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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Single & Following Jesus Series


Hello online friends! It has been some time since I touched base with you. Yet you are not forgotten. I have been thinking, “Where do we go from here?” What is beneficial for this season? 

Well, there is a new series starting on single and following Jesus. I know it seems I hit this target over and over, yet it’s best to talk about what we know. I also read an article that stated the younger generations are getting married later in life and some not at all. 1 in 3 deciding a no for marriage. We have marriage on the decline. So if lots of followers of Jesus are unmarried, I find it imperative to talk about singles issues and bring them to the table. 


I want to hear from you! Yes, you. What topics do you wish to see covered in this series? I have already polled my FB fam. Now it’s your turn. What are your needs? How can the church (community of believers) better serve you? What topics would benefit you?

I hope you comment below and engage in this series! I am asking God to show up big time. 

If you are married, please do not check out. Your input is valued too! We need each other. Maybe you can share some insight into married life or life before marriage. 

Mainly I want us to grow together. 

So, let’s dig into God’s word and look at some very influential unmarried people in the Bible and today. Let’s talk about some challenging topics and fun ones too! 

You can live an amazing life as an unmarried person. 

Don’t forget to post your suggestions for topics in the comments below. Looking forward to hearing from you. You are so deeply loved. 

Xxxx, 

Erin Lamb

Perks of Unmarried Life

Photo Source: Pinterest

Devotion (for the unmarried): The greatest gift God ever gave was Himself. We hear all about the benefits of marriage. Today I talk about the perks of unmarried life. There are lots…

The Bible says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you,” not “Seek first a spouse.” 

Marriage, what I call covenant, was initiated by God. He saw Adam had a need. Eve was part of the solution. Adam did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit like born again believers have today. Therefore, the unmarried person today has an advantage over the unmarried person before the death and resurrection of Christ. A person can thrive with God. God+Nothing=Everything. 

Having the Holy Spirit means a believer has full access to God, they have the the Comforter living on the inside. They are never alone. They have been grafted into an eternal family, and can have spiritual sons and daughters. They are not without family, they are part of the family of God. 

Sometimes people seem perplexed I have joy without a spouse or children. In God’s presence is fullness of JOY! He is my joy, not people or the things He gives. I have more FUN with God than with anyone else. If you do not believe me, hang out with me sometime. It can be quite the party. 

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore,”~Psalm 16:11. 

There are so many things that can be done as an unmarried person. Here is my list…

1. Unhindered devotion to God. 

No one loves better than God. I can not state this enough. An unmarried person can have more time alone with God, more time devoted to fasting/prayer/intercession. More time spent serving God and others. 

2. Freedom to travel the world. 

My mum told me to go see the world (I like other cultures). It has been a blast-Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, Brazil, Canada…etc. 

3. Deeper friendships. 

One thing I have seen shift with married friends is their commitment to deep friendships outside their spouse. You may have been a best friend, but sometimes you end up someone they call when they are having a baby or need help or are bored or just want to make sure you do not sever the relationship completely. Some you never hear from again. 

An unmarried person has more time (sometimes) to devote to loving, encouraging, investing, and caring for other people-truly being an invested friend. 

4. Only one to check in with… 

If I desire to do something, “Buy property, start a business, move across the country…,” I do not have to chat with anyone besides God. Eventhough I am in covenant with God, He offers me more freedom than anyone. He has never tried to control, minimize, limit, or push my desires into the ground. I have never been one to like control or domination. Nor do I wish to limit someone else. I have a fully functional brain and will, I like using them. I wish this for others too. Marriage means two get to choose. Unmarried offers less restrictions. Not saying it’s better, I am saying it is something to enjoy. ūüôā 

5. Identity rooted in Christ, not another person. 

I am big on knowing who we are in Christ and not being defined by labels. Who are you in Him? Only the covenant with Him is eternal. “Oh I am so and so’s wife or husband,” awesome, “Who are you? What makes you tick?” 

I am in covenant with God. When people ask who I am, I reply, “Erin Lamb,” not, “Servant of Jesus.” Serving Jesus is pure joy, yet He is in covenant with Erin Lamb. I have an identity, name, personality, hobbies, desires, and passions that are unique to me. He is not me and I am not Him. We are linked, one in spirit. We are not the same person. He does not try to be me. I am not trying to be Him. I seek to abide in Him so His character and fruit of the Spirit manifest through my life. It is still a unique expression. I am not a third limb hanging off Jesus. 

I have heard people say, “I just want to belong to someone.” Are you saved? If so, you belong to God. There is no human marriage in heaven. One must bypass trying to find identity, security, and purpose outside of God. Why? Anything or anyone we use for identity that is not Him is an idol. Idols enslave and invite evil spirits to torment. 

God gave relationships to complement, not complete us. Spouses can pass away or leave. God never does. 

6. Rest

Okay so when I get home, there is no one waiting to talk to me or ask me for favors or seek me for something. I can just rest. Nap, I think I will take one. No makeup, yoga pants, hair a hot curly mess kind of day-no one cares. Disinterested in human interaction, that’s fine…on the couch I go with a book in hand and blanket. Don’t feel like being hugged or touched, do not have to. Though my life is full, there is time to rest. Introverts like rest. ūüôā 

The purpose of the post is to hopefully inspire unmarried people to seek God for identity, love, and purpose. I founded a charity/outreach 4 years ago with God. I purchased my first home with God. I wrote my first book with God. I travel the world with God. I paint, create, sing, and write music with God. I will be starting my own business with God. I take cooking classes with God. I disciple and teach with God. I rest with God. I have exceeding joy in God and with God. God completes me. Everyone else is a complement and secondary.  

Do not sit around waiting on a magical appearance of a person to live life to the fullest. Live baby live! Thrive baby thrive!!!

For the Unmarried 

  
Photo source: Pinterest 

For the unmarried… 

There is so much pressure to be coupled up with someone, especially in Christian culture. I have heard people get in pulpits and preach marriage is the best thing, not God-marriage. 

God doesn’t take a second chair to anyone or anything He created. If marriage is loved, desired, exalted above a relationship with God it’s an idol. The best love relationship we could ever have comes from God. 

So here is my encouragement to you! 

1. You are not half a person without a spouse. 

2. God is not waiting to send a spouse for you to do mighty exploits for Him. He loves you individually and has amazing plans for you whether married or unmarried. 

3. You are loved, not incomplete, and not alone. Holy Spirit is with every born again believer, as is Jesus-Father God. His covenant is eternal, marriage does not exist in heaven between man & woman. 

4. God connects people for mutual blessing and matched vision. He withholds nothing good. 

5. Married to the wrong person is FAR worse than single. Trust from someone who has seen many on the side of devastation, abuse, divorce, pain, heartache. 

6. It takes more than physical attraction and both loving Jesus to build a relationship. Talk about vision, destiny, money, caring for parents, expectations, dreams. How can two be joined lest they agree?

7. Hormone highs diminish. So those who marry for self gratification, lust, and not a desire to agape (sacrificial, unconditional, unselfish) love will find they fall out of love. God says choose love. 

8. Not every person presenting a happy marriage is blissfully happy. Do not let Social Media (SM) or what people say sway you. I knew of many unhappy, tormented married people posting their undying love on SM. 

9. Talk to God. He knows what your desires, wants, and needs are. He is perfect at matchmaking. 

10. Instead of praying, “Lord send me,” or searching everywhere for someone, how about praying “Lord prepare me. Make me into someone who is a tremendous blessing to someone. Cleanse me. Teach me agape love.” 

11. If marriage is your heart desire, pray for that person in advance. Can not hurt. 

12. Know God is 100% good. You do not have to settle when your Father is so good.


Lord I ask for Your love, peace, power, and purity to shower every single, widdowed, divorced person. I bind any spirits of pressure, shame, bondage, deception, disappointment, fear, or unbelief. I loose peace and truth for the days to come. Lord You are trustworthy. You can be trusted with every desire. I ask that every desire will be placed before You. I pray the greatest desire be for You. I bless each one with purity, love, comfort, and intimacy with You. In Jesus mighy name. Amen.