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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Are we too Christian? Are we loosing opportunities to serve because of it?

Are we too "Christian"? 

More and more, I've heard from people who say things like "I don't want to go to church, they're just there to talk about Jesus".

That sounds good on the surface to most Christians. But take it deeper. 

As I ask what they really need and want... I find:

They want to do life as human beings with other human beings. They want to talk about life, struggles, hardships, successes, and do life together. They want real community. 

There is absolutely a truth to having a shared worldview, and shared commitment to The Word and to Jesus Christ our Lord and His Father. I'm not negating that.


#1. Are we SO dedicated to doing Christiany Things that we actually create a fake community? 

If every time we get together we open the Bible and talk scripture like a book study, making sure we don't say anything that will get a rebuke, making sure we look and sound a certain way... We end up in a place where we don't just do life together, I think we run the danger of building an inauthentic community.

#2. Are we so fortified in our Christiany Things that outsiders who haven't met Jesus yet don't want to be with us? 

We will absolutely turn off those dedicated to darkness. If someone hates the light, they'll hate us. Nothing we do will change that. 

But what if the people who don't like us aren't dedicated to darkness, they're actually making an astute observation about us that we're blind to. We're inauthentic as a community and therefore unsafe.

We should be the safest, freeest, most authentic, most vulnerable, most raw, most willing to be imperfect and let it show, of any community on planet Earth. 

But we're not. We're known for being plastic. One way on Sunday and another way during the week. We're known for being stingy, judgmental, mean, holier than thou, and hard to be around.

The communities the Church wrestled against are the ones being real, raw, authentic. True, they're embracing life choices that are destructive to them. There's no call or ask to be a better version of themselves. But they're real, and the world is drawn to them. 

How could we begin to craft community that is BOTH authentic and calls us to more?


Value is an the inside out proposition.

How you value yourself is how others will evaluate you...

What you are getting back from the world around you is far more dependant on what is inside than you realize. You're getting from others the energy you put out.

This is about value not behavior, even if behavior is affected by value. One must not discount external feedback in regards to behavior modifications. If everyone says you interrupt a lot (my old nemesis), then maybe work on that.


Value is intrinsic. It is known in a deep inner knowing. It is not dependant upon external feedback. In fact, value has the opposite affect. Value is an inside out presentation.

People's reactions to you is more likely a byproduct or response of the value you project.

If you value yourself less, you project that value, you tolerate things, and things come.

If you value yourself more, people still try to test your value but you shut those people down faster. And, people of higher value are attracted to you. People with lower values walk away faster.

So attracting higher value starts first internally, by increasing your own value of you, then externally as people respond to that.

What I would add as a Christian, is that any value you have for yourself apart from Christ is empty. It's hard to see our failure and own our value. The more honest we are the less we value ourselves... Unless... We know that our value is based not on our deeds but on his eyes.

Our value is what he says it is, and he says it's worth the price of His Son.

Therefore, the paradigm shift is knowing who we are in His eyes. Not church. Not Religion. But God's eyes.

When we see ourselves the way he sees us, our identity becomes firm and unmovable. Then from that identity, we work inside out, and people begin to respond differently.

For example, I noticed this play out in an interaction with my friend one Sunday. She could see the difference in my eyes, demeanor, how I talk and carry myself. And instead of pushing me away she leaned in more. Even responded to a coffee invite she's usually too busy for.

I could see her perceiving me differently because of my mindset shifts and how they affect my presentation.

She's not my person, but, it was encouraging to see someone who used to respond to me one way shift how she responded as I changed from the inside out.

Want to take it to the next level? 

Begin calling others to a higher valuation of themselves! 


Friday, February 28, 2020

Is masturbation a sin?

An anonymous friend of mine asked me this question, it's a question I've been asked by several friends in the last year. I'm reposting the question and my current thoughts (subject to change) with permission.


Do you think masturbation, without using pornography, is still a sin?

My thoughts, as of February 28, 2020:

That's a REALLY good question... I think there's a nuanced way of looking at this.... Multiple sides. 

It's a question I've thought about, studied, and prayed about... A lot.

I've been sexually active and sexually aware since I was FIVE years old. 

In Fall 2016, I was having an affair and planning my suicide.

In January 2017, I found a miracle healing of heart, but that miracle moment wasn't complete healing, it was merely the start of the journey. 

It's taken two counselors, my late wife's unyielding Faith in me, Widowhood, multiple failed relationships and flings, and lots of prayers and some fasting and a lot of books and messages, a few classes, and a lot of safe friendships, and a lot of soul searching, and a lot of emotional healing... To finally say, in February 2020, I am free from Sexual Addiction. 

Given that freedom, I know I must not return to bondage again. I must be diligent to guard my heart and steward my hard won freedom.

So with that background, what are my thoughts...

#1. Wrong Question from the end tree. Sin (S-State of being) is the root... sin (s-action or behavior) is the fruit. 

Asking if a particular behavior is a "sin" is the wrong way to start any questions about God's Grace and Kingdom as New Testament believers. Behavior questions come from the Tree of Knowledge (of Good/Evil). All religious thought comes from that tree. It's the wrong tree. You cannot practice a "Better Knowledge of Good" and be any closer to God than the most evil sinner. We have all fallen short, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. You cannot be good. You cannot be "holy" if by that you mean good behavior. To be "holy" is to be set apart, not to behave well.

The Tree of LIFE doesn't ask behavior questions at all. It asks identity questions. 

Who am I? 

I'm God's Son/Daughter! I stand before him blood washed and stainless. My Sin (capital S, a state of being not an action) is paid for. My actions, sins (lower case s, fruit of Sin State, not the cause of it) are irrelevant. 

This leaves us with:

All things are lawful but not all things are profitable.

#2. Principles not Laws. The Tree of Life alert what is best (heart issue), not what is best behaved (body, action issue).

So if all things are lawful but not all things are profitable, how can we view masturbation?

God made our bodies to be sexual bodies. This is why some people experience orgasms in their sleep. Many a man while going through adolescence has nocturnal ejaculation. The body processes it's need to release.

If due to the combination of psychological and biological need the pressure to release is so high that it's distracting you.... Go release it! 

In some cases you may find that exercise meets that same need for release.


In the case of women more than men (but it's true for both) a state of arousal may require imagination or engaged mind. This is where we can get into trouble. 

Fantasy is not bad. Fantasy is part of storytelling and storytelling is why we have movies and books and novels. But fantasy can lead to unreal expectations. When unreal expectations build up and become strongholds in the mind... They can create blocks for real intimacy. 

This is why phornography is dangerous. Pornography builds unrealistic expectations inside the mind and heart, unrealistically high reactions of dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin... These inhibit real intimacy with another human.

So ultimately what you do with your body is irrelevant... Watch carefully how it's affecting your mind and heart. 

You could accidentally create a block to real intimacy if you don't guard the heart and mind carefully.

As long as you have a peace about it... Get out the vibrator and get that release. Just watch the mind and heart and be sure you're not building any bondages.

See also, my best practices for alternatives here:


Karma. Seed. Feeling Stuck.

My friend posted this question, I'm reposting with permission.  It's a question I struggled with for decades and a common one to the human experience:

Question: They say karma is a bitch... I wonder what I did in a previous life to deserve the crap I have to deal with now. My life isn't terrible, I know, but so many people have it so much easier and I just dont know why I am stuck where I am in life. I don't need a pity party... I do great at those by myself!

Feeling Stuck, and Karma (seed/harvest) are both topics I've been pondering for many years.

Here's my thoughts...

#1. In a broken world things break. So if things aren't going right, that's just part of the human experience. But not the only part, keep pushing forward.

#2. Generally output is equal or greater than input, but that's a general principle not a guarantee for success every time. 

Some seeds produce thousands of times more than you put in. Some seeds never root. Some seeds root then die off quickly. 

Because seed/harvest is a principle, it can still be good to check inputs (what you feed the system). Outputs (what the system feeds you back) are out of your control, but they are influenced by the inputs.

Nevertheless, not every seed (input) will produce.

#3. Boundaries and Emotional Health affect us more than we are usually aware of. It's very possible to be struggling in life, never getting traction on the changes you seek, never "getting ahead" all while focused on the external circumstances (if only I had...) while you are completely unaware of the internal changes you need to make. My entire job environment changed for me in the last three months because my own heart got healed, and what used to be turmoil and dread at work changed to a happy place, without external circumstances changing. 

#4. Just keep swimming. Life is seasonal. Some seasons are darker and some brighter.

#5. Be careful of comparison. You're almost always judging your internal world by someone else's external highlights reel. You are uniquely you. Only you can do what you do the way you do it. Don't compare, just strive to be your truest and most authentic self, the self God created you to be.

#6. Focus on what you give not what you get. The more we focus on what is coming back to us the less happy we'll be. The more we focus on what we sow into others the more content we'll be. This doesn't mean that we should be codependent and give ourselves to death. We should be balanced, healthy, taking time for self care, feeding ourselves strength so that we are fully equipped to give. But... If we're focused on what is coming to us, we'll stop sowing, and stop reaping. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Growing Old(er) Together

I thought we'd grow old together... 

Such a common phrase in Widow groups. 

When Flavia died, that dream died with her. You don't just grieve the loss of the person's daily presence in general, you grieve so many specific things.

*She's not here to see our son become an Honor Student. 

*She's not here to see our other son struggle with a topic and then find breakthrough and overcome! 

*She isn't here to enjoy this house, that she would have loved. 

Then there's this whole other level, the future

You eventually pick yourself up off the floor and start to live again. 

It starts with just going to work, paying bills, eating, and not dying. But if you leaned into grief counseling and processed healthily, you eventually start to really live again. You start looking forward, making plans, buying a house without her, changing jobs without her, making life altering decisions without her... And then it hits you... 

"We'll never grow old together".


We did grow old-er together.

In our case, that was 14.5 years of happiness, tears, struggles, fears, and victories. We grew up, grew older, and grew wiser... Together. 

We succeeded and failed several times, together.

For some couples, that time was shorter or longer. But with very few exceptions, most couples don't leave Earth in the same moment. Every one of us couples will be a Widow(er) eventually, or, leave someone else in that state. That could happen when you're both 80... Or when you're both 22. There are no guarantees.

Some couples were married 50 years before one died. 

But I know several, personally, that lost their spouse after just a few years, widowed in their 20's. Even these, grew older together. Maybe not as long, maybe months or just a few years, but those experiences, however short, were still experiences you had together. You are still a person who grew because you knew them. 

You can find joy again if you accept that love, life, relationships, kids, families, friends, jobs, careers, all of it... Are about Seasons, they're never permanent. 

Like a river they change shape and size and depth and direction, and over the years they even morph into other things... the only constant is change. 

Once you give up forever and you start accepting life as seasonal, you can grieve the passing of a season while simultaneously embracing all this new season has to offer. 


When do you walk away?

I’m pondering today, when does biblical advice say to reconcile when there’s been a wrong, when does it say to just overlook it, and when does the Bible say to walk away when one party will not try... This came up tonight at Bible study, it had me rethinking my experiences in 2019.

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:15-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I lost a meaningful friendship last year, 2019. 

I tried, in a very broken way, to follow Matthew 18 and take my complaint to the other party, but they wouldn't hear me. I then made the mistake of trying harder and harder (repeating it, proverbs 17) and drove the wedge further. 

As I look back, I can only see my side of the story, since I've asked the other party and they refused to talk about it. They won't admit to any wrong or talk about any wrong I committed. 

The only path they offered was to pretend it didn't happen, which is a non starter for me.

Without addressing the issue, it remains unresolved. There's no path forward in any relationship (friend, romantic, family, etc) unless the things that caused a divide are resolved. 

So I'm left to ponder it on my own, hope I'm seeing it right, and grow. I'd have grown more if I could see it from both sides, but I don't have that chance.

I'm 100% certain I did the right thing by trying to take the hurt to the person. According to Matthew 18, I should have then gotten a third party from the body of Christ involved instead of pressing harder by myself. A detached third party could have communicated without emotions.

I'm 100% certain I could have done it with more tact and waited until I could be more rational. So the WAY I addressed it created it's own wrong on my side. The emotions flared even hotter until it was impossible to communicate. 

I'm 95% certain the other party didn't even try to hear me. I got a few responses justifying things, never apologizing, never trying to hear me, then a bunch of dismissal saying I was making a big deal out of nothing. No ownership of their part.

It went on so long, that other poor communication tactics on both sides drove the wedge further. 

At this point, I can't see any path forward or any reason to try. I've forgiven them. But after the way I was treated both in the events that led up to the blow out and the way I was treated since, I'll most likely never be able to trust the other party again, so there's no reason to continue trying. 

Two unhealthy people hurt each other, then made it worse. That's really the bottom line.

I believe I am healthier today, in measure. 

If the other party did everything the same, the 2020 Darrell would have handled it differently. But maybe I needed that half year of hell to face the brokenness inside head on and deal with it. I don't know. I know the way I was treated wasn't acceptable, but, I could have handled it differently.

Unless God changes something, it's an impasse now.

My understanding of Matthew 18 is that I should now treat the other party as though they were outside the kingdom of God. Pray for them, evangelisticaly, but not attempt fellowship with them.

Maybe something like Paul's and Barnabas' "heated dispute" over John Mark applies here. We'll go our ways, but maybe God will do a work to restore the friendship down the road. 

What I do know, is that you should wait to communicate until you can do so in love, without being defensive or reactionary. That would have helped, I believe.

I wish the friend great success in life. I hope the Heart of the Father is restored in us toward each other, someday.

In the meantime, how could you apply these two or three scriptures to your relationships?


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My superpower: Lean In.

I think I found my superpower... It's called Lean In. 

All my life, I ran. In fifth grade, I ran from school, ran into homeschool, and I've been running from hard stuff ever since. 

If it's too hard, challenging, it's not for me. My greeting of departure was always "Have fun!"

But when my inner life crashed in around me at the end of 2016... And I entered a season of darkness that led to me planning my own death... I made a choice I'd never made before. It seemed so small, at the time, but it turned out to be the theme upon which I've built my entire life's successes... I leaned in. 

I went to two men, a counselor and a small group leader, and I laid it all out to them. Told them I'd be there regularly until I finished making up my mind who I was going to be. 

Jacob wrestled with God all night, through his darkness, and he left touched by God. Out of that encounter he left with a permanent physical reminder of the struggle, and a new name, new identity. 

When I came out of that season, I too had a permanent reminder and a new identity. It was a fledgling identity, but it was a start. 

When my wife, the boy's mom, died, I had to press into that new identity pretty hard. I had to lean in. I failed and succeeded, back and forth. But I leaned in to the grieving process. 

Tonight, I've been leaning into change on the way I handle political conversations.

That's been hard to swallow.

What's irritating you today? Bothering you? What's getting to you at an almost irrational level? What change are you afraid of? 

Lean In to that feeling. Whatever makes you uncomfortable, is exactly where you need to be.


Trifecta of Pain

"Peter earned Jesus'strongest rebuke when he protested against the need for Christ to suffer (Matthew 16:23-25)." Yancey, Page 239.

And yet, Yancey also points out, Jesus did not thank his Father for suffering. In the Garden, Jesus strongly prayed that this cup would pass from him, that he wouldn't have to go through it, "...nevertheless, not my will but yours...".

The Bible goes on to say "For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross". 

That is the Trifecta of Pain:

1. Avoid pain, if possible.
2. Surrender to the process, if necessary.
3. Look forward to the redemption of that pain, always, until God transforms that into Glory for you, even if that happens on the other side of the veil.

We will have renewed bodies in heaven. The lame will walk, blind see. But..

I wonder if some of our scars will remain, but turn into gold or jewels, like heavenly tattoos of glory. Sometimes I look at my earthly scars and tell the story of how I got them... Maybe we'll do the same, telling of a dark world but a good God. 

All pain is temporary. Even chronic pain that only gets worse as you get older will be gone ten thousand years from now, if you are in Christ. 

But maybe our pain can be used to transform us, shape is, mold us into His Image.

Avoid pain if possible, lean into pain if necessary, and always look for God to transform pain in the end.


Monday, February 24, 2020

Philosophy doesn't cut it... Why isn't important anymore.

"A philosophy may explain difficult things that has no power to change them. The gospel, the story of Jesus' life, promises change." Philip Yancey

He goes on to imagine that if Jesus died in the modern era instead of ancient Israel, we'd all be wearing gold or silver electric chairs or guillotines or hypodermic needles. Instead, we wear a cross.

All my theology came up against an immovable force on June 25, 2018. I believed then and still do today, that God heals supernaturally. We prayed. We went to doctors. Nevertheless, she died. A simple blood clot took breath from both lungs and she died in front of me and the boys. 

Where is the Theologian in that moment?

Who cares what you thought should happen, theologically, when you are about to face your boys (10/13 at the time) in a cold waiting room and tell them their mom isn't coming home? When their screams and cries are shouting in your face and there's nothing you can do to help the pain? When the first words out of their mouths involve questions about God's reality, "There Bible must be a lie...", the oldest said.

Who am I to answer that? I was thinking it too.

All I could say in that moment, was that the Bible is true, God still loves us, and we don't know everything about why things happen. It sounded, still sounds, hollow.

But as I walked through those first months... The heart of my Father, Daddy, God was strong and with me. I spent intimate hours walking and praying in tongues. 

The healing was long, winding, involving the removal of countless layers of false doctrine, false identity, false securities, false images of myself and others, counterfeits for real intimacy and friendship, even rejection by someone I trusted who claimed to love God but treated me with contempt. 

But it also involved good things. People came into my life go mini seasons, showed me aspects of God's love. He showered is with gifts, affection, provision. A friend came over and say with us to watch a movie then left. She'll probably never know how much that still means to me. Just a presence in that moment was helpful to all three of us.

I'm just now waking out of that season into a new healed season. 

That doesn't mean the tears go away. In fact, a healed heart cries freely and often, it just doesn't stay there in that sadness indefinitely. I shed a few tears retelling that night above.

If anything mattered to me during these past 20 months, it's been that God did not spare his own Son from suffering. He came, suffered in every way we do, and have is hope of ultimate redemption. 

Everyone that Jesus healed... Still died. None of them are alive today telling us of his healing from 2,000 years ago.

Healing, as wonderful as it is, is a temporary fix, a patch job, until all things are made new.

There's coming a day when I get a new body that doesn't hurt, when I will see Flavia again, my Uncle Glenn, and probably my brother (not sure about that one too be honest, but I hope so, I think so). 

Ten thousand years from now, things from today will matter less. Just like things from when I was 21 (or 12) matter less today at 39. Flavia and I will sit and chat about our season together, laughing at our mistakes and our successes.

We three boys will see her again... For now, we will run the race set before us. We are entering a new season, we will see what new things are in store. 


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Radical Authenticity. Healthy Theology. Fulfilling Relationships.

Are we being real with each other?

"How are you?"

"I'm well."

We move on with a smile. 


Is that real well, or fake Christian-eeze well. But inside you're actually dying?

It's always amazing to me how we say "Oh, I'm just blessed brother!" Then go cry in the car. 

So I have begun pressing for the real truth.

The Church should be the one place where people feel the MOST safe to take the covers off... But I usually find that safety anywhere but the church walls. 

This is one reason people find counterfeit safety and community outside the church, just to find themselves in a new type of bondage.

So I've decided to change that, one person at a time.

In our efforts to be Holy, we often fail to be full of Grace, Mercy, and Compassion. 

As a pastor's kid, I felt that deeply. Now that I'm free, I am feeling the need to bring that healing back. Not the mission I wanted, not a sexy message, but a healthy and needed one.

Radical Authenticity. Healthy Theology. Fulfilling Relationships.

I guess that's my message.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Wolfe's Rules, in the style of Agent Gibbs

One year ago today, I shared on Facebook a list of Wolfe Rules, in the fashion of Agent Gibbs from NCIS. It was a cute exercise but I find I still like the idea. So I'm posting them here, and reevaluating them in light of the most intense year of growth I've ever experienced. That year or season really started and ended February 16, 2019-2020.

I'm quite literally a different person today. I think I'll post the the original list then any alterations I make. 

ORIGINAL: Wolfe Rules (Gibb's Style Rules)


2. Plans Fail. Live by Principles.

3. When in doubt: Shift into Low Slow

4. When Overwhelmed: Take the next indicated step.

5. What you compromise to keep, you will eventually lose… keep first things first.

6. Do what’s right because it’s right, do it right, and do it right away.

7. Prayer: Is to hear God’s Agenda not to bring Him yours. 

8. Answers: Ask Him what He’s doing, and participate. Don’t tell Him what you want to see happen.

9. Beliefs about God: Don’t seek out verses, seek out themes and patterns in the whole Bible. Ask Him to reveal His Story to you, and your part in it.

ENHANCED 2020: Wolfe Rules (Gibb's Style Rules)


This means no hiding from God, other's, and especially from yourself. It means when there's a conflict inside you: admit it, out loud, to yourself and God, and when appropriate to at least one other human being. You purposefully uncover, take the fig leaves off, lean-in to anything that makes you scared or uncomfortable.

2. Plans Fail. Live by Principles

Almost nothing I plan works, ever. I've thrown away the 5-Year plan forever. There are factors I cannot control that make that plan useless. Instead, I will have guiding principles like this list that govern my day to day. I will be present, mindful, and build an awareness of the Holy Spirit inside of me in each decision.

3. When in doubt: Shift into Low Slow

Anxiety is a liar. If doubt, fear or anxiety show up, they almost always try to force me to speed up and make a decision; or, to shut down completely. Instead of those two extremes, I will shift into low slow, listening to God's voice, and wait until I hear Him before acting. 

4. When Overwhelmed: Take the next indicated step

In light of low slow and tossing out the plans, I don't need to know everything about where I'm going. He's leading me to a land I know not of. I just need to take the very next indicated step.

5. What you compromise to keep, you will eventually lose… keep first things first

This is huge. Every need you meet through counterfeits will ultimately leave you empty and hungry at best, but often they leave you worse off than you were. Seek the Heart (not the rules but the heart) of God. Don't seek to be "obedient" but to be a Son or Daughter. As you tune into His heart for you and for others, you will feel less need to compromise. 

6. Do what’s right because it’s right, do it right, and do it right away.

No delaying, hiding, or compromising. If you need to cut off a bad relationship or situation, rip the band-aid off. If you know you feel led to be giving something, just give it. If you feel led to do or say something, like walking up to a stranger and giving a Word of Knowledge, just do it.

7. Prayer: Is to hear God’s Agenda not to bring Him yours

Just like I tossed out the 5-year plan, I tossed out the prayer list. God knows my needs. If a particular thing is weighing on my heart, I'll bring it up because he wants to hear about what I care about. Otherwise, He knows. My prayer should be going to God and asking Him what HE wants to talk about, most of the time. 

8. Answers from God look different than you expect, almost always

I will stop expecting specific outcomes. This is in line with throwing out the 5-year plan. Even if I get a prophetic word about my future I will hold it up to God to interpret; rather than running if half cocked with a partial instruction. Ask Him what He’s doing, and participate. Don’t tell Him what you want to see happen.

9. Let God be His own Theologian.

Beliefs about God: Don’t seek out verses, seek out themes and patterns in the whole Bible. Ask Him to reveal His Story to you, and your part in it. Don't look for things you believe and find scriptures to support them. Rather, always come to God and His Word to hear, not to prove yourself right.

10. Listen More. Ask More. Talk Less. 

I tend to dominate conversations with all the things in my head. I'm a wealth of random information and I can fill gaps in conversations endlessly. I also tend to want to talk to prove my point or win a debate. Sometimes I'm so desperate to be heard and not misunderstood that I'll keep talking when the other party has stopped listening. Often I win the debate and loose the heart of the hearer. The counter to all of this is to shut up and listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand, not to be understood. If you feel the need to lead someone to an answer, ask them questions that lead them to discover the answer themselves. Use your curiosity to learn more about others than you teach them. Ask more, talk less.

11. Buy is better then Give.

Giving someone a book I own, that I think they should read, removes it from my library and gives them a used product. They may or may not even read. That has proven fruitless. If I feel strongly enough to give them that book, I should buy it for them and write a personal note in the cover. If I'll do that, it means I feel strongly enough to act on it. If I'm not willing to buy it, it's just a fleeting idea not a strong desire.


12. Stop seeking resolution where you should be grieving. Resolution or Grief, know which is which.

Sometimes it’s better to walk away. Resolution is wonderful but not always possible. In lieu of Resolution, process it as Grief. Grieve the loss of the friendship, situation, opportunity, and move forward. Stop seeking resolution where you should be grieving. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Magnets. Wicker Furniture. Mending the Soul.

I have these two magnets. They look like shiney rocks. When held a certain way they snap together, making a high pitch clicking sound. 

When you hold one firmly and turn the second 180*, they push each other apart instead. Try as you might, you cannot push them together and make them stick unless you turn them the right way.

So it is with our souls. 

The principle has many applications. In each instance, things that try to come together will push apart until they are turned the right way.

When Flavia and I spent 13 years never quite being able to come together, it was me who needed to change, primarily. When my soul was turned the right way, we suddenly fit together perfectly. That took a miracle of God, but it was one I had to press into before getting. It wasn't easy. 

To be "wicked" isn't a simple insult or label. A wick is something that is twisted. Wicker furniture is material that had been twisted into it's present shape. When our soul is found to be wicked, that simply means that we were designed to function one way and our soul is twisted out of shape. They further out of order we are, the more twisted or soul is. The most evil person imaginable is 180* out of line, because once you got 181* you are turning back into right order. 

Every instance of an aspect of life that doesn't line up with God's Word is an aspect of life that is twisted. 

When people attempt to satisfy their soul in a union of bodies (sex) outside of God's order, it fails to satisfy. 

Even if you whole heartedly believe you were born different, you weren't. Your soul is simply twisted out of shape, once it realignes it will change. I spent years unable to want what God wants for me, until he realigned my soul. Then "suddey" I wanted what He wanted. In Truth, in wasn't sudden. It was a very long journey, hard fought small wins, and many tiny lessons before a form of victory started taking shape. 

Each turn was God shifting my soul, by and inch at a time, into the right shape. The resistance I felt was from being out of shape, out of position. The closer I got to being in the right position, the less fight I felt in me against it.

The hard thing about this type of healing, is that there's no "cure". No six steps. No magic pill or formula. You can't take a class and suddenly find your soul craving the right things. 

It's a journey, a work of God. You either start that journey and let Him work in you to mend your soul; or, you continue to twist further out of shape. 

If you have aspects of your life where you desire things God says are harmful for you... Your soul is twisted in those areas. You cannot untwist yourself. You cannot "choose" to be untwisted. Neither, though, is your will (choice) a non factor. 

The key is to surrender to God's Presence. 

You cannot choose to change: 

You cannot try harder a better knowledge of good, that's the wrong tree, the Tree of Knowledge. Trying harder to "be good" is a religious activity for Pharisees. It's fruitless, and it's frustrating. 

You can choose to enter His Presence: 

Instead, your goal is to choose the Tree of Life. In practical terms, that means getting into God's presence as often as possible, as many ways as possible. 

Be mindful and aware of His presence. Pray. Read your Bible. Read good books by thought leaders. Listen to teachings and Podcasts. Attend meetings and conferences. Meet with friends and talk about God. 

All of these, in the Wrong Mindset, could be fruitless religious activities. Dead works. 

All of these, in the Right Mindset, can be life giving fruitful activities. Plugging into Life. 

Try saying: "God, Daddy, in this moment I submit myself to you. Have your way with my soul today. How would you like to spend the next X minutes?"

Don't expect one session to change you in noticable ways, any more than ten seconds in an oven makes cookie dough into a cookie. But enough ten seconds stacked onto each other makes a cookie. 

Spend time with your Daddy today. 


Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

God is passionate about your sex life!

I hesitate to post this.... As this is something I'm walking through, not on the other side of... But NO HIDING is my motto. I have reached a certain degree of success... So, here it is.

I enjoy SEX!

It was the subject of highest contention in my marriage to Flavia, the subject of our almost divorce, and the subject of our reconciliation. 

It was the subject that brought me to my knees before God and her.

It was the subject that led to my healing journey, and to NO HIDING.

After she passed, I went off the deep end for a while. Which is why I stopped writing for a year or so there. 

I had a few partners. It was all very empty, in the end. I had already learned from my NO HIDING journey that it wasn't really sex but intimacy that I was wanting. You can't get that from anyone other than your life partner. 

God created us as two half's, two joining pieces. When a man and woman come together and form a life-bond, it's intended to be complete. Spirit, Soul, and Body become one.

That oneness is intended to be all encompassing. It's also intended to help us see a glimpse of God's nature (the Triune God, Three but One). 

Marriage is ultimately a bond between two people and their God, that bond makes them ONE. Man, Woman, and God form a Triune being. We call that marriage. The two humans remain two people but one entity. This is why couples married for decades often look and sound alike. 

Any marriage that does not have God as the third member will ultimately fail to create the intimacy it was designed to fulfill.

This is why sex without that lifelong covenant, or sex within a paper marriage but without the mutual submission God built us for, is so empty. It fails to satiate the soul.

When I went on my #Whole30, I learned what foods that satiate felt like and foods that didn't. I was shocked at how much better I felt by just changing my food. The body was meant to be satiated. Full. You shouldn't be walking around zapped of energy and needing a 'pick me up' constantly. 

Sex is a type of food for the soul. 

Sex stripped of it's nutrients (processed white flour of the soul, sex outside of covenant) won't satiate. You'll have an "insatiable craving" for more. We see this with sex addiction.

Sex inside a covenant of three (Man, Woman, God) when all three are mutually submitted to one another, is satiating. Yes you'll be hungry, just as with food, satiating food doesn't mean you won't be hungry eventually, but, it's filling and nutrient dense. 

Controversial Statement: Anything other than this type of triune bond (one man, one woman, mutually submitted to each AND to God, till death do them part) is outside of the created order of God; therefore, it will not satiate. It cannot.  

His Grace covers our failings, frailties, and choices, yes even or DNA and genetics. His Grace covers our fallen world. If you've been in anything other than this arrangement, God still loves you! He is passionate about you. 

His Grace also covers those of us who were in the marriage on paper, but failed to reach true intimacy in mutual submission before each other and God. 

God is passionate about SEX! He thinks it's amazing! He created it, after all. He just wants to make sure you get good food, and not the highly processed junk food stripped of nutrients.

His ultimate gift to you would be to restore you to this highest form of intimacy.


I laid (pun intended) my physical relationships aside for this season. 

But that doesn't mean it's easy. Here are a few things I've done to help myself find healthy expression while I prepare for my next partner.

1. Submit to God: Before any other practical steps, I had to make a conscious choice that I was going to submit to God's way, even if I didn't see how that would pan out or even work. This was the hardest step.

2. Acknowledge the Tension: I am so glad I am a sexual being! I embrace that, 100%! I choose to find healthy expression. 

3. Skin Hunger: I found massage (by a professional who has good boundaries) was a good way to deal with skin hunger. 

4. Muscle Movement: I found exercise, even just a few squats and lifts and long walks, dealt with the need to move the body.

5. Non Romantic Community: I've built and am building friendships and community I'm safe places. Careful to avoid any situation where I could be tempted to cross that barrier. Facebook Groups, Church, Work Breakroom, so good places to start.

6. Feed The Soul: Read, Write, start new projects I've always intended to get to "someday". Get the guitar out and play again.

I found the inner world of the soul is the hardest battle ground. But, I've learned some things there.

I went on a #Whole30 in January. I learned that I can say no to foods I want (cookies, cheeseburgers, Dr Pepper) for a season because I had a higher purpose (feeling healthy). Just like I can say no to something for a season in one category, because I have a higher purpose, I can do it in another category. 

I can say no to cheeseburgers today, while acknowledging that I want one and will have one again in the future, in the right context and with the right moderation. 

Sex is just another cheeseburger.

And I won't draw any conclusions, I'm still walking this journey. I'll just leave you with that for now. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

You are not alone...

The suffering of Jesus... 

"You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." Matthew 17:17

I bet that's not the first verse you think of when you think of the suffering of Jesus.

So often when we think of the suffering we think of the cross. Indeed, the cross was the final and most important work of Jesus. It is because of the cross that we even talked about him. It is because of the cross we can stand before his Father guiltless. It is because of the cross that he can be our high priest. But I submit to you that his suffering went far beyond the cross; when you are suffering he can empathize quite a bit.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

Jesus suffered the ignorance of people around him. 

Jesus suffered persecution from the intellectual elite of his day.

Jesus suffered betrayal from one of his own.

Jesus suffered every temptation that we experience.

Jesus suffered hunger an lack. 

Jesus suffered the mismanagement of his ministries finances by someone he trusted with them.

Jesus suffered obscurity for 30 years before starting a very public ministry. Burdened with a purpose beyond any purpose we've experienced and yet unable to do anything about it for 30 years other than prepare.

Jesus suffered the death of a friend.

Jesus suffered the death of a parent...

Not much is known about Joseph the husband of Mary. But we know that he obeyed God and took Mary and even though she was already pregnant. So we know he had high character. And we know that his life was disrupted not only by a census but by an emergency trip to Egypt which likely lasted several years. We know that he lived till at least the time Jesus was 12, because when he was 12 Joseph and Mary went looking for him after they lost him. 

We hear no mention of Joseph during the days of Jesus ministry. And we know that Jesus assigned one of his disciples as Mary's new son to take care of her. From the day of jesus's death forward Mary went to live with the disciple John, the one whom Jesus loved. 

So sometime between the age of 12 and 30, Jesus watched his dad die. The creator of the universe, who would eventually heal thousands of sick people and even raise some from the dead and eventually raise from the dead himself... This man watched his dad die and grieved him.

The Bible says he was tempted in every way that we were tempted. Every means all. All means all and that's all all means. Which means he was also tempted by sexual temptations. Having a former prostitute around him regularly cannot have been easy. She knows one way to show gratitude above all others and she does it so well she's been paid for it. I have every reason to believe she would have offered that type of gratitude. But he didn't accept.

It's impossible for one man to have suffered the exact circumstances of every other man on the planet, I'm sure that you could find examples of situations that he didn't suffer. He did not lose a parent before the age of 12. But in a broader sense if there's something that we suffer he has too.

So whatever you're going through today... Stop and think about that for a few moments and realize that Jesus actually feels your pain with you. Not just in some esoteric theological sense. Jesus feels that pain because he's experienced it.

You are not alone.


PS: Testing the waters on a podcast. Used this post as a jumping off point.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

He does not point out her sin and condemn her... he focuses on Grace.

Jesus was presented with someone who sinned (Woman caught in adultery, btw, where's the man?)...

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

I want to draw that point home, for many of us (myself most of all) have the heart of a Pharisee or the Elder Brother (story of Prodigal Son). We focus one how we are not caught up in all that and therefore nobody else should be either. But if we stop to acknowledge that we still struggle with sins, maybe just different ones, we can re-learn to have compassion.

Judgment was taken into the body of Jesus on the Cross. There is no judgment left, only a pleading call to Grace and to accept the finished work he already completed.

We get so heated in our debates, vilifying the "other" side. While it is absolutely true that there are two kingdom's at work on this planet and they are at war with each other... you might find that kingdom of darkness has been hiding in your camp, not just the "other" camp.

The woman at work with a poster of someone you think of as "enemy" might actually be a woman God really really loves and he could use you to reach her... or you can vilify her and walk around in judgment, inviting all that comes with that smug attitude.

What does Jesus do, when presented with sin and asked for a verdict?

"You who have no sin, cast the first stone".

He didn't justify what she did by calling it "not sin". It was sin. Too often we swing the other way and try to say that the way someone is living is good or healthy, it's just an alternative lifestyle. No. It's sin.


Jesus acknowledged her sin but focused on the verdict.

"Who condemns you?" "Nobody"

Then he makes a statement that acknowledges her sin, tells her to stop it, and yet carries no judgment or harshness or condemning attitude in it at all.

"Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more".

We can, prayerfully, when faced with such a topic. "Is X a sin?" Focus too on the verdict and not the sin. We can say that we are all broken, and in need of change, and focus on the source of that change, Jesus.



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

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

Monday, February 17, 2020

From a different point of view, suffering may not be as bad we thought.

The story is told of Norman Cousins, who developed a rare condition called ankylosing spondylitis, which is a degeneration of connective tissue in the spine. Essentially the patient becomes gradually more and more paralyzed. Creeping paralysis.

Among the things he discovered was the patient's loss of control over his own life and body was more damaging than the disease itself.

Philip Yancey tells us that when we do things like offering to take out the trash because that person is sick and shouldn't have to do it, or telling them to sit down while we do things for them, we actually take away some of their purpose and dignity and make it harder for them to recover, or at least enjoy end of life.

He talked about writing greeting cards that will celebrate the fact that they're still alive and that parts of their body are still working, instead of cards pointing out how much they're missing out on and urging them to get well.

Norman Cousins moved himself to a hotel room so that he could have control over his own schedule. Doctors had predicted at least partial paralysis and yet between the hotel room and watching lots of funny movies which encouraged his body to heal through laughter he made a full recovery.

So this has me wondering...

How many of us are perfectly healthy physically but incapacitated mentally and emotionally because of our own attitudes and outlooks?

Often our perception of reality is more important than the reality.

If something in your life, be it a relationship, an idea, a job, a deeply held belief... Or even a meme on Facebook... Is adding stress to your emotional state, if it is not bringing peace joy and love... Maybe it's time to evaluate whether that thing is worth having around.

You have a finite amount of energy to give this world. Some of that energy can be recharged with positivity. So that energy can be stolen with negativity.

What are you going to do with the 24 hours you have today?

How would changing your outlook and perspective and focus, change your experience?


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Grief requires presence, not answers.

When I was approximately 13, my mom taught me possibly the greatest lesson she ever taught me, and I didn't fully see it until just now...

My childhood friend back in Texas died, suddenly and unexpectedly. Mom said she would wait for a period of time then fly out to be with his mom, a good friend. We waited, weeks or months, not sure, then flew out together. 

In the first days after tragedy, people support you as best as they can. But quickly they disappear. Until, by a few weeks or a month or two out, they've all gone. You are left with crushing loneliness and grief, nobody there to sit with you in it.

Mom, a pastor's wife and a nurse, had seen it before. She wisely waited for everyone else to stop showing up, then we hopped on a plane from California and visited.

I was too young to see what we really did there. But now, as a Widower, when Mom again flew out to be with us periodically, helping me with various transitions with the boys, I see it.

The grieving person doesn't need your magic words, nothing you say or do will fix this tragedy. They need, simply, your presence. Play a game, watch a movie, give a ridiculously uncomfortably long hug.

Philip Yancey says "... no one offers the name of a philosopher when I ask the question 'Who helped you most?'... Someone who was available... Who came on the sufferers terms and not their own."

Even when suffering is self induced (a relationship they should have avoided, a decision that they know they shouldn't have made), there's a time for gently prodding the person who may need to make new decisions, but there's a time to just sit with them in it. They need to get your love before your solutions.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

When someone you know suffers...

The book, Where Is God When It Hurts?, was first published decades ago so the statistics are old, but knowing the human heart I don't suspect they've changed... 70% of marriages where one partner is diagnosed with a terminal illness result in divorce. The healthy partner just leaves.

As a Widower, I can attest first hand how people struggle to be around suffering. They smile awkwardly, use popular phrases that are often wrong, and look really uncomfortable, shifting posture with expressions that can't hide the awareness they want to run.

My friends I've made after becoming a Widower say I have an amazing talent for sitting with people in hard stuff and being there for them while I let it be hard. Those skills were hard earned. Not very long ago, I would run away from my (late) wife when she cried. I literally couldn't handle someone else having pain. I'd tell her we could take when she was done crying. I was awful and broken. Luckily, we found a better place in the last year and a half before she died. Then when she died, I was thrust into the need to develop the skill of processing emotions. I couldn't fall completely apart, I had two boys who needed me to pull through. So I leaned into the pain, a skill my late wife had just taught me in the year leading up to her unexpected death, and I pressed into friends, groups, and counseling.

I found healing for my heart.

I found that pain doesn't need to be cured but embraced.

I found pain can give us an acute appreciation for the pleasure moments.

I found, as we Widows comfort each other, we usually only needed an ear and shoulder and a hug.

The suffering don't need you to save them, you can't. You can't make their suffering stop. They are drowning at the bottom of a pool. What you can do, is sit at the bottom of the pool and drown with them.


Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentine's Day, Holocaust, Jesus, and Love

This is my second Valentine's Day without my late wife. 

It's funny because I never really liked the holiday, we never really did much with it. Now I find myself wishing I had someone to give something to; celebrate it with. For a long time I was a server in restaurants and it was an "all hands on deck" day. So we just never had any particular reason or unction to do much with the day.

It's funny, you find yourself missing strange things, things you didn't think twice about before loss.

I spent the morning reading about how people either lost or gained faith during The Holocaust. The intense human suffering that accompanied those days was enough to drive many away from God but it drove others to Him.

I myself find that my experience with loss and grief left me with a deeper and more profound love for my God, and a more wholeistic theology. Gone are the days from my time in one particular brand of Christianity, that said serving God meant everything would make me prosperous, healthy, and whole. Those ideas were NOT wrong, just incomplete. 

Sometimes you pray and she dies anyway. 

God absolutely snuggles you close in those seasons, walks through the darkness with you, and he does eventually use that raw material to heal and mend the brokenness into a new masterpiece. But you may not get the outcome you originally prayed for. He does not make that promise. 

So today, Jesus is my Valentine. He taught me that love isn't about candy grams, or date nights, though it could be expressed in those things. He taught me that love is not about some magical life where everything gets better and better, sunshine and roses every day.

Love is about getting down into the muck and mire with those who are hurting, being the good Samaritan and paying a price to help them heal. 

Love is laying your life down on behalf of another. 

Love is laying aside your own wants, desires, "needs", even hopes... And listening to your kids talk about school, art, arguments, YouTube, games, whatever interests them. It's about being present in those moments, "paying" attention (your attention may cost you something you wanted to be doing), so that you communicate they have value to you.

Love is being there for friends who need you, but, also allowing them the space to have pain that may drive change. Love may mean NOT jumping in to rescue someone from the pain that could ultimately drive them to become a better version of themselves.

Love may mean holding your tongue when someone says something you disagree with, because your goal is to pray for them and win hearts not arguments.

Love may mean saying no to things you want today because you have a higher calling and purpose ahead of you, and it's time to lay aside temporary things for better and lasting ones.

Love is.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Stop letting your emotions rule your life and dictate your relationships.

The tendency of the human heart to bend towards HIDING and Self Protecting is the oldest frailty we humans have. 

It started in the Garden of Eden.

As soon as man disconnected from intimacy with God it created disconnection in his intimacy with others. The first fall out of the Fall was to cover and hide. The second fall out of the Fall was to blame others for the experience we're having rather than take ownership of our part in it.

1. Hiding
2. Blaming

These two poisonous traits are the root of our sin nature. 

I see this play out in my son's debates. He did this to me, he's always, he never, well if you wouldn't, that's because you...

Unfortunately, many of us never outgrow this tendency. We continue to run from... HIDING from others, self protecting, blaming others for our own emotions.

How often I told my wife, kids, bosses, or even God himself... "If you wouldn't/would... I...."

Rather than taking ownership of my emotions, I wanted to make other people responsible for them.

If only this person would stop doing x, start doing y, if z circumstances would change... THEN my emotions would be good. 

No matter how hard the external circumstances, your emotions are yours alone. Talk to the POWs, and others who maintained their joy in the worst places on Earth.

Paul and Silas were sent to prison unfairly, beaten without due process, and still... They sang.

So if you're ready for the hardest and most rewarding task you've ever been assigned:

Own Your Emotions!

Say this out loud:

"I acknowledge that I am having feels. These feelings area my own. While they are in response to external stimuli, they were not caused by others and cannot be fixed by others. I chose to lean into this emotion, get curious about it, determine what I can my heart is telling me, what truths or lies are involved, and let the Holy Spirit guide me through healing and restoration. I will not ask others to change, I will only determine what I'm feeling and how I will choose to respond. That may mean cutting off relationship, but, it will more often mean pressing into relationship and exposing what I would rather hide, owning what I would rather blame, and allowing this to be about my emotion and not the circumstances, actions, it words that led to it."


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Three (3) Core Elements of Healthy Conflict Resolution, and their unhealthy shadows.

Conflict... This word used to send shivers up my spine. 

When I thought of conflict, I couldn't help but see that conflict meant I was wrong or bad or insufficient. Someone was asking me to change, which I already knew I couldn't do. It felt accusatory, bad, wrong, and I ran from it. So much so, that my wife at the time would begin to bring something up that smelled like conflict and I would go into full shut-down mode. I was incapable of feeling or thinking of having any thoughts. This is called being Conflict Avoidant.

Photo by jean wimmerlin on Unsplash

As I healed, I learned that Conflict is actually neither good nor bad, neither healthy nor unhealthy... conflict can be a great tool to help you grow individually or as a couple/friend.

The difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict is the topic of today's' discussion.

There are at least three core elements of a conflict. 

There are many ways to break this down but for our purposes, we will look at three core elements and their results.

  1. Address it: The person who is having an emotion brings it up with the other party.
  2. Receive it: The person who's behavior (purposefully or accidentally) led to the emotion, hears the first person. 
  3. Process and Resolve it: The parties work through the conflict until it comes to some kind of end result (positive, neutral, or negative). 

Conflict Principles

Before we can look at these in more detail, we need to understand some principals of conflict management. If you (both parties, not just one) carry these into the conversation you carry a much higher degree of certainty that the outcome will be healthy and benefit all involved. 

  • Seek first to understand, not to be understood. You cannot go into the conversation (either addressing or receiving) with an attitude of fists up, ready to defend your position). If you do, you've lost before you have begun. Your first goal must be to understand the other person, not push to be heard. From personal semi-recent experience, I can tell you pushing to be understood may remove that person from your life forever. 
  • Assume the Best. If you are going to address an emotion or behavior, assume the best about the other person. If you assume the worst, why bother addressing anything? If they are the worst, then just walk away forever. If you care about them, you should assume they have your best interest at heart until you have independent reason to believe otherwise, in which case, you should probably cut off the relationship and walk away. So if you're not ready to walk away, assume the best. 
  • Addresser: Own your Emotion. It is your emotion. The other party did not cause it. They do not have the power to create feelings inside of you. What matters to one person deeply wouldn't even show up on another person's emotion radar. So if you are having an emotion, that emotion is YOUR responsibility, not the other party's. Even if their behavior/action led to your emotional reaction, it is your emotion. Own the responsibility for it. We must own our emotions without making it about the other person. To say "you made me so angry" is to assign that person magical powers they do not have, ever. It's your emotion, own it.

  • Receiver: Empathize with the emotion. You've felt this way in some fashion before, try to remember what it felt like. Even if you don't see why your action should have caused the other person to feel the way they do, that is irrelevant, they do. You are not responsible for their emotion but you can have empathy and compassion for it. You can also see where you could do better, so try to see it from their view (back to seeking to understand, not be understood). It's possible they feel a certain way because they misjudged you, you can be the addresser next and we can start this whole process over from you addressing your emotion about their emotion. For now, just seek to understand. 
  • Love and Affirmation: Your attitude should be that of LOVE (patient, kind, gentle, no records of wrong... 1 Cor 13 stuff). It should be with the goal of Affirmation (positively affirming the person's value to you and your life and their own intrinsic value as God's Child). The goal cannot be to change behavior first. That comes second. First, the goal must be to understand and empathize with the emotion. Only then, when both parties understand why the emotion happened, can the behavior then be evaluated in the right light, context, and environment of love and affirmation. 

With those principles in mind, let's look at the three elements separately. 

Address it: The person who is having an emotion brings it up with the other party.

  • Healthy: I'm having a feeling, I own it, can you partner with me in this. 
  • Unhealthy: Different from: I'm having a feeling, you're responsible, make it stop.

The best tool I know of to start these conversations in a way where the behavior is addressed but the person feeling the emotion still owns it is called "When you/I felt". 

The action needs to be concrete and specific, NO generalities. So instead of "When you do things like this" it could be "When you put the cup on the counter instead of the dishwasher...".

The emotion needs to be owned by the feeler of the emotion. So "You make me so..." would be incorrect. Nobody can make you feel anything. You own that emotion. 

The topic needs to be the emotion, not the action. The goal is NOT to change the action/behavior, not yet. The goal is to ensure both parties hear each other's hearts. Only then can we evaluate the action in the right context. 

This could sound like this:

  • When you put the cup on the counter instead of the dishwasher, I felt disrespected. Like you didn't care about how hard I work to keep things clean. Like you didn't value my efforts. I felt disrespected and uncared for. Can we talk about how I'm feeling? (note: not 'what you did'). 
  • When you picked up the phone during dinner, I felt unwanted and less important than whatever was on your Facebook feed. Can we talk about how hurt I feel?

Receive it: The person who's behavior (purposefully or accidentally) led to the emotion, hears the first person, seeks to understand (not defend), and paraphrases back to the Addresser what they heard to check for understanding.

  • Healthy: Seek to understand: Tell me more about that... 
  • Unhealthy: Defensive: That's not what I did... meant... said... You always blow things out of proportion...
"Tell me more about that... What was going on in your heart when you felt that way? What words or phrases did you experience in your inner self-talk about that?" 

"So when I put the cup on the counter, you felt disrespected. I'm so sorry, I had no idea. I apologize for taking an action that caused you to feel uncared for. Will you please forgive me?

Process and Resolve it: The parties work through the conflict until it comes to some kind of end result (positive, neutral, or negative). 

This process of hearing, asking, seeking to understand may be quick for small items or take days/weeks for bigger life issues. But the goal is always a relationship, love, connection. Connecting each other's hearts. 

  • Healthy: Both parties assume the best of the other, seek to understand not be understood, hear each other out, don't get defensive or wall off, and work to resolve the emotion as well as any possible behavior modifications that may be best to love each other well. 
  • Unhealthy: Both parties wall off, defend, assume the worst of each other, shut down, and they miss each other's hearts, over-focusing on behaviors and never hearing each other's hearts.

The End results:

When a conflict is handled well, both parties will end up feeling valued and heard, cared for, and they will feel more connected to each other. 

When a conflict is not handled well, both parties will feel violated, disrespected, unloved, uncared for, defensive, and less connected to each other. 

If you aren't sure if you (both of you) are handling the conflict well, all you need to do is examine the fruit. 

  • Healthy: More Connected
  • Unhealthy: Less Connected

It really is that simple. It's not easy, it's actually the hardest lesson I've ever learned. I had to press in when everything was telling me to wall off and run. 

It's not easy, but it is simple. 


One of the most helpful references I have seen on the topic of relationships is: Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Life, by Henry Cloud  (Author), John Townsend (Author) (affiliate link) 



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

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

Monday, February 10, 2020

The end of self...

What if suffering isn't good or evil, it just is. And our response is what matters?

"When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. After he sat down his disciples came to him. Then he began to teach them by saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way."
Matthew 5:1‭-‬12 NET

We are so quick to look for physical beauty, strength, education, success... And point these out as the epicenter of virtue. 

But one thing I've learned this past few years, is that suffering produces perseverance, patience, and character.


If it's responded to correctly. 


Suffering could also produce bitterness, selfishness, depression. Wow is me.

The difference seems to be whether we allow the event to turn is inward to focusing on self or outward to focusing on God. 

I do not recognize the man I was this time last year. I expect this time next year I'll be doing things I've been avoiding all my life.

I never imagined I could say this... But I'm grateful for the character I have today, despite (never because of) the things I had to go through to get here. 

I will never be grateful for the trials but I can be grateful for the changes they induced. 

God's first choice is our willing reliance on Him. But reliance on him through any means is sweet. 



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