Tag Archives: Relationships

Three Resources from @DonaldMiller Designed to Help You Be Better at Relationships

As I mentioned in my previous post, Donald Miller has long been one of my favorite writers. Blue Like Jazz introduced me to Don while Searching For God Knows What introduced me to a better way of seeing Jesus. Don’s new book, Scary Close, shows us all how to be better at relationships. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of the book a couple of months ago (it resonated with my soul as I’ve always longed for greater intimacy but haven’t always been willing to take the risks to get there; I have the courage to now).

In addition to the new book (which you must read ASAP), Don and his team have created  3 online courses that will help you become better at relationships (2 are available now; the marriage one will be soon):

Pre-Marriage

Pre-Marriage

Marriage Coming Soon

Marriage

Parenting Buy Now

Parenting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your turn… If you know someone who would be blessed by these resources, share them with them today and/or via Social Media.

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Three Powerful Truths from Scary Close by @DonaldMiller via @MichaelHyatt

A few weeks ago we were blessed to have Donald Miller and Bob Goff at our Men’s Conference. They inspired us to live a better story with our lives. Don has been one of my favorite writers for a number of years (I’ll highlight some of his resources in my next post). Today, I simply want to share 3 powerful truths from his latest book, Scary Close, via Michael Hyatt’s blog (if you don’t already follow Michael’s blog make sure you check it out today; he always shares great resources designed to help leaders leverage their influence).

Here are three powerful truths Scary Close can teach us (you can read the whole post here):

1. Shame Has More Power over Us Than We Realize

Somewhere in our lives we experience enough criticism or social pressure to believe that we don’t measure up. So we create a façade. If we can’t be worthy, we think, then at least our act can be worthy. Then when our act starts getting applause and validation, we learn to pass that off like it’s the real us.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly done this. Don did too. It took a counselor to show him that people cannot connect with an act, even if it’s one as good as his.

Don says shame drives this whole process. We feel as if we have nothing to offer, we’re not good enough, or whatever version of that story we tell ourselves. To overcome that shame and the limits that come with it, we adopt a persona we hope will win approval and help us accomplish our goals.

I’ve seen leaders and bloggers do a lot of this. I’ve also seen that it’s unsustainable. In the case of Don it was crippling. He couldn’t maintain relationships, and his writing stalled.

2. Being Open Is Better Than Being Careful

This act is meant to protect ourselves, but Don discovered when he dropped the act people could finally connect with him and he could connect with them.

Isn’t that risky? Doesn’t that open ourselves up to getting hurt or rejected? Absolutely. But if you know anything about my approach to risk, you know that nothing good comes from staying inside our comfort zones. It’s when we venture outside that we find meaning, joy, and fulfillment.

Scary Close offers several examples of this in action, but one sticks with me. Don opened himself up on his Storyline blog to some significant criticism. Instead of retreating, he leaned into the discomfort and found the honesty liberating.

The new freedom unleashed his productivity. He started writing again—a lot. His blog traffic exploded along with his increased output. He even drafted a new book in just four months. That’s when Don decided it was better to be open than careful.

3. There are More Lifeguards Than Sharks

Criticism can make us afraid. If were a leader with a vision to share or blogger with something to say, it’s very easy to take criticism to heart and dial back our determination. But the real scandal is that we sometimes retreat before the darts start flying.

Sometimes all it takes is anticipating a negative reaction and we torque back our initiatives or soften our words.

I’m guilty of that, but as Don says, “For the most part, others aren’t out to get us.” We just need to step out and jump in the water knowing that their are more lifeguards than sharks. When we “dive into the unknown,” he says, “there [a]re very real dangers, but mostly rewards.”

This is similar to perceived scarcity and outrageous abundance. The world is richer and more welcoming than we know. But to protect ourselves from disappointment, we choose to disbelieve that. It’s hard to have our hopes dashed when we don’t hope for much.

But that’s a debilitating way to look at the world.

Criticism and social pressure are not the only things that matter.

If we were brave, we would say the things that were on our hearts. If we were brave, we would take our organizations the direction we want them to go. If we were brave, we would do many things differently than we do right now.

So why not be brave? I’m grateful to Don for pointing the way in Scary Close.

Your turn… If this post was helpful to you, take a moment and share it with someone else and/or on Social Media.

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Three Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading this Fall

I love to read and to learn and to share resources with others… and I’m really looking forward to reading these 3 books this fall by 3 of my favorite authors:

“We all pray . . . some. We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray. But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency? Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests. We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested. And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same? In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.”

“Despite the divorce statistics, people are still committing to each other, instinctively believing and hoping that theirs is a sacred union that will last forever. Yet when these couples encounter problems, they often lack the resources that keep them connected to this greater mystery surrounding marriage. Rob and Kristin Bell introduce a startling new way of looking at marriage, The Zimzum of Love. Zimzum is a Hebrew term where God, in order to have a relationship with the world, contracts, creating space for the creation to exist. In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners, in which each person contracts to allow the other to flourish. Mastering this field, this give and take of energy, is the secret to what makes marriage flourish. Rob and Kristin Bell are brutally honest about their own struggles, their ups and downs, as together they pass along what matters most for couples. In this wise book, they explore the secret of what makes a happy union—probing the mystery at the heart of the extraordinary emotional connection that binds two people. With his down-to-earth charm, a dose of whimsy, and memorable stories, Rob, writing with his wife Kristen, changes how we consider marriage, providing insight that can help all of us create satisfying and sacred unions of our own.”

“Christians are taught that prayer is the main way to experience God. But aside from learning prayers by rote, few receive guidance in how to make the most of this essential Christian act. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller shows us how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. With his trademark insight and energy, Keller offers brilliant and inspirational biblical guidance, as well as prayers for specific situations, such as dealing with grief, love, and forgiveness. Using great model prayers from the Bible and great Christian teachers throughout history, he discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.”

Your turn… What books are you looking forward to reading soon?

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Three Interesting Articles Via @RELEVANT Magazine

Here are 3 articles you should take a look at:

Your turn… What are your thoughts on these articles?

 

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Three Marriage Related Articles via @RELEVANT Magazine

Here are 3 marriage-related articles I recently came across via RELEVANT Magazine:

Your turn… What are some other marriage-related articles worth reading?

 

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Three Articles to Help Make Relationships Better

These articles provide some great insights to making relationships better:

relationship  5_Expectations_Marriage_Doesnt_Meet SG_7WAYS

Your turn… What are your thoughts on these articles? What are some other articles focusing on relationships we should consider reading?

 

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Three Books Focusing on Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would recommend 3 of my favorite books that focus on love:

Love Does shares powerful stories coupled with eye-opening truths and empowers anyone who longs for a better world and a richer faith. In this book of compelling stories coupled with eye-opening truths, author Bob Goff shows you a new way to live, a way that’s drenched with the whimsy of God’s love and the spontaneity of following where he leads when he says “Go!” In this book, you learn what it looks like to be secretly incredible and advance God’s kingdom everywhere you are and wherever you’re going.”

“Before we can truly love another, we must receive . . . God’s love! Best-selling author Lucado takes a revealing look at 1 Corinthians 13, illustrating biblical principles with his characteristic warm and winsome stories, and reminding you not of a perfect love you are incapable of giving—but one you cannot resist.”

“Discover the Single Greatest Secret to a Successful Marriage. Psychological studies affirm it, and the Bible has been saying it for ages. Cracking the communication code between husband and wife involves understanding one thing: that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her. It’s the secret to marriage that every couple seeks, and yet few couples ever find. Today, you and your mate can start fresh with the ground-breaking guidance that Dr. Emerson Eggerichs provides in this book. His revolutionary message, featured on Focus on the Family, is for anyone: in marital crisis…wanting to stay happily married…who’s feeling lonely. It’s for engaged couples…victims of affairs…pastors and counselors seeking material that can save a marriage. Using Dr. Eggerich’s breakthrough techniques, couples nationwide are achieving a brand-new level of intimacy and learning how to: – stop the Crazy Cycle of conflict – initiate the Energizing Cycle of change – enjoy the Rewarded Cycle of new passion. And if you’ll take this biblically based counsel to heart, your marriage could be next!”

Your turn… What are some other books we should check out that focus on love?

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Three Series that Focus on Relationships

Here are 3 series I’ve been listening to lately that focus on relationships:

  • Friending by Craig Groeschel and LifeChurch.tv

“Friends love you at your worst and can help you be your best, but many of us don’t realize the importance of whom we choose to surround ourselves with. The friends you have help determine the quality and direction of your life. Where are your friendships leading you? Come learn what the Bible says about Friending.”

Erich’s note: Make sure you check out the resources that go along with each message (great for personal study or small groups).

“While some of us loved our “growin’ up” years, others of us couldn’t wait to move out and start fresh. Either way, we want our Future Family to be a step up from our families of origin. Most of us want something better for our children. But what? When it comes to family, what does a preferred future look like? What exactly are we aiming for? Well, whether you’re starting a new family, leaving an old one, or wondering if it’s worth the effort at all, join us this Sunday as we go back to the drawing board.”

Erich’s note: We are going through it in our Young Couples 30s class at The Hills. Make sure you check out the discussion page for each lesson (great for small groups).

  • Sequels by Jonathan Storment at Highland Church of Christ

“There are over 1500 services for online dating today. We’ve invented internet dating, speed dating and even television dating. But more relationships are falling apart than ever before. Which begs the question, why is a culture that is so focused on falling in love, so bad at staying in love?” 

Erich’s note: I mentioned this series and Jonathan’s sermon podcast in recent posts. Make sure you get the free Sequels ebook as well.

Your turn… What are some other series you’ve heard recently that focus on relationships?

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