It is self care, not selfishness. It is saying, “I value myself and I value you.” It is also wise stewardship. God expects us to love ourselves. We are told to love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Boundaries examine what God has placed inside us and around us that needs guarded from just anyone and everyone having access.

I love the phrase, “Build a fence, not a wall around your heart. People can see its beauty, yet not everyone has access.”

If we do not gain wisdom in relationships, we can end up in toxic, abusive, one sided, life sucking relationships. How can I say this? I have walked it out. I just wanted to love people and love lavishly gives without expectation of return (in my mind). Like Oprah’s giveaways, I was going around to any and everyone, “You get love, you get love, you get love.” I would befriend anyone and drop my priorities to help other people. I would take vacation to help other people. I learned the following:

1. Without boundaries people treat you like a doormat or worse; you are something to wipe their muddy feet on and they do not respect you. Lack of boundaries leads to mistreatment, being used, and sometimes even abuse.

2. God did not ask me or you to be the sacrificial lamb for everyone. We are to follow the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Yes give, yes love people, and also LISTEN to the Holy Spirit. I had an instance with street ministry where the Holy Spirit told me not to stop for this man begging. I did anyway thinking, “This could not be God. This man is in need.” That man was super nasty squared! God was trying to save me from wasting time, I refused to listen.

3. Some people and things are a distraction! Hear me again. They are a distraction. They come and suck up time and resources when God has other things for us to do or other assignments. Put some prayer on it. God do you want me connected to this? Everything that sounds good or looks good is not God. Learning to set limits and say no is vital.

“Thank you for your offer, I am unable to do that at this time.”

“Thank you so much for thinking of me. I am not able to participate.”

We can lovingly say no.

4. Lack of boundaries is a lack of love for self. I have always hated the love God, love your neighbor, then love yourself last. It is wrong. The true order is receive love from God, love ourselves and God, then love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. God expects us to love ourselves. How do we want to be treated? Why are we tolerating less than that?

5. Lack of boundaries fuels entitlement. Entitlement says, “This is owed to me.” Believe it or not, I have had people demand I be in relationship with them. Or they were quite toxic in choices, behavior and expected close friendship or tried to manipulate me into friendship. Ummmm no. Friendship and relationships are gifts, not obligations. We give thanks for relationships and try to steward them with love. They do not owe us relationship. If we are a poor steward, we may lose relationships.

There are people I love and pray for that do not have full access to me; their access is limited. They have shown repeadily that they are mean spirited, unrepentant, some hostile, and grossly selfish. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, try to get them an outfit. I pray for them. I do not invite them to hang out and talk about my deep inner world. Why? They are going to trample it under foot or go flush it down the toilet. I do not drop my schedule anymore to help others unless God tells me too. I have priorities, obligations, and assignments from God.

This does not mean if someone needs 911 I ignore it. It does mean if I have project work to do and someone needs a ride they can call Uber. It does mean some calls can go to voicemail. It does mean I give people tools to see their own personal breakthrough. It does mean I don’t drop what I am doing for everyone. If I did, I would be driven by people not the Holt Spirit. It does mean I now take a year or so to assess people before I share my inner world-call them a friend.

I have offered way too many people friendship who came into the garden of my heart, poured gasoline, and lit it on fire. They were destructive. I am not wounded nor jaded. I learned something.

I stopped initiating with people who never ever initiated with me or only contacted me if I first contacted them or gave them something or they need something. I learned. Oh baby did I learn.

When people show us who they are, I believe them. I believe what people show me. I am not criticizing nor putting them down. I am assessing a situation based on the evidence. I then set boundaries based on who they are, not what they say. People can chant, “I love you all day,” yet their actions scream indifferent, just here for what I can get, or hostile. Yes we look for the gold, we also gain wisdom! We also function with discernment. We learn to hear and follow the Holy Spirit.

Finally, God wants us connected to people who will steward our hearts, time, and resources like He would. God takes NO delight in toxic relationship. Would we want our children mistreated? Hopefully no. God’s heart is far bigger than ours. God loves His children FAR more than we do.

Activation:

1. If you have children or had a child, what kind of friends would you want them to have? Write it out. Do your friends match that list? Are you that type of friend?

2. Assess who gets most of your time or resources? How are they stewarding what is given? You can waste time with those who have no value for what you offer. How can you better steward the time and resources?

-I have pulled back from super investing as a mentor in people who do absolutely nothing with what is given to them. Why? There are other people who will steward it well.

Bless you! Have an amazing Saturday!

Love,

Erin Lamb

P.S Be sure to check out my latest book Confident & Free Paperback and Confident & Free ebook. If you wish for a signed copy and love in the USA or Canada, please stop by my business website Lamb Enterprises LLC (Live Empowered & Free).