Boundaries - The Key to a Fulfilled Life

I’ve seen people shudder when I say the word “boundaries.” Some associate it with control, others with being shut out. Boundaries actually don’t have anything to do with either.

Boundaries are definitions in your life. They say, “This is where I end, and where you begin.” [1] When someone crosses one of those boundaries, we have a right to say, “Nope, step back. This isn’t how I want to do relationship.”

As Cloud and Townsend write in the book Boundaries, boundaries are like a gate, letting in what is good, that which we need, and keeping out what is not good, that which is harmful.

The concept is an easy one to understand, but when you’ve come from a background where you don’t necessarily know how to have boundaries, they can be difficult to live out. Boundaries are not just a set of rules, they are skills needed to live a healthy life, often needing to be discovered and reinforced.

“No.”

The simplest tool to maintain boundaries is the word “No.” I think it’s the most challenging tool, too.

The idea of saying no means to communicate what you desire. If you don’t want to do something, say no. If someone gets too close, tell them to back off.

At some point, saying no means we risk upsetting even the people closest to us.

This risk is one that should always be taken.

No external relationship is worth sacrificing your internal freedom. Fear of how the other person will react is a key marker a boundary does not exist in an area of your life. How the other person reacts is not your responsibility.

If you want to learn how to have boundaries, learn to respect others’. If they say no, back off. If you keep pushing, you’ve infringed their boundaries. By learning how to have value for another’s boundaries, you will learn to value your own and pick up some more ways to communicate them.

To truly live life, boundaries are required.

Learning how to say no and have healthy boundaries are an absolute key to living a mature, healthy, fulfilled life. With solid boundaries, no longer will you be worried about what someone else is going to say or how they will react to you, but instead will be free to manage yourself and allow others to do the same.

A fulfilled life is found not only in chasing your dreams, but in building lasting, healthy relationships. Boundaries help give you the tools you need to maintain the health and energy to keep your relationships thriving.


  1. Many of the concepts in this post come from three sources: Danny Silk’s Keep Your Love On, Cloud & Townsend’s Boundaries, and Donald Miller’s Storyline blog.  ↩

How to Deal with Haters and Receive Real Critique

It happens every single time. I hear about haters almost every day, but until recently, I hadn't experienced it. For the first time, someone who doesn't even know me came out of nowhere criticizing a post I made with how they thought it should be done. The words stirred up a lot of emotions in me. You could say I was a bit angry. I made a few comments regarding why I said what I did, and then I left the room.

Frankly, you don't have to give people like that space.

The event reminded me of a tweet Kyle Adams, an icon designer and fellow member of the seanwes community, recently posted. He said,

There's a big difference between critique and hate. Critique requires reasoning and purposed solutions. Hate should simply be ignored.

-- Kyle Adams

Kyle, you couldn't be more right.

Critique vs. Hate

Of the two, hate is a destructive force. Like the occurrence I experienced, hate automatically puts you on the defensive, coming out of left field without any prior information and blasting you with what is incorrect or wrong about your idea or product.

Hate left unchecked and unfiltered will mess you up. It will leave you feeling discouraged, thinking you're not capable, and even wanting to quit. Let's face it, it hurts because the hater has absolutely no regard for you or your work; in other words, haters only care about themselves.

Contrary to hate, critique gives life. It takes a weakness and turns it into inspiration, motivation, and assistance. Critique helps you get unstuck and get started on moving forward. Instead of tearing down your work, critique notices your strengths and weaknesses and suggests improvements to take your work to the next level.

Critiquers care about the person behind the product. Since your work represents who you are, it's important for a person you allow to affect the direction of your work, and even your life, to be personally invested in it as well.

Critiques are Built on Trust

You leave your unique mark on everything you create, like a fingerprint on a glass or a footprint in the snow. It's no wonder dismissive or negative commentary on our work is hurtful. In a way, the hater isn't pointing out flaws in our work, but rather, the hater hashes out a distaste of us, our skills, our knowledge, or our style.

However, the critiquer recognizes the tie between us and our work, seeing one affects the other. Usually the critiquer understands because he or she is an artist as well. From this place of understanding, the critiquer becomes personally invested, and when he or she sees your work, you are seen.

The best critiques are from trusted people. You have a responsibility to protect your heart from people who don't care about it. Since your work is a representation of who you are, the only people who should be allowed to speak deeply into it are those who have proven their trustworthiness and investment.

Trust is built upon repeated actions demonstrating value, care, and respect. If you want someone to hear your voice, build trust, plain and simple. Stated differently, if you respect me and my work, listening to you becomes a whole lot easier.

Evaluate Feedback for Trustworthiness

So, say you just received some feedback. What do you do with it?

Take time to evaluate it. Usually, haters stand out like a tree in the middle of a field. They're obvious. But in case you aren't sure what to do with the feedback, ask yourself:

  • Who is this person? Are they some random person from the Internet, or have I seen them around?
  • Does what they say seem genuine? Or is it brash and lacking understanding?
  • Has this person shown any investment into me, my brand, or my cause?
  • Does what they say have merit? Can I make any legitimate changes from this?

Make the judgment if their feedback is worth listening to or not. You are not obligated to listen to everyone who talks to you. You have a finite amount of attention and time, so don't waste your time with people who have no value for you. Once you make that determination, sorting through the feedback and applying it gets a lot easier.

As the saying goes, haters gonna hate. There will always be haters, but there will always be those who are genuinely invested in our success, too. Make the choice to listen to the right voices and ignore the wrong ones.

Find Satisfaction in Your Passion by Serving Others

"Find your passion! Do what you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life again!"

I hear one of these phrases at least once a week. Chasing your dreams and finding your passions is popular. I can't blame anyone for liking the idea.

Helping others find fulfillment is part of the reason I exist, and discovering what you love plays a significant role in finding meaning and fulfillment.

Yet, there's something about finding and chasing my passion that troubles me.

Look to Myself... Alone?

I wonder if there is a piece missing to the formula of finding your passion. If E = mc^2 didn't have m, the formula would be incomplete; likewise, the idea of finding your passion alone seems like a partial thought process.

I've wandered on a journey trying to find my purpose for the last however many years since I started high school. I studied computer science in college, ventured into ministry shortly after, dabbled in web development, design, blogging, music, and a variety of other things.

Some of those pursuits connected with a passion deep inside, and I think the sum of attempts revealed my many interests. However, what I didn't find revealed more.

I found no satisfaction. Out of all the dozens of jobs, hobbies, and passions I tried, not a single one of them satisfied me, no matter how much they connected to my heart.

I found no satisfaction because I tied my life's value and meaning to myself alone.

I think we agree life isn't enjoyable all alone. So why would looking to yourself for fulfillment yield any different results?

Two Components to Your Dreams

It is short-sighted to look for meaning only in ourselves. I began this thought process after listening to a speech on the radio.

The speaker, David Brooks of the New York Times, talked about being a deep person of character. In part of his speech, Mr. Brooks spoke about finding meaning outside of ourselves leads us to greater depth as a person.

The talk resonated with me. As I arrived at home thinking about his words, I began to realize a key to finding meaning in life.

It's simple. There are two components to your dreams. The first you already know well. The second gives meaning to the first.

1. Find Your Passion

You and I already know what this is talking about. Hundreds of writers, speakers, and podcasters are talking about it.

It goes something like this:

  • Try different stuff to find what you enjoy.
  • Do what you love.
  • Passion will get you started.
  • Remember your dreams are valuable.
  • Get good at whatever you enjoy so you can make money doing it.

Simple enough, right? The journey through this process is not always easy, and it is very necessary. But the satisfaction you desire in life is found in step #2...

2. Meet Others' Needs

Yep. The key to obtaining your dreams is to find and meet others' needs.

Meeting others' needs starts with exposing yourself to them. It starts with being present in the world around you, seeing how people interact, hearing their struggles and pain, noting what's missing, and letting that move you to action. Meeting others needs is passion in action.

Your passion for drawing alone will not keep you getting out of bed in the morning. The pattern may be sustainable that for a season, but, unless your passion is applied to the context of others, you will lose steam eventually.

However, by exposing yourself to the needs of those around you, you might find yourself drawing to cheer someone up, writing to help someone else through a tough time, or composing to bring peace to someone's chaotic mind. Whatever it is, your passion belongs in the context of someone else's needs.

It can be scary to be moved by the needs of others, or to share your work with someone you don't know.

Just remember you were created to benefit others. Your passions in the context of community are weapons to fight injustice, tools to heal hearts, and motivations to change the world.

Don't ever give up on the pursuit to your dreams because you play a key role in changing the world around you!

Fulfillment Comes In Finding Meaning Outside Yourself

So while you're busting it learning how to become a better artist, businessperson, musician, or whatever it is you do, don't forget to expose yourself to the world outside yourself.

It is there you will find inspiration to drive you deeper into passion, and, ultimately, the satisfaction you are seeking.

Start Thinking Long Term By Working Slower

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99U recently posted an article dealing with the topic of focus, dealing with two different modes in which the brain operates: fast mode, and slow mode.

According to the article, fast mode is when the brain quickly switches from task to task, looking to quickly accomplish tasks while looking for others in the process.

Slow mode, on the other hand, is devoted to finishing a single task at hand. There's less emotional pressure and stress in slow mode, and our mind is more easily long term focused.

The Myth of Multitasking

I'm sure we've all heard of the myth of multitasking. No human can simultaneously do two things at once; instead, we quickly switch focuses. That's what fast mode is for our brains. Fast mode keeps us thinking about what we need to do next and how to do it.

While operating in fast mode, we end up checking our email, looking at Facebook, eating, texting, doing tasks, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and whatever else is at hand. It's not a bad thing. In fact, fast mode is helpful when we need to quickly move through tasks, like dealing with a barrage of email or organizing documents.

It becomes a problem when we need to get something taking longer than five minutes done.

Focus Mode Enable

Since reading the article from 99U, I started to realize when I am in fast mode and trying to consciously switch myself to slow mode. In fact, I've realized that I've largely been in fast mode since I was in fourth grade when everything became a race for me. I went from the most beautiful handwriting, as my mom would say, to scribbles on a page racing to get done.

I intentionally have to slow myself down and let my mind be at peace toward the task I'm currently focusing. I must give myself permission to get into focus mode so I can see long term.

Multitasking encourages short term thinking while focused thinking enables thinking for the long term.

Short term thinking is a survival mindset, which states what can I do today to survive because tomorrow might not be there. Long term thinking says what can I do with what resources I have now to plan and build toward the future.

Tasks may be accomplished quickly in fast mode, but dreams are built in slow mode.

Don't get me wrong. There is a place for each of these modes in our day to day. If you need to quickly accomplish a number of short tasks, let yourself be in fast mode. If you are strategizing for your business or writing a long-form blog post, go into slow mode.

Getting Into Slow Mode

Slow mode is something I must intentionally engage.

I start by stepping back, letting my racing thoughts go, and taking a momentary mental break. I let the feeling of a rush pass me by, and let myself become emotionally and mentally invested in the work I am doing.

Since there is no longer pressure, good ideas start to flow more easily. My best work surfaces naturally. My best life starts to develop because I am no longer the task-doer, I the long-term dreamer building my masterpiece.

I think it's important to note slow mode isn't just for tasks. It's also for relationships. Going into slow mode helps me be present so I can fully take in and enjoy the moment. Nothing is more damaging to relationships than to constantly be thinking of the next task while you should be investing in the one in front of you.

So take a step back, take a break, and become invested in the moment.

Let yourself be there, and start thinking investment instead of accomplishment. Your dreams and family will thank you.

Learn Something New Without Psyching Yourself Out

There's a teaching model in medicine called see one, do one, teach one. It is a form of apprenticeship used to teach new procedures to surgeons. While learning a new procedure, a surgeon will:

  • see the procedure once so he/she knows how it's done in practice,
  • do the procedure once to demonstrate understanding of the procedure
  • and, finally, teach the procedure to reinforce his/her knowledge.

This method exposes a professional to an idea and quickly moves it from passive knowledge to active. This also leaves little room for overthinking the procedure resulting from too much knowledge, removing a common source of fear, anxiety, and, ultimately, error or injury while performing it.

I like to think the see one, do one, teach one model applies to anything else we learn, yet many of us, myself included, don't use it. Instead, my approach usually looks like this:

  • Research the task at hand,
  • Start doing it, but get scared, and stop,
  • Research some more, and more, and more,
  • Rush at the task again until I don't know what to do,
  • Then, finally, give up because I have so much knowledge stored up and no idea where to take it.

I'm learning to break this cyle of psyching myself out of success and into failure.

The solution is simple: stop consuming, and start producing.

Who cares if you don't know enough. You will learn along the way. In fact, you will never know everything there is to know about a subject before you start, so there's no point in trying.

Instead of preparing for possible failures for lack of knowledge, prepare for success by acting. Failure will happen. You determine whether it is a setback or an opportunity for growth.

Don't psych yourself out before you start. Define and learn what's needed to begin, start moving, and teach someone else along the way.

The journey of learning is satisfying when you turn the power of knowledge and understanding into working action.

The Right Friends Will Make Your Dreams Happen

Our lives are the sum of our influences, those people who lead and guide us, who we look up to, who let us walk the path of life with them. I'm only 27, and, looking back on life, it's absolutely amazing how I see the impact of my parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors on me.

I may not have had a choice who influenced me when I was growing up. I didn't choose my family, nor did I have much say on where I was going to live.

Yet, as I mature, I've learned I have the power to intentionally filter who and what will influence me. I can choose my friends, church, college, workplace, favorite music, and locale.

I'm free to be influenced by whatever I want. And so are you.

With this freedom comes responsibility to manage it.

We manage our freedom by defining the vision for our life and intentionally selecting our influences to match those goals. This selectivity applies to the books we read and movies we watch, all the way down to the friends we have and the person we choose to marry.

Who will you let influence you? Surround yourself with those you want to be like. As you do, you will naturally grow in the direction of your dreams. So to say, the right friends will make your dreams happen.

Overcoming Depression in Body, Soul, and Spirit: Spiritual Atmospheres

This is part five of our five part series on overcoming depression.

Can depression be something external?

I think so.

We dived into the intricacies of the body, the mystery of the soul, but now, we are on the home stretch as we go deeper into the biggest mystery of all: the spirit.

We’ve mentioned how depression rooted in the body can be a behavioral issue like diet or lack of exercise, while depression in the soul can be a belief or an unforgiveness issue.

What about the spirit, or as sometimes we call it, the heart? Where does depression play in with the core of our being?

Depression in the spirit is just that: a spirit.

Let me explain.

Angels and demons are real. They act as agents of darkness (the demonic), or agents of Light (God's angelic forces), which influence the very spiritual realm around us. Our beings exist in multiple planes of existence at one time: physical and spiritual. We can be influenced by both, but we are often unaware of the influence from the spiritual if we haven't become attuned to it.

Depression, just like anger, rage, lust, and greed, is just as much a spirit as it can be a condition of the heart. To be truly, wholly free from depression, or any of these issues, we must be free in our spirits.

More often then not, the depression I end up feeling comes from spiritual sources. You can feel it without recognizing the source, which is the danger.

For example, I walk into a room. All of a sudden, I start to feel depressed whereas I wasn’t before I walked in. This is a signpost there is a spirit of depression in the room.

You might notice this with anger, sadness, or even pain in your body. It's your spirit and the Holy Spirit revealing what's going on underneath the surface in the room.

My point is this: whether or not you have dealt with depression before, the spirit of depression can be the source of the feeling of it. As I’ve walked through the process of coming out of depression, I’ve found understanding a few areas to be of great assistance when dealing with depression in the spiritual realm.

  1. Understand spiritual atmospheres — In the example I mentioned above, I would’ve been experiencing what I like to call a “spiritual atmosphere,” a specific feeling or sense about a place or around a person with the power to influence the people around it. Recognizing atmospheres is founded on the idea that not every thought, feeling, or emotion you experience is your own. Many times they come from spirits in the area. When you step into a new place, check yourself at the door. Be watching for changes in your emotions, feelings in your body, thoughts in your head, etc. Many times this will point to spiritual atmospheres in a place.
  2. Understand spiritual authority — The second step in dealing with spiritual atmospheres is recognizing that Jesus is the name above every name; that is, whatever in an atmosphere that is not of Jesus gets displaced when Jesus comes.  A great way to respond to non-Jesus atmospheres is asking God, “What are you doing here?", listening for His response, and declaring what He’s doing. Another way is to state, “I see you (depression). I will not partner with you. I send you back in the name of Jesus and release His joy!” Making these simple declarations in faith releases His presence which overcomes any dark atmosphere. It’s the spiritual authority of Jesus!
  3. Understand discernment — If spiritual sensitivity is the ability to pick up on spiritual atmospheres, spiritual discernment is the ability to determine if those atmospheres come from God, the demonic, or yourself. This is a gift (listed in 1 Corinthians 12) that can only be given by the Holy Spirit. I plan to write more about understanding this gift in the near future, but one thing can be certain: God will speak and let you know what’s going on! Right now, ask Holy Spirit to come give you spiritual discernment and wisdom in how to walk in it. He will come to fill you up with His presence.

  4. Deal with open doors in your spirit - Have you ever been involved in witchcraft? Pornography? Illicit drug use? Pursuit of the paranormal or ghost hunting? If so, you may have some open doors in your spirit giving demonic forces access to you. Don't worry; if you desire healing, there are many qualified individuals out there who can help you. I personally recommend finding a Sozo ministry to help deal with these kinds of issues. They are trained individuals who know how to help close those open doors in your life so you can get total freedom.

We often limit depression to being an issue of the body, a chemical imbalance, a physical problem. But as we've seen, and as I personally have experienced, depression often goes much deeper than the body into the soul and spirit.

Wherever you are in this process of healing and freedom, remember this one fact: there is always hope. God stands by you in every moment calling your name, looking only to free you in His love. He has many tools available, some of them we've mentioned here in this series.

What's most important is this: if you want to be free, you can be free.

Question: How have these posts on depression helped you? Let me know if you have any questions!

Overcoming Depression in the Body, Soul, and Spirit: Forgiveness

This is part four in our five part series on overcoming depression.

There isn't one person on the planet who hasn't experienced the offense of a family member, a friend, or a leader's lack of understanding. Nor are there many who haven’t experienced being manipulated and controlled by another. Many of us have experienced abuse, harshness, or being wronged.

And it really hurts. Every time.

Many times we leave it at, “They hurt me.” What happens then?

A seed gets planted, and it grows, and grows, and grows, until its ugly fruit is in full bloom for the whole world to see. What is the fruit of retaining offense? Bitterness. The root of bitterness goes deep into the soul, opening us up to a wide array of spiritual assaults and emotions, and, frankly, can easily put a person in a state of rage or depression. Holding offense can even hurt your body. It's no surprise, therefore, bitterness can produce depression.

What is often unrealized in the face of offense is a choice: the choice to forgive.

Forgiveness is not an easy choice to make. It's very hard, if not completely impossible, on our own. It is only the very grace and mercy of our loving God which empowers us to forgive. By His grace, His blood is applied to cover every hurt and pain to free us from judgment.

Us from judgement? Yes.

Holding offense is a form of judgment. It’s the desire to see the offense punished and justice served. What we don’t realize is in God’s upside-down Kingdom, we’re the ones going to prison when we don't forgive.

I won’t get into it all here, but Matthew 18 records a parable of a servant forgiven a debt equivalent to $2.2 million by his master, who then is thrown into prison to be tormented for holding a $90 debt above another servant’s head. The point of Jesus’ parable is this: we’re already forgiven, so when we hold offense, we’re giving up our freedom. We lock ourselves away and forget we have the keys to get out. The keys are forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a choice of the will to release someone from judgment in the heart. It's the choice to align our eyes with the eyes of God toward the person, instead of aligning with our pain and desire for retribution.

But how? How do you make that choice?

It’s quite simple. Pick your offense. Ask the Holy Spirit to come be with you and help you forgive as you pray. Say out loud, "I choose to forgive _ for . I release them from my judgment." If it helps you to visualize it, imagine giving the person to Jesus or taking your hands off their throat.

It may take a few times of saying it to believe it but keep going. From there forward, if the pain from that offense comes up, pray that prayer again until it becomes heart reality for you. Each time is an opportunity to extend God’s mercy to the person. He first extended it to you, so why not to them? I think it's important to note there are a few misconceptions which can keep us from maintaining a forgiving heart.

  1. Forgiveness removes the pain. - Not true. Forgiveness is a choice extending beyond pain, but puts our heart in a position to heal.
  2. I have to restore trust with the person I forgive. - Wrong. Forgiveness may be a choice, but trust is earned. Forgiveness allows opportunity for trust to be built again, if it is safe to do so, but does not automatically make everything A-OK.
  3. Forgiveness happens once. - Actually, forgiveness is a state of the heart needing maintenance just like our cars. If we run into an old offense, it's an opportunity to extend that forgiveness again. Having a heart of forgiveness also stops bitterness before it starts!
  4. Forgiveness makes the wrong right. - Not at all. Forgiveness is for you and you alone. It is not for the other person. Forgiving someone does not make their offense better; however, it does free your heart and make it better.

Punishment and judgment bring the allure of satisfaction if we would only hold on until it is fulfilled. What it neglects to tell us is judgment was satisfied at the cross of Christ. It is from this place we extend forgiveness to be free ourselves. Punishment's allure is only false power. Real power comes in love, mercy, and forgiveness. If I could implore you to explore only one of the topics we've discussed here, make it forgiveness. It will free your heart to be free from depression, bitterness, hatred, and, ultimately, torment.

It may not be the easiest choice, but it will be the best one.

What has been a powerful forgiveness experience for you? Share it with me below in the comments. I want to hear them!

Overcoming Depression in the Body, Soul, and Spirit: The Soul

This is part three of our five part series on depression.

The further we venture into the composition of humanity, the farther we seemingly get away from science and reason. The soul, one step deeper into the holistic realm of our existence, is still not understood by the scientific community. Even so, scientists, psychologists, and sociologists have mapped out many functions of our souls which can help our understanding of the functions of life.

A common definition of the soul is the part of our being comprised of our mind, will, and emotions. It’s the seat of our physical consciousness. I like to think if the body is where interaction takes place, then the soul is where relationship takes place.

Depression rooted in the soul, I believe, stems from relational issues. From here, depression affects the body in some of the symptoms we listed last week.

I want to open up a discourse on how depression is in part a relational disorder. From my perspective of understanding (now, keep in mind I’m not a psychologist, but this is merely an area of passion and an opinion of mine), our relational interaction is largely governed by a set of mindsets we have about the world. We often learn these from our parents, peers, teachers, etc.

Positive interactions early in life teach us people are trustworthy; negative interactions teach us people are not. Psychologists call this the Trust Cycle: the communication of needs met with either need-meeting or need-avoiding responses creates a bond of trust or no trust. (Find out more about it in Danny Silk’s book Keep Your Love On)

These interactions, even single events if not recognized and mended, can result in mindsets built up, forming either positive or negative beliefs. These mindsets govern our interactions with the world around us.

I think we live in a society believing it has been orphaned. I don't necessarily mean the growing up without parents kind of orphan. Instead, I mean many people grew up being taught they are all alone because their parents, though they may try really hard, didn't understand how to show them they are loved and are truly sons and daughters.

This absence of positive relationship with fathers and mothers in our lives causes problems often contributing to depression. Depression is often the result of not knowing how to cope with pain and suffering we often find in life.

When fathers don’t step into fatherly roles, kids grow up aimless and attempting to figure out who they are from their peers.

When mothers don’t act as mothers, kids end up seeking nourishment from unhealthy sources.

I'm not trying to say parents do a bad job. In fact, most parents do a great job of raising their kids. Sometimes it's the perception of unresolved pain that causes problems. Other times, it's flat out bad stuff that happens, like the loss of a loved one, a car accident, or other traumatic events, which wound our souls and can send us eventually spiraling into a depression.

What's most important to note in all of this is there is healing. Whatever the cause of pain, it doesn't matter what, there is healing in Jesus, in friendships, and in reconciliation.

My soul was shattered in a way that only Jesus could bring healing. He broke through the darkness and made me whole. My life changed. Depression left. And in the process, I learned a toolset on how to deal with wounds to the soul. Soul wounds are real, and we have to take them seriously. I know this list won't be perfect or comprehensive, but these are some tools I've learned will help get out of depression in the soul.

  1. Involve Jesus - the King of all Kings knows us better than any other. Putting ourselves before him and letting Him speak and wash over us in His love is more healing and freeing than anything in this world. He's always there, and we are never alone.
  2. Involve friends - I heard someone say God gets us 80% of the way healed, and then gives us friends. It's in deep, intimate relationships where God often moves to heal our pain and work out our character. We also find here people truly do care and love us if we let them.
  3. Learn to recognize and feel feelings - one of the most instrumental, practical tools I learned is how to put words to feelings and share it with others. If you are feeling alone, learn to say "I'm feeling alone." Or whatever your current emotional state is, like, "I'm feeling ecstatic!" Learning to communicate our feelings helps us to move away from acting out on them.
  4. Learn to recognize and get needs met healthily- another super key tool is learning how to say what you need and let other people respond without getting manipulative. So, say what you need, and don't pressure someone else to meet it because it just won't satisfy you. Instead, put it out there, and let someone respond. If they don't, forgive them, and turn to God for your provision. He will help you. Always.
  5. Learn how to forgive - I will be talking more about this next week, but forgivness is also huge. Being able to let go of judgment toward people who have hurt you not only frees you to receive love, but frees your soul from prison. Forgiveness is more for us than it is for them.
  6. Learn how to repent - If beliefs are what guide our mindsets, repentance is the tool that allows us to change our beliefs. It's simply the act of discovering God's truth, spoken from Him, renouncing what we've previously believed, and asking Him what he desires to give us in return. We declare His truth over our lives until it becomes our reality. That's all it is!
  7. Seek deeper healing with help (Sozo, counseling)- I never advocate for anyone to go through depression alone. The above six steps were essential in helping me get free, but it wasn't without the help of trained individuals to help me sort out the deepest of deep issues keeping me away from freedom. If you need help, seek out a local Sozo ministry and a counselor. They will be able to help you sort through pain, teach you how to communicate your emotions and feelings, and help you find a support structure to lean on when the going gets rough. It's really important.

Dealing with mindsets is a big issue, but is only part of dealing with the soul. I have more to write on this topic, and we are going to talk about it next week. In that post, we will be discussing forgivness and how letting go of past hurt and pain will set you free.

Have you experienced any of the above? Tell us your story in the comments!

What do we do with public moral failure?

We’re taking a break from our series on overcoming depression this week to look at yet another timely topic.

Adrian Peterson. Ray Rice. Mark Driscoll. David Yonggi Cho.

These names have in common a heartbreaking story of acts behind closed doors leading to public failure.

Many of these people we’ve looked up to, enjoyed watching on the field, or taken spiritual advice from their materials. Yet now, we’re left with a question: what do we do?

What do we do with failure? With disgrace? With broken trust?

How do you handle such flagrant, public failures from leaders holding high profile positions? It seems to be no easy road.

Trust is a fragile currency earned through hard work and intimacy. It's based on integrity validated by repeated demonstrations of character. What do you do when it's gone?

Do you throw out everything that person has done? Do you shove them out of influencing your life? Do you throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water?

No.

"What?”, you might be saying.

Failures of this caliber always cause us to question everything about a person. Can I believe what they say? Can I believe what they’ve said, the actions I’ve seen them take, the success they have?

Yet it takes intentional eyes to step back from a situation to see the real person. Our own hurt blinds, offense deafens, and bitterness hardens, but a forgiving heart chooses to see clearly. 

We can be held back by the offense of the action, the broken trust, but forgiveness enables us to see the person for who they really are without the blinders of bitterness.

So do we have to throw a person’s life work out with their failure? No.

Do we need to evaluate their influence on our lives? Yes. Does forgiveness make a wrong right and hurt less? No.

But forgiveness does allow us to see clearly, and help us receive the God in others when it’s not so visible.

How do you choose to see people who have had public moral failures? Leave a comment below!