Trigger Happy

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Breaking up is hard to do. And if the split alone is not bad enough, you have these wonderful little things called “triggers” that can set your mind off about your ex. You know what I’m talking about. The songs lyrics. Television shows, stores in the mall, foods, movies…the list goes on.

But an important thing to remember about triggers is that they normally do not work..unless you pull them.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for mourning. And directly after the break-up, it is normal to blow up and explode into emotions. For a little while your hands might still be shaky and sometimes pulling the trigger just…happens. But a problem occurs when sufficient time passes and, instead of ignoring triggers, we become trigger-happy.

In their loss, the broken hearted often take self-pity into extreme overkill. They begin to purposely pull triggers of memories and heartache out of habit and helplessness. Their love drug is gone and instead of focusing on getting clean, they opt to use memory and fantasy to get their fix.

I was a prime example of this. It took me quite a while to get over my ex (way longer than it should have, considering the amount of time we were together). I remember once calling my mom and stressing about how I just felt stuck on him.

“I’m not getting over him, I don’t understand!” I whined.

If you have ever had a conversation with my mom, you know that she will break the truth to you. In love, of course. So she informed me that I was not getting over my ex because I was making the decision to keep dwelling on the past. She told me that I had to make the decision to move on. And it was true.

The reason I was stuck on my ex for so long is because I used to lie around in my bed pulling pity triggers on myself, moping in old memories and asking questions I did not have answers to. But what my mom said brought revelation to my situation. I had the control. The reason I was still miserable was because I was allowing myself to feel that way. I had to want to stop entertaining heartache and put the gun down for my own safety. Thankfully I did, and I now encourage you to do the same.

Every once in a while  you will run across a weapon of emotional destruction.  A song will play that used to play back in the days of your love’s parade. Or you might even run into the little beloved child of God. It happens. But, after you stumble across a heart grenade, you decide rather or not you are going to bring harm to yourself. You are in control. If you don’t want to blow your brains out with harmful memories, then don’t pull the trigger.

Notice I said “harmful” memories. Not all memories with your ex are bad. Some of them, in fact are good. But these “good” memories become harmful when you abuse them and try to find some type of “soothing” pain from them. You are hurting yourself. No, you may not be physically cutting yourself with a blade, but you are still committing self-abuse. You are feeding and festering on thoughts that ultimately hurt you mentally, and sometimes even physically (pretty sure every time my heart was broken that I lost weight).

To get over my ex, I had to begin to renew my mind daily. I had to get out of fantasyland and the past. And you need to as well. When you find a weapon against your peace of mind, do not pick it up. Leave it there and clear the room.

And you must stop making love with them in your mind… both literally and figuratively. Along the literal route, you have to stop replaying all your physical intimate moments (kissing, etc etc). Figuratively speaking, stop making up a “love” relationship with them in your mind.

Put both routes together and this is the message at the fork in the road is: quit purposely replaying or creating precious and intimate moments with your ex in your head.

Matthew 5:28 “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust has already committed adultery in his heart”.

Now my point in pulling up this scripture is not lust. It is to show that your heart does not need you to actually be intimate with someone in order to feel the side effects of intimacy.

Many people keep committing acts of love in their minds with exes after a break-up. In consequence they keep stirring up love in their hearts for their exes and wondering why cannot move on. They cannot move on because their mind is keeping their heart intimate with the other person.

Start taking control of your thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

How do you expect to get happy if you are not thinking happy? Think positive!

Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past! See that I am doing a new thing, now it springs up…”

Indeed, and His mercies are new every morning. However, you won’t see them if you are still setting off old smoke bombs in the present.

Heartbreak sucks. Trust me, I know. I killed a lot of time there (and almost my GPA at one point). But in the end, it is not worth it. You are still alive, so LIVE. You might feel as if you are fighting to save yourself daily. But you can do it. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up ALL their wounds.”

His love will stitch you up better than any temporary threads the world has to offer. So surrender to His way and start pulling the trigger to assassinate emotionally abusive thoughts.

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Use the Force, Baby!

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I went out with a guy once. Technically we weren’t together, but I wanted us to be.

He seemed a little lukewarm to the idea though. Instead of spewing him out of my mouth, I was convinced that my creative charm might tip his scale in my favor. So when the night was over, I handed him a bag full of scrambled puzzle pieces. “Put it together, flip it over, and then do what it instructs.”

I know, right? I was little Miss Mysterious.

The night before, I had pieced the puzzle together and painted instructions on the back for him to look in the bed of his truck. There he would find a light saber (that I had snuck into his truck bed while he was in his dorm piecing the puzzle together). It was a nice light saber. Not the extremely cheap one that you flick your wrist to expand. He was a Star Wars fan and said it was “the best gift ever”. I was pretty proud.

This however, failed to make him commit. But I was not out of ideas.

Halloween came around. Even though neither one of us celebrated the holiday and all it’s connotations, I decided to do something quirky and memorable. I asked him to meet me behind a campus building. There I was waiting for him with two bottles of cream soda. We made a small toast and then I blindfolded him and took him downstairs to my department media lounge. Inside the lounge I had a boom box playing his favorite song from his favorite band playing on repeat. I also had a present and two pies waiting to be sliced.

While he was blindfolded, I fed him a forkful of each pie, removed the blindfold and gave him his gift. Then I had him pick a movie for us to watch together.

Yeah, I was doing the most. Like forreal. And the funny thing is that almost a year after my grand Halloween gesture….after giving him a Captain America mask, the original Superman comics, the entire Star Wars saga (on Blu-ray), a handmade pecan pie, and many DTR rants…his feelings did not change. He still was not interested in me, no matter how hard I tried to prove my worth.

Which sucked for me. I gave the gifts because I liked him and I wanted him to like me.

Wait, did you catch that? I gave him gifts because I wanted him to like me. Did not really give much thought or care to how he felt about me. I was going to try to get what I wanted. Him to like me. And that is selfish motivation. Selfish motivation is of course, the complete opposite of what a relationship should be based off of.

Now, do not get me wrong. Gift giving is not bad at all. But sometimes the reason we are giving gifts is not always the greatest. We want to think that we are thoughtful and considerate. And perhaps we are. But an episode of Judge Judy brings up another issue. Chick blew $5,000 in a month on her deadbeat boyfriend. Why? “I don’t want to lose him.”

Let us break this down: SHE did not want to lose him. So SHE was trying to get him to stay by showering him with stuff.

I’m sure she felt kind buying him a TV, Xbox, and whatever else he wanted. And she probably justified her actions in “love”. But quite frankly she was trying to manipulate him with “stuff” to get him to do what she wanted: to stay with her. So ultimately her motives were not about love or about him. It was about HER needs.

Perhaps she was desperate and wanted a relationship badly. But even if her actions can be emotionally justified, she was still self-centered in her motivation throughout the relationship. Which is exactly why she brought his butt into court trying to sue him over money spent on his “gifts”.

How invested was homeboy? Well, seeing how he easily went off with someone else…probably not much. Her gestures had not convinced him to stay nor did they deem her worthy of a relationship. But like me she was too busy trying to get what she wanted, that she failed to notice that he was just not that into her, nor was he worth her time in the first place.

In a relationship, you’ll want to be romantic, thoughtful, and creative. Which is fine. However, your motivation really needs to be in check.

Giving gifts excessively can sometimes be a sign of personal desperation to be wanted, liked, or accepted. True, everyone wants to be loved. But you should never find yourself in a desperate state to keep or impress someone. Odds are that if you are working so hard to try to convince someone they should stay by your side, it is probably because they have already left.

Take it from me, romance and gifts will not save your relationship or keep someone with you. If flowers, teddy bears, and Star Wars memorabilia were all it took to keep people together, the divorce rate would probably be at 1%.

Yes, romance can HELP if used properly. But romantic gestures alone do not make or break a relationship. The HEART behind them does. A gesture or gift can be sweet as honey. But if there are still problems in the combs of your heart, you will have struggles in the flow of your relationship.

In the early stages of dating especially, gift giving and grand gestures are often used as means to impress, gain acceptance, or to hide. You really like someone and you want to keep his or her interest. Maybe you’re scared they won’t like you. But you convince yourself that if you do or give them something they like, that they may perhaps like you too in return. However if you’re always putting on a big show, then it’s likely that you are trying to keep someone entertained. Believe me, it takes a lot of work to maintain that act. And a relationship should not be a giant performance for your lover…or Facebook.

Now I am not saying: “Do not buy your girlfriend flowers!” Keep things spicy and interesting in a relationship, yes. But you also need to keep it real.

Romance and giving should stem from affection that is already exchanged, not love that you are trying to get or keep. Otherwise, it is selfish. You are using gifts or actions to try and get what you want…them to like or love you more. Or forgive you. That is not cute or lovely. That is selfish and manipulative exploitation…with a cherry on top.

So give…but examine your heart when you do. And be alert of a person who seems to be giving a bit too much. It is not necessarily evil, but it may be an indication of a personal acceptance issue (which might bring other problems into your relationship).

On the flip side, many of you might want to complain that your boo never gets you anything. No flowers, cards, or candy. Okay, but do they give you fruit?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”                                       Galatians 5:22-23

Alas, gifts and gags are good for kicks. But fruit will make for a healthy relationship. Even if you aren’t Christian you have to agree that being kind, patient, and faithful are great principles for a relationship. So if you must give anything in a relationship, give fruit.

And if your baby doesn’t buy you all you have ever wanted, BUT gives you fruit, chill out. This is not a movie. Most men do not have a romance reflex. On the other hand, if your relationship is lacking fruit, chances are that it probably is not any good for you. But you are the maker of your own love diet.

I will warn you though that if you try to build a relationship on romance alone, it is likely to be rotten. A ballad by Gavin DeGraw hits the nail right on the head when he sings about his love: “We can’t survive on candy.” And it’s true. Sweet things in a relationship are not enough for love to live on.

The dating trend of today will tell you to “use the force” to try and keep someone in your life…like me with my light saber trick. But, this isn’t Star Wars. You are not a Jedi. You can neither force nor buy someone’s love. It does not work that way.

Real love is not selfish. It will not abuse romantic gestures in order portray itself worthy of liking, trusting, loving, or forgiving. True love waits…not just for sex, but for someone to grow to like, love, and forgive them on his or her own time. True love uses romance as an expression of truth, sacrifice, and appreciation.

And a good relationship is a fruity one, bearing love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

It took me a little while to pin point my overcompensating habit. I truly am compassionate and mean well in my giving. However, I also had emotional desperation and a burning desire to feel accepted. So I had to learn to accept myself and get past the fear of rejection. For me, that meant heading back to My First Love. I do not need another person to feel loved or accepted anymore.

Nevertheless, I learned very valuable lessons in my past experiences (and i hope you now have, too).

The next time the love bug bites, I do plan on being creatively charming. But first I will give sufficient time for the person to get to know ME (and all that they are getting into ha ha). I am not going to use gifts and gestures as a bush to hide or an instrument to put in a good name for myself.

I will let…myself do that. And if they do not like the name I offer, well…”Yoda fool!” Not me.

The Sanctity of Marriage

Christian/non-Christian, I can almost guarantee that this post is not what you think. But I guess we’ll have to see…

Ask almost any Christian to define matrimony and the typical response will be “Marriage is between a walrus and a polar bear.”

Kidding.

But if I really have to explain to you what the church’s view on marriage is, then you must be living beneath the rock…under the rock. Really, though.

The Christian community has done quite a number of pounding their idea of marriage down America’s throat, trying to force Lady Liberty to “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” And if that’s what you like to do, fine. But the outcome is almost like feeding a baby peas… just a mess everywhere. “

“Marriage is between a man and a woman!”

Mmk, thanks. We get it. But the thing I am NOT getting is how Christians are getting all riled up against other groups defiling the “sanctity” of marriage when we’re doing a fine little job of screwing it up ourselves.

The sanctity of marriage, huh?

I’m sorry… I forgot about hearing all the ridicule against pastors joining couples that are unequally yoked. And I am sure that the Lord is pleased with our marriage defiling pre-marital relationships. Or perhaps at our habit of wedding simply because we cannot keep it in our pants any longer. No, I do not see  how anyone could view us as hypocrites. Clearly our equally high divorce rates show that we know what marriage is all about.

Except…we don’t. So I do not understand why the church is always so focused on the sin of everyone else when we have crap within our own pews that we need to fix.

Maybe if we got our own marriage ideals in order, the Lord could use our relationships as examples to the world on what His love is like. But can He even reach us? You look within the church community today and the people seem more concerned about standing on a soapbox against the immoralities of the world then using the soap in the box to get their own tubs clean. And this whole “sanctity of marriage” movement is no different.

It is great and awesome to think that the church wants to have morals concerning marriage. However, what happened to “judge not, lest ye be judged?” I really feel this little “movement” needs to move right on back inside the church. We need to study the plank in our own eye a little more before “reaching out”. Do you really want to protect the sanctity of marriage? Then show it within YOUR marriage. And if you are not married, start with YOUR relationships.

Marriage is commitment. Marriage is servanthood. Marriage is sacrifice. Marriage is not a cute Facebook status. Marriage is a LIFELONG ministry. But most of us are entering into it to gain sexual and selfish satisfaction.

Back in the day, you had to earn the rights to marriage. Men had to work for the hand of a female, and women were trained on how to be a good wife. Now all a man has to do is go online, to a bar, to a club, pick one, and put it on her. And women do not prepare to be wives any further than making wedding arrangements.

Shout out to the people doing it right. But most people are not preparing themselves for marriage anymore. They just jump into them because they are sexually frustrated or lonely and hope they survive. On top of that, we have failed to see the ministry behind it, much less put Christ in the center. And do we really wonder why marriages are failing? Most unions at the altar are not “marriages”. They are lustful links and expressions of selfish sanctification. The Lord does not look at that and say “It is good.” That is not at all what the Lord desires.

“The Lord isn’t pleased with gay marriage!” Well sorry to break it to you, but the Lord is not pleased with a lot of male/female marriages either.  The church thinks that they are “technically” correct in marriage because they involve a John and a Jane. But just because your grounds downtown are different, does not mean that you should go uptown to the chapel and wed. The Lord is not pleased by the differentiation of your private parts alone. Will you sacrifice and love your spouse as Christ loved the church? THAT is what pleases the Lord.

There are great marriages that are honoring God, and that is truly a blessing and an awesome ministry. I believe that the Lord can use great marriages to make great impact. Many seem to think that rallying against gay marriage is going to cause a great revolution. And it might, sure. More power to whatever you and whatever you like to do in your free time. The Lord has the power to change hearts, and however He leads you to minister…don’t let me intrude. I am not and will not get into debates about fighting against gay marriage in comments.

I am being slightly aggressive in this post? Maybe. But this post is not to be spiteful. It is simply to encourage us to examine to marriage “sanctity”…since we seem quite radical about the subject. Do what you do. Change your profile picture to an “X”. Make little rants about how America’s system and culture is getting all corrupted. But until we realize that many of our own marriages are no more “sanctified” than a homo-sexuals binding in the Lord’s eyes …it’s kind of just a hypocritical hyperlink movement.

The Red Range

I possess a range of red mountains…on my forehead. Yeah. Colorado has Pike’s and I have Pimple Peak’s elevating across my face. While these Acne Alps are not so pretty, thankfully I have a dermatologist who prescribed me treatments to get rid of them.

I found it interesting that a precaution for one of the products reads: “Your acne might seem to get worse before it gets better. But that means that the medication is working—cleaning out acne that began forming before you started treatment.”

How interesting.

Often in our lives we encounter mountains of trouble and begin applying the word. Things sometimes seem to get WORSE instead of better though. But alas, the Word is strong! It is going deep and bringing to the surface troubles that formed before you had begun speaking the word over them. So when are standing in faith and more trouble breaks out, do not freak out. He is working to bring you out.

Hebrews 4:12 reads: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…”

Keep speaking the word and watch God finish the work that He started. He will be the balm in your Gilead. There is no outbreak or blemish that He does not have a remedy for. So keep applying until the outbreak is gone!

I too, would have been tempted to just stop using my prescription when I saw my face getting worse. However, I had read my informational packet that described what to expect during my treatment. Therefore I knew there would be some more blemishes. But I also knew that in the end, my face would be clear.

Likewise, have you been reading the Word and taking note of what to expect for your life? Let me enlighten you.

John 16:33 reads: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

The Lord tells us that we will face problems in life. But He also encourages us that the end result will be good.

Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Enduring mountains in life can sometime cause pressuring times..but they can also lead up to awesome spiritual moments. The Lord revealed Himself to Moses in the mountains. In the same way, let this time become an opportunity for the Lord is able to reveal Himself to you or impart instruction, direction, and wisdom to you.

God has good plans for your life. And for your troubles and afflictions, He is the cure. But if you stop applying His word, you make no room for Him to work. Indeed we can have faith that can move mountains. But notice that faith comes by hearing the word of God. So stay in your word through troubling times so that you may stay in faith. Then when troubles come, you can be like David in Psalm 27:13 saying: “I will remain confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord.”

The First Bachelor

Nowadays, you’ve got a lot of Christian singles using the scripture “It is not good for man to be alone” as ammunition to hunt matrimony or exterminate their singleness. After all, Adam was the first bachelor and the Lord said that about him.

But what most people fail to realize is that Adam was not moping about in his single state. Adam was straight up chilling in the garden and in fellowship with the Father, not even noticing that he was without something. Then a time came when the Lord declared that it was not good for him to be alone.

Wait. Did you catch that? Adam did not decide for himself when it was time for him to get a mate. The LORD declared when it was not good for Adam to be alone.

The opposite is happening today. Single Christians are taking their own turn at determining when it is no longer fit for them to fly solo. The revving of their engines could be a result of a variety of different things. Their friends are probably all dating and getting married. In fact, some married couples will even tell you that you will feel “incomplete” or that  “something is missing” while waiting for a spouse. But I am not so sure that I agree.

Look at the story of Adam. God did not remove Adam’s rib and then make him walk around for days or years feeling inadequate or wondering where his “missing piece” was. This however is the attitude many Christian singles currently have adopted. They limp through the present unhappy and unsatisfied, moaning in agony over their “missing part”.

Hmm. Reminds me of lyrics in “Call Me Maybe” where Carly says: “before you came into my life I missed you so bad…” It does not really make any sense. The Word says that two become one flesh…meaning, they must have been separate. Many are claiming however to already be missing the union before they have it.

If you want to believe that that is why you are unhappy, go ahead. In an honest examination of yourself, you will discover that feeling discontented in your single state it is not because you need another woman or man. It is probably because you are not being that intimate with The Great I Am. Just saying.

God is a good God. He did not cripple Adam or create a period of emotional suffering. God sustained Adam in his alone season. And when He felt it was time for Adam to have a mate, He made it happen in a painless fashion. You remember the story! Adam was put into a deep sleep, and the Lord did a work within him close to his heart. He removed a rib and fashioned it into a woman. When Adam woke up, he barely had time to yawn when God presented him with his missing rib on a silver platter. Enter Eve.

Which brings up another point. God very well could have created Adam and Eve on the same day. But He did not. Eve coming into Adam’s life later was not a mistake. He did not forget. He did not create all the animals with their mates then go “Oops, forgot to give Adam one! My bad bro, here you go!”  Nope. He made Adam first and had him alone for a reason. Alone, Adam got to know his duties and established his own fellowship with God. Alone, perhaps you could say, Adam became “all one” with God.

When the Lord saw that Adam needed companionship, He did not immediately give him a woman either. Instead, He gave him a task related to the responsibility he was about to receive. God formed the animals and brought them before Adam to name. Surprise, surprise…. the next day the Lord formed Eve and brought her before Adam to claim.

The Lord did not say: “This is your wife, Adam!” But Adam knew just what to do. He had exercised his authority the day before. Adam knew to call and claim her  “flesh of his flesh” and “bone of his bone”. God had prepared him for the moment. Genesis says the Lord brought the animals to Adam to “see what he would call them”. Perhaps He was helping Adam learn to identify in his little animal exercise, so that he might be able to correctly identify Eve!

Likewise, you need to be able to identify your mate or be set for their arrival. Keep God in control and He will prepare and guide you so that you don’t miss it. Stop trying to make your own arrangements. God’s way is the best way. And the easiest. The Lord orchestrated it all. He trained Adam and even brought his chick straight to his face. All Adam had to do was recognize and claim what was in front of him. So slow your roll, yo! If you jump ahead of the game and tell God when it is time to exit your season of singleness, you may miss out on His awesome arrangement.

“It is not good for man to be alone…”

True. But it is important that you do not snatch God’s word out of His mouth and apply it to your life out of order. When HE determines that it is not good for you to be alone, HE will place you in His rest and bring forth the very best for you as He did for Adam. Until then, continue to grow as an individual, doing the tasks He has asked and letting Him sustain you.