Doing Life Together

ID-100110373Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are considered good parents. But are they too lenient when it comes to letting their children watch movies filled with sex and violence? A new study sheds light on why parents may be too lenient when it comes to allowing children to view sex and violence in films.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study with 1000 parents. In the study, parents were shown multiple clips of sex and violence from films. This repeated exposure led to more acceptance of both sex and violence. In other words, parents became desensitized by viewing.

And because parents become more desensitized in these areas, they allow their children more access to this content. This is a problem because when children and adults see repeated sex and violence, they become less empathetic to the suffering of others as well as desensitized. Additionally, other studies note that this repeated exposure leads to more aggressive responses to conflict. And we have some evidence to suggest that desensitization transfers from fiction to real life.

In terms of sexual content, the concern is based in other research that has found that exposure to sexual content may also lead to early sexual initiation.

So parents think twice. Do you really want your children exposed to violence and sex at young ages or repeatedly at any age?

Maybe you aren’t aware that your own viewing of such content is affecting you and relaxing your standards with your kids. Your exposure could be affecting your judgment. So maybe the place to begin is to limit your own viewing.


Flying is no picnic these days. I dreaded the two-stop flight I recently took and for good reason. I was delayed on each leg. Fortunately, I had long lay overs and didn’t miss connections, but several people on my flights did and found themselves waiting in airports for hours. What should have been two hours of flying time took 15 hours of total travel. Delays, waiting…patience was definitely required.

I admit, patience is not my strong suit. Like most of us, I hate delays.

Waiting tries our patience even when we wait for something good to happen in our lives. We live in an immediate gratification culture. We want results now.

This is also true when it comes to waiting on the Lord and His timing for things. We want quick, easy answers that reflect our culture. But God’s timing is always best. The delay can be divine as God works the details out of our sight and in His good way.

Our natural response to waiting can be to become aggressive and push people to act. Worse, we move on our own time line like Sarah did with Abraham. She had a promise from God to bear a child, but took the timing into her own hands. When she did, her life became much more complicated and problematic.

James 1:3 tells us that the trying of our faith brings patience.  God often allows circumstances around delays to build patience in us and to orchestrate things in our lives in His timing. We don’t have the big picture to see his timing and plans for us. So we have to trust in those times of what appears to be delays.

Even though we can’t clearly see the purpose of a delay, God is cheering us on–hang in there, let the trying of your faith bring patience, I am working it for your good, your reward is around the corner. You can’t see it but I can. He continues to build character in us. Waiting on the Lord brings strength.

So today, wait on the Lord. Renew your strength. Treat those creating delay with kindness. Trust God and His timing. He controls our days and watchfully keeps His eye on our situation. The wait is our opportunity to trust.


Psalm 130:5-6       I pray to God—my life a prayer— and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.



BFS_SelfImage_LGIs it so difficult to accept the bodies we’ve been given, to celebrate them as uniquely designed by God and created in His image? Apparently.

Loving, even liking, your body is a rare thing in today’s culture. It seems we all belong to the sisterhood of the dissatisfied traveling pants! If we think about it, there is so much working against body acceptance. And unless we are intentional about changing the way we see ourselves, we’ll fall victim to the cultural think of you can never be too thin, too beautiful or too young.

What’s needed will not come from promised commercial solutions. No, the answers for true acceptance come from deeper truths and require a spiritual revelation and a grassroots movement among believers. Those who consider themselves women of faith know that a transformation must take place—one that renews our minds and calms our souls from body obsession.

Just as feminists raised their voices against gender discrimination in the 1960s, we need that same passion to be stirred in us regarding body dissatisfaction. The pressure to look like the ionic Barbie is constant and needs to be opposed or we’ll continue to see record rates of eating disorders, cosmetic surgeries and body dysmorphic disorders. Make no mistake. The numbers are rising. And while our nation experiences record rates of obesity, personal happiness is still tied to thinness. As a result, body image, our mental picture of ourselves, grows more negative as reality fails to match the body idealism we embrace.

I‘m calling for a body acceptance movement to be led by those who know and experience the transforming power of the Gospel. While it’s great that organizations like the Dove Foundation are beginning to combat our narrowing definitions of beauty, the church needs a wake-up call on this issue. Most of us need to examine our thoughts about our bodies and make changes in our thoughts, emotions, relationships, and in the culture with which we surround ourselves.

We are to place our entire life before God as an offering, or said another way, as an act of worship. This means that our physical bodies are to be holy and pleasing to God–not pleasing to our neighbor, our spouse, our date, or even ourselves. They are not the focus of our approval. God is. And His condition for holy and pleasing has to do with what we do with our bodies in obedience to his Word, not how we physically appear. In fact, no emphasis is placed on physical appearance.

That said, we are to care for our bodies as the temple where God lives. This means we should eat healthy, exercise and take care of our appearance. However, we should resist the out of balance emphasis the culture places on appearance in determining our worth. God values us because of who we are, not because we lost five pounds or have great legs.

We are not to think like the culture thinks unless it lines up with the truth of God’s word. So, when we are constantly told to improve and fix our outward bodies, we are being distracted from the truth of acceptance. Nothing in God’s word says younger looking skin makes you more desirable to God or that big breasts bring success. These are the ideas of fashion gurus, diet experts, the cosmetic industry and plastic surgeons. The intent is simply to get you to buy more product and spend more money.

Our esteem is not based on the perfect nose or fullness of lips. Take inventory concerning your body. Examine your value system. Be conscious of what society tells you about who you are and what you are supposed to be. Above all, listen to the One who made you, who loves you without condition, and who wants you whole and well. It is possible to reclaim and redefine our bodies as ours. Today, let’s make peace with our thighs and rejoice!

ID-10091506Last week, I was going out of town for the weekend. I spent hours going over my wardrobe choices. What if it rains, gets cold, I want something more formal, etc.?

My husband opened his suitcase, threw in a few outfits and was done with it. No looking back, waffling or hanging in the air with possible scenarios. He made a quick and decisive decision.

And there I was, still agonizing over what to bring!

This decision over wardrobe represents two different decision-making styles. I am the maximizer. I like to have time to think about the decision and weigh my various options.  I try to look at all the possibilities and anticipate what those possibilities will be.

My husband represented the sacrificer. His clothing choice was quick and decisive. He just needed to have the basics and he was happy. No agonizing.

Actually, most of us fall somewhere in the middle of maximizer and sacrificer. And we can mix styles. For example, my husband goes with the “good enough” style to pack for a trip, but when it comes to his job, he is a maximizer.

When it comes to jobs, maximizers land better ones. However, maximizers can make good decisions and still feel bad about them. There is always more information to consider. This tendency to maximize decision making leaves a person less happy.

The good news is that we become less maximizing with age! The older we are, the more we realize that not every decision can be weighed perfectly. We learn to roll with the punches and stress less.

In terms of relationships, maximizers and sacrificers do well together. They tend to balance each other out. But when a mismatch occurs, you have to work it out. Someone should consider the options and someone needs to make a decision!