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Fear and the Unknown

Fear and the Unknown

We do not truly fear the unknown. In reality, we fear a recurrence of painful events we have already experienced, seen, or know have happened to someone else. This fear of recurrence is experiential and understandable. Nevertheless, it can trap us in a cycle. The...
Hurt People Hurt People

Hurt People Hurt People

When people get hurt in relationship and do not receive healing from the wounds, they have a logical and defensible tendency to become protective against more pain. A wound that does not receive attention remains sensitive; a person becomes wary of being relationally...
I’m Sorry

I’m Sorry

What do you say when you don’t know what to say? What can be said that helps when you are presented with another person’s loss, pain, grief, and struggle? When we are presented with pain over which we are powerless to repair, the words that truly fit the circumstance...
Two Gifts Children Need

Two Gifts Children Need

Children are human just like parents, except that they are younger. A great separation between the parent and the child, however, is that children neither know, nor have they experienced all that the parent has found out or been through. With that reality in mind,...
Boundaries Start with Me

Boundaries Start with Me

Boundaries in relationships are the markers that help differentiate you from someone else, or communicate where you “begin” and “end.” Using an analogy of land ownership with fences and gates, boundaries are the fences around your land. Gates are the passageways that...
The Wheel of Functioning

The Wheel of Functioning

A primary responsibility of a healthy family system is to help develop children into capable human beings. Two hallmark expressions of the emotionally and spiritually capable human being are the ability to work and to love, i.e., to be able to live fully in...
What is Maturity?

What is Maturity?

As an external description, maturity is the evidence of reaching full natural growth or development. As an internal description, maturity is the emotional and relational capability of living fully and loving deeply while experiencing life on life’s terms. By being...
Works in Progress

Works in Progress

The best we will ever become is Works in Progress (WIPs). No matter what we do, we will always be like giraffes running on ice — clumsy. Our dreams really will always exceed our grasp, no matter how perfect our plans. I believe that God likes that we dream. We carry...
Mattering

Mattering

The need to belong is met by having a place where you can be yourself, in all the struggles that entails. A place where you can be accepted as you share and deal with feelings, needs, desire, longings, and hope. You belong when you know that you can be celebrated in...
Belonging

Belonging

A famous rock star said that she never felt more alone than after a performance in front of thousands of admirers. After the performance ended, she had no one to turn to who met her need to belong. Heroin became her closest companion and the counterfeit experience of...
Created to Need

Created to Need

What is a need? To put it as starkly as possible, needs are deficits that require biological, emotional and spiritual gratification for fulfillment. Deficit fulfillment keeps us fully alive. Needs have to be gratified to be alive. The specific needs we have are the...
On Gardens and Beginnings

On Gardens and Beginnings

When I was in grad school, I became “highly focused” (read: obsessed) with hot peppers, and my tolerance for heat quickly outgrew the pepper selection at my local grocery. Soon my addiction had me driving across town twice a month to the Patel Brothers for their thai...
Empathy and the Heart of Us

Empathy and the Heart of Us

What makes facing and knowing our own hearts so vital? The heart is the record-keeper of our life’s emotional and spiritual experiences. It is our “life-lived memory.” Out of it we remain compassionate and generous, truthful and confessional, humble and celebratory....
Ten Truths

Ten Truths

While life can seem really lonely, isolating, and meaningless sometimes, it can be comforting to know that we are all wrestling to come to terms with the same core issues. 1. Life is tough. As M. Scott Peck so accurately said in his book The Road Less Traveled, “Life...
Humiliation Doesn’t Have to Be

Humiliation Doesn’t Have to Be

Is the experience of humiliation normal? Although the experience of humiliation is extremely common, it is not normal. We were born with the emotional tools not to be reduced by the power of its attack. However, if we are not raised to use the tools, or do not learn...

The Common Sense of Needs

I wrote a book called The Needs of the Heart. It is a simple book that speaks to how we are created to need, and describes specific needs. It is well written, well edited, and not popular! I suspect it is not popular because it exposes our condition as unavoidably and...

Thriving and Prosperity

You and I are created as emotional and spiritual creatures, created to live fully. We find life to the full through emotional and spiritual relationship with ourselves, others, and God. We cannot find full life otherwise. We are predesigned to find fulfillment in...

Craving Well

To feel a powerful desire for (something) is to crave. Synonyms are long for, yearn for, desire, want, wish for, hunger for, thirst for, pine for, set one’s heart on. To live in craving requires the courage of vulnerability and the strength of patience. To live in...

Hope’s Daring in 2019

The ever-present temptation towards apathy or resignation is the reason hope is so daring and risky. Hope awakens us to wonder, dreams, possibilities, courage and belief. These forms of imagining will always be slightly or greatly painful once we actually face that we...

O Holy Night

My father died December 18, 2010. The song O Holy Night was sung at his funeral. It was beautiful and fitting. It celebrates a light in the darkness, a rescue for a people in need, and the conquering of death in a world where we still must physically die. It tells us...

I Believe it Like Air

I want to share something about Christmas. Before I do, however, I want to state that I have seen enough, experienced enough, learned enough, and have lived long enough to disbelieve what I say below if I were ever going to do so. But I cannot not believe it. It is in...