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Thursday, December 26, 2019

What if... Faith

What if... 

As children we play with what if, we imagine a thousand scenarios for our characters. As we enter adulthood, what if becomes a negative. What if childlike Faith meant turning are what if back around?


What if... Could be a statement used to disempower, what if something awful happens?

What if... Could be a statement of empowerment, what if we tried it this way or that way?

What if... Could be a statement of vision and dream, what if we could do anything we wanted how would we start working towards that?

As I look into 2020 & beyond, I'm finding that I've moved from a what if negative to a what if empowerment and I'm now looking at moving into a what if visionary.

What if you decided to take Authority and Dominion over 2020? What if...

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry or Not... Christmas

This is going to be a freestyle post. 

Photo: DarrellWolfe

There are many things to be grateful for this year. We didn't just survive we thrived. We had a lot of great accomplishments, met good friends, said goodbye to a few friends. The boys and I had a good day. I wasn't as present as I planned to be, but I made an effort to be as present as I knew to be. 

I found out that this morning, one of the Widows I know from the Widow groups, suddenly died this morning. It's sad for me and for a lot of the people who knew her, but she's been reunited to her loved ones and to Jesus. From her perspective, it was the greatest Christmas Gift she could have received. I'm sure she'll enjoy meeting my late wife. They'll be good friends. 

Not that a widow needs the reminder, but it's a good reminder that life is short and fragile. She went home to be with Jesus on Christmas morning 2019. So whatever you or I'm going through today, just embrace all of it, find a few things to be grateful for. It's a good reminder to be present each and every moment of every day.

Signing off, Merry Christmas, or not so Merry Christmas, either way embrace all of it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Star Wars Storytelling... No Spoilers

I won't give anything away, I don't think... But the latest Star Wars IX was the best ever produced. 

Meme, Author Unknown

Although they gave a nod to the previous franchise, closing it out in satisfying ways, they also used one of THE most powerful Storyteller tricks ever created... "First, break all the rules". 

It felt like the first time a Star Wars movie ever gave me a good story, an actual story. It was still a Star Wars movie. It was bound by decades of tradition and broken story loops. But it was the best story one could have told with the source material given. 

And now it's cleaned up and ready for a new birth that could take it in satisfying directions the old franchise never could have told. 

Which makes me think about my own story... Have I made a clean cut with my old life while bringing forward the best of the legacy, like my kids? 

Have I remembered to First Break All The Rules? 

The only rules I need carry into the next leg of my journey are those I developed along the way that served me well. Those rules that kept me back can be discarded. 

Selah.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Put your politics away... INSTEAD... hear what people's hearts are crying for and about.

God's opinion about policies and politics probably isn't the same as yours... or mine. 

Part of NO HIDING is to fully embrace correction, even when the thing you are being asked to key go of our change is something you're passionate about, maybe especially then.

As I was in prayer and worship, I was listening to this song and the words got me thinking about the Impeachment news and arguments with people about it... 

Thanks to @brianwertheim for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/AX6mFEv6mpY


Words of the song:

Oh come let us adore him... All of our sins are stones at the bottom of your oceans. 🎶🎶

I Heard God Say:

Son, I came to reconcile the wayward world to me. 

You can be right in facts and wrong in heart. Division and Strife are not my spirit. 

Truth may cause those who hate truth to hate you, but, your heart is to seek reconciliation, comfort, grace, mercy, seeking to understand and minister to hearts not to start arguments. 

Someone's heart may be wrong in solution but right in intention. 

Your job isn't to debate the rightness of the solution you offer... But to hear and understand the person's heart cry underneath the position or belief they hold. 

As we enter a Political Season... Seek to see their heart's cry and not focus on the difference of solution.

Also... some of your Political Fervor is based in rebellion. I've given the template of human governance in my Word. Neither the Reds or Blues or Yellows are fully on board. 

Go get my opinion instead of operating out of rebellion against authority and against responsibility to your brothers.

Selah... 

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Reflecting on the end of 2019...

Profound Sadness and Profound Gratitude... That's my sentiment as this week comes to a close. 

This probably isn't my ultimate reflection post, but this is what I'm thinking about today...

 Photo: DarrellWolfe, Front Yard, My View This Morning 12/19/2019
Photo: DarrellWolfe, Front Yard, My View This Morning 12/19/2019

Tomorrow is the last day of school for 2019 in North Idaho. My boys are excited for school parties, something I never thought would happen. They've done so well. They've excelled, pushed beyond challenges, accomplished recognition, even faced down bullies and came out the clear dignified winner of the engagement.

I accomplished things when I stop to think about it. I bought a house, kept up with the payment (barely), still managed to do fun things with the boys. Researched. Read. Enrolled in a new college. Met with advisors for my new degree. I survived a bad break-up with a former friend. I learned to thrive on my own without codependantly needing someone while simultaneously building community.

I survived bouts of sadness, as each milestone was a painful reminder that the boy's mom isn't here to celebrate it with them... and I'm doing it alone. I have friends but no life partner. It's a sour realization. Bittersweet. She sowed the seeds that gave all three of us the emotional and mental skills to thrive in this season and she's not here to see it. Well, she might be seeing it, but she isn't with us to join in the celebrations... or the tears, and there were many of both.

My best moments were those where I remembered to put the phone facedown next to me and look the boys in the eye when they wanted to tell me about their day or school events.

The moments where I looked at her picture and smiled because she'd be so proud of them.

The moments where the oldest told me how he skillfully and humorously dealt with bullies in a way that dignified himself and honored his teachers.

The moments where the youngest volunteered to go above and beyond and join the band.

The moment when the youngest laid next to me and cried because he was finally willing to stop for a moment and grieve.

The moment when I realized I never needed to tell the oldest to do anything twice, he just helps. I need to make 2020 special for him.

I made good friends this year. I made healthy decisions. I made some tough decisions that were ultimately good and healthy. Some of my friends helped me make those. Some of my friends walked through them with me. One of my friends were directly affected by some of those decisions this past month or so.

I got to sit in a theater watching Mr. Rogers with my best friend and there were no other people in the room. We literally got the whole theater to ourselves. Amazing experience! Many tears, possibly the best movie of our generation.

I walked several friends through grieving their former spouses, and two of them through fining potential Chapter Twos.

I got into counseling and stuck with it and didn't run away. I'm still sticking with it, and I'm growing weekly as she pushes me to face the stuff I would rather lie to myself about... but I can't lie to myself. Her job is to make me face the truth. Why? Because NO HIDING is my commitment.

It was not all success, I could nitpick every failure. How I could have been a better communicator and maybe I would still have that friend. How I could have been more present with the boys, especially in the months leading up to the year anniversary. I could have invested more time with my extended family, even from afar. Many mistakes. But those are under the blood, so I'm paying attention to the good stuff.

And all of it, ALL of it, would have been different, and far less successful, without taking the journey to NO HIDING in 2016-2017. If it weren't for the grace of God, I'd have had a very different and much more destructive 2019. It was my commitment to NO HIDING when things got really tough, that kept me coming to others for help and allowed me to process through to the other side.

So as I look ahead to Christmas next week, then on to 2020... I have hope.

2019 was a year of Cultivation.

2020 is the year of Planting.

Who knows... maybe my next life partner is out there looking ahead and wondering if we'll meet this coming year. I'm actually less afraid that she won't show up in 2020 and more afraid that she will! Had to work through that one in counseling... if the real-deal shows up... I'll have to risk again... am I ready for that? No. But if God starts it... I'll follow his lead. I'm not too worried about it. I've learned to be still and know God. Be Still. Be Lead. One big change will come in 2020 that wasn't true in 2019, I won't be rushing. Slow. Steady. Listening. Following His Lead. That's the theme of 2020.

Whatever 2020 holds, I hope it brings seasons of fresh growth and that it yields exciting surprises.

God Bless. Shalom.


 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

NO HIDING behind religious terms. What is "faith", really? Why does it matter?

What are Faith, Hope, and Love? Why do they matter beyond being religious terms?


Has your "faith" failed you? Do you even know what "faith" is, beyond being a religious way of saying belief in some esoteric set of theological statements? Well, "faith" is a real tangible thing and it matters to your everyday walk with God. You literally cannot please God without it. So you'd better know what it is. Let's talk about Faith, Hope, and Love... stripping religion out of it and getting to real definitions.

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash



Faith (English) / Pistis (Greek): 


Literally, in antiquity, in Greek, Pistis was a Warranty. Today, if you purchase an extended warranty for your car, you have certain guarantees that if anything happens to that car the cost will be covered.

In every verse at the bottom of this post, replace the word "Faith" with the word "Warranty", and see how that changes the way you see what that verse is telling you.

Faith is a guarantee, but of what? Of whatever God said. It's a divine warranty.

What faith is not, is a blank check to declare whatever you desire without limit and expect that God will honor it.

You have a guarantee that God will back anything he said to you (in his written word or in prayer, if it was really Him). In regards to the things He's said, your guarantee is unlimited and all-powerful.

You do not have a guarantee for one thing beyond what He's said to you. You do not have a guarantee of any miracles or breakthroughs unless God has said something to you first. It begins with his Word, which is unchangeable.

Faith/Warranty comes by hearing the word of Jesus The Anointed One. It begins there. You must hear first in order to have a Warranty. Only then will the Warranty be valid.


Hope (English) / Elpis (Greek): 


Literally, Expectation. To anticipate with pleasure, expect with confidence.

Imagine for a moment that someone you know well, trust implicitly, and you know has the willingness and resources... calls you on the phone and promises to do something amazing for you. He said he'd buy you a very expensive XYZ. This guy is not a flake. It's someone who has the ability and means and desire, who you've seen come through before.

What happens inside of you? You begin to build anticipation. Excitement. Hope. Expectation. You expect that the thing that was promised will happen.

Faith is the Warranty of things we hope for. Faith is the evidence of things we cannot yet see but absolutely expect will happen because we heard God Himself tell us He'd do it.

Caution: I've seen far too often in my life and in others that we hear one word and run off expecting a bunch of things He didn't say. Be careful to understand what he actually said and not what we interpreted his word to mean. Slow down, listen, ask for clarification before you start assuming things. 

Faith+Hope: The Power Twins


If Faith is the Warranty of things we hope for, what things do we hope for? We circle back to what God said.

Take the benevolent stranger from our example. He promised he'd get you an XYZ. What happens? You build expectation for that XYZ to come? Why do you build expectations at all? Why not doubt? Because his "faithfulness" (there's that word again) has demonstrated that he has the willingness, means, and ability to do what he said he'd do; and, he's done it before.

Your experience with him builds Expectation in his words and your hearing his specific words to you was your Warranty that it would happen.

Here again, do we have any warranty to expect he'd do something he hadn't promised to do?

No.

We could make a request, based on our trusting relationship with him. Draw on our partnership and friendship. And he may honor that request by giving us what we ask of him. Then, and only then, would we have a warranty to expect this thing we requested would happen!


Love (English) / Agape (Greek) 


Love/Agape is love, charity, benevolence, goodwill, "preference". Often called the "God kind of Love", Agape is about preferring others over ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter, we see examples of what preferring others looks like. Love is patient, Love is kind, etc...

Notice, all of these examples of preference are relational. God has always been about relationships.

It's also worth noting, that anything you see in this chapter as a way we should treat others is a way God treats us. He is THE Agape example. So God is patient toward you, kind toward you... he believes the best in and about you. He never gives up on you.

When we are in resting in God's Agape (Love) for us, we are secure in making those requests, as in the example above. Our love for him is less relevant than our resting in His Love for us. His preference for us.

He is the master conductor of our symphony. There may be a thousand reasons we cannot understand today from our perspective that he may say no. His heart is such, that if it isn't harmful to us or others, He's likely to say yes.

One way we know it is good for us is if it brings us closer in relationship to Him. If we are seeking his hand and not his face... if we are seeking not a closer relationship but a greedy hand-out, he will withdraw his gifts for a time. The relationship comes before stuff.


Conclusion: Develop Relationship > Hear God > Get a Warranty and Expect an outcome


Hearing God say that He would do a thing is a pre-requisite to having him do it. Once we've established relationship with Him, we can hear Him, when we hear Him, we believe Him, that is our Warranty and we develop expectation... and that it was real authentic NO HIDING Faith looks like. 

Whether the thing he told us what that He'd walk through the darkest season of our lives and carry us through, or that he'd bring us into a new season of joy afterward, or that he'd be bringing new relationships and opportunities, whatever they may be... We can trust the things he's said.

Reference quotes from the English Standard Version (ESV)


Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1


For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4


... as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Romans 4:17


So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 (Note: I checked the interlinear, it is "Christ" and not "God". Just a fun fact). 

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;b 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6


Your Turn: comment below.


What have you heard from God lately?





 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Get Free: Two (2) ways we become stressed under pressure and one solution to both problems.

Discover freedom in rejecting expectations and shoulds by tapping into identity's noble desires.


Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash


For Freedom we have been set FREE:


We use the term "free" quite a bit in the United States of America "Land of the Free". The Bible tells us that we are made free and is for freedom that we've been set free. Gateway Church in Southlake Texas has a whole wing of ministry called Freedom Ministry.


For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 ESV   (whole chapter here)

So if the Son makes you free (1659 /eleutheróō), you will be free (1658 /eleútheros) indeed. Jn 8:36 NASU

But what does that mean, exactly?

What does it mean to be set free, made free, be free? 


Under the contexts of freedom I've seen throughout the Bible's tapestry, and those that have played out in my life and the lives of others, I see primarily two wings of freedom. Both are required to set your life to flight. And both wings require a life-long commitment to build strength around. You'll never have a day where you don't need to work on keeping these wings strong or making them stronger.

They are:

1. Outside Expectations
2. Inside Temptations


1. Outside Expectations: The Pressure to Perform


Outside Expectations can be many things. They are summarized as pressure to conform or fit into your society, culture, church, or group.

Any expectation that you think makes you qualify. I need to act a certain way to be good enough. I need to talk a certain way to be good enough. If I do x, y, and z I'll be a good Christian and get in God's good graces. 

It is due to these expectations we have either been told exist; or, we tell ourselves exist; the pressure to perform is created.


Solution is Identity: Your value and worth do not come from what you do but from who you are. 

There is no value in performance. You are not a "better Christian" because you performed. You are not more worthy to others because you performed. On the outside, you may see them praise you performance (which is how we get into this trap early on).

You need to understand that your value doesn't come from performance but from knowing who God created you to be. When you tap into your identity, you no longer feel required to perform.

Ironically, this form of being set free actually leads to more consistent, authentic, and value-driven perfomance. Now, you are performing out of who you are and not in order to be seen as something you are not.



2. Inside Temptations: The Pressure of Should


You know things you "should" be doing, but you don't do them. You know things you "shouldn't" be doing, but you do them. You don't want to do them, but you do them. Why?

Stop Shoulding on Yourself

This should mentality drives you to see all the places your outward behavior hasn't lined up with your inner desires and drives. Because of this, you become failure conscious. This drives you to focus on the areas you fail, which then makes you feel like a failure, which then demotivates you to keep trying. It's a self-feeding cycle of failure. 

Solution is Identity: Knowing who you are, tap into that inner person and ask them, what does my Noble Self desire? 

Being set free in your identity allows you to trust that identity because it's who God made you to be.

So I am not going to say: "I have to get up tomorrow and go for a walk".

I am going to say: "My Noble Self desires to get up tomorrow and go for a walk."

One is an obligation, the other is an identity-based choice. If you choose not to go, you didn't fail. You simply chose something else. You are free to make choices now.


Understanding your identity will set you free from the expectations of others and those you place on yourself. You are free to make choices, and understand what self those choices are coming from. 


What about you? Comment below:


What choices have you made recently that were driven by expectations of "shoulds"? How could knowing your identity and tapping into the desires of your Noble Self change how you live (the pressure you live under)?




 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Monday, December 16, 2019

What's your story? Why are you here?

Dear Jesus,

I sit here at stare at the blank page on my screen. Hesitant. Unsure about what to write. I find it acts as a strong metaphor for my life at the moment.

One giant blank page. Thousands of potential things I "could" do; yet, none of them seem viable or worthy of pursuit.

I find myself lacking a larger narrative for my life, a drive, a vision, a purpose.

  • I know my calling is to those who are distressed, discouraged, and in debt; to train them into men and women who can be mighty for God, pulling down strongholds. These battles will take place in the hearts and minds of men. 
  • I know I am a Storyteller. Writer/Scribe. Thinker, Sojourner. I am someone who works to discover the truth of a matter and bring it to the light. NO HIDING is my life's motto. 
  • I know I am a father of two boys and they are my primary ministry and calling at this time. Yet, if I'm not headed anywhere, can I lead them?

Donald Miller talked in the StoryBrand Podcast about creating a Family Mission Statement. He sold the idea that the mission statement doesn't have to be long term or life long. It can be a short-term mission statement. "We are a family that gets rid of our excess and sells it in a garage sale this spring..." and then you review it often and the whole family assesses what they've been doing to reach that target.

So what is our vision? What is our family mission statement?

Elements of a good mission statement:

  • Identify the problem that we are on Earth to solve.
    • "Most people suffer with..."
    • Be Specific. Don't be vague. They should immediately feel connected to the problem. 
  • How do we solve the problem?
    • "We have a product/process that does..."
    • Make it feel like a new idea. Make it understandable. Make it brief. 
    • This is the product, even if you sell a thousand things, make it one thing. 
  • What is their happy ending?
    • "... so that they (happy ending)."
    • What is the outcome? How do they look when we're brought the solution to them?
    • This should be the controlling idea, everything drives to this.
    • Your product is not your business, their happy ended is the what you are selling. That's what you are in the business of doing. 

I don't have answers yet... just throwing this out there to ponder.

Here's a quick possibility:


  • Many people are walking through life "faking it till they make", lost in their own life story.
  • I write stories and articles that help people see past the lies and discover their true selves.
  • So they can live more authentically free to be who they were created to be. 

Needs work... but it's a start.


What about you? 

What problem are you on Earth to solve? 
How do you solve it? 
What is the happy ending others receive from your solution?



 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Five (5) Communication skills that may help you avoid a total meltdown... or navigate one if it's unavoidable.

Communication skills that may help you avoid a total meltdown... or navigate it if it's unavoidable. 


NO HIDING: Communication Breakdowns


As I reflect on the NO HIDING Journey, the problems all resulted from not talking. Every relationship breakdown I've ever had came from one or both parties walling off and shutting down.

Every relationship (romantic, friendship, colleague, etc)  I've found healing and restoration in, involved talking, and lots of it. The wounds had to be uncovered and acknowledged and healed. But communication is hard.

So what are some tools we can use to navigate these situations?


Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash


The Breakdown:


For one reason or another, I've seen communication breakdowns this year, several. In each instance, the breakdown was similar, the other party walled off and disappeared, I got defensive, communication stopped. It's happened with a few people, and each of them had similar personality types and backgrounds with each other, which is something I'll pay attention for in the future.

I asked myself if it is a reflection on me? Is this a sign something is wrong with me?

The answer is yes and no.

Yes: Could I have done better? Sure. Absolutely. We could all improve.

No. The answer isn't that something is wrong with me. My identity is secure.

If someone walls off and goes away, that's about them and not about you. But there may be things you could have done differently and do differently next time.


Five (5) Keys to Communication Breakdowns and Recoveries:


1. Communication is about making sure the hearer understands you.


Do your best to communicate the issues. However, remember that the issues are rarely the issues. It's not about who didn't call, or what dishes were left where. The issues are feelings. Emotions.

Try this:

When you___, I felt___, is that what you meant to communicate?

If they respond well, you can discuss those feelings and come to a resolution.

However, be prepared for the other party not to know how to respond. Telling someone that they hurt you may cause them to wall off and defend themselves, feeling attacked.

If they run, don't chase them. Proceed to point number 2.


2. Communication is often a "less is more" proposition.


If you can't say it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (attributed to Albert Einstein).

If you can find a way to use fewer words, do so. Maybe don't even try adding more explanation unless you're asked for it. Your attempts to clarify, clarify, clarify may drive them further underground. Overwhelmed with your words.

Wait it out. Say nothing. If you've said what can be said and they're not engaged, back away. Let them sort it out on their own. Depending on the closeness of the relationship, this may look different in different circumstances.

You could send a nudge now and then, see if they're willing to come to the table. But don't force your way into their space. That's you violating their boundaries.

If they never come back, you've either lost a friend, or you're preparing for divorce, or whatever. That's about them, not you. You tried.

If they come back, repeat step one. Or, try step 3.


3. Communication is two way. Seek to understand rather than be understood. 


If you've tried to communicate your feelings and they are completely non-responsive. They may be having their own feelings they need to process. Try understanding their feelings and not focusing on yours for the moment.

Your feelings must be addressed. If the other party refuses to address your feelings, they are selfish (and probably a narcissist) and you should cut your losses and move on.

However, you may find them more receptive if they aren't feeling so defensive. I did not do this with one friendship and it is now effectively terminated. It's too far gone to resurrect, I think. But another friendship was resurrected by using this principle.

It sounds something like this:

"I think I hear you saying, that when I (or he/they)____, you felt___. Am I understanding you correctly?" 
If no, ask for clarification. 
If yes, "Tell me more about that."

If the party engages in this, and you've met their emotional needs, you may find them more receptive to meeting yours. You could, eventually, go back to step one.

If all these fail, and you are still dealing with a walled-off individual, you move to step 4.


4. Communication is a community effort.


Get others involved in the situation. Bring it before the group and let other outsiders help fix things.

A. Get Help:

  • Seek professional outside assistance. If it's a life-partner (spouse), you could try counseling with a third party. A Licenced Marriage and Family Therapist LMFT or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), can provide you professional assistance in communication, healing wounds, and working on moving forward. 
  • Seek non-professional outside assistance. Maybe it's not worth all that for this small argument. But maybe getting a pastor or friend to sit with you both could help get a detached third party's perspective and they could help you each see what the other is saying.

Note: Every couple should have a professional marital counselor. Your pastor doesn't count unless he's also a licensed counselor. You should have a pastoral counselor too, but it's not the same. I would say this is even more important than having a primary care physician, dentist, or chiropractor. It's an essential for good mental health for individuals and couples. 


B. Walk Away: Draw The Boundary

If you've tried principles 1-3, and you've tried to get help and it either didn't work or they didn't want to try:
  • You walk away. 
  • You don't let walking away dictate messages to you about your value or worth. 

In two of my situations this year, #4 either wasn't an option or I didn't see a way to make it an option at the time. Maybe it would have gone differently, I'll never know.

5. Communication failure is not a reflection on your identity. 


If, for any reason, you came to the point you've decided there is no benefit to continuing to try, you walk away and don't look back. This isn't mean or cold, it's just good boundaries. It's healthy and right.

You are best served by not doing this in anger. In fact, you should do your best to walk through forgiveness and attempt reconciliation before coming to this point.

If you can calmly evaluate the situation and you see no way to move forward, you are at an impasse. In that case, it is perfectly acceptable to walk away from the table. Either temporarily or permanently.

When you do, don't allow the enemy of your heart to assign a value proposition to you regarding this decision.

In other words, this decision doesn't mean you are a failure or that you failed. It doesn't even necessarily mean the other party failed. It simply means that for this moment in time, the combination of your individual decisions has resulted in an impasse.

In an effort to value your own heart, walk away.

  • Don't keep trying. 
  • Don't look back. 
  • Don't accept their efforts to try again either, unless there is something substantially different that would indicate real progress (principles 1-4) is possible. 

When this happens, there is a danger that you feel you are being rejected. Marshall Burtcher says it this way:

[I can't believe they'd throw it all away like that!  I feel devastated!  It is like I've lost myself...]  The Discard Trauma.  It is THE thing we work so, so hard to avoid.  It is the one reason we develop people-pleasing and codependent habits.  We need to prevent the discard from happening. And when it does, it. is. crushing.  We feel hollowed out.  It is like someone came in and scooped out our worth and sense of self and ran away with it, leaving us in a frozen, terrified state. Continue Reading... Facebook: Healing Codependency & Trauma with Marshall Burtcher

The fact is, this was not a reflection on your value or worth, it was a communication breakdown between two parties with two wills.

It may have been a failure of your communication skills at the time, or the other party's, or both. But that is just a learning curve, skills are not value. You'll do better with the next human because you learned here.

Don't allow this breakdown, this discard, to assign a negative value to your heart. You did the best you could with the tools you had.

Don't take responsibility for them either. Let the other party be responsible for their side of the road too, and you walk away free of guilt and shame.

Any mistakes by either side are under the blood of Christ, walk away guilt and shame-free.

Keep these tools for the next time (and there will be a next time, with someone), and maybe it'll go better with the next human.


What about you? Comment below. 


Which of these steps would have (or has) created a new way of thinking about communication failures?




 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Friday, December 13, 2019

NO HIDING is a building I keep remodeling, better each time... today, let's talk about Completions (7) and New Beginnings (8).

You don't always have to have all the answers but you have to be willing to keep searching for them. 


My path to arrive at the NO HIDING lifestyle wasn't direct, at all! It involved a lot of scavenger hunting for Truth. Without the clues and signs along the way, I'd have probably stopped a long time ago.

It's finally occurred to me: the journey won't ever be over, it's a life-long pursuit.


Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

What does it mean to ask, seek, and knock?


Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 English Standard Version


The scripture makes it sound so simple, doesn't it? Need something? Just ask! Seek, you'll find it. Knock, doors will fly open for you. But it never actually works that way, does it?

Jesus goes on in that same message to talk about good fruit vs bad fruit, narrow path vs wide path, and he ends by discussing two houses, one built on the sand and one built on the stone. 

Notice: BOTH houses endured the same storm. 

Building a house on The Rock was no guarantee that storms would not come, in fact, building the house on The Rock was in preparation for the storms he promised would come. 

The NO HIDING Lifestyle is a building I keep having to rebuild. 


My NO HIDING Lifestyle culminated with this motto in 2017... but it really started in earnest in 2013 and I can see traces of it back further. I've been pressing in for some of these answers for decades. 

It often seemed like the bottom was falling out just as I would happen upon another Truth that would lift me back up and take me to a higher place for a period of time. 

I noticed that I didn't seek as hard when times were good. And maybe that's one of the reasons they didn't stay as good for as long. Who knows. 

Every time a storm came, I could see what materials I'd been using to build that can't last. It would shake loose the trashy construction and I'd be left with the solid stuff I had built earlier. Each re-build was stronger and more durable than the last. I found that with each successive rebuild, the storms caused less damage, even if they were bigger storms. 

It seems fitting that I quote Matthew 7:7 today, as I just discovered that today is 17 months and 17 days since I became a Widower and my life was shattered. But the lessons she taught me helped me walk through this season and come out stronger, not weaker. 

On January 7, 2020 (late into the evening of January 6, 2017), it will be three years since I began this NO HIDING journey. It was after a season of hardship that we learned this Truth that set us free.

I made a change that involved a friendship on December 7 & 8. It was the end of one era and the beginning of a new era for our friendship. We remain good friends, just differently now as we pursue other things and our journeys diverge. I believe we'll both be the richer for this change. 

Special Numbers 7/8
  • 7 is the number of completion.
  • 8 is the number of new beginnings 

There's been a prophetic regularity to those numbers in my life this month. Completion and New Beginnings. The boys and I are even starting a new hobby together this Christmas. 


What about you? Comment below:

  • What has your path to NO HIDING looked like? How did you have to change to become more authentic?
  • What things are coming to Completion for you?
  • What things are starting as New Beginnings for you?



 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Thursday, December 12, 2019

You need a mission partner. Men you are not her hero, women you are not a damsel in distress. You are co-heros on a mission together.

I Can Love You Like That... and other hero-codependency issues. 


I've been humming this song incessantly lately... when I finally looked up the lyrics, I realized how unhealthy they actually are.

Song: "I Can Love You Like That", lyrics by azlyrics.com


Photo by King Lip on Unsplash


We are looking for our Co-Heros


I used to have these dreams about being Superman. I dreamt that I could fly and even eventually got the suit and cape. It was a recurring dream most of my life. I still have that dream sometimes. When I got older and started longing for a partner, I found my dream started to include another person.

You know who was not in that dream? Louis Lane. I didn't want a doe-eyed reporter.

No. That part of the dream was of a fellow flyer, in blue and red, cape and all. Superwoman.

We flew together. Our adventures were possible (I knew instinctively) because we were cut from the same cloth, we were on a mission, equally empowered, fighting the same enemies with similar tools. Balancing each other's strengths but coming at the world from a symbiotic perspective.

If I ever have a partner again, she must have the same je ne sais quoi that I have. She must be of my tribe or clan.

This all got me re-thinking those lyrics I'd been humming all week.

Here's where I think the lyrics go drastically wrong and set us up for failure.


Women: You don't need anyone to rescue you. You need a mission partner.

They read you Cinderella, You hoped it would come true, That one day your Prince Charming, Would come rescue you...


I'm not saying that you don't want to be led well. Even my feminist friends tell me they want a strong man who leads well. But you don't need a rescuer.

You are a whole and complete person by yourself. You have value, worth, and strength of your own.

You have enemies of your own and the tools to fight those enemies inherent within you.

And all this time that you've been waiting, You don't have to wait no more

Don't be waiting around for him to come. Stop waiting. Go live your life. Find your mission. Find your calling, gifting, and passion. Do you. Keep your eyes open for him to join you in your cause, but have a cause for him to join.

Aimlessness is unattractive for both sides. If you want a high caliber partner, be on a mission so he knows if you are going the same direction and engaged in the same battle. You can partner together.


Men: You are not her savior, you are her partner. She is not your world, you are not hers, she needs a world-mission-vision to partner with.


I can love you like that, I will make you my world... I would give you my heart, Be all that you need


If you are constantly running to damsels in distress, being her codependent hero, you will always have distress to solve. She'll always be in distress. You will always be rescuing her. She will create distress to get your attention when you are not paying enough attention.

(almost) Never rescue anyone from their own choices. Go buy Boundaries (affiliate link), by Dr's Townsend and Cloud if you don't already understand why.

You don't need someone to rescue. She doesn't need you to codependently make her your world. She wants to join you in your adventure, not be your adventure herself.

In Wild at Heart (affiliate link), John Eldredge wakes us men up to the yearning in our souls for adventure. I believe it was in this book (could have been one of his others), John helps us see that she doesn't want to BE our adventure and focus, she wants to come alongside of us ON the adventure, together.

When I heard a good friend recently tell me about what caught her heart, she described how the man had similar passions and vision and she could see them working together to solve the problems they both care about in this world.

That's a mission-driven, outward-focused, partnership.


Mission-Driven Marriage: On a mission together



In the Building a StoryBrand podcast, Episode #178: How You and Your Family Can Live a Richer Story in 2020, Donald Miller discusses the importance of having a clear mission for your family. It doesn't have to be a life-long mission. Mission statements can be short-term. But they must be clear and compelling and drive action. This mission, he says, keeps us from becoming stagnant in our lives; where day runs into day with no higher meaning or purpose.

When you have a mission, you are not facing each other, which can lead to intimacy short term but also leads to fault finding and bickering. You are facing out, together, shoulder-to-shoulder, facing a common enemy. 

When you are mission-driven, you will be happier, healthier, and more focused on the future than the present. More focused on why tomorrow matters. You move from surviving to thriving. This is true as individuals as well as families. 

In this paradigm, nobody is being rescued. Nobody is being a rescuer. You are co-heros, on a journey in your joint story, on mission together, fighting a common enemy. 

One pastor friend told me that the goal of a marriage is that each partner is facing the other, but focused on the world around them, able to see the enemies coming from behind their partner that they themselves cannot see. 

Hint: Men, next time your wife (significant other) tries to point out something you are missing, don't feel attacked. That's her God-given ability to see something attacking you that you are not seeing. Feel grateful for her observations, they may have just saved your life. 


On a personal note:

As a man, I have no way of knowing if you are my potential future partner if you are not on a mission of your own. I don't know if we are fighting the same enemies with the same goals. 

Men, how will your woman know if you are on the adventure she wants to join if you aren't already on it?


Your turn: Comment below


What's your mission? What drives you? If you are waiting around for a partner to start, STOP THAT! Go get on a mission, and find your partner on the journey. 



 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Lies. Blindness. Denial. Blame. Filters of Brokenness.

Sometimes you can be so blinded by the lies in your head, that you can't even see or hear reality. 


Sometimes the filters you see the world through cause you to miss each other, and neither of you is hearing what the other is trying to say.

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash


When this happens, you begin to ascribe meaning and motives to events that aren't there. You believe someone is attacking you when they aren't. Every shadow is a demon out to get you.

I've lived it. I've watched others live it. I think we're all in one form of denial or another about something at any given moment.

It's easier to blame others for your pain than accept the truth, much of it didn't even happen the way you imagined it in your head.

To those with whom I argued, accused, blamed, and yelled at, or whose phones I blew up with verbal vomit...

I apologize. It wasn't really you. It was me. I was the one with a broken filter, and I needed to get fixed.

It's possible that some of it was you, but even then, I take responsibility for my side.

If you ever read this, I'm sorry for the pain I caused you while I was struggling.

Go Be Amazing!


 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I kissed dating, hello! Revolutionize your dating life by realizing: "dating" and "relationship" are not the same thing,

Stop Spouse Hunting!


I was asked by a friend to summarize the dating advice/plan I learned from "How To Get A Date Worth Keeping: Be Dating In Six Months Or Your Money Back" (affiliate link), by Dr. Henry Cloud.

She said it would be helpful to get the gist of what the mindset shift is and why. The following summary is limited to the basic but fundamental mindset shift I went through and helped her go through. Once you understand this one simple shift, it radically changes everything about how you date, and it takes all the pressure off to "find a spouse".

That mindset shift is this: Dating and a Relationship are NOT the same thing. 

Photo by Darrell Wolfe, my personal collection.
Photo by Darrell Wolfe, my personal collection.
"How To Get A Date Worth Keeping: Be Dating In Six Months Or Your Money Back" (affiliate link)

Note: The original "Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life" (affiliate link), really should be read before you read How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. It sets the larger context and stage for what it means to live in a healthy community and relationship with other humans of all kinds. Once you have a handle on Boundaries, then move on to the other books in any order you prefer. 


Disclaimer:


There's WAY more to this book than I could possibly explain in a blog post (it took a whole book to say it). There is more background, a hundred why-behinds, more steps, a detailed step-by-step plan, examples and real-life stories, etc... the book is linked in this post. Read it!

That being said, at a 1,000-foot view, here's the bottom line.

We are using dating and relationship interchangeably, and they're not the same, nor should they be. Dating and Relationship are two different things, even if you go on dates while in a relationship. 

The ultimate goal is a relationship, but not with every person you date, not immediately. 

The purpose of Dating is to help you grow, help the other people grow, and discover things about yourself and others that you want to avoid or take into the next relationship.


0. Phase Zero: Throw away your list. You are not spouse shopping.


That's right. Although the ultimate goal, down the road, is to get married, the dating phase is not about hunting for a spouse. Not by a long shot. In fact, without the dating phase, you are most likely to choose the wrong spouse, if you find one at all.

If you have a list of your "perfect mate", you will avoid everyone who isn't checking off your list. You will get so pigeonholed, that you will miss the one God has for you. Let's just assume that your picker is broken or you'd be married already to a great spouse you are happy with.

The dating phase is where you heal and grow and learn about people.


1. Phase One: Dating at least six months, NO COMMITMENTS. 


Date as many people as possible without misleading them (be open about it) but without committing to any one person.

A date is: go out, do a thing with a person, go home. New and Interesting people and experiences. Then leave them alone. You can go out again with them, but...

A date is NOT: texting each other constantly, checking in to see how they are, good morning and goodnight texts, cutsie back and forths, dropping by for no reason. These are romance behaviors and do not belong in the dating phase.

The dating phase is intended for a person to go on dates with as many people as possible,  build awareness of the types of people available, character traits that people have you like and those you cannot accept, and it helps you reveal to yourself areas, responses and character issues you need to work on.

During this phase, you are growing as a person and helping others grow. You may even be the first person to show someone they should be raising their own standards and you helped them see that by being a safe space for the to learn. And they are showing you traits and characteristics you either cannot live with or never knew were available.

The opposite of dating non-exclusively for a period of time is "serial-daters" who basically run from one serious relationship to another without taking a significant time between to date casually. This is almost always a sign of an emotionally unhealthy individual who needs healing. This is where I was before reading these books.

By the end of this phase, you can make a new list. This time it is not what kinds of things he/she likes to do, eat, or wear... but a list of characteristics and character traits that you believe would be important in a future spouse. Make a list of deal-breakers, must-haves, and just wants. The book explains the difference in lists.


2. Phase Two: Relationship


Eventually, you find a person you would like to date exclusively, and this person agrees.

You've thought both logically (evaluated them as you would a candidate for a job, and made sure to run red flags past your friends and mentors) as well as emotionally (how do I feel about this person and about myself when I'm with them).

If your logic and emotions agree, and certain prerequisites you determined during the dating phase are met, and of this person agrees, you move to exclusively date each other.

All manner of marriage questions should be discussed, and you get to know each other. This is the "what if" questions, not the "will you" questions.

Exclusive dating should be 12-18 months before engagement is planned seriously. But by about 18 months, the relationship should either be moving toward engagement or it's probably time to end it. This timeframe is a general rule of thumb, not a specific hard line. Each person and couple is different.


3. Phase Three: Engagement


If you and this person both feel sure you want to commit for life, you move to engagement.

You:

  • Read marriage books together
  • Attend conferences.
  • See a premarital Counselor (who's job should be to talk you out of it, because if he/she pushes and uncovers everything and you still want to proceed, then it's real).
  • Solicit LOTS of feedback from friends and family to make sure you are not making a mistake.
  • Plan the wedding but more importantly, plan the marriage. 

Since you've spent all the prep time, there need be no specific timeframe here. Maybe 2-6 months is a good starting place.


Conclusion:


Throughout all these phases, You ASK FOR feedback from friends and mentors and pastors. You make sure you LISTEN to what they say.

Don't dismiss their feedback as "you just don't understand". Take anything anyone says seriously. Even if they're wrong, ask yourself if they're seeing something you're unwilling to see.

Get married, keep dating, keep going to marriage conferences, keep working at it with drive and purpose. You don't get to settle once you get rings, that's when the real work starts.

If you regret it, you probably didn't follow this process or ask for enough feedback.


Click here to order from amazon:

"How To Get A Date Worth Keeping: Be Dating In Six Months Or Your Money Back" (affiliate link), by Dr. Henry Cloud.


Your Turn: Comment on the post below.

Marrieds: What was your experience? How would this have changed things for you if you didn't do it this way?

Singles: Did anything in this post suprise you? What do you think about changing the way you tink about dating?



 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Three (3) ways God speaks to us, setting us free with his Truth.

NO HIDING: Lies are poison to LIFE. You cannot live with lies, you can only die by them. 


In this article, we discuss how lies are only ever negative, how truth actually sets you free, and how to hear God so you can gain access to new levels of freedom.

Photo shared on Facebook by Safe Sheep: Church Abuse Awareness
May also be first created at Me.Me

Unlearning Wound's Lies


As we go through life, the enemy works overtime to sell us his lies. Due to our own woundedness and the woundedness of others, we begin to accept certain lies, bad theology, and unproductive paradigms (ways of seeing the world).

Sometimes it can be tempting to think of these lies as "self-protective", but in reality they are self-harm. There is no actual protection in them. We did develop them to protect ourselves, yes. But in reality, they are not protecting us (they never were) they are killing us, slowly poisoning us.

I myself have been faced with this dread:

If I give up this lie, what awful ugly truth will I have to face? I don't think I'll survive if I had to face that truth. I'd probably kill myself. 
And yet... That "truth" is another lie.

If you believe the "truth" beneath the lie would kill you, then that "truth" you think you see is itself another layer of lies. Discovering truth is incapable of killing you.

Truth has only one outcome: FREEDOM


The Truth Will Make Your Free


As we heal from those lie-wounds, we must unlearn many things and replace them with Truths of God that set us free.

If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 Emphasis Added

True Freedom (wholeness, healing, joy, clarity) only comes from first accepting and then walking out Truth in replacement of the lies. And True-Truth only comes from being bathed in God's Word. But notice the IF statement.

IF you continue in my word... THEN you will know... AND the truth will set you free. 

Abiding in The Word is the pre-requisite to knowing Truth, which is the pre-requisite to being Free.


What that doesn't mean: Read Your Bible and Pray More (a better Knowledge of Good, wrong tree)

The Pharisees proved that men can read "the Bible" and be no closer to the Truth than an ape is to writing a doctoral thesis. Reading your Bible is no guarantee that you will know the truth. Reciting a list of special requests and hoping they broke the cloud barrier isn't going to help you know the truth either.


What that does mean: Spend time with Jesus (The Word Himself) (Tree of Life)

Spending actual time with the actual, living, ever-present, Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the Living Word of God. Until the Father's words are spoken by Jesus through the Holy Spirit into your heart, where they come alive inside of you... you are a dead piece of wood, not a living tree.

When the Holy Spirit speaks a Truth into your heart, your eyes open, as though scales fell off of them. You see for the first time. You see the lie for what it really is.


Three Common Ways God Speaks:


1. The Written Word (Bible)

Didn't I just say the Bible isn't it? Sort of. The Bible is not the Word of God, it contains the Word of God. It is perfect, inerrant, infallible, untampered with. There are no errors or mistakes in the Bible. However, if God isn't speaking his Word to you, it's a life-less dead book in your hands. So open the Bible, but this time instead of studying it like a religious text, try this... say out loud:

Daddy (God)(Pappa), you always have something to say, what do you want to say today?

Then read as you feel led. If you have no special leading, just start somewhere, or where you left off. But keep paying attention to you gut. What's sticking out to you? Have you read the same sentence a few times? Sit and chew on that. Let it soak. See what He might be saying.


2. Community (People)

God uses people. When you wall yourself off from people, ignore wise counsel, go after what you want even after you've been warned by people who love you... pain is coming. Pastors, Mentors, Parents, Friends, Counselors, Acquaintances at Church, even little kids in a grocery tore aisle, could all be used to speak something into your heart.

Be mindful of the things you heart. Not every lesson is for you. Not every lesson is for now. Not everything everyone says is God. But if you start to notice a pattern? If a lot of people are saying similar things? If several people made observations you didn't want to hear? God's probably trying to tell you something.


3. Other (a bunch of other ways). 

God's BIG. Really big. He can speak a language that only you speak because he speaks your heart's cry. God Speaks Darrell. He speaks Connor, Preston, Bob, Debbie, JoAnn, Mike, Theresa, Shandra, Melissa, (insert your name here).

He could speak to you through an eagle flying in the sky, the last leaf hanging on a branch, a phrase you keep seeing repeated in writing, from people, everywhere you look.

He has a billion-plus ways of getting you to notice he's speaking. The only things He refuses to do are override your Free Will (he won't do it, he paid the blood of Jesus to leave that choice up to you) and he won't yell over you. He won't barge in. He will wait to be invited.

Stop.

Be Present.

God's speaking.

That speaking leads to TRUTH.

That Truth leads to FREEDOM.


Your Turn: Comment on this post


Are there any lies or bad theology that you've picked up that you are holding on to because you think they protect you from a greater truth? 


 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


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