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

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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.

Don’t Settle

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The best relationships evolve when two people know their own worth.

God places a high value on each human being. We are called to live at peace with all people, if possible. This does not mean that we are suitable for every person. Some relationships are not the best matchup for us. We can try to force them, waste years praying for change, or use wisdom and cease settling.

I would like to break this down…

I am a direct communicator and do not enjoy games, flakiness, hot then cold, nonsense. I mean what I say. I am not unstable, flakey, nor do I play games. I am not a good fit for unstable people. I am not a great fit for grossly insecure people. I actually like who I am in Christ and have zero desire to diminish who I am to appeal to those with low self esteem. God invited me to love myself, then love my neighbor as I love myself.

I have had numerous people tell me to settle in romantic relationships and friendships. I do not wish to because of what I know of God.

Scripture tells me the following:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen,~Ephesians 3:20-21.

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”~Luke 11:11-13.

The only perfect person and perfect relationship is with Jesus. There are synergy relationships and divine alignments that bring out the best in us, not the worst. There are relationships that complement us and add value. There are relationships that are Godsends. Then there are those that seem to be aligned with hell.

If we seek God before we date, before we become best friends, before taking the job, before the business or ministry alignment-it can save us loads of heartache. Will everything be perfect, no. Can we bypass some hell on earth by asking God to align us with Ephesians 3:20 relationships, yes.

The people I know who are divorced or in abusive or not so great relationships either settled, rushed in because of peer pressure-desire for sex-age-desperation, or did not seriously seek God about their choices. Hormones are not to be trusted. God can be trusted. Lonliness is a very poor decision making tool. It is far better to be alone with God than partnered with the wrong people.

God withholds nothing good from us according to Psalm 84.

For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly,~Psalm 84:11.

God is good. God withholds nothing good. If we are not seeking the manifestation of good in relationships we may either not be ready, choosing poorly, or not understanding the timing of God.

God exists outside of time and is patient. We as humans can be impatient. Impatience can lead to poor choices.

Settling for less than God’s best does not leave us fulfilled. It leaves us hungry and depleted. Dating out of lonliness or desperation can lead to devastation. Choosing someone just for physical intimacy or to meet a need is selfish. Nothing good springs from selfishness. Marrying someone just to check a box and fit into Christian culture is not prudent. Settling for crumbs does not leave us full. It leaves up empty.

God intended to meet our primary needs for love, security, identity, and intimacy. If God is first and we know who we are in Him, we will not settle for less than His most excellent best. It is not arrogance, it is alignment with what is God sent.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,~James 1:17.

There are still some great men and women in the world! If a person seeks God, they can be set up by God for divine friendships, divine marriages. Why settle for what we can get on our own when God offers custom relationships?

The more we love ourselves and stand confident in who God created us to be, the more we attract people with the same confidence and value for us. Those who do not love themselves cannot love others. We attract what we believe and manifest. Manifest low self esteem, attract those with low self esteem. One of the greatest gifts is actually choosing to believe what God has said about us.

Biblical examples of divine alignments…

Johnathan and David had a divine relationship. Ruth and Naomi had a divine relationship. Ruth and Boaz had a divine marriage. Those who seek God are blessed.

Papa God I bind all settling and seeking relationships with the wrong people. Help us also to set boundaries ad see ourselves as you do. Protect each person on this blog from choosing unwisely. Heal soul wounds from bad choices and bad relationships. Help each one not to settle for less than your most excellent best! Set up divine appointments for your best friendships, best relationships. Highlight destiny people and destiny relationships. Block the counterfeits. In Jesus powerful name, Jesus.

Leadership, Godly Submission, and Jesus

Morning Devotion: Leader means servant in God’s eyes, not dictator or boss. Dissecting the leadership model of Jesus and wrong teachings on submission. Submit=Be willing to yield to what honors God (possess humility), not obey or blindly obey people.

I am sometimes confused when people state they are the leader when their function is simply being served and telling others what to do. They are exalted and they have a hierarchy system so their needs, desires, wishes are served or met. Or they define great leadership by the number of people following them; Hitler had lots of followers under his demonic leadership it did not mean God thought he was a great leader.

I have had men tell me and women too that the husband is the leader in the family yet the wife does 80-90% of the serving, helping, loving, getting low in humility to empower her family. It is not the model Jesus laid out nor lived of leadership.

The one laying their life down, sacrificially loving, and serving is imitating Jesus and leading.

The disciples at one point became self important and argued over who would be the greatest among them. The desire to be great in the eyes of man is of the carnal nature (flesh).

Pride does not flow from God, it flows from Satan. Pride, self importance, was the principle sin of Lucifer. He wanted to be worshipped and exalted above God. Lucifer wanted to be served, not serve.

This was the response of Jesus to the arguing disciples:

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, called them to his side and said, “Kings and those with great authority in this world rule oppressively over their subjects, like tyrants. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a completely different model. The greatest one among you will live as the one who is called to serve others, because the greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one with the heart of a servant. For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life in exchange for the salvation of many,”~Matthew 20:25-28.

Jesus came with an upside down model of leadership. He came and served. He came and washed feet. He came and empowered others. He came and died to free others. He came and got low so we could be seated in heavenly places with Him, joint heirs and copartners. The value Jesus placed and places on humanity is high.

Jesus was and is perfect-He is the model for all things Christian. He selected disciples who were not yet enlightened. He walked with them, talked with them, served them, and empowered them to do what they saw Him doing. Great leadership is empowering others to reach their highest potential. Jesus did not show up and say, “Now look here peasants, God created you for Me so let’s get this straight, when I say jump, you say how high. These are my demands, meet them daily or else.”

Jesus had no pride, ego, or what they call male ego. Knowing He was worthy of worship, He got low and served others.

Phillipians tells us the following about following the example of Jesus:

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.

The Example of Jesus Christ

He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!~Phillipians 2:3-8.

Love is destroyed by pride. Love and pride cannot occupy the same spaces. One will dominate and overpower the other. God commissions and empowers us to love. So when someone says, “I am called to lead you,” if they are following Jesus this means, “I am called to serve you, not seek to be served by you.”

I have met numerous “leaders” and men in my day who told me they were called to lead me. Yet what that meant was they felt empowered to tell me what to do and wanted to be served. This is NOT godly leadership at all, it’s worldly leadership.

I have had single men tell me all the ways I could benefit their lives because to them a wife is servant to meet their needs. They could have cared less about loving me, treating me the way Jesus would. My dreams, calling from God, desires were completely insignificant. They saw someone unmarried and pretty (their words not mine) they wanted to purchase (flash their money, paycheck at) to serve them.

Women are not objects or slaves to be purchased to serve the whims of men then be replaced when she fails to meet a need, cheated on when she cannot meet his pleasures, or used for her body. God did NOT create a system of selfishness nor objectification. God created a family that is supposed to be fueled by love. God says, “Husbands forsake all others and cleave to your one wife. Love her the way Jesus loves the church. He was willing to die for the church. Jesus got low and served. Jesus empowers and leads by love and example. Jesus walks in purity not lust. Jesus cares about every single detail…follow My Son Jesus. Be an imitator of Him.”

The verse that says wives be subject to your husbands as unto the Lord in the original text means be wholly devoted in love-this means she is monogymous and not enganged with other lovers, she has eyes for her husband, single vision. It does NOT mean he becomes her god and she must obey him.

Husband is not the same as God. If it were so, then God is the author of confusion because He plainly says, “You shall have no other god besides me,” and “You are a slave to whomever you obey.” If the texts about husbands and wives meant the husband has the final authority, if he told his wife to betray God she would have to obey her spouse over God. No! She will be held accountable to God for obeying God not man. God is the final authority.

Example:

In inner healing class we had a lady who’s husband was molesting his granddaughter. The wife was submitting to his perverted leadership and holding a pillow over the child’s head during the violation. Was she honoring her husband by submitting to his perversion? Was she a good wife? No! She was a bad wife. She will spend a long time in jail like him for harming this child. The lady who was molested over and over was a testimony of healing in the class, her grandparents were not in the class.

Part of intimate relationship is revealing the righteousness of God to those connected to us. Her role as his wife and sister in Christ was to point her husband to righteousness. We do not yield to what is ungodly. No no no no! Ephesians 5:21 tells all followers of Jesus to be willing to yield (submit, possess humility) in reverence for the Lord. Being willing to yield is NOT the same word as obey.

Culture focuses on the wife submitting while ignoring the verse before it that says men and women, all believers submit to each other and choose humility. Culture also ignores the verses that tell husbands to go even further than that to love their wives the way Jesus loves the church (die to selfishness, pride, ego, immorality). Point highlighted again, we are NOT to yield to what is ungodly and violates our relationship with God. Nor are we puppets to be led on strings by whims of others.

Those led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. If your boss at work, pastor, mentor, parent, spouse or anyone claiming authority over you tells you to do something wicked, say no. That is not rebellion, it is honoring God. Godly leaders point to what honors the Lord and people. God will not lead anyone into sin, nor is God a slave driver who does not care about the needs, desires, or dreams of those He leads.

May we lead like Jesus which is counter cultural to this world. The greatest in the Kingdom of God has a heart of a servant, it is one who loves and looks out for the best interests of others.

Papa God help us to see leadership through the lenses of Jesus. You gave us a perfect model in your Son. Jesus was not a bully, dictator, abuser, nor did He use His status to Lord over people. He got low and served. He took the lowest place and you exalted Him to the highest place. Jesus is perfect theology. Jesus is the perfect spouse model. Jesus is the perfect leader; He seeks to look out for the best interests of those connected to Him. Jesus perfectly loves. Jesus does not use people He partners with them. Jesus, beautiful Jesus. May we abide in Jesus and lead like Jesus. In Your powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

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.

Live in Reality (Single & Following Jesus Series Part VII)

Aloha friends.

Today I wanted to chat about living in reality and being realistic.

We live in a world of reality tv which does not always represent reality. We live in a world that promotes fantasy (what feels good to you, act that out).

God invites us into reality with Him. Why? God’s reality is rooted in truth, His wisdom, and holiness.

Fantasy is often rooted in seduction, lust, and deception.

Imagination is God given and can be holy; fantasy is normally rooted in pretending.

God invites us into His truth and holiness. Believing God’s truth sets us free. Believing the devil leads to bondage.

Culture vs. God’s Kingdom:

You see movies of two people falling instantly in love then bed together. They sleep together and live happily ever after right? They do not show you the people dumped after a one night stand, the pregnancies and abortions after one night stands, the sexually transmitted diseases contracted, the new demonic spirits transferred between two people, the tears on the soul, nor the decreased ability to bond to another person after casual sex. The devil never talks to people about negative consequences of stepping outside God’s boundaries. He presents something that seems good, will bring temporary pleasure, yet will not bring lasting joy and satisfaction.

The same goes with pornography. It was not until recently studies popped up showing the detriment of this activity. Fantasy in this area leads to lack of genuine love, decreased genuine intimacy with a real human, and is often the gateway for more illicit choices. Many who later participate in human trafficking (buying slaves or engaging in prostitution/abuse) started with pornography; it devalues humans and reduces them to objects instead of people.

What is Reality?

Reality is God highly values all people and they are not objects to be used for pleasure, they are people to be loved.

Godly love involves commitment, protection, and stewarding the heart of another person well. It is a love that says, “I want to honor you so I am willing to do things God’s way. I will safe guard this relationship so it brings God glory and honors you. I will not take from you without committing to you, for that is stealing what I am unwilling to cherish for life. I want to steward the gifts you are offering me of your time, resources, body, heart, and life. I want to be in covenant with you which is bound by a commitment to sacrificial, unselfish, God given love.”

Let’s talk about another form of fantasy. It happens when people start planning their marriage before their first date or idolizing someone they just met. Why is this dangerous? The person you may end up marrying may not be that person you made up in your head or the person sitting across from you at coffee. Pursuing a fantasy relationship (the made up one in the head) leads to gross disappointment when facing reality.

The made up John may cook, clean, leave roses and romantic cards. The real life John may just take out the trash.

I have seen way too many people fall in love with the idea or marriage or the idea of a person and end up grossly disappointed with reality.

Reality is until that person says, “I do,” they are not your spouse. In your head you can paint a wild, vivid fantasy that amounts to nothing. Why? Until they say, “I do,” they can still choose to walk away from the situation.

Reality is what that person shows you is what you are dealing with and have to take home. People are not projects. I have heard so many women say they will change their husband only to find out they (their spouse) has zero desire to change. They envisioned John the romantic. The reality is they got John the couch potato. In their fantasy they would marry John and make him like the Señor Suave in their head. Reality was John had zero desire to be what the fantasy was so he refused. I still tell people to pray God shows you before you say, “I do,” what you are dealing with in a partner.

Reality is marriage requires work. It as painted as an every day, all day love fest. Yet get some couples as friends who have been married awhile. They will tell you that it requires some work. Get more than just your parents who may withhold some of the deep challenges.

Reality is treating that other person like a brother or sister in the Lord or friend until their is a level of commitment. Giving yourself away, being too available/vulnerable, not setting great boundaries (including emotional/physical), and treating someone not your spouse like a spouse is the set up for heartache. We were not intended to bond with dozens of people then break up. God set up bonding and intimacy so we could form life long bonds. If you take two pieces of paper and glue them together then rip them apart, there is tearing. Neither piece remains whole.

Reality is being single is not a curse nor indication of being inferior/rejected. Jesus had no earthly wife. Paul had no wife. Mother Teresa had no husband. I would not say any of these people were cursed, without purpose, nor inferior beings. They went about doing the will of the Father. Desiring marriage is not a bad thing. Thinking it somehow improves your worth is a bad thing.

I do not know the exact map of my life nor the map of others. I do know God is good. Time can be wasted worrying or stressing over what is not happening verses enjoying who God is. In the presence of God is fullness of joy. I do know fantasy robs us of experiencing the joy of the Lord.

Papa God, for anyone who reads this that is caught up in fantasy instead of reality, I ask for your Holy Spirit to wash over them from the tops of their heads to the soles of their feet. I bind any and all seducing spirits and spirits of lust. I ask you would loose your love, peace, joy, and power. Reveal every lie they have come into agreement with that is blocking freedom. Every idol come crashing down. Holy Spirit of truth permeate every part of their being. Every addiction be bound. I ask you Lord for total freedom, inner healing, and deliverance by the power of your anointing. I decree and declare freedom from living outside Godly reality. In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

Put Prayer On It (Single & Following Jesus Part VI)

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?~Amos 3:3.

This was my devotion yesterday on Facebook, yet thought it may bless singles here. Here is the link to my author site if you wish to connect there Erin Lamb Author Page. I post devotions, encouraging words almost daily.

Before you date, court, pursue a business deal, say yes, sign up for that ministry thing, ask God before connecting/partnering with other people. God sees the heart and true motivation.

One of my favorite prayers is, "God show me who this person really is."

It's easy for people to smile, do the Christian nice thing (some are not even nice), or go along when there is something they want. Yet God sees the heart. God sees the core of us, even the things we do not see.

I give people about a year before I truly let my guard down and during that time I pray, "God do I need to be connected to this person? Please reveal their heart." Sometimes what flows out of them during that year is unloving, unkind, grossly selfish, etc…I thank God for the reveal. I am simply watching and assessing how they treat me and other people. Someone who is kind to those they deem important and rude to those they do not feel are important is not a kind person.

I love all, trust few, and am close friends with few. Why? My inner circle is reserved for people who genuinely care about me and treat me and others with respect, honor, dignity.

Our actions are always screaming over our words. Our words reveal our heart. Sometimes people are nice to everyone else and hateful to me. Why? I ask God to reveal their heart. God goes, "Here, this is what you are dealing with, you decide how to proceed."

I love all people, I am not friends or partners with all people. Some, I love and the information in my life is guarded from them. Why? They are not trustworthy. The Bible says, "You will know a tree by it's fruit." It is wisdom to seek God over friendships, dating, partnership, business, and even ministry. How can two be joined together lest they agree?

A Tree and It's Fruit

"Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus]. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the unhealthy tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as false prophets],~Jesus (Matthew 7:15-20).

My core values are:

  1. Love, respect, honor of all people not just those deemed important.
  2. Build people up instead of tear them down.
  3. Represent (re present) Jesus to those around me; reveal the Fathers heart.
  4. Honesty and integrity.
  5. Seeking to do no harm to anyone.
  6. Caring about others.
  7. Releasing who lives inside (Holy Spirit)

Connection with likeminded people brings forth greater fruit. It helps us to grow stronger. Those who build us up in love are so beneficial. Those who repeadily tear us down are not. Sometimes our mental, emotional, and physical health is compromised due to our associations and friendships.

Papa God, guard our hearts and lives from sheep in wolves clothing. Protect us from linking arms with those who do not love well or seek our harm. Help us to walk in wisdom, love, peace, and joy. You know who is best to be a part of our lives and who is not. Protect us from the wrong associations, the wrong friendships, the wrong partnerships. Help us to be connected to those who will love us like Jesus. Bring in the right friends, associates, partners. Give us eyes that examine fruit, not judge, yet see fruit. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

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 

A Note on Covenant (Marriage)

  
Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God all all His righteousness…

Our country has been in an uproar over the marriage amendment. There are those demanding that marriage be defined the way God does, only 1 man and 1 woman. It is true this is the only covenant of marriage between human beings that God honors, that heaven honors. He made the guidelines. I did not. In the Garden of Eden He created them male and female (Genesis 1:27). They together complement each other. They together become one. They together represent God. Adam alone, man alone, does not represent the full characteristics and nature of God. He and she (Eve) together show us His nature. In His image He created them. 

Over the years I’ve seen marriage be elevated above the covenant with God. Adam and Eve had God before each other. The first Being Eve saw wasn’t Adam. It was God. Then God presented Eve to Adam. Adam had relationship with God before He ever knew Eve. Human relationships were never intended to replace God. Never, ever. 

If you read the Bible, especially Romans 1 you will see man’s greatest downfall is worshipping the created over the Creator. It is idolatry. Whenever we love someone or something more than God it leads to destruction. Our world has often elevated the husband wife relationship and human family above covenant with God, His Kingdom family, and pursuing Him. 

Singles scream, “If I could only get married then I’d be happy and complete.” 

Married couples say, “If only my spouse did this or were more like this, then I’d be happy and complete.” 

I will tell you a secret….

Only God can completely fill and satisfy the heart.❤️ 

Only God brings everlasting JOY! 

Only God is perfect!

Only God is intended to be worshipped. All idols demonize and destroy.

Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of the heart and spirit. 

Only God deserves highest priority in our lives, God first…

May we seek God, believe God, receive love from God, soak in His Presence, put Him first, get to know Him, deepen/cultivate friendship with God, and treat the covenant with Him as more important than a marriage covenant. 💍

In a healthy marriage we don’t just show up once a week for an hour or so nor do we treat our spouse like it’s their job to serve us or cater to our demands. We don’t read books about our spouse and refuse to do life with them. We don’t have other lovers, nor do we live a life displeasing to our vows. We pursue our spouse to love ♥️💯, honor, respect them, be with them, connect with them, & experience life together. God deserves more than an earthly spouse. His covenant is eternal and He loves more than a spouse ever could. 

May you and I seek first God and His Kingdom. If He’s first, He gives us the love, strength, joy, energy to love our families. 

Bless you! 

Erin Lamb

Supremacy of Jesus (The Life & Teachings of Jesus Part I)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest (original Source unknown)

The world has ideas about Jesus. He is well known in many religions other than Christianity. Those religions call Him a good man, or a prophet. They do not call Him God or the way to salvation. They remove the supremacy of Christ which is crucial. The bible outlines for us who Jesus is. Let’s dive into some text…

Colossians 1:13-23 (NKJV)

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

What do we learn about Jesus in this passage?

1. He is fully God. The Father chose to have all His fullness dwell in Him.

2. He is the firstborn of all creation.

3. He was before the creation of the world and all was created through Him and for Him.

4. By Jesus the Father reconciles all things to Himself, by Jesus, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood shed on the cross.

4. Through Him we have forgiveness of sins. He presents us holy to the Father through His sacrifice.

5. He is the head of the church.

Let’s look at another passage about Jesus.

Ephesians 1: 19-23 (NKJV)

…what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

We learn from the second passage…

1. Jesus was raised from the dead.

2. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

3. His name is above every name.

4. Jesus is far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

It’s important that we understand who we are following. Jesus is fully God. He’s not weak, powerless, intimidated, still hanging on a cross, defeated, or passive. The Father gave Him the name above all names. He is the way to heaven, salvation. Without relationship with God, no person shall enter heaven.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,“~John 14:6 (NIV).

So my questions for us this series post are?

A. Do we view Jesus as scripture depicts Him?

B. When we share the Gospel, do we let people know Jesus is Lord? We aren’t inviting people to live as they please. It’s an invitation to love and commitment.

C. Have we made Jesus Lord over every area of life?

To call Jesus friend is an honor and privilege. Yet have we made Him Lord. If He is Lord, then we are submitting to Him. We align our hearts with His will.

I hope this series challenges us to know Jesus and what He taught. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s highly exalted. He’s worthy!

Father, help us to see Jesus as He is, not our preconceived ideas of who He is. May we know Him and follow Him. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love,

Erin

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,~Jeremiah 29:13.