Struggles in Life? You should probably just give up.

Thy will be done.  It sounds so easy — just “let go and let God”.  It sounds like a marvelous idea until it’s time to actually trust Him to take care of us.  Whether dealing with a relationship, financial, or any other type of issue, most of us have struggled with giving it up to God and letting Him take control.  Whether we say it or not, most of the time we think we can handle our situations better than God – that we know what’s best for us.  That’s when the struggles in life start happening.

struggles giving up

Giving everything up to God isn’t a bad thing.

When we say “Thy will be done,” or “God, I’m giving this to you,” we are giving up, and that’s not a bad thing.  We’re telling God that we’re trusting Him.  We’re allowing Him to work in our lives and through our situations.  We’re saying that we trust Him to work all things together for our good, whether we understand it or not.

But how do we know we can trust God?  How do we take that first step?  There are countless examples found in Scripture.  Many times, these individuals were trusting God in a life and death situation.  Take Daniel, for example.   He was thrown into a lion’s den for his faith, but he chose to trust God in his situation and wasn’t harmed.

“Daniel answered, ‘May the king live forever!  My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.'” – Daniel 6: 21-22

Daniel did what God is calling all of us to do: just give up.  Give up all your worries, fears, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness and hate.  It doesn’t mean you have to give up your hope, He just wants you to give up your control.

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.  The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”  – Psalm 33:4-6

God really does have your best interests at heart.  Yes, we will still be hurt.  Yes, we will still feel the sting of betrayal, or anger, or fear.  But God doesn’t want us to live in those areas.  He wants us to live in the joy and peace that only He can provide.  But He can only provide those things when we’re willing to give up control over our situation and let Him handle it.  “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

 NEED HELP GIVING UP? Give me a call for a free phone consultation, message me on Facebook, or schedule an appointment online. Appointments available in Owensboro and Henderson. It’s time to get your life back.

Breaking Up with Someone: Should I stay or should I go?

It’s decision time, and you’re deciding if breaking up with someone is the right choice.  Whether you’ve been dating for a couple months or you’ve been married for 20 years, the decision to end a relationship isn’t something to be taken lightly.  You have to determine whether the memories you’ve made and the future you’ve planned is worth ending.  Personally, I believe love deserves a chance, and if the relationship can be saved, it should be saved.  That said, I don’t believe you should ever stay in an abusive or harmful relationship or marriage.

If you’re struggling to decide whether or not to leave someone, consider these three things:

#1. It may not be all their fault.

Is your spouse or significant other struggling with something?  Pornography or sex addiction, perhaps? It isn’t easy, but remember that all addictions are diseases and it’s hard to break free from them. An addiction of a sexual nature is no different from a drug addiction in terms of somebody “quitting”. It takes time and a lot of work. If this is the situation with the other person, while they should be held accountable for their actions, it’s also important to remember to pray for them and to encourage them if they are willing to seek help, including an accountability partner, Bible studies and perhaps counseling. If they are not willing to seek help, then you must react as if you would in any situation involving an addict, in that you pray for them, encourage them to seek help, and making sure you’re caring for yourself.  I’m certainly not saying their activity is excusable, but we’re also called to show grace to those who struggle.

#2. Realize part of the problem may be your fault.

If your relationship is headed south, it’s easy to point your finger at the other person and point out every single mistake they’re making and every way they’ve wronged you.  If your life with the other person has turned into nothing but arguments and hateful looks, it’s probably not just their fault.  It’s likely you had something to do with it too.  Consider asking them if something you’ve done has hurt them. This is not the time to be defensive when they open up to you.  It’s the time to share what’s hurting your heart, and to listen to really hear them, not just to respond and fight back.  Show them you’re willing to listen to them and make changes too, and that you together you’re willing to put the pieces back together.  This doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy – but it’s important to remember – you’re on the same team.  You should be fighting for each other, not with each other.

#3. Understand that nobody probably ever taught you to communicate.

Being open and vulnerable with our spouse isn’t something most of us go into a marriage knowing how to do.  We’ve learned what the world has taught us: that we’re in it for ourselves and we have to protect ourselves at all costs.  Nobody will take care of us better than we can take care of ourselves.  The fact is, none of this is true.  In your marriage, you and your spouse should have each other’s backs at all costs.  But the thing is, nobody ever really tells us that.  It’s hard enough for us to understand how to process emotions like hurt and anger at someone, let alone express them to that person. “When we don’t know how to communicate, our relationships break down.”

When we don’t know how to communicate, our relationships break down.

And this communication isn’t something you can learn overnight.  It takes time, and commitment to the other person.  Most of us only communicate with our significant to do one of three things:

  • Project a better image of ourselves
  • Show them how wrong they are
  • Defend ourselves

See how self-centered that is?

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Commit to working on your relationship before ending it.  If you’re really set on breaking up, give yourself enough time to weigh your circumstances, options and beliefs.

Struggling in your relationship? Not sure if you should stay or go? Make an appointment and get on the path to getting your life back.  Services available in Owensboro and Hartford, KY.


Three Tips to Help Avoid Conflicts in Relationships

Let’s face it.  In any relationship, we’re going to have arguments and fights.  No couple is perfect and no relationship can be conflict-free.  But there are things we can do to help keep things going smoothly and help avoid some of the conflicts in relationships.

#1.  Don’t just talk.  Listen too.

Think back to the last argument you had with your better half.  Was it an open and honest conversation where you were genuinely trying to understand their point of view, or was your biggest concern trying to make sure you proved that you were right?  When we go into a disagreement doing nothing by trying to prove that we’re right and they’re wrong, nothing will change.  You won’t come to a resolution.  The only thing you’ll do successfully is alienate each other and hold hard feelings.

Instead of listening just to respond, listen to hear the other person’s heart and their concern.  It may not be pleasant to hear what they have to say, and it may hurt, but it’s important to respect their feelings.  Berating each other and trying to prove something will only make things worse.  Trying to understand their point of view shows them you’re willing to listen to their feelings too.  Once they’ve shared their feelings, try repeating what they said back to them to make sure that you understand correctly what they said.  Don’t “mince words” and try to use their words against them.  Simply work to understand their points.  After they’ve shared their side, share yours.  Don’t make it a contest to see who can “win” the fight, because when couples fight, there are no winners.  Everyone loses.

#2.  If you’ve forgiven them for a mistake, stop bringing it up.

In many relationships, we tell someone we forgive them for something or that we have moved on, but then the next fight we have we throw it back up in their face.  If you’ve forgiven your spouse or told them you’re moving on, then you need to do just that.  It’s not fair and it breaks trust in your relationship if you tell the other person you’ve forgiven them only to try to make them feel guilty, ashamed, etc. when you’re in an argument.  If you had truly forgiven them, you probably wouldn’t be bringing it up now.  If you’re struggling with unforgiveness, you should talk to your pastor, a counselor or a trusted, mature friend.

You won’t come to a resolution by guilting them.

#3.  Stay on topic.

If you’re arguing about something, stay on topic.  If you’re disagreeing about taking out the trash, don’t throw it up in their face about how the yard still needs to be mowed and how they promised to do the dishes that one time six months ago and how you always cook and how they never fixed the light fixture and how they never tell you when the oil needs to be changed and… you get the idea.  Pick one topic at a time and stay there.  When there’s no central point of a disagreement and neither of you stay on task, you’ll never come to an agreement – you’re just fighting for the sake of fighting.

It’s okay to have conflict.

It’s okay to have conflict in your relationship. It’s not okay to leave arguments unresolved.

One thing that’s important to remember is that it’s okay to disagree with your significant other.  Disagreements happen in marriages and relationships.  However, there is a healthy way to disagree so you don’t create unnecessary conflict.  It’s important to understand every unresolved argument you have only creates further distance between you and your spouse.  You’re only pushing each other away.  If you truly want to change your relationship with your husband or wife – you have to start arguing to resolve issues – not to create more conflict.

If you’re struggling in your relationship and aren’t sure where to turn, reach out to us or schedule an appointment.  It’s okay to admit your relationship needs some help.

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.

Want some relationship advice? Maybe it’s time to be quiet.


Anyone who knows me knows that I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.  I LOVE to talk.  It’s one of the gifts God has given me.  The unfortunate “flip-side” of that gift is that it sometimes gets me in trouble.  Chances are, you’ve experienced a similar situation.  People have called me in the past saying, “Zakk, how can I get my husband to listen to me.  He doesn’t hear a word I say, and what I’m saying is important!”

Listen.  I UNDERSTAND.  It’s hard, especially for those of us who love to communicate.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to get my point across to my wife… to the point that she’s ready to strangle me.  But I was speaking with a friend once, and he gave me some of the best relationship advice I’ve ever heard:  sit down and be quiet.  To me, this was a foreign concept.  Why in the world would I be quiet?  In fact, the look I gave him was something like this:

Relationship Advice

But here’s the thing: sometimes we need to be quiet to give the other person a chance to process what they’re hearing.  Remember, fellow communicators, sometimes our spouses aren’t as open and willing to share their emotions as soon as they feel them.  Many times, they need time to organize and “file” their thoughts.  Giving them this space will give them time to find the answers the  two of you are looking for, and it also makes the situation less threatening.  In fact, this scripture probably says it best:

“There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven… a time to be silent and a time to speak.”  -Ecclesiastes 3:1,7b

And we must accept that sometimes, the other person just has nothing to say.  Sometimes, the other person’s silence is misinterpreted.  Therapist Suzanne Phillips explains it best:

For example:

Your partner comes home from work, says hi, and then silently goes through the mail.

Worried you ask, “Is everything OK?”

“Fine.” Still worried you ask, “Why are you not talking?”

Now he/she sounds irritated “I don’t feel like talking.”

You move from worry to anger: “I wait for you to come home, and you don’t feel like talking?”

Partner walks into another room.

But, as Phillips shows us, there are other ways of handling the situation better.

Remedy: Undoing this type of vicious cycle takes a mutual effort of trust. Try the following:

  • Drop the Assumptions: Once you ask your partner if he/she is OK and your partner reports “fine,” assume the best, give him/her the space, then proceed as normal, “Do you feel like watching TV?”
  • Pick up the Clarifications: It is invaluable in a relationship, whether you are a very close couple or a couple repairing your bond that you clarify the meaning of your silence. “I’m just dealing with something at work. It’s not about us.” This drops the fear out of the situation and makes it easier for your partner to give you space or more calmly ask, “Can I help?” To which you may want to say, “No” or “Yes.”
  • There is room for options without assumptions. What this does is set up a pattern of mutual respect for separate problem solving on non-couple issues. Usually, when such space becomes part of a couple’s relationship, they don’t have to guard it so fiercely and they may more frequently ask the partner for an opinion.
  • Separate There and Then vs. Here and Now: If you find it very hard not to worry or assume the worst, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PARTNER CLARIFIES, you might consider if you are mixing your history and the people from your childhood, or earlier relationships, with your present partner. With enough fear, accusation and insistence you can pretty much get the present to replicate the past.

The problem in relationships is that a lot of times, we find issues that just aren’t really there.  We pick fights because the other person doesn’t respond how we want them to.  We get angry because someone said something that hurt our feelings.  And sometimes, we just get mad because tensions get high when you share your life with someone.  And so, we fight, bicker and argue.  How do we stop the cycle?  Paul gives us a great indication:

Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. 9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. -1 Peter 3:8-9

Remember, the best thing you can ever do for your better half is love them the way Jesus calls us to love.

Still struggling?  Check out our free resource, 10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week!

If you’re struggling in your relationship, you don’t have to face it alone.  Schedule an online appointment or office visit below.

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.