Monday, May 19, 2014

The Fabric of Healthy Relationships Seminar 5/10

The Fabric of Healthy Relationships

Check out audio for additional information...

Relationships have their basis in the Bible.  Isn’t it interesting that the first statement God made concerning the man He created was, “Let us make man in our image”  (Gen 1:26).  Each of us was created to model our life and character on the image of God.  The God that we are to reflect is a God of relationships – Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
Then we read “It is not good from the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18).  Loneliness is the first thing that God said was not good….. Ecc 4:9 and 10 says, “---Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

First of all let’s define it/ them… What is a relationship? – It is the mutual sharing of life between 2 people.  For a relationship to exist, there has to be “mutualability”.  Each person is contributing.  Both need to participate in some way or it won’t work. 
Sharing Life = being genuine with each other.  It’s standing in front of a person and saying, “this is who I am!”  NO disclaimers or apologies.

There are different types of relationships and there are different levels of relationships…
        Casual – work, neighbors, acquaintances, not a long-term commitment usually.
Binding Relationships – family, spouse, children, valued as permanent and long-term – (more biology than connectedness at times for family – spiritual family – we are all adopted)
Minimal – involve simple, surface-level interaction.  Do not give or receive help, emotional support or love from each other – could also be in the same category as casual
Moderate – have minimal’s characteristics but also includes an emotional attachment. There is emotional bonding.. sharing hurts, concerns, joys and needs. 
Strong – difference in this one and Moderate is one word:  help.  High involvement.  Reaching out to minister in some tangible way.  You provide and receive help.  Emotional support is a stronger tie than helping and yet some bypass the emotional support and try to go to this level.  This leads to shallow relationships.
Quality – friends, spouses, parents, etc…no secrets, no barriers in the relationship.  It is built on complete mutual trust.  Feelings of safety with each other.  What you share with each other is treated as a gift/ treasure..   (inner circle people)
Draw & Explain circle….  Jesus as example… discipleship, etc…

In all of these types and levels of relationships, they can be healthy or unhealthy…..What are the…

Essential Components of Healthy Relationships:

Do Brainstorming at tables then….on the board…..

I.                  Individual Emotional/ Mental health – What does that look like? 
#1 Self-Awareness – How many of us take the time to periodically do a personal inventory?  Allow God to search us as David models in Psalm 139:23-24? I challenge you to make this your prayer…The Message reads, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life”
Let’s look at another model in Scripture of someone who did this.  And, he did this while in the depths of emotional pain… Let’s look at Job….(Turn to….)                                                         
Job 31: 1-12  Personal (lust, lying, adultery, thought life)
13-22                                      Public (treatment of others – his conduct – the poor, slaves, widows, orphans)
24-40        Spiritual (use of $$, attitudes toward revenge, motives, hospitality, worship/ idolatry--  “we would never think of worshipping a picture or statue but… are we giving a loved one first place in our lives? 
A relationship – that person who is #1 in our affections,
maybe we’re worshipping money, position, power.  Perhaps our job or ministry is our top priority.
Luke 4:8 You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve” – take some time to examine your heart make sure that you have not become an idolater.  “An idol is anything that takes the place of God or interferes with our relationship with Him.

#2 Maturity – Reaching one’s potential.  Developing skills, gifts & using them in a community.

#3  Wholeness:  James 1: 3-4 “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
  Eph 1:4-6 (The Message) “Long before he laid down earth’s foundation, He had us in mind; settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.

Components to becoming whole 

1)                Belonging to a family:  Love bonds meet belongingness needs (we’ll talk more about this later). Increase sharing and closeness with others.  Prayerfully consider if God is bringing someone into your life to provide some gaps in your family of origin or in theirs?…Unhealthy Family Examples

2)                Receiving and giving life – We all need life-giving relationships with those in other stages of life.  This helps us and them to achieve success in the stage of life we are in.  We need to know who we are and be reminded of who we are by those that love us.

3)                Recovering from the effects of traumas – past relationships, family/ childhood experiences that have impacted us.   

4)                Contributing to a community

Bonds that are based on Love not Fear  (possible Handout or just explain)

Interdependence not codependency (healthy boundaries) or independence (I don’t really need you)

Five Necessary  “Have You’s”  Before Marriage

1)    Resolved Family conflicts?  2 Cor 5:18
2)    Forgiven all your hurts?  Eph 4:31-32
3)    Overcome your moral conflicts? 
4)    Cleared your conscience before God?  Acts 24:16
5)    Kept all the commitments you’ve made the last 2 years?

Now, let’s talk about friendship…”The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” ~C.S. Lewis   And… let’s face it… for those of you who desire to be married one day.. You should be marrying your best friend.

Brainstorm….on the board
A friend is someone…………………
Who has the same values I have or ones I aspire to have  (this is important and may be different for each of us – discuss being unequally yoked ·  2 Corinthians 6:14
[ Warning Against Idolatry ] Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
·        To do things with
·        I can tell my innermost thoughts to
·        I can call when I’m feeling down
·        Who’ll stand by me through thick and thin
·        Who will always be honest with me
·        Who cares about me

What they provide…………
·        Advice or information based on their knowledge and experience
·        Material help like loans, carpools, babysitting, etc.
·        Prayer support and spiritual guidance at times
·        Emotional support – love, understanding, empathy
·        Companionship – sharing time and activities together

Barriers to friendships/ relationships……..
·        Shyness – Research indicates that when asked if adults considered themselves shy, more than half of all adults say ‘yes’. 
·        Fear of rejection – could be a result of personal issues that have not been resolved.  Don’t always take rejection personal – when should you?  Well….if it keeps happening and you are the common denominator; you may be the horse that needs a saddle…
·        Gender issues - Men often have special problems reaching out and building relationships --  talking about feelings or acknowledging they need support may be difficult.  And yet, they fail to realize that the studies indicate that a man with support of true friends is less likely to break under strain than a man who goes it alone – less sickness & disease.
·        Prejudices – rejected a possible friend wrong age, sex, race or social status?  A diverse support network is livelier, more interesting, more fun and stronger in the long run.

10 Minutes to do: Self-test & break

Possibly take Feedback from group (only if there is time)

Qualities to cultivate that will help us have lasting relationships: 

1.          God first!  (and.. let Him pick your relationships)   BIBLE
2.          Know yourself & allow yourself to be known (take off the mask)

3.          Let go of relationship fantasies – what are some? “I am going to find a cherished best friend, one that understands me at all times, can read my mind, enjoys me and the same things I do, they will be deeply and passionately in love and pursuing Christ like me, THEY will be available to me whenever I need them and be encouraging and empathetic.  They’ll always get my jokes and never be offended by any of my failures.  TRUTH: There is no human being alive that can fulfill my fantasy. There is no one that can be someone’s one and only.
4.          Let go of Unrealistic Expectations – friends/ people we love are not able to satisfy our insatiable soul in a lasting way… the beautiful freeing truth is Jesus is the only one who can satisfy – He actually is the only one who is meant to! Relationship is costly, risky. It is meant to provide a
5.          Be flexible -  SOMETHING THAT BENDS
6.          Avoid assuming & mind reading
7.          Listen – really listen!
8.          Diversify your friendships – they are for mutual enjoyment
9.      Don’t run away  (conflict, fear – getting too close/ self-protection)
10.           Be truthful, but kind -Be careful with truth (check your motives regularly before speaking truth to your friend – the ‘why’ behind the desire to share something. Caution: Words cannot be erased. We are NOT supposed to speak everything we think.. even if it’s the truth. If things can not be shared and spoken in love, they should not be spoken until that is possible. Be tactful, not rude. Be honest but only to the point of being loving.  We can do great damage to one another all in the name of honesty.
11.           Have a sense of humor – A FUNNY TOY OR STUFFED ANIMAL
12.           Learn to be tough enough – LEATHER JACKET
13.           Swallow your pride – let character development and refinement happen. There is no better place for sanctification to happen than in relationships (Iron sharpens Iron) Ask for forgiveness and own your ‘stuff’
14.           Realize that friendship is messy (BALLED UP YARN OR SOMETHING)– anything in this life that is worthwhile is going to be difficult/ hard at times. The blessing far outweighs the mess.. remember that – especially when you are in the midst of a mess/ conflict.
15.           (BIG GREEN EYE PIC) Work through and let go of Jealousy & Envy which can cause eventual death to relationships – God does not want us to be jealous or envious of what someone receives or achieves or others they are in relationship with. We are called to rejoice with them – want the best for them. Delight in one another’s successes and blessings and be vigilant against jealousy and envy.
16.     Hold your friends loosely, but hold them - Don’t let desire for relationship (or a different kind of relationship/ closer, etc) to turn into demand. Unclench your fist – let go – enjoy what ‘is’
17.     Forgive offenses as quickly as possible – 1 Cor 13:5 – no record of wrongs…  be angry but do not sin..  strongholds…   offense – word in the scripture actually means “bait” – don’t take the bait of the offense… if you don’t, it will fester and poison the relationship. (talk about reconciliation)
18.     Discern and break unholy soul ties from past relationships -  “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph 4:3.   holy bonds – David & Jonathan 1Sam 18:1    unholy bonds are described in 2 Cor 6:14, 1 Cor 6:15-16, etc....they can also be described as bonds that create illegitimate domination – sometimes a parent-child, spouse-spouse, etc  If there are forms of obsession either way, it is possible that an unholy soul tie has been created that must be broken (this really is pretty much like codependency but it goes beyond emotional into affecting us spiritually as well). This could manifest in things such as a person affecting ones feelings/ mood or threats (unspoken or spoken)  These type of unholy soul ties can suck the life out of you.  What do we do?  Prayer!  Understanding who we are in Christ, etc…  Sample (on your handout) from “Becoming Myself” by Stasi Eldredge  “By the cross of Jesus Christ I now sever all soul ties with ______ in the Name of Jesus. I bring the cross of Christ between us and I bring the love of Christ between us. I send ______’s soul tie/ connection back to them and I forbid that unholy connection to me. I command my soul to the Spirit of Jesus and release _____ to You. I entrust them to You, Jesus. Bless them I pray; In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
19.     (Gift bag/present) Treasure the gift – our relationships truly are just that – gifts from God!
20.     The only way to have a friend is to be one. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend is one who knows you as you are and understands where you’ve been, accepts who you’ve become and still, gently invites you to grow. ~anonymous…   BE THAT FRIEND!

Break into groups for male/female Q&A discussions for 15 min – anything gender specific that was not addressed that you would like info on/ discussion about.. then.. we will come back together for any general Q&A and prayer

Q&A –index cards

How does one go deep with someone who is unable to get in touch with their feelings?   Response on audio

Friday, May 9, 2014

Health and Wellness Class 11

Class 11
What did you find that is your symbol for the promise of a healthier life?

For Next Week - Made to Crave – Finish C19 and read Pgs 215-216  review all the chapters and bring questions and sharing for discussion for next week

Quotes to cling to this week with discussion:

Crave – Pursue holiness.. “God is the only One we should long for; want greatly; desire eagerly.”

“I need God to unsettle me”.  My lack of strength needs to disgust me!  Read Pg 171-172  (pray that it would - your lack of strength and your sin)

“I will discipline myself BEFORE circumstances or God’s discipline forces me to.”  (circumstances: diabetes, all forms of disease or God's discipline)

“This journey has more to do with what I am GAINING not LOSING!”  What are we gaining?  Discuss  (closer relationship with God, knowledge - helpful to us and to others, health, going out strong, energy)

“I will NOT be mastered by anything!” 1 Cor 6:12

“Repent!”  What does this really mean?  A change of thought.. turning away from and turning 'to'... God!

Reflective Questions and Sharing
Pg 176  2, 3, 4
Pg 186  1, 2, 4

Prayer time:  If you could ask God for one good thing that would help you to feel a deep and soul-filling satisfaction, what would it be?