What are Safe Relationships?

What are Safe Relationships?

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I (John) have a fitness fanatic friend named Mark who evangelizes me on the gospel of health whenever he has a chance. He’s a lovable guy, but he’s the kind who always finds a way to change the conversation to exercise, diet, and vitamins.

We were having breakfast one day, and he began talking about his struggles with his wife, Diane. They were going through a painful period and having lots of conflict. Instead of giving advice, I listened and tried to understand what Mark was going through.

As we talked, he expressed everything from sadness to frustration to anxiety. By the time we finished, however, his face had relaxed, and he could actually smile and joke around.

‘You look like you’re feeling better,’ I said.

‘Absolutely, I’m more encouraged’, Mark said. ‘Wheat toast, fruit, and herbal tea make me a new man’! Then he looked at me and grinned sheepishly. ‘Uh, and it might have helped to have someone to talk to,’ he admitted.

Though Mark wasn’t sure about that fact, I am. What happened at breakfast is that I acted as a safe person for Mark to confide in. Just as surely as we were taking in our breakfast to sustain us physically, so we were talking to sustain ourselves emotionally. We were enjoying the great benefits of a safe relationship.

What is a safe relationship?

We like to think of a safe relationship as one that does three things:

1. Draws us closer to God.

2. Draws us closer to others.

3. Helps us become the real person God created us to be.

The Bible refers to these three areas of spiritual growth. We fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God (Matt. 22:37-28). We keep the second commandment, to love each other (Matt. 22:39). And we grow into the particular person that God created us to be, accomplishing the tasks he has designed for us (Eph. 2:10).

When we asked people to describe a ‘safe person’ to us, they gave us these descriptions:

A person who accepts me just like I am.

A person who loves me no matter how I am being or what I do.

A person whose influence develops my ability to love and be responsible.

Someone who creates love and good works within me.

Someone who gives me an opportunity to grow.

Someone I can be myself around.

Someone who allows me to be on the outside what I am on the inside.

Someone who helps me to deny myself for others and God.

Someone who allows me to become the me that God intended.

Someone who helps me become the me God sees in me.

Someone who touches my life and draws me closer to who God created me to be.

Someone who helps me be like Christ.

Someone who helps me to love others more.

We would all want people in our lives that help us in these ways. But the problem is, how do we recognize them? What do they look like?

We all struggle on different sides on the ‘safe relationship’ issue. Some do not even think we need relationships with other people. They think the Lord is enough and that you should only trust in him. Others think that they must depend only on themselves. Still others believe that the Bible teaches the value of relationships, but then they find themselves in hurtful relationships over and over again. They pick hurtful friends, spouses, churches, work partners, spiritual leaders, and dating relationships. They seem to not have the ability to find and like safe people. Having a seemingly astounding talent for finding people that will ultimately hurt them, they repeat patterns over and over again, and then become discouraged about relationships in general.

So for us to begin to utilize safe relationships, we need to first understand what a safe person is and why we need that kind of safety. The best example of a safe person is found in Jesus. In him are found the three qualities of a safe person; dwelling, grace, and truth.

As John wrote: ‘The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and the only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

John Townsend & Henry Cloud

Surround yourself with safe people at one of our weekend workshops. Our check out some of our excellent resources.

Powerlessness And How It Can Help You

Most of us hate feeling powerless and indeed, it is not very good for us especially for extended periods of time. It can lead to depression, anxiety, outbursts of anger, alienation from others, physical symptoms and, in it’s trauma form, it can lead to the symptoms of Post traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD (e.g. nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and loss of concentration or memory to name a few)

Sometimes powerlessness comes from circumstances we have little or no control over. Other times it comes from the consequences of our actions. The latter can be even more frustrating because we may say, “I could have done something different”. We ruminate and replay the situation over and over. This can be helpful if we can process it into lessons learned, insight, awareness about others, or ourselves and character growth.

It is interesting to note that sometimes powerlessness can be very powerful. When Jesus surrenders to the cross, His powerlessness redeems the whole world. This is illustrated, again, in the fictional Star Wars movie were Obe Wan allows himself to be slain by Darth Vader only to come back as a ghost to aid Luke in fighting the Empire. The Apostle Paul talks about his powerlessness with an affliction he has and how it helps him grow and be empowered. Joseph’s powerlessness in the Old Testament is the seed for his rise to power in the house of Pharaoh. Despite his brother’s plot against him, he is faithful and God sends him before his family to redeem them in their day of need. After they realize that the brother they sold into slavery is now in power over them, the brothers hear him say “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good”

Dealing with powerlessness is a tricky matter sometimes.

First we must realize that powerlessness in not necessarily, hopelessness.
Powerlessness may just mean you are not in control right now.

Second, it is important to admit our powerlessness to God and others.
This gets us out of the way sometimes and allows God to work in areas where we do not have the ability or opportunity to change things. Telling others about our powerlessness can be a request to help with need and, as a part of that, a place to get emotional support through listening, different perspective, advice, shared troubles/grief and accountability to change course as well as giving us structure.

Third, deal with powerlessness by processing it.
Write down what you are feeling and thinking, what you believe about yourself, the situation, what you may have done that contributed to the situation, what others may have contributed to the situation and what is purely circumstantial. Try to avoid “All or Nothing” thinking. The “All Is Lost” mentality is not very helpful. Slowing things down and evaluating the situation is usually better in the short and long run. Nehemiah puts this into action when he feels powerless at first to deal with greedy nobles who are loan sharking their fellow Hebrews right back into slavery. He slows down his anger and brings the nobles to task.

Fourth, after the initial shock wears off, try seeing where the processing leads you.
What does it tell you about the situation, yourself, others involved, your motives, your priorities, lessons learned, and how you can grow from it.

Over all powerlessness is not something to be desired but it is, essentially, unavoidable in life. How we deal with it and use it to grow and move closer to God and others is the key.

Focusing On Appearances?

God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 SAMUEL 16:7 NCV

It’s downright stressful to “keep up appearances.” And besides, it’s fruitless. After all, the world sees you as you appear to be, but God sees you as you really are—He sees your heart, and He understands your intentions. The opinions of others should be relatively unimportant to you; however, God’s view of you—His understanding of your actions, your thoughts, and your motivations—should be vitally important.

Few things in life are more futile than keeping up appearances for the sake of neighbors. What is important, of course, is pleasing your Father in heaven while you provide support and encouragement to your family members and your closest friends.

Today, do yourself a favor: worry less about physical appearances and more about spiritual realities. It’s the wise way—and the peaceful way—to live.

God doesn’t use us based on what we look like. He uses us based on the condition of our souls.   ~Judith Couchman

If the narrative of the Scriptures teaches us anything, from the serpent in the Garden to the carpenter in Nazareth, it teaches us that things are rarely what they seem, that we shouldn’t be fooled by appearances.   ~John Eldredge

The life of a good religious person ought to abound in every virtue so that he is, on the interior, what to others he appears to be.   ~Thomas À Kempis

Outside appearances, things like the clothes you wear or the car you drive, are important to other people but totally unimportant to God. Trust God.   ~Marie T. Freeman

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, the world focuses on my outward appearance,  but You see my heart. Today, Father, I will guard my heart as I focus, not upon outward appearances, but upon the real person  I am today, and the person I can become tomorrow. Amen

Self-Esteem According to God

For you made us only a little lower than God,
and you crowned us with glory and honor
.
PSALM 8:5 NLT

When you encounter tough times, you may lose self-confidence. Or you may become so focused on what other people are thinking—or saying—that you fail to focus on God. To do so is a mistake of major proportions—don’t make it. Instead, seek God’s guidance as you focus your energies on becoming the best you that you can possibly be. And when it comes to matters of self-esteem and self-image, seek approval not from your peers, but from your Creator.

Millions of words have been written about various ways to improve self-image and increase self-esteem. Yet, maintaining a healthy self-image is, to a surprising extent, a matter of doing three things:

1. Obeying God

2. Thinking healthy thoughts

3. Finding a purpose for your life that pleases your Creator and yourself.

The following common-sense, Biblically-based tips can help you build the kind of self-image—and the kind of life—that both you and God can be proud of.

Being loved by Him whose opinion matters most gives us the security to risk loving, too—even loving ourselves. ~Gloria Gaither

As you and I lay up for ourselves living, lasting treasures in Heaven, we come to the awesome conclusion that we ourselves are His treasure! ~Anne Graham Lotz

Your self worth is more important than your net worth.    ~Anonymous

The Creator has made us each one of a kind. There is nobody else exactly like us, and there never will be. Each of us is His special creation and is alive for a distinctive purpose.   ~Luci Swindoll

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me speak courteously to everyone, including myself. And when I make a mistake, help me to forgive myself quickly and thoroughly, just as I forgive others. Amen

Think Responsibly!

There once was a TV commercial for a liqueur where the guy is trying to put ice in a glass. He picks one out of the bucket only to have it fall on the floor, a second, a third and finally he just pours the drink into the ice bucket and sticks a straw in it! The best part is the announcer’s voice saying ‘Drink Responsibly.’ Is it just me that sees the irony in that statement? I mean the whole idea of a commercial is to sell the product, right? It’s kind of like the nutritional guidelines being posted at the local fast food joint. Do I really want to know what’s in my cheeseburger? Well yes, as a matter of fact I do, that is if I want to think responsibly.

What am I putting into my body? (A scarier thought: who has prepared it? Eek!) What am I bringing into my house that will be a temptation for me? (Chocolate, soda, etc.) You get the idea.

Exercise is a big area in which we like to be irresponsible. I mean who hasn’t come up with the excuse ‘I don’t have any time to exercise’? There are so many excuses for not being intentional about exercise. Exercise is taking responsibility for your physical health, as far as it depends on you. We can’t always prevent certain diseases and disorders because we live in ‘jars of clay.’ However, we can do the best with what we have and experience the rewards!

Once a man got his truck stuck in the sand. Not on purpose of course, but it happened and he needed help getting unstuck. The tow truck arrived and the man warned the driver of the sand. The driver said with great pride ‘this truck won’t get stuck, it’s got (fill in the largest engine, wheel base, etc.) and there’s no way it’s gonna get stuck!’ So the driver got into the tow truck, drove about 5 yards and yes you guessed it, he got stuck! Well they took the wench 100 or so yards, hooked it to the man’s truck and pulled him out of the sand. Then the man hooked the tow truck up to his truck and pulled the tow truck out of the sand. The tow truck driver said a sheepish thanks and drove off.

Many times we put ourselves into ‘sand’ and pride ourselves on being able to not get stuck. We may even be warned by those who have been stuck.

Thinking responsibly requires wisdom and discernment. Watching where others have been, what led them into the sand trap, and how to avoid getting stuck in the first place. What have you learned about yourself? What are your sand traps? Who do you need to call if you get stuck?

Back to the commercial, nowadays the alcohol commercials also encourage having a designated driver. Again, thinking responsibly requires some planning. If we haven’t planned for exercise, it probably isn’t going to happen. If we haven’t planned to eat healthy, the junk food just jumps into the grocery cart (not really, but it seems that way!).

Begin to think responsibly about your life today! No matter what time of day it is when you are reading this! What is the next right thing for you to do? Maybe you are at work, plan to walk for your lunch hour. If it is late at night, go to bed and get a good nights rest. There are so many areas where we do not want to take responsibility for our lives! This is your life. Are you who you want to be? Think responsibly. your life depends on it!

What Are You Afraid Of?

Things that go bump in the night, an overbearing boss, or anxiety filled days–all of these and more affect the way we think and act. Sometimes we are frozen in our fears and don’t realize it. Fear is something we live with unknowingly, yet it can be a motivator in our relationships, work, and our life with Christ.

Fear and anxiety can lock us into beliefs that support our fears and anxiety. Codependent relationships, dead end jobs, and destructive habits all participate in the cycle of fear and anxiety. Are you recognizing fear and anxiety that is present in your life? What can you do?

Here are 7 ways to begin addressing the fear and anxiety in your life:

1. Eat well balanced, nutritious meals. Eliminate harmful substances.

2. Learn mind body techniques to help relax and reduce stress response.

3. Get enough sleep, rest, and relaxation.

4. Develop a relationship with God. Practice prayer and Christian meditation.

5. Exercise regularly. At least 30-45 minutes of exercise a day.

6. Counteract negative self talk and mistaken beliefs with positive reality and God’s Word.

7. Connect with other people in meaningful relationships, sharing life, love, laughter and serving one another.

Begin addressing your fear today by asking God to help you! Surrender your fear and anxiety to him, begin one of the steps above, and do not let fear or anxiety take one more day of your life!

Need some help? Join us at our next Healing is a Choice Workshop.

Self Talk: Words of Faith

David Stoop

Words, said either in the privacy of the mind or spoken aloud, are powerful. Written across the pages of history are phrases uttered at crucial moments that turned the course of world events. At the beginning of World War II, Winston Churchill told the British people that even thought all of Europe might fall, ‘We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end—we shall fight on the seas and oceans—we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.’ And the free world rallied to the task.

Look back through the pages of the Old Testament. David as a young man, affirms his faith to King Saul and then to the giant Goliath. He tells the king, ‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’ (1 Sam. 17:37). Then, as David goes out to meet the giant, Goliath curses him. And David responds with powerful words; ‘I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand’ (vv.45-46). And history records the results.

Now that is not to say that the words in and of themselves are miracle workers. They are the reflections of what is in the heart and mind of David. And they release within David’s life the power of God. They are an extension of his Self-Talk during the years prior to that event. They are an expression of his faith.

Words Release Faith

Most of us think of faith as being trust in some positive benevolent deity. But faith is a process of life. No one is faithless. It is not a question of whether we possess faith or not. It is rather a question of where we place our faith. And our Faith is a process that works in releasing life-changing power in either a positive or negative direction.

For example, have you ever noticed how much more tired you feel after yawning and saying, ‘I’m so tired?’ You feel more tired because your Self-Talk has just released power in the direction of tiredness.

In the same way, recent studies have shown that people who begin to talk about the possibility of divorce often find themselves proceeding inevitably in the direction of divorce. Later they comment on how they felt trapped by their words. Things were not that bad, but talking about divorce gave power to that possibility.

All these examples illustrate the importance of our Self-Talk. We all talk to ourselves, sometimes out loud, but most of the time in the privacy of our minds. The result is always the same–the things we say determine the way we live our lives.

What are you in the habit of saying? What kinds of expressions would your family or friends recognize as being typical of you? You may have simply passed off some of these remarks as not being serious or even as jokes. But what you say and think is a very important indicator of where you are placing your faith.

Take some time now to make a list of the kinds of Self-Talk you usually make. What kinds of things do you say out loud? What kinds of statements do you make about yourself in your thoughts? For example, do you say or think things like:

“I can’t do this job; its too hard.”
“I’m always late. Guess I’ll be late for my wedding, even.”
“I’m so shy, I couldn’t talk to him.”
“I can’t lose weight. Nothing I do will help”

Write down some of the statements you make.

Now make another list, writing sown some of the statements you want to begin to make about yourself. For example you could change the above statements to read;

“I don’t like this job, but step by step I can do it.”
“I’ve had a habit of being late, but I can change my schedule and be on time.”
“I can lose weight, and I will find how I need to do it for me.”

For more help and encouragement, join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Freedom for Life

I absolutely love it when I understand a Biblical concept! I know that sounds a little strange, not like the usual, ‘I love pizza’ or ‘I love that dress,’ but it is true! Too many times I have heard people say they, ‘don’t get that religious stuff’ or ‘Bible study is boring.’ If they only knew the freedom that comes from understanding God’s Word!

I have taught Bible study for over 10 years and throughout that time women have come to me and said that God’s word is just what they needed in their life and they would be lost without it. That is music to my ears and I am sure it is music to God’s as well! He gave us His word to help us. It is ‘living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ (Hebrews 4:12).

So many of us turn to what the world offers for our life through magazines or books that may not be all bad, however, the Word offers us truth and hope in all areas of our life.

One of my favorite Bible studies is from Beth Moore called, ‘Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Life a Reality in Life.’ In the study Beth talks about the benefits of your relationship with God. They are

1. To know God and believe Him

2. To glorify God

3. To find satisfaction in God.

4. To experience God’s peace.

5. To enjoy God’s presence.

She goes on to say, ‘One of the most important truths I hope we’ve learned is that any benefit missing in our individual lives for any length of time is an indicator of a stronghold, an area of defeat. We are never more beautiful portrayals of mortals who know and believe God than when others can look at our lives, hear our testimonies, and say, ‘It is true.’ Beloved, that’s what it means to be living proof! If you bask in knowing God and dare to believe Him, someone close by has seen truth through your witness whether or not you are aware of the effectiveness of your testimony’.

‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!” (2 Cor. 3:17)

What a life! Wouldn’t it be great if you could experience that freedom? To not be enslaved to the chains of this earth? Take a step towards freedom today. If you don’t know Christ as your personal Savior, choose to today! It is a great way to live and you will be an example of the hope that God offers!

Need some help finding the freedom offered through God’s word? Join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Defining Your Inner Everest

‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run.’ (Habakkuk 2:2)

It takes God’s grace to walk, let alone run the mountain of life. I am grateful that every New Year is a fresh beginning. It is a time to reflect on the unique vision that I believe God wants each one of us to have for our life. If we fail to grasp a clear picture of our Everest-God’s highest and best for us-we are apt to settle into the inertia of mediocrity. The following thoughts may challenge you to start your journey into 2006 on a path that requires self-reflection and therefore courage. But if you’ll do your part, God can direct you out of a life of quiet desperation into a life of Divine inspiration. So let’s get climbing!

1. You will benefit if this year’s chapter of your adventure in life begins by answering the question ‘What is it that you are truly wanting or hoping for as a result of your faith?’ If your answer is not clear, you probably feel lost and aimless. Or you may have become ‘weary in well doing.’ It requires courage to really define what it is that you are wishing or longing for. Once you have identified what you most desire, you remove the mask of ‘not caring.’ The gap between what you want and ‘what is’ now is exposed. Honest self-assessment is always the first step to change.

2. When you pursue what you desire you may feel childlike and vulnerable. Have you ever noticed how children are not sophisticated in their unashamed pursuit of their desires? It is only when caregivers shame a child for having wants that ‘being wantless’ begins and the seeds of vision are denied the soil of the heart. Be willing to discover your childlike ability to dream so that you can reclaim the desires of your heart.

3. Many times defining our ‘highest goal’ requires that we face past disappointments. When hope has been deferred, our pain can deceive us into believing that life is easier when we don’t desire. The problem with pretending we don’t want more is that fooling ourselves requires that we deaden our souls. As the poet David Whyte writes, ‘Take the safe way, not the way of passion and creativity, . . . [But] we cannot neglect our inner fire without damaging ourselves in the process.’ Be willing to resolve past disappointments that may be clouding your ability to see clearly what you want here and now.

4. If you are confused about who you are, get help to discover who God intended you to be. Being intentional requires an inner compass to give your dreams direction. When your security comes from your identity in Jesus Christ, you will not be driven by seeking other people’s approval or ruled by their desires. If your vision offends others, remember that it is not your responsibility to live out their dreams or to make them comfortable. In fact, God may use your passion in pursuing your dreams to cause others discomfort with their status quo. Understand that you were created in the image of God. Then you are free to live the vision that He wants you to embrace.

5. Without desire, there is no hope and hopelessness is a synonym for meaninglessness and depression. As C. S. Lewis said: ‘We can only hope for what we desire.’ I believe that God wants us to be so enthusiastic about our vision that our lives inspire people to ask us about the source of our hope. As 1Peter 3:15 admonishes, be ready to give the reason for the hope that lies within us to everybody who asks. Inspired vision produces the fragrance of hope. And that is inviting.

6. Big ambitions require desperate praying. It is humbling to recognize that what you have dared to dream requires an all-sufficient and daring God to accomplish. ‘Strong desires make strong prayers . . . The neglect of prayer is the fearful token of dead spiritual desires . . . There can be no true praying without desire.’ (E. M. Bounds: Man of Prayer) Never limit God. When you partner with Him, you have access to His boundless resources and abilities. ‘The land you are . . . to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys . . .the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.’ (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

My prayer for each of you is that God gives you the courage to dream. May He heal you of all obstacles that would hinder you from pursuing His highest and best. I pray that you no longer settle for small plans derived from false humility. And finally, that you would entrust yourself and your vision to a God Who, by the action of His power that is at work within you is able to carry out His purpose and do super-abundantly, far over and above all that you dare ask or think, beyond your highest thoughts, hopes, or dreams. (Eph. 3:20) May Jesus be glorified through you in 2006 and beyond.

Do you desire the hope and purpose of which this article speaks but feel like you need some help? Join us at our next New Life Weekend.

On Vulnerability and Reason

Ron Leonard

I’d like to talk about vulnerability. Usually when you talk about vulnerability, you give emotional reasons for recommending greater vulnerability. Let’s say you’re one of those guys who isn’t impressed with emotional reasons for doing things. ‘After all,’ you say, ‘Emotions are just the caboose on the train, right?’ Well, where emotions belong is a subject of several other articles. Let’s agree for now, that they shouldn’t be in charge but that God didn’t make them for us just to ignore.

So, what if you are a level-headed guy who wants to do things thoughtfully, rationally and with his mind in charge? Maybe you might want to know what your emotions are doing but you don’t want them dictating whether you do things such as becoming vulnerable. That’s great! This article is for you.

Before we talk about vulnerability, let’s talk about its opposite. If we’re not being vulnerable, what are we doing? Largely, we’re hiding. We’re also doing such things as lying, clamming up, covering up, and oh yeah, hiding. Why do we do these things? Because we’re afraid that if our real self and behaviors were known, even to our loved ones, we would be blamed, shamed, embarrassed, mocked, ridiculed, or otherwise in trouble. So, hiding is perfectly natural and understandable. It’s also childish.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) declares, ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.’

When we were children, we would try to hide our misbehavior in the belief that this would make our lives better somehow. Usually, it made them worse. When we raided the cookie jar, we weren’t smart enough to figure out that as Bill Cosby pointed out, ‘Sound travels.’ Our parents heard our misbehavior from the next room and came to see what we were doing. We tried to cover up our crimes by stuffing the half-eaten cookies back into the jar, but we still had the crumbs on our lips. Now that we’re older, we’re a little better at covering up, but our behavior is still just as childish.

When we were children, we did not have the benefit of a trained rational mind. We as children responded to things based primarily on emotions. It was only slowly that we learned to use our minds more. So, when we continue to hide as men, we are behaving emotionally, not rationally.

God has made men, more so than women, to be guided by their minds than their hearts. This does not make us better, it makes us different. Imagine for a moment being raised by two fathers rather than a mother and a father. Whew, painful!

If you are indeed the calm, cool, thinking man you see yourself to be, then hiding does not belong in your life. God made you a rational, goal-directed person. As a man, he also made you courageous, level-headed, and fearless. Hiding is not consistent with these attributes. As a man, it is time to put away childish ways.

If we know what hiding is now, what then is vulnerability? Vulnerability is exposing all (or at least more) of ourselves to the light of others scrutiny. It is a purposeful showing of things our emotions tell us to hide. Vulnerability is a conscious, reasonable, thought-out, goal-driven DECISION. Yes, there are enormous emotional ramifications, but it is above all a choice and an act of the will.

What are your goals? Is it to have a better family? Is it to have a stronger marriage and a closer connection to your wife? Then choosing to become vulnerable is one of the actions you take to fulfill that goal. It is not something we do to feel better (although we might in the long run). It is something that will definitely be scary and will probably be quite painful. But, isn’t facing down fear and suffering pain for our families what God made us for? Why do you suppose he gave us the heart of a warrior?

Why else should we choose vulnerability?

Why do we hang a trouble light on the hood? So we can see what the problem is so we (and our buddies) can fix them. Vulnerability is like that trouble light. Do you ever wonder why you have the same confused feelings about women and sex that you had when you were a teenager? Why haven’t they changed a bit? Because, they have never been exposed to the light. They’ve never been hauled out of the basement and hung up so they can dry out. No one has been able to see these things clearly enough so they can be worked on.

In nature, discarded things eventually disappear. Bacteria, in God’s divine order, chews up debris. After a short period of being rotten and smelly, it decomposes until it’s gone. This doesn’t happen in our brain. All of the accumulated stupidity of our lives is still in there. We need to become vulnerable so we can let God, our wives, and other men see it in the light and help us dispose of it.

Vulnerability is tough, but we can help. Join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries