Who Told You?

You know that feeling that comes when you’re about to have people over and you realize the house is a disaster? I’m convinced my family gets more accomplished in a thirty-minute power clean (insert: freak out because they’re on their way over) than we do in an entire month. Pick up all the toys, start the dishwasher, scrub the toilets, light some candles and voila! It doesn’t look like a zoo full of animals live here! Most of the time, that also includes us stuffing all of the “I don’t want to deal with that right now” things and the “we definitely don’t want anyone to see that” stuff in a room and close the door. We call it the “off-limits” room.

We do the same thing with our lives. We show up to church on a Sunday morning all put together or we post our selfies on social media of the moments we’re eager to share and have people see and “like”. But the mess, we keep locked up in a room we won’t let anyone into. Sometimes the people closest to us don’t even know what’s behind the door. We refuse to let anyone in, even Jesus. We pretend He can’t see what we’re hiding. It reminds me of Adam and Eve in the garden “hiding” from God.

 

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:1-8

 

When they take that bite of the apple and realize they are naked, shame enters the scene. Immediately shame tells us to hide. Shame thrives off of secrecy. Darkness is the territory where the devil torments us. We have to let the light in and watch the shadows disappear and the torment cease. We have to stop hiding our past mistakes or current struggles in order to find the freedom and wholeness we were meant to walk in.

When you continue reading from the story of the very beginning, Adam says how he was afraid so he hid. The first words of God’s response are three words that ring in my ear on the regular:


“Who told you…?”


 

“He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:10-13).

 

When you are hiding in shame or overcome with fear, pause and let your Father ask you, “Who told you…” Who told you that you were a failure? Who told you that you had to do that? Who told you that you’re too far gone? Who told you that you were a mistake? Who told you that you were worthless? Who told you that you cannot change?

Before the truth can set you free, you must realize which lies are holding you hostage. Find the source of the lies, find the entry point and let your Father walk back into the beginning and say, “Who told you?” We don’t want to live our lives based on what the father of lies has led us to believe, but we want to follow our heavenly Father to the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

When we talk specifically about our sexual struggles– whether it be soul ties, porn addiction, flashbacks that aren’t from Friday but from past trauma and abuse, the inability to see our worth and value, body shaming, whatever it may be… it is important we ask God to take us back to the beginning. We need to find the introduction of the lies. Where did this start? When did this begin? Often we find we are not responsible for how it started, but we are responsible for how it ends. With the love of the Father, the power of the cross and the friendship of the Holy Spirit, we can rewrite our stories, change the narrative, and find a happy ending.

Your past does not have to dictate your future.

Ask yourself today, does my past hold unwarranted power over my present? If your answer is an obvious “YES!”, today is the day to start the process. If your answer is, “ugh, maybe, I think so,” that’s where you start. Be kind to yourself, ask the Holy Spirit to walk with you and show you where to begin. We don’t have to let the sickness from our past feed into our present. The dark room where we’ve tried to hide everything won’t work forever. Let the light in, you won’t regret it.

Stay tuned for the blog “The Process is Part of the Promise” if you’re not sure what to do next or ready to get started. 

 

CAITLIN ZICK HAD A PROFOUND MOMENT AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN WHERE GOD CALLED HER OUT OF A CROWD AND HER LIFE WAS FOREVER CHANGED. FROM THAT MOMENT, SHE BEGAN TO DISCOVER WHO SHE WAS AS A DAUGHTER OF GOD, FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS, AND REALIZE THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HER LIFE. CAITLIN AND HER HUSBAND COLE BECAME DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN 2017 AND OPENLY SHARE THEIR MARRIAGE STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND BEGIN TO UNFOLD GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX. THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED AND IN FULL-TIME MINISTRY FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND HAVE STARTED THEIR OWN LITTLE ZOO, KNOWN AS #THEZICKZOO. YOU CAN FIND THEIR WILD ON INSTAGRAM WITH THEIR LITTLE ANIMALS: CALEB, CONNOR, CADE, AND CHLOE ROSE. 
INSTAGRAM: @CAITZICK
TWITTER: @CAITLINZICK

How Self-Sabotaging Destroys Relationships

Nobody wants to admit they’re a self-sabotager. I think many people fall victim to the self-sabotage mindset and may not even know it. Maybe you’re one of them? Think about it: has someone ever loved you “too much”? Do you find yourself thinking, “if they only knew the truth, then they wouldn’t love me…” Or maybe you don’t deal with these overt lies, but rather find yourself running away from success or from deep relationships? I had no idea this was something operating in my life until someone loved me way beyond what I knew what do with, and the experience revealed so much to me about how my lid of success in life was something that I was perpetuating myself.

 

HOW I REALIZED I WAS A SELF-SABOTAGER

In 1999 Kathy and I experienced a terrible financial crisis. We lost our four businesses, the home we built, and most of our worldly possessions. To make matters worse, we were left with a $1.8 million debt! That same year a man we didn’t know gave us $30,000. We found out who the mystery man was and sent him a nice thank you card. But then something strange happened…

For the next 6 months I completely avoided him. Then, one day I encountered him in a restroom, and I ran out of the building like a man on fire. As I ran out of the building I suddenly realized that there was something seriously wrong with me. This was ridiculous! Somebody once said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself,” and I certainly just got introduced to myself. What I mean is this experience was revealing something about me that was deeper than what I had bargained for, and I knew I needed to work it out.

That night, I lay in bed awake until the wee hours of the morning. Finally, in desperation I cried out to God.
“Jesus, I think there is something wrong with me. Do you know what it is?”
“Yes,” He replied immediately.
“What is it?” I inquired.
“Do you really want to know?” He asked.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to know because denial is a beautiful thing.
Finally I said, “Yes, I do.”
Jesus replied, “The man gave you $30,000. You don’t love yourself $30,000 worth and you are afraid that if he gets to know you, he will be sorry he gave you the gift.” I was stunned!
“What should I do?” I pressed.
Try loving yourself as much as I do, then you will never sabotage your prosperity,” He responded.

 

MY LOVE LID WAS $1,000

I realized that night that my love had a lid. I had been given $1,000 many times in my life, and I never avoided the people who gave it to me. But this experience showed me that I had literally put a value on my life. I began to see that every time someone loved me beyond my own ability to love myself, I destroyed my relationship with them. I’d avoid them, even to the point of running out of church like a man on fire to get away!

 

SELF-SABOTAGE COULD BE IMPACTING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

I realized that self-sabotaging plays out in so many different areas of life if you don’t value yourself. Yes, it can play out in your success, career and even finances, but it also very much affects relationships. I think it’s why people who are dating often get to a place in their relationship where they start building cases against the one who loves them. It’s true that love covers a multitude of sins; it’s also true that fear exposes and magnifies flaws in others (as a way of self-protection). When people date and they begin to grow in intimacy (which can be defined as “in to me you see”), they often begin to fear that their lover will see in them the flaws they see in themselves. This often results in one or both parties sabotaging their relationship by building a case against each other.

Of course as the years pass this is usually articulated as, “I haven’t found the right one yet.” The truth is, as long as your love has a lid, your relationships are vulnerable to destruction.

 

LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF

If this rings a bell for you then I want to reiterate what the Lord said to me the night I had this revelation. He said, “Try loving yourself as much as I do, then you will never sabotage your prosperity.

Do yourself a massive favor and let God love the hell out of you. Take some time and sit in His presence, and invite His love into every nook and cranny of your soul. Bear your insecurities, fears, and the parts of yourself that you consider “ugly” before Him, and let Him show your why you’re so incredibly lovely in every way. Then, love yourself as much as He does. Let love silence the lies that keep you out of deep relationships and real success. It will change your life forever.

 

Originally posted on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

 


Forgiving Your Partner’s Past: The Tools

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with my wife. She wasn’t like any other girl I had ever met, but I almost didn’t marry her because of her past. I had walked out purity my whole life, but she had started to be sexually active in middle school, and I couldn’t get past the thought of her with all those other guys. Eventually, God brought me to the point where I was able to completely forgive my wife of her past and see her through the lens of what Jesus did on the cross, but it wasn’t the easiest road.

Unfortunately in today’s culture, this story is not uncommon. Couples usually have a sexual past with other people before they come together. Statistics show that men will usually have had six different sexual partners and women four or five by the time they get married. Before I continue, I need to stop and say this doesn’t need to be an accepted reality. Moral Revolution is about purity and waiting until marriage. At the same time, we aren’t going to live in a bubble ignoring the reality of most people’s sexual activity.

So for those of you who are dating and considering marriage with your partner, what do you do with the reality of their past? This can be a massive roadblock in a relationship. For many, the idea of their spouse being with other people can be very hard to process. If you haven’t read my previous blog, “Forgiving Your Partner’s Past: The Perspective,” it may help as I share very openly about my own process. An important thing to note is that this is more about forgiveness than it is sharing or not sharing your past. For some couples, sharing may be exactly what is needed. Ask God what is needed for your healing.  In this current blog, I want to give some practical steps on how to handle processing your partner’s past if they were sexually active at any level before you were together.

One thing to clarify before we start: I am in no way preaching a message of tolerance towards current, repeated sin. I am talking about moving on from past events that someone has confessed, repented of and are no longer binding the person. Forgiving them doesn’t mean healing isn’t needed both for you and for them. It is important to encourage them to pursue wholeness while accepting that it probably needs to come through someone else.

Here are a few things I found helpful for me:

 

 

1. Acknowledge the broken

It is totally okay to acknowledge and need to process the fact that you won’t be their “first.” The key here isn’t ignoring that it hurts. The reason for this pain is because God designed us to have one partner and when we marry, we become each other’s. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 helps explain this in a way that sheds light on the “why” behind the hurt. God designed so that a wife’s body belongs to her husband and his body belongs to her, so when one or both of them has been with other people, it hurts. The key here is to talk about it in a way that doesn’t pile shame on them.

 

2. Seek godly counsel

The next thing I would encourage you to do is seek godly counsel. Mentors, spiritual parents, or whatever term you prefer are there to help navigate these things. Oftentimes, God will give a revelation to a leader in your life that will help you experience breakthrough. When navigating challenges, there should be a healthy balance of unpacking it with those involved and then taking it to the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in what to dissect with your partner, what to talk to a mentor about, and what to cover with Him.

 

3. Find closure

When it comes to the area of someone’s sexual past, uncertainty about how a partner feels about it can create anxiety and fear. In relationships, fear is the enemy of trust and trust is the foundation to a healthy relationship. It’s important to come to a place of closure where you are not holding it against them anymore. In 1 Corinthians 13:5, one aspect of Love that God gives us is, “Keeping no record of wrongs.” If your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse doesn’t know where they stand with you or if you continually bring up past mistakes in current conversations, you will not have a stable relationship. Talk about it as much as needed, but commit to bring the conversation to a place of resolution so that your partner knows it is no longer a roadblock for your relationship. There may be times your pasts come back up throughout the years, but its important that it isn’t used in a damaging light. It should never be ammo in an argument or to bring shame. Truly forgiving them will come with compassion and sensitivity in how to treat each other with honor. 

 

4. Learn or relearn the power of the cross

Spend time reading scriptures on forgiveness and what God Himself does with our sin. Over and over we find that He forgets, has compassion, redeems and separates sin as far as the east is from the west. Forgiveness seems to be one of His main relationship pillars with humans. The perspective of how Jesus forgives humanity will empower you to forgive your partner. In this process, ask Him to give you a revelation of what forgiveness is, to remind you of what you have been forgiven of, and show you what He expects of you to give.

 

5. Speak your forgiveness out loud

I still remember the moment I told my wife I forgave her for her past. Up until that point in our relationship, I was demanding that she tell me about all her past partners. I thought I needed to know everything that happened. Through my process of prayer, God changed my heart to the point I didn’t need that from her anymore. I totally forgave her. The day I told her she didn’t need to tell me everything and that I had forgiven her became a key step in her healing. 

 

6. Keep your heart clean

Make sure to not let your mind and heart wander back to those past thoughts. Since we have been married, I have actually come in contact with people my wife was with before we were together and I can honestly say it had no effect on me. When I forgave her, I was making the commitment to not pick it back up again. I encourage you to do the same. Total forgiveness is as much a commitment to the future as it is forgiving the past.

 

In the third and final blog, “Forgiving Your Partner’s Past: FAQ’s,” we would like to answer some questions you may have. We will not cite who the questions come from to protect your privacy. Please email questions to cole@moralrevolution.com.

 

COLE ZICK IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH COME TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE AND THRIVE IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE. HE AND HIS WIFE CAITLIN CURRENTLY SERVE AS DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. WITH ELEVEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY EXPERIENCE, THEY OPENLY SHARE THEIR STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE HOPING TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND ULTIMATELY SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH THEIR EXPERIENCE. THEY ALSO CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS. 
 INSTAGRAM: @COLEZICK

Forgiving Your Partner’s Past: The Perspective

I was 19 and had just been kicked out of Bible college when I met Cait. It started because she was someone to talk to, and at the time, I didn’t really have many options. I was 1,500 miles away from home, and going back after getting expelled wasn’t an option. As things evolved from friendship to dating, it didn’t take long for me to realize she was different than other girls. Before I knew it,  I became a gross, sappy, lovesick puppy.

I really hadn’t dated much in high school, partially because I felt awkward and partially because I felt the options were few and far between. You can imagine how surprised I was when things with Caitlin progressed much faster than I had ever experienced with anyone else.  I knew within a month that I loved her. I still remember the first time I told her. We were sitting in her red Jeep at the back of a parking lot. I had never used those words with anyone before, and I felt the significance of the moment as they left my mouth.

With all of the things I loved about her, there was just one area that seemed too big for me to get over: her past. She began to be sexually active in middle school. During those years she had oral sex more times than she could count. Though she never had intercourse, the thoughts of her in back seats, movie theatres, or at parties giving some guy oral sex began to haunt me.  

I had grown up a bit differently… You see, I was “Mr. Purity,” at least in my own mind. I had never been with a girl, looked at porn, been drunk, etc. My personal story created a self-righteousness, making me feel entitled to have a girl who was also “pure.”  

We had come to the point in our relationship that I couldn’t keep moving forward without addressing this. It consumed my mind. I was beginning to talk about it with people close to me, and I was coming to the conclusion that I couldn’t marry her. I couldn’t get the images I had created of her with these guys out of my head.

Finally, I decided there was only one way to feel better: I told her that I had to know everything she had done. I wanted to know who, how, and what happened. She was apprehensive and said, “I don’t feel like the same person I was back then. When I think back, it feels like someone else’s memories. I’m willing to tell you, but it will be painful to relive.”

We didn’t talk through it right away, and over the next couple days, God spoke to me.  When I was praying with him about Caitlin and her past, He had an opinion and told me, “If you can’t forgive her, then you can’t be a pastor. I can’t use a person who preaches about my grace but doesn’t understand it. If you understood it, you would never make her walk through this and hold it over her.”

Instantly, a download of what grace and forgiveness really were flooded my mind and heart. I realized what I was asking her, the pain it would cause her, and how self-righteous it was of me to demand it. Most of all, I realized I had misunderstood grace. All of a sudden, the words in Matthew 6:14-15 became clearer to me:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

This verse wasn’t an ultimatum, but rather a window into my soul. If I forgave freely without making her pay a price or make amends, then it was proof that I understood the grace of God. However, if I required more of her than Jesus Himself was requiring of mankind, then I was agreeing with a spirit of religion.

From this, God began to teach my heart what grace was. We weren’t even talking about Caitlin anymore; the Holy Spirit was teaching me about the cross. In Psalm 51:4, David is asking God for forgiveness of his sin with Bathsheba and then murdering her husband to cover it up. In David’s prayer, he says this to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned…” At first glance one could think, David didn’t just sin against God, He sinned against Bathsheba, her husband Uriah, and even Joab for commanding him to play a part in murdering Uriah. This verse begins to make more sense when we are looking at it through the right filter. We as humans tend to make everything about us. God spoke to me and essentially said, “Oh no, it’s much worse than if she had sinned against you. She sinned against me. If I can forgive her, then you don’t have the right to hold it against her.”

God chose to forget Caitlin’s past (Hebrews 10:17).

How dare I hold on to something that not even our Creator was holding onto?

How dare I exercise a right that God Himself was choosing not to exercise?

Asking her to recite her past would have actually contradicted the work that God was doing in her. The problem wasn’t her past but my inability to understand the power of grace. By asking her to tell me everything she had done, I was making her relive the pain. I was essentially demanding that she make penance for sins that not even God was asking her to make.

I chose to let it go and not ask her to tell all. I forgave her and truly released it in my heart. In the process, I realized that God was using me to be a part of His healing agenda in her. By forgiving her and seeing her as Jesus did, I joined in her healing process. It brought me into God’s plan for her healing rather than being counterproductive to it.

For those in my position, before you demand to know things about your partner’s past, spend some time with the Lord. God may have a different idea for what your next step should be. His guidance and wisdom allowed me to forgive Caitlin’s past and go on to marry the girl I fell in love with all those years ago.

Read about practical steps to take for forgiving your partner’s past. 

 

COLE ZICK IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH COME TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE AND THRIVE IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE. HE AND HIS WIFE CAITLIN CURRENTLY SERVE AS DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. WITH ELEVEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY EXPERIENCE, THEY OPENLY SHARE THEIR STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE HOPING TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND ULTIMATELY SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH THEIR EXPERIENCE. THEY ALSO CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS. 
 INSTAGRAM: @COLEZICK 

4 Ways to Thrive This Christmas

It seems like the holidays were easier when I was a kid. As a kid, I was caught up in the wonder and excitement of it all. There were presents under the tree with my name on them. Each one held so much possibility. The expectations on me were minimal. My family would ask questions like, “Are you making good grades? How’s soccer going? Do you have a lot of friends at school?” The answers were easy: “Yep. Soccer’s great. I love my friends.” Then it was over.

Now a couple harmless questions at the family dinner table can feel like being on trial: “How’s the job? How much longer are you going to stay there? What about dating? Do you have a boyfriend?”

“The job’s good. It’s paying the bills for right now. Um, a guy asked me out to coffee last month, does that count as a date? Actually I paid for it, so never mind. Nope, no boyfriend… still.” Meanwhile, my thirteen-year-old cousin’s next to me texting his girlfriend, and I have launched into a full-on quarter-life crisis before the mashed potatoes made it around the table. Why don’t I have a boyfriend? Why am I still at that same job? When am I going to start a career? And how did this kid get a girlfriend? He can’t even drive.

Christmas is a beautiful season of giving and spending time with the people we care about, but sometimes it comes with the realization that life did not turn out the way we expected it to. We look around at family or friends or people we’ve known forever, and it’s hard not to compare our life to theirs. It’s hard not to remember where we thought we would end up or how we thought things would be at this point in our life. This is where we wanted to offer you some encouragement and practical things to help, so here are four ways to thrive this Christmas:


1. Don’t Play the Comparison Game.

This is your life. It’s not going to look like anyone else’s because it’s not supposed to. God is doing something new in you. He is telling a story with you that He’s never told before. Measuring your life up against the lives of others doesn’t do it justice. Let Him take you on your own unique path and bring out all the talent and passion and courage and beautiful things He wants to bring out in you.

 

2. Shut Shame Up.

Here’s the thing about shame. It doesn’t play fair. It’s one of the enemy’s favorite tools. His whole job is to ruin things (John 10:10). He will shame you for working too hard or not working hard enough. He will shame you for getting married too young or not getting married young enough. He will shame you for going too far in your past sexually or for not going far enough. There is no winning with him. He will always find one more thing for you to feel shame about.

Instead of listening to the voice of shame, listen to the voice telling you that you are enough. You work hard enough. You love deep enough. What you have to give is enough. You are enough because you were created in the very image of God, and He crafted you together with intentional design and purpose. You are enough because God loves you so much, He was willing to pay the highest price for you. You are enough because even in the places where you are weak, God comes in and shows Himself strong.

 

3. Be Honest About Where You Are.

It’s okay to be real with God about the disappointment. It’s okay to bring Him the pain of unmet expectations. It’s okay to talk to Him about the dreams that haven’t happened yet. Start where you’re at and allow Him to bring you into alignment with what He is saying about you. The truth is, He is working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). You may not see it or feel it yet. You may have dreams you’ve been waiting on for a long long time. You may even feel like you’ve lost your hope and your ability to be in wonder about anything, but this is not the end. You are still in the middle of your story, and there is a lot more good to come.

 

4. Feed Yourself Good Things.

We talked a little bit about listening to God’s voice over the enemy’s voice. One way to do this over the holidays is to pay attention to what you’re feeding yourself. You probably know that filling yourself up with sugar cookies and other things that are delicious but terrible for you is not a good plan. You will not feel great afterward, and you will also not be hungry for the things that actually are good for you like, dare I say, vegetables. It’s the same way with your soul and spirit as well. If you fill yourself up on endearing, yet unrealistic Christmas movies and conversations with your family and friends about where your 5-year-plan is lacking, then you will not feel great.

Instead, make sure you are filling yourself with things that are good for you- body, soul, and spirit. It may mean you take a walk and listen to a podcast that’s encouraging. It may mean you listen to the Bible while you’re getting ready or while you’re Christmas shopping, but find a way to squeeze this in. It’s worth it to fill yourself up with the truth so that when the accuser comes in and tries to lie to you, you won’t have any room for what he’s saying.

 


Our heart for you this Christmas season is that you would truly be able to enjoy the time that is meant for you to rest, recuperate, spend time with family, and celebrate one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given. Get yourself in the Word. Feast on God’s promises. Rest in His goodness, and remember that He has better things planned for you than you could ever imagine.

We pray abundant blessings over you and your family as you spend time together this Christmas and as you head into the New Year.

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 


Why It’s Your Job to Make Sure You Grow Spiritually

“The church I go to just isn’t feeding me!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that statement. People go to church, but they aren’t growing. They stay in the same place every week, never developing the thing they learned the week before.

Why? The sad truth is that many people have handed the responsibility of growing themselves spiritually over to someone else—whether that’s a pastor, a teacher, a spiritual mother or father, or maybe even a spouse. If you’re six months old in faith then I understand that you do need help growing, and that’s okay. But most times I hear that statement it’s coming from veterans in the faith. If you’re six-years-old in God then pick up your Bible and feed yourself! Take the gifts you’ve already been imparted and do something with them. Today I want to encourage you as a dad to take responsibility for yourself.

 

FAITH DETERMINES WHAT YOU GET

We tell our BSSM students that if they’re going to do their homework so that they don’t get in trouble, then they haven’t taken ownership of their life but rather left it with us, their teachers. They’re not going to grow if they don’t take ownership for their lives! We ask them to do their homework so that they’ll grow their inner man. Do the hard work, be willing to be vulnerable, let God in and stay hungry. The same is true for every believer going to church on a Sunday. Come with an attitude of hunger and expectancy to learn. Don’t come to critique the message, just take gold and receive the grace in the room that is in fact being released.

When you come to the fountain your faith determines what you get. When you come, come ready. Prepare your heart and get everything you can. We often spend an hour proactively getting ready for church; we brush our hair, take a shower, fix our faces… but we don’t take five minutes to grow our inner man! What would happen in our lives if we spent 10 minutes on a Sunday proactively thinking about the gifts and goodness within us before we even got to church?

Next time you’re going to a church gathering prepare yourself to receive. Honor the gifts of the people around you, and realize that they won’t get everything perfect, but God can still use them. Find out what tools you received and start to build something with them.

 

SELF-PITY GETS YOU NOWHERE

David set an amazing example for strengthening himself in God! In 1 Samuel 30:6 it says, “Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

Think about it; David was facing people who wanted to stone him! However, he didn’t whine and cry…He refused to feel sorry for himself. What an amazing lesson. Regardless of what’s coming at you today, you still have an opportunity to respond by strengthening yourself in God!

“But Pastor Kris, all of this stuff is happening to me!” you may be thinking. I’m not saying that actual victims don’t deserve empathy. What I am saying is that a victim mentality, where you’re powerless and believe everything is bad, is not your royal identity. This kind of thinking has got to go. I think self-pity is the most culturally accepted sin in the body of Christ. The truth is that you need to be responsible for yourself! Instead of being a victim, David recounted the works of the Lord in his life and the prophecies previously given to him.

Whatever you’re going through, whatever challenges you may be facing, take the prophecies that have been given to you and use them to fight the good fight! When negativity starts to feed your mind and you get anxious, pause and remember what God has said about the world.

 

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS

It doesn’t matter if you’re the baby toe or the head in the body, we need you to be you! You’re important and if you don’t show up it costs somebody else! We were made for community and the body can’t operate in our proper form if we’re missing a body part. Maybe you were supposed to be the grace to someone next to you last Sunday, but you were so busy feeling sorry for yourself that you couldn’t give them what they needed. Maybe they needed healing that you had the grace to pray for but never did. We’ve all been in that self-absorbed place where we focus on our deficiencies, but we can’t partner with “I’m nobody. I’m nothing. I’m a victim,” and not deliver the grace that we’re supposed to deliver.

 

PROACTIVE PREPARATION

Today I want to encourage you to set aside some time to prepare your heart for growth. Let’s make stewardship of our gifts a priority, so that we can be a blessing and a light to the people around us!

Father, we thank You for all of the equipment and gifts You’ve given to us. Today we commit ourselves to give time to proactively growing ourselves, so that everyone around us can see and experience that we are growing in You. Lord, give us more gifts so that we can help more people to prosper. We thank You for what You’ve already given us, and we commit to steward it in Jesus name!

 

Originally posted on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

Wanted ≠ Worthy

Girl, being wanted does not equal being worthy.

Freshman year of high school, my friends and I had this silver spiral notebook. As you turned the pages, you’d see our names at the top. We each had our own page. Below our names were the boys. Plain and simple, it was the list of boys we had each been with– kissed, touched, been in bed with, lost it to….

That silver spiral notebook that supposedly gauged how worthy, cool, and popular I was would later haunt me and force me to face the moments that actually shattered my worth. By the book’s standards I was top of the pack, the best, and the most wanted. Back then, I equated me being wanted with me being worthy.

Where does your identity come from? Where do you find your value? As a teenage girl I can remember so vividly feeling “on top of the world” like “I had it all.” I felt so cool, so popular. Sadly, that was it for me. Popularity was everything. I was blind to the reality that the longer the list, the more work I’d have to do to climb out of the mess I was making.

You know that age-old example of “mama warned you not to touch the hot stove” but we always have to touch it and experience the pain ourselves to see? Please, oh please, let me be your big sister for a moment and say the heat in the bed is worse than the heat of the stove. Please stay away. The Bible says it so well, “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right” (Song of Solomon 8:4 NLT).  

Timing is everything, and it’s worth the wait. Wait to be wanted by the one you are forever committed to. Because of my past experiences, even when my incredibly pure and patient husband was  “wanting me,” it felt skewed and dirty—because that’s all I’d known it as. There were always ulterior motives. One night stands or continual late night “booty calls” were what I was reduced to. Subconsciously, it was hard to view the “wanting” through eyes of love rather than lust. I had known lust for too long to believe the love was real.  

 

So where are you at?

1. Trying to be wanted

STOP, DROP AND WAIT. Stop trying too hard. I heard a mother of a teenager once give her daughter this wise advice, “you don’t need guys to like you, you need one guy to like you, one day.” So true!

 

2. Wanted & on top of the world  

Are you really though? Your full inbox, everyone sliding in your DMs, and your calendar full of dates might feel good in the moment. But let me tell you from experience, you are worthy without being wanted by many. Keep holding out to find the one, rather than entertaining many. The “no strings attached” lie will come back to bite you in the butt.

 

3. Ready to give up

I see this so often, especially in girls who say things like, “Go to prom? Yea right, a guy will never ask me!” Then they start to question their worth compared to the girl who has a line of guys waiting to ask. You are worth it. Don’t give up. You need one guy one day. That may not be today, but wait for the one.

CAITLIN ZICK HAD A PROFOUND MOMENT AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN WHERE GOD CALLED HER OUT OF A CROWD AND HER LIFE WAS FOREVER CHANGED. FROM THAT MOMENT, SHE BEGAN TO DISCOVER WHO SHE WAS AS A DAUGHTER OF GOD, FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS, AND REALIZE THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HER LIFE. CAITLIN AND HER HUSBAND COLE BECAME DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN 2017 AND OPENLY SHARE THEIR MARRIAGE STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND BEGIN TO UNFOLD GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX. THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED AND IN FULL-TIME MINISTRY FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND HAVE STARTED THEIR OWN LITTLE ZOO, KNOWN AS #THEZICKZOO. YOU CAN FIND THEIR WILD ON INSTAGRAM WITH THEIR LITTLE ANIMALS: CALEB, CONNOR, CADE, AND CHLOE ROSE. 
INSTAGRAM: @CAITZICK
TWITTER: @CAITLINZICK

Does God Bless Blended Families?

The first God-ordained nation was founded on a blended family. Jacob had two wives and two mistresses, to which were born 13 children. What can we learn from this? God knows how to do something great with brokenness! Jacob’s wives, mistresses and children became a blessed nation! You should check out Genesis 29 and 30 for the full story; it may surprise you.

I recently talked about the truth that there is redemption available to those who have been through a divorce, and today I want to continue that conversation. I’ve had people in my counseling office (back when I did counseling, ha!) wondering if God could bless their blended families. They were afraid that because they had been through a divorce, that they were living in sin and could not be forgiven. The truth is that God is a God of redemption! Remarried husbands and wives: It takes the power of God to take dysfunctional situations and make something beautiful with them. Remarriage is real-life beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

 

LIVING A BLESSED RE-MARRIED LIFE

If you get remarried, you don’t want to bring the shadow of your pain with you into the new marriage. But this is your fresh opportunity to come again to lay your life down, come with more wisdom, come to do it right this time, and come to be a blessing to the full extent. You’re wiser, you’re smarter, you’re better. Your marriage can and should be beautiful. Here are some words of wisdom for re-marriage that I’ve learned through my son Jason’s divorce:

1.  Successful remarriage requires complete forgiveness on all parties or bitterness will infect your next marriage. Like Joyce Myers says, “Unforgiveness is like drinking deadly poison and thinking the other person is going to die!”

2. Learning to trust your new spouse is the key to the new relationship. Bonding is impossible without trust.

3. You can only love to the level you can be hurt. Vows like, “I will never let anyone hurt me like that again,” mean you’ve relegated (cursed) yourself to the ice castle! You have to be able to open your heart again. Don’t go into your next marriage with a pre-nup for your love.

4. The inability to take reasonability for your previous relationships will cause you to make the same mistakes over again. It’s not shameful to own your part, repent, and let God move in to speak His truth over those places of your heart so that you can heal and move forward.

5. Remarriage can be your best marriage because you have experience.

6. Superimposing your previous relationship over your remarriage is sure to cost you.

 

BLENDED FAMILIES ARE BLESSED FAMILIES

If you’re re-married and you’ve repented, you are to be blessed. Your home, your family, and your children are blessed because they’re a gift from God no matter how they got there. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way as we’ve watched Jason and Lauren blend together:

1. Children must have permission from their biological parents to have a relationship with their new stepmother or stepfather.

2. Using your children to carry a negative message to your ex-spouse will destroy them.

3. Your children must have permission from you to love your ex- spouse no matter how much you despise them.

4. Second spouses need to understand the pressure parents feel to manage their biological children into another relationship with a new mom/dad.

5. Staying connected is the goal.

6. You must respect and not try to replace the relationships your stepchildren have with their biological parents.

7. You can’t navigate blended families with positional leadership. You must have permissional leadership; favor with each member.

8. Blending families is often blending two different cultures.

9. Often people marry the opposite of themselves so their personal strengths and weakness create a two very different cultures.

10. When someone is single with children for a long time, their children tend to play the role of the absent spouse. These children feel displaced from their role in a remarriage. Being sensitive to the children who are displaced is paramount in a transition.

 

WE DIDN’T KNOW REDEMPTION COULD LOOK LIKE THIS

About a year ago, Jason’s ex-wife, Heather, (we only describe her as this in public so people know who we’re talking about, but to us she is our daughter who we love), called me to tell me she was dating someone and she wanted us to meet him. Kathy and I had dinner with them several times and really like him. About three months ago they messaged me to say they’re going to get married and the Lord told me that I was going to marry them. I texted Bill and my team to ask if this was okay because this is not something that’s clear in the Bible. All of my good counsel said to do it if we were asked. A while later, Heather and Will asked us to dinner and again asked us to marry them. So, if you can believe it, a few months later we married Heather and Will on our property. It was beautiful! What speaks even higher of God’s ability to heal and redeem is the fact that Jason spent the week before helping clear the property so that it would be beautiful for his (by the world’s standard) ex-wife, who had broken his heart years before and had a baby with another man.

How many of you know that this may not be the way it’s supposed to go, but God is ALWAYS redemptive!

 

I BLESS YOU BIG

If you’ve been through a divorce and have re-married, I bless you. I bless your family. I bless your kids. I pray that your children would be blessed and your stepchildren will be blessed! I encourage you to say out loud that you receive this for yourself and for your family today! If you’ve been through a divorce and are single, I want to tell you today that you will love again. You will heal, and you will love again! God’s redemption is bigger than anything in your past and He can do miracles that we never even dreamed of before!

Like I’ve said before, I know this is often a tricky subject to talk about and I don’t pretend to address the whole situation in one (or two) blog posts, so I want to encourage you to check out the messages I preached on Bethel.TV regarding divorce. You can see them for free here and here with your Bethel.TV account. Or, you can check it out on my podcast.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

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KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

How To Move On

“He’s just not that into you.” “She said she just sees us as friends.”  “We’re going in different directions in life.” “He wasn’t interested.” “She didn’t see a future with us.” “He wanted kids, and I didn’t.” “She’s interested in someone else.” “There’s no spark there.”

I once read “Dating: either you get married or you break up. No pressure.” While quite the shocking statement, it’s pretty funny and true. Most of your dating relationships are going to end in a breakup. In fact, all but one of them will. That’s okay and it’s normal. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Some breakups feel worse than others making you think you did something wrong. Dating is one of the things in life that can hurt worse the better you get at it. It means you cared about the relationship and were invested. Good. Good for you. It’s better to give your heart an opportunity to find love rather than keep it locked away due to fear of possible pain. Good for you.

When it comes to rejection and heartbreak, I’m not a rookie. I humbly suggest these tools from the trenches, not from a textbook. I’ve been here more times than I’d like to admit, but I celebrate each of them because I lived, went for it, and got the necessary healing afterward to be able to go again. While there’s a myriad of stories and circumstances that have led to your specific ending of the relationship, here are a few overall principles I’ve found that may help. Remember, “Rejection is never a reflection of your value.” – Andrea Alley

 

ADMIT IT WAS SOMETHING.

Whether you were engaged for a year, you just went on 3 dates, or you never “dated” but were in a pseudo-relationship that you can’t officially recognize as a relationship, admit it was something. If it hurts now, then it mattered to you. It was a fun time, great learning experience, and source of joy. It happened. It existed, it was fun, and now …it sucks because it’s over. It’s okay to admit it to yourself.

 

GIVE IT TO GOD.

Not to sound overly religious, but this is paramount in your process. It’s being very honest with God about what you’re thinking and feeling. Say it out loud or write it down, but don’t keep the thoughts inside. When you finish being honest, then listen to what He has to say. In this, you are giving up your ability (and what many of us often believe is our right) to control or determine the outcome of the breakup. Ask God to lead you through the process and take care of what you need and what the ultimate outcome will be. Everything you do from here on out is with God in communion with His comforting Spirit (John 14:26; Romans 8:26).

 

ASK YOUR HEART WHAT IT NEEDS.

If you’re not used to asking your heart what it needs, this could be a whole new world of discovering what’s going on inside of you. It’s great practice for overall emotional health (not just after a breakup). Ask your heart what it needs. It will let you know when you need to talk it out and be heard, need a good cry, need to laugh, need a hug, or need to unplug from the seriousness of it all for an evening.

 

WATCH WHAT YOU REACH FOR.

Asking your heart what it wants is for its health, recovery, and growth; it’s not to numb the pain and pretend it isn’t happening. Distracting yourself from dealing with the pain is what we call “self-medicating.”  You can go to food for comfort, binge-watch Netflix to zone out, watch porn to feel powerful and wanted, or throw yourself into work to feel successful and worthy. Self-medicating isn’t helpful; it only prolongs the pain and pushes the hurt further down. When you feel yourself wanting to ignore the pain, stop, thank God for self-awareness, then ask God and your heart what you really need and how to get it. Take steps to get that need met in a healthy way.

 

SURRENDER THE WHY.

Man, this is probably the hardest part and where I think we get stuck the most. Why didn’t it work out? There are more reasons for breakups than there are stars in the sky: Maybe it was fear on her end. Maybe there was father wounds on his end. Maybe there just wasn’t a spark. Maybe it’s not the right timing. Maybe it just felt “off” to him/her.

I don’t always know why, but I do know while we’re in pain searching, the devil likes to talk. “It’s probably because you’re not pretty enough, too fat, too tall, not strong enough, not manly enough. There’s probably another woman. It’s because you’re too needy, too self-sufficient, too nice, too ….something.” I know the devil just likes to point the finger and degrade us. I also know the Holy Spirit is our promised Comforter. And I know scripture tells us He is near to the broken-hearted (Psalms 147:3). It doesn’t say He corrects and rebukes the broken-hearted, it says He heals them. Sure, we all have issues that need work, but God is not going to be correcting your mistakes and shaming you in the middle of heartbreak. He’s a kind Father who comforts you and leads you out. He’ll address your issues when it’s time, but not when you’re brokenhearted at His feet needing comfort.

Instead of asking why it didn’t work out or what I’m lacking, I like to ask God “what does my wife have that this person doesn’t have?” It allows me let go of her and the why with no condemnation towards her, then gain hope, and stretch towards His future plans for me.

 

BREAK UP WITH YOUR DREAMS, IDEALS, AND SOUL TIES.

You need to make a clean break – make it a solid no. Either due to uncertainty or insecurity, we can tag on a phrase at the end of our break up to soften the blow. “It’s over…for now.” “It’s not going to work out…but maybe in the future?” In reality, it just leads to false hope and leave us hanging on for longer than we should. No more maybe-one-days. Despite what they may have said, solidify in your heart that it’s not going to happen.

No matter which side of the breakup you were on, you probably had made dreams and plans with this person in your head and heart. Although it’s painful, you’ll need to let go of and mourn those trips, dates, events, and other plans that won’t be happening.

In a similar manner, he or she is not your ideal anymore and you need to break up with them as your ideal. They are no longer your standard you’re comparing other people to. Instead of every girl not being as pretty, or funny, or caring as your ex, you need to give other people permission to be themselves. What I try to do is see people as different flavors. One flavor is not better or worse than another, but they’re just different and I can expect and enjoy different things out of them. This allows each person to be themselves and enjoyed for who they are rather than a hierarchy of how they compare.

A soul tie is a deep emotional bond created through intimacy. While it does happen during sex, it doesn’t have to be created through physical intimacy. After a breakup, you can break any of those ties you made. Simply say “God, I break all soul ties with _________ I made intentionally or unintentionally. I release them from anything they owe me and ask you to release me from them. I give back anything I took from them and take back anything they took from me. Bless them and me as we move on with our lives.” Done. Doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

GIVE IT TIME AND SPACE.

Time is NOT the healer of all things. If you’re waiting for time to heal your heart, you’ll end up two years down the road, still hurt, and now bitter about the whole ordeal. Taking time away from him/her is a great idea though. Take as long as you need to be with friends, feel the pain, work through the broken dreams and get hope again. How long do you need? As long as you need. Don’t feel like you “should be over it by now.” When you’re able to think about or talk to that person without your heart fluttering, then you can be friends.

Oh, and P.S. You don’t have to be friends afterward. Yes, it would be great, but depending on how the relationship went, it may not be a good idea to be friends again. That’s okay. Take as much time as you need. It’s also SUPER helpful to let the other person know “I just need some time. Let’s take a break from talking/texting/hanging out/ messaging, etc. That would really help me.

In the same way, be kind to yourself. Don’t be on their Facebook or Instagram. Stop texting them all the time. Give your heart some space breathe. No, you don’t need to check on their mom or how their trip went. They’ll be okay. Rom-coms are great (not-so-secretly love them), but they’re not your best friend right now. It’s time for you to start a new chapter and the first page doesn’t have to have romance or your ex on it.

Each situation, relationship, and therefore breakup is unique. Don’t force yourself to make it look a certain way. Don’t run from the pain, but don’t unnecessarily sit in it forever. Surround yourself with people who love you and will encourage you. Get what you need, feel all the feels, and move on to a whole, full life. Although it hurts now, celebrate the fact you gave love a chance. You gave yourself permission to dream and try, and it just didn’t work out this time. It’s okay. The pain isn’t forever and in the end, it is all worth it. Good job living and going for it.

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/ABRAMGOFF

When You’re “Just Friends”… But You’re Not

I remember sitting under a starry night sky, surrounded by beautiful trees when a handsome friend of mine started asking me questions about my life. It was charmingly romantic, except it wasn’t because he had a girlfriend. I knew this about him, but I didn’t think there was any harm in just talking to him. As he continued to ask me thoughtful questions, I started to share things about my story that I didn’t easily share with people. I thought this was okay until I woke up the next morning feeling super connected to him and realizing he still had a girlfriend. I was so confused about why I felt so awful when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I hadn’t kissed him. I hadn’t even touched the guy. What was going on?

In church, I had grown up hearing about physical boundaries like: “Don’t have sex until you’re married” and obviously “don’t kiss another girl’s boyfriend.” What would have helped me out a whole lot that night is knowing about emotional boundaries.

Emotional boundaries can be a little trickier than physical boundaries and definitely aren’t talked about as often. Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get over someone? It might not necessarily mean that you and that person are meant to be. It might just mean you guys keep crossing emotional boundaries even though the other person doesn’t want a relationship. You’re diving into deeper intimacy together without any commitment. Let’s look at another example:

I had a friend I used to hang out with all the time. I felt like I had made it clear that we weren’t going to date, so I thought it was okay to keep hanging out with him one-on-one and talking to him almost daily. When he finally asked me if we were ever going to date, I said I didn’t think so. My ego wanted to think it was because I was such a great catch, almost irreplaceable in fact, but it wasn’t. He found a great girl in a matter of weeks and they ended up very happy together. He had been thinking the two of us were going to date because we basically already were, not because I possessed any magical quality. When he started dating someone else, I was crushed, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was because I had been letting him meet all sorts of emotional needs and treating him like my boyfriend when he wasn’t.

I want to step back for a moment and say building intimacy and deepening your connection with someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re dating someone, then doing these things can actually bring you closer together, which is what you want. The problem happens when you are repeatedly doing these things with someone you don’t want to date (or that person is doing them with you). If you learn to be aware of these, you will save yourself and the people in your life a world of hurt and confusion. Here are a few things I’ve noticed that deepen intimacy and can, therefore, cross emotional boundaries:

 

1. Sharing things you don’t share with very many people (fears, struggles, past hurts, hopes, dreams, joys)– This makes someone feel they are special, that they have been admitted into your inner-world, that they have magical qualities…

2. Talking about intricate details of each other’s lives and families- The good, the bad, the ugly… these are the things that don’t need to be communicated one-on-one under a starry night sky. 

3. Large amounts of time or hanging out together, especially one-on-one- One way to remember this is the four T’s- time, touch, text, or talk. Doing too much of any of these things is flirting with the friendship line. 

4. Planning, thinking, or talking about the future as if that person is going to be in it- Especially for us ladies, it doesn’t take much for us to start planning our wedding, honeymoon, or the next five years. Guys, help us out and don’t talk about it unless you’re going to back it up. 

5. Caregiving or repeatedly going out of your way to meet someone’s needs If you continually do special things for someone, then they are going to feel special. Strange, I know, but it’s how it works.

 

Guys, if you’re doing these things with a girl, don’t be surprised if she gets all heart eyes emoji over you. Girls, if you’re doing these things with a guy, then don’t be surprised if he thinks you want to date him. I know, I know. You are probably really charming and attractive, and it’s making you irresistible. But you’re probably also boyfriending him when he’s not your boyfriend, or leading her on when you don’t want her as a girlfriend, so stop. In fact, have a conversation and tell each other where you’re at so you can both gain clarity and manage your expectations.  Deepening intimacy naturally brings the expectation of commitment, when one or both of you might not have any intention of committing.

Even inside a relationship, it’s still important to set emotional boundaries. You can’t just go from level one intimacy to level ten overnight. He may like all the same movies as you and have the perfect personality. She might be the most gorgeous human you’ve ever laid eyes on. You still have to build trust and go through each stage of dating so that your relationship has a good foundation. Don’t rush it. Take your time through every stage.

We’ve said this before, but the basic thing to remember is your level of intimacy with someone should not exceed your level of commitment to each other. This is definitely true with physical boundaries, but it’s also true with emotional ones. When you start to share things about your life and your feelings that you don’t share with a lot of people, you are giving someone access to a deep place in your heart. They may be a completely trustworthy person, but until they’re committed to you, there are certain parts of you that they haven’t earned access to.

So ladies, if you find yourself sitting under a starry night sky with a handsome man who has a girlfriend, I don’t care how perfectly thought-out his questions are, keep it surface level! Favorite color, candy bar, type of cheese- but that’s it. On the other hand, if he’s available and wants to date you, well that’s a different story…

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM