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.

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From God’s Hand or Yours

  
I rarely post things I sense from God  online. Yet hope this helps someone. Certainly pray over it, weigh it, test it, hold up against Scripture and the character of God. I am simply expressing what I sense, it’s not a thus says the Lord. 

Hey singles, engaged or soon to be…or those with single friends/family.

I had this vision this morning and impressions and wanted to share with you. 

I saw these people in the dark sifting through gift boxes. Lifting them up and shaking them. “Is this it? Is this the one? I need to find my box!!! Where’s my box?” 

Across the stream they can see married couples walking around holding hands, being loving and there’s a sense of…”What they have is so great, what about me?” 

I see the Lord lift a veil off the side with married people. Showing what’s beneath the surface. There are some happy couples still. And there are many with shackles on them. Above them I can see the words, “Torment, abuse, unhappiness, struggling, pain, regret, unequally yoked, shame…” 

The Lord points to them and says, “These are the ones who didn’t wait on Me. They made their choice independent of My provision. They may seem happy on the outside but there’s great struggle and pain on the inside. Don’t look at what you see with your natural eyes and allow desperation to make choices for you. I am Your Father. I love you. I want the BEST for you.” 

I can see Him with gifts in His hands, ones He’s custom made. Inside each box a person that He prepared for those digging through a box bin. 

I hear Him say, “Do you want what’s in My hand or what’s in that bin?” 

I saw many leave with random boxes from the bin because they didn’t want to seek what was in God’s hands. They had someone but they didn’t have the tremendous blessing of a custom made gift from God. And He can make more than one, so it’s not a one person for each person. It’s a “What is God blessing?” versus “What can be found independent of Him?” And every person gets to choose. 

Sensed the Lord saying, “Seek Me and trust Me with Your desires. I will never give less than My best. I’m longing to prepare you and the gift I have for you so you’re a blessing to each other. Seek Me. Seek Me. I don’t half do anything. You may choose however you wish. Simply know when I give a gift it’s beyond exceptional. It will draw you closer to My heart as you see what it’s like to love like Me and be loved by someone who’s in tune with Me. Iron sharpening iron. What you need and what you want. Don’t let others pressure you into settling for less than My most excellent best. I know you, and I love you. I know you, and I want to give My best to you. It’s up to you to choose what’s in My hand, or what you can choose from your own hand.” 

I’m praying and have been for God ordained marriages. For born again believers to exemplify what marriage is like from heaven’s perspective. Heavenly Unions set up by God that bring about great Kingdom purposes. Where both people are blessed and grow spiritually together. Healthy marriages that bring God tremendous glory. Both people richly blessed! 

As an unmarried person I can say there’s tons of pressure to get married or be in a relationship. People in Christian circles try to set you up, there’s this “What’s wrong with you?” If you’re unmarried. Sometimes it’s just annoying for me to hear, “I just want you to be happy.” If I get any happier people are going to think I do drugs. God is my joy! 😜 He’s everything. If I ever marry, it won’t be out of desperation or for someone to meet my needs. It will be out of love and a desire to be a blessing to someone else and build the Kingdom of God together… 

If I ever marry I would want that person to choose me out of love not desperation or to get their physical or emotional needs met. “oh I’m on a deadline, Erin might fit the bill…lets go! She will meet my needs, let’s get married!” That’s not love, it’s selfishness. 

My friend Janice told me once when I thought I was in love with this guy…”If he were sick and dying, would you sit by his bedside? Would you clean up after him? Willing to wipe his butt. If he could do nothing for you and was paralyzed, would you forsake all others to care for him? Could you imagine your children growing up like him? If he needed a kidney, would you give him yours?” 

Our society focuses on the wedding, sex, children, status of marriage…God focuses on agape (pure, sacrificial, unconditional) love. Which must come first from Him. 

So my prayer for every person I know who wants to be married, it’s God’s design for marriage so Christians are known for the best marriages and have the lowest divorce rates… 

Feel free to pass on to any singles you know! Whether single or married, may we all seek first the Kingdom of God! He’s worth it all! 😍👑👏🏼🙌🏼

God has the best plan. He doesn’t force His will on us. He does provide input for those who seek Him. 

Love, 

Erin 

Who Said You’re Not Beautiful? (Killing Insecurity Part 2)

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For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you,~Psalm 139:14-18.

I started us out with Psalm 139. The Bible tells us that we were God’s idea. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He is the beholder. So, if God calls us beautiful, why don’t more people feel empowered, beautiful, and valuable? There are so many reasons why we (humans) feel less than what God says. Let’s investigate some of the reasons why and seek to combat them.

1. The voice of man over the voice of God.

Children are not born believing they are ugly, unwanted, or not valuable. I have spent quite some time with children and if their parents encouraged and loved them, they are quite confident. They believe they are invincible. Some may be shy, but children don’t have a concept of beauty or what is considered ugly until someone tells them. There are some biological forces at work with attraction (we are more apt to be attracted to someone with certain symmetry and shapes), but for the most part we are told from childhood on up what we are to value and what we are not. Children who are labeled as cute are told, “He/she is so cute! So adorable!” Children are very perceptive. They can see what is considered valuable and what is not.

Our society works diligently to tell the world what is beautiful and valuable. Turn on the TV, look through a magazine…Marketing is designed to tell us what we need to do in order to be more beautiful or valuable. Here are some examples, “Get rid of those wrinkles, whiten those teeth, flatten those abs, build those muscles, look like this person, do this and you will be the most loved, liked, and happy person in the world.

The Problem: Allowing people (including ourselves) to define what is valuable or beautiful. Valuing the opinions of man over the opinion of God.

The Solution: Allowing God to define what is valuable or beautiful. God cannot lie. Meditating on His words, living in His acceptance, and professing His words ourselves.

It’s not easy to combat all the voices coming at us. From the time we are young there are voices attacking our identity. There is rejection from peers, negative words spoken over us, we are bombarded with images of people we are told are the most beautiful, successful, and valuable people in the world. We are told humility is self-deprecation (thinking we are nothing) which is simply another form of pride (valuing our opinion over God’s). We can’t go one day without being told what we can do to become more valuable, acceptable, beautiful. The truth is-we are already beautiful and valuable!

Prayer:

Father I ask for lies we believe about ourselves to be revealed, renounced, uprooted, and demolished. Replace every lie with Your truth. Help us to have Your thoughts as our thoughts. Protect our eyes from being fixed on the world’s standards and may they we permanently fixed on You!

2. Comparison.

I read this somewhere and it stuck with me, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” We become discontent when we compare ourselves to others. As humans we are taught to compare. “Which one of these is not like the other?” And when we are finished picking out what’s different, we were taught to discard the one that was different. When I was a kid, being tan with full features wasn’t glorified. I was teased in school for looking different from other kids. Now being tan/brown is celebrated. Women pay to have their eyes lifted to be wider and lips filled with collagen to be fuller. If I compare who I am to other people, I will never celebrate who God made me to be. God did not make us all to look the same or have the same gift combinations for a reason. He values diversity and every person has a special role in His Kingdom. It would be boring if we were all the same. We must accept and value who we are and what we have in order to have contentment and joy. No trying to keep up with the Joneses…or envying or being jealous of them either. We all have tremendous value, something to offer, and the love of an amazing Father!

Closing Thoughts:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were God’s idea. No matter what anyone else says about you, you have tremendous value and worth. You were worth dying for. Jesus paid the highest price to redeem mankind. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God paid the highest price. I encourage you (I will do it too) to recited the verses of Psalm 139. Chew on, meditate on God’s word. And when those voices rise up and say, “You are not enough, not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not good enough,”…you and I can say, “I am who God says I am! I am a child of the King. He paid the highest price for me because He values me. I am made in His image. I am beautiful! In Him I am enough.

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