How to deal with your crazy family during the holidays

Let’s face it; a lot of us have at least one person in our family who we see only once or twice a year, and there’s a good reason for that.  Maybe it’s because they’re a little bit quirky, or they have a lifestyle you don’t understand.  Maybe it’s because you just don’t have a lot in common with the other person.  Or, perhaps, it’s because you just genuinely don’t like the other person.  No matter the reason, it’s probably safe to say these people in your family drive you crazy. 

Whatever the case may be, there are ways for you to get through the gathering without losing your patience (or maybe your sanity).  The easiest way to do this is to remember two things.

  1. Love God and love people, as Christ commanded
  2. Remember that loving people doesn’t mean you have to have a close relationship with them or condone their actions

Jesus made these points clear when speaking to the disciples:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”  – Mark 12:30-31

Christ wants us to love and care for one another.  He wants us to be the shining light in an otherwise dark and broken world.  He wants us to have compassion for others in their situations and struggles, and he wants us to earnestly pray for them.

However, Christ is not commanding us to allow these individuals to have negative impacts on us.  It is okay to set and keep boundaries with others to keep our spiritual life protected.  It is okay to say no.  It’s okay to keep your distance if necessary.  It is okay for you to only say a few words to a family member you need to keep a boundary with and then walk away.  It’s also okay to remind them of these boundaries when they’re crossed.

RELATED: How to set appropriate boundaries with people to finally get some peace

This can be a difficult task, but during these potentially tense moments with family members, it’s important to remember where your approval comes from:

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”  – Psalm 16:5-9

Seeking forgiveness in your family.

When seeking forgiveness for others, their response may not be what you want or expect.

Perhaps your situation is the opposite.  Perhaps you’re the family member trying to make amends to relationships you’ve damaged and you’re hoping this holiday season you’ll be able to solidify those relationships.  This act is encouraged and commendable, but it can also be painful, and sometimes uncomfortable.  Remember, when you’re seeking forgiveness and reconciliation from others, they may not react in the way you want them to.  It’s important to remember to have grace and understanding with others.  Taken into consideration Max Lucado’s words in Just Like Jesus:

“The world has never known a heart so pure, a character so flawless.  His spiritual hearing was so keep he never missed a heavenly whisper.  His mercy so abundant he never missed a chance to forgive… Jesus is the ultimate model for every person… God urges you to fix your eyes upon Jesus.  Heaven invites you to set the lens of your heart of the Savior and make him the object of your life.”

How can you be just like Jesus to your family this season?

STRUGGLING WITH DIFFICULT FAMILY MEMBERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. You don’t have to continue feeling this way. It’s time to get your life back.

How to be thankful, every day

Thanksgiving is upon us. And it’s the time of year where we begin seeing the “thankful” posts on Facebook. That’s all well and good, but what about after Thanksgiving? Shouldn’t we be looking for how to be thankful every day? That’s exactly what God calls us to do.


“Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.” – 1 Chronicles 16:8

By living a thankful life and with a giving attitude, we’re following God’s call to share His grace, love and mercy.  He’s not calling us “fake it”; even Christians have bad days and tough times.  He’s not expecting us to have it all together or to not share our struggles.  But He is reminding us to be thankful, even during the tough times.

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:4-5

Being thankful in all circumstances doesn’t have to be difficult.  All God is asking for is for us to live a life of grace.  When we’re willing to extend and receive grace to and from others, we’re practicing the art of thanksgiving with the gift of understanding, love and forgiveness.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas draws near, I encourage you to think about your own life, situations and circumstances.  How can you be thankful in the midst of struggles?  How can you extend grace to others who need it?

 STRUGGLING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Schedule your appointment here, call me, or message me on Facebook. It’s time to get your life back.

Rebuilding trust in your broken relationship

The unthinkable has happened.  You just learned your spouse or partner has had an affair.  A million thoughts are running through your mind, such as “How could they do this to me?”, “How could this happen?”, “How did I not know sooner?”, “Is this my fault?”  

By now, without realizing it, you’re likely beginning to shut down.  You’re putting up the walls around you because the person who you were supposed to be able to trust the most just completely shattered all the trust in your relationship.  The first question you ask shouldn’t be one of the above, and it shouldn’t be a question to yourself.  The question you should be asking is this: “God, will you help me through this?”

You have a choice

The simple and sad fact is that many (not most, surprisingly) relationships fall apart and marriages end because of infidelity.  Many times, people have no idea how to begin rebuilding trust in their broken relationship, and they feel their only option is to cut their losses and move on.  Now, my intent here is not to get you to forget that your spouse cheated on you.  In fact, Scripture gives Christians a very clear about allowing a divorce because of their husband’s or wife’s infidelity:

“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” -Matthew 9:19

The answer is simple

The decision of whether or not to divorce your spouse over infidelity is a decision that must be made between you and God.  So, it is not my intent to convince you to stay with the person.  But it is goal to help you toward forgiving the other person.  You will never truly find trust in your relationship until you learn to forgive your husband or wife for their mistakes.  Forgiving them doesn’t mean you forget what they’ve done, nor does it mean you are giving them permission to hurt you again.

It’s time to cancel the debt

Forgiveness is a word that’s thrown around in church a lot, but few times does anyone ever explain to us how we’re supposed to forgive another person.  How do you go about forgiving someone, especially the one person who is supposed to protect you and have your back no matter what?  Luckily, it really is simple.

Forgiving someone is really cancelling a debt.  Think about what Jesus did for each of us.  He died on a cross to pay for each of our sins, knowing full well we’d still commit these sins anyway.  Look at it from this angle — the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  -Matthew 18:21-27

Here, the King didn’t give forget what the servant did, nor did he give the servant permission to rack up this debt again.  However, look what happens in the second half of the parable:

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. -Matthew 18:28-30

Now, imagine Jesus as the king, and yourself as the first servant who was forgiven.  Isn’t it easy for us to ask Jesus for forgiveness in our situations but then so difficult for us to forgive someone else?

He knows how you feel

The thing is, Jesus understands what you’re going through.  Of course, it’s easy to say “Jesus was never married or divorced.  He can’t possibly understand what this feels like.”  Think again.  Wasn’t Jesus betrayed by the very people whom He loved the most — the human race?  He was ridiculed, beaten, mutilated, hung on a cross, and killed — and all He was trying to do was bring hope to our broken world.

Jesus knows exactly how you feel — and He’s asking you to turn over those hurts and heartaches to Him.  Yes, you can still mourn the hurt of your husband or wife cheating on you.  Yes, you have every right to be angry and confused.  But holding unforgiveness, aka hatred, in your heart toward that person only pushes you farther away from God.  I’ve heard it stated like this:

“Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and expecting them to die.”

You can’t trust someone again until you learn to forgive them.

Now what?

Forgiving and trusting someone else means first trusting Jesus.  I love how Sarah Young puts it, as she shares from God’s perspective:

I am taking care of you.  Trust Me at all times.  Trust Me in all circumstances.  Trust me with all your heart.  When you are weary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these four words: “I trust You, Jesus”.  By doing so, you release matters into My control, and you fall back into the security of My everlasting arms.

Before you arise from your bed in the morning, I have already arranged the events of your day.  Every day provides many opportunities for you to learn My ways and grow closer to Me.  Signs of my Presence brighten even the dullest day when you have eyes that really see.  Search for Me as for hidden treasure.  I will be found by you.

Prepare yourself for the emotions you’ll feel

Rebuilding trust in your broken relationship will take time, and probably a lot of tears and heartache.  This process you’re going through isn’t an easy one, and it shouldn’t be done alone.  But if your spouse truly has a repentant heart, and they are willing to work through this turmoil with you, you can be like many successful couples who have recovered from affairs.  And remember, Jesus knows how you feel.

Struggling to move beyond the situation?
Let’s work together to help you move forward. Call us, schedule your appointment online, or message us on Facebook. It’s time to get your life back.

Overcoming anxiety in your relationship

“You just don’t get it,” I explained to my wife once.  “I know you’re not leaving.  You’ve told me ten thousand times.  I know it in my head.  But I don’t know it in my heart.”

anxiety relationshipsYou see, I grew up with this huge fear of abandonment.  My mother left when I was very young, and until well into adulthood, I didn’t know how to handle it.  I was convinced I was going to be left behind.  This may be a familiar feeling to you, or your situation may be completely different.  But regardless, you’re likely here because you’re suffering from anxiety in your relationship, or from a relationship you’re considering.

According to PsycheAlive, “Relationship anxiety can arise at pretty much any stage of courtship. For many single people, just the thought of being in a relationship can stir up stress. If and when people do start dating, the early stages can present them with endless worries: ‘Does he/she really like me?’, ‘Will this work out?’, ‘How serious is this?’ Unfortunately, these worries don’t tend to subside in the later stages of a romantic union.”

What causes relationship anxiety?

Meeting someone and falling in love challenges us in a lot of ways we don’t expect.  From changing to find compromise with someone else, or understanding the other person’s special quirks, these challenges can cause stress.

Then, throw in the lies Satan tries to tell us:

  • “You’re too ugly, fat, or boring to keep his or her interest.”
  • “You’ll never meet anybody.  Why do you even try?”
  • “You can’t trust him.  You know he’s going to cheat on you.”
  • “She doesn’t really love you.  Get out before she hurts you.”

When we believe these lies, it causes separation from those we want to be closest with.  We may begin to argue and fight with our significant other, or we may withdraw completely.  Instead of enjoying your time together, it becomes a time of stress and anger.

What thoughts lead to relationship anxiety?

These lies, Satan’s way of creating a wedge between us and others, lead to anxiety in our relationships.  Stereotyping, poor attitudes and false beliefs can all create barriers in our relationships that keep us from enjoying those we care about the most.

Sometimes, we brush these lies off as our “inner voice” or “inner critic”.  Do any of these sound like you?

Lies about the relationship:

  • People just wind up getting hurt.  I have to keep them out to survive.
  • Relationships never really work out.  Nobody can be truly happy.

Lies about the other person:

  • Men are so insensitive, unreliable and selfish.
  • Women are so needy and indirect.
  • He only cares about hanging out with his friends.
  • You can’t trust her.
  • He’s probably cheating on you.
  • He just can’t get anything right.  Why do men have to be so bone-headed?

Lies about yourself:

  • You’re never going to find anybody who understands you.
  • You’re not worth loving or being cared about.
  • He doesn’t really care about you.
  • She’s too good for you.
  • You’re better off on your own.
  • You’ve got to be in control.
  • If he really knew you, he wouldn’t want to be around you.
  • It’s your fault he gets upset.
  • Don’t be too vulnerable or you’ll just wind up getting hurt.
How are we affected?

Do me a favor.  Look at all the traumas you’ve experienced over the course of your life: parents who abandoned you, or neglected you, or who were addicted to drugs – perhaps it was someone who abused you – physically, emotionally or sexually.  Maybe it was some combination of all of these things – or maybe it was something else. Regardless of what happened, we carry these issues from our past into our present.  Those issues come forward as harmful in our present relationships.  anxiety relationships

We see things like:

  • Being clingy
  • Being controlling
  • Rejecting the other person
  • Withholding affection from the other person
  • Punishing the other person unfairly
  • Retreating or withdrawing away from the other person
How do we overcome relationship anxiety?

Without trying to sound too much like a Sunday School answer, it really is simple: Jesus.  Jesus wants to be at the center of everything we are and everything we do.  Until we fully learn to trust and accept the love of Jesus, we can’t give that love to others.  You can’t give something away if you don’t have it yourself.

If you’re struggling with traumas and setbacks from your past, Jesus is asking you to give those to Him.  He’s asking you to pray, to share your hurt with Him.  He knows and understands exactly what you’re going through and exactly what you are.  He is ready to help you through the hurt, but you have to be willing to give it up to Him.

Are the hurts of your past or worries about the future keeping you from enjoying your relationships in the present?  Feel like you can’t give up those hurts?  It’s okay to ask for help!
Message us on Facebook to chat right now, or make an appointment in Owensboro, Hartford, Henderson, or online.  Let us help you get your life back.

10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week!

“The reason you don’t understand me, Edith, is because I am talkin’ to you in English and you’re listenin’ to me in ‘Dingbat’!”

Although blunt (and funny) Archie Bunker, the character in the TV show All in the Family had it right, didn’t he?  Sometimes the things we say and the way they’re heard can be completely different.

Let’s face it, relationships can be hard, but communicating with your significant other shouldn’t have to be.  We’ve prepared a free resource for you so you can better communicate with your better half.

Click here to get your copy of 10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week!.  We’re confident if you put these tips into practice, you’ll be on your way to healthier communication.

Life is short. Have an affair.

Wait, what?  For most people, hearing someone tell you to cheat on your husband or wife would be an absurd and unthinkable suggestion, even if you and your spouse are having problems.  It seems absurd, anyway.  Yet, that’s the slogan for the now infamous Ashley Madison website where, in 2015, thousands of names of users were leaked for everyone to see.  People from government organizations to church leadership positions were exposed for looking at pornography or searching for an extramarital affair.  In a day and age where social media dictates our conversational habits and pornography is easier to find than children’s cartoons, is the statement really that absurd or shocking?

I admit, it is unlikely that most people struggling in their marriage are actively looking for a relationship outside their marriage.  However, most people who do engage in an extramarital relationship say they never intended for it to happen.  They were in a situation where they were discussing their problems with a friend and they became close or someone made them feel a way their spouse didn’t.  Without a strong relationship with your spouse, it’s easy to fall into this situation.

Life is short. Have an affair.

Most people who engage in an extramarital affair say they never intended for it to happen.

What’s worse, there are actually therapists out there who will recommend to their patients and clients that an affair can help them.  They’ll convince clients an affair can help them release frustrations, and in the end, it will bring the person and his or her spouse closer together.  “You can’t be serious,” I’m sure you’re telling me as you read this.  Go ahead.  Google it.  I know you’re curious.  It’s worth clarifying, this is not the standard held by the American Psychological Association or by the majority of therapists.  And, for the record, Revive Counseling Center will never recommend for you to have an affair.  But the belief still exists.  It’s so accepted in our culture that these therapists can’t even tell when they’re blurring a line.

“So, Zakk.  How do we protect our marriage?  You make it sound so easy.”
I’m so glad you asked.

Lean on the Word of God.  In fact, He tells us there is strength found in our marriage relationship:

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. – Mark 10:9

But He also shows us the importance of forgiving each other:

Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:2-3

There are numerous scriptures and passages that relate to marriage, relationships and forgiveness and grace.  If you’re struggling with one of the areas, consider asking your pastor, church leadership or a trusted Christian mentor about where to start.

There’s also a lot of great advice online when you’re dealing with an issue in your relationship.  In 2005, Becky Zerbe wrote an article that touched the hearts of a lot of people considering leaving their spouse.  The List that Saved My Marriage provides sound advice if you feel like your marriage is failing, because it encourages you to look at your actions as well.

The book Fireproof and the subsequent movie have been encouraging to many couples.

Sometimes, however, resources like these just don’t seem to feel like enough.  Many couples say there’s nothing quite like the sting of learning your spouse has had a relationship outside your marriage.  Some people question how they go on, and some will wonder if it’s even worth continuing in the marriage.  If you find yourself in this situation, the decision to separate or divorce is one that you’ll have to work out with your spouse and within yourself.

Life is short. Have an affair.

Numerous Christian resources are available to couples recovering from an affair, even if it feels like there’s no hope.

However, if you and your spouse want to continue the marriage, there are numerous Christian resources available to you.  Again, speaking to a pastor or a trusted Christian adviser is a great first step.  Marriage Counseling is another great avenue, because a counselor or therapist can help you work through the issues of hurt and anger, while also helping you identify what issues led to the situation in the first place.  Many couples who seek marriage counseling, especially after an affair, find much success and growth in their marriage.

Finally, we must realize that not every marriage can and will be saved.  I’ve heard many people say they feel so abandoned because they couldn’t convince their spouse to stay.  Others may feel as though God no longer loves them because they’re divorced.  The fact is, God loves you no matter what you’ve done wrong or right in your life.  There’s nothing you could do to make him love you less.  He loves you so much, He sent Jesus here to save you from sin, brokenness and death.  And even if you were the only person to have ever walked on the face of the earth, He still would have sent Jesus – just for you.  Look to him as you seek comfort.

If you’re struggling in your marriage or relationship, or if you’re hurting from the grief and pain of an affair or divorce, consider contacting us so that we can work with you through your heartache.  When you’re ready, reach out to us, or make your appointment online.