Examining Relationships...

With whom do I have the closest relationships? What connections are those relationships based on? How can I re-evaluate the depth of particular relationships to know where to put my energies? These are some of the questions I asked myself while sitting in on a course called, Your CrossRoads. Working with a non-profit for much of my career, I had considered literally hundreds of people to be friends. A belief is that the mission is held together by relationships and shared ethos. Consequently, I had almost no mental map to differentiate various relationships. However, when I left the group, it became more obvious who were my friends and who were relationships of convenience. True friends follow you in life; friendships of convenience or circumstance fade away. Now a couple of years out, I find myself thinking about my relationships and considering the differences between friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There are differences. In her CrossRoads course, creator Victoria Jeffs challenges participants to identify the foundations important to healthy relationships. The model helped me identify how I relate to various people in my life. The foundational pillars are touch points we have in common with others. Upon examination, I found that my closest friendships are with those people I share several touch points. They are: Intellect Emotion Social Spiritual Financial Physical Cultural Some people are in our lives due to circumstances. These include family members, work colleagues, and others we know through various groups in which we participate. The close relationships in our lives are those we have invited in. Like me, you can use the seven pillars to examine your closest relationships. This simple exercise can help you identify what aspects of those relationships are healthy and also what are unhealthy. Healthy relationships are life-giving....

046: Muslims where you live Aug01

046: Muslims where you live...

https://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/medeor.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/46-Muslims-with-Ibrahim.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 38:20 — 35.1MB)In this episode, Dr. Deb has a candid conversation about Muslims with Egyptian, Ibrahim. Are they all terrorists? How can we inform our perspective and deal with our fears about Middle Eastern immigrants? What is Islam really like? What is a typical Muslim like? How might we be more welcoming and more Christ-like in how we treat our Muslim immigrant...

Do It Anyway

Today I share from the wisdom of Mother Theresa: “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa   Royalty-free image by Amy Burton; retrieved from...

Friendship

Do you have good friends? I really mean outrageously committed, better-than-you, willing-to-go-the-mile friends who love you at your best AND your worst? I often reflect on my life that has been so enriched with quality and diverse people. Yet the longer I live, I get to experience even more awesomely unconditional, profound levels of friendship. Every time I think I’ve reach the pinnacle of what friendships can be, I find another level. I was recently going through some particularly deep, troubling and emotionally disturbing issues. The cool thing is I didn’t have to go through them alone. I met with several close friends who helped me talk through and walk through intense pain, helping me come to new levels of freedom and release. But how seldom we allow ourselves to go to such depth. In my recent crisis, I was desperate, as the issues I faced were a long-time coming and connected to years of “stuff.” Isn’t that when we reach out? It’s often in the pain and suffering that we come to the end our ourselves and find ourselves in the arms of loving friends who not only comfort us, but help us graduate to the next level. I am blown away that so many people love me. They really, really love me. This makes me reflect on what had to be in place for that to happen. Have friends who are better than you. Don’t always be the smartest, most loving or wisest one in the room. Invest in others. Love them. Be generous with them. When you are in need, you’ll likely be surprised who steps up to love on you. Be vulnerable and open. When we open to others who are worthy of our trust, they can help us navigate...

Listening part 1

There are many myths about listening—mostly that hearing and listening are the same thing. Wrong; there are key differences. In this two-part series, we will focus on developing more effective listening skills. Great listening skills are essential for relationships and careers. Yet many of us are oblivious to how to do it. When we truly listen to someone, we ascribe value to them. Even if we don’t care about what they’re talking about, we can be motivated to listen because we care about the person. Watch this short video by Willard Barth on Improving Your Active Listening Skills. He shares some great principles, despite describing a person of faith vs. an open-minded person; they don’t necessarily have to be diametrically apposed (thought they sometimes are). Enjoy. On the next post I’ll share more principles for developing becoming a better listener. Royalty free image by Ben Earwicker – Garrison Photography, Boise, ID – www.garrisonphoto.org. Retrieved from...

Top 10-#5 Communication is important...

You are a communicator. You are different than the rest of life on earth. The plants live by cause and effect. If you put a seed in the ground and it receives nutrients from the soil, warmth from the sun and moisture from the sky, it will do what is in its DNA. Plants are involved in a give and take cycle that is about exchanging energy. Animals seem to live by instinct. They know what to do and spend their whole lives doing it: eating, pooping, sleeping (they’re really good at that one), reproducing, etc. People are different; we’re much more complex than things that live by instinct or cause and effect. We have the ability to reason, have emotions, possess freewill, are creative and communicate. I think we can do all these things because we’re made in God’s image. Communication has been around a long time; it’s right from the beginning of the bible. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God.” The word for God is actually Gods; it is plural. It presumes that God has always existed. If God consists of multiple persons that have existed forever, one has to assume they have communicated forever. You cannot have relationship without communication. God used communication to make the world; He spoke the world into existence. Jesus was called the Word. Jesus told stories and asked questions more than anything else. He was a master communicator. Good, healthy, effective, loving communication is essential for healthy relationships. When we withhold affection, say harmful words, withdraw, or even focus on what we want to say next, we are being selfish and unkind; we are not honoring the other person. Communication is about well-chosen words, how words are spoken, and what we say through glances and...