Category Archives: Self-Improvement

The Millennial Leader: An Introduction

I started laughing before I typed a single letter of this blog entry. “The Millennial Leader”–even the words make me laugh. I have to tell you, I have worked with a lot of millennials. In my current job, I started out surrounded by millennials. One was very smart but incredibly insecure; one was gorgeous but made very stupid decisions on the daily; and one was fairly smart and hard-working. All three were women. I currently work with one millennial male, and he’s a mix of all three of those. Somewhat smart, makes stupid decisions on the daily, hard-working, gorgeous (lol). He is a far better example of what millennial leadership should look like than the girls were–which, as a woman myself, naturally upsets me.

Millennials are the subject matter of leadership material everywhere; interesting, because my generation never needed books written on how to deal with us, work with us, or train us to be leaders. Seems most of us just naturally figured it out. But with these new generations, that is not the case. There are tons of videos, articles, and books that deal only with how to work with millennials and groom them for leadership. The truth is, millennials are a lot of hard work in the workplace. Looking at the four I mentioned up there, only one has moved on to do bigger and better things–the fairly smart hardworking woman. The rest are floundering, because they entered into an organization that did not train them properly, work with them on their skills (leadership and otherwise), and expected far too much of them in an environment not well-suited for them. That is partially the fault of organizations and companies worldwide; the rest of the blame falls on parents, culture, and millennials themselves who have been handled with kid gloves so they only respond to compliments, praise, and rewards.

And if there’s one place where millennials are getting far too many leadership opportunities and not nearly enough training, it is in the church. Don’t get me wrong; I see the need for millennials in our churches. We want and NEED this generation to be involved in the church and contributing to its success. However, we are doing them an injustice by not giving them proper training and support and making sure they are being healed from their issues prior to throwing them into ministry.

My church is no different. I can look across our campuses and see the involvement of millennials as pastors (youth, worship, children’s, even campus pastors). But I also see where we as a church have failed them. We plucked many of them from their former environments–where some of them are struggling to overcome family issues, addictive behaviors, and worse–and expected them to lead ministries and people without giving them the resources to succeed.

And as this is happening, the millennials themselves are demanding to “have a seat at the table”–to contribute and speak their minds without fear of failure. And all the while, they are failing to lead with integrity and failing to thrive because they refuse to be held accountable, refuse to give up their vices (desiring to be worldly and godly at the same time), and refuse to mature emotionally (and thus, spiritually). And I am watching it happen with great sadness.

And yet, my worship leader, at the tender age of 23, stands head and shoulders above his peers. I’ve led and coached a number of people in my lifetime, and I’ve been led by a number of people in my lifetime. And I am also very proud to say that he’s one of the best leaders with whom I have ever worked.

I am excited to share how a ministry team can thrive under a spiritually mature millennial who leads with integrity and honor. You don’t want to miss this!

Good Grief

crying doll by Theeradech Sanin

image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / freedigitalphotos.net

My father died today. I don’t think that there’s three points that I can give you in a blog format to help you learn more about yourself through the death of my parent. So I’m just going to unjumble my thoughts and let them flow here, and I pray that God will bless you in some way as you read.

If you’ve read my testimony, you know that I didn’t have a great relationship with my dad. Celebrate Recovery helped me do a lot of grieving and releasing, but especially with my father. It was good to grieve the father I didn’t have, the father I always wanted…to let go of expectations and begin to accept the reality of who my father was. To release my feelings of rejection and revel in the acceptance of my heavenly Father. I continued to do that for the next five years, never really desiring a full-time relationship with him for many reasons. As more and more information about the man I called “Dad” has surfaced in recent weeks, I know that God has been protecting me by removing that desire from me. Instead, I have accepted him as the flawed, sinful man that he is and loved him from an appropriate distance. I am thankful that God indeed protected my heart and gave me the strength to set healthy boundaries.

A couple of things happened as I began to grieve a few weeks ago when I was alerted that my father was on his death bed. The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t stop thinking about this one person with whom I had unfinished business. Death tends to bring out those unresolved situations in our lives, making us uneasy with leaving loose ends. Eventually I realized that what was on my mind was, “If I died today, is there anyone to whom I would need to make amends?” There was. I guess because my own father never realized the “error” of his ways and never sought to make amends with his children, I wanted to break that cycle. I could say “I’m sorry” and I could make amends. I wanted to start a new kind of cycle—one of grace and pure love modeled after Christ. And while I had been concerned because there had been no one to talk to about my situation (other than God), I eventually realized that I didn’t need to talk to someone else about it. I needed to talk to the offended party. So I sent an e-mail today. It was hard, and I cried more over that e-mail than I have cried for my deceased father. But I felt a burden lift once I pressed “send.” Life is too short for unfinished business, unforgiveness, and loose ends.

Second, I realized that I wasn’t carrying any burden towards my father. Finding out a few really terrible things about him in the last few days, I thought I would feel heavier about things. When I confessed his deplorable acts to a friend, she assured me that who my father was is not who I am. I reassured her confidently that I didn’t feel that anyway—and it was true. I felt disconnected from that because I had forgiven him. But I also felt disconnected from that because my identity is not in my earthly father anymore. I have secured my identity as a princess of the King and a crazy but amazing pushy prophet girl, and because of that, there is no burden for being my earthly father’s daughter. Whatever heinous acts my father may have committed, they do not belong to me…I have been cleansed and forgiven. I am my Father’s child.

Third, I realized the significance of sexual sin in my generational history. Numbers 14:18 says, “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’” I know that my grandfather and father’s iniquities have visited the generations below them and through me, and that is important for me to accept and understand in my continual quest for purity. Indeed, though I am my Father’s child, I now have some idea as to why I have struggled so mightily in the area of sexual purity. However, what grace and love the Father lavishes on us, that I can not only call myself His child but that I can receive forgiveness and cleansing from the sins of my forefathers. I am ready to break the cycle and bring forth a generation of purity. My tears have not been wasted; they have been collected by a loving Daddy who intends to use them to cleanse future generations as they walk in their PureID™. What joy that brings me!

So I stand here not crying, but instead praising! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow, and I thank You, Jesus, for the opportunity to experience this blessed, good grief. Amen!

Spiritually Healthy Habits: Prayer

spirit health by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

“Pray continuously.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

When I was younger, this verse scared me to death. My mother would get up every morning and pray for an hour or so, and she would encourage me to do the same. I just couldn’t sit still that long, even as an adult. Plus, I wasn’t sure I could come up with enough words to say to God for a whole hour! And praying continuously throughout my day…well, I just didn’t think I could do that, either. Then one day recently, I realized that as I was going through my day, I was often stopping to whisper prayers to God, talking to Him while I was in the car or just doing things around the house, and listening for His still, small voice. And then it dawned on me: I had actually learned how to pray continuously.

Prayer is not meant to scare us, prayer is meant to invite us into deeper relationship with our God. If you want to be spiritually healthy, you must talk to the Giver of spiritual health! And here are three thoughts about prayer that have helped me to learn to pray continuously:

  • Prayer is talking to your Papa. Sometimes, my prayers are different, but mostly, I come to God as a little girl wanting to talk to her Papa. I think of when I want to have my mom’s undivided attention and I climb into her lap—yes, still, as a 37-year-old woman, I do that! I also do that in my head when I’m praying. I imagine that I’m climbing up into God’s lap and talking to Him about everything—my hopes, my fears, my failures, my successes. I confess, and I receive forgiveness there. I express my gratitude and I humble myself like a child. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Praying to my Papa in this way is how I live out this verse.
  • Prayer is talking to your Friend. Sometimes we think of God as a taskmaster waiting to punish us when we do something wrong. But Jesus tells us something different in God’s Word. In John 15:15, Jesus said, “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” A taskmaster has slaves, but we are not slaves—we are friends of God. Jesus confided in us what the Lord told Him, so we can be confident in talking to Him as a friend would. And just like our earthly friends, God can handle our anger and our doubt, He can share in our hurts, and He can laugh with us and enjoy our sense of humor. Even better, God is the greatest Friend who will never let us down!
  • Prayer is talking to your Creator. We have to remember that God is not only our Papa and our Friend, but He is also our Creator—and the Creator of the entire universe. I don’t call Him my “homie” but I bow before Him. I talk to Him as my Abba Papa and Friend, but I don’t disrespect Him or treat Him as a human being—because He is not! In Psalm 50:15, the Lord says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” God can deliver me from evil, defeat darkness, help me be an overcomer, and speak things into existence. He can bless me beyond my wildest dreams and answer every one of my prayers, if it is in His will. As such, I will regard Him with awe and respect, because He deserves it.

Knowing these three things about prayer has made it easier for me to pray continually throughout my days. Every situation I encounter can be filtered to my Papa, my Friend, and/or my Creator, so I can go to the Throne before I go to the phone (Joyce Meyer). If you want to be spiritually healthy, try increasing your prayer life and communicating continuously with the God who will be there for you in every possible way!

Spiritually Healthy Habits: Worship

spirit health by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

“I really didn’t enjoy worship today.” I used to say this all the time about the church services I attended, especially when I was younger. I believed that the only time I was to worship the Lord was on Sunday mornings, and the rest of the time was Michelle time. Even though I was a leader in my church, I lived my life as if I worshipped my friends, my job and money, and even my health more than I worshipped God. As I grew in my faith, I realized that worshipping God was more than just “enjoying” the service on Sunday mornings, more than just attending church for a few hours each week, and more than just singing songs to the Lord. Worship is meant to be more because it is not meant to be about me. Worship was meant to be about the Lord!

Worship is an important habit to develop if we want to be spiritually healthy. But it’s essential that we remember these three things about worship:

  • Where we spend the most time shows what or who we worship. This doesn’t meant that if you don’t live at the church, you don’t worship God or that those who work in the church worship God more. It simply means your priorities in life will point to what you truly worship. Is your priority working 100-hour weeks to give your family the best of everything, while neglecting them and your health? Then maybe you worship money. Do you spend a lot of time at the gym because you want to look good for everyone? Then perhaps you worship yourself. Spend all day on social media? You may worship others’ opinions. The Bible warns us constantly against idolatry (Luke 4:8), and it’s easier than ever to become entangled in it. So take an inventory of where you spend your time—what or who do you worship?
  • Worship is more than just singing. Sometimes, we think of worship as music and nothing more—especially if you are in any way musically inclined. But worship is far more than just music! Worship can be prayer, listening to a sermon, praising God in nature, serving others less fortunate than ourselves, and/or giving thanks. Everything we do can be seen as an act of worship if we live as if we are serving God instead of man (Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23). Worship is defined as showing reverence and adoration towards God, and we can do that simply by loving others. “I’ll bring you more than a song/ for a song in itself is not what you have required/ You search much deeper within/ through the way things appear/ You’re looking into my heart!” (Matt Redman, The Heart of Worship) So ask yourself: besides music, how do you worship God?
  • Worship should happen both corporately and privately. “Worship isn’t just for Sunday mornings!” I have seen that on church signs and heard it from the pulpit. But it’s true—worship consists of more than just attending a one-hour service on Sunday mornings. True worship of God extends beyond the church walls and into our private lives. We worship with others because we do not want to give up meeting together; we worship privately because we are to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to the Lord (Hebrews 13:15). Psalm 71:8 says, “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” The Psalmist isn’t just sitting around all day praising God; he is declaring the Lord’s splendor to others and by himself as he goes about his day. In the same way, we should challenge ourselves by asking: how can I worship God privately as well as publicly?

John 4:23 says, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” Being spiritually healthy involves worshiping the Lord as true worshipers—those who will worship Him with their time, with more than music, and in private and public.

Spiritually Healthy Habits: Meeting Together

spirit health by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

A couple of years ago, I was disgruntled with church in general. I wasn’t mad at anyone, and I had just finished up an incredible Bible study in a neighboring town. However, I couldn’t really find a church where I felt comfortable, so I just stopped going. In the process, I also stopped hanging out with my Christian friends. I started hanging with a non-Christian coworker and doing things that I knew weren’t right: drinking more, hanging with her friends while ignoring mine, flirting with married men. I was in a downward spiral. And then, before I knew it, I was dating a married man. Luckily, I told one of my Christian friends what I was doing (without remorse, sadly), and she gathered some prayer warriors to intercede for me. Within a couple of months, the relationship had fallen apart and I was back in church, repentant.

Meeting together with other Christians is an important piece to being spiritually healthy! Here are three benefits of consistently meeting together with other Christians:

  • Meeting together with other Christians keeps us honest. It’s so important to meet with other Christians so that honesty remains an integral part of our lives. Other Christians can be a spiritual thermostat in the midst of your thermometer moments. That simply means that when your feelings or emotions are rising or plummeting (thermometer), other Christians who know the Word can keep you grounded (thermostat). Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) tried to hide their sin, but the truth eventually came to light because they were in fellowship with other believers. In my case, had I been hanging out with my Christian friends during that time, they would have told me from the beginning to stop flirting with and hanging around with married men. They would have been praying for me specifically for purity in all areas. They would have reminded me of God’s truths amidst the world’s lies.
  • Meeting together with other Christians makes us more Christ-like. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Real friends will sharpen you. I found that I was dulling down as a Christian when I spent time with my non-Christian friend. I didn’t feel challenged to be a better Christian; in fact, I hardly ever spoke about God around her. I had to ask myself if I was being a good friend to her, because I wasn’t even challenging her beliefs or ideas. However, in contrast, when I hang around with my Christian friends, most of the time, I am challenged by them in all my attitudes and actions. They are not asking me to be more like them, they are challenging me to be more like Jesus. And as a Christian, nothing makes me better than being more like Jesus in every way.
  • Meeting together with other Christians gives us encouragement. We all need encouragement in our lives, and for Christians, our encouragement comes from many places—but rarely does it come from the world. Hebrews 10:25 says that we should “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another.” As the world gets crazier, we need to be reminded and encouraged of many things: Jesus’ peace, the eventual return of the Savior, the end of suffering, a final victory. In addition, sometimes we simply need encouragement about our true purpose and calling and how our current situations are defining that. While the world can encourage us in some ways, our Christian brothers and sisters can reassure us in all of those ways—because they know Jesus. Christians can inspire each other because the Truth has already set us free.

If you are out of Christian fellowship right now, I’d like to urge you to return to your church or small group. There’s nothing the devil loves more than to separate us from God, and one way he does that is by separating us from each other. You can begin practicing spiritually healthy habits, but you can’t do it alone—so start by meeting together with some Christians this week!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Forgiveness

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I was depressed this summer. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I literally felt as if the entire world was weighing down on me. My brain was in a fog, my thoughts were cluttered, and all I wanted to do was cry—in fact, all I did was cry for two straight months. I couldn’t do it, I told myself—I couldn’t get out of bed and get going in life. Even though I had been on a pretty nice first date the evening before, even though I had plenty of friends to care about me, even though my life was going well (despite some rough circumstances), I couldn’t get out of the funk. I couldn’t move forward because I was holding on to some hurts that others had dealt out to me earlier in the summer. I was deeply depressed because I couldn’t forgive.

Forgiveness is a choice, and probably the most difficult choice we have to make when it comes to emotionally healthy habits. I still struggle with it! But every time I practice forgiveness, I realize three important things happen:

  • Forgiveness releases you. The moment that I prayed to forgive, I felt the burden on my soul lift. The heaviness that I was experiencing, the weighted sense of doom, the cloud of darkness that had hovered over me—these all disappeared immediately. But I didn’t just get released from the weight, I was also released to receive forgiveness from God. In Mark 11:25, Jesus says, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” In order to be in right standing with God, we are also encouraged to leave our offerings at the altar and go work out our issues with others—including forgiveness—before we make an offering to God. So forgive—so that you can be released and receive from the Lord.
  • Forgiveness heals you. Psalm 38:3-4 says, ‘…there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.” Does this sound familiar? It should—it is exactly the way I described feeling when I was harboring resentment and unforgiveness. And in case this isn’t clear, let me reiterate: unforgiveness is a sin, because we are choosing our anger and our hurt over the forgiveness that the Lord offers to us. And when we are sinning, we can’t be healthy! But once we choose forgiveness, we can begin to experience healing from the Lord. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. But cleansing and healing can’t happen until you choose to forgive.
  • Forgiveness challenges you. If one of our main goals in life is growth in all areas, then forgiveness meets that criteria. We don’t just want to forgive to be released and healthy, we want to grow from our experiences as forgiving people. It is against our natural desires and flesh to want to forgive others; we are carnal beings who, without God, are focused solely on ourselves. We believe that withholding forgiveness from others harms then, when really, it harms only us. That is why we choose forgiveness. It stretches us in every way to forgive—the emotional darkness within clears, the physical heaviness lightens, and the spiritual sins are cleansed. That is the challenge in forgiveness—to act against our sinful nature and choose life through forgiveness. That is also why forgiveness is always a choice and a challenge that results in your growth.

The moment I realized that I was harboring resentment and unforgiveness, I prayed to the Lord and asked for forgiveness and then offered it to those who had hurt me—without ever speaking to them about it. Sometimes, forgiveness is about them, but mostly, forgiveness is about YOU. Seek to practice forgiveness not only for release, but for healing and growth as an emotionally healthy person!

Emotionally Healthy Habits: Acceptance

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

“Why can’t he just see the truth?” My mom and I were pondering this on the telephone this week as we thought about my stroke-ridden uncle’s health crisis. He wasn’t really getting better, and he seemed to think that ordering expensive health products online—instead of working hard in therapy—would help him to regain his pre-stroke “fitness”—which wasn’t that great to begin with. He had already been kicked out of one therapy for not doing the work; now there was a chance he would be kicked out of another. It just seemed like he didn’t want to accept anything about the situation—including his limitations.

One of the biggest keys to emotional health is acceptance. It’s not about others accepting you—that is a path that leads to death. Instead, it’s about walking in emotional health and with the joy that comes through Christ. And if there’s anything I have learned about life in Christ, it is that you must practice acceptance in the following three areas to create emotionally healthy habits:

  • Accept yourself. Sometimes, accepting ourselves means accepting where we are right at this moment. It means taking a hard look at ourselves from a Biblical point of view and recognizing our current sins and struggles. It means swallowing our pride and understanding that we are beautifully broken people. We may not be physically broken, but we are all spiritually and emotionally broken and weak because we live in a broken world. As I watch my uncle resist accepting himself and his condition right now, I am forced to ask myself, where am I being prideful and not accepting my weaknesses? Proverbs 19:8 says, “Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” Do you have sense? Are you trying to keep understanding yourself so that you can discover good?
  • Accept others. This is my biggest struggle. For most people, accepting themselves is the hard part, but for me, it is accepting that other people are exactly the way God made them. Why can’t my coworker learn things as quickly as I do? Why can’t my uncle see the truth about his condition? I tend to bring these complaints to God instead of accepting and seeing others as His creations as well. After all, I need to accept that God didn’t just make ME, He formed others uniquely as well (Psalm 139). And I need to accept others, flaws and all. I need to accept my family’s flaws—including my uncle’s—and realize that as I am growing in Christlikeness, I need to show no partiality as God does. How can you accept others as they are?
  • Accept circumstances. My uncle had a stroke that incapacitated him. He is no longer independent, but is dependent on my family even to use the bathroom. He can no longer drive an 18-wheeler, he can no longer live a bachelor’s life of doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants to. Those are his circumstances. Maybe your circumstances aren’t as grim; maybe you simply don’t like where you are living. Maybe you don’t like your job. Maybe you aren’t married and you want to be. Can you change your circumstances? Of course. But the better question is…can you accept your circumstances and wait patiently on the Lord to use them to mature you? As James 1 notes, our circumstances—trials and testing especially—lead to perseverance, which makes us mature. So are you willing to accept your circumstances so that the Lord can produce in you His fruit? Am I?

Acceptance can be difficult, but it is a great step towards practicing emotionally healthy habits. When you begin to accept yourself, others, and your circumstances, you begin to change your thinking, your actions, and eventually your outcomes. And that is the beginning of total health—mind, soul, and body!

Fall Into Healthy Habits!

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Pornography addiction is a habit that takes up quite a bit of your time. It’s just like any other addiction—once you get into it, you need it desperately and spend most of your time trying to fill the void of time with your addiction. But substance abuse and pornography addictions are not the only bad habits we accumulate. Last September, I was just beginning my coaching ministry, and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle my new part-time status at my job and starting my business from the ground up. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing and not enough time doing it! I built some incredibly unhealthy habits—sleeping too much, trying to work at home from my bed, not exercising—and in return, I did not create many healthy ones. This summer, I decided that I would do things differently. I would find ways to be healthier—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

September is a great time to begin anew—summer has ended, school has started for the kiddos, and change is in the air. Over the next three months of autumn, Pushy Prophet Girl Ministries will be talking about how we can fall into healthy habits in the three biggest areas of our lives:

Emotionally. In September, we will explore how to create better emotional habits in our lives. Being emotionally healthy is one of the most important steps you can take—so building good emotional habits is one of my ministry’s focuses! This month, we will discuss our hang-ups—forgiveness, anyone?—and how to better handle our hurts. How can you overcome that spirit of being offended? The Word frequently talks about compassion, but in what ways do we live that out in our daily lives? How do we practice responding to others in loving ways, even when they aren’t being loving towards us? We will talk about these things and more this month.

Spiritually.  Pete Scazzero says that you can’t be spiritually mature without being emotionally mature first! That’s why we will talk about our spiritual health during the month of October, after we have addressed our emotional habits. What are some spiritually healthy habits we can begin to practice? When can fasting help our spiritual life? What is worship—is it just what we do in church on Sundays? How does giving to others affect us spiritually? Our spiritual lives consist of more than just prayer, attending church, and reading Scripture. While we will talk about those things, we will also discuss many more spiritual habits we can practice in healthy ways.

Physically. We mature and grow from the inside out! Once we have thoroughly discussed our emotional and spiritual health, we will focus on our physical health habits. We will look at the different aspects of our physical bodies and how caring for them is not only a Biblical command but a necessity in this day and age. How does eating healthy become a habit? Where does sleep fit into your fitness regimen? If your body is a temple, are you caring for it the way God wants you to? I am always seeking to improve in this area as well, so I can’t wait to begin talking about these issues and more in November.

Today is a brand new day, and I am here to help you and cheer you on towards being fearlessly fulfilled. Are you ready to fall into emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthier habits? Then contact me today to get started on a personal coaching journey and keep checking my blog this fall for ways to become the best you!

DISC: Silent but Steady

DISC-logo-2014

image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

She seemed to be very shy until you got to know her. But once I got to know her—and I did, she was quite talkative and open with me. She was a steady support to me, always offering to help in whatever way she possible could. She even would help in the sweetest ways I could think of—offering to do things for me that no one else would. She was constantly thinking of my feelings and tried not to hurt me, even if it meant she was hurt instead. In addition, she was the most reliable person of my group—even if she was working behind the scenes, you eventually knew she was there because of her loyalty and dependability. So who is she? She has many names—because she is every S I’ve ever known and worked with!

High S’s are team players who want to keep peace and stability in group settings, even if it is to their own personal detriment. Though your S’s may not be loud and dominant like your D’s or the center of attention like your I’s, the S’s are balanced and secure, providing much needed stability to every group dynamic. And here are a few important things to remember about the high S personality profile:

  • High S’s work best in a stable, secure environment…My former high S coworker had been in our office for 10 years—since she was 17 years old! She had loved what she was doing, but most importantly, she knew the office and the job very well and was very comfortable in doing it. It was to our benefit that she provided everything for our office, and she did so with a smile every day. She took care of every need in the office and knew how to do everything, and often did so in the background. This is your typical S: always accomplishing what needs to be done without being asked while being your all-around team player.
  • …but they do not adapt well to change. My former coworker had not been through many changes in the office until around the time I started. However, I noticed that her normally pleasant demeanor became terse and threatening when office policies and procedures began changing. In addition, when she chose to take a new job, the pressure of making a change after ten years in our office weighed heavily on her. In response to the pressure, she became increasingly unpleasant in her interactions and took every interaction personally. It was a rough transition for everyone.
  • In conflict, S’s tend to give in—unless their family or close friends are being targeted. S’s are seen as extremely loyal to their family and close friends; they may not fight back when they are targeted personally, but if someone attacks their family, they will respond like a D! In other situations, they may remain quiet or make choices that will bring peace to the situation. Unlike the I’s, an S’s main goal is security, so he will do whatever is necessary to bring peace, even if it means their own personal comfort is challenged. Like I’s, S’s are people pleasers, so in conflict, S’s will seek the greater good of others before themselves. My former coworker tended to be quiet in situations where she did not agree with the action being taken at work. However, when it came to her family, she was adamant and direct in defending them at every turn.

S’s certainly are not silent—but they are great listeners who are more concerned about other people than tasks being accomplished. Like a car’s engine, they are an integral part of a working team, making sure that everything runs smoothly, even if they aren’t being seen and heard. When working with S’s, it’s important to remember to give them plenty of time to change but also to encourage them to embrace change as an opportunity for growth. It will help them as well as you!

How do you help the S’s in your life navigate change? 

The Porn Identity: Great Expectations

I spent the entire day today crying. I even woke my roommate up this morning with my loud sobs. Most people think I am simply reacting to the death of a friend, the state of my uncle’s recovery from his stroke, the impending death of my father. And while these things are weighing heavily on me, none of them have been the reason for my sorrow. Nope: I’m upset because I didn’t hear from someone on my birthday yesterday. I have spent hours in tears today because someone did not text me, call me, or leave me a Facebook or Twitter shout out on the “holy grail” of days in my life. And because of this, I feel used, taken advantage of, and unloved. Suffice to say that as I was contemplating my blog topic in this new series, God very clearly told me to blog about expectations.

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image courtesy of digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

Pornography creates its own identity in its addicts. Our brains begin to think differently: we see pornography, internalize it, and begin to LIVE it. Consequently, there’s a number of things I’m still undoing in my life due to my former addiction to pornography. One of those things is learning to temper my expectations. Here are a few things the porn identity has led me to expect:

  • Porn told me to expect perfection from others. Whether it was physical appearance or the perfect sex life, porn told me that everyone and everything was perfect. Therefore, when I encountered real people—messy people, sinful people—I was appalled. I still struggle when people disappoint me or hurt me, because I never saw that happening in pornography. I believed that fake perfection could be realistic, so I expected it. But God says that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). He says that no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). That means that people ARE going to disappoint me and hurt me. And I am going to sin and hurt others. And I have to learn to accept that and deal with it—not end relationships when people aren’t perfect (as I was prone to do).
  • Porn told me to expect life to revolve around me. Porn is all about my pleasure, very me-centered in its content and with those who use it—everyone always gets what they want. I became quite a brat in believing that, and my pity party for myself today goes without saying: sometimes, I still have that expectation for others. But God says life revolves around HIM—because He is life (John 14:6). When I am making life about me, how can I also be living life for God? The truth is, I can’t. In this me-centered culture, we are told to take offense at everything, to look out for #1, and to give only when we can get the same in return. But that’s not Biblical, and that’s not how God calls me to live. And when I put my trust in Him instead of the world around me, I can let go of the expectation that life is all about me.
  • Porn told me to expect the good, but not the bad. Porn is all about happiness, fulfillment, and sex. Nothing bad that happens in pornography—no one dies of cancer, people aren’t hurt by each other, and no one’s father abandons them. People likely wouldn’t watch porn if it was such a killjoy! That’s not real life, though. God says that we are going to have trials and we are going to suffer in this life (James 1:2-3). I’m in a season of trials and suffering now, and I feel like giving up. The birthday non-texter was just another thing on a long list of hurts. But God says I am to count this all as joy, because it’s going to produce perseverance in me. God says He’s going to use all of this for good (Romans 8:28). And God says I can trust Him (Psalm 112:7).

While it’s tempting to continue believing what porn said to me many years ago, I know that what God says is far more important—and what God says is true! As I consider that, I must remember to temper my expectations for myself and others while increasing my expectations for my Creator and King–He’s the only one who can meet and exceed them!