Relational Lessons Learned Part II

Lessons learned on dealing with the opposite sex.

I am also including information from years of peer counseling, having female friends, talking to those divorced, talking to those in good relationships, working with mostly males, talking to men, and doing soul healing sessions with the abused. I hope this helps someone.

1. Seek God in prayer not only over female friendships, but those with men or men who want to pursue you for dating or marriage. I pray, “God show me who this person really is. What is their heart like and what is their motivation for connection?”

Some men are looking for something pretty and shiny to play with, you are not a toy.

Some are looking for a trophy to display their ability to snag something pretty/shiny, you are not an object.

Some are driven by hormones or lust, not genuine agape love, you are not a pleasure center-you are a person.

Some are lonely or trying to fill a void for their lost girlfriend, dead wife, divorce-you are not the back up plan.

Some actually want to attempt to love you the way Jesus loves you. This is what you want. You won’t know if there is no inquiry from God.

People are trained to put their best foot forward to get what they want, then the act stops once they acquire their target. Men around me have confirmed they put forth mega effort to win a woman over, some pretended to like what she liked, faked interest in her hopes/dreams and after I do or physical relationship they stopped the pretending. One guy said, “Yeah, I got her now. Those flowers and dates were to get her.”

2. If a man or person wants to be with you or connect with you, they will not let you do all the work or initiation. Level of interest is directly tied to level of effort. Zero effort (you do all the work), minimal interest. Just enough effort to keep you lingering, minimal interest. Those who desire connection, pursue connection.

I grow tired of, “I think he likes me but I never hear from him, or he fell off the grid.” Ummmm…he’s not that into you. If he were interested, ignoring you would not be an option.

3. If you are kind, some men view this as an invitation to date or interest or flirting.

God tells us to treat men like brothers in Christ, so this can be challenging if you are just trying to obey the Lord and he is thinking, “She wants me.” So, I try to limit kindness to men to what is:

1. Public (and not frequent).

2. Neutral, not too affirming.

3. What includes others so they see they are not singled out.

4. Group activities, not one on one.

If a guy is married, the boundaries are even higher. If I have a gift or encouragement it goes through their wife. If I do not know their wife, I seek to know her. I do not go on lunches or meet ups with married men. I do not have long conversations about my inner world nor let them talk to me about their marriage or inner world. They have a wife. I am not interested in anyone’s husband.

4. When they show you who they are, believe them. Watch what they DO, not just what they SAY.

Lots of abusive men show red flags before they act out. Women are sometimes conditioned wrongly that they can change a man or their love will change him. No! No! No! I repeat again NO!

It is not our job to try to change anyone! That’s control and manipulation. What he shows you, especially if you follow step one (ask God to show you who he is) is what you are dealing with, so act accordingly.

I had a guy pursuing me once who had a great resume on paper. We seemed perfect for each other. Then I put prayer on him. His mask fell off and God showed me how everything he did was an act. He was one person at church and someone else outside church. I talked to him and he confessed out of his own mouth that he just put on an act and religious show for women to hopefully get them to fall for him and compromise. Ummmmm no! No man is worth compromise. I thanked God for answering my prayer and sent him packing. I did not stay in that situation and try to make him my project. Nope! Bye Feliciano…praying for you from a distance.

5. Men are people, not projects. They were created to loved, respected, and not a Jesus substitute.

The only perfect man is Jesus…pause for my heart to swoon. To expect a human man to be Jesus is ludicrous. Christian men are called to abide in Jesus and imitate Jesus, not be Jesus. The only Savior and Lord is Jesus. Wrong teaching of husband as the head (some is just plain idolatry masked in religious terms) has made men to be like demi gods to women. This leads to gross disappointment and does not please God. God is God, you shall have no others gods beside Him.

It is also not a woman’s job to try to make a man Jesus. Let Jesus be Jesus, let God mold man into His image. God is better at being God than we are.

6. Pay attention to his interactions with you. Does he inquire of you or just talk about himself or what you can do for him? Selfish people make horrible partners. HORRIBLE!

If he only talks about himself, how you can bless or serve him, and how pretty you are…RED flag. You may be the pretty/shiny toy he is looking to play with or a trophy. Love involves inquiry of the other person and listening. Love involves caring about the other person, not just yourself. Love involves giving, not consuming.

The root of all sin is selfishness. I becomes greater than God. If a man is grossly selfish, he will hurt you because his greatest concern is himself.

7. Let God hold your heart until is is wise to give it away.

Maybe we all have met the girl or woman who goes on one date and starts planning her wedding. Pause speedy Gonzalez! Who is this person? Talk to God. Put the brakes on creating a fantasy relationship with someone because you must live with the REALITY of them. Not every guy needs access to your heart or all your time. What is easy is not usually appreciated.

8. If you see abuse of others, you are not the special one he won’t abuse. How did he treat other women? How does he treat his mother? Servers? Those who can do nothing for him.

Pay attention! Walk in love and wisdom. If you see him abusing animals, cursing people out, having fits of rage, punching walls, picking fights, disrespecting his mother or other women-you may be next.

Men, people in general, with low self esteem can be very abusive. They can not love you as they love themselves if they hate themselves. If he struggles with healthy love of self, you won’t be loved either.

9. Don’t isolate your friends and family from your life.

Sometimes those connected to you see what you don’t see. Isolation is a key tool of abusers. Get the person away from anyone who may see the mistreatment and try to get the abuse victim help. Stay connected to people who truly know you and love you; pray and listen.

10. You are NOT responsible for his sin or lust.

I believe in modesty, just for me. I do not have my chest out, wear skimpy clothes, etc…I also understand if someone has a lust problem, you can be covered from head to toe and they find something to lust over. Women are not responsible for the actions of men. Our culture blames women and it’s wrong.

If he cheats on you, it was his choice.

If he hits you, it was his choice.

If he rapes someone, it was his choice.

If he abandons his responsibilities, it was his choice.

Since the Garden of Eden women have been blamed for the choices of men. Well no. She made me sin does not fly with Jesus. So ladies, yes use wisdom, act godly…yet know you are not to blame for the choices of other people.

11. Beware of sneak a date or those who use “God told me you’re my spouse.”

God is not manipulative, nor the author of confusion. God tells the truth. Often the sneak a date is, “I will pretend I need something, want something, or just want to be friends when the motives are otherwise.” This can be deception. Honesty says, “I like you. I want to get to know you better. Would you be interested in that?” Adults communicate their intentions.

If God did say, “This would be a great spouse for you.” God is smart enough to tell the other person and it will benefit both people-not just one. God also lets us choose.

I have had several guys try the sneak a date or God told me. No. I am not going that road. I pray and if God says no, I say no. Why? God knows the end from the beginning. If God says no there is reason.

12. “Prophecy” is not a good standard for picking a spouse, look at how they treat you.

Over the years met several women given words about their spouse and that guy was a complete jerk to them. God is not cruel nor a poor matchmaker. If it is truly a word from God, His choice, that person won’t treat you like garbage. God is GOOD. There is a misunderstanding that God wants us in bad relationships. He does not!

I have been given at least a dozen words about “This is your husband,” mainly from women. All from women who want me to be married because it is a social club in Christianity. None of those men were right for me. Not one! Run Forrest RUN!!!

If you are having dreams or impressions about one particular guy, you may have a soul tie with them. Break the soul tie and heart entanglement.

If he is treating you poorly and you keep having words he is the one, examine the voice speaking to you. God is not the author of confusion or mistreatment. Demonic spirits can try to set up bad unions. Test every voice and see if it’s of God.

13. Understand you marry into a family, not just that person.

If they have kids, a broken family, they become your family. You are not just marrying a person, you get their family too.

14. If you are interested in marriage, talk about money (is their credit jacked up), gender roles (some in Christian culture have some special ideas about gender roles), expectations, destiny, calling, raising kids, etc…

Focusing on chemistry is silly considering you are partnering with someone to build a life. He’s so hot or she’s so hot doesn’t fly when they don’t pay the bills on time, are a slob, have bad credit…

15. Men have feelings too and some deep fears of rejection.

It is sometimes masked with anger, yet men have all the feelings women have and some more deeply. Men are sometimes conditioned not to feel. Our actions as women wound and hurt men. Treat them how you want to be treated. If he steps out to pursue and you are not interested, treat him with respect, honor, and dignity.

16. There are some amazing men out there.

I have met them, have some as friends, and even dated a few. Yes there are some bad apples. There are some great ones too.

17. Pray for men.

Our culture bombards men with images that are ungodly that tell them manhood is about control, power, violence, and sexual immorality. Truly manhood was and is best represented in Jesus; love, humility, purity, service, kindness, and compassion.

18. Be a good friend to men and set boundaries.

It is possible to have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex. Understand though the time and sharing can create a bond in the soul. Use wisdom.

19. If you desire marriage, examine is this person really good friend to me. Friendship lasts longer than butterflies.

20. If he does not respect your boundaries, he does not respect you.

If you say no, don’t do that, or I don’t like that…and he keeps doing it or pressing the envelope, he does not respect or love you. Love respects a no. It does not pressure for more. Satan is pushy. God is respectful.

21. Men respond to actions.

I have noticed this at work. Nagging is futile. Saying, “If this is not done by this time or this follows,” and following through with actions is far more effective.

22. Men were created to serve, not be served.

Found many men like to help, they are wired to help and serve. All followers of Jesus are to serve. When women do everything for a man, it is more crippling than empowering. Let him help. Let him serve. Let him work it out without trying to be Jehovah jr.. Let him problem solve and provide input.

I have heard women say, “The more I do for him, the worse he treats me,” well you took his opportunity away to be a blessing. Our culture has reversed the roles so women do everything and men are served. This does not cultivate love. The one who invests the most, gives the most is the one who begins to love deeply. If women invest too much, they end up entangled. Both are to serve. So let him serve.

Hope this helps someone, somewhere.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb


Relational Lessons Learned Part I

Morning Devotion: Some things are a blessing, others are a lesson. God desires we have mutually loving, respectful, and life giving connections.

Over the years in ministry, life, and relationships I gathered some lessons learned. I shared some of these these with a buddy yesterday. I hope they bless someone else.

In Christian culture it is taught quite a bit to love others, put others first, love God. Not as much time is spent talking about healthy boundaries, how to guard your heart, what obstacles you will face as a leader or in relationships, what to do with abusive people (and no just pretending they are not violating love does not work-they need boundaries and consequences), or that God wants you loved well too.

Relational Lessons Learned:

1. Watch people for a year and put prayer on them (God show me their heart towards me-when God does, pay attention).

2. When people show you who they are, believe them.

3. Limit your inner circle to those you have prayed over and seen them demonstrate God love.

4. Understand at any time your inner circle can change.

5. Place all faith in God not people.

6. Place all confidence in God not people.

7. When someone shows you they do not care about you, believe them, do not look at words-look at actions.

8. Trust your instincts and listen to Holy Spirit.

9. Some relationships are for just a season and you need to understand when they are over they were just temporary.

10. Don’t try to make an associate into a friend; don’t assume a ministry assignment is a real friendship.

11. Don’t be quick to call everyone friend, examine them first.

12. Don’t let people just have free reign of your schedule. I did this with A few people. When they got busy it was like, “See ya!” This was my fault. I should have guarded my time better and NOT given them so much access to my life, thoughts, etc…they should have been need to know only people.

13. Understand it’s not always wisdom to lead your friends in ministry, some are better suited under someone they do not view as a peer. The greatest dishonor I have experienced in ministry has come from those who claimed to be my friend. Strangers often treat you better.

14. Don’t expect your friends to stick up for you, you stick up for yourself (set boundaries), and ask God for help.

15. Guard your heart, and don’t let everyone inside it. If someone is wreckless, you can love them without giving them full access to you. Use wisdom.

16. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

17. Understand that not everyone wants you to win, and if you become successful, some may turn on you.

18. Understand culture says people of color should be at the bottom, so if you rise, there are haters.

19. Keep God as your best friend.

20. Pursue God for all needs and wants and relationships.

21. Understand only those who have received God’s love for themselves can love you.

22. When or if people attack you, understand their greatest inner turmoil is within and attacking you is a means to handle low self worth, insecurity, and a flawed attempt to feel more powerful.

23. Understand just because a person is gifted, anointed, and can flow with Holy Spirit sometimes does not mean they possess the character of Jesus. Character is costly and involves intimacy with God.

24. Understand everyone is in process, even you. God is at work in those yielded to Him. Someone can buck God and walk in the flesh. In the flesh there is no holiness. Extend grace and walk in wisdom.

25. Loving difficult people does NOT mean you need to be best friends with them or give them VIP access. Use wisdom.

26. People make time for what they value. If they value you, they will make time-even if it’s a 15 second text message. Do not buy into the lie of busy. For some you may be the back up plan or on call prayer buddy. When they have a crisis they come find you. They value what you do, not you personally. Don’t mistake being needed for being loved. Love gives.

27. Value yourself the way God does and you will attract more people who value you too.

28. Ask God for His best yes in friendships, relationships.

29. Trust is developed over time. Don’t let people try to force you into trusting them when they have not demonstrated they are trustworthy.

30. Ask God for wisdom and discernment. Wisdom is a life preserver. Discernment lets you know what is right and almost right.

Once again I hope this helps someone. Some things I wish someone had told me instead of having to walk it out and learn the hard way.

Seek to Add Value (Single & Following Jesus Part XII)

What does it mean to add value?

We live in a world of gimmie and bless me and serve me. In an ideal world, one with Jesus at the center, there would be lots of, “How can I serve you? How can I bless you? What about you?

If we all looked out for each other, every person would come into relationships looking for ways to help and bless the other person. There would be no one sided relationships, abuse, infidelity, dishonesty, selfishness, consumers in relationships, gross hurt or unnecessary pain. Utopia right?

The only perfection this side of eternity is found in Jesus. We are not perfect, He is. We can pursue abiding in His love so others around us are blessed.

When you and I set our minds on being a blessing it gives us the opportunity to love. Love is not selfish.

Love serves. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom.

The example of Jesus does not mean we offer up to everyone endless pouring out. Why? The one who gives the most is the one who ends up attached and loving.

It is important to use wisdom with our attachments. Though we are encouraged to just give and give, pour out and pour out…if you do not use wisdom you can end up having your heart shredded.

God intended for relationships to be reciprocal and involve commitment, not be one sided. God intended for both people to be loved and stewarded well. Love is supposed to be safe.

The level of access someone has to us should increase with the level of commitment.

Adding value is not giving everyone equal access to your heart.

Before you give your heart away, is the other person trustworthy to steward your heart. What is this person’s commitment to you? Casual, then their access should reflect that. Growing, they show you they are trustworthy, then a bit more knowing. Closeness/committed, then a bit more with the deepest intimacy (emotional, spiritual, or physical) happening inside of marriage. Some share way too much while dating to have their hearts broken. Engagement implies commitment, it is not marriage. Dating is not engagement. How much are you giving away?

Adding value is not sex outside marriage!

Some give their bodies away with zero commitment thinking giving without commitment will lead to love. Well, giving your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit away without an eternal covenant (commitment) is actually sin and not demonstrating self value. It’s like having a 1,000,000 car and giving people free rides. They have no plan on caring for the car, they just enjoy the ride. Our bodies are MORE valuable than a car. Would you give someone you just met a billion dollars? Probably not if you do not know someone. Yet movies show people climbing in and out of bed like it’s nothing.

Sex is more than a physical act, it joins two people in the soulish and spiritual realm. You are saying, “Whatever is in you, I invite into me.” Two people link in body, soul, flesh. God designed sex to unite people for life. His motivation was love (giving, knowing, intimacy), not lust (taking, self pleasure). The only closer connection is between God and born again believers where His Spirit lives in us.

Why use boundaries with giving or giving everyone equal access to us? The giver has the most invested. This means you do not treat boyfriends and girlfriends like husbands and wives. There are certain parts of our lives that are off limits. There are boundaries we need to have in place to prevent heart entanglements without commitment, emotional attachment too soon, over-giving, oversharing, etc. There is wisdom in what we give to friends as well.

The goal is to look at each relationship and see what you can bring to add value. This can consist of:

  • Encouragement
  • Listening
  • Kindness
  • Asking, “How are you?” and caring about the answer
  • Being honest
  • Being present
  • Devoting some time (texting and emails are not the same as quality time in person)
  • Inquiring about another person’s life
  • Caring about what interests the other person
  • Offering to help with something
  • Supporting something they care about
  • Loyalty
  • Initiating instead allowing all contact to be one sided
  • Being honest about what you like and don’t like
  • Not pretending (some pretend while getting to know someone that they like certain things or they are someone else-be the real you!)

If we ask God, He will show us ways to add value. Different people have different likes and dislikes. I may love something that someone else dislikes. The goal is to be on the lookout for what blesses someone else.

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others,~Phil 2:4.

This means we also do not go into relationships as consumers. Over the years I have met several men who came with their wife list. They were checking off boxes. They were not looking for how to be a blessing, they were looking to be blessed. They were not looking to serve, they were seeking to be served. It was not about love; it was about selfishness. As long as I appealed to their flesh and met a few criteria I could (in their minds) be wooed or bought into relationship. Like a car they saw something they wanted and desired to purchase. If they could flash enough money or try to charm me, then magically I would fall for them and sign up for a life of servanthood. Ummmmm no. They had little plans to serve or love like Jesus.

Marriage is supposed to be about two people loving and serving each other. People are not objects we buy to please us. Our world suffers greatly because things are being loved and people used. People are to be loved. Love seeks to serve, help, support, give, invest, and add value. Does your person of interest care about adding value or are you an object they seek to obtain to please them? Do they take any interest in your life? Or is it all about them?

Let me tell you an important truth, selfish people hurt others. If you have grossly selfish friends or a grossly selfish mate you will experience pain and deep hurt. Do NOT think if they are selfish in the beginning you are going to change that. God changes selfish hearts, we are not God.

My encouragement to every person is to seek to add value and look for those who add value. It is not selfish to wish for a mate who actually cares about you, for who you are-not because they are lonely, lusting, trying to fill a void. Adding value is not about money, it’s about genuine love. You and I were created to be loved!


Erin Lamb

Breaking Cycles of Dysfunction in Relationships (Single and Following Jesus Series Part IX)

Have you been in a cycle of repeated bad relationships or you see your friends in those same dysfunctional relationships? Today is a day of breaking free.

I have asked the same questions about friendships or casual relationships, “Why is this type of person attracted to me? They have no qualities that match up.” That may seem harsh yet let me give some examples for clarity.

My nature is encouraging, supportive, and I pursue kindness. I want to see you win. I will be the most vocal cheerleader for you.

I wondered why those who were negative, critical, mean spirited, unsupportive, and hateful were drawn to me and why they turned their negativity on me.

I am going to tell you why. Are you ready?

1. Opposites Sometimes Do Attract.

You may be giving and attract a taker. You may be kind and attract someone rude. It is not always true that we attract who we are. You may be loving and attract someone critical, rude, mean.

2. Poor Boundaries.

People treat us the way we let them treat us. Some see meekness (strength under control) as weakness. If we do not set a boundary, “You may not treat me that way, you may not talk to me that way, no this is not okay,” then we invite disrespect. It’s a conversation that must start early, not months into the relationship.

I had a lady tell me once (long ago), “I know no matter how bad I treat you, you will always be there for me.” I thought to myself, “What kind of crazy have I signed up for.”

Loving someone does not mean you let them treat you poorly. That is called enabling. It is a form of codependency. Some think God is this way. He is not. His love does not change. He is not cheering when we misbehave. God sets boundaries-“If you do this, this is the result.” God allows natural consequences. He does not remove every consequence this side of heaven.

So with this lady, I pulled back from being her default when she had no boyfriend, the person who answered her calls in crisis. I removed myself from being a doormat under the umbrella of false love.

More examples:

I have an associate who is negative. This person loves to complain and focus on what is wrong. It drains me. I told the person this week, “I would love when we talk for it to be about something positive, goals, good things. What’s going right? There is enough crazy in the world, let’s be the change we wish to see.” I set a boundary. Please keep your constant complaining in your yard. Do I love this person, yes. Do I want to listen to hours of doom, gloom, negativity, gossip, he said/she said…no. I am not a garbage can.

I had a gentleman pursuing me who always wanted to wait until the last minute to set dates. I told him I would appreciate advance notice (not all the time-yet it was considerate to give others notice); texting me Friday afternoon to meet Friday night is a no go for constant meet ups. I set a boundary. He did not listen. So often he’d texted on Friday or Saturday afternoon and I was busy.

My female friend said it was a game to see if I was seeing other people. I am an adult. I only play games with actual children. Some may have thought that was cute. I did not. Maybe if we were a couple and had been dating awhile, yet not for someone I do not know well this was a no go and setting dates signifies value. Yes, be spontaneous…Also take the time to plan something. Gentlemen say, “I would love to see you Friday night, do you have plans?” That conversation happens before Friday. I am not clearing every weekend hoping a guy messages me. I have things to do.

If you make yourself so available to everyone, they will treat you like you have no value. If you do not value your time, value yourself, why should they? I am not saying play hard to get nor play games. I am saying if you do not respect and value your own time, others will not either.

Place God at the center. Would God want me treated this way? If not, why are you allowing it? How much time do I need to invest in this relationship? How much of my heart can they steward well? God knows.

If you have poor or low boundaries, then you will find disorder and dysfunction and poor treatment.

3. Quick to Trust and Dismissing Relational Red Flags.

I consider myself trustworthy. Therefore, I give people the benefit of the doubt. I have learned to pay attention. Watch people. Watch how they treat people. Watch how they talk about others. Do they tell everyone else’s business? They are not trustworthy with your business. Do they only show up when they need something? You are most likely a convenience. Do you make all the effort? You are in a one sided relationship. If they destroy others, do not think they will not do it to you.

Many times red flags are ignored under the, “I am a loving Christian.” Okay, be a loving Christian with wisdom. Wisdom says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Wisdom says, “How can two be joined unless they agree?” Wisdom says, “Do not make partners with an angry person.” These are all in the Bible right along with love your neighbor. You can love someone without dating them, being close friends, being business or ministry partners, or marrying them.

One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is as follows, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Unless they want to change or God changes them, that is what you are dealing with in a partner or friend.

4. You Are Pulling All the Relational Weight

I love giving. I love giving with no expectation of return. Yet there is wisdom required in giving as well. Too much time spent together, too much closeness without commitment, too much investment without any investment back is a set up for dysfunction.

Jesus loves perfectly and in exchange for our freedom He gave His life. When we enter into covenant, God asks for our life. Please understand God is not just giving, giving, giving and expecting nothing. He asks for our entire lives. It’s a bigger commitment than an earthly marriage.

This thought that selfless giving is to lead to one sided relationships is not covenant love. Relationships were designed to be give and take. If one person is doing all the work, it’s not love. Both people are to pursue the best interests of the other.

I have seen overgiving lead to abuse; it attracts narcissists and abusive people. Why? They thrive on taking. Selfless givers with no boundaries are easy targets.

A person who loves you will want to bless you too.

I have met so many people angry because they trusted too quickly, fell in love with the idea of someone, ignored red flags, and were burned poorly in a relationship. If you pay attention, people show you who they are. Their mouth speaks what their heart is full of and their actions, if you watch closely, manifest their heart and how they feel about you.

Placing God at the center can save us loads of heartache.

God help me to choose the right associates, friends, confidants, mate. Help me to set godly boundaries and respect those of others. I want to be the best friend I can be to someone and want that in return. Help me to not only be a blessing, but to cease settling for less than what you would offer. Break every cycle of dysfunction in my life and relationships. The common denominator is me. Show me what I am allowing or the poor or low boundaries. Help me to stay centered in you and have the best relationships possible. God help me to be healthy in my soul and attract and maintain relationships with healthy people. Jesus break cycles of dysfunction and it starts with me. Change me so I guard my heart and live out of wisdom and love! In Jesus powerful name.

Never Alone (Single & Following Jesus Series Part IV)

📷: Pinterest

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close,~Psalm 27:10. 

…I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age,~Matthew 28:20 (Amplified Version). 

One of the things people think of the unmarried is they battle with significant loneliness. I want to let you in on a little secret, there are married people who have the same struggle. 

Over the years I have encountered numerous married people who feel alone in their marriage. They have someone to live with them, yet the other person is more like a roommate. 

These are some real quotes from married women. 

“He’s more interested in video games than he is in me.” 

“I feel like I am living with a big child. I just take care of everything.” 

“There is nothing worse than rolling over next to someone not interested in you.” 

“My husband changed the moment I said ‘I do.'”

“I spend most of my time by myself.” 

I highly recommend each person maintain their relationship with God, let it go deeper, and maintain community. 

I have seen roughly 60% of the couples married the past 10 years divorce and they did not really maintain friendships with anyone outside of their spouse. They also allowed their relationship with God to fizzle. 

Adam did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or other humans. Marriage provided human community. We are meant to have human community and family. 

The first stop is God. 

There are needs only God can fulfill. He is always present. God never leaves, nor forsakes. God is good. God can fill our love bucket to overflowing. God is to be the primary source of community. 

If we have the Holy Spirit, we have full access to God. We have a built in best friend. 

The second stop is family/friendships. 

I lumped friendships and family together because not everyone has an incredible family that is supportive, loving, or present. 

Cultivating healthy, God centered friendships is one way to combat lonliness. 

I have had a few people state they struggle with making friends. The only counsel I have is be a good friend. In our world of busyness and look out for yourself, it can be challenging to make genuine friendships. It is not impossible. 

Papa God I ask for any person reading this to have authentic, loving, mutual, good, and blessed relationships. I ask for blessed community and that you would bring people into their lives that love them deeply and fully. I ask for iron sharpening iron relationships. I ask for genuine friendships and family (spiritual and natural). May not one person feel excluded, left out, or unloved. 

Community Involvement

I truly believe we are here to make a difference, not just consume from others and the world. 

Psychology Today did a report that stated that those who invest in others feel more joy and connection. 

We are not alone in this world. Getting together with others for a greater good is one way to combat loneliness. I am not suggesting we should give for selfish motives. I am saying sitting at home all the time without any human connection, thinking about a marital relationship, is not the best use of time. It is actually a waste of time. There are so many other things that can be done. 

Who wants their legacy to be, “Died glued to the couch.” 

The truth is even if a person feels alone does not mean they are alone. God is Emmanual (God with us). God also knit every believer into His family. God’s spiritual family has billions of people. There are churches everywhere with connect groups, small groups, and many have community outside Sunday mornings. 

I also meet people all the time who say they wish for a friend or community yet they never do the inviting/pursuing. They expect to be pursued, invited. It’s okay to be the one who invites someone else out for coffee or lunch. It is okay to start your own group, club, or organize events. It’s okay to leave the house. The computer and Netflix will be there when you get back home. 🙂 

Lord I bless every person reading this series. Help them to see they are never alone. They are wanted, cherished, loved, celebrated, desired, and significant. Bless each person, married or single, with divine connections and deeper intimacy with you. Heal their souls from any loneliness, pain, or feelings of being left out. In Jesus powerful name. Amen! 

Enjoy Your Season (Relationship Series)

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have,~Phil 4:11 (Apostle Paul)

There’s beauty in contentment. It’s the ability to express gratitude in the moment, in the season. It’s a choice to look at what God is doing, what God has done, and find joy in Him alone. 

I’ve met so many people on my walk with God who are waiting for something to happen to enjoy life. If only I could, “Have a boyfriend or girlfriend.” If only I could, “Get married or have children.” If only I could, “Have a best friend or tons of friends to do things with, then I’d be happy.” 

The problem with this type of thinking is it negates that every blessing brings a new set of challenges. Adding people to our lives reduces the amount of free time we have. We have a new level of sacrifice that is required if we want to be good, quality friends and not deadbeats. We have to learn the other person’s strengths and weaknesses. 

The movies often do a poor job of expressing the reality of real relationships. They don’t show the seasons, the learning, the growing, the akwardness, the suffering, disappointment, or sorrow. What is painted is non stop Magical Kingdom. Who doesn’t love adventure, fun, good times all the time? The reality is anything worth having takes effort. 

Healthy relationships are also based on two people having their own lives and identies. Unhealthy relationships are codependent. When relationships are used as a means to find identity and happiness it leads to heartache. 

I’ve had long term relationships. My happiness did not come from that person. It came from God. So when God let me know that relationship wasn’t headed in the right direction I could step away and still live a fulfilled, joyful life. 

People don’t complete us, God does. Any source of identity or fix for contentment outside God leads to pain. People are not God. God never intended for others to fulfill us. 

Contentment in God is the best place. God does not change. God is stable. God’s love and affection is not wavering. He doesn’t love one minute and then withhold love another. God’s love isn’t shallow, based on our appearance or what we can do for Him. God’s love isn’t selfish. He’s not simply looking out for Himself. God’s love isn’t based on merit, it’s independent of our behavior. 

An identity rooted in Christ is rock solid. An identity rooted in relationships with people is like the shifting sands. It can fade away. Spouses can pass away, children too. Friends can come and go. Dating or courtships can end. No one can separate us from God’s love. 

Joy rooted in God grows with relationship and abiding in Him. Joy rooted in what’s happening is simply happiness and can be taken away or shifted based on circumstances. 

Contentment rooted in who God is lasts for eternity. 

I’m unmarried…so I continually give thanks for the following. 

  • God’s unfailing love and friendship. 
  • As much time as I want with God.
  • The ability to truly invest in people’s lives without distractions. 
  • The ability to be present without wondering what a spouse or children need. 
  • Sleep and rest.
  • Traveling wherever I want to go, whenever I want to go. 
  • The ability to be involved in and lead multiple ministries. 
  • Time with my family that’s undivided-there’s one not two families to keep up with.
  • Serving others by opening my home, giving of my time. 
  • A clean house. 
  • Money to bless others in need. The ability to sow into others without checking in with someone. 
  • Peace. 
  • Quiet. 
  • The ability to work and go to school.
  • Learning more of who I am in Christ and my individual destiny with God. 
  • Feeling loved and cherished every day by God. 
  • Being under God’s authority which is always used to love and protect, not out of selfishness or control. 
  • Being loved for who I am not what I have to offer or my physical appearance. 
  • Growing in Godly confidence and wisdom.
  • Writing and lots of time to write/create. 
  • Adventures with God and friends.
  • Building a business with God. 
  • Time alone with Holy Spirit to be taught by Him.
  • Having my heart, mind, body protected.

I also give thanks for the basics: food, water, shelter, and clean clothing. I give thanks for everything! God is good all the time. In every single season, God is good. 

Whether you are married or single, theres something to be thankful for and contentment can be found in God. I encourage everyone to make a list of things they are thankful for and thank God. 

God bless you! 

Erin Lamb 

Joined Together (Identity in Christ Part 17)

Couple on Beach

Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness?~ 2 Corinthians 6:14.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you,~John 15:19.

Tonight, I wanted to tackle a somewhat controversial topic, our associations with non-believers. Some read scriptures and say that we should no longer associate with anyone who does not believe what we believe. That is not what Jesus modeled for us. He interacted with sinners, ate with them, and treated them well (Matthew 9:10). He loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). The verses in the Bible that warn us not to be yoked, linked, bound, and to have partnership with those who have no love for Christ speak to something deeper. It is not that as believers we are more valuable or loved by God. God loves everyone the same. The Bible does not tell us to look down our noses at anyone, but to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are not to be arrogant. We are also not called to forsake wisdom.

To be yoked which 2 Corinthians 6:14 original translation used, meant to be tied together, joined together, linked in a bond where one person went, the other must follow. A good example you may be able to relate to is a three legged race. If the two people are tied together, there is no opportunity to go a separate way. One will have to compromise. God advises us not to be linked, joined, and partnered in situations with people who do not love Him and the choices made can cause us to forsake His ways for the relationship. It’s not a, “Avoid all people who don’t think like you.” It’s a “Don’t link your life to things or relationships that may cause you to compromise.” In our day and time I can think of several examples.

1. Marriage. God tells us not to marry someone who does not believe in Him or follow Him. Not to be cruel or controlling, but He knows that in marriage two become one. How can two be joined together if they do not agree? He also states that if you marry someone and they don’t believe, it’s not grounds for divorce. So, if you’re already married to someone who is not a believer, leaving them solely for that reason is not validated by scripture. God knows trying to join two lives together with two people who love God can be challenging. Trying to join two people where one is in love with God and the other is not, can be more challenging.

2. Business partnerships.  Being business partners is something to pray about, seek God, and seek Godly counsel. If you link your life or livelihood to someone who has different morals, ethics, and core values, you may run into trouble down the line if they decide to go in a direction that is opposite your belief system.

3. Friendships, close friendships. I have friends who do not love God. I love them the same as the ones who do. I do not, however, engage in all the same activities they do. I do not compromise my beliefs to be there for them. If they go some place I don’t feel is appropriate for me to go, I don’t go. God is the standard for living, not friends, especially those who have no relationship with Him. I choose not to spend copious amounts of time with people who constantly speak negatively of others, gossip, etc…And sometimes if it’s someone I am bound to by family ties, I will try to change the subject or keep it positive.  I am friendly to everyone, but I don’t allow everyone or everything full access to my life. I am learning as I grow to allow God to pick my friends and close confidants. He knows all and has everyone’s best interests at heart. He knows how to link the right people together.

Final words:

We were not created to fit in, blend in, or conform to the ways of this world. We were not created to force the world to be like us. We were created for the glory of God. We are a light in the world. We are no longer in darkness. We have nothing to brag about, we can only boast in God’s goodness and show the world how awesome our Papa is. We are not spiritual snobs, but humble partners with Christ to impact the world. May we link our lives to Jesus. May we love the way He loves without compromising our integrity or walk with Him. May we be an influence in this world instead of being influenced. May our relationships be what God wants them to be.

You are loved friends. I hope this post shed some light on a controversial topic. Blessings,~Erin