Relational Lessons Learned

20 Relational Lessons.

One of the greatest mistakes I’ve made in life involves misunderstanding love. I loved lavishly without wisdom. Gave some people VIP access who should have had outside the window viewing privileges only. Listened more to what people said than watched their behavior. In an effort not to be a relational snob, to be inclusive, I would befriend almost anyone. Not due to loneliness, because I like spending time by myself. I simply thought I was loving.

Here are some hard lessons I learned:

  1. Love and access are two different things. Love everyone (seek to do no harm). Give people who have earned trust access. Love is a gift. Trust is earned. Some people will treat your heart like it has no value, mishandle you. It’s your job to test who should have access. Guard your heart. Build a fence, not a wall. Everyone can see it’s beauty, not everyone has access.
  2. Some people believe they are great and that they have pure motives, and they do not. Ask God. I ask God to reveal who I am and the hearts of others. Not to judge, to assess levels of access. We do background checks and ask for references regarding jobs or child care workers. Why don’t we investigate people who want to be close to us?
  3. People who do not love themselves, or struggle with hating themselves cannot love you! A naked man can not give you a shirt. We give away the love we possess. An insecure person will struggle with your confidence or success. They may struggle with jealousy, envy, comparison, competing, putting you down, being unsupportive, or emotionally needy/entitled.
  4. If you are doing all the giving, initiating, serving, etc…it’s charity/ministry or associate not a friendship.
  5. Take time to get to know people before calling them friend or giving access to your heart/life. Everyone does not need access or to know your business.
  6. It is challenging to truly know who someone is online. Spend time in person if you can. I have met numerous people who appear like Jesus online and in person they are unkind, rude, selfish, and toxic.
  7. Don’t just trust a person because they claim to be a Christian, a minister, etc…goes back to point 6. Take time to get to know a person’s character.
  8. Some people are ministry assignments or associates, not friends. Friendship is a higher level of trust and involves mutual investment. Friends are trustworthy.
  9. Pray over relationships. God sees what we cannot see. Listen to God even if the person is shouting, “I love you so much!”
  10. We are not a great fit for everyone. Sure, be friendly/kind to all. It does not mean every person is a good fit for friendship.
  11. Some people are attracted to what you carry, they do not value you as a person. They are fans not friends. Jesus has tons of fans, far less close friends.
  12. You can eat at the table with Judas, wash his feet, yet not take him up the mount of transfiguration.
  13. God expects us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, not more than we love ourselves.
  14. If you don’t set boundaries, people will run all over you. People treat you how you let them treat you.
  15. God wants His kids to have great relationships just like a natural parent would.
  16. They say you attract who you are. Sometimes you attract who you are not. If you are happy, you may attract negative people. If you are a giver, you may attract takers.
  17. Selfish people can be dangerous. They primarily think about themselves.
  18. Sometimes the person who flatters you the most is the least trustworthy with your heart.
  19. People say loads of things, watch what they do.
  20. Focus on becoming a wiser person attracts wiser friends. Get wisdom, gain discernment. We don’t owe everyone friendship.

Hope these tips help!

Here is a bonus sermon: https://youtu.be/3kwA9HQ0Zj4

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Jesus Loved Women Well

Jesus had deep friendships with women. A note to Christian men-it is normal & godly to love someone of the opposite gender without romantic intentions & to be loved in return with agape love.

Chatting with women and my own experiences with Christian men we all have had some bad experiences with men who either act weird, or do not love well. Love is focused only on the woman they want to marry or their biological family.

There is the guy who constantly has to say, “sister in Christ.” I confronted a guy in love once who was excessive saying that to me. I asked him, “Do you keep saying that because you think I want to date you? If so, you can stop. I have no such desire.”

I spoke to a lady where men would not even look her in the eye. She was avoided. This caused deep hurt. Why? Because in Christian community it is supposed to be more like a family than an organization. Imagine going to a family gathering and people avoided you, would not talk to you, ghosted you, refused to have any godly contact, they reminded you often they only talked to you because you are related.

I had a guy tell everyone but me I was trying to date him simply because I periodically encouraged him in the Lord because that is what the Bible said to do. It was not fun when I found out. I stopped trying to have Christian men as friends for a long time. God blessed me later with a few men who could give and receive agape love without being weird, suspicious, or immature. It healed so much and taught me so much about the love of God through a man.

Yes, have some boundaries. Also note Jesus did this well, so it can be done. My suggestions.

1. You can make eye contact and say hello.

2. Don’t assume every person of the opposite gender is interested romantically. Our culture is kind when they want something or to date. It is not that way in God’s Kingdom.

3. Before you leap to conclusions pray. “God how do I need to relate to this person?”

4. Ditch fear. More people have been wounded by fear than anything else. There is no fear in God love.

5. Understand no one can make you sin. It is possible to love with God’s love and not fall into sin if you choose to let God deal with the heart.

6. If you have an issue with lust, get deliverance. Lust is an internal issue.

7. If you think a woman is interested in you, pray (do this first) and ask God for His counsel-not everyone in the church. Treat that person how you would want to be treated. It may warrant an adult conversation or better boundaries. Please refrain from gossip, ghosting (just ignoring the person). It is not loving.

I have talked to several men in my lifetime. “Hey, what’s on your mind or heart about this connection?” Asking questions is better than assuming. Some people are just loving, kind, generous or friendly. If a guy states he is looking for a wife, we talk like adults. Intentions are shared and hearts are spared from mistreatment. Some we are still friends. I simply let them know my heart and intentions. Communication is vital.

If you are not romantically interested, it is still possible to love. Jesus loved women well! Gosh, He elevated women. I also believe for those who want to be married, learning to love women in a non eros (romantic) way will help you greatly in life.

I confess I have made associations with non Christian men because they related to me better, treated me better, did not act weird, and treated me like a person not a virus. We can, I think, do better in this area. 🙂

Love,

Erin

#men #ChristianMen

Photo: Pinterest

Guarding Your Heart❤️

Build A Fence Around Your Heart, Not a Wall. Therefore, Others Can See It’s Beauty, Yet Only Those Invited Are In It’s Inner Chamber (Your Inner World). Steward Your Heart.

One of my biggest mistakes (I think) in life was opening up my heart to so many people without wisdom. I simply wanted to love people as God loved me. So I was open, transparent, easily shared vulnerabilities. I learned it was not wisdom to give everyone access to my heart. There are ways to love everyone without allowing everyone access.

God is love! Yet God does not give everyone VIP access to Him. If you read in the Old and New Testement, there is way to get to the Father. He is not a snob. He is holy and valuable. You and I are not God. We are highly valuable to God. God loves His children MORE than earthly parents love theirs. God placed so high a value on humanity, Jesus was willing to offer His life in exchange for ours. We were guilty, dead in tresspasses and sins, and distanced from God. Jesus paid the full penalty for sin, and through Him we gain access to a holy God.

God pursues with relentless love. The door and access to Him remains the same. God sets boundaries out of love and wisdom.

You and I are called to love and value ourselves as God does. This means taking inventory of what is coming into our heart, our lives, our ears. Out of the mouth the heart speaks. When we spend all our time healing/mending from toxic people, it takes away from enjoying God and connecting with the right people.

Guarding our hearts is part of our responsibility. God does not do everything for us. We not only take assessment of who has access to us. We take assessment with God regarding our own heart. David stated, “Search me oh God!”

One of my regular prayers is, “Search my heart God. Recalibrate my heart. Align my heart with your love, truth, wisdom. Reveal any little foxes that may spoil the vine. Give me wisdom. Help me to be a blessing. Purge my heart of anything not like you!”

God is faithful to not only reveal the hearts of others (so we know how much access they need in our lives, not to judge them), but to reveal our own hearts so we can repent and be properly aligned with God’s heart! We too can guard our hearts by taking inventory of what we listen to, who we allow to speak into our lives, by seeking godly relationships, and investing in taking in what is good, pure and noble. What we feast on, we become. We become like the gods we worship. We can take inventory of the inputs in our lives. What we take in our eye and ear gates does impact our hearts. What we feed grows. So may you and I not only guard our hearts, may we deposit good things into our hearts.

As water reflects the face,

so one’s life reflects the heart.

Proverbs 27:19

The heart is deceitful above all things

and beyond cure.

Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,

to reward each person according to their conduct,

according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

I seek you with all my heart;

do not let me stray from your commands.

Psalm 119:10

Be blessed! You are prayed for and deeply loved!! God I ask for each person reading this to have an encounter with your love today. May they know and experience the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of your incredible love!! Comfort the hearting. Heal the broken. Love them deep. In Jesus powerful name.

Love,

Erin Lamb

Empowered-Free.com

Empoweredandfreemerch.com

OperationGodisLove.org

Soul Sunday Relationship Tips

Soul Sunday Notes: How to Process Challenging Times Without Burning Out Your Friends & Family (14 Options to Process In Challenging Seasons).

I told a relative yesterday who proclaimed, “You should ask for more help. Pride keeps independent people from getting help,” that I never desire to be that Debby Downer, needy person. God supplies all my needs, not people. The first stop for me is God, not people. I talk to God. I cry with God. I seek God. I receive comfort from God. I process with God. I tell God what I need and desire. Then God either puts me on the heart of people who reach out because they are led by His Spirit, or leads me to the right resources/people.

There is no shame in letting people know you are walking through challenges. I will tell you though people grow weary listening to other people’s pains, challenges, and problems. I know what it is like to be the person people think is their 24/7 therapist, counselor, pastor, problem solver, listening ear, crisis manager, and intercessor. They come and drop of their needs on top of my own. I can only do so much and after awhile I feel depleted. I am emotionally spent. Some people, I know if they contact me they want something, need something, or have a problem. They can be overwhelmingly exhausting. I don’t want to be the person people run from because I am constantly singing the dirge or in crisis.

So here are my tips for bypassing being the person people hide from because you are too needy:

1. Seek God first! Gosh God gives the best counsel, support, comfort, and challenging seasons are a great time to go even deeper.

2. Get in the Bible and search for passages that pertain to your current struggle. Pray God’s word out loud.

3. Worship God. Worship recalibrates our perspective and takes our mind off our situation and places it on God.

4. Reach out to people paid to help those in crisis. Many bigger ministries have paid intercessors or prayer teams. Cfan, Joyce Meyers, CBN, and many more have numbers you can call or online portals to submit prayer requests. Gosh, I have been submitting requests to Joyce Meyer Ministries since college. It gives your friends and family a break.

5. Ask God to send helpers, supporters. God knows who can handle your situation and your heart.

6. Take an interest in your friends and family without dumping your problems on them. Celebrate with them if you can. Why? Life is not all about us.

7. Give thanks daily. Try to find something to be thankful for.

8. Recognize your friends and family have their own struggles, bills, lives, and issues. If you constantly dump your problems on them, you can become a burden. Yes, our family/close friends are supposed to love without condition. Yet they are not God. They can not handle constant crisis.

9. Learn to encourage yourself in the Lord. I go find inspirational youtube videos & prayers. I play them. I encourage myself instead of looking to someone else.

10. If your situation is chronic, look for support groups, grief share, or for some-you may need to find a therapist. They get paid to listen to people’s problems.

11. Show up when you don’t have a problem. Add value. Ask how other people are doing and listen.

12. Journal thoughts instead of taking up hours of your friend’s and family time talking about yourself. I can not tell you how many times I prayed God would let my phone die with people who talked 3 hours or more about themselves and never let me say anything. Then after their verbal dump on me it’s “I gotta go.”

13. Understand people need breaks from bad news and you need prayer. Share something positive, add value, ask how you can pray for them.

14. Treat others how you wish to be treated. I don’t enjoy only being contacted for prayer requests, needs, everybody’s crisis. So I refrain from putting my burdens on people. I go to God first. Then where He leads me. I try to add more than I take. Because I understand what it’s like to be the burden bearer for others. After awhile you learn to say no, set firm limits, and tell people to seek Jesus or professional help.

I hope something here is a blessing! God loves you with an everlasting love.

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Empowered-Free.Com

EmpoweredandFreeMerch.com

OperationGodisLove.org

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

Godly Pursuit vs. Selfish Pursuit

Every Pursuit is Not Rooted in God Love

I have encountered numerous women in my lifetime who felt so special for being pursued. Yet the man pursued them as a game, out of loneliness, selfishness, lust, greed, to check a box, to cause harm. Women can pursue too…women are sometimes taught in culture that having a man increases their value or not being married or having children is a sign of life failure. It’s untrue, yet culture contains many things that simply aren’t true. Stalkers are pursuers too…they simply don’t possess the right motivations.

God tells us to pursue wisdom. God tells us to investigate fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). I have been pursued by people, not just men, for their selfish gain. They were not interested in what God was speaking to me or calling me to do. They saw something they thought they wanted and saught to convince me to go along with the agenda. God tells us not to pursue selfish agendas.

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself,~Phil 2:3.

God is not selfish. When God pursues us, our best interests are taken into consideration. When God presents a plan or His agenda, our best interests and the best interests of others are taken into consideration. I am going to throw out a radical statement. God does not need our worship or devotion. Angels surround the throne of God and worship God continually (Revelation 7:11, Isaiah 6). God invites us into worship not just because He alone is worthy of it, but because worship impacts us in a powerful way. We become like the gods we worship. God alone is good. Even prayer benefits us more than it does God. God is not ego driven; love is God’s persistent motivation.

It can be affirming to be pursued. Yet ask the question, why is this person pursuing me? What is the fruit of their life? Or why am I pursuing this person? God what are my true intentions? Help me to pursue to love as you love.

This is not just for dating. Think about business relationships, ministry relationships, friendships. Is the person coming to the table to add value or with containers to take away? We love tupperware people, we do not allow them to be consistent consumers in our lives. There needs to be balance. Ministering to people is pouring out expecting nothing in return. Godly love involves some reciprocation. God does expect us to love Him in return. It is a lie God desires nothing from us. You may read this in the following verses: Matthew 22:37, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Luke 6:46, John 14:15.

I am inclined to tell you the story of an old hoarder colleague. She loved to go to buffets. The main purpose was to load up her purse. I kid you not she would have a purse full of egg rolls, and chicken wings. She did not frequent buffets because she liked the restaurant per say. She went to load up her purse, what she considered free food. She was not poor in reality. She suffered from scarcity mentality, hoarding, and greed. The restaurant may think, “Oh she loves this place.” Nope, she loves benefiting from this place. If she truly loved the restaurant and the owners, she would abide by their guidelines of not carry out from the buffet. She would not fill her purse full of items. She would think about what is best for the owners not just herself.

God encourages us and invites us into a lifestyle of love. Love thinks of what is best for everyone, not just one person. Love is not selfish, greedy, one sided, nor pursues under false pretenses. God also commits to who He pursues. There is loyalty there. God is not simply pursuing to ditch you later.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

What is Love?

Morning Notes & Stories: What is Love?

When we truly love someone or something, we take care of it. This is why I have struggled in life with people who rant and rave about how much they love something then treat it poorly. If we don’t water our plants, they die. If we don’t feed our pets, they die. If we invest nothing in our relationships, they die. Yes, there are times where we are not as connected or people grow apart. If we mistreat people, most likely, they will not wish to stay connected to mistreatment.

I do know the people I love, I think about them, I try to reach out sometimes. I cannot do that with thousands of people. I can do that with several dozen. Hey, how are you? I don’t want anything, just checking in or saying I was thinking about you. I try not to harm people. If we can not be a mega blessing, we can at least not harm people.

Love is not just a pretty word. It is a lifestyle of stewarding people, resources, time like it has significant value and impact. When we truly value something or someone, we do not put ourselves in a position to lose them. When we truly value ourselves, then we can love our neighbor AS ourselves.

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds,~1 John 3:18 (The Passion Translation).

Over the course of my life I have met numerous people who say boldly, “I love this person so very much,” yet there is no evidence. Their actions do not demonstrate love, genuine concern, value. I asked God about this. He said, “People can only give away the love they have received. If they have not received My love for them, they will have nothing to give to you or anyone else. People who do not love themselves cannot love anyone else. The way they love Me and receive love from Me will be the way they love you.”

I have stated again and again that the order of love is not God first, others second, and us last. It’s not in the Bible. The Bible says, “We love because God first loves us.” It then says, “Love God, then love your neighbor AS you love yourself.” So the order of love is as follows:

God loves us first

We receive God’s love for ourselves

We love God

We love ourselves

We love our neighbor AS we love ourselves

God invites us to abide in this overflow of His love and I tell you we then are not forced, it comes naturally to love Him and others. I used to try the love God, love others, and put myself last. I mean that was humility right? I will tell you I mostly felt used, was grossly mistreated. Why? If we do not demonstrate love and value for ourselves, others will not either. The martyr becomes the doormat people wipe their feet on with no remorse. Give until it hurts is not wisdom. Wisdom says, “What is proper in this situation? Healthy self esteem and boundaries says, “I will love you the way I love me. I will talk to you the way I talk to myself. I will invest wisely.”

I had a lady I was helping get to church once. She was rude, slammed my car door-even when asked not to, called to dump her issues on me. I thought because Christianity can sometimes condition people to put up with crap Jesus would not put up with that I was just to turn the other cheek. Well I grew tired of her mistreatment and rudeness. She was treating me the way I let her. I will tell you I was far more fiesty before stepping into leadership. She would have slammed my door one time and had an instant come to Jesus moment. I eventually told this woman I was not going to subject myself to her poor treatment. I drove miles out of the way to get her each Sunday. Having a ride was a gift, not an obligation. She eventually stopped riding with me.

Love as stated before, does not position itself to lose what it values. She did not value being picked up and not paying gas. She did not value the situation so she lost it.

My last point is value yourself. It’s not pride. The bible says, “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to.” It does not say, “Be a doormat. Treat yourself like garbage. Think you are nothing and not worthy of being treated well.” To insult God’s handiwork is to insult God. God doesn’t create junk.

After college I was going through a phase where I was quite unhappy with the relationships I had. I did not feel valued by most of those people. I was never petty and did not understand why people acted in such a way. God posed the question of why I was choosing to be connected to those people. I thought it was the Christian thing to do. Befriend everyone. I learned I am to love people, and be friendly/kind, yet close friendship was reserved for certain people.

When we value ourselves, we value what we have to offer as well. We see that time wasted is not returned. If people choose to mistreat us, we set boundaries and for some people put distance. We do not owe anyone best friendship or a close relationship.

For more devotionals check out Confident & Free Devotional book. Purchase Confident & Free Book.

If you are in Columbus, Ohio, stop by the book signing this Sunday August 19, 2018 (noon until 2pm) at 1055 McNaughten Road, Columbus Ohio. You may register at http://www.empowered-free.com see the upcoming events tab.

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Love,

Erin Lamb