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

Healthy Relationships (Part 2)

Life is a highway…okay so you can’t hear me singing right now which is a good thing. We talked last time about the fundamentals of a healthy relationship; love, honor, respect, trust…

Friendship Does Not Equal Marriage.

So, I wanted to talk about something I see more with women than men. Women tend to treat friendship like it is a marriage… til death do us part. I have seen and been a part of many a cat fight over who is who’s best friend. Men tend to go with the flow. Women can become possessive, jealous, controlling, and down right vicious in relationships. All of these things are rooted in insecurity. There is this fear of loss of attention, or significance, or control…And it’s not healthy.

Recently, I had to tell a group of people I can not promise them life long friendship. Why? because I could move across the world (which is an option), or meet new people that require my time, or simply can’t fulfill that promise. I’ve found it’s better not to make a promise than not keep one. Also, you run into the problem of how to deal with that promise if the relationship get’s toxic. How do you get out when you’ve promised life-long friendship to someone who treats you poorly yet wants to remain friends? I can write about these things because I have suffered the consequences of befriending people only to find out they gossiped, lied, and treated me pretty bad. Trying to gracefully exit the relationship led to more drama as strangers were dragged into it, mutual friends, and it was a mess. How did I get there? Well, I will befriend anyone and once I do I will give 100% until it’s obvious the person is taking advantage. Even still, I will try (not always successful) to be kind even when kindness isn’t returned. I’ve learned though this “promise of friendship,” is a trap. None of us can even guarantee we will awaken in the morning let alone be friends with someone forever. Life changes. People change. Circumstances change. We cannot promise anything. Only God can because He cannot violate His Word.

And women, we must stop with the possesiveness, back-biting, you stole my friend, jealousy, etc…non-sense. It’s ridiculous. If we are good to people, they will stick around. If we are not, then we cannot expect them to stay. It’s that simple. People are not Jesus, and cannot promise someone they will take whatever the other person dishes out for eternity. Not only is that not loving, it’s not God’s will. If you dated someone and they cheated on you, lied, and treated you poorly, you’d break up with them. If the relationship wasn’t healthy, you’d part ways. Women will cling to relationships that are killing them emotionally, and spiritually because of this “promise of friendship.”

Make Room For More:

If I had every friend I ever made, I would have no time alone, no ability to meet new people, and it wouldn’t make sense. Now I do have friends from high school and college that I’ve known a long time, but we can’t spend every waking moment together. It isn’t feasible or possible. They made new friends and so did I. I am not saying every time someone new comes along you ditch another friend. I am saying that your life will be overfull if you try to maintain 20+ friendships. Time is precious. Spend it on the people who you want to invest in, and don’t feel guilty about it.

Mutual friendship. If you’re the only one giving in your relationship, it’s not a relationship. Here me out. There are seasons where one person cannot give anything. However, if all the time it’s you giving and someone else taking, you are not in a relationship. You are someone’s care giver. You are in a parental role. You are not in a healthy relationship. The world is full of givers and takers. Most people like to receive. The problem comes when you are in a relationship with someone who only cares about themself; their needs, their wants, their agenda. Those relationships are not good for you mentally, spiritually, or emotionally.

Here are some questions I have begun to ask about people to determine if I should be in a relationship with them:

Does the person take responsiblity for their actions or is it always someone else’s fault or a misunderstanding?

Does the person fight fair or resort to name calling, blame shifting, and shouting?

Does the person have integrity?

Can the person keep a secret or confidence? Do they tell other people’s business?

Does the person have the capability to have compassion and empathy?

Is the person honest, even if it has the potential to make them look bad?

Will the person stand up for what’s right? If someone else is trying to hurt you, will they take a stand.

Will the person protect my reputation, my confidence, and my heart?

Is the person selfish and self-centered? Can they put another’s needs above their own?

Is the person controlling, manipulative, or possessive?

Does the person inspire me to be a better person? Are they an encourager or discourager?

Does the person have other close friends? A lack of close friends is a warning sign.

How does the person treat people who have nothing to other them?

Are they gracious, kind, and loving?

Could this person be trusted to know my greatest challenges without judging or criticizing?

The list gets longer as I get older. You also realize it’s not the quantity of friends you have, but the quality of friends you have that matters. My mum used to always tell me, “If you have one good friend you can trust that’s better than 10 you can’t trust.” She was right. If you have one person you could trust with your life, you’re richer than most. And don’t feel bad if you don’t mesh well with everyone. We can’t be friends with every person on the planet. Even FB puts a limit on how many friends you can have. 😉

Healthy Relationships

Are your relationships healthy?

It’s easy while in a dysfunctional relationship to think that it is healthy. There is nothing to compare it to. It seems normal, so it must be normal. Lynne Foote, MA, LPC stated that a healthy relationship is built on respect, friendship, and trust. In her article Creating the Foundation for Healthy Relationships, she lays out some important information. I’d like to build upon what she wrote.

Respect: Honoring another person even if they disagree with you. We live in a society where we are quick to verbally annihilate anyone who does not think the same way we do. We are trained to defend our positions, and our pride says, “I am right.” In order to respect other people there comes a time where we have to agree to disagree, and honor another person even if they are not agreeing with us. Respect is rooted in honor.

Friendship: Friends are people who have something in common, but not all friendships are created equal. A friend is someone who looks out for your best interest. A person who loves you, in spite of you. A person who gives you the freedom to be who you are, but is willing to tell you when you’re headed for disaster. A friend is someone you can rely on in good times and bad times. Friendship is like a garden, it grows because someone is tending to it.

Trust: Trust is the glue that holds it all together. When you trust someone, you feel safe with them. You know that your heart is safe with them. Trust is something that grows over time. If it is broken, it takes awhile to rebuild and sometimes it is never fully repaired.

Here are some other things that I have found over the years that have been a good indication of health in a relationship.

1. Free of control and manipulation. The desire to control people isn’t godly. God gives people free will. He does not try to control or manipulate. If you’re with someone and they try to control or manipulate you, it’s not a good sign.

2. Free of verbal abuse or abuse of any kind. Any person who puts you down, uses excessive sarcasm, hits you, or any form of abuse is unhealthy. Get out and seek help if necessary.

3. Free of blame shifting. In a healthy relationship each person takes responsibility for their actions. They don’t blame others or make excuses. They take full responsibility and ownership for their parts of the problem.

4. Free of co-dependence. Each person is responsible for themselves. In co-dependency there is normally one enabler/care-giver and one person who is continually being rescued or excuses made for them. Instead of two independent people, there’s co-dependency.

5. Free of gossip. A person you can not trust to keep your private matters private is not a friend. If a person gossips to you, they will gossip about you.

6. Keeps their word. The person who says they will be there for you and never is, is probably not the best choice of a friend. If their yes is yes until something better comes along, then investigate the relationship.

7. Free of gross selfishness. All relationships have some level of self focus. However, if you are with someone and they are only concerned about themselves, then it’s not healthy. Relationships are supposed to be give and take. A one-sided relationship is one normally shared between a parent and small child and not an adult to adult, unless the other person simply cannot give anything due to mental illness or physical illness.

8. Full of forgiveness and grace. It’s inevitable when you’re in a relationship with another person that they will do something to hurt you and sometimes unknowingly. We are always called to forgive. Restoration may take time depending on the damage done.

9. Does what the other person likes. This one is my favorite. It’s great to have people to spend time with, but there is something about the person who will do what they know you like. That person is a keeper. It’s easy to do the bare minimum in relationships and coast through them, so, the person willing to go the extra mile is appreciated.

10. Is filled with love. Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy or boast. Love is not proud, selfish, or self-seeking. Love rejoices with the truth. Love protects. Love never fails… 1 Cor. 13. Love as the world defines it or most people define it, is not how God defines it. A healthy relationship is rooted in love.

I wrote this post because over the years my friend Joi has mocked me because she’s said, “All your ‘friends’ are not your friends. You are a good friend to people, but how many of those people would you consider a really good friend? If I don’t trust a person enough to have my bank account information, they are not in my friend circle.” While she exaggerates, as I have a few good friends, I still have far more people who call me their best friend than I would return the statement. She also minimal to no relationship drama as the people she interacts with love her purely and vice versa. I’ve learned the hard way that not all relationships are healthy or good, and I must do my part to be healthy and cultivate healthy ones. I hope your relationships are built on love, respect, friendship, and trust. Mostly, I hope God is at the center of them, for without Him it’s far more challenging. Love, Erin.