What’s In Your Yard?

For a while I thought being a good follower of Jesus meant saying yes to everyone. I thought I was supposed to  help out every time someone asked and take every opportunity to serve. Isn’t this what Jesus meant when He said for us to lay our lives down? Wasn’t it mean to say “no”?

This didn’t work out well for me though because in the end, it’s incredibly stressful and overwhelming to say yes to everyone. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned that helps me protect what God holds me responsible for in my own life.


Cleaning Up Your Yard

A couple years ago, we bought a house with a beautiful yard. Unfortunately, this yard doesn’t look beautiful all by itself. There’s work that goes into it, and it’s our job to make sure it’s taken care of. We may try to convince the neighbors to come over and do some yard work, but it probably won’t work. What happens in our yard is our responsibility, no one else’s.

I’m going to let you in on something: you have a yard too. It’s inside of you. Self-control is knowing how to manage your yard. It’s having a say in what happens around you.

Now some of us may have crazy yards. It looks like we have no boundaries and all sorts of people and things are in our yard. It may be our mom’s feelings, husband’s choices, or kids attitudes. You know someone else is in your yard when you feel responsible for their happiness. If they’re unhappy, you start running around trying to figure out how to make them happy. You might say, “Ah!! I have to make you happy for things to be okay in my yard!” This is dangerous. We start to sacrifice our bodies, our minds, our wants, and our needs because we’re trying to make sure that other person is happy. Instead of stressing over their emotions, a better option would be to recognize that their feelings are not actually in your yard. They have to take ownership for their well-being, just like you have to take ownership for yours.


Setting Boundaries

So how do we help people out of our yard? By setting boundaries.

Proverbs 25:8 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

It’s our job to have boundaries, to have walls that are healthy around our lives. What does this look like? People are adults, and they can act however they choose, so we can’t actually set limits on them. We can set limits on our exposure to people. We can give ourselves space from people who act or react in destructive or unhealthy ways. Part of being kind to yourself is not giving people full access to you all the time. It’s okay to pull back, and say, “I love you, but I need some space here. I’ll catch you later.” Start to set those boundaries so they don’t have access to everything in your life.

“Part of being kind to yourself is not allowing people to have unlimited access to you all the time.”

When you first start to set boundaries with people, they may not like it. They may even accuse you of not caring or being unloving. When this happens to me, I have to remind myself that I have done nothing wrong. How they choose to respond to me is up to them. How I choose to respond is up to me. I still care about them, but I’m choosing not to give them access to what I hold most precious to me which is the core of who I am. I have to protect that.


Taking Care of Your Emotions

The other way you steward your yard is taking responsibility for your own feelings. You may feel mad, sad, or frustrated, but you have to realize that those emotions are in your yard. No one else is powerful enough to make you feel a certain way. Pull it back, keep it in your yard, and work through it. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling frustrated? Why am I feeling angry? Why am I feeling like I want to give up?” Figure it out. Sometimes it’s just a one day thing that you’ll feel better about tomorrow. Other times it might be an unmet need that you have to take care of. Part of stewarding your yard is figuring out how to express your wants and needs and get them met in a healthy way.

If your kids are under eighteen and aren’t adults, they are supposed to be in your yard. They’re your responsibility to take care of until they grow up and get to have their own yard. The moment you take ownership of the fact that you’re a parent is the moment you get the power to do what you’re called to do. When I thank God for giving me four healthy boys, He comes in to help me parent them well. In the moment you take ownership, you receive the grace to raise your children and take care of what’s in your yard.

We set boundaries in our relationships to protect what God’s given us to steward. Taking responsibility for other people’s emotions is exhausting. If you feel overwhelmed, you may have some people things in your yard that don’t belong there. Loving yourself well is making sure you do what you need to keep yourself healthy and whole. You may get a little resistance from people at first, but in the end you will be able to give your best to people in the times they do have access to you because you valued yourself enough to make sure you’re healthy, rested, and whole.

To find out more on this topic, check out this bible study resource from our director or Danny Silk’s podcast on Boundaries.

Marriage and Divorce

Character, communication and choosing love will sustain, revive and renew a relationship for the long-haul.


“Personality” is easy to understand. Your “personality” is how people experience you. It’s your public persona. Character is who you are when no one is watching.

Character is defined by the dictionary as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Here at Moral Revolution we talk about ‘core values’. The definition of core is ‘at the heart of’ and the definition of value is, “A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” So therefore, our core values are the standards we have chosen to put at the center of our lives, that govern our choices and behaviors.

Character shows itself when we choose to live by our core values despite feeling misunderstood, maligned, accused or overlooked. If I have a core value that says I will work to not wound others when in discussion with people, then in the heat of the moment I will avoid words or phrases like: “you never…..” or “you always….”


“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with
a personality,
but we must live with a character.”
– Peter Devries –


Marriage is a covenant that we make for life, with one person, before God. It lasts too long, at too close quarters for it to be sustained simply by personalities relating together. Personalities eventually give way to an inner self that gets revealed; a meeting of characters. Most other people in your life hold up mirrors that reflect your personality and you (probably) love it because they show your best side. Whilst in marriage the same is true, it also feels like the other person is holding up a mirror to your character and you may possibly be seeing a side of yourself that is not as delightful as you thought!

One reason people fail at marriage is not that they don’t like their spouse, it’s that they don’t like themselves. Many people would rather choose to be with someone else than remain with their spouse and have to continue to be with themselves.

God is a covenant-maker and a covenant-keeper. It’s who He is and an intrinsic part of His nature and character. When He makes covenant, He is never going to go back on His word. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29).

Covenant and character development go hand-in-hand. In our relationship with God it is so and in our marriages it is so. God covenants with us so deeply so that when He holds that mirror up and we squirm at the ugliness within us, we can still stand before Him knowing that we are loved and seen and He does not hide from us. As we walk that path with Him it trains us for marriage and other covenants. We can begin to dare to believe that we can be transparent in our closest relationships because we are fully loved by the One who sees it all and loves us, laughs with us and transforms us.

Sadly, there are some circumstances where separation and divorce become necessary, due to violence and mistreatment. But we must be careful not to then start saying divorce under any circumstances is okay. God’s words created this world. When He spoke, things were created and things changed. We are made in His image. Our words matter. The vows and promises we speak with our mouths He takes very seriously.

Divorce is not an option if we have grown bored or because we feel we have grown out of love. Character, communication and choosing love will sustain, revive and renew for the long-haul. God does it with us. He is passionate about covenant! He promises us power, love, self-control and humility. HE gives us the power to be with one another in a covenant relationship that so beautifully reflects His character and nature!


– Soo Prince (Intern)

8 Things I Would Tell Someone Who is Struggling With Porn

Pornography can feel like a python squeezing the life out of you. I know first hand, I was caught in the trap for years. The struggle can feel like a vicious cycle that pulls you deeper into hurt and isolation. We need lifelines, rescue ropes, and voices of strength that push us to endure and fight for our freedom. Advice while struggling with sin can be well intentioned but poorly executed. We can leave with condemnation, more rules, and less hope. This isn’t one of those times, this is a lifeline, a piece of advice that will help you. Let’s dive in!


Don’t believe the lie that you will struggle with this forever


The intensity of a struggle should never determine your hope. You could be struggling with sin for 2 years or 10, it doesn’t matter, our hope rests in Jesus came to set us free. Freedom is God’s standard and we should line up our perspective with His. God has paved a way for freedom and the first thing we do is believe it’s possible despite our experiences. As a man walking in freedom for over 7 years, I want you to know it’s very possible to live free.


Don’t hide it, talk to someone who isn’t struggling


Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It can be a terrifying to talk about your struggle but it’s a necessary step on the road to living completely free. Jesus breaks all our shame so that telling our struggle can be liberating. God has designed our lives to be healthiest when we’re in community. When we open ourselves up to healthy community we begin to receive their strength. Isolation is never the pathway to healing rather, community is essential to freedom.


Don’t live by rules but by your identity 


Rules and plans can appear wise but they fail because they’re built around the assumption that our behavior is the problem. This is a revolutionary idea for many but your struggle with pornography isn’t the problem. It’s the fruit of the problem and the real issue is how you see yourself. Do you see yourself as loved by God? Do you see yourself as forgiven by God? Do you view your past as your past? When we give our life to Jesus, the Bible says we become a new creation. Our identity is no longer defined by what we do but what Jesus has done. We are not pure because we stick to a purity plan. We’re pure because Jesus has made us pure. This is the origin of healthy behavior. Proverbs says that “as a man thinks in his heart so he is.”  How we view ourselves is crucial and Jesus gives us a new identity that will change our behavior. We’re not recovering, horrible sinners anymore. Jesus has transformed us into new people and we need to start living like it’s true.


Don’t be foolish, get some boundaries


Boundaries are tools that when used well promote health. Boundaries are not just a list of things you can do. Boundaries protect what you have said yes to in life. You can make boundaries that say “no computer after 10pm because I don’t want to look a porn” or you can make boundaries that say “I don’t look at my computer after 10pm because I value the purity God gave me.” Boundaries work best when they protect what you value not what your afraid of doing.


Get your needs met in healthy ways


We all have needs in life, for example we all need to feel loved. Now, if we don’t know how to meet that need in a healthy way we can fall into sin. Most men who fall into pornography have had a hard time finding love. Not love like a girlfriend but unconditional love that gives them worth and value outside of what they do. The need to feel loved is the need to know our worth. If you can find healthy ways to find your worth you will start beating pornography to the ground. An example would be to get worth from God and know how much He loves you.


God is good and he is for you 


How we view God determines so much about our life. Once I discovered that God is good and wasn’t out to punish me then I leaned into Him. I stopped being afraid of Him and started to trust Him. This led me into living in His strength. I now could approach Him because I knew He loved me and was for me. He not only had the power to help me but he wanted to help me. This was crucial in my journey to living free from pornography. I no longer felt God was angry but that He loved me and was there for me.


Temptation doesn’t mean you’re broken inside


Temptation is real, Jesus dealt with it. Most of us however deal with it very different than Jesus. The moment we’re tempted we think it’s because we have a problem inside of us. The bible says Jesus was tempted in all ways but without sin. This is huge; temptation isn’t a sin. Temptation can lead to sin but it doesn’t start as sin. We have to remember that the enemy tempts us and we always have a way out of it. Does that mean all temptation doesn’t come from within? No, some temptation comes because we perpetuate it through sin and poor thinking. But not all temptation comes from within us as Jesus revealed with being tempted by satan.


Don’t believe the lie that because you’ve looked at pornography now you wont have good sex when your married


I have had so many questions and sometimes statements about sex in marriage after being addicted to pornography. The concern is that now you won’t be able to get the images out of your head or you’ll be triggered by it. I am here to tell you that it’s possible to have a great sex life in marriage and not let any of your past affect you. Does it mean the enemy doesn’t try? No, he does try but his success is determined by me and I don’t let him win. God loves sex and He designed it for marriage, so you have more support than you think.


Chris Cruz is currently a full time Pastor at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA. It’s a school of over 1800 students that’s dedicated to equipping revivalists to pursue worldwide transformation in their God given sphere of influence. Along with BSSM, He speaks at Bethel Redding on Friday nights and helps lead Tribe Young Adults.
Website: chrisjosephcruz.com
Facebook: facebook.com/chriscruzpage
Twitter: @chrisjosephcruz
Instagram: @chriscruz


Do You Deserve to Be Forgiven?



I learned this lesson years ago when my kids were teen­agers. I became angry with Kathy in front of them and treated her disrespectfully. An hour later, I apologized, and she forgave me. But when I went to bed that night, I suddenly realized that I had disrespected Kathy in front of my teenage kids. So I needed to apologize to them for being a bad example of a husband, or they would grow up believing that my behavior was okay. The next day, I gathered the kids together in the front room and asked Kathy and each of the kids to forgive me.

“Okay, Dad,” they each said, a little annoyed that I was making such a big deal out of this. “We forgive you. Can we go now?” they pressed.

“You can go,” I responded. I was as glad to get that over with as they were.

About a week later, one of our boys came in the kitchen and started being sarcastic with Kathy. I walked into the kitchen and said, “You don’t have permission to talk to my wife like that.”

“You were rude to Mom the other day yourself!” he responded.

“Yes,” I continued, “but you forgave me. Forgiveness restores the standard. When you forgave me you gave up your right to act the same way that I did because your forgiveness restored me back to the place of honor. I repented. Repentance means to be restored to the pinnacle, the high place.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I should not have spoken to you that way,” he said humbly.

“I forgive you, son,” she said, embracing him.



If we don’t understand this principle, then the lowest point, the worst mistake or stupidest thing that we have ever done in life becomes our high watermark. For instance, if we were immoral as a teenager and later on in life we have teenagers, we won’t have confidence to correct them for their poor sexual choices because we failed ourselves. Failures that we have repented of are no longer the standard that we must bow to. When we asked God and those we had hurt to forgive us, we were set back up on the high place that God assigned to us. The truth is that forgiveness restores the standard of holiness in us and through us.

When you repent, you have permission to live happily ever after! That’s God’s gift to you. It’s called mercy and grace. Mercy means that you don’t receive the punishment you deserve, but grace means that you do receive the blessing you didn’t earn. This was all paid for when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus didn’t just die for you, He died as you. You get to live as if you had never failed!



I was teaching this principle at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base some years ago when suddenly a young, beautiful woman stood up and shouted, “You are wrong!” Then she just stood there weeping out loud.

“What do you mean, ‘I’m ‘wrong?’” I asked.

“I have VD because I slept with many men before I started following Jesus,” she said through her tears. “How can I live happily after that? Who is going to want me now?”

“When you asked for forgiveness, you received the right to be healed of all of your diseases,” I said confidently.

“I don’t deserve to be healed because I knew my lifestyle was wrong when I was living immorally, but I did it anyway,” she said in a harsh tone of voice.

“Jesus didn’t die for your mistakes, He died for your sins,” I argued. “Sin means you did it on purpose. You can’t sin by accident because sin is always a heart issue. Accidents are not heart issues because an accident isn’t something you tried to do on purpose. So accidents don’t need to be forgiven by God, only things you did on purpose need God’s forgiveness. Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah said that Jesus was crucified for our sins but that He was beaten for our healing (see Isaiah 53:5). So Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven and healed. Why not get all that He paid for?” I contended. “And oh, by the way, none of us deserve anything from God. But we don’t get what we deserve. We get what He deserves.”

After debating for a while, she finally let God heal her! He is so amazing!

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.



How to Not Treat Your Boyfriend Like a Husband

(Or Your Girlfriend Like a Wife)


There I sat in the middle of class letting my mind drift away into thoughts about him. Mr. Dreamy. We’d had such great conversations in the hallway. He was so funny, and he loved Jesus. The questions bounced through my thoughts one after another: What if he asks me on a date? Where would we go and what would we do? What if we have a great time? What will be the first song we dance to at our wedding?

Wait, what? Our wedding?!

How do thoughts escalate so quickly when an attractive man or woman enters the picture? I have no idea, but I’ve seen it happen many times and witnessed it firsthand in my own mind more than I would like to say. I believe part of it lies in the fact that many single people know they want to one day be married. When we see the first glimpse of this possibility becoming a reality, we get excited. We might even skip a season or five.

Sometimes this shows itself in a girl treating her boyfriend like a husband or a boy treating his girlfriend like a wife. She justifies it in her mind thinking, “Well, eventually I do want to be his wife.” He justifies it in his mind thinking, “I want to show her what a great husband I would be.” Pretty soon, she’s doing the guy’s laundry on the regular and cooking all of his meals. He’s picking up her mom’s dry cleaning, and they’ve only been dating a couple months! The problem with this is that the level of their involvement in each other’s lives is exceeding their level of commitment. They may think they’re going to get married, but there’s no ring. Until there’s a promise of a lifelong commitment, you have to treat your boyfriend like a boyfriend or your girlfriend like a girlfriend. This is how you keep yourself and the other person safe.

So how do you do that?

1. Don’t be his mom. I know it can be fun to take care of him, and caregiving is often in our nature. The problem comes when you give him all the benefits of having a wife with none of the commitment. A man can get a lot of his needs met outside of marriage by his girlfriend who takes care of him. This is especially true if she starts sleeping with him. This is why some men can be dating or engaged for years without any desire or plans to get married. Many women enter these relationships with a desire for security and stability, but this is only truly found in a committed relationship where both people are staying together… forever.

2. Set physical boundaries. Here are some thoughts people use to justify crossing the line physically: “We’re going to get married anyway. He said he loves me. She said we’re going to be together forever.” Until there’s a pastor, vows, and a couple of rings, it doesn’t matter what they said. He is not your husband, and she is not your wife. Commitment is a big deal, and until you’ve actually made one, the other person’s body is not yours. Make a plan for how you’re going to respect them until then. Don’t just look for where the line is. Look for how you can best honor the person you’re in a relationship with and their future spouse that may or may not be you.

3. Don’t spill all your emotions. Emotional boundaries are also important and not always talked about. Sometimes it’s tough as a girl when he’s asking you questions, looking at you with those dreamy eyes, and suddenly a shooting star crosses the heavens. You want to tell him your whole life story, every feeling you’ve ever felt, and what kind of cake you want to have at your wedding. (Okay this is obviously an exaggeration, and I understand not all ladies are like this. I’ve been here before, so there might be a few who can relate). This is where self-control comes in. Leave a little mystery. The dating season is for finding out about each other and building trust little by little. Don’t uncover everything at once. Whoever you’re dating doesn’t get all of you, physically or emotionally, until they’ve made a forever commitment.

4. Have your own full life. Hang out with your friends. Join a bowling team. Go after your dreams. Pursue other interests, and don’t stop when a cute man or woman walks in. Eventually, if you get married, you will put him or her before a lot of things in your life. In the dating season, don’t let go of the other things that make you happy. It may sound romantic, but he’s actually not your everything. Don’t forget the rest of your life because you’re so wrapped up in him.

5. Keep people around you. Have leaders in your life who can speak into your relationship and give you an outsider’s perspective. When you’re in the middle of it, things can get a little fuzzy: “Flaws? What flaws? They’re perfect!” It’s wise to invite people who have great marriages and have been through this dating thing before to help guide you.

The dating season is fun. Everything’s new, and you’re finding things out about each other. How does he like his coffee? What’s her favorite kind of music? You’re never going to get this initial time of discovery and excitement back, so don’t rush it. It’s okay to take things slow and let them develop naturally.

We don’t want to set solid rules on how involved you can be at each stage of a relationship. That’s why you use wisdom and bring other trustworthy people in to help you out. The thing to remember is your involvement in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s life should match the level of commitment you are at. Know what season you’re in, and enjoy it. Don’t try to jump to the next one before it’s time.

-Andrea Alley

For more information on what healthy sexuality looks like, check out our latest book:

original The Naked Truth About Sexuality
The Naked Truth About Sexuality is a practical, Biblical guide
to understanding God’s original design for sexuality.




7 Signs of an Unhealthy Soul Tie


Sex is a tridimensional experience: spirit, soul, and body. Anytime you have sex with a person you bond with them. Dr. Daniel Amen writes in his book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” “Whenever a person is sexually involved with another person, neurochemical changes occur in both their brains that encourage limbic, emotional bonding. Limbic bonding is the reason casual sex doesn’t really work for most people on a whole mind and body level. Two people may decide to have sex ‘just for the fun of it,’ yet something is occurring on another level that they might not have decided on at all: sex is enhancing an emotional bond between them whether they want it or not. One person, often the woman, is bound to form an attachment and will be hurt when a casual affair ends. One reason it is usually the woman who is hurt most is that the female limbic system is larger than the male’s.”

This is what we call soul ties. Sex is like gluing two pieces of wood together and the next day ripping them apart. Of course, wood from the opposite board remains on each board. A piece of your sex partner (the good, bad, and ugly) stays with you (and vice versa) for the rest of your life. You can only imagine what it looks like when you bond with multiple partners.

Unhealthy soul ties are often the ramifications of having partners that you create a life-long bond with through a sexual encounter(s), but with whom you only have a short-term relationship with. The bond (soul tie) remains long after the relationship is over, leaving both sexual partners longing for wholeness.



1. People are misinformed and therefore convinced that sex is strictly a single-dimensional, physical act with no emotional or spiritual connections. Yet after sex they find themselves mysteriously longing for the person they may not even like.

2. A person (usually the woman) gives him or herself sexually to someone expecting that the intensely intimate act of intercourse would create a bond that would lead to deeper levels of commitment in their relationship. But soon she discovers that her sexual partner was taking advantage of her need for intimacy and used her vulnerability to get laid. Of course, this leads to a person being emotionally and spiritually bonded to somebody that they deeply resent!

3. Two people commit to marriage and therefore surmise that the covenant vows are only a formality. So they live together and enjoy a sexual relationship outside of a life-long commitment. But later they decide (for whatever reason) that they don’t want to live in a covenant relationship and eventually break up. They usually don’t realize how deeply they have wounded each other as their souls are ripped apart, tearing the very fabric of their being in the separation.

I understand that there are hundreds of other reasons why unhealthy soul ties take place, but I am simply trying to give you a few examples.



1. You are in a physically, and/or emotionally, and/or spiritually abusive relationship, but you “feel” so attached to them that you refuse to cut off the connection and set boundaries with them.

2. You have left a relationship (maybe long ago), but you think about the other person obsessively (you can’t get them out of your mind).

3. Whenever you do anything – make a decision, have a conversation with someone etc., you “feel” like this person is with you or watching you.

4. When you have sex with someone else (hopefully your husband or wife), you can hardly keep yourself from visualizing the person you have a soul tie with.

5. You take on the negative traits of the person that your soul is tied to and carry their offenses whether or not you actually agree with them.

6. You defend your right to stay in a relationship with the person that your soul is tied to, even though it is negatively effecting or even destroying the important relationships in your life (husband, wife, kids, leaders, etc.)

7. You have simultaneous experiences and/or “moods” as the person your soul is tied to. This can even include sickness, accidents, addictions etc.

1 Corinthians 6:15 – Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”



There is hope if you find yourself in an unhealthy soul tie. You can never fall so far that you can’t be restoredNew life is available to you by simply repenting and asking Jesus to forgive you. Forgiveness restores the standard in our lives, and you can live in freedom and hope again.

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.



4 Steps to Overcoming Powerlessness (Part 2)

In our previous blog, we looked at Steps 1 and 2 to overcoming powerlessness: Do the Work of Repentance and Start the Messy Cleanup.  In case you missed it, read it here. Today we’ll take a look at Steps 3 and 4.



There are a lot of situations in life that seem hard to overcome because of the level of bravery it takes to actually acknowledge there is a problem. We have all met people with the proverbial pet elephant standing in their living room. These people are oblivious to the elephant—their internal world—but usually are quick to point out the elephant standing in other people’s living rooms.


Vampire Victims

To change the metaphor a bit, these people are vampire victims! The victim mentality is one of the deadliest mindsets, because a victim is totally incapable of changing his or her environment. Victims spend massive amounts of time sucking the life out of everyone else because they live in a powerless state of mind. Victims believe that their external world has to change in order for them to be okay. Because a victim is so out of control internally, he or she feels an enormous need to control everyone else.

Powerlessness is the process of giving away ownership and empowering someone or something else as your sole decision maker. You cannot fix something for which you are unwilling to take ownership. It’s simply impossible. Taking ownership for your decisions and your problems is the only way to ever become a healthy person. Regardless of what you have come to believe, you are responsible for your own life and actions. When you give up that right to someone else, you have rendered yourself powerless.


Meet Jim and Sarah

Recently, I counseled a couple who typified the victim mentality. Their cry for help came in the form of a Facebook chat. I sat down with my friend Jim and began to assess what was going on. It didn’t take him long to explain to me that his wife, Sarah, was impossible to please. She was a black hole that nothing could ever fill; and worse yet, she was a nag. She had no respect for his boundaries, especially when their discussions morphed into arguments. This usually resulted in Jim punching holes in the wall or smashing things.

“She won’t let me leave the room or give me time to think; she just keeps hounding me,” Jim complained. “Sarah totally controls me!”

My first thought was, Wowza! I’m so glad I’m not in this guy’s shoes! After giving him time to talk and vent, I began to ask him some pointed questions about himself. First I asked what he had done to work on his relationship with his wife. There was a long pause accompanied with a sigh. “Um, I guess I’m here,” he said.

“Okay,” I said. “Did you set up this meeting, or did Sarah?”

(I already knew the answer to this question, but I really wanted Jim to know the answer for himself.)

“Uh, she did,” he admitted.

Continuing down that train of thought, I said, “Who have you gone to in order to get some help with your relationship?” Thinking for a second, Jim responded, “Well, I talk to my mom sometimes. Actually, my mom found out because Sarah called her. She normally calls my parents when we are hard at it.”


Stuffing Pain

At this point, I was starting to see a pattern in Jim’s life. As the questions continued, I found out that Jim didn’t talk to anyone about his marriage, including his best friend. To make matters worse, when I asked him what he does to get rid of his pain and frustration, his response was, “I normally just try to forget about it.” It wouldn’t take a psychiatrist to figure out that Jim’s plan of ignoring his frustration and stuffing his pain wasn’t working! This man was punching holes in the wall and turning over tables in the house.

“Jim, it doesn’t seem like your plan has been working very well,” I said. “What have you done to meet your wife’s love languages?” (I was referring to Dr. Gary Chapman’s research on the five primary ways people express and interpret love— Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.)

Annoyed, Jim replied, “Even if I try, I don’t ever seem to be able to meet them. I’ve felt really frustrated lately trying to meet Sarah’s needs. It feels pretty hopeless.” You could hear in his tone of voice the irritation he was carrying inside.

“Jim, what are you going to do about your marriage?”

“I don’t know. I wish Sarah wasn’t such a mess and so hard to live with,” he said.

It was time for me to give some feedback. “Jim, it doesn’t feel like she is really the whole problem. You have made her responsible for getting help for you guys. She is the one who is contacting your parents and me. You haven’t done anything proactive to work on your relationship other than the things she hounds you about; and you have no process for dealing with the pain and frustration you feel from not being successful.

And finally, you still believe that she is the sole problem in this relationship. I’m not surprised that she nags you, Jim. It’s the only way that you have ever become motivated in this relationship. You have empowered her to be your mother.”


Light Bulb Moment

I could see the light bulb exploding in his brain. For the first time in a long while, Jim was beginning to realize that he had given his power away to his wife. She had become responsible for the health of their relationship. As long as he kept this belief system, he would always be powerless to fix what was going on inside of him.

So many people are like Jim. They create a belief system that tells them they are not responsible for the condition of their own life. It is less painful to believe that their problems are everyone else’s fault.

When I first talked with Jim, he had given up on his relationship. He told his wife that he was considering getting a divorce because she was making him miserable. What Jim didn’t realize was that if he spent less time worrying about what Sarah was going to do and more time trying to figure out what he was going to do, he could actually fix a majority of his problems. However, Jim had never taken personal responsibility for his life and marriage, so he was always frustrated and overwhelmed because his peace and happiness were at the mercy of his wife.

Once Jim realized that he had given all of his power away, he was then able to repent for his victim mentality and figure out what he was going to do to get his power back and love his wife. Today, Jim is no longer a victim, and his marriage is flourishing!

I have always said that any time a problem is 100 percent my fault, it’s a good day! I can fix anything that is my fault, but I can’t fix anything I don’t control. The day that you take ownership for your life is the day that you begin to take control again.



One of the major aspects of being in control of your life is the ability to set healthy boundaries with people. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” The person who lacks the ability to set boundaries will end up being like a broken-down, pillaged city. A defenseless city gets plundered and has nothing of value left to offer anyone. Personal boundaries are like the protective walls of an ancient city. The purpose of having good boundaries is to protect and nourish yourself so that you can cultivate healthy relationships with others. Without the ability to protect yourself, you have no way to provide protection for anyone else in your life. A person establishes healthy boundaries through the process of defining his or her virtues, values and needs, and then communicating them to the people that he or she is in relationship with.

When you articulate your boundaries to people, they have the opportunity to respect your needs and virtues and protect your relationship with them. And when they value and protect the things that are important to you, the relationship flourishes. This is the process that builds trust between you and others.

Another great aspect of boundaries is the ability to let people know what you can do/will do and can’t do/won’t do. You actually have the right and the ability to set limits with others for the health of the relationship. There are no healthy relationships without healthy boundaries.

One of the things we all need to keep in mind when we are setting boundaries is that the primary goal should be to build stronger and deeper relationships with people. Yes, boundaries do keep some people out of relationship with us when they refuse to respect those boundaries. But the main goal of telling people what we need and feel is so they can do the things that cultivate a healthy relationship with us, not so that we have a valid reason to scratch them off of our friend list.

Powerful people know what they need and what they are going to do. They are able to set boundaries because they believe that no one else is responsible for them. No matter what the situation, they are still able to be powerful and choose their responses, because no one else but God is in control of their future.


For more on this topic, check out our podcast from Danny Silk on Boundaries or the book The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness.

Originally published on krisvallotton.com




Does Siri know you better than your friends?

Who are you connecting with?


Did you know that the average person checks their phone 110 times a day?*


I was in a bit of disbelief when I heard this, until I paid attention.


It didn’t matter if I was in a conversation, eating dinner, watching a movie, or just hanging out- I noticed that people we’re always on their phones. (I wish I could say I was exempt from that group, but I can’t.) But why? The obvious answer would be the plethora of distraction. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Temple Run, Candy Crush- the list goes on! But why? Are we really that bored and lethargic that we’ll open Instagram 3 times in less than a minute just to keep ourselves occupied? Or is there something else going on?


I think, sometimes, it’s easier for us to be numb than to be sad. Sometimes, instead of dealing with the stress of bills, we watch a show we don’t even follow. Sometimes, distraction is easier than confrontation. Sometimes, instead of calling a friend and asking how they are doing, we check out their Facebook and decide for them. If we’re not careful and we remain unaware of this problem, “sometimes” will lead to “all the time,” and we will find ourselves scared, isolated, and alone.


Community matters. Having people in your life that know about the details of your life- the fears, the victories, the struggles, the relationships, the hurt, the promotions- matters! Living on your own, isolated and independent, will only get you so far. You need people who can love you through your messes and celebrate you in your victories! You don’t need 20 people to know everything and having one person is better than no person, but 3-5 is healthy and realistic. Plus, with numbers, you gain the variety of perspective and experience.


So, who knows you? Besides Siri.


– Anna Weygandt (Intern)


* Woollaston, V. (2013, Oct 08). How often do you check your phone? The average person does it 110 times a day (and up to every 6 seconds in the evening). Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2449632/How-check-phone-T…

4 Steps to Overcoming Powerlessness (Part 1)

Today, we will look at the first two steps to becoming powerful people and putting God back in control.

We were never created to be a powerless people, subject to the happiness or depression of the environment around us. Rather, our source of wholeness is derived from the author Himself.

God is the only one who can offer us love and security regardless of our circumstances. Placing God on the throne of our lives is not rocket science, but it does require diligence and taking the right steps.



The very first step to reestablish God on the throne of your life is repentance. Repentance roots out inferior and faulty thought processes and replaces them with truth. It’s not only necessary to repent for removing God out of His rightful spot in our lives, but we also need to repent for the reasons why we displaced Him.

It is so important for us to get to the root issues that have caused the faulty thinking in our hearts. This is where most people miss the bus. They are genuinely sorry for their actions, but because they have no idea what is driving them (what the root issue is), they can’t keep their actions and heart in line with their convictions. Therefore, they return once again to their old cycle of thinking.

When we put something in our “God spot,” we must go back and figure out why we chose to do that so that we can truly repent.



After repentance (changing the way we think), we often have to go back and clean up our mess. For so many of us, there is a huge misconception about what cleaning up our mess really looks like. We have been taught through our childhood experiences that the word “sorry” fixes everything. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The word “sorry” doesn’t fix anything. I know this because I have three kids! On any given day, it’s only a matter of time before one of my children acts out in a “not so fun way” to one of his or her siblings. Usually, it’s some sort of short-lived, spur-of-the-moment flair-up about who is going to get the middle seat in the car, or who is going to consume the coveted last GoGurt in the freezer. Kids can always find something to argue about.

It’s tempting as a parent to stop the argument as quickly as possible and with exerting the least amount of effort; the goal is to restore chaos to a manageable level. In our efforts to restore order, it is really easy to say something like this: “Kids, knock it off! Elijah, tell your sister you’re sorry for being rude to her, or you can go spend the rest of the day in your room!” Now, I’m as guilty as anybody else when it comes to statements like that. However, the problem with just telling my kids what to do and what to say is that it’s not really coming from their own hearts. Therefore, any apology they offer is never genuine enough to change their behavior, so the problem still exists.

If our kids are going to change their behavior, they need to be able to figure out why they choose to be disrespectful and then they must want to choose a different behavior so that their “sorry” is productive. It’s no different for you and me; the goal of repentance is not to simply say the words “I’m sorry,” but rather to find the root of the issue so that we can fix the behavior.


Part 2 coming soon.

To read more on this topic, check out our Top Healing & Restoration FAQ 

For more from this author check out his podcast: What a Man Looks Like or the book The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness

Originally published on  krisvallotton.com




Soul Food: 3 Basic Needs for the Soul

I have four boys, and they love physical contact. My days are full of wrestling matches, sword fights, and lego man battles. In the midst of all the playing and running and jumping on each other, sometimes one gets hurt. Oftentimes they’ll brush it off and keep playing, but other times the hurt one will look at me, run over, and fall into my arms, tears streaming down his face. I hold him close, wipe his tears, and tell him it’s going to be okay. After a couple minutes, he’s back up and running around with his brothers again. As his mom, I would’ve liked a little more cuddle time, but he felt good enough jump back into playing. He knew he had a need to be comforted, so he came to me. Once that need was met, he was ready to tackle the world again.

Just like our bodies have physical needs like food, water, sleep, etc., our souls also have needs. Here are three basic, universal needs for the soul:


1. Intimacy 

Intimacy is being close, familiar, and usually affectionate with another person or group. One way to remember it is to break it down like this: into-me-you-see. It’s allowing people to see you as you are and love you. If you’re feeling overlooked, overwhelmed, insignificant, or unknown, you might be needing intimacy.

It’s easy to be misled into thinking that intimacy only comes through sexual or romantic relationships. That may be the only way we have experienced it in the past. God actually desires us to be intimate in other ways. Finding ways to relate to people on deeper levels of understanding (not just talking about the weather, but hopes, fears, and dreams), is how we become known. Of course you don’t have to do this with everyone, but to talk about these things with people you trust can be life-changing and meet that need for intimacy.


2. Connection

Feeling connected comes from knowing that our story is not an isolated story and that we were born for a reason. We need to know that we are part of something greater, and our story is part of the eternal plan of God. We were not made for isolation and independence; we were made to thrive within a family. If you’re feeling alone, isolated, stuck on yourself, or like no one accepts you, you may be needing connection.

The first place to get this need met is with God. He fully loves and accepts you for who you are. We need connection with others as well, though. We need to interact with people face-to-face, help people in need, celebrate people, and allow them to celebrate us. Ask God to help you find healthy people who can know you, speak into your life, and influence you.


3. Comfort

Comfort is the need to be soothed, reassured, and encouraged. You don’t have to be on earth too long to know what it’s like to feel pain, sorrow, rejection, or grief. Comfort for our soul helps us feel safe and secure in unstable circumstances. If you’re feeling pain, sorrow, or stress, it may help to find something or someone to comfort you.

Brace yourself, I’m about to get really spiritual here: maybe finding comfort means taking time for a cup of coffee in the morning, getting a massage once a month, or taking that vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Okay, that wasn’t that spiritual, but denying your soul the comfort it needs is not spiritual either. God knows we need comfort sometimes, that’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to be our “Comforter” (John 14:16). Don’t deny yourself comfort, but find healthy ways to make sure this soul need is met.

You may be wondering what all these needs have to do with sexual purity. We sometimes mistakingly identify these needs as a need for sex.

Sex is an easy way to get all of these needs met, but outside of the safety of marriage, it’s not the best way, and can actually leave us more broken than we felt before.

It’s important to pay attention to these needs so that we can take care of them before they escalate to more than we can bear. It’s at this point that we’re often tempted to settle for easy fixes to get us out of pain like porn, masturbation, or a one night stand. Don’t settle for things that don’t satisfy, but learn to steward your soul needs and seek out the One who does satisfy.

We may not be like my little ones, having a mom and dad in our lives to help meet all of our needs, but we do have a good Father looking out for us. We are not orphans. The One who designed us for intimacy, connection, and comfort will be faithful to help us meet our needs. It may not be easy to take the first step and ask Him for help, but just as I held my little one when he ran into my arms, God will not deny His children the comfort, intimacy, and connection they need.


Want to find out more about getting needs met in a healthy way?

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