Doing Life Together

ID-10021187Have you ever been falsely accused and felt you had no power to deal with the situation because the accusers did not want to hear the truth? How do you respond when this happens?

The natural thing is to get angry and push back. Sometimes that natural response can have serious consequences, especially if the accuser is someone in power over you.

Of course, the right thing to do is to go to the person who has accused you and try to reconcile. But reconciliation takes two and the other person has to be willing to listen and take responsibility for his or her part–the accusation. In real life, this doesn’t usually happen because accusers are usually people of great insecurity who lack trust and honest conversation. Accusations fly when someone feels threatened and doesn’t have the conflict skills to go to the person and check things out before coming to a conclusion.

The psalmist, David, speaks to this in Psalms 3, 4 & 5.  He begins by stating that there are many who rise up against him. But his response is to remember that the Lord is a shield for him. The Lord hears David’s cries for help and listens. First response: Cry out to the Lord. He hears you in your distress. You are not alone and He is aware of what is happening. The Lord will hear when I call on Him -Psalm 4:3

Second response: “Be angry and do not sin” is the directive. Anger is acknowledged as a real emotion that rises up when we are falsely accused, but the challenge is to feel that anger and not sin in response to it. This often takes great control only possible through the Holy Spirit in you. In the morning I will direct it to you-Psalm 5:3

Third response: Meditate, be still and put your trust in God. Sit quietly before the Lord and allow Him to direct your thoughts and actions. Ask for wisdom in terms of what to do. Meditate with your heart on your bed and be still–Psalm4:4

God assures us that if our attitude is right, He will protect us if we put our trust in Him. He is our security! And in Psalm 5, David remind us that he will destroy those who speak falsehoods (verse 6). In our culture of accusation, offense and falsehoods, remember the right response of faith. Your shield, protector is not man, but God.

ID-10067397If you are at the movies and someone is crying behind you, it might be me. When it comes to movies, I am a highly sensitive person. I cried during the capture of the horse in Warhorse, Lone Survivor deeply affected me, Braveheart, The Patriot…and especially, The Passion, led me to tears and deep emotions.

I’m not alone! If you cry easily and feel deeply, you might be one of about 20% of people who are considered to be highly sensitive. Not everyone who cries during movies is highly sensitive. But if you are a man or woman who feels deeply when negative and positive emotions are presented, you could be! Sensitivity is a personality trait and can be a good thing as long as you don’t allow emotions to overwhelm you.

The down side is because you can become easily overwhelmed by your emotions, you have to learn to handle intense feelings. A good strategy is to distract yourself with something completely off the topic for a few moments. Count to 10 in Spanish, or name four cities that begin with A, and you will engage a part of your brain that counters the deep emotional feeling. Or take a time-out when emotions overwhelm you so that you can calm down and think better.

The up side is to embrace your deep feelings, as you are probably empathetic and can read the cues of others better than most people. Use that emotional intelligence to pick up on the feeling of others when working in teams. And use your deep feelings to love and care for others.

So go ahead and cry at movies! Don’t be afraid to admit you are highly sensitive. The world is a better place with people like you.


2 happy coupleHave you ever heard anyone say, “I’m in the prime of my life?” Do you wonder when the prime of your life happens? As we age, this may cross your mind as you notice certain skills fading away. But there is good news for us as at any age.

The answer is a little more complex than giving a number. Different parts of our lives crest and peak as we age. Some things do seem more vigorous and sharper at certain ages, but there are benefits to every age.

The following is generally true for most people:

In our 20s, it is no surprise that we hit our sexual peak. But satisfying sexual relationships follow us long into aging. Our ability to memorize facts start to dwindle after our 20s, but other academic abilities stay strong.

In our 30s, we hit our physical peak in terms of endurance, but those physical tasks that require sudden bursts energy (like the soccer player on the field) are better in our 20s and even younger, which is why Olympians are usually young. Exercise is the fountain of youth at any age because of its multiple benefits to the body and mind.

Our mental peak usually happens in our 40s and 50s. While creativity sores high before the age of 40 (think Nobel-prize winners) and our brains slow down, we comprehend and reason better.

Our 60s can be where happiness peaks. We feel more comfortable in our skin. We know who we are and what is important. All of this can lead to feeling happier and more content.

At any age, attitude matters! The younger your outlook and approach to life, the more active you are, the better you will do with aging. So focus on the benefits of the age you are in and keep active and exercise. You will be in the prime of your life, depending on how you define prime!

couple unhappyTears in her eyes, Rachel admitted to Tom she had an affair. But does this mean the marriage is over?

Betrayal cuts deep and undermines the trust in any committed relationship. Affairs are secretive relationships,  emotional connections to someone outside the relationship, and an expression of sexual desire. They can happen in a number of ways and wherever opportunity exists.

One of the reasons affairs hurt so deeply is because of betrayal. When we commit to a relationship, we believe the person should meet all our needs, yet affairs say, he/she did not.

Unmet needs often include feelings of loss, an unhappy sense of self, a longing for autonomy, an adolescence never had, a wish to feel alive or to beat back death–all representing both longing and loss. Affairs are less about sex and more about desire. And they don’t always mean the other person has failed to do something.

In today’s world, we feel entitled to pursue our desires and believe divorce would help us be happier. But rather than seek happiness (which might be grounded in a person’s own unresolved issues of loss and need) outside the relationship, it is possible to stay in a relationship and deal with the underlying issues of unhappiness.

The jolt of an affair can reveal a person’s issues and move the relationship into a deeper sense of meaning and connection. Good can come out of what might have been the status quo for a couple.  A more intimate and meaningful relationship in which desire is rekindled can be built.

The work is not easy. Healing begins when the perpetrator acknowledges wrong doing and realizes the depth of hurt he/she has exacted on the partner. The deceived one must deal with the loss of self-worth and resist the curiosity of seeking sordid details that will only inflict more pain in the imagination.

Instead, the betrayed one should focus on questions like what did this affair mean in the relationship, what prompted the person to look outside of the relationship,  and what can be built in our relationship to meet unmet needs and desires. Questions like these will move the relationship forward and can reorganize the relationship into one of  growth opportunities.

The longing for desire and more is at the root of most affairs. Certainly a deeper intimacy with God can meet that need and may be at the root of the problem. The need for validation, unconditional acceptance and love can only be fully met in a spiritual life that may also need revitalization.