Posts from the ‘Thoughts from Others’ Category

Relationship Helps

I read this online from TwoOfUs.org and wanted to share it with you guys.  🙂 Our marriages should reflect to others what a relationship with should look like, and sometimes it just doesn’t… So maybe these tips are for your earthly marriage that needs a little pick-me-up… or maybe something on here could help your relationship with God find new life. 🙂 If you have any tips beyond these, feel free to share!

“Does your relationship seem to have gone a little flat lately? In the early stages of love, there is plenty of enthusiasm. You can’t get enough of your partner’s presence. You hang on his/her every word. Everything he or she does is fascinating, unique, mesmerizing.

But ever so subtly, the air can go out of a relationship. Your partner’s company starts to feel stale. His or her words sound a little more vapid. And everything he or she does is dull, predictable, disappointing.

It can be a challenge to sustain excitement in a long-term relationship. You spend too much time together for your partner to retain his/her mystery. You are now aware of his/her defects, as well as his/her charms. But monogamy doesn’t have to equal monotony; here are some ways to put some of the “pop” back in your relationship.

10 Boredom Busters

  1. Good Conversation
    How long has it been since you and your partner really talked? Not the dreaded “You did something wrong” conversation or the obligatory “How was your day?” conversation but the “I’m really interested in knowing you better and hearing your thoughts on ______” conversation. No matter how many years you’ve been together, there’s always something new to learn from (or about) your partner.
  2. Vacation Getaway
    Changing your location can also help change your outlook. Many couples feel closest when they travel — without the usual distractions, they can focus wholly on each other. Sure, it’s a form of escapism. But the memories you create are very real and can leave a lasting positive impact on your relationship. Vacations don’t have to be lavish to be beneficial — even a camping excursion and or daytrip to a nearby city can help get you out of a relationship rut.
  3. Amateur Anthropology
    Tired of the same old scene … the same friends, the same restaurants, the same activities? Get out and explore other subcultures, right in your area. Check out a roller-derby, a cultural festival, or even a monster truck show — anything novel can give you and your partner something new to talk about.
  4. Romance
    Keep your romance and your physical relationship in peak condition. Don’t let your love life become of a victim of predictability, mediocrity or complacency.
  5. A Break from Your Routine
    Don’t get too entrenched in your daily routines. Try surprising your partner with an impromptu lunch or a candlelight dinner (instead of eating in front of the TV). Take a day off work to simply spend time with your partner. Especially if you are a creature of habit (and your partner is more spontaneous), he or she will appreciate you mixing it up a bit.
  6. Recreation
    Find something that both you and your partner enjoy doing — skiing, biking, bowling, etc. — and do it often. In particular, anything that gets you moving can help shake off apathy and increase your sense of well-being.
  7. Intellectual Stimulation
    Your partner is more than just a pretty face — interacting with him/her on an intellectual level can help keep your interest. Read a book together and discuss what you’ve read. If reading isn’t your thing, try visiting a museum or watching a documentary together. There’s something for everyone, whether you are into science, art, history, music, etc.
  8. Community Service/Charity
    Doing good for others makes us feel good. And doing good alongside your partner can make you feel better about your relationship. Find a charitable cause both you and your partner believe in, whether it is planting trees, serving food at a homeless shelter or constructing homes for low-income families. Showing kindness to others can bring you closer together as a couple.
  9. Laughter
    Look for common ground with your partner when it comes to comedic tastes. Whether it is slapstick, dry wit or parody, pick movies and entertainment that leave you both in stitches. Humor provides an important emotional outlet and can brighten your outlook on life and love.
  10. Personal Development
    Encourage your partner’s personal growth, whether in terms of education, spirituality, career, etc. Do the same for yourself. If your relationship feels stagnant, if may be (at least in part) because one or both of you haven’t been investing much energy lately into personal development. Don’t just expect your partner to be a fascinating person — be a fascinating person.

Every long-term relationship runs some risk of losing a little of its “pop” over time. But a flat, passionless or mind-numbing partnership is by no means inevitable. Continue looking for new ways to connect with your partner—and your relationship will retain its vitality for years to come.”

http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/beating-relationship-boredom/index.aspx

The Pride of Busyness

 Why our culture finds worth in a fast pace—and how believers can fight it.

“How have you been recently?”

“Oh, I’m not too bad. I’m taking a few classes, working two jobs, volunteering at church and on the side I’m writing a novel. I hardly sleep and practically live on coffee, but it’s great. What have you been up to?”

“Me? Just work I guess.”

“That must be nice.” [thinks: slacker]

Have you ever had that conversation? I have many times, and over the years I have found myself playing both roles.

We take this sort of talk for granted, but if we step back and get a bit of perspective, it is a fascinating social construct with massive—and frightening—implications.

Those short conversations give us a glimpse of the way people view the world, because it is often the little day to day practices that reveal our deepest values.

You can see it play out every Monday at the office, and every Sunday in church lobbies around the world. People who have not seen each other in a few days or weeks start to catch up, and the talk quickly turns toward comparing notes on how terribly busy we all are. Volunteer positions, family commitments and work loads are listed, as each of us demonstrates just how much we are trying to juggle.

The sad thing is, we are quite proud of it.

And not very secretly proud either.

Oh sure, we complain about how we have not had a real day off in weeks, or how much work it all is. But somehow all our complaining sounds rather like bragging. It’s just backhanded bragging, like complaining that you didn’t expect learning Spanish to be so much work after you had such high scores in French, German and fifth-century Latin.

You can hear it in the voices of those recounting their busy schedules, and the guilt with which many of us have learned to speak of having free time. We’ve bought into the gospel of busyness. We’ve accepted the narrative we are constantly sold by our society—that our value rests in what we can produce, that we are loved for what we can accomplish. Full calendars become a badge of honor.

Lee, a pastor I knew quite well, was a perfect example. The only pastor at a small rural church, he worked constantly. In his mind, the success or failure of the church was on his shoulders, completely dependent on his level of activity. Between studying, hospital visits, preaching and leading worship on Sunday, teaching a few additional times each week and being constantly on call for everyone in his church, he hardly had a free moment all week. And you could tell. He was chronically tired and often dealt with long periods of discouragement. But he loved his church, he wanted to do right by them and the only way he could see to be a “successful” pastor was to work even harder despite his declining physical and emotional health. Because to Lee, like so many of us, work had become the way he measured his value.

So we push ourselves harder and harder. We sleep less, we work more and we do indeed accomplish a great deal.

But in the process we begin to forget how to sit,

and think,

and breathe,

and pray,

and read for pleasure,

and have a real conversation with a friend, or family member or spouse

and savor a drink for its flavors and complexities, not its ability to chemically induce either wakefulness or sleep.

Here’s the dirty little secret of the gospel of busyness: It promises us a full and satisfying life, but, in the end, it makes our lives emptier. It uses us for what we can contribute, and in the process we live less, feel less, even love less.

Instead of a life filled with the satisfaction of endless accomplishments, we’ve gotten ourselves a generation of chronic exhaustion, absent workaholic parents and kids who have been not-so-subtly taught that the only way to earn the attention and love of others is with grades, paychecks or championships.

But your value is not determined by what you produce. Your loveliness is not based on what you accomplish or how full your calendar is.

Work is good—it’s part of the way God designed His image-bearers—but it is not the only thing we were made for. He created us to have a balance in life, going so far as to incorporate a cycle of work and rest into the very fabric of the created order. There is a time for work in that cycle, but there is also a time for rest and community and quiet contemplation.

A life of constant overcommitment is not a sign of success, or something to be bragged about. It is a sign of imbalance, a sign we have put our faith in the gospel of busyness instead of in a God who dares us to trust Him and be willing to rest.

There is hope for the overcommitted, though; we don’t have to live this way. We can balance good hard work with rest and play; in fact we were created to live in that balance. And the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can all stop playing the game of bragging that we are so very busy.

So the next time you catch up with a friend, refrain from contributing to the cycle. Refuse to brag about busyness as if it were a virtue, refuse to act like making time to rest is a mark of shame. If the very God who designed us thought that balancing work with rest was worthwhile, perhaps we should give it a try.

Mason Slater is a seminary student at GRTS, a publishing consultant and a freelance writer in Grand Rapids, MI. You can find his blog at masonslater.com. This article was expanded from one that originally appeared on deeperstory.com.

Amazing Love

“Everytime we sin, its as if we took a whip and hit Jesus in the back, took a nail and pierced His hand, added another thorn to the crown He wore. We lie, cheat, steal, and do so much… and we rip the flesh from His body. We look away as we do it. We become so used to the blood and the sound that we dont realize what we are doing anymore. We stand and look at those around us and say “I am a Christian” while we shove the crown further down onto His head. The pain that Christ suffered, we can never experience. It was beyond our wildest dreams of what pain feels like… But this is what blew my mind… While Jesus lays on the ground, beaten and bruised, we look at Him and say “Heal me… Forgive me”. We whipped Him, we cursed His name, we spat in His face, we brought Him to the cross to die… And yet even as we stand with the whip poised to strike… He looks us in the eyes and says “Yes, I will heal you… I will forgive you” A perfect God dying for a desolate people. A people who has turned their backs on God and reject Him as king, and reject His authority. He paid the ultimate price, and yet He goes further… Even though we sin and turn away… He is always there, ready to help us get back up… even though every time we stumble it is another whip stroke in His back, He continuously comes for us. Now That.. that is Amazing Love”
–David Snavely